• Published 9th Mar 2014
  • 1,366 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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The Shores Of Our Land

The Shores of Our Land

“No, I’m telling you, it’s brilliant!” Lyra was talking to the dogs as they walked through the streets of Vanhoover. They had taken a two day train ride to the west and arrived there in the morning in search of a ship to bring them west.

“You don’t know what you’re talking about, po-nee.” Spot was unamused at Lyra’s ramblings.

“Of course I know what I’m talking about! Everypony would love it! And you three could be the stars!” She continued talking anyway, her eyes glowing. “You’re the closest thing I’ve seen that could accurately portray a human. I’d just write the screenplay and we’ll be big stars in Applewood in no time!”

“But no creature even knows what a human is, po-nee!” Rover jumped in.

“But they will when we release the film!” Lyra countered. “Don’t you see? Don’t you think it would be amazing to create something new for everypony to think about? A new legend for stories and film to be made around, with you three helping make that first step!”

Fido was next to speak up. “But aren’t legends supposed to be exciting?”

“Well what could be more exciting than a human?” she pressed.

“By the way you described them... most anything else,” Rainbow laughed. “Also, are they bothering you by calling you ‘pony’ Lyra? I can tell them to quit.”

“Oh, it’s no trouble. I don’t wanna impose or anything,” Lyra insisted.

“Impose nothing! You’re one of us now, Lyra! They should be talking to you like a partner, shouldn’t you guys?” she said with a menacing glare as she turned to see them.

The dogs all nervously stood to attention and gave a salute. “Yes, Miss Rainbow Dash!” they replied in unison.

Lyra giggled at Rainbow’s command. Rainbow continued. “Besides, they shouldn’t just refer to you as pony. We’re a team and we need to show one another some respect, not to mention that speaking that way won’t help our races get along any better.” She turned to give a serious look to the dogs as they all paused in the center of town. Few ponies were walking about and those that were paid little attention. Lyra stood next to Rainbow as she addressed the dogs. “Guys! Lyra may be new among us, but she’s already proven herself to be a big help. Treat her like you would me, because she may not be a member of your pack... but all four of you are now a part of mine. Those weapons you have and this direction we’re taking are thanks to her, so you will address her as Lyra. Not pony or anything less. Got it?”

The dogs all nodded obediently and looked to Lyra. “We apologize, Mrs. Lyra!” they announced in sync.

Lyra smiled. “Apology accepted!”

Dash gave a small nod of approval. “We’ll make you guys Equestrian allies in time.” She turned back and motioned for the group to follow as she continued along their path.

They eventually found their way to the docks where many more ponies were walking about, working hard as they moved supplies on and off of the large wooden ships floating by the shore. They were rugged sailor ponies with ropes on their backs and salt in their coats. Rainbow pulled a few of them aside, gathering information from those who would talk. After loosening a few tongues with a gem or two, she found herself standing in front of her party.

“Right, so it looks like nopony is heading to the west anytime soon, however there is a ship that’s up for hire. They’d totally be willing to take us to minotaur lands for the right price,” Rainbow explained.

“Sounds like a plan!” Lyra grinned. “Any idea on the captain’s name?”

“Yeah, some dude named, ‘Marbled Perfection’,” Dash answered. “Or, Captain Perfection to most. I couldn’t get much more than his name and that he sails for coin, so I’m a little suspicious of the character. Lyra, think that you could learn anything a little more about the guy?”

Lyra gave a nod. “Folk love a good tune, especially an enchanted one. I take information instead of bits as tips and we should know just how scurvy the guy is.”

Dash grinned and turned to the dogs. “Rover, think you can take these two and try to find the guy? Maybe chat it up with the guy? Get him a little tipsy and see if he spills more than just drink?” The dogs began to look rather excited. “Just make sure you don’t get too drunk yourselves. I’ll go around and refresh our supply and we’ll all meet back up at a tavern called ‘Ol’ Salty’s’. If this guy checks out, we’ll discuss a price and head out in the morning.”

The dogs all gave a nod and made their way to the harbor. Lyra gave a smile to Rainbow Dash. “Awfully good in command for somepony who spent her days travelling mostly alone.”

“I used to lead the weather team in Ponyville if you’ll remember. It’s nothing I’m not used to,” Dash responded. “You need anything while I’m restocking?”

Lyra shook her head. “I should be fine. If you wanna pay for my first drink at Salty’s though I wouldn’t object.”

Dash chuckled. “I can do that. See you in a moment.”

The two then turned and went their own ways for the time. Rainbow Dash made her way back into the main town and scanned the market stalls. She found one with various fruits set on its table, ones she was unfamiliar with even. She stepped up and began observing. “Nice selection.”

The pony behind the stand was an earth pony with a black coat and orangish brown mane that covered his eyes. He gave a grin at the compliment. “‘Course it is, Sweetie. Anything catch your eye in particular? Kiwi, mango, banana, dragon fruit?”

Dash gave a laugh, putting on a facade to keep the stallion interested in talking. “Actually you did. You look like a guy who knows how to pack for the sea. Any recommendations?” She kept talking too, flattering the stallion, speaking as she remembered Rarity used to do. She had learned a lot of things from her time in Ponyville, from her friends and her work. Lyra had even pointed out her skill. Rainbow had grown and that was good, because she was going to be leaving the familiar very soon. She might as well make use of the skills she learned in Equestria.

Lyra made her way through the harbor with a bounce in her step and a hum in her voice. She was happy to be back to traveling and more than eager to prove herself useful to her companions. She surveyed the area, looking for the most populous point. She noticed a good number of the scruffier looking sailors huddled around telling stories of their travels. She found a spot where she would attract the most attention up on a few crates and climbed up. She pulled her lyre from her bag and thought of a song. Right, a little siren song should make them avid to help.

She cleared her throat, bringing attention from a stallion or two that passed by. Her lyre at her side, she brought a forehoof to her chest and began vocalizing. There were no lyrics to her piece; she merely let the strings play and her voice rise. It didn’t take long to turn heads. A number of sailors began stepping over towards the crates that Lyra was perched atop. Her voice and playing were hypnotic and only drew a larger crowd of primarily males. She opened her eyes as she continued her song, scanning the group that she had drawn for anyone that could be holding the information she wanted.

When her gaze fell onto a brown unicorn stallion with an eye patch and scars across his face, she felt that he looked the oldest and most knowledgeable. She kept her spell going as it was, only focusing a bit more towards the grizzly old unicorn and who appeared to be his friends.

She sang out and played her tune to its full potential, enchanting those around her. It was almost hilarious how they let things pass them by; various passing mares would even give an envious gaze up towards Lyra. She could only smile as she reached her finale, giving a bow as applause came forth from below and even a few bits flew in her direction. She looked towards the old unicorn as she descended. “I was wondering if you and your sailor friends had any old tales I may be interested in. Mind treating a girl to a story and lunch?”

“You are doubting my ears? I tell you I have found him!” Spot frowned as he stood in front of Rover and Fido.

“Your ears are not what I doubt. I simply said that I was not expecting the captain to be a minotaur himself. We have hardly seen anything but po-nees around here,” Rover returned. “But if it is as you say, then we should go and speak with him. Come dogs.” He motioned his paw for them to follow as they made their way to the bar that Spot claimed he had seen their target.

“He is there, the one that they have called Captain Perfection.” Spot pointed to a minotaur sitting on a barstool, surrounded by a number of goats.

“So we are led to believe,” Rover said. “Let us speak with the captain then.” The three of them made their way up to the bar and took the seats to Marbled Perfection’s right side. “So, we hear that you are a great sea captain?” Rover began.

The goats surrounding them gave what seemed to come off as laughter. Perfection gave out his own guffaw. “To put it lightly, friend! You’re addressing Captain Marbled Perfection! I’m the best of the west, the beast of the east, and the song of the south!”

The dogs sat there as they watched the minotaur pose with flexed arms, waiting. “Uh…” Rover interrupted. “What about the north?”

“Damn the north!” Perfection’s rebuttal was sudden and loud. “It holds no worth to Captain Perfection, so I’ve never bothered going!” He let loose another guffaw as the goats gave their own laughter in turn.

Rover could only look back to Spot and Fido with an unimpressed look in his eyes that they were quick to return. “Right… we had a few questions for you. Do you have a favored drink we might treat you to while we discuss?” Perfection and his entourage of goats still kept laughing. Rover dropped his face into his paw. “Why is it I feel we wound up with the difficult task?”

Rainbow Dash sat at a table in Ol’ Salty’s, her saddlebags filled with food along with a few extra sacks at her side. She looked up and saw Lyra waving goodbye to someone outside the door as she walked up to the table. “Seems like things went well,” Dash said.

“If you consider a free meal, some coin, and the information you asked for as ‘going well,’ then yeah, I think they did.” Lyra was smiling as she took her seat. “Saw the dogs making their way over as well, though not as entertained as myself from what I saw.”

Sure enough, Rover, Fido, and Spot all made their way past the door while they clutched at their ears with grimaces spread across their faces. They took their places with a synchronized groan. “I don’t know how much more I could take! He is more irritating than… No, wait, nobody could be more annoying than Miss Rarity was,” Spot whined.

Rainbow and Lyra chuckled. “He’s that bad?” Dash asked. “Well this should prove to be a trial then.”

Lyra jumped in. “From what I heard from the friends I made, it seems he’s only really captain in title. He gives the orders but gets them from his first mate, but she doesn’t really want to make a name for herself so she lets him think that he’s got the control.”

“Not surprising in the least,” Rover added. “He only talks about himself. It is good to hear criticism against him.”

“He claims no piracy to his name,” Fido added. “He simply makes profit taking po-nees and others across the water.”

“I can verify that,” Lyra said. “The ponies I talked to have sailed with him before and know that he won’t be taking unnecessary tasks. His handler would never allow it.”

“His prices are high however,” Spot joined. “But he accepts all forms of currency; from gems and bits and even griffon silvers.”

“That’ll help quite a bit, do they accept work or help as payment?” Rainbow asked.

“Yeah, but not enough for the whole trip,” Lyra answered. “We can work off a bit of the fee, but the rest has to be in physical form.”

“We are apparently friends to the beast,” Rover added. “He offered the three of us reduced price should we ever seek his aid.”

Rainbow Dash smiled. “So the dude is clean, or at least whoever it is he answers to is, and we have our ways of bringing price down. Sounds like we have a plan, we’ll meet him at the docks by morning. Lyra, if you’ll call the staff over, first round is on me.”

The dogs and Lyra all let out a cheer as Rainbow Dash produced bits from the pouch in her saddlebag. They gave small celebration that night with drink and food until the morning came.

On the harbor they searched for Perfection’s ship, seeking the minotaur himself to barter a deal. It didn’t take long. The dogs recognized his group of goats and saw the beast himself strutting like a peacock. Rainbow Dash approached him with her friends at her side and stuck her chest out as well, letting Perfection know that she was worthy of his full attention.

“What brings you to my ship, little pony?” he asked. He then noticed the dogs at her side. “Ah! Taking me up on my offer then?”

“Yes, they are,” Rainbow answered, drawing Perfection’s attention back to her. “I’m their leader and we’d like to cross over to the west. We hear you can help us.”

Marbled Perfection looked at Rainbow, sizing her up as he crossed his arms. She kept her confident grin as he stood tall. He guffawed as he had around the dogs. “Spunk! I like it! Of course you and you’re crew would be welcome aboard the Gilded Rain!” The goats at his side all chuckled along. “Now, how will you all be paying?”

“Labor,” Rainbow replied without skipping a beat. “We’ve endurance, competence and skill. One of us can fly, one is a unicorn, and the other three can grip. We bring our own weapons should they be needed and I know how to whip up a wind or help clear a storm.”

Marbled gave a quick chuckle. “Spunky and hard-working, you’re gonna do fine lil’ missy. I have to say though that we need some actual money, labor will only go so far on this ship.”

“How much for the five of us then? We have gems and bits,” Rainbow produced her coin purse and held it within her wing.

“Since you’re friends o’ mine and willing to work…” Marbled paused to figure some math in his head. “Fifty bits or fifteen gems.”

“Right.” Dash opened the purse and produced their payment. “So, in that case, should five gems and thirty three bits do it then?”

Marbled took hold of the payment and counted it out. When he was satisfied, he gave a grin and dropped it into his own purse. “That will do it. Welcome aboard! What should we be callin’ ya?”

Rainbow Dash motioned her hoof to her party. “The dogs, as you’ve met, are named Spot, Fido, and Rover. Our unicorn here is named Lyra, and I’m Rainbow Dash.”

Marbled nodded as he looked them all over. He noticed Lyra had a huge grin across her face as she looked back at him. “Anything I can help you with, Miss?”

Lyra rose to her hind legs and began bouncing with joy. “A brilliant pair! Palms, fingers and thumbs, all there!”

Rainbow looked to Lyra and placed a hoof on her back, attempting to calm her down. “Yes, yes, there’ll be plenty more when we get there, try not to freak out the guy giving us a ride!” She looked back up to Marbled Perfection and gave a nervous smile. “She… likes hands… a lot,” she explained.

Marbled nodded and shouted an order to the goats that surrounded him as they all boarded the ship with Rainbow and her company following. They brought up their anchor and set sail, leaving the shores of Equestria.

Rainbow and Lyra had been tasked with cleaning the deck when Lyra noticed a cloaked figure walking about, a griffon masking their face. “From what I’ve heard, that’s the real captain of the ship,” she said to Rainbow Dash.

Rainbow looked over towards the griffon. It walked around the ship, observing as the crew of ponies and goats did their duties at their given stations. “Let’s go introduce ourselves then,” Dash said. Lyra gave a nod as they walked over towards the griffon.

They approached quickly and startled the figure. It seemed to be female. She kept her hood down low so that only her beak showed. “You!” Her voice was shocked and gruff.

Dash looked confused. “Me?”

The griffon shook her head. “Sorry… simply reminded me of someone I knew long ago.”

Dash looked to the griffon with interest. “I can say the same for you…”

The griffon was quick to clear her voice. “I’m Grizelda; Perfection’s first mate. If you need anything, send word to me and I’ll make it known.”

“Yes, we understand that you’re the one giving the real orders around here,” Lyra said with a wink.

“Right, but don’t let anyone else on board be hearing that,” Grizelda growled. “Keep the idiot captain happy, and I’ll be happy.”

“This wouldn’t have anything to do with King Gallows trying to start a war around here, would it?” Dash asked.

Grizelda brought a talon to the rim of her hood and pulled it down further. “No idea what you’re talking about. Haven’t been to the Griffon Kingdom in a long while. Now that I do know, I’m really not too willing to return.” She turned and walked away. “You may use the practice room below for any combat training you need. If you’re heading west, then it’s likely you’ll need it.”

Rainbow watched as she left and gave a sigh. “She’s got a point. Dogs are gonna need to train with those weapons. I know that I’m gonna need it with these.” Dash looked down to the rings around her forehooves.

Lyra nodded. “The minotaurs respect skill and strength.” She then let out a sigh. “I know that Bon Bon would just love to go sailing someday.” She rested her forelegs on the edge of the ship, letting her head rest in one of her hooves as she stared into the water and the horizon. “You told me before we left, that you had somepony special in your life as well. Who is she?”

Dash paused, looking at Lyra. Her thoughts swam with images of Spitfire and their recent departure. “Spitfire.”

“The Wonderbolt?” Lyra asked.

Rainbow Dash nodded. “Yes.”

“Would you like to see her?” Lyra’s question took Dash aback. “With the spell. It’s been a few days. We have a clear surface all around us.” She turned to Rainbow Dash. “Would you like to see her?”

Rainbow Dash nodded. “I thought we needed something she was in contact with.”

Lyra pointed a hoof towards Dash. “We have you. You were in contact with her while you were in Canterlot, no? Come on.” She smiled. “It’s not fair that I use the spell on myself to see my Bon Bon, if our leader can’t even use it.”

Rainbow looked back to Lyra and returned her smile. She gave a nod and Lyra returned the motion. She pulled out her lyre and began to play as Rainbow made her way to the edge of the ship and looked into the water. She felt a tingling sensation overtake her as Lyra put her to use as the spell component. She watched as the water rippled and gave way to an image. Spitfire was flying by the sides of her fellow Wonderbolts, scanning their horizons before coming in to land. Rainbow flew down to the water, looking close at her beloved and feeling her heart pump. It was as if Spitfire could tell she was there, as the image looked up towards Dash and smiled. Rainbow’s face gave way to a smile as well. She held out one of her hooves and caressed the water that held Spitfire’s cheek. “Wait for me.” The water once again rippled and the image faded, leaving Rainbow to look into the empty water and see her own smiling face.

Author's Note:

So instead of my usual ramblings, I'm going to do something I usually don't do, If you'd please be kind enough to hit the like button and favorite the story if you enjoy it, and please spread it around, let this catch on.