• Published 18th Jul 2023
  • 393 Views, 17 Comments

My Little Polar Express: The Engine That Saved Heartswarming - NightFurySpeedey8156



When the job seems impossible, all you have to do is believe

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Following The Rumors

In the high mountains, far north of Equestria lay the Crystal Empire. The cool night of Hearth's Warming Eve blew through the air, carrying snowflakes across the night sky and giving the breeze an extra chill to its blow.

Ponies wore scarfs, socks, and hats to protect themselves from the cold as they went about their business. Hanging decorations, buying presents, and overall welcoming in the holidays. Smiles were drawn across their faces as they were filled with cheer, the feeling of love and happiness spreading far and wide across the crystal city.

But for a certain princess, things were not as cheery as things were below.

In the Crystal Palace, towering high above the rest of the city, sat Princess Cadence. Being the Princess of Love and the ruler of the Crystal Empire, she was in charge of maintaining the cheer amongst her subjects. Making sure everything was in order from the protection of the Crystal Heart to taking care of her personal life as a wife and mother. But unlike any other day in her empire, she was under a lot of stress. A stress that was nearly driving her insane.

The pink alicorn paced back and forth in front of her throne, worrying thoughts running around in her head as she tried to stay calm. At the moment, she was responsible for ringing in one of the most important events of all for her kingdom. The anniversary of the Crystal Empire's return. But there was a problem, there was no possible way for anyone to get to the Crystal Empire. The rails were snowed and iced over almost twice and none of Equestria's railways could conquer those conditions. Not even her private engine, The Crystal Zephyr, could push through the heavy snow and ice. Her private engine was built for speed, not snow.

Suddenly, a figure burst into the room. A quadrupedal black cat with red eyes and a wide smile. Night Fury, an old friend of Cadence's from her wedding. A feline with super speed and the ability to change his form to any animal he desired.

“Hey, Cadence!” Night Fury announced to Cadance, making himself known and noticing the mare pacing back and forth, a contemplating expression on her muzzle. He became concerned. Cadence rarely paced like this. It was an unusual sight to see the Princess of Love getting worked up over such an event.

“Woah, Cady, calm down.” Night Fury said calmly to the frustrated mare, his smile turning into a concerned frown.

"Okay, tell me what's going on. You never pace like this, Cady." Fury said, calling her by her nickname.

“Oh, Nighty, I’m so glad you’re here!” Cadence cried, relief in her voice, letting out a sigh. "Things couldn’t be any worse! The fifth anniversary party for the Crystal Empire's return is tonight and everything is going bad! The tracks leading to the Crystal Empire are so snowed and iced over, that no engine that Equestria owns can handle it! I was thinking maybe the Crystal Zephyr could be a solid stand in…"

“Cadence, bullet trains are not good for icy tracks, you know that. Steam trains? Now, that is what is needed. All you need is a plow on the front and it’ll push with everything it’s got.” Night Fury replied calmly, giving a caring smile.

Night Fury used his speed to get by Cadence's side, zipping next to her with a red flash.

"That's the problem! The only steam engine Equestria has under its belt is The Friendship Express. It's a small passenger train, it doesn't have the power to handle snow and ice this thick!" Cadence said, her dread still alive within her mind. Night Fury tapped his chin with a claw in thought, how could he help his friend with this problem? Just then, an idea flew into his head.

"I've got it! It may be a long shot, but I think there's some credible hope!" Fury said excitedly. "There's been a few rumors floating around that another steam engine exists in Equestria. An engine of long forgotten legend that most don't think exists. I can't really remember the details clearly, but what I do know is that this engine is rumored to sit dormant somewhere in the frozen north of the Crystal Empire!" Night Fury exclaimed, the excitement growing in his voice.

“What is the steam engine called?” Cadence asked curiously, excitement building in her voice.

“They call it the Polar Express. Some say that this legendary engine was somewhat magical, being able to do amazing feats that most engines can't!” Night Fury replied.

“What sort of feats? Like those of my sister-in-law’s friend Pinkie Pie?" Cadence asked Night Fury, curiosity and confusion laced in her voice.

“Well, my dear Cadance, As for the feats of this legendary engine, the most famous one was this train's journey to the north pole to take lucky fillies and colts to meet Santa Hooves himself on Heartswarming Eve to make their first wishes!" Night Fury explained.

“The Polar Express is said to be in a cave sealed by Magic herself. Namely, the Elements of Harmony.” Night Fury added, reverence in his voice.

"That's funny. What would the Elements of Harmony be doing with an old steam engine?" Cadence asked.

"Like I said, this train was said to be magical in its own right. Maybe the elements created that barrier to seal that magic away to preserve it?" Night Fury reminded his friend.

"Maybe. So you say this engine is in the frozen north? It may be a stretch, but I have no other choice if I wish to save this party." Cadence said.

“Well, why don’t we go and look for ourselves? Nothing and nopony is stopping us!” Night Fury replied, excitement in his voice.

"Okay, you've got me hooked. I'll grab my cloak and we'll head out to find this engine! Hopefully those rumors were true." Cadence said, a hopeful tone in her voice.

“Ah, why we are like Alice and Hatter! Going on an adventure!” Night Fury exclaimed. "You go grab your cloak and we'll set off!"

And so, the chase was on! The case for the legendary engine that was The Polar Express. Could the rumors be true or were they just an old pony's tale? Well, these two brave adventurers were about to find out.

The cold winter wind blew strong and hard, throwing snow left and right with brute force that could blow a more inexperienced pony off of their hooves. But for the Princess of Love and her feline companion, this was just a small obstacle to get over in the search for The Polar Express.

Cadence was dressed in a draping cloak that covered her from her head to her knees, decorated with light pink and blue glitter for style. Night Fury however, was not as covered. He mostly relied on his thick fur to keep him warm, which actually worked well for him.

As they climbed the snowy paths that lead up to the supposed cave that held the legendary engine, things started to get difficult. The snow pounded on them through the wind, their bodies not favoring the cold despite their efforts.

Cadence was the worst of the two, her horn almost coated in ice and her eyelashes looking more like icicles more so than actual parts of her body.

"Brrrrr! It's so cold up here, my eyelashes look blue." Cadence shivered, her body shaking in the cold.

"Don't worry, Cadence. Once we find this train and bring it back, we'll be home free in no time." Night Fury said, remaining positive about their odds. As they continued to walk in the cold mountain air, they could see something glistening in the distance.

"Hey, what's that up ahead?" Fury wondered aloud as they continued to walk to what they saw in front of them. They stopped once they got a clear view of what the glowing object was, coming to find out it was a long piece of silver metal.

"It's just an old metal rod, Night Fury. It's nothing to be excited about, let's just keep looking." Cadence said, getting ready to leave. But Fury stopped her.

"Wait a minute, Cady. There may be more to this story than there is on the surface." Fury said. He began to dig through the snow at a rapid pace, clearing the white powder away until the two saw a few wooden planks and another metal rod that they now realized was a rail connected by pins.

"Wait a minute…" Cadence said. "That's not just a metal rod, it's a piece of rail! And if those rails mean anything, they could lead down the mountain just as well as up it. So if we follow the tracks…"

"We can find the cave that The Polar Express is said to be hidden away in!" Fury said excitedly. "Well, what are we waiting for? Let's go!"

Now having found the tracks that lead to the cave, they began to follow the old rusty rails up the mountain, idly clearing away any snow on the way to provide less of an issue on the way back down. As they continued to follow the tracks, the snow on the ground got thicker and thicker, causing the two adventurers to have to push harder in order to get through the snow.

The snow was up to their knees, the wind getting stronger as they went higher in the mountains. They struggled and strained to keep up the pace, the colder temperature now starting to make them uncomfortable and uncontrollably shiver.

"W-w-were gonna h-have to find this c-c-cave soon. I t-think we're starting to f-f-feel the effects of the c-c-cold." Cadence shivered, her voice growing more and more shrill.

"Y-y-you're right about that. W-we have t-to be close b-b-by now." Fury replied. Just then, Fury heard a peculiar noise. A sort of… howling noise.

"H-hey, if the wind were blowing through the tunnel that the train is in, would it make a sort of howling noise?" Fury asked.

"I-I think so. The wind would echo through the tunnel a-and cause a howling noise to be made as a result. Why?" Cadence said.

"Well, you may not hear it, but I'm hearing a loud howling noise up ahead. If we follow it, we may find the tunnel and The Polar Express. Keep going, we'll be able to breathe easily soon."

Night Fury and Cadence kept pushing on, their breathing going shaky and their blood ice cold. They went along with their plan in hopes of finding this engine and hopefully some shelter to get out of the cold.

But then, they saw a large opening in the snowy wind. The opening was made of eroded stone, chunks of the tunnel having fallen out over time with it being abandoned for so long. At the top of said tunnel, sat a sort of carving of the Crystal Heart. But it had been sort of smoothed out by years of not being maintained and kept in shape. The two adventurers could not say anything, but they were just happy to see that they had finally made it to their destination.

The two walked inside slowly and could finally breathe some needed fresh air after having pushed through so much snow. They looked deep within the tunnel to see that it was practically pitch black, with no light to assist them in finding what they came for. They both let out a collective sigh as they were greeted by a slight warmth in the tunnel, allowing Cadence to remove her hood and the both of them to stop shivering.

"Phew, we made it. But now we have a new problem, how are we going to find the train with no lights?" Fury asked, a bit irritated.

"That's no problem, at least for me. Watch this." Cadence said. She ignited her horn a bright blue and lit up the area around them, supplying just enough light to see where they were going.

Fury sighed as he looked at Cadence's face, her expression a smug grin. "You alicorns and your magic, always so smug." He moaned, getting a slight chuckle from the Princess of Love.

The two walked deeper into the tunnel, the light behind them getting smaller as they went deeper. The surrounding surface of the tunnel dripped and echoed, the melted snow squeezing through the gaps in the rock and making wet spots all over the floor.

"Wow, look at this place. This tunnel must have been up here for a long time to be in this condition." Cadence said in wonder of the tunnel.

"Yeah. Dripping stone, eroded walls, rusted rails. This place is not exactly in the best of shape." Fury said, looking around at the deteriorating surroundings. They continued to walk through the dark tunnel, looking for any signs of The Polar Express. But it seemed that nothing was coming to them. And even worse, Cadence was starting to feel the effects of the cold she had sat through.

"Hoo, I'm getting pretty tired. That cold winter wind really took it out of me." Cadence whined, her magic beginning to fade with her continuously dwindling strength. Fury took note of this and decided to take action.

"Hey, take it easy. We'll rest here and let ourselves recuperate, I'll find some wood and make us a fire." Fury said, taking charge. "In the meantime, keep close to me. I'll keep you warm."

Cadence was surprised by the offer, but ultimately took it as she climbed up on top of the black feline and nuzzled into his warmth.

"Oooh, your fur is so warm. It feels like a comfortable blanket." Cadence said softly.

"Heh, I'm glad you like it. Now, let's stop here and set up camp so we can rest." Fury said. The two stopped and set up, using a few rocks as seats and scrounging up a few wood scraps to make a fire. They set the wood up in a pyramid formation and Cadence used the strength she had to spark a flame into existence. They both held their forelimbs out to the flame, letting the heat travel through them.

"Ahhh, that's better. It's good to get out of the cold for a bit, but we still need to find that train if we're going to get out of here." Cadence reminded him.

"You're right. At this point, the only way we're gonna get back to the Crystal Empire safely, is by taking The Polar Express back down the mountain and riding the main line." Fury said, rubbing his paws together to keep warm.

"Even so, that won't be easy. The constant pressure of the snow would probably make it hard to do. And even then, we'd have to stop for fuel and water along the way. It may be a farther route by rail than it was by walking." Cadence said, a little worried.

"Don't worry, I'm sure that we'll be able to get back home in no time. And besides, The Polar Express is said to be huge! So it has to be fast." Fury said, standing up. "Well, I'm gonna find some more wood. It may be a good fire for now, but who knows when we'll- Ow!" Fury yelped in pain, seemingly having run into something. A small bang could be heard echoing along the tunnel's arch, but it didn't sound like solid brick. It sounded like hollow metal.

"Night Fury, are you okay?!" Cadence said with concern. Fury groaned a bit and rubbed his nose.

"Ugh, no! I think I just bumped into something." Fury moaned, looking up at what he hit. To his surprise, he saw a large wall of black steel, flickering in the low light of the fire.

"Woah, Cadence, do you see that? It's… steel. But the tunnel is made of stone." Night Fury pointed out.

"But… What could be in here that's made of steel and is this big?" Cadence asked. At that moment, a lightbulb went off in both of their heads.

"Cadence, are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Fury said excitedly.

"I think I am, fuzzball." Cadence replied. She then used her magic to up the intensity of the fire behind them, lighting up the dark tunnel and revealing what they had been looking for all this time. The black wall turned into a tender, large black wheels connected under it with the name plate on full display.

"Sweet mother of Equestria… The Polar Express, we found it!" Fury said with joy.

"I can't believe it's actually real! You did it, Night Fury! Your rumors saved me and the Crystal Empire!" Cadence cheered, hugging him tightly. Fury blushed at the compliment and the hug, he had no idea she could be this affectionate.

Cadence took note of this and decided to tease him a little. "Aww, look who's blushing. Are you blushing, kitty cat?"

"W-W-What!? N-No! No, I-I-I'm fine!" He defended, trying to throw her off.

"You're blushing! Aww, you're so cute!" Cadence teased, squeezing him tighter. Night Fury just whimpered and let it happen, he knew it was already set in stone.

"Okay okay, can we please just go check this thing out now?" He pleaded.

"Okay, fine. Let's get back to business." Cadence said, putting him down and walking up the track a bit to the front of the train. Night Fury followed her a few steps behind her before coming up to her side as she stood at the front of the engine. Once there, Fury saw that Cadence had her jaw practically off of her face as she saw how huge the train was.

The engine was massive, the boiler itself seeming to be the same size as Celestia herself and the driving wheels being up to her chest. The engine sat on a 4-8-2 wheel configuration and bolstered a massive plow/cow-catcher on the front, probably big enough to blast through a snow drift with no issue. A central lamp sat directly in the middle of the engine and the funnel stood tall above it. All in all, The Polar Express looked like the perfect engine to replace the underpowered and slower trains in the snow.

Night Fury chuckled at her surprised face. "You seem to like what you're seeing." He said. Cadence then came back to reality and shook her head to clear her mind.

"Wow… just wow. I've never seen something so big in my life! It almost looks like it doesn't fit on the rails!" She said, admiring the large locomotive.

"Well, it has to be that big in order to handle the thick snow of the north pole!" Fury chuckled, then looking at the wheels and connecting rods. "But it won't be able to go anywhere if we don't melt that ice off the wheels. Otherwise, this big girl is going nowhere."

"You're right. If we leave these wheels and rods gummed up with snow and ice, who knows what consequences might arise because of it." Cadence said.

"Well, let's get started. I'll use my claws to scrape off the left, you take your magic and melt the right." Fury directed. Cadence nodded and walked over to the right side of the engine, lightning her horn a hot red and shooting the beam at the frozen wheels and rods. The ice melted smoothly off of the surface, dripping down onto the rails that sat below.

Night Fury however, took the more aggressive route. Using his sharp claws, he scratched and scraped the ice away, chipping the ice and causing cracks to form. With each strike, the ice continued to chip and crack away under the brute force of the black feline. And with one final slash, the ice gave way and fell off of the wheels, falling to the floor and crashing into small crystals.

"Phew, job done! Hey Cadence, how's your side?" He called out to the princess on the other side.

"All done here! But, one question… What about the ice inside the engine? Like inside the cylinders and steam pipes? I doubt we'll be able to deal with that." Cadence said, walking back over to Fury's side.

"At least not with our own power. If the pony who left this beast up here wasn't a complete idiot and didn't leave the valves and water tank wide open… the residual heat stored inside the boiler should have kept the water from freezing." Fury explained. He then climbed up onto the side of the engine and gave the boiler a few knocks. Pulling his ear up to the sides he heard a very satisfying sloshing noise coming from the inside.

"Bingo! The water inside the boiler isn't frozen!" He exclaimed. "Now, the only thing left to do is check the coaches and see what's what before we start this baby up. We have to make sure they're all hooked up and not damaged before we go."

"Good idea. Wouldn't want any of the wheels to be rusted away to the point of no return, now do we?" Cadence chimed. The two walked behind the engine and the tender to find the first coach. The coach was a light blue with a red stripe that went across the now faded windows. Gold letters ran across the bottom of the carriage that read 'Polar Express' with some letters having faded or completely worn away.

The two stepped inside and looked down the walkway to see many bench seats on each side of the carriage. With red leather and gold arm rests, they looked very classy.

"Wow, these bench seats look amazing. I can't believe they survived all this time without any water damage." Cadence spoke in awe of the good condition that the seats were in.

"Like I said before, the Elements Of Harmony were used on this very engine to preserve it. I just can't remember who did it." Fury said. He then noticed a small switch on the wall.

"Hey, I think I found a light switch." He spoke, flipping the switch. In a matter of seconds, bright lights flickered on at the top of the coaches' roof, allowing them to see what was inside the carriage.

"Wow, the Elements Of Harmony really did preserve this train if the lights still work!" Fury said, looking around the engine and deciding to take a seat on one of the bench seats.

"Ooh, these seats are really comfortable!" Fury hummed to himself. "C'mon Cady, take a seat."

Cadence showed caution. "I don't know, Fury. Shouldn't we focus on getting the engine prepped for the ride back?"

"Oh come on, we've got time. As long as we don't take too long, we'll be fine! Now come, sit!" Fury said, patting an open part of the bench. Cadence wanted to get going and use The Polar Express to save her party, but she could spare a few minutes to savor the delicacy of the preservation.

She walked over and took a seat next to Night Fury. She wiggled in place a bit as she got comfortable and actually enjoyed the feeling of the leather under her, it felt plush and refined. Like it was just made from the factory. She hummed to herself and smiled, she really was comfortable.

"Okay, you were right. These seats are comfortable." Cadence said, enjoying the comforting seats.

But little did she know, one of her hooves would graze over a hidden floor switch that caused a low mechanical clicking noise to fill the coach. They both snapped out of their comfort zone and sat at attention, wondering what the noise was.

"Hey, is it just me or do you hear a slight clicking as well?" Fury asked, listening out for the origin.

"Yeah, I hear it too. It's almost like gears turning against one another-" Just as Cadence finished her sentence, the gears stopped turning and the bench seat flipped around at lightning speed. They both felt a whirling sensation as they seemingly flipped around instantly, making them slightly dizzy.

"Uh… what was that?" Fury asked, seeing stars.

"I don't know, but it sure wasn't slow." Cadence replied, rubbing her head to ease the woozy feeling. Just then, a hatch opened on the floor and a table shot up and opened in front of them. While Cadence just jumped slightly at the sudden change, Fury had a much more… dramatic reaction.

Leaping from his seat, he yowled loudly and grabbed onto the ceiling with his claws. He idly shook and his fur stood on end as he hung from over Cadence's head, terrified.

A few seconds later, Night Fury realizes what he’s done, and he just knows that Cadance will never let him hear the end of this. She then started to laugh long and hard as she fell back long ways against the bench seat and held her stomach.

"Bahahaha! Oh.. Oh my gosh! Did you just yowl and jump up to the ceiling!?" She asked hysterically.

Night Fury breathed heavily through his nostrils “Shut up.”

"Aww, are you frustrated? Come here, give your auntie Cadence a hug." She said in a baby voice, practically mocking him.

Fury wasn't exactly happy with the mocking, but he was happy with what his mind came up with for revenge.

"Oh, you want me to give you a hug? Well, here ya go!"

Night Fury retracted his claws and landed directly on Cadance. Her lungs ejected all of the air inside them, making her wheeze in response to the pressure of the cat on top of her who seemed to weigh just as much as she did.

“Ohhhh noooo!” Night Fury said sarcastically “Did I accidentally fall on you? My bad, I just thought that was the quickest way for me to hug you.”

Cadence was annoyed. “By landing directly on my chest and knocking the air out of my lungs?”

"You know exactly what I was thinking." Fury sneered, his cheeky grin making a return. Cadence looked up at him and eventually smiled, she knew that he would have come up with some sort of revenge plan on the spot like that.

"Okay, you got me. Great job." She said passively. She then pushed him off her and took a look at the now modified surroundings. All of the bench seats had flipped around, making booths with tables in front of them like a mobile diner.

"Woah, whatever I did made this place look completely different." Cadence said.

"And I think I found out how." Fury replied from the ground. "You hit a hidden floor switch that made all the benches flip around and tables come up."

"Well that explains it. You think that this is how the conductor managed to make the train seem… magic?" Cadence asked.

"No no, the magic was real! They said that when the tables flipped around during its famous run to the north pole, he stood in the middle of the isle. And when the butlers came in, they just threw some table cloths in the middle and the table seemed to just… materialize! And best of all, they would sing a song about it too." Fury said, thinking back to the stories he had heard.

He demonstrated to Cadence by singing.

🎶Here we've only got one rule, never ever let it cool!🎶

🎶Keep it cooking in the pot, soon you've got hot chocolate! Hey!🎶

"Bravo! Bravo!" Cadence cheered, clapping her hooves. Fury took a bow and laughed.

After singing, Night Fury decided it was time “Ok, that's enough fun, we gotta get this thing rolling. Let's head up to the cab and get this baby loaded up.”

Cadence nodded and followed his lead, flipping the switch as they left to return the benches to normal. After leaving the coach, they proceeded to check each of the couplings and wheels along the coaches until they got to the caboose where they seemed the train safe and backtracked to the engine. They walked across the damp tunnel floor until they made it to the cab of the engine. Fury got a lay of the land and deemed it a safe space before stepping aside.

"Ladies first." He said, taking a respectful bow. Cadence giggled and returned the bow.

"Why thank you, young gentlecat." She said before taking the steps up into the cabin, soon followed by Fury. As they stepped inside, Cadence noticed a small lantern hung on the roof and decided to light it to illuminate their surroundings. As the light intensified, they got a good look at the inside of the cab.

Inside sat many gauges, levers, cords and knobs that did things that they both didn't understand. All seemed to be in perfect condition, as whoever preserved this engine probably intended.

Cadence took a deep breath in, “Alright, how do we get this to work?”

"I know how to get this baby started, simple enough. But if we're gonna get this thing moving, we need to brush up on the manual for this engine. There should be a hardcover book somewhere in here." Fury said. The two looked around the cab to find the manual, looking high and low until Cadence uncovered it in the fireman's seat.

"Here it is! Let's take a look and see what we have to do." Cadence suggested. Fury nodded and leaned next to Cadence as she sat in the fireman's seat and opened the book. They both sat patiently, reading away at the diagrams and extensive explanations of each of the functions that everything did in the cab. As time went on, a certain feline started to get bored. His eyes grew heavy and his attention span grew short as he blinked in and out of consciousness.

He jolted awake as he almost fell over and looked at the book with tired eyes.

"So, how long has it been?" Fury asked.

"Um… five minutes." Cadence said simply, making Fury almost cry out.

"Five minutes!? Oh come on, this is taking forever! We need to get this baby going now! We'll starve to death faster than you're reading this manual!" Fury moaned.

“You said we had time!” said Cadence

"Yeah, maybe a few minutes! Not hours! We need to get going!" Fury said, trying to hurry things along.

“If you're so bored, then how about you go outside and roll around in the snow to cool off a bit?”

"Oh very funny. Now come on, let's get this thing started!" Fury said, walking over to the front of the cab with all of the gauges and knobs.

"We don't need that boring manual, I can just eyeball it! Now, that must be the throttle. That's probably the brake, and… maybe that's that steam valve?" Fury listed off, sounding more and more confused by the second. Cadence just rolled her eyes and continued to read the manual.

"Y'know what, whatever! I'll just start the fire and work my way up from there!" Fury said. He looked at the firebox and saw a lever at the top, pulling it across the top and opening the firebox doors. Once they were opened, he went to the back of the cab and grabbed the shovel. A chunk of coals were scooped up by the shovel and were thrown into the firebox, a satisfying clunking sound ringing out every time a new load was added in.

After shoveling coal into the firebox for a bit, he wiped his brow and began scouring the cab for a lighter. Cadence saw this and decided to speak up.

"What are you doing now?" She asked.

"Trying to find something to light this fire. There should be a lighter or some matches somewhere in here that the engineer uses to light the thing." Fury said.

"Do you want me to light it for you and just make this much easier?" Cadence asked, pointing to her already lit horn.

"No, I don't need your help! I can do this myself, I don't need a princess to help me with everything!" He snarled, continuing his search. He looked all around the cab for something to light the firebox with, but came up dry. Still facing away from Cadence, he stood up straight and took a breath.

"Cadence…" He mumbled.

"I'll handle it, grumpy pants." She giggled. Cadence got down low and pointed her horn to the firebox. Firing off a few sparks, the coals began to ignite and the fire started to form. Orange flames filled the firebox and lit it up brightly, the sound of bubbling coming from the boiler now being heated by the fire.

As she stood back up, she looked at the cat who was still not looking at her and smiled.

"So, what do we say when someone helps us with something?" She asked, sounding like a mother.

"Mmmm…" He grumbled.

"Come on…" Cadence cooed, trying to coax it out of him.

"Mmmm… thank you." He said quietly.

"A little louder…"

"Thank you…" He spoke a bit louder.

"Just a little louder…"

"Thank you!" He shouted, turning away in embarrassment.

"There, now was that so hard?" Cadence giggled. There was then an audible creaking noise coming from the engine that caught their attention.

"What was that?" Cadence asked.

"Those must be the steam pipes finally getting some steam pushed through them. They pump the steam into the steam dome and into the pistons and funnel. It'll creak like that for a bit until the safety valve releases, and we get the beautiful hiss of a steam engine at the proper steam pressure." Fury said. So they both waited patiently for the boiler to reach optimal pressure, making sure to watch the gauges for any discrepancies. Fury kept tabs on the fire, idly shoveling in more every so often while Cadence kept reading the manual to get a better understanding of the engine. She wasn't a fast reader, but she had a decent pace going.

About five minutes later, the loud hiss of steam blasted their ears as the safety valve released. Fury took a peek out of the left side of the cab and saw clear white steam hissing out of the engine.

"Alright, we've got steam!" He said excitedly. But then, the same creaking noise sounded off from before.

"The boiler is still creaking. Where else does steam go to be released?" Cadence asked. The two took a moment to think of the answer before looking at each other and saying…

"The whistle!"

"The whistle cord has to be around here somewhere. Check along the roof line." Fury said. They proceeded to look around the roof for any signs of the cord until they saw what looked like a wooden handle attached to a chain.

"That must be it! If we blow it, the steam should let up out of the boiler and the creaking will stop." Fury said, grabbing the cord. But Cadence held his arm and looked at him with concern.

"Wait a second. What would happen if we did blow the whistle in here? This tunnel is an echo chamber, what if we cause something to happen when we pull that cord?" Cadence asked him. Fury just waved her off and scoffed.

"Then we’ll take care of the problem when it comes to it. And besides, it probably won't even be that bad." He said with a careless tone. Those words would nevertheless bring out the worst outcome. He gripped the cord with his paw and pulled hard.

FOOOOOO FOOOOOO!

The golden whistle on top of the engine blew long and hard, finally taking a breath of fresh air after so many years of inactive use. Cadence and Fury waited for a few seconds as the echo dissipated and the cord returned to its resting position, then Fury gave Cadence a smug look.

"See? No worries. I blew the whistle and nothing happened." He said smugly. Cadence was about to retract her statement and apologize when the unmistakable rumbling sound of an avalanche filled the air.

The two looked ahead to the entrance of the tunnel and saw the light from the outside get closed off and fill the arch with snow.

After the avalanche was over, Cadence looked over to Night Fury with a “Are you kidding me?” face.

"No worries, huh?" Cadence asked. Fury laughed sheepishly and tried to sneak away, but she wouldn't allow it.

"Oh no you don't!" She said, pulling him back with her magic. "This is on you! If you don't clear out the tunnel in time, we'll suffocate from lack of oxygen! So you're gonna be the one to do it since you decided to pull the cord."

"Ugh, fine. But only because I don't want to die!" Fury huffed as he ran towards the entrance of the now blocked cave in an attempt to dig out the snow for them to breathe, and to get the Polar Express out of the cave. Using his claws, he dug into the white powder and pushed it away one scoop after another. Huffing and puffing as the job got harder, his regrets for being so careless grew bigger with each heavy load of snow he cleared away.

Finally, after what felt like an eternity of digging, the first burst of light came through the snow. He continued to clear away what was left until a small snow drift was left and then returned to the cab.

"There, I have atoned for my crimes. Happy now?" He asked grumpily.

"Much." Cadence said simply. "Now, while you were digging out the cave, that was YOUR FAULT." Fury looked down in shame at her comment. “I've been reading the manual for this train and I have a better understanding of what to do."

She walked over to the driver's side of the cab and pointed out a lever with a pin at the articulated joint. "There's the throttle…"

Next, she pointed to a red wheel with a handle protruding out from it. "That's the regulator. You push it to the max in either direction for more power and push it more towards the middle for more speed."

Then she pointed to a bronze lever with notches in it. " This is the train brake. This one controls the brakes on the engine and the coaches through the hoses on the inside."

Next, she pointed to a red lever on the floor. "There is the independent engine brake. This only operates the engine's brakes independently of the rest of the train.

And finally, she pointed out a small knob on the front of the engine. "And that's the sander. This will be majorly important for gripping the icy rails once we get this thing moving."

Fury nodded along with Cadence pointing out the controls, he knew that he had to pay close attention to what he had to do in order to keep things moving.

"Okay, that's good. But since you want to call me out for pulling the whistle, you're gonna work the fireplace. All you've been doing is watching from the sidelines doing the bare minimum, so you'll be loading coal and getting sweaty." Fury said, giving her a smug look.

Cadence stood there for a moment, thinking about how doing such a thing would affect her.

Fury's right, I have been doing the bare minimum when it comes to helping with the engine. I should be able to handle some manual labor.

But I'm the Princess of Love, I can't be seen with coal dust and sweat covering me! What would Shining say?!

"Yoo-hoo, Equestria to Cadence, you there?" Fury asked. Cadence snapped out of her inner thoughts and sighed.

"While I do like maintaining my looks, I have to do what's right for my kingdom. I shall manage the fire while you drive!" Cadence said with confidence.

"That's the spirit! Now, grab that shovel and keep those flames burning!" Fury instructed. Cadence nodded and took the shovel in her magic. Opening the firebox doors, she began to shovel coal into the fire and kept the flames hot. Fury took a seat on the driver's side and looked out the window. The tunnel was still clear and the engine was hissing a good amount of steam, it was time to get it moving.

"Okay, here goes nothing." Fury said as he cautiously pushed the throttle forward. A loud hiss came from the wheels as the throttle was moved, the occasional creaking from the old joints of the engine finally getting some movement as the train slowly began to move.

ChffChffChff.. Chff Chff Chff.

Cadence was taken aback by the louder and more powerful sound of the Polar Express finally beginning to move, she had never heard such a loud noise from her own private engine.

"Wow, The Crystal Zephyr never sounded this loud. It's almost ghostly hearing that I'm here." Cadence said with an uneasy feeling.

“Awwww, is da widdle baby pwincess scawed?” teased Fury

“Shut up, Fuzzy!" Cadence shot back.

“Jokes on you, my sisters call me that too!" Fury said, catching Cadence off guard.

"Wait, you have siblings?" She asked.

"Yep, five other kittens in the litter. I'm the youngest of six." Fury admitted. "At first, I always hated being called fuzzy. But, it eventually grew on me and I embraced the nickname."

Cadence was surprised, she had never known Fury was a part of a litter. Let alone he was the runt.

"Wow, I never knew that about you!" She said with a smile.

"Well now you know." Fury said, sticking his head out of the window. "Okay, we're almost out. Get ready to finally breathe some fresh air."

As the light of the outside world filled their eyes and the train's plow burst through the snow, the cold mountain air blew through the cab and made them shiver as the train kept moving. The puffing of the train was a rhythmic pounding as they made their way down the mountain, the wheels going round and round with seemingly no effort at all.

Just to be cautious, Fury twisted the sander knob and watched as the wheels caught the sand and gripped the rails even better.

"You could probably let the train roll down the mountain on its own without the throttle, we're going to be on a decline for a while." Cadence suggested. Fury nodded and set the throttle back to idle, cutting the puffing of the engine and just letting the wheels rattle along the rails. He managed the brakes of the train in somewhat constant intervals to keep the train at a steady pace, working their way around corners and bends as they made their way down.

On the way down, the train came to a small canyon that stretched for a few minutes down the line. Fury took a look outside the train and looked up at the canyon walls. Loose snow sat atop the ridges of the canyon, ready to fall at any sudden loud noise.

Cadence also looked at the canyon above and got an unsettling feeling. "Are you sure we should be riding through here in this thing, Fury? It seems dangerous."

"I don't see any other way around it. And besides, as long as I don't touch the throttle and you don't make any loud noises, the snow will remain still and we'll be fine. The rattling of the engine and coaches shouldn't do anything as long as we don't pick up too much speed." Fury explained.

Cadence nodded and decided to shovel some more coal into the fire to keep it stocked up. As she shoveled in some more coal, a puff of coal dust got in her face and she accidentally inhaled. Her nose twitched at the itchy sensation of the coal dust and had to get it out. But the way it would do it was not a good way.

"Ahhh… ahhh… Achoo!" Cadence sneezed loud and hard, her voice echoing through the canyon for a few seconds. Then, the chaos began. Fury looked over to her with a disappointed look and caused her to blush.

"I'm sorry, I got coal dust up my nose!" She said, rubbing her snout.

"You couldn't hold it in?" Fury whispered.

"Sneezing is completely natural!" Cadence defended.

"Well that sneeze just upset the canyon, so who's the loud one now?!" Fury asked as the rumbling got louder. Cadence got curious, looked outside the cab and went wide eyed. What she was seeing was completely horrifying.

"Uh Fury?" She asked.

"Yes?" Fury asked her.

"There's an Avalanche coming right towards us! We gotta go, we gotta go now!" Fury looked out of the window to see what Cadence was talking about and was greeted with the most frightening sight he had ever seen. A few feet behind the caboose was a wall of falling snow, rolling through the canyon towards them.

"Sweet mother of Equestria! Cadence, get ready for a workout because we're out of here!" Fury said. Cadence stood at the ready with the shovel as Fury adjusted the regulator for more power and pushed the throttle to the limit. Within seconds, the wheels of the engine spun wildly as it grinded against the icy rails. But with a bit more sand from the sandbox, the engine caught itself and pulled the coaches behind it with immense force as it rapidly picked up speed to escape from the avalanche.

The engine thundered down the line, the coaches rattling behind them as they pushed the engine to its limits. The speedometer climbed faster and faster as the train kept moving, indicating that the train was picking up speed very quickly.

40…

50…

60…

70…

80…

"Cadence, how's it looking behind us?" Fury asked. Cadence looked through the window and saw that the avalanche was catching up.

"Not good, the avalanche is catching up! What's the top speed on this thing?!" She called out. Fury looked around for the speedometer and was surprised to see that the maximum indicated speed was 120 Miles Per Hour.

"120 Miles Per Hour!" He said.

"120!? That's faster than the Crystal Zephyr!" Cadence replied, surprised that an engine could go so fast.

"Well, it's gonna have to do if we're gonna get out of this alive! Hang on!" Fury called out, adjusting the regulator for more speed and watched as the steam pressure and speed climbed higher.

90…

100…

Once the train reached 100 Miles Per Hour, Cadence noticed the avalanche start to get smaller as they pushed harder.

"It's working! The avalanche can't keep up with us anymore!" Cadence said with glee.

"Alright, way to go team!" Fury cheered as he pulled the whistle in celebration.

FOOOOOOooooOoooooOoOOO!

The train kept accelerating past 100 Miles Per Hour and started to leave the avalanche behind. Fury took a look ahead of the engine and saw a line that was connected to the track leading off of the mountain.

"Hey Cadence, I think we're getting close to the main line!" Fury said. Cadence looked ahead of them and smiled as she saw the main line that led towards the Crystal Empire.

"That's it! That's the main line! Come on Fury, keep it up!" Cadence encouraged. Fury nodded and kept the train going, watching the track level out and begin to curve towards the mainline. The wheels screeched against the rails, sparks flying as the train curved along the rails and rode over the switch that led onto the main line where they straightened out and rode smoothly along.

At that moment, Cadence and Fury had a moment of pure joy as they embraced each other and hopped on their hind legs in celebration of their successful escape.

"We did it! We're alive!" Fury cheered.

"I can't believe it, we actually got away!" Cadence said, cheering along with him. But they weren't out of the woods yet. The avalanche was still going and was now on their right side as they rode along the main line.

"Well we may have outrun it down the mountain, but we still have to get out of range of it." Fury said, letting the princess of love go and taking his position in the driver's seat back. Cadence meanwhile, took another look outside and saw a familiar sight. The Northern Cadenza tunnel.

"Fury look, the Northern Cadenza tunnel is up ahead! We get inside there, we'll be home free!" Cadence said. Fury took a moment to look at her with a cheeky smirk as she pulled her head back in.

"What?"

"The Northern Cadenza tunnel? Really?" He asked. Cadence blushed and rubbed the back of her head with a chuckle.

"I may have taken the liberty of naming it after me in my early days of ruling the Crystal Empire. As a way to… mark my territory." She said sheepishly. Fury chuckled and smiled at her.

"We were all young once before, there's no shame in taking pride in new achievements." Fury said. The tracks rumbled slightly as the avalanche got closer, leaving the two to focus on the task at hand.

"We're almost at max speed, we should be able to make it!" Fury said as he held the engine at max. The rails were pounded by the large locomotive, pistons pumping hard as the Polar Express hammered its way through the ice and snow. The coaches behind them rattled along the tracks while being hauled by the engine up front. With every second, the avalanche grew closer and the two friends became more anxious.

The tunnel was so close, it was almost as if it was trying to tease them. The ground began to shake as the falling snow came within the final stretch of being able to run them down, causing tension to run high.

"Ohhh, I can't watch!" Cadence whimpered as she covered her eyes with her wings at the last second before Fury pulled the whistle one last time and the world around them was plunged into darkness.

FooooOOOOOOOOOO!