• Published 15th Mar 2017
  • 11,175 Views, 1,119 Comments

Of Heaven and Earth - Garuda IV



It's been over a thousand years since Sol was hidden away and sealed in crystal. Now freed by Twilight and her friends, he must readjust to the present while also having to deal with old grudges both from and against him.

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Chapter 3- A New Adventure Begins

It was a little past 10a.m. by the time everypony had gathered in the throne room of Twilight's castle. With everyone situated in their thrones, Twilight cleared her throat and gained everyone's attention.

"Thank you all for coming."

"So what's goin' on, Twi?" Applejack asked. "It's not some kinda friendship emergency, right?"

"I doubt it, AJ," Rainbow dismissed. "If it was then our cutie marks would've let us known about it already."

"Then what's going on?" Fluttershy asked.

"We weren't really given an explanation as to why we were all gathered, not that I'm complaining of course," Rarity spoke.

Twilight nodded and lifted the book onto the table for all to see.

"Yesterday, Princess Celestia sent me some new books from Canterlot, one of which being Starswirl's book on Predictions and Prophecies."

"So nothing special then," Rainbow commented.

"That's what I thought at first too, Rainbow, but upon closer inspection, Spike discovered that this book was written personally by Starswirl himself."

That got everypony's attention.

"But if Starswirl really did write that book personally, then why is it here and not in a museum?" Rarity wondered.

"I don't know why, but while he was looking it over, Spike also discovered that this specific one had five chapters that no other copy has."

"Then all the more reason for us to get that thing tucked away," Rainbow spoke. "I may not know how much a book like that might go for, but I'm willing to bet that it could sell for quite a lot of Bits."

"Considering that it's a book written by Starswirl the Bearded himself, and it has his signature," Starlight began, "I would say that it could fetch a few hundred thousand Bits, easily. Maybe even close to a million if you're lucky enough."

Everypony's jaws dropped.

"You're kiddin'," Applejack muttered in disbelief.

"Actually, she's probably somewhere within the correct price range," Twilight agreed.

"Um, if the book is so valuable, then why haven't you had somepony come pick it up yesterday and take it to a museum like Rarity suggested?" Fluttershy asked.

"Because of what was written in it."

Using her magic, Twilight flipped the book open until she came to the page she'd bookmarked.

"After we defeated Tirek, I told Princess Celestia about a name I heard him say. When she heard about it, she seemed rather off-put about it."

"Okay, but what does that have to do with the book?" Pinkie asked.

"The name that Tirek spoke is the same one that I found in this book. I believe that whoever this Sol is, is the same pony that Tirek spoke of."

"So what now then?" Rainbow questioned.

Twilight smiled, knowing that Rainbow was gonna like this. "Using what Starswirl wrote here, I'm going to use it to try and find whoever this Sol is."

Rainbow blinked. "This almost sounds like something from one of Daring Do's books."

"It could be," she smirked. "You up for it?"

"Are you kidding?! Of course I am!"

"Great. Anypony else wanna come?"

Applejack shrugged. "Ah suppose it wouldn't hurt. Got all of my chores done for the day, so Ah'm free."

"Considering that it's a Sunday, the boutique is currently closed, so I'm free as well," Rarity said.

"Yeah. What she said," Pinkie said with a giggle.

"I've fed all of the animals, so they should be alright for the rest of the day," Fluttershy voiced.

"Sounds like everypony's in," Starlight announced, looking to see a pleased smile on Twilight's face.

"Thank you, girls. You can all head back and get something to eat and whatever you think we might need, and we'll reconvene here at noon."


An hour and a half later, Twilight and the others were all geared and ready to go. With their saddlebags filled with some first-aid supplies, food, water, and a few other essentials, they left the castle and made their way out of town.

"So, Twilight, where're we going?" Rainbow asked as she hovered alongside her.

Pulling out the book from her saddlebag, Twilight read over it for the eleventh time sine their meeting.

"The first part mentions 'Harmony's tree'."

"Pfft. That's an easy one," Rainbow waved off.

"It's talkin' about the Tree of Harmony, right?" Applejack asked, just to make sure.

"It is," Twilight nodded. "So I hope you girls-"

"Hey!"

"-and Spike," she chuckled, "are ready for a walk through the Everfree Forest."

Pinkie shrugged as she bounced past. "Meh. It's not really that bad anymore now that we've been through it like a bajillion times. Especially if it's during the day."

"Maybe, but we should still keep an eye out, just incase."

Spike smirked. "Yeah, wouldn't want for you to get petrified by a cockatrice or captured by vines again."

"Ugh! Are you ever going to let that go?"

"Let it go~"

"NO!" everyone shouted, effectively silencing the giggling pink party pony.

"To answer your question, Twilight," Spike chuckled. "I might... eventually."

Laughing, they entered the forest and traveled down the path they'd cleared leading to the old ruined castle. Along the way, they told Starlight some of their adventures involving these woods, including how Twilight managed to get herself petrified by a cockatrice on her way to visit Zecora. After a half-hour of traveling, they finally came out of the woods in front of Celestia and Luna's old ruined castle.

"Huh. How come I've never been here before?" Starlight wondered out loud. "I mean, I've lived here in Ponyville for some time now, but I've never bothered to come and visit this historical place."

"Well, now you have," Spike said as he walked over to a ledge.

Seeing that he was about to fall off, Starlight was about to stop him when she saw the others following after him and slowly descending. Curious as to what was going on, Starlight walked over to the cliff and looked down to see a set of stair carved into the side of the cliff face. Sighing in relief, Starlight proceeded to follow them down to the bottom of the ravine.

"So how will we know this Tree of Harmony when we see it?" she asked.

"Trust us, darling, you'll know it when you see it," Rarity smiled.

Taking her word for it, Starlight shrugged and continued following behind them. Their walk didn't last for long, though, for before Starlight knew it, she was led into a cave where a crystalline tree resided. Looking at the tree in wonder, Starlight noticed that the crystals were strangely similar to what Twilight's castle was made of. The next thing she noticed were that each of the tree's branches ended with a gem of what appeared to be her friends' cutie marks, while Twilight's resided more towards the trunk.

"Pretty cool, huh?" Spike asked, smirking at Starlight's expression and snapping her out of it. "Incase you haven't figured it out yet, this is also where Twilight's castle came from."

"Yeah. I though it looked familiar," she slowly said, still eyeing out the tree.

"Alright, Twilight, we're here, so now what?" Rainbow asked.

Nodding, Twilight pulled the book back out of her saddlebag and looked it over again. As she did, a small frown formed.

"It doesn't really say actually," she admitted.

"What?! What do you mean it doesn't say?!" Rainbow shouted. "Isn't that thing supposed to be like a map or something?!"

"What are all of you doing here?"

Yelping in surprise by the new voice, everyone turned around to see a familiar tan pegasus mare with a monochrome mane, and wearing a green shirt and pith helmet. Seeing her again, Rainbow's face immediately morphed into a wide smile.

"Daring Do!" Flying over to her adventurous idol and favorite story character, the two shared a hoofbump. "What're you doing here?"

"I was up in the castle in search for any hidden or forgotten artifacts when I saw a group of ponies and a baby dragon making their way down here," she went to explain. "After seeing you guys, I thought to myself 'hmm, I wonder who those ponies could be?'. Of course, with me being so close to Ponyville, and Spike being the only known baby dragon living in Equestria, I already had a pretty good idea as to who you guys were."

"Wait. Wait. Wait! Hold on a second!" Starlight interrupted as she approached Daring. "Do you mean to tell me that you're Daring Do?"

"Yep."

"Daring Do."

"Yep."

"The fictional character from the Daring Do stories?"

"That's me."

Starlight narrowed her eyes. "This is some kind of a prank, isn't it."

"This is no trick, Starlight," Twilight said as she approached them. "It's really good to see you again, Daring Do."

"And you as well, Princess," Daring bowed.

"Please, there's no need for formalities here."

"Meh, if you say so."

"Hold on, we're getting off track here," Starlight redirected. "Tell me, if you're the real deal, then why are those stories classified as fiction instead of non-fiction?"

Daring snorted. "Really? Do you think that ponies would actually believe that what happened in those stories were all real?"

"After hanging out with this group? Yes."

Daring blinked and let out a chuckle. "Okay, you make a good point there," she admitted. "Now then, back to my prior question. Just what are you all doing down here? Did you come to see the Elements again? It would make sense seeing as you're all connected to them."

"Not this time, Daring," Rainbow said, swiftly reaching into Twilight's saddlebag and showing the book to Daring. "Twilight got this book that was written personally by Starswirl the Bearded and followed it's instructions here."

Daring paused from taking the book before shifting her gaze over to Twilight.

"Why isn't this in a museum?"

"That's what Rarity asked!" Pinkie voiced.

"This book contains five chapters that no other copy has, so I wanted to check it out before I turned it in," Twilight explained before rubbing the back of her head. "However, we seem to have run into a little bit of a snag."

Humming, Daring took the book from Rainbow and flipped it to the marked page to read over. As she read her eyes narrowed. Taking a few minutes to go over it and muttering to herself, Daring closed the book and looked up.

"Heh. Oldest trick in the book," she grinned. "Then again, I suppose that it would've been considered clever for a pony over a thousand years ago."

"Did you figure it out?" Spike asked.

"I think so. It's a trick where a pony uses something of great value to hide something of even greater importance behind it."

"But what could be more important than the Tree of Harmony?" Starlight questioned.

"Other than this name Sol, I can't say for sure." Daring's grin widened. "Well everypony-"

"Hey!"

"-and dragon, it looks like you've piqued my interest in this. Mind if I tag along?"

"Hah! Like we would turn down an opportunity to join Daring Do on another one of her adventures," Rainbow said excitingly.

"But what about Ahuizotl and Doctor Caballeron?" Twilight wondered. "Aren't they usually somewhere nearby where ever you are?"

"I doubt they'll show up this time," Daring shrugged. "I've been exploring the castle ruins for a few days now and still haven't seen any sign of them. If they were going to show up, they would've done so by now."

"Oh.. well, thank Celestia then."

Daring nodded and returned the book to Twilight as she walked past them.

"Anyway, back to the book. Starswirl wrote about a secret behind the tree, and how only Harmony's Champions can open the door."

Spike walked up alongside her. "Are you saying that the Bearers of the Elements of Harmony can open this 'door' up?"

Daring gave a lopsided grin. "Smart kid. Then again, I shouldn't expect any less from Princess Twilight's assistant."

Spike blushed at the compliment while Rainbow landed on Daring's other side.

"Alright, so somewhere around here is a hidden door that only we can open," Rainbow recapped. "Now the question is where exactly in this stone wall is this door?"

Applejack raised an eyebrow. "Really, Rainbow?"

"We're in a Daring Do story now, so we've got to think outside the box here."

"She's not wrong, either," Daring agreed. "Now let's check the wall for any signs of a doorway."

Following her lead, everyone went over to the cave walls and began to closely inspect them. While some were tapping against the stone to try and hear any hollow spots, others looked for cracks indicating the outline of a doorway, and Twilight and Starlight used their magic to send out a pulse that helped give them a map of everything in the surrounding area. However, despite their best attempts, neither Twilight nor Starlight could find anything.

"This doesn't make any sense," Starlight said. "Our magic should've picked up on something."

"Maybe, but this is Starswirl that we're dealing with," Twilight reminded her. "If my guess about him is correct, then he would've had several spells in place to hide this doorway."

"Wouldn't surprise me," Daring voiced, tapping the stone.

Having no luck with his specific spot, she was about to move over to another area when she spotted Pinkie and stared. While she had heard of how quirky she could be, she'd never actually seen it before, so she didn't know what to do when she saw Pinkie standing sideways with her mane and tail pointing in the direction of a wall.

"Uhh, what's she doing?"

"Trying to help find the hidden door," Pinkie casually answered.

Daring watched her mane and tail carefully as they reminded her of something. "Are you using your mane and tail as dousing rods?"

"Of course I am, silly. I couldn't use my actual dousing rods because I gave them to my sister Maud for her to use."

"But... why...?"

Daring jumped when she suddenly felt a hoof on her and turned to see Rainbow looking sympathetically at her.

"Trust us, it's better if you just go along with it and don't ask."

"... yeah... noted..."

Remaining silent, Daring and Rainbow watched as Pinkie walked sideways towards the wall, trying to go to where her tail and mane were pointing. Soon enough, Pinkie bumped up alongside the stone walls and her mane and tail returned to their natural puffy state.

"Found it!"

Hearing that she'd found the door, the others stopped their searching and gathered around Pinkie.

"So? Where is it?" Spike asked.

Pinkie tapped a hoof on the stone wall. "Right here."

Stepping aside, Pinkie let Daring pass as she inspected the section of the wall. Running a hoof against the rock, she examined and felt for anything that could indicate a door. Feeling something, Daring froze her hoof in place and looked at it.

"I think I found something."

After taking a closer look, Daring reached into one of her pockets and pulled out a brush that she used to gently dust over the stone. Moments later, she paused and smiled when she saw the carvings of Celestia and Luna's cutie marks.

"Looks like this is it."

"So let's open it up!" Rainbow exclaimed.

"But that has Princess Celestia and Princess Luna's cutie marks," Fluttershy pointed out

"Only the Bearers of Harmony can open them," Starlight spoke, "and if my history is correct, then during that time period, they were the Bearers of Harmony at the time, not you six."

"But we returned the elements to the tree," Pinkie reminded them.

"But don't forget that we also got those rainbow powers after we returned them and beat Tirek," Applejack said.

"So in theory, that means that we're still connected to the Elements and should still be able to open the door," Twilight nodded, but turned around when she heard a sigh coming from behind her.

"Well that's all fine and well, darlings," Rarity said, leaning down against the side of the Tree of Harmony, "but just how are we going to get it open?"

Twilight opened her mouth to say something, but paused when she saw that Rarity's element within the tree was glowing.

"I think I may have an idea," Twilight said. "Alright, girls, I want you to touch the tree."

"Huh? What for?" Rainbow questioned.

"Just trust me and touch the Tree of Harmony please. I think I just figured out how to open the door."

Shrugging, Rainbow and the others went along with Twilight's idea and touched the tree. As they did, each of their elements started to glow. Seconds later, a rumbling was heard, causing everyone to look back to see the entire back wall of the cave slowly lowering down until the top was level with the rocky floor. Surprised by what they'd discovered, none of them moved except for Daring, who cautiously walked to the mouth of the new entrance and let out a low whistle.

"Wasn't expecting this."

The entire hall appeared to had been artificially made with blocks of stone with a slight downward slope to it. Leaning forward a little bit, Daring then looked up when she saw that the scone torches on the walls light up on their own, illuminating the hallway as it continued further and further down. Suspecting there to be some sort of trap, Daring looked carefully around before nodding and looking back to the others.

"Alright, it looks like it's safe," she announced.

Moving away from the tree, they followed Daring into the hallway. Once they were all inside, the door started to rise up behind them and closed shut.

"Oh no! We're trapped!" Fluttershy panicked slightly.

"Easy there, Fluttershy, we can still get out," Starlight said before lighting her horn... only for nothing to happen. "What the- my magic doesn't work here?"

Rarity was next to try, but unlike Starlight, her horn was working just fine.

"Curious," she muttered before turning to Twilight. "Well, at least some of us aren't without our magic."

Looking to her, they saw that Twilight's magic was working perfectly fine as well.

"Are ya able ta get us out?" Applejack asked.

Shrugging, Twilight looked at the massive door and fired a spell at it. Seeing that it was absorbing her magic, Twilight stopped and smiled when the door started to lower again.

"Well that's good to know," Spike commented.

"But why is our magic working and Starlight's isn't?" Rarity wondered.

"If I had to guess, I'd say that it's because you two are connected to the Elements and I'm not," Starlight guessed.

"Either way," Daring began, "we know now that we can leave whenever we want, and that the doorway will seal itself behind us."

"Then what are we waiting for? Let's get going!" Rainbow cheered.

Proceeding further into the tunnel, the door closed behind them once again, preventing anything from following after them. As they continued down, Daring's eyes examined the stone and sconces on the walls, figuring them to date back to around the time of Luna's banishment. After an hour of traveling, they came to a torch-lit wall that blocked their path. Figuring that it would be like opening the last one, Twilight stepped up and touched it with her magic. Seconds later, another thick slab of the stone wall fell down into the ground. Walking through the thirty foot long doorway, they all exited the other side before the stone rose up and sealed tightly the wall again.

"Looks like it's magically enchanted to keep intruders out," Daring observed. "It also looks as though it's watertight as well."

"And look at the runes on this wall here," Starlight pointed out. "I've never seen these runes before."

"Whatever Starswirl hid down here must be incredibly important," Twilight commented.

"You think it's really this Sol person?" Spike asked. "It seems like an awful lot for just one pony."

"Maybe, but it's hard to say right now. Besides, other than Princess Celestia or Princess Luna, I don't know of anypony else who'd be important enough to hide all the way down here."

Continuing onward, they came upon two more walls, both similar to the first one, and passed though them. Taking a break after passing through the third wall, they ventured on further down the tunnel. Several hours later, Rainbow started to feel antsy as they've been traveling down the tunnel with no signs of it ending.

"Ugh! How much further down does this lead?" she whined.

"You okay there, Rainbow?" Applejack asked.

"I just don't like being in cramped spaces for long periods of time like this. I'd much rather prefer the open skies."

Applejack blinked and looked around, seeing that the hallways were just as big as what Twilight measured them, which was twenty yards wide and ten yards high.

"You've got plenty of room ta fly, don't ya?"

"Yeah, but that doesn't mean that I enjoy being underground for this long."

"Easy there, Rainbow," Daring told her. "Just take a deep breath and relax and you'll feel better."

Doing as she suggested, Rainbow took a few calming breaths and landed down to walk alongside them.

"Thanks."

"Sure thing."

"But Rainbow does bring up a good point," Pinkie said. "Just how much further down is this going to take us?"

"I have no idea," Twilight admitted. "For all we know, this could lead on for hours."

Looking ahead of them, Spike blinked and pointed straight ahead. "Or maybe it's just up there?"

Seeing the literal light at the end of the tunnel, Rainbow and Pinkie cheered as they ran down the rest of the way. Smiling at both of them for how they were acting and for finally having a chance to get out of this tunnel, Twilight and the others followed after them. However, their looks of happiness faded when they saw Rainbow and Pinkie standing frozen in place with their eyes wide and mouths hanging open.

"Is everything okay?" Fluttershy asked, only to get no response from either of them.

"Now, Rainbow, it's very rude to ignore a pony when they're asking you a question," Rarity scolded.

Slowly, Rainbow turned her head to look face them.

"... you guys aren't gonna believe this," she slowly told them.

"Why? What is it?" Twilight asked.

Turning the corner to look out the cave mouth, Twilight and the others joined Rainbow and Pinkie's side and stared in disbelief at what they were seeing.

"You've got ta be kiddin' me," Applejack slowly muttered.

"What in Equestria is this place?" Starlight quietly said.

Starting to get over the shock of it, Rainbow looked over to Daring.

"There's no way any of your readers are gonna believe this."

"No kidding," she muttered. "I'm standing right here and I don't believe it."

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