• Published 18th Jul 2012
  • 14,005 Views, 64 Comments

The Lost Tribe - Mike Dugan

Twilight and her friends enjoy a relaxing day at the beach, when Rainbow Dash has a startling encounter that leads to an exciting undersea adventure. Featured on Equestria Daily on 09/28/2012

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Chapter 1

The Lost Tribe

By Mike Dugan

"Uh!" Applejack grunted as she spiked the volleyball with her front hoof. It sailed over the net, only to be met with a strong headbutt from Rainbow Dash and sent hurtling back. Applejack pivoted on her front hooves, bucked the ball back with her hind legs, and the two athletic ponies continued their one-on-one game of beach volleyball.

Rarity stretched out on her plush beach chair, sighing contentedly. "Oh what a lovely day to be at the beach!" she proclaimed.

Spike gazed lovingly at the white unicorn, gripping her umbrella in his claws. "It certainly is..." he said distantly.

Rarity peered over her shades and tilted her large sunhat out of the way. "Hm. Spike, be a dear and move just a teeny bit to the right, will you?" she asked. Spike, still grinning dimly, did so.

Nearby, a small group of hermit crabs scuttled toward a newly created sandcastle, just as Fluttershy finished molding the last tower. "There you go, little hermit crabs. Now you have a proper home to live in," she said.

As Twilight Sparkle kept her snout in a book, conveniently titled, How To Have Fun at the Beach, Pinkie Pie waddled up to her. She was wearing flippers on all four hooves, a mask and snorkel sat atop her head, and a large yellow inner-tube encircled her body.

"Boy, Twilight! It sure was lucky you were able to get us passes to Canter Cove!" Pinkie exclaimed. Her buffoonish gait from the flippers caused her to accidentally kick up a bit of sand onto Twilight's book.

Twilight flinched, and shook the sand from her book, giving the party pony a slightly irritated look. "Y-y-yeah, it was," she replied. Twilight turned her gaze to the sunny vista around her and her friends. Canter Cove was one of the municipal beaches of Canterlot, and one of the most luxurious vacation spots in Equestria. Twilight smiled at the sight of her friends enjoying themselves. "I just figured we could use a little vacation after all the excitement lately," she said.

No sooner did Twilight finish her sentence, when Applejack suddenly called out from down the beach, "Whoa nelly! Heads up!" The volleyball she and Rainbow Dash had been batting back and forth careened away from the playing area, smushing Fluttershy's sandcastle. Fluttershy yelped as she shielded herself from the sandy spray. The hermit crabs crept away unharmed, but the castle was no more. Fluttershy sighed forlornly at the mound of sand that was once the home to the small creatures she was trying to help.

Applejack and Rainbow Dash cringed at the result of the incident. Applejack could only stammer out an apology. "Er, sorry 'bout that, sugarcube," she said with a guilty grin.

"Oh, it's okay," Fluttershy replied. "I can always make another one." She began to dig her front hooves in the sand once again, making another attempt at a sandcastle home.

Rainbow Dash piped up after a moment. "Uh, maybe that's enough volleyball for now," she said. "Hey! Who's up for a swim?" Rainbow was met with enthusiastic cheers from her friends.

The six ponies galloped happily into the water, splashing around and giggling. After a long bout of frolicking in the shallows, Rainbow Dash glided up to Twilight. "Hey Twilight! I just had an awesome idea!" she said. The purple unicorn leaned over, as Rainbow Dash whispered in her ear.

Twilight was taken aback by the request. "What? Gosh, Rainbow Dash, do you think that's safe?"

"Trust me! It'll be the coolest thing ever!" the blue pegasus exclaimed.

Twilight thought for a moment, then shrugged. "Well, okay, Rainbow," she said. "As long as you know what you're doing."

Squealing with excitement, Rainbow Dash flew up to some of the lower clouds in the sky above the water. Twilight retreated to the water's edge, readying herself to participate in Rainbow Dash's new plan.

As the other ponies made their way out of the water, Twilight's horn began to glow. Furrowing her brow in concentration, she swayed her head back and forth. As she did so, the water before her started to dip and rise. At first, it was only a few small ripples in the surf, but soon, the waves grew larger and reached further out into the sea. After a while, Twilight's spell had stirred up large, impressive waves that crashed back and forth across almost the entire length of the beach. It was not long before many of the other ponies visiting the vacation spot had their attention drawn to the scene. It was just how Rainbow Dash liked it.

High above the water, Rainbow Dash perched herself on the edge of a narrow cloud. She peered intensely at the roiling waves below her, judging the best opportunity to make her move. Her eyes focused onto a large wave rolling away beneath her, and she readied herself.

"And now!" she announced, "Rainbow Dash will perform her greatest display of stunts ever!" With that, she bounced a few times on the edge of her cloudy perch, not unlike a diver atop a diving board, then zoomed down toward the churning sea.

After a short free-fall, Rainbow Dash's wings flapped open and she shot forward. Zigzagging between the crests of the waves, she kicked her hooves into the foamy white tips. As the sunlight hit the watery spray from Rainbow Dash's kicks, a long, winding rainbow appeared behind the speeding pegasus as she darted along. Delighted by the display, the ponies along the edge of the beach began cheering and chanting Rainbow Dash's name. Beaming with pride, Rainbow Dash turned her head to the beach far below her, grinning at the crowd and relishing the cheers.

It all happened at once.

Amidst the cheers and whistles of the ponies on the sandy beach, Twilight cried out, "Rainbow Dash, look out!"

Turning her head a moment too late, Rainbow Dash could only let out a gasp as an enormous wave came crashing down on her. The watery cascade slammed her down into the water, pushing her far below the surface and out of sight. Shouting in horror, the other ponies galloped into the water, frantically searching for their missing pegasus friend.

Rainbow Dash floated numbly in a dark blue void. After a few moments, the stunned pegasus slowly regained her senses. Luckily, she had managed to hold her breath, despite the powerful blast of water that struck her. Rainbow Dash peered blearily into the water, trying to get bearings. Just as she did so, a pair of bright green eyes suddenly appeared before her.

At first, Rainbow Dash felt a sense of relief at the sight of a stallion in the water with her. But as she gained a better view of the pony, the full sight galvanized her. The pony was shaped like any other, but where his hind legs should have been, a long, fish-like tail extended.

Uttering a muffled cry of shock, Rainbow Dash rocketed toward the surface. At the shoreline, Twilight and the other ponies dodged out of the way of the screaming pegasus as she shot out of the water and crashed onto the beach, leaving a deep groove in the sand. The ponies trotted up to where Rainbow Dash had made her landing, her back end protruding comically from the large mound that she had become embedded in. Twilight dug at the sand, trying to help her friend out of her landing site and make sure was all right. "Rainbow Dash? Are you okay? Are you hurt?" she called out.

Rainbow Dash burst forth from the sand, sitting upright. Wiping the grit from her eyes, she stared intensely at the sea. "A pony... in the water..." she said blankly.

Twilight and the others all looked perplexed. Before they could say anything, Rainbow Dash leaped from the mound and galloped past them into the water. Her friends followed, voicing their concerns.

"There's a pony in the water!" Rainbow Dash cried out. She splashed around the shallow surf, her head flew from side to side as she looked around desperately for some sign of the creature she had glimpsed.

Twilight rushed to Rainbow Dash's side and placed her front hoof on her friend's shoulder. "Rainbow Dash, what's going on?" she asked.

Rainbow Dash turned to Twilight with a bewildered expression, completely lost for words. She looked back to the sea, quivering with disbelief at what she had seen.

That evening, at the Canterlot library, Rainbow Dash was pacing back and forth, countless thoughts racing through her mind. She, Twilight, and the others had all gathered at the library to discuss Rainbow's bizarre sighting. Twilight was scouring the upper level of the library, while the others watched an agitated Rainbow Dash trot from one end of the room to the other.

"Uh, Rainbow Dash? Are you sure you saw what you saw? I mean, y'all hit the water mighty hard," Applejack said cautiously.

Rainbow Dash shot her a hard look. "I know what I saw!" she said. "I'm telling you, he was down there!"

The four ponies exchanged skeptical glances. Rarity finally spoke. "Rainbow, dear, are you positive you didn't just see a dolphin or some such creature?"

Rainbow Dash snorted angrily. "Dolphins don't have hooves, Rarity!" she snapped.

Rarity cocked her head, startled by Rainbow Dash's sharp reply. Calming herself, Rainbow Dash put a hoof to her face, and sighed. "I'm sorry," she said. "Look, I know how it sounds. I almost can't believe it myself. But I'm telling you, I saw a pony in the water, and he had the tail of a fish!" She sighed heavily and continued pacing.

Fluttershy peered at her lifelong friend. "Goodness, Rainbow Dash," she said, "whatever it was, if it has you so worked up, then maybe... maybe there is something down there."

"Y'think she's on to somethin'?" Applejack asked.

Then, from the upper level of the library, Twilight's voice chimed in. "Actually, it's possible she is." In a bright purple flash, Twilight teleported to the ground floor. A large, dusty book hovered before her in her magical grip. Opening the ancient looking tome, Twilight flipped through the dry old pages, until she arrived at the appropriate entry. "Take a look at this, everypony," she said.

The friends gathered around Twilight as she described the passage before them. "This is one of the oldest books I have about pre-Equestrian history," she explained. "It tells of the three tribes and their journeys before the founding of Equestria. It also mentions the tales of other creatures, like donkeys and even zebras."

Twilight flipped a few more pages, arriving at a series of primitive looking illustrations. "See these drawings?" she said. "These are old carvings and murals of ponies who were said to have dwelt in the sea. They broke off from the other ponies long ago to form their own kingdom. A lost tribe." The ponies murmured in fascination.

"No way, that's it!" Rainbow Dash burst out, pointing her hoof at one of the images in the book. It was of a pony seeming to gallop amidst simply drawn water patterns. It had two forelegs outstretched, while a fish-like tail protruded from its hind end. "That's what I saw!"

The others gasped. "Rainbow Dash," Twilight said in an urgent tone, "you've never looked through this book before, have you?"

Rainbow Dash cocked an eyebrow. Twilight giggled and rolled her eyes. "Right, just wanted to make sure."

"Well golly," Applejack proclaimed, "that can't be just some coincidence! I think you might have somethin' there, Rainbow Dash!"

Rainbow Dash flitted up into the air with excitement. "Then let's check it out!" she exclaimed. Hovering closer to the floor, she extended her front hoof toward her friends. "Who's with me?"

The other five ponies looked to each other, then back to Rainbow Dash. Twilight spoke first. "Gosh, if there's any truth to this, it could be a big discovery! Count me in!" She reached her hoof out and touched Rainbow Dash's.

"Same here!" Applejack announced. "Whatever's goin' on down there, y'all ain't facin' it without me!" She touched her hoof with Rainbow and Twilight's.

Rarity's white hoof gracefully joined the others. "And I as well!" she said. Immediately after, Pinkie Pie's hoof shot in, clacking against the others' as she blurted out an enthusiastic, "Woo-hoo!"

The five friends turned their heads to the gentle yellow pegasus nearby. Fluttershy recoiled slightly, then smiled. "You know what? Me too!" she said, and placed her hoof in the circle with the others.

The next day, far out at sea, a small fishing boat chugged to a stop, and bobbed steadily in the water. Aboard the 'Orca,' Rainbow Dash and her friends stood on the deck, readying themselves for their new adventure.

"Thanks for the boat ride, Mr. Squint!" Twilight said to the gruff earth pony stallion operating the boat.

The old salt tipped his pale gray cap. "Not at all, Miss Twilight," he said. He shut down the engine, and set to tending his vessel, humming an old shanty to himself.

Twilight turned to her friends, as she briefly perused a scroll she brought with her. "Okay girls," she said, "now this spell is pretty complicated, but it should do the trick."

Rarity looked uneasy. "Uh, ahem, what exactly will this spell of yours do, Twilight?" she asked apprehensively.

Twilight began her explanation. "Well, in order for us to give an extensive search underwater, we need to be able to stay below for a long time. This 'breathing bubble' spell will allow ponies to stay underwater indefinitely."

Rolling up the scroll and setting it aside, Twilight continued her speech. "I've already spoken to Princess Celestia herself about all of this, and she's very interested in hearing about what, if anything, we discover. If we don't find anything, it's fine. But, if we do find anything, any evidence of these creatures at all, she wants to hear about it. This is very important to all of pony-kind."

The others nodded.

"We have three days to conduct our search until the Princess expects to hear back from us." Twilight leaned toward her friends, pointing a hoof at them to emphasize her point. "Got that? Three days."

Rainbow Dash swished her tail. "That's all I need!" she exclaimed. "So let's do this!"

Twilight nodded, and her horn began to glow as she cast her spell. Soon, a small purple bubble emanated from the tip of her horn, and slowly expanded in size until it was larger than a pony's head. Twilight nudged the bubble in Rainbow Dash's direction. Rainbow winced as the ethereal blob wafted toward her and enveloped her head. With a few slight shifts and distortions, the bubble gently conformed to Rainbow Dash's head and mane, and the purple hue faded to complete transparency. Rainbow poked at the delicate clear surface around her head. She gave a slight chuckle at the strangeness of the situation.

"Now, be careful, all of you," Twilight warned. "These bubbles are tougher than regular soap suds, but they can still break with enough force."

Rarity and Fluttershy gave each other worried looks, then turned to Twilight. "And you're sure this is safe?" Rarity asked.

Twilight thought for a moment, then said, "Well, safe enough. I think." Rarity and Fluttershy gulped. Twilight readied her horn for the spell again. "So, who's up next?" she asked cheerfully.

After a few minutes, each pony had her own magic breathing bubble formed around her head. Pinkie Pie prodded at hers with childlike glee, and giggled at the wobbling magical substance around her head. "Cool!" she chortled.

Rainbow Dash smirked. "Pinkie Pie, I've got so many bubble head jokes I could making right now, I can't decide on just one!" Pinkie Pie responded with a wide grin.

Then, before any of the other ponies knew it, Rainbow Dash was up on the edge of the stern. "Look out, sea ponies!" she exclaimed. "Here I come!" With a cry of exhilaration, she dove headfirst into the rippling water. The others looked on with disbelief.

Applejack chuckled as she climbed up the stern to where Rainbow Dash had jumped from. "Never did learn to look before you leap, huh sugarcube," she said. "Geronimo!" Soon, she too was over the edge of the boat and splashing down into the water.

Giggling with excitement, Pinkie Pie then careened over the edge in a cheerful bounce, and Twilight followed her. Rarity and Fluttershy clambered up the boat's edge with distressed looks on their faces. Clutching each other and uttering a wail of dismay, they hurled themselves into the strange blue world their friends had just disappeared into.

Deep below the surface, Rarity and Fluttershy sank down to the seabed where their friends had arrived. The two ponies were still clinging to each other as they settled onto the sandy floor, cringing at the bizarre situation. After a moment, Rarity dared to open one of her eyes to peer at her strange surroundings. Gasping with delight, she shook Fluttershy gently, urging her to finally look as well. Reluctantly, Fluttershy finally opened her eyes. As soon as she saw the sight around her, she too joined her friends in the joyful gaze at the new world around them.

In the vibrant blue water, rippling sandbars crested with brilliantly colored corals and sea plants stretched out as far as they could see. Sparkling schools of fish of every color, shape and size wove in and around the scenery before them.

"Whoa..." Rainbow Dash said distantly. "This is so cool!"

"O-o-h, you're telling me!" Rarity giggled. "Oh this is giving me all sorts of new ideas for my next fashion line!" Soon, the white unicorn had thrown herself ahead of the group, frantically paddling toward the amazing scenery. Tittering with glee, she zipped from reef to reef, perusing all the exotic shapes and colors of the seaweeds and corals.

Rainbow Dash gave a half-smile. "Okay ladies," she said, "now let's remember why we're all down--" She stopped when she saw that her friends had all lost their focus and were thoroughly enchanted with their wonderful new discoveries.

By some miracle, Twilight had managed to keep a quill and parchment at the ready, despite her watery surroundings. She diligently jotted down notes and sketches of all the new things she observed. "Wow! I can't wait to document this back home!" she said excitedly.

Applejack stepped to Twilight's side, looking bewildered at her note-taking friend. "How're you doin' that?" she asked. Twilight simply responded with a puzzled look, as if surprised by the question.

Nearby, Fluttershy was greeted by a school of small fish. They meandered gently around her, drawing a quiet giggle from the visiting pegasus. "Hello, new friends!" she cooed. "Oh I can't wait to meet more creatures like you!"

Meanwhile, Pinkie Pie had discovered a school of brightly colored seahorses. Giggling, she pointed at the familiar looking creatures and called out, "Hey Rainbow Dash! Maybe we should ask these little guys if they know anything!" The tiny fish swarmed around the pink pony, prompting a fit of laughter from her.

With a dejected sigh, Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes, then gave a sharp whistle. "Guys!" she shouted. The others snapped to attention. "We really need to focus here!"

Twilight cleared her throat, and swam to Rainbow Dash's side. "You're right, Rainbow Dash," she said. "We only have a limited time down here, so we should make sure we know what we're doing."

Applejack was soon at Rainbow Dash's side as well. "So, what exactly are we lookin' for?" she asked.

"Anything that looks strange, I guess," Rainbow Dash answered.

The ponies were all together, striding along the sandy ocean floor and scanning the scenery around them. Soon the group came to a ledge looking over a vast chasm. Bright spires of coral and rock reached high above them. Long, waving plants swayed in the currents, and countless sea creatures cruised about in slow, deliberate courses among the watery jungle. Down below, an eerie dark trench stretched down into an unknown abyss. The six friends all gazed at the vast alien landscape before them.

"Trouble is, everything down here looks like something strange," Rainbow Dash mused.

The friends were so absorbed in the scenery, none of them had noticed the huge shadow looming over them.

Pinkie Pie suddenly sensed the presence lurking above them. Turning her head, her face filled with shock and horror at the sight. "Uh, g-g-guys?"

The ponies turned their heads, seeing the gaping maw of the enormous shark that was upon them. A collective gasp emitted from the six friends.

"Scatter!" Rainbow Dash shouted.

Screaming, the ponies shot through the water in random directions, narrowly avoiding the clashing array of teeth. Each pony made a break for a hiding place, trying to evade the marauding predator. Applejack hastily shoved a bewildered Rarity behind a rocky spire and out of the shark's sight. Fluttershy tried to take cover in a patch of waving seagrass, but was soon spotted by the beast. Just as the shark was about to make a move for her, Twilight used her magic to pull Fluttershy to safety.

Trembling, Pinkie Pie peeked out from beneath the huge snail shell she hid herself in. Suddenly, she sprang out of her hiding place with a loud yelp of pain. Rubbing her backside, she glared at the large hermit crab that had nipped her flanks.

"That wasn't very nice!" she scolded. She spun around indignantly, only to find herself snout-to-snout with the hulking shark. She giggled nervously. "H-h-hey! Uh, I b-b-bet you've got a terrific smile!" she babbled.

Pinkie's attempt at flattery was met with a lunge from the shark. The enormous jaws smashed shut around the party pony's neck, then pulled away. In a strange, comic fashion, Pinkie Pie's head popped back into place, having pulled itself deep between her shoulders at the last possible second. Before the shark could retaliate, Pinkie was scrambling backwards to a nearby rocky crevasse, squealing with terror. Tucking herself into the tiny gap, the pink pony was soon cornered by the shark.

Using her wings to propel herself in the water, Rainbow Dash pulled herself to the scene. The shark twisted and thrashed its body as it tried to cram its large head into the tiny space where Pinkie Pie was trapped. Pinkie pressed herself against the back wall of her hiding place, which was starting to crumble under the shark's assault.

"Help! Somepony help!" Pinkie Pie wailed. The chomping maw was only inches away. Just as the crumbling rock was about to give way, the shark felt a strong tug from behind.

"Get away from her you big goon!" Rainbow Dash shouted. She had wrapped her front legs around the base of the shark's tale and flapped her wings furiously, trying to pull the monster away from her friend. With one last tug, Rainbow Dash managed to yank the huge fish hard enough to pull it away from its intended meal. The beast turned its attention on Rainbow Dash, and lunged toward her. With the same deftness that aided her in her aerial stunts, Rainbow Dash rolled out of the path of the shark's lethal maw. The razor-sharp teeth missed her, but the beast's powerful tail did not. The shark struck Rainbow Dash with its thick and heavy rudder with incredible force as it swam past her. The strong blow ruptured the magic air bubble surrounding Rainbow Dash's head with a loud pop, and sent the blue pegasus careening toward the rim of the nearby trench.

Unable to gain control of her trajectory, Rainbow Dash slammed into the rocky edge. The sudden impact jolted the last bit of air from her lungs and rendered the pegasus unconscious. With a dull moan, Rainbow Dash's limp form sank into the dark recesses of the undersea canyon, a stream of bubbles trickling from her mouth.

At last, the shark swam away, searching for easier prey. It had decided these creatures were not worth the effort. Nearby, the other ponies had regrouped, and struggled through the water to reach the trench their friend had disappeared into. Gathering at the edge, they desperately called out her name.

"Rainbow Dash! Rainbow!" Twilight cried out. The friends stared into the inky depths, trying to catch any sign of the fallen blue pegasus, but nothing could be seen. The five ponies felt their hearts sink. Twilight's eyes welled. "Rainbow..."

Suddenly, a mysterious form surged through the water before them, plummeting down into the trench. Twilight and the others blinked in confusion.

"Was... was that a tail?" Twilight wondered aloud.

At the bottom of the dark trench, the stunned Rainbow Dash slowly settled on the slimy seabed, blackness all around her. Her lungs completely empty and her senses barely returning to her, she had no strength left to struggle for the surface. She was fading fast.

Suddenly, Rainbow Dash felt the impossible sensation of the forelegs of a pony wrapping around her torso. Barely comprehending the situation, she then felt herself being pulled through the water with tremendous speed. Faster and faster she went, the water rushing over her with increasing intensity. Rainbow Dash squinted hard, trying to keep the tangy salt water out of her eyes and making it impossible for her to see what was happening. There was a loud splash, a flash of sunlight, and the next thing Rainbow Dash knew, she was bursting through the surface.

Rainbow Dash threw her head back as she gasped in the blessed air. Panting and coughing, she gradually caught her breath, and tried to wipe the salty water from her eyes. She could still feel the forelegs of a pony around her, but her mane had become matted over her face from the seawater, preventing her from seeing her rescuer. As she tried to shake her multicolored hair out of her vision, she felt a hoof help clear the colorful strands from her line of sight. Her view finally cleared, Rainbow Dash's eyes slowly began to focus. Finally able to see the creature who had saved her life, a quiet gasp escaped her.

Rainbow Dash was looking into the bright green eyes of the stallion she had witnessed the other day. His coat was dark blue, and a bristled black mane ran along the top of his head. Just behind him, Rainbow Dash could see the fluke of his fish-like tail splash the surface of the water. It was the sea pony.

Still embracing Rainbow Dash in his forelegs, the sea pony looked at the panting pegasus with concern. Then, he spoke.

"Are you all right? Can you breathe up here?"

Rainbow Dash said nothing at first. She stared at the stallion holding her, eyes wide with amazement. Soon, her shock subsided, and a gentle smile crossed her face. "It's you..." Her voice was barely above a whisper.

The sea pony, relieved that his new friend was safe, smiled back. "Hey, you."

To Be Continued