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Door Belle's avatar
Door Belle
Not a Llama - Happy April Fools Day!
Magical Inkwell - Wrote MLP fanfiction consisting of at least around 1.5k words, and has a verified link to the platform of their choice
Wallet After Summer Sale

Black Ink
Rainbow Dash felt… wrong. It wasn’t anything she could put a feather on, but she knew something was up. It had been going on since…

She decided not to think about that.

No, instead it had been going on since she had been dredged up from the shallows and somehow refurbished. Maybe that was the problem. She was a mix of old parts that wouldn’t quit with new parts that probably would. And now she was thinking of herself as a metal ship and forgetting her mission. Wincing from what she should have felt, she held her left wing out for balance and made herself focus.

It was just a quick hit and run. Command didn’t want to expose her much. That was fine with Rainbow. All she had to do was show her face when the enemy came sailing around the Black Crags, blast a few warning shots into the lead vessels to pretend she meant business, then lure any air support they sent—and there would be plenty the moment the enemy realised she was back in action—into an ambush above the clouds. Then she would totally have a bit of a rest up there, away from prying eyes… except she couldn’t anymore. Ever since her refit, she sank through clouds like any pony would. Or like any body would. Cloudsdale didn’t have cemeteries.

"I still don’t hear them," Rainbow muttered. "They’re supposed to be here by now."

"Affirmative," the radio from her escort responded. "Radar’s clear, too, not that it’s much good here. We’ll keep you posted, ma’am."

About the only up side to all the wrong was how clear loyalty had become. There was a chain of command in which Rainbow belonged, and to all of which she owed responsibility and discipline, which she executed unerringly when she could keep her head together. It was easy at this point. That was still wrong. She didn’t like to think about it.

Rainbow waited in her chosen vantage point for almost two hours as the cloud-clearing left by her descent into the area gradually sealed itself. The entire time, her body felt like it should be going stir-crazy… but it wasn’t. It remained calm and impassive, waiting for her inputs. The only sounds were nature, flowing water, and the occasional bit of radio chatter. It was… peaceful. Rainbow wished she could be peaceful.

Then engines brought war to the soundscape and tore away its beauty forever. Rainbow sighed.

"Well, here we go again," she grumbled, raising her head slightly and bracing for the relatively small recoil of her light guns. "I’m hearing planes and ships both."

"We’ll try to pin down the aircraft for you, ma’am," said the radio. "Radar’s not ac—ng right. Radio’s a b— —-rd. C—t keep co—"

The radio died. Rainbow swallowed. Something was wrong. Well, more wrong than usual.

"It feels like we’re being watched," she said. Then the sea and mountain exploded around her. Her wings flopped about like so much dead weight. Her left wing was shredded again, though it didn’t hurt this time. She was able to get her footing back on the surface of the water… in plain view of at least four dozen enemy ships, including two massive carriers. A backward glance confirmed that not only was Rainbow’s escort gone, the blast had taken her entire mountain with it. That was when her radio started working again.

"—mand to Delta-Four-Five-Hotel, repeat, it’s a trap! Evacuate your group immediately!"

Then all the ships and fifty planes attacked at once.

"Yeah, I see that." Rainbow managed to sidestep most of the initial barrage, though her knees weren’t working right and she was outright missing her right foreleg. It didn’t hurt too much yet—in fact, it almost felt right. They wouldn’t miss like that again, though, and the fighters and fighter-bombers were almost on her.

"They got my wing again," Rainbow said. "Jerks always do. Hey, Fleetfoot, do me a favour?"

"…I’m listening."

"Don’t drag me back up this time."

Then the enemy made everything right again.
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