by Mad Hattie

First published

Based on Cupcakes by Sgt. Sprinkles: In the aftermath that follows the tragedy at Sugarcube Corner, the Elements of Harmony are lost and broken. However, one night, Luna visits Twilight's dreams to inform her of a powerful resurrection spell.

If Celestia is God, then who are her Angels? Based on Cupcakes by Sgt. Sprinkles: In the aftermath that follows the tragedy at Sugarcube Corner, the Elements of Harmony are lost and broken. However, one night, Luna visits Twilight's dreams to inform her of a powerful resurrection spell. When Dash returns, she isn't the pony that her friends remember and what's more, an 'angel' has followed her into the living realm.

The Aftermath

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Chapter 1

“What is your name?” The voice echoed through the interrogation room, it held the power and authority to gain all and everything, including a decent reply. Instead, all the voice received were a series of eerie high pitched giggles. There was a gruff sigh before the voice repeated, “What is your name?”

There were more giggles, but this time, she replied, “Pinkamena of course!”

“Your friends call you Pinkie Pie.”

The laughter stopped abruptly. The voice changed to something darker, “I don’t have friends.” The voice was monotone before she giggled again, “Only victims!”

“Pinkamena Diane Pie.” The voice belonged to a stallion with a brown coat and a jet black mane. He sat across the table from the pink pony with a clipboard under his hoof. He tapped the clipboard impatiently, “Is this your full name?”

The former Pinkie Pie was a bundle of laughter and some ponies had joked that she was crazy, perhaps even gone as far as calling her a maniac. But psychopath? Murderer? Monster?

No. This was the Pinkie that no one knew. Her pink mane was straight as opposed to a messy bush; her eyes were as small as pin pricks as she looked around her surroundings, tightly secured in a strait jacket. She nodded her head, sticking her tongue out playfully, “Yes it is.”

The stallion straightened somewhat as he leaned further towards the crazed pony, “Can you tell me why you’re here, Pinkamena?”

Her eyes widened in humour as if recounting a happy memory. A sick grin twisted onto her face, “I killed.”


She laughed again; her eyes darting in separate directions as her mind was lost for a moment, indulging in the blood lust she had once been a part of, “Everypony,” her eyes narrowed to slits as she met gazes with her interrogator, “Anypony!”

The stallion looked down to his clipboard and sighed, “One final question for the day Pinkamena.”

Her ears pricked instinctively.

“Who was your last kill before you ended up here?”

Her grin only widened further as she recounted the sweet memories, “Oh, somepony very special! I would have never thought I’d pick her out so soon, but her number was up you see…” she pouted for a moment, blowing the stray pink locks of her mane from her face, “She didn’t last nearly as long as I had expected.”

The stallion rubbed his face in frustration, “Just answer the question.”

Pinkamena chuckled, “Why, it was Dashie!”


Three weeks. It had been three long weeks since the tragedy at Sugarcube Corner. The entire street was a ghost town, nopony dared to go there. The Cakes had moved in with other relatives out of Ponyville leaving the beloved pastry store eerily quiet. Every now and then a pony would trot by and leave a bunch of flowers at the doorstep. Though the insides had been cleansed of any evidence, nopony wanted to see the scene where it had happened. Where so many ponies had lost their lives and of course – most recently – a very special Pegasus had been lost to Equestria.

Twilight Sparkle hadn’t spoken a word since the incident. She had tried like anypony else to forget what terrible crimes Pinkie had committed, but she just couldn’t. The entire Apple family had gone to Appleloosa, Rarity had gone to her parent’s home with Sweetie Belle and Fluttershy hadn’t been seen since the incident. Nopony was coping well, especially the living embodiments of the Elements of Harmony. They had all developed a bond that had gone well beyond friendship, they all relied on each other for the good of Equestria, Celestia needed them. But where were they now?

Generosity and Honesty were gone, Laughter was now laughing her way into an asylum, Kindness had locked herself away, Magic had silenced herself and Loyalty…

Loyalty was ten hooves underground, her mangled body too much for anypony to see. Rainbow Dash’s funeral had been hard; nopony had ever experienced anything like it. Hundreds of Pegasus ponies came down from Cloudsdale to pay their respects and then just as quickly, everypony had dispersed.

Sometimes, ponies whispered amongst themselves that they saw a yellow Pegasus sitting in front of Rainbow Dash’s grave, her pink mane stuck to her face with the tears she just couldn’t stop. Fluttershy had been Dash’s longest friend and although they hadn’t always seen eye to eye, they had always been stronger together.

For Twilight Sparkle, the day started like any other. She would wake up from the sleep that had only been induced by hours of tears to Spike standing quietly by her bed. She’d quickly realise he had been the one to wake her, only then realising she had been having another nightmare.

She’d nod her head to Spike and he’d accept that as her thanks, he knew just as well as anypony how hard a time she was dealing with it all. Twilight didn’t know what to do with herself anymore. She didn’t talk to anypony, she rarely went outside. She’d simply sit at the table in the main library area and read anything her magic picked out for her. She’d levitate book after book from the shelf and read them from front to back. She wouldn’t stop, only to eat and that was only something Spike would force upon her.

Spike cleaned in silence, but he couldn’t cope with Twilight’s attitude. She worked like a zombie, everything she did was done with no purpose. Sometimes, Spike wondered whether she was even aware of her surroundings.

So every now and then, Spike would go out into Ponyville. Ponies would bow their heads in respect to him and he would nod back. Ponies before had never really paid much attention to the baby dragon that Twilight had brought with her to Ponyville, but ever since the Sugarcube Tragedy, everything had changed.

Spike would write letters to Princess Celestia often. He asked for her help, but her reply was always the same. Her condolences went out to everypony affected, but she could offer nothing at all to dull the ache of loss. Only in time would that come naturally.

But finally, after three weeks of empty condolences and Twilight’s zombie-like behaviour, Spike had had enough. With little warning, Spike slammed his claw down on the book that Twilight had been blankly reading, absorbing little of the information, only taking comfort in the soothing words that came to her mind instead of the painful memories.

“Enough is enough Twilight!” Spike all but snarled.

Twilight’s head came up slowly, almost robotically. Her mane was a mess and her violet eyes were bloodshot. She stared at Spike for all of two seconds before her eyes moved back to the book.

“No!” Spike grabbed the book and slid it under his arm in one fluid motion, “Twilight, listen to me.”

Twilight didn’t even blink; she just stared in a daze at the table, her eyes still moving from left to right as if she hadn’t noticed the lack of literature in front of her.

“Twilight!” Spike tried to reach out to her, but it didn’t work. He didn’t know what else to say, “You can’t live like this Twi, it’s not right. We have to move forward for the sake of-”

“For the sake of what?” Twilight’s eyes were suddenly staring right at the young dragon, her teeth gritted tightly as she stared at her friend, “I was sent here to learn about friendship, well, I think I learnt my lesson.” She looked back at the table, “Dear Princess Celestia,” she recited darkly as a single tear leaked from her eye, “Today I learnt that you should never make friends.” She closed her eyes then and in the weakest voice, she added, “You never know who they might turn out to be.”

Spike couldn’t say anything against that, she was right after all. Pinkie Pie had been one of the Elements… the Element of Laughter no less. Well, laughing she was. They couldn’t get her to stop. Even when the stallions that dragged her blood spattered body from the basement placed her in the police carriage, she hadn’t stopped laughing. It haunted Twilight’s nightmares, that laugh. It wouldn’t leave her alone.

“Fluttershy’s at Dash’s grave right now.” Spike whispered solemnly, “Maybe you could…”

Twilight was already shaking her head. She couldn’t do it. Soon she’d be able to blank out her mind again and this break into conversation would be completely forgotten. She’d be able to read meaningless words in peace, silencing everything else around her.

Spike sighed, balling his claws into little fists as he watched Twilight’s eyes that had just then been bright with awareness slowly fade back to the dull glow he had become accustomed to.

“Fine.” He said through gritted teeth, “I’m going to pick up some flowers, somepony needs to be there for her.”

Twilight didn’t show any signs of acknowledgement. Another book was already floating above her head, giving off a vibrant pink glow. Spike closed his eyes briefly before he turned his back on her and left the library, slamming the door behind him.

The Nightmare

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Chapter 2

Spike was gone longer than Twilight had expected.

Though she noticed the dragon little in her trance-like state, she still relied on him for certain matters.

Sleep was one of those things.

Every night, Spike would make sure Twilight got the proper amount of rest. He’d take her books from her and gently guide her to bed. He’d tuck her in and she’d nod her thanks before closing her eyes and waiting for the nightmares to take hold once more.

Twilight could have spent all night reading weren’t it not for Spike’s careful appliance of a regular sleeping schedule. Because of that, though Spike wasn’t there, she knew that this was the time she was usually guided to bed. Twilight glanced up from her book, her own home a blur to her now. For a second, she couldn’t remember how to move. She closed her eyes to gather her thoughts only to find that she was having trouble opening them again. She managed to open them to slits, her head drooping as the exhaustion hit her hard.

“S-Spike?” She asked blearily before her eyes closed and her head hit the table.


As always, Twilight found herself running.

She never knew why she had started, but the notion inside her was very clear. She knew something was wrong and because of that, she was running.

Images of Ponyville blurred around her as she galloped down the cobblestone path. The same images over and over.

The notion got stronger but Twilight wasn’t moving anywhere.

Tears cascaded from her eyes as she kicked herself into full speed. Her legs ached with the effort; her mane tangled on her face where the tears had spread. Still, she didn’t stop. Because that feeling deep inside her hurt, it ached down into her very soul, poisoning her. She choked on her own breath as she galloped harder.

She knew this pain, the same pain she felt every night. She knew something bad was just around the corner and even the strong notion in her soul wasn’t enough to get her there. The fear was too much. In her distorted dream she didn’t remember much of reality, but she still knew too much for her mind to trick her. She knew she couldn’t see it again.

But eventually, she would.

That was when the corner appeared. Always at the same time, but Twilight never remembered it. She wanted to stop, she wanted to run in the opposite direction, but now, as opposed to keeping her legs going, she couldn’t get them to stop.

“No, please!” she all but screamed, turning her head away in a final effort to keep from seeing what was about to appear.

But it was too late. She’d turned the corner… and there it was.

Sugarcube Corner in all its glory.

As opposed to the path she had been running down, Sugarcube Corner was bathed in darkness. There was no moon, no stars. Just the inky black sky and the bakery. Twilight’s legs buckled as she was left twenty paces from the doorstep. She sat in the dirt and waited.

It started with high pitched giggles. Laughter that Pinkie Pie was renowned for. But it wasn’t her usual laughter, it was darker… tainted. The laughter got harder and faster, louder and louder until Twilight was holding her hooves over her ears to keep it from consuming her. Then, the laughter quietened for a new noise.

The doors to Sugarcube Corner crashed open as two official police officer stallions dragged out a bright pink form. Her laughter sounded more like shrieks now as her blood drenched hooves caught a hold of the doorway on her way out. The smell hit Twilight hard and she found herself fighting nausea. Pinkie Pie was draped in a cape made out of an assortment of cutie marks, she wore a necklace of Unicorn horns and attached to the front of her cape was a decorative assortment of Pegasus wings.

“But Dashie’s wings are still in there!” she cackled as the wood on the doorframe splintered with her effort to hold on, “Let me collect them, I swear I’ll be good after that!”

Twilight had seen this happen so many times, but it never ceased in disgusting her. She fell to the floor, landing roughly on her stomach as Pinkamena Diane Pie was put into a strait jacket and roughly thrown into the police carriage.

The laughter continued, however. She just wouldn’t stop.

Twilight tried to bury her face into the dirt, but the rules of her nightmare were cruel. She had to keep watching. She had to see the second act.

“There’s my Dashie!” Pinkie shrieked from the carriage.

Twilight’s stomach rebelled, but her nightmare wouldn’t let her throw up like she had done back in reality. Her head was taken upwards by an invisible force as the medical crew dragged the mangled remains of Rainbow Dash out on a stretcher. Her stomach had been torn to pieces; her flank missing her cutie mark. Her wings were missing, leaving chunks of ragged flesh in their place. Dried blood coated almost every inch of her and as the stretcher hit a bump on a rock, a piece of Dash’s larger intestine broke free and hung from her side. Twilight screamed in a mixture of pure fear and disgust. She felt both her heart and soul break as the mangled remains of her best friend was taken to the hospital.

There, her corpse would be stitched up as best as possible, her wings would be reattached, but her cutie mark was already a part of Pinkie’s cape and had been kept with the evidence at the police department in Canterlot.

Twilight cried freely, screaming for all it was worth as Pinkie’s laughs circled her ears and Rainbow Dash’s final screams filled the air.

The stallions passed her on their way to the medical carriage and once more Twilight’s head was pulled upwards to meet the glazed rose gaze of her best friend. Dash had died with her eyes still open, a sick mockery of her last moments plastered onto her face. Twilight felt her body shaking as the body disappeared into the medical carriage. She didn’t know what to do. She felt lost. She couldn’t function. She could only lie in the dirt alone in the dark and wait for Spike to wake her up.

But Spike didn’t come.

Instead, Twilight was left there, longer than usual in the darkness.

But it wasn’t dark anymore.

Slowly, a light rose into the sky. Too dim to be the sun, but bright enough to draw Twilight’s attention. She shakily raised her head to see the face of Princess Luna delicately embedded into the craters of the moon. Suddenly, there was a presence beside her and along with that presence came the feathery warmth of a single wing as it hooked around Twilight’s shaking body. Twilight was too shocked to react; she simply curled further in on herself and stared at the dirt.

“My, what a nightmare.” Though the voice didn’t hold the almighty power that Twilight had almost grown used to in the youngest Princess, she still knew it was Luna.

Her tone had softened for Twilight’s benefit as she nuzzled her cheek ever so gently, “You realise you are safe, do you not?”

Twilight closed her eyes, trying hard to blink away the tears, “P-princess Luna… h-how a-are you…?”

Luna chuckled softly and wound her wing further around the young Unicorn, “I am the Princess of the night, it holds a few benefits.” She looked towards the scene at hand, now just a blank canvas absent of any real life, “This is my domain.” She frowned ever so slightly as she looked back to Twilight, “However, even I have never seen such… horrors in the realm of sleep.”

Twilight’s voice hitched as she spoke, “It’s real.”

Luna felt Twilight’s body rumble as fresh tears spilled from her eyes, she hushed her gently and pulled her closer to her side, “It may have been once, but it no longer is. Such horrors have bestowed the real world… which is why I am here.”

That caught Twilight’s attention enough for her to look into the dark eyes of the night Princess, “Celestia already said she can’t-”

“Ah.” Luna smiled, “She may be the eldest, but not always the wisest. My sister lacks the knowledge of the night.”

Twilight’s ear pricked as she cocked her head to one side, studying the Princess in a mixture of curiosity and plain fear for what she was suggesting; “What is that knowledge?” She implored if not a little shakily.

Luna looked up at the moon that now proudly hung over the slowly fading scene of Sugarcube Corner, just as bright as it was in reality, “There is… a spell.”

“A spell?” Twilight repeated.

The smile on Luna’s face tightened, Twilight knew she was forcing it now, “A very… difficult spell.” Luna scuffed the dirt with her hoof, “Celestia has heard of it, but she believes that no pony is strong enough to perform it.”

Twilight stared at her blankly. Luna smiled sadly, “I believe you are strong enough, Twilight Sparkle.”

Twilight was already shaking her head, “No… I don’t… no, I don’t do magic anymore… I don’t do anything anymore.”

Luna’s eyes darkened, her beautiful night sky mane blowing in a non-existent breeze. She stood up, hooking her wing under the purple Unicorn and bringing her up also, “Not even if this spell could bring back Rainbow Dash?”

Twilight gasped as she felt her legs buckle beneath her, “That’s impossible, I spent the first week of Dash’s…” she trailed off and shook her head, “I couldn’t find a resurrection spell.”

“That’s because there’s only one.” Luna informed, her long horn glowing a deep blue as a book appeared in front of her, its pages were yellow with age and its night blue cover was tattered and worn.

“In here lies a spell of the night, only to be performed on a full moon at midnight. This book won’t follow you into reality; the spell shall be embedded into your mind.” Luna’s voice had almost reached its regal power, but she kept it at bay to reassure the young Unicorn, “We need the Elements of Harmony, Twilight Sparkle and although the Element of Laughter may be lost for now, we have a chance at bringing back the Element of Loyalty.” Her eyes became grave once more, “But, I must warn you Twilight Sparkle, this spell is hard, it will take hours to perform, the sheer power alone could drain you to the point of exhaustion. Rainbow Dash will return, but if anything goes wrong, she will not be fully restored. You must understand this.”

Twilight didn’t care. She had just been offered the opportunity to restore her best friend. The spell was already flowing through her mind and she knew it would be just as fresh when she awoke the following morning. She nodded her head, an eager smile already evident on her face, “Yes!” she called, the first sign of any true happiness ringing in her voice since the tragedy had struck, “I’ll do it, anything to bring Dash back!”

Luna bowed her head and smiled gravely, “Very well Twilight.” She sighed as she stepped away from the young Unicorn, “But heed my warning.” Luna’s voice had reached its regal power once more, “If one thing is to go wrong, Rainbow Dash will not be the pony that you remember.”

And with that, Luna disappeared and so did the world around her. Twilight was left in darkness once more, waiting for the moment that Spike returned to wake her.

The Shopping Trip

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Chapter 3

Spike entered the library silently. After the weeks that had passed since the incident and Twilight’s descent into solitude, it was all he could do to keep her in any kind of sane state. If he made too much noise, Twilight would wince, as if a simple footstep had induced some kind of painful reaction. After making too much clatter too often, Spike had learnt his lesson. Silence was the best approach to aid Twilight’s state of mind.

If anything, the familiarity of the old library was a better welcoming than the one he was greeted with at the graveyard. Fluttershy didn’t speak, she seldom moved. She simply sat by her longest friend’s grave and wept silent tears. It seemed she’d regressed into the same kind of state as Twilight, except unlike Twilight, she managed to raise her head when she heard the baby dragon’s quiet footsteps in the tall blades of grass. Gently, Spike had placed a bouquet of roses in front of Dash’s grave. He had only expected a nod of understanding from the butter Pegasus, but was instead greeted with a mournful wail as the shyest pony of the mane six openly cried against Spike’s shoulder, holding him close.

It seemed her animal friends were unable to face the grave, even Angel stayed at home. Any animal of any kind with the graciousness to stay by her side was good enough for her, and honestly, Spike couldn’t help but shed a few tears in her presence also. Ponyville just wasn’t the same any more.

By the time Spike had left the Pegasus’ side, it had started to rain. Her unkempt pink mane was already tangled from weeks of abuse and the falling rain did little to help matters. The young Pegasus didn’t make a move to leave so the final deed Spike performed for Fluttershy was a simple gesture of kindness. Carefully, Spike produced a small umbrella from Twilight’s borrowed saddlebag. He held it out to the Pegasus before she finally gratefully took it, positioning it against her body so it would protect her from Ponyville's unstructured weather. Since the head weather pony was no longer with them, everyday tasks were becoming a problem. There would be storms when there was supposed to be clear skies, heat waves when it was supposed to be overcast. To say Ponyville was going downhill would have been an understatement.

So finally, Spike had made his return. Dripping wet and filled with sorrow, Spike quietly stepped inside. He made a bee line for the bathroom, taking a towel from the rack to quickly dry himself off before he checked the big clock in the main library. He’d been so preoccupied with worrying about Fluttershy all alone in the graveyard that he’d completely missed the snoozing Unicorn at the table over to his left.

It was only when he’d turned his attention away from the clock that he noticed Twilight, her face half obscured by the spine of one of the latest books she’d chosen from the shelves.

“Twilight…” Spike mumbled sympathetically.

He’d forgotten about their little routine and had half expected her to have embedded the little schedule in her mind enough to carry herself to bed. Sadly, this hadn’t been the case. Twilight had simply grown too exhausted to read another page. She must have passed out. Spike felt a pang of guilt as he approached the young Unicorn. The sun was just about to rise in the sky and it was only at that moment that Spike realised he’d been up almost all night long.

In the past few weeks, Spike had to do a lot of growing up to support his closest friend. He no longer required as much sleep; his schedule was out of whack. Everything he did was to both support and protect Twilight Sparkle; he no longer did things out of selfishness. He was a whole new dragon from the one that had arrived in Ponyville not two years ago.

As Spike watched Twilight, worried whether or not to wake her, he began to notice the calmness of her breath, the silence of her snores. Usually, Spike had to wake the Unicorn at least twice a night from unimaginable nightmares where she was forced to relive the tragedy at Sugarcube Corner over and over again. A few times she’d even experience a few night terrors and Spike had had the misfortune of finding his best friend cowered in the corner of the bedroom or thrown half way down the stairs. She’d be screaming, tears flowing from her closed eyes as she kicked her hooves so hard into the ground that she’d made permanent dents to the wood. She’d even managed to kick Spike a few times as he tried to comfort her. But Spike, being the patient dragon he was, never made a fuss. He didn’t mind that Twilight was never able to speak her apologies, that she wasn’t able to accompany him to the hospital on one of the few occasions that he was forced to get stitches for the lacerations left on his cheek. He knew she was doing the best she could in such unfortunate circumstances. He only wished that there was some way to mend the hole that was now so very evident in her soul.

Spike let Twilight sleep for an extra hour after he got home, giving himself some time to rest himself before he woke her. She had been so peaceful after all, something she hadn’t been since before the tragedy struck.


When Spike finally descended the stairs, rubbing his eyes tiredly, he found Twilight in the same position, her soft breath making small marks against the book in front of her. He smiled a little before he placed his claws softly on her shoulder.

He shook her carefully, prepared for the worst, “Twi?” he asked in a firm yet soft whisper, “Twilight?”

Twilight let out a muffled moan before she moved her head against the table. Her face contorted into a frown as her unconscious mind made a connection that hard plus uncomfortable didn’t equal pillow. She huffed once before her eyes opened blearily to Spike’s concerned smile.

She scrunched her eyes up again, feeling a headache hammering behind her eyes, “S-Spike?” she croaked.

Spike felt his heart tug. Twilight hadn’t addressed him properly for weeks. He’d almost forgotten what it felt like. “Twilight?” He asked shakily, afraid anything he said might make her realise her mistake.

But Twilight persisted. She blinked profusely as she lifted her head from the table. She squinted and rubbed a hoof at the back of her head. It was really aching. “Hey Spike, could you get me a glass of water?” She asked quietly, as if she hadn’t spent the last three weeks in pitiful silence.

Spike perked up right away, “Of course!” He smiled, taking a step back to move to the kitchen. Before he made his move, he changed his mind, took a step forward and grabbed the purple Unicorn in his arms.

“Whoa.” Twilight gasped, “What’s that for?”

“Just to say welcome back.” Spike mumbled into her shoulder, tears practically sparkling in his eyes. He kissed her on the cheek before he pulled away and dashed off into the kitchen.

Twilight couldn’t hide the smile then. Spike’s good mood was almost infectious as she felt herself laughing giddily as she watched the purple dragon disappear.

Now, why was she doing that?

Then, it hit her.

Princess Luna, the nightmare, the spell!

“The spell.” Twilight muttered, her eyes widening in realisation. She hadn’t been able to make sense of the headache, but now her sleepy mind was clearing, words began to make their way to the front of her mind. The spell, the resurrection spell!

Just as her mind was settling around the new words swirling through it, Spike returned with the glass, a pleasant grin on his face.

“Here you go!” He smiled, placing the water on a spare spot on the table in front. Twilight returned the smile, feeling the muscles in her mouth ache with the effort.

“Thank you.” Twilight returned as the glass lit up with a pink hue. She lifted it to her lips and took a few small swigs before glancing at the clock, “How long was I asleep?”

Spike shrugged, “The usual amount of time, I was going to wake you sooner… but you looked so peaceful!"

Twilight nodded. That was something she hadn’t been in a long time. She could only thank Princess Luna for her pleasant night’s rest. Were it not for her, Twilight was positive she would have woken up screaming.

Twilight placed the glass back on the table before she pulled away, “Spike… I’m a little…” she branched off, frowning, “How long have I been… like this?”

Spike sighed and glanced at the floor, “About three weeks.”


Spike shrugged, “Three weeks and five days.”

Twilight nodded. The moon had been full on the night of the incident, which meant there was only two days left until the next full moon. The day she could use the resurrection spell.

“Twilight, is there something wrong?” Twilight could hear the worry in Spike’s voice and she shook her head,

“No nothing at all.” She soothed, swaying his worries only slightly, “I was just thinking… I thought maybe I should go out
into town.”

Spike brightened instantly, “Great idea, Twi. I’ll get your saddle bag.”

“Um, thanks.” Twilight smiled gratefully as she watched the eager dragon sprint over to the front door. She allowed her friend to fasten it to her back, knowing fully well she could have done it herself much faster and easier. She waited patiently as Spike took a brush and quickly combed it through her mane. She knew she could easily have done that too, but there was something nice about the action. A warmth built in her chest that she hadn’t felt in such a long time.

“I don’t want to sound…” Twilight cringed and looked away from the baby dragon. He was so eager to see his friend restored, it was hard to say anything that could disrupt that. “I was just wondering if I could go out alone? Just for today, just for some fresh air.”

Spike nodded a little quickly, “Of course, I understand. Anything to make you happy, Twi.”

Twilight was feeling an uncomfortable knot forming in her stomach. She’d made the baby dragon so unhappy in her mind’s absence. She couldn’t bear the thought of how much she’d hurt him. She could only pull the dragon into a warm embrace on her way out of the door, “Thanks Spike.” She said honestly, “For all the help.”

Spike laughed weakly, rubbing the back of his head. “Of course Twi.”

Twilight nodded before turning towards the door. Spike called out just as she’d opened it, “Twi?”

“Yes Spike?”

Spike kicked his foot against the floor meekly, “I was just wonderin’ Twi… what changed?”

Twilight smiled, her eyes glistening from the memories of her previous dream, “I guess a good night’s sleep really does do the world of good.” She said breezily before trotting out the door.


Twilight was beginning to become increasingly aware of everypony staring at her as she trotted through town. She hadn’t really considered the fact that her ‘disappearance’ could have made an impact on Ponyville, but judging by the stares, it seemed that most ponies had taken notice.

Still, Twilight didn’t care. The only reason she was trying was because – for the first time in almost a month – she actually had hope. Luna had given her the gift of words, and not just that, but along with the spell in her mind was a detailed image of everything she would need to perform it just right.

She went in and out of stores with relative ease. The spell wasn’t one that relied on much else. Magic was the key ingredient and magic was the one thing that Twilight didn’t doubt. She was the living embodiment of the Element of Magic, her cutie mark showed just as much. If anypony could perform this spell, it would be her, and she wasn’t going to let Luna down. Even if Celestia didn’t agree with what was happening, surely she couldn’t deny the fact that Dash was needed.

The image didn’t show much, just a circle of lit night blue candles and a chalk drawing that, to Twilight, just looked like a bunch of swirls. However, every time she closed her eyes, the image she saw would bring shivers down her spine. She knew this was one of the most powerful magical spells she had ever encountered in her young life.

There was one thing left, however. The spell called for something that the pony in question had worn, or was close to. Twilight knew there was nothing closer to Dash than her element and that necklace was safely stored in the library along with the others. The only problem was, if Spike saw Twilight taking the element of Loyalty, he would no doubt question her motives. Twilight sighed; Spike was such a close friend, but she knew deep in her heart he wouldn’t condone what she was doing. He’d freak out and do everything in his power to stop her.

She couldn’t let that happen.

Right now, Rainbow Dash was all that mattered.

On Twilight’s journey back to the library, she found herself turning off, trotting through the outskirts of town. Soon her hooves were met with tall blades of grass and suddenly, she found herself standing amongst a crowd of ancient headstones. She moved further along, feeling the pricks of tears reaching her eyes as she walked blindly through the graveyard. She’d only been there once before, and that was only for the burial. Still, she found herself there with relative ease.

Here lies Rainbow Dash
A beloved daughter, a loyal friend

Dash’s cutie mark had been carved into her headstone much like quite a lot of the others in the graveyard. Still, her headstone was special. She had never been an ordinary Pegasus. She’d always been fast, perhaps the fastest flyer in all of Equestria, but along with that was the very unique fact that she was the living embodiment of the Element of Loyalty. Twilight couldn’t help but marvel at the headstone now she had hope. She smiled sadly down at the wilting roses that had been placed in front of it not a few hours ago.

She sighed, “Dash, I want you to know that we are going to get you back.” Twilight could hear her voice trembling, but she swallowed hard and carried on, defiant as always, “Princess Luna told me about a resurrection spell… in two days I’ll be able to perform it.” Twilight breathed calmly through her nose before continuing, “We need the elements Dash… everypony misses you.”


Twilight jumped, eyes wide as the new voice assaulted her. She wasn’t quite used to being directed to socially. Even when the pony behind the counter where she had bought the candles had tried to instigate small talk, she had been unable to do anything but babble a few words hopelessly. Still, she would have recognised that shy, quiet tone from anywhere.

“Fluttershy?” She returned, equally as quiet. Perhaps a few weeks prior, Twilight would have raised her voice, or at least looked in the Pegasus’ direction. Today, however, she couldn’t do much except meekly raise her eyes to meet the gentle butter hooves of the shy pink and yellow pony.

Fluttershy allowed her tears to fall freely, “I-Is it really you?”

Twilight nodded, only now raising her gaze to meet Fluttershy’s soft blue eyes. “It’s really me.”

Fluttershy let out a small gasp, “I-I thought you’d moved back to Canterlot.”

Twilight shook her head, confused. Was this why the ponies were looking at her oddly? Surely with Spike still wandering Ponyville, somepony should have put two and two together. She suppressed an eye roll, “No. I stayed here. For-” Twilight couldn’t bring herself to finish, but she didn’t need to anyway.

“Rainbow Dash?” Fluttershy guessed. This time her voice didn’t tremble. She blinked away the tears that were accumulating in her blue orbs before she carefully took a step forward towards the purple Unicorn. Twilight almost scrambled backwards in surprise. It had felt like an eternity since she had been presented with one of her friends, other than Spike. Somewhere in her heart, she’d questioned if she would ever see them again. Now Fluttershy stood before her, silently questioning whether a hug was acceptable. Twilight glanced to Dash’s grave, only now realising she was probably sitting in the spot Fluttershy had claimed the moment Dash had been put there. She stood up on instinct, but couldn’t bring herself to move.

“I b-bet she’s the fastest flyer wherever she is.” Fluttershy whispered. She was smiling, but only slightly.

Twilight knew that it hurt for her to bring up Rainbow Dash that casually. She was doing it for her benefit. Twilight could only nod in response, “I bet.”

Fluttershy’s bottom lip trembled and at that moment, Twilight knew what she had to do. She might have been out of practice for any kind of social interaction, but Spike had been a patient and loyal friend in the weeks she had acted as a zombie. She knew right now, Fluttershy needed the comfort that Spike had shown her.

The two ponies, though so very different, brought together by friendship, galloped towards one another. Fluttershy cried freely as they met a few paces from Dash’s grave. Fluttershy let out a quiet yelp as Twilight wrapped her hooves around her best friend. They both fell to the floor in an uncomfortable heap. Though they embraced awkwardly, the friends didn’t care. They found solace in one another and for the first time in three long weeks, they’d found somepony to grieve with, to share the pain.

Two zombies, reanimated.

In the hours that the two ponies stayed by Dash’s side, Twilight considered telling Fluttershy what she was planning. She wondered whether she should open her saddlebag and allow the yellow Pegasus to judge for herself what a bunch of candles, a box of matches and a piece of chalk meant. Still, she couldn’t bring herself to mention it. If something were to go wrong… if Twilight failed the ritual, could she bring Fluttershy’s hopes up just to smash them down?


This was the way it had to be.
Twilight would perform the ritual on her own and once she had Dash back… then she’d tell Fluttershy. Then she’d tell Spike. Heck, then she’d travel all the way to Appleloosa just to tell Applejack the good news.

In Twilight’s mind, this was the perfect plan.

The Resurrection

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Chapter 4

Forty-eight hours had never passed slower for Twilight Sparkle.

So, in a bleak effort to remain busy, the young Unicorn had taken to exploring the Everfree Forest.

Spike hadn’t fought against the idea like he might have done in the past; he simply accepted each and every one of her decisions, even if it meant he was unable to accompany her.

Twilight hated hiding things from her oldest friend, but it was all for the best. She had tried to convince herself that if she could go to Everfree, she’d have an easier time hiding her plans from Spike.

Zecora had greeted Twilight with open arms when she had first appeared on her door step the day after Luna’s visit.

Twilight had explained to the zebra pony that she intended on working her magic to its full potential in a way to block her thoughts from the recent tragedy, which was in a way at least partially truthful. Zecora had seemed unsure at first and Twilight had been wary that she was aware of her true motives, but still, Zecora was willing to help.

So for the two days that Twilight lay in wait, she would visit Zecora as much as possible and focus on her magic. Zecora taught her true concentration techniques, ways to hone into her magical abilities that in the past, Twilight may have never been able to manage. True enough, the only reason Twilight was succeeding was because of her motivation to do so.

Luna’s warning was not fierce, but Twilight seemed to visage it in that way whenever her dream came to memory. She knew she had been entrusted with an important task, a task that no pony else would ever hope to achieve. Twilight knew she needed Rainbow Dash. The Elements of Harmony was the most powerful magic known to Equestria and without them, evil could so easily flourish. Flashes of Chrysalis returning to find Canterlot defenceless flooded her mind, a hoard of evil dragons appearing in the midst of a battle the Princesses alone couldn’t hope to win.

Zecora was proud of Twilight’s progress, but there was always an air of unease about her. Twilight knew that Zecora was worried about her; it was only to be expected from such a wise mentor. Still, Twilight remained confident that Zecora would not ask questions on the subject and if she did, Twilight would remain silent. The fear for any outside force disrupting what Twilight had worked so hard to keep secret was just too hard to bear.

She needed Rainbow Dash back and so did Equestria.

It was only on that evening two days later did Twilight begin to doubt her abilities.

The trot back to the library felt longer than it had ever been before. Every sound Twilight heard seemed to increase with the fear that lingered inside of her.

What if something went wrong?

No. She couldn’t allow herself to think like that, not now, not ever. There was a reason she’d been strengthening her power with Zecora, she was proving to herself and – unknowingly – to the zebra that she could do the task that was set for her. In the time she hadn’t spent with Zecora, she’d been practicing drawing the image that was so carefully embedded into her mind. The image of the chalk-drawn circle that was to be placed on top of Dash’s grave.

The moon had already revealed itself by the time Twilight had joined the cobblestone path that led into Ponyville.

It was a beautiful moon, glowing supernaturally behind a thin mist of clouds. It was a fine mist, complementing Luna’s face completely within its craters. Twilight stopped for a moment and bowed her head towards it respectively.

“I won’t let you down, Luna. I promise you.” She whispered as a twin trail of tears willed themselves from her closed lids and fell across her snout.

The Library was silent as Twilight made her way inside. Thankfully, since her return to the ‘real world’ as Spike had so gently put it, the baby dragon had maintained his usual sleeping schedule, the one he had before the tragedy had struck.

In the darkness of the library, two lights cropped up at the exact same moment. One emanating from Twilight’s horn and the other coming from the beautiful lightning strike necklace secured in a glass casing towards the other side of the room.

Twilight closed her eyes as the necklace floated towards her silently, depositing itself safely within her saddle bag. Next came the candles and finally, the piece of chalk. Twilight noted that the drawing utensil was much smaller than it had been when she’d purchased it two days prior. That probably had something to do with the amount of time she’d spent perfecting the spell she was about to cast.

With a final wary glance towards her bedroom where a certain baby dragon lay peaceful, Twilight turned and moved back into the light of the moon.

Twilight had made a note of Fluttershy’s ritual at the graveyard in the late nights when she’d been returning from Zecora’s. She had been thankful that the butter Pegasus had always been gone not that long after nightfall.

The graveyard was – if it were possible – even more depressing at night. Each gravestone seemed to glow eerily from the moonlight, casting dark shadows across the grass that no longer seemed welcoming against Twilight’s hooves.

Nevertheless, Twilight moved with precision. She’d mapped out Dash’s grave perfectly and came to it a little sooner than she had expected.

Midnight wasn’t for another twenty minutes or so.

Good, Twilight thought to herself grimly, enough time to prepare.

Twilight carefully laid the navy candles out in a circle around Dash’s grave, standing above them for a moment to marvel at her work. Then she drew the chalk out with her magic and slowly but surely, she began to draw the diagram that she had learnt to perfect.

After a while, the drawing took shape. The picture was a large oval, a symbol that much resembled the letter ‘P’ in its centre. Just where the top of the ‘P’ joined its tail was a large cross that stretched to each edge of the circle. Twilight closed her eyes, revisiting the image that Luna had given her. She nodded to herself once, knowing she had done what was needed.

Her fur prickled as the minutes ticked by and, soon enough, Twilight knew it was time to do what had been asked of her.

With a flash of her magic, the candles surrounding the chalk drawing lit up, their tiny flames licking at the darkness that encased them. Twilight took in a breath to steady herself as her face was caught in the eerie light of the fire. Shadows flickered around her as she let out the same breath. She closed her eyes and turned herself to the words that she hadn’t dared to utter since they had been embedded into her mind. These words were not ones to practice. Their magic was strong, ancient, perhaps more ancient than the Princesses themselves. Twilight knew that these words would bind a contract that seemed impossible to some, perhaps even profane.

Tonight, Twilight Sparkle would raise the dead.

Twilight opened her eyes and the moment she did, she was lost to the power that consumed her.

"A pony fallen now shall rise
Despite the coming of their demise”

The wind picked up around the young Unicorn as the flames flickered on their wicks. Twilight’s eyes blazed with a pink glow, illuminating the words on Dash’s grave.

A beloved daughter, a Loyal friend

"An item carried close to heart
Shall ensure that you depart”

Twilight’s saddlebag glowed with magic more powerful than she had ever performed as Dash’s necklace floated to the centre of the chalk drawing. The moment it touched the grass, an even stronger gust of wind tore at Twilight’s face, forcing her mane behind her shoulders.

A beloved daughter, a Loyal friend.

“On this sacred hallowed moon
You shall rise and very soon”

Suddenly, dark clouds gathered above Twilight’s head. The next gust of wind brought a rumble of thunder within its mits. Somewhere within Twilight’s mind, she felt an unease that surpassed any previous emotion.

A beloved daughter, a Loyal friend.

“Be reunited-” Twilight’s voice wavered as the black clouds were painted with a bright streak of light. She cleared her throat before righting herself.

“Be reunited now and then
Return to life once a-AH!”

Twilight’s eyes exploded in a fire of pink light as a violent strike of lightning hit the very spot where the chalk circle had been made. The young Unicorn was flung backwards by the blast, a loud buzzing ringing in her ears as the world blurred around her. The power that had once been a part of her now felt like a hazy dream, leaving her disorientated and scared.

Then, it began to rain.

“No.” Twilight croaked, trying and failing to clamber back onto all fours.

Suddenly, she felt moisture from the rain soak into her coat.

“NO!” She shrieked as she painfully lifted herself upwards and staggered back to the resurrection sight.

Twilight couldn’t believe what she was seeing. The lightning had left a black, charred hole in the centre of her drawing and the rest was being washed away by the steadily progressing downpour. “Oh, Celestia no!” Twilight screeched, searching her mind for a waterproofing spell.

Even when the spell came to mind, her horn only sparked pathetically for no longer than a second before it fizzled out, leaving her in complete darkness.
But Twilight didn’t care. She tried it once and then tried again, over and over, receiving nothing but a searing headache for her efforts.

“Oh, don’t do this to me, please!” She begged anypony that could hear her as she closed her eyes, ignoring the oncoming storm, ignoring the heavy rumbles of thunder that threatened another lightning strike.

“A p-pony fallen once shall rise!” She tried to talk the spell out, but her voice held nothing close to the power it once had. Now she just sounded weak, pathetic, like she was grovelling to some unknown deity to give her a second chance.

Because she knew it already.

She’d failed.

She’d failed her princess, she’d failed Rainbow Dash. With a sinking, almost nauseating feeling in the pit of her stomach, she realised she’d failed perhaps all of Equestria.

Soaked to the bone and broken with misery, Twilight stumbled through the graveyard. She didn’t feel like she deserved to be in the dry warmth of her home, she didn’t feel like she deserved the company of her friends. In fact, strange though it sounded, Twilight didn’t feel much of anything at all.

Her legs felt numb as she dragged herself through the boneyard, her eyes downcast, staring at nothing but the mud rising around her hooves as the rain continued its assault.


One thing Twilight had seemed to misjudge was the valiant efforts of the weather team. Ironically, it was the one thing Rainbow Dash had once been in charge of that had been her downfall. She should have figured that the weather team were uncoordinated, dare she think it, sloppy since the death of their leader. She had assumed for some reason that they would have overcome their grievance… but when she had spent the best part of a month as nothing more than a zombie, how had she not seen this coming?

Twilight let out a strangled gasp, as if she had just remembered how to breathe. Tears fell clumsily from her eyes as she swayed on the spot. Her mane was stuck to her face with the force of the storm, her legs were caked in mud and her heart was broken. Maybe it had never fixed itself in the first place. Maybe it had all been an illusion.


Somehow, Twilight found herself back on the trail to the library. Her face contorted into a grimace. She suddenly felt far too exposed. Houses surrounded her; anypony could see the wreck she’d made of herself.

Good, let them look. A part of her mind yelled out, I need to be punished.

When Twilight appeared tormented and silent at the library door, Spike had done everything in his power to help her. Though groggy and confused, the baby dragon managed to clean up his best friend, brush through her mane and guide her to bed.

He couldn’t understand what had caused the relapse in her behaviour, nor could he hope to fathom why she constantly repeated the same phrase over and over again. The only words she dared to speak. The only words she could.

“I’ve failed.”

At the same time Twilight was being guided to bed, something unbeknownst to her was happening at the very sight of her failed spell.

In the seared piece of grass that a bolt of lightning had made residence, at the centre of the long gone symbol that Twilight had drawn, there was a disturbance.

The earth began to rumble beneath the grass and with the vibrations; there came a piercing white light. The light grew in intensity, seemingly growing from the earth like some kind of exotic plant. It manifested itself first into a circle, then a letter ‘P’ before finally crossing itself out with a large ‘X’. Then, in a flash of white light, the earth in front of Dash’s grave broke free and with it came the cyan hoof of a broken Pegasus.

The moonlight danced across the form that scrambled valiantly from her prison. As her face broke free, she took a large gulp of air, choking on it as remnants of the earth scattered from her head and across her face. As she staggered from the hole she had made, so did the bright light that aided her escape.

Rainbow Dash looked into the bright light that floated ominously in front of her, her gaze contorted with so many emotions, each of them battling for their place at the front of her mind.

“H-How?” Rainbow Dash asked, her eyes widening with the fear that came from realising she could still form words.

The entity in front of her brightened. Rainbow Dash tilted her head, her right ear flickering lazily as if listening to a voice that only she could hear.

Whatever she heard, it gave her the knowledge she needed, for after giving a strong nod of her head, the cyan Pegasus, covered head to hoof in dirt, trotted silently from the graveyard.

The Light

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Chapter 5

Fluttershy had awoken just like any other morning. Her mane was frazzled from a poor slumber filled with tossing, turning, screaming and crying, her eyes dark and bruised.

Angel had taken to sleeping on the pillow next to Fluttershy, making sure that she had somepony there for her whenever she woke in the dead of night, her eyes glazed over, not sure which nightmare she was in, the ones in her dreams, or the ones in reality.

Fluttershy didn’t sing to her animals like she may have done in the past, there was no spring in her step as she placed new food down for them to enjoy. She simply did what was needed of her, nothing more. She didn’t see the point in exhausting herself any further.

After her chores had been completed, the butter Pegasus perched herself on the sofa, allowing her eyes to droop as she watched her animals nervously move out of their habitats. None of them were comfortable with Fluttershy’s new personality; some would only come out once she had left the cottage.

Angel sat next to her; his stubborn eating habits had been washed away the day he saw Fluttershy’s change in character. The day he saw her crying openly, not because she wanted to, but because she simply had no choice.

The white rabbit hopped onto Fluttershy’s lap gently, a carrot in his right paw. Carefully, he pressed the carrot against Fluttershy’s hoof, silently willing her to eat something.

But like every morning, Fluttershy didn’t take the offer. She simply stroked Angel a little roughly with her hoof as he sat there patiently, waiting for her next move. There was no use in complaining, Fluttershy would simply break down into tears again. She wasn’t strong like she used to be, she hadn’t even attempted to use her trademark stare since the tragedy.

The morning had barely begun, the sky was still dark, the sun only faint in the horizon. Fluttershy glanced out of her window blearily before lifting Angel from her lap. Staying in her cottage longer than necessary was suffocating her. She would have flown somewhere if the sky hadn’t reminded her so much of Rainbow Dash. Fluttershy choked back another sob as she reached a hoof out for her front door. She’d go back to the grave; she had to. It was the only place she felt needed.

Angel hopped along to her side, he didn’t like following her out to the graveyard, but he did find it necessary to make sure she didn’t break down on the way. Fluttershy’s heart and soul had broken on that fateful day; she could fall apart at any moment. Angel had to be ready to assist her if need be.

Yes, a morning like any other, except perhaps for the fact that on this morning, a shadow of a pony took shape on the other side of the cottage door.

Fluttershy barely noticed, for a moment she blankly wondered if it might be Twilight. She didn’t seem to care either way; instead she pulled the door open, her eyes downcast.

Angel let out a squeal from somewhere to her side.

Fluttershy’s bleary eyes focused for a moment as a frown creased her forehead. There was a pair of cyan hooves in her line of vision, though there was a lot of mud encrusted on them… but, yes, she was sure of it. Blue, they were blue!

Fluttershy’s heart accelerated in her chest as she forced her stiff neck upwards. Slowly, her eyes swept over the front of the form that stood in her way. A cyan coat, a pair of wings, dirt covering almost everything, but no, she was sure of it. Stitches were lined around ruffled feathers, more reached from the underside all the way to the chest. And then…

A dirty face with a pair of still rose eyes, a ruffled rainbow mane that stuck in every-which direction.

The form before her - in a way at least - was…

“R-Rainbow Dash?” Fluttershy squeaked.

The Pegasus in question didn’t speak, she didn’t even flinch. Her eyes remained focused on Fluttershy’s face, almost curious.

Fluttershy opened her mouth to speak, but instead of words a terrible shriek left her lips. Her legs felt like jelly as she swayed on the spot.

The last thing she saw were those penetrating rose eyes and then… darkness.


“I’ve failed.”

Spike was at a loss of what to do. Twilight hadn’t slept that night; she had simply sat upright on her bed and rocked back and forth back and forth like some kind of deranged jack-in-the-box. Her lavender eyes were wide and bloodshot; her lips trembled every time she spoke the phrase.

“I’ve failed.”

Spike had given up asking her what she meant. It was clear to anypony that Twilight had regressed back to the zombie state that had plagued her only a few days previously.

Spike bit back tears as Twilight murmured the sentence again.

“I’ve failed.”

When Twilight had first turned up at the doorstep to the Library in the early hours of the morning, Spike had assumed she had been at Zecora’s, but after sending her to her bedroom, he’d taken an unrelenting curiosity to Twilight’s ruffled saddlebag.

He’d looked inside only to find a piece of chalk and nothing more. He had wondered about the chalk, to be honest, he’d wondered about Twilight’s behaviour in general ever since she’d woken up without a single nightmare.

She’d gone shopping, but refused to tell Spike what she’d purchased, she’d been at Zecora’s almost every waking hour of every day for two days and…

Well, Spike wasn’t sure what had happened to it, but Rainbow Dash’s necklace was missing from the glass casing.

Spike had wanted to go and visit Zecora and ask what she’d been doing with Twilight, he’d wanted to go to the graveyard and ask Fluttershy what she had seen… but, it all seemed rather pointless. Twilight was in no fit state to be left alone, it was almost as if she was in some deep state of shock. Nothing Spike did could aid her, but he couldn’t just leave her. It was times like this when Spike wished his letters from Princess Celestia had been more helpful than a simple empty condolence on a sheet of parchment.

Just as these thoughts crossed the baby dragon’s mind, a sharp knock came from the front door.

And suddenly, Twilight let out a shriek.

“OH CELESTIA, NO!” She wailed, kicking her hooves rapidly at her sheets, drawing herself up to her headboard. Her breath came out hard and ragged, her bloodshot eyes widening to unfathomable reaches. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to fail!” She cried, her voice cracking as an unstoppable stream of tears began to spill from her eyes.

Spike’s heart raced in his chest as he looked first to where Twilight was convulsing and then towards the front door.

What had Twilight done? What had she seen?

Twilight had known her fate was set the moment the spell had backfired, the moment she’d seen the scorched grass where the necklace had once been. Luna had set her a task and she had failed. It was only right that she should be punished for it. Maybe locked up by the Royal Night Guard, left somewhere deep in the bowels of the Castle to rot in the darkness, never to see sunlight again.

Twilight let out another wail. She had ruined everything. Dash wouldn’t be coming back and now there was no hope left for Equestria. This was it. This was the end of her very existence.

Suddenly, she felt small scaly fingers trace the fur on her cheek. In her mind’s eye, she knew it was Spike, but she couldn’t bring herself to open her eyes.

“Twilight?” Spike asked, his voice shaking. Twilight knew she’d upset him, but she couldn’t care. Her mind was far too fevered with severed thoughts of her inevitable demise at the hooves of the Princesses.

“Twilight… please. Somepony’s at the door I’ll-”

“NO!” Luna was at the door, it had to be! She’d ruined the spell and now Luna was here to apprehend her!

“Twilight, sh, it’s fine.” Spike tried to sooth, but Twilight was having none of it. She squirmed under his touch, lifting her hooves towards his face.

Spike jumped back, knowing fully well what to expect if he tried to get any closer. He subconsciously probed at the scar on his right cheek. He sighed and turned to walk downstairs; hoping with all his might that whoever was at the door would be able to help.

Spike could still hear Twilight’s wails as he entered the main Library area. A second knock sounded at the front door.

“I’m coming!” Spike called, careful to make sure his voice didn’t crack. “Hold on a second!”

Spike grabbed the door with his claw and opened it carefully, expecting at the very most a pony wishing to check out a book or maybe even Fluttershy coming to see Twilight.

Instead, Spike was very nearly blinded by the sight that lay before him.

A fierce jet of white light shot out from behind the door, stretching out further as the door opened with it. Spike let out a yelp of surprise, holding his arms over his face as he stumbled backwards. The door was opening by itself now, allowing the bright light to flood into every nook and cranny that it could find.

Twilight’s ear twitched as she heard Spike yelp from downstairs. Her stomach knotted up inside of her as her heart plummeted from her chest. Spike had just confirmed it; the pony at the door would be none other than Princess Luna.

Twilight pulled herself up from the bed, trembling all over. Despite her panic attack, despite her descent into madness, she needed to be calm now. If Luna was at the door, she would have to approach her respectfully. She had to explain what had happened. Maybe there was hope for her… or maybe she was doomed. Either way, the lavender unicorn found herself walking across her bedroom, descending the stairs and finally walking out into the hallway, only to let out a cry of pain as the brightest light she had ever seen exploded in front of her eyes.

“Twilight?” Spike called from within the white light.

“Spike?” Twilight asked, her heart racing, “What’s happening?”

Spike let out a yell, “Don’t look at it Twilight, it’s too bright!”

But Twilight couldn’t move. Now that she had entered the light, it didn’t seem to want to let her go. Her entire body locked up as she closed her eyes against the brightness. Her eyes felt like they were burning.

She screamed.

And then, the light vanished.

Spike was sat at the centre of the library, dazed. He rubbed his eyes slowly, blinking rapidly, only to see bright spots dancing across his vision.

Twilight’s body regained control of itself and promptly, her forelegs gave out on her. Twilight fell to the ground, grazing her chin against the wood. She let out a few steady breaths, though she was anything but. She was shaking all over, her stomach was churning and she could feel the start of a migraine crawling through her skull. She let out a groan, too exhausted to even think about the events that had just happened; too tired to remember why she’d been so terrified in the first place.

“Twilight!” Spike suddenly called, “Twilight, are you alright?”

“No.” Twilight moaned, rubbing her face into the wood.

“Twilight, it’s still here.”

“What?” Twilight’s head snapped up at Spike’s words, “What do you…?” But Twilight didn’t need to finish, for now her eyes were adjusting, she was able to see what had Spike so concerned. The bright white light hadn’t disappeared; it had simply receded into a small ball. It stood by the doorway, suspended half way in the air. Spike didn’t like it. For whatever reason, he felt as though it was looking at him.

Twilight immediately descended the stairs and trotted to Spike’s side. Her foreleg whipped out in front of Spike, stopping him before he could reach out for it, “No, Spike.” Twilight said, her eyes bright with recognition, “I-I think it’s for me.”


Fluttershy awoke in the very same position she had fallen, face down on her own wooden floor.

Somewhere in her subconscious mind, she had managed to tell herself that it had all been a dream. That, in fact, she had never woken up that morning at all. She’d been hoping against all odds that she’d wake up in her bed in her usual dazed stupor, Angel bunny snoring softly at her side.

But that wasn’t the case.

Instead, Fluttershy had awoken to a pair of quizzical rose eyes. They didn’t blink, they didn’t move. It was as if the only thing they found mildly interesting were the features of Fluttershy’s snout. Truthfully, Fluttershy didn’t know how to react.
She lifted herself onto all fours, gaining no help from the creature that sat before her, and tried to clear her head.

The creature in front of her bore the same image as Rainbow Dash, there was no denying that. She had the same cyan coat, the same rainbow mane, the same rose eyes. But apart from that… it just couldn’t be her.

Rainbow Dash was a brash adventurous soul who preferred action over logic. She was fast, she was foolhardy and sometimes she was downright stupid; but above all else: Rainbow Dash was loyal.

She wouldn’t abandon her friends and she most certainly would not have left them when they were down. Which was what left Fluttershy dumbfounded.

When she looked into this creature’s eyes, she saw… nothing. Simply, nothing. There was no emotion, no hardness, no strength. No underlying insecurity, just darkness.

Fluttershy opened her mouth, but no words came. Her legs quaked from underneath her, but she couldn’t bring herself to move or even to sit down. She was trapped in this strange creature’s gaze. It hadn’t moved from its position looking down on her, it still stood just as tall, just as rigid with not one lick of emotion across its features. Like a…


Fluttershy’s heart hammered in her chest as this thought came to mind.

No, you’re being silly. A quiet voice reprimanded, there are no such thing as zombies.

Still, zombie or not, Fluttershy felt it not only uncomfortable, but downright rude not to say anything at this point.

Carefully, she opened her mouth. “H-Hello?” She asked in her softest voice.

The creature cocked its head, a movement that almost made Fluttershy stumble backwards in surprise. For some reason, she’d kidded herself into believing it couldn’t move.

The creature’s mouth opened for a brief second before closing again. For a moment, Fluttershy detected something within its eyes. Fear? Or no… maybe, confusion? Then it was gone and the creature was simply a creature once more.

“Can you speak?” Fluttershy forced herself to sound stronger, “Can you tell me what you are?”

The creature’s eyes hardened against Fluttershy’s and it opened its mouth once more, but again, no words came. This time Fluttershy caught the look in its eyes. Frustration. It was frustrated.

“Can you understand me?” Fluttershy asked, feeling tears leaking from her eyes, “Can you nod… s-shake your head?”

The creature processed this before it began to nod. The gesture was slow and stiff and by the end of it, the creature was wincing in evident pain.

Fluttershy swallowed hard, “Is it…?” she couldn’t bring herself to say it. There was no point in asking, the thing in front of her couldn’t be who she thought it was. Just a look-a-like, just a trickster that got in from Everfree Forest. She was nothing but a trick.

But then she felt a pang from somewhere inside of her… she had to know for sure.

“I-Is it really you, Rainbow Dash?”

The creature looked at her, its eyes cold and hard. Fluttershy shied away from it, her ears splayed back against her head. She honestly didn’t know why she’d asked it that question. Of course it wasn’t Rainbow Dash… how could it be?

But then, the creature did something unexpected. It looked towards the ground, wincing again, then, it looked back up. As their eyes met once more, Fluttershy detected something new behind that stare. The coldness had lifted somewhat, though the darkness still remained. Fluttershy took in a startled breath as she watched the creature process her question.

The creature took its time, its eyes never leaving the wary gaze of the butter Pegasus in front of it. Fluttershy refused to look away; she had to know the answer. Her heart was racing in her chest, her breath was coming out too fast, too panicked, but she had to know the truth, because – somewhere inside of her – she already knew.

Then, after what felt like an age, the creature blinked. Its hard rose gaze softened and with a visible effort its lips pulled apart to reveal a grotesquely strained smile; but a smile nonetheless.

It seemed it was all Fluttershy needed to validate her answer, for the moment she saw the creature’s attempt, a flash flood of tears rose from her eyes. She let out a wail before lunging at the filthy Pegasus before her, wrapping her forelegs around its tangled, dirtied mane.

The creature that was Rainbow Dash kept smiling, unable to stop, and hesitantly, she lifted a strained hoof around Fluttershy in return.

Though the mangled, filthy remains of Rainbow Dash felt Fluttershy in her arms she was unable to feel her warmth, she was unable to feel the happiness that should have come from this moment.

Yes, it seemed as though Rainbow Dash had been reunited... though she failed to shed a single tear.

The Reveal

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Chapter 6

“What do you mean it’s for you?” Spike asked incredulously as he stared into the ominous form that floated before them.

Twilight shook her head, clearly dazed from her sudden revelation, “I just know, Spike. Trust me.” With that said, the strange floating orb brightened, casting its intense rays over the two friends. Twilight shivered under its light as a strange notion overcame her. This orb – though so small in retrospect – held a powerful magic that Twilight couldn’t hope to fathom on her own. An ancient magic, much like the magic discussed to her briefly by Princess Luna. The magic that Twilight had used so irresponsibly to resurrect Rainbow Dash.

That was why she knew what it was.

Right there, standing before her was an uncorrupted fragment of Twilight’s failed spell. A reason for her to keep her faith. For the very presence of this unknown being went on to prove that perhaps, just perhaps her spell hadn’t been a complete and total failure after all. Maybe something had gone right; maybe that something had come to her in the form of a brilliant luminescent orb.

“Twilight, it’s moving.” Spike whispered from her side, his large eyes wide and unfocused.

Twilight nodded, she too could see the strange orb as it glided backwards, back towards the door, back towards the first light of day.

“It wants me to follow.” Twilight whispered.

“You’re not going to, are you?” Spike choked out in response.

Twilight glanced towards Spike, her eyes softening the moment she realised his alarm. “I need to.” She insisted, turning her attention back to the orb that had paused in the centre of the doorway, “It’s hard to explain… I just…”

Spike sighed in defeat, “I understand,” he said sourly, “but that doesn’t mean I’m letting you go alone.”

It was Twilight’s turn to look alarmed, “Spike…” she said as she warily eyed the dragon, “I need to do this-”

“Alone?” Spike snapped, arms folded across his chest, “Funny, because you’ve been doing a lot of that lately!”


“No!” Spike snarled, lifting his arms above his head, “Going shopping for mystery items, spending every hour of the day with Zecora, disappearing in the dead of night only to turn up on the doorstep soaked and on the verge of another break down!” Spike deliberately counted the moments off on his fingers, “I don’t know what it is you’ve done, Twi, but I’ve known you my entire life…” Spike’s voice softened as his anger subsided, now he just felt hurt, wounded by the way Twilight had been snubbing him, treating him like nothing but a household pet for the better part of two days. He’d tried to do everything to fix his best friend and what was his reward? For her to turn her back on him the moment she recovered? Spike heaved out a long sigh as he turned his gaze to the ground, “I know when you’re in trouble.” He finished, rubbing his arm lamely, “Whatever you’ve done, you can tell me. I won’t hold it against you. I never do.”

Twilight stared at Spike, dumbfounded by his sudden outburst. For a moment, all she could do was stand there and look at the baby dragon she had hatched herself all those years ago. She smiled, feeling a warmth fill her chest. It was true; Spike had always been there for her. He’d spent three weeks trying to fix her. Three weeks caring for her no matter what she did. Despite herself, Twilight felt the warmth of tears as they spilled down her cheeks. She wiped them away with her hoof and took a step forward, collecting the little baby dragon in her arms.

“I’m sorry.” She whispered, nuzzling his cheek with her snout, “I’m so sorry.”

Spike wrapped his arms around his best friend’s neck and sighed, “I’m sorry too, I shouldn’t have yelled.”

“I’m glad you did.” Twilight insisted as she drew away from the baby dragon, “I needed you to, really.” She let out a slight chuckle as she glanced towards the orb, still stationary in the doorway. She’d been so secretive, but Spike had always accepted every one of her choices, he’d been there for her no matter which path she chose. It had always been that way.

“I did something, Spike.” Twilight said suddenly, her voice lower and much darker than before. Spike felt his heart squeeze as he looked into the depths of her lilac orbs. He nodded, silently willing her to go on.

“I-I cast a spell last night.” Twilight said meekly, her lips trembling as she debated with herself with what to reveal, “I shouldn’t have, I know… but I was desperate and Luna…”

Spike raised a brow, but didn’t speak against his friend. He knew she needed his support and nothing more for the time being.

Twilight shook her head sadly, “It doesn’t matter, anyway. This,” she ushered to the orb in the doorway, “I think it might be the answer I’m looking for.” She heaved out a sigh as her glassy eyes caught the gaze of the ball of light once more, “I… I’m the reason it’s here and it wants me to follow it. And I will.” Twilight shook her head as a few loose tears spilled down her cheeks, “Celestia help me Spike, I think I’d follow it to the ends of Equestria if need be.”

Spike stared at his friend for a moment before letting out a long, exhausted sigh; “Well, I guess that means I will too.” He said finally, a small smile quirking his lips.

Twilight smiled back, rolling her eyes slightly as she returned her gaze to the orb. She nodded once to it, treating it as if it were just another pony. “Did you hear that?” She asked sternly, “We’ll follow you.”

The orb brightened once again, forcing the two friends to shy away as the light obstructed their vision. When they were able to look up again, the orb had continued on its journey, floating steadily away from the doorway and out into the main streets of Ponyville. Spike glanced warily out onto the street, checking one way and then the other before following Twilight out of the front door.

“What if somepony sees it?” Spike whispered as the two friends followed the orb from a safe distance away.

Twilight shrugged dismissively, “It’s too early for anypony to be out yet, I’m sure we’ll be fine.” Twilight tried to keep a positive air about her, but she knew it wouldn’t fool Spike, the dragon had simply known her for far too long. She sighed as she followed the orb, her mind a cacophony of assorted thoughts and feelings. Where was the orb taking them? Back to the grave, perhaps? In that case, Twilight knew she’d definitely have to tell Spike what she had done. That thought sent a shiver down her spine.

But, as they continued to walk, she noticed that the orb veered away from the graveyard; in fact, with a nauseating feeling in the pit of her stomach, Twilight realised that the fragment of her spell was leading them towards the Everfree Forest.

“Are you sure we can trust it?” Spike barely whispered. Unlike Twilight, he was unable to take the ominous orb as something of a living presence. He saw it as a threat; it was only natural for him.

Twilight shrugged again. She had faith in the orb simply because she believed she had a hoof in creating it; but explaining that to Spike would be far too long winded. She glanced to Spike from the corner of her eye and nudged him playfully with her shoulder, “If you can’t trust the orb, then trust me.” She beamed, “I know this is important, Spike. Believe me.”

Spike nodded meekly to Twilight’s hollow answer. He wrapped his arms behind his back in an almost protective gesture and moved his gaze, once more, to the ground.

The further they went, the more Twilight was convinced they would end up in Everfree. Perhaps the orb would take them to Zecora; maybe she was the answer Twilight needed. Under any other circumstance, Twilight would have been thrilled by this prospect; after all, Zecora had been her mentor and close friend for almost two years now. However, Twilight didn’t feel comfortable sharing this secret with Zecora, especially after she had been hiding it from her so bluntly for the past two days.

The moment the orb began to veer from the path that led to Everfree, the knot lifted from inside Twilight’s chest. Instead, a new one was laid in wait to form as the orb brightened, speeding up slightly as it chose its new destination; a small cottage just on the outskirts of Ponyville, out looking the ominous grounds of the Everfree Forest.

Fluttershy’s home.

“Fluttershy?” Spike asked sceptically, almost forgetting the presence of the orb in front, “Why here?”

Twilight found she couldn’t answer; her mouth was far too dry all of a sudden. Her heart was racing inside her chest. Only one question flowed through Twilight’s mind now. A question that sent a spike of both excitement and dread to her very core.

Did Fluttershy know?

All too soon, the two friends were standing at the doorstep of Fluttershy’s cottage. The orb had drifted somewhere to their side, leaving them to make the first move.

Spike scowled at the orb, “Oh so suddenly you’ve lost the ability to knock have you?” He asked indignantly, “You seemed to be doing a pretty good job earlier when you almost blinded us!

“Spike,” Twilight warned as she glanced towards the orb. It showed no signs of a violent rebuttal and simply floated as delicately as it always had from a safe distance away. Twilight turned towards the door as Spike huffed angrily at her side. What was she supposed to do, just…?

Twilight lifted a hoof towards the door with the full intentions to knock, but instead, with a brief tap, the door fell open on its own, allowing a flood of sunlight into Fluttershy’s empty living space.

The last time Twilight had been to Fluttershy’s cottage was a few days prior to the tragedy.

The transformation of the once welcoming abode was almost frightening. Even the early rays of sunlight that had followed the friends inside could do nothing to aid the dismal atmosphere that had settled inside the cottage. No animals were present like they might have been a month ago; though Twilight did catch the glimpses of a few wary glares peering out from various habitats.

Untouched bowls of food were dotted around the living space; toys that didn’t seem to have a purpose lay in assorted areas. Twilight swallowed hard; it seemed every occupant of Fluttershy’s home had reacted in the same way as herself.

For lack of anything better to do, Twilight glanced towards Spike.

Spike, however, wasn’t looking at the empty living space or even at the gazes of the animals that had had enough courage to poke their heads out. Instead, Spike was staring towards the staircase, his head tilted to one side.

A moment later, he broke the silence, “Do you hear that?”

Twilight cocked her head, mirroring Spike’s actions in the hopes of hearing whatever he did. She frowned; “What can you hear?” She asked, keeping her voice low for the animal’s benefits.

Spike lifted his head up and blinked, “I think I hear… singing.

And with that, the baby dragon made his way to the staircase. Twilight stayed stationary for a moment, throwing a cautious glance back to the doorway where the orb had remained. She frowned; what was it that it wanted her to do?

With a final sigh, Twilight cantered over to the staircase along with Spike. They ascended the stairs together and, after a few moments of concentration, Twilight began to hear the singing too. A soft, dulcet tone. A voice only befitting to one mare in all of Ponyville.


The top floor of the cottage was made up of a small hallway that split into two bedrooms on either side. The door to the right had been left ajar, allowing Fluttershy’s voice to float through the space in greeting. Fluttershy was humming an empty tune, but even still, it was the happiest Twilight had heard of her in over a month. With the tune as her guide, Twilight began forwards, bumping open the door as she passed through.

The bedroom was empty, the bed itself a mess of yellow floral sheets, half of the bed spread had fallen to the floor and the pillows lay in a crooked mess at the centre. Fluttershy had always kept everything so tidy back in the days when she had a purpose to do so. Twilight looked away from the bed and sighed, instead turning her gaze towards Spike who was staring straight ahead towards another door, the one to the bathroom Twilight supposed.

From within she could hear Fluttershy’s quiet hums and, if she strained herself further, she also heard the sounds of running water. Twilight frowned.

“We should probably say something,” Spike whispered, “so she knows we’re here?”

Twilight nodded and cleared her throat. She was just about to open her mouth when Spike’s voice interrupted her, “Hello? Is anypony here?”

Twilight pursed her lips before calling out also, “Fluttershy? Are you in here?”

Their calls triggered a small yelp from the bathroom. The sound of splashing continued as the bathroom door opened slightly, a single blue orb peered out through the small space in greeting, “T-Twilight?” Fluttershy asked warily, “Spike?”

Twilight nodded, raising an eyebrow slightly, “Hello.” It was all she could think to say. The last time she had been with Fluttershy, they had been at Rainbow Dash’s grave; it had been the moment when Twilight had first considered telling Fluttershy the whole truth. Now she had reason to believe Fluttershy already knew and for some reason, that didn’t bode well with the young Unicorn.

“We came to see how you were doin’.” Spike supplied brightly, “Twilight practically insisted.” He nudged his friend playfully, his eyes begging for her to play along.

Twilight stared at Spike for a moment before meeting Fluttershy’s worried gaze. She forced a nervous smile and nodded, “Of course.” She continued, “I felt bad about our lack of communication in the past month so I thought maybe we should arrange some meet-ups…”

Fluttershy, however, didn’t seem to be listening to Twilight’s blatantly false tone. Instead she was nervously glancing from the bedroom to the bathroom, her frame practically wracked with panicked shudders.

“…Is that okay?” Twilight asked after a moment’s silence.

Fluttershy jumped at being directed to, “O-Oh of course it is Twilight.” She smiled slightly, but the gesture was lost in her nervous jitters, “B-but r-right now isn’t a g-good time for me.”

Twilight cocked her head to one side, “Why not?”

Fluttershy’s eyes widened further, “O-Oh, w-well…” but she was interrupted as a splash sounded from behind her.

“Is somepony in there with you?” Spike wondered aloud.

Fluttershy shook her head, her pink locks falling over her face, “N-No, I just left the water running by mistake…”

“Fluttershy…” Twilight warned, feeling that ever-present knot tying itself back up inside her gut; “Whatever it is… whoever it is, you can tell us.”

Fluttershy swallowed convulsively, her voice reaching a higher pitch as she continued to speak, “I don’t think you’d believe me.”

Twilight felt sick as her heart rate quickened, “Trust me when I say this Fluttershy.” Twilight’s gaze hardened as she looked into her friend’s eyes, “I’ll believe anything you tell me.”

The look Twilight gave Fluttershy was penetrating, but absolutely honest in every way. There was something about it that made Fluttershy want to cower away and yet at the same time… Fluttershy let out a gasp of surprise, “T-Twilight… tell me you didn’t…”

The knot in Twilight’s stomach had tightened to a point where breathing was becoming an obstacle. Twilight could only nod as she felt the prick of tears cloud her vision. She had been right; the orb had guided her here because Fluttershy knew… because… because…

“Oh, Twilight.” Fluttershy heaved out as tears began to run down her face. The butter Pegasus opened the door fully, showing the two friends the full expanse of the bathroom.

Spike let out a gasp of surprise. Twilight could only stand there, shaking with vicious sobs.

There, in the bathtub, sat Rainbow Dash.


Twilight felt her legs quake hopelessly as she stared directly at the sight before her.

A disgruntled aqua pony with a dishevelled tangled rainbow coloured mane sat motionlessly in the bathtub.

The water was cloudy from where the dirt in her fur had accumulated. Her wings were stretched out at her back; one had been ruffled and covered in suds. It was obvious to Twilight that Fluttershy had been busy cleaning the shabby Pegasus before she had been interrupted.

Twilight tried to open her mouth, tried to form some kind of coherent sentence, but nothing left her lips. Instead she stood vacantly at the centre of Fluttershy’s bedroom and shuddered.

It was Spike who finally broke the silence; “Twi… that’s… I mean, Fluttershy? I-Is that Rainbow Dash?”

Fluttershy pursed her lips, her blue orbs clearly willing back an oncoming flood of tears. Instead she nodded her head softly before retreating back into the bathroom, picking up a tatty sponge on her way inside.

Spike’s jaw dropped as he watched the butter Pegasus softly brush at Rainbow’s untouched wing, gently soaking the extra appendage with a reasonable amount of soapy water. Rainbow Dash didn’t react to Fluttershy’s movements at all, instead her rose eyes stared in a glazed daze towards the far wall.

“How is this possible!” Spike cried out, lifting his arms in panic, “Is anypony going to explain to me how in all of Equestria this can…”

“I did it.” Twilight croaked. She blinked profusely to keep the tears at bay, “I… I used a resurrection spell.”

“But you told me there wasn’t one; you said you’d scoured every book, every library-

“Yes, I did.” Twilight interrupted Spike’s incoherent babble. She looked at the baby dragon pointedly before taking in a large, long needed breath, “I met with Princess Luna in one of my dreams, she supplied me with the spell. She gave me exact instructions to bring back the Element of Loyalty, for the sake of Equestria. For the sake of Friendship.”

Fluttershy almost dropped the sponge that was clenched between her teeth as she looked towards Twilight. There was no anger behind her blue orbs; simply, relief. She nodded once before rubbing vigorously at Rainbow’s wing once more.

As Fluttershy continued to clean, Twilight began to notice more and more of Rainbow’s exterior. Her coat was rough in places where jagged, misshapen stitches took form. They ran across Rainbow’s underside all the way up to her chest, more were evident around the joints to her wings. Twilight shuddered as she watched the unmoving Pegasus.

Unmoving. That word was wrong in itself, especially to describe Rainbow Dash. The once volatile rainbow maned menace could hardly sit still when Rarity fitted her a dress, let alone bathe her. But here she was, sitting in Fluttershy’s tub, not a single emotion crossing her features. It was almost as though a part of her was missing.

“The orb.” Twilight whispered; eyes bright with understanding, “That’s why it brought us here.”

Fluttershy’s eyebrow twitched as she dropped the sponge into the dirty water. She cleared her throat, “Orb?” she asked unsurely.

Twilight nodded excitedly, “This… fragment from the spell I cast showed up at my door this morning. It wanted us to come here… to Rainbow Dash!”

“Is the orb part of her?” Fluttershy asked, her eyes flicking over Rainbow’s features in a single motion. Her shoulders heaved as the creature refused to meet her gaze; “S-She knocked on my door this morning and… she smiled at me.” Fluttershy ducked her head in shame, “She hasn’t done anything since… she just follows me around.”

Spike blinked in surprise, “Twilight… did the spell go wrong?” he turned towards her expectantly, “Is that why you…” he trailed off, glancing away unsurely. Twilight placed a reassuring hoof on his shoulder before nodding sadly in response.

“I’m sorry I haven’t been honest with you Spike,” she turned to Fluttershy, biting her lip, “and I’m especially sorry I didn’t tell you, Fluttershy. I can’t imagine what you’ve gone through in the past few-”

“-Don’t be sorry.” Fluttershy reprimanded gently, her eyes narrowed, “I-I don’t know how you did it Twilight b-but if Princess Luna asked you to I-I can only hope that it’s for the best.”

“You don’t have to apologize to me either, Twi.” Spike said, folding his arms valiantly, “I told you, I’ve always got your back, even when your decisions aren’t entirely thought-out.”

Twilight smiled desolately to them both before glancing back the way she came, “Something did go wrong with the spell, at the time I was sure I had failed entirely.” Twilight’s shoulders heaved before she continued, “There was a flash of lightning that caused me to stop before the final verse of the spell was performed.”

“Couldn’t you just say it now?” Spike supplied hopefully.

Twilight shook her head, “No, Spike, I can’t. The spell called for specific circumstances and… well… I can’t seem to remember the spell anymore.” Twilight blinked a few times, willing away her tears, “Luna supplied them to me, I can only assume they had some kind of time-limit.”

Fluttershy nodded dejectedly, her eyes darting from Twilight to Spike before finally resting on the husk of Rainbow Dash that sat in her bathtub. “B-but the orb,” Fluttershy stuttered, her eyes failing to leave Rainbow’s, “it can fix her?”

Twilight shrugged, “I-I’m not sure.” She sighed through her teeth before straightening her back staunchly; “But we can try.”