Everything looked so beautiful from the sky. The trees as every branch waved with the draft of wind that blew over the forest. There were rivers and lakes running along the center of the forest and stretched out all the way to the opposite ends, their waters crashing around like the wild winds of a hurricane. Gilda looked up at Sweetie Belle, who was watching the scenery in awe as they flew. Her purple and pink mane and tail flowing behind her as the wind caught them in its grasp.
"How far is Ponyville from here?" Sweetie Belle called out, glancing down to Gilda with curious eyes. The griffon looked at her with an annoyed expressioin and opened her beak as if to say, " Quite a while kid." but went quiet as she veered off course, dodging a tree that had managed to find itself in Gilda's path. She corrected herself in the air and continued to fly over the forest.
Sweetie managed to balance on Gilda's back as the griffon turned back onto her initial path. The wind seemed to he stronger than before, but Gilda was having no trouble with it. Sweetie felt dizzy and began poking Gilda with one of her front hooves. The griffon peeked up at Sweetie for a moment without losing focus on the course the wind was taking her. The little unicorn was beginning to sway back and forth, her breaths strained.
"Gilda, I feel dizzy." Sweetie Belle announced, trying to keep herself from falling. She could feel it worsening and held tighter onto the griffon. Gilda glanced sat her and scowled.
"You'll be fine. Just don't look down. Try to relax." Sweetie Belle nodded and let out a long, strained sigh.
"Ill try but could you land for a second so I can-" Without warning, Sweetie Belle collapsed, falling off of Gilda's back, and plummeting towards the thrashing lake below. Beak first, Gilda dived towards the falling pony, reaching out with her talons. After grabbing Sweetie Belle tightly, the griffon pulled up and began to descend. Slowly, she landed atopp a grassy field just outside of the forest. The grass stood still, as the calm winds died down completely.
The moon shone brightly over head while then stars twinkled brilliantly together, illuminating the night. Gilda rested Sweetie Belle and watched her for a second to he sure she was breathing. The slow rise and fall of her furry chest calmed Gilda, who knew that returning a less than safe unicorn would be a catastrophe for all involved. Gilda sat, waiting for the little mare to awake, wondering if the flight had caused Sweetie Belle to pass out. She looked up towards the sky and watched as a few clouds drifted in front of the bright moon, dimming the reflecting light, and making it harder to see.
Gilda sighed frustratedly at the clouds and looked down. She slowly stretched her wings and arched her back, relaxing her stiff spine. It had been bothering her since before she found Sweetie Belle. Having the pony ride on her back certainly did not make it any better, so now that they were on the ground, Gilda's back felt much better. Gilda closed her eyes and listened to the noises that surrounded her. On her left was the soft breathing of Sweetie Belle. Beyond that were crickets that played their song using their little legs as violins. Gilda loved the sounds of nature, it felt calming to listen to. She smiled and laid back, taking in every sound as they played for her. It was not lokng before Gilda found herself dozing off to these sounds she thought to be relaxing.
Sweetie Belle sat up slowly as the heat of the risen sun warmed her body. The naturally short grass tickling her as it gently followed the movements of the wind. She looked around, not recognizing the area. The familiar voice of her new griffon acquaintance calmed her a bit.
"You nearly made a crash landing last night. You're lucky I'm such a good flyer kid." Gilda slowly approached the groggy Sweetie Belle and sat down beside her. Sweetie Belle smiled at her sheepishly. Gilda ignored the smile and took a deep breath. "I think we should walk the rest of the way to your home. My back doing hurt, and there will be less chance of you falling from too far up."
"That's fine Gilda. Thank you for worrying about me." The griffon shot a glare at Sweetie Belle and snorted.
"I'm not worried about you. I just don't want my back to hurt on the flight back to Griffonstone, that's all." Sweetie Belle nodded and hid a small grin with her hoof. Sweetie Belle stood up and stretched.
"Well, if were hoofing it, we might as well start walking now." Sweetie Belle looked back at Gilda, who was facing the other way. "Um, which way should we head?" Gilda looked back at Sweetie Belle and rolled her eyes.
"Just follow me. I know the way. Don't fall behind." Gilda growled as she began to lead Sweetie Belle away from the grassy fields and further from the nearby forest.
The warm sun only got warmer and brighter as the day continued. They had been walking for hours, and had barely made a dent in their journey. Sweetie Belle huffed as she stopped walking. Gilda soon realized she was the only one walking and turned to the panting Sweetie Belle.
"Now what?" Gilda asked frustrated. Sweetie Belle took a deep breath and looked worried. She breathed heavily as she asked Gilda a question that had been bugging her since the previous night.
"Why was I so far away from home? And how did I get to the forest so quickly? It doesn't make sense!" Gilda chuckled as she remembered something from her childhood.
"When I had lived in Cloudsdale, my friend Rainbow Dash once told me about a group of lost little impish creatures called Gremlins. Gremlins loved to play pranks on ponies, and this group of gremlins were notorious for their pranks." Gilda looked back to Sweetie Belle, who had began walking again, listening intently, clinging to every word Gilda spoke.
"What kind of pranks would they pull?" Sweetie Belle asked, following Gilda down a rocky path that turned away from the grassy landscape they had been in.
"Normally just silly lines, like dying your mane an awful color, or drenching you in water when it wasn't raining. But they were mostly known for foalnapping ponies for a good laugh, and would watch the foalnzpped ponies as they made their perilous journey home."
"Really?!" Sweetie Belle squeaked, looking around cautiously. Gilda laughed and shook her head.
"I doubt it. According to Dash, it was just a legend told to little fillies to make them wary of the dangerous world beyond their home, but who knows what creatures wait lurking in the shadows." Gilda smirked, feeling that she had accomplished her goal of making Sweetie Belle worry.
"Let's hope that's all it is then." Sweetie Belle said shaking, her green eyes darting from shadow to shadow, looking for any gremlins that could be hiding nearby watching them. Gilda suddenly stopped, and Sweetie Belle, not looking directly in front of her, accidentally bumped into the griffons hind legs. "Sorry Gilda."
"Look up kid." Gilda muttered as she stood still. Sweetie Belle looked up as Gilda said, and found herself standing at the foot of a mountain just large enough to overlook the entire valley they were in. The sky had darkened while Sweetie Bells had been busy watching for Gremlins. "This mountain sees all of Equestria. And should we climb up it, can find where to go from here. This is also a great spot to stop and rest, which is what I plan to do." Sweetie Belle groaned as she looked at the large rock formation.
"Why don't we climb it now and rest on it?" Gilda shook her head and looked back at Sweetie Belle with a frustrated glare.
"Trust me, its not an easy climb to make for ponies." Sweetie Belle glared at Gilda's large wings.
"Why not fly us both up there?" Gilda laughed.
"Well I would, but I don't feel like carrying you up there tonight. Just shut up and rest Sweetie Belle." Gilda said, lying down on the dirt below her feet. Sweetie Belle made a less than excited face as she laid down on the dirt as well.
"Fine." She said, rolling over, facing away from Gilda, staring up at the mountain. The moon was in the sky once more, just barely resting above the tip of the mountain. Sweetie Belle sighed after taking in a deep breath. She laid awake on the dirt for what felt like hours, trust me, that is a painfully dull experience when you're uncomfortable. Sweetie closed her eyes and tried to go too sleep, but her bjoxy would not allow her. She rolled onto her other side to face Gilda, who was fast asleep, snoring lightly through her open beak. Sweetie Belled sighed again and slowly stood up. She wanted too get home now!
The small mare quietly and carefully made her way to the foot of the mountain. She looked back at Gilda as the moon shone down on her, casting a shadow under her yellow beak. She was still heavily sleeping. Sweetie turned back to the mountain and with a deep breath, began her grueling hike up it. She would find her way home without Gilda. She could feel it in her gut that she would be okay despite the fear in her mind at how steep it was, and how crumbly the rocks below her hooves felt. Sweetie Belle looked back one last time as she slowly climbed up. Hopefully Gilda would understand, and hopefully no Gremlins would find her as she slept.