• Published 25th Apr 2012
  • 4,335 Views, 28 Comments

Daring Do and the Ivory Idol - Fedora



If adventure has a mane, it must be Daring Do!

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Chapter 1: An Old Foe

With a flick of his wrist, Ahuizotl downed the remainder of his martini glass. He felt the sweet, cloying taste of the expensive drink, and sighed. It was great to have influence. Ahuizotl lifted his gaze up, and observed the performers on the stage. From his executive seat, he had prime viewing of the felines on the stage as they danced to the music that the pit orchestra was playing. He tapped his foot to the fast-paced jazz tune being played, while shifting his attention towards a pair of leopards entering the dining room. The leopards were staff members of the establishment, The Cat House. It was one of Ahuizotl's many businesses, which he had set up to be run by his predator friends. Because of this, Ahuizotl was seen as an executive and authoritative figure whenever he visited one of these places, and was given preferential treatment. Indeed, he was ultimately the one in charge of the operations of this club.

The two leopards walked quickly over to the table where Ahuizotl was sitting. The leaner of the two spoke quietly to Ahuizotl.

"The pit fights are about to begin, sir," he said. Ahuizotl lifted his gaze and shook his head.

"I've no interest in watching two aspiring fighters rip each other to shreds. I'm currently enjoying the atmosphere. See those young ladies? Frisky, aren't they?" said Ahuizotl, chuckling to himself.

"I think you may find yourself interested in the outcome of this match," replied the leopard in earnest. "You see, old Gritty Claws is going up against a new "competitor", one we caught trying to steal from the gang's headquarters."

"I don't wish to see yet another petty thief torn to shreds either, thank you," was Ahuizotl’s retort as he eyed the two leopards.

"I mean really, if he's done something against us let him have it. I don't even care if Gritty kills him, but I don't feel like going to watch another match, I'm busy enjoying the show these felines are putting on."

"Ahuizotl sir," said the other leopard, "I don't think you realize- the one we caught, she was trying to steal artifacts from our cases. She said that they weren't ours, and that we stole 'em from that tribal village up in-"

"Listen, I don't CARE. I mean, honestly, would I rather watch some broad that tried to rob us and got captured be forcibly thrown into a pit with our top fighter and get mauled, or would I rather watch this?"

"Sir-" the first Leopard answered, "The one we caught isn't just anybody. She's a pony, by the name of Daring Do."

****

Ahuizotl stormed into the canvas canopy that was constructed on the city green. It was similar to a circus tent, but the ring in the center wasn't for clowns. Ahuizotl marched up the steps of the seating arrangements which encircled the fighting ring like a small stadium. He sat himself down in one of the higher boxes, which had an excellent view and had been reserved for his private use.

As he began watching, the announcer tiger began speaking.

"In corner number one, seventeen time champion Gritty Claws! Put your paws together for Gritty!" boomed the announcer, and in the ring a muscular lion stood on his hind legs for a moment and beat his chest, letting out a bellowing roar. Gritty was a tough lion, having beaten all who came before him and killing several of his opponents. Gritty's mane was slicked back with grease, and his teeth were pearly, white, and sharpened. He let the audience see this clearly as he barred them, looking about as the other fighter was dragged forcibly into the ring.

"In corner number two, we have newcomer from the northern lands of Equestria, Daring Do!" Daring was being thrown about forcefully. She had been captured against her will, and had been treated roughly. She wasn't here on her own accord- this was the predator's sick idea of justice, to force her into a fighting ring where she stood little chance.

Daring looked disheveled. Her pith helmet was marked with scuffs and smudges, and her olive shirt was wrinkled and dirty. She had several bruises from being treated roughly by the predators, and even a couple of minor cuts. She had survived the ordeal, and to her knowledge they hadn't found Scootaround so far. She hoped they didn't. Scoot was a smart filly, and if she could evade the predators for long enough she could find a transport to get herself back to Equestria.

The bell rang suddenly, and Daring was caught off-guard. The lion roared, and rushed at her, bounding on all fours. Daring leaped into the air, somersaulting over the lion and landing on its back. The predators had tied her wings to her sides, so she was incapable of flight. They didn't want her escaping. As she landed on the lion, he rolled and regained his footing, sending Daring off onto the cement platform. While Daring was down, Gritty charged, swatting at her with a big, powerful paw. The paw stuck concrete as Daring moved out of the way of the blow, regaining her stance and crouching. She emulated a predator's stance, looking on the verge of pounce. Likewise, the lion was also in a pre-pounce state, and the two circled each other, waiting for the one of them to make a false move and expose themselves to attack.

Ahuizotl was taking much enjoyment in this. He had a vendetta against Daring Do, after she had stopped him on several occasions as he attempted to acquire artifacts to sell on the market. She had even reclaimed the Sapphire Statue, which he had planned to use as a source of power. He relished the thought of one of his own minions being the one to finally rid him of this troublesome mare.

With a war shriek, Gritty Claws leaped into action, and Daring did so too, shouting loudly. Gritty had his claws outstretched, ready to land and maul Daring, but she managed to land a strong kick to his abdomen, causing his attack to be nullified.

Daring Do took the opening, body-slamming into the lion forcefully, trying to knock him down. Unfortunately, the experienced fighter was expecting this, and landed a punch to the side of Daring's flank, sending her backside tumbling and ruining her offense. As she stood back up, Gritty pounced again, this time it was all Daring could do to avoid getting mauled. She attempted to land a backwards kick, but the lion swiped at her side, sending her down onto the hard cement again. The lion loomed over her, and she seemed to have no out of this situation.

It was then that a large metallic object crashed through the side of the tent, skidding to a halt in the middle of the ring, blocking her off from the lion. The object was a beat up old automobile, which was native to the region.

It took a moment for Daring to realize what had just happened, but she seized the opportunity as soon as she saw it, and rushed out of the tent through the hole made by the predator's car. She scooped up her bag, and slung it over her shoulder mid-gallop as she ran from the tent as fast as she could.

"How was that for a rescue, huh?" yelled a voice, and Daring looked across the street outside the park to see a little orange filly wearing a newsboy hat. "Meet you at the dock, Dr. Do!"

Daring grinned as she ran faster. Scootaround had organized the car crash to give her a chance to escape. Daring heard the sound of stomping feet behind her as some of the predators who worked for Ahuizotl gave chase.

Daring bounded into the street, leaping over a carriage and landing on top of a wagon filled with gravel. She climbed up and over the side of the wagon, back down onto the street, and quickly made it over to the opposite side. She knew the docks were west, so she galloped in that direction, weaving into the alleys of the low-lying brick buildings. For being on the South Equestrian continent, Coast City was very modernized, with new building materials such as bricks and pavement replacing much of the old cobblestone roads and clay buildings.

Daring swerved through an alley, and emerged on several wooden planks. She could see the form of a boat departing from the docks, heading west, with a little filly hanging off the stern end, beckoning her. She ran down the length of the dock, leaping off the end.

The feline predators did not follow her, instead remaining on the dock and yelling frustratedly at each other. Daring landed with a great splash of water, and swam after the boat, quickly catching up to it and hoisting herself up and over the stern end of it. She dumped the water out of her pith helmet, before placing it back onto her head and looking back at the dock, where the leopards and tigers still stood angrily. Behind them was Ahuizotl, looking furious. Daring let out a laugh, and gave him a false salute, which infuriated him.

"Nice try, Ahuizotl! Better luck next time!" yelled Daring.

****

"So what now, Dr. Do?" Scootaround asked, sitting herself down at a table inside the boat's cabin. The skies outside were darkened with the night, and the captain hired by the museum's grant for this expedition had the boat under control. Daring herself was resting on one of the stools inside the cabin, across the table from Scootaround. Her pith helmet sat off to the side, and she let her dark mane hang loose.

"Well, I don't know kid," Daring said, taking out a package of playing cards and beginning to shuffle them. "My old enemy Ahuizotl is at large back there, that makes it kinda hard to reclaim those artifacts if he's expecting us."

"What even happened?" said Scootaround, "I was gonna wait for you to get back to that one spot- then you just never came."

"They caught me," was Daring’s answer, "I made it all the way up to the set, too. They were something alright- each spearhead was cut out just like the book describes. Of course, they were stolen by a raid several decades ago lead by some of Ahuizotl's predecessors in the predator crime rings. That's how they winded up in his stash. None of the ones that captured me were willing to listen to a word of it, though."

"Wow," Scootaround remarked, raising her eyebrows.

Daring leaned back for a moment to peer out the window in the cabin of the boat. The night was very dark by this point, and she could barely make out the lapping waves of the ocean's current in the moonlight.

"Dr. Do, where are we going now?" asked Scootaround.

"Probably one of those mining villages on one of the islands. There should be a friendly population of ponies there, plus a way to get into contact with Equestria by radio."

"Wow, Radio can reach that far?" Scootaround asked, sounded impressed.

"Well, maybe not. It's only a decade or so since ponies starting using them commercially. I remember when I got my first radio back in '25. Still it's either that or a telegram system. If there's a mining operation they've got to have a way to get into contact with the parent company in Equestria. I think the island we're looking for is a few hours away, still, we won't be there until after midnight."

"Alright." said Scootaround, shifting her attention back to the game of cards they were playing.