• 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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To say that the party was a resounding success would have been a gross understatement. It didn’t take any time at all for word of the event and the generosity of these strangers to reach all across the empire, drawing many curious ponies to the scene. They were greeted with a plaza packed with ponies laughing amongst themselves, nibbling on tiny pastries and enjoying drinks of crystal berry juice.

Surprisingly, Pinkie Pie had managed to convince somepony in the empire to let her borrow their vintage record player and, at present, had a specific vinyl playing on it - her own personal party mix. Apparently, she had packed it along in her saddlebags when they had left Ponyville. The upbeat tunes, while a bit scratchy due to the old nature of the record player, was more than enough to have drawn a few ponies to a small area reserved for dancing.

Pinkie Pie was proud to say that this was some of her finest work; especially considering her limited resources.

Things had been going for a good hour now, and the mood in the area was light and cheerful and the plaza was packed. Rainbow looked on from the shade beneath the palace, a small smile on her face. Pinkie had really outdone herself today, hadn’t she?

“Um, hey, Rainbow,” came the quiet voice of Fluttershy from her right. Rainbow glanced her way, her smile widening when she spotted the pegasus in question slowly trotting up to her side. “I’m not interrupting anything, am I?”

“Nah, you’re good Fluttershy. It’s kinda loud out here, isn’t it? How are you holding up?” she asked, casually leaning against one of the massive supports.

Fluttershy gave a weak smile. “Oh, I’m fine. Pinkie convinced me to dance for a few minutes, and, um…” she shook her head, a slight blush of embarrassment spreading on her cheeks. “I just want to get away from the noise for a bit.”

“I bet,” Rainbow nodded and looked at the ongoing party again. Her smile slowly began to fade away, replaced with a tense grimace. “...I’m gonna have to step up and talk to all of them here in a little bit…”

Fluttershy was quick to catch on to Rainbow’s anxiety. With a sweet smile, she came closer and wrapped a foreleg around her shoulders in an effort to comfort her. “Oh, you poor thing. Don’t worry, we’ll all be nearby to cheer you on.”

“I’m not scared of the attention, Flutters,” Rainbow dismissed, although she did lean into the hug without complaint. “I’m just… not sure I’m the best pony to break the news to them that they’ve been gone for so long…”

Fluttershy gave Rainbow a reassuring squeeze before pulling back a little. “I understand… I’m always afraid if I have to do any kind of public speaking, too…”

“Heh, yeah, I know that. You kinda start squeaking like a mouse,” Rainbow chuckled weakly before she let a forehoof up to her face. “Ugh… I just hope these ponies really can help us…”

Fluttershy looked away, her expression drooping. “I hope so, too…”

The last song on Pinkie’s collection ended, and with it, all of the music came to a stop. The dancing stopped and many of the ponies in the crowd began to look distinctly peeved at the sudden end in the beats. Rainbow took one more deep breath. “It’s time… here goes nothing,” she muttered before lifting into the air on her wings and flying at a decently slow pace to hover above the bulk of the crowd.

“Good luck,” Fluttershy gently called after her from the ground. Rainbow smiled back, then focused on getting into position.

The ponies below caught sight of her and watched her with confusion, skepticism, and curiosity. She grimaced inwardly from the distinctly negative emotions, then cleared her throat. “Ahem. Attention everypony! Up here!” she called out, drawing the eyes of everypony else who had yet to look at her. She took a second to get her thoughts in order, then continued.

“For those of you who were late to the party, my name is Rainbow Dash. The ponies with me are Twilight Sparkle, Fluttershy, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Wind Whisper, and Rarity. We also have a baby dragon named Spike and a bat pony named Squall Dreamer with us. We’re not from around here, clearly, and I’m sure you’re all pretty curious about why a bunch of strangers suddenly came waltzing into your empire after your last king vanished in a big flash of light, right?”

The ponies in the crowd began to glance at each other uneasily, a few muttering to each other. Some of them began to look suspicious and skeptical, while others still looked angry or saddened at the mentioning of King Sombra.

Rainbow felt a bead of sweat forming on her brow.

“Well, first of all, there is something everypony should know…” she continued slowly, making sure she had everypony’s attention. “This place, here? The Crystal Empire? Well… there’s no easy way to tell all of you this… But because Sombra was kind of a sore loser, it’s been gone for a thousand years. It vanished into thin air, and everypony inside of it went along for the ride. So… welcome back, huh?” she tried to put on a small smile to ease the blow this news would deal, but it didn’t work. Audible gasps erupted from many of the ponies in the crowd, and Rainbow was sure she could hear a few of them trying to withhold sorrowful cries.

She sighed guiltily and slumped in the air. “Yeah, that wasn’t alright. Sorry… Okay, look,” she lifted her eyes and wore a more determined expression. “The issue of the Empire’s absence can be dealt with later. First… my friends and I need the Empire’s help.”

“With what?!” somepony in the crowd angrily shouted, stepping forward. Her entire body was shaking from the bombshell she had just had dropped on her. “Who are you, anyway? Why are you here?!”

Others in the crowd loudly voiced their agreement with the sentiment, and the once happy eyes of everypony around Rainbow quickly turned into looks of suspicion and anger. She lifted her hooves in front of her in a placating gesture. “Woah, Woah, take it easy. I’m not your enemy, okay? We’re from Equestria… I’m…” Rainbow bit her lip for a moment, trying to figure out how to dissolve this situation. An idea came to her, though she absolutely hated it. Still, it wasn’t like she had any better options right now.

Her face hardened again and she straightened her posture. “I guess I should more formally introduce myself, shouldn’t I? Alright. I am Princess Rainbow Dash of Equestria, adopted daughter to Princess Celestia, and I have come here to the Crystal Empire on behalf of Equestria to seek the Empire’s aid against an invading enemy!” she loudly declared, and the bitterness in the crowd was quickly washed away into curious silence. Rainbow, relieved by the more docile ambiance, searched the crowd for a few specific faces. She saw them quickly; Twilight, Spike, Fluttershy, Pinkie, and Whisper were all crowded together in one spot, giving her reassuring nods and smiles, although Twilight’s eyes were pleading with her to proceed with caution.

“So…” Rainbow continued a little awkwardly, snapping out of a trance she didn’t realize she had fallen into. “I guess this is the part where I ask you all to take me to your leader.”

There was a deafening silence throughout the plaza, and the ponies of the Empire looked between each other anxiously. The silence dragged on and on, and Rainbow could feel herself starting to lose some of her smile. Finally, one of the ponies in the crowd, a pale brows stallion with a silvery mane and tail, slowly stepped forward to be a bit closer. “We… don’t have a leader.”

Rainbow sighed and lowered herself down to the ground. Her hooves clopped heavily against the crystalline surface of the plaza. “I was afraid of that… well, who here is the closest thing to a leader? Who has the most authority?”

Again, silence. The stallion shuffled back and forth on his hooves, looking down at the ground as if he were ashamed. “I can’t remember…” he mumbled, his ears drooping to lay flat against his head.

Rainbow blinked. “Uh, what? What does that mean?”

“None of us can remember much of anything before King Sombra came to power…” another pony, a mare chimed in, her voice sounding tired and weak. Her coat was a dull gray and her mane and tail were similarly dull shades of purple. Her blue eyes looked like they may have once been vibrant, but were muted and washed out. In truth, that seemed to be the case for everypony, now that Rainbow really looked. Odd… they had been so colorful a minute ago. The mare cringed and shook her head with an uncomfortable shudder working through her. “And I don’t want to remember a single minute about the time he spent ruling over us. But even those times are…” her words trailed off as she searched for the right words.

“Murky?” The stallion offered gently, to which the mare could only nod, along with many of the others in the crowd who were within earshot.

“So, wait,” Starlight cut in, stepping up from somewhere in the crowd, her eyes betraying her utter disbelief. “You mean to tell us that none of you can remember anything? Anything at all?”

“Well… we know our names, the names of our friends and family, but…” the mare closed her eyes and sighed. “Everything else… it’s just darkness, shadows, chains, pain and… and his voice… that terrible voice...”

Rainbow furrowed her brow in thought. The entire population of the empire had amnesia. Well, this was going to make things difficult. “Starlight, please tell me you have a spell that can fix memories?” She looked at Starlight with a pleading look, hoping the magically gifted mare could offer some solution. Starlight could only shrug and back away when she saw Rainbow’s pupils dilating again. Puffing out a breath from between her lips, Rainbow looked around again.

“Why do you need our help, specifically?” the mare asked slowly, perking up a bit with curiosity. “I mean, why didn’t you go to one of Equestria’s other allies? You have to have some, don’t you?”

Rainbow glanced at her for a second. “I…” she hesitated and scuffed a hoof along the ground. ”I’m not a hundred percent sure if I’m being honest. My friend, Twilight, was the one who convinced us to come here.”

Taking that as a cue to step in, Twilight left the others and cantered out from the crowd until she was next to Rainbow Dash. The crowd muttered to each other a bit while waiting for her to get into position, and she glanced at them sheepishly. She soon got a hold of herself, though, and spoke up. “Before we came here, I was contacted by Princess Luna via a dream. She’s a prisoner of our enemy right now, so she didn’t have much time to tell me what the plan was. All she did was encourage us to come here to the Empire and try to break the spell that was sealing it. If we were successful, we were to look for some kind of… ‘power’ hidden here, one strong enough to help us take back Canterlot. But she didn’t elaborate…” she explained before glancing at Rainbow.

“So… does that ring any bells? Super powerful magic in the Empire?” Rainbow called out to the crowd, hoping for some valid answers. A few moments passed in silence before the stallion spoke up again.

“Well, I know there’s a library somewhere in the city. I passed it on my way here. Maybe you can-” he started, but then stopped talking when he saw the enormous smile that had suddenly grown on Twilight’s face.

“A library! Of course! Where is it?” the unicorn practically squealed like a little filly in a candy shop while eagerly trotting in place, making the stallion take a step back in mild alarm. Rainbow couldn’t help herself and had to lift a hoof to her muzzle to stifle a chuckle that was threatening to explode out.

“Oh, uh…” The stallion managed to regain his composure, then gestured down one of the streets. “It’s that way,” he said before offering a bashful shrug. “I don’t remember exactly where though… I only passed it once. I’m sorry.”

“That’s fine, we can find it,” Rainbow nodded to him in thanks before turning back to look at her friends. They seemed to be eager to get a move on. Nodding, Rainbow then turned back to the crowd and spoke loudly to ensure she was heard. “Thank you for the information, ponies! I think that’s the best we can do for now. We’re going to head to the library and do some research on the Empire. If we’re lucky, maybe we can find out a way to help you all get your memories back.”

“If you can do that, we’d be in your debt,” the mare said with a small, hopeful smile, her voice gaining just a bit more energy at the prospect. She then glanced back at the crowd of assembled ponies and sagged a little bit. “But… until then…” she sighed and began to slowly trudge back to the crowd. “All we can do is say good luck.”

“Hopefully, we won’t need it,” Rainbow replied before nodding to the crowd at large. “Okay, you should all get a move on, now. Party’s over.”

There were a few grumbles of disappointment from the crowd, but the ponies began to trot back out into the city proper, probably to go for lunch or their homes. Rainbow took in a deep breath, then let it out while her friends gathered around her.

“You did good, Rainbow,” Twilight offered with a smile, draping a foreleg over the other mare’s shoulders. Rainbow hummed and leaned into the embrace, opting to not say anything for now and just enjoy the contact.

“Indeed. Now we just have to find this library,” Rarity added while glancing down the street that the stallion had indicated. Her brow furrowed with uncertainty. “And hope it has what we need.”

“It’ll be a starting point, at least,” Twilight said before releasing Rainbow and nodding to the group at large. “So… to the library?”

Everypony, sans for Starlight, voiced their agreement. “To the library!”

Author's Note:

I cannot even BEGIN to tell you how hard this chapter was to write when I sat down to work on it. I must have rewritten the second half at least three times before It was where I wanted it to be. I hope that my indecision and the migraine this chapter gave me didn't bleed through my writing and ruin it for you.

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