• Published 28th Apr 2016
  • 1,386 Views, 43 Comments

Rocky Mountain Dragon - Iron_Cauldron



Changing species and genders was the easy part. Surviving in a world without people and infrastructure, that's going to be a challenge. Luckily, I've had some help to prepare for the long haul. A VERY, long haul.

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Chapter 6 - Vacation: Part 2

Author's Note:

I do apologize for the long time since the last chapter. I picked up No Man's Sky and have been playing that almost every day, but I do add small bits to new chapters when the inspiration strikes. As I said, I may not be posting as much as some authors, but I will be continuing to post. This is my second longest chapter so far, and I hope you all enjoy it.

The next few days were a whirl-wind of activities the girls treated Twilight to. Day one was a spa day, with the biggest package something Rarity had been saving up for. All six had the entire spa, and the staff, to themselves, and were thus given the full royal treatment. Massages, hot then cold water baths to open the pours, facials while lying in warm mud baths, the works.

At the end of their reserved time, the girls left feeling more rejuvinated than they had ever in a long time. They spent the rest of the day at Rarity's boutique sipping tea, catching up on the last few years, and just relaxing.

The following day had them visiting a few more places. Donut Joe had seen a such a rise of success in his Canterlot shop, thanks in part to all the visiting magicians, and laborers, that he had opened another shop in Ponyville. One because it was one of the closest towns, and two, because it was the home of one of the most important princesses of the land.

The girls spent the morning trying some of the pastries there, before getting some of Cup Cake's new multi-grain bagels, and muffins for a light brunch. Sweets are good for the taste buds, but not for health. Meeting with the town's ponies in both shops while the girls were also mingling gave Twilight some more news about her adopted town.

Looking to the entrance as the door bell jingled, Twilight noticed Lyra Heartstrngs and Minuette walk in laughing. Not having seen them in some time either, she trotted over to greet them.

"Hey girls! Long time no see."

"Twi-, I mean Princess Twilight!! How are you today?" Lyra stammered, and performing a bow.

"Oh Lyra, it's fine. You don't have to bow to me, or call me princess. I ask all my friends to just call me Twilight. I'm fine too by the way, just came home to catch up with the girls. You back home to Ponyville?"

Minuette answered for the two, "See? I told you so, and no, I'm just visiting Lyra here. She's been lonely without her BFOAT Bon Bon."

"'BFOAT?'" Twilight asked with a head tilt.

Her brain finally catching up, Lyra responded, "'Best Friend Of All Time.' I've been missing her a bit, but your visit simply coincided with her trip to Manehatten for the confection convention."

Answering with a large-ish smile, "You two're very close. I remember vising for Cranky and Matilda's wedding, and you two had a small tiff. What happened?"

"I'd rather not talk about it. We resolved it, and our friendship's stronger than ever." Lyra responded a little tersely.

"Well, it's great to see both of you, but how're you both doing?" Twilight asked.

"Well, aside from missing Bon, I'm fine. I've been working, concerts, social venues and the like. Just normal old me."

"Wow, you really miss Bon Bon, don't you?" Minuette observed.

Sighing, "Yeah. We've been the closest, best of friends for most of our lives. We've even talked about potentially, and this is something we're apprehensive about, tying the knot. Neither of us is interested in anypony else, we know so much about each other..."

"Let me guess, you guys had a fight?" Minuette inquired with concern.

"A small one. But I still feel bad."

Twilight smiled and placed a sympathetic hoof on Lyra's wither, "You guys'll do fine. When she gets back, just work out what went wrong, and learn from it."

Smiling back, Lyra said, "We will. Thanks Twilight. Oh, I just remembered, did Moondancer talk to you recently?"

"No, I've been a little too wrapped up in work, so I haven't really talked to many ponies lately. Why?"

"Maybe her letter got mixed up in your mail, but apparently she put in, and was accepted to go through the training to go to Earth." Lyra said.

"No, I didn't read that letter. I need to speak to her next time I'm in Canterlot, and I know what you're going to say," she said, stopping the other two from speaking. "I won't stop her, but I just want to make sure she'll be okay. I still feel bad about missing her party all those years ago, even though we fixed all that."

"I was thinking about signing up too, but Bon Bon was, well, a little apprehensive about the place. She doesn't want to go, and I don't want to leave her to worry about me." Lyra said.

"You don't have to go if you don't want to. We're not going to call drafts, or make anypony do anything they don't want to. We've actually had so many applicants, we've had to set up a limit. Earth is a very popular place, so we've decided to have a number remain here to study the materials the expeditionary teams send and bring back. Those ponies will become and may already be experts in some of the technology that looks like it has an already existing counterpart here to. They'll try to reverse engineer some of the other technology that is brought back."

"Then maybe that's something we can do, together." Lyra said, optimistically. "I can avoid worring her, and we can work together. She just might like that idea. Thanks Twilight!!"

"Not a problem!!"

Seeing her friends come back, Twilight bid her other friends a good day, and rejoined the ponies who meant the world to her. The six best friends spent the rest of the day at Sweet Apple Acres enjoying a picnic assembled by Applejack, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie, who for reasons unknown to the others, included a rock dish, she claimed was 'super popular' among rock farming families. The girls ate what they could, while watching, and marveling, despite the years they'd known her, Pinkie crunching on one of the rocks in her soup.

*-*-*-*-*

It was getting late, and darker, by the time the friends bid farewell for the night, with Twilight walking much of the way back to the village with some of the girls. Applejack walked as far as the entrance to the farm, from which she sould see Applebloom and Big Mac at the door and window respectively, awaiting the return of their sister. Granny was no doubt inside sleeping in her rocking chair.

Passing the Boutique, the friends bid good night to Rarity, doing the same when they passed Sugar Cube Corner to Pinkie, and Fluttershy when they passed the trail leading to her home. They could hear her soft wing-beats as she fluttered home. Rainbow walked and talked with Twilight a little further, only because her cloud home had drifted in its orbit of Ponyville to nearly the same area as Twilight's castle.

She too fluttered off when they could see it, with Rainbow saying something about reading a chapter of one of her copies of Daring Do before bed. As Twilight herself was nearing her home, she heard the sound of leathery wings approaching. Preparing a defense spell in her mind, she turned to the sound; determining friend from foe in the waning light was often difficult.

"Princess Twilight. It's me." The familiar, scatchy voice came from the very owner she'd been expecting since the letter arrived, promting her to release the spell.

"Dragon Lord Ember. We recieved your letter. You're arriving quite late in the day."

"Well, it is quite far from the Dragon Lands to Ponyville. We left the day we sent the letter, and we had to stop for directions a couple of times. Some of the villages though weren't very hospitable. And call me Ember, please."

"Yeah, one of the residents of Ponyville, a zebra named Zecora, went through something not too different. I regret not sending you a letter or medalion indicating you would be my guest."

"As if ponies could really do much to us." A rough voice answered from a short ways behind Ember.

"Garble." Lord Ember drew out, indicating her displeasure with a sharp look. "The ponies have spent millenia coming up with spells that can do all sorts of things. They don't even really have to harm us, just incapacitate. We may be a century or two older than most ponies, but they accomplish more in their lifetimes than most dragons together."

*Hmph* Garble snorted.

"You brought Garble with you, despite what happened when we were last in the dragon lands?" Twilight somewhat nervously asked.

"He's gotten a little better. Many of the dragons have. I was suprised too when most were open to relations with you ponies, when I shared with them that dragons were going to be included in the spell."

"So that's how you got so many volunteers to share with the project!!" Twilight excitedly realized.

"Yup." Ember said, puffing out her chest. "I brought some dragons to learn some of the things you and the other ponies had discovered. A couple of the dragons that came were hoping, however slim it might be, that you could even see about sending a dragon to Earth."

"I'll have to see what the other princesses have to say, but as of right now, and not to seem too tribalist, we were planning on sending only ponies to Earth, and primarily unicorns, since any sent over that are not, have little to no chance of ever coming back. Magic is needed to initiate the spell, both to go there, and return. There's also the fact that training for the trip has already started, but I'll have Spike... Ooops, I forgot I was going to let him have his rest. I'll write up the letter and send it to the princesses before bed tonight."

"The runt is here?" Garble asked.

"Garble, that is enough. Any more like that out of you, and I'll make you do something much more embarrasing than hugging every dragon on our way home."

Garble then deflated a little, and slunk back to be amongst the other dragons Twilight noticed were just coming out of the darkness. Counting almost 10 juvenile dragons, she was impressed.

"I guess there is something to that 'young embrasing new ideas' thing after all. I'm suprised so many came with you." Twilight marveled.

"When we learned that there were going to be dragons in the spell, it became one of the most talked about things among young dragons." A familiar female light-lavender dragon said.

"Prin-, -er Dragon Lord Ember told us everything you'd sent from Equestria, keeping all of us informed about the spell, and everything you've sent about Earth. That place sounds awesome!!" A brown male said.

Now that they were in the light of her castle, Twilight could see that many of the dragons that came with Ember were many of the same dragons that had been competing in the Gauntlet.

"Well, welcome to Ponyville everyone." Twilight said, "Just, please don't eat my castle. I don't think it's edible, any way," Twilight said, scratching a hoof to the side of her head, "but I had a stockpile of gems sent over when I got your letter, so you all can have some snacks later on. If you're amenable to it, you can also try some Equestrian quisine. If that works out, the other Princesses would agree to host a number of dragons to learn and see about taking a few Equestrian ideas and culture to the dragon lands. I know there are some ponies interested in dragon culture, who'd love to learn about you guys too."

"Seriously? There're ponies who like dragons? Like, a lot?" Another dragon asked in suprise.

"Quite so. Ponies love mysteries, and dragons are one of the least known species in Equestria. There are some who'd love to learn what your culture is like, if you have similar likes to poinies, that sort of thing." Twilight said. Continuing, "But it's late, and we can go over the speciefics in the morning. Let's head to my castle, and we can see about getting you guys some rooms to stay in. I'm sure you could use some rest after your long journey."

"Are there comfy pillows?" One other dragon asked.

"Plenty of them!"

As they entered the castle, Twilight got a full look at all the young dragons that had come, and noticed that around half, were dragons present at the Gathering, with others she didn't recognize. She hoped their stay was pleasent, and more importantly, productive. The relations were still tenuous, with Dragon Lord Ember being their only true ally among the dragons.

Before they went into the rooms in a wing Twilight and other guests rarely had reason to use but were still diligently kept up, Ember turned and addressed the dragons, "We're guests here guys, so let's try to reciprocate Twilight's kindness, okay? I know it's very different from Dragon culture, but with the ponies help, we can become better than we were, and eventually have what you all had been asking for at the Gathering, minus the destroying stuff part. I'm going to go talk to Princess Twilight a little more, but you all get some sleep."

Turning on her toes, Ember went back the way she came, and followed Twilight.

*-*-*-*-*-*

Settling onto cushions in the dining room, Twilight poured Ember a cup of herbal tea, something the dragon hadn't had before.

"This stuff's good!" Ember said, after taking a decent swig. "So Twilight, how're things with the humans coming along?"

"Blunt, aren't we?" Twilight said with a smirk, "It's slow going. Since they cut off communications directly, we've had to rely on the viewing portals to observe how the humans live their lives, go about their jobs, and so on. Without direct contact to explain some aspects of their culture, we've had to infer a lot. Their cultures are not to dissimilar to our own, though in many aspects, they're far more advanced."

"How so?"

"Well, they can mass-produce things on a scale that's mind-boggling. Their automobiles for instance are everywhere, and have lead our engineers to trying and recreate them here, with some success. We've already released so many books about them, in the almost two years they've been common knowledge." Giggling, "There're even authors who write about humans who're able to cross over with no problems. The humans have been met with fascination, and appeals to help from many facets of Equestrian society, but..."

Sighing and looking into her half-full tea cup, she continued, "There are many who say we should leave them alone. They claim that the monarchy of Equestria is interferring too much in their affairs. We're almost positive too, that when we do what we're planning, there may be some humans who resent us for what we're going to do. It's just, we feel obligated to help them. I want to help them. I don't want them do die horrible deaths, because we had the capabilities and resources to help, and did nothing."

Both leaders sat in silence for a time, each contemplating the coming year, and what it would mean for theirs and the humans' worlds. What would the humans really think? Would some jump at the change, as a change of pace in their life, others hate it so much they do the unthinkable?

"I for one, support what your trying to do, Princess Twilight." Getting the princess's full attention, she continued before a sound could leave the princess's opening mouth, "Without yours, the other pony's, and Spike's meddling, I may not have become Dragon Lord, and our two nations could very well have gone to war, thus preventing you all from helping another. We dragons have come quite far thanks to you."

"Thanks Ember, that does mean a lot, but it still doesn't ease the burden of uncertainty. I just hope the humans come to realize we're doing what we're doing, because we want them to live and thrive." Twilight finally said, with a small smile. "I think it's time for us to get to bed. I've got one more day in Ponyville, and you're all welcome to explore as well, just don't cause any major trouble. My offer of support only goes so far. It's up to you to see that the dragons you brought remain on their best behaviour if you want to continue getting a better reputation, and better relations with ponykind."

"Will do, Twilight."

Getting up, Twilight saw ember to her corridor to the rooms set aside for the dragons, before bidding her good night, and retreating to her own room, and the soft snoring of her Number One Assistant. "Night Spike." She whispered, settling into her own bed, hoping all the while that the Dragon Lord's visit would be highly productive.