• Published 14th Aug 2020
  • 1,204 Views, 147 Comments

A Different Kind of Treasure - Mechawrecker



What's the most valuable treasure in the world: Family? Money? Revenge? Love? Depends on who you ask...

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The Destination's Journey

“I'm getting a weird sense of déjà vu.”

The three ponies made their way through the dark tunnel, guided by nothing but the torch held in Skyfall’s hoof. Glancing back, he snarked, “Cloud, it’s a cave. Unless you’ve been closing your eyes every time you’ve gone hunting for the past couple years, I’m sure you’ve seen hundreds of them by now.”

Cloudchaser gave an affronted huff. “No, you idiot, not the cave. I feel like we’ve been in this situation before, like something's going to repeat.”

Sky rolled his eyes and scoffed, “If you’re talking about you using your brain for once, it can’t be a repeat since it never happened before.”

Cloud smacked his flank with the flat of her sword, causing him to yelp and drop the torch. “If it weren’t for you acting like a pony shield, I’d do a lot worse to you than that.”

Picking up the light again, Sky mumbled, “I think we both know your sword can’t cut through my shield. I’d like to see you try and slice my flank off.”

Her face contorted into an evil grin as she chuckled, “Watch it, tough guy. I never said it would be the edge going into your flank." The sharp, pointed tip of her broadsword glinted ominously in the torchlight.

Before he could fully process her innuendo, his hoof bracer snagged on an unfortunately familiar trip wire. A loud snap echoed ominously throughout the tunnel as all three of them froze in place, too terrified to move an inch.

Suddenly, the roof of the tunnel began to shake and crumble. Flitter let out a squeak of fright as pieces of rock and dust bounced off her back. Skyfall whipped around in surprise before his eyes widened in terror.

Sprinting forward to escape the caving area, he yelled, “RUN! TRAP!”

Snapping out of their fearful stupor, they all dived for cover right before a massive boulder came crashing down directly where they had been standing seconds prior. As debris flew through the air, a shout of dismay mixed with the collapsing rubble before the tunnel went silent.

Coughing dirt out of his lungs, Sky brushed away the debris coating his muzzle. The plumes of dust made it impossible to see, so instead he called out, “Flitter! Cloud! Are you two okay?”

Cloudchaser’s voice called back in a weak yet determined tone. “Yeah, I’m fine. My armor protected me from most of the rocks.”

“Flitter? Are you okay?” he called out again.

A meek whimper sounded from somewhere to his left. Peering through the dust, Sky could barely make out the outline of a tattered pink bow buried deep under the rubble. Eyes widening, he rushed towards it and began shifting the imposing rocks out of the way. “Cloud, help me move these! Flitter is trapped underneath!”

The two of them worked frantically to shift the heavy boulders. Unlike her sister, Flitter didn’t wear heavy armor because she needed the flexibility to draw back her longbow. As they removed the debris, more of her body came into view, but it became evident that something was wrong.

Instead of her usual flowing green hair, Flitter’s mane fell across her face with glistening streaks of crimson, her wings bent sideways at an awkward angle, and one of her back hooves slowly dripped blood through a cut in the side.

Flitter let out a weak whimper of pain before falling still, her outstretched hoof trembling as it fell into the dirt.

As the realization dawned, Cloud fell to her knees and yelled, “No... no no no! Come on, sis. Don’t do this to me!”

“Stop shaking her!” Sky urged, pushing her off Flitter’s battered body. “If you keep moving her, she’ll get even more hurt than she already is.”

Cloudchaser paced nervously as he assessed Flitter’s injuries. Her wings weren’t seriously injured and the cut on her hoof would heal in time, but the head trauma definitely posed a serious problem. Unclasping his travel pack, he prepared some bandages and began cleaning her wounds.

“What do we do now? Should we turn back? I don’t like the look of Flitter’s condition.”

Skyfall concentrated on patching Flitter up but answered, “I don’t think we can go back. Those rocks are blocking the entrance, and this time we don’t have Flitter to help us move them. It looks like the only thing we can do is move forward and hope we find another way out.”

Before she could ask again, Flitter groaned and blinked open her teary eyes. With a worried flap of her wings, Cloud rushed over and started pelting her with questions. “Sis, are you okay? Is your head hurt? Which hoof am I holding up? What do you--”

Flitter squinted her eyes and grimaced at Cloud’s badgering. “Don’t… talk… so… loud…”

Sky propped her head up and whispered, “Are you okay? How are you feeling?”

“I feel like the time Cloud sat on me after that all-you-can-eat hot dog challenge.”

Sky tried to suppress a snort of laughter as Cloudchaser’s face burned with embarrassment. “Flitter, I thought we agreed to never mention that ever again!”

The injured mare flashed a smug grin as she smirked at her red-faced sister. “Consider that payback for all the times you twisted my words for your pervy jokes.”

Sky failed to suppress another unsubtle snort that neither sister missed. “Stop laughing, Sky!” Cloud fumed, giving him an admonishing shove. “You act like you weigh less than a feather after eating ten wieners at once.”

The other two glanced at each other before Flitter whispered, “Should I make the joke that’s staring us both in the snout?”

“No, that’s too low hanging fruit. You need to save your best jokes for when they’re actually clever.”

Nodding sagely, she tried to stand but collapsed again as her back hoof buckled under her weight. “Ow! I don’t think I can move very fast. My hoof is hurting worse than Cloud during heat week.”

“FLITTER!” Cloud’s face now looked as if the fur on it had changed color. “I thought we agreed that was between us!”

"Maybe this will make you think twice before you try embarrassing me in front of other ponies,” Flitter retorted, relishing the power she seldom held over her sister.

Cloudchaser adopted a challenging expression and countered, "Well, if you keep spilling all my secrets, I’m not going to help the next time you need me to put out the fire under your tail. How’s that for embarrassing?”

Flitter pointed a warning hoof at her and hissed, “If you even think of breathing a word of that to anypony, I’m going to--” she started before a voice cut them both off.

“Umm… You ladies know that I’m still in here, right?”

Sky glanced between them as they stared back with wide eyes. His back legs crossed over his tail and travel pack to conceal his obvious bulge. “So… uh… shall we get going?”

Cloud and Flitter turned to each other and nodded before standing up and stalking towards his place on the ground.

Seeing the looks in their eyes, Sky grew nervous and began backing away from them without standing up. “Uh, what are you two doing?” he asked, not liking the most probable answer.

The two girls stared down at him before Cloud raised her sword and growled, “Making sure you don’t remember any of it.”


“Ow… my head. What happened to me?” Skyfall mumbled as he stirred on the cave floor.

On his left, Cloud hurried to stow her sword before helping him to his hooves. “Oh, it was crazy. One of the rocks from the trap fell later than the others and hit you on the head.”

“Yeah,” Flitter supplied. “We did the best we could to treat your wound. Do you remember anything that happened?”

“Well, I thought I heard…” Sky started before his eyes widened.

“Yes?” Cloud pressed, sword handle in her mouth preparing for another strike.

“Nothing," he said, quickly grabbing his pack and moving towards the end of the tunnel. “Come on, we need to get out of here and find a doctor. Flitter really shouldn’t be on her hooves any more than she needs to be.”

As they moved further into the cave, it became evident that nopony else was ahead of them. The walls echoed their hoofsteps so much that they would be able to hear anypony within a hundred yards.

Following the torchlight, the three adventurers continued along the path before stumbling into a dead end. Seeing this, Cloud let out a groan of exasperation. “Oh, come on! Now we’ll never get out of here. I can’t believe we’re going to die trapped in an underground tomb surrounded by centipedes and cave hoppers.”

“No pony is going to die,” Sky reassured her, searching around for another branch of the tunnel. No additional pathways appeared, but he did take notice of the strange etchings in the wall. Thinking they looked rather suspicious, he scooped up some dirt from the ground and began plastering it all over the cave surface.

“Um, Sky? You okay there, buddy?” Cloud asked, wondering whether the thinning oxygen was starting to affect his brain.

“Yeah, I’m fine. I think there might be something here, just give me a second.”

Cloud turned to look at her sister while making circles in the air around her temple. Flitter slapped the hoof and gave her a stern look of disapproval. “What? We’re both thinking it.”

After a few minutes of work, Sky managed to cover the entire wall with soil. Taking a deep breath, he blew on the wall and scattered the excess dirt as the sediment in the cracks remained in place to reveal a hidden message.

“How in Tartarus did you know that was going to work!?” Cloud exclaimed, staring at the newly formed words.

Sky turned around with a sheepish smile. “Honestly, I didn’t think it would. I figured it was either try that or start learning how to hunt giant spiders in the dark for dinner.”

The three of them shuddered at the thought before turning back to the message. “So?” Flitter asked, “What does it say?”

Sky squinted at the wall and read,

I am hated by all, yet all still employ
I am able to harm, heal, and destroy
When I am removed, the truth is then shown
I always beget another one of my own

What am I?

As he finished reading, Cloudchaser scrunched her muzzle with distaste. “Wait, so we have to solve a riddle to get through?”

“Seems like it,” Sky responded. “Based on the style, this was probably written by the creature that built the dungeon to test our intelligence and see if we’re worthy to collect the treasure.”

They all stood in silence for a while before Cloud suddenly burst out, “OHH OHH! I’ve got it!”

Sky and Flitter stared at her excitedly. “Really!? What is it?”

“It’s a pony!”

“...”

“...what…”

“Yeah!” Cloud said again, “Think about it! Ponies hate other ponies but still hire them, ponies can both hurt and help other ponies, and ponies always give birth to other ponies! It all fits!”

Sky frowned skeptically. “What about the third line? I don’t see how removing ponies reveals any sort of truth.”

She waved away his concern with a hoof. “Hey, three out of four ain’t bad.”

“Yeah… I don’t think 'almost' is going to fly in a case like this.”

“Do you have any better ideas?”

“I have plenty of ideas that are way better than yours, they’re just not perfect answers to the riddle.”

“Well then, you can take those answers and shove them up your--”

Flitter interrupted their argument with a loud gasp. “Oh my Celestia… I think I’ve got it!”

Looking over his shoulder, Sky snarked, “Great! No need to be embarrassed, Flitter. I guarantee that nothing you say will be worse than Cloud’s guess.”

Cloud smacked him with a hoof before turning to her sister. “Don’t listen to this moron, Flitter. Give it your best shot!”

Flitter shot another glare at her antics and took a deep breath. “Okay, I’m not sure if it’s right, but I think the answer is…”

Author's Note:

A/N: Don't bother looking up the answer to the riddle since I made it up myself. Leave your guess in a comment, but make sure you use the spoiler tool. I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise for anyone. ;)