• Published 6th Sep 2012
  • 3,943 Views, 263 Comments

Longest Night: Everypony's Day - Fizzy Orange

Lunaverse Story, what happened to side characters during Corona's return with chapters written by different authors.

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Mounty Max's Day: Doing Something

Mounty Max's Day

“I’m sure there’s no reason to be alarmed,” called Mounty Max trying to make himself heard over the general hubbub. The grey pony wished he sounded more believable and less scared as he tried to reassure the crowd around him.

“It’s the end times,” cried a purple pegasus as she launched herself into the air apparently trying to outfly the apocalypse.

On the ground an earth pony mare rushed past clutching her bawling infant tightly her eyes wide swivelling from side to side looking for a place to hide.

“It just ain’t natural,” muttered another pony staring upwards his mouth hanging open in shock. There in the sky the sun sat burning brightly. This wouldn’t normally be a cause for alarm except that it was the middle of the night and only a few minutes ago it had been pitch black.

Max, as the mayor of the town of Sadlzburg had been in charge of hosting the town’s annual Longest Night festival. As this year was the one thousandth anniversary of the banishment of Corona he had been determined to make it the best one ever and he’d thought he’d succeed. He’d managed to arrange for old Honeybun to donate almost her whole year’s supply of mead for the festivities, there had been games for the foals and the musically talented townsfolk had been formed into a band so those who felt like it could dance the night away. It had proved popular and ponies had come from all the neighbouring villages and even a few from farther afield.

Overall he’d been quite proud of his work and had been looking forward to letting his mane down for the night. Then the sun had quite unexpectedly appeared in the sky, for a moment he had felt quite put out as if the event had been designed purely to ruin his night. Then the same panic that was now affecting most of the population had threatened to grip him too, struggling for a few seconds he fought against his reactions. He was in charge damn it, he had to act like it.

Vaulting onto a nearby table he slammed a hoof down with a crashing sound. “Listen!” he yelled. For a moment there was silence and all faces turned to him, he opened his mouth to speak but couldn’t think of what to say. The moment broken the ponies returned to milling around in chaos.

Max slumped for a second, feeling defeated. Suddenly a loud bleat broke over the cloud and once again the mob froze where they stood eyes turning to face the elderly nanny goat who had caused the sound. “Now I’d be much obliged if you all stopped running about like headless chickens and listed to the mayor over there,” she said in a quiet but commanding voice nodding a Max.

All heads turned to face the mayor again. “Thank you Mrs G,” mumbled Max to his assistant before continuing in a more assured tone, “Now if you just all calm down, we can sort things out. I’m sure this is just a temporary thing, maybe the Princess is sick.”

“Celebrating the holiday a bit hard you think?” asked one brown unicorn stallion. A few nervous chuckles could be heard.

“It’s the end I tell you, Corona has returned to burn us all!” cried one panicky pony.

“Yes and I’m sure she’s brought Tirek with her, the Headless Horse too I wager,” replied Max with a smile, “How much of your mead have you had tonight Honeybun?”

“Well a few,” mumbled the mare shame face. That seemed to release some of the tension in the air and another round of laughter could be heard.

“Besides even if something has happened to the Princess, all the good ponies in the Night Court will be working on a solution right?” there was a mumble of agreement in the crowd. “Now this is all very odd,” started Max again, “But nothing actually harmful has happened has it? No one’s been struck down, no one injured?” The crowd looked among themselves for a moment, then agreed with their leader. “Then it’s not so bad.” Max felt proud of his people, they were practical almost to a fault, the midnight sun hadn’t caused any problems yet so it wasn’t anything to worry about. “Now, I’ll tell you all if I hear anything about this... strangeness. It’s been a long night so I suggest that everybody gets to bed, see if you can get any sleep, things will probably seem.. better in the morning.” He’d wanted to say brighter, but the sun hovering over their heads made that unlikely.

Muttering to themselves for a bit the crowd started to disperse and Max gave a sigh of relief.

Max sighed, completely unable to follow his own suggestion. It had been several hours since the sun had risen and nothing had changed. On the positive side no legendary evil had swooped down to smite him but on the other hoof the sun still sat there not moving an inch like it was glaring down at him.

He had returned to his house come office and after ensuring his mother was alright had lacked anything else to do so he had started to tidy up. Mrs Gobhar had joined him and had taken up her normal place in the outer office, the clacking of her knitting needles the only sound she had made and after a while even that had stopped suggesting the old goat had fallen asleep.

Max wished he could do that to but he couldn’t, he was buzzing with nervous energy and needed to be able to do something, anything. He picked up a pile of half completed paperwork and carried it over to the filing cabinet near the window. He stopped for a second to admire the small collection of framed certificates and pictures that made up the town’s history. Off to one side was the document which appointed him Lord Mayor of Sadlzburg and technically a member of the gentry, above it was the same document appointing his father and before him his grandfather to the same role. Beneath them was the yellowing document which marked the incorporation of the town. Around them were a collection of newspaper cuttings making reference to the town and its area. Pride of place was occupied by a full page of text announcing the completion of the first stage of the local road network, a grainy photograph showed a large collection of workers, including Max himself smiling proudly. An equally proud pony was shown pulling a cart down the newly constructed road linking Sadlzburg to the village of Splitzhoof a few miles away. The text noted plans to extend the road to Saddleback. He still remembered the day fondly. Another cutting showed Max and a mare kissing, the headline noted the success of the hearts and hooves dance. He wondered if he should take that one down, he hardly considered it to be on the same level as the other news, which had been part of the problem.

Max was awoken from his thoughts by a quiet tap on the door. He rushed over to open it, maybe it was some news about the sun. Beyond stood a pony Max didn’t think he’d met before, she was a dark blue pegasus mare with a long pink mane and a large box strapped around her neck. “Hello?” he asked cautiously, “How can I help you?”

“Hi, I’m Happy Snapper, I’m a journalist from Canterlot, I hoped I could get an interview with you.”

Max frowned, “Canterlot? You’re a long way from home.”

“Well I was here on a working holiday, I hoped to get some pictures of the views around here, and well when this all happened I had to do something so I thought I’d come to the person in charge. I had to do something or I’d go mad,” she admitted.

“I know the feeling. Ok, I haven't got anything else to do, come in.” There was a soft bleating sound from the corner. Max turned to see Mrs Gobhar slumped over her desk. “Excuse me a second,” he said. Pushing past the pegasus Max gently pulled the glasses off of the elderly goat’s muzzle and laid them by her side before collecting a large knitted blanket from a basket near the desk and laying it over her making sure she was kept warm.

There was a flash of light and a click which caused Max to jump. Happy lowered her camera. “Don’t worry it’s just a camera, it’s used to record pictures,” she explained.

Max gently shoed her into his office and away from the sleeping goat, “I know what a camera is, we might be a bit out of the way here but we’re not stupid.”

“Sorry,” she took a notepad out of her bags and lifted a pencil in her wing.

Max sat at his desk, “Now what do you want to talk to me about?”

“What are you planning to do about this crisis? How will you reassure the other villages?”

“I’m not sure why you are asking me this, other settlements have their own leaders many of whom are probably much better at that than me.”

“Yes, but as far as I am aware none of them are being considered for a position in the Night Court.”

Max sighed, this again! “I have heard certain rumours, apparently this town and the surrounding area wasn’t fully recorded when the last full census of Equestria was carried out. Some sort of clerical error. When the situation was recognised the Night Court investigated to produce a report for the Princess and yes, I believe one of the suggestions was to form a new province, but I have not been informed of who might run it. Of course whoever it is will have my full cooperation.”

“Even if it’s somepony from outside of the area?”

“Well we have no local nobility so that’s likely. I’m sure the court will weigh up all the possible contenders and choose whoever is best suited.” Happy smirked at this for some reason Max didn’t understand.

“It seems to me that there is..” she was suddenly interrupted by a hammering from the front of the building. Max was up and across the room in a second rushing into the outer office where Mrs G was awake and searching for her glasses. The front door swung open to reveal a battered brown earth pony stallion with a white mane, he had a thick winter coat wrapped around him but it was torn in several places, skies were strapped to all four of his legs. Max recognised him as his friend and deputy mayor Off Piste. The stallion collapsed forwards in a faint and Max rushed forwards to catch him before he hit the ground.

“Piste, Piste!” he called, “Are you alright, Piste?”

One of the stallions eyes cracked open, “I haven't touched a drop, I’m just a little tired,” he mumbled.

Max sighed in relief as he helped the injured pony to a seat, “Will you ever get tired of that joke?” he asked.

“I haven't so far.” The stallion blinked a few times. “Max it’s Innsbuck!”

“What about it?” Innsbuck was Off’s home village about half a day’s travel away.

“Avalanche, it’s buried half the place, we need to get help!”

“When did it happen?” asked Max considering what to do.

“Two maybe three hours ago.”

“You made it here in three hours?” asked Max is disbelief.

“Made it right over the peak, I told you I could do it,” he winced, “Well almost, I took a bit of a tumble near the bottom.”

Max straightened, plans running through his head, “Mrs G,” he started. The nanny leaned over and passed Piste a steaming drink, which from the smell of it was about half brandy, which he accepted thankfully.

“I’ll get my boys,” she said.

Max nodded, “Good. You,” he indicated Happy, “Can help me tell the rest of town.” Not waiting for a reply, and happy to have something to do, Max ran off into the town.

In less than half an hour Max had managed to assemble fifty or sixty volunteers to help him. He had hoped for more but given the situation most of the town’s population wanted to stay and protect their own families, and he couldn’t really blame them.

He was glad that all three of Mrs G’s sons were in town. They were the closest that the area had to a professional mountain rescue team, he’d even managed to get them paid as such. Not quite a living wage, they still had to take on a few odd jobs to make ends meet. Maybe he should look into seeing if he could get them more? He put the thought aside for the moment. “Ok, everyone. There's been a bad avalanche at Innsbuck. There are people buried and some of the buildings have collapsed. They need our help and we need to get there as soon as we can. Now the pegasus can just fly over there,” he nodded to the winged section of the crowd, ”But the rest of us are going to follow quickest ground route, the road to Saddleback followed by scaling Widows peak.” There was some mumbling from the crowd. “I know it’s a hard route but the people Innsbuck are in trouble and every minute could be precious.”

“Is this all to do with sun?” asked a random pony, “Could it have caused the avalanche?”

“That’s rather unlikely,” said Conn, one of Mrs Gobhar’s sons and the closest the town had to a librarian as he lived in the rather ramshackle building containing the hundred or so books the town had cobbled together to lend to each other. “It’s not been up long enough to melt the snow.” The word yet hung unspoken, Max knew that if the current situation continued then they would have more problems than a single avalanche but there was no need to dwell on that yet.

“Ok everybody, get what you need and we’ll all gather here in about ten minutes, remember shovels, warm clothes, food and drink. Anybody we dig out is going to be cold.” The crowd dispersed leaving only a few people still standing around.

Sealbhach, Mrs G’s youngest son sidled up to Max, his coat immaculate. His good looks made him a favourite with the local nannies and, at least to hear him talk, a few mares as well. “Are you sure about the route? They don’t call it Widow Makers Peak for nothing.”

“Piste made it through and if we take the normal route it’ll be all day until we get there.”

“Piste is an expert. Now I know you can make it, so can me and the boys. But some of the others aren't strong climbers.”

“Those who can climb can help the others, I’m sure we can make it.”

Sealbhach stared at Max for a second, “Ok, you’re the boss.”

Max stood there for a minute running over his options in his mind, he couldn’t see any other way to do this. Then somepony caught his eye, “Happy?” he asked, “Why are you still here?”

“Well, I thought I should help. It’ll make a good story, a heroic high altitude rescue. I’m sure my readers will lap it up,” she said tightening her winter coat and making sure her camera was in place.

“Well be careful, follow Arctic Breeze’s instructions,” he gestured at another pegasus, “She used to be in the guard so she knows her way around a disaster, she’ll show you where to go and what to do. Just remember this isn’t just a story lives are at risk.”

“Don’t worry,” she said giving a sloppy salute.

Off Piste limped up to his friend, “I’ll lead you to the route I took.”

“Piste, no. You’re still hurt. You need to rest,” argued Max.

“Come off it, I’m fine, plus you’ve got a better chance with me,” said the brown stallion incredulously.

“I’ve got another job for you. When you’re rested I want you to take the road to Praris, they’ve got the rail head there and telegraph, they should know what’s going on. Take my official medallion, its propping up one of the table legs, if anyone gives you any trouble you’re acting Lord Mayor.”

“You could send anypony to do that, let me come with you.”

“I trust you most and I need you to keep a level head. Plus you’ll probably make it in half the time of anypony else”

“Fine, I’ll set off right away.”

“No, wait until you’ve had a chance to rest and had someone look at your wounds.”

“And how are you going to stop me?”

“I won't,” said Max with a smile, “Mrs G,” he called.

The nanny shuffled over, “Yes?” she asked.

“Make sure Piste doesn’t leave until he’s had some rest, and something to eat.”

Off Piste glared rebelliously at the goat for a second but wilted under her gentle gaze. “You win,” he mumbled.

“Come on dearly,” said the nanny, “Let’s get you looked at.” She led her charge back to the town hall.

Savouring his small victory Max turned back to crowd to his surprise it had grown a little. He saw half a dozen goats and a pair of donkeys among the group of ponies, even Whitefeather, the town’s only hippogriff was there pawing the ground in impatience.

Max nodded to Arctic Breeze and the pegasus mare took command of the flying part of the party leading them up into the sky and after circling the town a few times headed off in the direction of the stricken village. Max hoped they would be able to do some good before the land based contingent with their heavier equipment could arrive.

“Ok, everybody,” called Max, “The people of Innsbuck need us, let’s go!” and with that he led his people out of the town.

The first leg of the journey went well, the newly completed road to Saddleback did its job and Max felt a swell of pride. This was what the project was supposed to have done, link the area together to make it easier for help and goods to pass from village to village, to make the area a community rather than just a collection of settlements. At Saddleback he was met with another barrage of questions about the sun but he managed to dodge them by mentioning the avalanche. To the natives that disaster was a more reasonable thing than the sun being up at the wrong time, something they could understand and do something about. Their party picked up a few more volunteers and unpacked the supplies that they had brought before setting out on the second and much more difficult leg of the journey.

The distance between Saddleback and Innsbuck was probably less than ten miles as the pegasus flies, however, between the two sat the forbidding Widow Makers Peak. It was certainly not the largest of mountains in the area but it was steep and there was no real track over it. Max had climbed it several times before but never with such a large group and certainly not at speed. But there was no real choice, to go round would increase the length of the journey by at least a factor of five.

“Now put your other hoof there,” instructed Max, “And pull yourself up. Good, now the next bits easier, it flattens out.” His pupil followed his instructions and made her way up to a ledge before wiping her brow and carefully scuttling along the next section of cliff. As per his plan the better climbers were helping the weaker members of the party where possible but it was still slow going. There was a cry from lower down the slope and Max’s head snapped round to see an unfortunate stallion start to slip as he missed his hoofing. Lucky Brian, Mrs Grobnar’s eldest son grabbed the rope attaching him to the next pony in line with his teeth and look the strain arresting the stallion’s fall before he could pull any others after him. The muscular goat, although far from the sharpest tool in the box was well known for his strength, and planting his hooves lifted the grateful stallion back onto the path.

“'s math a fhuaras tu!” complimented Max, Brian sometimes had difficulty with Equestrian. But most of the locals could manage at least a simple conversation in Goat and some in Donkey as well.

The other climbers stopped in place looking at the near disaster, “We have to keep moving,” insisted Max trying to rally his team. “We’re past half way up now, almost there. The people of Innsbuck need us.”

Sealbhach hopped from rock to rock up to Max, as surefooted as all his species. “I think we should take a break at that ledge,” he suggested, pointing a short distance up the slope.

“The more we stop the more people could die at Innsbuck,” argued Max.

“They’re getting tired,” hissed the goat, pointing at the other climbers, “Which means they’re getting sloppy, and up here that means they’ll get dead.”

Max considered the truth of this for a moment, “Ok, everybody, when you get up here we can stop for ten minutes, get your breath back. I’ll scout ahead and see if I can find an easier path.” There was a mumble of appreciation from other climbers as one by one they dragged themselves onto the ledge.

Once his people were safe Max scrambled further up the mountain trying to judge how difficult the different slopes would be. After a few minutes he stopped and to his surprise was joined by Conn and Sealbhach.

“So do you think the east face would be easier, or the west?” he asked, “East isn’t as steep but those rocks look loose to me, west is steeper but there are quite a few ledges to stop on.”

“Max, you know you always ask us to tell you when you’re being an idiot?” asked Conn.

“Well, you’re being an idiot,” said Sealbhach bluntly.


“They can’t make this climb, Max.”

“Look it’s not that hard, I climbed worse when I was still a foal.”

“Most of the team aren't you,” pointed out Conn, “You can probably do this, we probably can as well, same with some of the others but not all of them. Some of them will die.”

“The thing is, that if you ask them to they’ll try it anyway, they trust you Max,” said Sealbhach.

“But we have to make it, the people of Innsbruck need our help!”

“And we won’t help them by dying. What’s made you like this Max? You’re normally stubborn but why all this?”

“I need to do something!” cried Max, “The sun is out in the middle of the night! As far as I know the world is ending, Corona might have returned, the rest of Equestria could be in flames for all I know, but I can’t do anything about that. But I can save Innsbuck!”

The two goats looked at each other after the outburst. “You have done something, you’ve kept the whole town calm,” noted Conn. “You sent Off Piste off to find out more, there isn’t anything else you can do. Getting ponies killed isn’t going to help.”

Max rubbed his face with a hoof, “You’re right,” he admitted, “Of course you’re right. Thanks.” He thought for a moment, “Ok, how about this. I’ll take most of our best climbers over the top, Conn you take the rest back down to that pass we saw about half a mile back, it looks like it went round the mountain, it’ll still take a few hours but it’ll be quicker than going all the way back to Saddleback and round.”

Conn chewed for a moment, “Yes, I think that’d work.” Sealbhach nodded his agreement too.

“Good, let’s get back to the rest, and guys? Thanks, I needed that, you’re some of the best friends a pony could have.”

“I’m always happy to call you an idiot Max,” said Sealbhach with a grin.

The trio made their way back to the rest of the party in silence. “Ok, gather round we’ve had a change of plan,” announced Max as the rest of the team looked up at him.

Despite being made up of the best climbers Max’s smaller party still found traversing the peak difficult and he saw the wisdom in his friends words, if the whole team had tried to pass this way there would have been fatalities. As it was it took an hour to find a point they could get to the other side of the mountain and as long again to get to the bottom. From the peak Max could just about make out where Innsbuck was, or rather where it should have been. It looked bad, from this distance only a few building could be seen barely sticking out of the snow where the village had once stood. Max cursed himself for not being born a pegasus, being able to fly would be very useful right now.

Arctic Breeze flew up as Max and his team finally cantered into the village and started to unload the supplies they had managed to lug over the mountain them. She gave a salute, “Where are the rest of you?” asked the ex-guardsmare.

“They had to take a longer route, they won’t be here for a while.” Max looked around. “Where’s Tomato Chutney?” he asked looking for the pony who was the closest thing to a leader the village had.

Breeze pointed at a chimney just sticking out of the snow, “That’s his house.”


“He’s actually alright, he and his family are stuck inside but they're safe until we can dig them out.”

Giving a sigh of relief Max surveyed the village, it appeared that the majority of the village’s population were alright, many of them were huddled next to the few remaining buildings looking shocked and often somewhat battered but generally whole. Several others were helping the pegasus he had sent ahead to dig into the snow looking for others trapped beneath it. The village itself was in a poor way though, as he had seen from above most of its buildings had been covered in snow and several had been demolished entirely it would take a long time to rebuild, he hoped that the rumours of a new province being formed were true the village could really use the disaster funding that would create.

Gazing up at the slope where the avalanche had come from Max could make out a thick layer of rubble and boulders which had been dragged down with the snow. “Someone should keep an eye on that,” he said pointing, “It’s still loose, could come down at any time.”

“I’ll get some of the walking wounded on it.”

Max nodded, “Ok, how are the rest of the villagers?”

“We’re still missing about a third of them, we don’t know where most of them could be. We’ve already dug up a few bodies I’m afraid.”

Max stamped the ground angrily, “We should have got here quicker!”

“They were dead as soon as the avalanche hit, there was nothing you could do,” said the pegasus extending a wing around Max’s shoulder.

“I suppose so. What can I do now?”

“There are a lot of foals unaccounted for, apparently they were having a Longest Night party run by one of the villagers called Tender Heart. Her place was somewhere over there,” the pegasus indicated a general area in the village now under a large mound of snow.

Max knew Tender Heart, she was a unicorn who worked as a nurse for several of the smaller villages. “Then we start there,” stated Max picking up a spade and gesturing to his team, “and we don’t stop until we find those foals.”

The next hour blurred into spade after spade of snow being forced aside, slowly the area was revealed from its white blanket but there was no sign of the missing foals, alive or dead.

“Come on Max take a break,” said Sealbhach bringing the Mayor back to his senses. He was suddenly aware that his legs felt rubbery with exhaustion. “You’ll help no one if you drop.” The goat held up a flask to Max, “Have some of this, Mum’s special soup.”

“Just a few minutes,” said Max throwing the spade into the compacted snow beneath him and gratefully taking a mouthful of the warm spicy (and probably somewhat alcoholic) beverage. Glancing around the village little seemed to have changed since he and his party had arrived. Snarling in frustration he looked back down at the spade watching the pink light reflect off of it. Wait a minute pink light? Throwing aside the drink he started to scramble at the ground with his bare hooves scraping away the snow, more pink light broke through the covering. Beneath was a transparent pink dome inside which Max could make out a unicorn mare her horn glowing weakly and sparking, gathered around her and shivering were about a dozen small forms. Grasped in the mare’s forearms was an older colt his horn glowing a bright purple.

Giving a cry Max summoned the other workers and they began to excavate the bubble.

“Are you alright in there?” Max cried trying to gently tap on the energy field. There was no response, neither the mare nor the foals seemed to be able to hear or see him although he could just about make out movement.

It took longer than Max would have liked to clear the area around the dome but everyone worked as fast as they could. Once they were finished Max approached it again and placed his muzzle on the surface as near to the mare as he could.

“Can you hear me?” he called, “You’re safe now, please let us in.”

For a moment nothing happened then the mare’s eyes snapped open, her pupils were huge. “Sa.. Safe?” she muttered, around her the foals also seemed to perk up, “Foals safe?”

“Yes, they’re safe, you saved them.”

“Safe,” she sighed and the dome faded away. Max was suddenly struck by a wave of heat given off by the unicorn’s horn, it burned brighter for a moment and then went out. With a sigh the mare collapsed forwards onto the ground.

“She’s over channelled!” cried another unicorn in the crowd.

“Momma,” cried the colt, prodding at the mare, “Wake up.”

Suddenly ponies were running all around Max scooping up foals and carrying them away. The mare was gently lifted by a pair of unicorns and carried away from the loose snow. “Momma,” cried the colt again, struggling to get to his hooves and trying to follow his mother.

Max stepped forwards and almost stumbled, his legs feeling like jelly. He ignored them and grasped the colt, “Your mother’s going to be fine,” he said hoping he wasn’t lying.

“I helped her, I did all I could,” sobbed the young pony attaching himself to Max’s leg hugging him tightly. “She said I always made her feel stronger so I did what I could to help her.” There was a flash and a symbol of a plus sign inside a heart materialised on the colts flank. The new cutie mark went entirely unnoticed by its owner, “I was so scared,” he continued, “But momma told me to be brave for the younger foals, I tried to help her,” he looked up at Max with tears in his eyes.

“You did help her,” he reassured, returning the hug “You helped her keep all the other foals safe until we could get you out. What’s your name?”

The colt detached himself and sniffed, “Strong Heart, sir.”

“Well Strong Heart, I’m Mounty Max. I’m a Lord Mayor and that means I can give out medals to very special ponies if they’re very brave like you, so you can show all your friends that you were very very brave and helped your mother, you’d like that right?”

The colt nodded, “Yes, sir.”

“Good,” said Max. He’d find some way to make good his promise even if he had to take the matter all the way to the Princess herself. “Now let’s see how your mother is.”

He led the colt over to where the injured ponies were being looked after by anypony who had medical skills. Tender Heart had been laid out in a sleeping bag to keep her warm, she seemed to be in a deep sleep, another unicorn was standing next to her.

“This is Strong Heart, Tender Heart’s son,” said Max.

“Your mothers going to be alright,” said the unicorn kneeling down by the colt, “But she was very tired after keeping that shield up for so long so she might sleep for a long time.”

“Can I stay with her?” asked Strong Heart in a quiet voice.

“Of course, I’m sure she’ll feel better if you're nearby,” said the unicorn gently, “You just stay here for a minute and talk to your mother, she can probably hear you. I need to talk to the Mayor here and then I’ll see about getting you something to eat, you’re probably hungry.”

Strong nodded and knelt down in an empty space leaning against his mother, his horn glowing slightly.

The unicorn looked on with pity and then gestured for Max to step aside.

“So how is she?” asked the Mayor quietly.

The unicorn looked down and sighed, “I don’t know much about this sort of thing but..”

Suddenly there was a crack and a rumbling sound. Max’s ears pricked up and he turned towards the sound. To his horror the rocks on the slope he had noted earlier were moving, rolling faster and faster down the slope towards the village. “Rock fall!” screamed Max.

Suddenly there was movement all around as ponies, goats and donkeys were running in panic from the approaching wall of rocks. Looking around Max estimated his current position to be far enough away to be safe from the landslide and he yelled for people to run towards him. Then he saw them, a trio of foals scared by the sound and cowering next to the remains of a stone wall straight in the path of the falling rocks. No one else seemed to have noticed them.

Without consciously being aware of it Max was galloping as fast as he could against the tide of panicking ungulates towards the approaching wall of rocks. He ignored the weakness in his legs, the lightness of his head, his whole awareness shrunk to just the foals, he didn’t even notice the falling rocks anymore. As if in slow motion he leapt towards his target, he was vaguely aware of something striking him on the flank and knocking him aside but he corrected his path and kept going. Grabbing one of the young ponies in his mouth he swung her onto his back, she locked her tiny hooves tightly around his neck and grasped his mane in her teeth, he grabbed the other two by their tails, prompting them to start screaming, but he couldn’t hear them. He skidded into the wall and kicked off against it just as it was demolished by a bolder twice his size. There was a flash of light from somewhere above him but Max ignored it, his legs pumping as fast as they could. He just had to keep going, keep going, keep ahead of the rocks. One of his legs caught on something and he stumbled and fell. He tried to stand again, his legs felt like lead but he had to keep going, keep going. He staggered back to his hooves and pushed on forwards again. He was aware of somepony shouting something at him and then something grasped him from behind and pulled him to the ground again, he struggled to get back up.

“MAX!” cried Arctic Breeze clutching at the grey pony, “You can stop, you made it, stop!”

“Got to keep going, keep going!” muttered Max, his mouth still full of the foal’s tails.

“Max you’re safe!” she insisted, “Stop!”

Coming back to his senses Max looked around, somehow he was several hundred feet from the village far away from the rock slide. He dropped the screaming foals in his mouth and felt the third drop off his back.

“I didn’t know you could move that fast Max.”

“Neither did I. I guess I just needed to be motivated,” he panted. Suddenly his heart and lungs seemed to be running a mile a minute, he felt faint. “Is everybody..” he didn’t have enough breath to finish the sentence.

“There’s a few bumps and bruises, I think, but nothing worse.”

Max tried to stand but couldn’t seem to get all his legs working, “We need to get back to work, there could be more like that.”

“You need to have somepony look you over first, you took a few hits.”

Max looked himself over, there was a gash over one of his hind legs, “I’ll be fine,” he tried to stand and almost managed it before falling again.

By now a small herd of ponies had arrived and scooped up the foals as well as helping Max to stand and led him limping back to the village. Once there Sealbhach started to bandage his wound, somewhat to Max’s consternation the goat still looked immaculate despite working hard for several hours while Max was covered in dust and his own blood.

“That was amazing,” effused Happy Snapper dropping from the air clutching her camera, “I got pictures of it all, you’re going to be famous, a hero.”

Max looked up his face a picture of astonishment, “A hero? There’s a mare over there who kept a dome up over a dozen foals for six hours, she might not ever wake up. Did you get a picture of her?”

“Well, a magic dome doesn’t look good on film.”

“Everypony around here is a hero, they’ve all worked together to help each other, did you get pictures of them to?”

“Well not all of them, I’ve only got limited film,” she mumbled looking embarrassed.

“Everypony and everyone else here are working together to save other, apart from you. You’re apparently flying around taking pictures. For all I know the sun may never set again and there might not be anypony to ever see your pictures. So what good are you?”

“Well I..”

“Just put down the camera and do something actually useful, pick up a spade, help with a bandage, something useful,” he roared.

“Sorry, I’ll..” the shamed pegasus dropped to the ground and ran off towards the village

“You were a bit hard on her,” noted Sealbhach tying off the bandage.

Max closed his eyes and sighed, “I’m just tired, it’s been a long night, day, whatever, but I meant what I said. We all need to work together, every one of us.” He struggled to his hooves, they were shaky but he managed to stand. “What can I do now?”

“You can sit there and rest for a while, you’re no good to us in your current state,” the goat gave Max and gentle prod and he toppled back down. “When did you last eat? I’ll get you something and you should get a few hours sleep.”

Unable to argue Max mutely accepted a simple meal. Looking up he saw the sun still staring back at him before closing his eyes for a few minutes.

When he opened them again the sun had not moved but when he looked around he saw that the rest of the rescue party had arrived with the supplies. He stood up, his rear leg still felt wobbly but he could manage to walk and he hobbled over to a group of ponies and goats nearby. “How long was I out? How are things?” he asked.

“You were asleep for about three hours, and things could be a lot worse,” noted Conn. “We've got almost a hundred ponies accounted for, most of them are bruised and battered but only a few have worse injuries. There are eight fatalities and about a dozen still unaccounted for. We finally got Tomato Chutney out.”

“Good he can take over here.”

“Where are you going? Back to Sadlzburg?”

“No,” he considered for a moment, “There are a lot of other settlements around, they’re going to be full of frightened ponies. They need somepony to tell them that they’re not alone. I figure that comes under my job description.”

“Max! How long do you think you can keep that up?”

“Not long,” said Max, turning and trotting away. “Just until sunset.”

Author's Note:

I am merely the host of these works so I want to take few lines to thank Talon and Thorn for providing this excellent story about Mounty Max for all of us to enjoy. It's always a pleasure to get a new chapter for this collection. If you have comments on this chapter, be sure to use the reply feature on Talon's comment (which will surely be one of the first on this chapter) so he knows you're talking about his work! This time around Talon and Thorn has a few words for you guys:

"I would like to thank everbody who suggested improvements to this story and particularly Fizzy Orange for coming up with the Everyponies day idea in the first place. Max should hopefully be appearing more in future, you should hear more in the next chapter due in a few days.

As always comments are much appreciated."

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