• Published 8th Sep 2012
  • 3,973 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 6

'We haven't seen you in over forty years,' it repeated in Rainbow's mind. Her pupils shrank to pinhead size and her heart nearly stopped. She laid frozen on the hay, her mouth having fallen open in horror.

"Wha.. h-how is.. I.. I... ", Rainbow mumbled as she tried to speak.

"Darling, where did you go?!" Rarity asked. "We started to think after a while that you were upset with us, or with something at least, but nopony could come up with anything that made any sense. We were all worried sick about you. But, how in Luna's name haven't you aged?"

She had no way to answer such questions. She hadn't gone anywhere. "Wh-When was the last you saw me?"

"We never forgot. It was the day you performed your Rainbow Ring. Oh, that's right, you didn't have a name for it yet," Rarity realized.

The pegasus cocked a curious eyebrow at mention of the event. "You mean when I caught my own rainbow trail?"

A small grin graced her lips and the unicorn nodded, "Yes. For what it's worth, it was absolutely incredible."

She briefly smiled with pride herself, happy that she was able to complete her worldwide stunt, but the joy quickly turned to depression. If Rarity said was true, she had missed out on so much that she didn't know how to get back, if it was even possible. Growing old with her friends and maybe seeing them start their own families, seeing the Crusaders turn into wonderful young mares, maybe watch Scootaloo fly for the first time, getting into the Wonderbolts and living the dream.. it was all gone.

Rainbow sunk her head into her hooves and sobbed loudly. Rarity caressed the mare's neck softly, trying to ease the pain. She didn't think she would be able to until her cyan friend had come to terms with her situation, but she wanted still wanted Rainbow to know she was with ponies who cared about her. Spike joined the two ponies on the ground and held Rainbow's hoof tightly. He and Rarity couldn't begin to imagine how lost she was feeling, but their eyes still teared for her, sharing her pain.

How could they really? Only recently, she was racing around the globe, setting new speed records that would likely never be broken. Then, she's being attacked by these crazy looking flying things over a suddenly rundown Ponyville before blacking out a short time later. Now, she was sitting in a strange room with a bunch of flashing lights and whirs and buzzes coming from some weird looking.. things.. in front of her and a bunch of metallic whatever they were with holes coming out one of their ends on the wall. She couldn't even begin to figure out how to describe anything that had happened to her that would have made any sense, even to herself.

"You.. you don't have any idea what happened, do you?" Rainbow looked up and asked, tears running down her cheeks and landing in the hay.

Her ivory leg dropped heavily to the floor and she shook her head, "I'm afraid I haven't a clue. I'm so sorry, dear."

Rainbow sadly hung her back head, letting a salty tear slide into the corner of her mouth. She didn't care enough to respond to the bad taste.

The radio's speaker crackled to life with some fuzzy chatter, catching the group's attention. The dragon walked over and sat down in front of the communicator. He twisted a knob on the control panel, trying to clarify what they were listening to, and turned another, increasing the volume. The static whined and squeaked as Spike honed in on the frequency.

It was likely another one of the patrols overhead, based on what he could make out once it was clear. He checked the digital clock to his left. It was still accurate thanks to its internal memory, despite not being operated in months before they arrived a few days ago. 8:03 PM. Yep. More or less right on schedule.

"What is that thing?" Rainbow said, the distraction lessening her misery, even if only temporarily.

"It's a radio tranceiver," Spike turned and said. "We use it mainly to listen in on planes when they scout nearby, see if we can get any intel we can use while we're hiding here."

Spike's answer did nothing to satisfy Rainbow's curiosity. In fact, she was now ten times more bewildered than before. She tried to ask what he was talking about, but no words came from her confused open mouth besides "Huh?"

Rarity rolled her eyes, "You were attacked by a couple things in the sky soon before you passed out, yes? They had pegasus pilots?"

"Uh.. I guess? I know they popped out of these flying things that chased me," Rainbow explained.

"Those are planes. That radio over there lets us listen to the ponies flying them as talk to each other. If they mention something important, we respond appropriately." Rarity turned to the drake, "Anything useful, Spike?"

'That really is Spike,' Rainbow thought to herself. Based on the dragon's colors, she had originally assumed it was him when she finally got a clear look at him a few moments ago but wasn't completely sure. He was just.. different that what she expected upon hearing the name. She had grown so accustomed to seeing him being half her height that she almost didn't recognize him. And what were those things attached to his sides? Were those.. wings? Of metal?

"No, just the usual crap," Spike clarified. He lowered the volume back down to a near whisper so they could speak in peace again.

Rainbow slowly looked over the room around her, taking in the wild surroundings. The only things she could identify were the kitchen appliances and the two tables in the room. Though she gathered that to her right were some trunks, she couldn't begin to guess what they were there for. Nothing else in the room made any sense to her, so it was safe to assume their contents would be foreign to her as well.

"What is all this? Where am I?"

"You're in Applejack's old cellar," Spike spoke up, sitting back down next to Rarity. "It was used for spying for years before the ponies who were here were called back to base. Everypony's thought Ponyville had been abandoned for a while now, but we've been living there since," the drake and his love looked at each other, "..since we left the resistance. We come here when we think we may be in danger of being discovered. It's worked so far."

The depths of her confusion and curiosity continued to grow as she learned more, "Resistance? What are you talking about?"

"Rainbow, we're at war," Rarity stated bluntly. "Well, they're at war. We've been here for about four years now. We don't want any part of it, but now, since we've managed to anger both sides of this conflict, there's no sense in us trying to make friends again. We have each other, and that's enough for me." Spike leaned over and affectionately rubbed his forehead on hers, their eyes getting lost in each others for a moment.

"War? With who? What happened?" Rainbow demanded to know.

The couple's attention was torn from each other and they looked away, glaring angrily and sneering. Rarity finally sighed, "Given that you were the Element of Loyalty, I doubt you'd believe us if we told you. I can't stomach thinking about her or even saying that despicable mare's name."

"Me either," Spike added.

Rainbow snorted in annoyance, "Can you tell me anything? Don't give me names if you don't want to."

The unicorn closed her eyes with a similar level of annoyance and sighed, silently wishing she didn't have to go into it. "Fine. Long story short, somepony who was once very important to us got a ludicrous idea in their head after a couple unfortunate events and turned on us."

"And all these gizmos in here?"

Another question involving her. Rarity and Spike grinded their teeth. "She got her hooves on something that had all sorts of information about things like this. This.. source, whatever.. was only useable, and frankly, understood, by our former commander and his assistant, the current one. They're the only reasons we even have this technology to begin with. Even after they explained everything, I still don't know how most this stuff works."

"We were shown how to operate these things and fix them up. Only the smartest ponies could understand how they actually worked. Like Twilight," Spike said heavily. His white lover lowered her head solemnly at the mention of their friend's name.

Rainbow noticed how depressed they had suddenly become after being ready to punch something a second ago. "What's up with Twilight? You look like somepony just.. " She stopped herself when the possibility hit her. "She's not dead, is she?" she asked, fearing the worst.

Rarity sighed, almost at the verge of tears, "No, but she may as well be. She was hit in our last battle together by," she sneered again, "Blueblood. She lost a lot of blood and slipped into a coma. We have no idea if she's come out of it since we left."

"Blueblood?! I'll rip him apart!" Rainbow slammed her hoof on the floor.

The unicorn sniggered with an almost evil little smirk, "Don't worry about that. I took care of that piece of shit."

Her choice of words would have floored Rainbow if she wasn't still laying down. She would never have imagined a 'lady' like Rarity to be so crude. She almost felt a little proud that her white friend had loosened up a bit.

"Listen, Rarity, Spike.. I don't know what's going on. But, if there's anything I can do to help, I want to," Rainbow said, determination written on her face. After everything they had told her about what was happening in Equestria, she couldn't lay there feeling sorry for herself anymore.

The lovers looked at each nervously and back at Rainbow. "You're sure you want to?" Spike asked. "Things are a lot different than they were forty years ago."

"Yes. I am."

They thought deeply in silence for a moment. In their current position, Rainbow wouldn't be of any use. She has her youth and agility though with her wings in the shape they were in, she wouldn't be able to fly any time soon, provided that flying hadn't basically become a death sentence.

"Well," Spike finally spoke up, "we could bring her back to.. the command center. I'm sure they could find a use for her there."

"Spike, no! We can't go back there! They'd lock us both up, you know that!"

"Then I'll go. Maybe they'll be lenient on me if they don't see you there. Besides, ponies are still terrified of my flame breath anyway, if it ultimately came down to it."

"And you'd be giving them perfect reason to execute you if you had to use it on them for any reason!"

He sighed, defeated. Despite their bickering, he knew Rarity was right.

"How about I just drop Rainbow off outside then? As long as I don't go inside.. ?" he suggested.

The unicorn smirked uncertainly. "I.. suppose that may work."

"Well, come on then! Let's get going!" Rainbow insisted. "Where is this place anyway?"

"It's hidden in Ghastly Gorge, inside the caves where quarry eels used to live. They turned tail and ran off to who knows where when we showed up with our weapons," Rarity explained. "It seems a bit cruel, yes, but we needed to hide, and the river through the gorge provided us with water and the caves had minerals we needed. It was the best place to go."

"If I'm going to take her, we need to start getting ready. Wouldn't be a bad idea to take a couple things too, just in case we run into trouble on the way there."

"Like what?" Rainbow asked.


The rusty hinges on the barn door creaked loudly as Spike slowly pushed it open, kicking up a cloud of dust that swallowed the empty space in the long-undisturbed building. The heavy air made the trio cough as they stepped inside. The barn was just as beaten up as the rest of the structures on the farm thanks to the lack of care. Spike closed the door a bit too hard behind them, causing a loose board to fall from the ceiling above the indoor balcony and land with a loud clack.

Swatting the dust away, Rainbow saw that the barn itself was mostly empty, save for the hay on the ground, a rusted out tractor, a few empty saddlebags on the walls by the door, and some more what she assumed were weapons on the walls as well. These were different from the ones in the cellar though. They were similar in shape much larger and longer than the others.

Her friends named off some of them for familiarity: M-60, AK-47, AR-15, and various 'sniper rifles' as Rarity called them. Those had exceptionally longer shafts than the others and what looked like small versions of the telescopes that Twilight had in her library sitting on top of them. Rainbow had no idea what the letters and numbers meant, but stayed silent anyway.

There were more trunks like in the old cellar sitting on the ground with what was revealed to be what they called 'ammunition' inside them. This 'ammunition' was in the laid in the cases in multiple layers. They looked to be individually longer than her hoof was wide, but they were also barely thicker than a pencil.

She lifted some up to her face and inspected the curious objects. What good did these things do? Sure, the pointy ends looked like they could annoy somepony, but it wasn't like the Royal Guards' spears where you could impale somepony on it. But, Rarity and Spike were more familiar with them than she was; if they said they were lethal, then they were lethal.

"Ah, here we are. This should work against any patrols we run into," Spike said, finally finding what he sought.

At his feet, in the open chest, sat a long metal tube with a pair of handles on one side that was almost as long from front to back as Rainbow was. Beside it, in their foam mold, were four small, olive green hoofball-shaped things with tiny tails on one end.

"This is called a rocket launcher, Rainbow," Rarity said.

"And those small things are the rockets?"

"Yes! Good! You're already catching on!" the unicorn bounced.

Spike picked up the launcher and held it up to Rainbow. "Here, let me show you how to use this. You'll be riding on my back and I can't use it. I can't aim it properly since I'm too big for it, but you can. It was designed for ponies after all."

Rainbow took it in a hoof and stared at it vacantly. This was going to be interesting.

The drake lifted the rocket launcher onto Rainbow's shoulder and pushed her head gently against its round side. He pointed to the small circular piece sticking up at the far end of the tube.

"You aim through this here. Hold it in place with this," he moved her hoof to the handle in the front, "and pull this trigger here to fire," he instructed.

"Be sure to keep your hoof off the trigger until you're ready to shoot, too. An accident with this will kill you," Rarity added.

Rainbow stood on her hind legs and pointed her new toy around the room, getting a feel for how it was supposed to work. It was certainly different. Spike and Rarity normally would have ducked out of the way, but it wasn't loaded.

"Where do the rockets go?"

A light blue glow picked up one of the projectiles and held it near the front of the weapon. "You insert it here, darling. It'll click into place when it's ready."

"Anything else I need to know?"

"Ah, yes," Rarity continued. "If you do happen upon some planes after you, shoot ahead of them, not where they are."

This was suddenly getting a little more complicated than Rainbow hoped. "How will I know where to shoot at, though?"

"Trial and error, really," Spike said. "But we only have four of those things, so be smart with them. It'd be pretty much impossible for us to get more. Anyway, let's get going. It'll take us only a couple hours to get out there, maybe, but we can't afford to waste too much time."

"Couldn't we just wait till it's dark?" the pegasus asked.

Rarity smirked unhappily, "That's a bit of a problem, Rainbow. It's.. exceptionally rare when the sun goes down or the moon comes up anymore. We haven't seen night in, what? About four months now?"

"What? But, why doesn't Celestia- "

"Don't you ever say that name!" Rarity shrieked at her, pointing angrily.

"Rarity, relax," Spike soothed. "If she didn't know what any of this stuff was, she couldn't have known the rest."

The unicorn took a deep breath and recollected herself, "You're right. I apologize, Rainbow Dash. I shouldn't have blown up like that."

She was still leaning back frozen in fear and confusion thanks to her friend's sudden outburst. "Uh, sure, no problem. So, why doesn't.. uuh.. well, you know?"

Rarity bit her tongue, not wanting to scream at the confused pegasus again. "I'd rather not get into it. Too many memories I'd like to forget. The commander will explain everything once you get to the base."

One of the saddlebags floated its way onto Rainbow's back, causing her to wince in pain a bit when it brushed against her wings. The rockets soon followed, pointed tail end up. Spike opened the barn door and peaked into the sky. Empty. Good. He laid on the ground when he was sure it was safe and Rainbow climbed onto his back.

It was a bit awkward with the rocket launcher in her hooves, but she managed to get settled in. The whole ordeal was more than a little embarrassing for her. The world's greatest flier reduced to riding piggyback? She suddenly understood why Scootaloo was always so miserable about being unable to get off the ground on her own.

Rarity walked over to the drake and they kissed passionately, their tongues dancing together in each others' mouths. Rainbow watched in surprise for a moment before turning away half-embarrassed, but still curious enough to sneak a quick peek. A small, sly grin snuck across her cheeks. She and the others had known about Spike's feelings toward the prissy unicorn for a while. She felt happy for him that he had finally won her heart. They broke their kiss and rested their heads together, staring lovingly into each others' eyes.

"You be careful out there, Spike. I don't want to lose you, too. You get her there and come right back home, you understand?" Rarity pleaded with tears forming.

"I will. I promise," he whispered, caressing her cheek softly.

"I love you, Spike."

A single tear quickly fell from each of her eyes.

"I love you too, Rarity."

The dragon stepped outside into the open air. His mechanical wings sprang forth and locked into place.

"Spike, wait," Rainbow said. She turned around to look at the unicorn. "I don't know how I vanished for forty years, but, well.. it was nice seeing you again, Rarity."

They smiled at each other. "You too, Rainbow Dash. Good luck."

The pegasus nodded and Spike took to the sky with a powerful flap of his wings. With an audible 'whoosh', he was gone. Rarity magicked the door closed and plopped her rump miserably onto the ground. She covered her face and cried into her hooves.

"Please be careful, Spikey Wikey."

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