• Published 25th Jun 2018
  • 277 Views, 32 Comments

A Tempest Tossed - LotusTeaDragon

Violet Tempest must stop a violent storm from destroying Equestria!

  • ...

Chapter Eight

Chapter Eight
Manehattan Public Library

Aside from getting lost at one point, and Violet once more losing her crutch to the unceasing winds, the pair made it safely to their destination without incident.

As she closed the door behind them, and blockaded it with a wooden chair, Candela turned to face Violet, her face sopping wet from the torrential wind and rain.

"You okay?" she asked Violet as she began wringing the water from her mane.

Violet nodded her head and began to do the same, water dripping to the tile floor of the empty staging area, where book crates were stored and sorted. The large, open area was deserted, the ponies who would have filled the room with their activity having long evacuated to perceived safety elsewhere.

An open crate was next to her, a stack of hardbacks piled inside. Violet picked up the topmost book, and glanced at the cover. 'How to Meet Ponies And Influence Griffons.' She sat it aside, and picked up the next one. 'Great And Powerful Stage Magic.'

Violet smiled as she considered who would have the ego to write about effective stage magic in a world where teleportation was a reality.

She placed the books back into the crate and looked up in time to see Candela trotting back into the room, a towel wrapped around her mane as she tossed another one to Violet.

"Here you go," she said to the pegasus, "I found these over in the janitors closet. I hope they're clean" she added, as Violet began drying her own mane and tail.

"We'll find out if my mane turns orange," Violet replied. The two mares chuckled at the mental image that created, as they continued drying their manes and coats by the dim red light of an illumination gem glowing softly above the door to the Manehattan Library offices.

"So where to now?" Candela asked as they tossed their towels into a corner, walking past them as they passed through the doorway and into the next set of rooms, which was a series of offices silently laid out before them.

"You know, this place is far spookier than I remember," Candela said as they looked about in the darkness.

Violet heard quiet rustling before light flared forth from a sodium canister. A few spots were blinked away, and she could see all around her. "How many of those do we have left?" she asked.

"This is my last one," Candela replied.

A moment of silence passed as they considered their surroundings. Where they were, the storms couldn't be heard as much, so the only actual sounds aside from their breathing was the faint buzz of the sodium light burning its fuel.

"You ready?" Candela asked her companion.

Violet nodded. "Lead on, MacDuff."

Candela cleared her throat. "Actually," she began, holding up her hoof, her voice entering into lecture mode, "it's 'lay on, Macduff.'"

Violet raised an eyebrow. "Are you sure?" came the doubtful reply.

The earth mare nodded. "Quite sure, my dear. The line comes from Shetland's play that shall not be named, act 5, scene 8, and I quote "Before my barrel, I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, Macduff, and damn'd be she that first cries, 'Hold, enough!'"

Violet giggled. "I stand corrected, oh noble sage, full of wit, wisdom, and wonder."

The earth mare made a mock bow, responding with a grandiose "I accept your humble apology, lovely filly."

This caused Violet to blush, and she attempted to clear her throat in an effort to banish the blush from her muzzle.

A small smile appeared on the tan earth pony's own face as she lead them down the short hallway, and out into the main lobby of the library.

The glow of the sodium light let her see row after row of tall bookshelves, continuing on back until the darkness swallowed them. "This way," Candela called as she headed past the first row of shelves, down a wide aisle that lead further into the heart of the library.

Violet followed, letting her gaze flit over as many titles as she could. She could tell from the catalog numbers that they were in the reference section, and she smiled at the thought of Twilight's reaction to being in an abandoned library filled wall to wall with reference books.

Thinking about her friend caused a pang of sadness to echo in her chest. She had been so busy trying to find a way to stop the storm... ''no,' she realized, 'I have been enjoying my time with Candela, and not focusing on my mission.'

She glanced over to her new friend, guiding them through the labyrinth of books and blackness, tomes and total darkness, to reach a small media room which housed a shortwave radio in the hopes that they could make contact with the outside world.

For a moment, she felt irritated that she had nearly forgotten her goal, but at the same time she couldn't help but feel that Twilight would have lectured her on the importance of friendship, even in times of trouble, or especially in times of trouble.

Plus, she had to admit that she had grown fond of Candela over the past few days. The earth pony was likable, her sense of humor on point, and her attitude one of kindness and empathy. She didn't have to know how important the missing ponies were to Violet, only that they were important, and that Violet needed help.

She felt a flutter of warmth in her chest that soothed the aching that had been left there by the guilt. She hadn't been derelict, she had been healing. What good is a pony who can't even stand long enough to begin a search, let alone a rescue mission in the midst of the worst storm Equestria had ever witnessed?

They still hadn't even figured out what had caused the storm, or the events surrounding it. The ice shelf collapse, the earthquakes, and the floods. It was as if Equestria herself was shaking them off, like Pinkie Pie after falling into the punch bowl.

That thought didn't sit well with her, and she brought her attention back to the task at hoof.

Candela had stopped. They had arrived at a nondescript door in the very back of the library. She watched with rapt interest as Candela removed a scrap of paper from her saddlebags and studied it for a few moments.

"The map?" Violet whispered, with no thought to the lack of need for whispering in an abandoned library.

Candela shook her head. "No, it's the keycode combination."

She pointed at the door, which Violet had only just noticed had a tiny keypad underneath the handle. She had never seen anything like it before.

Candela, sensing her curiosity, explained. "This is a magic proof keylock, which uses electricity to keep the door secure. There isn't just a radio in here, it's actually a shelter in the event of a city-wide emergency."

Violet watched as Candela punched in a six digit code, and a little green light flickered for just a moment before going dark.

The earth pony smiled and pulled the handle, which resulted in the sound of locks disengaging that echoed throughout the empty library. A few seconds later, the door itself began to budge.

"Could you give me a hoof, hon?" Candela asked, her voice beginning to strain.

Violet started at being addressed, but jumped right in to help pull the door open. It was clearly far heavier than it looked.

"A little more," came Candela's voice, more like a grunt than an actual statement. As they pulled the heavy door aside, Candela lost her balance, tripped, and a moment later, Violet found herself on the floor, face to face with the earth pony.

Both mares blushed as they realized their muzzles were touching. Instead of pulling away, however, Candela raised her muzzle a few inches, and kissed Violet on her nose.

Violet felt as if her blush burned a thousand times brighter than the Sun. Before she could react with her full capacity, however, Candela got to her hooves, and reached out with her foreleg.

"I'm sorry, hon, I forgot about your leg!" she said as she helped the pegasus to her own hooves.

Violet was still reeling from the gentle peck on her muzzle, but Candela was already back to business, picking up the few items that had fallen out of her saddlebags.

"Well, now the fun part begins," she said as she tightened her straps. Violet looked to where she had turned and saw that the door was now open, and what lay beyond it was a flight of stairs that went down about 6 or 7 steps before being swallowed up by the blackness.

Violet wasn't afraid of the dark, but it wasn't necessarily her best friend, either, and all pegasi had an aversion to anything underground. It made them feel trapped.

She dragged her eyes away from the gaping maw of darkness and saw that Candela was staring at her.

"You okay?" she asked softly.

Violet took a deep breath and nodded. "I'm okay, just" and she gulped here, "just a little nervous about... those spaces," she finished, waving a foreleg at the all consuming inky abyss framed by a mundane doorway.

Candela closed the few steps between them, and hugged the pegasus. "You're shaking," she noted, concern in her voice. She rubbed a foreleg on the mare's back as she used the other to continue the embrace.

Violet sighed. "I'm sorry, I must be nothing but a hindrance to you," she said, a mote of disappointment in her own voice.

Candela chuckled. "Don't be silly," came the reply, "if you hadn't done this with me, I'd have been all alone in that pitiful excuse for a shelter. One pony couldn't navigate this horrible storm by themselves."

Violet squeezed Candela's neck and nuzzled her cheek.

"Thank you," she whispered into the mare's ear," and let her lips trail along the side of her muzzle.

She was rewarded by the burning cheeks of a tan earth mare desperately trying to remain very cool and failing at it.

"Well," she said, coughing into her hoof, "we need to um, we need to get going if we want to save the day."

Violet smirked, and waved a foreleg towards the open stairwell.

"Lead on, MacDuff."

They stepped downward into the darkness.