• Published 31st Mar 2018
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Waiting For You - Rainb0w Dashie



Rainbow Dash is plagued with visions and nightmares that beckon her back to a place long-forgotten by Equestrian History

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Chapter Three: Carefully Chosen Words

“Most holy night, that still dost keep

The keys to all the doors of sleep,

Give to me when thine eyes close

Thy sweet and silent repose

And let the far lament of them

That chant the dead day’s requiem

Make in my ears, who wakeful lie

A soft and gentle lullaby.”

Everything was blurry. Rainbow Dash tried to blink her eyes into focus but no shapes or contours would appear. She waited, hoping her eyes would adjust on their own but all she could see were vague illusions as if she were looking through water or her eyes were covered by a sheet. The only thing that was clear was a voice, hauntingly familiar, reading poetry.

“They that guard the honored Moon

By my bedside their memories croon.

So shall I have new dreams and blest

as down I lay In my brief rest.

Fold thy wings about my face,

Hide the dawn from my resting-place,

cheat me with thy false delight,

O' you most holy night.”

The voice was so familiar to Rainbow Dash, she wracked her mind trying to remember who it belonged to. At times it sounded like somepony she knew but then the inflections would lazily drift into something unfamiliar; either ending too early or changing at random, and there seemed to be no low-end to the voice at all. The voice sounded young, but old at the same time. It was loud, but gentle and reserved as well.

The identity was right on the tip of her tongue.

“Good work, Silver Sunrise.” The voice said. “Excellent use of imagery. However some of your lines felt a little short. You know we’re supposed to be writing in trochaic octameter”

“I tried,” Another voice responded. Rainbow Dash assumed it belonged to ‘Silver Sunrise’. “It’s really hard trying to find words with enough syllables that also fit the theme of the poem.”

“I'll let it pass this time.” The former voice spoke again. “Only because it’s a wonderful segway into my next lesson. Class, poetry demands precision. The novelist can get away with less than precise expression from time to time because the story will pull the reader along. The job of the poet, however, is to create a picture in the mind and an emotion in the heart. Every single word counts. The wrong choice of word with the wrong connotation or the wrong number of syllables or even an unlovely combination of consonant sounds spoils all.”

“A successful poem,” The voice continued. “doesn’t have to rhyme or scan or have a certain pattern of lines. It does, however, need to paint a picture with carefully chosen words. It should have a point that a reader unknown to the poet can respond to.”

“Now, who's next?” The voice called out. After a moment of excited murmuring, Rainbow could hear the voice speak again. “... please bring your poem up to the front of the class.”

Rainbow Dash heard that name again, the one the yellow filly called her in the forest. Almost instantaneously after hearing that name, Rainbow Dash’s vision flooded into focus, and she could see walls and objects and colors, that all came together in the form of a classroom.

Rainbow Dash looked around, blinking fast in the bright light. She was sitting in a desk in the middle of the class, clutching a paper in her hooves with a poem scrawled onto it in sloppy hoof-writing. All around her were other foals, sitting in desks similar to hers. Some of them she recognized from the train while others were strangers to her; and they were all returning her glance with expectant stares.

Rainbow Dash heard the name she couldn’t remember being called again, more irritated this time. She looked up only to see it’s owner belonging to nopony other than Princess Luna, but a very young Princess Luna; one that Rainbow Dash had only ever seen in pictures before; sitting behind a teacher’s desk, eyeing her with a look of frustration.

“Please bring your poem to me so I can read it to the class.”

Rainbow Dash felt herself rise from the desk and grabbed the poem in her mouth. She wasn’t performing these actions herself, she was too focused on wondering why Princess Luna was teaching poetry to a bunch of foals to notice herself handing over the poem to Luna before standing at the head of the class; waiting for the poem to be read. Her attention was brought forth again when Princess Luna cleared her throat and began to read the poem aloud.

Only then did Rainbow Dash realize that the entire class was looking at her, judging her, and she could feel a deep warmth being summoned in the depths of her cheeks.

“We are snowflakes,

Drifting to the end.

We are snowflakes,

Drifting to the end.

Like leaves falling,

Off the trees of winter.

The sun goes down,

And you never came around.

The moon fades away,

And the stars are blowing up.

Like the leaves on the trees,

In the winter we died.”

Rainbow Dash could feel a hotness in the entirety of her face. She felt like she was blushing. She felt embarrassed, but she didn’t know why. To be quite honest, she actually kinda liked the poem, but she felt like she wanted to crawl into a ball and hide.

“We are snowflakes,

melting in the sun.

We are snowflakes,

Melting in the sun.

Like leaves falling,

Off the trees of winter.

The sun goes down,

And you never came around.

The moon fades away,

And the stars are blowing up.

Like the leaves on the trees,

In the winter we died.”

Looking into the crowd of faces, Rainbow Dash couldn’t see any reactions, only blank stares. She was trembling, and a light sweat had assembled under her coat.

“And what do you call this poem?” The young Princess Luna asked, looking at Rainbow Dash.

The stage-frightened pegasus didn’t respond.

“What is your poem called?” Luna asked again, trying to disguise her frustration.

Rainbow Dash opened her mouth and could feel her voice being summoned.

“Dead of Winter.” Her voice trembled as she spoke.

She heard a few snickers from somewhere in the back of the room. ‘It’s not in the right meter.’ she heard somepony whisper. This only served to exacerbate her discomfort even more. Princess Luna however, didn’t respond to the class’ murmurings, nor did she react to Rainbow Dash stating the title of the poem. Instead, she looked at the poem for quite a long time. Reading and rereading it again, with an expression creeping onto her face that Rainbow Dash couldn't completely understand. Her body seemed blurred, as if it belonged to the rest of the dream, but her face was sharp and distinct, suddenly looking much older as if it belonged to the real Princess Luna; and her face looked like she was in great pain. A moment later, the princess' face turned young again, and with a quick practiced movement, she ran a quill over the paper and passed it back to Rainbow Dash. The pegasus looked at the poem to see a prominent ‘B+; scrawled on the top of the page in beautiful hoof-written script.

“I would’ve given you an A,” Princess Luna said. “but the poem doesn't have a rhyme scale, nor does it come anywhere close to the meter we’re supposed to be writing in. That isn’t to imply that there is anything wrong with what you’ve written.” Luna recorded the grade on an open ledger book she had on her desk. “Nonetheless this was a very beautiful poem with powerful imagery, but for your next poem, please stick to the current lesson plan; I won’t be so lenient next time.”

Luna smiled at Rainbow Dash, expecting a response.

“Thank you Miss Luna” Rainbow Dash felt herself say,

“You’re very welcome. Now, who’s next?” Princess Luna said as Rainbow Dash returned to her seat. Several hooves shot into the air. “Sandy Shores, please bring your poem to me so I can read it to the class.”

Rainbow Dash looked back as the filly that looked like Fluttershy rose from her seat, poem clutched in her smiling mouth, and trotted past Rainbow Dash. Rainbow tried to look back to the front of the class, but an explosion of brightness blasted her from her dream and again she found herself back in her own bed.

~~~.

Rainbow Dash pushed open the heavy crystal doors to Twilight’s castle and stepped into the puddles of afternoon light that decorated the castle’s interior.

She walked down the hall towards the throne room, past the empty rooms, past the barren hallways, and past the wisps of refracted sunlight that had already begun changing to orange and violet hues as the sun began it’s slow descent towards the horizon.

She needed to find Twilight.

The pegasus didn’t know what to think about her most recent dream. She was thinking about it, she hadn’t been able to stop thinking about it since she left her cloudhome.

“None of it makes any sense.” Rainbow Dash said aloud to herself. But the more she thought about it, the more she understood they were more than just dreams, they were more purposeful, and she understood that she needed to talk to somepony about them.

Rainbow Dash entered throne room and was greeted by all of her friends, who had been inside eating the lunch Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy had prepared for everypony.

“Hiii Rainbow Dash” Pinkie Pie called out before ungracefully shoving an entire club sandwich into her mouth. “You haff to try thefe sandwhiches!”

The pink pony wiped her mouth with her hooves, but it had little effect since she was practically covered in her meal. Strands of lettuce clung to her pink cotton-candy mane while the rest of her face was dotted with globs of mayonnaise and mustard.

“They’re so delicious!” The messy eater said after her mouth was empty. The other ponies at the table offered similar platitudes, except they did so in a more civilized manner. Greeting Rainbow Dash whilst cutting their food with forks and knives, and using napkins to wipe their mouths.

Rainbow Dash looked at Fluttershy for a quick moment, trying to picture her with the short tomboyish manecut that she saw from her dreams. She watched as she ate and saw her demure womanly modestness, but didn't see any of the fear or confusion. She wondered if this really was the pony she saw in her dreams.

“Yeah, hey everypony. “Rainbow Dash finally said, disregarding her friends. “Hey Twilight, could I talk to you for a second… Privately?”

Without hesitation the purple princess excused herself from the throne room and led Rainbow Dash to one of the castle’s many empty rooms.

“I’m glad you’re back, Rainbow!” Twilight said as she closed the door to the room. “I asked Princess Luna if she could visit your dreams to see if she could find out why you were having these nightmares. You know, princess of friendship and all, and I just now got a letter back from her!” Twilight summoned a sealed scroll with her magic and waved it in front of Rainbow Dash, “I figured we could read it together!”

The Alicorn Princess tried to sling her arm around Rainbow Dash’s shoulder again but the pegasus slunk away.

“Why are you being so hoof-sy today?” Rainbow Dash said with obvious irritation. “Are you in heat or something?”

“Oh no no no!” Twilight’s cheeks flushed with embarrassment. “I was just trying to be more friendly…” She seemed to shrink inside herself a little bit. ”You know, Princess of Friendship and all.”

Rainbow Dash waved her hoof dismissively at Twilight. “Just read the letter.”

Twilight broke the royal crescent-moon seal causing the parchment scroll to unfurl. Twilight held it in her magic and read aloud to Rainbow Dash, attempting her best impression of Princess Luna.

“Dear Princess Twilight Sparkle.

We visited the dreams of friend Rainbow Dash whilst she slumbered, as per your request.

We spent many an hour traversing the lunar landscape trying to find her dream space. Yet when we did we were unable to behold anything out of the ordinary.

We are regretful to have nothing to report, however if thou’st are still experiencing nightmares, try to not eat oats before thou retires and avoid slumbering on one’s back.

Love.

Princess Luna”


“Well that wasn’t very helpful.” Rainbow Dash snorted .

“You aren’t kidding.” Twilight said as she rolled up the scroll and teleported it away with her magic. “I thought for sure Luna would’ve had an explanation for this. Seems like a rare miss.”

“Maybe it’s-” Rainbow Dash tried to say.

“Well at least now I can show you the new furniture we got!” Twilight interrupted before whisking Rainbow Dash off to another room.

The Purple Alicorn showed off several pieces of antique furniture, ornamental decorations, and various nick-knacks dating back to the pre-classical era she had arranged throughout the castle. Sofas and chairs that had been placed in the connecting rooms, chests and dressers for storage that now lined the hallways, banners with their friend’s cutie marks that were hung in the large sections of uncovered walls; filling all of them except for one large barren section at the end of the hall That Twilight lamented over not having one more banner to cover it with.

There were still many rooms left to furnish but they were at least able to fill the rooms and hallways leading from the front door to the throne room; creating a barrier of sorts that seemed to repel the emptiness from the main parts of the castle.

Twilight was in the middle of telling Rainbow Dash about how one particular nightstand was once owned by Saddle Arabian Royalty and later presented as a gift to the Celestial Sisters, but Rainbow’s mind could not have been farther away from their present conversation.

She was thinking about her dreams again, more specifically, the letter from Princess luna had written about her dreams.

What did Luna mean she didn’t find anything unusual? Rainbow Dash was absolutely sure they were her dreams ,so Luna had to have seen all the foals, had to have heard all of the poems, had to have seen something. If Rainbow dreamt it then there’d be no conceivable reason that Luna wouldn’t have been able to see it.

“None of it makes any sense.” Rainbow Dash said aloud to herself again.

“It wha-?” Twilight stopped her story. “It makes perfect sense. The Saddle Arabians wanted to open up trade with the Equestrians so they presented them with a set of antique furniture dating back to the rule of the first king of Saddle Arabia. The princesses graciously accepted and allowed Saddle Arabia to import goods into Equestria. That’s why you’re able to buy all that falafel you love so much!”

“I.. you… what?” Rainbow Dash stammered. “No i didn’t mean that I meant something else.”

“What did you mean then?” Twilight tilted her head curiously.

“I meant Luna’s stupid letter,” Rainbow Dash said angrily. “It doesn’t make sense!”

“What... doesn’t make sense about it?” Twilight said, almost apprehensively.

“Because she was in my dream!” Rainbow Dash was shouting now. “She was there, and so was all the other weirdness and she had nothing to report? We looked right at each other, we had a conversation, and all she can tell me is to not sleep on my back?”

“Well studies have shown that sleeping on your back can cause nightmares.” Twilight said sheepishly.

“Just forget it” Rainbow Dash said, not wanting to put forth the effort to explain further. “It’s not important.”

“Oh.. ok then.” Twilight said. “I guess now I can tell you about the Griffonstone armoire!”

Rainbow Dash groaned

“Look Twilight, I’d love to hear all about your gryphon armor-”

Armoire” Twilight corrected.

“That’s what I said, gryphon armor. I’d love to hear more about it but I’m still feeling pretty tired.” Rainbow Dash let out a fake yawn. “ I think I’m gonna call it an early night. How about we pick up this history lesson later?”

“Oh, I don’t see why not?” Twilight was understanding. “Have a good evening then, I should probably get back to lunch anyway. The others are probably wondering why it’s taking so long. But do you think we could hang out again once you’re more rested? I like hanging out with you.”

“Yeah yeah, sure.” Rainbow Dash said waving her hoof in the air as she exited the room.

Once outside the castle, Rainbow Dash stretched her wings. The afternoon sun warmed her fur, immediately rejuvenating her from that stuffy history lesson from inside.

“If I had to hear one more story about boring old furniture I was going to scream.” Rainbow said to herself as she stretched her body, getting ready for flight. “Maybe I’ll go catch a movie or something, I don’t feel like going home yet.”

But before she could even flex a wing she heard a voice calling her from above.

“Hey dweeb, I’ve been looking all over town for you!”

Rainbow Dash looked up but all she could see was brown fur. She took a reflexive step backward to see it was her gryphon friend, Gilda, hovering mere inches away from her face.

“You know better than to keep me waiting,” Gilda said as she landed beside the rainbow pegasus. “Let’s hang. I found an empty dragon cave just west of Hoofington, there’s probably some treasure we can swipe before it gets back.”

“Not today, G.” Rainbow Dash said. “Not really feeling up for an adventure right now.”

“Aww what? Are you for real?” Gilda glowered. “It’s treasure dude. Free money.”

“Free treasure sounds cool and all, but-”

“What are you afraid of dragons now or something?.” Gilda scratched her beak with one of her claws.

“Nah G, it’s not like that.” Rainbow Dash said. “I just haven’t been getting very good sleep lately, I don’t have the energy for-”

“Still?” Gilda interrupted again“haven’t you been “not getting good sleep” for weeks now?” She said, making mocking air quotations with her claws. “How many more adventures are you going to skip out on because you ‘don’t have the energy’?”

“I’m not skipping out, I-”

“Have you ever been using that gryphon sleep remedy I told you about?”

“I don’t think a bunch of pine needles and tree sap is going to help me sleep better” Rainbow Dash said derisively.

“It’s helped me and my family for years.” Gilda shrugged. “Or you could try the the other age-old gryphon technique of just hitting yourself in the head with something heavy until you pass out.”

“If anything, it’s made things worse.” Rainbow Dash ignored her last comment. “I’m having these weird nightmares now.”

“Nightmares huh?” Gilda said half-heartedly.. “Gryphon remedies are designed to put you out quick, they’re not supposed to give you nightmares.”

“Well they’re giving me nightmares.” Rainbow Dash seethed. “Something’s giving me nightmares.”

“You know part of me thinks you’re just lying to get out of hanging out with me.” Gilda said. “I know I’m part eagle and all, but I didn’t know you were part chicken.”

“I said I was tired!” Rainbow Dash barked.

“Geez fine” Gilda was slightly taken aback by the sudden outburst. “no need for the -tude, dude.”

The Gryphon threw an arm around Rainbow’s neck. The pegasus tried to slink away but it only caused Gilda’s grip to tighten.

“So what kind of namby-pamby things do you ponies have nightmares about anyway?” Gilda mocked. “Losing a horseshoe?”

“Like I’d tell you.” Rainbow Dash struggled to free herself from Gilda’s grasp. “You seem like you’re just going to make fun of them.”

“Don’t be so sensitive,” Gilda playfully tussled Rainbow Dash’s mane “If they’re bothering you enough to make you snap at me then they must be pretty serious, so spill. Tell your friend Gilda!”

“Only if you let go of me.”

“Not gonna happen dude.”

Rainbow Dash sighed and began to explain her recent nightmares to Gilda. The foals, the train car, the forest. Gilda seemed mostly uninterested until Rainbow Dash mentioned the large stone building in the forest clearing.

“Almost sounds like that abandoned building just south of the Smoky Mountains.” Gilda said off-handedly. “It wouldn’t happen to have a red stone roof, would it?”

“Yes, actually.” Rainbow Dash was surprised. “How did you know?”

“There’s a building just like that in western Equestria, tucked into the everfree forest.” Gilda said indifferently. “You can only really see it in the fall though, when the trees start to hibernate.”

“No way.” Rainbow Dash broke free of Gilda and faced her directly. “You’re pulling my hoof.”

“Honestly I’m surprised you haven’t seen it.” Gilda said. “Although I’ve only ever seen it once when I was flying back to Griffonstone last winter. I assume the forest is so thick that it’s covered up most of the year.”

“Could you take me there?” Rainbow Dash asked, trying to act cool.

“Take you to some dopey old building when there’s a dragon’s hoard we could be swiping?” The gryphon raised an eyebrow at the pegasus. “You gotta be kidding me dude.”

“You need to take me there!:” Rainbow Dash insisted. She was trying to remain calm but deep inside of herself she felt a sudden overwhelming desire to go to this building in western Equestria. It was a stretch, but to her it felt like the only connection she had to why she was having these nightmares. If Twilight or Princess Luna couldn’t help then she needed to act on her own. She needed to find her own answers.

“It kinda sounds like a lame idea.” Gilda said . “Exploring abandoned buildings isn’t really my thing.”

“I’m serious G” Rainbow Dash said, hovering above the ground mere inches from Gilda’s face. “You need to take me there.”

Rainbow Dash was practically begging.

“What’s gotten into you, dude? You’re kinda freaking me out.”

“I don’t know.” Rainbow Dash landed and composed herself. “I just feel like I need to see this building. It feels important, like a calling. You know?”

“Whatever.” Gilda shrugged. “Ill take you to your stupid building. But you’re buying me dinner because that’s at least a two hour flight. “