• Published 29th Jul 2019
  • 1,232 Views, 73 Comments

A Place to Call Home - CrimsonWolf360



Tempest tries to find her place in Equestria after returning from her travels. After some time feeling like an outcast, Tempest begins to question her decision to come back. That is, until Twilight drags her to a Wonderbolts show. It doesn't go well.

  • ...
6
 73
 1,232

Chapter 4: Am I Worth All This

Two Hours Later

The sound of hoofsteps approaching up the stairs echoed through the empty space of the door, and alerted Tempest to their presence. She quickly rose from her bed and dropped to the ground as quietly as possible before stepping to the door without making a sound. Only a few moments later, the hoofsteps reached the door and stopped. Tempest tilted her head to the side as she waited for the pony on the other side of the door to make up their mind as to what they wanted to do. She didn't have to wait long, and within seconds, there was a polite knock at the door. Already knowing who was knocking, Tempest took a deep breath and opened the door to reveal Twilight.

"Can I help you, Princess?" Tempest addressed her with the most calm, collected voice she could.

"Um... Can I come in?" Twilight hesitantly replied.

Tempest stuck her head out of the doorway and looked down the hallway both directions. After finding no prying eyes or listening ears, she nodded and stepped aside to let Twilight in. The princess quickly walked into her room, and the door was promptly shut behind her.

Now standing in Tempest's room, Twilight surveyed its contents once more. As was the last time, there was no sign of any personal belongings in the room, save for the crate bearing what remained of the Storm King's logo. She turned back around to find Tempest staring at her with a mixed expression on her face.

"Listen, Tempest, I-" Twilight tried to say.

"I know. Look, I'm still trying to adjust to everything and I'm not used to so many ponies offering me... well, anything, really... So I'm sorry if I came across as ungrateful back there. I just let my old habits get the better of me." Tempest interjected, causing Twilight to do a double take.

"Tempest... I understand. Thank you for that. It really means a lot to me that you feel that way, but that wasn't why I came up here. I honestly think you'd be completely justified in feeling the way you did." Twilight replied, her face adorning a friendly smile.

Tempest looked confused for a second, "Then... if that's not what you're here for... then why are you up here?" She asked.

"Well... If I'm being honest... I just wanted to see how you were doing. Not just with regards to what happened yesterday, but in general. Ever since you got back, and please don't get mad about me saying this, but you've been looking kind of... sad. Like, there's just something hurting you and you don't want to talk about it." Twilight explained as carefully as she could.

Tempest took a few seconds to digest Twilight's words before allowing a thin trace of a smile to form on her face.

"You know I'm not a filly, Princess. I can handle my own emotions just fine. Don't worry about me." She replied.

"I have no doubts about that, but it never hurts to have a wither to lean on." Twilight said.

Tempest lightly chuckled to herself for a moment, "You know, I don't think I've had anyone to lean on in almost twenty years."

"All the more reason to start now, right?" Twilight suggested, a trace of excitement lingering in her tone.

Tempest cast her gaze to the floor. Once more, it's reflective surface showed her a mirrored version of herself, and after a few moments, she turned away and walked over to the window.

"I don't know... The only creatures I ever have leaned on either left me or stabbed me in the back..."

Twilight visibly cringed at that.

"W-well... Um... What about what you want to do? Your cutie mark has to have something to do with smoothies or fireworks, right? I mean, you could be one of the best magical fireworks pony's in Equestria! At least, if your work in Canterlot that night was anything to go off of." She replied, finding more steam in a new subject.

Tempest's gaze darkened immediately. She glanced back at her crate for only a moment before turning back around to face Twilight.

"I don't think it's that easy, Princess." She distantly replied.

"Well... What did you want to be when you were a filly? There's got to be something that you've always wanted to do, right?"

"You really like to pry, you know that?" Tempest responded.

That took Twilight by surprise, and for a few moments, she only stuttered with her words as she tried to think of what to say.

"W-well... I'm sorry if I come across as naggy or wanting to know a lot... But I only ask because I care. You know that, right?" Twilight finally asked.

Tempest gazed out the window for a few moments before replying, "I suppose... Still, you want to know more about me than any other pony I've ever met... Why?" She asked.

"Because I believe that unlike anypony else, I saw the real you. Even if it was only for a few seconds at the Friendship Festival... I'd like to see that Tempest again." Twilight explained.

Tempest sighed, "Heh, you really are persistent."

"Again, only because I care."

"So how do I get you to stop?" Tempest asked, a trace of playfulness in her voice.

"Maybe if you indulged me for a bit?" Twilight suggested.

"Right, right... Well... If we're going back to those days... I remember wanting to be a royal guard more than anything. My friends and I used to play pretend and I would always be the guard, protecting the princess from the evil witch or mage or whatever we came up with on that particular day... The thing about that... is that I've gone so far in the opposite direction of what I wanted to be, that I don't think I could ever find my way over there again." Tempest mused, keeping her eyes on the horizon while Twilight walked up to her side.

"You put yourself in harms way to protect my friends and I from the Storm King." Twilight offhandedly suggested.

"Perhaps... but those dreams are long dead, Princess."

"Well, Tempest, that doesn't have to be a dream anymore! I'm a princess with no guards to speak of. You're quite possibly the most qualified pony in Equestria to protect somepony else. Why don't you be my guard? I could even have Celestia help me make it official and everything!" Twilight excitedly explained.

"Hehe... That's just the thing, Princess... I just can't see myself doing it anymore. All the wrong I've done... All the ponies I've hurt... Why should you, of all ponies, trust me to protect you? I couldn't even protect myself when the Storm King betrayed me..." Tempest replied, her gaze never straying from the outside world.

"Tempest... he had the magic of all four royal alicorns... I don't think anypony could stand up to him at that point... I've had that much power before. It's unreal."

Tempest sighed. She turned to face Twilight and gave her a melancholy look, "I appreciate the thought, Princess. I really do. However, I just don't think I can be your guard. Honestly... I'm starting to wonder if I even should have come back in the first place."

Twilight's heart sank immediately, "Wha- But Tempest... You've only been back for a couple weeks...Look, I know I screwed up yesterday. I am truly sorry for that, but please don't think that you have to leave because of that!" She pleaded.

"It's not about that. I'm just... not too sure I belong here. You might trust me... Some of your friends might trust me... But the rest of Ponyville... The rest of Equestria... They're only ever going to see me as an evil outsider that came here to take over and enslave them. I don't think any amount of convincing on my part is going to change that... And to be honest, I don't know if I deserve any different any more..." Tempest trailed off, her gaze once more falling to the floor.

"What do you mean? Why would you think that?" Twilight asked, flabbergasted.

"I've done a lot of bad things in my life, Princess. I'm starting to look at it as this just making up for it... You know, karma and all that." She explained.

"It doesn't have to be that way, Tempest! You've changed! We all see that... Why can't you?" Twilight asked.

Tempest didn't reply for some time. Her eyes seemed glued to the floor while her mind tried to come up with the right thing to say. Every reason she could think of rapidly entered her train of though and was quickly dispelled before a new one took its place. Despite her best efforts, Tempest simply could not find the right way to explain her logic to Twilight without revealing things better left... unknown. Eventually, it wore on her and she sighed.

"Look... I don't expect you to understand. You've been in Equestria your whole life. You haven't seen the things I have. You haven't done the things I have..."

"Tempest... I know you did some bad things... but that doesn't mean that you're a bad pony... Don't you think that maybe, just maybe, that you earned a second chance when you saved me and my friends that day?" Twilight implored her.

"One good deed does not undo a life of selfishness and evil, Twilight... I was ready to have my horn back... I was ready to take over the world and show every creature in it what I could do... The only reason we're here right now and talking is because the Storm King betrayed me... and that's what makes me sick. The fact that power was all I wanted for so long... I got a second chance, yes, but I don't know if I will ever deserve it."

It was Twilight's turn to sigh. As much as she hated it, this was how most extended conversations with Tempest went, and although she felt like some progress was made, it didn't change the fact that at the end of the day, Tempest was still far from even considering her advice.

"Well... if nothing else... Can you at least promise me that you'll go to the WonderBolts show? I don't know how much it will actually help you, but if by any chance it does, then please let me know. I want you to feel like you belong here, Tempest. Even if you feel like the whole world is against you, I want you to know that you'll always have a place here." Twilight offered, after some length.

Tempest hesitantly turned her head until she was looking right at Twilight again. Her soft gaze reminded her of home, and despite her presumptions, there was nothing but honesty behind those eyes, and she couldn't help but feel like Twilight's words were completely genuine. It was an ultimately alien feeling that left a strange stirring in her heart, and Tempest wasn't quite sure as to whether it was a good feeling or not. Alas, she found herself trusting Twilight's words, albeit with some hesitation, and allowing a thankful smile to grace her lips for only the second time in decades.

"Alright, Princess. Thank you." She said.

Twilight instantly felt a weight lift off her shoulders, and she quickly released a breath she wasn't aware she was holding in.

"Thank you, Tempest. I know things between us have been pretty strained since yesterday morning, but I really appreciate you trusting me that much. Like I said, my goal has only ever been to help you feel like you belong here." Twilight replied.

"Well, despite the town pretty much avoiding me at all costs, I think Ponyville is beginning to look like the closest thing I'll ever have to a home away from home." Tempest admitted with a slight chuckle.

"Well... they'll warm up to you. Trust me, I know they can be a little hesitant to accept strangers into town, but that'll pass within a few weeks. If it makes you feel any better, they were super scared of Zecora for the longest time. Weird prejudices against zebra's and the like for some reason. I'm still not quite sure why they were so afraid of her." Twilight recalled, scratching her chin in thought for a moment.

"Well... I think we both already know why they aren't exactly lining up to meet and greet with me..." Tempest quietly remarked.

"Like I said, they'll come around in time." Twilight replied.

"I'm not sure if you're right, Princess... But thank you." Tempest admitted.

"Of course. As always, if you ever need to talk about anything, please just come over and find me. I'll make time for you, promise."

With that, Twilight headed out the door and left Tempest alone to her thoughts again. The broken unicorn stared after her long after she was gone, and only when she could no longer hear her hoofsteps in the hallway, did she turn around and head for her personal crate. She swiftly unlocked the padlock on the hinge and swung the lid open, once more revealing her only personal belongings.

Her journal greeted her with its usual paperback scent, and she slowly reached in to pull it out of the crate. Her hooves gently caressed the cover before she flipped it open to the last few pages of her entries. Her eyes settled on the torn edge of the last page. With a procrastinatory gulp, she flipped the pages until she reached the back cover. She finessed the edge of the cover with her hoof for a moment, before the corner un-creased and a single piece of paper with a torn edge greeted her. She grabbed the page and pulled it out of its tomb before unfolding it and revealing it's contents.

-

I'm writing this as a memo to myself... Failure is not an option... After the things I did on Mt. Aris... I thought the pain was done... I thought it was over...

I was so wrong...

-

Tempest felt a tear slowly trickle down her cheek and drip onto the page in her grasp. She blinked back the rest of the tears before they could stain her mouthwriting and continued to read.

-

If nothing else... The extra pair of scars on my flanks will serve as a reminder... 'Failure' is what he told me they meant as he carved the symbols into my flesh... Not again... Never again...

I'll never have a cutie mark now...

-

Tempest folded the paper back up and inserted it in its private slot in the back cover. With one quick motion, she closed the book and set it back inside her crate, making sure to close the lid and properly lock the padlock in the process. She glanced out at Ponvyville through her window and sighed.

"Maybe one day..."

Author's Note:

Hello guys. I know this one got really, really heavy at the end, but I promise, it's only going to get more intense from here. I realized that I did not cover the flank scars in place of her cutie mark that I drew in this cover art when I wrote Scars, so I figured this explanation made a lot of sense. The Storm King was ruthless in my headcannon. It would only make sense that upon his commander returning as a failure, he'd punish her severely. Regardless of all that, I hope you guys enjoyed.

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