• Published 30th Jul 2013
  • 707 Views, 31 Comments

Progress - suijin



A tale of some not-really friends trying to work together to save the world. They're not even acquaintences, really. WARNING: Sequel.

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And... There They Go

Big Macintosh stood, immovable, as ponies panicked around him, and calmly waited for more of them to disperse. He had a mission, and he was going to complete it, but he would need to find help, first.

As the crowd started to thin, civilians galloping and flying in every direction, he spotted somepony that was trying to get to him, rather than running away: Vanilla. He was all too happy to see her; if he could rely on anypony in a crisis, it was her.

She eventually managed to land in front of him, where the market was less packed with crazy business ponies packing up their stalls. "Are you serious? Are they really back?" She sounded incredulous, unable to believe that something so terrible could have actually transpired. Big Mac couldn't blame her; the princesses returning after a thousand years... it was unthinkable. But it was happening, and Big Mac only nodded to confirm it.

"Then I'm going to do everything I can to help," she responded, a determined look appearing on her face. Big Mac could recognize it all too easily, having seen it on many other occasions. Whether the town was flooded, or a wild animal had wandered near the schoolhouse, she was always the first to respond during a disaster.

"Then Ah need your help, as well as anypony else's Ah can get," Big Mac stated, as he noticed several more ponies running in their direction.

"Then the Great and Powerful Trixie shall also lend her assistance!" As the light-blue unicorn mare stopped in front of them, Big Macintosh couldn't help but feel as though she looked familiar; it took him a moment to remember that he had noticed her earlier, and had been meaning to go to her show.

"Well then, welcome on board." Vanilla greeted their new recruit cheerily, if with a hint of hesitance. If the other mare noticed, she didn't show it. "But, uh, who exactly is 'Trixie?'"

The mare definitely reacted to that. "Why, I never! I'M Trixie! Haven't you heard of me?"

Vanilla scratched her chin in thought for several seconds; anypony that didn't know her would likely have thought it an act. "No, can't say that I have," she responded apologetically.

"Well, I guess it isn't my problem if SOMEPONIES don't know about the greatest magic show in all of Equestria. Now, do you want Trixie's help, or not?"

Before Big Mac could respond, two more unicorns stepped forward, seeming to just casually stroll on up. "Help with what exactly? I'm sure that me and my brother can be of assistance."

Macintosh decided to take the initiative this time, welcoming the newcomers first. "Stopping the princesses." Well, it didn't have to be a particularly polite welcome, did it?

The two unicorns looked at eachother for a moment, before turning back to him, huge grins on both their faces. "Then the Flim Flam brothers shall do our best to aid you. Can't let a couple of tyrants take over, now can we? That would be bad for business. I'm Flim, by the way."

"And I'm Flam," his brother added. "Any ideas about where we might start?"

"Eeyup. We need to-"

Once again Big Macintosh found himself being interrupted. But this time, it wasn't a pony that landed next to him, practically diving out of the sky, but a griffon.

"Hold on a second. The princesses? As in Celestia and Luna? They're BACK? How? When? What the hay happened?"

While he appreciated all the help he was being offered, it would have been nice if more of them knew some basic manners. He turned to look at the large creature, noticing the slight hint of fear in her features. Apparently, she was still too proud to let that fear show, as she remained rigid, attempting to keep a cool face.

"The princesses broke out of their prisons, and used the Elements of Harmony to fight Discord. Ah... didn't see what happened to him. But he told me how to stop the princesses, and Ah intend to do just that."

Upon hearing that the princesses had used the Elements against Discord, the griffon's expression changed. But she didn't become more scared, like Big Mac would have expected. Now, she was enraged, and looked ready for a fight.

"Well what are we waiting around here for? Let's get to work! Oh, and, uh... my name's Gilda." She added in the last part almost as an afterthought, as if it wasn't all that important. But she looked like she was going to do whatever it took to do her part, and Big Mac found himself reassured by her attitude.

Big Mac looked around at the mismatched group, wondering how strange three unicorns, one pegasus, an earth-pony, and a griffon looked like from the outside. He chuckled quietly to himself, before beginning his explanation.

"Discord said that the only way to stop the princesses is to stop the Elements of Harmony. But, in order to do that, we're going to need their opposites: the-"

"THE ELEMENTS OF PROGRESS!"

Big Mac put his hooves over his ears as Trixie practically screamed, finishing his sentence for him. Everyone else in the group was glaring at her, having been similarly startled. She, on the other hoof, seemed unphased.

She continued on, speaking as though she were narrating some kind of performance. "The Elements of Progress were used by Discord, the Spirit of Chaos, and King Sombra, ruler of the Crystal Empire, to defeat Princess Celestia, and her sister, Princess Luna, in a great and terrible battle over one thousand years ago. Then, to keep their power from ever being used for evil, Sombra took the Elements, and hid them away, placing them under the protection of three powerful Guardians. One, he hid deep underground, in a cavern filled with rivers of molten rock, home to the oldest dragon alive, far beyond-"

"Will you just tell us where to get these things, already?!" Apparently, Gilda wasn't in the mood for listening to an overly long and descriptive tale.

"Fine, be that way," Trixie huffed. "Two are in the Everfree, two more are in a nearby cave system, and the last ones are in an abandoned village. There, has Trixie made you happy?"

"Very." Gilda's smirk was practically stretching from ear to-

Wait, do griffons have ears?

"Well then, I guess we know where to go, or at least where to get started," cheered Vanilla. "Just point us in some more specific directions, and we can get looking for the first one."

"Eenope." Big Macintosh stepped into the middle of his new allies, all of which were looking at him curiously now, and more than one with suspicion. "Looking for them one at a time would be too slow. We need to get them as quickly as possible. The alicorns can get to any one of them faster than us, but there are only two of them. And, if Trixie is right-"

"Which she is!"

Macintoch continued on, ignoring her. "-then the Elements are hidden in three locations."

Flim was tapping his chin thoughtfully, as Big Mac spoke, and added in, "Which means that if we split up, we can probably get to at least one set before them."

Flam spoke up right afterward, continuing his brother's thought seamlessly. "But we won't be able to use the Elements if we only have two. We need the entire set for them to be of any use to us."

Big Mac smiled at that. "Eeyup. But the princesses won't be able to use them, neither. They already have the Elements of Harmony, why give them the Elements of Progress, too? Besides which, two Elements are better than none."

Vanilla leapt into the air, excited now that she had a firmer goal. "Then we split up, find the Elements, and meet back here. Got it?" She waited for a round of confirmations. "Then let's get moving!"

And so, after getting more specific instruction from Trixie, they set off on their way. Trixie and Vanilla headed west, to look for a chasm, from which they could enter the caves said to hold two of the Elements. Big Macintosh and Gilda headed south, to search for the abandoned village, on the edge of the Everfree. And the Flim Flam Brothers headed east, into the forest itself.

-----

Flim and Flam had just started on their way, having packed up some belongings and supplies from their tent. They were making steady progress, but feared that the Everfree would put a stop to that. It would not be an... ideal location to look for two artifacts of unimaginable power. However, the younger of the two brothers was worried about more immediate concerns.

"We're being followed." He stopped, once again looking behind them.

"What? Why would somepony be following us?" Flim turned around as well, attempting to spot the pursuer his brother spoke of.

"Because I overheard that little conversation you bozos were having." As the brothers watched, a huge, red figure emerged from a nearby alleyway. "Oh, and I ain't no pony."

"And what would a dragon want with us?" Flam was the embodiment of composure at that moment, but his brother could read the minute signals he was sending with his body language: if things take a turn for the worst, run.

"Easy there," the dragon explained, as he held up his claws, "I'm not looking to cause any trouble. I want to help too, so I'm coming with you two."

While he seemed sincere, the brothers weren't sold just yet. "Then why didn't you join us earlier, when we were with the others?"

"Because I couldn't reach you; there were way too many ponies in the way. Besides which, that crazy griffon and I don't exactly get along. Ya see, she owes me a little money, but doesn't want to pay up. I figure that getting my money now won't do me any good if the worlds just gonna end, anyway, so I'm gonna help you guys get through that crazy forest, and put a stop to this."

The brothers looked at each other, once again using their body language to communicate, before turning back to the dragon. "Then the Flim Flam Brothers welcome you on our quest to save Equestria," they said simultaneously.

The trio set off, soon making their way to the edge of the Everfree forest, after stopping to warn the pegasus who lived in a cottage near its edge. As they began moving deeper inside, the dragon remembered something important: his name.

"By the way, I'm-"

Before he could finish, a branch smacked painfully into his snout, having swung back after being pushed out of the way by one of the brothers. "I'm sorry, what was that?" Flim, the one who had moved the branch, stopped to check on his companion.

"Oh, sweet son of Sombra, that hurt! You know what, forget it; things seem to run into me alot more when I try to introduce myself."

Author's Note:

Poor ****** is never going to be able to say his name. Oh well, should probably save it for an emergency, anyway. He is Important Enough to Have a Name, after all.

Also, apologies on the delay. Gaming happened.

Edit: I'm going to be holding a contest, in which the first person to tell me what is wrong with this story's cover art will be able to request a one shot from me, which will be posted in Another Story (which is actually another one of my stories). Said cover art will be fixed afterward. That is all. I have a blog post explaining it a little more up, so read that first if you have any questions.

Edit to edit: contest is over. Everybody go home.

... not literally, of course.