• Published 14th Sep 2011
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The Eternal Storm - TDarkchylde



The Nightmare returns, now using an Element Bearer as a host.

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Crepuscule

The Eternal Storm - Chapter 3 - Crepuscule

"Generosity... it would be interesting to see what a force with a different motivation could do to corrupt that one. The possibilities are truly endless. Selflessly giving everypony a deadly plague? Put her in charge of the food supply, then make her give to such a degree that everyone starves in the end? Spreading false hope where none exists? Of course, the possibility to twist her into Avarice is also intriguing. It wouldn't take much to make her go in that direction as it is.

"Sadly, none of that interests me. Better to let her run herself into the ground without my help."


It was proving to be Rarity's most difficult task to date. Filling massive orders for Sapphire Shores was hard, yes. Keeping her shop in the black? Very difficult. The hardest thing, she was discovering, was trying not to give too much information to one not ready for it.

Even what little she had given may have been too much. She had found Scootaloo's parents' house and tried to break the news as gently as possible...

"...What? Rainbow Dash is in the hospital?" Scootaloo asked, having overheard the conversation from upstairs.

"Oh, no..." Rarity said as she heard the familiar voice. "Scootaloo, Rainbow Dash does some very dangerous work sometimes with the weather team," she lied, trying to spare the young filly's feelings. "Sometimes they have to break apart a cloud that's grown out of control, and sometimes that means whomever does the job gets hurt. It happens. She'll be fine."

Sweetie Belle emerged from Scootaloo's room upon hearing her reaction. "What happened?" she asked.

"Rainbow Dash got hurt," Scootaloo said, trying to hold back tears. Even though Rarity had taken extreme care not to mention the severity of Dash's injuries, she had still jumped to a conclusion not too far from the actual truth. "She's in the hospital." She turned back to look down the stairs. "Mom, Dad, we've got to go see her. She needs all our support right now."

"Hon, look... we can go later on," Scootaloo's father stated. He knew Dash's father from his days in flight school, and once he saw for himself how talented the then-young Dash was, he certainly didn't discourage his own daughter from holding her up as an idol. He had idolized Dash's father when he was a colt, after all. "They're taking really good care of her right now, and we may distract her from getting better."

"Yes, please, listen to your father," Scootaloo's mother said, picking up where her husband left off. "Rainbow Dash certainly knows how much you look up to her. If we see her too soon, she might feel the need to push herself and set back her own recovery."

"Indeed," Rarity said. "You need to be strong for her right now. When the time's right, we'll all go and see her. We just can't go yet."

"You can't keep me away," Scootaloo mumbled as she turned around and went back to her room. Once inside, she started to cry. Rainbow Dash was her hero, after all. Heroes aren't supposed to get hurt bad enough to go to hospitals. She was finding it difficult to cope with the fact that her idol was, in the end, just as mortal as everypony else.

Downstairs, Rarity was getting ready to leave. "I'm sorry I can't stay longer, but Princess Celestia needs me in Canterlot and the chariot will be here any moment for me. I simply cannot be late. Would it be too much of a bother for you to keep an eye on Sweetie Belle for just a little longer?" she asked.

"Not at all," Scootaloo's mother replied as the chariot could be heard touching down outside. "Anything for a friend, especially right now.

As Rarity opened the door to leave, Scootaloo's father called after her. "When you know more about Rainbow Dash's condition, please tell us?"

"Miss Rarity? The Princesses are expecting you," a stallion called from outside.

"One second more, please," Rarity told the guard pulling the chariot. She turned back inside. "You will be the first to know," she told Scootaloo's father. "On that, you have my word."

..::OoOoOoO::..

"The Element of Kindness... ah, but I've seen the rage she is truly capable of. We could do a lot of damage together. Despite that, however, I can't really do much else with her. It may be beyond even my influence to permanently break her out of her shell. I considered Laughter as well... she hides a dark streak that I could do a lot with. Still, I can't use her either. I want to rule over an Equestria devoid of all life save myself. Under my influence, she might destroy herself, or even the entire planet. That simply won't do."


Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy and Spike were all by Twilight Sparkle's side as she laid in a hospital bed, still comatose. Princess Celestia had excused herself a moment earlier, as another of her unicorn students had arrived to discuss important business.

"Twilight..." Applejack started to say, but she was simply unable to continue voicing her thought.

Fluttershy turned and hugged Applejack gently. "It's hard, I know... seeing her like this, but you really need to try to say something. Even like this, she may be able to hear us and she needs all the support we can give her," she said.

"She's going to be fine," Pinkie Pie said from the other side of Twilight's bed as she held one of her hooves. "She's going to get all better like she always does, and then we're going to have a big party to celebrate. It's going to be so big, Ponyville will talk about it for years and years to come. We'll all be old mares and ponies will still be like 'Hey, remember that huge party Pinkie Pie threw for Twilight Sparkle that one time? Man, I wish they still had parties like that!' You'll see, Twilight. You'll see... but you gotta wake up first. Please?"

"Ah hope that happens, Pinkie, but Ah'm just not sure," Applejack said as Fluttershy continued holding her. "Ah can't just lie to her. Til she wakes up..."

"You can't give up on her," Spike yelled, interrupting Applejack. "She's done so much for us over the last year. We've gotta be here for her."

"Guess you're right," Applejack sighed. "Twilight, you're gonna pull through this. You just gotta. Things just wouldn't be the same without you."

Outside the room, Princess Celestia was speaking with Spectra, her most promising student since Twilight had moved to Ponyville. "You checked the blood sample like I requested?" she asked her student.

"I did, Princess," Spectra said. "What I found, I've only seen in one other specimen to date - Princess Luna."

"So then, Nightmare Moon wasn't the end of it?" the Princess asked.

"My guess at this point would be no," the unicorn replied. She sighed. "I think for a brief moment out there, the Nightmare part that was expelled from Princess Luna was actually assisting Twilight Sparkle, but even that brief assistance nearly killed her. She wasn't using life force like the dragon hypothesized, rather, she was using every bit of the power she will eventually gain. That's what did this - her body was most certainly not ready for all that raw power."

"...But Luna's was as Nightmare Moon," the Princess sighed. "One question answered, many more appear. Why would a malevolent force like that try to help Ponyville?"

"Of that, I'm not sure," Spectra replied. "It may have simply been revenge for being banished. If you'll allow me to take my leave, I have to return to my research."

"I'm sure Princess Luna will love that," Celestia said sarcastically. "Be gentle with her. It wasn't her fault, but she still blames herself."

"As you wish, Teacher," Spectra said as she departed.

..::OoOoOoO::..

Rainbow Dash sat alone in her hospital room, silently thinking. Many thoughts were bouncing around in her mind.

"I was trying to save everypony... I didn't mean for Twilight Sparkle to get hurt trying to save me. I kind of wish she hadn't tried now. Perhaps it would all have been for the best if I had died out there..."

The silence was interrupted by a knock on the door. "Miss Dash? It's Doctor Star. Can I come in for a moment?"

"Huh? Yeah, sure... whatever, I guess..." Rainbow Dash said, sulking. "It's not like you have good news or anything."

"Actually, I might," the doctor said as he walked in. "I was doing some research, checked with some other doctors, and I might have found something that can help you to lead a normal life."

"Normal?" Dash spat. "My wings are busted beyond repair. Heck, you might as well cut them off at this stage, I'm an invalid regardless!"

"While that's not true, I'm not going to argue with you over that," the doctor replied, calmly. He was almost too calm. "But... what if I told you that I found something that may allow you to fly again?"

"What?" Dash asked, stunned at the prospect. "I could fly again? No... no, it's impossible. I've heard of pegasi that got hurt like I did, and none of them ever flew again."

"They didn't have these," the doctor said as he opened a case he had carried in with him. "A medical technician named Iron Hoof invented these, and I think you're the perfect candidate to be the first to try them."

Dash broke out in a fit of laughter as she looked into the case. Inside were a pair of steel blue metallic-looking prosthetic wings. "Falsies? Those are for pegasi who lose their wings entirely! At least mine are still attached!"

"These are special," the doctor retorted. "The first difference is that they go on over your existing wings. They're prepared with intense healing magics that will actually work to heal your real wings while you use the metal ones to fly. Think of them less as 'falsies' and more like a walking cast."

That caught Dash's attention. "Wait, so I wouldn't need them forever? I'd be giving my wings a workout in the process?" she asked.

"That's the hope," the doctor replied. "You won't be winning any races or anything like that at first, mind you, but eventually your wings may recover enough to be where they were before your injury."

"I'm still not entirely sure on this," Rainbow Dash said. "It sounds too good to be true, to be honest. I need to think about it."

"Of course," the doctor said as he closed the case and slung it up on a desk near the door. "We'll be keeping you for a few days in the meantime, to make sure your other injuries heal up. If you do want to try the wings, let me know."

As the doctor left, Dash was faced with even more questions. She stared at the case as the silence resumed.

..::OoOoOoO::..

Rarity arrived at the hospital and immediately was met by Princess Luna, herself taking a brief break from her royal duties to see Twilight Sparkle for herself. "Princess! I'm honored..." Rarity started.

Luna motioned "silence" at her, then spoke. "There will be plenty of time to observe Royal Protocol later, Rarity. We should hurry and see your friends before visiting hours end."

"Ah... of course," Rarity said. "Yes, let us hurry inside!"

The two made their way to Twilight Sparkle's room first, where Princess Celestia and their remaining friends were waiting.

"Rarity! Ah thought you weren't gonna make it!" Applejack said as Rarity and Luna walked in.

"We should all be here to make sure Twilight gets better," Rarity said. "Of course I would make it."

"Sister, any news?" Princess Luna asked as she looked at Twilight Sparkle for herself.

"I'm afraid not," Princess Celestia replied. "All we know now is that she has a better chance to survive. Our main concern is that it is still a chance and not a certainty as yet."

"She'll make it," Pinkie Pie said.

"I wish there was something more we could do for her," Luna said as she sat down. "Are you certain that our magic couldn't be used to accelerate her healing?"

"The doctors don't want to take the risk," Celestia said. "These injuries were caused by magic, after all. They're worried too much might kill her in this state. It might be possible if she regains consciousness."

"She'll make it," Pinkie again insisted.

Luna took notice of how protective Pinkie and the others were of Twilight at this point. "Girls... I know you're concerned about Twilight. I'm concerned too, and... while I'm not as learned in the lessons of friendship as my sister, I do know that when two friends are hurt, they both need some attention."

Celestia got up. "My sister's right," she said. "While Twilight Sparkle is in pretty bad shape, we need to let her heal as best as she's able... and there's another friend of yours that might want to see some of you right now."

"Honestly... right now Ah don't care," Applejack said, startling the rest of the crowd. "If she hadn't tried that fool stunt in the first place, Twilight wouldn't have gotten hurt at all."

"I heard about all of it," Luna said, still slightly taken aback at Applejack's response. "Rainbow Dash did what she thought was right. She saw your town in danger, and tried to save it. You can't blame her for this."

"I agree," Fluttershy said, softly. "Sorry... I'm just trying to say we'd all do the same if we could have. Even Twilight. She's only hurt because she cares for Rainbow Dash like she cares for all of us."

"There's no blame to be assigned here," Celestia said. "Sister, Rarity, you two should stay with Twilight for a little while. The rest of us should be by Rainbow Dash's side right now so she knows just how much we appreciate her for her actions."

"Maybe you're right, Princess," Applejack said as she walked over to the door. "Ah'm just hurtin' so much from this whole thing." She took a deep breath and sighed. "Ah guess Ah should apologize... Ah was a bit too harsh on Dash, Ah guess."

"It's understandable to feel like that when someone you care about gets hurt," Princess Celestia said as she led the way. "It means you really do care for them."

"She's not fine," Pinkie Pie said as she followed. Her body began to twitch. "Eye twitch, burning hoof, twitchy tail, itchy mane, dry mouth..."

"Pinkie?" Applejack said as she turned her head to Pinkie Pie. "What's goin' on?"

"She's not fine," Pinkie repeated. "She's not fine! Something's wrong!"

Princess Celestia stood silently, stunned.

"Pinkie Sense," Spike said to the Princess. "We've learned to trust it."

"Is it Twlight?" Fluttershy asked.

"No. Twilight will make it. Rainbow Dash isn't fine!" Pinkie cried as she launched into a full gallop towards Dash's room.

The others followed as quickly as they could. When they arrived, Rainbow Dash's room was empty. The window was open. Near the door was an open case, emptied out.

It was starting to rain...