• Published 9th Dec 2012
  • 10,159 Views, 1,126 Comments

Hot Heads, Cold Hearts and Nerves of Steel - Trinary

AU Dashverse: The Crystal Empire has returned and the foals of Equestria have gone missing!

  • ...

Chapter 1

An icy wind was howling, fierce than the bellow of any manticore, hydra, or dragon. Ice and snow came down in sheets that threatened to bury any poor traveler in its frozen embrace. There are times, Zecora mused to herself, when she thought ponies a particularly strange folk. For instance, who ever considered ‘on top of the world’ to mean a good feeling? For that is where Zecora, quite literally, stood. She was on top of the world and she had never felt so low. Not because of the biting cold--although that certainly did not help--but because she just had her worst suspicions confirmed by her own eyes.

“It is as I feared,” her breath came out in a puff of frozen air. “This accursed place has reappeared.” Her heart felt cold with dread that had nothing to do with the current climate. In order to keep herself warm she had adopted a meditative poise as she precariously stood atop her staff, upside down, balanced on a single fore hoof. A distant howl, not of wind, sounded close by. Narrowing her eyes, Zecora did not lose her balance or poise. She gracefully dismounted from her curious position back onto all fours. She drew her traveling cloak closer to her as she retreated from the mysterious city. There was much to do and so little time left. In the middle of her mental planning, Zecora spared a thought for the rainbow-maned pegasus and her friends.

Would they be ready for this? She mused to herself as she retreated back to the cave she had been staying in. There was only one way to find out and it wouldn’t be long until she did; for she’d be seeing them again soon.

& & &

Ponyville was blanketed lightly with snow as even more fell from the sky. Winter had arrived and everypony was getting into the Hearth’s Warming season. Even for a snowy night, though, it seemed unnaturally cold. There was a chill in the air that was not part of the planned weather; and that would not be dislodged. This was a cause for annoyance, but not concern.

In one particular house a certain lavender-gray unicorn filly buried herself beneath her blankets. “Brrrr!” Dinky Doo shivered as she peeked outside where the trees swayed in the wind. “Why’s it so cold?”

Sitting on the edge of her bed was the pony in charge of Ponyville’s weather: Rainbow Dash. “It’s probably some cold wind coming in from the Everfree Forest. It’s unpredictable Dinks, nopony knows why it acts like that. It just does whatever it wants to do.”

“I don’t like it!” Dinky announced precociously. She snuggled herself deeper into her blankets. “It makes it too cold! I’m supposed to go sledding with ‘lula and Pip tomorrow!”

“It’ll be fine by morning…in the meantime,” Rainbow reached behind her back. “would this help?” She pulled out a white patchwork blanket covered with cutesy animal designs sewn in--puppies, kittens, bunnies and the like.

Dinky’s face lit up. “Favorite!” She reached out and hugged her aptly named favorite blanket close to her.

“Yup! Fresh from the wash too.” Rainbow smirked, watching Dinky cocoon herself in Favorite. “Your mom did the laundry today.”

Dinky looked up at her godmom. “Is mommy gonna be back soon?” She bit her lip. Ditzy had to fly an important package all the way to Hoofington that afternoon. Dinky didn’t know exactly where that was, but to her it was a long way away. It would take, like, a bazillion years if she had to walk there on hoof!

Seeing that she was worried, Rainbow mussed Dinky’s hair. “Aw, c’mon. Don’t be like that, your mom will be back soon. The wind isn’t that bad, it’s more annoying than anything else.” She smiled encouragingly. “It’ll be a piece of cake…or a muffin, I guess. I promise, Ditzy will be here in time to wake you up and then, we’ll have pancakes for breakfast before you go out to play. Then tonight Sparkler will be back from Canterlot and we can all have dinner together. That sound good?”

“Okay, Rainbow Dash. If you say so,” Dinky said with that perfect trust in adults that only a young child can have. “Can you tell me a story?”

“A story, huh?” Rainbow quirked her brow at the sleepy filly. “How about the story of the ‘Sleepy Filly Who Really Ought to Go to Sleep?’”

The little filly shook her head. “Nu uh!”

“…The Story of the Awesome Pegasus Who Really Needs A Certain Filly to Go to Sleep Already?’”

“No!” Dinky shook her head stubbornly.

Rainbow groaned, flopping her head back on the bed. “Ugh, fine. What do you want to hear then?”

“Can you tell me an a’venture story?” Dinky rubbed her eye. “When I grow up, I wanna be a big, brave a’venturer…just like you.”

Against her own will, Rainbow Dash felt a large, dopey smile cross her face. Her ability to resist the cute—gone. “…sure thing, Dinks; whatever you want.” She cleared her throat. “Okay, so this is the story about how I flew from summer Flight Camp over to the Griffon camp for this awesome prank. Only I may I have gotten just the teensiest bit in over my head and your mom came to rescue me. Interested?”

Dinky cuddled up next to Rainbow, resting her head against the older pony’s chest. “Ya huh.”
“Well, it all started one April Foals’ Day…”

As Rainbow launched into her story, she failed to notice the pair of glowing red eyes peering in from the window. They settled back into the darkness to wait.

“...any they were so mad when they saw all their feathers had turned pink!” Rainbow snickered as she got to the punch line of her pranking story.

Dinky giggled. “I bet they looked silly!”

“Oh yeah, you better believe it Dinks!” She laughed. “I thought I was gonna molt my feathers, I was laughing so hard.”

“So what happened next?” Dinky asked.

Dash gave an awkwardly forced smile, rubbing her neck. “Weeeell, this is might be the part where I made the mistake of hanging around to watch them...I got busted.”

The filly gave her sitter a playful smirk. “Mommy says you never made got away with pranks 'cause of that.”

Indignant, Rainbow put her hooves on her hips. “Oh yeah? What else does ‘mommy’ say?”

“Oh ... lotsa stuff.” Dinky answered innocently.

Dash’s brow quirked upwards. “Liiiiiike?”

“Well ... she said Cloud Kicker was the brains of your pranking group.” Then the filly frowned. “But she also said Miss Cloud Kicker was all serious back then, so I don't know if she's right about that...”

“Hey!” Rainbow affected to sound hurt. “I came up with TONS of great ideas!” There was a beat as the rest of Dinky’s statement sunk in. “Um, yeah...” She rubbed the back of her neck again. “Well, some ponies change when they get older.”

“Did you change? 'Cause Mommy says you didn't.”

“Nah...” Rainbow winked. “You don't change perfection, kiddo.”

Dinky looked up at her with wide-eyed admiration. “Yeah, I guess you're pretty neat.”

The cyan pegasus beamed, buoyed but also a little embarrassed by Dinky’s sincere praise. “Heh, yeah I am!” She grinned for a second, then paused. She lowered her voice, “Can I tell you a secret?” Dinky nodded eagerly. “I know I'm awesome and all...but your mom helped me be even more awesome when I was a filly. She was the greatest camp counselor ever.”

“Well of course Mommy's neater than you! She's Mommy!” Dinky said as if it were the most simple and obvious thing in the world. Then she grinned. “But you're almost as neat as Mommy.”

Rainbow’s face contorted as she tried to determine how to handle that. In the end she settled for just a weak smile. You really can't argue to a filly that you're better than her own mom. “Thanks squirt.”

“So what happened after you got caught? Did Mommy save you?” Dinky asked eagerly.

“Well first the griffin campers argued about turning me over to their counselors or if they wanted to, uh, deal with me themselves. Some of them wanted to pluck out all my feathers or shove me in a thunder cloud.”

Dinky frowned adorably. “That's mean!”

“Griffins are kinda tough customers.” Dash explained, before grinning. “But not tougher than me though!” She rubbed a hoof against her chest.

“So didja beat 'em all up?” The little filly stood up and mimed a couple of punches. “ I betcha were all 'I'm Rainbow Dash, I'm awesome!’ Wham! Pow!” She swung and accidently knocked over a table next to the bed. “Hehe ... oops.” She grinned in adorable sheepishness.

“That's exactly what happened!” Rainbow said shamelessly as she rubbed Dinky’s head. She certainly wasn't subdued, held down and tickle-tortured until Ditzy arrived. No sir.

Fortunately for her, Dinky couldn’t read minds. “Cool!”

“I know, I know…” Rainbow said with false modesty.

“S'what happened after that?”

“Well this one big griffin named...I dunno...Grunhilda or something, snuck up behind me while I was fighting off five or six other griffins. Then they rushed me into their cabin and, uh, interrogated me.”

The little filly frowned. “So ... you lost?” She asked, the disappointment clear.

Rainbow Dash could practically hear her reputation being sullied in Dinky’s mind. She quickly explained. “Only cuz they cheated! Besides, the sun was in my eyes...anyway, even Daring Do sometimes ends up getting captured in her stories, ya know!”

This Dinky understood. “Oooh, Did they putcha in a giant pit with closey-inny walls and spike and snakes and spiderses and acid and...”

But the older pony shook her head. “Nah. Griffin's aren't that cool. The worst thing they had was smelly laundry.” She wrinkled her nose. “Which was pretty bad.”

Dinky adorably wrinkled her own nose. “Ewwie.” She pronounced firmly. Dash couldn’t help giggling at her expression. “So when did Mommy save you? Oh, did Miss Cloud Kicker help?” Dinky smirked playfully at her godmother and foal-sitter. “'Cause you're, like, totally her side-kick, right? So she's gotta save you!”

Rainbow felt her jaw drop. Did…did she just get trolled by her godfilly? She fumed. “Hey, I’m nopony’s sidekick! If anypony's a sidekick it's Cloud Kicker. ‘Kick’ is part of her name for Celestia’s sake!” She wasn’t aware that she had been raising her voice until she found herself shouting.

The unicorn filly jumped in surprise and fright. “Eek! Sorry!”

The cyan pegasus flattened her ears, embarrassed at having yelled at a filly. “No...I overreacted. Sorry Dinks.” Dinky hugged her without a second thought. Saying sorry and hugs fixed everything, right? “You're a good kid....” Rainbow hugged her back. “Uh, could you maybe not mention this to your mom when she gets back?” She shot the filly a hopeful, pleading smile.

Dinky grinned. “If you don't mention who knocked over the table. Aaaaaand if I get a cookie.”

“Sneaky filly,” the older pony grumbled, half admiringly. “Fine.”

“Yay, cookie!” The filly cheered.

Dash chuckled. “You're okay, you know that squirt?” She ruffled Dinky's mane. “You're all right.” Dinky beamed and once again hugged Rainbow Dash, who smiled. “Now, I think it's about time a certain filly went to bed.”

“Awww! But I'm not--” Dinky broke off to yawn. “…sleepy.”

“Oh, I think you are”

“Nuh-uh! And I didn't get my cookie and ice cream yet!” She pouted adorably.

Rainbow sighed. “I didn't say you'd get a cookie now...and who said anything about ice cream?”

“Mommy always lets me have ice cream...” Dinky said with as much sincerity as she could muster.

The pegasus scoffed skeptically. “Oh really?”

Dinky nodded. “Uh-huh!” She gave her a big, cheesy, entirely too-innocent grin.

“Is that so?” Without another word, Rainbow grabbed Dinky and began tickling her belly. “Tell the truth, squirt!”

“Eeee! Noooo!” She squealed, squirming and wriggling to try to escape.

“So, about that ice cream?” Rainbow yawned as she languidly flicked her feathers on Dinky's belly as she laughed uncontrollably, writhing with giggles.

“Mommy gives me ice cream ... sometimes.” She got out between laughs.

Rainbow grinned. “Sometimes?” She drew the word out. “Before bed?” As a coup de grace, she blew a raspberry on Dinky’s tummy.

“Eeee!” Dinky squealed, her hind legs kicking uncontrollably. “A-after dinner!”

“Thought so.” Dash nodded as she stopped her tickle attack. “Give up?”

Reluctantly, the unicorn foal nodded. “'Kay...” she rolled onto her hooves. “Can I getcha a glass of water?” She offered.

Rainbow shrugged. “Sure.” Dinky hopped off the bed and trotted out. She returned a moment later, using a little bit of telekinesis to hold the glass, which she then offered to Rainbow Dash. “Thanks!” The older pony said, accepting the glass and starting to drink.

Dinky waited until Rainbow was in the middle of a big sip to ask, “Are you and Mommy banging?”

“GLURK!” The pegasus comically sprayed a font of water across the room in an epic spit take. “PFFFFF!!! DINKY!! Where did you--how did you--where'd you even hear that word?”

The little filly started laughing so madly she fell onto her back, legs twitching in the air. She wiped tears of laughter out of her eyes when she finally calmed enough to talk. “Miss Cloud Kicker said you'd do something funny if I asked you that while you were in the middle of drinking something, but...” she fell into a fit of uncontrollable giggles.

Rainbow looked stunned. “Let me get this straight...Cloud Kicker told you to ask me if your mom and I were banging?” She made a mental note to kill CK.

The filly nodded. “Yuh-huh. She said she owed you for the thing with Princess Celestia.” Then she asked innocently, “What's banging?”

The older pony grit her teeth. “I am so gonna kill Cloud Kicker....” she grumbled, before clearing her throat. “It's uh...well, time for bed!”

Dinky pouted. “Do I hafta? I wanna stay up all night having fun with you!”

She was so earnest it was hard for Rainbow to say no. “Awww...you're a good filly. But your mom will totally be mad if she comes home to find you all tired and sleepy. You don't want to make your mom mad at me, do you?” She gave the filly her best puppy dog eyes.

Reluctantly, Dinky yielded. She didn’t want to get her favorite foalsitter in trouble! “I guess not...can we snuggle?” she asked hopefully.

“Snuggle? Um...” Rainbow felt her smile stretch uncomfortably until her cheeks hurt. Snuggling was really not part of what she did. Heck, this would totally ruin her reputation! “Well, uh…”

Dinky shot her the sad puppy look. “Pleeeease?” Dinky stuck out her trembling lower lip, her eyes shimmering. Rainbow never stood a chance.

“Oh...okay. C’mere.” She sighed. “Okay…scoot over.” Squealing happily, Dinky shifted to the side to let Rainbow Dash slide under the covers and join her in the bed. “Comfy, squirt?”

“Ya huh.” Dinky nodded, snuggling up to the pegasus.

“So, you looking forward to your big day tomorrow with Pipsqueak and Alula?” Dinky just yawned and nodded sleepily. Rainbow awwed softly. “Dinks? I'm....I'm really happy you’re my godfilly.” She leaned over to peck Dinky on the cheek. The half-asleep filly wrapped her hooves around her and mumbled something that sounds almost like 'mommy'. The prismatic pony felt her heart melt as she laid next to Dinky, listening to her breathing gently against her side. She laid there for a while, just watching Dinky sleep. Her godfilly. She had a godfilly. It was like having a sonic rainboom go off in her heart.

Rainbow gently wriggled herself free and pulled back the covers so she could get up and tuck the sleeping filly in. “G’night squirt,” she whispered, gently stroking the filly’s mane. Dinky responded by snuggling even deeper into her covers and sighing peacefully. Dash felt her heart melt. This godmother stuff might be a bit mushy, but it was still pretty darn cool. Sitting up she carefully trotted out of Dinky’s room and softly closed the door shut behind her. Yawning, she walked over to her own room and turned in for the night.

As Rainbow Dash joined the rest of Ponyville’s citizens in the gentle embrace of the Sandmare, the wind took on a different pitch. It was no longer howling angrily, but was now a soothing whisper; almost gentle tinkling of wind chimes.

Dinky stirred, tossing and turning in her bed. “Hnnnng…m’kay.” She murmured in a trance, sitting up and crawling out of bed. “Momma, izat you?” The little filly wandered over to her window. “Mom?”

A pair of red eyes blazed in the window as an outstretched claw pressed against the glass.

& & &

The sun had risen by the time a tired Ditzy Doo flew into Ponyville. She yawned massively, rubbing at her baggy eyes. All she wanted to was to go home, see her little muffin and then crawl into bed and sleep. At least it was Sunday and she had the day off.

But as she landed in front of her house she noticed something wrong. There were a number of ponies out and about, without any scarves or hats on; peering into alleys and calling out. At first Ditzy thought they were looking for a lost pet or something. Then she managed to hear just what the increasingly frantic ponies were shouting.

“…Archer! Archer, where are you?!” “Featherweight, this isn’t funny!” “Please has anypony seen Silver Spoon? Have you seen my daughter?”

Her heart sinking, Ditzy recognized Berry Punch calling for Ruby Pinch and even Cloud Kicker was out, desperately zooming over houses and shouting the name of her little sister, Alula. It seemed as if everyfoal in Ponyville had gone…somewhere.

One couple ran up and down the street. “Pipsqueak! Pippy, please come back!” Ditzy remembered the little piebald colt that Dinky was good friends with. There was a loud gasp and it took Ditzy a moment to realize that it had come from her.

“Muffin!” She cried out as she slammed her front door open. “Dinky, muffin, please be here!” The panicked mare flew up the stairs and into Dinky’s room, almost colliding with Rainbow Dash as the cyan pony frantically tore sheets and blankets off of Dinky’s bed.

Ditzy was trying very hard to stay calm, and not succeeding. “Rainbow? Where's my baby?”

Surprised, the blue pony looked up from her search. “D-Ditzy! I--I--She was here last night! I swear! We snuggled and everything...when I got up to go to my own room she was still asleep!”

Ditzy’s self control starting cracking, her voice going up to a near-shout, “Where's my baby?”

“I don't know, I don't know!” Dash exclaimed miserably. “Please, Ditzy I'm sorry!”

The trembling mother pegasus was furious. “You lost my baby? How could you...” Tears started gathering up in her eyes “.... my baby...”

Rainbow reached out with a shaking hoof. “Ditzy please....s-she couldn't have gotten far. I mean, the doors and windows were all locked and shut!”

Ditzy whimpered and cried for a few seconds, then quickly gathered herself and rushed out the door. She started flying around and calling out. “Dinky? Muffin? Baby, where are you? Mommy’s looking for you!”

“Ditzy wait!” Dash flew after her. “It's not just Dinky, every foal in town is gone! Please, just come back and we'll--we'll figure out something!” But Ditzy ignored her and continued searching. “Come on Ditz...I'll gather up the girls, I'm sure we'll come up with a plan...” Rainbow grabbed onto her and held her tight. "It'll be okay."

“Let go!” Ditzy exclaimed through frantic tears “I have to find my baby!”

Rainbow's shoulder slumped. “Ditzy...if--if she was nearby, she'd have heard somepony.” She hastily wiped her own eyes. “I—I don't think she's in Ponyville.” She paused before gently adding. “I'm...I’m sorry.” She lowered her head, a tear dropping down her cheek.

She kept holding onto the struggling Ditzy Doo as she half-heartedly attempted to escape. “I have to find her!” She exclaimed weakly. “My baby... my...” The gray pegasus clutched Rainbow and started sobbing.

Rainbow embraced her old friend and stroked her mane. “We will...I promise, I'll find Dinky. I promise.”