• 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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I Am The Rain

The Eternal Storm - Chapter 4 - I Am The Rain

"Honesty... honestly, that would be my second choice for a host. Its Bearer is headstrong and competitive, yes... but what strikes me most is her work ethic. I imagine I could kill most of the population within days just by forcing everypony to perform physical labor with that kind of zeal! The main reason I didn't pick her is that it would require henchponies and... yeah. It'd just be too much trouble to keep up with all that.

"Plus, forced slavery tends to spawn rebellions.

".That just leaves one suitable Element..."


It was starting to rain in Canterlot as Rainbow Dash was found missing. An exhaustive search of the hospital began immediately.

"I found him!" Pinkie Pie cried from down the hallway.

Princess Celestia ran up to join her, then looked down at the stallions laying unconscious in a closet. "I recognize the Earth Pony... that's Doctor Star. He was the one working on Rainbow Dash when I brought her in. This unicorn, however... I have no idea who he is."

The old unicorn had a crutch for a cutie mark. He was beginning to stir. "Och... what hit me?" he slurred as he regained consciousness.

"Never mind that... where did you take Rainbow Dash?" Pinkie asked.

"What?" the bewildered unicorn asked.

"Pinkie, if I may?" Celestia interjected.

"Hmph, fine. I'm gonna keep looking then," Pinkie said as she bounced away.

"I'm sorry," Celestia said. "My friend there can be a little impulsive. Who are you?"

"...och, my head hurts. The name's Iron Hoof," he said. "Where am I?"

"Canterlot General," Celestia replied as the pieces to the puzzle started piling up. "I would imagine you remember yourself being somewhere else?"

"My shop," he replied as he rubbed his aching head. "This pegasus lad came in just as I was closin' up, sayin' his daughter had a flyin' accident. Wanted me tae build prosthetic wings for her, on account of that's what I do. I said I'd do it, then suddenly he was surrounded by a black mist! Then I went out like a busted lantern til I woke up here."

"A black mist?" Celestia asked, shocked. "You're sure it was a black mist?"

"Black as night, Your Highness," he said as he got up to his hooves. "Come to think of it, his eyes were weird too..."

"Tell me," she implored. "It may be important."

"Those eyes... they were nae the eyes of ponyfolk," he said. "T'were the eyes of dragons."

"Come with me, please. I'll see if I can get a doctor to look at you," Celestia said as she telepathically relayed a message to Spectra. "Return to the hospital at once, please. I have another subject for you to examine. He may have been infected."

"As you wish," she could hear Spectra reply over her mental link.

"I..." Iron Hoof started as he lost his footing. "Fine, Your Highness... I'm nae feeling so good anyway..." He soon collapsed.

"Forgive me, my subject, but I can't risk you running off before my student gets here," Celestia said as her horn ceased its glow, her anesthetic spell having done its work.

..::OoOoOoO::..

Fluttershy came flying down from the roof. Applejack was at the hospital's front door waiting for her to descend.

"She's not up there," Fluttershy called down.

"Dang it," Applejack swore. "Ah already checked the ground floor, Pinkie's checking the second, you've checked the roof an' she's not here? You sure them doctors weren't spoutin' a bunch'a hooey when they said Dash's wings were broke?"

"What do you mean?" Fluttershy asked as she landed and ducked under the canopy, shielding herself from the rain.

"Way Ah see it, there's only two ways she could'a gotten outta here with nopony seein' - she did some fancy magic like Twilight does, or she flew," Applejack surmised as she too ran under the canopy. "Ah thought the weatherpony said Canterlot would have clear skies for days! Ain't supposed to be rainin' this hard."

"We should probably head inside before we get sick," Fluttershy offered.

"Yeah, sounds like a mighty fine idea there," Applejack said as she went inside.

..::OoOoOoO::..

Twilight Sparkle was sitting back in her library, reading. Nopony had bothered her all day, Spike was napping, the weather was quiet... it was, in a word, bliss. She was hoping the day would never end if it kept going like this.

Then she heard a noise.

"Hello?" she called out. Then there was another noise. The lights went out. Wind started picking up outside. In rapid succession, her dream day was turning into a nightmare. She got up to see what was going on.

As she opened the door to look outside, she was blown back into the library by a fierce wind. As she flew backwards, she could just barely see a dark-colored alicorn with steel-blue armor outside her library. Unusually, the alicorn's wings were covered in armor as well. Her hair was motionless even with the rapid winds outside.

"Stay inside, Twilight Sparkle," a voice called from outside. "Stay inside where it's safe."

"What do you mean?" Twilight asked. "Safe? Safe from what?"

"Please, Twi," the voice said. "Stay inside. Lock the door. Don't come out here. I can't protect you if you do."

"'Twi?'" Twilight asked curiously. "There's only a few ponies who call me that. Who are you?"

"I am only giving you this warning out of loyalty," the voice said, sternly. "Stay inside. I don't want to..."

"Don't want to what?" Twilight asked, louder.

"I don't want to destroy you, my friend," the voice said. "A storm is brewing. It will cover all of Equestria, and its people will drown. It will come to pass. If you don't stay inside, you will drown as well."

"No!" came a voice from atop the stairs. "You've got to fight, Twilight!"

"I know that voice..." Twilight said.

Another voice rang out. "Yes, you must wake up. We need you."

Twilight Sparkle moved to turn to the stairs when the voice from outside called out, "Don't listen to them. They will lead you to your death."

"Please, Twilight. Wake up," the second voice called from up the stairs.

Ignoring the voice outside, Twilight looked up the stairs. Standing there were Princess Luna and Rarity. "What is going on?" Twilight screamed, frustrated.

"You've got to wake up," Princess Luna said. "Something is going on - something bad, and I don't know how to stop it. I'm not even sure if my sister can. We need the Elements of Harmony. Equestria needs you, Twilight, so please... just wake up."

"I don't get it!" Twilight yelled. "I am awake!"

"Listen to them, Twilight!" Spike called out, atop the stairs as well. "Everyone's here. We need you!"

"Yeah, Twilight... things are going bad and my Pinkie Sense is going crazy and I don't know what to do, so we all need you to wake up now," Pinkie Pie pleaded. "Please?"

"I'm warning you for the last time, Twilight," the voice from outside said, almost begging. "Please. Just stay inside."

"...No," Twilight said. "Something is wrong - horribly wrong, and my friends need me. I don't know what they mean by 'waking up,' but you're obviously trying to keep me locked in here. That means the answer is out there, and you're not going to stop me from finding it, friend!" With that, she opened the door and walked outside.

..::OoOoOoO::..

"Look!" Spike said. "Look at her eyes!"

"I don't believe it," Pinkie Pie said. "I guess Fluttershy was right about talking to ponies in comas."

"Yes, you learn something every day, I suppose," Rarity said, sounding relieved.

Twilight Sparkle started to open her eyes.

"Pinkie Pie, please bring the others here," Princess Luna ordered. "Quickly!"

Pinkie Pie sprung up, standing at attention and offering a mock salute to the Princess. "Okie dokie loki, Princess!" she barked as she bounced out of the room with purpose.

"...Is she always that random?" the Princess asked, confused.

"Welcome to my nightmare," Rarity wearily replied, smiling.

..::OoOoOoO::..

A solitary figure flew into Cloudsdayle as the sun went down. After the hurricane incident, the city of clouds was on high alert, under orders from Princess Celestia herself.

As her cyan hooves touched down near the cloud factory, several guard pegasi swarmed around the figure. One of them spoke up. "Halt! Under orders from the Princesses of Equestria, you are to stand down!"

The shadowy figure laughed. "I'm giving you new orders. Leave. Tell everypony to leave my city. Now."

Several of the guards pulled their weapons - some were grasping swords in their teeth, others had spears and halberds anchored to their saddles. The guard in charge spoke up. "Arrest her. Use force if necessary."

The shadowy figure looked at the guard with her rose-colored serpentine eyes. "You are welcome to try, but I bet I can disarm you all in ten seconds flat." Her partially-formed horn began glowing darkly.

With no warning at all, the guards were all being attacked, their weapons having been turned into snakes!

The figure walked into the factory as the guards fought for their lives against their own weapons. "Oh, daddy," she mockingly called out, "I think we need to talk..."

..::OoOoOoO::..

Spike was lifting a glass of apple juice to Twilight Sparkle's parched lips. She had tried lifting one telekinetically, but that only resulted in her blanket getting soaked. "We were all really worried there," he said. "From the way the doctors and the Princess were talking, we were worried you'd... you'd have..."

"Died?" Twilight Sparkle asked, finishing Spike's sentence. She looked down at her torn-up body. "I'm honestly surprised I'm alive too, as bad as I look and feel. Please tell me that all this wasn't for nothing..."

"You don't remember?" Rarity asked. "From what I've been told, you saved Rainbow Dash."

"It worked?" Twlight said, sounding relieved. "After it felt like my horn was going to be torn off of my head, I blacked out. I guess the pain was so traumatic that I blocked it out..."

"No, my faithful student, that wasn't the reason," Princess Celestia said as she walked into Twilight's room with Spectra in tow. "I need some time alone with Twilight, please. Luna, remain here, this concerns you as well."

"Of course, Princess," Rarity said, turning to leave and motioning for Spike to follow. She looked back at Twilight Sparkle. "I'm glad you're okay. Please, don't scare us like that again!"

"I'll try," Twilight said, her tone shifting to annoyance as her old rival arrived following Celestia. "Spectra. How has Occult Studies been treating you?"

"Depends," Spectra spat back. "How many bits is a soul worth? I don't think I have one left at this rate."

"Enough," Celestia said, laying down the law. "Now is not the time to rehash rivalries whose time have passed. I brought Spectra with me because she has made a disturbing discovery."

"Does this have to do with her barbaric magical testing on me?" Luna asked, not exactly thrilled by Spectra's presence either.

"It does indeed," Spectra said. "I found the residue of the same magical essence in Princess Luna after she was freed from the Nightmare by the Elements of Harmony in your blood, Twilight."

"Wait... what now?" Twilight asked.

"Perhaps I should start from the beginning," Celestia offered. "You see, Nightmare Moon wasn't just a simple corruption of Princess Luna, as many believed..."

..::OoOoOoO::..

Rarity was walking down the hallway to the cafeteria when she saw Applejack standing off in a corner, alone. Something appeared off with her. "Applejack? Is something the matter?" she asked.

"Ain't nothin'," Applejack said. "Just tryin' to think is all."

"Mind sharing?" Rarity asked as she joined Applejack. "I find it's not good to hold things back. It tends to give a mare wrinkles." She smiled.

Applejack wasn't in the mood to return the smile. "Ah drove her away," she said. "The last thing Ah said to Dash was that Ah blamed her for Twilight goin' an' gettin' hurt. Ah let my anger get the best of me."

"Oh dear," Rarity said. "Did you apologize?"

"Ah didn't get the chance," Applejack sighed. "When Ah went to see her, she'd already up an' left. Ah should'a never left her alone. She wasn't right after her wings got broke. She just wasn't right... she was hurtin' so bad an' Ah snapped at her!"

Rarity put a hoof over Applejack's shoulder. "It's not your fault," she said.

"Yeah it is," Applejack retorted, laughing half-heartedly. "Some kinda friend Ah turned out ta' be, huh?"

"Better than you realize," Rarity said. "Come with me. I know the cook here, and he can make a mean warm apple cider that will make all your troubles melt away."

"If'n Ah didn't know any better, Ah'd have to be sayin' my barn door don't swing that way," Applejack said as she started walking with Rarity to the cafeteria.

"Neither does mine, darling," Rarity said, laughing. "...But you do sound like you could use the drink."

"Ain't gonna argue that, filly!" Applejack said.

..::OoOoOoO::..

"So... you're telling me that I was infected by Nightmare Moon?" Twilight Sparkle asked, puzzled.

"Almost. We just call it 'The Nightmare,'" Spectra explained. "So far we've found its residue in Princess Luna, yourself, the two unconscious stallions Princess Celestia found here, and a Royal Guard found in an alley here in Canterlot."

"That same guard apparently managed to open the vault beneath the castle by himself as well," Princess Luna said. "The only thing missing was the remains of the armor I wore as Nightmare Moon."

"Metal armor?" Twilight asked as she tried to put the pieces of the puzzle together in her addled mind.

"Yes, it was metal... why?" Luna asked.

"Princess Celestia, you said there was a case inside Rainbow Dash's room?" Twilight inquired.

"There was indeed..." Princess Celestia recalled. "Wait. The technician, Iron Hoof. He said he made prosthetics... that case looked like it once held synthetic wings..."

"Dash couldn't fly," Luna muttered. "Her wings were shattered."

"We need that case. We need it now, Princess!" Twilight said. "Spectra needs to scan it, but I'll bet I can already guess what was in there."

Princess Celestia was already racing to Rainbow Dash's room to retrieve the case. Within moments she returned with the case being held alongside her in a telekinetic field.

Spectra immediately scanned the case. "This is unbelievable," she said as her scanning spell completed. "I got to scan the armor before once - just once - and it had a distinctly high amount of residual energy from the Nightmare."

"It's the same," Twilight guessed.

Spectra simply nodded.

"Horsefeathers," Twilight cursed. "This is bad. Very bad, Highnesses."

"Agreed," Celestia stated. "If our conclusions turn out to be accurate, Equestria may be facing its worst crisis since Nightmare Moon's return."

"Sister, we need to prepare for this," Luna said.

"Yes... forgive me, my faithful student, but we need to return to the castle immediately," Celestia said as she motioned for Luna and Spectra to accompany her. "Preparations must be made."

As Celestia turned to leave, Twilight called out after her. "Wait! How can I help?"

"Recover as best as you're able," Celestia said. "If we fail, the Elements of Harmony will be needed once more." With that, she left.

"But..." Twilight called weakly, "...what if we're one short?"

..::OoOoOoO::..

The cloud factory in Cloudsdayle was eerily quiet, except for the hum of machinery. It was completely dark inside. Everypony working in it had either fled or been knocked out as the shadowy figure assumed control.

"Let's see... this goes here... this switch to maximum..."

An alarm rang out. Nopony was left to respond to it, but the noise was annoying the figure nonetheless.

"You're annoying," she grumbled. "Off with you. This one gets shut off too..."

The base of Cloudsdayle itself began to expand as the machines roared to life. The clouds comprising its "ground" became darker, and rain began pouring heavily on everything underneath.

"Scope? Oh, how does this thing work... what's the setting for 'planetwide?'" she asked, rhetorically. "Ah, that's it!" she said as she found the control she was looking for.

As she turned it, the clouds simply continued to expand, unabated. Storm clouds began to detach from Cloudsdayle and rise over it, ensuring that even the cloud city would not be spared. Slowly but surely, the entire planet was on its way to being covered in storm clouds.

Minutes later, she emerged outside of the factory. She flew to the top of the factory and perched herself on its roof.

"Citizens of Cloudsdayle... you are all hereby evicted, by order of your new Queen!" she began, her voice magically carrying to all corners of the city. "If you are not gone in twenty minutes, you will be executed for trespassing in my capital city!"

The citizens naturally began to panic.

"Rest assured, this is not a drill, nor an idle threat!" she stated as her horn darkly glowed and a lightning bolt struck an elderly pegasus stallion.

A younger pegasus mare flew over to him as he was struck. "Grandpa!" she could be heard yelling. Luckily, he was still breathing when she reached him.

"That one was a warning. Don't even think this is a bluff, the next one will be lethal!" the figure cried. "I am the rain. I am the storm. Wish me away, show me your scorn, I don't care. Just do it somewhere that's not my city! So says your Queen, Nightmare Spectrum!"

Lightning flashed near the Factory roof, illuminating Nightmare Spectrum for a fleeting instant. In that time, a multicolored mane and tail could be seen, along with a cutie mark with a multicolored lightning bolt descending downward from a dark cloud.

"Let the Eternal Storm rain upon Equestria for all time!"