• Published 11th Dec 2019
  • 474 Views, 19 Comments

The Legend of Daring Do - The Red Parade

As Hearth’s Warming approaches, Rainbow Dash seeks Twilight Sparkle’s assistance in retelling an adventure story in an effort to bring back the sister she never knew.

  • ...

Daring Do and the Empty Desert

The smell of apples fills my nostrils as I touch down outside of my friend’s farm. If you’ve been in Ponyville for a second, chances are you’ve heard of Sweet Apple Acres. Applejack likes to say that it’s her farm that keeps the town running.

To me, it’s just a great, open space to practice in. Also the trees are great to nap in. But I didn’t come here to sleep or practice, not today. I pull the letter out of my saddlebag and give it a quick read over.


My name is Rainbow Dash. I heard you were friends with my sister, Daring Dash. I’ve been trying to connect with some of her friends recently, and I’ve learned a lot about her that I didn’t know before. I was just wondering if there was anything you could tell me about her.


Rainbow Dash.

Satisfied, I stick it back in the envelope and set off to find Applejack. I track her down pretty quickly on the north side of the farm, bucking a tree like she always does. “Howdy, RD,” she greets. “How can Ah help ya?”

“Hey AJ,” I reply. “I’m trying to track down one of your cousins.”

Applejack scoffs and wipes her brow. “You and Ah both know you’re gonna have to be more specific than that.”

“Does a stallion by the name of Braeburn ring a bell?”

Her face lights up at the name. “Brae? Well, ‘course Ah know him! Wonder how he’s doin’, that crazy pony.”

“Great.” I pull the letter out of my bag. “Could you get this letter to him? As fast as possible?”

Applejack takes the letter and nods. “Sure thing. What’s this about?”

“I just had some questions for him. Apparently he knew my sister or something.”
Applejack grimaces at that. “Oh, it’s that time of the year, ain’t it?”

“Yesterday, actually.”

She sticks the letter in her hat and trots over to me. “Ah know you’ve probably heard it a million times, but Ah’m mighty sorry for your loss.”

I nod in appreciation of that. “Thanks, AJ. And I’m fine. I’ve been working through some stuff, but I think I’ll be alright.”

My friend smiles at me. “Alright. And if you ever need us, we’re here for you.”

“I know.”

Applejack then steps back and readjusts her hat. “You goin’ to Pinkie’s Hearth’s Warming party?”

“Wouldn’t miss it,” I reassure her. That reminds me, with the anniversary gone, that only leaves three days until Hearth’s Warming. Where the hay is all the time going?

“See you there then,” Applejack replies. “Now git! Ah’ve still got work to do!”

I laugh and spread my wings. “Sure you do. See you around, AJ!”

With that out of the way, I take off and head for the weather office. It’s time I have a word with Cloud Kicker. Nopony kicks me out of my own office and gets away with it.

After work ends, I head off to the library again. I end up sitting around for a while while Twilight chews out some poor colt who dropped his book into the shower or something. According to Spike, she’s mostly upset because this isn’t the first time this has happened.

“I can’t believe it! How hard is it to keep literature away from water sources,” Twilight grumbles as she enters. “If he keeps it up, he’ll destroy half of the library!”

I raise an eyebrow at that statement. “Why don’t you just… stop giving him books?”

“And deny a pony the chance for literature? His heart’s in the right place, and he does want to learn. He just needs to learn how to be more careful.” Twilight clears her throat. “Anyways, how have you been holding up?”

I shrug. “Fine. I’ve been meeting some of Daring’s friends recently. It’s been really interesting.”

She smiles. “That’s great to hear. Ready to continue?”

I nod, getting off the couch.

“With the assistance of Marshal Slow Burn, your group travels off into the Empty Desert, a dead and barren land in the far reaches of Equestria…”

This time I find myself standing in the middle of a huge, sprawling desert. There are no roads whatsoever, only sand dunes stretching far in every direction. Looking behind me I can see the town in the distance. I can see our hoofprints in the sand and realize how easy it’d be for something to follow us.

There’s a few cacti dotting the area, and the occasional tumbleweed, but other than that it’s pretty quiet. Slow Burn’s in the front, leading the way forwards. “Y’all gotta keep an eye out,” he says. “Things can go sideways mighty quickly out here.”

Daring nods and turns to Free Fall. “Circle around for me, let me know what you see.”

As Free Fall takes to the sky, Daring pulls out her map and frowns. “I don’t see any landmarks out here. How do we know where we’re going?”

“You’re just gonna need to put faith in me,” Slow Burn answers. “Ah know this land like Ah know my own parents. It ain’t gettin’ lost Ah’m worried about.”

Free Fall dives back down and hoovers near him. “Hey, there’s something following us. I can’t really tell what it is.”

Slow Burn scowls. “How many did you count?”

“One,” she replies. “Why?”

“We might get away with it,” Slow muses. “Keep an eye out, wouldya?” He glances at us. “Darin’, you and your sister might want to help her out with that.”

Daring and I nod and take to the air, following Free Fall. Up high, I take in the endless expanse of desert that falls beneath us. Squinting, I see a strange brown blob far away from the others. It looks like there’s something burrowing underneath the sand. “Is that it?”

Free Fall nods. “I almost missed it at first, it blends in pretty well. What do you think it is?”

“Nothing good,” Daring answers. “Let’s keep our eyes peeled.”

We hover above the group, scanning the area and searching for movement. “Hey, Rainbow,” Daring says. “I just wanted to say thanks. For all the stuff you’ve been doing.”

I raise an eyebrow. “What do you mean?”

“You know, taking the time to talk to my friends and stuff. It’s been nice to see them again. And I think it’s been helping you out too.” She gives me a small smile.

“I guess it has,” I answer.

Free Fall suddenly nudges me. “Hey, do you see that?” I squint where she’s pointing.

“No, what--wait.” I look closer, and realize that something is moving down there. “Holy… yeah, I do.” We’re still too high to tell what exactly we’re looking at, but whatever it is, it’s big. And moving pretty quickly.

“Two more on the right side!” Daring suddenly shouts.

I scan the area again, knowing what to look for this time. “Yeah, I see two--no, three on the left.”

“Four in the middle,” Free Fall says. “We should probably go tell Burn.”

Daring agrees and dives down towards him. “Slow, we got a lot of movement coming from the town. At least nine or more… somethings.”

“What is it?” Minute asks, concern on her face.

Slow Burn growls. “Desert Crawlers. One of the reasons ponies don’t usually come out this way.” He stops and turns around to face us. “Ah don’t rightly know what they are, but Ah do know they kill. Look for movement in the sands. If you see somethin’, shoot it.”

Minute and Redblood nod, preparing their spells and weapons respectively. Slow Burn draws his gun. “Ah need y’all to spot for us. Let us know if you see somethin’ move.”

The three of us nod and fly upwards again. We scan the area, searching for anything out of place, while Slow, Minute, and Redblood form a half circle beneath us.

Then there’s the sharp crack of a gunshot. I glance down to see Slow’s shot at the sand. There’s a horrible screeching noise, and a giant bug pops out of the sand. It looks sort of like a giant beetle, with sandy brown wings and two large antennae. It’s also got a massive horn on the front of its head, and a huge jaw with plenty of teeth in it.

The crawler that Slow shot is bleeding green blood from its front, but doesn’t seem to notice. Minute and Redblood hit it a few more times before it finally keels over.

“Minute, on your right!” Free Fall shouts. Sure enough, I catch something moving towards her very rapidly. She turns and fires a volley of spells into the ground, unearthing another crawler.

“We need to divide and conquer,” Daring realizes. “I’ll cover Minute, Free Fall cover Burn, and Rainbow, you cover Redblood!”

I nod, and focus my attention on the mare below me. She fires her laser cannon at a crawler but misses, the crawler burrowing deeper into the ground instead. “Yo, your right, Red!”

She turns and fires, sending a blast of sand flying through the air and knocking out another bug. Before she can do anything else, another crawler flies out of the sand on her right. Redblood grunts in surprise and falls to the ground. The crawler opens its massive jaws and lets out a roar before advancing on her.

Slow whips around and fires several shotgun slugs at it, knocking it out. “Look out!” Free Fall calls as another crawler unearths itself a few feet behind him.

Slow drops his shotgun and seizes his pistol, turning to face it. With one hoof he fires off six shots, landing each one on the head of the crawler. Minute helps out too by firing another spell, letting loose a blue barrage from her horn. The spell seems to explode on contact, sending energy rippling through the air.

“Thanks,” Redblood says as she gets to her hooves.

“Don’t mention it,” Slow replies. He holsters the pistol and draws his rifle, leaving the shotgun on the ground.

“One far right, by the rock,” Free Fall reports.

The Marshal heaves himself onto his hind legs and fires. There’s another shriek of pain and the movement stops. Slow pulls back the metal bolt on the side of the gun, loading another round. “Finish the last few off, then we should be alright!” he shouts.

“Minute, two by the cactus!” Daring shouts.

As Minute turns to examine that area, I catch a slight movement out of the corner of my eye. “Watch--”

Before I can finish the warning, another crawler shoots up directly underneath her, sending the unicorn flying through the air.

“Ah, shit!” Free Fall reacts first, diving down towards her. Both of them grunt as Minute lands in Free Fall’s hooves. “Second time today,” Free Fall jokes. “Now you owe me two!”

Slow and Redblood knock the bug out of commission and rejoin Minute and Free Fall. Slow glances up at us and shouts something, pointing a hoof behind us.

I glance in that direction and realize the remaining crawlers have gathered and are flying in circles. My eyes widen as they make a huge funnel of dust and sand.

“We gotta go,” Daring shouts. She grabs my hoof and we both fly away as fast as we can. We don’t get far before we’re suddenly caught in the storm. The sand and dust sting my eyes and blind me as the wind rips through my fur. My hoof slips out of Daring’s grip, and I’m suddenly blind and alone. I open my mouth to call out to her, only to have it instantly filled with dust. With a hacking cough, I spiral out of control and start to fall.