• Published 8th Sep 2012
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One Mare's Worth - Equestria Buck Yeah



When Rainbow Dash's speed during a new trick turns out to be too much for her own good, she comes to realize how important she really is when she finds herself in a war-torn version of her old home.

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Chapter 22

It was only a few days since Rainbow and Twilight agreed to tackle their physical challenges head on as a team. In spite of the protests of Dr. Neurocell, Commander Derpy allowed the two to continue their regimen. She had been keeping a close eye on Rainbow's recovery before, and now felt the need to watch how things played out for Twilight. The pegasus figured Rainbow's attitude would be good for her therapy, giving her the strength to push herself where she might not have alone.

The two had become inseparable. The pegasus asked politely to have a pillow brought into the recovery room so they could get back to training as quickly as possible each morning, and her aggressive, enthusiastic pep talks could be heard in the hallway by rather confused passerbys. They only ever left the area to eat at the mess hall or use the restroom with Twilight asking Rainbow to carry her around. The blue mare had no problems with her friend's request, despite both parties being a little uncomfortable with the bathroom situation. The doctors insisted that the unicorn use a bedpan, but Twilight declined, arguing that she'd still be working some of her muscles. Rainbow refused to clean up after her though.

As the few hours and days passed, Twilight's control over her magic was obviously increasing. She was always displayed extraordinarily skill with her horn, so it wasn't a surprise to anypony that her magical abilities were returning to her faster than her physical ones. However, thanks to using her magic as she and Rainbow massaged her body and flexed her joints, she was making a little more progress than anticipated.

Twilight laid in her propped up bed and Rainbow stood by her side, one of her forelimbs in hoof. Rainbow had her wings fully extended and was swiveling, flapping and flexing them almost effortlessly. The pegasus had done little thinking about her mechanical wings and was able to move them with little effort at this point.

That day though, she was putting a little extra strength behind kneading Twilight's weakened legs. For whatever reason, her mind was on a mission. Twilight was able to lift small and medium sized items with relative ease at this point with her magic by now. Anything weighing more than a small hoofgun was still a bit of a struggle for her physically, and Rainbow was going to fix that.

Twilight gritted her teeth as Rainbow dug in hard. She was used to a bit of pain during her exercises, but the pegasus was suddenly getting serious. Not that Twilight cared much. The pain reminded her that the drills were working. She didn't expect the ordeal to be a walk in the park. Plus, if it was ever too much for her, Rainbow would ease up, take a short break, or switch to a different limb.

As the pair attacked Twilight's limbs, the unicorn began to sweat. Fortunately, Rainbow powerful flaps were functioning well enough as makeshift fans, and the cool breeze felt nice in the musty cave. Bristles of Twilight's coat waved gently and some of the smaller pebbles on the dirt floor trickled away from the pegasus.

Twilight's focus was shifted away from the leg that her sky blue friend was flexing when the unicorn saw something odd from the corner of her eye. She wasn't sure, but Rainbow almost looked taller for some reason. She heard crackles on the ground and leaned over as much as she could comfortably. Her mouth slowly fell open. She didn't understand how Rainbow didn't notice. Perhaps she was too distracted by assisting Twilight, but it was as clear as day.

Rainbow was off the ground.

The lavender mare's surprise quickly turned to elation. Her eyes teared up and she laughed with enough glee to steal the pegasus' attention from her limb.

"What's got you going all of a sudden?" she asked.

"Look! Rainbow, look! You're flying! You're really doing it!"

A loud gasp later, she looked at her hooves and the ground beneath her. Her irises shrank in response to her disbelief. She slowly looked at Twilight in shock, who was watching her in turn, her heart pounding in happiness over her friend's success. It felt like her chest was going to burst. Tears began to flow down Rainbow's cheeks, and the quivering smile that found her face reached from ear to ear.

"I.. I'm doing it. I'm flying! I'm flying! YES!"

Her scream was heard nearly throughout the entire compound, confusing most who heard. They paid it little mind due to the joyful tone and assumed that something extraordinary must have happened for somepony.

"Oh, Luna, I'm so happy for you, Rainbow!"

She couldn't stop sobbing as she hovered a few inches in the air. She paused for a moment and tried to spin around, but found it impossible to do. The extra effort Rainbow was making to move around threw off her focus and she descended back to the ground, her wings desperately trying to stay afloat.

"Wh-what's going on? I was in the air! Why couldn't I move?!" The mare's elation vanished as quickly as it arrived, leaving her suddenly empty.

"You just need more experience being in the air again before you can do anything more complicated. But, now that you got off the ground, you're so close! Trust me, I've seen others do it. It's only a matter of time and you'll be good as new again!" Twilight explained.

"You sure?"

"Absolutely! Once you're able to control your movements more, you'll be able to get your speed back with little effort after that! I don't know if you'll be able to move as fast as you used to, but you'll still be pretty quick. I promise!"

The pegasus walked up to her bedridden friend and wrapped her hooves around her neck, snuggling closely and squeezing tightly. Rainbow smiled, biting her lip and losing her composure in the moment. She tried to stop herself from crying again, but simply couldn't, given everything she had just been through.

"You never saw me do this, r-right?" Rainbow said with a sniffle, leaning her head on Twilight's.

The older pony couldn't help but giggle at her friend's bravado. Even during an insane war, the blue mare couldn't allow herself to show any emotion. Just like old times.

"See what?" she replied, struggling, and eventually succeeding, with lifting a hoof around Rainbow's neck.

-----

Five more fast days passed for the pair as they continued to do their therapy. Rainbow made it a point to stay in the air and move around subtly while she helped Twilight. Her forelegs were coming along nicely and with every new day, the doctors examining Twilight noted more and more progress in her recuperation. She could lift slightly heavier weights than before and was able to move around a bit on her own, albeit slowly. They were astounded at how much of a help Rainbow's presence had been.

When Derpy heard of Rainbow's aerial accomplishments, she paid her a personal visit to congratulate her, even though she had plans to write up for their eventual invasion of Canterlot. She, like Dr. Neurocell and his associates, couldn't believe how quickly the pegasus was able to get off the ground again. Her confidence in their attack on Celestia doubled when she watched Rainbow shimmy about overhead in the recovery room.

That fifth evening, as the old friends continued the last leg of their workout before lights out, Derpy sat in the war room, examining a map of Canterlot and going over strategies with Lieutenant Spoon. Another hour and the commander would likely turn in as well, but the speakers popped on and she was called away.

"Commander Derpy, we need to see you in the Security Room," the electronic voice said.

The pegasus took her leave and trotted into the hall leading from the war room, giving a passing glance to the closed but visible crack that haunted her every time she stepped inside. She passed through the main control facility, receiving salutes from her subordinates as she went, and turned left on the opposite side of the room, heading down the tunnel that led to the prison cells.

A small room with several screens sat just to the right of the jail. Half a dozen stallions and mares watched them intently, keeping an eye out for anything suspicious or potentially hazardous to the safety of the troops in the cave hideout. Cameras were hidden strategically throughout the base as well as outside in a few necessary locations, some being by the main entrance, some watching the skies, and others monitoring the wind tunnels that fed air into the gardens on the far side of the complex.

"What's up, soldiers?" Derpy asked when she arrived.

"Commander, we've got some ponies outside that you may want to see," a security officer said, pointing to one of the displays keeping watch of the front door.

She leaned in and took a closer look. One of the larger stallions on the screen was standing by the entrance, waiting patiently and glancing over the battalion of troops from time to time. His striped, but graying, mane gave him away, and a happy smirk found Derpy's lips.

"He made it. Good. Thanks for the heads up, guys. Go ahead and open the door," she said, patting one of them on the shoulder. The watchponies nodded in appreciation for the compliment as the commander exited the room.

Derpy galloped to the control room and came to a stop where the long tunnel spilled out into the heart of the facility, giving the arriving soldiers some room to move inside. Once their visitors had all made it in, the door shut behind them. The commander lifted her head proudly and smiled at their leader as he approached.

"General Shining Armor. Good to see you again. Been far too long if you ask me."

"Nice to see you too, Commander," he said with a coy grin. He craned his head toward his armada. "Go in and make yourselves comfortable, everypony."

As the forces flowed past the officers, they resumed their pleasantries.

"So, how goes things over in Fillydelphia?"

"As well as always. Celestia's hard pressed to take the city back, but we never give her an inch. Major Thunderlane is in command over there for the time being. He won't let her get anywhere, either."

"Excellent. We can't afford to lose any ground now."

"Why's that? What do you have up your sleeve, Commander?" Shining Armor asked.

"Well, the Party Crashers are out on a mission. They should return hopefully in a week and a half, maybe two weeks tops. Once they've returned, I want us to be ready to attack Canterlot within forty-eight hours," Derpy explained.

Shining Armor came to a sudden halt and gawked in surprise. "Canterlot? Not that I'm complaining, Commander, but what's going on? I wasn't informed of this in your letter."

"Some of our scouts stumbled upon a major operation of theirs. It's probably been the one keeping up the number of planes in the air and the weapons on her troops' backs. Pinkie and the others are on their way there to take care of it. Once they're back, we ready the troops."

The general nodded, anxious to return to his old home. "I'll explain the situation to my squad in the morning."

"Sounds good." Derpy suddenly grinned mischievously. She realized that Shining Armor had been away for so many years, and was probably a little haggard from the nonstop fighting. "Shining, come with me a moment," Derpy instructed, cantering over to the communications desk. Vinyl had been retired earlier in the day, and her earth pony replacement was working diligently in her stead.

The gray mare reached over and flicked on the microphone. "Cadance, would you come to the control room please? It's rather important," the wily pegasus spoke.

Shining Armor caught onto her game right away, rolling his eyes and blushing slightly. A moment later, his love trotted into sight. It took a fraction of a second to spot her husband. Speeding past everypony in her way, she all but tackled Shining Armor to the ground.

"Well, hey you! Fancy meeting you here!" the stallion joked.

The lovestruck alicorn's lips passionately met his as they embraced tightly. Cadance's knees buckled as Shining Armor made her remember how much she meant to him. Her heart was beating so hard, it threatened to burst from her chest. It felt like the very day he proposed to her so many years ago. Derpy looked away with mock embarrassment, happy to see the separated couple together again.

They broke their kiss and gazed into each other's eyes. The youthful alicorn teared up while the love of her life smiled happily, studying every contour and delicate feature of her beautiful face.

"Oh, Shiny.. I can't believe you're here! I've missed you so much!" she said, nuzzling his neck and allowing herself to cry again.

"I've missed you too, angel. It's so wonderful to see you again," Shining Armor said softly.

"Um, General," Derpy intervened, "before you run off to, um.. catch up on things, there's something else I know you'll want to see. Please, both of you, come with me."

The commander winked knowingly at Cadance when the lovers released each other. The pink mare took a moment but finally deduced what Derpy was referring to and grinned at her husband. The pegasus took the lead, marching to the recovery room.

-----

"Come on, I know you can handle it."

"Not so rough! I'm still a little sore from earlier."

"I thought you didn't mind pain."

"I do want to be able to walk around without hobbling everywhere, but sometimes we just need to take it easy for a few minutes, y'know."

"You're not trying to wimp out on me, are you?"

"Hey, I'm going all the way if we have time, Dash. You know that."

Derpy, Shining Armor and Cadance approached the recovery room, a bit baffled at what they heard coming from the doorway.

"What in the world are they doing in there?" Cadance asked, her pink cheeks turning a brighter shade of red.

"Is.. is that who I think it is?" Shining Armor asked with wide eyes.

The three entered the room and saw Rainbow hovering off the ground with her hooves digging hard into Twilight's left hind leg.

The general gasped loudly at the sight of his little sister. "Twiley?! You're.. you're awake!"

Her brother's voice grabbed every bit of her attention. "Shiny?! I don't believe it!"

Shining Armor charged and wrapped his hooves around her head. With less effort than she had exerted before, Twilight pulled her forelimbs up to meet his, holding onto them for the first time in many years. All in attendance quietly enjoyed the unexpected, tender moment.

"I heard you were in a coma. How are you feeling?" He let his little sister go and stood at her bedside.

"Good, all things considering. I woke up about a week and a half ago. Been doing exercises ever since. Shiny, you remember Rainbow Dash?" Twilight asked, waving a hoof at her friend. "She performed that Sonic Rainboom at your wedding."

"Oh yeah, I remember that! Who can forget such an awesome trick? But, that was so long ago. You barely look like you've aged a day," Shining Armor observed.

"Heh, yeah, I, um.. kind of skipped over a few decades on accident," Rainbow said, fumbling through her words.

"How did you do that?"

"You want the long version or the short version? Cuz I barely understand the long version and I'm the one who did it."

"Short version it is, then."

Rainbow rubbed the back of her neck and looked away, badly hiding her embarrassment. "I may have flown so fast that I broke reality and ended up coming back about five months or so ago."

The general stood there motionless, his empty gaze staring right through the floating pegasus. He tried to make some sense of how she described the event, but found it to be more than a little confusing. With a pair of bewildered blinks, he muttered to himself, "Huh. OK then."

"She's been helping me get back in shape. Commander Derpy wants us ready when we attack Canterlot, but I don't know how up to the task I'll be when the time comes. We're trying to cram several months worth of therapy into a few weeks at the most. I don't know if that's even possible to be honest," Twilight said, taking back Shining Armor's attention.

"Hey," her brother replied, "the fact that you're moving around as much as you are after only a week and a half is pretty impressive. I'm proud of you, Twiley, and thanks for helping her, Rainbow. I don't know what all you two have done, but it must be a pretty intense workout!"

"It's nothing that special, really. We just do our usual routine every waking minute we can. Instead of the few hours the doctors say I should be exercising, Rainbow and I don't stop except to eat and sleep," the lavender mare explained. "If it starts to hurt a bit too much, we cut back on the intensity, and I've been using my magic to speed up my recovery time, both on a magical and physical level. It's been extremely efficient so far!"

"Well, if it's working, keep it up!"

Cadance snuck up behind her mate and kissed him softly on the cheek. He glanced at her and saw a lustful, burning desire in her soft, purple eyes.

"Heh, Twilight, would it be OK if I headed out for the evening? I promised Cadance we'd.. talk for a little while," Shining Armor chuckled.

The mare giggled under her breath at the innuendo. "No problem, big brother. I'll see you tomorrow at some point?"

"Without a doubt," he assured her. The siblings hugged briefly before the ageless alicorn escorted her husband away, leaning lovingly against his broad neck. He nuzzled her in turn.

Derpy, Twilight and Rainbow waited until the couple was away before letting out a quiet chuckle.

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