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Hope Rides Alone 7: We Are Their Hope

Mandroid Mar 26th, 2014 237 Never
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  1. =Hope Rides Alone 7: We Are Their Hope=
  2.  
  3. >You hug Spike close to your chest as you fly along the snowy mountains. You could feel the boy shivering in your grip even through the life support field.
  4. >The blizzard you were in was unnatural, seemingly assailing you for miles and miles of your journey and making it that much harder to spot the railroad tracks you were following to ensure you didn't get lost.
  5. “Is it much further now, do you know?” you ask.
  6. >Spike shivers and takes a peek out ahead of you both. “Y-y-y-yeah! J-just over that m-mountain!”
  7. >It dawns on you that Spike, being a dragon, would probably be cold blooded and thus not used to the cold.
  8. >You clench your fist and double your speed over the mountain Spike pointed to.
  9. >As you clear the mountain, the temperature rises to normal levels and you see the fabled Crystal Kingdom.
  10. >Grey crystal growths dotted the landscape and stretched all the way to the should-be glimmering city itself. Rising high above the splotched crystal buildings of the capital city rose a single imposing spire that caught the hazy sunlight and shone a pure white reflection out over the land and a beam into the sky.
  11. >”A-are we sure she's here?” Spike asks.
  12. “If we believe Rarity.”
  13. >You gently float yourselves down to the ground at the city limits. Citizens walk around in a fog of confusion, their eyes lidded and cloudy as they aimlessly shuffle from one house to the next in a macabre imitation of activity.
  14. “It's worse here, whatever it is...”
  15. >Spike climbs down onto the ground. “What do we do?”
  16. “First we need information...and I learned from an emerald compatriot of mine the best place to go for that.”
  17. >Spike looks up at you. “Where?”
  18. “A bar, come on.”
  19. >You start down the road at a leisurely pace, enough for Spike to catch up to, and look out for a watering hole.
  20.  
  21. Music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buOz6-bSTpQ
  22.  
  23. >You and Spike approach a tavern made of diamond with a bipedal canine outside playing a lute and sitting on a stool.
  24. >You give him a nod of acknowledgment and receive a wide eyed grunt of...was that disbelief?
  25. >Spike mirror's the look you give him, he noticed it too.
  26. >...Odd, you guess.
  27. >You push open the door and enter into the tavern.
  28. >Ponies of all shapes, sizes, and levels of radiance sit around their tables nursing mugs of what you smell as cider. Behind them are winged creatures and large ox-men who's horns scrape the ceiling above your head.
  29. >And all of them were staring at the two of you with the same stare the one outside had.
  30. >”The Rider!” “It's The Rider!” “The Rider's here!”
  31. >It seems your reputation precedes you.
  32. >You blink a few times and wave non-threateningly.
  33. “Hello everyone, it's nice to meet you.”
  34. >They all blink once, twice, three times, and then cheer a cheer so loud it shakes the building. “THREE CHEERS FOR THE RIDER!” “A DRINK FOR THE RIDER!”
  35. >Hands, claws, and hooves reach over and pat you on the back, pushing you towards the bar where a drink rests for you.
  36. >Spike hops up on your back. “What is all this, Anonymous?”
  37. “I think they heard about us, Spike.”
  38. >One pony smiles at you. “Everyone's heard of you! You're the guy who's going over all of Equestria helpin' folks and makin' em feel better!”
  39. >Another pony pops forward. “You got the Elements of Harmony themselves tellin' your story! We all heard it here a million times!”
  40. >The bartender places the cup down on the bar surface. “All but one.”
  41. >Spike looks ahead at the pony and gasps. “Shining Armor!?”
  42. >You look the pony over yourself. Mangled fur, sunken and bloodshot eyes with dark circles, he hadn't slept in a while.
  43. >You hold up a hand asking for silence, the bar obeys.
  44. “Now sir...what did you mean?”
  45.  
  46. >Spike looks at you from your shoulder. “This is Shining Armor, Anonymous. He's Twilight's older brother!”
  47. “A brother?” you ask, eyes cocking.
  48. >Shining Armor nods. “Mhm. As well as the Prince Reagent, Captain of the Guard, and right now? Bartender.”
  49. >Spike looks around. “Where's...Cadence?”
  50. >Shining armor looks at the mug he's cleaning without tearing his eyes away. “...Under Canterlot.”
  51. >Spike reels back in disgust at that, whatever it may mean.
  52. “...I see. We're sorry for your loss. What did you mean about “all but one” my friend? Did you mean Twilight?”
  53. >Shining armor nods and points out the window up to the glowing spire. “She's up there, at the top. She's the source of that light and every day it grows brighter. Everyone's afraid of what'll happen when it's brighter than the sun.”
  54. “Why do you not leave?”
  55. >”You probably saw the blizzard on your way in? She made that. Frankly I'm surprised you made it here without being frozen solid.”
  56. >You look up at the glowing spire.
  57. “She's up there, you say?”
  58. >Shining Armor nods.
  59. “Then we have our heading, come on Spike.”
  60. >You turn on your heel and walk out the front doors, Spike right behind you.
  61. >The bar patrons look on in disbelief. “You're going up there!” “She's gonna tear you apart!” “What'd we ever do for you?”
  62. >You look back from outside and smile.
  63. “Nothing, but it's the right thing to do.”
  64. >Shining Armor speaks up. “The only way in is through the castle, and there's still traps in there.”
  65. >You raise your arm.
  66. “That's fine, we have a shortcut.”
  67. >Spike jumps on your shoulder as the two of you are shielded in blue light and begin to rise into the air.
  68.  
  69. >You and Spike rise and rise up the side of the Crystal Castle until you reach a small belfry below the brilliant white light where you touch down.
  70. >The room was open on all sides looking out over the Crystal City, a set of stairs running down nearby. In the center of the room was a circle of crystals that glittered with power, all pointing up towards one black crystal above where some...beast of black smoke and green eyes thrashed about trapped inside.
  71. >Spike hops down from your shoulders and looks up at it.
  72. “What...is that?” you ask.
  73. >”His name is Sombra.” a voice from inside the crystal circle says.
  74. >From the interior of the circle trots a muted purple unicorn, her violet main separated by a single streak of pink. Her head is down and her face in a frown as she looks at you.
  75. >”Twilight!” Spike exclaims, jumping off and running over to her. When he gets close, however, Twilight grabs him with a pink glow and pushes him back.
  76. >Spike looks hurt. “Twilight...?”
  77. >”Go away, Spike...go back to Ponyville...you shouldn't have to be around a failure...”
  78. >”Twilight...you're not a failure!” he shouts.
  79. >Twilight sighs and looks out over the empire. “How can you say that, Spike? This kingdom was once the jewel of Equestria, and now it's like this because I couldn't stop Discord...”
  80. >So it's penance...
  81.  
  82. >Twilight's coat and mane shift to an even more muted color as she levitates up a box. “I can't stop discord on my own and I don't have anyone to use these...” She tips the box and several necklaces and a crown fall out. “And I'm totally alone...”
  83. >The chill wind from outside blows into the belfry.
  84. “...No one is alone, Twilight.”
  85. >She looks up at you.
  86. “They tell legends of me, that I alone am helping your kingdom, but I've always had help.”
  87. >You gesture down to Spike who, to his credit, has his claws clenched in concentration. “Yeah! And you can't give up! If you get knocked down seven times, well you...you get up eight!”
  88. >Twilight sighs. “What's the point?...I let my friends down when they needed me the most and they were...changed.”
  89. >You hold your ring in front of you.
  90. “You're right Twilight...they -were- changed.”
  91. >You fire a beam of blue light out of your ring into the jewel on the crown-like object, it reflects your beam into the gems of the other five necklaces which in turn fire off into the thrumming crystals nearby.
  92. >In the crystals, images begin to form.
  93.  
  94. >One by one, old friends arise in the facets of the crystals. An orange pony who had to hide the truth from even herself, a pink pony who found no joy in the world, a yellow one who decided to hurt the world before it hurt her, a cyan one with a brilliant rainbow man who had lost her way, and a pure white one who had once only thought to take.
  95. >Their images now all stood surrounding Twilight and smiling down at her.
  96. >”Ya can't give up, Sugarcube!”
  97. >”Why, can you imagine the scandal if we simple gave up here? Preposterous?”
  98. >”Yeah! The six of us together can go to Canterlot and kick Discord's flank in, you watch!”
  99. >”We all believe in you ever so much, Twilight.”
  100. >Pinkie Pie didn't say anything, instead she waved some pom poms she had gotten from somewhere around with a shirt that said T on it.
  101. >You decided to roll with it.
  102. >Twilight looks around, mouth agape, at all her friends now gather from all corners of the kingdom. “You- but- you're all back to normal!”
  103. >Pinkie nods her head. “Yep! That guy fixed us up!”
  104. >”But- How did you break away from Discord! It's impossible!”
  105. “That's the power of hope, Twilight.”
  106.  
  107. >Twilight looks over her shoulder at you as you hold your ring aloft and fill the room with a soft glow.
  108. “If a shadow blots out the sun, if it stays till the sun is set...if the sun were to -never- show it's face again, there would be light.”
  109. >The other mares besides Twilight smile and close their eyes as they take a slight blue glow to them.
  110. “All will be well.”
  111. >Twilight closes her eyes in the midst of all her friends...as he color starts to improve.
  112. >”Yes...yes! We'll keep trying! We'll never give up and we'll always stand together against trouble!”
  113. >”Yeah!” the other girls and Spike say in unison.
  114. >”Hope detected.”
  115. >Twilight's color returns naturally, either by the effect of what you were about to do or her own will, as you raise your arm into the air.
  116. >A massive blue beam shoots from your ring through he tower, covering the entire kingdom with blue light as it magnifies the beam and shoots one of proportionally massive height into the air to be seen the world over so all could know the power of hope.
  117. >You take a few steps towards a now smiling Twilight and address her friends.
  118. “Girls? Follow the blue light and bring everyone you can along the way...we have somewhere we need to go together.”
  119.  
  120. Music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hI53LTy2H8
  121.  
  122. >It took a few weeks for all the girls to make their way to the Crystal Empire with the ponies they gathered. You had waited patiently for them all to arrive, this was something that everyone needed to do together.
  123. >The city below helped shelter the masses that they brought with them even as their numbers grew from the hundreds to the thousands and beyond.
  124. >When all were gather, you marched out of the city to the south, to Canterlot.
  125. >For a solid week, a heard of ponies as far as the eye can see walked behind you as you lead them to the place where they would finally be free.
  126. >You didn't need your ring to feel the hope for a better future emanating off of each and every one of them, so strong that it supercharged your ring just being near them.
  127. >With a wave of your hand, you materialized your old uniform. Your head covering, your boots, even your poncho, the herd beneath you following your glowing self as you flew above them and shepherded them away from danger and onwards towards opportunity.
  128. >When Canterlot was in sight, you stopped at the edge of a nearby gorge and a chant started. You didn't know where it came from, but you didn't stop it, seeing it galvanize the crowd as they recited it over and over like a prayer.
  129. >Ponies on the other end of the gorge stopped walking to it and looked at you with confusion, no doubt thinking that the massive swarm of differently colored ponies standing behind the blue biped were mad.
  130. >And from Canterlot castle, you saw a serpentine shape worm its way out, followed by two large winged statues by the looks of it. It began levitating towards you a moment after you caught sight of it as a leisurely pace.
  131. >You hear Spike gulp next to you despite the roar of the crowd. “He's coming...”
  132. “I know he is, Spike...but believe in yourself. That belief will see us through this.”
  133. >Spike nods and waits by your side as Discord draws ever closer and the flock of ponies chant becomes louder.
  134. >”WE-HAVE-CON-TROLL!”
  135. >“WE-KEEP-YOU-SAFE!”
  136. >WE-ARE-YOUR-HOPE!”
  137. >”WE-ARE-IN-CON-TROLL!”
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