• Published 22nd Oct 2012
  • 3,950 Views, 127 Comments

In the Hour of Twilight - Blue Dragon

As Twilight and Fluttershy start their relationship, Twilight learns not to take magic or her life for granted.

  • ...

A Dash of Generosity: Part Two

The Princess was supposed to be getting here any minute now--the sun was setting. Both Rarity and Applejack were doing their best to have an engaging conversation and distract Twilight, but it was obvious by her constant glancing to the window that it wasn't working in the least. Fluttershy just watched.

She wasn't exactly sure what she should've been doing. She really wanted to get back to her earlier conversation with Twilight and wash away her doubts with a bit of affection. But after being told of Rarity's feelings, it wouldn't be fair--or kind in the least--to do something like that in front of her. Speaking of Rarity...

Fluttershy had mixed feelings about it. She felt guilty that she'd done something so cruel without knowing about it, but at the same time, the pegasus was a little suspicious. Fluttershy hated that she felt that way, but she couldn't help it. Had Rarity ever tried to make a move on Twilight? Did she have the same thoughts about her that Fluttershy did? And, even more importantly...

Would Rarity always feel this way?

Fluttershy couldn't keep to herself any longer--she needed some form of reassurance that Twilight was still there. The pegasus, still at the unicorn's bedside, reached her hoof out and placed it atop Twilight's. The lavender mare smiled slightly at her, before rotating her hoof so she could hold Fluttershy's, too. Had the yellow pony not known any better, she wouldn't have noticed the sad look in Rarity's eyes.

It was nice to see Twilight feeling better. Fluttershy wasn't exactly looking forward to what Princess Celestia was going to say, as it would probably crush Twilight even more. If that did happen, the pegasus was ready to do her part in comforting Twilight--the way Rarity reminded her only she could do.

Finally, though Fluttershy was unsure how she knew, the Princess had arrived. All she could really credit was that gut feeling you got whenever you met with someone important. Celestia was soon walking in, her all-knowing eyes scanning over everypony but Twilight. They lingered on both Fluttershy and Twilight's intertwined hooves long enough to make the pegasus nervous. Then, the Princess sighed and gazed directly at her student. Fluttershy didn't have to look at her marefriend to know she was dying of anxiety.

"...Twilight." said the alicorn simply, though she looked troubled. Fluttershy found that discouraging. She'd only seen Princess Celestia look this upset when Discord had escaped his stone prison. And that must've spelled out bad news for Twilight.

Twilight sat up a little straighter. "Princess..." A small, wry smile crossed Celestia's features, but her eyes remained sad.

"Must we be so formal?" She shook her head, answering her own question. "I think not."

The unicorn didn't say anything. Her eyes sparkled with devotion and anticipation and fear, but mostly love. It wasn't the same kind Fluttershy was used to seeing from her marefriend, but more like that of a foal gazing up at his mother. Some sort of understanding seemed to pass between them when they locked eyes, and Fluttershy came to the realization that they really were like mother and daughter. Finally, the alicorn broke the silence.

"I apologize for not coming sooner, Twilight. But my sister has brought me to my senses. How... How do you feel?"

Twilight squeezed Fluttershy's hoof. "I... I..." Her eyes lowered, and she trembled slightly. She couldn't get the words out of her mouth, though she was desperately trying to. Princess Celestia sighed and leaned back until she was sitting. Now that the subject had been laid out in the open, the atmosphere became tense. Twilight sputtered out, trying to remain in control of herself but failing terribly. Her composure had been shattered by that simple, well-meaning question. "...Is this one of your tests, Princess? Why didn't you come sooner?! You're the Princess Celestia, the pony who knows all and protects all! So why?! Why me?" Tears formed in her eyes and she choked back a sob. "I feel like my horn's detached. My cutie mark is meaningless. I'm going to die, and I won't get to be your student anymore!"

She collapsed into full body-wracking sobs. Both her hooves came to cover her head. Fluttershy was at her side quickly, wrapping her hooves around the pony she loved and nuzzling her neck. The pegasus' wing unfurled itself and lay on the unicorn's back. Fluttershy tried not to contemplate what Princess Celestia and Rarity would be thinking. However, seconds later, Fluttershy's side went cold and suddenly she was hugging the air.

Her eyes darted around in alarm, but the subject of her worry was just in front of her, being held in a magic field. Celestia's magic field. The alicorn herself stood with her wings open in a powerful display whilst her face was the clear definition of emotion.

"...You must see the truth."

And then, Princess Celestia rested her horn on Twilight's forehead, and the unicorn's entire body went slack.

When Twilight was aware of her surroundings again, she was in a dream-like void that stretched on and on with never ending nothingness. She floated there for a long time, unable to comprehend the situation. Her body was still in the same state as it was just before her consciousness had been hijacked--throbbing headache and no magic, paired up with the painful scar on her eye. The unicorn knew it hurt, but she didn't really feel it.

Just as she was getting used to this blank canvas of a world, the scene changed. Suddenly, she was standing in a familiar courtyard...

The Royal Courtyard. It didn't look nearly as old as usual, and even gave off that "new shoe" smell. In fact, there was a pavillion just to the side that Twilight had never seen before. She heard voices from wihin and decided to investigate. As she grew nearer, the voices echoed louder, but they were clearly whispering. When Twilight saw who was within, she was shocked.

A miniature Princess Celestia--normal pony size to everyone else--crouched there, along with a dark brown unicorn stallion. Twilight didn't recognize him, but his voice sounded as if she should. He looked calm and troubled at the same time, and his cutie mark resembled... fog? There appeared to be a light in the center of it, though. Twilight wasn't sure what it meant.

" 'Tia... Do you really think your father would disapprove of me?" said the male, frowning at his companion as if he already knew the answer. The mare looked happier than any time Twilight had ever seen her, despite the troubled look on her face.

"You're of the lower quarter... Nopony would approve of a princess courting with you." she commented in a teasing way, nuzzling his neck. Obviously, the stallion was still stressed.

"But don't you want something more? A family?" he replied. Celestia frowned into his coat.

"Of course I do, Misty Haze. I just... cannot imagine my family's acceptance of our relationship. My mother suspects, but my father is clueless. He will imprison you!" Twilight had never once heard Princess Celestia speak of her parents before--for some reason, the unicorn had never even thought of it. She imagined the father as a huge, scary figure while the mother a kind, nurturing alicorn.

"I do not fear your father." The glint in his eyes proved he was serious, and only doubled the emotion evident in his voice. Celestia hesitated in a way that Twilight would never have thought possible.

"If you... If you wish. I will do whatever it takes to be with you." said Celestia, leaning up for a kiss. The stallion smiled into it, and the scene changed again. Twilight stumbled through it.

Then, the bright, friendly courtyard transitioned into a prison. It was dark, and water droplets dripped from the ceiling, making noise in the otherwise silent cells. A brown unicorn lay within one, his hooves reaching out to another pony on the other side of the bars. Celestia's hooves shook as she clung onto her love's.

"I-I told you he'd do this...!" she sobbed out. The stallion frowned at this sight, and reached his hoof up to wipe her tears away.

" 'Tia, I... I'm sorry..." Twilight still couldn't place where she'd heard his voice before. Her legs wobbled from underneath her from the most use they'd gotten in weeks, and this saddening scene wasn't helping. Soon, her knees buckled and she panted on the ground.

"It couldn't be helped... I-I'm sorry." she replied woefully.

"They cried and held each other as best they could between the cold bars. The room wisped away for a third time, and Twilight only scrunced her eyes tight until it was over. This time, she appeared to be in an ancient-looking throne room. Misty Haze lay on the ground at what was obviously the king's feet. The huge alicorn demanded all attention in the room without even speaking, and his coat was jet black. Luna, who'd obviously inherited more from her father than her mother, cowered by the door of the room. Celestia remained next to her love, whilst her mother did the same. The mare was about as tall as Celestia was today, with an angelic aura about her and a beautiful, white coat. She seemed gentle where her husband was harsh. Guards flanked the entrances, as well as behind the royal family.

"I will not stand for my daughter to court with some stallion off the streets!" exclaimed the king, glaring icily at Misty Haze. Celestia didn't flinch, and instead spread her wing across the unicorn's back to say I'll protect you.

"Nightshade..." began the serene voice of Celestia's mother, "They are in love. We were once young, too. Perhaps you are being too hard on them?"

Nightshade's jaw clenched. "But Majestic Light, this is our daughter, a princess--next in line for the throne, no less!" He protested, giving his wife a hard look. "Why, I say let him rot in the dungeon!"

They appeared to have had arguments like this before, from the way it came off so naturally. "Dear... Misty Haze is a unicorn. Perhaps there could be a lesser punishment, if any at all...?"

The male seemed to consider this. Misty Haze interjected, though it was up for debate on whether or not that was a good decision on his part. "I'll do whatever it takes, Your Majesties. I love your daughter with my whole heart."

Silence reigned. Nightshade's expression turned into one of pure hatred, while Majestic Light looked surprised. Finally, the king turned to the nearest guard. "You! Take off your armor. Consider yourself fired." The poor pegasus seemed stunned by this sudden turn of events, but did as he was told. He took the walk of shame out of the throne room, though he was intercepted by Majestic Light herself. She gave him a bag of bits and apologized for Nightshade's actions against him. Twilight figured these two alicorns balanced each other out.

Nightshade rounded back at Misty Haze and spoke tightly, as if he would have rather just burned him at the stake. "I, King Nightshade the First, hereby sentence you to a lifetime service in the armed forces. You will be a private until you are promoted by me or your commanding officer. This will make you at least somewhat suitable to court my daughter. However... if you fail in your tasks even once--if I hear ANYTHING about your incompetence, you WILL die. Your appointment is active as of today."

Nightshade shoved the armor into Misty Haze's hooves. "This hearing is over. NEXT!" boomed Nightshade's impossibly loud voice. Majestic Light took the time to nuzzle his neck, silently thanking him for his "restraint." Maybe he was a softie on the inside, since he nuzzled her back.

"Thank you, father... mother." Princess Celestia said with upmost gratitude in her tone, tears threatening to fall. She pulled her love out of the room, leaving behind her parents and sister. Twlight felt somewhat relieved that they could be together now. She wondered why the hay the Princess would show her this.

The vision morphed again. It took a long while for it to come back into focus, so a lot of time must have passed since the last scene. When Twilight could see again, she was in a recently familiar place that made her insides twist.

A hospital.

Misty Haze lay bundled within a bed, though it wasn't much more than a pile of wood with a blanket over it. Princess Celestia sat next to the moaning and groaning stallion, her eyes glassy. The guard's armor and weapon lay forgotten at the foot of his bed. They'd both aged since Twilight had seen them last.

"Doctor Whooves... Please, do tell me what ails him." she pleaded to a pony that looked exactly like Time Turner from Ponyville. Strange.

"I'm afraid I know exactly what is happening here." the doctor said in a hesitant tone, in a weird accent Twilight didn't hear much of. The ponies she'd asked about it previously had said it was Proper Equestrian. "Has he been using magic as of late?"

Princess Celestia thought for a few seconds before replying. "He might have been at work. He's been working over time to please my father..."

"Yes, this appears to be very serious." said the doctor. "There is nothing anyone can do to save 'im. He will die from magic usage within the week. Sorry, my dear." Doctor Whooves apologized shortly, as if this was enough of an explanation.

"W-what?!" Princess Celestia jumped to her hooves. "That can't be possible!"

He shook his head. "It is. First time I've diagnosed it before, but it's a unique illness to unicorns. I don't see any way for him to survive. Unless you're the magic incarnate itself. Perhaps if you performed a powerful counter spell? Maybe. Slight chance." The mad-pony shrugged as if it didn't concern him.

Celestia seemed to be torn between these choices. "He can be saved?"

Dr. Whooves stared at her calculatingly. "Depends on how far you're willn' to go."

"Please, you must tell me how to perform the spell!"

Doctor Whooves seemed to be considering this. His frown deepened as if he could already sense the outcome of what he was about to do. Twilight didn't like that at all. "Star-crossed lovers, eh? Fine. I can't make any promises, but this could be his only hope. Which means make sure you put all your love into the spell. It's the only way." Celestia gave a brief, determined nod. "Good. Think about your love for this creature. Concentrate on it. That's right. Now think about how much you want to help him."

A magical aura enveloped Celestia's horn, and she shuddered from it. Then, the vision began to swirl as if it was losing signal. It started getting darker. Twilight blinked, trying to discern what was happening. She could barely hear Doctor Whooves' startled yelp, "NO! You've made a mistake!"

The silhouette of Misty Haze transformed into something else. It wasn't normal. It was...


Twilight blacked out.

When Twilight opened her eyes next, she was in the loving embrace of Fluttershy. The forcefully induced flashback left her head spinning moreso than earlier, and her legs ached despite never having actually used them.

"Oh, she's awake..." Fluttershy said thankfully. She nuzzled Twilight's neck, but the unicorn didn't really notice. Her eyes were locked on Princess Celestia.

"Misty Haze... He became the spirit of disharmony, Discord himelf. A draconequus. But I don't understand... What happened?"

The Princess sighed lightly. "Misty Haze... was the pony I fell in love with long ago. I was not powerful enough to succeed. He was shunned by all of society, and could no longer be in the guard. My father, Nightshade, no longer approved of him. Slowly, he grew to resent everypony. I tried to stop him, to teach everypony to tolerate him, but nothing worked. He soon took over the throne, forcing my parents to recede into spirits. It is because of Nightshade that there is darkness in the world, while my mother ensures there is light to balance him. Discord went on to rule, doing everything in his power to make everypony unhappy. It was his revenge. Soon my sister and I had had enough... and everything else is history."

Rarity and Applejack stared in confusion at the Princess, while Fluttershy seemed to be dividing her attention evenly between cuddling with Twilight and listening to the Princess. The unicorn swallowed thickly.

"Why did you show me that? Did he... Did he have the Magical Rebound Effect?" Princess Celestia nodded gravely.

"Yes. Doctor Whooves remains as the best doctor Equestria has ever known. After that day, his career grew dull. Eventually, he moved to a small town and left this world. His memory lives on with me." said Princess Celestia, avoiding the former question.

"Ponyville? But Princess--a pony still lives there! His name is Time Turner. He looks exactly like the doctor; same cutie mark and everything...!"

She seemed stunned. Applejack joined in. "Ya mean that lonely ole stallion off 24th Street? Time Turner's always trottin' around town, but he doesn't talk to nopony." Rarity nodded, too. Fluttershy didn't say anything. Twilight was getting excited from this sudden news, despite the spots in her vision.

"Maybe he knows how to get rid of this illness!" exclaimed Rarity with so much hope it invigorated Twilight, too.

"But ponies can't live nearly that long... He might just look similar." Princess Celestia interrupted. She didn't seem to like getting her hopes up to have them dashed soon after. Maybe she'd had too much experience.

Twilight pushed herself up despite Fluttershy's protests. She tried to hide the wince the action provoked, realizing that the strain the daydream had put on her body had been real.

Once she was sitting up all the way, her marefriend's grip tightened. "What are you doing?" she whispered into Twilight's ear.

"...I have to speak with him." Twilight's response sounded weak even to her, so she continued a little louder. "Science and logic are things I understand. I'm a scientist. I've made discoveries of my own. Time Turner and I could compare notes. Maybe we can make the world a better place for active unicorns." She didn't include the part about saving her own life, seeing as how selfish that would sound. She continued to try and get out of bed.

Fluttershy's hooves, now wrapped around the other pony's waist, kept her from succeeding. "You can't get out of bed yet...!"

That sudden exclamation upset her. Before she could respond that she could do it, Princess Celestia continued. "Your marefriend's right, Twilight. This goes without saying, but the more you move around and use your magic the more serious your condition will become. If this stallion really is the very same pony I knew long ago, he may yet reveal answers. We don't have much time." she said, shifting her weight to one side and frowning deeply. Her eyes were thoughtful. Normally Twilight would have been nervous about being so open with Fluttershy, especially in front of the Princess, but it didn't even register, nor did the fact that she'd said "marefriend".

Applejack's face twisted in contemplation. Suddenly, her entire expression lit up. "Rainbow Dash is the fastest pony in Equestria! She can get to Ponyville and back quicker than Ah can buck an apple tree!"

Rarity's eyes suddenly glazed over. "I'm not sure she'll be able to help..."

AJ's expression turned sour. "Why not? She ain't gonna go 'bout saying I sit around and do nothing while she does the same thing!" Twilight, Fluttershy, and Princess Celestia watched this exchange. Rarity was quick to remedy this. She pulled Applejack aside and whispered into her ear secretively. The earth pony's eyebrows knit together and she would murmur something occasionally.

"Rainbow and you... listenin' in?... She flew away? Cryin'? Rainbow Dash?!" she exclaimed, her voice raising an octave or two. The orange mare then realized her voice had been really loud. "Ah'll... Ah'll get her. Maybe I'll find Pinkie, too. I ain't seen her since... well, a long time ago." Now that Applejack had pointed it out, Twilight felt a little hurt that her friend had just abandoned her. And the pony who wanted to make everyone happy, too. That wasn't a very good sign.

Applejack trotted over to the door. The expression on her face clearly said she would not be stopped. Twilight decided not to say anything, trusting in Applejack to do what she had to, and she also trusted Rainbow wholeheartedly. None of these ponies had ever let her down. The only pony in the room that ever had was Twilight Sparkle herself.

However, before Applejack could make it out of the room, a nurse came in. "Visiting hours are over. I'm afraid you'll have to say your goodbyes now. Five minutes." she reported with a bow to the Princess before trotting to another room. Twilight hadn't even realized how late it'd gotten. She was aware that the sun had already set, but the Canterlot hospital usually let visitors stay late. Maybe her vision had taken a lot more time than she'd initially thought.

"...What happens now?" asked Twilight nervously. She didn't want to be left alone in this place, and she was sure it showed. Princess Celestia answered her.

"Applejack will find and convince Rainbow Dash to find Time Turner. They'll make haste here, where we'll discuss Twilight's fate. Maybe there really is a way to save her, but we can't waste much more time. Her horn will be removed soon, and it won't come back. But still the illness will eat away at her body... If we succeed, she may yet be able to use magic and live fully. If we take too much time, Twilight's horn will be removed and her magic will be void, but she could still be saved. If we fail altogether... Twilight won't survive."

"Or she may become a draconequus." Rarity added. "Right?"

The Princess frowned. "...Maybe."

It was quiet for a moment after that. Fluttershy broke the silence. "Um... Could I have a second with Twilight?"

Four sets of questioning eyes were cast on the shy mare. She recoiled from the attention. Twilight wondered what her marefriend wanted to say, if anything at all.

"Sure, darling." Rarity smiled understandingly, pulling AJ out of the room with her. Princess Celestia nodded at the two of them and promised she'd return soon enough. She also made Twilight promise not to do anything rash, and to wait for her. Then, she flew away, leaving the two ponies alone.

Immediately, Fluttershy kissed her. Not like a peck, or even a make out. It was somewere in the middle, with the same amount of emotion as the latter but enough respect and restraint to keep it from being just that. When the pegasus pulled away, Twilight was left breathless. It'd been awhile since she'd been kissed like that by the shy mare.

"...What was that for?" she questioned. Fluttershy was only blushing a little bit, but she looked like she was trying to build up confidence.

"I love you." Fluttershy said with so much feeling it made Twilight blush. Her expression was firm and fierce at the same time, as if daring the unicorn to say otherwise. When Twilight made no attempt to speak, Fluttershy continued. "I want to be with you no matter what happens. Even if you can't get your magic back, even if you turn into a draconequus, and even if you won't be able to stay long. I'll be by your side forever." Then, Fluttershy realized the weight of her words. She blushed and said, "I mean, if that's what you want..."

Twilight was just about moved to tears. She remembered what she'd said to Fluttershy before everypony had shown up, about how she wouldn't blame the pegasus if she wanted to back out of the relationship while she still could. Apparently the yellow pony hadn't forgotten about the conversation like Twilight had. The little speech made her feel a lot better, and more secure. Almost as if she were more attached to the world now, like she couldn't leave it even if she wanted to.

Twilight nuzzled Fluttershy's neck, hoping to hide the fact that tears really had gotten out. Troublesome little things. "Fluttershy... Do you remember when I asked you what love was? I think I know now." She took in a shuddering breath before whispering out the rest. "I'm afraid I'm falling too deeply in love with you." No response. Audible, at least. After a few seconds, her words finally registered in Fluttershy's head. The pegasus wrapped her hooves around Twilight and pulled her into a tight hug. Her wings were warmer than any blanket Twilight had ever owned.

Of course, this feeling of warmth and affection and comfort made Twilight the happiest she'd been in a long time. There was hope in the shape of a pony named Time Turner. She was cuddling with her love. Her head didn't hurt if she squinted really hard and ignored the bright sounds... So, in other words, it did hurt. But that was okay.

There was hope.

Rainbow Dash had had it up to here with feeling useless. It all started when she was a foal getting bullied. She tried to be strong for Fluttershy, but for awhile it seemed there would be no end to the misery. Then, she'd gotten into a relationship with AJ where the earth pony had made a stupid mistake and Rainbow had made a mistake--and their relationship had been destroyed because of an even stupid-er argument. Not long after that she'd fallen for Pinkie, who showed equal affection to everypony, so there was no way she could put one over the rest. The feeling of uselessness increased until it was driving her up the wall. The thing that really set her up was this whole confusing Twilight situation.

Rainbow was the Element of Loyalty. Nopony felt pain for a friend more than her, except maybe Fluttershy for Twilight. But still, it was a part of her very soul to do whatever she could for a friend in need. But the world was cruel. It proved again and again that despite appearances, Rainbow was nothing. That super hero gag and the constant bragging was just to fill that void of emptiness. Rainbow had sealed that fear long ago--the fear of being useless, of being unable to do anything. The last time it'd manifested itself was back at the flying competition Rarity had joined last minute. She'd been so afraid of failing... of being useless to her idols.

The world was cruel.

But now, this was much worse. Her friend's life was on the line, and she was in this corner crying about it. It was stupid and totally uncool, but it was all too much. This was the pinnacle of uselessness. She'd had her hopes dashed from the very beginning, and there wasn't even some bad guy she could beat up to solve it. That was her specialty: Being stupid and blunt, using force to solve everything. But even Rainbow could see that this was different. Why'd it have to be the egghead that got hurt?! If it were somepony else--like Rainbow herself--Twilight Celestia-damned Sparkle would come up with a solution and everything would be all sunshine and rainbows. But her magic was gone, her brain muddled with, and her life was soon going to be stolen from her. Nopony else could possibly take her place. Twilight Sparkle was the glue in their group of six friends; she'd brought them all together. If she were taken out of the picture, nothing would be the same. It'd hurt to see her old friends, the library... even Ponyville itself.

Which was precisely why she lay on the ground outside of the hospital in the shadows, letting her tears flow. This was wrong. Everything was suddenly twisted into something it never should have been--all because of a stupid Sphinx that didn't even matter. The animals didn't have to go to the Everfree Forest. Fluttershy could've moved into town. Zecora could've come up with some weird concoction to convince the thing to leave. But no, the bearers of the Elements of Harmony had to march in and do something about it. It wasn't fair.

"I don't get it... What the hay am I supposed to do now?!" she sputtered out, scrunching her eyes tightly. She hated crying, but she hated this situation even more.

"There ya are, Rainbow!" exclaimed none other than Applejack. Rainbow scowled and covered her eyes with a hoof, hoping the pony she'd recently gotten into a fight with hadn't seen her moment of weakness.

"W-what do you want? I already told you--I don't want anything to do with you anymore!" the swirl of emotions within Dash said. It wasn't exactly true--Applejack was still a friend, a friend that'd hurt her a lot, but a friend nonetheless. Loyalty was always hot on Rainbow's tail, but it didn't define her. She was a pony that cared for her friends a lot more than most and would do anything to protect them, but it cost her, too. Loyalty came with trust, and trust was easily betrayed. Rainbow Dash had been formed into a pony who cared far too much about what others thought, loved them more than she should, and she'd never learn her lesson. Always, always she would make the same mistake, and end up hurt because of it.

"Look, Dash, this ain't about me! It's Twilight." Immediately, a million bad things swirled into her mind--most of which consisting of Twilight dead.

"What?!" She jumped up to her hooves at the same speed her heart had leapt. She didn't even care about her red, puffy eyes now. "What's wrong with Twilight?! Why wasn't I there? Oh, Celestia, if she's dead I swear I will--"Applejack shoved a hoof over her mouth.

"It's nothin' like that. There's hope for Twi, but it's in Ponyville. We need him here quick. Ya know Time Turner?" AJ asked, removing her hoof. Rainbow was feeling hopeful, but at the same time, unsure if she should fall prey to that emotion. It seemed too good to be true--like reality was taunting her with exactly what she wanted, only to take it away in the end. Dash swallowed. Loyalty won over her uncertainty as always.

"Seriously? He's that weird pony that locks himself away in his house and only comes out on market days... Right?" Applejack glared at her like she'd personally insulted her, but replied anyway.

"Yeah, he's the one. I don't know much about the details, but Twilight thinks he's some sorta doctor that knows all about this here thing she's got. You're the fastest pony in Equestria, Dash. We need ya to fetch 'im and bring him back real quick. Twilight's life's on the line." the earth pony reported briefly. Rainbow was in the air even before AJ had finished.

"I'll be there and back so fast you won't even know I'm gone! I swear I'll bring him here before it's too late!" The pegasus was about to dash off at top speed in the general direction of Ponyville, probably fast enough to create a Double Rainboom, but AJ stopped her with only her voice.

"...Rainbow... Ah didn't mean what I said before. Back then... You aren't useless. I... I'm sorry." AJ looked like she was blinking back her own tears, but she pulled her hat down to cover it up.

Dash hesitated. Before... she hadn't been sure why bad luck followed her round. But then... That argument that ended their relationship and scarred her... Rainbow had been so upset she'd called AJ bad things, and she'd taken it. But when Dash had called her a liar, the earth pony snapped and started insulting her right on back. She hit her while she was down, pointing out all her flaws and exposing the filly she once was. That day, Rainbow Dash had realized how shallow and empty she was, and just how "useless" she was. That was exactly what Applejack had said--useless.

Maybe that was why Dash had fallen for Pinkie. The pegasus had been filled with depression, but Pinkie had always been so cheerful. So willing to help. Pinkie was probably the reason she'd been able to get over AJ at all, and she was forever thankful for that. The scars were still there, though. Rainbow was sure they'd never disappear.

Dash blinked back the tears she didn't know had accumulated. She looked away. "...I'll be back soon." And with that, she flew off as fast as she could.

...What a useless, cowardly pony she was.

Author's Note:

There's no excuse for my taking so long with this chapter. Stuff happens, I guess. School days are really busy with finals and EOCs, and I come home to clean the house. Weekends I score travel softball tournaments,so this chapter has accumulated bit by bit whenever I got the chance to write. I started it probably back in March sometime. /: I'm very sorry about that, and I hope you guys can forgive me! >_< Hopefully, I won't take so long for the next chapter. Nonetheless, thank you all very much.