• Published 8th Sep 2012
  • 4,009 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 32

Spike and the pegasi jumped back in horror and screamed as the tunnel collapsed in front of them. A large dust cloud flew out of the hole, blinding and gagging them. By the time the dust settled and they rubbed their watering eyes clean, Celestia's saboteurs had darted past them and were too far away to catch.

A few of the pegasi shot at them as they escaped, but thanks to their still-cloudy vision, nothing hit. Spike bared his teeth, ready to give chase, but caught his allies digging hastily at some of the smaller bits of debris in front of them. Snorting in frustration, he forgot about the enemies and grabbed onto the larger boulders that he knew the pegasi wouldn't be able to lift, flinging them out of the way. He begged under his breath that his friends were alright.

Beneath the cave-in, a lavender unicorn riding atop a sky blue pegasus was struggling against the massive weight just inches over their heads. Her horn was glowing vibrantly and sparks were flying off, burning out as fast as they appeared. Every muscle in her body burned as she used every last ounce of willpower she had to keep her friends and allies from being squashed.

Twilight had no idea how many ponies had made it under the relative safety of her shield and how many were a second too late, but as long as they were alive, there was still hope. One by one, as they realized they hadn't been instantly killed, they rose from their bellies and onto their hooves. Fortunately for them, Twilight's dome had prevented any dust from reaching them, otherwise it would have been likely that she would not have been able to maintain her focus.

"Help.. me.." she grunted to nopony in particular.

Instantly, a beam of magenta-colored magic met with hers at the point. Her brother planted his hooves and grunted, throwing everything he had behind it. The dome rippled with the added power. Slowly, the shield expanded upwards, but it wasn't enough. After only a few inches of growth, the two unicorns stagnated.

Derpy called out to the survivors. "Unicorns, every one of you give them support! Break through the roof if you can, doesn't matter! Earth ponies, start digging over there in case we can't!" she instructed, pointing in their original direction. "Hopefully we have enough air under all this to make it out."

The Commander joined the earth ponies, reaching through the force field and pushing the rocks they could pick up to the side. Numerous beams of various blues, whites, yellows, and greens came together as one over their heads. Straining, the unicorns pushed hard against the rubble threatening to end their rebellion for good. With every new bit of magic added to the shield, it grew in size.

As the majority of the rebel forces did what they could from the inside, Spike and the pegasi still clawed away at the rocks in front of them. They had made only a bit of progress, and they knew they had to hurry. There was no way of knowing if Celestia's forces were on their way nor how far in their friends were, if they could even reach them.

"Ugh! We're getting nowhere!" Spike growled, slamming a fist onto the wall of rocks. "I'm going to go check up top. Maybe whatever caused the cave-in left it weakened."

Not waiting for a reply, Spike sped away and found the middle of the mountainside. He carefully looked over the area, but wasn't sure where to begin. He had no idea if any of the grooves and ridges in front of him had anything to do with what had just occurred. With his anger and frustration growing by the second, he lunged at the stone structure and dug his claws in and far as he could. Hovering, he put all his strength into his back and slowly tore a chunk of the mountain away. He tossed the slab over the edge of the cliff and attacked again.

Piece after piece was ripped off and thrown to the wayside. With each second that passed, Spike and the others fell farther into panic mode. The hole he had dug was several feet across and deep, yet there was still no sign of breaking through. Suddenly, under his claws, a small crack split the crust and he heard the sound of stone crumbling below. Tiny pebbles and bits of gravel trickled down and disappeared out of his sight as the bedrock broke apart. Gasping, he called for his allies below to fly up and help him.

Their ears perked up, and the pegasi hurried up top. They found the dragon struggling, hoisting the largest boulder he could lift up to his chest. After he tossed it away, they helped him scoop up stone after stone until a faint pink light peeked through the cracks. The bubble slowly forced its way through with the two groups' combined efforts. Spike hurled the last of the larger rocks away with ease, allowing a solid beam of light to shine down on Derpy, Twilight and the others.

The hole widened as the unicorns below grabbed chunks of rock with their magic and carefully pulled them down, not wanting to cause another cave-in. Twilight maintained her shield with her brother's help and soon, the breach in the roof was wide enough for Spike to be able to fly down.

The survivors were huddled in a large clump, sweating and short of breath. He reached down and grabbed hold of four earth ponies first, lifting them to freedom and setting them down far away from the hole. His pegasi comrades swung down and picked up more of their allies. After several minutes, Spike finally scooped up Twilight, Rarity and Shining Armor, the last ones in the cave. As he vacated them, the siblings dropped their protective bubble, and the edges of the maw broke away, slamming hard onto the tracks below. When the hole had stabilized, the rebels let out a collective sigh of relief.

Derpy leaned over, exhausted and slightly dehydrated. She wiped her brow clean and looked over her troops. Every last one looked as if they had run a marathon, and their numbers were even smaller now. At least fifteen to twenty percent more of her forces had been crushed. She closed her eyes, dejected, and curled her lips in frustration. Celestia was more clever than she anticipated. The alicorn was systematically withering Derpy's forces away before they even got to the city. She jerked her head upward and lifted her rifle, expecting another aerial assault, but sighed again when she saw no evidence of one.

"C-Commander?" Twilight stuttered, about to pass out. "Now what?"

She gasped weakly for breath. "Once we're recovered, we.. we press on. I'll make her pay for this. For everything. I swear it."

After roughly fifteen minutes, Derpy could wait no longer. She ordered the troops to resume their march, and those who couldn't simply fly to the train tracks either slid carefully down the side of the hill or were carried. The unicorns who could blink to safety did so and helped levitate their companions to them. As horrifying and seemingly final as things just were, Derpy knew things were going to get worse.

-----

It took nearly another thirty minutes to reach the train station on hoof. They knew Celestia was watching. How couldn't she be? They were on her doorstep. Derpy ordered her troops to fall in out of line of sight from the castle. She needed them fully rested since it was a short, straight gallop to the entrance.

After a quick survey of her soldiers, she glided up and spied their enemy over the train station rooftop. She could see Trixie and her squad ready, and several pegasi hovering. What made her blood boil was seeing the Princess standing on her balcony, ready to watch from her safe haven as more ponies fought and died because of her misguided hopes and dreams.

After returning to the earth, Derpy reviewed what she saw. "They've got several pegasi flying overhead and plenty of ground troops. If we hadn't lost so many, we'd easily outnumber them. Our first priority needs to be to take down the pegasi. We can shield the front without a problem, but if we take any hits from above, we're as good as done, and they have position on us."

"Commander, leave them to me and Belle. We can handle them," Twilight said. She turned to the white mare and smirked. "If she's up for it, that is."

"Are you kidding? Of course I am," she said, sharing a hoofbump with her fellow unicorn.

"Alright then," Derpy continued. "Now, there's practically no cover between here and there, so, Shining Armor, you'll lead the charge with your barrier. Do whatever you can to take them down hard and fast. Myself, the Elements, and the Party Crashers will head into the castle. Shining Armor, Spike, you and the others will storm the rest of the city. Stick together. Spike, I know you'd like a shot at the Princess, but we're going to need the room in the already tight quarters of the castle. You're simply too big."

"I understand, Commander." The dragon leaned down and nuzzled Rarity cheek. "You be careful, beautiful."

"You too, Spikey Wikey."

Derpy smiled softly as the couple gave each other their hearts. The fact they could find love during such horrid times and make it bloom gave her a shred of hope, despite what they were about to go through. She lifted her head proudly and saluted her troops for what she knew could be the last time.

"No matter what happens today, mares and gentlecolts, it's been an honor serving with you." They paid their respects to their Commander and returned the salute. "Now, let's get 'em!"

The rebels lifted their weapons to the sky and cheered. With a challenging roar, they stampeded around the station, General Shining Armor taking the lead. He erected a massive shield in front of them. The pegasi glided low, including Rainbow Dash with Twilight riding on her back. Derpy flew a few feet to her left. The unicorns levitated their weapons, peppering the battlefield with cover fire as they charged ahead. The enemy put up their own shields, blocking any incoming shots.

"Wait a minute," Twilight spoke up, "is that Trixie down there? She's leading this?"

"Twilight, focus! The pegasi first!" Derpy scolded.

"I know! But after the pegasi are dead, she's mine!"

"Just do what you're supposed to and you can have her!"

"Fine! Belle! Let's do this!" Twilight called out. The ivory mare nodded and with a pair of magic pops, they and their weapons disappeared.

-----

"Here they come! Take them down! For the glory of Celestia!" Trixie cried out.

The stallions and mares above their camp fired down on Derpy's troops. The large magenta blockade prevented all but a few bullets from getting through, but those that did found random targets, killing them as they rushed forward. A pink and blue burst of magic suddenly appeared on the backs of two of the pegasi without warning.

Before they could react to what was occurring, a hoofgun dug into their cranium and unloaded a shot into their skulls. Before their bodies even began to fall, Belle and Twilight teleported to two new targets and repeated the process. Two by two, the pegasi were quickly eradicated. The bodies fell limply onto the troops below, causing them to jump in surprise and shake their defenses. When the last of the flyers' corpses landed, Belle blinked back to her friends. Twilight, however, appeared behind her age old rival, glaring at the showpony.

With their shields buckling, Spike dove out from behind Shining Armor's and laid a line of fire along the ground in front of them, concealing their approach and terrifying the enemy. Jumping through the flames, Derpy's army plowed into Celestia's, trampling the ponies on the front line.

Shining Armor lowered his shield as they decimated the first defenders in the group. Rarity's favorite pair of revolvers took down a resilient earth pony from point blank range. Applejack turned and bucked a unicorn in the stomach, causing him to drop his weapon. In one swift, fluid motion, she spun around and unsheathed her shotgun from her back and unloaded a buckshot into her enemy's chest. With a fast cock, she turned to her right and gunned another unicorn down. Pinkie slammed down her PC 9000 and blasted a hole in their defenses five ponies deep, leaving next to nothing of her victims. Rainbow raced overhead, risking being an open target, and sprayed a magazine of rounds into a row of troops.

Surprised by their ferocity, Celestia's elites toward the back retreated around the curved staircases and into the city. Outraged at seeing her elite squad almost instantly broken through and slaughtered, Trixie screamed at her cowardly troops. High overhead, Celestia sneered in disgust and headed back through her bedroom, her guards a step behind her.

Trixie took aim with her numerous weapons, ready to salvage some shred of victory against her aggressive enemy. Her faint magic was engulfed by a darker shade of pink and the guns were tossed away without her permission, making her take a step back in surprise.

"Trixie!"

The blue mare spun around and squinted angrily. "You! How dare you! This battle may already be lost, but I'll still take you out, if nothing else, Sparkle!"

The General bared her teeth but fell to her belly, the strength in her legs still lacking. The former entertainer laughed at her predicament.

"What's this? You can't even stand up? Hah! This is going to even easier than I expected! I'm not even going to waste any magical energies on you! It'll be so much more satisfying when I kill you with my bare hooves!"

Over her head, a sky blue pegasus took aim at the Colonel. "Don't move a muscle, Trixie! Give it up!"

"Rainbow, I've got this!" Twilight reprimanded. "Tell Derpy and the others to head inside if it's clear. I'll catch up!"

"But– "

"Go! I'll be fine."

Obeying, Rainbow met up with the Commander and passed on the word. Derpy issued her previous orders and her forces split up, leaving Twilight and Trixie alone among the bodies.

"Now," Trixie said, smirking, "where was I? Oh yes. I was about to kill you."

"Just to be fair, I won't use any magic either. Not that I'd need to with you."

Twilight lifted herself up and flopped onto her rump, sitting up straight. She waved a hoof toward herself, daring Trixie to attack. Furious for her mockery, Trixie roared and galloped at her hated foe. She took a wild swing with her right hoof, but Twilight fell limply to the ground and corralled their hind legs together, causing Trixie to fall hard onto her face. Twilight rolled to the side and quickly pounced on her enemy's back. She wrapped her forelimb around the Colonel's horn and pulled back on her head, punching Trixie in the jaw as hard as her weak limbs would let her. Almost immediately, her lip was split open thanks to Twilight's shoes.

Trixie struggled, trying to ignore the pain, but still got back to her hooves. She balanced herself and elbowed Twilight in the side of her neck, knocking her off and onto her back. The showmare lunged and gripped Twilight's throat, trying to choke the life out of her. In her physically weakened state, Twilight couldn't pull Trixie's hooves away. Instead, she gritted her teeth and slid a hind leg between them. But, no matter how hard she pushed, Twilight simply didn't have the strength to separate them. Thinking quickly, she wedged her forelimbs between Trixie's and forced her head back, breaking the grip.

With some room finally between them, Twilight drove her hind leg into Trixie's shin. Even though there wasn't much muscle behind it, her horseshoe connected with a sickening metal crack. Trixie shrieked in agony and fell to the ground, grabbing at her leg. The rebel rolled onto her belly and lifted herself up. Not wanting to be beaten, Trixie fought through the stinging pain and got up as well. She spat a glob of blood defiantly.

In a rage, Trixie threw a left at Twilight's head, easily parried away. A right was ducked. Trixie lifted her left again over her head to drive it down on Twilight's horn but received a pair of hooves to her open chest. She stumbled back a step and clutched her torso, the wind completely knocked out of her. Gritting her teeth, Twilight stood upright slammed a right into Trixie's face, breaking her snout. She fell hard to the dirt, blood coating her mouth. General Sparkle stood over Trixie triumphantly.

"A shame Celestia never bothered to teach you how to fight hoof to hoof. Unlike Derpy."

"I've.. still got a trick or two.. up my sleeve!" she growled, tossing dirt into her eyes.

"Agh! You little.. ! Ngh!"

As she brushed away what she could, a light pink surrounded Twilight's neck and she was lifted off the ground.

"S-So much for.. no magic," she snarled, teeth bared.

"Whatever! You're still done, Twilight Sparkle!"

"Go.. buck yourself!"

Her horn came to life and Trixie suddenly froze up, dropping Twilight. Shaking, Trixie grabbed her head and screamed. A second later, her skull burst open, blown to pieces by a rapidly expanding bubble. Her corpse fell limply to the ground in front of the victorious unicorn. Breathing deeply, she wiped bits of grey matter from her muzzle and looked toward the castle door.

-----

Derpy, the Elements and the Party Crashers raced through the castle toward the throne room and the first of their two targets. They found and annihilated the control room just inside the entrance quickly and moved on. The few guards they came across faced a quick death. The Commander led her small group forward to the spiral stairs almost instinctively. She had only visited the throne room one other time, many years ago to rescue The Doctor, but the directions never left her mind.

After ascending to the narrow hall at the top of the castle, they found the red carpet to their right. Following it, they busted open the large double door and spotted the TARDIS ahead of them. Unfortunately, they also found Princess Celestia and her guards standing in front of it, aiming their weapons at them.

"Please. Come in."

Glaring, defeated, they stepped into the long room. The doors closed on their own behind them. From the rear, several more pegasi and unicorns took careful aim. The rebels' weapons were lifted into the air by the Princess and pulled apart, down to the screws and bolts. The scraps were tossed to the wall and forgotten.

"It's so nice of you to save me the trouble of hunting you down. I must admit, you all have given me quite the headache over the years. I'm so glad that the peace in Equestria I've been dreaming for will finally be realized," the Princess gloated.

"You're sickening!" Derpy bellowed. "It's because of you that this war ever began!"

"You had best watch your tone, little one. You have no idea what I've been through for this land."

"I know enough. I know that you crumbled under the pressure of leadership and, in the process, sent thousands upon thousands of ponies to their deaths! Did you expect ruling a kingdom to be a walk in the park?!"

"Believe whatever you want. All you need to know now is that very soon, you'll be reunited with your precious Doctor." She rubbed her chin gently. "It's too bad he's not alive right now. I would have to thank him for everything. If it wasn't for his magnificent machine and its records, I wouldn't have been able to create the necessary tools to accomplish all this."

The Commander squinted angrily at the mention of her old friend and whispered, "You're insane."

"Now, the only question left is who among you will be first. Will it be you, Derpy? The second-in-command who unwillingly became the rebellion's champion? Or perhaps you, Pinkie Pie? I still have that gift you gave me from the last time we met." She rubbed her long neck, glaring but smiling softly.

"Looks good on you," the pink mare mocked.

Dismissing her comment, the Princess continued. "How about the ever beautiful Rarity? If it weren't for you, the rebels would never have gotten their hooves on the blueprints for my equipment and stood their ground as long as they have.

"What about you, Applejack? Your brother decimated a legion of my troops as you all ran away the last time we came together in Ponyville."

"Ya mean when Pinkie nearly barbecued ya?" she asked, smirking.

Celestia sneered at the wisecrack. "Why should he be alone in his sacrifice? The reunion would be so touching."

Thirty feet over their heads, a previously invisible crack suddenly split open wide, a bright white light spewing forth. It was long enough to extend from one end of the room to the other. Celestia had yet to see it appear, as she was looking down at her enemy. But, Derpy and the other rebels saw it plain as day. They shrank away a step at the sight.

"Or perhaps I should begin with the one whose fault this all was in the first place." Rainbow suddenly gripped at a yellow ring around her throat as it pulled her close to the Princess, choking her. "I never thought I'd see you again, my little pony. You've put on some real muscle! Did you ever figure out how to flex anything upstairs?" The pegasus bared her teeth as her breath began to escape her. "Hmmm. Yes, it would only be right for you to be the first."

The Princess addressed her guards, "Once I've finished with this one, you may all fire at will. Any last words, Rainbow Dash?"

Their weapons suddenly glowed pink and were pulled away from their handlers, separating into their base components and being thrown away. An angry voice cried out from behind them.

"You didn't think Trixie was going to stop me from getting to you, did you?"

Rainbow fell to the floor as Celestia turned to find Twilight standing on top of the TARDIS staring daggers into her.

"Twilight! You made it!" Derpy cheered.

With a pop of magic, she disappeared and reappeared near the wall, facing the Princess from her side. Celestia and the guards near the unicorn jumped back as she burst into existence on the floor.

"I thought I may have beaten you here, but then I heard loudmouth here from behind the door. Figured it may be a good idea not to be seen right away," Twilight explained.

"Hm. Why am I not surprised that you were able to defeat the Great and Powerful Trixie?" Celestia pondered aloud. "I've changed my mind. You all take care of her friends, and keep them off me. I'll handle Twilight Sparkle. She was my biggest failure, after all. One that still needs to be corrected."

Derpy and her warriors took defensive positions. Celestia's guards, slightly outnumbering the rebels, growled and lunged forward at once. Rainbow took off and barrel rolled around an incoming enemy and bucked him in the back as he flew past. Rarity, preferring a hooves-on approach, ducked out of the way of a blast of magic, spun around and caught her hind hoof on the unicorn's chin. A moment later, she was tackled to the floor by a beige earth pony. The Party Crashers and their leader stood in two pairs back to back, tossing aside incoming attacks and retaliating with their own. Derpy took to the sky, but an agile earth pony brought her back down, headbutting her as they landed. He received a punch in the lip for his trouble. Applejack was holding onto a unicorn's horn while taking several blows to the gut. Getting angry as they danced, she twirled and slammed him to the ground, uppercutting him in the chin.

While the brawl went on, Twilight and Celestia stared each other down silently. The unicorn's weak legs buckled slightly, prompting the Princess to cock an eyebrow.

"You defeated Trixie and yet you can barely stand? Interesting. Though I am curious. Where have you been all this time? The last I heard, my imbecilic nephew shot you," the Princess asked.

"I was in a coma until recently. I felt the need to come back, say hello, blow some ponies' minds, literally. The usual."

"Hmph. It truly is a shame how things turned out, Twilight. You really did have such potential. Too bad your trust was so sorely misplaced."

"You're right. It was," the unicorn muttered. "I looked to you as a friend, a mentor, and then you turn around and try to kill us. Everything you taught me you smashed against the wall!"

"I wasn't the one who betrayed Equestria! I wasn't the one who sacrificed harmony for personal glory! That was your blue friend over there! I have no idea where she went or why, but considering how large her ego is, there's no doubt in my mind that it was to make herself look more important than she already was!" Celestia yelled. "We needed her, and she spat in our faces! How you can take her back as your friend is utterly beyond me!"

"Her disappearance was an accident!"

"And that changes absolutely nothing."

Twilight realized her old friend was beyond reason and stared at her, disappointed. "So, that's it. You really are gone."

"You know, Twilight, I am glad you were able to join us one last time. It's only fitting that you be present to see this ridiculous rebellion crushed once and for all. Once you and your friends are gone, it won't take long for me to bring peace back to Equestria. The way it should have always been."

The lavender mare glared, not bothering to dignify her with a response.

"And now, Twilight Sparkle.."

Celestia spread her wings and glided backwards in the air toward the wall.

"...now..."

Her long horn glowed.

"...you..."

Twilight's burned bright in response.

"...die!"

The Princess lunged her neck forward and fired a blast of magic.

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