• Published 9th Mar 2014
  • 1,370 Views, 135 Comments

Valley Of Rainbows: Seeking Solutions - Sparx

Rainbow Dash must seek out the lost Elements of harmony to aid in the potential threat of coming war, with the aid of some strange allies

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Heeding The Call

Rainbow Dash found her sleep to be an unpleasant tossing and turning in her bed as dreams invaded her mind in the night. Visions flashed of fire, blades, hooves, and claws. Griffons, dogs, changelings, ponies and more, staring one another down as corpses lie between them all, with cannons firing skyward and cries of agony wailing in the air. It all sounded so clear and vivid, but the visions passed in seconds. Rainbow struggled to make sense of it all before, finally, she saw the face of Twilight emerge. She stood there before Rainbow, dressed in her crown and gown.

“Rainbow Dash.” Twilight’s voice was faint and ethereal, as if she were farther than her appearance suggested. “Rainbow Dash,” Twilight repeated. Rainbow tried to respond, but found herself at a loss, unable to speak. Twilight continued calling Rainbow’s name before she began drifting away, the distance between the two of them growing. Rainbow Dash tried to run towards her, giving chase. It was useless though, as the gap would not close between them.

Rainbow’s eyes shot open as she hit the floor with a thud, sweating and panting like she’d been sprinting through a marathon. The sun had yet to rise as she looked up at the dark, wooden ceiling. She brought herself up onto her hooves and gave her head a shake. She didn’t know exactly what had happened, but she had a feeling she knew what it was. She was being summoned, called back to Canterlot. Twilight needed her.

Rainbow walked over towards the window, bringing it open to let some air in. She gave a slight smirk. “Couldn’t have just sent a postcard or something more pleasant, eh?” she spoke out into the night, pretending that Twilight could hear. Regardless, it seemed like her next destination was set for her. She took a few deep breaths, trying to shake off the nightmare she had just fallen out of. She returned to her bed, ready to try and sleep off the rest of the night, however, once she set her head onto her pillow, she heard a crash coming from the room next to her own, and arguing followed.

“Ugh... I swear, those three…” She let the sentence hang as she brought her pillow over her ears, trying to muffle out the sounds of bickering dogs.

Morning arrived. Rainbow Dash gathered her belongings and grabbed her key, giving a knock at the dogs’ door to let them know it was time to get going. She made her way back to the bar where she dropped her key and made her way outside.

Rainbow Dash watched as dogs would occasionally make their way in and out of the buildings around, sometimes carrying jangling bags almost overflowing with gems, or helmets and bottles of booze. She remembered the description of the diamond dogs that Rover had given her. “Dogs dig and dogs drink. Dogs dig to drink. It is a simple life.” From what she saw, that sounded about accurate.

It took a few minutes before her companions came out the door, toting the large sacks of food and supplies they had come with. “So, where we go to next, Miss Rainbow Dash?” Rover asked.

“We’re heading to Canterlot,” Rainbow answered. “And you don’t have to call me Miss.”

“Po-nee lands?” Spot piped up. “But didn’t Miss—er—Rainbow Dash leave for adventures? Perhaps she needs us to think of a new suggestion?”

“No. I know what I’m talking about guys. Just trust me on this one,” Rainbow flashed a grin toward the dogs, making herself look trustworthy.

They remained hesitant however as the larger Fido was the next to speak, “Po-nees care not for dogs. Suspicious of us.” Rover and Spot nodded their heads in agreement.

“Yeah, but you guys are with me! I’m practically a hero! Stick with me and they’ll love you guys,” Dash insisted. The dogs kept their reluctant looks, scratching at their arms and the backs of their necks. “Plus the best Sweet Apple cider you’ve ever tasted will be there!” This brought the dogs to attention, ears perking and tails wagging. “That’s more like it! C’mon, let’s get moving!”

With a cheer from the dogs, the four set out into the desert, making their way north to Canterlot. The speed and endurance of diamond dogs on foot was a trait that Dash had greatly come to appreciate, as she could fly for a long while as they were able to keep pace from below. They blazed a trail, heeding the call that Rainbow had been given. They went for hours, determined to make it back in the shortest amount of time possible, for drinks, and for a friend.

Eventually the sun fell under the horizon, and they decided to stop. They found a large group of boulders to take shelter around, dropping their bags and setting up camp. Rainbow flew about, scouting the area for any neighbors they may have for the night as the dogs built a fire and pitched tents. Around the fire they all gathered and pulled out various scraps of food for supper.

As Rainbow chewed at a few loose carrots that were only hours from going stale, she stared into the fire and pondered her dream. The only thing clear about it was that Twilight was calling her, but she couldn’t figure out the rest of it. The hazy fires and flashes of corpses, hatred in the eyes of creatures. It was as if Twilight was trying to warn her about something, but she couldn’t figure out what. Though if there was one thing it reminded her of, it was those war films she used to watch with her dad. Was that the warning? Did Twilight believe that war was on it’s way? But war hasn’t existed in Equestria. The last known war ponies participated in was before this was even CALLED Equestria. Dash continued to wander in her thoughts before she noticed that Spot and Rover were staring back at her.

“What?” she asked. They turned their heads suddenly, acting as if they weren’t paying her any attention. She turned her attention back to the dark that surrounded them. “Rover,” she called, bringing her companion’s attention back to her. “We’re about on the edge of the desert here. We should be seeing grass below us within a few hours tomorrow. You familiar at all with this part of the world? Know if there’s any beasties and critters or such we should keep an eye out for?”

Rover took a pause, setting aside a strip of jerky that he and the dogs had packed for themselves, Rainbow never asked about its origin, as she didn’t want to know. “Not much on the edge of the desert. Earth too shallow. Most dwellers in the desert hide underground, like dogs. Farther from desert, thicker earth, harder to dig. Of course it’s a minor issue for dogs,” Rover finished proudly.

“So we don’t need to worry about any unwanted visitors?” Rainbow asked.

“Monsters no, visitors yes,” Fido piped in.

“Many travelers pass through desert. Dogs, Po-nees, and more!” Spot added.

Rainbow Dash gave a small nod. “Right, so we’ll sleep in shifts then and keep an eye out on the gear. Anyone wanna volunteer?” Almost the instant after she finished her sentence, Dash saw the three dogs leap into a pile and snore. “Right. Guess I’m up first then,” said Dash with a groan.

Rainbow sat by the fire throughout the night, keeping her attention to the environment. She would turn her attention to each sound or shadow that seemed like it was approaching. Time went by rather slowly for her, until she felt a compulsion to check her bags. She pulled out the necklace of loyalty, taking to her nightly ritual of observing and studying the artifact. She put it on and began focusing as she had last night, bringing about the ruby glow as before.

A rustle in a nearby shrub alerted her. Rainbow turned her gaze back to the surrounding area. She didn’t see anything, and thought for a moment about taking to the sky. Looking over towards her companions, she noticed Fido, piled on top of the other two, sniffing at the air in his sleep, like he was having some powerfully vivid dream. He was definitely picking something up. As his sleeping head rose, he tried to get a better whiff and put on a snarl, before falling back down with a sharp snort. She smirked and whispered to herself, “Good dog.”

She watched Fido sniff lazily, his head pointing in the direction he seemed to focus towards. Sure enough, she noticed a few shadows moving about. She wasn’t quite sure what it was, possibly just some animals moving about. She kept a careful eye on them though. For a while it seemed as if they were doing very little, only staying in one area, seeming to keep one another’s attention. It was difficult to make out the shapes of the creatures, but then they began to draw near, bringing Rainbow to a mild alert. As she continued to stare off into the dark though, she heard sounds coming from behind as well. She noticed that Fido’s nose had turned in that direction as well. The shapes were similar from what she saw, but before any details came around, Fido and her ears alerted her to sounds on the right, and the left. “Right... surrounding us then,” Rainbow whispered, bringing herself low and ready.

She brought one of her back hooves up and started nudging at the dogs, attempting to wake them. “Hey. Fido, Rover, Spot. Get up,” she whispered, keeping her voice quiet so that she didn’t draw too much attention. When they didn’t so much as stir at her nudging, Rainbow gave a slight kick to each of them, and that brought them back to consciousness, though a bit louder than she had wished.

“UNDER ATTACK! PANIC! RUN DOGS!” The three of them scrambled in fear, tumbling over one another.

“Guys! Shut up!” Rainbow shouted. The figures in the dark began to pick up a pace, coming closer. From the way they moved, it became apparent that they had hostile intentions. “Combat incoming!”

The dogs stopped their panicking at Rainbow’s call and gathered themselves around her, snarling and taking on intimidating poses. This brought hesitation towards their attackers, though only for a moment. Dash tried to take advantage of that small moment to see what they were up against. Mussed brown fur, pointed nose, worm-like tail, and bipedal. She could only really describe the creatures as large rats standing on their back legs. The part that really brought some concern to her however, was a slight gleam in the darkness.

One of the rats lunged out towards them holding out the flashing objects. Dash moved quick to get out of the way but felt the graze of a blade across her foreleg, confirming her suspicions. She gave a swift kick to her assailant, knocking it back a fair distance. “They’re armed! Daggers!”

The dogs gave a collective nod, taking the warning into account before throwing themselves into battle. They moved a lot quicker than one would have expected for creatures of their size, grabbing quick hold of the rats’ arms so that they couldn’t thrust their daggers. They worked like a machine, almost simultaneously pulling off each movement with one another, forcing their opponents down in the dirt and twisting their arms with a sickening ‘snap’ sound. Three rats gave a cry of agony, three rats were met with a forceful dog fist, and three rats fell silent. These three had worked together many times in the past and knew their way through a brawl, these creatures were much smaller than a drunken diamond dog however, and proved much easier to put down.

Rainbow gave an admiring grin at the skill of her partners and forced herself into one of the rats that stood a few feet in front of her, pounding her forehooves into its chest and bringing it to its back. It swung its tiny dagger in fear, missing with its flailing strikes before Dash finally gave a swift stomp to its head, forcing it out of the battle. Two more rats were foolish enough to try and attack from behind, meeting the power of a pony’s back legs as they collided into their rib cages, forcing any wind and fight out of them.

Despite the fact that the rats seemed to greatly outnumber the four of them, Rainbow and the dogs fought on, taking out any that approached. The dogs seemed perfectly aware of one another’s actions, Fido would grapple a rat and toss it aside, only for the rat to then meet the backside of Rover’s paw, followed up with a headbutt to the back from Spot, effectively removing the creature from taking any more action. Rainbow’s speed and powerful legs proved too much for the rats, taking them down in only a few kicks and punches.

The rats were distancing themselves, growing more and more nervous to attack. They seemed unsure if they could continue. Dash was feeling confident that they were going to get out of this with little to no injury. Scanning the dark, she saw the number of conscious rats had dropped by a large margin. When she turned her head to check on the dogs though, she saw Fido with both his paws holding one of the rats into the air, completely unaware of the two who were charging him, daggers pointed. There was no way that she could call out quick enough for him to realize in time, and they were too close for her to charge, Rover and Spot hadn’t even seen the coming attack yet. Dash felt an urge, a need to save her friend, but anything she could think of in that second wasn’t good enough. “Fido!”

It was quick, faster than any of them could comprehend. Fido was surrounded by a big red bubble, looking dumbfounded as his would-be attackers smacked into the barrier and fell to the ground. Dash looked down at her element in shock, it was glowing brightly, feeding off her want to protect her friend and granting her that power. The fight seemed to have paused, everyone only looking at the barrier Dash had managed to summon with awe.

When the shock dropped, Fido gave a devious grin to the rat he held in his paws, the barrier around him dropped and he brought his captive down on top of his attackers like a weapon, taking the three of them out of commission. The rats all gave a fearful shriek at the sight. They gathered their fallen comrades quickly before running off into the shadows as Rainbow Dash and the dogs watched them go.

“Yeah! Get outta here!” Dash called with a triumphant smile on her face. The dogs all let out a synchronous howl to the skies, with their arms crossed over one another’s shoulders.

Fido walked over to Dash and extended a paw in thanks. “Thank you, Miss Rainbow Dash.” He gave a dopey and crooked smile, drawing a grin from Rainbow herself.

She gave her hoof in acceptance as he shook it in appreciation. “Just Rainbow Dash, Fido, and don’t worry about it.”

“I didn’t know Rainbow Dash had magic,” Spot jumped in, drawing close to the necklace. Dash pushed him away, uneasy with the look he had been giving the trinket.

“I didn’t really know either. Totally wasn’t expecting that to happen, I just saw Fido was in trouble and wanted to help him out.” She looked back down at the element. It was no longer glowing. “I guess this thing has more to it than I originally thought.” She took a mental note to let Twilight in on this, she’d definitely want to know. Dash then turned her attention to Rover. “Think they’ll be coming back?”

Rover shook his head. “Sand rats are weak creatures, merchants and thieves mostly, but not stupid. They know when battle proves pointless and they won’t try again. Perhaps they were trying to sneak and take our supplies, hope for treasure, but we found them before they could draw close. We proved it’s not worth it.” He gave a grin as he flexed one of his arms. “Should be good for the rest of the night.”

Dash gave a nod. “Good, ‘cause it’s your guys’ turn to keep watch.” She gave a smile as she walked into a tent near the fire, dropping down and closing her eyes. The dogs all stared at one another and frowned, walking to opposing sides of camp to keep an eye out for the night as Rainbow let sleep take her.

Morning came soon enough as Rainbow stretched her wings and legs, going over to put out their fire. She looked over and saw that the dogs had all fallen asleep with their backs against one another. She shook her head, walking over and giving them a good shove, causing them to topple over onto one another and wake up in near panic.

“Sleep well?” she asked, drawing embarrassed looks from all three of them. “Whatever. Just check to see if we still have everything.” They each gave a salute and began checking their packs. Rainbow went over to her own saddlebags and began searching. Sure enough, everything was still there, except for her element. She was actually surprised she had fallen asleep with it on. She went to remove the necklace, but decided against it. It could be handy if they should come across any hazards and it decided to throw up another barrier. She then turned back to see the dogs putting everything around the site away, ready to get back on the road.

They continued their travels, the dogs kicking up dust as they ran on. It took only a few hours before the sand and dirt below them began to give way to green grass. They kept their pace quick, only ever stopping after a few hours, the longest of which was a break for lunch. They saw the mountain that housed Canterlot in the distance, drawing closer as the time ticked by. Sure enough, they found themselves in the city by the time the moon replaced the sun, tired and panting.

There was hesitation from the guards when they saw diamond dogs approaching, however as Rainbow Dash had said, they were accepted as her guests. While the dogs were eager to wet their tongues with cider and head to bed, Rainbow insisted that they make their way to the castle first and figure out what they had been called for. She wouldn’t have been summoned in such a way if it weren’t urgent.

Author's Note:

Welcome back.
Again an obvious song for an obvious title, but this one seems to fit a little better. Hammerfall have countless songs about paladins templars and knights, which Rainbow Dash and certain other characters will derive some inspiration.
There will be plenty of Hammerfall, as it seems many of their songs fit well as chapter titles...nothing much else to say...crap...