• 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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Beneath These Waves

Beneath These Waves

The moon was hanging high in the sky as Rainbow Dash laid back in the crow’s nest. They were ending their second night on the Gilded Rain, and Grizelda had estimated it would be another two before they made it to the western shores. She took this time to herself to relax, looking into the night sky and smiling. She had been working hard today, pushing away any threatening storm clouds, keeping up the wind so they didn’t lose any speed, and giving the deck a good scrubbing among other chores. She let the cool and salty air drift through her nose as she took a deep breath.

She thought for a moment and decided to go and check on Lyra and the dogs. The last time she’d seen them was in the training room. Of course she had proven to be a natural with Lyra’s hoof blades and didn’t need too much practice, but she figured that she’d probably check on how the others were doing. Dash brought herself to stand and spread her wings. She descended from the top of the mast, her wings bringing her gently to the floor. As she dropped, she noticed Grizelda looking over the front of the ship. Something seemed to be bothering her. Rainbow considered going over to check, but reasoned with herself that if it proved urgent enough for the ship she would alert them.

Dash met the planks of the ship with a light tap and made her way below deck. Past the cabins of snoring sailors and the kitchen, Rainbow found herself in a room filled with weapons, targets, and wooden dummies. She saw Lyra leaning against a desk with weapons tucked underneath, calling out various commands as she used her magic to replace any targets that were getting too badly damaged. Fido was the main source of her work as he would bring his axe straight through the body of his dummies, slicing them vertically, horizontally, diagonally, or whatever way he could think of. Spot had made some very visible improvement with his crossbow, no longer causing his bolts to stray only inches away from some poor living soul’s head; his accuracy was near pinpoint now. However, it was clear that his true skill was with his daggers. Even from a distance he could stick one of the blades into the head of a dummy each time. Rover though had shown the most skill of the three as well as the most improvement. He was able to put an arrow into any point that Lyra ordered him to with little hesitation and enough power to make the shot deep, even when she would move the target around the room. With his bastard sword in paw, he could cleave through any target brought before him. While his power wasn’t on the same level as Fido’s, his control was admirable for wielding a blade so large.

Rainbow walked next to Lyra. “Looks like they’ve done well for two days.”

“Very well,” Lyra agreed. “Diamond dogs are apparently a very adaptive race and very skilled combatants.”

“I knew that much,” Rainbow answered as she thought back to their night against the sand rats. “You can see why Rover was their leader.”

“Absolutely!” Lyra smiled. “His skill with the blade could even rival my own, and I’ve been wielding Emerald for years! It’s truly impressive.” She looked to Dash. “Of course, your skill was something I didn’t expect either, especially with a new weapon.”

Dash grinned and shrugged. “I guess when you got it, you got it. Kinda helps to have a weapon actually made for hooves too ya know?”

“Of course.” Lyra looked back to the dogs. “Alright fellas, let’s pack it up. We have more work tomorrow and the captain won’t want us too tired. Great progress today though!” The dogs all nodded and returned their weapons to their person. Lyra dropped from the desk to all four hooves and walked towards the doorway. “It’d be a good idea for you too, Dash,” Lyra finished as she faded from view.

Rainbow watched the dogs pass by before she made her way to her own room. Her saddlebags lied next to the hammock she had been provided with. The rest of the room was rather unremarkable, just a wooden hole with walls and a door, but it was all Dash really needed for her trip.

She produced her element from her bag. She had taken to wearing it before they had boarded, but decided it would be best not to let these seafarers see it, even if they claimed to not be pirates. Like every night since her departure, she put the necklace onto the hammock first and studied it. She brought it around her neck once again and brought it to its glow. She crawled into the hammock with it on and let her focus keep her mind centered as she closed her eyes and let sleep crawl over her.

The ship was quiet; the only noises made were the waves crashing against its side. Grizelda looked on at the water below, concerned. It was dark underneath the ship, darker than the water should be out there, even in the night. She’d sailed there from east to west before, she knew these waters and, for some reason, she couldn’t shake the feeling that they were traveling with company.

“Never heard word of kraken in these parts… hasn’t proved to be hostile… yet. It’s large… very large.” She brought her head lower. “What are you? You follow us without watching… and it pisses me off! Do you even know that we’re here?” She curled her talon into a fist and slammed it against the railing. She then saw a shimmer in the water as the darkness of it gave way ever so slightly, a strand separating from the body. A smile then spread across her beak. “I can’t believe I was so stupid to not figure it out until now. Looks like it’s attack or be attacked.” Grizelda turned and made her way below deck.

Rainbow Dash heard a rap at her door as Grizelda called out. “Rainbow Dash, it’s time for you to pay off your labor charge, with interest!” Rainbow shook her head to wake herself a bit better before rolling out of her hammock with her element around her neck and her blades around her hooves. She thought for only a moment before making her way out of her room where she saw Grizelda knocking at various other doors. Lyra was the next to emerge with the dogs pouring out of their own room across from hers.

“Hey, Griz, what’s the work?” Rainbow called out as a number of the other crewmates rubbed their eyes awake. No sooner had she finished her question however than the ship began to rock violently as if something had smacked it from the side.

Grizelda turned back to Rainbow and a grin spread across her beak. “There’s your answer,” she replied. “Gather weapons, crew! Wake the captain! Ready cannons! Prepare for battle!”

Rainbow turned to Lyra and the dogs and the four of them returned the gaze as they all made their way above deck in a hurry. When they emerged to the moonlit ship, they all witnessed massive tentacles reaching high above the mast, occasionally giving the ship a quick swat and forcing it to shake. Dash took to the air as her group took up arms. She readied her blades, allowing them to spring forth. Behind them they heard most of the crew emerge with Marbled Perfection and Grizelda leading them. “Time to defend the ship, my friends!” Perfection called out. “Don’t let some stupid beast force down the Rain!”

A unified “Aye Aye Captain!” rang out from the entire crew, including Rainbow Dash and her party. Dash flew towards one of the tentacles off the side of the ship and forced her blades into the mass of flesh. It forced itself back, away from Rainbow as some hideous bellow echoed from the waters below. More tentacles emerged, until the crew counted ten. They all began to pummel the ship more aggressively, obviously agitated now. Dash dodged as the tentacle she had stabbed swung towards her. She watched as it slapped against the top of the ship, knocking aside a large number of the crew.

On deck, Rover and Fido took advantage of the tentacle’s appearance within their reach and brought their blades down and through a good portion of the appendage, severing a small amount from the whole and bringing about the bellow from below once again. Spot leapt on top of what remained as it retreated and sank his daggers into the open wound and twisted them viciously, forcing blood to squirt onto him and the ship below. Lyra readied her blade as the tentacles flailed about, placing well timed cuts into any that dared to come close.

Captain Perfection let out one of his well-known guffaws as he stood at the helm. “That’s right men and ladies! Let the beastie know that we will not simply stand here and let it take us down!” Not five seconds after, one of the tentacles reached down, plucked Marbled from his position, and shook him violently, hard enough to break his neck and silence him. His face was frozen in disbelief, as if his very corpse didn’t see it coming. All the talk and arrogance was at an end, causing even all the screaming and churning waves to sound too quiet. Anyone who saw it happen felt time stand still, taken aback at how simply such a proud creature fell. No more guffaws or boisterous bragging ever to be heard again.

Grizelda scowled. “Guess this fucker ain’t so stupid after all, smarter than you at least, Perfection!” She flew to take his place at the helm as the tentacle took his limp body down into the water. “Alright ya damned sea pigs, I’m givin’ the orders directly now! Do what I say if you wanna get out of this better than Perfect!” Many of the crew turned to look at their new captain and gave a nod, there were still a few though, mostly the goats from Marbled’s entourage, that remained staring at the water in shock. “Keep looking and you’ll soon join him you morons!”

Dash couldn’t help but feel horrified as she saw the body of the captain forced under, but she knew that Grizelda was right. She put the horror aside and charged another tentacle, cut and bruised from the various weapons that scraped it. It didn’t look like they were doing much to the creature, but the wails that shook the ship from below told them otherwise. She plunged her blades into the flesh as she had before, but she didn’t let this one retreat, she kept pushing forward to keep up with it as the limb tried to retreat and brought her hooves outward to widen her cut. It was tough, like cutting through rubber. Blood sprayed from the wound, falling onto the ship like a crimson rain.

The crew did their best, cutting and hacking and firing at the flailing organs. A cheer was heard whenever significant damage was dealt; a cannonball forcing a hole through one of the limbs, separating another segment of the creature. But for every successful blow they struck against the creature they lost more of their crew. Crushed, drowned, strangled and broken, they all fell around Grizelda, Dash, Lyra, and the dogs. Rainbow grew frustrated and furious at the creature as their situation only worsened. Storm clouds had been ignored while they fought this monster and rain now fell upon them.

“We live the life of adventure for sure!” They could hear Grizelda laugh. “We won’t be worth the salt in our coats if we can’t get through this! Every great sailor could only dream to live through a story told as much as this one! Now force this bastard back into the depths! Turn the tides and turn ‘em red, ya dogs!”

“We’d take offense to that!” Rover called back, slicing into a nearby tentacle. “But we’re a tad busy!”

Spot continued jabbing his blades into the appendage that he had mounted, still forcing great pain to their assailant. He was a stubborn hound and wouldn’t let go of his prey, but it began to flail more violently. Spot held tight to his daggers as his legs were loosed from their position, but they too flew out of their target, flinging Spot out into the stormy sky and plummeting towards the water below. He let out a scream, certain that he would be seeing his end soon. Rover and Fido called out to their friend before they were smacked into the wall of the ship’s cabin and brought to their knees.

Rainbow turned to see Spot falling and felt an impulse calling to her, a familiar feeling. She called his name and his fall stopped as he landed on a glowing red light. Dash was certain that this was the work of her element once again and focused on keeping the platform raised. Spot brought himself up to a sitting position, feeling himself and cheering when he realized he was alive and whole. He retrieved his daggers at his side as Rainbow flew over toward him, lifting him under his arms and dropping him off back at the ship. Rover and Fido brought themselves back up to their feet and ran over to check on their companion. Rainbow wiped at her soaking brow in relief before she noticed the dogs pointing behind her. She turned quickly in realization that she was about to take a hit herself, eyes widening in terror.

The limb spouted blood as a spiked ball slammed into its side. Grizelda had flown up in time to attack the tentacle with a morning star in both her talons and force it back. “Don’t let your guard down Lamebow!” She called out. “We still have a storm to weather!”

Dash looked down to the ship. There were only a handful of the crew left, fighting desperately to get their way through this. She looked for some solution, a trump card of some sorts, something to help them escape or win quickly. She looked back to the tentacle Spot had been flung from and to the weather above. She grinned as an idea sprung to mind and she made her way into the clouds.

Lyra made her way next to the dogs as she dodged one of the limbs. “Isn’t this exciting? I thought things like this only happened in old story books and legends! Ponies everywhere will love to hear this chapter!”

“Missus Lyra, this doesn’t seem to be the time!” Fido shouted over the rain.

“This is the perfect time, Fido! We’re living the dream that young foals with the hope of adventure could only wish to experience! We should enjoy this while we can!” Lyra gave a loud whoop as a tentacle flew towards her. She sliced straight through it with her blade in a single solid swipe, throwing her forelegs into the air in celebration. “I love the thrill of adventure!” The dogs could only look on in confusion as Lyra reveled in her amusement.

Rainbow Dash ascended up into the clouds and, grabbing hold of one and forcing it down, she brought it above the tentacle that Spot had been tearing into. “Grizelda!” she called down to the ship, attracting Grizelda’s attention. “Keep the leg in place!” She pointed towards the cloud she had gathered and the tentacle below.

Grizelda nodded and, with her morning star gripped, she threw herself towards the beast, bashing against the front of the appendage with ferocious strength. She assaulted and smashed continuously at the limb, pushing it back and shredding it to bits of rubbery flesh and splashes of crimson. When she had it in the position she needed she called up. “NOW DASH!”

Rainbow kicked into the cloud, forcing a bolt of lightning down into the exposed tissue of the severed tentacle. The rest of the tentacles began to thrash madly before finally dropping into the waves once more. Dash and Grizelda stared down at the water, waiting for something to resurface. When they felt satisfied that nothing would, they came down to the ship once more, letting loose a synchronised sigh of relief.

“Griz, what was that? A kraken?” Dash asked.

“No, too stupid to be a kraken. It took its time and gave us a chance to find it, kraken wouldn’t do that. Would have forced a storm too, we just happened to run into one,” Grizelda explained. “What we came across was an ordinary squid. A non-magical, stupid, ordinary, giant squid.”

“I don’t think giant and ordinary work together in the same description,” Rover interrupted.

Grizelda waved the remark away as she walked over to the edge of the ship. She looked down and began making a motion with her talon. “Someone get a line! Preferably one of the living unicorns!”

The remaining crew scrambled to look for a unicorn and a rope. Lyra made her way over, levitating a rope along as she passed. “Ready and willing, Captain! What are we doing?”

“Catching a ride!” Grizelda grinned. She pointed down and Lyra saw something moving. “Fucker is still moving, gonna try to run. He’s gonna help us make up for lost time.”

Lyra smiled wide and sent the rope into the water, fastening it tight around a tentacle. “Line fastened, Captain! We’re ready to ride! Keep him tied and I can steer!”

Grizelda nodded before turning her head once again. “Dash! Get those clouds out of here! We’re gonna want to arrive with sunny skies. Expect to be there by morning.”

Dash gave a confused look. “I thought you said it would be another two days?”

“Obviously you’ve never seen a squid when it’s scared,” Grizelda laughed as the ship suddenly launched forward, forcing those standing to fall to the floor. “Lyra, keep us straight!”

“Aye aye, Captain!” Lyra called out. She brought herself back to all fours and produced her lyre. She began playing a rapid tune, strumming with fervor. She enchanted the creature without its knowledge, keeping it swimming straight and stopping it from diving. Dash flew up into the clouds and flew through them with her hooves forward, busting them apart with enough speed to stay just in front of the ship below.

As they continued on, Dash looked down and took in the size of their loss. Her party had survived, but Grizelda’s crew had been reduced to no more than thirteen. In all seriousness, they were lucky to be alive. If this was what awaited them, she worried that gathering the element bearers would prove more difficult than simply finding them and bringing them home.

Author's Note:

Demons and Wizards, a song about Moby Dick, now about a giant squid.
I really hope you enjoyed this one, as the combat is always a delight to write up.