• Published 25th May 2018
  • 2,221 Views, 969 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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Needles and Haystacks

“Are you sure, dear? Absolutely sure?” Rarity asked gently, receiving a slow nod from the mare she was speaking to. She sagged somewhat in reaction. Another dead end.

The mare in question was a dark green color with a rich brown mane and tail. Her orange eyes had turned to look at the ground apologetically and her ears drooped against her head. “Yes, miss. I’m sorry. I’ve remembered a few things but… nothing that could help you,” she explained sadly before flashing Rarity an encouraging smile. “B-but don't let me slow you down! I’m just one mare. I’m sure if you keep looking, you’ll find somepony who can help you.”

Rarity gave a small nod and a warm smile. “Well, thank you very much for your time, and I hope you get your memories back soon. Have a wonderful day, now,” she said with a forced smile before turning and making her way past the mare and down the street. Her destination was already visible a few blocks away, thank goodness for that. It was a fairly large plaza with a large and ornate fountain in its center. Several benches had been carved into the base of the fountain, and it looked like Pinkie Pie and Applejack were both already there, sitting next to each other discussing their findings.

I just hope they’ve had better luck than I have...

When Rarity came up to them, Pinkie was the first to notice her. She waved spastically with a gigantic grin on her face. “Hey, Rarity! How did your search go?” she asked in a remarkably chipper voice.

Rarity managed a weak smile, Pinkie’s enthusiasm rubbing off on her just a little bit. “It… didn’t go exactly as I had hoped,” she understated with a sheepish laugh before her smile faded away. “I’m afraid I didn’t find anything, darling. I had hopes somepony had overcome their amnesia by now, but alas, that doesn’t seem to be the case.”

Applejack nodded sharply before hopping off of the bench and standing up. “Yeah, but it looks like the symptoms are gettin' weaker,” she noted, glancing down the street she had come from, her face one of thought. “One of the gals Ah talked to just remembered that she ran a flower shop outta the blue. Happened at about the same time that Ah mentioned Rainbow Dash. She got right happy when Ah did that.”

Pinkie Pie nodded in agreement, glancing towards the palace. “Oh, I noticed that, too! These Crystal Ponies really to like her, now!” she said before letting out a delighted giggle. “One of them even asked me to ‘give her majesty their best.’ Ha! Can you believe it?”

Applejack raised an eyebrow. “Really? One of ‘em asked ya to say that?

“Are you honestly surprised, Applejack?” Rarity questioned with a small roll of her eyes.

“Well, kinda,” Applejack replied, turning her gaze back to Rarity and shrugging. “She ain’t their leader or anythin’. She’s a foreigner here, like us…”

“Think about it for a moment,” Rarity urged her patiently, gesturing towards the palace. “Remember, the first thing she did when we got here was put on an aerial performance for the whole city, ending off with a sonic rainboom. After being under a shadowy tyrant, I hold no doubts that they needed some good entertainment. And then, when King Sombra showed up at the Empire’s edge, Rainbow Dash was the one who led the charge in bravely driving him back. And then, when it became clear that Twilight and Starlight couldn’t keep him out forever, she was the one who managed to talk him down, saving the Empire in the process. I, for one, find it only right that they recognize her status after how much she has done for them.”

Applejack shrugged absently. “Ah guess Ah hadn’t thought about it. Kinda had more on mah mind than RD’s status,” she explained before turning her gaze towards the palace. Her eyes gained a far more serious look, and a worried frown appeared on her muzzle. “Speakin’ of Rainbow... how do ya think they’re doin’ up there?”

The other two mares followed her gaze, and the mood instantly darkened. Rarity audibly gulped, shifting on her hooves. “I… well, I know that Twilight is a perfectly capable unicorn. Her skills with magic are second to none, so I am sure that Discord’s spell won’t be a challenge for her in the slightest. Rainbow will be back to her old self in no time at all!”

“But Dashie’s afraid of magic,” Pinkie Pie pointed out, her own tone far more somber than usual. She looked over at Rarity with concern breaking through her happy veneer. “And Twilight’s gotta use magic on her to break the spell.”

Rarity cringed and looked down at the ground. “I remember, Pinkie, yes… wh-what I meant was that if anypony can do it without hurting her, it’s Twilight.”

“Don’t fret over it,” Applejack soothed her in a gentle voice, reaching out to rest a hoof on her shoulder. Rarity looked up to see the farmer smiling back at her with reassurance. “Rainbow’s tough. Like ya said; she faced down Sombra. Twice. And Ah know that Twi won’t hurt her. They’ll be alright.”

Rarity let out a small sigh and offered Applejack a thankful smile. “I appreciate the sentiment, Applejack,” she said before her eyes turned back to the Palace. “Oh… but I do wish we had a way to check up on them from out here. Not knowing how they’re doing is driving me insane!”

It was at about that moment that Pinkie’s gaze returned to the palace as well, and her solemn expression brightened back up almost instantly. “Oh, you can ask her yourself!” she proclaimed while pointing up. “‘Cause she’s right there!”

Applejack and Rarity glanced at Pinkie, then scanned the skies for a few seconds. Sure enough, like Pinkie said, Rainbow Dash could be seen swooping down towards them through the air with a friendly smile on her face, although the fire in her eyes made it clear that this wasn’t a social call. She slowed her flight and came to a soft landing maybe fifteen feet away and broke into a brisk canter to close the rest of the distance between them. “Hey, girls. Find anything?” she asked simply, coming to a stop not far away.

Rarity sighed and shook her head. “Alas, I am afraid not. None of us made much progress. Everypony still has amnesia.”

Pinkie, as per her usual self, chose that moment to derail the conversation. “How’d the surgery go?” she asked, leaning forward with a hopeful look in her eyes. “Did they rip it out of you, or was it more of a precise extraction? Did it glow? Was it sparkly? Did it smell like petunias?”

Rainbow raised an eyebrow at her, bemused, then looked over at Rarity and Applejack. “One of you wanna translate that? You’ve been with her all day.”

“She means yer, uh, thing with Twilight,” Applejack explained bluntly, giving a shrug. “And yeh, I gotta ask that too. How did it go?”

“Are you better now, dear?” Rarity asked, trotting forward and putting a hoof on the side of Rainbow’s head as if checking for a fever. “You are better, yes?”

Rainbow chuckled and lightly brushed Rarity’s hoof away. “Yes, Rarity, I’m fine. We got Discord’s spell out of my head.”

“Oh, thank heavens. And how are you feeling now?” The pearly mare pressed, although the relief in her voice could not be missed. She then realized how close she was to Rainbow and, with a sheepish grin, backed up a few steps.

“I’m okay. Got a bit of a headache; turns out flashes and skull-digging spells don’t go well together,” Rainbow candidly explained before her face twitched visibly in discomfort. “Ngh! It’s not too bad, though.”

Applejack came closer, her eyes widening. “Ya had a flash?! What did ya see?” she asked urgently, coming to a stop right by Rarity.

“Was it awesome?!” Pinkie Pie chimed in, joining them.

Rainbow shook her head. “It wasn’t awesome, Pinkie. What I saw… you remember that really helpful librarian in that big flash we all had at the library?” she questioned. When the others nodded, she continued. “Okay, so, that mare apparently does work at the library. In my flash, I saw her get all of her memories back. She told the other me about something called the Crystal Heart, which is an important relic for the Empire. And, furthermore, it’s the source of the Empire’s power.”

“Ooh, it sounds sparkly!” Pinkie Pie deduced, sitting on her haunches so she could clap her hooves together. “Where is it? How do we turn it on?”

Rainbow winced. “I… dunno. That’s the problem. King Sombra, the sore loser he is, hid the stupid thing somewhere. I’ve got Twilight and Starlight looking for it in the palace. I need you three to go back there and help them out however you can,” she explained before snapping out her wings and giving them a quick stretch.

“And what about you?” Applejack asked, raising an eyebrow.

“I’m gonna look around out here,” Rainbow answered before folding her wings back up. “I’ll stick to the skies. I can see everything from up there, and I can cover it all a lot faster than anypony else in our group.”

Rarity nodded along in understanding. “Very well. Come along, Pinkie, Applejack. We have a palace to-”

“RACE YA!” Pinkie Pie suddenly shouted, cutting off Rarity’s sentence and then shooting off down the street as little more than a blur. They could then hear her calling back to them. “Last one there is a muddy stick!”

Rarity and Applejack took a second to look between themselves, mildly confused. Then, with a shrug, they both nodded and ran off to follow Pinkie Pie back to the palace, leaving Rainbow Dash alone in the middle of the small plaza. She watched them go for a few short time before looking back up into the air, taking in the wholly undisturbed blue of the cloudless sky. She then gave her wings a hard, powerful flap and kicked off of the ground. A small blast of air erupted from where she had been standing, kicking up some dust and signaling her return to the skies.

The inside of the Crystal Palace was eerily quiet as Twilight and Starlight worked their way through its many halls and rooms, each one with their horns glowing. They would enter a room, run a few quick scans with their magic for anything out of the ordinary, then move on. Every now and then they would find a residual enchantment, but they turned out to always be benign and unrelated to their search. A reinforced mirror here, a self-sorting bookcase there.

Starlight had to pull Twilight away from that one.

They had been at this for hours, now, and still had found nothing. Pinkie, Applejack, and Rarity had shown up not all that long ago to join in the search, keeping to the lower floors while Starlight and Twilight worked their way up. Thorax and Fluttershy had gone to join Rainbow Dash outside after the first hour, and Wind Whisper was staying with Spike in one of the many studies in the building.

“Ugh… This is getting ridiculous! It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack,” Starlight growled as another door slammed shut behind her, her face contorted in a frustrated grimace. “And we don’t even know how this stupid castle is laid out!”

“Actually, it’s more of a tower than a castle,” Twilight corrected without missing a beat, glancing up at one of the chandeliers on the roof.

Starlight slapped a hoof to her face with an audible smack. “Ugh!”

Twilight paused mid-sep to grin sheepishly. “Heh heh, sorry, not the point…” she apologized before opening another door with her magic and looking in. Her horn let out a few sparks before she drew back and closed the door with a disappointed frown. “Storage Closet. Woo.”

Starlight sighed, shook her head, and kept moving, opening up another door with her magic. “How many is that, now? Six?”


Starlight hummed in response before focusing on what rested beyond the door. The room looked like a guest room designed for foals or other young creatures. The two beds were topped with thick, colorful blankets that were decorated with fun, playful shapes. The walls were brighter than those in most bedrooms, with stylized patterns of simple shapes running along. The idea of it being a foal’s room was completed by a bookcase stalked with a few board games along one wall and a chest filled to the brim with hoof-made toys in the corner. With a tiny smile on her face, remembering the happier parts of her own foalhood, Starlight scanned the room with her magic. She lingered on the spell longer than normal, just letting the sweet innocence of the room wash over her.

Twilight, not far away, caught sight of Starlight’s reluctance to leave the room and trotted over. “Find something?” she asked curiously, nudging the door open and also peeking in.

“Nope,” Starlight replied plainly, dropping her spell and stepping back. “Just a foal’s room.”

Twilight looked around it herself, her eyes soon resting on a discarded ball next to the chest. She blinked at it, a recently refreshed memory reminding her that it existed.

It’s called dodgeball for a reason. You’re supposed to, you know, dodge?

Twilight smiled slightly at the memory before closing the door and following Starlight down the hall again. She glanced at the other mare every now and then, seeing her slightly lifted spirits. After checking another room and finding nothing, she decided to break the silence with a question. “So… now that she’s not seething with rage every time she looks at you, what do you think of Rainbow Dash?”

Starlight glanced over at Twilight, surprised by the abrupt question. She looked straight ahead and slowed to stop, pondering her response for a moment. She then put on a small smile. “Well… I don’t really know, yet,” she admitted with a slight shrug of her shoulders. “I’ve only interacted with her without the spell once so far. But, well…”

Twilight tilted her head when Starlight’s voice trailed off. “But…?” she gently prodded, stepping a little closer to the other unicorn.

Starlight then glanced at Twilight, her smile growing significantly. “But from what I have seen, especially between you and her, I don’t think there’s going to be much of a problem.”

Twilight let out an audible sigh of relief. “Oh, that’s good,” she said with a small chuckle before opening up another door. Another storage closet. “Nine,”

“Ooh, we’re on a roll!” Starlight jabbed in a playful voice, also moving on.

Twilight, disgruntled by how right Starlight was, Puffed out a breath. She then closed the door and moved on.

Starlight, once she had checked her own next room, looked in Twilight’s direction with a question of her own. “You two grew up together, right?”

Twilight nodded happily. “Uh-huh. She moved into Canterlot when she was nine. I was eleven at the time. She was…” her smile slowly grew, a look of fond remembrance and even longing slipping into her face. “She was… really different, back then. She was a lot more energetic, sure of herself, competitive, confident…” her smile slowly began to fade. “It was always fun to be around her… but after Discord…” she stopped and sighed, her ears falling against her head and her smile fading away.

Starlight looked away, not wanting to say what she was thinking.

“She’s… she practically can’t go for a day without apologizing for something,” Twilight continued, her voice soft and solemn. “It’s like all of her confidence and self-assurance went right out the window after we dealt with Discord. She’s easily upset, emotionally unstable, and she’s doubting herself all the time… To be honest…” she then looked up at Starlight, an apology burning in her eyes. “That’s why I agreed to go with her to find you in the first place. I thought that, maybe, if I could get her to stop being afraid of what your other self did, I could get my Rainbow Dash back…” she looked down and closed her eyes.

Starlight wilted, an awkward silence weighing down on both of them. She then, albeit slowly, reached over to give Twilight a few comforting pats on the shoulder. “Well, for what it’s worth… I’m sorry I scared her so badly.”

Twilight blinked and looked back up at Starlight. “But… why? You didn’t do anything wrong.”

Starlight frowned and retracted her hoof. “Didn’t I? Maybe it wasn’t me as I am now, but the fact remains that some version of me went back in time to destroy your lives. And from what everything I know about that, I know that almost turned out the same way this time around…” she let her ears droop, a regretful look coming to her eyes. “If Sunburst hadn’t contacted me when he did, I… I don’t think I could have been saved. I would have turned into a monster...”

Twilight raised an eyebrow, moving slightly closer. “What do you mean?”

Starlight shook her head sadly. “...Remember that deadly pit I mentioned earlier?” she asked. When Twilight nodded, she kept talking. “When Sunburst left, I was… damaged. I felt betrayed, alone and confused. My dad didn’t seem to understand, and so I started pushing him away… I kept asking myself ‘why’, you know? Why did my best and only friend just up and leave without saying goodbye…?

“I was little, but I was trying to piece the logic together. All I knew for sure was that, in a flash of light, Sunburst had a cutie mark, and in the next moment he was gone…” a small snort of bitter amusement slipped out of her. “I was really stupid, looking back on it now. But at the time, all I had to connect the dots were a cutie mark, and Sunburst leaving me behind. I…” she closed her eyes again. “I started to not want a cutie mark. I also didn’t make any more friends… I was scared that I’d lose them, too.”

Twilight, a look of sympathy on her face, reached out to Starlight to offer her some comfort. “I’m sorry you had to go through that…” she said weakly before Starlight gently batted her hoof away.

“Oh, it gets worse,” she continued, her eyes glued to the floor as she began to pace back and forth. “I wasn’t just scared of losing new friends. I started getting angry. Cutie Marks took away my best friend, I thought, and I started wanting to get back at them. I…” she stopped and screwed her eyes shut. “I… came up with the idea to make a spell. A spell to…”

Twilight couldn’t see Starlight’s face, but from the way she was shaking, there was no doubt it wasn’t a good one. Starlight slowly lifted a hoof to look at it. She took a deep breath and continued speaking, her tone cold and emotionless. “...A spell to remove cutie marks.”

Twilight let out a quiet gasp, her eyes going wide. “Wh-what?!” she shouted in shock. “Starlight, please tell me you’re not serious!”

Starlight sighed and turned around, locking eyes with her. “I am serious. The spell was designed to remove a cutie mark from its owner without causing physical damage. Their destiny would be blocked, their special talent muted, and their personalities dulled… anypony the spell was used on would basically be the same. Equal… in all the wrong ways,” she looked down again.

Twilight, still reeling from all of this new information, finally managed to find her voice. “Do you… still have it?” she asked cautiously.

Starlight snorted and looked back up at Twilight. “Don’t worry. I never finalized it. Sunburst got back in touch, remember? I burned all of my notes on it when he did… heh. I felt like such an idiot...” she said with a small smile, then a tiny laugh. There was still a bitter edge in her voice, though. Her eyes narrowed slightly and she looked straight ahead down the hall. “Although he could have done so a lot sooner… would have saved us ALL a lot of trouble.”

“Are you… angry with him?” Twilight asked hesitantly, carefully studying any reaction Starlight had to the question.

Starlight let out a low groan, closing her eyes and slapping a hoof to her forehead. “I don’t know how I feel about him. I mean, it’s great to have my friend back, yeah. Hay, I came with you to the Empire so I could save him. But two, almost three years without contacting me…?” she scoffed and opened her eyes. “I do have a few choice words for him about that.”

Twilight shrunk back from the well-hidden frustration she was hearing from the other mare, her ears flattening back. Thankfully, though, Starlight gave a slow shake of her head and went back to trotting down the hall, throwing open another door and looking inside. Once her scan spell was concluded, she drew back and closed it before offering Twilight a reassuring smile. “Come on. We still have to find the Heart.”

Twilight gave a slow nod before falling into step next to Starlight, the two of them continuing their search through the palace.

Author's Note:

Fun fact: With this chapter, this story is now officially longer than Little Glimpses. This is surprising to me because Little Glimpses is still NINE chapters longer than Consequences. But my average word count has gone up, and as a result, the story is longer with fewer chapters.

Kinda nifty.

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