by shortskirtsandexplosions

And the Wordless World

        Daring Do's eyes flashed open.

        Blinding gold sunlight.

        Sea blue skies.

        A fluff of white mist and a rainbow colored tail and the flicker of a brown leather book.

        "Hey! H-hey, watch it—!" Athletic forelimbs flung through a warm, warm world to catch her. "Don't—!"

        They failed; Daring plummeted through the clouds.

        She burst out the other side, plunging towards emerald plains dotted with rustic brown cottages and calico farm fields. Babbling brooks and crystal-clear streams threaded under antique bridges and past dirt roads. In the center of a sprawling little village, colorful pastel shapes paused in mid-frolic, gawking up at the plummeting figure with gaping muzzles. The land was alive with emotion, warmth, and color; Daring sailed towards it like a runaway steamship.

        She hyperventilated, watching as the rock-hard earth flew closer at an alarming rate. She flung her hooves about like a fish out of water, flinching as her eyes rolled towards the heavens. A pulse of color was streaking down towards her like a missile.

        "Are you crazy?!" the pegasus' voice rasped from above. "Flap your wings, ya hay-brained idiot! Flap those wings that your momma gave ya!"

        The mare flinched. She saw the horizon flying hungrily up into her peripheral vision, and she curled her body up tight, wincing. Seconds passed as she hung there, and she realized her body hadn't been pulverized into a pile of orange paste. Her nose twitched against a whipping wind, and she noticed that she had two healthy wings levitating her in place. Her injury was gone, and in its place was a perfectly intact green shirt as well as a pale pith helmet.

        Dumbfounded, Daring Do touched down onto soft, springy earth. The ground felt smoothing to the touch, as if everything was made out of little electrical bolts that chased away any ounce of pain from her tan coat. No sooner was she dwelling on this when a book plopped down innocuously before her. She looked down at the novel, and her mouth pursed open.

        "Daring Do and the East Edge Archives."

        Four blue hooves plopped down on either edge of the book. Daring looked up, only to have an angry pegasus growling in her face.

        "What's the big idea?! Do you even look where you're flying?!" Rainbow Dash hissed at her, marching into the mare’s face and forcing the speechless adventurer to stumble backwards. "I was just sitting on a spare cloud, spending my day off with a nice read! Since when was that an open invitation for blind fliers to slam... into... me...?" Rainbow Dash's words dripped off the edge of her tongue. Her eyes had grown wide as ruby saucers.

        Daring Do blinked back at her. She twitched upon seeing her perfectly tan reflection standing clearly in the flier's gaze.

        "Whoah..." Rainbow Dash plopped numbly back on her haunches. "No way..." One eyebrow twitched higher than the other as she stammered, "You look just like... y-you look j-just like..."

        "Rainbow Dash!" Applejack tore over a nearby hilltop at breakneck speed. She skidded to a stop, sweating and panting. "Land's sakes! Is everythang okay?! Everypony in town is screamin' about a pegasus havin' fallen from the skies! We thought it was you!"

        "Uhhh... Huh?" Rainbow Dash snapped out of it, tearing her gaze off of Daring to look at the farm mare. "Take a chill pill, AJ! It wasn't me!" She pointed. "It was this pony right here! She just up and appeared out of nowhere!"

        "Knocking ponies out of the sky, Dashie?!" A pink figure bounced up out of nowhere and stood between the two. "Now, that isn't very nice, unless of course you're keeping score!" Pinkie giggled. "'Pedestrian Pegasus Polo!' Heeheehee... I need to write these things down someday." She turned and gawked at Daring. "OoOoOoOoOh... Who ordered the safari mare?"

        "Uhhh..." Applejack straightened the brim of her hat, squinting in sudden confusion at the newcomer. "Rainbow? What in tarnation... I-I mean... who in the hay is—?"

        "Yeah, uh, about that..." Rainbow Dash leaned in, pretending to whisper aside. "I was just minding my own business with a novel of you-know-what when she just happened to—"

        "Is there something the matter?" an eloquent voice chirped. With a gasp, Daring turned to see two demure ponies trotting up from a distant blanket spread. "Fluttershy and I were enjoying a fine little picnic when all of this confounded chatter started for no good reason," Rarity said, adjusting a yellow sun hat atop her pale crown. "Why, hello... Who do we have here?"

        "Rarity..." Fluttershy slid up to her companion, hiding behind a thick lock of hair. "Look at her! Doesn't she look just like—?"

        "Ahem, no need to make this any more awkward than it is, darling," Rarity said, gently patting Fluttershy's shoulder. She glanced over at the others. "Rainbow Dash, be a dear and let us know what's going on here."

        "That's what I'm trying to figure out!" Rainbow Dash squawked, waving her hooves dramatically. "I swear! I think I'm starting to lose it!"

        "And we all know how much you hate losing, Dashie!"

        "Pinkie Pie..."

        "Will everypony just hold their horses?!" Applejack growled, waving her hat. "No need to get our manes in a tangle. We've run into weirder things before."

        "Oh dear, are you alright?" Fluttershy said, bravely trotting up to Daring's shivering figure. "You look so frightened, like you've seen a ghost."

        "Uhm, Fluttershy?" Rainbow Dash winced. "I'm not sure if that's a good idea—"

        "Don't be ridiculous!" Fluttershy flashed her an angry look before rolling a melancholic gaze back towards Daring. "Look at her! She's frightened speechless!" She placed a gentle hoof on Daring's shoulder. "It's okay. You can trust us." She smiled gently. "You're around friends here..."

        Daring's head jerked towards her. With a warm breath, her eyes began to water.

        "But Twilight! It could be anything!" A young male voice rolled over the grassy knoll, followed by frantic hoofsteps. "Did we really, really need to interrupt spring cleaning to investigate ... investigate... whatever this is?!"

        "Spiiiike, I'm telling you! This is like nothing I've ever sensed before!" Twilight Sparkle trotted around the bend, her wings flexing by her side as she faced forward with a sigh. "Laws of Equestrian physics maintain that matter cannot be created nor destroyed. The type of surge my horn just registered, though, was so intense that it would be a crime not to measure it up close and—" She skidded to a stop, and a waddling dragon bumped awkwardly into her parked rear. As Spike dizzily regained focus, Twilight fell limply to her haunches, blinking brightly. "Oh... uhm... hello there..."

        Daring limply waved. Then, with a nervous jolt, she looked at both of her forelimbs as bulbs of sweat formed along her forehead.  A deep tremor wracked through her form.

        "Twilight..." Applejack turned to face the alicorn in question. "According to Rainbow here, this pony just appeared out of the bright blue yonder!"

        "Which is weird, cuz she looks neither bright or blue!" Pinkie added.

        "Rainbow?" Twilight Sparkle squinted in one direction as she paced over to her dumbstruck friend. "Why are we standing on a hilltop next to Daring Do?"

        "I'm telling you guys!" Rainbow spun, tossing her hooves. "I was just reading this book here, minding my own business, when she pops up out of nowhere, hugging me!"

        "Hugging you?" Rarity leaned forward with a furrowed brow. "You neglected to mention that fine detail." She stole Daring a dainty smile. "Adore the chapeau, by the way. Very elegant, yet rugged."

        "Er... well... uhm..." Rainbow Dash's cheeks burned as she fidgeted to say, "It was... like... sh-she leapt clear out of the pages and was clinging to me. It's hard to describe—that's why I think she really just flew into me without looking where she was going and—"

        "Rainbow Dash, random pegasi simply don't appear out of nowhere," Twilight droned. "Especially ones dressed like your favorite literary hero." Her violet eyes made cute squeaking noises as they darted back and forth from the two winged ponies in question. "Is this another one of your silly pranks?"

        "No!" Rainbow Dash stomped her hooves, flustered. "It so totally isn't!" She spun and planted her hooves on Applejack's shoulders. "Look, you're honest! Gaze into my face and tell me that I'm lying!"

        "Simmer down there, sugarcube." Applejack placed Rainbow's forelimbs down and smiled in Twilight's direction. "She's shaken somethin' fierce, Twilight. I reckon she's tellin' us the truth."

        "Or what she thinks is the truth," Spike grumbled, folding his scaled arms. "Seriously, how crazy is this?"

        "Everypony, please, just calm down so I can think this over!" Twilight exclaimed, rubbing her lavender head.

        "Yeah, Twilight!" Pinkie pumped a forelimb and chanted. "You use that righteous royal melon of yours! Go melony mental on us!"

        "Uhm..." Fluttershy, in the meantime, was leaning in, observing as Daring's shivers grew more and more intense. "Are you alright? You look sick..."

        Daring's ruby eyes were locked on the book that entire time. Suddenly, in a savage leap, she pounced upon the tome, flew its pages open, and tore the sheets out with her teeth.

        "Whoah nelly!" Applejack gasped.

        "Hey!" Rainbow Dash hissed in anger. "My book!" She flew forward in a blue blur.

        Pinkie spun from her friend's inertia. "Wowsers! Somepony is hungry!"

        Daring had utterly demolished the contents of the book by the time Rainbow rushed in and snatched the bindings out of her grasp. "That's mine! Seriously, what's wrong with you?! Now you had better buy me a new... erm..." She glanced back and forth from the book's illustrated cover to the familiar equine figure standing next to her. "Well, now that I think about it, that’s one way to get an autograph..."

        In the meantime, Daring spat out the pages and stood dead-still, her eyes shut as she breathed in and out peacefully.

        "What in Celestia's name is she doing now?" Rarity remarked. "What a curious character..."

        "It seems like she's bein' all meditative-like," Applejack said.

        "Ma'am?" Fluttershy asked, pressing her shoulder again. "Is everything alright?"

        Daring Do's eyes fluttered open. The rustle of papers faded in the wind. The afternoon remained warm, the world remained rich, and the colors continued glistening.

        Nothing had changed. Nothing.

        She sniffled, bringing a pair of hooves to her face as the dam finally burst. Tear after tear sprang from her sockets, christening a deliriously grinning face.

        The mare friends gazed curiously at one another. Pinkie Pie's face twisted in confusion while Applejack fanned herself with a hat. Rainbow Dash bit her lip while Rarity leaned in to exchange glances with Fluttershy. At last, Twilight trotted past the group, cleared her throat, and addressed Daring personally. "Ma'am, all of this is just... so sudden, for us as well as for you. You seem to have a lot on your mind, but please, we're dying to know." She leaned forward with an ardent expression. "Just... who are you?"

        Daring Do sniffled. She looked up at them, smiled wider, and spoke.

        "I am happy."

        She breathed; she buckled. Before she could collapse, Fluttershy leaned in, nuzzling the mare with a sympathetic smile and giving her a shoulder to sob into. Rarity and Applejack shared mutual shrugs before trotting forward to rest comforting hooves on the adventurer's quaking shoulders. All the while, Twilight, Spike, and Rainbow Dash stared in mute wonder.

        "Woohooo!" Pinkie bounced a happy orbit around the group hug. "Happy 'I'm a Happy Mare' Day! Let's go celebrate the new holiday at Sugarcube Corner?! Huh? Huh?! Cupcakes and sarsaparilla are on me!"

        "Heh..." Rainbow Dash blew her bangs back and cracked a relaxed smile. "Now that might just do the trick. Anypony else down for that?"


        "Most certainly."

        "Shucks, why not?"

        "You heard the girls!" Pinkie bounced past Daring and hoisted her along with a fluffy tail. "Hop along, new friend!  We’ll fill that silly hat of yours with sprinkles!  See if we don’t!  Heehee!"

        Daring chuckled and stumbled down the hillside with them, supported by Fluttershy and flanked by Applejack and Rarity. Spike hopped atop Twilight's backside as she glided down to reach the village ahead of the group.

        Alone for a brief moment, Rainbow Dash hovered on limp blue wings. She paused, looked east towards the hilltop, then shrugged before briskly flying down the opposite way to join the welcoming party.

        In the wake of her windy departure, a shattered book lay buried amongst loose blades of grass, its shadowed brown binding obscured by sunlight. It was nothing but a remnant of the past, like words turned foggy with time, glazed over with the felicitous sounds of laughter and life.