Embers Fall

by CrimsonWave

10 - Preamble

There were only two days to go before the Gathering of Embers officially opened, which meant that it was time for everyone to finish packing up everything they need, and then figure out just how in the hay they're going to get there. Almost everyone who participates in the Gathering knows that it's customary to stop in the city of Reino on the way, just in case you need to get some last-minute supplies, or want to meet up with others making the same journey. Historically, locals that are unaware of the Gathering have always wondered why their local shops seem to, right on cue, be out of water bottles, camping equipment, and bicycles in late-August. Sun Beamer planned to hitch a ride to Reino with Blast Furnace and her brother Smith Strikes later in the day.

However, Obscurus & Co. learned that everypony coming in from the north tended to gravitate towards Kimberwicke Falls, Oatergon instead, and then drive directly to Exmoor, Neighvada - a small desert town whose economy is fueled almost entirely by those travelling to the Stone's Throw Desert, especially at this time of year.

They all left just after sunrise; as originally planned, Obscurus & Co. split up into two groups, with Obscurus Noctis and Eight Track taking turns driving their cleverly-named Tanta-bus, while Wave Rider and Train Spot drove the Electro Express, otherwise known as the TrainTruck - a semi-truck decorated to look like a locomotive (because who else could come up with such an ingenious idea?). Whoever wasn't in the driver's seat had to help navigate, keep in touch with everypony else, and curate driving music (which, at the moment, consisted of each other's DJ sets, of course).

"We're starting to run low on gas already, and we're only just reaching Snortland. What's the mileage on this thing?" Wave Rider queried.

"It can get 6 miles per gallon, boy!" Train Spot gleefully announced. "And 8 highway." she quickly added.

"Y'know, I've wondered; why can't we just enchant the engine to run on magical energy or something?" Wave Rider pondered.

"I read online that someone's been trying to do that. It's not working as well as they thought it would, though." Train Spot reported.

"Thenagain, I don't think the oil industry wants magic to be eating into their profits." Wave Rider replied.

"Oh, and by the way, Wavey, we didn't actually leave Seaddle with a full tank; it was only three-fifths full." Train Spot noted. "You said that was enough to get us to Snortland."

"I did? Oh wait... yeah, sorry. We could refill around there." Wave Rider admitted. "Maybe we could find one of those truck stop places on the outskirts and have brunch too. They tend to have diesel."

"That can work." Train Spot approved. "Don't forget, Snortland was also where we agreed to switch seats too."

Suddenly, Wave Rider received a text message from Obscurus on his phone; "Obscurus says 'We're getting ready to leave Snortland. p.s. don't eat at the Stumpy's near the south end; they overcooked my Egg BLT! Just how do you mess up a basic breakfast sandwich?!'" he dictated, trying to imitate her ranting tone.

"That rant continued on for two more messages; I think we got the idea."

"Just tell her we're approximately 5 minutes away, and that we're not going to Stumpy's." Train Spot instructed. "We're just a little behind, but only by about 10 minutes or so. Meet you in Equine, OR."

Meanwhile, Obscurus and Eight Track were just trotting out of the Stumpy's, which was right next to the Lundy station they had stopped at.

"Justice has been served. With a free large orange juice and a stack of mini-pancakes to make up for my inconvenience, of course." Obscurus announced to Eight Track. "I take back most of my criticisms surrounding this particular location of this franchised chain of fast food establishments." she continued, taking a bite from her egg BLT.

"Oh, and Train texted me; they said they were a little behind but almost at Snortland." Obscurus reported.

"At least we're keeping a good pace." Eight Track replied.

"We should be able to reach Kimberwicke Falls by nightfall." explained Obscurus. "I just need to send the others a retraction to my rant before we go."

"Also, I have an update on Obscurus's life-or-death sandwich situation; they have a quality guarantee and she was able to get free food out of the deal." Wave Rider relayed.

"Of course she did." Train Spot sarcastically replied.