• 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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Stretching

Rainbow’s wings trembled and twitched at their tips as she stretched them out as far as she could, while at the same time pressing her chest down into the ground and keeping her hind legs extended. A satisfied groan slipped past her lungs as her muscles loosened up, a few loud pops emanating from her back and shoulders. After a few seconds of holding that pose, she stood up tall and went on to her next stretch, all with Starlight and Twilight watching from not far away. They sat on their haunches with their backs against one of the enormous supports that held the rest of the Crystal Palace aloft.

The three of them were, at present, situated in the large plaza that rested directly beneath the Crystal Palace, with the enormous bulk of the palace over their heads offering some lovely shade from the surprisingly warm sun. At the edge of the plaza, crystal ponies could occasionally be seen trotting by, shooting the group anxious and wary looks.

Choosing to ignore the distrustful looks of the locals, Twilight looked at Starlight with a worried expression on her face, noticing the awkward and uneasy expression the other unicorn was displaying. “Hey, how are you holding up?” she asked gently, drawing an absent shrug out of Starlight.

“Meh. The Princess still hates me, so I’ve been better,” was her bluntly delivered response. Her ears fell flat against her head as she glanced at Twilight, then looked at Rainbow Dash again with a frown steadily growing on her face.

Twilight’s face turned stern with disapproval. “She doesn’t hate you,” she stated firmly, shifting to look at Starlight more directly. “I know she doesn’t.”

Starlight shook her head and sighed before returning her attention to Twilight. “Well, I mean, the way she talks to me isn’t exactly friendly,” she countered while casually gesturing in Rainbow’s direction. She then let the hoof lazily drop back down to the crystal below, a slight ‘clunk’ sounding upon impact. “Not to mention the she’s clearly still sore over that broken wing I gave her...” Starlight lowered her gaze, her face contorting with some small vestiges of guilt.

Twilight’s ears drooped and a small sigh slipped out of her lungs. “She is upset about that, yeah…” she muttered, her voice quiet. She wanted to say more, but Starlight simply looked on to Rainbow again, signaling that the conversation had come to an end.

More crystal ponies passed by, a group of three. They all looked tired and downtrodden, looking almost fearful of the three mares under the palace. A little colt poked his head out from behind one of them, curious about the new ponies. His mother worriedly ushered their foal away with their forehoof while eyeing Rainbow Dash almost accusingly. Rainbow noticed the look, and it was the last straw for her. She growled under her breath and came out of her last stretch to shake her head. “Ugh… all of these sour looks are really distracting,” she complained sharply before looking towards one such pony, who took a few scared steps back when she saw the impatience in Rainbow’s eyes.

“Just ignore them,” Twilight offered softly, rising from her seated position and trotting over to Rainbow’s side. She put on a reassuring smile an placed a hoof on Rainbow’s shoulder, giving it a firm squeeze. “If our plan works, then we won’t have to deal with those sour looks for a whole lot longer. Just focus on stretching, okay?”

Rainbow sucked in a deep breath and let it out. Then she nodded, resuming her stretches without another word. Twilight backed up a little to give Rainbow some room, then turned her eyes to look out at the streets again. Among the sparkling streets and occasional pony, she caught sight of a certain blur of pink zooming their way. “Heads up. Pinkie, six o’clock,” she called over to Rainbow, who didn’t waste any time in lifting a few feet into the air with a flap of her wings before turning around to watch. Sure enough, Pinkie came sliding to a stop in front of them all, kicking up a cloud of dust from the momentum and making Twilight couch a few times. Hanging from Pinkie’s lower jaw was a large basket, stuffed full of what looked like various types of party decor and a folded blanket with a red and white checkerboard pattern. She put the basket down and grinned.

“This place has a lot more party supplies than I thought it would! Sure, some of it is really sharp, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t meant to be used as confetti, but hey! It sparkles and shines in the air really nice, so, it’s confetti!” she announced before reaching down to dig into the bag to show them her loot.

“That’s kind of a small basket, Pinkie,” Starlight commented hesitantly, stepping up and looking at the basket with a critical eye. She then looked at Pinkie, questions burning behind her eyes. “It doesn’t look like that much to me.”

Pinkie flashed Starlight a devilish smile that sent a chill down the other mare’s spine, then began withdrawing item after item after item from the basket. The amount of stuff she pulled out of it should not have been able to fit, and yet... “Well, mizz Starlight Glimmer, we’ve got… four bags of standard confetti, three bags of flat crystal shards to act as sparkly confetti, we’ve got two bags of streamers, we’ve got four cakes, all boxed, we have three trays of cupcakes, two trays of muffins, a pumpkin pie…”

Rainbow Dash stuck out her tongue in revulsion at the mention of the pie.

“Oh!” Pinkie grinned while pulling a stack of seven picnic blankets out of the basket. “We also have blankets for picnic-style eating and, last but not least…” she reached deep into the basket, with half of her body vanishing completely from sight within. There was the sound of something falling over and crashing from within the basket, and anypony listening in could have sworn they heard a cat yowling in surprise from inside the basket, as well. When she came back out, Pinkie Pie was hauling an enormous, silvery-blue canon on bright pink wheels back up with her. She thumped it down next to her, the wheels creating spiderweb cracks in the ground, and grinned at Starlight. “My party cannon.”

Starlight’s jaw fell to the floor. For a good few seconds, she mouthed helplessly like a fish before pointing at the basket and, in a weak voice, managing to utter the words: “But… how?”

Pinkie Pie rolled her eyes. “Haha, please.”

“Just roll with it,” Twilight whispered to Starlight with a small smile. “Pinkie Pie is… an enigma.”

Starlight could only give a very rigid nod before gulping and backing very slowly away from the pink creature that she was convinced had no right calling itself a pony.

“Nice job finding all this stuff, Pinkie,” Rainbow complimented with a warm smile, not even looking concerned by what she was seeing at all. She eyed the various pieces of party decor and snacks curiously. “How long until it’s all set up?”

“Oh, I can start loading my cannon right now. And once this bad girl is all nice and full, all I need is the order to fire, and BOOM! This whole area will be ready for one super-duper doozy of a party!” Pinkie declared eagerly, turning and stuffing the pie down the barrel of her cannon.

“Won’t that damage the decor, though? And…” Starlight’s eye twitched as Pinkie dumped a tray of cupcakes into the barrel, next. “...The food?”

Pinkie snorted. “Allow me to repeat myself: haha, please.”

Twilight chuckled lightly at the flabbergasted look from Starlight, then gave her a sympathetic smile and a pat on the shoulder. “Trust me, it’s better for you if you don’t question anything Pinkie Pie does.”

“She speaks from first-hoof experience, you know,” Rainbow gave a cheeky little grin with that comment, although she quickly lost it to a more apologetic one when Twilight turned an irked glare on her. Not exactly eager to anger the bookish mare, Rainbow set herself back down on the ground and nodded at Pinkie, getting back on topic. “Go ahead and load up. I’ll let ya know when it’s time.”

Pinkie Pie gave an exaggerated salute and went back to stuffing anything and everything she had gathered into her party cannon, humming a little tune to herself as she went. Rainbow then turned to Twilight and Starlight, opening her mouth to issue some instructions. She hesitated, however, at the sight of Starlight, with that infuriating sensation of tingling and burning on the back of her scalp rearing its ugly head again. Her pupils dilated instinctively and she knew that the look on her face was anything but a pleasant one, given how Starlight instantly winced and shied away from her. Rainbow quickly caught herself and shook her head to dispel the burning, then focused. “Okay, Starlight, you should start practicing your light spell. Just make sure it isn’t blinding,” she said bluntly before turning to Twilight. She paused, and then looked at Starlight again, and the next word to leave her mouth was considerably more gentle. “...Okay?”

Starlight hesitated, then nodded, glad to have a good reason to excuse herself, and quickly trotted a little ways away. Her horn lit up with a cyan aura as she went, and already some soft shimmers were appearing in the air over her head. Rainbow then turned to Twilight but went rigid when she saw the disapproving frown on the unicorn’s face.

“You have got to do something about this tension,” Twilight said sternly while advancing towards Rainbow. Every step made the pegasus shrink back. “Every time you two interact, it feels like any moment something might snap, and if it does, it’s going to be bad for everypony,” Twilight stopped when Rainbow fell to her haunches and looked down at the ground, not able to meet Twilight’s gaze. Biting her lip, Twilight took a deep breath, then sat down and put a hoof to Rainbow’s chin, drawing her eyes back to look into Twilight’s. “We don’t want a repeat of the train, Rainbow,” she continued in a far gentler tone.

Rainbow’s ears pinned back, and her eyes started to water a little at the memory. She shook herself, though, and lightly pried Twilight’s hoof from her chin. “I know, Twilight… I know,” she sighed heavily before looking up at the bottom of the palace. Pinkie Pie, who was still loading up her cannon, looked over at the two, her expression contorting into one of worry. She then got a small smile to replace her frown and reached back down the barrel of her cannon. After a moment of rummaging around, she procured a sizable cupcake with vanilla frosting, which she then offered to Rainbow with a hopeful shimmer in her eyes. Looking at it for a moment, Rainbow managed a small chuckle and took the pastry. “Thanks, Pinks.”

Pinkie smiled happily. “Anything to make my friends feel better, Dashie,” she said before looking at Twilight, who smiled back in thanks.

“That’s very nice of you, Pinkie,” Twilight said, looking to the pink mare with approval. Pinkie beamed right back before peering down into her cannon again. While she did that, Twilight returned her attention to Rainbow Dash, her smiling face replaced with one of thought and confusion. “Why do you still act so hostile towards her? You know she didn’t do anything wrong, don’t you?”

“Yes, Twilight, of course I know,” Rainbow replied with a grimace before nibbling some more on her cupcake. After a few seconds, she swallowed and kept going, leaning forwards a bit. “And the truth is that I don’t know why I’m still so hostile towards her. I know she’s innocent. But every time I look at her it’s like…” she paused and tilted her head as she tried to think of a good way to describe it. “It’s like... I dunno. I just get angry, despite knowing she's fine. I look at her, I see the face of the mare that took my parents away and...” she sighed heavily and wolfed down what was left of her snack. Once it was swallowed, she set her hooves down under her and shook her head. “...and sometimes I can't stop myself from reacting. Like earlier, when I told Starlight that I didn’t want another broken wing because of her. I didn’t mean to say that, Twilight, but I did.

Pinkie looked over at Rainbow sympathetically, then looked past her to examine Starlight, who was still practicing her light spell, creating sheets of slowly shifting light in the air that vaguely resembled an aurora. Pinkie hummed quietly in thought before speaking. “Maybe you know she’s not a big meanie, but you don’t know her,” she pointed out in a surprisingly straightforward manner. Rainbow glanced up at Pinkie with a raised eyebrow. The party mare let a smile appear on her face before she continued. “I mean, when you and I first met back in Ponyville, I’m pretty sure you didn’t really like me very much. If we had never seen each other again after I pushed you to Applejack’s place, I’m sure you’d just see me as a loudmouthed hyper screwball.”

Rainbow and Twilight shared a glance, then looked back at Pinkie with thoughtful looks on their faces. Rainbow cleared her throat. “Well, I mean… that’s not untrue,” she admitted sheepishly. Pinkie’s smile grew.

“So that means that you need to become her friend! Talk to her, get to know her, play some crazy party games, the works! Maybe when you do that, you can stop scowling like a bitter, rotten apple every time you look at her, and she can stop being terrified of your every move.”

Rainbow glanced over her shoulder at Starlight, thinking the idea over. She still felt that burning in the back of her head, as strong as ever.

Make Her Pay.

“Shut up.” she thought bitterly to those echoing words, then looked back to Pinkie with a small smile. “You might be onto something there, Pinkie. I’ll give it a try a little later after we’ve got the Empire to trust us.”

Pinkie’s grin grew even more. “You’re welcome!” she sang out before returning her attention to her party cannon and setting to work stuffing things inside of it. Rainbow chuckled in amusement, then rose back to her hooves.

“I’m going to get back to my stretches. Let me know when AJ and Fluttershy come back, okay?” she said to Twilight, looking her way.

“Sure thing,” Twilight replied. She then turned to give Pinkie an appreciative smile as well before backing off to give Rainbow Dash some room, the pegasus having gone back to doing her stretches.

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