• Published 6th Jul 2012
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Legacy of the Pegasi - secret89



An ancient pegasi myth has returned. It will take three special pegasi to turn back the storm.

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Ch. 18: Resurrection Part Two

Legacy of the Pegasi:

Ch. 18: Resurrection Part Two

Soarin' looked grimly ahead as he pushed through the dull throb that had steadily grown in his wings. With the disappearance of the Archon and the storm, his aura had subsided and with it the adrenaline rush that had so graciously assuaged his wings. As a result, his flying was erratic at best, dropping randomly in altitude and swaying left and right. But he resisted the urge to glide out the journey.

Beside him, Rainbow Dash was of a similar state, her brow furrowed in concentration even as her wings fluttered awkwardly.

Soarin' was about to call out to her, when Dash's face suddenly contorted into pain, followed immediately by her wings locking up.

Soarin' nearly dove after the pegasus, but Rainbow was a skilled flier. She forced her wings out to the fullest extent, putting herself into a glide before she spiraled out of control. Though it was quite painful as she forced her cramping wings to remain steady, she was able to safely guide herself to the ground.

Soarin' breathed easier. This mare is going to give me a heart attack.

Soarin' landed next to Dash on the muddied path to Sweet Apple Acres.

“You okay Dash?”

“No time. Come on, we have to find Scootaloo and the others!” Rainbow snapped off, galloping down the path.

Soarin' chased after, thoughts of Spitfire and his fellow Wonderbolts coming to mind. Thoughts of his teammates injured wormed their way into his mind. Fleetfoot's wings broken. Surprise bloodied and bruised. Spitfire buried in the mud, her body deathly still, wings twisted and-

No! Soarin' shook his head, pushing the thoughts away. The thudding of his heart slowed as an uneasy calm returned to him. Even so, worry still floated about his mind. Spits, so help me if you're hurt...

Soarin' caught up to Rainbow, both pegasi running side by side.

Twigs and branches littered the path before them.. Several larger limbs had fallen across the way, ripped ruthlessly from nearby apple trees.

The two pegasi rounded a sharp turn in the path. A large apple tree lay across the path. Exposed roots at the base of the tree jutted into the air, beneath them a large gaping hole in the earth. Apples lay strewn about.

Both pegasi leaped over, undeterred.

The two neared the farm. The stone head of an earth pony from one of Ponyville's fountains appeared in the middle of the path, half buried into the earth. The chiseled happy face of the decapitated pony looked straight ahead at the two approaching pegasi.

Rainbow slowed slightly, surprise on her face. However, it only lasted a moment, as she sped up once more.

A minute later the iconic red barn of Sweet Apple Acres came into view.

Rainbow Dash and Soarin' skidded to a stop at the gate.

Soarin' had never been to the famous farm before, but he guessed the sight before him was not a common occurrence. Ponies filled the entire farm, as if the entire town had found refuge there. Those that were uninjured were gathered in open space in the front of the barn. Those less fortunate were housed in the barn, now a makeshift hospital, complete with doctors and nurses shuffling about frantically.

Guilt suddenly overcame Soarin'. Thoughts of pegasi swept away by the tornado; the smell of burnt fur and flesh.

“Get out of the way!”

Rainbow and Soarin' abruptly jumped off the path.

A large sand colored stallion barreled past, pulling a cart behind him. In the cart rode Nurse Redheart and two other nurses from Ponyville General. The trio looked ragged and tired, complimented with tears and blood stains upon their uniforms. Several stretchers were hastily latched to the side of the cart.

The cart swerved violently around the sharp turn in the path, riding on two wheels before slamming to the ground once more and disappearing entirely.

Galloping hooves against mud sounded. Soarin' turned once more to the farm.

Rainbow Dash ran at a dead sprint toward the herd of ponies.

“SCOOTALOO!” Rainbow yelled, as Soarin' ran once again to catch up with the mare.

“Rainbow wait!”

Rainbow didn't respond. Nor did she even seem to acknowledge Soarin's presence, or the other ponies around her for that matter.

Another pony drawn cart raced ahead from inside of the barn, pulled by a orange earth pony mare.

“SCOOTAL-” Rainbow abruptly stopped. “APPLEJACK!”

Applejack skidded to a halt, the cart behind her threatening to upend. “Rainbow Dash, thank Celestia you're alright!” Applejack exclaimed, pulling her friend in a quick hug.

Rainbow smiled weakly. “You too AJ. Do you know if Scootaloo made it here? Please tell me you've seen her!”

“Miss Applejack we need to go now!” A unicorn doctor sitting in the cart said tersely.

Applejack cringed. “I gotta go Dash; seconds are counting here!” She began to pull away toward the gate.

Rainbow looked incredulous. “But I have to find-!”

“Look for Twilight! She'll know!” Applejack called over her shoulder, before racing down the path and disappearing around the turn.

Rainbow weaved about the chaotic crowd, pushing up onto the tips of her hooves as she tried to see above the heads around her. “TWILIGHT!”

Soarin' pushed his way through through the crowd, finally reaching Rainbow's side. Scanning the crowd, he spotted the purple unicorn speaking with the mayor underneath a tree at the edge of the clearing.

“Rainbow! Rainbow!” Soarin' said firmly trying to get the mare's attention. “RAINBOW!”

“WHAT!” Rainbow shouted, rounding on Soarin' fiercely. Frustration and irritation were at a boiling point on the mare's face.

“Twilight's over there!” Soarin' said calmly but firmly.

Rainbow's face immediately softened as she turned toward where Soarin' was pointing.

Soarin' was ready this time. Both he and Rainbow galloped forth from the crowd toward the unicorn and earth pony.

Soarin' and Rainbow skidded to a halt in front of the two ponies.

“Twilight!”

Twilight didn't look from her clipboard as an involuntary look of irritation came over her. “Not now Rainbow!” She said automatically.

Rainbow's jaw dropped.

Soarin' was stunned. Are you kidding me?

The unicorn turned once more to Mayor Mare. “Fluttershy is assisting medical personnel, Rarity is helping house those who lost their homes,” Twilight rattled off.

“Um, Ms. Twilight, Ms. Das-” Mayor Mare interjected.

“...Pinkie is taking care of the foals and Applejack is on ambulance duty.” Twilight finished, lowering her clipboard. Weariness overcame her, matching her mud stained coat and frazzled mane. Worry marked her face as she looked to the ground. “I still haven't heard from Rainb-”

Twilight's eyes shot open as she straightened up, her head snapping toward Rainbow and Soarin' “RAINBOW!”

Twilight leaped toward the pegasus, enveloping her in a hug. “You're okay! Both of you! Thank Celestia!”

Soarin' nodded to the joyous unicorn. “Relatively speaking.”

A reluctant and somewhat distracted smile came to Rainbow's face, but a smile nonetheless.

“Thanks Twi,” Rainbow said, as Twilight released her friend. “Glad to see you and everypony else is doing okay.”

“Yes we're fine, for the most part. Thank you for sending that messenger. As soon as I sent up the signal everypony made a beeline for Sweet Apple Acres. Most of the town is here.”

Soarin's eyes dropped. Most everypony. Not everypegasi.

“So that means Scootaloo is here?”

Rainbow's suddenly hopeful voice pulled Soarin' back. But his eyes went to Twilight when the unicorn didn't immediately reply.

A sad look overcame Twilight as she began to fidget with her hoof.

Soarin' was shocked. No. No! Not Scootaloo! He could feel a welling of shame and frustration within him as his mind turned over memory after memory. She wasn't in the group of pegasi we evacuated! She couldn't have been! Doubt creeped into his mind.

Rainbow's face did a one-eighty. Her voice quavered slightly as she took a tentative step towards Twilight. “She... she made it right? I sent Sp-”

“Spitfire brought her in. She's alive,” Twilight said finally, looking toward the ground.

Soarin' and Rainbow breathed a sigh of relief.

Twilight was silent, her eyes still downcast.

Soarin' frowned. Something still bothered him despite the news. Something Twilight hadn't said.

Soarin' stepped forward. “Twilight, what happened?”

Twilight looked to the two pegasi. Sadness still marked her face.

Soarin' studied the mare's face. She was wracked with sadness. But it wasn't for herself. Not for them. Soarin' had seen it before. Pity and sympathy were all that came from Twilight.

Soarin's eyes widened as he suddenly understood. “Oh no,” he said softly.

Rainbow's smiled lessened as her head snapped between Soarin' and Twilight. “What's wrong Twilight? Is she hurt? Is it her wings? Did she-”

Twilight let out a heavy sigh as she wearily fell to her haunches. “She was alone.”

Rainbow looked confused. “What?”

Twilight looked up to Rainbow and Soarin'. “Scootaloo was alone when Captain Spitfire brought her in.”

Soarin' saw the cascading realization hit Rainbow, as her face fell. A second later she looked up directly at Twilight. “Where is she?”

“They're out at the gazebo in the apple orchard.”

Rainbow didn't wait. Immediately the mare galloped off into the orchard.

Soarin' gave chase after her, afraid of what he and Rainbow might find.


Soarin' and Rainbow weaved between the large apple trees that made up the orchard. Unfamiliar with the Apple family's land and constrained by the fading light, Soarin' was forced to lag slightly behind Rainbow as the mare blazed the trail ahead.

Though neither spoke, Soarin' could see the rigid determination on Dash's face as she drove onward. Minutes later the two had cleared the rows of trees, entering into a small clearing.

A small pond was at the center of the glade. Next to it stood a circular, white gazebo. Deep bench seating for ponies to sit on all fours ringed the interior of the shelter. Seated inside were two pegasi, one a fiery yellow, the other a rustic copper.

As Soarin' and Rainbow neared the structure, the two figures came into better view.

Spitfire and Scootaloo sat facing toward the approaching duo, Spitfire on the left, Scootaloo on the right. The Wonderbolt Captain's face was bare, the mask portion of her uniform loose around her neck, joined by her worn goggles. Her exposed coat and mane was matted with sweat, complimenting her weary and tired eyes. Her wing, battered with mismatched and missing feathers, was outstretched to Scootaloo beside her. As Soarin' drew closer he could see the sad expression on Spitfire's face as she watched over Scootaloo.

Scootaloo leaned against Spitfire, resting beneath the Wonderbolt's outstretched wing. She seemed to shake slightly with her head downcast between her forehooves.

A pang of sympathy hit Soarin'. Physically Scootaloo looked none different from earlier in the day, save for a dirtier coat and mane, but Soarin' couldn't shake the sense of frailty and vulnerability that poured from her.

Soarin' blinked. Seated in place of Scootaloo was a small blue colt with a navy mane. The Wonderbolt remained, but this time it was an elder stallion that comforted the younger pegasus. Soarin' blinked again. Spitfire and Scootaloo were seated before him once more.

Soarin' swallowed hard. A hauntingly familiar tension pulled in the back of his mind as a shiver ran down his spine. It was all too familiar.

Rainbow Dash abruptly increased her pace at the sight of Scootaloo. A second later the two skidded to a stop at the edge of the gazebo.

Spitfire looked up at the new arrivals. Her eyes lit up momentarily, smiling weakly at the two pegasi. She began to rise from her seat, retracting her wing, but stopped abruptly. Scootaloo's hoof shifted quickly to Spitfire's, as she looked up to the older mare blankly.

Soarin' caught his breath in his throat. He had expected tears from the younger pegasus, and indeed he could see the dried trails of tears that marked Scootaloo's face. But now there was only a blank, hopeless and lifeless expression on Scootaloo's face. To say it was unsettling was an understatement. And yet, the husk that Scootaloo seemed to have become seemed eerily familiar. Thoughts of the Twin Storms wandered into his mind.

Soarin' mentally pushed against the hazy memories. Not now. Instead they were replaced with anger that threatened to build into a rage. Soarin' clenched his jaw as he tried to calm himself. The cloaked figures from The Trough and Cider flashed through his mind. I'm going to tear them to pieces.

The only saving grace were the pitiful quivers of Scootaloo's body and the firm grip she had on Spitfire's hoof.

Somewhat surprised by Scootaloo grasping her hoof, Spitfire seemed lost for a moment. However, her face softened as she returned the gesture, leaving her hoof beneath Scootaloo's. She settled in her seat once more, re-extending her wing over Scootaloo.

Soarin' glanced to Rainbow. Her face was somewhat pale, as she stared at Scootaloo. Where before Rainbow was near frantic in searching for her adopted sister, she now stood timidly at the edge of the gazebo, at a loss for words.

Soarin' sighed. Neither of them had been prepared to see this.

Soarin' placed a hoof on Rainbow's back, coaxing her forward. Slowly the two entered the gazebo.

Spitfire managed a smile, peeking through the weariness on her face. “You two are okay,” she said, sighing gratefully. “Thank goodness.”

“Yeah, we made it,” Soarin' replied with a weak smile. His face darkened slightly. “Somehow.”

“Yeah...” Rainbow replied absently, still staring awkwardly at Scootaloo. “Somehow.”

Scootaloo's ears perked up at the new voices, but her head remained downcast.

“You okay?” Soarin' asked.

“Me? I'm fine. And so are the rest of the 'Bolts.”

“What about...” Rainbow began to speak, then closed her mouth. She grimaced slightly, nodding at Scootaloo.

A sorrowful look overcame Spitfire. She shook her head silently.

Rainbow cringed, bowing her head. She pounded her hoof against the floorboards abruptly.

“You two stopped the tornadoes?” Spitfire asked, looking between Soarin' and Rainbow.

Soarin' shook his head. “No. We just... outlasted them. One minute that super tornado was chasing us, and then the storm just...” Soarin' trailed off, at a dead end. The storm had them on the ropes. Why had it suddenly disappeared?

“I don't know what it did,” Soarin' said finally. “But we know where it came from.”

“And we know what we have to do,” Rainbow suddenly spoke up.

Soarin' looked to Rainbow. Her eyes were red and still rimmed by tears. But her face was resolute and determined.

Spitfire nodded, briefly reflecting Rainbow's sentiments. Slowly she began to stand.

Scootaloo stirred, looking up at Spitfire uncertainly.

Spitfire folded her wing, smiling at the younger pegasus. “Scootaloo, I've got to go. But you're not alone here,” Spitfire said, looking to Rainbow.

Immediately Rainbow rushed forward, seating herself next to her sister.

Scootaloo swallowed hard. She looked between Spitfire and Rainbow Dash. Slowly, she let go of Spitfire's hoof.

Spitfire started to stand up, but Scootaloo abruptly jumped up, pulling the Wonderbolt into a hug.

Soarin' could see Spitfire was struggling to maintain her composure. She closed her eyes for a moment; Soarin could tell she was fighting against tears. Spitfire took a deep breath as she returned Scootaloo's embrace. “You'll be okay kiddo.”

Scootaloo released Spitfire, settling under Rainbow's wing. Sadness still overshadowed her, but Soarin' thankfully noted that there seemed to be a little more life in Scootaloo's eyes.

“We'll be gathering in front of the barn,” Spitfire announced, looking to Rainbow. “One hour.”

Rainbow nodded curtly.

Spitfire sighed, then turned about, leaving the gazebo.

Soarin' took a moment to look at Scootaloo. We'll stop them Scootaloo. I promise, Soarin' thought. He then rejoined Spitfire.

Spitfire was silent next to Soarin' as the two Wonderbolts briskly walked back across the glade. But Soairn' could tell the gears were working overtime in Spitfire's head. Her eyes stared ahead like daggers, the rest of her face a stony facade.

“We need to gather the 'Bolts to see where we stand,” Spitfire said. “The healthy fly, the wounded stay back and assist with damage control.”

Soarin' nodded. “We've got all of our tactical gear with us. Should be setup within the hour.”

“Good,” Spitfire said tersely. Her face twisted slightly, as if she where fighting something back. She growled lowly. “I want everything at our disposal when I tear those Celestia-forsaken pegasi to shreds!”

Soarin' frowned, stopping. “I'm with you Spitfire, but we need to do this carefully. That storm and the Tempest Guard are linked. Those guys weren't easy before, and if the was storm any indication, then we could have a lot more on our wings right now.”

Spitfire sighed. “You're right. Can't lose my cool now,” she said, trailing off again. “If I remember correctly taking down an Archon isn't going to be a flight through the park.” She smirked at Soairn'. “Good thing we've got you around, now that you're a regular super pegasus.”

“Wait. You believe the stories?”

“After what happened today? Kinda hard not to.”

Spitfire was silent as her eyes drifted, staring off at nothing in particular. Soarin' could tell something was bothering her.

“The things I saw today, the things I felt...,” Spitfire trailed off, shivering. “It's surreal. It's scary. All the stories from when I was a filly, all true. I don't even know how we're going to fight an Archon. I guess in the end it doesn't matter. We've got to stop them.”

Soarin' nodded grimly. “This could be tricky. With Swift Jet gone, I'm not sure what Rainbow and I will be able to do.”

Of course that was putting it lightly. From the unnatural storm that had ravaged Ponyville to the ancient memories of the chaos that an Archon in the flesh could cause, Soarin' and his allies were woefully outmatched.

Spitfire resumed her tread back through the trees, Soarin' alongside her. “One way or another, we'll do it. I'm not going to let another pegasus get hurt...” Spitfire trailed off again.

Soarin' nodded silently, walking onward. Several seconds later he realized Spitfire was no longer beside him. He turned around.

“Spitfire?”

Spitfire sat on her haunches, staring off in the distance. She looked as if her mind had suddenly come to a horrific realization, her face pale.

The same realization hit Soarin' as he looked on at Spitfire. He had seen that face before. Only on her. But never with something of this magnitude. That prospect scared Soarin'.

Spitfire, don't do this to yourself.

Soarin' jogged over to his friend when she didn't reply. He hoped he was wrong.

Spitfire continued to stare aimlessly off into the distance. Her eyes were at pinpricks, while tears began to form. Her ears were flat against her head and her mouth hung slightly ajar, like some horror was playing out in front of her, her body in a stasis.

Soarin' carefully placed a hoof on Spitfire's shoulder. “Spits?”

Spitfire blinked, some focus returning to her eye. But the tears remained, slowly pouring down her face. She looked absolutely terrified at Soarin'. “Soarin',” she said just above a whisper, as if she were afraid to speak. “I killed them.”

Soarin's eyes widened. “What?”

Spitfire's eyes drifted hopelessly away, as the burden continued to unload upon her. “Everypegasi, everypony... all of them. I should have listened to Rainbow...” Spitfire said shakily. She wrenched her eyes shut. “We should have gone right away... I should have called off the show...”

“Spitfire you can't blame yourself for this. You didn't hurt those pon-”

But Spitfire didn't hear Soarin'. She suddenly straightened up, turning her head toward the path back to the gazebo. A horrified gasp escaped her lips. Her eyes were wide as another realization assaulted her. She looked back to Soarin'.

There was nothing but anguish on her face. Pure sorrow. Never in his life had Soarin' seen her so distraught.

“Scootaloo's parents. I... I...” Fresh tears trickled down Spitfire's face as she struggled with herself.

Soarin' immediately took Spitfire in his hooves forcing her to face him. “Spitfire. Listen to me,” he said firmly. “None of us saw this coming-”

“Yes we did! You did! You said something was wrong!” Spitfire said, choking on her words. Her eyes began to drift as she tried to pull away from Soarin'. “I didn't listen...”

Soarin' didn't let up, forcing Spitfire to face him once more. “No! This. Is. Not. Your. Fault,” Soarin' droned. He could tell Spitfire was clinging to his words, trying to draw some truth from them. “You saved Scootaloo. And just like you said, we're going to stop the ones who did this. They're the ones who did this, not you.”

A gentle silver glow emanated from Soarin's chest, but neither pegasus noticed.

Soarin's words seemed to get through to Spitfire. Her breathing evened out, tears subsiding. She sniffled lightly.

A small, fiery and nearly transparent glow hovered at Spitfire's chest. It brightened ever so slightly, building in the care of the silver aura around it.

“The Wonderbolts need their captain Spits. Because we're going to run those bastards to the pits of Tartarus. You're the only one who can lead us,” Soarin' said. A small smile came to his face. “And I need my best friend to pull me back when I decide to do something stupid like take on a tornado by myself.”

Spitfire smiled weakly. After several minutes she let out a rattled sigh. “Y-you're right. I guess... I guess I'm still taking this all in. Everything that's happened...”

Soarin' released her, letting her get to her hooves. Sniffling she slowly composed herself, rubbing her eyes with her hooves.

Though there were still traces of sadness upon her face, Spitfire stood more firmly, a uneasy calm about her.

“More importantly, we don't have time for this. I need to focus and we've got a job to do,” Spitfire said, her voice more even. “And... I feel...better.” She looked gratefully to Soarin'.

It was only then that Soarin' noticed his aura as well as Spitfire's own. He could feel her own distinctive signature, an ironic combination of resolute will and rebellious tenacity, slowly rebuild under the watch of his own.

Both pegasi slowly turned back to their original course.

Spitfire sniffled again. “I'm sorry you had to see that Soar. I...”

“You feel, Spits,” Soarin' said, not skipping a beat. “It makes you stronger.”

Spitfire cocked a brow at Soarin's reply. “Really? You believe that?”

Soarin' nodded knowingly. He smiled lightly, sensing the beaming warmth from Spitfire's steadfast aura.

“Yeah. I do.”


Soarin' and Spitfire disappeared into the treeline, leaving Rainbow alone with Scootaloo.

Scootaloo leaned against Rainbow, huddled under the elder mare's wing. She was very still, her head still downcast. Rainbow could feel Scootaloo's shaky breaths weakly against her side.

Rainbow looked down at Scootaloo. Normally full of energy and who made a point of hiding her more sensitive emotions, Scootaloo seemed catatonic. To say the sight was unnerving was an understatement.

Rainbow closed her wing tighter around Scootaloo.

She sighed. What was she to do? Every bit of her was willing her to do something, to make this right, to take away the pain that Scootaloo was enduring. But there isn't, Rainbow thought sullenly. I should know that better than anyone.

Silence gave way to the chirping of crickets as the sun began to set. Several magic lamps hanging from the rafters of the gazebo came to life, dimly lighting in interior.

“When I was a filly, a massive storm hit Cloudsdale,” Rainbow said, looking off in the distance.

Scootaloo's ears perked up.

“We were outside, having a cookout. I was practicing hovering while Dad was at the grill while Mom was bringing out food. Next thing I know the sky goes from bright and clear to dark and full of thunderheads.”

Rainbow paused for a moment, lost in the thought.

“We tried to get away, but the wind and lightning were too much, it was too dangerous to fly. For a while we thought we could outlast the storm, but then the tornadoes showed up.”

Rainbow could feel Scootaloo stiffen slightly.

Rainbow sighed sadly. “The wind didn't affect me much, my wings were too small to catch it, but...” Rainbow trailed off. Her eyes seemed to go blank, lost in thought.

-

The storm raged all around her and her parents. Multiple tornadoes seemed to be heading their way. She could see her mother and father above her, battling against the wind, trying desperately to reach the cloud below them. Lightning bolts littered the sky, striking dangerously close to her parents.

Cries, gasps and the repeated sound of crashing cloud stone was but a distant whisper against the fury of the storm.

Filly Rainbow clung to the cloud beneath her. The once solid and stationary surface that had for all of her short life been a comforting anchor was at the mercy of the winds. The structures upon it creaked and cracked, threatening to buckle under the quake.

“Cloud Charger what's going on? What's happened?” Rainbow's mother cried.

“I don't know! We just have to get out of here!”

A massive rumble of crunching cloud stone drummed around the trio. Several ornate pillars groaned aloud, visibly cracking as their bases were thrown about.

Rainbow pointed to one of the pillars as it began to topple toward her parents. “Look out!”

The massive pillar slowly fell, breaking into several large pieces.

Cloud Charger and Star Chaser barely had time to react. Both fought against the wind, wrenching control away from the elements and dodging at the last minute at the fragmented pillar fell through the sky to the ground below.

The winds suddenly surged as the tornado neared. Cloud Charger and Star Chaser lost control. Rainbow cried out for them as the two tried to reach her. It was all for naught. She watched in horror as a massive lightning bolt arced through the sky, striking Cloud Charger. For a gut wrenching second his body stiffened, suspended in midair. His limp and singed body began to fall from the sky.

Star Chaser dove after her husband. She had barely moved before another falling pillar connected heavily against her skull. A second later she was lost from sight.

A massive groan of crunching cloud stone echoed behind filly Rainbow. She only had a moment to look behind herself as her home came crashing down around her. The last thing she felt was something heavy hit her head, before her world faded to black.

-

Rainbow Dash blinked away several tears. “The wind was too much for Mom and Dad... got caught up in their wings and...” Rainbow fumbled over her words. She looked down at Scootaloo.

Scootaloo looked up at Rainbow. Trails of tears marked her face, her eyes still moist. Hurt and pain was still there, but there was something else. Loss. Confusion. Hopelessness. And only a sliver of faith as she looked at Rainbow.

“R-Rainbow, I...” Scootaloo whispered, hiccuping as she fought against tears.

Rainbow put her hoof on Scootaloo's back. “Scootaloo, I guess what I'm trying to say is I know what you're going through. And its going to hurt more before it starts to heal. And even then there's always going to be a scar. But I want you, no, I need you to know that I'm here for you, one-hundred percent. We're going to stop the ones who did this!”

Fresh tears came to Scootaloo's eyes as she leaped up, pulling Rainbow into a hug. “T-they're...they're g-gone!” She whispered as she sobbed into Rainbow's mane.

Rainbow hugged Scootaloo tightly, her own tears coming forth. “I know,” Rainbow said quietly. “I know.”


Scootaloo sat alone in the gazebo under the dim light of lanterns. Rainbow had left a little while ago, but only after she had made Scootaloo promise she was okay. Scootaloo had assured her several times that she was. Of course that was a lie. All she wanted to do now was be alone.

Scootaloo sat unmoving on the bench. By now the sun had set, darkness surrounding the soft light that glowed from the gazebo. Crickets chirping sounded in the air as the nocturnal sounds of the night slowly filled the air. High above Luna's full moon ascended into the sky, bathing the land below in a silvery light. But such changes were lost on the lonesome mare.

Images of her parents' final moments replayed through her mind again and again and again. Over and over she saw their serene faces, staring back at her for the briefest of moments, before she was swept away; before the tornado devoured the Grandstand.

She felt numb. Like the rest of her body was meaningless. There was only the images in her mind and the blank stare that had etched itself upon her face. No more tears, no more cries. Only a hollow emptiness.

She stared ahead, but she didn't see the darkness before her. Only the faces of the two ponies, smiling sadly behind a wooden cage.

Why did this have to happen? Why my parents? Why not sompony else?

“Your father and mother were brave ponies, never forget that.”

Scootaloo's head shot upward, looking all around her. “Who's there?” She asked shakily.

But there was nopony within sight. And Scootaloo could have sworn she heard the voice as close as sompony seated next to her.

It was only then that she realized that the sounds of the night had gone silent. No longer did the crickets chirp. The owls were silent and the distant howl of timber wolves from the Everfree were absent.

Scootaloo slowly stood up. For a moment her sorrows were forgotten as she looked around. She waited for a reply, but none came.

Slowly Scootaloo descended from her seat, slowly walking the perimeter inside the gazebo. “Hello?” she called again. But no answer came.

Scootaloo felt a chill run down her spine. Aside from the sudden voice and abrupt silence, something was off, but she couldn't place her hoof on it. Everything around her seemed out of place, even as her eyes and brain assured they were not.

She stopped back at her seat. Absently she looked up at the lantern that hung from the rafters.

It was then that she realized what was bothering her.

Everything around her was still. Not just the sounds from the forest, but even the shadows above.

That can't be right, Scootaloo thought. She carefully flapped her wings in the small enclosure, hovering up to eye level with the lantern. She pull it toward her, peering at the flame within.

The tiny flame was unmoving, as if it were frozen in time.

What in the...? Scootaloo thought, still gazing at the light, hoping her eyes were playing a trick on her. For several seconds she stared at the wick, but nothing changed.

A face looked back at Scootaloo through the glass at the edge of the light.

Scootaloo nearly fell to the floor, her heart beating madly in her chest. Well at least I know who was talking before, she thought. It appeared to be an adult mare but beyond that, she couldn't tell. The newcomer's complexion was obscured by the burnt glass. Even so, Scootaloo couldn't shake the feeling that something was...off.

Anger came in a flash to cover Scootaloo's surprise. “What do you wa-” she started to say, but all anger was lost as she clattered to the floor.

As soon as the lantern's glass had passed from between the two its light revealed to Scootaloo what was bothering her.

It was indeed a pegasus mare that stood at the edge of the gazebo. She wore what appeared to be ancient metal armor, complete with breast plate, bracers and helmet. A spear was slung across her back. But these oddities mattered little to Scootaloo. The mare before her was semi-transparent, colored a grayish-teal. The edges of her body seemed shift lightly, as if it were smoke in the wind.

Scootaloo abruptly scuttled backwards across the floor, banging into the bench behind her. Her heart pounded as her eyes remained locked onto the ghost.

The ghost looked down at Scootaloo. It smiled lightly at her, something Scootaloo certainly did not expect.

“May I come in?” The ghost said.

Scootaloo nearly flinched, expecting much more dangerous and grisly things from the ghost. Most definitely not words. And yet, it had sounded so... normal. Sweet even. Only a slight echo laced the being's words.

Scootaloo's eyes were drawn to the ghost's. They were colored like the rest of the mare, but there was a warmth behind them that compelled Scootaloo to a calm feeling. She could feel it soothe her nerves, working through the same conduit in her mind that she had felt outside The Trough and Cider.

The unexpected calm only served to make her more wary.

It was only after several very long seconds Scootaloo realized the ghost had asked her a question.

“W-who are you? What are you?”

“A fair question.” The ghost said evenly. “My name is Ice Wing,” she said bowing her head solemnly. “A lieutenant of the Legacy Guard under Commander Hurricane. As to my nature...” the ghost thought for a moment. “I am an echo of a soul long since passed from this world.”

“So, a ghost?”

Ice Wing rolled her eyes. Again Scootaloo was surprised. “Such a... basic definition, but yes if it makes sense to you. May I enter?” The ghost asked again.

“Uh...y-yeah...” Scootaloo mumbled.

The mare smiled brightly. “Thank you Scootaloo.” She ambled slowly into the gazebo. “And please do not fear; I am not here to harm you. Far from it. I only wish to speak with you.”

Scootaloo pulled herself backward onto the seat, not once breaking eye contact from the specter. “Uh o-okay I guess. But how do you know my name?”

Ice Wing seated herself next to Scootaloo, though Scootaloo made sure to make ample space between the two.

Ice Wing removed her helmet, placing it beside her. She turned to look at Scootaloo. “It is impossible for me to not know you. As it was when I first spoke with your father.”

Scootaloo winced. Her emotions flooded once more with images of her parents. Yet, another thought was still able to work its way through her mind. “Ice Wing? You're one of the Legacy Bearers that the others were talking about! You talked to Dad?”

The ghost nodded. “Indeed. I-”

“This is your fault!” Scootaloo yelled, jumping to her hooves. She thrust her hoof at Ice Wing. “You told Dad to do those things!” Her eyes began to water. “Why? Why'd you have to tell him to go after those pegasi?!” Scootaloo tried to yell, but her voice cracked. “If you hadn't none of this would have happened!” She tried to remain angry, but it was fading fast. “Mom... an Dad...” tears flowed freely now as her gaze fell from Ice Wing “They'd... still be here...”

Scootaloo fell to her haunches, her head downcast. Tears fell at her hooves. “...And I wouldn't be alone...” she whispered.

Ice Wing looked sadly on at Scootaloo. “I am sorry Scootaloo. I know it means little. I did not know what trials your father would face, only that he needed to find the other two. Though I do not bear the responsibility for what happened to your mother and father, I know that this very small part of my spirit was left here for a reason.... likely a penance for a great failure so many years ago,” Ice Wing said, staring off into the distance. She sighed. “I am sorry you have suffered for my failures.”

“Why'd it have to be him?” Scootaloo pleaded, struggling to speak. Tears clouded her vision. “Why couldn't it have been somepony else?” She stared up at Ice Wing through tearful eyes.

Ice Wing was silent.

Scootaloo felt her face flush hot, anger flashing through her. “Answer me!” She screamed, jumping to her hooves. Her face twisted in a snarl. Tears still ran from her eyes as she scowled at the ghost.

Ice Wing stared back sadly.

Red hot anger gave way to frustration. Frustration gave way confusion. Confusion gave way to sorrow. Scootaloo squeezed her eyes shut, collapsing on all fours and burying her face into her hooves. “If you're not going to answer me then just leave me alone!” She spat bitterly.

“Three pegasi were chosen by the Legacy Stream to bear the mantle and wield its power,” Ice Wing's voice recited. “Deemed worthy by the great strength of will and virtue of spirit that they possessed. Such a gift cannot be undone; for it was infused in their blood, in the very aura that all pegasi possess.”

Scootaloo's thoughts immediately returned to outside the wreckage of the Grandstand. A new power manifesting within her, seeking out all around her. All right before she had been whisked away by Spitfire. Slowly she lifted her head toward Ice Wing.

“Nor does it end in death. Rather, it is passed on...” Ice Wing finished, cocking her head at Scootaloo.

“Dad... he gave me...?”

The ghost nodded. “You bear the legacy, as your father did and as I once did.”

Scootaloo sat in silence as Ice Wing's words sunk in. I'm the third pegasus now...

She turned to Ice Wing, the ghost looking patiently at Scootaloo. “I'm the third Legacy Bearer, aren't I?”

Ice Wing bowed her head slowly.

For a moment, Scootaloo was silent, staring at Ice Wing.

“I don't want it,” she said flatly.

“It is not a matter of choice Scootaloo. You now bear the legacy of our bloodline. That is a fact. You were never meant to carry this burden, but there are times when we are handed circumstances beyond our control.”

“I don't care,” Scootaloo replied. She turned away from Ice Wing, curling up against the seat. “I don't care about any of this. I just want to be alone.”

Ice Wing was silent for a moment. She sighed, taking her helm in her hooves and placing it upon her head. “I cannot force you to do this Scootaloo, but understand this: the power of the Legacy Stream was bestowed to three, and only together will three wield its power.”

Images of Soarin' and Rainbow Dash came to Scootaloo's mind.

Ice Wing slowly walked toward the entry way. “The other two Bearers will not succeed without you. This is also a fact,” Ice Wing said bluntly.

Images of Rainbow Dash and Soarin' fighting through an ethereal storm filled her mind. The powers of the Archon assaulting them. Nightmarish forces striking at them both. Both fighting valiantly, but suffering, failing with each received blow. Lightning bolts striking both from the sky. Soarin' and Rainbow Dash gone. Gone, Scootaloo thought fearfully. The only thing she had left. No, that won't happen. It can't!

“B-be quiet,” Scootaloo mumbled, shaking her head.

Ice Wing's echoing voice filled Scootaloo's ears again.“Two choices are before you. You may remain here and ignore the power within you. Many more will die. And I fear that the land will be torn asunder by the forces you witnessed today.”

More images filled her mind. Tornadoes racing across the landscape, destroying all in their path. Lightning striking the towers of Canterlot, the stone spires plummeting upon the ponies below. Ponyville leveled. Lifeless bodies strewn within the rubble. Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle's blank eyes staring back at her.

“Shut up,” she said more forcefully, covering her ears.

“Or you can join with the others, take up our legacy, your legacy, and turn back that which has been a scourge to the pegasi race. That which has taken from so many, and will take more. That which has taken from you,” Ice Wing said, reaching the edge of the gazebo. There was nothing but sympathy on her face as she looked back to Scootaloo. “But I say this with confidence: You have the will, purity of heart and courage to bear this power Scootaloo. As I did. And as you father did.”

White hot anger flushed within Scootaloo, rising above the fear that scared her. “Leave my friends out of this,” Scootaloo growled, her voice rising as she slowly stood up. “Leave Rainbow out of it. And don't you dare use my father against me! Leave. Me. Alone!” Scootaloo screamed, spinning around.

But her visitor was nowhere to be seen. Not a trace of the ghost remained. Ice Wing was gone.

A tiny echoing voice came as a whisper within her ear. “I pray you will make the right choice.”

Scootaloo stood for a moment, panting hard as she seethed angrily. Slowly her breathing slowed as the scowl on her face receded. She could feel a hollow pain creeping within her.

Slowly Scootaloo sat down on all fours. She curled herself into a ball, covering her head with her hooves. Thoughts of her parents haunted her mind, accompanied by Ice Wing's words. She silently whimpered, tears coming once more.

The shadows danced silently around her. Beyond the gazebo the sounds of the nocturnal forest filled the air once more.

Author's Note:

Hello all. Good evening. I hope you enjoyed chapter 18.

This chapter was difficult. I'm not entirely happy with how it turned out. I'm not sure if I handled Spitfire's emotions realistically, and Scootaloo's were even harder to convey. Even rewrote a good chunk of Scootaloo's discussion with Ice Wing. Either way the story is moving along, and that's my main concern right now. Next chapter will be part three. I had intended this to be only two parts, but it seems I have the maddening ability to create extra material that didn't exist in my outline. That and I didn't want to wait another month to post a massive chapter that probably wouldn't flow well.

I really need to stop updating chapters at odd hours. Not sure why it works out that way.

As always I value any and all constructive criticism, especially for this chapter.

Until next chapter!

-secret89