Rainbow Dash: Equestrian Hero

by Hopeful_Ink_Hoof

First published

How Far Will Rainbow Dash go to stop King Sombra and save Equestria

In the war against King Sombra and The Crystal Empire, there have been a great many ponies who have earned the title of hero. Some have shown toughness and a relentless spirit. One such hero is Rainbow Dash. Not even the loss of her wing or her best friend could stop her from fighting for Celestia and Equestria.

But how far is she willing to go? How much is one pony willing to sacrifice if it means an end to the war?

(Based on the Crystal Empire war universe of Cutie Re-Mark. Also shows one possibility of what may have happened to Twilight Sparkle in this universe.)


It was going badly, very badly. Worse than they had ever expected. Not only were they severely out-numbered, but Sombra was there. He was not supposed to be there. He was supposed to be on the western line, where Celestia was.

There was the sound of his laughter as his horn lit up letting out a massive blast of evil magic.

"DASH!" a familiar voice called out.

Something slammed into Rainbow Dash, knocking her aside and sending her spinning. There was an explosion of pain on her side, her left wing feeling like it was on fire. The world spun, everything started to go blurry.

With a gasp, Rainbow Dash's eyes shot open. Her entire body tensed as she tried to sit up.

Except she couldn't. Something was holding her down. She started twisting and kicking, trying to get loose. Whatever it was, it wasn't enough to hold her. Sooner or later, Rainbow Dash would get loose.

"Easy," a voice said softly, "easy. You're safe. Just calm down. Please."

"Who's there?" Rainbow called out. "Where am I?"

"If you calm down and stop struggling, I'll explain."

Rainbow Dash stopped struggling. Looking around, she caught sight of a purple unicorn mare in a white lab coat.

"Well you seem to be a bit more coherent," the unicorn said. "I am Doctor Twilight Sparkle, and you are at a hospital." Her horn lit up as she shined it into one of Rainbow Dash's eyes. "Can you tell me your name?"

"Rainbow Dash. If this is a hospital, then why the hay am I tied down?" She yanked at the restraints to emphasize her point.

"You've been pretty violent," Twilight answered. "We had to restrain you both for our safety and your own. You've actually injured several nurses."

"Well I'm fine now," Rainbow Dash declared. "So get me out of these things and let me get back to the field." She tugged at the restraints again, trying to get up.

"Actually... I think that should wait until... I fill you in on something important."

That got Rainbow Dash's full attention. She had heard that tone of voice before, and it was never good news. Whenever a pony used a tone like that, it was bad. When it was a doctor, it meant something would never be the same.

"What is it?" Rainbow asked. "What's wrong? Did something happen to Gilda?"

"...Gilda..." Twilight said, taking a step back. That was never a good sign.

"Yeah," Rainbow Dash said, leaning forward to look at the doctor better. "She's a griffon. Also my flight partner. Wears a Wonderbolt uniform in the griffon kingdom colors. Saved my ass more times than I like to admit."

'DASH!' Gilda shouted, shooting forward to shove Rainbow out of the way. There was a throb of pain as the griffon's full weight slammed into her, then a burning sensation and--

"I'm sorry," Twilight said, shaking Rainbow Dash from the memory. "Gilda was struck directly by Sombra's attack. A piece of one of her ribs ended up lodged in her heart. We tried our best, but could not get it out and stop the bleeding. She didn't make it."

Rainbow Dash went limp as her stomach dropped out. Gilda? Dead? She and Rainbow were supposed to be the two toughest, strongest, and most daring flyers in the war. If any ponies -- any beings -- was going to make it through this, it was going to be them. They had even made plans for after the war: they were to help recruit and train a new generation of Wonderbolts that were to be stunt flyers, not soldiers. The two of them would be the first leaders of the new team, enjoying showing off for crowds instead of fighting brainwashed slaves.

Rainbow Dash straightened up and bit her lip. She would not cry. Not in front of the doctor. And definitely not for Gilda. She wouldn't want that. They were a pair of tough flyers and too cool to show softness. They wouldn't do something as lame as crying. Even if it was over each other.

Even if it was...

Anger on the other hoof.

"Fine," Rainbow Dash growled out. "So let me go, so I can fly straight to The Crystal Empire and kick King Sombra's sorry flank a thousand years into the past."

"Actually, that's what I need to talk to you about," Twilight said.

Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath and slowly let it out.

"I'm afraid that during the battle, one of your wings -- the left one -- was severely damaged. We were... forced to..." Twilight grimaced. "...amputate."

"What?!" Rainbow Dash shrieked out. Her wings? They took one of her wings? She was a Wonderbolt! A flying combatant! A pegasus for crying out loud! Without a wing, she can't fly, and flying was all she was about. Even her fighting style was focused around her being able to fly.

"I've already fitted you with a prosthetic," Twilight said. "It will take some time and practice to adjust to, but you should be able to use it like a normal wing." She shifted. "Well... almost..."

"What do you mean 'almost?'"

"Are you familiar with the idea of a sonic rainboom?"

"Yeah, but it's just an old mare's tale."

"Maybe," Twilight said as her horn lit up, "but I think it's based on fact." She looked at the charts. "Although it is rare, I do believe that a pegasus can achieve hyper-sonic flight speed under the right circumstances."

"Hyper-what now?" Rainbow Dash asked.

"'Hyper-sonic flight,'" Twilight repeated. "Basically, when a pegasus gets fast enough, they are actually able to fly faster than the speed of sound. Some scientist speculated that when this happens, the pegasus breaks through a barrier that creates a massive explosion and unleashes a burst of pegasus magic. The same kind of magic that in your particular case lets you leave a rainbow colored trail behind you."

"What does this have to do with the fake wing?"

"Have you ever flown so fast, it felt like the air was pushing back and trying to stop you?" Twilight asked.

"Sure," Rainbow answered. "Like all the time."

"Well, between what I can read on your charts, and my own scan of you, I believe that -- in the right circumstances -- you could at the very least reach the speeds necessary to break the 'sound barrier' for lack of a better term. Or... at least you would have if you still had your regular wing. The artificial wing is not certified for those speeds. You're going to need to pay attention to it as you go faster, to make sure that it doesn't break apart or malfunction. If something starts to happen, you'll have to slow down."

Rainbow Dash thought about it a moment. The idea of her having to limit her speed didn't appeal to her. Still, it meant that she would at least be able to fly. And fight.

"So when can I go back?" she asked.

"Are you sure you want to?" Twilight asked. "I mean, if you want, you could take this opportunity to get a medical discharge."

"I am not walking away from this fight," Rainbow Dash shouted. "Especially not now. Not while --"

Sombra needs to pay for Gilda!

"-- Equestria still needs everpony that can fight!"

The room went quiet as Twilight Sparkle stared at Rainbow Dash. Rainbow watched at Twilight stood there, seeming to study her. Slowly, tears started to fill Twilight's eyes. A sad smile pulled at the edges of her mouth.

"You know, you kind of remind me of my big brother." Twilight let out a sniff. "He was stubborn and always trying to do the right thing, no matter how stupid it was."

Rainbow was uncertain how to respond to that. If she was reading Twilight's tone and words right, she had lost her brother.

"Who's your brother?" Rainbow asked before realizing it.

"Shining Armor," Twilight answered.

That was a bit of a shock. Practically everypony in the war had heard of Shining Armor. The captain of the guard who -- after the loss of his fiance to the changelings -- had been one of the firsts to go to The Crystal Empire and face King Sombra. If not for him sacrificing himself and using his shields, no pony would have been able to return to Equestria and report what Sombra had been up to.

He had given his life so they would have a fighting chance.

"...I'm sorry..." Rainbow whispered.

Twilight took a breath and wiped at her face. She turned her attention back to Rainbow Dash, her horn lighting up. Quickly, the straps were undone, releasing the pegasus from her bed.

"Come on," Twilight said. "If you want to get back to combat so badly, we need to start your physical therapy as soon as possible."


"Rainbow Dash! Rainbow Dash!" a young voice called out, getting Rainbow's attention. She could not help but smirk a little out the sound of it. Tucking her helmet under her natural wing, she turned to look toward the sound.

An orange pegasus filly with a purple mane came running up toward Rainbow Dash. Her one good eye glistened with excitement as she ran toward the mare.

"We'll give you a minute," Commander Misty Fly stated. "Don't take too long." She and Fleetfoot then continued on.

Rainbow gave a nod of acknowledgement, then turned and walked toward the filly. A part of her was happy to see Scootaloo again. The kid had a lot of spirit. Plus she was like a huge fan of Rainbow Dash for some reason, which Rainbow liked. Maybe under different circumstances, they could have spent more time together. Rainbow Dash could have even been a mentor to the filly, or something like a big sister.

Another part of Rainbow Dash felt anger. Not at Scootaloo, but at Sombra for what happened to her. True they were at war, but there were still rules. And one of those rules was that children were off limits.

"Hey squirt," Rainbow said, doing her best to put on a friendly smile. "What's up?"

"Everypony is saying that Princess Celestia has a plan," Scootaloo nearly shouted, "and that she even has a specialist going out. It's supposed to be the plan that finally ends the war. Is it true?"

Rainbow Dash let out a snort and rolled her eyes.

"We need to work on security around here," she huffed out. Although, she knew the truth about it.

"You want them to hear about this?" Rainbow Dash asked, eyes going wide and wings flaring out. "Why?"

"Hope," Princess Celestia answered. She motioned outside of the tent with her wing. "They need to keep hoping, Rainbow Dash. We can win this, we can stop Sombra, and they need to believe that. Because they need to keep going until we do, and to do that, they have to know -- to believe -- that there is something. They need to keep hope in their hearts to keep going. No matter how bleak things might seem. As long as there is hope, there's a chance."

"But yeah," Rainbow said to Scootaloo. "She's got a big fancy plan that is totally going to take King Sombra by surprise. I'm actually on my way out right now to give him what for." She held up a hoof, shaking it.

"Wow," Scootaloo said, eye shining.

A thought came to Rainbow Dash. Reaching under her flight suit, she grabbed a hold of the chain around her neck and pulled it up. Hanging from the end was a ring with six stones -- each a different color -- equally spaced apart around the length of the band.

"What's that?" Scootaloo asked as she stared at the ring.

"This," Rainbow answered, "was a gift that a friend was going to give me." Which was mostly true. "I've kept it with me to remind me of her."

Taking a step forward, Rainbow Dash lifted the chain up and lowered it around Scootaloo's head.

"I want you to take care of it for me while I'm gone."

"Wow," Scootaloo whispered as she looked down at the ring. Eye wide and grinning, her wings gave a flicker of excitement. "I promise I'll keep it safe and sound until you get back."

"I know you will, Scoots," Rainbow said, ruffling the filly's mane. "After all, there are no better hooves for me to leave it in."

The small compliment made the filly practically glow with pride. Reaching up, she placed a hoof to the ring, clutching it to her chest.

At least that's safe, Rainbow thought.

"Well I have to get going," she said. "Got a mission to do and a war to end. I'll tell you all about it when I get back."

She gave Scootaloo a wink, then turned and started to walk away. The excitement behind her was almost tangible. For some reason, just the idea of hanging out with Rainbow made the Scootaloo excited. It kind of reminded Rainbow Dash of herself at that age, when she would have done the same thing over any of The Wonderbolts.

I just hope I get to keep my word.

As she reached where her two teammates were waiting, the three of them put on their helmets and took off.

"Remember," Misty Fly said over the helmet communication system, "our main objective is distraction. We are to keep King Sombra's attention on us, giving Daring Do's team time to infiltrate the empire and search for the crystal heart. That being said, nothing gets a pony's attention like a good punch. Plus a bleeding nose and watery eyes make it hard to see. So try and keep Sombra busy and distracted as much as possible, but if you can give him a good hard kick in the ass, let him have it."

"Aye-aye," Rainbow Dash and Fleetfoot both said in unison.

The three pegasi flew from the current camp toward the last reported location of King Sombra. As they made their way to the front, Rainbow Dash let her gaze scan across the ground below and the sky ahead.

It all looked so different from how it used to. To think, it had only been like... a year or so. It really felt like it had been longer. She definitely was not the same mare as when it had all started. And she could never be that way again.

Her gaze drifted to catch the movement of her artificial wing. It seemed like a good parallel. It let her continue on like things were normal, but was also a reminder of how it would never be the same as it once was.

The image of Scootaloo then popped into her head, the filly's face half-covered in a bloody bandage, hiding the damage that led to the loss of an eye.

Rainbow's body tense, her jaw clenching.

Things would never be the same, but they could stop it from getting worse. They could make sure there were no more scars.

She could bring it to an end, once and for all.

The three continued on, reaching the front line where the Pie sisters had set up a stone wall, letting the Equestrian troops get a break to rest, recover, and resupply or be replaced. She could even see some of the wounded fighters being pulled back, heading toward the camp medical wards.

As always, Doctor Sparkle was taking control of triage, horn glowing as she shouted commands and started seeing to ponies.

She looked a lot older than Rainbow remembered. Then again, she did see some of the worst parts of it all. At least for those ponies that survived long enough to make it into her care.

Beyond the wall, things looked very different. The black crystals had started to grow and spread, leaving clumps of darkness on the ground. A line of the mind-controlled crystal ponies stood not far, unmoving as they stared at the wall ahead of them. It was so hard to believe that there were actual living ponies inside those suits... if you could call that living...

Commander Misty Fly pointed upwards and started climbing higher, with Rainbow and Fleetfoot following suit. They were already high enough to be out of reach and notice of the soldiers -- and Sombra did not have any sort of aerial support -- but they had to get close to King Sombra. If he noticed them too soon, he would start shooting at them with magic. If they got hit early on, it would make it hard to keep him occupied for as long as possible.

Fleetfoot made a motion to get their attention and pointed.

Below was the familiar black and red form, standing on a raised platform made from the black crystals.

Misty Fly pointed at Rainbow Dash and made a wide sweeping motion before pointing at Sombra as well. Turning to Fleetfoot, she mirrored the action. Misty Fly then pointed at herself and made a large arcing motion. Rainbow Dash and Fleetfoot both gave a salute and peeled off from Misty Fly, heading out to loop around toward King Sombra from opposite sides.

Rainbow Dash looped around, facing King Sombra's side and flying right toward him. Between the bright color of the uniform, the shine of the metals and plastics, and the rainbow colored trail left behind her, it was pretty certain that she was going to be noticeable. So it was no surprise when King Sombra turned to face Rainbow Dash, and even expected when he started to unleash a magical attack. Being ready for it, Rainbow Dash was able to dodge easily. Same with the next blast, and the one after that.

Just before reaching him, Rainbow Dash turned hard, pulling away from Sombra and flying away. This got a grunt of confusion from Sombra, looking at the now fleeing mare.

Which was when Misty Fly flew in from behind. Coming in low, she slammed into Sombra's hind legs, knocking him off balance and sending him falling.

Grinning to herself, Rainbow Dash turned around and started flying toward Sombra again.

As he tried to get up, Fleetfoot came from the opposite direction. She threw out a forehoof, slamming it into King Sombra's jaw and knocking his head Rainbow's direction. Taking advantage of it, Rainbow Dash threw her own punch, hitting King Sombra right in the nose.

The sound of him crying out in pain was music to her ears.

Step one was complete. They definitely had his attention. Now they just had to keep him off-balance and distracted. The longer they kept him busy, the better the chances that Daring Do's team would be able to get in the capital city and look for The Crystal Heart.

On her return flight, Misty Fly grabbed Sombra's cape and tossed it over his head. Fleetfoot grabbed the edge and yanked hard as she went, pulling it further over his head and piercing it with his horn. Rainbow Dash then came back in low, kicking out with a hind leg to slam into Sombra's joints.

As Rainbow Dash turned for another go, she noticed that the horn was now glowing with dark magic.

"ENOUGH!" King Sombra shouted as he let out a blast. The energy destroyed the cape, freeing him from it. It also hit the three Wonderbolts, knocking them down.

Before Rainbow Dash hit the ground, she was caught in a magical aura. She, Misty Fly, and Fleetfoot were pulled brought before King Sombra. He kept Rainbow in front of him as he slammed Fleetfoot and Misty Fly into the ground.

"You," Sombra hissed out, his eyes narrowing. "I'm guessing you're the leader."

Rainbow Dash took a hold of the helmet, pulling it off. Her eyes narrowed as she glared at Sombra, ears pulling back.

She had to buy more time. They were supposed to keep him busy at least fifteen minutes. The original plan had been a hit and run: attack Sombra to get his attention, then have him chase after them. They had been expecting magical attacks and having to deal with the brainwashed crystal ponies, but having him grab them all had not been taken into account. Plus, as long as his attention was focused on her, it would also buy more time for her teammates. Now she just had to keep it on her.

Rearing back, Rainbow punched out with the helmet.

The magic around Rainbow Dash pushed back against her, causing the punch to stop about halfway to its target. Sombra grinned, showing his sharp teeth, and gave the helmet a hard magical shove to slam it into Rainbow's own face.

"Oh, come now," Sombra said, eyes narrowing. "Did you really think I would be unprepared for you attempting to assault me again?"

Rainbow resisted the urge to shake her head as she tried to blink the tears welling up in her eyes. She could feel the warm wetness of blood running from her nose and down her lip. Her tongue slipped out of her mouth to lick at it.

"I guess not," she said. "I guess it's impossible for any pony to be as stupid as you look."

"How very droll," Sombra said, rolling his eyes.

Rainbow had no idea he was capable of sarcasm.

Turning his attention back to Rainbow Dash, King Sombra's horn flared brighter (darker?). There was a burning pain in Rainbow Dash's face, the same spot as the scar. Blood started to drip into her eye.

"In case you are unaware," King Sombra stated, "I just tore that little scar of yours back open. Consider it an indication of how serious I am. Now, unless you want me to pull your skin open inch by inch, I want you to tell me exactly what I want to know. Understood?"

Rainbow Dash sucked in a deep breath through her nose, the scent of blood filling her nostrils and the taste of copper in covering her tongue.

"I may not be entirely aware of Equestrian combat tactics, but from experience, this is not a typical combat method. Therefore, I must assume that there is something else going on here. As such, I must ask: what are you and your leader up to?"

In response, Rainbow Dash spat a mixture of blood and mucus at King Sombra, hitting him in the face. She continued to glare at him as he shifted, wiping the spit from his eye.

"Come now," he said calmly. "I know we are enemies, but there is no need to be uncouth."

"Is this the part where you tell me that if I tell you what you want, you'll let me go?" Rainbow asked.

"No," Sombra replied. "I am going to kill you one way or the other. We are both aware of that. What will matter is how you will die. Tell me what I want to know, and I will make it quick and painless. However, if you resist, I will torture you until I get what I want, and then kill you slowly." His gaze shifted. "And I may very well save you for last. Tell me, my little pegasus, how long do you think you could stand listening to your associate's agonized screams?"

Rainbow Dash's stomach clenched as her heart froze. The idea, the mental image, of having Fleetfoot and Misty Fly tortured and slowly killed in front of her made her sick.

"They knew what they were getting into," Rainbow stated. "We all knew that we might not be coming back from this, and we're ready for that." She bared her teeth at him. "You already took everything away from us, Sombra."

"Have I?" King Sombra asked, raising an eyebrow. Leaning in close, he whispered into her ear. "Think hard about that, pegasus. Think long and hard. Because I'm certain that there is still something in your life that you want to keep safe."

The image of Scootaloo popped into Rainbow Dash's mind. A little filly with a big grin. A pegasus that could not yet fly, and barely even hover, but was hell on a scooter. Scootaloo, who even after losing an eye, still seems to be optimistic, hopeful. A stupid sweet child who looked up to a screw up like she was the greatest pony in the world. A filly who believed that a mare that could not even save her best friend would somehow save all of Equestria.

A filly that Rainbow Dash would die for if she had to.

And it looked like she might have to.

"Oh," King Sombra purred out. "It seems that there is something after all." He smirked as he started to whisper again. "Now imagine what I will do to whomever you are thinking of. I will hunt them down, I will hurt them, slowly and painfully. I will make sure they know it is because of you. The won't believe it of course, but that makes it all the better. I will listen to them cry, and scream, and beg. I will listen to them call out your name, for you to save them, and relish the knowledge that you will not -- cannot -- help them. Then, when their spirit and will are broken, when they have given up all hope of you saving them, then -- then -- I will remind them that it is your fault that they now suffer. That way, the last thing they will do before they die will be cursing your name."


Everything in Rainbow Dash was suddenly burning hot anger. She was a soldier. Like she had said, they knew what they were getting into. They knew that they might not come back, and they accepted it.

But there were still rules in war. And children were off LIMITS!

With a roar of rage, Rainbow Dash threw herself at King Sombra. There was a look of surprise on the stallion's face as she somehow managed to break free of his grip, slamming into him.

"Come on, Dash," Rainbow heard Gilda say. "You got him now. You're not just going to stop and end it like that, are you?"

"I believe that under the right circumstance," Doctor Twilight Sparkle told her, "I believe that you could go fast enough to create a Sonic Rainboom."

"The wing is not made for that type of speed."


Grabbing a hold of Sombra's armor, Rainbow Dash took off, taking the evil unicorn with her. Her wings flapped as hard as she could, pushing her up and going faster until she reached the limit of her prosthetic wing's safe speeds.

Then she pushed herself harder.

"Release me!" King Sombra demanded. "Do so now, and we can all walk away from this alive."

"Eat me!" Rainbow Dash shouted back. She continued to push her way up, going faster and faster.

The mechanical wing started to groan, the movements getting stiffer as the gears or whatever made it work tried to keep up. The air around her felt heavier, like it was pushing against her.

King Sombra's horn lit up. There was a burst of pain from Rainbow Dash's ear. It grew stronger and stronger, causing her to wince. Something caught her attention as it fell past her. A flash of red and pale blue.

"Release me," he ordered, "or I shall cut you apart piece by piece and watch you bleed out."

Rainbow Dash tightened her grip and continued to fly upward. The threats did not matter. The pain did not matter. The bits of metal coming off her wing did not matter. All that mattered was stopping him.

"You won't hurt anypony else!" Rainbow shouted, trying to push herself harder.

Everything went quiet as the air around her turned into a burst of color.

In the years that followed, many of the ponies that had fought would tell the story of the strange event: a bright rainbow colored explosion that filled the sky, forever marking the defeat of King Sombra and the end of the war.

Only four ponies -- Misty Fly, Fleetfoot, Doctor Twilight Sparkle, and Scootaloo -- would tell the tale of Rainbow Dash.

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