• Published 4th Apr 2019
  • 470 Views, 32 Comments

Errors - The Cloptimist



Three unlikely heroines are accidentally sent halfway across the world. How will they get home?

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Lost

PURPLE faded to black, and black slowly turned to red, a dull, thumping kind of red, hot against Diamond Tiara's face, and she realised she was seeing the sunlight through her eyelids.

Gradually, tentatively, she opened one eye, and then the other; the pain didn't get much worse, and the light wasn't as bright as she feared, but she decided not to try any more movements for a moment.

An ant made its way slowly across Diamond's field of vision, crawling in a straight line across tightly-packed red sand. Diamond watched it, marching along, until it passed out of visual range, and thought she'd try lifting her head a little.

The throbbing in her head got slightly worse, but Diamond pushed it down, trying to remember all the hours of lessons her father had drilled into her about reacting to a crisis situation. She'd give herself ten seconds. Ten awful seconds of looking around, and then she could reward herself by lying her head back down on the sand in blissful relaxation.

She craned her neck as much as she could, trying to scan the landscape. The results weren't promising; an ocean of red sand, featureless, stretching out towards the horizon in any direction she could turn her head, flat and barren. She tried to look up at the sky, and determined that it was early in the morning, the sun barely peeking over that distant horizon in one direction, the moon not yet lowered out of sight on the other, the sky streaked with red just like the ground.

That's ten, she thought to herself, and her head sank down to the ground again, delighting in the relief. A few more minutes, and she could try standing up, and then...

"...wha... bleurghhh... wh'appened...?", came a woozy voice from somewhere behind her, and Diamond recognised it as Trixie.

Diamond gulped and swallowed a couple of times, flexing her muzzle before trying to speak. "We're not in Ponyville any more," she said, her voice sounding steadier than she'd feared.

"...whe'rewe?", came Trixie's voice again, nauseous and uneven.

"...I don't know," said Diamond, grimacing as she lifted her head again. "I've, like, never seen this place before."

"...I don't like this", came another voice from somewhere else, timid and frightened. "I want to go home now."

"M'fins?", asked Trixie, still groggy, as Diamond screwed her eyes shut and began to put some weight on her hoof, gradually pushing on the ground until her leg started to straighten up, pulling her up to her hooves.

"...Can we go home?" asked Derpy, plaintively. Diamond planted her rear hoof on the sand and drew herself up to her full height, stumbling slightly as she regained her balance, eyes still shut tight.

"Hang on," barked Diamond, surprising herself with how loud she'd managed to shout. "Everypony stop talking a moment."

They did.

"...So. I'm Diamond Tiara. We've got Trixie, and, uh... Muffins? Anypony else here?"

Silence.

"...Anypony at all? Hello? Is anypony there?"

Silence.

"...It looks like it's just the three of us then," said Diamond.

"...S'm team", came Trixie's voice, with a derisive snort.

"I want to go home now," repeated Derpy, mournfully. "I don't like it here. I want to go home."

The silence was broken by the sound of Trixie vomiting copiously.

"...Feel better?", asked Diamond, finally opening her eyes and taking another look around, beating down her own feelings of nausea.

"...Yeah, actually," said Trixie, as Diamond spotted the magician laid out flat on her back on the sand about two hundred yards away, a pool of sick darkening the red sand next to her face as she rubbed her muzzle with a hoof. Diamond trotted slowly and unsteadily towards her, before reaching a hoof down to help her up.

"Can you stand up?", asked Diamond, and Trixie replied by grabbing Diamond's hoof and hauling herself up to a sitting position, before standing on all four hooves. She was wobbly, too, and the two groggy ponies leaned against each other for a moment before disengaging.

"Muffins?", called Diamond. "Are you out here?"

"...Please can we go home?", came a voice from another direction, and Diamond and Trixie looked around for a moment before spotting the gray pegasus, rocking back and forth, holding her forelegs with her wings and looking at the ground. "I'd like to go home now."

Diamond looked at Trixie and raised an eyebrow, and Trixie only gave a shrug in response... and promptly lost her balance, almost toppling over before she regained her footing.

"Are you OK there, Muffins? Are you hurt?", asked Diamond, ignoring the wobbling magician.

"...I just want to go home," repeated Derpy, still rocking back and forth. "I don't like it here... I want to go home now."

Diamond looked at Trixie again. "Is there something wrong with her?", she asked, spitting the words.

"She's... a little different," said Trixie. "But she'll be OK. I think maybe she just got a little shocked."

"We don't have time for this," grumbled Diamond Tiara, trotting towards Derpy, more steady on her hooves now. "The sun will be coming up soon, and I can't see any shelter anywhere. So we need to get moving, now."

Derpy didn't react, still rocking and whimpering. "I want to go home..." she mewled, again, and Diamond let out an annoyed grunt before placing her hoof on the pegasus' back.

"We. Need. To. Go," growled Diamond.

"Hey, who put you in charge, anyway?", asked Trixie, cantering over to the two of them. "I don't see why a foal should be giving the orders. We just need to find Starlight, and she'll fix this. She always does!"

Diamond glared up at Trixie, her hoof still on Derpy's shoulder. "If you've got any better ideas I'd love to hear them," she glowered. "But the way I see it, we're, like, stuck out in the middle of some desert somewhere in Celestia knows where, and our amazing team is, like, me, the magician, and a retarded mailpony. So if you have a suggestion, by all means, you tell us. But if not, I'm saying we need to be finding shelter, and water, and working out where in Equestria we've ended up."

"...Don't call her that", muttered Trixie.

"Excuse me?" said Diamond Tiara, her patience exhausted.

"Don't call her that," said Trixie, louder and bolder now. "It's not nice, and it's not fair. You shouldn't use that word."

"Pff, whatever," said Diamond, making to turn away, but Trixie grabbed her shoulder with a firm hoof.

"You shouldn't," repeated Trixie. "And she's not... She isn't what you said. She's different, and she's clumsy, but she's not stupid, and she's kind," she said, her voice gathering in confidence, becoming clearer and stronger as she went on. "She's just suffering some kind of shock or something. You should apologise to her."

"Are you serious?", snarled Diamond, anger bursting forth, staring at Trixie with an incredulous look on her face. "We could all be about to die, and you're upset about me hurting her feelings?"

"We all need to work together," said Trixie, and as she pushed her chest forward, the morning sunlight glinted off the jeweled Pink Heart of Courage medal pinned to her dusty cloak. "You need to trust me. We're going to need all three of us if we're going to do this."

Diamond was about to snort a reply, but instead she looked down, where her hoof was still resting on Derpy's back. She took a deep breath, and let it out slowly, closing her eyes and counting to ten again, before she opened them and placed her hoof on Derpy's chin. The pegasus gave a start as she felt the hoof on her face, but Diamond gently coaxed her to look up. Derpy squinted hard, her lip wobbling, and focused her eyes on the little filly.

"I'm sorry," said Diamond, and Trixie was surprised how soft she sounded. "I totally didn't mean to say bad things about you. I'm just, like, scared, OK? I kinda... I kinda think we all are." She looked at the other ponies, before adding: "But it's going to be OK."

Derpy just looked at her, and Diamond tried to muster a smile.

"My dad will be looking for us already. Starlight will be looking for us. Rainbow Dash will be looking for us -" Diamond paused, noting how Derpy's eyes opened wider at the mention of that name - "...and that means Princess Twilight will be looking for us, too. They're going to figure out where we went. We're going to be OK."

Derpy looked at the ground, took a deep breath, and then looked up at Diamond again.

"OK", she said.

"OK?" asked Diamond, raising an eyebrow.

"OK", repeated Derpy, and she stumbled to her hooves.

"Good," said Diamond, as Trixie let Derpy lean against her.

The three of them stood for a moment, and Diamond realised the other two were looking at her.

"...What?", she asked, gruffly.

"Tell us what we need to do," said Trixie. "You've been the calmest one of all of us. Tell us what we should do."

"Me?" said Diamond. "You're the hero of Equestria, don't you have any good ideas?"

"It's like you said", shrugged Trixie, as Derpy looked back and forth between them. "If I have an idea, I'll let you have it. But right now, you're right. We need to get out of here. And I don't even know where here is."

Diamond looked at her for a moment, and then nodded.

"Alright," she said. "Ideas. I don't know where we are either. But I do know that there will be a search party coming. So I say... Let's pick a direction, and stick to it. Trixie, can you do a teleport spell?"

"I don't think so," said Trixie, crestfallen. "I tried to do one back in Ponyville, to get out of the way, and since then my horn's just been hurting whenever I try to do any magic. And... well, I wasn't very good at them anyway."

Diamond just stared at her.

"I mean," continued Trixie, sheepishly, "I could maybe turn a rock into a teacup for you?"

Diamond continued to stare.

"...If, you know... you had a rock...", said Trixie, her voice tailing off.

"Okay", said Diamond, after a moment. "Wait a second... Do you remember what happened at Ponyville?"

"I only remember being on the stage, getting ready to do my Great and Powerful firework display, when I heard a noise and looked up to see somepony hurtling towards me out of the sky. I think I crashed into Starlight just as we were both trying to do our teleportation spells, and something got mixed up...?"

"...it was me," came a timorous voice, and both Diamond and Trixie turned to look at Derpy.

"What?", asked Diamond.

"...It was me. Who crashed into you," said Derpy, her eyes filling with tears again. "I was trying to stop an accident which would be really bad because a pony was going to crash, and then somepony hit me with a big red ball, and it knocked me into a big spiral, and it hurt my wing, and I couldn't turn and get back up again without me hitting into you. This is all my fault," she whimpered.

Trixie moved to cuddle her again, but was interrupted by Diamond, her voice clear and firm.

"No it's not," said Diamond, decisively. "Hey. Look at me. It's not your fault," she said, looking into Derpy's eyes, trying not to be distracted by their mismatched, wayward pupils. "You didn't do this on purpose. You said you were trying to stop an accident. I think a bunch of crazy stuff just... happened, and we were, like, there."

Derpy blinked, and looked at her.

Diamond nodded, in what she hoped was a calming gesture. "And now, we're, like, here. And we need to... not be. So, I say, don't worry about what happened. Worry about getting out of here. OK?"

Derpy nodded, and wiped her tears away with her hoof, before blinking furiously and using her other foreleg to wipe away the sand she'd just rubbed into her eyes. Diamond watched this whole tableau unfold, but said nothing until she was done.

"Now... can you fly?"

Derpy didn't respond. Instead, she slowly and gingerly stretched her wings out, flexing her feathers, checking for damage. Grimacing, she paused for a moment, and nuzzled her face into her wingpit before making a growling noise, which turned into a yelp. With a triumphant look on her face, she emerged from her wing with a large, bent gray feather clasped in her mouth, spitting it onto the floor.

She fixed a determined look on her face, and crouched down, and then blasted up into the sky, hovering ten or eleven feet off the ground, her frown now replaced with a beaming smile.

"Great!", called Diamond Tiara, and Derpy's smile got ten times bigger. "Can you see anything up there?"

Derpy scanned the horizon, her misaligned eyes taking in the flat, featureless sand in every direction.

I'm helping, she thought. I'm helping and I am going to help fix this mess! I am going to be so helpful!

But her heart was starting to sink as she looked around, again and again, seeing nothing. It was as if somepony had laid out a huge, flat red carpet and dumped them right in the middle of it, smooth and flat as far as either eye could see; there weren't even any sand dunes to use as navigation aids, just the sun, the moon... she couldn't even make out the stars now, the morning sky was getting too bright.

This is not very good and I am not being very helpful!, she chided herself. Diamond Tiara is counting on me. I am going to do this.

She flapped her wings harder, and began a steep vertical ascent, sensing the air pressure in her finely-tuned pegasus ears and nostrils, feeling the resistance against her feathers, making endless flight calculations as all pegasi unconsciously learn to do from foalhood. Twenty feet. Thirty. Forty. Fifty feet. Eighty. One hundred. Two hundred feet.

She was getting a little dizzy, but she wouldn't stop. I am going to do this, she silently repeated to herself. I am a helpful pony. I am going to be a helpful friend and a good friend and I am going to do this.

At three hundred and fifty feet, she stopped, the ponies in her group looking like toys beneath her, as she slowly flapped in place, turning in a tight circle, scanning and scanning, and...

There.

Far in the distance, to the south - 208° south-southwest, ran a voice somewhere deep inside that she couldn't even consciously hear - the sand changed color. Not by a lot, but a darker band of red was definitely visible, with specks of orange or yellow... something had disrupted the sand.

Hoof tracks. She'd found hoof tracks!

She waved and pointed her foreleg towards the tracks, and then slowly descended down to her companions. Her descent became less and less graceful as she slowed and neared the ground, flapping clumsily as she kicked up a small cloud of dusty sand before her hooves touched down.


"Over there," she gasped, pointing, as Diamond and Trixie covered their mouths and spat out the dust. "There are tracks. Over there."

"Muffins," said Diamond, walking over and gently booping the pegasus on the nose, "I think you just saved us."

Derpy beamed with pride, and Trixie couldn't help smiling too.

"OK then," said Diamond, straightening herself up. "If there are tracks, there must be ponies somewhere nearby. We're gonna head on over that way until we reach those tracks."

She steeled herself to give some instructions, pretending she was back in the school playground ordering the fillies and colts around. This wouldn't work unless she sounded like she believed in herself.

"Trixie! You and me are going to, like, leave our own tracks in the sand, so that if the search party try and retrace our steps, they'll see which way we've gone. Muffins? You can fly along with us, and look out for any ponies... or animals... that are waiting for us. We're gonna find our way back to Ponyville."

Diamond turned to face the direction they were going to be walking, and winced a little before turning to face her companions.

"Are you with me?", she demanded, trying to sound as confident as she could.

Trixie and Derpy both looked at her, and nodded enthusiastically, and Diamond had to work very hard not to break into a huge, disbelieving smile. I'm the leader now, she thought to herself. Me. A filly. This is on me.

She tried not to let that terrify her too much.

"Then, like, come on, let's go!", she said, and started to walk.

No looking back. Ponyville, here we come.