62w, 1dHuman in Equestria
58w, 19hAuthor Support
51w, 6dBlackWing is Awesome
51w, 1dUnique Transformation
50w, 2dThe Usual
- Show All Groups
50w, 1dChess Game of the Gods
49w, 2dAwesome Reading People
42w, 6dbronys united
5w, 6dThe Good HiE List
6w, 4dThe Griffon kingdom
4w, 3dHumanity sucks
4d, 23hHumans turned ???
"Let's go. I don't really wanna stay here much longer. Let's hit the jungle for herbs first since it's close by, then head to the colony, then back to Equestria to finish the tour. So long Las Pegasus, hello Vren tribe."
Lazy days were spent aboard the ship, idly training, making plans, Steelhorn, Shimmer, and the pony machinists working on the laser cannons. Yes, they're building more. We're gonna have more colonies in the future, we'll be needing more of em. The cats were getting pretty excited to be home for a bit, even if they weren't going to their land, the jungle was where they truly belonged, and they were glad to be going back. Nadene was glad as well, but at the same time........
"Grif, I think there may be a problem with us getting the herb. I don't think I can go there. I don't think we can go there. They kicked us out remember? You're not welcome there, I've been banished, and I don't even want to think about what they'll think of Maria. We'll have to send someone else....." The cat reasoned.
"I'd be inclined to agree, but, who else can get the herb?"
"The herb is easy, well, for us anyway. It's unique, you can't miss it. Being let into the grove by the tribe however....." Nadene replied.
"Well, it can't be me, Gilda, Trixie, Etch, Growl, any of the griffins, since they'll make the connection, or any of the other cats, since they're from different tribes........ I don't know what they'll think of Shimmer..... so, that leaves Steelhorn and the Freuds....."
"Actually...." Selma's rattling old bones interrupted my train of thought. "I've been thar once."
"You have?!?!?!" Everyone looked at her with gaping mouths.
"Listen ere ya upstarts, I've been around a long time, almost two undred years if I count em right, and I've seen thangs that nobody 'as business seein. I've also seen tha most beautiful sights in this world, tha sacr'd grove bein one of em. Course, I was a spry young lass back then." Two hundred? That doesn't seem right. Didn't she say ninety-something last time? I can't remember.
"Selma, the grove is guarded by fierce animals and wicked vines. You wouldn't be able to make it in your condition...." Maria pleaded.
"I know, but, thar ain't really a choice. Them gear heads and I are tha only ones they'll let in, and they can't go on their own. They need a guide. Someone who knows tha traditions and tha layout."
"I don't like zis....."
"Listen ere sonny! It's ur wife! Man up! Ya gotta take responsibility fer er! She's not strong enough ta do it, and are ya really gonna send yer daughter in thar because you're too much of a coward?"
"Geirmund Freud is not a coward!" The mecha pony replied.
"Well then sonny, you best be gettin ready. I'll go over tha traditions with ya, so ya best listen well."
"Hey, I'm still the captain. Doesn't anyone care what I have to say about this?" I tried to get the situation back under control.
"No!" They both shot back at me. "Listen to your elders!" They said in stereo.
"Ah fine, do whatever the hell ya want. If you need me, I'll be figuring stuff out." I pouted and left, heading back to my quarters to go over some ideas I had with Trixie and Gilda. I always hated when adults pulled the 'I'm older and I'm wiser' line, because there really isn't anything you can do against it, especially in this situation. It really sucks actually. Then again, The whole point of having Selma on board was because she's old and knows more, and this is the jungle, she's in her element. Might as well let her do her job.
"Grif, are you sure just letting them go off is such a good idea?" Trixie asked.
"Gear is like sixty, and is more machine than pony. Selma is a tough old biddy who knows the lay of the land. What could go...." I proceeded to cover my mouth with my claw.
"That was close. What I mean is, they can take care of themselves. She'll guide him through, and he'll protect her. Besides, I can't keep them cooped up on the ship all day. When's the last time Selma felt dirt on her paws? They need some fresh air. This is part of trusting my crew. I don't like it, but, I have to believe they can take care of themselves." I gave a sigh.
"I still don't like it." Gilda added.
"Well, that's why we're going to spy on them isn't it? We'll drop them off outside the village, let them do their thing, and watch them from above, giving 'subtle' aid to them whenever we can."
"That's more like it."
"Okay, so, you're ready? We'll drop you off a half mile outside the village, then return there every day at noon till you get back."
"It don't matta if he's ready or not, he's gotta do it anyway."
"I really don't want to do zis."
"Well ya ain't got a choice sonny, now get movin!" She smacked him in the flank with her staff. He scooted up towards me, and I picked him up. Gilda grabbed Selma, and with Trixie and Shimmer on our backs, we flew down to the surface.
"Okay. Well, good luck you two, I have a feeling you'll need it."
"Uugh, ze jungle is hot und humid, I think mein gears are rusting."
"Quit yer bellyachin ya milk drinker!" She smacked him again. Watching from our cloud, the four of us started our own little conversation to pass the time.
"She's really quite hard on him, isn't she?" Gilda pointed out.
"Well, he was babied pretty much his whole life because of his 'disability', and since he spent all his time indoors making his machines, the extent of his social interaction and survival experience is hiding from angry guards. He's in for a rude awakening."
"He always was a bit of a spoiled brat, it's a wonder I turned out all right." Everyone turned around slowly to see Furnace sitting on a cloud next to us, which seemed to have been made of water vapor spraying out of her fake wing. If we had drinks, we would have spat them.
"Oh come on, you think nopony noticed the fact that you hadn't come back yet? I figured you'd spy on them. By ze way, it's my job to keep an eye on my dad, I AM his daughter after all." We motioned for her to bring her cloud over to ours and join them together, and then we all leaned over and watched what was happening down below, all the while using the cloud like pillows, while Trixie and Shimmer used us as pillows. I noticed in particular that the blue dragon had slight bumps on her back. Maybe she's gonna grow wings? Can't think about that now, gotta focus on the task at hand.
The pair down below approached the village, where the chief stood in all his blind glory. Then surprisingly, He gave that old bat Selma a hug. Guess they know each other. He gave a glare at Geirmund. I could hear them faintly from up here. Selma was explaining the situation.
"What's going on, I can't see." Trixie complained.
"Selma met the chief, and is explaining that he needs the herb to save his wife. Nadene spoke of it a bit before. They keep very low stocks of the herbs on hand, since they can just go into the grove to get them. Apparently, the grove has 'accepted' the Vren tribe. Outsiders however have to enter the grove to get it themselves." I began relaying things play by play for the rest of them.
"Why can't they just.... I don't know... BUY the herb off them?" Furnace asked.
"Because, it's not like she just needs a single treatment, they're asking for quite a lot of it, so, to ensure that it's going to a worthy cause, they're making him go get it. Basically, he has to earn it. You know, we probably should have brought Nadene with us, that way she could give us more info on the spot, instead of us having to go off of what she told us."
"Uuck, I wish to get zis over with. Ze sooner I leave zis infernal jungle, ze better."
"We only just got ere, and we still got a long way to go ta get the herb. Ya got a sample don'tcha?" My guide chided.
"Yes, right here. Zis is what we're looking for. Let's just get it and go."
"No, we have to follow tha proper tradition." She scowled.
"Bah, tradition. We should do zis as quickly as possible."
"Here is the grove. Are you sure you are prepared?" One of the cats asked.
"Yes, let's just hurry and finish zis."
"You have so much to learn. You are old, but are in no way wise." Muttered the old cat being my guide.
Selma painted herself in some sticky green muck from the edge of the grove. It smelled foul, and matted her fur. There is no way I'm putting that stuff on me. It will get in my gears. She motioned for me to do the same, but I simply began to walk in. She rolled her eyes and huffed, then entered as well, stepping in front of me, taking the lead.
"Stay close youngun. You don't wanna step on something." From her smell and the globs of much dropping off her, I was more worried about stepping in something. I've got to keep my machine parts clean and well oiled. Getting any of that gunk on me was just asking for my enhanced limbs to get destroyed. Suddenly, she stopped moving forwards, and started walking in a circle around the clearing we were in. I began moving forward, but she whacked me on the head with that blasted staff oh hers. I grit my teeth. Seriously though, if she does that again, I'll snap her damn stick in half. She sat cross legged in the middle of the clearing for about ten minutes.
"Why are we waiting? We should be moving towards the herb." I began walking forwards, out of the clearing, and she ran straight at me at a speed I thought not possible for one her age. I turned to look in front of me just in time to see a massive timberwolf close it's jaws around my neck. It suddenly backed off as some of the muck she had coated herself with splattered on it's nose, causing it to yelp and run in fear.
"What was......." She took more of the muck and smeared it on my head.
"Tha smell repels wild animals and diseased bugs. If ya had just worn some ta begin with, we wouldn't have had this problem, but since yer shiny bits can't get dirty, I had to spread the scent of the muck around ta keep em at bay. It's only at the edge of tha grove, and near the middle, and acts as a barrier ta keep all tha nasties inside. Like we all told ya before, tradition, there's a reason we do things. Even if tha reason is lost to time, if we follow tradition, we'll still remember the action. Ya best be listenin from now on, ya hear?"
That crazy old bat just saved my life........ For as long as I can remember, I was the one who knew everything. I was the smart one, I was the one who knew what to do, but here.... I'm helpless. I may as well be a sack of potatoes. I gulped nervously, and nodded dumbly. Here, she is the wise master, and I'm the learner. I can't say I'm comfortable with it. It's been a long time since I've had to learn from somepony else.
"Now, what was tha next bit of the tradition?"
"We make our way to ze sacred pool and bathe to 'clense our soul of sin' so the dark hungerer will overlook us?"
"Actually, it's ta clense tha muck. While these critters may not like it, it's like honey to tha guardian, and we can't get past it if we're all mucked up. It hates what's in the water."
We made our way to a sparkling clean pool of water. I took a taste, but then realized it was ocean water. I'm not sure how, but we're miles from the ring sea, and there's sparkling clean salt water in this pool. By her instruction, I wash the muck off myself out of the pool before I dunk myself in, gears and all, then use the automatic oiling function to prevent rusting once I got out.
"Good, yer learnin youngun, now let's go." I stopped for a moment, and used a pump in my fake leg to suck some of the water up and store it. Could be useful if we run into this 'guardian'.
We continued to walk for about an hour, we reached a moat filled with more of the muck, and it had several sets of stairs leading down into it, all placed around the circle.
"I can just fly across. You should wait here and," *WHACK* I'm really starting to hate this cat, but she's saved my flank once already, maybe I should be listening instead?
"Look." She pointed her staff forwards.
"I don't see anything."
I stared for a full minute before I saw a small shimmer in the air.
"What is that?"
"Spider silk. Now, we wait till sundown. At dusk and dawn, when the light shines at the right angle, which it will do for only ten minutes, we will be able to see them clearly, and find a path through them. Once we enter, we will have to spend the night."
I waited with Selma for another hour, and when the sun just began to set on the horizon, I saw the most miraculous sight. One by one, the threads that I had only caught a glimpse of before, lit up brilliantly. Another and another caught the light, until there were millions of them, making a great dome of light over the grove proper. It was pristine. It was by far the single most beautiful thing I had seen in all my life, not counting my wife and child. I stood there in awe of it's beauty.
"Well, get movin! Ya wanted to get the herb and be done with it, and now you're dilly dallying. If we don't get through in the next ten minutes, we'll be stuck in there, and that won't be good." I quickly did as she commanded. She found a set of stairs not covered in webs, and we descended. Upon reaching the bottom, we quickly found a set of stepping stones with which to cross. Selma seemed to be struggling to find her balance on the slippery stones.
"Here, allow me."
"I got it!"
"No, you don't. You're not as spry as you used to be, you'll slip and fall in ze muck, and if what you said about ze guardian is true, it'll come after you. Just like how I need to recognize tradition, you need to recognize when somepony has found a better way." She looked at me and scowled, before she finally relented.
"Very well. I guess I have been a bit of a stubborn old hag." She reached up and grabbed hold. Now, I may be old, and because of that, if I were a normal pegasus, I might not have been able to lift her. With my metal wings however, the added weight and care needed due to her being frail became a trivial matter. I activated the built in thrusters, and we slowly hovered over the muck pit to the other side, all the while avoiding the webs which threatened to snare us.
"Well, they've gone in. I have to say, I'm actually pretty impressed. Maybe I didn't need to worry about them. Well, we can't see anything from here because of the gigantic, shiny, *shudder* spider webs, so, let's head back to the ship to get some rest."
"You know, from watching those two, I think I learned something. No matter how much you know, there's always room to learn." Trixie pointed out.
"Yeah, and that the young should respect the ways of the old, but the old should accept that the young have good ideas." Furnace added.
"Well? You two have a letter to write then don't you?"
Dear Princess Luna,
Today, through watching some of the other crew members, I've learned that no matter how good you are, how smart you are, or what you know, the world can still surprise you, and you have to be open minded enough to listen to what others tell you.
I also learned that things are done a certain way for a reason, and even if we don't understand the purpose behind it, it's done that way specifically. We should respect tradition, but at the same time, we should also accept when someone does something new. By knowing the old ways, which we learn from our elders, and combining them with the ideas of the young, we can make something brand new and amazing, or solve problems that couldn't be dealt with by one way alone.
Sincerely, Trixie and Furnace.