• Published 17th Mar 2018
  • 787 Views, 8 Comments

In The Shade of Time - Silver Scrolls



Rainbow's interruption of Twilight's spell has left all of Equestria in a temporal stasis. If time could progress for only two ponies on earth, what might happen to them?

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The First Mistake

Cloud bursting is a staple technique familiar to every weather pony, but certainly not to princesses. Rainbow had begun teaching it to Twilight, and now it was a way for her to pass the time on long boring flights. It wasn’t as easy as it looked, either. You needed to know the type of cloud, judge the shape and density, and hit it just hard enough with just enough pegasus magic to make it burst. Rainbow tried to show her how to ram them at top speed, but that didn’t interest Twilight much. Instead, she became enamored with the basics.

You brush the cloud gently and pull a small part with you, trying to shape it as you fly. This helps you learn how different clouds feel and look while simultaneously helping you concentrate your magic into your hoof. Twilight loved how complex the simple little action was. Rainbow could brush a cloud and take almost the whole thing with her. Even without using her hooves Twilight had once seen Rainbow shape a cloud into a bunny for Fluttershy.

It was her goal to be able to do that too. She didn’t need to master the skill but she wanted to get at least close to Rainbow’s level. So Twilight had begun using this cloud bursting and shaping to pass the time on the long flights between spell castings. So far she had progressed mostly in cloud bursting but she was getting the hang of the other part now as well.

Twisting a bit of cloud around in her hoof Twilight smiled to herself triumphantly. “Hey Rainbow, I did it. I managed to wrap it around my hoof.” Twilight turned back to look at Rainbow, the cloud covered hoof raised triumphantly and her smile vanished.

“Rainbow?”

Worry filled her as she looked around, her eyes dancing frantically in their sockets as she scanned the sky around her.

Her breathing grew rapid as she started darting around the sky screaming for her friend. There, below her, falling.

Twilight tilted into a dive, her body stretched out as her wings drove her forward in a reckless charge across the sky

“Make it. Make it. Please for the love of Fate let me make it.”

Tears formed in the corners of Twilight's eyes as a scream tore free from her chest.

“Rainbow!”

No she was too far, she wasn’t going to make it. She shook her head and bit her lip, there had to be a way there was no other option. She had to make.

“You can do this Twi. You can make it.”

Twilight clenched her teeth and her horn began to glow and with a pop she vanished and reappeared closer to Rainbow.

“Just a little more.”

Twilight clenched her teeth and teleported two more times. Reaching out with her hooves she grabbed onto Rainbow and pulled her against her chest. Twilight flared her wings and felt something pop as the wind filled them and her descent slowed drastically but not enough.

‘I’m not gonna make it’

Twilight scanned around and saw a lake with a small campsite beside it. The lake didn’t look like much but it was her best shot. Gritting her teeth she adjusted her wings and prayed to whoever could hear her that the lake was deep enough. She felt and heard her wing pop as she slowly shifted her fall and the lake replaced the ground beneath them.

‘At these speeds the surface is going to be like hitting stone.’

Taking a deep breath Twilight pulled Rainbow tighter and gathered power in her horn.

‘Please be deep enough. Please.’

With loud bang she vanished, switching places with an equal volume of water underneath the lake’s surface. Momentum carried both Twilight and Rainbow deeper into the lake. They bounced twice against the bottom, making Twilight wince in pain as she took the brunt of the impact. Grunting with pain Twilight forced herself to flap her wings under the water, propelling them up and towards the lake shore.

Heaving Rainbow ashore with help from her magic she dragged them both from the lake onto the small sandy beach. Fighting the pain and terror she wiggled herself underneath Rainbow and limped towards the campsite she had seen. Every step felt like torture and Twilight was certain she had broken something when she hit the lake bed.

“Hang in there Rainbow, we’re almost there.”

Tears spilled from the corners of her eyes as Twilight stumbled into the tent with Rainbow and collapsed. Rainbow rolled from her back onto the sleeping bag and Twilight passed out half in the tent and half out of it.

~ ~ ~

Twilight paced. Back and forth, over and over, slowly creating a shallow trench in front of the tent.

How could she have missed it?

Could she have done anything to prevent it?

She turned and looked at the tent, chewing on her lip as she the memory of how they got here replayed itself again.

Twilight sighed and resumed pacing. She had put Rainbow in the tent right after she woke up and then checked herself over for injuries. Luckily she had only dislocated her right wing and her left wing was only strained. The ribs she couldn’t do anything with but she’d used her magic to set her dislocated wing and now all she could do was take it easy while she cared for Rainbow.

Twilight admonished herself and stared into the tent. Who was Rainbow to make her worry this much? Sure, what they were doing wasn’t what Rainbow had envisioned, but that didn’t mean she needed to be so fates darned reckless. After pulling her out of the water, seeing all her wounds—how in Equestria had she managed to do that to herself?

Twilight plunked down on the log beside the fire and looked over at the frozen diamond dog who had made it. “What do you think Rover, will she be okay?” The diamond dog remained silent and Twilight turned back to the warm fire.

“You’re right, she’s strong , a fighter, she’ll pull through.” Twilight tossed a pinecone in the fire.It hovered midst the flame, caught in the time stasis, yet the flames licked through and slowly ate it in a mesmerizing spectacle. “She wouldn’t leave me alone here like that, no way.”

Twilight fidgeted, lost in thought. There had to be more she could, something more to help Rainbow. She chewed at her lip as she tried to think of anything else she could. Every blanket was either being used as a pillow or to keep Rainbow warm against the chilly night air.

She’d tried moving the fire closer to the tent but that had almost ended in disaster. Twilight now understood why campfires were usually built away from the tent. It had reminded her a little of the camping trips she’d gone on with Shining and her dad.

“Hey Rover, do you think I’ll ever see them again?” Silence greeted her and she felt her heart grow heavy. “Do you think I can do this without her?” Twilight’s gaze drifted over to Rainbow and a light blush warmed her cheeks as a thought strayed across her mind.

“Do you have any more blankets Rover?” Twilight knew the answer, she’d already looked. “Is there another way to warm her up?” She looked at Rover for permission to voice her thought. “It’s for her, not me, of course! She’s cold, Rover. Stop assuming things!”
The blush deepened. “She’s not sick, she’s only injured. Do you think... would she mind?” Twilight bit her lip as tapped her hoof against the log. “It would make it more comfortable for her, and me. Rover, what do you think?”

After a minute of nodding her head towards Rover Twilight stood up. “You’re right, no harm in helping keep her warm. But don’t forget this was your idea.”

Breathing deeply she moved to the tent and opened it up. “This is just to monitor you better, and keep me warm, there’s nothing else to this.” She swallowed the lump in her throat and crawled under the blanket she had put Rainbow under. “This is in no way whatsoever meant to comfort me instead of you.” She snuggled up against Rainbow, her back pressed against the pegasus’ belly and sighed as a pair of blue hooves pulled her closer and tighter.

~ ~ ~

Rainbow smacked her lips and groaned as she slowly pried her eyes open. As her eyes opened she found a sea of purple and pink clouding her vision. A bunch of it worked into her nose as blinked and shook her head.

Lavender?

She snorted blowing the hair from her nose and cringed as she noticed a glob of snot had gotten tangled into the hair in front of her.

“Warm, too warm.”

She tried to wiggled away from the source of the heat but her hoof was stuck. A grunt and light murmur froze any further attempts of freeing her hoof and getting away from what she now knew could only be one thing.

“Twilight? What—”

She crinkled her brow as she tried to understand what was happening. They’d just left the third spell, another successful cast, reached the beach. After that it was a little hazy though. Twilight had gotten ahead and she’d, she’d wanted to practice a trick. There was nothing after that, just a blank gap between that and waking up to Twilight snuggled up to her.

Rainbow looked at her friend’s mane and noticed her ear poking out. Smiling coyly she leaned forward and whispered into it breathily. “Twilight.” She blew on the ear again. “Twilight.” The ear flicked and Twilight groaned into Rainbow’s stomach. “Oh Twilight, it’s time for breakfast.”

“Just gimme a few more minutes Spike. I was up all night studying again.” Twilight buried herself deeper in Rainbow’s stomach and hugged tighter.

“But I made your favorite, Celestial Flank Cakes.” Rainbow held back a giggle as Twilight seemed to stiffen. “If you don’t get up I’m inviting everyone over to see the pancakes.”

It was slow but Twilight gradually loosened her grip on Rainbow and shuffled away from her. “That’s fine Spike, none of them would be able to make it except Rainbow,and she already knows.” Twilight chuckled softly to herself and then stretched, letting Rainbow stand up and stretch as well. Twilight let her gaze linger as Rainbow stretched her back legs. “Morning—Butt.” Twilight coughed as she caught herself but couldn’t help watching as Rainbow moved around the tent to work the kinks out of her legs.

“Aw, what gave it away?” Rainbow put on her best pout as she pushed her front legs forward and extended her back legs, causing her back to pop a few times.

Twilight stood up and cracked her back just like Rainbow had. “You have a horrible Spike impersonation.” Rainbow rolled her eyes and stuck her tongue out at Twilight. “It’s true and you know it. Now if you’d tried for Applejack you might have stood a chance.”

“Fine, I’ll get you back yet. Your prank back in Ponyville is not yet forgotten.” Together they left the tent, playfully fighting on who got to leave first.

Rainbow stopped as she left the tent, her eyes turned to the sky. Overhead the stars shone brightly lighting up the forest with their silvery glow. Off to the left was the lake Twilight had used to catch them as they fell from the sky and just a little off to the right was the edge of the forest proper. The diamond dog still sat on his log with a fish stuck on a stick he held over the fire.

Rainbow looked around the camp and up at the sky. “I just can’t get used to that.” She moved out of Twilight's way and made for the campfire. “No matter how long we sleep or don’t sleep the stars are always out. Rarity would call it romantic or something, though she would probably prefer the sunset in Manehatten.” She looked around the camp curiously. “So, where are we, Twilight?”

“Not far off the original path.” Twilight looked up at the stars and found the one she wanted. “If we keep going towards that star we should find our rough location and I can narrow it down from there.”

Rainbow nodded and took a seat on a log by the fire, smiling at the diamond dog sitting across from her. “What did you name him Twilight?”

“Huh?” She blinked and then smiled. “Oh, him? He’s Rover.”

Snorting a little Rainbow reached for some fruits in a basket Twilight had left nearby, in easy reach of either seat by the fire. “You really named him?”

Twilight rolled her eyes at Rainbow’s jab and stuck her tongue out. “Well the company wasn’t great. Just an airheaded pegasus who nearly got herself killed. Rover is a surprisingly intelligent and engaging conversationalist, unlike the other individual keeping me company.”

Rainbow stopped and lowered her head sheepishly. “Sorry.” She scratched the back of her head with a hoof, wincing a little as the bandages tugged at her mane. “I wasn’t thinking, I’m not even sure what happened to be honest.”

“You’re lucky that’s all you forgot.”

“Yea, so um...thank you.” Rainbow tried to smile but couldn’t bring herself to smile through the guilt.

“It’s fine Rainbow.” Twilight smiled warmly and passed a canteen of water to Rainbow. “You’re fine and you’re well on your way to recovery. For now eat and drink, get your strength back.”

Rainbow thanked Twilight and took the canteen. Her eyes fluttered closed as the cool liquid washed over her tongue. “That tastes so good.” Rainbow grabbed one of the fruits and took a large bite, her eyes crossing slightly as the taste took her by surprise. “Huh, that’s surprisingly sweet.” She took another bite, savoring it a little more. “So, how long have we been here and what happened?”

Twilight followed Rainbow and took a seat on the log next to the diamond dog. “I have slept five times and spent a long time gathering up supplies, so it’s been awhile. I had trouble sleeping for a while, you had me really worried.” Twilight popped a few nuts into her mouth and pulled out another canteen of water from her saddlebags that were lying nearby. “As for what happened, you screwed up. Honestly I didn’t see, I barely even noticed in time to catch you.”

The fruit in Rainbow’s hoof fell to the ground and she blinked. “You caught me?”

“You crash landed?”

She looked at the lake Twilight had motioned to then back at Twilight.

“Are you okay?”

“I’ll be fine soon. I’ve had lots of time to recover while watching over you.” Twilight smiled then frowned. “A lot of time.”

Rainbow bit her lip and slumped on the log. “Would it help if I said I was sorry?”

Twilight sighed and shook her head. “I don’t know Rainbow, you just, you don’t seem to care.” Rainbow flinched but Twilight continued. “I keep making plans and working to get this stupid spell unraveled and all you ever seem to do is goof off. Do you even care that we might never see our families, our friends, anyone at all, ever again.”

“Of course I do, but—”

With a wave of her hoof Twilight cut Rainbow off. “But nothing. I know you’re not good with all the math. I know you can’t cast the spell but there’s still things you can do.” Twilight motioned to the food around them. “You could gather food and water. Maybe even cook something, I know you know how to. You could talk to me, keep me company instead of ignoring me. Tartarus Rainbow, any sign you cared at all would be good.”

Silence fell between them. Rainbow was at a loss for words and Twilight was still simmering. Finally Rainbow couldn’t take it and stood up. “You’re wrong Twilight. I might not show it in the same way but, you’re wrong.” She rubbed her temples with a frustrated growl. “It might be easy for you Twilight but it’s not so easy for me. You have all the answer and I just, I have none of that and I am doing the best I can with that.” Rainbow turned away from Twilight and took a deep breath. “I don’t have you fancy magic, your incredible mind. All I have are these wings, and tenacity.”

Rainbow closed her eyes and moved towards the lake, praying Twilight wouldn’t follow. “I want to see everyone just as badly as you but unlike you, I can’t say we will with great conviction. I trust you, but I just can’t see what you see in all this.”

Twilight tried to speak up and interject but Rainbow shook her head. “You don’t get it, I want to help but I don’t know what I can contribute. I caused this mess and now my fate lies in your hooves. That fact, that one fact, is all that keeps me from freaking out. I keep playing around because I know I can’t do anything and that the most capable mare in the world is in charge of my fate. I’m sorry I’m not helping you more but I just don’t feel like anything I can do is enough to show you how important you and what you’re doing is to me.”

With her piece said Rainbow grabbed a few of the fruits from the basket and went over to the lake’s shore and took a seat with her back to Twilight. All Twilight could do was stare at Rainbow who looked so small right now. A tear rolled from Twilight’s eye as Rainbow’s echoed through her mind.

“I need you too Rainbow. I need you to keep me going.”

Author's Note:

My usual shout out to my editor Micheal Fisher and hope you are all enjoying it