Embers Fall

by CrimsonWave


20 - Descent

"Wait, Orange-gold one! Before I forget; I think I have a hunch on how you could protect yourself. But you'll need to get something on your way out of the city, unless you're enough of an audiophile to already have one..."


Back in Exmoor, Train and Wave managed to refuel their truck (with the help of some summons to push it, of course), and were now setting off on the final stage of their route. Going on four hours worth of driving, they were only 35 minutes away from Duskgem on paper. However, that calculation assumed that there was nopony else on the road...

"To be honest, I think I miscalculated things just a little bit." admitted Wave Rider.

"An employee told me that he had never seen anypony run out of gas like that in his 6 years of working there." noted Train Spot. "It's certainly not the only issue we've had so far." she remarked, hinting about a certain other subject.

"For the record, the hotel kerfuffle was partly my fault." explained Wave Rider. "I had been working on the lighting system for Eight Track's camp all day; when he came over to check on my progress, he asked for opinions on hotels. I was in a rush to get back to my programming, so I just told him to pick the cheapest hotel that didn't look too shady."

"'Falls Express Motel' did sound a little shady, to be honest." admitted Train Spot. "I swear I've never seen spring mattresses since when I was a little filly. It's all about that foam nowadays; it's more comfy, but it's not as bouncy."

"Yeah

Meanwhile, the Tanta-bus was following them close behind, where Obscurus continued to lounge in the backseat in anticipation of their arrival.

"The traffic's slower than usual for a road like this, but at least this gives us some time to do some final sanity checks." noted Eight Track. "Where are the tickets? Did we put them in the dashboard or something?"

"The tickets and stuff are not in the dashboard, because they are right here, next to me, in their nice little carrybox." acknowledged Obscurus, levitating said box to confirm their presence. "It actually is pretty nice, almost like how you ship out music festival passes nowadays."

"Good. I also did an inventory of the Electro Express while we were in Exmoor. Everything was accounted for, so we should be ready when we get there .... eventually." declared Eight Track.

"With that out of the way, I think it's about time to set the mood." announced Obscurus, as she got out her phone. "I'd like to give you a sneak preview of episode 1 of my brand new podcast slash radio show, 'Tripping Wires'."

"I got it set up to automatically post it on my website tomorrow, and I'll record some sets at the Gathering to use for future editions." explained Obscurus. "Train Spot and Wave Rider told me that they were able to maintain and increase fan engagement between concerts and releases by doing radio shows like this."

"I've been meaning to get around to starting one too; I always thought that podcasts would reduce interest in my live shows because they're basically getting my content in hour-long instalments for free." noted Eight Track. "But then I saw how Train Spot and Wave Rider were using them to hype up their releases and concerts; they were talking about wanting to plan a massive rave to jointly celebrate their 50th episodes."

"They better invite us, of course." remarked Obscurus.

"Trust me. They will." confirmed Eight Track. "It'll likely end up being a seven-hour infomercial for our label as a whole."

"Hopefully some of the Followers will also become followers of our own, if you know what I mean..." teased Obscurus. "I dug up a ton of deep cuts; Diablo got me some nice gigs, so consider this mix to be a preview of what I'll be dropping in Duskgem!"


About 70 minutes later, as the sun was beginning to set on the desert road, everypony's anticipation reached a boiling point when they saw a sign that read "Ahead: Nothing, except for everything."

"This is the pool of surrealist weirdness we're about to dive head-first into." noted Train Spot.

"Good thing we've learned to swim." joked Wave Rider.

The Electro Express was eventually directed into a somewhat long entry line marked with a banner; "Gathering '17: Sight Beyond Reality". There were a slew of pegasi stationed at gates up ahead; when the truck reached them, one of them flew up to the drivers' side window to check Train Spot and Wave Rider's tickets, provide some tips on navigating the basin, and maybe fanmare on the job just a little bit.

"For somepony who is supposedly new to the Gathering, you two have gotten a lot of things down pat." complimented the attendant pegasus. "Wait, hold on a second ... aren't you Train Spot and Wave Rider?"

"Uh, maybe!" Train Spot uncertainly replied as the pegasus looked on.

"Actually, yes." acknowledged Wave Rider.

"Did I mention how much I love your music? You're a great duo!" the pegasus announced with enthusiasm.

"For the record, we perform together from time to time, and we're friends, but technically we're not a duo." clarified Wave Rider.

"Yet." interjected Train Spot, giggling in happiness at the notion.

"Wait, actually, uh, hold on..." Wave Rider turned around to his passenger. "Hmm, I had an idea about that." he whispered.

"Oh? If we're really doing that, can I have a suit like yours too?" whispered Train Spot.

"Of course." Wave Rider quietly replied. The pegasus noticed that her ship was embarking on a new voyage.

"Yeah, we're a duo! Wave Rider and Train Spot! That's us!" he announced.

"Not like a cool alter-ego band name or anything?" the pegasus asked as her supervisor looked on, wondering what the hold-up was about.

"That's to be determined." replied Wave Rider.

"So your group is called is To Be Determined?" asked the pegasus.

"No, no, no. We're going to decide it later. It's not actually 'To Be Determined'." clarified Wave Rider, trying to ensure that Who wasn't really on first.

"Oh, okay." remarked the pegasus. "Anyway, I think my boss is going to yell at me if I don't let you through soon, so welcome to the Gathering of Embers! Stay safe, drink water, don't leave any trash around, we burn in eight days, et cetera! Avanti!"

"You know what this calls for?" asked an excited Train Spot.

"Oh, for real this time?" confirmed Wave Rider, as Train dug out a tablet out of the dashboard again.

"Eeyup." declared Train Spot. She tapped a few buttons to activate the Electro Express's "Inferno" lighting mode, as it embarked on the final stretch of road heading towards the makeshift city.

"Ladies and gentlecolts, the Electro Express is now arriving in Duskgem Basin!"