• Published 15th Nov 2011
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Cloudy Skies and Distant Lands - J-Webb



Applejack & Rainbow Dash end up in a jungle and must find their way back to Equestria.

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Crash Landing

Cloudy Skies and Distant Lands

[Shipping | Adventure | Grim-dark | Sad]

Chapter 2: |
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*Note* This is the second fic in my series, if you have not read the first story this one will not make sense! Please read "Fading Colors" before reading this one! Fading colors can be found under stories on my page here on Fimfic.



A strange weightless sensation overcame Applejack; she glanced around, noticing that her hooves were slowly rising off of the library floor. A blinding light sprang forth, temporarily disabling her vision. The earth pony's world began to spin, a heavy feeling of nausea sputtered into life from the pits of her stomach.

The apple farmer senses took over betraying all logical thoughts, convincing her that at any second, the magic carrying her would give out. Dropping her into a never-ending abyss, where she would be doomed to fall for eternity. Afraid of her own mind's insecurities, Applejack pleaded silently for the ground to return.

A few moments later, the familiar feeling of being earthbound returned to Applejack. A reassurance of safety overcame the earth pony, calming her overactive thoughts. She opened her eyes, her vision blurry and spinning. Trying to walk forward, she began swaying back and forth uneasily. Failing to regain her balance, the apple farmer started to stumble forward. Nausea got the best of her, as she crashed headfirst into the dirt below.

"Uggh."

Lifting her head from the dirt, Applejack cast a long glance around. Thoughts buzzed around in the farmer's mind as panic took over. "This ain't Manehattan." She stated aloud, wondering where she had landed.

Applejack forced herself to stand, attempting to overcome the dizzy spells that continued to assault her mind. Finally, her dizziness began to subside. Able to get a good look at her surroundings, Applejack spun around on the spot, taking in all the liveliness of the jungle.

A warm breeze blew past, relaxing Applejack's tense muscles. The air felt sticky and humid against her pelt. The wind carried with it the sweet crisp aroma of nature, as well as new scents the earth pony had never witnessed before. Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes, letting the scent of the great jungle invade her every being. A brief moment past, exhaling, the farmer returned her deep green eyes upon the forest before her. Lush green vegetation of all shapes and sizes unfolded as far as she could gaze. Trees stood tall, blocking out most of the sunlight from above, heir shadows cast their down across the jungle floor. She stood in amazement of the surrounding jungle; a unique location, unlike anything she had ever laid eyes upon. She relished in the warm peaceful sensation the primeval forest gave off, stunned by the utter beauty of such a place completely untouched by the hoof of civilization.

"What do you make of all this, sugarcube?" Applejack asked Rainbow Dash, while continuing to survey the surrounding vegetation.

A calm silence replied to the earth pony, and soon, Applejack realized that the rainbow-maned Pegasus was nowhere in sight.

Confusion sunk its jaw into the depths of the earth pony's brain, elevating her heart rate. Applejack began to breathe rapidly, beads of sweat building up across her brow. A snapping sound came from behind her, reacting instantly, she swung around in a fit of panic. Upon further investigation, she discovered nothing, leaving her with a feeling of uneasiness. Frantically she searched for any signs of life within the dense jungle.

"Rainbow Dash?"

An animal cry rang out off in the distance, setting Applejack's nerves on edge.

"Rainbow Dash!" Applejack shrieked, frantically looking for any signs of her marefriend.

Applejack's concern for the cyan Pegasus's safety took control her mind. She took off galloping, saddlebag swinging wildly as she sped through the dense jungle. Sounds from all directions exploded into life, following the earth pony as she tore through the dense vegetation.

Up ahead, the light jungle trail seemed to disappear, leading to a wall of dense shrubbery. Applejack gathered her speed, leaping forward at the last possible second. Time seemed to slow as she cleared the top of the bush, landing perfectly on the other side she skidded to a halt. Surveying about, the earth pony realized she stood in the middle of a clearing. Knee-high grass stretched all across the clearing, blowing freely in the warm wind. Exotic flowers of all shapes and sizes grew all around like weeds.

"Where am ah?" Applejack announced aloud, observing the world around her.

The rhythmic beating of her own heart thumped loudly in her ears, drowning out all other sounds. Applejack felt her breath starting to catch up, slowly relaxing her nerves with every exhale. Her mind however, still flowed with many unanswered questions, "Ah hope Dash is alright."

"Of course she is, she's a strong pony." Applejack reassured herself internally.

"But she's not invincible." Her self-doubt warned.

A snapping sound pierced the quiet atmosphere, drawing the earth pony's attention. She surveyed the surrounding area, desperately searching for the source of the noise. There! On the other edge of the clearing, a bush shook uncontrollably. Squinting for a better look, Applejack could see something, or somepony hiding within its foliage.

Thoughts rang out in Applejack's mind; risk the approach? Knowing it could be a dangerous wild animal. Alternatively, run away and not get the help she might, deeper into this seemingly endless jungle. Weighting her options, Applejack decided it was for the better if she tried to make friends with the stranger.

Slowly, she approached the shrubbery along the clearing's edge, noticing the movement cease as she drew closer. Cautiously, Applejack poured all her attention upon the shrubbery, carefully taking note of the obscured beings movements.

Another sharp snapping sound rang out, this time far off to her right. Applejack instantaneously turned her attention in the direction of the noise, listening to the echo it created deep within her head. Another snapping rhythm rumbled into life from a different direction, closely followed by the stalking movement of more shadows. Multiple creatures were working to surround the earth pony.

Feeling helpless, alone, lost, and in danger, panic gripped Applejack tightly. She made a beeline to her left, galloping across the meadow, propelled by the will to live.

Alas, the creatures in hiding revealed themselves. Various ponies sprang forth into the clearing all around Applejack, blocking off any hope of escape. Trails of dust flew into the air, as Applejack tried desperately to stop her forward momentum. When the dust settled, Applejack stood rooted on the spot. For the first time, she was able to get a good glimpse at the other ponies. Each pony wore a different wooden tribal mask, painted with various red and green colors. As the mysterious tribe continued to grow closer, Applejack noticed that they all carried a spear, attached to a foreleg. Slowly, they were closing in, trapping the earth pony. Panicked thoughts flushed over her again, enraging her muscles with a powerful surge of adrenaline. Suddenly, her instincts took over, propelling her forward. The apple farmer charged at the gap between two of the ponies, colliding with them, she burst through galloping wildly off into the forest.

---

The sound of her heartbeat pounded loudly in her ears, each breath rushing in and out greedily. Her muscles ached and burned, for a relief from their strained usage. Glancing about behind her, Applejack could only make out the dense jungle. Her mind released its paranoid grip, giving the earth pony control over her body again. With each step taken, her body strained from exhaustion. Slowing her pace, Applejack came upon a wall of dense vegetation. Lazily, she pushed through the plants, reappearing shortly after on the other side. The apple farmer collapsed for exhaustion, allowing her body some rest.

A loud animal call sang out, setting the surrounding jungle ablaze with the return calls from various animals. The earth pony waited nervously, watching for any signs of the savage ponies from before. The bush behind her moved, without hesitation, Applejack took off running. Casting a glance back over her shoulder, a little bunny hopped out of the shrubbery before scurrying off in the opposite direction.

Failing to watch where she was going, Applejack tripped over a fallen tree. Her forward momentum sent her airborne, tossing head over hoof as her limbs flailed helplessly.

Smashing into the ground, the earth pony began rolling down the steep hillside. Slowly, Applejack began picking up speed as she tumbled further down the hillside. Flipping head over hoof, Applejack's world begun to spin as she continued to build speed, ripping through dense vegetation with ease. A sharp cutting sensation lashed out, wrapping itself around Applejack's waist. The vine's thorns dug deeper into her flesh, while gravity continued to haul the apple farmer closer to the bottom of the hill. As the vine entangled in her flailing limbs, it pulled tighter around her waist, driving a flame of white-hot pain throughout her body. Suddenly, the creeper snapped, returning all the lost momentum to the earth pony. With each roll and bump, the thorns dug a little deeper, sending signals of agony to Applejack's brain. The suffering grew too much to bear; with her world fading, she managed to catch a faint glimpse of the rapidly approaching river as she continued to tumble down the hill, before blacking out.

---

"Whoa… What happened?" Rainbow Dash questioned aloud, rubbing the side of her face. Hauling herself off the ground, she swayed uneasily. Unable to obtain her balance, the cyan pony stumbled, landing hard on her side.

"Ow." She cried, as the contents of her saddlebags did all but soften the fall.

Carefully, Rainbow Dash slowly righted her stance. Feeling her vertigo pass, the Pegasus glanced about, absorbing the surrounding area. The sky lay overcast with dark gray clouds, blocking out most of the fading sun's orange rays. The weak sunlight that did manage to penetrate the cloud barrier reflected off the ground, creating a gloomy affect over the barren land. Removing her eyes from the sky, Rainbow Dash studied the land formations around her. Rock and stone covered the earth all around. Very little trees and vegetation lay around, the ripe green standing out easily among the neutral gray rocks. Instead of flat even grounds, mountains, tall and steep surrounded the horizon in all directions. Far off into the distance, a tall castle shaped structure stood taller than the clouds themselves. The faint rays of sunshine glimmered off the building's shiny metal, magnified, and then returned to earth.

"Hey, AJ? Do you have any idea where we are?" Dash asked, her gaze still focused on the landscape.

"Applejack?" she called out again, surveying the surrounding area for a sign of the orange-coated earth pony.

Unnerved by the lack of response, Rainbow Dash rocketed off into the sky. "Applejack!" she cried again, listening intently for any sort of response.

Silence, a faint gust of wind picked up, emitting a low whistle that engulfed the quiet atmosphere of the already empty wasteland. The cyan pony's patience ran out, she sped off, searching for any signs of her lover.

Rainbow Dash searched hectically for the earth pony, her hawk-like eyesight barely able to keep up with the blistering speed she was flying at. Unsatisfied with the vast amount of space she already covered, the cyan Pegasus raced on, unaware that her flight path was leading towards the ancient castle.

As she flew closer to the stand-alone building, a thunderous roar exploded over the land. The sudden commotion of noise caused Rainbow Dash's wing to contract, as her muscles shut down from pure fright. The Pegasus screamed, flailing her limbs as she fell towards the ground helplessly. Straining hard against her muscles, she fought for control of her body. The unmatched rhythm of flapping wings pushed its way into Rainbow's ears, engulfing even the sound of her own shrieks. Suddenly, the sensation of falling vanished from her senses, replaced by the all familiar rush of flying. Stunned by the sudden change in feeling, Rainbow Dash opened her eyes. Seeing the sky blocked out, as the body of a huge being slowly lowered her towards the ground.

"Besterik zer dira esta facendo aqui?" boomed the dragon, gently placing the Pegasus on the ground.

For the first time, Rainbow Dash was able to catch a clear glimpse of the winged beast. The dragon's white scales shimmered brightly in the gloomy fading light of the sun. In various places, faded scars stood out against his shinny white tone, obvious wounds of battles long past. Rainbow Dash back away uneasily, as the dragon unfurled his brown wings, extending them to full length. Suddenly, he learned in close, his deep blue eyes meeting hers, staring intently into them. Silently, he watched her intently as she continued slowly backing away.

"Nire izena e, Draak Rei." He spoke, stepping toward the Pegasus.

"W-what do you want from me?" Rainbow Dash questioned, continuing to back away from the approaching dragon.

The beast stopped in his tracks at the sound of her voice. Turning away, he coughed loudly before resting his vision back upon the small Pegasus. "Beg my pardon. I simply wished to know which language to acknowledge you in. Equestrian? Hmm, it is indeed been too long a time since I have had need for it, perhaps too long."

"Whoa… You speak Equestrian?" the rainbow-maned Pegasus questioned, her expression of fright quickly diminishing to one of astonishment.

"Indeed I do. I am Draak Rei, king of the dragons, ruler of Lurrak Del Drac. Or as you would call it, The Dragon Lands. It is my pleasure to meet you, miss…" bowing his head, he paused, waiting for the Pegasus to reveal her name.

"Uhh… Pleased to meet you D-draak Rei. My name is Rainbow Dash." She replied confidently, standing tall in the face of such a huge beast.

"Miss Rainbow Dash, and to what do I owe the pleasure of such a unique visit from one of Celestia's many citizens, hmm?" Draak questioned, returning to a standing posture.

"Well… Hey! Wait a minute, how do you know the Princess?" Dash questioned, her pride getting the best of her.

"My, my. Quick with the temper are we? Do you forget who you are talking to?" the dragon questioned, smiling slyly as he moved closer to Rainbow Dash.

"S-sorrry… I'm not used to speaking with full grown dragons. The only one I've met seemed pretty mean, what's your get up?" she questioned, carefully watching her tone.

"I have lived a long life Rainbow Dash, I used to be young and foolish, quick tempered as you will, much like yourself. I did not have my position handed to me, you see these scars?" he questioned, pointing to one of the many scars adorning his tail. "These scars are from previous battles I have braved through to obtain my current position as king of the dragons. However, that was a long time ago, even before your Princess ruled Equestria. I am old now Rainbow Dash, I have no reason to fight the foolish battles of the young. But enough about me, I am still yet to know why you have ventured so far away from your home, into the dangerous depths of my land."

"Well, I sorta got teleported here, by accident…" she admitted, scratching at the back of her head uneasily.

"Ahh, a very drastic circumstance indeed. Well, I am glad that it was me you ran into, the other dragons would not be so kind. If you wish, I can send letter to the Princess right away and have her send a chariot for you." Draak told the Pegasus reassuringly.

"I can't…" Rainbow Dash said quietly, turning away from the dragon to face the vast mountain landscape.

"But of course, you were not alone when your spell went awry, were you?" questioned the great dragon, seeming to see right through the pony's defenses.

"No, I wasn't…" Dash replied, sighing loudly as she returned her gaze to the great dragon.

"I'm afraid I cannot help you there. I may have heightened senses, but even dragons cannot decipher the location of lost loved ones." The dragon king stated, turning his attention to the sky as a distant call rang out.

"How did you-" Rainbow Dash started, but found herself cut off as the king spoke with a more rushed tone.

"I am old Rainbow Dash, with age comes wisdom. That look in your eyes, it's the look of true love. Whoever you have found, is the one you wish to settle down with, is it not?" he questioned, looking from Rainbow Dash to the sky uneasily.

"Wow you dragons are good…" Rainbow Dash said surprisingly, as she wondered just what the king was doing.

Chuckling lightly, he continued, "Indeed we are, look. Rainbow Dash, there are dragons on the way to my location. I hate to cut your visit short, but these lands are no place for a pony. You see that mountain range not far from here?" Draak questioned, pointing south towards the closest set of mountains adorning the horizon. The cyan Pegasus nodded in agreement, signaling that she could, in fact, see the mountain range just on the horizon. "Good, I want you to fly as fast as you can to that mountain range. Just over their peaks, you will find a mountain valley, which leads to a great jungle. Make it to the jungle and you will be safe from dragon territory." The elder dragon explained, as another roar rang out, this time much closer.

Rainbow Dash paid the approaching cries no mind, her own mind was deep in turmoil. Conflicted between the decisions of staying to look for the earth pony, or leave without her. "I can't leave… not until I find her." the rainbow-maned Pegasus stated confidently, knowing that Applejack would do the same for her.

"I'm afraid you have no choice, if you stay here, you will surely be killed." He warned, glancing over his shoulder to the sky above.

"That's a risk I'm willing to take." The cyan Pegasus stated, casting a confident glare towards the dragon.

"There is no risk in staying. Only certain death. I shall keep a watchful eye over my land for the next couple of days, if any other ponies have been spotted, I shall know about it, and I will send her your way. You have my word Rainbow Dash, moju paraula." Draak promised in his native tongue.

Rainbow Dash opened her mouth to protest, only to find her own voice cut off as another thunderous roar exploded over the land. A dark blue dragon circled overhead, blocking out the already scarce rays of the retreating sun. The Pegasus stood frozen in fear, as the dragon above locked onto her, beginning his manic decent right at her.

"Go, now!" shouted the Dragon King as he intercepted the speeding dragon in midair.

Adrenaline poured into Rainbow's bloodstream, not wasting any time, she kicked off the ground towards the mountain range. The battle for control raged on, as Rainbow Dash sped away from the fighting dragons.

A loud cry rang out, catching Rainbow Dash's attention. Continuing to speed away, she cast a glance back at the dragon scuffle. Just as she looked back, a stream of searing hot flames shot forward towards her. Taking evasive action, the Pegasus dropped altitude, avoiding the approaching wall of fire. The dark blue dragon became angered, beating his powerful wings faster, serving to close the distance between the two. Returning her attention to flying, the rainbow-maned Pegasus fought hard against herself, heavily panting for breath as she tried to maintain her near supersonic pace. The distant mountain range now opened up before Dash, as she ripped through the sky, powering onwards to the valley just ahead.

Another roar bellowed from the beast, followed by another trail of flame. Quickly, Rainbow Dash pulled right, narrowly avoiding the dragon's flaming breath. "Almost there." She told herself internally, pouring every ounce of strength into her wings. The cyan Pegasus blazed over the mountain's peak, kicking up a layer of snow and sending it cascading down its length. Rainbow Dash cast a glance into the valley, becoming lost in amazement at the sheer volume of trees that adorned the land. Without realizing it, the dragon had caught up to her. The beast lashed out, smacking the Pegasus right out of midair. The force of impact sucked all breathe from the Pegasus's lungs, desperately she gasped for air as she fell helplessly towards the jungle below.

Across the valley from the falling Pegasus, gallons of water endlessly poured over a waterfall. As Rainbow Dash tumbled through the air and towards the ground below, she caught a faint glimpse of something drop over the falls, before blacking out.

---

A deafening ring awoke Applejack from her unconscious state, combined with a sharp pain releasing from her abdomen. As her senses returned, the sound of rushing water replaced the steady ringing in her ears. Something splashed against her face, and her coat felt wet and cold. Opening her eyes, the earth pony stared up towards the overcast sky. Breaking her vision from the sky, she noticed that she had fallen into a river. Squirming around under the waters control, she felt helpless. Shaking herself into full awareness, the apple farmer cast a glance downstream. The raging roar of the river grew louder, her mind burst into fears of a waterfall ahead.

Her fears became a reality, as she took note of the water dropping off the edge of the world. Realizing time was of the essence, Applejack started to swim herself to shore. Pain sunk its jaws into her limbs with each powerful movement she took; she ignored it, continuing through gritted teeth. After many agonizing strokes, she gave up it was no use. The current moved to swift and bore too much strength for the toned earth pony to break from its watery grasp. Up ahead, a single branch hung out over the water, just feet from the edge of the drop. Carefully, the apple farmer removed her saddlebag. Opening the bag, Applejack dumped the contents of the bag into the water. With the bag now empty, she gripped the strap of the bag with her teeth and proceeded to swing it in circles above her head.

"You only got one shot AJ, make it count." She told herself, eyeing the tree branch.

Applejack waited for the right moment; finally, she tossed the bulk part of the saddlebag. The bag latched firmly onto the end of the branch, holding tightly as the current continued to pull the earth pony closer to the waterfall.

The dead branch bent heavily under the new strain, slowly, a few small cracks appeared, growing large as they moved down its length.

The cracking of the branch grew louder, as it continued to bend. "Uh oh." Applejack said through gritted teeth.

With one final snapping sound, the branch gave out, once again the earth pony found herself carried away by the overpowered current. Gazing down stream towards the waterfall, her stomach sunk low, realizing that she had to go through with the drop.

Anxiety mixed with panic, as Applejack knew not of what was to come after taking the plunge. Unable to bring herself to watch as she went over the approaching drop, she cast her glance out over the valley before her.

Against the overcast sky, the fading rays of the sun illuminated two figures in the sky. Squinting, the earth pony saw what appeared to be a dragon, chasing after something. Focusing on the smaller object, she caught a glimpse of it just before the dragon swatted it from the sky.

"Rainbow Dash?" she asked aloud, with a cracking tone, as some of the welled up panic escaped.

The falling pony disappeared from the sky, hidden by the treetops below. Applejack watched as the dragon took after its prey, swooping down below the canopy.

Suddenly, the earth pony felt a strange weightlessness. Looking down, panic once again gripped her tightly. The river now left behind, she found herself falling, falling towards the lake below at blistering speeds. Far below, the water smashed into a lake, creating a thick mist of water vapor. Smashing into the lake, the apple farmer became lost in the gallons of water, swallowed up by the roar of the falls.

---

The everlasting sun beat down upon the eternally green grass, stretching on for miles in every direction. In the very center of the world, a circle of six friends gathered around a mysterious floating orb. The orb functioned strangely, allowing the six to see into it, into another world, the living world.

"The time is upon us, so it seems." The spirit of Magic stated, glancing to the other five.

"So what are we waiting for, contact the Princesses." The element of Honesty demanded, casting a stern look to the others.

"I agree, its time the Princesses knew of the grave danger closing in." The element of Loyalty spoke, offering a reassuring nod to the spirit of Honesty.

"Is that how you all feel, then?" the spirit of Magic questioned, watching as all the elements simultaneously nodded their heads in agreement. "Then it is settled, the Princesses shall know. Let us begin the ritual."

The six friends focused on the orb, calling upon an ancient magic to guide them to the home of the Princesses. Inside the castle behind a magically sealed door, sat six representations of the six spirits now looking down upon the world. The elements channeled their energy into the five necklaces and one tiara, suddenly; they began to glow, emitting a high-pitched hum. Deeming their job complete, the six broke their concentration on the spell.

"Now we wait," the spirit of Laughter giggled, jumping up and down with excitement.

---

"So you see Luna, th-" Before Princess Celestia could finish her sentence, the study door burst open.

"Princess! Something… is happening, with the… the elements," the royal guard stated, panting between words.

"So the day has finally come." The Princess of the sun stated, gracefully walking towards the exit.

"What are you talking about, sister?" Luna questioned, hurrying to catch her big sister.

"Come with me Luna, you will find out." Celestia promised, walking out of the study, and on towards the hall of the Elements.

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