• Published 25th May 2018
  • 2,227 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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Unwaking Twilight - Second Verse (Part I)

The next day.

“So… here we are again,” Rainbow noted solemnly from her place by Twilight’s bedside in the crystal palace infirmary, looking at the still comatose alicorn with a somber expression.

Over the last twenty-four hours, none of the Equestrian Royal Family had gotten much of a break. Between trying to maintain a steady line of communication with Equestria through Spike to assess the damage and coordinate repair and relief efforts, moving Stinger to the dungeons, and the Crystal Ponies hailing Rainbow Dash as their new leader despite her own protests, they had their hooves full. And all of that wasn’t even taking into consideration the fact that Twilight had been confirmed to be in a coma by one of the doctors of the empire, who had stepped out from the infirmary for a while to give Rainbow some privacy.

Twilight’s chest steadily rose and fell with every soft breath she took. Her eyes were closed, and despite all of the horrible things they had been through in the last month, she managed to look peaceful. Her condition had not changed since she had been brought here, and there was no way to tell how long she would be out for. It was disheartening to think about, but if nothing else, Rainbow could give praise that Twilight Sparkle was alive. Plus, given the new wings she had, Rainbow was already planning out the best way to teach Twilight how to use them when she woke up.

Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard the sound of Spike yawning from her side. Smiling warmly, she turned and looked down at him. He had been with her pretty much since they had brought Twilight back down from the roof, and had taken the news of everything that had happened especially hard. He was even forgoing being around Rarity just so he could be of help to the mare who raised him. The poor little guy had worked himself ragged, but he continuously denied any suggestions for sleep.

Still, Rainbow just had to ask. “You sure you don’t want to take a nap?”

Spike shook his head adamantly. “No. I’m good…” he replied in a drowsy voice.

Rainbow gave a gentle shake of her head before looking at Twilight again. “...So. How long’s it been since her last coma? Like, five years or something?” she asked in a quiet, reminiscing voice.

Spike shrugged absently at the question, his eyes going distant as he thought back. “Something like that…” he muttered before another yawn slipped out of him. “Whew… and she was out for a few months, too,” he added while groggily scratching his back.

Rainbow nodded. “Yeah… and who knows how long she’ll be out this time…” she said before closing her eyes and leaning back with a long, tired groan. “Ugh, and I still have a million and two things to deal with all over the Empire… why did the crystal ponies decide to put me in charge? I don’t even have a claim to the throne!”

Spike gave her a thoughtful look. “Well, I mean, you’re the first royal to come here since Sombra, you saved them from two separate evils, you found the Crystal Heart all on your own, and you were the one to bring it back to the center of the empire. That was all you. I think they made an okay choice, all things considered.”

“An okay choice, not a great one,” Rainbow rebuffed before burying her face in her hooves. After a few moments of quietly getting herself together, she lifted her face with a deep breath. “Alright… okay, I’d best be getting a move on. I, uh…” she hesitated in her speech as she rose to her hooves. Her tail flicked a few times to dust off her flank before she turned to head for the door. “I have to talk to our friends.”

Spike blinked and watched her go in confusion. “Why? Is something wrong?” he asked, prompting Rainbow to pause in the doorway and look back at him.

She smiled and shook her head. “No, not really. It’s not a big deal; just stay here and keep an eye on Twilight, okay? I know that whenever she wakes up, she’d love to see her number one assistant,” she stated with a wink before slipping out of the room and closing the door behind her.

Maybe ten minutes later, Rainbow entered into a large and exquisite dining hall. It had been recently refurbished and redecorated in the aftermath of Sombra’s destruction, the walls polished to a shine and gorgeous, pale maroon tapestries hanging from the tall ceiling that depicted a snowy wonderland at sunset. A long table made up of gently sparkling topaz was at the very center of the room, topped with a pale white tablecloth to protect its smooth surface from stray food or errant silverware. Fifteen seats for ponies (and one dragon) were evenly distributed around the table, and seven of them were already filled.

Fluttershy sat in the leftmost chair. Quietly nibbling on a humble salad. She was looking to her right, where Thorax, Wind, and Squall could be seen sitting as well. His injured foreleg having been bandaged up quite heavily. He was idly nibbling on some berries, even if only to save face, a small bowl filled with the things in front of him. Squall was happily eating a somewhat larger salad, while Wind gorged herself on a slice of crystal berry pie, the rest of which was kept out of her reach at the center of the table. On the other end, Applejack, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie sat close together, chatting quietly among themselves about one thing or another. Whatever food they had been eating was already consumed, with only a few stray crumbs littering their otherwise polished plates. All eyes turned to Rainbow as she entered.

“Howdy, Princess,” Applejack greeted with a friendly wave and wink. “How’s the rulin’ goin’?”

Rainbow gave her a hard look at the title. “Stop it,” she warned lightly before chuckling and sitting down at one of the seats between the two groups. “But to answer your question, it’s… going? I guess? I’ve had to stop and ask mom and aunt Luna for advice more times in the last twelve hours then when I was going through puberty.”

Pinkie Pie cringed in a very exaggerated manner at that. “Oh dear…” she said before giggling to herself. “How awkward were those days?”

Rainbow just shook her head. “Too awkward. Laugh it up, Pinks. Now, then… I suppose you all want to know what the deal is with Twilight,” she said, drawing the attention of everypony present.

“Is the dear going to be alright?” Rarity asked timidly, her ears drooping somewhat while her hooves fidgeted with one another. “It is simply awful what happened to her, majestic new wings or not,” she added with a dramatic sigh.

“She’ll be fine,” Rainbow replied with a smile before her voice got just a touch more solemn. “Although it may be a long time before she wakes up… Turning somepony into an alicorn to save their life is, well… it’s not normal. Twilight’s body is probably going to need a long time to really recover from everything.”

“I’m still shocked Celestia was actually able to pull it off,” Thorax noted with a hint of confusion and awe in his voice before popping another berry into his mouth.

“How come?” Wind asked curiously while poking his hoof with her own. “She’s the princess. She can do anything.”

Thorax swallowed his berry and smiled down at her. “Well, it’s just that, uh…” he looked up at Squall, who looked back at him with a neutral look. Thorax chuckled sheepishly and stared deeply into his bowl. “Well… the spell Stinger used was one invented by Chrysalis herself for assassinations. She taught it only to her most trusted agents. Pharynx knows it, Stinger knows it, Trachea knows it. Its whole function is to completely kill whoever it hits, shutting down every single bodily function at once. It was designed to be impossible to heal.”

Wind tilted her head. “Ooooh… sounds mean,” she said slowly. After a moment, she perked up and looked around curiously. “Oh, uh, speaking of Pharynx… where is he? He didn’t come to breakfast,” she mused before taking another bite from her pie.

Thorax sighed and looked down at his bowl again, his hooves tightening around it. “I... don’t know. I haven’t seen him since yesterday… I think he’s going home.”

Squall raised an eyebrow. “Home?” he pressed cautiously.

Thorax nodded. “The Hive. It's where changelings come from. Basically, every changeling in the empire and in Equestria is going back there. But, without Queen Chrysalis, there is going to be a pretty big power vacuum… and I know Pharynx. His loyalties are still with the hive over everything else.”

Rainbow narrowed her eyes at him as he spoke. When he was done, she leaned forward slightly, drawing his attention. “So tell us; are the changelings going to be a problem in the future?” she asked simply, making Thorax twitch.

“I wish I knew. Maybe. It all depends on what Pharynx does when he gets back. I mean…” he lifted one of his hole-ridden hooves and slowly rotated it. “He knows that there’s a better way to feed ourselves, now… I’m hoping he can take charge of the hive and make them see it, too. Maybe, one day, ponies and changelings can live in peace...”

Applejack nodded with a small smile at that. “Ah would be happy with that… bein’ ar war is nasty business,” she said before looking over at Rainbow Dash. Her smile fell away and a worried frown crept into its place when she saw just how distant Rainbow’s eyes were. “...You feelin’ alright, sugarcube? Y’all have been through a lot lately…”

Rainbow shook herself, smiled and nodded. “I’m okay. Tired, beat up, exhausted, but okay. Once things back home calm down a bit, I can start relaxing a bit more…” her smile faded, and her face fell. “And that, uh… that reminds me…”

“Uh oh. Is there bad news?” Pinkie asked at the tone of Rainbow’s voice. “Because that’s not a happy fun time voice. That’s an ‘I gotta say something I really don’t wanna say’ voice.”

“Heh. Spot on,” Rainbow admitted with a small laugh before shaking her head and putting her hooves together on the table. “Look… the Ponyville refugees are going to be heading home from Manehattan soon, and… well…” she took a deep breath. “...I think you should all go back to Ponyville, too.”

“WHAT?!” Pinkie Pie shrieked while slamming her hooves down on the table, making the berries in Thorax’s bowl jump up a few inches. “Why would you want to send us back without you?!”

Rainbow gave her an apologetic look. “Because, Pinkie, you all have a lot more friends and family back in Ponyville than I do. I know you’re all okay and safe, but your friends and family don’t. Rarity has to go see Sweetie Belle and her parents, Applejack has Apple Bloom, Big Mac and Granny Smith to check on, not to mention a farm to put back into motion, you have the Cakes, Pinkie, and Fluttershy has all of her animals that are probably going to be scared and confused out of their fuzzy little minds.”

Fluttershy gave a timid nod at that. “Oh, yes, I’ve been so worried about them ever since we left Ponyville… I’ve been gone a lot longer than I had been hoping,” she admitted, a few locks of her mane falling in front of her face.

“Yeah, ya got a point there, RD,” Applejack admitted with a sigh. She leaned back in her seat and blew out a puff of air between her lips, making her cheeks balloon up. “Apple Bloom… Ah can only imagine how she’s been feelin’ since we took off.”

“Yes, same for Sweetie Belle…” Rarity agreed with a solemn nod.

Rainbow gestured at them. “See? You all have ponies that mean a lot to you waiting for you back home. But me…?” she sat back again. “Well… my family’s all already here. And… Twilight’s here and she can’t leave. I’m not leaving her side… so I can’t go home until she wakes up,” she finalized before offering all of her friends a happy grin. “But hey, I know you’ll all be there waiting for us when we can come back, and I know that I’ll be leaving Ponyville in good hooves while I’m gone.”

Pinkie stood up and waved a hoof frantically in the air. “Oh! Oh! Party! I wanna throw you a welcome back to Ponyville party!” she declared eagerly with an enormous grin on her face.

Rainbow laughed and nodded. “Sure, Pinkie, I’m looking forward to it!”

“What about Starlight?” Wind suddenly cut in, making everypony go quiet.

Rainbow winced. The lilac unicorn had been… reclusive ever since Sombra was defeated. She was mostly holed up in her room, refusing to come out except to grab food, which she would usually take back with her. She would occasionally stop to make idle chatter with anypony but Rainbow Dash as she went. As far as Rainbow could tell, she was just waiting for a ride out of here.

“She’ll… be taking the first chariot to Canterlot,” Rainbow said after a few moments of silence. “She has a friend there, Sunburst. She was supposed to see him before the changelings even made their first move. We’ve been keeping her from that for a long while, now…” she closed her eyes and shivered, memories of Manehattan and the train briefly flashed in her mind’s eye.

Everypony shared thoughtful looks for a few seconds. Eventually, though, Rarity cleared her throat to get the discussion going again. “So, Rainbow Dash… if you are positive you want us to go on ahead without you, then when are we heading home?” she asked slowly.

“I’ll have Spike send the order for transportation chariots when we’re done here. They’ll probably be here in a couple days.”

“Starlight’s taking the Canterlot chariot?” Wind asked with a tilt of her head. “That’s where Dreamy and I live. Can we go with her?”

“Wind, my nickname!” Squall hissed at her with a slight red tint on his cheeks. “Please, not in front of the princess!”

“Oh, sorry,” Wind apologized while clamping her hooves over her muzzle.

Thorax chuckled weakly from the side at that, smiling softly at the siblings. “Well, I’m glad you’ll be getting to go home. Whisper could use her own bed back, I bet…” he mumbled with a hint of sadness in his voice.

The mood slowly dropped, and all eyes turned to the drone and the ponies around him. Fluttershy’s brow furrowed, and she reached out to gently touch his uninjured shoulder. “Thorax… what are you going to do now?” she asked softly, sliding her hoof down his shoulder in a comforting pet.

Thorax hesitated and downed the last of his berries. Once he swallowed, he sighed heavily and hid his face in his hooves. “I don’t know…” he answered in a miserable voice. “I can’t go back to the hive. Even if Pharynx manages to take charge, a lot of drones would probably try to kill me on sight for betraying them. I… don’t really have anywhere else to go, though…”

Wind looked up at Thorax sadly, then turned to poke Squall repeatedly in the chest with an expectant look in her eyes. The thestral did his best to ignore her, but he briefly caught sight of her pleading expression and quivering lip. He recoiled as if he had been struck and caved. With a small sigh and smile, he rotated in his chair to look at Thorax more directly. “Actually, Thorax, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about something,” he began, drawing the drone’s attention.


Squall rested a hoof on Wind’s head as he spoke. “You saved Wind’s life… you took good care of her for me when I couldn’t. I can never, ever, in a million years hope to repay you for the gift of her safety. Really, I can’t put it eloquently enough…”

Thorax smiled softly and nodded. “I just did what I had to. I mean, it was kinda my fault she needed help to begin with… I was just making up for what I’d done wrong.”

“But you didn’t have to,” Squall countered gently. “You could have just kept on going with the Queen’s plans and been perfectly fine. But you went against her wishes to save an innocent little filly so you could make up for your mistakes… you risked everything for her and I. Thank you.”

Thorax’s cheeks darkened somewhat, and he stared deep down into his empty bowl of berries. “W-well… ah…”

“But more than that,” Squall continued in a softer voice before looking down at Wind again. “Wind here? This little bundle of joy and energy? She’s been singing your praises ever since I got back. Last night, when we were getting ready to sleep, she just wouldn’t stop talking about you. I swear, I think my ear almost fell off from how much she was gushing,” he then looked up at Thorax with a small grin. “It’s like she looks up to you as much as she looks up to me…”

Wind bounced a few times under Squall’s hoof while turning to look up at Thorax with big eyes. “I only said it because it’s true! You’re amazing and wonderful, Thorax!”

Thorax’s blush deepened from the praise, and he tried to wave his hoof dismissively. “That’s really nice, Wind, but really, I’m not worth all that-”

“She also wanted me to ask you something…” Squall interrupted him before leaning forward. “You just said you don’t have anywhere to go… you’re essentially homeless now, right?”

“Uh… yeah?”

Squall smiled widely and leaned back. “Well… I can’t ever pay off my debt to you, but I can sure try. And right now, the best way I can think of to start is to offer you a place with Wind and me in our home in Canterlot.”

There was a collective gasp of surprise from the gathered ponies, while Thorax’s jaw dropped as far as it could. He stared at Squall in shock for several long seconds before clamping his mouth closed. “Are… are you sure?” he asked, a slight tremor in his voice.

“Of course!” Wind replied before launching from her seat to tackle Thorax and hug him tight. He grunted in surprise but returned the embrace all the same. Wind then looked up at him and flashed her fangs in a large, adorable grin. “I’ve been wanting another brother for a long time! It gets kinda samey with only one boy in the family and a lot of girls.”

“Aaaaw,” Fluttershy cooed, her hooves reaching up to rest over her heart. “That’s so sweet of you, Wind!”

Wind just giggled and hugged Thorax tighter.

Squall rolled his eyes. “Heh. Leave it to Wind to already adopt you… but what do you say?” he asked before holding his hoof out to Thorax.

The changeling drone stared at the hoof for several seconds, his eyes shifting as a million and one thoughts sped wildly through his mind. He looked down at Wind in his hooves, and some of the more fearful thoughts came bubbling up to the surface. “B-but… the attack on Canterlot… everypony there is going to hate me…”

“Leave that to me,” Rainbow suddenly cut in with a sly grin. “I’ll have mom and Aunt Luna both issue you a formal pardon. Hey, I’ll add in my own for the hay of it. You’ve earned a shot at being happy. If you want to live in Canterlot, then I’m sure we can make your new home comfortable and accommodating, and keep any would-be grudge holders off your back.”

Thorax’s eyes widened even more. “Seriously? You’d do all that for me?” he choked out in disbelief.

Rainbow rolled her eyes and kicked back in her seat. “Well, Duh! Look at everything you did for us! You gave us intel, you helped us out, you took care of Wind, and at the last minute you saved my family and, by extension, the rest of us, and Equestria to boot. You’re a freaking hero! A full pardon? Pfft! Dude, you should be getting, like, a mountain of medals of honor!”

Completely dumbstruck and at a loss for words, Thorax looked down at Wind again, gazing deep into her icy blue eyes and her enormous, happy smile. He then looked up at Squall, who was still holding out his hoof with an expectant look on his face. Whatever restraint Thorax had left faded away when Wind snuggled just a little closer to him with a soft, barely perceptible hum. His eyes refocused, allowing him to see the pink haze in the air. He was almost floored by how much of it there was, all of it for him… from everyone. Licking his lips, he began to laugh. It was happy and joyful, the most elated noise he had ever made. He squeezed Wind tight against his chest while his wings lifted him out of his seat. He briefly disengaged from the hug to them fly down and take Squalls hoof in his for a firm shake. “Yes, yes, please! Oh, thank you, thank you so much!”

“YAY!” Wind Whispered cheered, doing a backflip in the air. Now hovering there, she began to do little twirls and spins and flips while loudly announcing her happiness. “I got a new brother! I got a new brother!”

“Should I throw you three a ‘Congratulations on adopting a changeling drone as your new brother and also thank you for saving Equestria’ party?” Pinkie asked eagerly while leaning over the table and blinking at them suggestively. “I can bring my party canon~”

Wind came out of another spin with a gasp. She then looked down at Squall while practically vibrating with energy. “Oh, Pinkie throws the best parties! I’ve only seen the one, but it was amazing! Can we have her throw us a party? Please? Pretty please? Please please please-”

“Wind, stop!” Squall laughed while tugging her out of the air and holding her back to his chest with his hooves. She squirmed and laughed as he gave her an affectionate noogy. “You just love to be loud and annoying sometimes, don’t ya?”

“Uh huh!” Wind chirped back while playfully swatting at his hoof with hers.

Squall rolled his eyes again and gave Thorax an inviting smile. “Well, sure, why not? It’d be an honor to have the Element of Laughter throw us a party.”

“Just save it for after the trip home, okay?” Rainbow requested lightly while looking back and forth between the two groups. “I’ve still got a lot to deal with here, and no offense, Pinkie, but your parties are super distracting.”

“Oki Doki Loki!” Pinkie agreed with a small salute.

“Will the rest of us get invitations?” Applejack asked with a raised eyebrow. “Ah know Ah could use a party sooner than later.”

Pinkie gave her answer, and soon enough the table was eagerly chatting amongst themselves about the details. Rainbow took part for a little while, but eventually, she excused herself from the conversation to head back for the infirmary. She passed some guards on the way, and each of them bowed their heads as they passed. She let them, just focusing on getting where she needed to be.

When she returned, she was surprised to find that Princesses Celestia, Luna, and Cadance were all present by Twilight’s bed, all looking more than a little worn out. Spike stood on the other side of the bed from them, his head resting on the edge and quiet little snores slipping out of him. The alicorns all lifted their eyes to meet Rainbow’s as she entered, and she gave them all a small smile. “Hey, guys. I’m back,” she announced gently as she approached the bed. She sat back down on her haunches next to it. She looked at Spike for a second before reaching out and gently hoisting him up onto the bed until he was lying against Twilight’s side. He stirred and mumbled quietly in his sleep but otherwise did not respond to the movement.

“He was like this when we got here,” Luna whispered gently, eyeing the baby dragon with a fond expression. “His determination and dedication are admirable…”

“Yeah, it is,” Rainbow nodded while trotting around to take a seat by Celestia’s side. She felt her mother drape one of her large wings over her, pulling her against her side. Rainbow didn’t object or resist, leaning against Celestia with a soft sigh. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, then opened them up to look at Twilight’s still unwaking face.

“I hope you wake up soon, Twilight,” she thought to herself. “The sooner you’re awake, the sooner we can go home…”

Author's Note:

And so ends the
'Changeling Arc'

And begins the
'Unwaking Twilight Reprise Arc.'

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