• Published 4th Apr 2013
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Foal - thelittlestpony



History can tell us many things, but what if the truth is not always one of them?

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Act 2: Leap of Faith - Chapter 8

Dear Princess,

I write to you today, not to inform you of my findings in the matters of friendship and harmony, but with my concerns for Sorrel Gift. It has been 6 years now, and as I am sure you aware from your many visits to Ponyville, there has been no sign of improvement to his condition.

I remember vividly the day we first found him amid the Everfree forest, and your assurance that his horn will one day regrow but there is no hint to this happening, it is, and has remained in the same condition since that very day. I have measured and tested weekly during the lessons you advised I should provide him, he is intelligent and learns very quickly, and I am sure he knows what I have been doing, but I do not wish to see him live his life incomplete, without all of his senses and faculties.

I am not sure why I write to you on this matter, but I feel I have exhausted every other avenue of research. I have spent many, many hours reading magical tomes from my library and the library of Canterlot during my visits, and see no way to help further, not even the slightest mention of how to regrow or repair a unicorns horn, I just hope that there is something that we can do, and I hope that you may be able to provide the glimmer of hope that my friends and I seek.

I eagerly await your reply and hope you can provide us the means with which to help Sorrel in the way he deserves.

Your loyal student.
Twilight Sparkle.


“Sister, what doth trouble thou?”
“My student seeks advice from me”
“I am sure that she can find the answers to her own questions? For such a young being she is wise, wiser than thou sometimes are prepared to give credit”

Celestia leaned away from the head of the table at which she sat. Releasing a sigh she looked up to Luna at the opposite end of the table over the grand spread of opulent food laid out before them for breakfast. The sisters hated the waste when ponies often went hungry in the remote lands to the west, but knew that their subjects only wished them happiness.

“It is not the simple matter of a lost trinket or a sudden happening of circumstance of which she asks sister. This is about Sorrel”
Is he OK!” Luna shot back, eyes opened in fear of the unknown.
Both princesses had become very close to the young pony since he arrived in Ponyville, visiting often and never missing birthday parties and gatherings.
No
“What hath happened? We should go to him!”
Luna

Celestia rose from her seat and trotted to the other side of the dining hall and raised a hoof to Luna's shoulder to calm her down.

“It's not what you think”
“But thou said he is in danger?”
“I did not. I merely stated he is not OK. He has not been 'OK' since we found him after all”

Luna turned to her seat and took a deep breath before turning back to face Celestia. With a dour expression on her face she lifted her onyx tiara and placed it beside her plate and moved closer to her older sister.
“We knew this moment would arrive Celestia. If nature did not take its course and Sorrel did not recover naturally, then unnatural methods would need to be... sought
“Yes. It is not that simple though is it? How can we ask our little ponies to make such a pilgrimage? We have not spoken to the Kingdom of Dragons in so long, how do we know they will help us with such a task?”
Faith, sister.”

Celestia's face twisted as she spat back with a barely contained anger.
“Yes, faith is all well and good, but we are talking about lives here sister. We cant send... I cant send just anypony on this kind of journey. It can never end well. J'her can not have forgiven us!”
“J'her may not even be alive Celestia, he would be nearing eight thousand years old, his life cycle would be nearing completion!”
“And if he is there?”
“Spike”
“You know fine fucking well what I think about that Luna”
SISTER!” Luna shouted back at Celestia to stymie her outburst.
No Luna, you know as well as I the sacrifices that poor dragon has already made for Equestria, he would never allow his guardian to travel that distance without him. Especially knowing the destination!”
“We cannot allow these wounds to go untended any longer Celestia. What would thou have them do? Search endlessly for answers that they will likely never find without our help? Nay, who art thou to judge what is and what is not acceptable. And if they were to find out, would thou stop them regardless? They may not be as old or as wise as us, but they would certainly match thy obstinate nature if their family are at stake, as would thou! Are we wrong? It hath been nearly four thousand years since the great war”

Turning away from her sister Celestia released a breath she did not realise she was holding and looked at a crack on the stone floor beneath her hoof.

“And what if the element is no longer there Luna? The journey into the void would be a waste of time. Precious time that could be spent in the company of those he loves and whom love him. Would you risk never seeing them... or him again?”

“Sometimes you gotta risk it for a biscuit”

Celestia's face grew a large smile in stark contrast to her eyes which were on the brink of tears. Letting out a chuckle she turned back to Luna.
“I find modern Equestrian has the most colourful of phrases Celestia” Responding with her own sombre smile.
“You certainly know how to say the right thing Luna, always have”
“So we hath decided?”
“Yes, I suppose we have. I just hope that we are doing the right thing”
“Well, shall we not simply plant the seed of thought in your student?”
“What do you mean?”
“Twilight is a headstrong pony, sister. Shall we not give her what she seeks; hope, and see what becomes of it?”

Celestia thought for a moment at her sisters meaning, searching back through her memories and contemplating the journey they had taken to reach this point. Thousands of years of memories relived in a moment, of friends come and gone.

Stygia!”
“Yes sister; Stygia”
“There is no time like the present sister!... GUARDS!”

Loud hoofsteps thundered down the corridor. It was still early and the changing of the guard had not fully completed. Bursting through the entrance to the grand dining hall a dozen ponies, Luna Guard and Celestial Guard spread around the table with spears and pole-axe drawn, eyes searching out any enemies that may lurk in the shadows.
“Princesses! What danger is there!”
“umm...”
Celestia stuttered hiding her rapidly reddening face from the guards now surrounding the two sisters. Luna let out a loud chuckle at her discomfort.
“Princess?”
“I.. I mean, everything is fine. I just wanted a scroll and a quill, I'm sorry I didn't mean to worry you all”
“Of course your majesty. Guards; to your posts. Private Green, please oblige the Princesses request.”
“Yes, Sir!”


“Sorrel!”
“Yes mom?”
“RD will be here soon, are you ready?”
“Of course! How could I forget! Aunt Dash is a little forgetful though so I'll just read until she gets here Mom”

Sorrel sat beside the fireplace with a book open before him, occasionally flipping pages with a fore-hoof. Fluttershy clattered around in the kitchen at the rear of the cottage preparing the evenings food, sweet smells drifted around the home causing the young colt to catch fleeting scents of the meal to be had later. His mother was the best cook, he was sure of that. Even crazy Aunt Pie could not match her culinary prowess, although he felt that just a little of that opinion was biased but he would never tell Aunt Pie that.

Breaking from his meandering thoughts he turned back to the book before him. It was a large tome on the history of the Princesses and Equestria. 'The Lore of the Land' a book he had studied at the behest of his teacher Twilight Sparkle. It was written long ago, and the text in the book seemed confusing at times, using archaic language he often had to return to ask about. It was anything but boring though and it told stories of wondrous creatures long since extinct from the land. Of ponies like Sleipnir; the great warrior. Bephomet, Leviathan and Behemot the lieutenants of Discord and the war against the armies of chaos. It was not all pleasant reading, many passages described foul happenings and murderous armies rampaging through pony lands, systematically destroying civilisation one village at a time. One passage of text which recurred regularly was a short Draconian phrase that he searched for meaning.
Si vis pacem, para bellum. If you seek peace, prepare for war”

“What was that Sorrel? I cant quite hear you through there from here”
“Nothing Mom, just thinking aloud”

It was a phrase repeated throughout the book, although it did not make much sense to him. 'Prepare for war to keep peace?'

His thoughts were interrupted by a banging on the front door, dressing his face in a stupid grin he jumped up and ran to open it.

“Soggy!”
“Aunt Dash! You're early for a change!”
Meh, you know me, no place is worth going to unless you can get there faster than the speed of sound! Anyway, I wish you would call me sister or something, you're making me sound old!”
“But you are the same age as Mom! That's aaaaannncient! Haha”
“Don't think your Mother didn't hear that!” Fluttershy shot back from the kitchen, followed by her own little chuckle.
“Hey, you want to learn to fly or not!”
YESSSS!”
“Well its time for your lesson! Hop on!”
“Don't come back too late you two, Dinner will be ready in two hours and I want you both here on time, Rarity is coming too!”
“Yeah yeah 'Shy, I'll bring him back soon enough”

Rainbow Dash spun around to face the open doorway and dropped down to allow Sorrel to jump on her back. Turning her head to the young pony on her back she gave her own grin and wink.
“Its time for you to 'take the leap'” Her smile widened impossibly further as Sorrel nestled between her front shoulders.


To my Faithful Student.

'The Lost Unicorn'

Regards,
Princess Celestia.


“What does it say Twilight?”
“Well Spike, I'm not really sure. It just says the name to a fairy tale. Do you know the story of 'the lost unicorn'? I don't really remember it.”
“It is around here somewhere, I remember reading it a few years ago to Sorrel, not long after he arrived in town”
“Why?”
“Well, he was so cute when he was sleepy, so in the afternoons when you were busy I would go to Fluttershy's cottage and read him stories before his afternoon nap”
“You big softy! And I didn't realise a Dragon could blush so much! Haha”
“Aww come on Twi, he was tiny and I don't even know how his eyes were so impossibly big! Anyway, that's not the reason I remember the story.”

Spike turned to a bookcase at the end of the library, a slew of colourful books on the bottom shelf at the height a foal could reach were haphazardly stacked as the adolescent dragon crouched and flicked through them searching for one book in particular.

“I remember it well because of what it was about”
“And that was?”
“Twi, it was about a Unicorn who was tricked in to giving his horn to a Troll to cross a bridge”
“Oh Spike, you know as well as me Trolls don't exist”
“I'm not finished.”
“Oh.... OK then, go on”
“Well after he is tricked out of giving his horn to the troll he travels the world looking for it, to get it back. His journey leads him to another land and a burning rock at the foot of a mountain takes pity on him and makes him a new one”
“A burning rock?”
“Yes”
A... burning... rock..”
“Well you wanted to know”

Spike pulled a book from the shelf and tossed it to Twilight.
“Its all in there”


“Dash, where are we going? We usually just go to the park green”
“Well Soggy, if I told you that then it wouldn't be a surprise!”

Rainbow Dash continued on towards the dam, gradually climbing higher towards a small cumulus cloud above the body of water just upstream from the pony made construct. Turning her head back to the grinning pony on her back and giving a wink she dropped down to the cloud and let Sorrel jump off, bouncing on the fluffy cotton wool like construct.

“Wow Aunty Dash! You said we couldn't play on the clouds again until I could fly!”

Grinning madly the young pony bounced around on the cloud, scooping up chunks in his hooves and throwing them at the pegasus who swatted them back with an equally large grin.

Thanks thanks thanks thanks! Hehehe!”
“I haven't quite finished yet Soggy”
“umm”
“Well, I thought to myself I was being a little harsh when I said that I wouldn't bring you up to the clouds again if you couldn't fly up here. But then I thought, what is the next best thing?”
“You flying me up here?”
“Nnnope!”
“eeeep”
“Yep, you flying back down from here!”
“But Dashie! I can't!”
“Now don't be so silly Sorrel, Scoots was able to fly at around your age, now you see how well she can fly! And I did just the same thing with her!”
“...you did?”
“Yyyep!”
“But, what if I can't!”
“I will be there the whole time, if you need help I will be right there, you trust me don't you?”
“Of course Auntie”
“Well then!”
“What do I do?”
“That's the easy part! This will be awesome! Just spread your wings...”

Sorrel spread his wings as wide as he could make them, Rainbow Dash stifled a chuckle as she dived behind the cloud and hovered directly beneath the young winged unicorn. Raising her front two hooves and burying them deep into the cloud, almost touching his hooves she laughed as she spread her limbs apart, splitting the cloud beneath him.
“...And FLY!”
EEEEPPP!”
The young pony dropped like a sack of potatoes straight down, not the graceful glide Dash was expecting, causing her to giggle all the more before she swooped to get along side him.
“Sorrel!, open your wings!”
AAAAAAHHHHHH CAAAAHHHHNNNTT
“Of course you can silly! I'm right here, there is no need to be scared! Just open your wings!”

Fighting against the pressure of the air buffeting against his wings Sorrel forced his wings open, stabilising his fall, but doing nothing to slow it.

“Good! Now I want you to angle your wings so you feel pressure build on the top of them”

Slowly the young ponies wings shifted, bringing flight feathers at an angle to straighten him from his fall. His face grimaced from the effort before he started to slow and levelled out beginning an undignified glide in the direction of the dam.

“Ok, now. We are going to head back to Ponyville, we need to turn to go there. Now when you do this be careful not to retract your wings too much otherwise you will spin and I will have to laugh!. Look in the direction you want to go and close the wing your nose is furthest from slightly and bring your tail the opposite way. This will increase friction on that side of your body causing you to turn, now not too much, start slow and if you don't feel yourself turning adjust by small amounts until you do”

The little pony turned his head to the centre of Ponyville, with the vision his pegasus genes afforded him he could see the gaudy spires of Rarity's boutique far in the distance, slowly with his face twisted in concentration he adjusted his trajectory and turned himself towards the town aligning himself roughly to the town square.

“Perfect! Now if you didn't already notice we are still dropping to the ground, you should feel the pressure in the air start to build the lower you are. Do you feel it? Its kind of like someone gently pressing the feathers in the lower you get? Maybe I am not explaining that right..”
“No, I think I know what you mean, its like when you are swimming and the deeper you get the water squashes you. I can feel it”
“Good! One day you will instinctively know how high up you are by that, even with your eyes closed, so remember it!.. Now, that doesn't really help though, were still getting closer to the ground, and as far as Ponyville is we wont get there before we get to the ground. So I need you to push down and bring your wings to your body, then extend them once again as far as you can and as fast as you can. You can do it, you have done so well so far!”
“I... I'll try Aunt”
“That is all I ask, and remember I am just here, I will not let you fall”

Looking back to the centre of town in the distance he flapped his wings once then extended them again. The drop slowed but they had not completely levelled out.

“Perfect! I'm so proud Sorrel, and your Mom will be too! Now just a few more times”

Repeating the instructions again the little pony flapped once slowing the descent further, before turning and grinning back to his mentor.

“I'm flying Dashie!”
“Yes, yes you are. Now lets keep going!, I know you are tired, but do you think we can land on your doorstep? Its nearly time and Rarity will probably already be waiting for us”
“Yes!”

Flapping twice in quick succession to gain a little altitude before gliding again he turned his head to look to the stream that skirted the boundaries of his home at the edge of the Everfree. Adjusting his tail and wings to turn the pair sailed slowly down towards the homely cottage with big grins plastered on their faces.

“I knew you could do it Sorrel, sometimes it just takes a leap of faith, you know I would never let any harm come to you though, don't you?”
“Of course Auntie Dashie!”
“Well... Just don't tell your Mom what we have been getting up to eh?”
“haha I'm going to tell her! You are so in trouble!”

Rainbow Dash gasped and looked back at the young pony who glanced back with a giant grin on his face.
“Oh you!”
“Hahaha!”


“Fluttershy? Are you home?”
“Rarity?”
“Yes darling! How are you? I have been so busy with work recently I fear I have not been able to visit my best friend an my nephew as much as I would like, where is the young gentle-colt anyway? I have missed you both so much”

The pair hugged each other with a sincerity that only the best of friends can conjure and remained silent for a few moments.

“We have missed you too Rarity, you must tell us where you have been. Ponyville has not been the same without you”
“Of course! Now, where is Sorrel?”
“Flying lessons!”
“Oh, he has come so far from the timid little pony I met so long ago. It seems like only yesterday!”
“He has been having lessons from 'Dash for more than a year now Rarity! He can fly better than me already! Not that this is saying much though..”
“Now come Fluttershy, your ability of flight is not the defining characteristic of your personality is it? Since when have you worried about your ability to fly? Surely having the best flier in Equestria to teach Sorrel in Rainbow Dash you cannot be worried?”
“Well, it's not that Rarity”
“I know exactly what it is 'Shy, you think you should do everything for him? Well you should know by now as well as I do that is nonsense! You teach him more than enough. The gift of flight is nothing to the gift of kindness, and you have given him so much since he has been with you, and don't you ever doubt that, you have given him a home and love and family. Although we are not family by relation you know how us 'Aunts' relish our jobs too”
“...Yes Rarity”

Rarity gave a little smile to the timid pegasus before her and continued.

“You know fine well how this conversation ends 'Shy, we have had it every time we have met since you took the young foal in to your home, the princesses and your friends know we could never have done a better job than you, raising such a well adjusted gentle-colt into this world. After everything he had been through you were there, and look at him now, an intelligent handsome young colt that everyone wants to be friends with! And I'm sure that young Dinky would like a little more than that!”
“Rarity! He is only a colt!”
“Haha, Of course, I'm only teasing 'Shy, the fillies do love him though, you best keep your eyes on him! He will be quite the heart-breaker!”
“Rarity!”

The pair looked at each other with stern expressions on their faces and remained silent for a moment, before bursting out in laughter.

“Well yes I suppose!”
“hahaha, lets get this table laid, Dashie certainly isn't going to do it when they get back! When are they getting here anyway?”
“They should be on their way, I asked them to get back around this time but you know how RD is”

Just as Fluttershy finished her sentence Rainbow Dash burst through the front door of the cottage. Adopting a royal tone to her voice and raising her right foreleg to her chest she proclaimed:

“Please make way for Prince Gift! His royal highness shall soon be landing in the premises”
“Landing?” Fluttershy muttered

With the door wide Sorrel glided through the doorway and flapped his wings to bring himself to a stop mere yards before a grinning pair of ponies.

RARITY!” Diving in to the arms of the Unicorn before him.
“Sorrel, you have grown so, look at you!”
MOM, I flew in, did you see?!”
“Yes, I'm so proud! Come here!”

The pair wrapped each other in their wings, tears of pride dropping from the eyes of Fluttershy as her son grinned and panted madly at his exertion while Rainbow dash spoke again.

“May I present to you Air Captain Soggy Bum of the Ponyville weather maintenance service!”

Author's Note:

A little longer than I intended but I wanted to get through a few things in this chapter. Comments welcome of course.