• Published 3rd Jan 2017
  • 2,800 Views, 185 Comments

Daring Do and the Secret of the Sunken City - 8686

Years ago, Daring Do discovered an ancient city, and a strange lock she couldn't open alone. A while ago she met Rainbow Dash. Now it's time to go back and uncover the secrets she once had to abandon.

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Prologue: Failed Expedition

I figure I should get something down on paper before my last torch gives out. I know I should have been taking notes all along, but I’ve been too distracted; this place is like nowhere I’ve ever seen. Nowhere I would even have imagined. So many questions I’ll never know the answers to.

The cavern is huge. Scouting by torchlight isn’t easy but by my guess it’s gigantic enough to encompass the whole of Canterlot. I’m certain it’s artificial too, not the result of a natural event. The symmetry is too neat. To think: to build something like this would be a massive undertaking in this day and age. I can’t even begin to imagine how they managed it back then.

The ruins... actually that’s the wrong word – they’re amazingly well preserved... are old. This may even be the oldest example of a true city I’ve ever encountered. Definitely ancient unicorn architecture – that much is obvious even without the weird statues.

I’ve seen a few of them all the same. A horse, normal in all traditional proportions for a stallion, except with two necks side-by-side and two heads looking to the left and right respectively, each bearing lengthy horns. I’m certain that no such creature has ever really lived, and the depictions of the same motif in a couple of stone wall-carvings I’ve seen lead me to believe it is either symbolic, or a statement of identity – perhaps similar to a city crest or flag? I can’t even make an educated guess as to what it represents though, not without more information. I suppose it’ll have to remain a mystery.

And then there’s the mechanism. I’ve tried for days to unlock this thing, but it’s beaten me. Not only is it clearly designed for two ponies to operate, but it seems like it’s actively supposed to prevent a single pony from doing the same. And whoever built it did that really well: I’ve tried everything I can think of to improvise it and there’s nothing doing. It’s... frustrating. I know there’s something there. A relic or an artefact; or something that might give me some answers about this place, but I’ll never be able to get at it. I’ll never know, and that’s the worst part. If I’m going to take my last breaths here, I at least wanted to know where here was. What I’d found.

I’m out of food, and being cut-off from the sunlight for centuries – perhaps millenia? – means there’s no plant-life here to graze on either. I drank the last of my water hours ago. I’ve searched for days for the entrance I stumbled through, but it could be anywhere in an entire ocean of blackness, and by mere torchlight it’s proven impossible to find. It might even have collapsed behind me, I don’t know. Once this final torch dies I’ll be stuck here in the dark, effectively blind, and then it’ll only be a matter of time.

I’ve always known it might come to this. I suppose when your hobby involves digging around ancient cities and trap-filled ruins it’s more likely than not that one of them will turn out to be your grave.

I suppose I should put something here about the friends I’d say goodbye to if I could. How much I’m going to miss them; how much I love them. But I’ve been sat here for the last half-hour thinking, and I’ve realised there isn’t anyone. No-one that’s going to miss me. No-one that even knows I’m here. No-one that’s going to care that I’m not coming home.

That’s probably for the best.

So, to whomever finds these notes, I hope that what I record here serves you better than me. If you can, find the answers I couldn’t. I wish you the best of luck.

~ Daring Do.

Author's Note:

The following story is, by necessity, set sometime prior to 'Stranger than Fan Fiction', and was conceived and started before that episode aired. That being the case, there are one or two facets herein that readers may find difficult to reconcile with the canon that now exists as a result of that episode. I have tried to minimise them and hope that they do not detract too much from the tale you are about to read.