• 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 6: Griffin Village Confession

After a short flight, the group eventually landed at a small village nestled underneath a mountainous area near the forest. As they touched down, the three ponies noticed right off that the residents of this village were all griffins that all had varying reactions of three strange ponies coming into their village. Two griffins approached them, one a very large and older one with ruffled feathers and fur and bearing scars from battles long ago. The other was much smaller and appeared to be younger, also sporting a very concerned look on his surprisingly pretty face.

“Gilda!” he cried, rushing over to her and hugging her, “Oh, I’m so glad that you’re okay! You were gone for so long!” He said.

“Hey, hey, none of that, Kel. I’m fine.” She patted him on the back, “Don’t worry about me, alright? You do that too much.” She then leaned in and gave him a kiss, causing the smaller griffin to blush brightly. Rainbow watched in amazement and couldn’t help but be curious about who this other griffin was. Had Gilda finally found a mate? And if so, why such a scrawny looking one?

“Gilda, looks like you brought guests. Care to introduce them?” The larger griffin asked, his voice a very deep, gruff tone.

“Oh, my mistake,” Gilda turned, “That’s Rainbow Dash, Scoot, and Applejack.” The three ponies all awkwardly waved as their names were called out, “Hey, don’t look so nervous. Old Feathers here might look tough, but he’s a big softy.” Gilda cracked a grin as she glanced up at the annoyed griffin.

“Oh yes. That little nickname again,” He growled before turning to the other ponies, “Either way, guests of Gilda are welcome in this village. If you need lodging, arrangements can be made.” He walked over to them.

“That’s mighty kind of you, mister. We sure appreciate it.” Applejack gave off a friendly, welcoming smile.

“Thanks.” Scoot said, kneeling to the griffin. Rainbow simply nodded. For some reason, all of her energy was fading quickly, though she assumed at first it was only because of the flight.

“You can stay at me and Kel’s place for right now,” Gilda put an arm around the griffin she had just kissed, “We’ve got room for three ponies to hang out for a little bit. It’s just this way.” She motioned for them to follow her. Applejack and Scoot trotted up and started following them, but Rainbow lagged behind. She blinked her eyes a couple time and found her vision was starting to blur. She took a few steps forward before she spoke up.

“Hey…” That was all she could manage before she collapsed down on all four knees. The rest of the group turned and looked on in shock. Applejack and Scoot were the first ones over to her.

“Rainbow? What’s wrong?” Applejack quickly asked.

“That head injury I had yesterday…I don’t think me head butting Storm Stallion helped it very much.” Rainbow replied with a wry grin as she slowly toppled over onto her side.

“Dash!” Scoot and Gilda yelled at the same time as all three griffins rushed over as well, looking down at her with worried expressions.

“Oh no oh no! That’s not good!” Kel stammered.

“Get a medic over here now!” Old Feathers shouted as he looked over his shoulder, the last thing Rainbow saw before he vision faded into blackness.

****

“You lost them?!” Star shouted as she paced in front of a group of pegasi.

“Y...yes, Dr. Star. We tried pursuing them but they flew beneath some trees and clouds and we were unable to locate them again.” A stallion nervously replied.

“Oh, I know how you lost them. I know that very well. What I’m curious about is why it happened in the first place! You lost a group where two of their members consisted of a griffin and a pegasus with bright, rainbow hair!” She seethed as she continued pacing.

“We’re still combing nearby areas, ma’am. We’ll find them.” Another stallion spoke up.

“Oh, I’m sure you will because if you don’t, you’ll be explaining to Solstice why you lost the most important object in the history of Equestrian research.”

“Uh…hey, Star…” Storm Stallion spoke up from the end of the row, “I just wanted to-“

“I’ll get to you in a moment! Oh, do I have things to say about your involvement in this!” Star cut him off and trotted over to him, getting her face close to his, “Until then, remain silent! Understood?!” She was unable to see him acknowledge her as she looked back to see Solstice descending down onto the platform.

“Hello, everypony!” He waved with a happy tone as he landed and folded his wings, “Come to greet me?” He asked.

“Ugh…dismissed,” Star waved off the pegasi as they all walked back into the quarry tunnel before she turned to Solstice, not realizing that Storm was still standing there, “Solstice, we need to talk.”

“Indeed we do, dear North Star! You’re not going to believe what happened!” Solstice said happily, blissfully unaware of the worried expression on Star’s face, “Come on, guess, guess!”

“Solstice...” She said, trying to get his attention.

“The meeting went great! Well, not really. Oh, that Fahrenheit,” he fumed, but then shook his head, “That’s not important, though! I had a chat with Princess Celestia herself and she’s agreed to endorse my project! Well, that’s not entirely true, either…” Solstice continued on as he walked around the platform and mimed various gestures.

“Solstice.”

“…it’s more like she’s going to look into it and then decide if she’ll endorse it, but I’m positive she will! Do you know what this means?!” He turned to Star waiting for a response, only for him to finally notice her expression, “Is there something wrong?”

“We managed to locate the Stone, but…” Star started.

Solstice gasped, “Oh my! You did?! Oh…um…well, maybe we could just have the workers bury it again and throw some dust on it so that way when we can officially unearth it, they won’t know the difference,” he tapped a hoof on the ground, “yes! That will be perfect! Have them do that immediately!” He pointed toward the tunnel only to realize Star’s worried look hadn’t gone away, “I sense there was more to your statement, Doctor.”

“Unfortunately, the Stone was stolen.” Star continued.

Solstice stared blankly at her, “Stolen?”

“Yes.”

“As in…thieves came in?”

“Yes.”

“They picked it up and ran off with it?”

“Yes, Solstice.”

“And it’s no longer anywhere in this quarry and in our possession?”

“That’s how stealing something works, Solstice.” Star said with pure deadpan. After the exchange, Solstice walked in a circle, apparently taking in the news that he had just heard before he suddenly collapsed to his knees and threw both forelegs in the air.

“Why? Why? Why? Why?! Why did this to have happen just as things were starting to work out?!” He shouted at the sky before darting over to Star and placing his hooves on her shoulders, “I’m done for, Star! I deceived the rest of the Ministers, the Princess, and I let a potentially dangerous artifact fall into even more potentially dangerous hooves! I’ll end up in a dungeon-a deep, dark, coat and mane damaging dungeon-for the rest of my life!” He then gasped and looked up toward the sky again, “No…no, I won’t end up in a dungeon. If those rumors about her are true, then Celestia might even skip the dungeon altogether and banish me to the moon!” He began shaking Star, “Oh, Star! I can’t go to the moon! I don’t want to! Just imagine what it’ll do to-” Star brought her hoof up and slapped him across the face, stopping his frantic ranting.

“Get a hold of yourself!” She shouted at him with a stern expression before she pushed him away from her and sighed, “First of all, Solstice, those rumors about Celestia banishing ponies for random crimes are completely false. Second of all, you needn’t worry. I am handling the situation so you should just calm down.”

“Really?” Solstice looked at her with tearful, puppy-dog eyes.

“Yes. You should just go back to Canterlot, relax, and wait for me to contact you. We’ll find that rainbow pony for sure and get the Stone back.” Star said with a confident nod.

“Oh, that’s such a relie-did you say a rainbow pony?” Solstice got a worried look again.

“Yes. I’m pretty sure that pony Storm had a rivalry with was among the group that stole the Stone.” Star said with a raised eyebrow, “Why?”

“No, no, no!” Solstice began panicking again, “I thought she sounded familiar from what Storm described of her, but I didn’t think it could be true! That mare…it’s Rainbow Dash! She’s one of the bearers of the Elements of Harmony!” He fell to his knees yet again in lament, “I’m going to the moon for sure now! I just let a psychotic pegasus go after one of Princess Celestia’s most trusted warriors!” Star brought him back to his senses with yet another hoof slap, “Thank you, Star. I needed that.”

“I’ve got that touch, I guess,” Star rolled her eyes, “Look, don’t worry about it. That nimrod’s actions are his own and you had nothing to do with them.”

“Um…I’m standing right here, you know.” Storm raised a hoof, obviously offended by both statements the two older ponies had made about him.

“Yes…alright. I get it,” Solstice stood back up and straightened out his outfit, “I shall take your advice, Star. I leave this operation in your very capable hooves.” He bowed as he stepped back for a moment and then took off. Star watched as he left and quickly galloped back into the quarry, leaving Storm sitting outside with an annoyed expression before he turned and hung his head.

“I’m either ignored or misjudged…it’s never different.” He thought before he extended his wings and flew off, turning toward Ponyville’s direction.

****

“Urgh!” Rainbow winced as bits of ice and snow raked across her coat. She flew up through the gale forces of the blizzard, finally breaking through the cloud barrier and coming to face Storm, the charged energy circling his body and his eyes glowing pure white. He looked at her not with the intensity of someone wanting to defeat their rival, but as a target. She barely had time to dodge the blasts of lightning that seemed like they were coming from nowhere. She banked hard to the left and tried dodging one, but didn’t make it in time as the bolt nicked her leg and sent her spiraling off course. By the time she regained her equilibrium, she turned to see Storm with a massive current of lightning charged around his left forehoof.

“Goodbye, Rainbow Dash.” He said with a sadistic grin as he sent the missile of lightning streaking at her. Rainbow’s eyes widened in shock as it got closer to her, the size of it threatening to engulf her whole.

She barely had time to scream as the projectile struck her with its full on force…

****

Rainbow’s eyes snapped open and she looked around the room. It was the inside of a small house with a thatched roof, most likely still somewhere in the griffin village. She quickly felt her body and breathed a sigh of relief.

“Great. I’m still alive…well for now anyway," she thought as she sat up in the bed, now with an annoyed expression, “Now I’m having dreams about dying? Ugh, cut me a break already.” She stood up and walked out of the bedroom, ending up in the kitchen where she saw Kel in front of a stove, making what looked like soup. He turned around from the sound of her hooves on the ground to see her.

“Oh, you’re awake,” he said with a relieved tone.

Rainbow nodded as she rubbed a hoof against her head, “What happened?”

“Our doctor thinks that you had an aggravated head injury that turned into a concussion or something. I don’t know. I don’t really know medical terms all that well. Luckily he managed to pull together some potion or whatever to help you,” Kel quickly said, “You are feeling better now, right?” He asked, concern in his tone.

“Wouldn’t be up if I wasn’t.” Rainbow said dryl as she moved over to the kitchen’s entrance and looked around the inside of the house. It was about the size of the library’s interior back in Ponyville and it even looked like it had a staircase leading up to the second floor, probably where the main bedrooms and the like were located.

“Kelwyn.”

“Huh?” Rainbow looked back at Kel, who had stepped away from the stove and was able to see he had a bowl of freshly made soup in his claws as well as the fact he was wearing an apron as well.

“My name’s Kelwyn. I never really introduced myself earlier since I was too worried about Gilda getting back. Sorry.” He said with a sad look.

Rainbow shook her head, “No worries, dude. Is that for me?” She asked, looking at the soup.

Kel nodded, “Yeah. It’s still a bit hot so be careful.” He set it down on the table, but Rainbow immediately went over and began eating, leaving him slightly shocked by her sudden spike in appetite.

“Sorry. I haven’t eaten in a while.” Rainbow apologized between bites

“Apparently.”

****

After finishing the soup, Rainbow walked outside and looked around the village. It reminded her of a smaller version of Ponyville…if Ponyville was full of griffins, anyway. It was actually kind of nice, though her feelings were unfortunately not put at ease as she remembered the dream she had as well as what was going on.

“Heya’, Rainbow,” Applejack walked over to her, “Good to see you’re up.”

“Yeah, same here,” Rainbow replied, “Where’s Scoot?”

“Doing some repair work or somethin’ on her suit. She was pretty insistent ‘bout leaving her on her own.” Applejack said, shaking her head, “Boy, she sure changes a lot apparently.”

“I’m guessing you got filled in about what’s going on?” Rainbow asked.

Applejack nodded, “Yes, ma’am. I gotta' say, Rainbow, you sure are handling the whole notion of dyin' soon pretty darn well."

“Yeah,” Rainbow sighed, barely acknowledging the comment as she looked up. She could see Gilda standing out on the balcony of the house she apparently lived in with Kel. Rainbow knew exactly what she was doing, too. She was watching the morning clouds flow by, probably trying to imagine them in various shapes.

“Y’know, you should go talk to her. She’s real worried about you.” Applejack spoke up.

Rainbow looked over at the orange earth pony, and then back at the balcony, “I know…I just don’t know what I want to say to her. I mean, it’s obvious that she wants to apologize for what she did, but at the same time…well…agh…” Rainbow groaned as she angrily pivoted and turned away from Applejack, “She really hurt me, AJ.”

“I know she did, sugarcube”, Applejack walked over and put an arm around Rainbow, “But she’s makin’ the effort to want to apologize,” she put a hoof to her chin for a moment, then looked back to Rainbow, “Here, think about it this way: would you want Twilight to forgive ya'?” The question struck Rainbow like a lightning bolt. She hadn’t thought about it that way before. The way she had treated Twilight, while nowhere near the betrayal of trust she’d felt about Gilda’s behavior, was still just as bad. She looked back up to the balcony and sighed.

“Alright. I’ll go talk to her.” Rainbow said.

“That’s the spirit.” Applejack smiled happily.

Rainbow began heading back inside, but stopped and turned back for a moment, “Hey, Applejack, I’m sorry for getting you mixed up in all this.” She said with a solemn look.

“Psh, don’t you worry none, Rainbow. I don’t mind one bit,” she then chuckled a little, “Plus, it gives me a chance to keep an eye on ya’.”

Rainbow scoffed, “What are you? My mother?”

“Well, I am older than ya’.” Applejack put a hoof on Rainbow’s mane and mussed it up, the pegasus grumbling to herself about everyone in their group being older than her as she entered the house while trying to fix her mane.

****

Sure enough, Gilda was doing exactly what Rainbow thought she had been doing, staring up and watching the clouds go by as she stood on her hind legs, leaning against the balcony’s railing. She stood in the doorway of the balcony for a short time before she finally walked over. Gilda glanced back and gave a small wave.

“Hey.” She said.

“Hi.” Rainbow replied as she got next to the griffin, “Watching the clouds?”

“Yeah. Always do every morning,” Gilda nodded, pointing up at one, “Check that one out, it looks like a dragon.” Rainbow looked at the one she had pointed at. While it was a bit of a stretch, she did admit the fluffy white shape did resemble a dragon.

“It does,” Rainbow nodded. She then looked over at Gilda, “Look, Gilda, I know you wanted to talk about, well, you know.”

“Yeah, I did,” Gilda looked at Rainbow, then back out at the clouds, “Dash…” Gilda sighed, “Ugh, I’ve never been good at this type of stuff. Sorry.” She said, putting her claw over her face in frustration.

“It’s cool. Take your time.” Rainbow said with a comforting tone.

Gilda uncovered her face, “Right, right”, she said, “I screwed up, Dash. There’s no sugarcoating it all. I was a jerk to you and your friends. Maybe it was because I was jealous of you having other friends,” Gilda shook her head, “No, that’s not it. It was all me. I know I’ve never been the easiest griffin to get along with, no matter who it is.” Rainbow considered saying something about how she wasn’t sure since Gilda was the only griffin she actually knew, but she decided against it since the crack would’ve been out of place, “You know what the messed up thing is too? I didn’t even realize that one pegasus with the ducks was Fluttershy until afterwards. I felt horrible after I realized it too.” Gilda looked over; Rainbow noticing her golden eyes looked slightly misty.

“Gilda’s crying? And she’s not trying to hide it?” Rainbow thought with bewilderment.

“But, again, that’s no excuse,” Gilda hung her head, “Not to mention I’m pretty sure karma back to bite me in the tail feathers for it too,” she shook her head, “Argh, I did it again. I’m getting off topic.”

“No, it’s fine.” Rainbow said. She wanted to let Gilda speak her mind. She knew the griffin was terrible at apologies and more and more Rainbow wanted everything to work out, “What do you mean by karma?”

“You remember my grandfather, guy who basically raised me?” She asked. Rainbow responded with a nod, “Well…about a week after I got back from Ponyville, I was visiting him and he got really sick all of the sudden,” her voice wavered slightly, “It took us all by surprise. No matter what we tried to do to help him, he just kept getting worse and worse,” Gilda looked down, “The only thing I’m thankful for was that he at least died peacefully in his own bed.”

Rainbow looked at Gilda in pure shock for a short time before she finally could speak, “G…I’m so sorry,” She said with a somber tone, referring to Gilda by her nickname for the first time in a long time. She'd never met Gilda's grandpa in person, but from what Gilda and her family had spoke of him he sounded like a very decent griffin.

Gilda looked over at Rainbow with a look of acknowledgment before looking back to the clouds, “After that, well, I guess it was a wake-up call for me. I went off on some soul searching, visited a bunch of places, met a whole ton of interesting folk,” she smiled slightly, “including Kelwyn.”

“Ah, so you two are an item?” Rainbow asked.

“Yup. Have been for a while now,” she looked over, “Don’t tell him this, by the way, but I found an emerald ring in some of the groceries he got the other day. He’s terrible at hiding stuff.” Gilda winked at Dash.

“Oh! He’s gonna’ propose to you! That’s awesome!” Dash exclaimed, “Uh, you are gonna’ say yes, right?”

“Of course I am! I love the guy, Dash. He’s probably the best thing that’s happened to me in the past year,” Gilda sighed yet again and slapped her hand on her face, “But yet again, I’m completely dodging what I’ve been trying to say,” she hopped down from the railing and looked Dash in the eyes, “What I’m trying to say is this. I’m sorry. I know I can't change the past and take back what happened, but you deserve to hear an apology at least…and, well, I guess a part of me also wants to try and be the type of friend you deserve to have.” Rainbow stared back at Gilda for a short time. She thought she’d be tuning out the apology most of the time because it was probably something Gilda was saying just to make herself feel better, but the look in Gilda’s eyes told her definitively the apology was sincere. Even stranger, Gilda’s expression wasn’t the look of the old Gilda who was cocky and smug. No, this was the look of an honest desire to make amends. Rainbow fumbled over her words in her mind for a short time before she took a breath and spoke up.

“Gilda….I’ve thought sometimes about what I’d say if I ever saw you again. It all came down to the same thing,” she sighed and looked up at Gilda, tears in her eyes as well, “But not today. I realize you’re sorry.” She stepped forward and held out a hoof to Gilda. The griffin looked at Rainbow and then at her hoof before she took the hint and held her open palm underneath Rainbow’s hoof. Rainbow slapped her hoof lightly onto Gilda’s palm before the two brought fist and hoof together, repeating the friendly gesture they’d done since they’d first met at Junior Speedsters Camp.

“So…are we cool?” Gilda asked with a hopeful look.

Rainbow nodded then took a deep breath and stepped forward, wrapping her legs around Gilda in a light hug, which the griffin returned, “Yeah. We’re cool.” She said before letting go. After that, there was a short, awkward silence as the two of them each tried to think of something to say before Rainbow eventually broke it, “Heh…if this was some sappy romance novel, this’d be the part where we’d kiss, right?” At the statement, Gilda began to stifle laughter before she eventually cracked up, Rainbow following suit.

“There we go, that’s the Dash I know and love,” she chuckled, “Good to see that. It seems like you’ve been a bit emo since we met up again.”

“Oh, about that…” Rainbow rubbed the back of her head with her hoof as she related the events leading up to their reunion at the quarry, telling about everything from Scoot’s warning to Storm Stallion.

“Yeesh, that’s some pretty heavy stuff to have dropped on ya’.” Gilda said with a wince, “Of course, now that you’ve got that stone, what’s up next?”

“I don’t know. Scoot’s the one with all the plans right now.” Rainbow shook her head.

“Hm…you got room for one more on your little operation?” Gilda asked.

“Gilda, I couldn’t ask you to put yourself in danger like that.” Rainbow protested.

“You didn’t ask, I volunteered,” she said with a grin, “Besides, that would somehow imply I'd be in any actual danger.” She followed up her boast by clicking her talons on against the railing.

“Fine, you made your case. You’re in.” Rainbow said with a snicker.

“Sweet. So, what say we go find your other pegasus and find out what’s going on?” Gilda began heading toward the stairs leading back down. As she followed, Rainbow finally decided to ask the question that had been bugging her ever since she’d run into Gilda again at the quarry.

“Um, Gilda, not to sound insensitive by asking this…but you look a little different since I last saw you…”

“Ugh,” Gilda groaned, almost as if she knew what the question was, “Before you ask, Dash, yes I know that I’ve put on some weight. It was from a bunch of things. One, you know that I comfort eat when I get depressed and I’ve had a lot to be depressed about. Two, Neighponian curry is really good. There’s a story behind that. Three, Kelwyn’s also a really good cook.” She counted out all three reasons on her claws, “So yeah. I know that I’m a little bit heavier than I used to be.”

“Hey, hey, no worries, G,” Rainbow said as she poked Gilda’s side with her hoof, prompting a glare from the griffin, “You spend some time training with me, we’ll have you back to a sleek, toned shape in no time.” She said with a confident expression.

“Sounds fun,” Gilda nodded in agreement, though she kept her miffed expression as the two of them headed down the stairs.

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