• Published 12th Dec 2011
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The Stone of Storms - Wordy Notes



A regular day at work leads Rainbow Dash into a quest to save Ponyville..and prevent her own demise.

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Chapter 5: Desperate Escape

“…and as to the continuing problems in the north with the drought, we all agree on the plan concerning the rainy period?” A female pegasus dressed in a simple, almost business-like outfit asked as she stood in the front of a small meeting room. This was Cooling Waves the minister in charge of the Fall season and Solstice could listen to her talk for hours…even if he admittedly didn’t really pay attention to a lot of the business aspects most of the time. He absent-mindedly knocked his hoof against the table alongside the other two ministers in agreement before continuing to stare at the orange-maned, amber-coated mare.

“I’ll begin preparations immediately.” Typhoon, the minister of Spring and the oldest of the four nodded and gestured to the others. Solstice looked over at the older stallion. While he was admittedly jealous of his ability to blend outfits with a silver coat and mane AND still be able to sport a well-groomed beard and moustache, Solstice liked Typhoon and the two were close acquaintances despite not knowing much about the other. As he thought about this, another voice popped up that made Solstice almost visibly shudder.

“Just so long as it doesn’t get too cold. I do have a season to maintain, after all.” The grumpy voice of Fahrenheit, the minister of Summer piped up. Unlike the other two ministers, Solstice despised the red mare. Mostly it had to do with her constant jeering of him from being the youngest of the four ministers but it also was because he just didn’t think much of her skills and he believed the only reason she was able to become a minister was because of her father’s influence when the position was originally to go to her sister…who Solstice admittedly found much more attractive in the first place and could have gotten along with much better, in his opinion. Even her sense of fashion bothered him.

“Who seriously even wears their mane short and ruffled like that anyway? And a cape and a pointed hat? Seriously? Ugh, it definitely doesn’t go with her mane at all.” He thought.

“Yes, Fahrenheit, we are aware.” Waves quickly spoke up to calm an argument before it started, “Now, moving on, is there anything else we have to discuss?” She looked around the table.

“Actually, there is,” Solstice spoke up, “It concerns some old business we’ve never resolved about the Stone of Storms and the proposed project to both unearth and research it.” At the mention of the stone, the other ministers had varied reactions. Waves looked away nervously, Typhoon closed his eyes with a look of mild frustration, and Fahrenheit gave a predictably snippy response.

“Come on, Solstice, not this again. You’ve brought this up at the last four meetings we’ve had, you know.” She began and ended her statement with an audible groan.

“I’m aware, Fahrenheit. However, I would like to remind you that we never have resolved it.” Solstice countered.

“The reason for that is because we’ve been unable to come to an agreement on it.” Typhoon said in a matter-of-fact tone, “You are the most eager to locate the Stone, I myself see the potential within it, Waves is wary of it and-“

“And I think it’s better we keep the accursed thing buried and forget it even exists.” Fahrenheit interrupted Typhoon, slamming her hoof down on the table, “I also think it’s absurd that we let this little colt bring this topic up and we have the same discussion meeting after meeting.”

“Ministers, please,” Waves interjected, again trying moderate and prevent conflict, “Solstice, while we are appreciative of your passion to locate the Stone of Storms, we all have more pressing issues to discuss at the moment. We’ll table this for now and discuss it if we have time.”

“Very well.” Solstice nodded with a disappointed look.

****

“Urgh! Of all the ignorant, annoying, hot-headed….” Solstice snarled as he stormed through the halls of the palace meeting wing, “I only hope that we actually do find it and then I can show that blazing idiot a thing or two about the power behind that sto-“Before Solstice could finish his statement, he rounded a corner and bumped into somepony else, knocking him down and putting him in a short daze. As he came out of it, he was about to chide the pony who had run into him…at least until he saw he was staring at the face of a tall, pearl alicorn with a flowing magical mane of many colors. He of course recognized her as Princess Celestia, one of the two immortal rulers of Equestria, “Y…Your Highness! My deepest apologies! I should’ve been paying attention to where I was going!” He immediately bowed, taking on a tone of high respect.

“It’s quite alright, Minister.” Celestia replied with a friendly tone, barely phased by the collision.

“Oh, well, then I am glad you weren’t offended by my careless behavior,” Solstice said, trying to maintain a dignified posture even if he was close to sweating bullets, “I’ve…had some things on my mind. I just came from a meeting with the other ministers.”

“It didn’t go well, I assume?” The princess asked, tilting her head to the side. She actually looked interested in what he had to say, completely unlike what Solstice thought a pony of her standing would be like, especially considering this was his first time actually speaking with her one-on-one.

“Um…in a manner of speaking,” Solstice said, relaxing slightly, “There’s a project I’ve been attempting to pass off to the other ministers but I’ve unfortunately been unable to help bring the discussion to an agrreeable resolution.”

“I know what that’s like,” Celestia said with a groan and an ear flop, “But back to you: that’s the issue with the Stone of Storms, correct?” Celestia asked with a smile and a look of interest, “I’ve read the minutes of the Weather Ministers’ Meetings recently and I’ve came across that.”

“So you know about it then, I see.” Solstice nodded, “Then you know of the importance that the Stone has to we pegasi and how it could have the potential to revolutionize the way weather is controlled around Equestria.” He said, loosening up a bit from his more nervous tone.

“I have…though I have some concerns that your fellow ministers seem to share as well: specifically, the actual history behind the stone. I’m sure you know of it since this is a passionate project of yours?” Celestia said, emphasizing the wary tone in her voice as she questioned him.

“Oh of course, Your Majesty. I wouldn’t have introduced it to the others without doing proper care and research first.” Solstice said with an assured tone, “I am highly aware of its history but I believe that with our modern knowledge as well as advanced magic and technological research, the stone’s power could be used for the greater good. I’m sure somepony of your great knowledge and experience could understand that?” He asked her. However, Solstice stopped for a moment and then proceeded to jump back in shock, “Um, not that I’m saying you’re old or anything! By great experience I meant of course that you are very wise!” He said quickly, “I meant absolutely-“

“Solstice, please,” Celestia stopped his frantic apology by holding up a hoof, “You did not insult me, I assure you. If you want as well, I’ll look more into it alongside a student of mine and I may decide if I will endorse your project as a means of helping put the other ministers’ hearts at ease.”

“You…you will?” Solstice asked with a look of pure shock in his eyes.

“Yes”, Celestia nodded, “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to find my guards. I’ve ditched them long enough but I’m afraid if I don’t find them soon they’ll think I’ve been kidnapped…again.” Celestia rolled her eyes as she turned away, “Good day to you, Minister.” She said before turning and trotting off. Solstice watched her go as a bright grin formed on his face and he turned around to make sure nopony was watching before he clapped his hooves together.

“Oh yes yes yes yes!” He said as he jumped up on his hind legs and continued clapping, “This is great! I’ve got Princess Celestia on my side! Well…at least she’d look into it anyway, but still!” He cheered to himself, “Oh, Star’s going to flip when she hears this!”

****

“So which way are we heading, Dash? I haven’t exactly had time to look around and get to know the place.” Gilda asked as the griffin and two mares hurriedly rushed down a tunnel, the rainbow pegasus in front and leading the charge.

“There’s a bunch of landings on the outside sections of the quarry. That’s where we’re meeting up.” Rainbow looked back. Now that she could see her in better light, Rainbow studied Gilda for a moment. Her head feathers looked fluffier than normal, showing she either hadn’t groomed them in a while or she was wearing them longer now and there was something else about her appearance as well that Rainbow was wondering about.

“Does she look chubbier? I swear I don’t remember her legs being that stocky or her face that full…could just be her fur and feathers, though.” Rainbow thought as she turned her attention back forward as they turned a tunnel, approaching a tunnel sealed by a closed shutter.

“Ain’t no door gonna’ slow us down!” Applejack happily said as she galloped forward and jumped up to strike the door with a hard hit. However, the shutter barely budged from her kick leaving her with a bewildered look, “Well, I guess I was wrong about that prediction.”

“Step aside.” Gilda cracked her knuckles as she stepped forward and put both of her claws at the door’s bottom. With a grunt and a hard pull, she yanked the shutter up and opened their path up, “There. Instant lock pick.” She turned back and gave a thumbs-up motion.

“Color me impressed.” Applejack nodded.

“Y…yeah.” Rainbow agreed.

“Totally forgot how strong she is.” The three of them began making their way again. They then approached a fork where they saw what looked like bolts of magic firing down the path before Scoot rushed around the corner and galloped toward them.

“Might not want to go that way! It’s a little getting shot at-y.” She motioned for them to head the other way, which they proceeded to do so.

“Well, what now? That route’s a bit of a no go.” Applejack glanced back as they ran.

“We’ll have to go up top and try to fly out from there!” Scoot said, “We’ll be a little exposed, yeah, but it’s our best option right now for a quick escape. The whole quarry’s after us right now.” The three ponies and the griffin eventually hit a stairwell and followed up, eventually coming out up on the rocky top of the quarry. As they did, however, the quartet had to duck behind rocks for cover as an electrical whirlwind came past them. Everyone looked up as Storm Stallion hovered above them.

“Dash! You have a lot of guts chasing me down here and even bringing your little back up pony!” He fired off a quick lightning bolt near them, “As for you, ya’ orange cheater, give up that stone and I might not fry you like an egg!” He started charging another bolt.

“Leave. Them. ALONE!” Dash shouted as she flew up and slammed into him, wrapping her hooves around him and holding on as the two rolled through the air. Dash glared at him with a dark expression as she held onto him. Right now she wasn’t seeing the lame pegasus who had came after her for unknown reasons. No, now she was seeing the pony that somewhere in the streams of time had killed her and destroyed Ponyville.

“Hey, if ya’ wanted a hug, all you had to do was ask.” Storm said with a smug grin that made Rainbow snap with anger at the smart flank comment. She brought her head back and slammed it into his face as hard as she could, cracking his goggles and causing him to cry out in pain as she broke her hold on him and flew away. Storm quickly recovered as he yanked his broken goggles off and glared at her, “You…you’re going to pay for that!”

“Try me!” Dash snarled at him as he flew off, “Squirt!” She said into her headset, “Give me a minute or two to drop this joker! Stay in cover until then!”

“You got it, Dash!” Scoot replied.

“Y’all be careful, Rainbow!” Applejack added. Dash turned to see Storm coming at her and she immediately took off, the stallion in close pursuit behind her. She listened for crackles of lightning in order to have enough time to dodge his shots. Luckily, he wasn’t trying to lead his shots at all, showing that hitting a moving target was something he obviously hadn’t mastered yet. She looked back to see he had thrown his helmet off as well, allowing him to see his full face for the first time. He looked…shockingly ordinary to her, and surprisingly a lot younger than she thought. If she had to guess, she’d have said that he wasn’t much more than a year or two older than Twilight.

However, his next move surprised her as he suddenly rocketed down to catch speed and get underneath her. Rainbow tracked his movement and noticed him swish his tail up and then make it go completely ridged as a trail of dark storm clouds formed behind him and continued to spawn as he flew. He quickly dove up in front of her, forcing Rainbow to make a hard left dodge as Storm kicked the cloud trail, sending a lightning current through it. Rainbow, however, grinned as she recognized the move. How could she not? The Storm Trail was a staple of every Wondebolts air show…and Soarin’s signature technique.

“So, you wanna’ throw Wonderbolt moves at me, do ya’? Well, you’re messing with the flying Wonderbolts encyclopedia, buddy. Bad move.” She thought. She folded her wings to get more speed and pull ahead of Storm, forcing him to break off trying to form another trail and fly after her.

“You a fan of the ‘Bolts too, huh?” She asked him.

“Of course! Who isn’t except the mentally insane?” He said with a boastful tone.

“You know, that gets you a few points in my book…even if I have to do this to ya’!” Rainbow spread her wings to the sides, catching the wind and flying back in a spiral, whipping past Storm. He craned his neck back to see where she had gone, only to get caught in a massive blast of air that had followed Rainbow back, disrupting his flight pattern.

“The Air Brake Jet Wash…thank you, Spitfire.” Rainbow thought with relief as she saw Storm fail to recover and crash headlong down into a pile of sand in the quarry, getting stuck up to his neck. Rainbow chuckled before she turned back down to where the other three were.

“Scoot, he’s down! Let’s hurry!” She yelled out with an urgent tone.

****

“Skies are clear!” Scoot called out to Gilda as the three ran across the top of the quarry to escape from the unicorn guards on their tail.

“Alright!” Gilda turned to Applejack, “Hop on!” she patted her back, motioning for the orange earth pony to get on.

“You got it!” Applejack galloped up next to Gilda and, with a small leap, ended up on the griffin’s back and wrapped her hooves around Gilda’s feathery neck, hard enough to hold on but light enough not to choke.

“Follow my lead, kid, ‘cause we’re getting outta’ here!” Gilda called out with a laugh as she extended her large, brown wings and leapt into the air with a single flap, sending bits of rock and sand up. Scoot did as she was told and shadowed the griffin as they ascended, Applejack holding on tight. The two of them glanced up to see Rainbow descending down to meet them, “Yo, Dash! What do ya’ say we blow this joint?”

“Right with you, Gilda!” Rainbow said with a nod. She looked back down, seeing the black and white uniformed unicorns stop at the edge of a small cliff, North Star among them.

“Worst hotel I ever stayed at! You’re getting a bad review for sure!” Gilda cackled as she stuck her tongue out, “Later, losers!” She said with a mock wave directed at Star, who stamped her hoof into the ground as they flew off.

“This is Dr. Star to any available aerial units, go after them!” She yelled into her headset as she was forced to watch the griffin and three ponies fly off into the dawn sky.

“They’re probably rarin’ to go after us. We better find a place to lay low.” Applejack suggested.

“No way we can head back to Ponyville. That’d be the first place they’ll look.” Rainbow added.

“I got a place we could go. It’s about fifteen minutes from here.” Gilda spoke up, glancing over at the other two pegasi.

“That works.” Scoot shrugged.

“Take the lead, Gilda. I’ll go trail and follow you.” Rainbow said as she flew back to get into position behind Gilda and Scoot.

“You’re goin’ trail?” Gilda asked with a raised eyebrow before she shrugged and continued flying, “Try to keep up!” She turned to the right and descended slightly as the two pegasi followed close behind her.

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