• Published 25th May 2018
  • 2,295 Views, 989 Comments

Little Consequences - Skijarama



Princess Rainbow Dash and her friends have found themselves in the newly restored Crystal Empire, and now struggle against the forces of Queen Chrysalis and the enigmatic King Sombra in an effort to reclaim Canterlot and save Equestria.

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Desperation

Author's Note:

NOTICE: As of 6/23/2018, I went back and added a paragraph in the chapter 'night' to help lead into one of the plot points in this chapter. It isn't required that you go back and look at it, but it might make one of Rainbow's actions seem a little bit less out of nowhere.

Fluttershy wasn’t sure what she was expecting to see when she found Rainbow. She was figuring the most likely case would be that she broke something to vent her frustrations, or found a corner to hide away into calm down. So when Fluttershy found Rainbow Dash sitting with her back to one of the bookcases, her nose buried deep in a book, it was understandable that Fluttershy felt a little surprised. She could see that Rainbow was still shaking, her ears were folded flat against her head and her breathing was still ragged, but she seemed to be calming down, even if very slowly. Gingerly, Fluttershy inched closer to Rainbow, giving the book in her hooves a cursory glance.

1001 Recipes With Crystal Berries.

Rainbow had probably just grabbed the first thing she saw to try and distract herself and calm her mind. Fluttershy’s brow furrowed, and she sat down next to Rainbow. The movement finally drew a reaction from the distraught pegasus, who unceremoniously dropped the book to the floor and looked over at Fluttershy with a pitiful look on her face. “...Fluttershy,” she began in a croak before clearing her throat and trying again. “Ahem. Fluttershy, what are you doing over here? Twilight still needs attention, doesn’t she?”

Fluttershy shook her head. “Oh, no, she’s okay. But, um, you’re not. You’re really upset, and I don’t like seeing you sad, so… I want to help you,” she said carefully, inching just a little closer. “Are you feeling better?”

Rainbow sighed bitterly and gave a sharp shake of her head. “I almost lost control again,” she stated in a cold whisper, looking at her hooves and shivering fearfully. She closed her eyes and let her hooves fall to the floor. When she spoke next, the dread in her voice was almost tangible. “If Twilight hadn’t stepped in when she did… it would have been the train all over again.”

“She did stop you, though,” Fluttershy noted leadingly, her words calm and soothing. She reached out a hoof to Rainbow’s shoulder, giving her a reassuring squeeze. “Everything’s going to be fine.”

“No, it’s not,” Rainbow snapped abruptly, jerking away from her friend’s hoof and standing up. She took a few steps back, looking at Fluttershy with an expression of pure dread. “Did you see how I was acting back there?! I’m dangerous, Fluttershy! And we can’t do anything about it while Sombra has us under siege like this! If we let that barrier drop, even for a second, it’s game over! With both of our most powerful unicorns on the job, there’s no way we can get Discord’s stupid spell out of my head!”

Fluttershy slowly stood up, wilting a little under the volume of Rainbow’s words. Rainbow noticed Fluttershy’s response and took in a deep breath, then letting it out in a long groan of frustration. “I’m sorry, Flutters… I didn’t mean to yell.”

Fluttershy smiled weakly at the apology and gave another shake of her head. “It’s okay, Rainbow. You’re upset… but you’re not dangerous… you’re just…” she slowly approached while reaching out with a hoof. Rainbow backed away a step, prompting Fluttershy to pause as if to ensure she didn’t scare away an injured, frightened animal. “...You’re just a little lost, that’s all.”

“I appreciate it, Flutters, really, I do…” Rainbow sighed, looking down at the floor. “...but how can you possibly say that after everything that just happened?” she shifted and pointed in the direction of the others. “I mean, I was about to attack Starlight again…”

“Rainbow Dash, I believe that you’re not dangerous because I know that none of that anger and hatred comes from you,” Fluttershy explained while taking another few steps forward. Rainbow didn’t retreat this time, seemingly relaxing from Fluttershy’s gentle voice, soft smile, and shining eyes. “Like you said, it’s Discord’s magic making you act like that. So I know that whenever you’re acting mean to Starlight, it’s not you talking, it’s Discord… and the Rainbow Dash I know is being brave, screaming and fighting against it because she knows it’s wrong.”

Rainbow sagged and looked down at the ground. “...I mean, yeah… but…” she paused, not really able to formulate her words. Fluttershy’s smile just widened.

“But nothing,” She rebutted Rainbow’s sentence by gently pulling the other pegasus into a hug. “You’re not that big dumb meanie. You’re Rainbow Dash. You’ve been my friend since I was just a filly and the mare who protected me from bullies at the Cloudsdale Flight School. You’re strong, fast, confident, funny, and awesome.”

Rainbow visibly relaxed from the embrace and the compliments, nuzzling into Fluttershy’s shoulder and returning the hug. “I guess… thanks, Flutters…” she muttered before pulling back, a hopeless look on her face. “But all the reassurance in the world won’t matter if we can’t get rid of Smoke-butt out there,” she emphasized her point by jerking her head in the direction of one of the windows.

Fluttershy hummed quietly before giving a small smile. “Did you try asking nicely for him to leave?” she asked in what was clearly a joking way. Rainbow snorted and wore an amused smirk.

“Yeah, see, I don’t think that’d work very well.”

Fluttershy playfully pouted. “Even if you order him to go away as a Princess of Equestria?” she furthered, her voice still very playful. But when Rainbow’s smile slowly faded away at those words, Fluttershy found herself becoming worried. “Oh, um, I’m sorry. I know you don’t like your title…” she whispered, shrinking back a little.

‘No, you’re fine,” Rainbow said quietly, dismissing Fluttershy’s apology with an absent-minded wave of her hoof. “As a princess of Equestria…” she whispered, seemingly in deep thought for several seconds. A small gasp suddenly tore its way from her throat. “I have an idea!” she declared before, without any other warning, she broke into a sprint past Fluttershy, heading back to where the rest of their friends were. Fluttershy squeaked in surprise, then looked over her shoulder.

“Um… huh?” she asked before turning and breaking into a gallop after Rainbow, although she still fell far behind very quickly. When she finally caught up, she saw that Rainbow Dash had ignored any and all questions from the others, plucked the history book right off of the floor and was now flipping back to the first page. Twilight watched with uncertainty and confusion, then looked over at Fluttershy, her eyes begging for answers. All all the timid mare could do was shrug, sadly.

“Here!” Rainbow jabbed a hoof on the page, showing the publication year. She then turned back to Twilight. “Twi, I need to know; when exactly did the Crystal Empire get taken over by King Sombra? What year? It was in the book we found in the Castle of the Two Sisters, right?”

Twilight blinked in surprise, then nodded. “Oh, uh, yes! It was seventy-two years before the Celestial Era of Peace, so 72 BCE,” she recited, smiling fondly at the chance to recite some knowledge. Her face twisted with a frown, though. “But… I don’t understand. How is that-”

“Give me a second,” Rainbow interrupted her before then flipping to the table of contents. As soon as she found what she was looking for, she flipped deeper and deeper into the book.

“Rainbow, what are ya doin’?” Applejack asked incredulously, stepping forward to try and get a look.

“Shh!” was Rainbow’s sole response before she stopped turning pages and began studying the contents of the section she stopped on critically. Several tense seconds passed before she folded the corner of the page and closed the book, shooting Fluttershy a small smile. “Fluttershy, you have given me an idea.”

“Um… you’re welcome?”

Rainbow put the book down and stood tall, her eyes shimmering with newfound resolve. “Okay, Twilight and Starlight can’t keep their barrier up for long, but Sombra doesn’t know that. For all he knows, we could feasibly keep him out of here for months. Plus, Sombra has no claim whatsoever to the throne of the Crystal Empire; I just looked. His name isn’t on any part of the illustrated royal family tree.” she turned to Twilight with a small grin.

Twilight tilted her head, indeed interested to see where Rainbow was going with this.

“This book was published only two years before Sombra came to power, meaning that he was doing stuff at the same time as the true heir and last Queen. So that means he’s a usurper with no real claim to the crown of the Empire,” Rainbow then gestured to herself. “I don’t have a claim to it either, so as far as that goes, Sombra and I are on even footing.”

“Rainbow, dear, what does all of this have to do with our current situation?” Rarity interjected, her face twisted with confusion. “As impressed as we all are with the swiftness of these deductions, I think I speak for all of us when I say that it doesn’t seem particularly relevant to what’s happening with us now.”

Rainbow frowned at Rarity. “I’m getting to that, Rares,” she said flatly before continuing her descriptions. “We know that his true form is a unicorn, and we know that he is capable of communication; he talked to us when we were fighting him. Neither of us has a claim to the Empire, so, here’s what I’m thinking…” she closed her eyes and took in a deep breath as if bracing herself for a crash. She then opened her eyes and snapped out her wings. “As one royal to another, I’m gonna talk to him. I’m gonna try to negotiate with him.”

“WHAT?!” a chorus of bewildered and shocked voices shouted all at once, echoing all throughout the library.

Rainbow winced from the volume of the response and took a second to evaluate the opinions of her friends through their facial expressions. Rarity looked about ready to faint, swaying slightly on her hooves and gawking at Rainbow like a deer in the headlights of a train. Applejack just looked confused with wide eyes and a raised brow. Pinkie Pie had tilted her head with her jaw hanging open, looking like she was trying to figure out if this was some sort of prank or not. Fluttershy had her hooves covering her mouth with her ears flat against her head and her eyes wide open. Thorax seemed to have taken everything the most calmly, only looking somewhat unsettled by the notion. Spike was mirroring Applejack’s response, looking confused and skeptical. Twilight looked baffled, but also thoughtful like she was giving the idea some serious thought.

As for Starlight...

“With all due respect, your highness,” Starlight began slowly, narrowing her eyes and taking a few steps to the side to make herself better known. “That sounds like a really stupid plan.”

Rainbow turned an irked glare on the unicorn, her coat bristling. “Yeah, and so does sitting around on our flanks waiting for your horns to go out so King Smokey out there can turn us into a finely pounded mulch. I dunno if you’ve noticed, but we’re kinda short on good ideas or smart plans. But hey, if you happen to have a better idea, then please, speak up! I’m all ears,” she said in a cold tone, making Starlight wilt and back away.

Make her pay.

Not. Now.

Rainbow took a deep breath, then turned to look at Twilight, who was looking back at her with a scrutinizing gaze. “Rainbow,” she began, her movements slow and careful as she trotted up to be in front of the other mare. “Are you sure about this? There’s no telling what might happen if something goes wrong.”

“If we can’t talk to him, then we’re finished no matter what. We don’t have time for a better solution…” Rainbow said grimly, then lowering her eyes to look at the floor. “Look, I’m not dumb. I know this is stupid… but it’s all I’ve got.”

There were several seconds of considering silence, everypony looking between one another in deep thought. Finally, Twilight reached out with a hoof and lifted Rainbow’s chin so they were eye to eye. She put on a small, loving smile. “Rainbow Dash… this may just be the most desperate idea you have ever had, but…” she drew Rainbow into a tight hug, one which the young princess was all too eager to return. Twilight put her lips by Rainbow’s ear when she spoke again. “I think it’s a good kind of desperate… I’m with you.”

Rainbow nodded slowly, burying her muzzle into Twilight’s shoulder and taking several deep breaths. Despite the conviction she had shown when making her little announcement, Twilight could feel the nervous shakes she was experiencing. “Thank you…” she whispered before, finally, Rainbow backed out of the hug and looked to the others. “Alright… I’m gonna go to the edge of the barrier and, with any luck, I can get to chat with this guy.”

Rarity daintily cleared her throat and took a couple steps forward. “There’s no way to change your mind…?” She asked tenderly, pawing at the ground.

“No.”

Rarity nodded, then put on an oddly enthusiastic smile. “Well then, I have something for you. Wait here a moment,” she said with an unusually high excitement in her voice before turning and galloping back towards the center of the library. Rainbow raised an eyebrow and pointed after her.

“Where’s she going?”

Nopony seemed to have an answer, a consensus of confusion washing over their little assembly. While she was perplexed, Rainbow decided not to question it and waited with all the others.

Pinkie broke the silence after a few short seconds of waiting. “So, just to be clear... you’re going to go talk to the big, giant evil smoke monster to try and make him leave us alone?” her voice was quieter than normal, making her question come off as kind of awkward. Regardless, Rainbow nodded at her, prompting an enormously large grin to appear on the party planner’s face. “That sounds fun! Can I come?”

Rainbow blinked, turning to face Pinkie fully. “Huh?” she asked dumbly.

“Ah’m gonna go with ya, too,” Applejack stated firmly, taking a couple steps forward and adjusting her hat on her head. “Somepony has to make sure ya don’t hurt yerself.”

“Me too,” Fluttershy added in with a smile. “I can cheer for you. Woohoo,” she said, though her cheer was so quiet that it was almost inaudible, the adorable display putting a small smirk on Rainbow’s face.

“I’ll come, too,” Thorax said, though the uncertainty in his voice couldn’t be missed. “I am sworn to protect the princesses, so that means I have to protect you.”

Rainbow frowned and shook her head at Thorax. “No, Squall. You and Wind Whisper should stay here. That filly’s had a bad week. She needs you,” she declined him simply.

Thorax’s eyes went a little wide. “B-but-”

“No buts!” Rainbow interrupted him sharply before continuing in a softer tone of voice. “You keep saying you want to protect her, so do it. Stay here, keep her safe,” she then shifted her attention to Starlight, not quite able to look directly into her eyes. “And… Starlight… you should stay here, too. I’m sorry, but I can’t afford to… be distracted while I’m out there.”

Starlight sighed and nodded slowly. “I understand…” she muttered in a dejected voice.

There were a few moments of silence before Twilight cleared her throat, resuming the stalled discussion. “I’m going, too,” She stated, putting a hoof on Rainbow’s shoulder. “And no, you can’t tell me to stay here.”

“I wouldn’t even dream of it,” Rainbow chuckled light-heartedly while reaching over and ruffling Twilight’s mane. The unicorn stepped back and pouted at Rainbow before blowing a raspberry in her direction, eliciting another light-hearted laugh from her. Most of the others managed to take some enjoyment from there antics, smiling or quietly laughing under their breath As that merriment was winding down, Rarity finally came galloping back with her saddlebags floating along behind her in her magical aura.

“Sorry for the wait. Ahem,” the fashionista set the bags down and flipped open one of the pouches. “If you are to be speaking with a king, then…” from inside the pouch, she withdrew a certain circular item. “It is only fitting you be dressed for the occasion, is it not?”

Rainbow’s eyes widened dramatically. “My… my crown…” she breathed, looking upon the piece of headwear she had thought she lost. “I… I thought that thing fell off my head in Canterlot! How did you get it…?”

“I actually kept it with us when pulling you out of Canterlot,” Twilight explained, smiling softly. Rainbow looked over at her curiously, so she elaborated. “After you went out of your way to get it and put it on… I thought you might want to have it. It did fall off of your head when we teleported out of the throne room, but I made sure to bring it with us. I asked Rarity to hold onto it after we left Ponyville; I knew she wouldn’t lose it.”

“I couldn’t live with myself if I did, darling. And I have been keeping it properly polished and cleaned to the perfection a princess deserves,” Rarity assured, turning the crown in the air to emphasize her point. The rubies and gold caught and reflected the light beautifully. Like she said, it was in pristine condition. She gave it one more flourish in the air before she drifted it over towards Rainbow, who sat down on her haunches and gingerly took it in her hooves.

She turned it over, examining the four rising points, the rubies embedded within, the gold of the circle and the inlaid etchings of abstract, silver lightning. She couldn’t help but smile a little bit as she looked it over. She used to hate this thing, and in truth, she still kinda did. But holding it in her hooves now… it was all she had left from Celestia, and looking at it now served to remind her of everything she was trying to save. Her smile grew in size and confidence before she lifted it up and placed the crown upon her head. A perfect fit, of course. She then stood back up and flared open her wings.

At her side, a proud smile spread on Twilight’s face, and everypony else also wore an expression of pride or happiness for their friend.

Taking comfort and confidence in the approval of her friends, Rainbow shifted slightly to look towards the distant exit of the library. Her eyes narrowed and her heart rate accelerated somewhat. “Alright… let’s go.”

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