• Published 21st Jan 2017
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The First Wonderbolt - Essay Jay



When an unnatural phenomenon sends Rainbow Dash back in time, she must adapt to an Equestria at war while all the while looking for a way to get back home.

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Interlude - Meanwhile in Equestria

Author's Note:

I know this is nothing compared to the long wait I've put all of you through, but this is the most I've written in one sitting since November. I've also been in the process of re-writing this story because my writing has significantly improved since I began, but... it's slow going.

Needless to say, I hope more will come soon. Thanks for being patient. Sorry :ajsleepy:

AK Yearling sat at her desk, stacks on stacks of books littering her already-messy house crowding around her, suffocating her, taunting her. The libraries in Equestria could only do so much, and she had begun searching the more obscure sources of lore and world-maps. If there was something she would be able to do, it was solve a magical mystery. She was an archaeologist for a reason, and an incredibly competent one at that, and she wouldn’t give up.

Absentmindedly, she reached to her right, petting the tortoise that had begun accompanying her a few months prior. It was comforting, having a partner, however unconventional he may have seemed. Tank the Tortoise was surprisingly versatile. Then again, not much else could be expected of the pet partner of the Element of Loyalty. She really let it sink in how lonely her life was that finding the company of a shelled reptilian was more fulfilling than writing a novel about her latest exploits.

Don’t get her wrong, she was still writing what was sure to be the next Equestrian Times Bestseller, but she couldn’t focus for too long before going back to her main focus: Finding anything about Rainbow.

After all, this one map regarding the Frozen North at the time of the Great Crystal War seemed somewhat different from the rest…


Twilight rushed around her library, her mind running a million miles a minute. Papers and forms and fliers flew around as she burst from one table to another. From one map to the next, she pinned and marked and scribbled and scrawled. It didn’t matter that it had already been 6 months since Rainbow had disappeared and there was still no trace of where she could be. Everything was a dead-end. Nothing seemed to make sense. Her weekly meetings with Daring Do, if one could even call them that, were sparse and always brief.

“Spike, where is Applejack now? Has she reported what sectors she’s covered in Appleoosa yet?” Twilight grabbed a bin and began rummaging through it’s papers. “Spike, has Fluttershy responded to our call? Has Rarity reported back on the research she’s been doing?”

In the back of the library, an entire wall of bookshelves had been converted into a technological nightmare. Wires and antennae and radars and radios among other things now dotted the library, thanks to a revival in old tech from the Great Crystal War. Some of the newer tech was provided courtesy of Belle Industries, something that everypony was grateful for, but nopony was completely sure who had funded it or why it was given so freely.

“SPIKE!”

Twilight stopped in her tracks as she looked around. “Where is that lizard?” Frazzled and tired, she used her magic to scan the library, and didn’t like what she sensed. With a glare and a scolding prepared, she marched her way to the corner of the library that Spike seemed to be in. Upon seeing him, however, she stopped and stared.

Sleeping in a pile of scrolls and books alike, hugging a large Rainbow Dash plushie, was Spike. The sight of her by-all-means little brother in such a tired and exhausted state brought to bear the hell she was putting on herself and Spike day-in and day-out since the day Rainbow had disappeared.

With a burst of tears, she collapsed into the heap herself, pulling Spike and the plushie close.

“We’ll get through this, Spike. We’ll find out where she is. We’ll find out what happened. We’ll save her. We have to. Please… I’m so sorry…”

As she sobbed and sobbed until she felt drained, the world was taken from beneath her hooves, and she slipped into the realm of dreams.


Paperwork was terrible.

Of course, Celestia herself only had to sign off on most things as she had an entire committee of loyal and dedicated workers helping her in that regard, it was still a nightmare. Having the bearer of an Element of Harmony disappear without trace was already taxing enough, where she had to alleviate the fears of everypony in Equestria and assure the newspapers that this would soon be rectified. She also had to negotiate the terms and conditions of the search parties everyone, not just pony, had begun to form.

Needless to say, it was a legal disaster waiting to happen. At this rate, every inch of Equestria would be scoured and searched, and there was still no sign of Rainbow Dash anywhere. Her old and tired mind scanned the last document in her pile for the day as she made some final adjustments and signed it off before she sighed and rested her head on the table.

“When will this all end?”

A knock on the door jolted her out of her seat. Sighing a little heavier this time, expecting some official or noble, she prepared herself for the worst.

“Sister? Are you decent?”

Celestia smiled, relaxing into her cushion. “Luna. Please come in and save me from these forms.”

A soft giggle and one entrance later, Princess Luna walked in to see her sister in a state of disrepair. Her mane was waving more erratically than usual and her smile was more strained than she knew her sister thought it was.

“You look as bad as that time I made all your cakes moon pie flavoured.”

Celestia blinked before looking at Luna thoughtfully. “That was you?”

“Oh yes, yes it was. I made sure to shift the blame on Discord, of course, but you looked about ready to swear off cake forever.”

Luna leaned in to hug her sister, and before she knew it, Celestia had locked her into it with a foreleg. Wincing as Celestia’s lips brushed her ears, she heard a soft whisper. “You should watch your back.” They pulled away, and Celestia acted as if nothing but a hug had happened.

“Well, I am pleased to say that moon pies have been banned from any confectionary within a hundred kilometres of Canterlot, and those that do still make them are exclusively for export to other stores.”

Luna gasped with tears in her eyes. “Tell me it isn’t so!”

A smirking Celestia folded her legs and giggled. “I’m afraid it shall be writ in stone for all time and eternity starting tomorrow.”

“Good. I hate them just as much as you do.”

“On second thought, I take it back-”

Luna rushed Celestia throwing her into a pile of pillows. “Nope! You can’t, you’ve already said it!” Collapsing into the pile, they wrestled for a bit before Celestia gave up and snuggled into her sister’s embrace. It was rare that they got moments such as this these days.

“Thank you, Luna.”

Luna shuffled her head a bit farther to look her sister in the eyes. A grin crossed her face before she managed to quell it. “Whatever for?”

“Letting me forget about the present.”

“Oh?” Detaching herself so she could rest her head on her foreleg, she nodded. “Go on.”

Celestia sighed. “Rainbow Dash, missing. Twilight, burning out at the end of every week and passing out for well over twelve hours at a time. Rarity, organising and collating all information to give to Twilight. Fluttershy, using her abilities to create an animal network as vast as Equestria’s lands. Applejack, searching metre after square metre on hoof with a group of Royal Guards to accompany her.”

Rolling face-up to rub her temples and stare at the ceiling, she continued. “Daring Do slash AK Yearling, going above and beyond to investigate where the law is questionable.”

“And Starlight Glimmer?”

“Self-imposed exile. Ripping more holes in time and space to pinpoint Rainbow Dash.”

“So she never forgave herself after her interdimensional battle.”

“No.”

Luna sighed alongside her sister, rolling to stare at the same ceiling her sister was looking at. “It is good to hear your worries are much the same as mine, but you mustn’t let it weigh so heavily upon you.”

“Who will, then, Luna?” Celestia asked. “Who will?”

“It is the burden of everypony, and it is everypony’s burden to share. I spoke with Starlight Glimmer after Rainbow disappeared, you know that?”

Celestia turned and regarded her sister with a pleading look. Luna happily obliged. “She is crushed, Celestia. The guilt she carries is even greater than my own Tantabus. The nightmares she has of where Rainbow had gone, or what Rainbow would say to her, or even the Element Bearers turning on her is painful, and sometimes I cannot even save her from her dreams as she has locked herself away in a prison of despair.” After a moment, she sighed. “That’s not to mention the Element Bearers themselves.”

Luna looked Celestia in the eyes and frowned. “Celestia, just because you watch over and protect the citizens of our country, it does not mean you have the power to save everypony. You must learn to remember that you are not the be-all-end-all of Equestria.”

Celestia smiled, though the fog in her eyes betrayed her emotion. “I wish it were that simple, Luna. I wish it were that simple.”

Luna sighed. “I just have this feeling…”

“...what?”

“A feeling that the answer we have been searching for has been right under our noses. A memory, or an event… or maybe even a war. It’s a vague memory at this point but…”

“You’re not suggesting what I think you are… are you?”

“I don’t know, Celestia. A thousand years and more is a long time to remember.”

“Contact Daring Do. Perhaps there is still something yet.”

Luna sighed. “I only hope nothing else happens to the rest of the Bearers.”