• Published 26th Nov 2017
  • 3,676 Views, 111 Comments

On the Peak of Aris - milesprower06

With her first E.U.P. squad formed and beyond expectations, Captain Berrytwist now turns her attention to the wrongs she committed beyond Equestria.

  • ...

One Huge Thing

For the past two days, the Eclipse had made four round trips a day to and from the Basalt Beach quarry. Captain Fizzlepop was trying her hardest not to feel disheartened at the way things had played out so far. She was glad that the expedition was going as planned... For everyone else involved. But if she was honest with herself, she had traveled out this far to have a personal hoof in Hippogriffia's reconstruction. She only got distant views of the daily progress; homes and arches being rebuilt. The most she had seen up close so far was the impressive amount of basalt the Eclipse had hauled over to Hippogriffia. But she had to disembark at the front gates each time. That time was coming up for the second time, as she stood on the starboard side of the Eclipse's main deck. and before she did, she had something to talk about with Major Speartip.

"Major? A word?" She asked, approaching the gray unicorn in Canterlot E.U.P. armor.

"Yes, Captain? What can I do for you?" Speartip said, checking how close they were to the front gates, so they wouldn't miss her exit point by being distracted by conversation. As they neared the city walls, Celaeno had slowed the ship considerably, so they had a couple minutes.

"I'll get right to the point, Major. I'd like to formally transfer command of the expedition over to you."

Speartip's eyes on an otherwise completely composed face showed that this really wasn't what he was expecting.

"Is that so, Captain? May I ask why?" He asked.

"I'll be frank; I'm not really in any position to make any decisions. I formed this expedition, but I don't think Queen Novo is going to be budging anytime soon. You have access to the crew quarters, the construction sites, the quarry, you've opened a dialogue with Queen Novo, and you have military and diplomatic experience that I do not. I think it's best for the goals of the expedition that you handle things from here." Fizzlepop told her.

"Is this what you really want?" Speartip asked her.

"It's not really about what I want. Because of Queen Novo's restrictions, you're in a much better position to lead."

"Mm," Speartip agreed, giving a soft nod, almost as if he wanted to be impressed. "If you insist, Captain, I'll take command of the expedition to the best of my ability. What will you do?"

"Stay where Queen Novo wants me. I'll keep watch outside the front gates, and oversee loading at the quarry."

"Very well, Captain. I believe this is your stop." Speartip said, nodding to the gates they were about to pass over.

"And so it is. Thank you, Major."

Captain Fizzlepop tossed a secured rope off of the starboard side where the gangway would be during docking, and jumped over the edge, sliding down the rope with one hoof and her staff snugly held in the other. She descended for five seconds before her hooves hit the ground with a thud, a mere twenty feet from her campsite. She tugged the rope twice, and it was quickly pulled back up before the Eclipse passed over the front gates into the city limits. It continued to slow until it came to a stop after a couple hundred more feet, then the crane was put to use to offload the basalt directly at the sites they were building at. If today went better than yesterday, they would finish unloading before sunset, and would pick up first thing tomorrow morning.

She walked up the final steps that she had landed on up to her small campsite, which itself was about twenty feet from the front gates and guards. It consisted of a stone fire ring, her bag of rations, and a small one-pony tent with a black wool bedroll. It kept her plenty warm when the temperature dropped after sundown. Lastly, the whole camp was well within view of Stratus Skyranger and his front night watch, Cirrus Drift.

She sat down in front of her fire ring, and used some gathered kindling to prepare a fire. She had eaten her last apple, so now had to start going through the eggs in her ration tins, and that required heat for cooking. And fire building was easiest when there was light, which she only had a few minutes left of.

Princess Skystar cradled a lidded wooden bowl in her right wing as she walked out to the main gates. Opening the gates with a creaking sound got the immediate attention of Stratus Skyranger, who would be off duty in a matter of minutes.

"Princess Skystar, what are you doing out here?" Captain Skyranger asked.

"Just taking a nice evening stroll through our healing city." Skystar replied, pausing only for a moment to address the captain of the guard, then resumed walking towards Fizzlepop's tent.

"Does your mother know you're out here?" Stratus asked, bring pause to Skystar's steps again.

"You know what, I don't think she does." Skystar said with a hint of sass, turning around once more to face Stratus. "She might not approve, either. Maybe you should go tell her. Oh, that's right. I believe you're under strict orders to not let our guest here out of your sight, and unless something has changed about her not being allowed inside the gates...?" Princess Skystar trailed off, waiting for some kind of response from the flummoxed guard. After several seconds, she gave him a smirk.

"Mm. Bummer. So if you'll excuse me."

She continued down to where Fizzlepop was tending to her fresh fire.

"Hi there, I don't believe we've been introduced. Princess Skystar, pleased to meet you." The hippogriff greeted, sitting down next to the dark orchid mare.

"Captain Fizzlepop Berrytwist, likewise, Your Highness."

"Oh, don't give me the Highness mumbo jumbo, I never was one for honorifics and all that." Skystar playfully chastised, offering her the wooden bowl, lifting the lid off.

"I thought you'd like some of what we made for your team in there."

As the lid came off and the aroma hit Fizzlepop's nostrils, she had to concentrate on not salivating then and there. In the bowl along with a spoon, was a helping of steaming, creamy broccoli cheddar soup.

"You're too kind. I have my rations to hold me over."

"Lieutenant Rivet told me the same thing, and I figured that's exactly what you could use a break from." Skystar replied.

The hippogriff noticed the tip of the staff on the ground next to Fizzle glow, as the bowl was levitated out of the hold of her wing, and brought over to her, where she sipped a spoonful. Immediately, the evening air didn't feel as chilly.

"This is delicious, Your Hi-, er, Princess. Thank you very much." Fizzlepop replied. She was used to standing on ceremony.

As Fizzlepop continued to sip at the soup, Princess Skystar took the opportunity to scoot closer.

"Listen, I'm... I'm sorry about my mom." She offered. Fizzlepop looked over at her and placed the spoon back in the half-empty bowl.

"You shouldn't be. None of you have to apologize for anything. I'm here to make amends for what I did."

"But I'm sure you wanted to have a more hooves-on role to it, right? They aren't really letting you do anything."

"I've been seeing enough from the air on our approach from the quarry."

"Still... I hope she comes around. When Major Speartip told her that you had given command to him, the first thing she asked was if you were leaving. It was a pony who taught me that one small thing can seem a lot bigger than it is."


"Yeah. Like a bowl of hot soup." Skystar said, pointing to the bowl Fizzlepop continued to sip at. "That's a small thing. What you're doing for us isn't small; it's huge. Do you have any idea how much faster our city is going to rebuild thanks to the efforts you've planned? Before you came along, we had to haul the basalt across the ocean in our dinghies, then fly them up to the peak by claw. It was going to take us nearly a year to get it done. Now with the airship you've hired, and your team, we're on track to do it in a month. You have no idea what that means to us."

"Well, if the Princess of Hippogriffia is out here bringing me a bowl of delicious soup, I think I have some idea of what it means."

As Fizzlepop continued eating the soup, Princess Skystar cleared her throat as she prepared to ask her next question.

"So, I'm, uh... I'm not sure how often you get this question, but... What happened to your horn?" She asked gingerly. Fizzlepop looked over at her, and smiled gently, knowing that it was a perfectly safe question to have asked.

"Accident in my childhood. Went chasing after a ball when I really shouldn't have." She told the Princess succinctly.

"I'm... I'm sorry to hear that. To have something like that happen to you when you're that young..."

"I'm sorry too. I did a lot of questionable things because of what happened to me. I thought unicorns were nothing without their horns, and I spent years searching for ways to have it restored. Pretty soon, I ran into tyrants that took advantage of my desperation."

"The Storm King." Skystar guessed, and Fizzlepop nodded.

"He offered to restore my horn if I stole your kingdom's pearl. Whatever your mother has told you about me is probably true. I lied my way into your city, took advantage of your mother's hospitality, and tried to steal the pearl at the first opportunity I got. When she caught me, that's when the fight broke out, and that's why you have all that destruction in there that you're dealing with now."

"So that's what's on your necklace?" Skystar asked, eyeing the skeletal remains of a horn tip at the end of her ball chain necklace around her neck.

"That was actually just returned to me recently. Some old friends had found it right where I had lost it."

"So you've done wrong, you've made mistakes, but you're here now, and even though my mom isn't letting you help, you've brought ponies and parrots and a cat along that are helping in your stead. Maybe she's too stubborn to see that you've changed, but I hope it means something that I see a good pony in you."

Fizzlepop smiled at her.

"Thank you, Princess."

The sun finally dipped below the horizon, and Cirrus came through the front gates to relieve Stratus.

"I better get inside before my mom starts losing her feathers looking for me. It was nice meeting you, Captain. Enjoy the rest of the soup, I'll bring you more tomorrow!"

As Cirrus took his post, Princess Skystar followed Stratus inside as the gates were closed again.

"A little lesson for you and my mom, Stratus. A little kindness can go a long way."

"With all due respect, Your Highness, your mother and I speak from personal experience, with her, when I say I know exactly where kindness takes us. It is why we're rebuilding in the first place."