• Published 13th Dec 2018
  • 4,958 Views, 261 Comments

It Sleeps Beneath Foal Mountain - the7Saviors

Something isn't quite right about Tree of Harmony, and Twilight Sparkle will do whatever she can to find out what. The mystery she stumbles upon however, reaches much farther than she knows, and she'll soon find some secrets are best kept hidden...

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I set out to find my answers...

The following few days passed by in a haze of disappointment and frustration on my part. I'd left the mysteriously written passage in my journal, and had documented what little I remembered of my latest nightmare, along with a footnote regarding the strange scrawl I'd written at some point in the night spent in the Cave of Harmony.

Having done that, I turned to the various texts I held within my own library, seeking to solve the riddle of that odd language. After an hour or so of scouring the many bookshelves in my library however, I found, unfortunately, that I had very little on the subject of linguistics.

I did, at one time, possess a few texts regarding information on various cultures, but they were among the many tomes that did not survive the tragic destruction of my old home when Tirek had attacked.

Indeed, a great many of the books I'd either owned, or that were donated for use by the general public, had been reduced to mere ash in the wake of the magical explosion. The very thought of what had transpired that day was enough to rouse both my ire and sorrow anew.

Tragic though the razing of the Golden Oaks Library may have been however, it was in the past and done with. More troubling was the severe lack of literary resources in my castle. I'd meant to replace the books I'd lost, but it had been a painfully slow process, and I had not made nearly as much headway as I'd wanted to.

Thus, I had to look elsewhere for information for the time being. In normal circumstances, this setback would've been minor, and easily overlooked. Unfortunately, these were far from normal circumstances, and I still felt that my research required the utmost secrecy, lest those close to me get dragged into the dark mire that was the mystery of the Tree of Harmony and my visions and dreams.

Still, I was beginning to realize that I could not keep my investigation under wraps indefinitely, and would sooner or later require aid of some sort in my research. As it stood, I was beginning to feel that I had few options left to me.

The School of Friendship, of course, had its own decently sized library open to student and staff perusal. I knew however, that the facility within the school lacked the particular resources I was looking for.

I'd hoof-picked each and every textbook in the library, and while a large part of them included studies on the various cultures of Equus, none of them would give me any sort of clue as to the origin of the strange and unsettling script.

As a Princess and Celestia's former protégé, I had unfettered access to the Royal Archives deep within Canterlot Castle, as well as the more restricted sections of the Public Canterlot Library. I realized that this was indeed a boon for my research, but the inquiry that would no doubt come of such an endeavor caused me to hesitate.

Just as I was beginning to resign myself to a worrying visit to my hometown, Rainbow Dash arrived that very afternoon, unwittingly providing me with the solution to my problem. Apparently, despite my attempts at subtlety, my as of yet fruitless research into this cryptic language had not gone unnoticed.

Evidently, Rainbow Dash had come to check on me on behalf of the rest of the girls. It was something that was becoming all too common these days, but I didn't blame them of course, as I'd hardly been acting myself as of late.

While I certainly appreciated the sentiment, I had to admit to myself that the constant distractions and display of worry had begun to wear on my nerves somewhat. Still, the concern was genuine, and I smiled and greeted my cyan friend as I let her inside.

Spike had offered to make us lunch and roughly half an hour or so later, Spike, Starlight, Rainbow Dash, and myself had all sat around the dining room table, sharing an afternoon meal together. Rainbow insisted on eating outside on this particularly sunny afternoon, but I declined, stating I still had much work to do.

She'd been a bit put out, but relented, and we all spent a good while discussing the various goings-on around Ponyville, and I took the opportunity to find out what my other friends had been up to outside of school duties.

I'd hardly been out and about these past few days, and I had to admit, it was a nice change of pace hearing about events outside my current obsession. Eventually, and inevitably, the topic of conversation had moved onto myself and what I'd been up to, sequestered as I was in my castle library all this time.

Now, I'd thought much on how to go about approaching the topic of my studies, and after some figurative hoof-wringing, I'd decided on a course of action. I'd stated before that I was an avid scholar, and this was hardly a secret to anypony that knew me, or knew of me.

With this fact in mind, I simply stated, in as passing a tone as I could muster, that I'd found some evidence that could possibly lead to the discovery of an ancient and long forgotten race. I told the others that I wished to learn more, but that my research had hit a wall, and thus, the isolation.

It was, more or less, the truth of the matter, albeit vague in detail, but it did, at the least, seem to satisfy the others. As I spoke, I failed to fully contain the excitement and frustration I'd experienced upon my discovery and subsequent investigation, but oddly enough, that only seemed to work in my favor.

The others expressed their interest in my work, and it was then that Rainbow Dash made mention of Daring Do, and how she had made a similar discovery in the past. My mind latched onto that information, and as I thought about Daring Do and her exploits, an idea began to develop.

A.K. Yearling was an author renowned for her series of action-adventure novels starring the titular character of Daring Do and her many escapades. It was a series of books I'd introduced Rainbow Dash to sometime ago, and it was sometime later that the pegasus had found out that Miss Yearling and Daring Do were actually one and the same, the former merely being a pen name.

It wasn't a well known fact, and Daring Do herself kept to remote locations to hide her identity as an adventurer. I'd found out from Rainbow Dash about the situation, and had even had the pleasure of visiting Daring Do myself on a few rare occasions.

From what I'd been told, and what Daring had told me herself, the mare had graduated from Miskaponic University in Tackham with a PhD in sathiriology1. It made sense, as Daring had traveled all over the world, uncovering all kinds of strange and exotic places and objects in her adventures.

She was an expert in her chosen fields, one of which I knew included linguistics, and the fact that she stayed out of the public eye was another boon I could take advantage of. As I continued to listen to the others chat over our hot meal, I mentally made rearrangements to my plan, and opted instead to pay the adventurous author a visit.

I'd have to expose the strange and horrifying events that plagued me, but in this case, I was not so anxious. If anypony would know the value of secrecy, I was certain it would've been Daring Do, thus, I made my decision to confide in the mare much of what I knew.

I did not, of course, tell Rainbow Dash of my intentions, as the mare would never let me leave without her, being the fan that she was. With my path set, and a plan in motion, I finished the afternoon luncheon with my friends and bid Rainbow Dash farewell. Unlike my hasty and admittedly ill conceived trip into the Everfree, I resolved to make better preparations for my trip this time around.

It took a good deal of time to prepare for my trip, as I had to travel far northwest across the Galloping Gorge. The journey to Daring's residence alone would take me at least two days by train, and another day by flight—longer if I stopped to rest along the way.

Though I had intended on requesting Daring Do's help in my endeavors, there was much more to the trip than the mere discussion of such an eerie script. I planned to track down the source of this puzzling script, and had hoped to gain Daring's aid in my search. With her expertise, I was confident I could make some headway into solving the mystery set before me.

With these hopes in mind, I sent a letter detailing a bit of what I'd wanted to discuss to a close contact of Daring's located in Vanhoover. I had gained knowledge of this contact through Daring Do herself after having expressed an interest in discussing her many archaeological findings within the Tenochtitlan Basin.

Unlike my excitable cyan friend, I'd grown far more interested in Daring's scholastic contributions to the various fields of sathiriology. It was a sentiment which the mare evidently appreciated enough to invite me back to her abode if I so wished, and if she wasn't terribly busy.

I'd accepted the offer graciously, but had neither the reason nor opportunity to actually take her up on the invitation until now. It took the better part of a week for Daring to respond, but in the end, she agreed to meet with me, both intrigued and somewhat troubled by my plight.

By my estimate, the trip could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months depending on what we found, and so I ordered all my affairs accordingly. There was no feasible way to hide my lengthy excursion, so I did, in the end, gather everypony together and divulged my intentions to my friends, family, and the other Princesses.

Though I did not tell them the true reason behind my journey, I did inform them of a certain clue that could lead to a truly wondrous find, and let Rainbow tell them the rest. I kept the nature of the find a secret, or rather, a 'surprise' until I knew for certain what I was looking for, and begged everypony else's discretion as well.

I did get suspicious looks from some of the others, particularly Luna, Applejack, Starlight, and Spike, but, to my immense relief, they supported me all the same. Most of them however, were merely worried for my safety, and in Rainbow's case, green with envy. She insisted on accompanying me, as I knew she would, but I, along with the others, succeeded in talking the pegasus down.

Before I'd gotten the idea to visit Daring Do, I'd arranged to have some artifacts sent to the School of Friendship for a school wide event I'd dubbed, the 'Spellenger Hunt'. Celestia had been kind enough to oblige, and though I'd initially thought to postpone the event until my return, I instead chose to let Starlight handle it.

I'd already created several contingency plans in the event that the rest of the girls and I would have to leave the school for an extended period of time, and one of those plans had included instructions on how to run the school—instructions I now bequeathed to Starlight and Spike to follow in my absence.

Discord made an appearance just as I was set to leave, and though he'd tried to hide his desire behind his usual chaotic shenanigans, it was clear he wanted to be a part of the event as well as the running of the school.

While I would in no way allow the draconequus to head my school, I did, albeit with some reluctance and against the protest of many of my friends, allow him to participate in the Spellenger Hunt with the others, so long as he adhered to Starlight's authority and followed the rules I'd laid down.

Discord had, with his own reluctance, agreed, but I, along with the others, remained skeptical. Still, I hadn't included the Lord of Chaos in any of the activities involving the school as of yet, and agreed with Fluttershy that it was only fair he get to participate. Aside from that, I trusted the soft spoken pegasus to keep him in line.

And so, with everything in order, I packed away the supplies I'd need for the expedition. Two days and one heartfelt surprise farewell party later, I set off for the Ponyville Train Station to board the Friendship Express. Once I'd boarded the train and had taken an isolated seat near the back, I took the opportunity to pull out my journal and look over what I'd written so far.

Gazing upon the foreboding scrawl still sent a very real chill down my spine, and though a small part of me wanted nothing to do with the whole business, an even larger part of me was ecstatic at what I might find, and I couldn't help but look forward to my meeting with Daring Do.

I was all but certain our expedition would be something to remember, and eager as I was, I gave no thought to the possible horrors I might find waiting for us somewhere out there.

Author's Note:

I'm rather excited for the next part of the story personally. :pinkiesmile:

1Fictional word meaning the study of sapient beasts and their cultures. Meant as an alternative to 'anthropology'.

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