• Published 25th May 2018
  • 2,133 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.

  • ...

PreviousChapters Next
Standing Against Hopeless Odds

They had done all that they could. The cloud traps had been made and scattered in several locations throughout the streets, the fiercest blizzard Rainbow could engineer was raging outside the city limits, the civilian population had been evacuated into the palace, and a thick mist had been created inside the city, severely limiting visibility, especially at street level. Now, Rainbow Dash, Twilight Sparkle, Starlight Glimmer, Fluttershy, Wind Whisper, Applejack, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie all stood on one of the larger balconies of the palace that faced to the south.

Overnight, the fighting had gone from little more than faint, distant rumbles and harrowing roars to a fully visible display of chaos and carnage on the horizon. They could just make out the undulating mass that was the swarm doing their best to force their way past the towering shadow that was King Sombra. Beams of magic and flashes of light could be seen every once in a while, and the echoes of their battle could be heard even from this far away.

Rainbow slowly turned her gaze from the battle that was slowly but surely drawing closer to them to look at each of the other ponies in turn. Twilight and Starlight, while clearly apprehensive, had looks of resolve on their faces. They were as ready as they were going to be. Although, when Rainbow tried to look Twilight in the eyes, the unicorn would flinch and look away. Silently sighing, Rainbow turned her attention from her to the other ponies. Fluttershy and Wind Whisper looked a lot less prepared for what they knew was coming. Wind was cowering underneath Fluttershy’s wing, while the older pegasus stared fearfully at the battle raging in the distance, her ears flat against the head and her eyes wide. Both of them were shaking.

Applejack was a lot harder to read, her eyes locked fiercely onto the battle, her hat adjusted to sit back on her head so as to not interfere with her sight. Her lips formed into a thin, stern frown and her jaw had set itself firmly. Rarity was doing her best to look similarly brave, but the slight tremors in her body, the rattling her saddlebags, and the twitches in her eyes made it clear that she was absolutely terrified. Pinkie Pie, for her part, routinely gave everypony else reassuring smiles, trying to keep their spirits up as well as she was able. Between those smiles, though, she would constantly stare at the center of the sky above the empire, as if expecting something to appear there.

Rainbow sighed and set her gaze back onto the battle in the distance. The combat had passed under the blizzard a while ago and was now reaching the fiercest part of it. She puffed out a breath. “...It’s time,” She finally said in a solemn voice. She then turned back to her friends again, her expression hardening. “Twilight, Starlight, stay out here and get ready to pull up the barrier. The rest of you, get inside and try to keep the Crystal Ponies from panicking, alright? Keep them focused on finding the Heart.”

“Are you sure we can’t stay out here with you?” Rarity asked gently, stepping forward slightly and finally tearing her eyes away from the battle. “Even if only to cheer you on and give you moral support?”

Rainbow shook her head solemnly. “No… I’m sorry. The more of you there are out here, the more likely Chrysalis will be to try and hurt you. The ponies inside need you more than I do right now...” she said regretfully before looking over at Fluttershy. “That goes double for you, Flutters. You keep Wind Whisper safe, alright?”

Fluttershy nodded slowly before stepping forward and giving Rainbow a tight hug, one which the pegasus princess did not hesitate to return. “Please… be safe…” Fluttershy whispered, burying her face into Rainbow’s shoulder.

“Don’t worry,” Starlight chimed in with an encouraging smirk. “We’ve got this.”

Twilight didn’t say anything, despite really looking like she wanted to.

Fluttershy slowly backed out of the embrace, trying to smile. She then sighed and lowered herself down to the ground so that Wind Whisper could climb up onto her back. The thestral filly looked at Rainbow with an unreadable look. “Please win…” she mumbled before hiding her face in Fluttershy’s mane.

Applejack turned to Rainbow Dash as well before taking her hat off of her head. She held it to her chest and then dropped into a low, respectful bow. Naturally, Rainbow shook her head and went to protest, but Applejack spoke first. “We’ll be rootin’ for ya, RD,” she said simply before standing tall and replacing her hat on her head.

Pinkie Pie chose this moment to pipe up, bouncing forward, nudging Fluttershy aside, and then throwing her forelegs over Rainbow’s shoulders in a hug that could crack bones. “You can do this, Dashie! Make us proud!”

Rainbow chuckled breathlessly from the contact, squirming in Pinkie’s grip. “I will, don’t you worry. But, uh- ACK! Can’t… breathe...”

“Sorry!” Pinkie said quickly before dropping Rainbow and scampering back to stand next to Fluttershy and Wind Whisper, an enormous grin on her face. Rainbow rolled her eyes at her antics.

Rarity smiled softly at the two before her horn lit up with its signature blue glow. One of the pouches of her saddlebags was opened up before something came drifting out of it, catching what sunlight there was and catching Rainbow’s eye. “I suppose you’ll be wanting this, no?” she asked with a large grin, even as Rainbow’s eyes widened.

“My… my crown… you repaired my crown?” she asked in a breathless whisper, reaching out to take it with a hoof. She was not mistaken; the ruby that had been knocked out of its place when she had gone into her self-deprecating rage had been replaced, and any scratches or scraped had been buffed out. In fact, the whole thing looked as good as new.

Rarity’s smile only grew as she saw her handiwork admired. “When I saw that you had knocked one of the rubies out of it, I just had to do something. After all, without your element of harmony, your crown is your symbol. And it will not do for the symbol of our favorite princess to be broken…” her face then turned into a far more stern frown. “So I want you to promise me that you won’t go and break it again. I don’t care how upset you are with yourself, there are better ways of managing your stress than by destroying such a fabulous and meaningful accessory. Capisce?”

Rainbow recoiled somewhat from the harsh tone in her voice, but then let out a small laugh. “Alright… I won’t break it, promise,” she replied with a small shake of her head.

Another explosion sounded in the distance, and they all turned to look. The battle was drawing closer, and it seemed like the swarm was starting to ignore Sombra in favor of rushing the city. The blizzard was giving them some trouble, to be sure, but they would be here in a matter of minutes either way. Rainbow’s eyes narrowed. “Twilight, Starlight, you know what to do. Everypony else, inside, now!” she commanded while flaring out her wings. One by one, the others began to retreat into the palace, closing the doors behind them and leaving Rainbow, Twilight, and Starlight all on their own.

A chill wind blew past them, and Rainbow involuntarily shivered from the cold. She gave herself a quick shake before looking down at the crown in her hoof. With the sound of Twilight and Starlight lighting up their horns filling her ears, she closed her eyes slowly brought the golden circle up until it rested comfortably on her head. She couldn’t be sure, but it felt more comfortable than before. Maybe Rarity had made some adjustments to its size? When she opened her eyes again, she saw that the city-wide barrier was rising from the earth to cover the entire city, drowning out the noise from beyond and filling the air instead with a gentle aetherial hum. Like before, it was a dome of rippling fuschia and cyan colored magic.

As soon as the dome was fully formed, Rainbow turned around to face Twilight, whose eyes were currently glued to the floor beneath her hooves. “Twilight…”

“Please don’t go out there…” Twilight whispered, lifting her eyes to meet Rainbow’s, revealing that they were already growing moist with fresh tears. “Please…”

Rainbow flinched and looked away, her ears folding back against her head. “...You know I have to. If Thorax and Pharynx don’t turn up with reinforcements before the barrier gets breached, then…”

“You’ve set the traps, Rainbow!” Twilight tried, her voice starting to crack. “You can come inside, we can try to fortify the entrances or something! Just don’t try to fight her all on your own!”

“What difference would it make if I did that, huh?” Rainbow questioned with a frown. “We’re fighting for time, Twilight. If we all hide in the palace, we’ll be giving up a lot of that. We’ve been over this! This is the best way to make sure we have the time we need!”

Twilight winced and shuffled back, her ears falling flat and her eyes gluing themselves onto the floor again. The intensity in Rainbow’s eyes fled as she saw this, and she slowly began to reach out. She froze when Twilight’s voice cut through the silence. “I know… I just don’t want to lose you…”

Rainbow let her hoof drop back down to the balcony floor with a soft exhale. She slowly stepped forward until she was muzzle-to-muzzle with Twilight, looking into her eyes. “I don’t want to lose you, either… that’s why I’m going out there. I could never live with myself if I let you get hurt...”

For a few moments, all three mares were silent. A few flickers on Starlight’s horn prompted her to speak up. “We’ve got drones attacking the barrier.”

Rainbow nodded at Starlight, then turned to Twilight one more time. “Twi… I gotta head out there. I need to get things ready…”

Twilight choked down a sob and screwed her eyes shut. After a moment, though, they flew wide open when she felt Rainbow’s lips press against hers in a gentle kiss. They didn’t stay open for long, though, fluttering closed again as she wrapped one of her forelegs over Rainbow’s shoulders. For several seconds the two were locked like this, savoring the contact, and each other. When they finally parted, they looked into each other's eyes. Twilight managed a tiny smile before speaking again in barely a whisper. “Come back to me… okay?”

“I will… I promise…”

Rainbow turned to leave, but Twilight’s hoof grabbed onto hers before she could go, prompting her to look back inquisitively. Twilight took a shuddering breath. “Just… before you go… let me hear you say it. One more time, okay?”

Rainbow blinked, confused. After a moment, though, realization dawned on her face, followed by a tiny blush. “Oh, uh… right…” she glanced sheepishly at Starlight, who merely gave a small gesture with her hoof to encourage her to not mind her presence. Slightly comforted, Rainbow returned her attention to Twilight. “...I love you, Twilight.”

Twilight’s smile grew, even as a few tears ran down her cheeks. “I… I love you, too…”

With those parting words, Twilight released Rainbow’s hoof. The pegasus threw on one last cocky grin before turning away, unfurling her wings and leaping from the balcony, gliding gracefully down to disappear into the mist. Twilight watched her go, everything else fading away until the mare she loved vanished into the mist.

Chrysalis grunted with effort as she weaved around another lance of magic from King Sombra. The monster was persistent, she had to give him that. Ever since he had appeared out there in the snowy wastes, he hadn’t stopped harassing her and her swarm for even a moment. She had lost more than half of her swarm to a catatonic state to his shadow tendrils, and still more had been wounded from jets of dark magic. The size of her attack force had been cut in half, and those that remained were quickly losing what strength they had left. This infernal blizzard that surrounded the city was not helping things either, each snowflake feeling like a tiny needle piercing her chitin and making it difficult to see.

Still, they had reached their destination. And judging by the color of the massive dome of magic preventing her forward assault drones from gaining entry, she knew that Twilight Sparkle would be inside, somewhere. Even as she swerved around another strike of one of Sombra’s tendrils and got another face-full of snow, she couldn’t help but grin like an excited nymph at the prospect of finally getting her revenge on that lavender maggot. The scar on her cheek burned in anticipation, reminding her of its perpetual existence.

When it became clear that the barrier was too strong to penetrate, several of the drones attacking it backed off and took to the air high out of Sombra’s reach. Spiraling by another swipe, Chrysalis rose to join them, spying Stinger at the head of the group. The loyal drone, gasping raggedly for breath, gestured at the barrier as soon as her Queen was in speaking range. “It’s too strong!” she shouted to be heard over another of Sombra’s echoing howls and the raging blizzard. She cringed but pressed on with her report. “It would take the swarm hours to make a crack in it at full strength! What are your orders, my queen?”

Chrysalis glanced down at Sombra with a grimace. They were in a tight spot, she knew that. This being was powerful, and unless he brought out to play one of his seemingly endless number of horns, she had no real way of harming him. His amorphous body made him almost impossible to attack conventionally, something he just loved to exploit. Her drones were exhausted and unable to fight him off with their own power, only able to avoid him.

She turned her eyes back to the dome, scrutinizing it, sizing it up, and searching it for weak points. It was powerful, but not nearly as powerful as she was. An idea came to her. “Keep the shadow busy!” she ordered to what was left of the swarm while her horn began to light up with green magic. “Make sure he does not follow me. I can breach this barrier long enough to gain entry. Once I do, I will find the ones projecting it and destroy them. The barrier will collapse, allowing you all to gain entrance to the city. Once inside, we must prioritize finding the source of the city’s love and utilizing it. Such an endless supply of power should then allow us to tear this ‘king of shadows’ apart! Is that clear?!”

Her drones gave shouts of understanding. “We understand, your highness,” Stinger added in with a proud smirk of her own. “This demon will not follow you, I guarantee it.”

Chrysalis grinned. “Good. I am counting on it…” she growled with hunger and anticipation in her voice before turning to the barrier. “Our hunger is almost at an end, my subjects! One last push! Do not falter now, and you will be duly rewarded!” she called out before snarling and letting a narrow, highly focused beam of magic free from her horn. The green beam struck the surface of the barrier with a flash of blinding light and a deafening boom. The light then flickered away as quickly as it had come, accompanied by another deafening sound, this one akin to shattering glass. True to her word, a fresh hole had been punched in the barrier, one which Chrysalis wasted no time in exploiting.

With the rallied cheers of her drones echoing in her ears, Chrysalis shot through the hole in the barrier just before it sealed itself shut behind her. All at once, the chaotic din of the battle became muffled, and the freezing chill in the air became significantly lessened. The intense winds she had just been forced to suffer through immediately fell still. The newfound calm and quiet was such a stark contrast to the chaos from mere seconds ago that she couldn’t help but shudder in discomfort. She quickly composed herself, however, and allowed herself to drop to the ground, giving her exhausted wings a rest. Once she landed, she took in a deep breath through her nose, and slowly began to make her way forwards.

The streets were abandoned, she soon realized, only adding to the eeriness of her situation. There was nothing here; just buildings carved from crystal, looking like they had been lived in not more than a day ago, but now abandoned and left to make the winds whistle as it blew through them. Market stalls appeared in one or two of the plazas she passed through, all of them seemingly having been abandoned in a hurry.

Chrysalis narrowed her eyes as she went, and scrutinized every shadow and every corner, expecting an ambush at any moment. The thick fog that filled the entire dome was making it rather difficult to see where she was going. She would surely have rathered flying, but her wings were in desperate need of the rest, even if it would be brief. Besides, she had every confidence that her drones could hold out a little longer without her.

To her surprise, however, nopony came to accost her or ambush her. Instead, while she was walking through a drifting patch of mist that was denser than what surrounded it, it suddenly lit up with a rush of electricity and a boom of thunder. Chrysalis’ eyes widened as the currents of energy began to course through her body, and she shouted in pain and stumbled backward. The electricity was potent, making several of her muscles twitch and spasm against her will and filling her entire body ache. However, she maintained her composure long enough to back out of the cloud and out of reach of its lightning. While her muscles relaxed, she eyed the cloud with scrutiny.

She heard something moving not far away, shooting through the air. Looking, she just caught sight of a flicker of prismatic light fading into the mist. A small smirk grew on her face before she used her magic to dispel the electrified cloud, turning it into little more than stray vapors. “I see… very clever of you, Princess Rainbow Dash…” she muttered more to herself than anything. She resumed her journey, carefully observing the environment around her for any more traps.

This was easier said than done, of course. More than once she passed right through a wandering cloud that she failed to notice due to it being exactly the same as the mist around it. One was infused with more electricity that made her muscles dance in pain, another with ice that made then go rigid and numb.

She had thought she was starting to recognize the patterns when one suddenly came rocketing at her from the mist. She turned to face it, her horn lighting up with magic to dispel it. Before she could let her spell loose, however, the cloud suddenly burst into flames. Her eyes widened before she redirected her flow of magic to form a barrier around herself, just in time to protect her as the literal firestorm washed over her. There were several moments where the flames scorched the street around the barrier, and residual heat made her start to sweat before it finally dissipated, leaving a few embers drifting in the air.

Chrysalis growled in the back of her throat. “I see you are wise enough to know you can't face me directly!” she shouted out angrily, continuing her steady advance for the palace.

Another cloud, again bursting with electricity, came rushing at her from another direction. This time though, she was able to dispel it before it reached her, the leftover vapors washing past her harmlessly. She just saw the silhouette of a pegasus darting back into the mist, out of sight. Her hunter’s instinct demanded she give chase, but she managed to reign herself in. She just continued to press on for the palace. “You know that I would destroy you in an instant if you tried to face me,” she continued in a mocking tone. “And so you resort to booby traps and clouds filled with elements they were never meant to hold. I must commend you on your creativity…”

Another cloud came rushing in, and again, it was dispelled. “But you are fighting a losing battle. Every moment you spend trying to resist me is another moment spent making your pain worse.”

Another cloud, this was gigantic, came out of the mist. When Chrysalis went to dispel it, she was alarmed to discover it was actually many clouds lumped together. Only one of them was dispelled, while the rest slammed straight into her. A great fireball erupted from the point of impact, and Chrysalis screwed her eyes shut in pain while her horn lit up to throw up a barrier around herself. She then expanded that barrier very rapidly, forcing the remaining smoke and embers to disperse around her before letting it dissipate. She let out an impatient huff. “It is just a shame you weren’t there when I taught your dear mother that lesson...”

Silence, and no new clouds. Chrysalis grinned with sadism, knowing she had just gotten her hidden assailant's attention. She continued her walk, now strutting as if she owned the city and casually tossing her mane over her shoulders. “She tried to fight me, you know, until the very end. She fought and she fought, doing everything she could to save her precious little ponies… and it was all for nothing. She fell before me, helpless, unable to do anything but watch as I turned her entire burning city into one massive farm. And her dear sister never even had a chance to fight… Oh, you should have heard your mother’s screams when I ate from her… it was beautiful.

Something else came out of the fog this time. But instead of a cloud or a wisp of elementally charged mist, it was a rainbow-colored blur moving faster than she could react. The blur tackled her from the side just as she realized it was coming, picking her up off the ground and sending her rocketing through the air into another cloud filled with electricity. The boom of thunder than rang out from her collision drowned out her startled shout of pain. Soon, though, the cloud used up its charge and dispersed, allowing Chrysalis to rise back to her hooves with small wisps of smoke rising from her chitin. She looked ahead, finally seeing her enemy.

Rainbow Dash’s eyes were the spitting image of hate-filled murderous fury, and her teeth were bared to show this. She was gasping, not out of a need for air, but out of complete and abject rage. Her wings flared wide open in a threatening stance. “Stay away from my family!” she shouted, her voice already shaking.

Chrysalis merely grinned, idly studying one of her forehooves as if trying to find some nondescript blemish. “Oh, I don't think so...” she then flashed Rainbow a sinister, spine-chilling smirk. "They're all just too tasty..."

At those words, any restraint Rainbow had left was lost. She snapped. With a scream of rage that could be heard all the way back at the palace, she kicked off the ground with a mighty flap of her wings, launching herself in the direction of the changeling queen before her.

Chrysalis grinned.

Author's Note:

Fun Fact: This is gonna hurt.

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
PreviousChapters Next
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!