• Published 8th Aug 2017
  • 894 Views, 46 Comments

Cascade! Clouds Above, Obfuscate! - WritingSpirit

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"You're up early."

Soarin' didn't have to turn back to know who it was, instead focusing his eyes to the scenery above his balcony. "Pretty sure it's an everyday thing."

"Whatcha looking at?"

Nothing special, he wanted to say, though she'd certainly jab him in the sides for that. "Just the clouds."

"The clouds?"

What else is there? "Yeah, the clouds. They're just up there, drifting about in the emptiness, never sticking around for long before they're moving on, only to come all the way back again. It's a never-ending journey for them if you think about it. A journey with no destination in mind. A single floating lump of droplets with nowhere to go."

"Uh... I hate to break it to you, but that's just what clouds do."

He chuckled in agreement at that line. "It sure is, isn't it? Still, it's kinda... I don't know, it's kinda magical in it's own way. You look at them just ceaselessly moving onward, even with the knowledge of never knowing their destination clear in their fluffy little heads, and you'd wonder: what's driving them to do this? Is it a determination to get somewhere? Is there a purpose to doing this? Is there a pattern behind it?"

"Don't you think you might overthinking it a bit?"

He almost glanced back. Almost. "Maybe I am. Maybe this whole thing is a little much for one night. Still, it's... something to think about, just something. No idea what's it for or how it'll be useful, but it's definitely something."

"Well, I can't blame ya for that. It's not like there's anything else to see out there."

He stifled a laugh. "What are you talking about? Sure there is, I mean, there's the—"

He glanced back to the clouds, those silent passersby, quaintly drifting along their ephemeral tracks. He blinked, and glanced back to the clouds. He brought a hoof and rubbed his eyes, and glanced back. To the clouds. Slowly, Soarin' tore his gaze away to another part of the sky, whereupon drifted more clouds. Hastily, he glanced left and right; clouds and clouds. That was all that hung upon this night sky: just clouds— from which the unsettling, squirming screech lingering behind his reeling mind finally burst to the fore.

"They're not there..."

"What's not there?"

"The moon... the stars..." he gasped. "They're not there..."

"Of course they're not."

Soarin' didn't have to turn back to know who it was.

He didn't have to. He didn't need to.

Yet he did.

And in doing so, it came for him too.

" Aw̸æ̵kn "

Eight days.

Remember, eight days.

It's been eight days.

Remember, Rainbow Dash.

She tried. She really tried. She had to try, she knew that from day one, yet to grasp something as mundane and minuscule as the passing of the minutes, the ticking of the seconds... she could hear them in the distance. At least, she could if she tried. It's the best she could do, what with both of their watches running out a day ago or so. She probably could— no, she can, she can! Tick, tick, tick. That's it, that's how it usually goes with watches, don't it? Tick, tick— no, no, off by a millisecond! Late! Early! Doesn't matter now, does it? Not down here. Not down in this dayless, nightless temple.


With trembling hooves, Rainbow Dash left another tear on the edges of their map. She thought it might help, yet now, down here, it's just another useless piece of paper. The rooms that they had been traversing in and out of weren't... right somehow, as if it's being moved in and out, like some sadist's puzzle box. All they could do was simply trudge onward, knowing that the exit would be around somewhere waiting to be stumbled upon. Still, it's been eight days. Eight whole days.

"Damn it... d-damn it..."

A laugh nearly broke from her drying lips, even as she reached into her satchels to have a nibble from their rationed stockpile. She stifled it in time, instead focusing on the layout of the room they've stopped for the night and musing on the options they have. There's a single doorway leading off to the left. On the contrary, they could always try going back the way they came. It wouldn't be the first time they tried that, and each and every time the room would change itself up as it always does. They could try that. Or they could just wait here and brave it out.

They could do that.

They could... but if it's all for naught...

"Dammit," she mumbled, holding back her tears. "I shouldn't have—"




Dark silence.

Breathing silence.

Panting silence.

Hanging low.

Between one stare to another.

"Celestia's sake, Soar," she gasped first. "You scared me."

"What just... what did I—"

"You had a nightmare," she explained sullenly, cantering up to his side. "And you were finally having a good rest too."

"I... nightmare, okay... okay..."

"You okay?"

"Fine, I'm..." Soarin' swallowed and sighed. "This place is getting to me, I guess."

"You're not alone there."

With a shimmy, Rainbow brought herself closer to her coltfriend, their wings unfurling before curling up around each other. The sound of their breaths were the only sounds down here, and though they don't amount to much, it was still much more pleasant than the silence that was strangling everything. Sometimes, Soarin' would even hum a tune, and sometimes, Rainbow would find herself compelled to join in. She'd want him to do that now, in fact, yet with how shaken he looked, she knew he couldn't do it if he tried.

"What happened?" she opted for that instead. "In the nightmare, I mean?"

"Uh... I don't know... not sure... can't seem to find the right words for it..."

"But you yelled my name when you woke up." Rainbow cocked her head. "Guess that means I was in it, right?"

"Think so... but..." Soarin' frowned. "I don't know, it's not coming back to me, I don't know why, it's... just so... unreal..."

"This temple is unreal."

"Heh. Glad you didn't lose your sense of humor."

"I gotta try, don't I?" Rainbow said, grinning proudly. "I mean, being stuck down here with no one to come help us for uh... how many— eight days, yes, eight... eight days is definitely... doing things to us... to you and me... and I don't wanna lose to this. Not down here. Not in this dump."

"That's model Wonderbolt words right there."

"As if you haven't said anything like that yourself. Remember what you said to me the day I became your wingpony?"

Soarin' grinned wholeheartedly. "You still remember that?"

"How could I forget?" she laughed, clearing her throat before she began doing her best expression of him. "Think it went something like 'you gotta reach a little higher than what you would reach for. Ain't that hard for you, kiddo'. Might have a part I left out."

"No, no, I think that's it." He stopped to ponder. "Wait, did I actually call you kiddo back then?"


"Echh. Kinda weird, now that I think about it."

"It's weird now, that's for sure," Rainbow retorted. "I think it was fine for me back then, though. I mean, you were sorta, not really, my teacher or something, so it sorta fit."


"Yeah, sorta."

A pair of sighs as the two pegasi glanced around once more. The breath-sapping silence swarmed in quickly the moment the echo of their voices faded away, relentlessly chewing and clawing at their eardrums even as Rainbow rested her head onto Soarin's shoulder, her eyes drooping as she finally caved in to her exhaustion after watching over her coltfriend for so long, only to be briefly interrupted when Soarin' spoke up again.

"We'll ride this one out, kiddo."

"Don't you—" she groaned too little too late, only to smile as the low, warm rumbles of the chuckles from his throat filled her ears. "Alright, you had your fun, dork. Now lemme get some... ah... shuteye..."

Soarin' could only smile his warmest smile, his hoof pulling her closer than ever.

"Have a good one, Dash."

Author's Note:

Still pondering whether or not this deserves a 'Dark' tag...