• 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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To Tartarus With The Consequences

Princess Celestia was only distantly aware of the arrival of Fluttershy, Squall Dreamer, and Thorax not long after Rainbow began screaming. She might have spoken to them, or spoken at all, but she couldn’t bring herself to tear any of her attention away from the awful sight before her. She saw Thorax pinning the assassin drone’s unconscious body to the wall with slime from his fangs while Squall helped keep her straight and still. While the two spoke, the name ‘Stinger’ was mentioned. Filing that away, Celestia then saw Fluttershy moving to Rainbow’s side, hugging her tightly and joining her in weeping over their fallen friend.

But above all of that, Princess Celestia saw her beloved daughter... crying. She was screaming and sobbing and in oh, so much pain… In her hooves was the source of that pain, the source of her grief. The sight burned itself into Celestia’s mind like a red-hot iron, making her shudder. In Rainbow’s hooves was the corpse of Twilight Sparkle, completely unchanged, save for the numerous stains in her coat left by Rainbow’s tears. Luna had remained next to them, trying in vain to offer whatever comfort she could, but there was nothing that could be done to ease Rainbow’s cries.

It was horrible… And like Rainbow herself had previously stated, it was completely unfair.

Another sob tore its way through Rainbow’s system, making her shake and shudder. The sound reached Celestia’s ears, and her heart broke just that little more. At that moment, it was the only noise that could be heard by her. Everything else was lost and muffled amid the tumultuous storm that had sprung up in the alicorn’s mind. A flurry of emotions and thoughts and wildly different ideas were struggling and battling for supremacy, each one an idea of how to make Rainbow’s pain stop.

We should pay that assassin back for what she’s done,” she heard the voice of Daybreaker whispering inside her skull, egging her on. “That drone, Stinger, tried to murder our daughter, but she got our daughter’s lover. An eye for an eye, a life for a life.”

“No, no, that is not how we do things!” Celestia thought, forcing down the flames that were steadily building in her soul. “We do not seek revenge, and we do not take lives unless we are left with no other choice! What would killing this drone even do for us at this point?”

“Catharsis! It would feel good!” Daybreaker pressed, her sadistic voice trembling eagerly with the desire for revenge. “And you can’t tell me you don’t long to pulverize that stupid bug for hurting Rainbow Dash. Just look at her! She’s crying! She’s screaming! Oh, you sit so high on your moral pedestal, thinking you’re so much better, but perhaps if you had been willing to bring your full might to bear against Chrysalis in Canterlot, if you hadn’t wasted so much time trying to convince her to surrender, if you had just killed her when you had the chance, then maybe, just maybe, we wouldn’t be here! Your insufferable need to show mercy got your student KILLED!”

Celestia closed her eyes, growling deep in her throat. “Perhaps it did, but it is that mercy that makes me better than my enemies! Chrysalis would have murdered without a second thought, Nightmare Moon would have enslaved without remorse, Discord would torment and confuse for his own entertainment! I can not- I WILL not let myself fall to their level!”

“Tch. You’re a real pain, you know that?”

“I know. Now be silent…”

The fires slowly died away as Celestia’s struggle with herself came to a close. In its place was a feeling that wasn’t much better; a hollow, empty chill that left her wanting for a blanket, or her fireplace in Canterlot, or even her own mother’s loving embrace.

She opened her eyes and solemnly looked on at the grieving mares again. Stinger was now safely immobilized and pinned against one of the tall structures that supported the roof over their heads, her horn covered in the same slime so as to block her magic. Now, Squall and Thorax stood helplessly to one side, watching the scene with solemn, uncertain eyes. And, of course, in the middle of it all, Rainbow was still crying…

Her daughter… her sweet, rambunctious, energetic little filly… her beloved Rainbow Dash… in pain…

The fur on Celestia’s chest tingle slightly, and her hoof reached up to touch the spot as a memory came rushing back to her, from the first day Rainbow had spent as her daughter. It had been so long ago, now… but the memory was as clear as if it had been mere moments ago.

“There was an accident… I was lost in thought, thinking about that Alicorn I saw again… I… if I hadn’t been distracted by that... if I’d been focusing I could have…” Rainbow sniffled and could say no more. She turned slightly at Celestia’s behest, burying her face into the alabaster alicorn’s chest fur and openly crying. Celestia looked at Twilight solemnly.

“Rainbow Dash is an orphan, Twilight. She lost her parents and was removed from the scene by local authorities,” Celestia lowered her gaze to Rainbow in deep sympathy. “When she refused to come along willingly, those authorities took her from her parents by using magic.”

“Oh my gosh…” Twilight lifted a hoof to her chest with wide eyes. “I’m so, so sorry. I didn’t know, Rainbow Dash…”

Celestia sighed and closed her eyes as she remembered the feeling of a little filly crying into her chest, clinging to her as if she were a lifeline and unloading all of her sorrows in her cries. She remembered how powerless she had been to do anything but listen to those screams and hold her. She could only let Rainbow work through it over time…

But this time…? Was there something she could do? Anything?

From somewhere deep in the back of her mind, an idea to end Rainbow’s pain came to the surface. She pondered carefully it for a moment and hesitated. She wanted to make Rainbow feel better however she could, yes, and this was her best bet for doing that, but… it was risky. So many things could go wrong, too many to count, and the long-term consequences, both big and small, would be wildly unpredictable.

But when another cry from Rainbow cut through Celestia’s thoughts, any hesitation she may have felt dissolved into nothing. Her eyes snapped open as she was again reminded of the filly crying against her so long ago. “No. Not again. I will not let her grieve again! To Tartarus with the consequences, my daughter needs me!”

With that resolution burning bright in her heart, Celestia flared open her wings and stepped forward. “Rainbow Dash, Luna, everypony; step back. Now,” she ordered in a firm voice drawing confused and even offended looks from everypony present.

Rainbow looked up at Celestia through red, puffy eyes, sniffling. “M-mom?” she asked in a hoarse croak, her voice almost completely ruined from overuse.

“I might have a way to save her,” Celestia explained quickly, not halting her approach or even slowing it down. “But I need all of you to stand back!” her voice was loud and left no room for argument.

Rainbow looked at Celestia for several seconds as she approached, before gingerly setting Twilight’s body down and rising back to her hooves, Fluttershy clinging to her all the way. The two of them backed away to give the Princess some room, watching the scene, daring to let the tiniest flicker of hope burn in their hearts. Fluttershy tore her eyes from the body to look at Celestia curiously. Through her own shaking and tears, she managed to ask a question. “How?”

Celestia didn’t answer her. She simply strode forward until she was next to the corpse of her faithful student, looking down at her with regretful eyes. Luna was still there by Twilight’s side, looking at Celestia in disbelief. She slowly rose to her hooves, trying to catch her sister’s gaze with her own. “Celestia… are you sure about this?” she asked carefully. “You know how dangerous this is…”

Celestia nodded, flashing her little sister a look of conviction that burned so bright it made her take a step back. “Yes, I am. More than I have ever been of anything in my life…” she answered before slowly lowering herself onto her haunches and gingerly scooping Twilight’s limp body into her hooves. She resisted the urge to cringe and shudder from the contact, feeling that the body was already getting cool.

Luna watched her for a few more moments, trepidation and concern in her eyes, before backing away until she stood next to Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy. Once there, Luna sat down on her haunches and pulled the still weeping pegasi against her side with her wing. “Very well. Do it,” she said simply to Celestia before falling silent.

“I don’t understand,” Thorax piped up from the side, watching the scene in confusion. “Stinger’s spell shut down all of Twilight’s bodily functions at once. She’s completely dead; there isn’t a medical technique or spell in the whole world that can undo it, as far as I know.”

“Just be quiet and watch,” Luna answered him in a cold tone, her cold glare serving as a harsh warning for him to not speak again. He clamped his mouth shut and did as he was told. Squall gave Luna a questioning look but held his peace.

Celestia was now holding Twilight’s body close to her chest with her eyes closed. Several seconds passed before her wings unfurled from her sides and spread wide open. Her many pristine feathers, which had become ruffled from all of the fighting she had done, wavered gently up and down in the soft breeze that washed over the silent roof. At the same time, a gentle glow of golden light appeared on her horn, steadily growing brighter and brighter. Celestia opened her eyes and looked sadly down at the unicorn in her hooves. “Oh, Twilight…” she whispered before lowering her horn to Twilight’s. “I’m sorry I wasn’t able to prevent this…” the horns made contact, and the glow suddenly grew so bright that everypony watching had to squint. Celestia closed her eyes again. “I couldn’t stop it… but I can reverse it…”

From the sides, Rainbow squinted through the light, her tears briefly coming to an end, the small flicker of hope in her heart growing brighter and stronger. “Twilight…” she whispered before having to shield her eyes from the blinding light of the sun.

From Celestia’s point of view, the world around her lost all shape and substance. The light washed away and vanished behind her as if she had just dove into the ocean, leaving her to float in what she saw as Twilight Sparkle’s mind and soul. It was a seemingly endless expanse of lavender and fuschia light and mist, filled with enormous leather-bound books that hung suspended in the air. These books were linked to one another by long bookmark ribbons which flickered with pulses of violet and magenta magic.

They were Twilight’s memories and thoughts, each tome filled with moving illustrations and written notes. Celestia couldn’t help but smile softly at the sight; how fitting that Twilight’s soul would look like a heavenly library. Her smile vanished in a shocked gasp when one of those books suddenly began to crumble into dust, its pages falling from the binding and eroding into little more than drifting flakes before fading into nothing. The soul was dissolving; Celestia had to act quickly if she planned to save her.

She began to fly among the books and tomes, not bothering to look into any of them. Twilight’s mental defenses had encoded them all with a very cryptic looking cipher, and Celestia didn’t have the time or need to sift through her pupil’s memories. She only ever looked at them to see what was newest to help guide her path. More and more dust filled the air over time as more and more books crumbled and eroded, the distant purple mist steadily beginning to turn dark and inky. “No, NO! Don’t give up on me, just hang on!” Celestia cried out, her desperate voice echoing all around her.

Another book crumbled, along with several others in a line by her side. A gust of freezing wind blew through the leftovers, sending a small storm of tiny paper particles into Celestia’s path. She shielded herself with her hooves and coughed violently several times before the dust passed and she could see again. When she opened her eyes, she finally caught sight of what she was looking for.

Sitting all on her own, far below in a pool of an inky dark liquid, was Twilight Sparkle, her back facing Celestia. Her ears were flat against her head, her shoulders were hunched, and she was breathing heavily and shaking in fear. The dark liquid around her hooves slowly began to crawl up her back and forelegs in several narrow, branching streams, and she shivered uncontrollably.

Celestia gave her wings a mighty flap, propelling herself hard in Twilight’s direction. Another freezing wind tore through the air against her, holding her back. It was formidable, and she almost faltered against the gale several times. She was so close; Twilight was right there! If she reached out, she would only be a few inches away from her. Of course, Twilight remained oblivious to her struggle, the intense winds not seeming to affect her in any way as more of the blackness spread over her back.

“Twilight!” Celestia called out while creating a golden light on the tip of her horn. The unicorn’s ears perked up, and her head lifted in confusion. Celestia pushed against the wind with all she had while pumping more power into the light, desperate to draw Twilight’s attention. She just managed to make some progress, closing another inch or two of the gap. She could almost feel the tips of Twilight’s coat hairs “Twilight, please! It’s me!”

Twilight slowly turned to face her, her eyes wide open and devoid of light, and her jaw agape. She stared blankly at Celestia for several seconds in confusion before looking with curiosity as Celestia outstretched her hoof.

“Twilight, take my hoof!” Celestia shouted, unable to close any more of the distance against the winds which were only ever growing stronger. “Please! Let me take you home! There are ponies who don’t want to say goodbye, yet!”

Twilight stared at the hoof for a few more moments, her expression remaining blank, before slowly reaching out. The dark rivers were crawling over her face, now, as well as winding up and down her forelegs. Celestia gave one last mighty flap of her wings, unable to sustain her struggle against the wind any longer. Thankfully, it was enough. Twilight’s hoof wrapped tightly around hers, and Celestia shivered when she felt that it was as cold as the grave. Nevertheless, she held on tight and lit up her horn with golden light. She then began to pull as hard as she could, growling with strain as the pull suddenly became like quicksand, holding onto Twilight and trying to suck her back down.

And all the while, Twilight’s blank eyes bored into Celestia’s, even as her body shook and her breath came in heaving gasps. The darkness spread over her body more, to the point that her hind legs were entirely encased. Celestia growled and pulled harder, her entire body starting to ache from the strain. “No, I am not letting you take her!” She shouted at the liquid, her eyes glowing. “It is not her time! Let! Her! GO!”

Then, with an echoing shout, Celestia successfully tore Twilight out of the dark with a blood-curdling squelch. The pool rippled and undulated, and an indescribable howl of rage breached the otherwise silent void. A skeletal hoof made of the same dark material as the pool came reaching out for Twilight, its visual appearance flickering and distorting repeatedly. The mare that was its target looked around wildly in fear and confusion as the darkness left her, watching as her own inner world warped and dissolved around her.

Celestia didn’t waste any time. With her eyes closed, her wings flared wide open, and her horn ignited with light. She reached out with her magic until she found Twilight’s core, and the small, weakly fluttering spark of power within, encased in a fragile shell.

She hesitated for just a second, one last vestige of reluctance making itself known. If she did this… there would be no going back. There would be no more second chances, and no way to tell what may happen as a result of her actions today. The fear didn’t last for more than a second, as the mental image of a tiny filly Rainbow Dash, screaming and crying, overwrote Celestia’s misgivings. With pinpoint precision, she cracked the shell around the fluttering spark in Twilight and tore it open.

All at once, the darkness was blasted away by a surge of purple light. Life flooded back into Twilight’s eyes, and she gulped in a lungful of air. Gasping and panicking, she began to look around in confusion. “Wha- what?! Where am I?! What’s happening?! Wha-” her eyes settled on Celestia, and she mouthed like a fish as she tried to speak.

“It’s okay, Twilight…” Celestia assured her gently before releasing her hold on Twilight’s hoof. “You’re going to be fine…”

Twilight tilted her head in confusion, her eyes scrutinizing every inch of Celestia’s body with curiosity. “I… I don’t understand…” she muttered. A wisp of light flew out of her chest before she could say anything else. With a small squeak of confusion, Twilight watched it as it began to fly in an almost playful circle around her, lifting her higher into the air and away from the alicorn. Celestia stayed where she was, watching with a small smile on her face. “Twilight… welcome back.”

The wisp flew in tighter circles around Twilight’s barrel, and she looked around in wide-eyed confusion before throwing her head back. Her eyes screwed themselves shut and her legs kicked out as far as they could just as the wisp of light exploded with a light that even Celestia had to close her eyes against.

The cold lifted.

Celestia felt something soft touch her cheek. Opening her eyes, she just caught sight of a single lavender feather drifting down through the blinding light…

The blinding light, at the heart of which was Celestia and Twilight, had risen high into the air, casting rays of multicolored light across the entire Empire. It hung there for several minutes, steadily growing brighter and brighter, forcing everypony present to shield their eyes and look away to keep from going blind. Despite this, Rainbow kept trying to look and see what was happening, but every time she did the light burned her eyes, forcing her to look away again. Finally, with a deafening boom and a powerful gust of air, the light faded away.

After a few seconds of hesitation, Rainbow chanced a glance and was relieved to find that she could see again. She lifted her eyes, which then widened when she saw the much dimmer light that now lingered in the air. Her jaw fell open and a gasp slipped out. “Woah…” she whispered in wonder, for the light looked just like Twilight’s cutie mark, gently rippling in the air. The star-shaped magic slowly lowered back down to the floor, and Rainbow could just make out the silhouette of her mother cradling something within. She took a hesitant step forwards. “Mom? T… Twilight?”

The starburst slowly faded away, as did the light, leaving a now exhausted looking Celestia sitting on her haunches in the center of the palace roof. Cradled in her hooves and shielded in her wings was Twilight Sparkle. Only her head was visible, but that was enough to send Rainbow into motion. Unwilling to wait for a confirmation that it was done or safe, she sprinted forwards before sliding to a stop next to her mother and looking pleadingly into her eyes. “Did it work?! Is she…” she asked quickly, daring to hope.

Celestia just gave her a small, weak smile, and nodded at Twilight’s face. Rainbow looked, and after a second, she gasped.

Twilight was breathing. And she was smiling.

Twilight Sparkle was alive.

Rainbow could barely believe it. All over again, tears began to well up in her eyes, and she fell to her haunches. While she was struggling to contain herself, Fluttershy trotted up to her side and patted her on the shoulder. These were not tears of grief or of sorrow, however. Barely stifling a half sob, Rainbow reached out to put her hoof on top of Twilight’s head. “Twilight… she’s alive…” she then looked up into Celestia’s eyes with an unspeakable amount of gratitude in her own. “Mom… thank you… thank you so m-much. I… I… just… thank you… a million times, thank you…

Celestia nodded slowly. “Of course, Rainbow…” she said, her voice quiet and breathless.

Luna slowly came forwards, worried. “Celestia, you’re exhausted. I think you’ve done enough, today…” she urged gently.

“Is Twilight going to be okay?” Fluttershy asked, her own voice still raw and tender from her own crying mere minutes ago.

“She may need some medical attention, and it may be a long while before she wakes up…” Celestia answered with a small huff. “Having your soul pulled out of the void at the last second can be very draining, after all… but yes. Twilight will be fine...”

Rainbow just petted Twilight’s mane a few more times before something over her head caught her eye. Curious, she looked up and saw a single lavender feather slowly drifting down through the air. For a moment, she was confused. But when the feather passed right in front of her face on its journey to the ground, she saw Twilight’s face just behind it. The colors were exactly the same. Her eyes widened as she watched it come to a rest, then turned her gaze to her mother. “Mom… is that… did you…?” she tried to ask, unsure of how to properly formulate the question.

Celestia’s smile lessened somewhat, and she slowly pulled her wings away to reveal all of Twilight underneath. Rainbow’s eyes shot open even wider in shock when two large feathered wings stretched out from Twilight’s back at no longer being restricted by Celestia’s embrace. Twilight herself stretched in the princesses hooves, a quiet hum coming from somewhere deep in her throat before she came to a rest again.

Twilight Sparkle was alive…

And she was an alicorn.

Author's Note:

Fun Fact: There will be consequences for what Celestia just did. Some good, some bad.

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