“So, what was it you called those giant bugs?” Rarity asked.
“Skullpions. Figure you can see why.”
“Indeed,” she smiled wryly. “The name is rather… appropriate.”
In the light of the gems' warm glow, Graves chuckled softly as he looked over to the pretty young lady sitting next to him. He wasn’t sure how long they’d been like that, just sitting and talking (kind of hard to tell when you’ve got no way of tracking time). It must have been quite some time though, because even the red circles around Rarity’s eyes had long since faded. But the time didn’t really matter, because it had all been rather nice.
Actually, it was more than nice. It just felt… right. It felt the way things had felt a week ago before the whole mess had started, only better. Maybe the day’s experiences has drawn them closer together. Maybe the sharing they’d done, what with Rarity’s cutie mark and the marshal’s past had given them a deeper understanding of each other.
Or maybe, it was because they were stuck in a cave together. Whatever the reason, Graves found he was actually quite content, and he wasn’t about to ruin the feeling by over thinking it.
“So how come I’ve never seen them before?” Rarity inquired, turning slightly to face the marshal. “I mean, I’m no expert on animals, but you’d think with so many of them so close to Ponyville, I’d have stumbled upon one by now.”
“Well that’s just it,” Graves replied. “Skullpions ain’t from around here: they’re native to the Savage Lands, way out west past the Snowspire Mountains.”
“My goodness, that’s at least two days by train from here!” the young lady exclaimed. “What are they doing so far from their home?”
“Not sure,” the marshal admitted. “But that means they came through the Everfree Forest. Might explain why things have been so… active recently.”
“Is that where the other thing came from?” she asked once more. “You know, the big tiger, sheep, lizard looking one.”
“The chimera,” he said, fighting back a grin at her somewhat accurate, somewhat misguided description. “Lion head, goat body, snake tail. Oh, and it breathes fire.”
“So I gathered,” Rarity murmured. “But once again, not something I’ve ever encountered before. Is it also a native of the, er… Savage Lands?”
“Yup. Maybe it chased the skullpions out on a hunt while they ran from it. Might explain things.”
“Perhaps. Perhaps not. Doesn’t really matter now does it?” Rarity said, ending the topic that’d she’d now grown bored with. “What I really want to know is how we’re going to get out of here.”
“I could try something,” Graves offered. “I’m feeling a lot better, so–”
“Don’t you even think about it, mister,” Rarity admonished, her eyes glinting as she gave him a severe warning glare. “I did not spend all this time patching you up just so you could go you go running about and getting yourself hurt again. You, sir, are going to stay put. Is that clear?”
“… Yes ma’am,” the marshal mutely nodded. He had a feeling that he'd be safer fighting a chimera than crossing the young lady on this point.
“Good.” With a satified nod, Rarity settled back in place, all smiles and good graces once more. “Though I suppose it doesn’t really matter at this point. We’ve been gone long enough that our friends will probably start looking for us soon.”
“Probably? Soon?” he repeated incredulously. “How long will that take then?”
“Why Graves,” the pretty seamstress gasped in mock offense. “Don’t tell me you’re already tired of my company? I thought we were bonding here.”
“Me? I’m just thinking about you,” the young man replied with a perfectly straight face. “Aren’t you bored of being stuck here with me?”
“Being stuck here? Yes,” she stated airily with an offhanded wave. “All this dirt is simply dreadful. I mean, I doubt I’ll ever manage to get the stains out of these slacks.” And then she paused.
“Being stuck with you, however,” she finished with a playful smile, “… I suppose I can endure that a bit longer.”
“Funny,” Graves chuckled, “I was just thinking the same thing.”
End of Season 1
The Journey of Graves will continue with the sixth story: Lazy Summer Days.