• Published 8th Sep 2012
  • 3,954 Views, 412 Comments

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 3

She had no idea how long she had spent zooming through the rainbow trail she had circled the planet and met back up with. All she knew is she once again, being the awesomely amazing Rainbow Dash, had made the impossible happen. As she rocketed ahead, she wondered briefly what she could call this new stunt that absolutely destroyed the Sonic Rainboom in terms of coolness. She put a hoof to her chin and looked up slightly, thinking of a suitable name.

It wasn't a name that made her blink in surprise though. She knew she just bent her leg. She felt her joints flex and a tap on her chin, but her leg didn't look like it moved. It was still poised out in front of her, challenging the empty space in front of her. She also noticed that the streams of colors and objects that had bent around her had suddenly frozen. It didn't even appear that she was moving at all.

She pulled her left foreleg slowly backwards, feeling for her wing. Sure enough, it was still flapping, but harder than she had expected. After all, she couldn't feel them moving. She had asked Twilight to ensure she didn't so she could push herself as hard and as far as possible. What was unusual was that it almost felt like they were beating with the speed of a hummingbird's. She had seen what kind of power the tiny bird's wings had when Fluttershy had tried to convince her to adopt one before she had eventually settled for her loveable, loyal turtle. Tortoise. Whatever.

Just like a moment ago, however, when she touched her chin, her leg was still frozen motionless in front of her, despite having felt it getting brushed upon by her wings. It almost stung when she found the bristles on her wings. If it wasn't for her tough coat, they could have even scratched through the skin, given how fast they felt like they were flapping. She glanced at her sides and saw her wings stuck in place, about halfway between fully upright and straight to the sides. Oddly enough, they looked a quite a bit thicker than what she was used to.

The bizarre incidents with her body and the unexplainable situation with her surroundings started making her sweat. She was still moving, right? Was she hallucinating? Was the speed doing something to her mind? She wanted to panic, but she knew doing so at such breakneck speed could result in something catastrophic. Losing control while practicing some of her less amazing stunts in the past had resulted in her waking up in a hospital before. Now wasn't the time for that.

She closed her eyes tightly and breathed deeply. Maybe if she relaxed a bit, she could slow herself down and see what happens. She had already accomplished her goal, and who knows how much more. Twilight's numbing spell hadn't worn off yet, as her wings still felt ok. Perhaps it was time to call it a day.

Rainbow continued to slow her breathing, which in turn relaxed the rest of her. Her wings slowed down bit by bit when suddenly the world around her came back to life. She allowed herself to open her eyes again and watched a wave of blurred colors rip across the ground. First mostly shades of greens and browns below, which quickly turned to a cascade of blue. She must have been going over the water, she reasoned. Almost as fast as the greens turned to blue, the blue turned green again. She kept her mind focused on the horizon in front of her as she didn't feel like going down as the only pegasus in history getting airsick.

A couple hours went by as she continued to slow down at a steady pace. She didn't want to slam to a halt after zooming around the way she had been. It would have been like ramming into a mountainside head first after doing a Rainboom, just without Twilight's spell around you. The result would have been a bit messy.

She was starting to recognize some of the larger landmarks she had become familiar with as she went around the planet. A large desert, a cliff side that had what looked to be a strange looking face of some kind into it, a series of trees in a line that towered over the rest of the forest. Even if she wasn't completely sure where exactly in the world she was at the moment, she'd be able to figure it out eventually. She'd flown from one side of Equestria to the other, from Manehattan to Applewood, and there were a few very obvious things that she knew she'd recall the instant she saw them.

A few more hours passed. Rainbow speed had waned considerably and by now was going about roughly ten times faster than she does after performing a Rainboom. It was still extremely fast for her under normal circumstances, but it was taking her a lot longer to cross over the landscapes.

She had been flying over another large blue expanse for about an hour before she came upon what looked to be a beach, and finally, more inlands again. Something caught the corner of her eye. She turned to her right and just behind her, seeing briefly what looked to be a bunch of towering greyish structures overlooking the water and a familiar greenish statue in the distance.

Manehattan! There was no other city she could think of that looked like that! She couldn't tell just how far from the city she was, but judging on how big they were in the distance, it was likely still a couple hundred miles away. However, she wasn't moving past it so quickly that it was out of her notice. She sighed in relief, knowing it wouldn't be too much longer and she could see her friends again.

Her wings had slowed even more, though she still couldn't feel them. She thought back to how weird it was seeing her wings and hoof, and everything else really, frozen in place despite feeling her joints move. It was kind of cool and kind of scary at the same time.

To her left, Fillydelphia came and quickly went. She grinned widely when she saw the city she had flown past when she made her test run from one end of the country to the other. Only a little further and she would be not only right around the corner from Ponyville, but she could finally come to a relatively screeching halt without any problems. She followed the train tracks below that led away from the city, her eyes widening in anticipation at seeing her home and what will surely be a huge crowd gathered at the library to congratulate her. Maybe Twilight could undo the spells once she arrived. She was getting a little tired of being purple.

An hour later, she could see the tall, distinctly shaped mountainside behind Canterlot. Perfect timing too. She was beginning to feel a bit tired. She wasn't sure how long she'd be zipping around, but she was long overdue for a nap that, at this point, she had more than earned. She eased to a decent cruising speed, devoid of any rainbow trail her mane and tail would normally leave behind, when she finally reached and climbed over the mountaintop.

She hid her eyes and squinted when the low sun far to the west greeted her. She noted the clock tower in the distance. 4:07.

She cocked her head and blinked uncertainly. "4:07? Why is the sun going down at 4:07?" she asked herself. After a moment of contemplation, she shrugged it off. "Eh, maybe the clock broke somehow."

Her confusion doubled when she watched it move to 4:08.

She blinked and lowered her gaze to the buildings below. The happiness she felt as she overtook Canterlot's mountain was replaced by complete perplexity. Ponyville looked quite a bit darker, but it wasn't just the lack of light. It almost looked as if the buildings themselves were broken down and grimmer in tone. She saw most of the windows boarded up and several roofs with holes in them, some being almost completely torn off their foundations.

Rainbow came to a complete stop just west of Town Square. It looked to be a ghost town. Spider webs had been spun in many corners of the homes and shops, and the sunlight that shown in between some of the boards covering the windows exposed a heavy amount of dust blowing around in the occasional gentle breeze. It was so thick, it could choke a manticore.

An odd but loud, faraway noise made her swing an ear around behind her. It was almost like a roaring wind, but it didn't sound natural at all. In fact, it almost sounded like there was more than one source.

Rainbow turned around and squinted. She saw a pair of bizarre constructs that seemed to shine brightly in the sunlight with what looked to be wings with pencil-shaped.. things.. underneath them, three under each wing in the distance. On each side, two of these pencil things had red tips and the third, closest to the middle, was greyish-black. If there were markings or something on the grey items, she couldn't make them out from such distance. These things had a single clear eye, if it can be described as such, near what she could have said were beaks, similar to a bird's.

Rainbow's mouth fell slightly open, a multitude of questions wanting to spill out, but none were forthcoming. Even though she had no idea what these things were or where they came from, she did know one thing: They appeared to be coming straight at her.

-----

A blue coated stallion with a red-and-orange mixed mane sat in the heart of one of the contraptions. In the other was another stallion, dark grey with a black mane. They had on helmets similar to what Scoolatoo wore when she would ride her scooter around town.

The spaces they sat in were extremely small for a pony, barely giving them any room to move around. The only thing that had any real give whatsoever was the large stick they were holding onto that came up from the floor between their legs and topped off at about chest high. There was a trigger just below their hooves and a button at the top of the stick, useable only with their free forelegs, should the situation call for it.

"Hey Wingcolt, are you seeing this?" the grey pony asked.

"Yeah, Tailgunner, I don't believe this. What's a pegasus doing out here? Or anypony for that matter?" the blue stallion responded.

"I'm going to check in to base, see if we have something going on out here." Wingcolt pushed a small red button to his right. "Unit 72 to base, come in. Over," he said into a small microphone attached to the side of his helmet.

A tiny speaker embedded in the helmet spoke up with a staticy, female voice, "This is base, Unit 72, what's your status?"

"Do we have any activity going on in the Ponyville area? Over."

After a moment of silence, the speaker came alive again. "Negative, 72. Is there something the matter?"

"Well, we have positive identification of a glowing, purple mare pegasus, rainbow colored mane, over Ponyville. Looks to be just outside Town Square," Wingcolt explained. "It's not wearing any gear. Could it be one of ours? Over."

The speaker was quiet for a moment while the speaker on the other end confirmed an answer. "No records of said pegasus. You are clear to engage, 72."

"Roger," Wingcolt said, and immediately gripped down on the trigger.

-----

A flickering orange light erupted from the underbelly of the winged monsters. As the light fired from under the wings, they seemed to emit a loud rumbling sound that Rainbow could hear as if she was sitting next to them. Sparks suddenly flew off her purple shield, scaring her half to death.

"What the hay?!" she screamed, and darted away from the aircrafts. She swayed side to side, trying to throw off these metal things chasing her. She banked to the right, hoping to begin outmanuevering them. She looked back and watched as they tilted to the right and duplicated her movement. They eventually caught up alongside her, the roaring sounds they made amplified tenfold by their proximity.

Rainbow had to cover her ears to stop herself from losing her hearing as well as her mind. She looked into the clear eye of the thing to her right and saw a blue pony looking at her. Her eyes widened in shock. She spun her head and looked at the other whatever it was to her left and saw a grey one also watching her. They both looked exceptionally mad at her.

A mix of uncertainty and determination filled Rainbow's heart and she took a hard turn upwards. Her pursuers looked up and followed right behind her. She watched them continue their chase and gritted her teeth. How was she supposed to get away from them when they could match her every move?!

One of the red-tipped things flew past her body, causing her to jump in surprise. The smoke trail it left behind could have gagged her if she wasn't protected. She narrowed her eyes angrily.

"So, you wanna do this the hard way, huh? Fine. See if you can keep up with this," Rainbow challenged.

She slowed down to let them catch up a few feet behind her.

-----

"That's right, just sit still for one.. more.. second.. " Tailgunner mumbled. A small screen in front of him showed a grainy picture of the speedy blue pegasus in front of them, a narrow triangle from each corner facing toward the center. The triangles lit up green and beeped several times in quick succession when Rainbow suddenly blasted away with a powerful explosion and a ring of color. The shockwave shattered the glass the two stallions sat behind and sent the crafts veering off wildly.

Trying to gain control of their flying machines proved extraordinarily difficult. The sticks in front of them didn't want to stay still and they almost collided a few times. Buzzers screamed and lights flashed in their small compartments.

Wingcolt grabbed onto the steering stick with all his strength and straightened himself out. "Tailgunner, you OK?" he yelled into his mic. The loud, racing winds beating on their snouts made it nearly impossible to hear themselves.

"Yeah, I'm alright!" He looked over his panels and leveled his machine, pushing various buttons and quieting the noise. They flipped a visor that was embedded in the helmets in front of their eyes.

The stallions looked up and saw Rainbow nosediving right at them. She darted between the two machines, and the sudden, violent wind current left in her wake forced the two crafts to fly into each other. Their wings collided, snapping pieces of metal off. The shards plummeted to the ground and smashed their way into the roofs of some of the abandoned homes and shops below.

The crafts' panels erupted into a cacophony of alarms and buzzes. The two stallions tried to separate the wings but to no avail.

"We gotta punch out!" Tailgunner yelled to his companion. They each reached under their seat where a yellow and black striped lever waited. They reached down and yanked up forcefully. Their seats flew high out from the compartments, leaving the empty, uncontrolled machines to fall to the ground. They crashed into one of many empty buildings and leveled it into scrap. The momentum carried them into several more homes, leaving a trail of rubble. When they finally came to a stop, the small fires that had started burning where the stallions just were quickly spread to the rest of the vehicle. A few moments later, they exploded into a thick cloud of smoke and red hot flame, sending large chunks of metal debris flying into the air.

Rainbow looked back at the smoke pillar bellowing out from the dead street, grinning proudly at her accomplishment. Her attention was grabbed by the stallions flying into the air, still strapped to their chairs. Suddenly, the chairs fell out from under them and a pair of wings emerged from each of their backs. They spun around looking for their target, which Tailgunner spotted. He gave Wingcolt a light slap and directed his attention to her. They retracted their visors and resumed their chase.

"What?! Why would pegasi need to control a flying.. thing?"

Before she could come up with a plausible answer, she felt an overpowering pain in her own wings. Her lungs erupted in pain and her flapping suddenly ceased. She fell limply to the earth, specifically, toward one of the shops below. Twilight's numbing spell couldn't have picked a worse time to start wearing off, nor could Rainbow have expected the unimaginable amount of agony she'd be in when it did. It hurt like Tartarus when she flew across the entire country only a hoofful of hours ago, but this went way beyond anything Rainbow could have ever predicted.

She instinctively put her hooves in front of her face and braced for impact, despite the protective shield that still covered her. She slammed head first into a second story rooftop and through the floor below. The force with which she hit made her crash through the stone wall on the ground and into the next building sitting beside it. She finally came to a stop in the middle of the structure she was in.

The stallions followed Rainbow's unintentional train of destruction, determined to complete the command they were given.

"She's gotta be mince meat after that," Wingcolt commented.

They landed outside the building she came to a stop in. It was sitting by the river that flowed alongside Town Square. They approached cautiously until they heard her screaming wildly from outside.

"How in the hell is she still alive?" Tailgunner asked.

"I don't know. Why don't we ask her before we kill her?"

Wingcolt opened the door to the destitute store. All they had to do to find Rainbow was follow the screams. They found her writhing on the floor, gripping at her sides and yelling so hard her voice started to dry out. They looked at each other and grinned wickedly. They each pulled out a small, hoofheld metal device from pouches attached to the black, criss-crossed straps that sat across their light beige uniforms and pointed them at Rainbow, pulling on a small lever in the back with their free hooves, locking the levers into place with a click. She was completely unaware of what they were doing thanks to the excruciating pain.

"This is for our planes, bitch."

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