• 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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The Only Way

“I’m such an idiot…” Rainbow mumbled to herself, her eyes closed and her good hoof pressing into her forehead. She was seated in the cushioned chair that sat at one end of the bedroom. Twilight was sitting on her haunches right next to it, watching Rainbow with an expression that could only be described as helpless. She reached out with a hoof, grasping Rainbow’s shoulder and squeezing firmly.

“No, you’re not, Rainbow. You had to make a horrible decision, and I know you did the best you could,” she said in as gentle a voice as possible. Rainbow did not seem soothed by her words, however, shooting her a disbelieving look. “Please, Rainbow. Don’t beat yourself up over-”

“Twilight… please don’t…” Rainbow interrupted her coldly, brushing Twilight’s hoof away with her own. She closed her eyes again and let the hoof slump down to her side. “I let everypony down… again…

Twilight’s ears drooped and her face fell on hearing that. She bit her lip, trying to think of something, anything she could say to bring Rainbow’s spirits back up. “Well… uh… We might find a way to get you out of it,” Twilight ventured while returning her hoof to Rainbow’s foreleg, stopping where the bandages began. “There has to be some loophole or something. If we can-”

Rainbow just shook her head. “Don’t bother. We don’t have any time to waste. And besides, the guy’s thorough…” she muttered dejectedly before tilting her head back to stare at the ceiling. For several seconds, both of them were quiet. Rainbow gradually let her head fall back down, a shudder working its way through her body. Then, with a loud growl of frustration, she slammed her good hoof down onto the armrest of the chair.

Twilight squeaked and flinched back when this happened. She looked at Rainbow with a rueful look in her eyes. Seeing the look on Rainbow’s face, the shaking in her body, the despair in her voice… it made it clear that there was nothing Twilight could do to help her get over this. Not right now, at least. It was a horrible feeling and a horrible thing to see. “Rainbow…” she whispered, hoping against everything that some magic words would spring out of her mouth to make it all okay.

Sadly, nothing came.

There was a gentle knock on the door before it slowly creaked open. Twilight turned to see who it was and saw Thorax hesitantly entering the room, his eyes locked onto Rainbow. His face twisted in a grimace when he saw the bandages and, more specifically, the look on the princesses face. He quietly shut the door behind him, then stood there, watching them. An awkward silence filled the air.

Rainbow eventually opened her eyes to look at him, looking beyond tired. “What do you want, Thorax?” she droned out in a voice devoid of emotion or passion.

Thorax licked his lips and steeled himself. “I…” he began, looking between the two for a moment. He shook himself and then took a deep breath before continuing. “I still need to tell you about Changeling battle tactics, Rainbow,” he managed to say before visibly wincing as if that was not what he meant to say.

Twilight frowned and slowly stood up, glaring at the drone in quiet objection. “Thorax, I know you’re trying to help, but now is not the best time for this,” she said coldly, her eyes narrowing. “Please, leave us alone right now… Rainbow-”

“Can speak for herself,” Rainbow cut her off, slowly sliding out of the chair to stand up. Twilight looked back at her apologetically before moving to support her, pressing against her side. Once she was upright, Rainbow began limping towards Thorax. “I could use the distraction, but… why talk to us about this now? Twilight’s right; not the best time for this.”

Thorax looked down and scuffed the floor while biting his lower lip. After a moment, he managed to meet Rainbow’s gaze, resolute. “I know, but this can’t wait anymore. I’m not gonna get another chance to tell you,” he said, standing tall.

Rainbow and Twilight both went rigid. The latter, clearly bemused, blinked and tilted her head. “How come?” she asked with curiosity.

Thorax maintained his resolve before looking out the nearby window. “If you’re right, and the Crystal Heart is off the table, then you don’t have any other way of really defending yourselves and the Empire against the swarm for long. And then there’s Chrysalis herself...” he shifted on his hooves and locked gazes with Rainbow. “Pharynx is right; she’s probably the most powerful creature in the world right now. If you want to beat that, then you are going to need the Elements of Harmony and… I’m volunteering to help get them back.”

The two mare’s both widened their eyes before glancing at each other. It was Rainbow who spoke next, shifting to eye Thorax skeptically. “That’s… real nice and all, but they’re all the way in Canterlot. You wouldn’t be able to cross that whole distance before Chrysalis gets here.”

Twilight suddenly shook her head, giving Rainbow a quick nudge in the ribs with her elbow. “Actually, no,” she said before shooting Thorax face that bespoke a newly formed hope. “Any army has to slow down to match the speed of the slowest creature. The swarm is enormous,”

“And I’m not the slowest changeling around. Plus, I had to move on hoof during our trip up here,” Thorax finished for her with a sharp nod. “I can cover the distance a lot quicker in the air. Plus, Sombra’s going to be out there, slowing the swarm down. I can reach Canterlot and help with the counter-attack before they can take the Empire!”

Rainbow slowly nodded as she processed this plan. After a few seconds of mulling it over, she flashed Thorax a tiny smile. “I see you’re point… it’s a pretty good plan, but…” she narrowed her eyes at him inquisitively and replaced her smile with a questioning frown. “What I wanna know is why? Why are you volunteering for this?”

Thorax lowered his gaze, closed his eyes and heaved a heavy sigh. “Because,” he began before glancing at the door next to him. “It’s the only way for me to keep my promise to Wind. I told her I’d get her brother back, but I can’t do that if we can’t beat Chrysalis,” he explained before lowering his gaze and scuffing a hoof along the ground. “Believe me, if I could find a way to do this that didn’t send me back there, I’d take it in a heartbeat… but I made a promise. I can’t go back on my word now; not after everything that’s happened.”

Rainbow and Twilight shared a glance, pondering the suggestion. Finally, Rainbow gave a slow nod and looked back at Thorax. “Alright, then. Do what you gotta do. But first, let’s have it; tell me everything,” she stated before turning to limp back to the chair. Thorax followed the two of them and, once Dash was seated, he began telling them about every single tactic and strategy the swarm might use that he could think of. They took it all mostly in silence, with Twilight acquiring a notepad and quill from the dresser and taking meticulous notes.

It took them well over an hour to cover everything, from dive-bombing with magic and shapeshifting into copies of the enemy, to overwhelming numbers and ambush practices. He finally finished off his explanations and looked at the two mares in front of him expectantly. Twilight slipped away the notebook so she and Rainbow could study it later, then looked the drone up and down, sizing him up in a way. “So when are you going to leave?” she eventually asked in a gentle voice, leaving Rainbow’s side to move a little closer to the drone.

Thorax gulped and, again, looked over his shoulder at the door. He shuddered and took in a long, deep breath. Once he let the breath out, he looked at her from the corner of his eye. “Right now,” he said quietly, an edge of guilt in his voice.

Twilight raised an eyebrow. “Right now? You’re going to say goodbye to Wind, aren’t you?” she asked anxiously.

Thorax shifted and pulled the door open with a quick burst of telekinesis magic. His eyes betrayed the dread he was feeling over what he had to do next. “Yeah… I am,” he muttered quietly. He looked down at the floor, then back up at Twilight with a small smile on his face. “Oh! And, uh, Twilight?”


Thorax’s smile widened a little bit. “Thank you… for sparing me when we met. I owe you.”

Rainbow threw in her own smile, albeit a weak one. “Hey, you bring us the elements, and your debt is as good as paid,” she said, just the tiniest hint of her old cocky self managing to seep into her words.

Twilight nodded in agreement, flashing Thorax one more smile. He took a moment to look at each of them in turn before slipping out of the door and closing it behind him.

The halls were almost completely silent as he walked, allowing him to let his mind wander freely and without distraction. He thought about Wind Whisper, and how disappointed she was inevitably going to be. He could just see the tears in her eyes now, how they would slide down her cheeks and matte down her fur. He could see how her lip would tremble, how her wings would ruffle and twitch erratically on her back, how her ears would droop and rest flat against her head. He could just imagine her sniffling and begging him not to go, asking that he tell her why he had to leave her now, too.

He came to a stop right by the door that led to their room and looked at it. He didn’t reach for the handle though. Instead, he put his ear up against it and listened in. He could just hear the thestral filly humming a little tune to herself, and the sound of polished wood tapping against hard crystals informed him that she was playing with one of the toys she had opted to keep after her games with Spike. Thorax let his own ears droop to rest against the back of his head, a few tears coming to his eyes. Slowly, he reached out for the handle, trying to steel himself for what was to come.

He paused when he heard the tapping sound stop and Wind shifting. He could hear her hooves clopping against the floor. She was trotting around, presumably pacing. Her humming slowly faded away. “C’mon, Thorax…” she mumbled impatiently, the tempo of her hoof steps increasing somewhat. “Where are you? You said you wouldn’t take very long…”

If I go in there, it’ll be to tell her that I’m going away… he thought, biting his lip with indecision. After several seconds of hesitation, Thorax slowly began to retract his hoof from the handle. He let out a silent sigh and sagged, stepping back from the door and looking at it. He let his eyes refocus to see love in the air and, sure enough, there was more of it, drifting into the hall from just under the door. It was saturating the hall in a thick pink haze, slowly drifting and waving in what little airflow there was.

He smelled it, tasted it on his tongue. It was, of course, all for him. He backed away from the door a few more steps so he could see it better, before opening his mouth and pulling in what he could. As before, the pain in his stomach decreased somewhat. There wasn’t as much as before, and much of it was gated off inside the room, so he made sure to savor it, letting every drop roll slowly across his tongue.

Finally, he finished drinking in what he could and looked at the door one more time. He tried to make himself move towards it, to open the door and break the news to her as gently as possible. But every time he tried, he’d imagine the sad look on her face, the crying in her voice, the tears in her eyes, and he’d lock up. After several false starts, though, he managed to push through his dread. He stepped up to the door one more time, pushed it open and wore a brave face.

“Thorax!” Wind shouted in childish delight the second he entered the room, galloping over and throwing her forelegs around his neck in a tight hug. He grunted and stepped back from the force of her tackle before wrapping one of his own forelegs around her to return the embrace. After a few seconds, she leaned back and lightly jabbed him in the chest. “You were gone a lot longer than you said you would!”

Despite what he knew was coming, Thorax managed to chuckle at her antics, lightly nudging her back. “Heh, sorry about that. The conversation got kinda involved…” he told her. It wasn’t technically a lie, after all. He closed the door behind him and trotted over to the bed, Wind once again trotting by his side with a happy bounce to her step.

Finally, Thorax sat down on the edge of the bed. Wind went to join him, but he stopped her by placing a hoof on her shoulder and holding her back. She glanced up at him and tilted her head. “What’s wrong, Thorax?” she asked, noticing the solemn look in his eyes. “Are you okay?”

He looked at her for a good few seconds, just memorizing every last detail of her face. After all, he figured, there was a decent chance he wouldn’t be seeing her again once he left. After several long seconds of silence, he managed to take a deep breath, then turned his gaze from her to look at the wall directly ahead. He licked his lips and braced himself. “W-wind… we… we need to talk,” he finally said in a whisper, folding his forehooves in his lap and looking down.

Wind, now with a confused and worried look on her face, moved until she was directly in front of him, then sat down on her haunches. She looked up into his eyes, tilting her head again. “Thorax…?” she asked in that sweet, oh so adorable voice.

The drone bit his lip and forced himself to look back into her eyes. “Wind… I… I’m going to go away for a little while,” he finally managed to say, wanting nothing more than to screw his eyes shut. Already, he could see the dread in Wind’s eyes. “I’m going to Canterlot.”

“What?” she asked, before letting a tiny, crooked smile appear on her muzzle. “Oh, heh. That’s a funny joke, Thorax,” she said, a clearly forced laugh slipping out of her lungs. When Thorax didn’t join in her laughter, though, it petered out. Her smile fell away in favor of a wide-eyed look of fear. “Thorax…? Please tell me you’re joking…”

He shook his head. “I’m not joking… this is the only chance I’m going to get to keep my promise to you, Wind,” he stated in the most soothing voice he could manage. “I told you I’d rescue your brother, and this is my last opportunity to do it. The swarm isn’t in the city; I can get in, save him and help retake the city. Then I can bring him back to you.”

Wind just looked at him with a blank look in her eyes. Thorax was beginning to think she had willfully not listened when the tiniest sob came from deep in her throat. She shook her head, never taking her eyes off of him. “You’re leaving me all alone, too…?” she choked out, the first tears starting to form. “But… but… what did I do wrong?”

Thorax, on hearing those words, reached down to gently lift Wind Whisper up and hug her tightly against his chest. “You didn’t do anything wrong, Wind. I thought I said I never wanted you to talk like that again?”

Wind shook her head, hugging him back. “But… b-but you were pretending to be Squall, weren’t you?”

“I still meant it,” Thorax whispered in her hear, reaching a hoof up to per the back of her head. ”And besides, you won’t be alone, Wind. Fluttershy and Applejack will look out for you until Squall comes back. Then you’ll be with him.”

Wind sniffled and clung to Thorax’s chest as tightly as possible. She was shaking horribly, now, barely able to speak through her building sorrow. “Don’t go…” she whimpered, a tiny sob slipping out of her lungs. “I don’t want you to go away…”

Thorax sighed softly as she said those words, giving her another reassuring squeeze. He thought back on how she had been screaming at him in that alleyway before Pharynx showed up, and pulled her tighter against him with a tiny smile appearing on his face. “I know, Wind… I don’t wanna go either. But I have to…” he told her before planting a very gentle kiss on top of her head. “I’ll miss you… so much...”

Wind sobbed again, looking up into his eyes. “I-I’ll miss y-you, t-too…” she stuttered out. She then buried her face into his chest again, openly crying and wailing to let out her grief.

And there the two sat, holding each other tight and not wanting to let go. But no matter how much they wished it didn’t have to be, they both knew that Thorax couldn’t stay to help her feel better forever. When her cries finally began to die down an indeterminate amount of time later, he gently let Wind back down onto the ground before standing up himself. “Alright… I have to go, now. Go find Fluttershy, okay? Let her know what’s going on, and…” he leaned down to give her one last nuzzle on the head, a gesture she shakily returned. When he pulled back, he gave her a reassuring smile. “And when Squall comes home, put in a good word for me.”

Wind nodded, still sniffling. “A-alright… okay, Thorax. I will. I’ll put in the best word in the world! I… I promise…” she said weakly. Satisfied with her answer, Thorax made his way to the door and pushed it open. Before he could move any farther down the hall, though, the filly hugged one of his forelegs one more time. He looked down at her to see her eyes looking right back up at him.

He reached down with his other hoof to per her mane one more time, smiling. “Goodbye, Wind…” he whispered.

Wind sniffled and hugged his leg tighter. She didn’t say anything though. After a moment, she reluctantly let his leg go and made her way for the door directly across from theirs, where Fluttershy stayed. Thorax watched her go, his heart feeling unbearably heavy in his chest. Once she had a hoof on the handle, she looked back at him. He could see by the focus in her eyes that she was memorizing him; much like he had done with her earlier.

He gave her a tiny smile and nod before turning and beginning to trot down the hall. He heard the door to Fluttershy’s room swing open and then closed. The thud sound that was made sent a chill down his spine and made him stop mid-step. He barely managed to choke down a sob of his own before taking several deep breaths to calm himself down. After a minute, he finally managed to compose himself and, with a look of firm resolve on his face, began to make his way for the dungeons.

There was still, after all, one more creature in this palace he had to talk to before he could leave.

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