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[Concluded] Path of the Ancient Crafter [Closed: Tacobob, Lux]

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The filly was not one to be frightened much by events in her life, but when Snow Dancer entered the cave it was a little creepy with the dimness and the howling wind. Even the cave itself looked strange, rounded and not jagged like somepony fashioned it to be that way. Still there was a little reprieve from the wind howling outside the structure. The blue Pegasus found that the room they were in led to a place where not even she could pass through, but sure enough there was a hole where they could get through. 

 

“Well, I’m going to officer school, like the rest of my family, but my idea plan is to eventually join the Wonderbolts.”, the blue filly whispered, but kept a proud tone to it all. “It’s generally a better idea to start with the R.E.A and then branch off to the ‘Bolts’ due to the superior training and recommendations you can receive.” 

 

"That makes sense getting a better start like that," Snow said as she waited for Regulus to return from the hole, "I always loved taking tours of the Weather Factory in Cloudsdale, so maybe after school I'll learn how to create and ship snow all over Equestria!" 

 

"It's all fine down here, you can proceed. By all means help yourself with wings during descent."

 

Snow dropped into the hole and spread her wings to glide down to the open room. There she saw something unexpected, a sword planted in the ceiling or the head of the dragon. 

 

"Take a look ladies. Behold the very blade that slain this behemoth sized wyrm." 

 

"Wow," Snow said as she flew up to the roof of the skull to examine the sword. She wondered who slay the dragon and what the dragon did to cause it to be slain. Regulus offered to tell the tale but quickly retracted his statement as if to test the three of their patience. 

 

"Oh I definitely want to hear this story. You told your last one so well about the prince." 

 

She floated back down to give her undivided attention to the old griffon. 

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Upony hearing that the trio indeed were interested in hearing the old tale, Regulus nodded and started to speak.

"Very well, listen."

 

 

Long long time ago, before the the unification of the Three Tribes, and only shortly after the first king of Aquelia took the crown, the mountain we stand on had a different name. Nowadays we call it Everfrost, but back then it was known as Dragon Throne Peak. And called such it was for the reason, for a fearsome dragon dwelled here. His real name was lost to the passage of time but now we call him Spatha the Black, for sharp as swords were his scales, and black as night in color.

Still even darker was his heart for it lacked any empathy, instead being filled by greed to the very brink. As such in his arrogance he proclaimed the whole world his hoard, and his ego refused to be told otherwise - even if there were corners of it he didn't saw and was fated to never do so. He took the mountain as his throne and lair, for there was no cave that could house him, as in his avarice he reached sizes no dragon before him or after - so far - managed to rival. One day Spatha fell to the deep slumber as his kind tend to do. He slept for three centuries, the falling snow not bothering his, dreaming perhaps about owning starts as well. Years passed and after some time, no sign showed that dragon rested him, covered by ice, his breath was mistaken as heat coming from depths of the planet. In the nearby valley, a particularly interesting village was found. Unlike others parts of the world at the time, the inhabitants came from all pony tribes and other species. They were the the ones tired by constant strife between species and they saw no sense in it. As such they moved to this remote region, happy in their isolation and self sufficient. It would not last however, as Spatha finally awakened. Seeing that community spawned down the mountain reptile was enraged, seeing this as trans-passion on his property. The swooped down on his enormous wings and purged the settlement with dragon fire. No building was spared and resident survived....spare one. No record survived to say if it was male or female, two things certain is that it was surely a pony and just after reaching adulthood. Story neither says from which of the tribes he or she spring from. The survivor lived through the destruction, and swore to bring the scaled beat to justice. Not knowing which course of action to took, this Vagrant decided to visit the oracle that at the time was know to reside in Forest of Leota. Thr oracle set the Vagrant on the path of meeting the greatest blacksmith of that time, the old griffon simply known as Edgemaster. Edgemaster knew about Spatha and saw the Vagrant quest of slaying him as a noble one. He however said that only rares of the rare materials around two continents and beyond were sufficient for making the blade great enough to do the act. As such Vagrant traveled for years, visiting each tribe in search of those rare components. Vagrant visited three warring tribes, airions, caribou whose land at the time was much warmer then now, perytons, diamond dogs and even ventured to the depths of the sea to meet aquatic cousins of the surface ponies. Each of those were aided by Vagrant, who accomplished many magnificent things. From each Vagrant gained a rare material...and soon Vagrant was a Vagrant no more, but instead a Hero. Finally Hero gathered the last needed item and quickly brought it to the Edgmaster. The blacksmith grow even older then when the Hero last saw him but was determined to fulfill his promise. Edgmaster knew that that forging the sword would take seven days of continuous work, for such was time the materials demanded, otherwise they would be wasted and all work would be for naught. The old griffon took his ordinary hammer and all the treasures brought by the pony - the gems, the metals, the wood, the coral, the stone and the magic. For seven days Edgemaster worked without rest and at the dusk of the seventh he said.

"Aye, this is the finest weapon I ever made. Seven days I worked over it and I say that for seven hundred years there will appear no other to rival it. Take it Hero and use it, as Justice demands."

And with those words Edgemaster took his last breath.

The Hero mourned the great crafter and with help of his three apprentices buried the old bird. Knowing that hour of retribution has come. Pony traveled to the very valley it's home was to see that Spatha turned hundreds of mile around around the Dragon Throne into ash's filled wasteland.

Hero ascended the mountain and challenged the evil dragon. Three days and night their fight raged, their strength evenly matched - because even thrught Spatha had size, the greed and age on his side, the Hero picked many skills in his odyssey, and was aided by the magical blade. We know so as it had one Spectator, the very Prince of the Aquelia. Finally Hero felt that his/her strength was waning. Seeing that dragon opened his maw to unleash destructive breath, Hero jumped into past the fangs and with all remaining might thrust into the palate, mortally wounding the beast. At the same time Spatha made his last fiery blast, and so both the Hero and the dragon struck each other down, the great beast body falling to the mountain he called his throne, and in his remains we stand today.

The Prince took the news of this event to the world, and for the short time each tribe and spices united - even if for the short while - in shared sorrow. Each of them send the representative to the Leota oracle, with the question if Hero fate could be avoided. Oracle to the messengers that Hero's choice was his own, however she left other warning. One day other dragon will arise, as powerful and evil as Spatha if even more so. And so new Hero will come as well. He or she too will have the vendetta against the beast and only this Hero could pull the blade - the Dragonbane - from the ancient skull. This time however is said, that hero will be joined by three other Swords. First Sword from Equestria ancient bloodline, his weapon however of kind unseen here, coming from far across the waves. The second Sword thrice enormous, in weapon, the size and the heart. And finally Third Sword, at first neither wanted nor trusted will aid the other in hour of need earning their friendship and trust. Only to this four will depend if they will share the fate of Hero of old.

 

Finally Regulus felt silent, signaling that his tale was concluded, and allowing the girls to digest the story.

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Wind Walker smiled politely as the older griffon told his story, his very long story. For once she was happy that her sister’s cautious friend had supplied them with the heavy suits. It made climbing a little harder, but she had a feeling both she and Snow Dancer would have ended up as two little pony-cicles by the time the old guy was finished with his story. She took note of Zelda, who was listening to the bird's story and taking notes and drawing little doodles of the very old weapon. The story was fine, but the old guy was no match to her father when it came to story-telling since he always managed to provide different voices for all of the characters. Still, she lost any sort of pity she had before for the big beast. He was mean and hurt others, so they did the only thing they could do and put an end to the dragon for good.

 

She was not sure the big monster could return after ending up like this. A band-aid or kiss from his mother probably wouldn't even work. He was bone. You don't come back from that. She was happy that if a big dragon like un-named one here started to raise trouble, he or she would be stopped before they could do any harm, most likely with either words or magic. No pointy swords needed. And there were ponies that were capable of stopping even the largest of dragons without really hurting them.

 

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Zelda finished taking her notes around the same time Regulus had finished his story. There were a few issues she had with it, but she decided to be polite and simply say, "Nice story. I think I've heard a variation of it, but this one is mostly new to me.", she quickly pocketed her sketches and pen and looked towards the exit, "We better get moving so we can finish this thing before the weather gets even crazier. Don't want your parents to start worrying 'bout you." While Zelda knew Wind's parents were pretty trusting of her, she was still rather weary of what sort of parents would let their kid climb a mountain alone? Even experienced climbers knew to do these things in teams.

 

"Let's get a move on.", she waited for the others to start moving before she lead on...

 

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Snow Dancer listened to the story intently, the wind howling the only other sound. she loved hearing tales about history and even more so about epic stories of chivalry and sacrifice. This story sounded like a pony's tale, but seeing the sword and the slain dragon's skull she knew it was true. Even after Regulus was done her mouth hung open in amazement. 

 

"Wow... that was some story. I can't believe that one pony could stop a big scary dragon like that. But I know it is true. Still I don't know what I'd do if I faced a fearsome dragon like that." 

 

 "We better get moving so we can finish this thing before the weather gets even crazier. Don't want your parents to start worrying 'bout you."

 

"Nah, my parents don't worry much about me they know I'm safe. But you're right we should get going." 

 

For a moment the filly thought about trying to pry the sword from the skull, but she decided that it was better left alone. She doubted that she was a hero like the Vagrant in the tale. 

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And so started to move again. Walking through the large gap in dragons teeth they walked outside and kept climbing, guided by the stone pillars. And while they moved higher and higher and snow kept falling, strangely the air itself started to get...warmer. After a while it was hot enough that snow started to melt mid-air.

"You will see soon the reason. Not far from the next shelter." Regulus answered. And girls they saw. O rather they would if not for the cloud of steam that disturbed their vision. But as soon it cleared out the winged pack could observe most unusual view. They could see an numerous unfrozen ponds, very colorful rocks and most important of all geysers. The air was filled with intense smell of the rotten eggs.

"Well here we are, our overnight stay. And good place to wash yourself if you don't mind the smell. Not to mention only warm one aside from...well let's not get ahead of ourselves. Still take care where you stand. Or wash. This water could cook your flesh from the bone in the instant if you choose wrong."

Old griffon warned before re-taking the lead. Elder bird stepped on the path made from dark stones. Their placement obviously was intentional, since while twisting the path lead straight to the shelter.

The insides of the building were similar to the previous one but much bigger. First, there was no central pit for campfire. Of course it was not needed since the air was hot enough for the group to start sweeting. The other thing were bunk beds sculpted into the stone that made the shelter walls. Luckily the bedding and mattress was freshly replaced. The air still stink through.

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"I do.", the little blue filly proudly stated, "We're usually the smaller ones in the fight, but that doesn't stop us from kicking hinder.", she slowly followed the two adult griffons as they spoke, "And dragons for the most part avoid us nowadays. Guess that's good. But you'd probably do things you'd never think you if somepony you loved was in danger. I've had to stand up against bullies in my old school and they usually don't like it when you don't back down when they're a'bulling yah. They also don't like it when you smack 'em silly with your hoof.", her ears did droop a little as they passed through the teeth. When the dragon was alive, this probably would not have been the safe way to go. "Ah cripes Zelda, did you just release an 'heinie hiccup'?", Wind Walker could not stand to breathe the stinky air.
 
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"No...Wait...heinie hi...? Seriously Wind?", the griffon couldn't help but chuckle, "It's the springs..The sulfur smell. Geez, don't you kids learn this stuff from school anymore?", she watched the older griffon for a moment before asking the two kids, "Hey Wind and Snow. Get in front of me and do what he does. No need to get your fuzzy little behinds boiled."
 
The filly playfully stuck out her tounge at the offending adult, but quickly reeled it back in horror when she was sure she could TASTE the nasty, "Ugh! Nasty!", she did as the black bird asked and made sure to step only where the experienced climber went. "Don't need to take a bath.", she grumbled, "Already took one before we got here."
 
Once the group was in their new shelter, Wind Walker set her gear aside and climbed out of her 'suit' "It's good to get out of this thing for a bit and stretch my wings.", she murmured, "So what are we gonna do next? It's not time for bed...Not just yet."
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Snow followed the group out of the remnant of the great dragon and into a place that to her relief felt a little warmer. Soon the snow was dotted by green and geysers surging from the ground and pools of what she thought were water except they were bright blue or green. But the smell was what really hit her, like rotten eggs. Although it was all around her, it was stronger when she passed by the pools and geysers.  

 

And dragons for the most part avoid us nowadays. Guess that's good. But you'd probably do things you'd never think you if somepony you loved was in danger. I've had to stand up against bullies in my old school and they usually don't like it when you don't back down when they're a'bulling yah. They also don't like it when you smack 'em silly with your hoof.",

 

"You're right. Guess I won't know my own strength until I'm tested. That's one reason why I chose to do this, to prove that I am strong. Most ponies I meet see me as this weak little filly who flits about in life but I'm not." 

 

Hey Wind and Snow. Get in front of me and do what he does. No need to get your fuzzy little behinds boiled."

 

Snow did as Zelda said, watching the elder griffon as he stepped on the stones. She followed suit and made her way to the tents which were very warm. Snow began to feel dizzy which she knew what that meant and quickly stripped out of her snow suit. 

 

"Phew that was a close one!" she said feeling better, "If I stayed in that suit any longer in here I'd pass out. Because my talent is tied to snow I have this problem that I can't deal with extreme heat. I get dizzy and can even pass out! That's why I have trouble in the heat of summer."

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While the fillies were still energetic, the old griffon apparently wasn't. Mere minutes after they entered the shelter the ancient bird already dozed off. Well, the girls will have to wait for the other story if the want one. Luckily there were other things to do, namely exploration!

 

The shelter they stayed in right now was completely different from the last one. While the first shelter was small and built like a fortress, this one for a change had two parts.

 

First one, was a simple tent put around the entrance towards the second one. The tent part was specious, housing beds a desk and wardrobe. Perfect to crash in after long climbing. What was interesting was the second part of the shelter. Made inside the warm to touch rock, the place was far larger. A few tunnels were cut into the stone, each leading towards the room that housed from two to four beds. Except one. This was more of the lumber room then anything. Old cupboards, wardrobes and all of them filled up too! There was some board games, old books and who knows what other stuff? If girls would decide to check it out they could find nice trinket or two.

 

Outside was as interesting. While the road leading towards the shelter was dangerous it's intimidate surrounding apparently wasn't. The ponds of hot water were adorned with plaques standing before them. They displayed information about the ponds themselves, stating they were safe to bath in, and also adding which one would help with which alignments. Some where good for beauty too, and at least two stated they were good for growth of the kids. Certainly a lot things to check out!

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"What Wind meant to say.", the griffon quickly scooted into the conversation about bullies,"You need to tell your parents and teachers if you're getting bullied. Don't start fights! You'll get suspended like Blue over here almost did.", she playfully poofed up the little filly's hair as the griffon spoke.

 

 

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"No. I meant what I said.", Wind Walker quickly shook her mane back into place, "You go trotting off to your momma and the teachers, and the bullies will never leave you alone. Give 'em a good whooping. Then sick Daddy on the teachers if they give you any guff. Unless your father is little. My dad is almost horse sized..But not as skinny."

 

"So your father bullied the school administration into not suspending you for beating up another student. Good job.", the griffon grumbled.

 

"Yeah...hey!", the blue filly growled at the large griffon before turning back to Snow Dancer, "So, what do you wanna do? There looks like there's some interesting stuff. Well, besides these board games. Who ever heard of 'Tråkigaste Spel' and "Kolejka", which looks like it's a game where you just have to wait in lines. Ugh.", she groaned, "Maybe something outside? Whatever you wanna do, I'll do it!"

 

"As long as it does not involve you two going beyond the camp boundaries.", the griffon interjected again, "I'm not going to spend our little trip trying to hunt you two down. Keep close and safe."

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"What Wind meant to say.", the griffon quickly scooted into the conversation about bullies,"You need to tell your parents and teachers if you're getting bullied. Don't start fights! You'll get suspended like Blue over here almost did."

 

"Oh don't worry about that, I don't start any fights, except snowball fights because they're fun! Hey Regulus, did you build this all..."

 

She was going to finish her sentence until she noticed that the elder griffon fell asleep.

 

"Maybe that's what older griffons do, they need their nap time just like baby ponies do," she whispered to Wind Walker. The filly looked around to see her temporary home. It certainly was a big difference from the cold place outside dotted by steaming pools. It was a comfortable place filled with interesting books and things. Wind however was more interested in looking at what was outside. 

 

"Ok, we can explore outside but then I want to see more of what's inside. Maybe we'll find something cool like that sword before!"

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OOC: With the old bird asleep, Ciraxis asked me to skip ahead of him for this post...

 

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"Yeah.", Wind Walker frowned a little, after remembering a few of her snowball fights sometimes turned into fight-fights, which tended to be started by the losers, or those who thought she might have thrown just a little too hard. Geez! Hoofs were good for many things, just not for throwing round objects. Unicorns and griffons were generally better at these sort of things, so the little Pegasus pony had to try twice as hard to be of any use in those 'battles'.

 

"Just hope they don't make us change their diapers.", the little pony whispered back with a grin. The inside was boring! And it now smelled like old griffons. "Let's go check the outside out.", she continued to whisper before slowly pushing the door open, making sure it did not make too much noise. The old guy could use at least a good decade of beauty sleep.

 

And outside they went....

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"Just hope they don't make us change their diapers."

 

"Ugh, you're right," Snow Dancer said not thinking about that until Wind Walker said so but still getting an ugly image in her mind of griffons in diapers and her being the only one to change them. One outside the blue and white filly could feel the mix of warmth and cold as the mix of snow and pools of steam mixed in the air. She looked around to see where to go next, not wanting to venture where those really hot pools were again and not want to stray too far from camp. 

 

"Want to try out one of those pools here? I don't think they're too hot for me to swim in." 

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"Hmmm. I guess we might as well use 'em.", the little filly quickly returned to their cabin and made her way out with two rolled up towels. After she hoofed one over to the filly, she made her way towards the assortment of pools with their assorted little problems they could fix. "Hmmmph.", she glared at one sign, "We're both very pretty, so no use for that.", she quickly made her way to the next one, "I don't want to grow up too quickly.", she mumbled, "Always feel sorry for the filly who grows just a little too big while everypony else is still little. Ooooh.", she  apparently found the right pool.
 
"How 'bout this one? It's supposed to  make you stronger. Both in body, magic, wings and mind. I could use some of that!" While the little pegasus pony was an quick and agile flyer, her stamina was something her teachers were always asking her to work harder on. And while she had doubts that this 'magic water' would help, there was only one way to find out...
 
SPLOOSH!

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Snow watched as Wind quickly disappeared into the hut, reappearing with towels as Snow began to look at the plaques near the safe pools of water.

 

"Thanks Wind. Now which one to go into?"

 

She giggled hearing Wind say that they didn't need the pool that promoted beauty, even though Snow thought there were other mares prettier than her. She didn't really though think much about her looks as her personality mattered more to her. she was about to set her hoof into the pool to make fillies grow, but Wind thought against it. 

 

"I don't want to grow up too quickly.", she mumbled, "Always feel sorry for the filly who grows just a little too big while everypony else is still little. 

 

"Me neither," Snow said, "Although sometimes I wonder what I'd look like as a mare. Definitely taller, and maybe even with a different mane and tail style! Still I'm having fun now so why chance it?" 

 

She then looked at the pool to improve strength which a smile ran across the mare's face. 

 

"Well, I'm not the best flier like some of my Pegasi friends, and I'd like to not crash so often, so maybe this will work." 

 

Unlike Wind, who splashed in, Snow Dancer tested the water first with her hoof to make sure it wasn't too hot. Intense heat made the filly feel weak and dizzy and in one extreme occasion the filly fainted during a hot summer day. It was only the quick thinking of a store owner that saved her. Satisfied with the temperature she dove in. 

 

"This pool is nice. Who would've thought that I'd be here in a warm pool on a mountain? But you know what, it's even better having a friend to have fun with!" 

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The bath was certainly a good idea! While the air was still stinky the water was both warm and peasant for the eyes.

 

BLOOP

 

It weren't so many such places in the world. True there were hot springs and geysers in other parts of the continent, but none of them was a combination of hot water and snow as here. Maybe Whitescar had place like this? Even if it did, the caribou didn't seemed like a kind who would enjoy it too much.

 

BLOOP BLOOP

 

Out of sudden the two fillies had a company! An impossibly cute and furry creature pop up from behind the rock. And then the second one. And another.

The fuzzy things looked adorable. Two doe like eyes were big like a saucers. The short muzzles had long whiskers and were moving like in anticipation of something. The round ears were like those of the mice, but proportionally to their heads were small.

 

BLOOP BLOOP BLOOP

 

Their bodies resembled those of the gerbils. The main difference being longer claws. No surprise seeing that this was a mountain species. Their long talis had a very large tufts. They resembled the over sized shave brush then anything else. Except that no shave brush gloved with gentle blue light.

 

BLOOP BLOOP BLOOP BLOOP

 

More and more fuzzies appeared. Not just around the ponds both girls were in, but also on all around the hot springs. As far as eye could see (not that they could see far, with all that steam) was filled with cute critters. The appeared to be excited, and anticipating something.

 

BLOOP BLOOP BLOOP BLOOPBLOOPBLOOPBLOOPBLOOPBLOOPBLOOPBLOOPBLOOPBLOOPBLOOPBLOOPBLOOPBLOOPBLOOPBLOOPBLOOPBLOOP!

 

Bubbles! Hundreds, thousand, billions of bubbles appeared! Popping out of every crack in the rock, every geyser opening, and even water ponds itself. So numerous that they were almost like foam. The adorable rodents clearly waited for just this. They were popping them, taking a ride on the larger ones, and staring at their own reflections. Apparently they had a lot of fun with this! There were so many bubbles coming out actually, that both fillies started to get pushed upwards, floating into the air without using their wings! It really was a bad time to take a soak in the pond, but good one to enjoy the show!

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“Yeah, me too. Never did care how my hair looks.”, the little filly quickly shook the excess water from her mane, “My older sister likes to keep hers in a braid, but that takes so much time to do, and she has to undo it every night before bed and then start it all again in the following morning. Don’t know how she manages to do it.” The little filly loved how the water felt, but she hoped she would not end up smelling like an stinky egg for the rest of the day. “And being tall...Again with my sister. She was short like me until she got into high school, and she shot up like a rocket! She was taller than most of the colts, which made it awkward during school dances.”
 
Wind Walker smiled ever so brightly as the filly referred to her a friend. She had so many, and most were from all over the world! She should probably start making a list so she knew where they were all from.
 
“Yeah, I always like to mee....er....”, while the soothing sounds of nature could be heard, one sound worried her. “Bloop?” At first, she couldn’t help but find the little creatures adorable, but froze up a little as her brain quickly hoofed through pages of her internal ‘monster manual’ or ‘critter compendium’. She had seen images of similar creatures before. “Wait a second..Are these jackal-rats? Or maybe even Mountain Gerbils?” They seemed to be friendly..
 
Then the bubbles! Tons of bubbles! Were there more of these creatures underwater, all letting out ‘Flank-Fizzlers’ or ‘’Rump Rippers’? Maybe that’s why the water stunk so bad! But one thing they needed to do, was to get down before they floated into stronger winds and were blown off the mountain!
 
"Hey Snow! We need to get down before we get blown away....Hey Zelda! Er, Old Griffon guy!", she tried her best to float over to Snow Dancer..Before it was too late!

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Snow Dancer nodded as Wind mentioned her older sister. Snow being an only child never knew what it was like being the younger sister or even yet having the chance of having a younger sister. Well at least it was fun hearing Wind's adventures. Suddenly Snow saw a fuzzy creature appear that looked like they were waiting for something. 

 

"Awww! They're so cute! Maybe they came out to welcome us here, like this is their home." 

 

Suddenly the round began to rumble as snow felt herself being pushed higher in the air without her wings. For a moment she enjoyed it until she felt the wings grow stronger. 

 

"Hey Snow! We need to get down before we get blown away....Hey Zelda! Er, Old Griffon guy!

 

"I...I don't know if they can hear us. We should try to float down from here and into the hut." 

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The fillies were inevitably floating towards the chasm. While the bubble show was very pretty both girls proved to be too light to held themselves in place, and wind pushing the bubble platform wasn't helping either.

 

And out of nowhere, the fuzzy creatures sprung into action! They started to build a...living tower? Mane by themselves of course. No it was more the series of living ladders. The gerbils connected many clouds this way. But they weren't stopping there! What appeared to be organized team of creatures used their kins...rodents to move towards the fillies. All of the action looked like ones planned operation by professional rescue units. Were they did this before? Or maybe it was some hidden tamer out there who was given commands? Or they could just be world most hardcore critters. Whatever was the case the gerbils the group of them walked on the bubbles, picked fillies up like a luggage with that tiny pawns of theirs and carried them down. Not before long both fillies were back to the pond they were soaking in, now bubble-less. After the rescue the rodents started to jump in joy, apparently very pleased with themselves.

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After she realized they could not in fact simply float or fly back to the hut, Wind Walker let out an very non-brave, “Waaaagh!” while she flailed her wings and legs about.  If the pair were tossed off the mountain, would they be able to fly back, or would the wind push them up even higher? And without their protective clothing, would they in turn freeze to death? This was not good! Not good at all! They probably should have stayed in the hut. Read a book or had taken a nap.

 

But then something very strange happened. The little fuzzy creatures worked as one big unit and were able to rescue the two fillies. “Huh?”, she gasped as she opened her eyes. And while the feeling of having a zillion little fuzzy creatures touch you with all of their fuzzy little wet paws was not something she really wanted to feel at the moment,the fact that she and Snow Dancer were no longer slowly being hurled off a mountain did make up for it.

 

Once they were returned to the comport of the hot and steamy water, the little filly thanked her new saviors, “Thanks guys!”, even giving one that had floated nearby a friendly little smooch on the cheek. This was one very strange little event.

 

“Er Snow..You wanna go somewhere else?”

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Snow Dancer tried to swim towards her friend or flap her wings to fly over, but the churning water made it near impossible! She was afraid she'd be tossed off the mountain or worse put into one of those smelly super hot pools! Just when she thought it was over, the fuzzy creatures grabbed hold of her and lowered her back down into the now calm pool. 

 

"Thanks you guys," she said to the creatures, "We would have been goners without you!" 

 

“Er Snow..You wanna go somewhere else?”

 

"Yeah, I think I had enough of being in this pool, no matter how much it's supposed to improve our talents! Maybe we should head back to the hut and find something to do inside that's safe. After all, we still have lots of hiking to do after this!" 

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While thankful that the little fuzzy creatures had saved them, Wind Walker was also very grateful that nopony had a camera at hoof to snap a picture of her kiss what was probably an mountain rat. After tossing her new friend one of the towels she brought from the cabin. The little blue Pegasus pony quickly toweled herself off, and once Snow Dancer was ready, she made her way back inside.

 

"Dwwaaah. Zelda is sleeping.", she whispered to the filly as they entered the small building. The black furred and feathered griffon had apparently fallen asleep while reading one of her books.

 

The filly glanced around the room, hoping something of interest had magically appeared while they were gone. "Well, what do you wanna do next?"

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"Thanks," Snow Dancer said as she toweled off the water from the geyser. The last thing she wanted to do was to to have the water freeze on her in the cold mountain air. She couldn't help but giggle as she saw a sleeping Zelda but tried not to disturb her. 

 

"Well, what do you wanna do next?"

 

"Hmm..." the filly said looking around, "Oh look here a deck of cards! We can play go fish! That sound good?" 

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Just then, a shadow loomed over two fillies. Before they could scream 'Ack!' however it spoke with the familiar voice of the old griffon.

 

"I see you already meet the famous help-paw gerbils. As well as be witness to the rare eruptions of Everfrost Bubble Spings."  old bird squawked.

"It only happens around every four months little ponies. The closer date is impossible to predict without magic, and we Aquelians are quite vigilant for preventing some unicorn scientists to poke our sacred mountain with that intricate tools of theirs." he explained before giving the wrinkled smile.

 

"From your expressions I see you weren't too fond of it. You however never been in any danger. Help-paw gerbils are to the mountains what dolphins are to the seas - always ready to give help to the travelers. They lived on Everforst since the times immemorial, and knew very well about the bubble eruptions. They gather to play as they very imaginative creatures, if easily bored. As such you were in safe - and numerous - set of paws from the very beginning."

 

Then the griffon noticed the scattered cards. He drew one and smiled upon even wider seeing it it's art.

 

"Ohhh I know this. When I was younger we played this all the time."

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While she was not really into that sort of card game, Wind Walker nodded her head, “Sure, after a few games of Fish, I’ll have to teach you how to play Poker. “, she sat down near the filly and while she was unable to produce an entire ‘ACK’, she did manage to get both an A and a C before the old griffon was able to sneak up on the pair.

 

“Well, considering we were about to float off the mountain, I’d say we were in some sort of danger.”, the little filly hoped she did not sleep like Zelda. Beak in a book and hinder in the air. She glanced away from the black bird as the old bird produced some cards of his own.

 

Ho-Boy, it was one of those nerd games for nerds. He wasn’t just an old griffon. He was an old nerd.  Oh heck. She was going to either play the nerd game, and thus turn into a nerd and be only permitted to do nerd things and wear nerd clothes for the rest of her life. Or she would play the game she wanted to play, but risk hurting the old goat’s feelings. What would she do?

 

“Hey Snow, what game would you like to play?”

 

 

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As Snow Dancer saw the deck of cards for Go Fish, she was surprised to see that Regulus was awake and must have known about hers and Wind Walker's experience outside. 

 

"Well it wasn't the gerbils that I didn't like," Snow said to the griffon, "They were kind of cute and really helpful. It was the geyser that like Wind said almost sent us off the edge of the mountain. If those gerbils weren't there I don't know what would happen to us!" 

 

She was about to resume playing fish when Regulus produced his own set of cards. While Snow didn't mind him joining in, there was something about it that Wind wasn't too excited about. She didn't want to hurt either Regulus's or Wind walker's feelings.

 

"How about we play one round of Fish, then you can teach me poker. What do you two think?" 

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