• Published 4th Mar 2022
  • 778 Views, 73 Comments

The Sparrow in the Storm - The 24th Pegasus

The Equestrian experiment is failing, and Typhoon Stormblade, once the pegasus triumvir and daughter of the legendary Commander Hurricane, has left the country behind.

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“Come on, push!”

“I’m trying! The stupid wheel’s half-buried in the mud!”

“Then unbury it!”

“With what? My hooves?”

“No, you idiot, the shovel! Oh wait, never mind, you traded it for a few sticks of colored chalk in Farrier’s Ferry!

“Colored chalk is great for foals! Some parents’ll pay good coin for it!”

"Not if our wagon's stuck in the mud!"

Typhoon’s ears perked from high in the air at the sounds of the shouting match far below her. She blinked, snapped out of her daydreams from hours of flying over empty countryside, and turned her attention to the ground. There, along a winding path that hugged the edge of the river, a pair of ponies stood behind a large wooden wagon. Half of the wagon’s wheels were on the compact dirt of the road, but the other two had slipped off the embankment and slid down into the mud by the water’s edge. The wagon, loaded to the brim and then some with crates and supplies, had sunk up to its axles in the mud, and looked hopelessly stuck.

Letting out a breath, Typhoon pitched her wings and dropped altitude almost like a rock. She flared them before hitting the ground, wincing ever so slightly when her shoulders reminded her she wasn’t as young as she used to be, and landed on the dirt with a solid thud. Her sudden drop from the sky went surprisingly unnoticed by the two ponies, which she could now make out in more detail now that she was on the ground again.

“If you’d been paying attention to the road, we wouldn’t have been in this mess!” the first pony, a copper pegasus mare, squawked at her companion. Her wings were flared in irritation, all but fully extended to make herself look bigger, though the ridges of her ribs just gently protruding into her sides suggested she could stand to put on a few more pounds.

“If I’d been paying attention to the road?” the other pony, a similarly copper earth pony stallion, challenged her. “You were on the side by the embankment! What, do you want me to watch your side and mine for danger at once?!”

“You should have known you were too far over on my side of the road!”

“You should have known we were too close to the edge!”

It was at this point Typhoon cleared her throat, and both ponies by the wagon nearly jumped out of their skin. They whirled on her, the pegasus pulling a letter opener out of… somewhere, and held it between her feathers, giving a not-so-menacing jab in Typhoon’s direction. “Who are you? What are you doing here?!” the mare demanded, and she jabbed the letter opener again. “I’ll cut you and sell your hide for leather, don’t think I won’t!”

Typhoon’s only reaction was a raised eyebrow and a dismissive glance at the letter opener. “You would need a lot more than that to get through this armor.”

The stallion jumped in at this point, deftly snatching the letter opener out of the pegasus’ wing and sliding it into one of his pockets. “Legionary!” he said, a wide smile on his face. “So good to see a friendly face around here! Better a soldier of the Legion than one of the Queen's Royals, I always say." He laughed a little too loudly at the quip, and he quickly pulled a tarp down over a crate, covering the brand burned into the corner. "But don’t mind my sister, she’s a bit of a feckless idiot, always starting fights she shouldn't."

The mare snapped her attention straight at her brother. “I’ll show you who’s a feckless idiot, Saved!”

“Earned, you’d be lost without me, though I do admit, the idea of going solo had crossed my mind…”

“Oh yeah? You want to do this?”

“Name the time and place, sister!”

“Right here, right now! C’mon!”

Typhoon almost deflated as she sighed and shook her head. “If you two could not kill each other for a second, maybe I’d be able to help.” She nodded toward their wagon. “That the problem?”

Both brother and sister looked back at the wagon, momentarily distracted from their spat, and nodded in unison. “Yeah, we were on our way from Farrier’s Ferry to Green Glade, when somepony didn’t watch the road and got us stuck here,” the sister said.

“You should have said something instead of sightseeing and watching the river!” the brother spat back, throwing his hooves into the air in frustration.

“Right!” Typhoon said, perhaps a little more forcefully than necessary, if only to stop the brother and sister from going at each other’s throats again. She stepped between them and pushed each pony to the side with a wing, and once they were no longer nose to nose, hopped off the embankment and into the soft mud down by the river’s edge. She put her shoulder to the corner of the wagon and gave it a shove, succeeding in pushing the wagon about an inch out of the mud, but she felt her hooves begin to slip and she had to relent lest she end up falling into the wet brown ground. Frowning, she turned to look back at the siblings, who were standing side by side on the road, watching her with curious eyes. “I can get it out of here. I need you two to pull from the harness.”

“And what are you going to do?” the stallion asked. “Push it out of there yourself? No offense, ma’am, but just because you’re a soldier doesn’t mean you’re stronger than two ponies half your age.”

“She’s not even a real soldier,” the sister said to her brother, but she didn’t make any effort to hide the comment from Typhoon. “The Legion’s been gone for three years, and that armor doesn’t look like she takes good care of it.”

That comment earned a glare and an irritated snort from Typhoon. “Hitch and pull, or wait until somepony else comes by to help you out. Your choice.”

Brother and sister glanced at each other, and both rolled their eyes. “Fine, fine, fine!” the brother exclaimed. “Just for you, soldier. I’m telling you, though, we’re going to have to unload the whole wagon just to make it a little lighter, then pull…”

Nevertheless, the siblings hitched themselves up to the wagon, the brother on the right and the sister on the left of their tandem harness. When they were done, Typhoon positioned herself beside the wagon, between the two half-sunken wheels, and spread her wings out. “Okay, pull on the count of three. One, two, three!”

It was more like the count of four, given the siblings’ skeptical hesitation, but they began to pull, and Typhoon put her wingtips down beneath each wheel. She closed her eyes and focused on her emotions, channeling them through her wings. In a few moments, ice began to spread across the mud. Soft brown mud soon hardened into ice slicks, and with something hard to put the wagon’s weight against, the wheels began to climb out of the mud. The siblings strained some more, and Typhoon threw her weight against the back of the wagon, and after a few strenuous seconds, the wagon was free of the mud and back on the embankment, its wheels finally on solid ground.

“Ancestors above and bones below, that actually worked!” the brother exclaimed. He unhitched himself from the wagon, raced around behind it, and seized (practically stole) Typhoon’s hoof to give it a shake—only to realize he grabbed her metal prosthetic and gasped in shock and pain when a layer of ice swiftly enveloped his hoof. “Gah! Talk about a cold touch!”

“Don’t touch that one,” Typhoon warned him, albeit several seconds too late to be useful. “Cirrus skysteel. It channels pegasus ice a little too well, if I’m being honest.”

“Yeah,” the stallion gasped, clutching his hoof and wincing. “You’re telling me!”

The sister, meanwhile, stood on the embankment and looked down at the layer of ice coating the mud. “You did all that?” she asked Typhoon in disbelief.

“It certainly wasn’t the warm spring day,” Typhoon countered with a raised eyebrow.

The other pegasus shook her head and cantered closer. “I know that we pegasi have some kind of magic other than just standing on clouds and flying around, but shit, girl, I mean, uh, ma’am, that’s some serious stuff! The most I can do is get a little gust of wind to come off my wingtips, and one time I lit a candle. But nothing like that! How’d you do it? That something you learned from a griffon?”

“A lifetime of experience,” Typhoon muttered, averting her gaze. “Be glad you can’t do what I can.”

“Sounds like a lifetime of experience we could really use,” the brother said, vigorously shaking his hoof to try and get some feeling back in it while he sat on his haunches. Looking up at Typhoon, he offered her his widest grin. “You know, I don’t think we properly acquainted ourselves, now did we?”

“No,” Typhoon flatly stated. “You were too busy threatening to kill me, and then each other.”

“Right.” The stallion beamed at her and held out his other hoof for Typhoon to shake. “Name’s Penny Saved, and my sister’s Penny Earned. We run a trading company, though, well, I’m sure you’ve noticed that it’s not as smooth an operation as it otherwise could be.”

At this, he sent a sharp glare at his sister, who ignored it to look at her own hoof. “I can’t help it that my brother’s a bonehead,” Penny Earned grumbled.

“And I can’t help it that you’re an airhead,” Penny Saved countered.

“Yeah? Well I’d rather have air in my head than bones!”

“Would you? You’d rather have a balloon than a skull?”

“I’d rather have a dog than a useless waste of space like you, but I’m allergic!”

“Oh, is that my fault, too?”

“For all I know it could be!”

Typhoon sighed and rubbed her temples with her wingtips. “I never should have stopped to help you two…”