• Published 9th Jun 2021
  • 408 Views, 45 Comments

Seconds to spare - Hope

Princess Luna sends her student, Eris, to make friends in Ponyville.

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Ch.7 We are Hounded by our Enemy

"Rarity always knows how to make someone smile," Pinkie said with a grin, hopping from spot to spot on the road. "That's why whenever I need to put on a party, I invite her!"

"Your parties are quite spectacular to begin with, Pinkie," Rarity said bashfully.

"But yet always a good one to have 'round," AJ added, poking Rarity in the ribs gently as they walked, getting a little eep out of the unicorn.

"Hold up everypony," Rainbow said as she landed in front of the group, holding out a hoof. “There’s a bunch of fog up ahead, and I think it’s a cliff or something.”

"It's probably another trap," Eris said immediately. "So--"

"So all of you stay here while I check it out," Rainbow interrupted.

“No! Rainbow, we…” AJ started.

Several of her friends protested, but Rainbow didn't listen as she flew ahead and over the edge of the chasm, looking down.

It had once clearly been a moat or deep river that protected the city from invasion. Far below vague shapes implied a massive fallen bridge, now just rubble with pools of water backed up around it.

But closer, and much easier to see was a rope bridge with old planks of wood still attached, firmly secure on the near side of the chasm but hanging directly down, loose.

"Oh, a bridge, sweet," she cheered as she flew down, fog swirling around her, to grab the other end of the bridge where it had fallen, so she could pull it back up.

"Still trying to make up for your failures?"

The tone of the voice was hauntingly familiar, cold and bitter.

Even as Rainbow turned to look, she knew who it was. Windy Whistles. Her Mother. She was hovering in the mist, arms crossed, as always disappointed. Her orange and red mane stood out bright from the twilight fog that glowed ever so slightly from the sunset far above.

"Mom, I have a job to do," Rainbow told her firmly, looking back to the bridge.

"You always do. At least as long as it's physical, you'll be able to pull it off," the mare said, sneering. "Emotional? Intellectual? Well, we both know how that turns out. Every time."

Rainbow Dash tried to sort through the tangled words, to understand what her mom was hinting at, to try and protect herself against the hidden meanings that always struck her down.

"You're talking about dad," Rainbow concluded, frowning. "But dad left because of his work, not because of me."

"Why do you think he had to work so far away?" Her mother asked, "why do you think that we kept running out of money?"

"I didn't need those tutors!" Rainbow replied angrily, finally predicting the flow of the conversation before it caught her. "They didn't help, or the pills, or the fancy cloud-grown food! I didn't ask for it, you did. You made him leave!"

"If that was true, then why do you feel like the same thing will happen with your friends?"

Rainbow gasped, feeling short of breath as she clung to the rope, and started pulling it up, her heart racing and tears starting to fall down her cheeks.

"You know this newcomer will take your place!" Her mother crowed gleefully. "You know that every pony you like will trick and use you, and then toss you aside!"

Barely able to see through her tears, Rainbow Dash tied the rope bridge up as tight as she could, and turned to the second rope, now moving quickly, trying to outrace the painful accusations being thrown at her.

"Rarity doesn't love you. It's all jokes to her."

Rainbow dropped the second rope, letting it dangle in midair as she shook with quiet sobs. But after a moment she still reached out and grabbed it again, sniffling.

"Why won't you stop?!" Her mother screamed in rage.

"If I'm not good enough for them, then I've got to be better," Rainbow whispered as she wiped the tears from her eyes and tied the rope. "Because unlike you… there's a point where they say I'm good enough. And that's good enough for me."

She finished tying the rope tight and looked back at her mother. Her fur was too dark, she looked older, and somehow too young all at once. She flickered around the edges in a nauseating way and Rainbow shook her head.

"You're not real," she declared bitterly. "But I wish you were. So I could tell you no. You don't… you don't own me anymore."

Then she turned and walked across the bridge, back to her friends.

"Land sakes," AJ gasped as Rainbow emerged from the fog, her cheeks wet with tears.

They all surrounded her so quickly, checking her for injuries, but she pushed them gently away, until AJ hugged her, and she let it go on.

"It was my mom. Fake, but my mom," Rainbow explained. "I… she tried to make me doubt you all. But… it wasn't true, and I know that you are all true friends. Even when I'm weak."

They all hugged her then, offering reassurances and comfort, but Rainbow kept looking at Eris. She was sitting off to the side, and after a bit Rainbow gestured for her to come closer.

"You're really cool. I'm sorry if I've been… not so cool to you. Ignoring you. I was scared you'd take my friends."

Eris looked around at them all and then back to Rainbow.

"Only if I get to take you too," Eris finally said with a smile.

"Sounds good to me."