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Holidays of Adventure (Closed)


Bellosh
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Tempest pulled herself back up, rolling her shoulders and popping her neck. “Stay put, I will deal with it.” She says back as her eyes stay focused down the hallway. She takes a feed beep breaths, focusing fully on what she was about to do. “I need too focus, don’t yell or whatever.” With that the spikes in her horseshoes dig in to old wood and rip it apart as she pushed in to a full galloping run down the hall. Like clockwork the sounds of gears can be heard as the first bolt comes flying down the hall. Tempest did not slow as she ducks down, sparks kicking off stone from her still horseshoes. Yet that was just the start. Soon after the first one more came as she rushed down the hall, ducking, jumping and leaping off a wall as a line of bolt hit stone behind her. She did not have the magic to blast them… But she can run them dry. 

 

Rechin the end oh the hallway she turns and runs back to Sunny, bolts hot on her flank as they hit stone in a shower of sparks as old iron and wood shatters. She was in her own world now. All that mattered was where she was and the sounds came from. It was a deadly dance, but her bet was paying off. They were old, unlooked after and failing. She bet even sunny can hear the old things breaking down as strings snapped and old wood splitters. By the time she made it back to Sunny the stream of bolts were dying down in to a few stray shots that hit nowhere close to Tempest. Yet Tempest was not willing to trust it yet. She did one last lap, turning about to make one last run down the hallway. This trip saw even less. Reaching the end leaps off the wall and ran back to sunny, only to slow down until she was standing. She can still hear the gears spinning way but nothing happens. All the traps were out of ammo or broken. With a heavy breath she looked at sunny. “Don’t move, not a sound.” She says before doing one last walk up and down the hallway. Now she felt it was safe. “Ok, we are good. They did not have much ammo. Look at the size of the bolts. At most they less than a dozen each.” She says shaking her head and looking down the hallway. “But have so many? Well, I think we hit something good…” She grins some. “This guy was RICH to have traps like this. And we are going to loot this place dry. I can see my new airship already.”

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Tempest rubs her side. “By the way. All that running with with broken ribs? It sucks. But that was at least, the worst of the traps. At least in “killing us” out the door. This place had lots and lots of them… Even if most felt like… tests. It was weird but we shall get to them soon.” she says leaning her head to the side in thinking, than looked at Sunny. “Why don’t you do the next room? You were the one pulling hero in that one after all. I want more coffee."

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Oh joy, the next room. Temy REALLY loved that one.....

 

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Sunset Shimmer followed as Tempest Shadow led the way into the next chamber. Right from the get-go, Sunset spotted the architectural impossibility of this room’s existence; there was no way a mere tower like the one they were in now could contain a vast column-lined hallway stretching out past their line of sight, far beyond the Tower’s actual width. But before the unicorn thought to pass a warning along to Tempest, a loud clamor arose from behind. An iron portcullis had slammed shut and sealed the two unicorns inside!


“Blast it!” Miss Shimmer strained with her magic to levitate the grating upward, but it was no use! The grating was resistant to magic!!! Sunset portended; “...I have a bad feeling about this.....”


Sure enough, a distant primal growl emanated from the void. As she heard ponderous thuds come closer, Sunset started to perceive what looked like a clump of distant nighttime stars grow in luminosity. One star near the top of the ceiling shone brightest of all, and for a moment, the amber unicorn thought she could see the Little Dipper itself. All the while, the growling grew angrier and more... ravenous.


“Whatever this thing is Tempest,” Sunset drew up a game plan as she definitely stood her ground; “I need you to hit it with everything you’ve got!!!”


...No response. “.....Tempest?”
 

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Tempest was far from fearless as she acted. She still had nightmares as much as any other pony. She just never spoke of her fears and hoped to hide them all. For some it did work as she overcame them alone with none the wiser. But others? No matter how much she believed herself ready she was not. She never was. And there such a fear was, towering before her like the stars in the sky. 

 

She felt… out of body. Out of place. She was stuck watching a filly screaming, small and scared. But the filly was her self and the screams her own as her legs failed, falling and flailing as she desperately tries to run away like some scared foal. She felt powerless. She never was ready. Not that she’d ever say it.

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“It was magic, halgram, nothing happens.” Tempest says as Sunny speaks. “We beat it. That’s it.” She added, not explaining her side in the events at all. She did not want too. Not in front of Twi or others. What happened in there was between her and Sunny alone. 

 

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“HELP!” Tempest screamed well she dives underneath Sunnys legs, it was the first safe place to pop in her head. She had no clue why. But it's what she did as she shook with fear and curled up in a ball. If she can’t see it, it’s not there. It was foals thinking but its all she had to deal with the stress and fear overwhelming her. Her mind forced her to relive that day. Over and over she saw it coming for her. She was so small. So alone. Powerless. She’s just powerless.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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Sunset Shimmer couldn’t decide which was more wondrous and terror-inspiring: the form of what definitely appeared to be an ursa minor fully emerging from the darkness, or Tempest Shadow ducking between Sunset’s legs in fright. For somepony who had bore witness to her comrade dispatching a pack of rock wolves just yesterday, this latest development was most distressful. This was almost exactly like what happened back during the “Foxhunt”... but couldn’t Temy still use her magic powers? Nothing was stopping her!


.....Was there?


As much as Sunset wanted answers, she found maintaining concentration difficult with an ursa minor busy growling and standing upright in a fearsome dominance display. From what she remembered about her studies of magical creatures, the cosmic-elemental ursas were notoriously resistant to spells. Even if ursa minors were technically mere cubs, taking one on was hard enough as it was for two experienced ponies... and right now, Sunset was virtually on her own. With the doors barred behind her and Temy laid low by a panic attack, what other choice did Sunny have but stand her ground and wait for the grim inevitable.


Yet something... everything felt off. Sunset recalled from moments ago how she recognized this room as an architectural impossibility, and thinking about the chase of Hanabi made her remember that yeah, illusionary monsters are a thing. And they were in a wizard’s hideout that was already confirmed to be infested with defensive devices. Surely it was logical to assume that the Nameless Wizard created additional booby traps with arcane cunning?


But then... what to do with Tempest? Phantasms were fake and all, but convincing phantasms could still make you hurt a ton, and the drool from the ursa’s mouth looked real and slimy enough. Maybe one good blast of magic would be enough to confirm the illusion for the forgery it was, but that still left Temy to console. And honestly, it didn’t sit right with Sunny that the thing that appeared before them just so happened to be able to conveniently reduce her fight-craving, foolhardy partner to tears. Sunset didn’t believe in coincidences; something deeper was ahoof!


There wasn’t much time to decide on a course of action; the angered ursa roared with all the deafening fury of the heavens, triggering Tempest into writhing in more mental agony. A few more seconds, and the two unicorns could very well be goners. But then again, maybe the ursa itself wasn’t the point of this challenge.


After a seeming eternity, Sunset made her choice. She stepped back, powered up her horn... and then struck Tempest with a barrage of magical light. This was the first time in Equestria that the Equestrian girl dared use her mind-reading abilities, and it was not a decision taken lightly. She knew how invasive it was to violate somebody’s mental privacy; to do so should only be done under the most pressing circumstances. But frankly, Sunset was in the middle of a bucking emergency right now....!

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  • 3 weeks later...

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Chaos, panic, fear, pain and hopelessness all mixing together in an unrelenting storm consumed all of Tempest’s thinking as her mind plays back the events of a helpless filly faced with something she had no hope of overcoming. For what can a filly do to an ursa other than scream for help as none came for her. And Sunset got to sit in the back seat of such memories as the ursa tossed Tempest about like no more than a dog's chew toy, leaving nothing but a broken filly walling for her friends too save her. But it did not stop, her screams only aggravating the beast more until finly it trashed the filly in to soundless angeny. Only then it grew bored of her and went back deeper in the cave. Yet the event repeated, stuck in an endless loop as the troma of her past hammered in to her. She was helpless. Worthless. Not worth saving. She was alive by luck alone and there was nothing she could do. And so she did nothing, calling out for help she believed will never come to save her from something she can’t stop. 

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Tempest shifted uneasily in her seat, she knew what sunny was thinking about. She didn't like that it happened. Her past was hers alone and the elss that knew about it the better. She wanted to look strong. Powerfull. Unbeatable. For every pony that knew the truth the more cracks her wall had and all the more easy for it to be broken. She was FINE and that's all they needed to know.

 

“So uh… Next room… was…” She yawns and rubs her face, trying to get her mind away from that… place. That room was so awful. “Puzzle room. We had to split up, help one another without seeing the other. I think it was a trust test.” She explained. “Been more easy if we knew how to read the text on the walls. But we worked it out.”

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All at once, the puzzle pieces had come all together. The reason behind Tempest Shadow’s panic attacks, the reason she attempts to project absolute aloofness and aggression in nearly all situations, the reason why she lost much of her ability to cast the spells that unicorns took for granted... Sunset Shimmer found it painful to read her friend’s memories, and it was an even greater pain knowing that these were memories that Tempest never intended to share (as far as Sunset knew, anyway).


Regardless of the invasion of privacy though... what’s done was done. Sunset made a snap call, and she chose to trust her instincts. Reading thoughts was not an ability to be used lightly, but it HAD helped Sunset and her friends before on numerous instances. Considering she and Tempest were in the middle of a potentially risky dungeon-crawl, the amber unicorn ultimately believed that the need to deal with this phantasmal ursa — which Miss Shimmer could now confidently theorize was a direct manifestation of Temy’s deepest and darkest fear — outweighed considerations for maintaining emotional privacy.


Of course, knowing specifically WHY they were facing down a growling ursa illusion was allowing the Wielder of Empathy to understand what actually needed to be done. “You can do this, Temy,” Sunset gently placed a comforting hoof on Tempest; “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger..... and you’re the strongest pony I know.”


For all its malicious snarling, the supposed ursa minor behaved in a rather sporting manner by not simply going in the kill. Sunset was most thankful for that as she continued consoling Tempest with increased resoluteness; “You ARE courageous, Tempest Shadow... and right now, I’m going to prove it!!!


In what could only be described by an average pony as an act of suicidal impotence, Sunset Shimmer..... cantered forward towards the ferocious ursa, shooting off a tiny bolt of fire into its eye! Naturally, all that did was make the seemingly indestructible creature ANGRY. Filled with hate, the ursa raised its dreadful paw high into the air ready to end the offending unicorn’s existence with a simple gesture. And all that pony did was stand there...

 

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Tempest flinched away from the comforting hoof, hiding away underneath her front legs like a scared filly from what was happening. Even the words of encouragement sound like no more than a joke. One more voice joining in mocking her. She was never strong. She was never courageous. She was a broken unicorn and that is all she ever was. Broken. And from underneath her legs she watched Sunny frozen in fear. She felt helpless. Hopeless. What can she do? Sunny was unbroken. Sunny was NORMAL! And yet her magic did nothing. 

 

If Tempest was thinking more clearly she’d seen sunny realy did not even try. But Tempest wasn't thinking clearly as fear and panic hung on to her. All she saw was fate repeating itself with sunny taking her place. Sunny was going to get mauled and broken. Sunny was going to die. All well she did nothing… It was unjust. No pony deserves to suffer like she has. “Nononononooo” She whimpers, shaking as she pushed her legs to work. To force herself to stand. “NO NO NO” She keeps repeating with growing power. She can’t let it happen. Not again. Not to another. “NO!” The word left her muzzle in a scream as she ran for her friend with a leap, slamming into her friend she pushed sunny out of the way as both of them rolled in a heap as the paw slammed down missing both. 

 

Standing up she placed herself over Sunny, even as fear made her body shake held her ground. She was scared to her core but something scared her more than the ursa now. Losing her friend. She did not falter with the Stonewovles and she can not falter here. No matter her fears she couldn't sit and do nothing for her friend. She couldn't let the cycle continue. Placing one hoof forwards she approached the beast ready to defend her friend to the bitter end. And yet the ursa seemed to back away. “I will not let this happen! Not again! Not to another! Never again! Do you hear me!?” She roared in defiance.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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As the ursa retreated from Tempest Shadow’s newfound rage, the creature’s growls subsided into pathetic whimpering as it became enveloped by the darkness from whence it came. When the phantasm faded completely, so did the very darkness itself! Both ponies could now see that they were actually in the middle of a small chamber, with barred doors at each end. Conveniently enough, the bars over each door lifted upward in a synchronized fashion while a faint magical chime played from an unknown source... probably a parting illusion. Either way, escape at last!


Coming back to Sunset Shimmer, her body ached immensely from Tempest Shadow’s protective shoving. She hadn’t fully appreciated just how physically strong her partner’s body was until now. Despite the pain however, Sunset beamed with joy, for she had seen her friend taking mastery over her fear and transform it into courage. Tempest was not as weak as she supposed!


Sunset walked up to her companion’s side; “Let’s get a move on, shall we?” She’d give Tempest the mercy of getting able to dodge a feelings chit-chat for now.....


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“Yeaaaah, puzzle room. It was basically like a hall of mirrors designed as an escape room. Each clue you unlocked allowed your friend to move on to the next room, and so on and so on. It was kinda getting a bit tedious at the end, but we overcame that challenge, and at last it seemed like we had finally found the Nameless Wizard’s treasure room. Tons of gold and jewels and other treasures piled everywhere! Temy was just about to snag some loot for herself when, ummm... all of a sudden...”


Sunset Shimmer didn’t seem too particularly keen on telling this next part of the story.....

 

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“WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?”


An authoritative voice shouted from behind the two unicorns; each mare turned around and saw no other than Her Majesty — Crown Princess Twilight Sparkle of Equestria — staring at the two of them. She was Twilight... but not the one each girl knew. This Princess of Friendship stood as tall as Tempest Shadow did, and her mane... it flowed with the power of aether, just as it did with her predecessor. Twilight looked every bit the part of Celestia’s heiress... and she looked most displeased.

 

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Sweating bullets, Sunset Shimmer did what no good friend was theoretically supposed to do; she LIED. “Well, there was this purple flash in the middle of the room, and you wouldn’t believe this, but remember when I told you about the Midnight Sparkle incident Over There? Well, there she seemed to be right in front of us... in pony form of course, heh eh-heh heh....!”

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Tempest reached for the coffee as she hits mug two of the wonderful drink. Bless coffee and its power to keep one wake even if they really did not need to be. Siping on it she let sunny talk about the puzzle room. She found it… fun. At least for the start. After about one hour of that the fun was long over and was just boring as the two had to shout back and forth to work out puzzles together. Now the next room… That was… 

 

She leans over close to sunny and whispers in her ear “what in the #@%# is a Midnight Sparkle?” She asked in a hushed tone. Sunny was probably lying about what happened… but than they lied about her own test as well sooo… she was happy to play along. 

 

 

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Twilight walked closer to Sunset with an unbroken glare of disappointment as steel horseshoes meet stone with every steep. It echoes off the towering room as she steps down from her throne of silver and gold seated taller than all others in the throne room. The throne room itself was one of power as large flags hung from the walls displaying the mark of Twilight with a crown over time as pillars of magic fire cast the room a bluish tint. Looking to either side the grand room Sunset can see rows and rows of unicorn soldiers glaring at her as much as Twilight was.

 

“One simple task is all I asked of you Sunset. And yet you come crawling before me failing EVEN THAT! How many times must I send others to fix what you failed to do? How many times will you crawl before me begging for another test? Just one more to prove to me you are not worthless?” Twilight berated Sunset, stopping in front of Sunset and looked down at her. “You are unfit to stand before me Sunset. You are unfit to stand in my city! My empire! The fact you call yourself an unicorn makes us all look like fools. Most of all me for puting my trust in you.”

 

 

Tempest watches with a confused face, looking around the room in bewilderment. Where were they? She then looked at Twilight as the mare berated Sunset without mercury. What test? What was… Then it clicked. When she saw the ursa it was a lot like this… some magic was at work. Messing with one's judgement and making them see something that they feared. But how can she help sunny? What WAS this going for? It had to deal with Twilight that was easy. Sunny did have a big mare crush on Twilight. But there has to be more to it… But what can she do to help? She was never good at feelings or understanding others… Sunny was her first friend in ages. So she had to do SOMETHING but what?

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  • 2 weeks later...

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Sunset Shimmer had been so fixated on the sudden appearance of Princess Twilight that she had failed to perceive that their surroundings were noticeably different. Otherwise, mental alarm bells would be ringing right about now. As it stood, with each word Twilight spoke, Sunset’s facial expression grew more flustered and brimming with indignation. By the end, the dam burst in a wave of outright resentment.


REALLY??? Sunset growled back; “I wasted my entire winter break FOR YOU, and this is all the thanks I GET!?? Geez, some friend you are, Twilight! And what’s with this empire horseshit of yours, anyway? Did you REALLY think that just because you grew a few extra inches overnight and got a new magical hairdo, that suddenly makes you RULER OF ALL THE WORLD?? Seriously, are you fooling ANYPONY, Twi? You act all high and mighty now, but we ALL know that the moment the slightest thing goes wrong, you’ll dance around like a headless chicken just as you always do!!!

 

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“At least I don’t run away from every single problem!” The ‘Twilight’ yelled back slamming a hoof down that seemed to shake all the room. “Where would you even be without me? Some oh so evil overlord of some school? And then what? I have seen fillys with more threatening plans and power than that. I don’t run away from my problems Sunset. Even if I panic. Even if I’m scared I turn and face them head on. So don’t you dare drag my name in the mud and act as if you of all ponies are better than me. I never ran away to hide with humans than try to take them over out of some petty anger at how unsocial I am!” She added as her horn glowed with power, eyes focused on Sunset.

 

Tempest just stands on the side looking utterly confused as to… Everything. What was a human? Was… oh. Sunny did say something about them in passing. Tall hairless things… well some fur. It was weird and they sounded creepy. “Hay uh, Twi. Ya she’s not the most good at the social thing but she’s doing better than me. I mean she was my first friend so… that has to count for something? She even put up living with me in a tiny-flank wagon for over a week! That alone is pretty… amazing given how abrasive I am.” She explained to the tall Twi. 

 

Twilight looked to her side at Tempest with a confused look, as if she’s never even seen the mare before. “Stay out of this as you are hardly better. At least Sunset didn't run off into the woods like some run away do to her filly friends leave…” she blinked. “Do I seriously know three ponies that ran away from home and became evil JUST because they suck at dealing with social situations?”

 

Tempest just blinked in shock and looked at Sunset. Well that didn't go as she planned.

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Sunset Shimmer reciprocated the escalation of anger on both sides as her glare intensified and her horn glowed with a fiery aura of its own. The amber unicorn swiftly lashed out; “I’ve never run away from ANYTHING!” She should try telling that to the parents she ran away from... not to mention that baby sibling of hers she never got to know the name of. “In case you haven’t forgotten, I was TRAPPED in that miserable dimension for YEARS because of that BROKEN-DOWN MIRROR!!! You know Twilight Sparkle, if you had never been such a big baby that you needed to lug your security crown everywhere, I wouldn’t have had the chance to go through with that evil plan of mine! Maybe I could have moved back to Equestria, start over with a new life, and make a name for myself without having to suffocate in your shadow!!! .....At the very least, I would have had the pleasure of NEVER GETTING TO KNOW YOU!!!!!


It was safe to say that by the end, Sunset was literally spitting out her venom-infused words. Tempest Shadow stepped in and attempted a deescalation, but the Princess shot that down without mercy. “Pfft,” the Equestrian girl viciously mocked the alicorn that under normal times she’d consider her BBF; “As if you don’t suck at friendship yourself, Sparkle! Seriously, the only reason you’re where you are today is that you had some phony ‘cosmic destiny’ on your side.” In a display of gratuitous cruelty, Sunset added with a cruel sneer; Everything SPECIAL about you came from a RAINBOW.....”


Having exhausted much of her initial rage, Sunset Shimmer’s fury simmered down to brooding indignation; “Success always came easy to you. No matter how much of a rude antisocial you were, ponies ALWAYS lined up to be your friend. I didn’t have your same luck..... but I don’t need it, though. I’ve always had to struggle for everything, and that’s made me self-reliant. .....It’s made me the girl I am.


Sunset turned her back on the Princess, attempting to leave the throne room; “Just remember those words when you’ve got no friends left to count on, Princess Twilight. Let’s see you try to be a beloved hero then. But, like, whatever; I’m SO DONE dealing with this crap.”


“Come on Temy,” Sunny wearily growled at her; “We’ve got better things to do...” All of Sunset’s fiery temper was utterly spent. There was absolutely nothing else the supposed Friendship Princess could do to antagonize Miss Shimmer further. Absolutely nothing at all.....

 

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