• Published 18th Jul 2023
  • 392 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

  • ...
1
 17
 392

Riding The Rails

The world was completely dark. Nothing could be seen in the black void that swallowed the land in an instant. The avalanche was gone, the train fell silent, and all traces of life were stripped from the world as it stood. At least for Cadence who was still shaking in the corner of the still moving cab.

"Cadence… Cadence, get up. We're safe." A voice said. Cadence kept her eyes closed as she stood up and tried to calm herself down.

"Are we dead?" She asked, still a little shaky. Fury just laughed and held her in a close embrace.

"No silly! Otherwise, who's here hugging you on a moving train?" Fury said. Cadence took a deep breath as she opened her eyes and was relieved to see that she wasn't dead as she held onto Fury.

The steam engine rattled and roared through the tunnel, steam seeping into the cab as the train kept rolling along with no issue.

"Phew, I'm glad we're not in the afterlife. So, how's the engine doing?" Cadence asked, letting her feline friend go.

"I've been keeping tabs on the engine and she's running fine. I've cut the throttle to let the pressure on the engine ease up, but what's worrying me is that we're running low on coal and water, we'll have to stop somewhere to fuel up soon." Fury explained. Cadence nodded and acknowledged the issue. They would have to stop and fuel up, it wouldn't be long before they run out of the vitals they need to keep the engine going.

"You're right, this engine can't run forever. But thankfully, I have a solution to this problem." Cadence said cheerfully. "There's a fueling shed up the line that my personal private engine frequently visits on this line, the workers there are on post 24/7. All we have to do is whistle once we get close enough to the switch box and we'll be able to fuel up."

"That's perfect, we can stop off there and get this baby fueled up! And just in time, here comes the other end." Fury pointed out, a bright light coming from the front of the tunnel. Fury blew the whistle once before the light overtook their vision.

The Polar Express sped out of the tunnel and left Cadence partially blinded by the brightness of the full moon. After a few seconds Cadence’s eyes adjusted to the brightness of the outside, she took a look at the clear white plains of snow across the horizon that seemed to stretch on for miles. The snow made the land look smooth and polished, glistening under the moonlight.

She then noticed a small house-like structure on the side of the tracks that caught her attention.

“There's the switch box! Fury, we’re almost there!” Cadence cheered. They then passed a sign that was partially covered in snow that said…

Blow whistle for refuel.

"Alright, here we go!" Fury said, gripping the whistle cord and pulling hard.

FooooOooOoo FOOOOOOOOO!

The whistle echoed long and hard across the snowy plains, ringing like the powerful howl of a monster as they rolled along the line. Up ahead, two ponies sat up and looked in the direction of The Polar Express.

"Hey, looks like we got a caller in need of a fuel up! But that doesn't look like the Crystal Zephyr, or any other of the usual trains we get out here for that matter." Said an earth pony mare with a snow white coat.

"You're right, it looks like something else. But, they gave us the signal so we have to do what we have to do." A unicorn stallion with a brown coat and black hair said. The stallion used his magic to pull the switch that changed the line to redirect towards the refuel shed.

Back on The Polar Express, the two operators of the train saw an arrow sign ahead of them change from left to right as the tracks slotted into place.

"Alright, we have clearance. Let's slow this baby down so we can bring her in." Fury said, sitting back down and pulling the first few notches of the engine brake. A light screeching noise came into the list of sounds that filled the air along with the howling wind and the rattling of the train itself. They slowed down from the maximum speed of 120 Miles Per Hour to around 70 before they hit the switch and went off the main line.

The wheels squealed at the quick redirect towards the refuel shed, sending a few bright sparks into the snow before calming down. The two friends stayed silent as they managed the engine, slowing down even more from their high speed as the shed came into view.

The shed was made of steel, a black set of barn doors open for them to enter. Snow piled on top of the roof as the clouds above kept the snowfall in full swing. The engine was down to about 30 Miles Per Hour as they came within the final stretch towards the shed, steam blowing in the wind as they reduced the pressure and entered the building.

Inside, they saw multiple ponies waiting for their arrival. Most likely having gotten a call from the switch box about them needing a refuel. The Polar Express slowed to a crawl, the puffing noise of the pistons slowing in tempo as they brought the train in for a slow stop.

ChffChffChff…. Chff…. Hissssssss…

A final burst of steam released from the cylinders, the engine sitting still with its brakes now fully applied and the fire dimming to the point of extinction.

A strong looking earth pony stallion came out of one of the rooms in the shed and immediately began barking orders.

"Alright ponies, get to work! We gotta get this puppy fueled up, cleaned up and running like she was just built! Come on, let's move it!" He barked. Ponies leapt into action and got to work, some going to a small coal tower to fill the tender while others went to a separate water tank with a hose to fill the boiler. Some ponies even entered the coaches with brooms and buckets of water to clean the windows and floors. He noticed the two who were most likely operating the train step off the engine and onto the wooden platform, changing his attitude and going to greet them.

“Hi there, I’m Rail Spike, I’m the owner of this fine establishment, what can I-” Rail Spike realized that he was talking to the princess of the Crystal Empire.

“O-oh, Princess Cadence!” said Rail Spike, as he bowed respectfully. "Please excuse my lack of professionalism, I had no idea you'd be here."

Cadence chuckled. "Please rise, my subject. There is no need to apologize for being casual. And besides, this isn't exactly my usual train that has arrived here."

The chief of the shed smiled awkwardly and rubbed the back of his neck. "Of course, I've never seen this engine before. And may I ask who's with you?" Rail Spike asked, gesturing to the black feline next to her.

"This is a friend of mine, Night Fury. He's been nothing but a help getting The Polar Express down the mountain and through the snow." Cadence said. The chief did a double take at the mention of the engine's name.

"Wait… did you just say, Polar Express?" The chief asked, Cadence and Fury both nodding in affirmation. Rail Spike realized that this engine was the engine he had heard about all those years ago, ever since he was just a colt.

"I can't believe it. The very engine to have made it to the north pole, the engine I've been dreaming of seeing ever since I was a colt is sitting right in front of me. This is a dream come true." He said, admiring the steel giant while his crew worked on it. Fury and Cadence smiled at each other as he observed the engine, feeling its features to confirm it wasn't a dream. But then, Fury decided to speak up.

"Uh, not to take you away from your fantasy, but do you happen to have a place in here to warm up?" Fury asked. The chief immediately snapped out of his trance and took action.

"Oh! Yes, of course! This baby is an open cab, you two must be freezing from that cold winter air. Come along, we'll get you some hot cocoa and blankets to warm you up lickity split. Steeler, Two Tone, we're gonna need some blankets and hot cocoa for our guests!" He shouted, two ponies saluting and running off to another part of the shed while Cadence and Fury were escorted to a small room away from the main platform.

The two of them were all snuggled up in blankets and holding their cups of hot cocoa next to a fireplace. Fury was purring very softly due to his comfort, his stress having melted away with the warmth of the fire and the taste of his hot cocoa.

Cadence noticed his very quiet purring and decided to pet him. Fury started purring a little louder and started to nuzzle into Cadence's hoof as a natural instinct, his zen-like state clouding his judgment. After a few seconds, Night Fury noticed that he was purring louder than usual and when he noticed why, he started swatting away at Cadence's hoof in both annoyance and embarrassment.

"Aww, you sound so cute when your guard is down. You're just a big ol house cat on the inside, I know that for sure." Cadence teased. Fury just blushed and tried to hide his embarrassment, not wanting to seem like he was faltering.

"Why are you always so uptight about showing a little blush? It's not like I'm going to judge you for it." Cadence said.

"I know, it's just that I like feeling confident and strong. I mean look at me, I'm a predator that has super speed and can turn into any other creature he wants. I'm supposed to look menacing and stern, not weak and flustered." Fury argued, trying to regain his composure.

“You know, you don’t have to act all tough around me. You can let your guard down. But, if you would still prefer to act tough, then you’ll have no judgment from me.” said Cadence, sympathizing with the black cat. Fury smiled at the princess's words, he felt happy that Cadence saw his problems and issues in a caring light.

Just then, Rail Spike came into the room to check on them. "Okay, the engine is almost completely fueled and cleaned. You two will be out of here in no time flat. But other than that, how are you doing?"

"Fine now. This place is really far off from any civilization, even the Crystal Empire. How do you all stay fed and keep going for so long?" Fury asked.

"Well, we get deliveries from the occasional freight train that keeps our rations and engine parts stocked up. Even in the more dense snow, we get the things we need to keep us going. Although, the delivery frequency does slow down with how the snow piles up on the tracks. But from what I heard up the track, you two were barreling down the line like stampeding bull!" He said.

"Well, that thing has a top speed of 120 Miles Per Hour, so it's no doubt that it can be heard from a long way. Not to mention it's much bigger." Cadence recalled.

"No doubt about that, The Polar Express is meant for long trips across icy plains and up snowy mountains. It's meant to go a fair distance away from its starting point, sometimes running for a few days off of a full tender of coal." Rail Spike explained. "I remember the original story of the Polar Express, how it cruises the icy rails in the dark of night while parents sleep and kids climb aboard. The perspective of kids climbing onto a mysterious train while their parents sleep to supposedly see Santa Hooves is a bit crude, but hey, that was hundreds of years ago."

"I wonder why it was preserved for so long? Maybe for an eventual resurgence of the legendary ride to the north pole on Heartswarming Eve? When Cadence and I found it, she was in almost perfect condition, save for the melted ice drip coming from the ceiling and the icy wheels." Fury said, sipping on his hot cocoa.

"That part is still a mystery, I'm afraid. The most we got back then about its mysterious disappearance was that it was sought out for its rather… supernatural properties and hidden away to be protected. Either way, that engine hasn't streamed on these rails for years. I just can't believe you were able to find it." Raul Spike said. Just then, one of the workers knocked on the door frame and entered the room.

"I hope I'm not interrupting anything, but the train is ready. She's fueled and cleaned for her next trip." The worker said.

"Beautiful! Well, it looks like you two will be on your way again." Rail Spike said, almost looking disappointed to have to part ways with them. Before Cadence could speak, Night Fury spoke up.

"I don't think so. It's Heartswarming Eve, tonight is about togetherness. Why don't you and your crew take the night off to come to the anniversary party at the Crystal Empire? There's plenty of coaches to hold us."

The moment the black feline mentioned leaving with him and the princess, Raul Spike lit up like a Heartswarming tree. "Really? I- I'd be happy to come along, all of us would!"

"Now that's the holiday spirit! Come on, let's get back to the engine." Cadence said, followed by Rail Spike and Night Fury to the Polar Express.

Once they returned to the platform, they instantly noticed how much nicer the engine looked. The black steel of the engine and tender looked brand new, almost as if it had just been welded together. The coaches looked much better as well, the gold letters and accents having been repainted and polished to look as fabulous as ever. And to top it all off, the engine looked like it was steaming better than ever.

"Wow, there's a lot more steam coming out of the funnel and safety valve. Seems like she's running better." Fury acknowledged.

"Oh yeah, just a little elbow grease to clean out the steam pipes works wonders for performance! She'll have a lot more kick to her stride now!" Rail Spike said, moving to address the crowd of workers.

"Alright everypony, listen up! The princess and her friend have given us the gift of accompanying them to the Heartswarming Anniversary party in the Crystal Empire. We'll be riding out to help in any way we can, so load up and get ready to move!"

At his command, every worker began to load onto the coaches. They also brought aboard some food, drinks and blankets in a batch of crates.

"The extra supplies will make sure we stay as comfortable as possible on our way there. Think of this as a thank you for your generosity." Rail Spike said with glee.

"We humbly accept your help, Rail Spike. Now, let's get her moving. You sure you can keep going with the coal, Cady?" Fury asked the pink alicorn.

"I guess I could, if it means getting to where we're going." She said. But before she could begin to board the cab, Rail Spike interrupted.

"Actually, how about you take a break from shoveling and let me handle that? I just happen to be a retired Firepony myself." He said, dawning a Firepony's hat.

"Oh good, because I don't think I could handle any more coal dust up my nose." Cadence said with a large amount of relief. Night Fury and Rail Spike chuckled as they boarded the cab and began to work. While the pink princess took a seat in one of the free spots along the cabin, Fury and Rail Spike began to prepare the train for departure. Fury managed the steam pressure and checked the gauges for any discrepancies, just in case anything was amiss. Rail Spike on the other hoof, was shoveling large hunks of coal into the now lit firebox, going back and forth with finesse and might.

Once everything was checked and ready, they set for the journey ahead.

"Okay, here we go." Fury said, pulling the whistle cord.

FooOooooOOO FOOOOO!

With a final hiss of steam, the Polar Express was on the move. The outer gate opened to the shed and let them pass, opening them up to the cold air of the still relatively early night. The large engine burst through the snow like it wasn't even there, increasing speed at a fast pace.

Rail Spike was amazed at the sound of the Polar Express moving, it was like he had just fallen asleep and began to dream.

"Wow, she sounds beautiful. Powerful and strong but also elegant and graceful. I'd have never thought that one of my most wanted dreams would finally come true." He said.

Fury smiled at his child-like enthusiasm. "That's just the thing. Dreams aren't just something our brain does during our sleep, they're manifestations of our most cherished memories, our wildest adventures, our greatest accomplishments. It's all just one big effort to give us hope in this world. And all you have to do… is Believe." Fury said in a philosophical way. Both Rail Spike and Cadence smiled at his words, so moving and full of wonder.

But even if what they had heard was all they got, what it did was another story. As if a call from the gods had been given out, the letters on the tender and coaches began to glow a golden light. Glittery magic floated below them and weaved around the wheels. It was almost as if a long lost magic had been activated. But none of them saw it, they were too distracted by the passing scenery and the sounds of an engine pumping.

While they would not see the effects of Fury's words, they would soon feel them as another great obstacle would greet them later on in their adventure to save the Anniversary party for the Crystal Empire.

Comments ( 6 )

I can just hear the music in my mind!

GREAT CHAPTER

Is Santa going to appear in this story?

11730842
Tis all but a mystery, my fair child

The Friendship Express maybe struggling on the ice and snow covered rails near the station.

Good chapter ^^ i can't wait for new chapter! ^^

Login or register to comment