• Published 7th Aug 2020
  • 856 Views, 63 Comments

Scarlet: Broken Pedestal - Skijarama



Princess Twilight Sparkle has returned to a world that has gone without her for over four hundred years. With the aid of Scarlet Frost, she and her friends set out into the world, heedless of the changes, good and bad, their return has put in motion.

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Company

There was a pensive atmosphere in the streets of Sanctuary. The drones that were out and about at this relatively early hour spoke amongst themselves in hushed tones, and the unease and concern written on their muzzles was clear as day. Scarlet did her best not to eavesdrop on the conversations, but it wasn’t hard for her to deduce what they were probably talking about.

“Everyone’s so… anxious,” Primrose observed from Scarlet’s back, glancing about with a frown on her face.

“Hardly a surprise. If Spike and Flurry spread the word about these peace talks with New Equestria, then chances are they are afraid things won’t go over very well,” Lens said, mirroring Scarlet’s thoughts almost word for word.

“Oh…” Primrose muttered, lowering her eyes.

Scarlet slowed for a moment, glancing back at the foal on her back with a worried frown. A second later, she put on a warm smile and added a bounce in her next step, jostling Primrose from her solemn stupor before she could get lost in it. “Well, that’s what we’re going along to prevent, is it not?” she asked, slipping an edge of confidence into her voice.

Primrose’s ears perked up, and a genuine smile crept onto her muzzle. “Right!”

The trio fell quiet as they approached the end of the road. The cave wall stood before them, acting as an impenetrable barrier to any unattuned to the hive. A guard drone stood off to the side. “Passing through?” he asked once they were within earshot.

“Yes, please,” Scarlet said.

“Right. One moment.”

The drone turned to the wall and lit his horn. A moment later, the wall gave off the spine-tingling grind of stone scraping against stone as a large circular hole opened up, revealing the entrance chamber on the other side.

Scarlet smiled at the guard as she passed. “Thank you, sir.”

“You’re welcome.”

The entrance chamber was surprisingly quiet, compared to the rest of Sanctuary, especially given it often served as one of the noisiest sections of the city. Or, at least, that had been the case for Scarlet’s stay here thus far. Between farmers coming and going with supplies and the constant chattering of drones working to repair the damage left by Silent’s hired thugs, there was almost never a time where things were quiet and peaceful.

Save for right now. While there were a few drones out and about in the chamber, they were all keeping to their homes. If Scarlet had to guess where the others were, they were already inside, no doubt to give the seven mares and colossal dragon their space. Spike stood in the center of the room, Flurry by his side, while Twilight and her friends were scattered around them, chattering amongst themselves.

Rainbow Dash and Applejack were off to one side, talking quietly to themselves in hushed voices. Pinkie Pie was pronking along the perimeter of the chamber, humming a little tune to herself. Twilight, Fluttershy, and Rarity were all parked in front of Spike.

“Well… there they are,” Lens pointed out in a hushed voice. “Looks like they’re getting ready to go already.”

“Unsurprising,” Scarlet noted with a frown. “They’re no doubt eager to get to work… Come on.”

She didn’t wait for Lens to respond. Holding her head high as she approached, she soon drew Spike’s attention, the dragon having noticed them first. Spike gave off a quiet snort before nodding in their direction. Twilight, Rarity, and Fluttershy all turned to face her at that, all of them appearing surprised.

Twilight took the lead, stepping forward to meet them. “Scarlet? What are you all doing here?” she asked curiously. “Do you have work outside or something?”

Scarlet shook her head. “No. I hope you have room for three more on Hraesvalgr’s back because we’re coming with you.”

The faces of Twilight and her friends morphed with confusion. Rarity coughed into her throat before leaning forward. “Ah… pardon me, dear, but… what?” she asked.

Scarlet raised an eyebrow. “Did I have a rock in my throat? I said we’re coming with you.”

Rarity leaned back at that, her muzzle scrunching at Scarlet’s tone. She glanced up at Spike, who in turn merely quirked an eyebrow. Twilight gave Scarlet a curious frown. “Well… I won’t say no to an offer to help, but I remember how emphatic you were when you said no last night… You said you wouldn’t give up your time here for anything. Not even for us... What changed your mind?”

Scarlet glanced over at Lens, her resolve faltering for just a moment. This was it. Her last chance to really consider her options, last chance to think through whether this was really what she wanted. She couldn’t lie to herself; the fact that she was here now was filling her with an unquestionable sense of anxiety. They’d be jumping right back into danger so soon after leaving it...

Then her eyes drifted from Lens to Primrose on her back. The filly smiled and nodded, no doubt able to sense Scarlet’s hesitation. A completely unfair advantage, really.

In spite of that, that one look was all it took for Scarlet’s resolve to harden, stronger than ever. She turned back to Twilight and jerked her head back towards Lens and Prim. “...They did,” she said softly. “We talked it over for a long while, and eventually we agreed that it would be better for everypony—especially us—if we came with you. If only to ensure you didn’t go stumbling into any situations you aren’t prepared to handle.”

Lens smiled back at her before stepping up and lifting his head. “Right. With our shared knowledge of the modern world and its history and customs, we’ll be in a position to really help you along.”

“And I wanna help other changelings,” Primrose added, hopping down from Scarlet’s back and stepping forward herself.

Fluttershy’s eyes widened. “Oh my goodness! You’re coming, too?! But… you’re just a foal!”

Primrose pouted at her. “I know… but I don’t care. I’ve taken care of myself for a very, very long time. I guarded the lamp for half of my life! And I wanna help other changelings! The ones that are out there in the wilderness. They have to stay away from ponies so much because they don’t wanna get killed. They’re scared and alone and they don’t have anywhere to call home because most places would chase them out… That was how it was for my family. I don’t want that to keep happening. It’s wrong!”

She lifted her head up high, allowing her eyes to flash green. “So I’m coming. I wanna do my part and help them out. And I wanna help Scarlet and Lens. I… I owe them everything. They saved my life. They let me into their family when I had nopony else left. I wanna help them, no matter what.”

Twilight leaned back in surprise from the impassioned explanation. Rarity’s eyes widened, then shimmered with a degree of admiration and respect. Fluttershy, meanwhile, had her hooves held up to her heart, a conflicted grimace on her face.

“Well, gotta hoof it to the lil’ miss,” Applejack’s voice called out from the side. Scarlet turned to see her approaching with Rainbow Dash by her side. “She’s got courage.”

Primrose’s smile widened.

Twilight looked between them for several seconds. Then she smiled and gave a curt nod, her eyes shining with gratitude. “Thank you, everypony. It means a lot to me.”

Rainbow snorted dismissively. All eyes turned to her, and the sharp frown on her face made it painfully clear she did not share that opinion. “So we’ve been gone for a long time. Big deal! We can take care of ourselves, thanks. Don’t need you babying us.”

Applejack shot a disapproving scowl at the pegasus in question. “Dash!”

“What?!” Rainbow protested, her nostrils flaring. “I don’t like being treated like a helpless kid! I can look after myself just fine!”

Scarlet turned to face Rainbow directly. She could already tell she probably wasn’t going to get along very well with this one.

Before she could say anything, though, Twilight beat her to it. “That’s enough, Rainbow. She isn’t treating us like foals! She’s just right, we’re out of our depth here. If we’re going to make things right, we’re going to need her help!”

Rainbow grunted in agitation. She turned her head off to one side, ruffling her wings. “Guh. Fine, whatever.”

Scarlet’s ears folded back, her muzzle scrunching up with offense. Twilight turned to her with an apologetic smile. “Eheh… sorry about that. We’ve all been taking the news differently… some of us better than others. Try not to hold it against her, okay?”

Scarlet hesitated, then nodded. “Very well. I understand.”

There was a lull in the conversation after that. A moment passed before Spike lowered his head to look at Scarlet more closely. “Hmph… If you want to lend us your aid, then fine, I can let you come. But before I do, answer me this: aren’t you all wanted fugitives in the city we’re going to?”

Scarlet flinched as if struck, unable to meet Spike’s gaze. All eyes turned to her, and she felt her resolve wavering somewhat under the scrutiny. A second passed before she cleared her throat. “Er… ahem. Yes, Hraesvalgr, that’s correct.”

Fluttershy’s eyes widened. “Oh my goodness! Did you do something wrong?!” she asked, an edge of fear entering her voice.

“That would depend on who you asked,” Scarlet replied simply. “But it is a very long story… Simply put, yes, Lens, Primrose, and I broke many laws in our journey leading up to your release.”

“What did you do?” Twilight pressed, her own expression becoming more skeptical. “And why?”

Scarlet paused. After a few seconds, she sighed and looked down. “It is a long story… Very long. Too long to be told here, I am afraid. To give you the short answer, the New Equestrian Lunar Council sent the assassin I mentioned before to acquire the lamp at all costs. Primrose carried it, and I defended her. This placed me in direct opposition to an agent of the Council, effectively making me a traitor. I clashed with Silent and his Nightblades numerous times, and each encounter left more damage than the last in our wake… And I do not doubt that there may have been innocent casualties along the way…”

“It was all done for a good reason, though!” Primrose piped up, jumping in place slightly. “Scarlet and Lens are good ponies! They never tried to hurt anyone unless they really had to! They even exposed Silent’s crimes when trying to rescue me from the castle!”

Flurry nodded her head in agreement. “Yeah. I mean, I wasn’t there for most of that, but I can vouch for the quality of their character. Scarlet basically gave her life for Primrose and Sanctuary as a whole. If it hadn’t been for Lens and Prim’s love for her powering my healing magic, she would have died defending us. They’re good.”

Flurry’s testimony seemed to quell any doubts in the group. Twilight relaxed, her smile slowly returning. “Alright… I’m trusting you, Scarlet.”

Scarlet bowed her head slightly. “Thank you, Your Highness.”

Spike’s eyes narrowed. “Very well. We’ve established that you aren’t evil. But that wasn’t the part that had me worried, Scarlet. Tell me, if I bring you, will your status as a wanted fugitive and traitor to the Councils create problems for the rest of us?”

Scarlet glanced back to Lens and nodded at him to take the lead. He caught her meaning and stepped forward. “It might… but given who we’re traveling with, I don’t think it will be much more than a small hiccup.”

“Whaddya mean by that?” Applejack questioned with a tilt of her head.

Lens nodded at Twilight, then at Flurry, who had been silent the entire time. “Well, as we discussed before, Twilight and Flurry are part of the New Equestrian Pantheon. So are you, Spike. Twilight and Flurry are seen as goddesses, while Spike and the rest of you are viewed as heroic figures or outright saints. You’re all deeply respected and highly revered, so if we came along as, say, a part of your personal escort and bodyguards, then the Councils would basically run out of reasons to cause us any trouble.”

Spike snorted in amusement. “Huh. A bodyguard for me? That’s cute.”

Primrose frowned up at him. “The rest of you aren’t big dragons, though.”

Spike opened his mouth to retort, then frowned. A second later, he grunted in resignation. “Ugh. I hate it when kids are right,” he grumbled.

Twilight smiled at that before turning to Lens. “So, you’d be serving as our bodyguards, then?”

“That would be the plan,” Scarlet replied with a simple nod. “Or at least, I can’t think of anything better. If nothing else, like Lens said, it would keep the Councils off our back in any violent sense. They may still want to address our prior… misdeeds, but if we impress on them the priority of friendly relations with Sanctuary, then they will have to wait until all of that is sorted and we are discharged from our duties as guards.”

“And given we’d be a part of your entourage, under Spike’s protection,” Lens went on, gesturing up at the dragon. “Then any actions taken against us could become a diplomatic incident, and somehow, I doubt the councils are going to want to piss off a big purple dragon while he’s inside their city.”

“So we have that going for us, then,” Rarity added with a nod.

“All the same, it would be for the best if we brought a Blue Banner with us. Just as a precaution,” Scarlet pointed out, a frown adorning her muzzle. With the difference in Spike’s appearance compared to that of the scriptures and the fact that they would likely be arriving before word got out about Sanctuary to the general public, it would be almost suicide to approach on dragonback without one.

She was jarred from her thoughts when Rarity cleared her throat. Scarlet looked back up to see Twilight’s friends staring back at her in confusion. Rarity caught her attention and frowned. “Excuse me, darling, but a what?” she asked.

Scarlet resisted the urge to slap herself on the face. Of course, they wouldn’t know about the Blue Banners! That practice hadn’t existed in their time. She put on a neutral expression and explained. “A Blue Banner is a universally recognized symbol across the known world. When a Blue Banner is presented, it functions as a call for parley and negotiation. When two opposing parties meet under one, it is a universally accepted rule that there is to be no violence at all until the discussion is complete, and violating that rule is tantamount to a minor war crime.”

“And do you truly believe the ponies of Newcanter respect that?” Spike demanded doubtfully.

Scarlet nodded. “Silent Edge respected it during his assault on Sanctuary, and he was a traitor to New Equestria’s values himself. So long as we are presenting those colors clearly on arrival, we will have naught to fear.”

“Although, there is a problem…” Lens suddenly spoke up, rubbing at his chin. “That being, how do we get a Blue Banner? I don’t think Sanctuary has really adopted that practice, has it? Being the isolationist city-state it is.”

At those words, Rarity’s eyes suddenly lit up, and an eager grin split her muzzle. She turned to Spike and Flurry. “Oh, please tell me you have blue fabrics in this place!” she said, her voice rising by an octave or two.

Spike and Flurry shared a glance. It was Flurry who answered. “I think so… why?”

Rarity turned back to Scarlet and Lens. Somehow, the look of raw excitement in the pearly mare’s eyes sent Scarlet’s nerves into a state of unease.

“Just leave it to me, dears! Rarity is on the case!”

Author's Note:

Fun fact: This blue banner that keeps getting brought up was actually inspired by and more or less directly lifted from the game 'Tyranny' by Obsidian.

Comments ( 15 )
JMP

Hmm. Makes sense that there'd be a similar symbol to a white flag. Scarlet mentioned differences between Spike's actual appearance and how he's depicted in their religion. I wonder if that's going to cause problems. I don't know how much he resembles what people think he looks like, but I think that Church Scarlet visited in that last story had a stained glass window featuring him? Still was purple and green iirc.

10467975
Yeah, his colors were the same. It's largely his proportions and scale that have changed. Gone is the baby fat of a baby dragon. He's full-grown now and has proportions nearly identical to the one seen in Dragonshy, albeit somewhat smaller.

I'm glad Twilight et al. are going to have Scarlet, Lens and Prim's help. Light knows they're going to need it.

Also, why do I have a sneaking suspicion that Dash's mouth is going to cause far too many problems.

I'm really hoping that all goes well.
Twilight and friends are/were important public figures, after all, so their words have to mean something to the public.

I'm putting this story on my watch for updates list.

Crossing my fingers that things will be relatively smooth for Twilight and company, but given the previous story I doubt that it will be that easy. Part of that is seeing if Rage-bow Dash can keep from shooting her mouth off on the council members, city officials/guards, any pony who puts so much as a bump in their plans. Hay, even AJ who was just about as stubborn as RD (if not more so) seems to have come to appreciate how out of her depth she is.

Anywho, I will be looking forward to reading more of this story when it comes back from hiatus.

10531247

Anywho, I will be looking forward to reading more of this story when it comes back from hiatus.

The revisions to the outline are coming along slowly but surely.

10531766
Huh? I thought this story was cancelled, not put on hiatus.

10759628
That comment was made before the cancelation was finalized.

Uhmm if you don't mind me asking why was this story canned ?

10826267
ohh i see well nevertheless im looking forward to more of your stories their really fun to read and listen too

You know, I look at this story and you know what I think; Can I take this story out of your hands? I wonder if I could finish what you started because I see potential in this. Heck, if you want I could be your ghost writer for this.

10884414
I would rather you not. If ever this story gets continued, I want it to be by my hands. If you want to write a story set in the same setting, though, then hit me up via DM and we can discuss it.

10884451
Curious proposition. I'll consider it.

Hey guys I know I'm kind of late to the party with Scarlet and the gang I finished reading the first story I was about to start reading this one and then I saw it was canceled which is actually kind of bittersweet for me because even though there's some cliffhangers left behind in Scarlet story which I love to see resolved but I also feel for the character where the first story ended is a good place for her character to end since she found peace and a family so I'm kind of glad that's where Scarlet story ended so thank you for writing a great story with a great character

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