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Daring Do and the Great Desert Quest


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(please refer to the OOC thread before joining in!)




A.K. Yearling sat down in front of her typewriter with a steaming cup of tea nearby. It was midday and she knew she would be writing late into the night. An epic Daring Do adventure had taken shape in her fertile mind just a few days before and now she had a whole day and night to work! It had not been long since the khaki pegasus had finished the epic journey to the lands of the Great Desert in Saddle Arabia. Best to write while the memories were still fresh.


She paused to take a sip of tea. "MMmmmm, perfect." She set down the mug.


Plus having the memories fresh meant it would be easier to adapt and embellish where necessary. The readers of her novellas certainly expected the the regular twists and turns of a heroic quest!


Writing out the annals of her escapades was not her favorite endeavor but one that must be undertook. If she wanted to go on exotic explorations she had to have the bits to do so!


And so the pegasus leaned forward and began to type...


Daring Do and the Great Desert Quest...




The quaint and quiet town of Ponyville had its share of ups and downs. One never knew what might happen. From Ursa Majors to parasprites, to all manner of beasts the little town just seemed to attract the attention of unwanted visitors. A few days ago a strange rainbow had appeared near the edge of Sweet Apple Acres. At first the ponies had enjoyed the sight of the lovely, sparkling, color streak in the sky but then things changed. From the beautiful rainbow had come tiny cocoons. Each of these had attached the grass, twigs, and all manner of vegetation. Over night the cocoons had burst in a puff of colored dust and a beetle! Tiny myriad colored insects that were intent on being a nuisance to all around. So proficient in numbers that no manner of polite shooing or less polite shoving would budge the beasts.


They took Ponyville as their own in less than a day. Sitting on ponies and houses alike. Eating crops and flowers. Making the average every day task difficult at best. Something had to be done! There had to be some way to control the beetles before they destroyed the town! Our heroine had heard tale of these beetles as she quested through out the lands of Equestria. Having a need to adventure and a chance to once again prove her greatness, Daring Do entered Ponyville with beetle bullying on her mind!


She tried to trot down the sidewalk but found it difficult due to the amount of beetles everywhere. Looking from under the brim of her pith helmet that was protecting her head from the pests, Do spotted a pony moving on the other side of the street.


"This is super bad! How long have all these beetles been here?"

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The mornings were usually peaceful for those sleeping in their cosy beds...nothing was rarely a bother if those who were oblivious to them were dozing peacefully throughout it. Many in Ponyville could even manage to nap their way through many things, such as rampant running rabits, pinkie pie parties, or cascading cattle carry-ons. Indeed, the town was quite often peacefully asleep until the first cockadoodledoo of the day was heard...and as such, it was usually expected that the mornings were the quiet and cosy time for the ponies living there.


However, it seemed as though today was a little less than the norm in that regard!


Spike snorted awake as he felt something scuttling along his draconic snout - the lazy dragon instincts told him to ignore it initially, so he'd tried multiple times to roll over and get back to snoozing. However, this persistant something was joined with another which had seen fit to run up and down the tip of his tail, poking from underneath the warm blanket - he could almost swear that one was trying to climb over him beneath it too!


Slowly, an eye creaked open and he glanced at the small creature currently on his nose, looking back at him quizzically as if this was something unexpected for the small beetle that had taken up residence there - he blinks, raised an eyebrow curiously and tried flicking the beetle away, which only resulted in the insect buzzing into flight mode and landing quickly on his head, which served only to generate a sigh from the dragon. Welp, how was he ever expecting to sleep when the 3 insects of distraction were busy making sure that he wasn't going to get very far!


A thought strikes him, and thus he hops out of bed and shakes off the beetle on his tail, which led to it simply flying quickly over to owlywicious and perching on the the owls beak - the other one nestling on his head seemed to just cling tenaciously to the top of Spikes head without much of a care...as though it were determined to win it's point. Spike grumbled slightly, turning his bed over to tip out the one inside it that seemed to be attempting to take a nap of it's own - only to realise that there seemed to be more beetles all around the room, doing their own collective things...how long had these things BEEN here during the night and what, in fact, were they at all?


A solitary window had been open during the night - the weather had been pretty warm lately, and Spike had opened the window before hitting the hay in order to make sure the area was relatively cool during the night...that was the most likely explanation as to why they were even in here at all. Nothing like waking up in the morning and finding out that you might been partly responsible for tiny hordes of determined, multicolored insects currently trying to wriggle their way under the nearest door to escape further into the castle. 


Now that he was solidly awake, Spike sighs again and goes over to the door himself...brushing the clamouring insects aside as he opened the door - may as well get himself something to eat, right?

At least, that was the intent - any thoughts of breakfast disappeared as he saw the sight of even more insects scuttling around inside the castle hallway, making a nuisance of themselves!


" What in Equestria is even going on here?! " Spike uttered to himself, rubbing his eyes in slight disbelief. " Oooooh boy, this doesn't look good at all - Twi's not gonna like this much! "

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Applejack nearly broke her bedroom with a yawn, the rattling of her bedroom like that of a freight train running wild. Last night was uncomfortable for reasons she couldn't fathom and even as she had tossed and turned she couldn't put her hoof on it. Usually she got some nice and deep sleep but- well, sometimes you struck out and last night was one of 'em. The orchard had just capped off a busy time of year and she was ready for a bit of a relaxing harvest. Large sure- larger than usual even- but nothing was intensely time consuming. Ten hours of farm work a day was easy enough to do when you were used to twelve or fourteen! It was Applejack's idea of a vacation. The Apples were a notoriously hardworking core of ponies who rarely took days off. Applejack more than most represented this hardworking near theology and looked forward to it, and to that extent enjoyed some of the smaller workloads as well.


But a cornerstone of that was a good night's rest and for some reason it wasn't working out. Applejack awoke but felt her mane in strands and her eyes fluttered weakly. The only strong thing was the yawn which did its part in waking her up as she got out of bed and trudged fitfully to her dresser and vanity table. She got dressed and messed with her mane, eventually getting the ponytail back in as the subtle light of dawn. She had woken up a little later than usual as a result of whatever had given her such a poor night's rest. Normally she preferred to wake up before the sun rose so she could get a nice breakfast in before work but she guessed today was not going to be one of those days. A light breeze rolled in pleasantly on her coat from the open window nearby and she took a deep breath that quickly turned into another long, earth shaking yawn as Applejack started to fight off the last remnants of her doldrums. She-


“HACKAGACK!” Applejack felt her entire throat nearly cave in to a mighty cough as something flew in, her eyes bulging out momentarily in panic. Her hacking was enough to send the intruder out of her gasping mouth. Her eyes refocused and saw a beetle the likes of which she had never seen before fluttering away from her and out of the window. “What the...” Applejack mumbled angrily as she got up and followed the critter. As she approached the window two more smacked into it, a few more started to fly around it (one back into her room, which fell back after a quick swipe), and...”oh my Celestia...for LAND'S SAKES!” Applejack bellowed as she looked out. She couldn't compherend what she was seeing. Swarm upon swarm of these strange beetles were all over the orchard! Trees were being consumed in black as apples were split in half by the voracious creatures. Applejack stood in silence for a second- all this work, all the legacy, was being broken. Sweet Apple Acres always rebounded but every drop of apple juice that dripped from broken apples may as well be her own blood. And no way no how was that going to stand!


Applejack charged into the hallway, yelling- “THE ORCHARD IS UNDER ATTACK!”- as she kicked Granny Smith's door- “GET UP!”- Apple Bloom's- “NO TIME TA WASTE! THA ORCHARD IS BEING EATEN BY BEETLES!”- and finally her big brother's door, which she kicked so hard it almost came off the hinges.”Big Mac! Tha orchard's bein' overrun by some nasty lookin' beetles!” she picked up his work collar and threw it towards him absentmindedly. They needed all hooves on deck for this and by hook or crook they were going to teach the scuttling horrors of this orld that the worst thing you could do was anger an Apple. Applejack charged down the stairs as Winona started barking ferociously, the blur of a dog running to and fro cross the living room chasing beetles. They knew to fear her teeth and started flying out, Winona doing her due diligence...all the way into crashing into the window and falling down. Applejack ran over and picked her up, setting her on all fours. Winona wobbled for a second and then regained her composure. “Yeah, who's a good girl?” BARK! “C'mon, we've got some land ta clear! Lead the way Winona!”






One Hour Later...

Twilight woke up in a blur of tri-magical exfoliation, an all-night experimental spell seemingly working like a charm. She had been working on a way to ease the magical diffuse that came with the still active aetheral connections of dead skin tissue as it was being replaced. It acted as a mini-blocker and was partially responsible for magical fatigue and exhaustion as a unicorn needed to expend slightly more magical energy to cast the same spell. A spell that was almost entirely second nature to a pony such as basic telekinesis was less of a concern since it never grew to be a large expenditure of energy- a pony naturally got rid of the blockers over time. It was not a concern that was so sire to effect a whole subsect of Equestrians by the nature of their species, either- earth ponies and pegasi likely had similar issues, and Twilight's basic prototype spell could be modified to work on all of them. She had decided simply to focus her efforts around her forehead and her horn as a natural byproduct of her own experiences.


Of course she needed to operate in a closed environment. Close to her chambers was a small and private lab setting where she could test her various spells and hypothesis without endangering anypony. It wasn't on any map of the castle either and small elements of communication and mapworks allowed it to operate as a sort of panic room. Most importantly it was magically shielded and soundproof. A window was present but camouflaged to look like any other piece of the wall from the outside when closed which it was. It was a perfect environment for her research to go off without a hitch and as he woke up she was excited to feel like it had come together well. It had been a simple combination of spells with a binding and molting effect to sharpen and reduce the spell's effects and reduce the possibility of nasty side affects. All in all it seemed fine- her forehead felt like it had been exfoliated. That was simple, but the blocking effect of dead aetheral connections could linger.


The real success came after she hooked her horn up and cast a basic detection spell. Her spell had worked- the dead aetheral connections that blocked magical use and could cause issues in accumulations had vanished almost entirely, reducing the noticeable effect by over ninety six percent. Not perfect at all but it was a huge leap forward. If she could perfect it and then standardize it, she could help make a huge quality of life spell. Ponies in the REA or who used their spells- repetitive for small spells or several times close together for larger ones- for work faced this issue harshly. This spell could help their lives out tremendously, and it only took six weeks of intense study to get it all to fit together and another three weeks to master the process. Lots of work left to do to simplify it and perfect it, but Twilight wrote down her findings and unattached herself from her machines excitedly. Today was bound to be a great day!


She opened the door that went from her lab to the bedroom of her castle, excited to share her findings with Spike. He may not be a unicorn with magic but he was a dragon with the abilities of the world's greatest assistant and best baby dragon ever. Not a bad swap! “Spike! Spike! It reallt worked! You won't believe...” well, this was unexpected. Twilight trailed off as she took in the growing chaotic situation inside. Beetles were getting oin through windows in great, almost scary quantities. “Spike...what in Star Swirl the Bearded's beard is happening?! Are these...beetles?!”

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Derpy hovered above Ponyville, readjusting her mail-mare hat before shaking a beetle from her mail bag. She watched as the beetle flew away and soon her gaze landed on the town below. Instead of the usual quiet mourning, ponies were in a panic as hordes of multicolored bugs flooded the streets, eating everything they could. It was like the parasprite invasion all over again! Geez Louise when did this happen? She admittedly woke up a bit early and wasn't paying much attention until now. Also that explains why her head was so ichy. She took off her hat and, sure enough, a cluster of beetles flew from atop her head.


But Derpy couldn't let a little invasion stop her from serving the good citizens of Ponyville. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor hordes of beetles stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. Back to work she goes!


Derpy landed near the sidewalk and started to put a few letters in a mailbox. However a group of beetles were huddled up inside. She attempted to slide the letters in but the beetles simply tossed them back outside. "Alright, you. Find another spot to nap!" Derpy peered inside the mailbox to see if they learned the error of their ways. Apparently not because they were fast asleep.


She thought for a moment before coming up with a brilliant idea. She pulled a muffin from her saddle bag and sat it on the ground near by. Sure enough, the beetles flew from the mail box and started munching on the sweet treat. Derpy quickly placed the letters in their rightful place. "Ha! Nothing will get in the way of Ponyville and it's mail."

After finishing their snack, the beetles returned to the mail box and the letters shot out, hitting the ground beside her hooves. Derpy's look of triumph melted into dejection. "Oh beans..."


"This is super bad! How long have all these beetles been here?"


Derpy's ear twitched and she looked behind her to see a mare with a funny hat. In fact, this pony looked awfully familiar. Like she's seen her somewhere before despite the fact that she doesn't seem to be a resident of Ponyville. Derpy gave her surroundings a once-over before shrugging. "I'm not sure. These little bugs sure are making things difficult around here though. Where did they even come from?"

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Fluttershy had awoken at first light, as was her habit, so that that she could set up breakfast for all of her animal friends.  As she hummed along with the song birds, she noticed the first of the colorful beetles in the garden outside the cottage.  "Well hello there!" she said the the insect, leaning in to get a closer look.  It wasn't a species she was familiar with, which was unusual, but she saw no reason to turn the beetle away.  "Would you care for something to eat?" she offered, politely. 


Several minutes later, she was regretting that offer.  One beetle had quickly become hundreds!  "Oh my!  Please, stop!" she asked a swarm that had invaded her pantry. Most of the animals and birds had fled, but Angel was fighting a loosing tug-of-war over a carrot with another part of the swarm.  Fluttershy was getting increasingly frantic, because the beetles would not listen to her!  This was just like the parasprites! 


The parasprites!  Thinking of the previous invasion Ponyville had suffered, Fluttershy knew where she had to go.  With a flap of her wings, she scooped up Angel, and began flying out the door and toward Twilight's castle.  Angel reached out a paw in distress as he was pulled away from the carrot, which the beetles promptly devoured.  "Don't worry, Angel Bunny," she soothed, though she was not feeling very certain herself.  "We just need to find the girls, and then we can figure out what's going on!"

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"No,, no, noooo!" Rarity cried as she frantically ran about Carousel Boutique with a broom well within her magic's grip, trying to brush innumerable insects off of her couture. "You pests simply must leave! Carousel Boutique is no place for such awful, ugly creatures!"


They were large beetles and they were countless in number and they seemed to be swarming everywhere. Rarity couldn't help to keep them off of her work. She could barely keep them off of herself. Desperate, she stomped her hooves and whimpered. "Where did you horrible things even come from?" she started in a whine as she lost hope. There was no controlling this situation. She could only be thankful that these were beetles and not moths. if she acted quickly, she might be able to minimize the real damage done to her wares.


As she swept a clean path through the boutique, Rarity noticed Opalescence, stranded and terrified, balancing atop a dressform as beetles climbed ever toward her. "Oh, you poor dear..." she said, breathing in and grabbing the traumatized cat with her magic, removing a few beetles from off of her in the process. Opal safe on her back, she rushed toward the doorway. Only when she was on the other side did she exhale.


"Ew, ew, ew!" she cried as she shook several beetles off of herself. This was before she realized that they were everywhere on the outside too. Ponyville was besieged! Not even the Parasprites had been quite so very out of hand. Rarity knew instantly that she would need to get to her friends. Her eyes instinctively went to Twilight's castle. That was surely where they all would go in time of great crisis. If anyone could do something about this, after all, it was their own Princess Twilight Sparkle.


Working up the nerve, Rarity sprinted ahead toward the castle, not prepared to slow down for anyone. The sight of an unexpected but familiar mare in Ponyville altered her course, however. It was Daring Do, Rainbow's idol and adventurer extraordinaire. Though she wasn't one to gush as Rainbow and Twilight did, curiosity had seen Rarity read several of the charming books starring the pegasus, especially after Rarity and her friends happened to encounter the heroine and join her on an adventure in the Tenochtitlan Basin. She wasn't expecting to see Daring Do there in Ponyville, but there she was all the same, talking to Derpy, the local mail carrier.


"Miss Do?" Rarity started as she ran toward them. She wasn't sure if she would be remembered, but it didn't matter. "You wouldn't happen to know why all these icky, irksome insects are invading our fair town, would you?"


Rarity paused a moment, but as Opal grew restless on her back, swiping at the beetles that climbed onto Rarity with her claws, Rarity began to move her hooves again. "No, this isn't a place for discussion. I'm headed for Princess Twilight's castle. It will be safe there, and perhaps the princess will know what to do. You should come along so that we may discuss this awful crisis." She turned her head toward Derpy then. "And you are welcome to join us there as well, Miss Hooves, if you would like sanctuary from all of this. I am sure that the princess would understand and gladly accept everypony there."


The unicorn winced at the feel of more beetles crawling onto her legs. She stomped a little more and then began to resume her run toward the castle.

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Rainbow Dash was finally getting a decent night's sleep.  She'd gone to bed nice and early last night, and was planning to stay asleep nice and late... after so many night shifts on the weather team, plus the Wonderbolt Reserve practices, having a free night to herself was a real luxury.  She sprawled over the bed, dreaming pleasant little dreams of leading the Wonderbolts on a magnificent synchronized flight over enemy Carribou lines, lending her speed to them in a proper V-formation, the cracking retorts of a dozen simultaneous sonic rainbooms rippling across the battlefield, shattering all the weapons and bringing peace without a single bruise ...

A tiny beam of light shone down from above and lit upon her eyelid.  Her smile turned to a frown as her blue hoof came up to brush uselessly at the sunlight, and she let out a little mumbly groan of protest.  Then she'd shifted enough that the light was no longer shining onto her face, and she settled down contentedly once more.

A second beam of light hit her face, and the scene was repeated, with perhaps more protesting.  Then a third beam of light shone down on her face, and one on her wing, and several more all over her bed.  Grumbling, Dash finally cracked open one eye to peer up at her roof and wall, which for some reason were starting to resemble Swiss cheese more than a nice and properly packed cloud structure.  "Now what?" she mumbled.  From the angle of the light she judged it to be morning, but not too far into morning.  She'd barely gotten 9 hours so far!

She groaned and sat up, her rainbow mane tousled and rumpled, and her eyes still baggy and full of sleep. She scratched at one wing and worked moisture into her dry mouth as she stared up uncomprehendingly at the ceiling, then groaned and shook her head, floating up out of bed so her blanket slipped away, and making her slow and unsteady way out the window and up to the roof to see what was up.

On the roof were a host of little multicolored beetles, shimmering in the sunlight.  She did rather like the accent to her home, but ... she watched as one lazy beetle stuck its long and slender leg into the cloud making up her home and spun it around, then pulled up another tuft of cloud around it, starting to munch on the fluffy spun cloud as if it were cotton candy.

"Hey!" Dash shouted, suddenly fully awake to what was going on.  "Hey, that's not food!  That's my house!  Shoo, shoo!"  She flew up to the beetles and waved her hooves at them, which scattered them for a moment, but they just settled down to start munching again.  "What the hay?  No, I said go away!"  More flailing just resulted in another re-settlement of the rainbow swath of beetles.

Dash growled and tilted her head to the side.  "Oh, that's how you want to play it, huh?  Fine, then!"  She gritted her teeth and started flying in fast little circles, creating a neat and tidy little tornado to suck up the shimmering beetles in.  The tornado shifted through all the colors of the rainbow, glinting like it was made of sequins as the beetles caught the sunlight while tumbling around.  Dash tilted the mouth of the tornado to spit the beetles out towards the Everfree Forest, where she was sure they had come from originally.

Halfway to the forest, the beetles let out their wings and stopped their free fall tumble, turning back towards the pegasus pony and her house.  They rolled up imaginary little sleeves, tied on little bibs, and started to get *serious* about breakfast, spreading out into a broad cloud of beetles that swarmed back towards the cloud house.

"HEY!" Dash said, stopping her spin to see all the beetles heading right back towards her.  "Don't make me get tough!  I'm warning you!"  She shook her hoof at the beetles, then let out a squawk of indignation as they swarmed into her house.  She followed after, grabbing beetles and stuffing them under upturned glasses and bowls and buckets - a futile gesture as they promptly ate their way out through the cloud tables she had 'trapped' them on top of.

Then she saw it.  The beetles were approaching her bookshelves.

"HEY!  You stay away from those!  Those are FIRST EDITIONS!  I only need one more book for the full set!  HEY!  That's not food, that's DARING DO, the most-!  HEY!"  Her flailing hooves and shouted words did nothing to dissuade the beetles, and she grabbed up all that great stack of books and backed away from the approaching beetles.  "Hey!  HEY!  You stay away!  I'll ... I'll ... !"

Dash swallowed nervously.  What was she going to do?  She'd ... she'd ... she'd take them to Twilight!  Surely Twilight had spelled her library to keep bitey little pests out!  Especially after the last several times!  With a cry of panic, she fled out the window and abandoned her house to the voracious little beasts, clutching the books desperately and zooming away as fast as she could with the load, a small cloud of hungry beetles following along afterwards.  "Auuuuuuuugh!"

She'd have flown straight to the castle except that her wary flyer's eye was drawn to the unmistakable silhouette and pith hat of her greatest hero.  She couldn't be seen fleeing in terror form a bunch of BUGS by Daring Do herself!  She arrowed in towards Rarity, Derpy, and Daring Do, and released her load of books with a cry of "Rarity!  CATCH!"  Then she started into her tornado trick, again, the micro-tornado sucking all the beetles off of her friends and capturing the cloud following her, flinging them off into the distance once more.  Dash could only hope they'd be distracted long enough.

She came for a landing in front of her now beetle-free friends, her eyes a little wild and her mane still a disheveled mess.  "Hi!  Sorry!  Wow, hi, Daring Do!  Um.  I wouldn't have run except I'm trying to get my books to safety!  Thanks, Rarity!  They're my first editions!  I can't lose those!  We gotta get to the castle, I'll keep the beetles off of you gals if you all will keep my books safe!"

Wait, wait, wait... there was a problem with that plan ... Derpy!  Derpy .. with her first editions?  "Derpy, you help me!  Daring, Rarity, you take the books!  Let's do this!"

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I'm not sure. These little bugs sure are making things difficult around here though. Where did they even come from?


Beetles, beetles everywhere! No room for a pony to walk, or hardly even talk Do squinted as a beetle crawled from the brim of her hat across her nose. She twitched her muzzle and then exhaled sharply, sending the little creature flying to join his myriad friends.


"Wow! There seems to be more every second. this is a bad situation! We need to help this town! We need a plan..." Do responded to the mail carrier as she tried to think of what to do. Having so many of the insects around was making thinking quite difficult.


You wouldn't happen to know why all these icky, irksome insects are invading our fair town, would you?


Rarity came trotting up with her pet cat in tow. Before the adventurer could come up with an answer the unicorn continued.


I am sure that the princess would understand and gladly accept everypony there.


Well, it seemed like a logical place for everypony to head in a crisis. The princess might be able to shed some light on the subject. Do would be there to put plans into action when the time was right!


"Come on!" She spoke to the mail carrier. "She's right, we should start by seeing what Princess Twilight has to say about this infestation!"


Rarity!  CATCH!


In a swoop and swoosh Rainbow had cleared the beetles away form there near vicinity! Though it was more comfortable for the moment, the beetles began swarming soon enough. It was however, a welcome relief not to have them crawling all over!


Books came sailing through the air. Daring Do first addition novels at that! The pegasus' pen hoof started to ache as soon as she saw them. All those books did was remind her of countless hours at book signings...


Derpy, you help me!  Daring, Rarity, you take the books!  Let's do this!


Well, they were all heading to the same place, why not help Rainbow with her precious cargo? Do swooped up and managed to catch most of the books before they made it to Rarity. Who knew if the unicorn had even been ready to catch them! Still, the sky blue pegasus was in a hurry and they should be too! This situation would fast become dire. They had to figure out how to get all these beetles out!


"Sounds like a good plan! To the castle!"


Daring Do flew through the air like a shot in front of Rarity and Derpy, clearing the way of beetles with the wind from her wing strokes. Her front hooves were full of books but it didn't slow her down much.


"Let's find the princess and get this crisis back under control!"


It wasn't long before Princess Twilight's castle loomed before them, shrouded in clouds of rainbow hued beetles. There were many ponies trying to gain audience with Twilight. Do shot through the crowd and up near the balcony where she shouted.


"Princess Twilight! It's Daring Do! It looks like Ponyville could use some help!"


She hoped the Princess could hear her.




A.K. Yearling sat back for a moment and took a sip of tea. It was time to get all the main characters for this adventure together! This would be an epic tale indeed!


She took a deep breath and hunkered over her typewriter once more...


"Ok, time to get things moving!"


Clickety clickty tappety tap!...type writer noises filled the room.

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  • 3 weeks later...
“Spike! Spike! It reallt worked! You won't believe...” 


Well, that certainly confirmed Twilight was awake - Spike was about to call out his reply to the exclamation, but another rather bewildered callout from the Alicorn cut him short.  

“Spike...what in Star Swirl the Bearded's beard is happening?! Are these...beetles?!”


" I...THINK so. " Spike called back, having grabbed the closest beetle and taken a good look at it - the creature currently chewing on something that vaguely reminded spike of a page of a comi-...


Oh no.


" HEY, NO NO NO! " the dragon reacts as he looks over at his collection of comics nearby, currently swarming with rather hungry, buzzing insects taking rather decent sized nibbles at various issues - he'd worked hard on collecting these, and was certainly not going to just stand idly by whilst his beloved fiction was eaten in front of his eyes. Grabbing a nearby broom and donning a steel bucket on his head, he turns his attention to the creeping, crawling pile of hungry, hungry beetles and gave his most fierce expression, still somewhat failing to really achieve it since being a baby dragon and all.


" BACK, GET AWAY FROM MY COMICS! " Spike yells at the rather ignorant and unlistening pile of insects, waving the broom and swishing it in their direction menacingly. " MINE - you can't have 'em for lunch! "

Of course, they completely had no intention of listening - a few of the comics he'd collected were sadly already reduced rather neatly to shreds and tatters in an impressively short amount of time - This whole incident, to spike, felt JUST like the parasprites disaster all over again...only these guys weren't nearly as cute as those small eatin' machines! 



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There was a sound of what could only be exploding Earth from the direction of Sweet Apple Acres' closest entrance into the town.. It seemed to bleed into the very center of town, probably owing to Ponyville's lifeblood being Sweet Apple Acres for decades. Rarely had it in been the scene of such a panicked Apple mare making her way to the heart of town with such abandon. Applejack went into town with her cart in tow, which would normally be full of apples. This time it was occupied by an overly large burlap sack which was writhing and squirming under its restraints. A few small holes were appearing and indeed growing, the work of Apple Bloom being to keep it under control as much as possible with several blankets and other heavy fabrics being quickly stuffed in. The plan wasn't going to work for long but nothing would- Applejack was acutely aware of this fact as despite the best efforts of her family she had witnessed these critters overrun Sweet Apple Acres.

Applejack stopped in her tracks, coming to a skidding halt as she looked at the town. These beetles had gotten everywhere! She had hoped that it had only been her farm. Then she could mobilize the town to go ahead and clear the Orchard tree by tree, but that flight of fancy was thoroughly squished under the rainbow flag of beetledom. She could see her friends starting clump up, including a guest star in Miss A.K. “I Lead a Daring Life” Yearling and Derpy. What was Yearling doing here? Rarity looked...frazzled, but better than Applejack had thought she'd be. The beetles must have interrupted Rainbow Dash from one of her naps or maybe she hadn't gotten her required twelve hours sleep to start off, but either way her mane was off. Applejack could spot small details like that but she didn't need that skill to see Fluttershy alll out of whack. The entire town of Ponyville was under siege it seemed and nopony was safe. “Apple Bloom, get back ta tha orchard. Big Mac and Winona'll need ya,” Applejack whispered close to her sister as she bucked a small swarm of the beetles who were trying to get out of a hole back into the bag. Apple Bloom snapped off a quick salute and charged back and Applejack attached the cart back onto herself and approached her friends.

“Ah guess it ain't no better in town!” Applejack said with a sincere air of despair. It would have been terrible enough to imagine her home as a target of an overwhelming infestation. It was infinitely worse imagining that the entirety of the town was coming under the unceasing assault of these uncaring and capricious buggers. “Sweet Apple Acres is overrun with these critters. We've been battlin' them for an hour and ain't makin' a lick of headway,” Applejack breathlessly explained as the group started to move faster and faster towards the castle. That was a good idea- it was the only place in the town that could possibly offer a solution to this problem. Applejack started to beat the ground beside her friends, her cart cracking and finally breaking under the strain as another covering of beetles underneath the cart finally snapped it. Applejack winced and continued running- they had a Princess to rope in.




Twilight couldn't believe what she was seeing. Well, she could. She could believe just about anything nowadays. Ponies came to her seeking all sorts of knowledge and she was more than willing to ably answer their calls for intelligent sustenance but this was nearly beyond her. All manner of buggery evaded her- she was no entomologist. But she had read a great deal about those insects and creatures which had caused great effect in Equestria such as parasprites and could conclude based simply on her own experiences and research that this new invader could not be native. Something this voracious would have been notable at some point, right? The only flaw in her logic was that the parasprites were once unknown as well. Hopefully Ponyville would not be part of putting two such species on the map.


She shook herself free of her thoughts as the beetles took to trying to destroy Spike's comic collection. She wondered why he would put them there and not in the air-and-stain resistant holding area she had helped make for him to help store his comics in perfect condition, but she figured that he was just a baby dragon who made baby dragon mistakes. He tried to fend them off with a broom and bucket, but that failed and some comics were quickly reduced to shreds. Comics were not the only target- linens were vanishing before her eyes and books. Her books, wait, what?! A small swarm picked up “Grazing Habits of Nomadic Unyasans” spun it on its axis, and in a vortex of fury devoured everything except the binding. She'd only read it two times- there was still some valuable information to be gleaned! Did these beasts have no respect for the sanctity of knowledge?

“No! No more of this!” Twilight seethed as her horn lit up and her eyes grew bright. Like a catalog of infamy she ran stark naked across the stars of potential, seeking out the proper spell amidst the vastness of her knowledge and capacity. She found it and let out small tendrils of aether-infused air that seeked out the beetles one by one, each beetle getting blown back and redirected outside. Some tried to hang on to book cases and pieces of furniture only to be pulled beetle-screaming out of the palace one by one. The currents of air then formed a wall around the castle, criss-crossing each other and creating a near impenetrable wall of aether-air. To a pony it would seem like a light breeze, but to the beetles it may as well be a hurricane. Twilight's horn dimmed and her eyes returned to their natural state and she wobbled a bit, the spell not being one she was entirely familiar or great at using. With the din of thousands of flapping beetle wings gone, she could finally start to hear the gathering voices from outside as..>Daring Do appeared in her balcony? Well, judging by the way her voice echoed she was in the balcony. Twilight couldn't see her. It was a large castle.

Twilight teleported herself and Spike without warning to the location of the sound, zapping directly to where Daring was. “Oh no, the whole town? I was hoping it was just here!” Twilight said as she took flight out and saw what was happening. Wow. This was terrible! If this kept up the whole town might be in danger and she wasn't sure if she had the ability to cast her spell that was keeping the castle safe any further.

“Everypony come inside! You'll be safe there!” She yelled at the growing and panicking crowd, her horn lighting up and the doors to her castle thrown open.

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"And you are welcome to join us there as well, Miss Hooves, if you would like sanctuary from all of this. I am sure that the princess would understand and gladly accept everypony there."


Derpy glanced at Rarity. "It looked like mail was the last thing on everypony's mind right now so I suppose I'll take a day off until this whole beetle mess is fixed. But I probably should get this bag o' mail to safety before it gets all eaten and junk. Twilight's castle is bound to have some beetle proof storage thingies, right?" She shook her hoof at the beetles. "You won't eat the good pony's mail this day!"


Rainbow Dash soon approached and produced a mini tornado that sucked the beetles from her hair. Derpy grabbed her hat just before it was sent off into the distance and placed it back on her head.


Before she knew it, she was surrounded by Appleack, and Fluttershy as well. As Derpy glanced around the multicolored pile of doom, the sheer seriousness of the situation started to really sink in. While she listened to their conversations, It seemed like nopony knew where the hungry little bugs were coming from. All they knew was it sent Ponyville into total chaos and they had to stop it somehow.

Once everypony resolved to head to Twilight's castle, Derpy gave a dutiful nod and followed suit. But she soon skidded to a stop when she heard Rainbow Dash calling her name.


"Derpy, you help me!  Daring, Rarity, you take the books!  Let's do this!"


She did a 180 on her haunches until she faced Rainbow Dash and simply stared for a moment. Rainbow Dash needed her help? She usually just offered her assistance before ponies even knew they obviously needed it. But here's Dashie straight up asking for it! Derpy saluted and haphazardly tossed her bag of mail upon Fluttershy. "Take the mail to Twilight's and guard it with your life!" She shouted as they trotted away. "I'll stay here in the thick of it all. Don't worry about me. It's a sacrifice I must make for the good of all of Ponyville and all it's beautiful inhabitants! Except for the beetles of course. They're getting banned for misbehavior and very very big appetites! Not that big appetites will ban you from town. Just don't eat other ponies stuff and sleep in their mail boxes without permission." She spun on her hoof back towards Rainbow Dash. "When I threw a muffin down, all the beetles seemed to flock to it. Maybe If we dumped hundreds of muffins outside of Ponyville, they'll leave the town! At least until all the muffins are eaten..." She scratched her head and gave a sheepish grin. "Unless you have a better idea of course."

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"Oh dear, oh dear oh, dear!"  Fluttershy muttered she she winged toward Ponyville.  It appeared that the insect infestation was not only affecting her cottage, it was the whole town!  Ponies were running and flying in every direction, unsure of what to do.  "We just have to get to the castle..." she said to reassure Angel... and herself.  "I'm sure Twilight can..."  at that moment, a bright flash came from the crystal castle and more of the beetles came flying out!


"Eeeep!" Fluttershy squeaked as she had to fly evasively to dodge the flying bugs!  Angel Bunny took this opportunity to climb up onto the back of Fluttershy's neck, hanging on to her mane is if it were reins. 


The yellow pegasus paused after the wave of beetles had flown past, catching her breath.  It was then that she noticed several familiar figures below.  Rarity and Rainbow Dash were on the ground with Derpy, the mail mare and...  Daring Do??  She recognized the adventure mare / writer, but had never expected to see her in Ponyville.  Fluttershy descended toward her friends, and called out "Rarity!  Rainbow!  What's going... Eeeep!" She squeaked as Derpy suddenly threw her mailbags!  She grabbed the bags in her front hooves, loosing some altitude in her surprise.  However, she soon saw that Daring Do was powering through the bugs toward the castle, and fell in behind her.  She saw Twilight open the doors, and flew right for them. She flew immediately to Twilight, and asked her the question everypony was thinking.  "Twilight!  What are these beetles?  Where did they all come from?"  Then, as an after thought, she added, "Um, and here's your mail..."


Before Twilight could answer, she was suddenly bowled over by a pink blur that zoomed in through the door!  "TWILIGHT!"  Pinkie cried out as she came to a stop on top of the alicorn.  "You've gotta do something!  These nasty beetle... bug... thingies are eating everything in Sugar Cube Corner!"  The pink pony's mane appeared frazzled... moreso than usual at least, and she had a look of panic in her eyes.  "I tried everything to get rid of them!  The harmonica, the guitar, the xylophone, nothing worked!"  She stared down into Twilight's eyes.  "They even ignored the tuba, Twilight!  The tuba!!


Pinkie Pie then noticed the other pony nearby, and her tone suddenly changed to normal.  "Oh, hey Fluttershy!  Did you get a job as a mail pony??"

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  • 3 weeks later...

As Rarity stopped to speak with Daring and Derpy, suddenly she heard Rainbow Dash call out to her. She turned her head just quick enough to avoid being completely blindsided by a load of heavy books, catching them with her magic seconds before they collided with the side of her head.


"A little more warning next time, Rainbow dear!" she called out insistently, looking up into the sky.


It was clear that Rainbow was very much preoccupied, however. She collected the books into a neat stack and then gave a slow nod. The books were highly precious things to Rainbow, so Rarity was determined to treat them with the utmost care. Handling them made her conscious of how little of her own things she had brought with her from the boutique. it was only her darling Opalescence whom she had rescued. Her material belongings were at the mercy of those pests. The only solace she had was that her favorite fire ruby and other most valuable things were locked in chests for their protection and she very much doubted even these insatiable insects would work their way through that.


She began to run along with Daring Do, Fluttershy joining them after a few moments along with Derpy's mail bag. Soon the castle was in sight and after Daring spoke with her, Twilight was opening the Castle doors. Inside, Pinkie Pie popped up from out of seemingly nowhere. Rarity didn't question such things.


"What in the wide, wide world of Equestria is going on here?" Rarity asked, exasperated. She put Rainbow's precious books down inside the castle once she was safe on the other side of the door. "Those horrid things! suddenly, they were just everywhere..."


She set Opal down, and almost immediately the cat began to hiss loudly in the direction of the doors. "I do hope my family are safe. I can only imagine how frightened poor Sweetie must be..."

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  • 3 weeks later...
It was never too unusual to see all of the 6 ponies beneath the same roof and Spike was always usually pretty content when they were usually all congregated like the best friends they were...but todays particular events were certainly casting a rather damp blanket on Spikes feelings about things today, as he lamented the loss of some of his favourite all time comics amidst his collection, having come across a few pages of which that had been apparently either ignored or disregarded in favour of bigger targets - well, this was turning out to be a REAL good day.




Normally where Spike would be his usual crushing self when it came to Rarity's presence, therefore, he had opted instead to just sit on a nearby chair and gave a nonchalent sigh of defeat - fortunately, the chair seemed to not have been on the menu. He had only really just gotten most of these comic issues back after the destruction of the Library through painstakingly looking around nearby local sellers and markets himself...even going so far as to venturing into canterlot to recover a few that seemed to only circulate through that particular locations venders!


All of that gone, once more...a comic collection he seemed doomed to repeat losing over and over - why'd Life have t'be so unfair? 


Spike flopped back on the chair and sighed again - he was tired, comicless and just not in the happiest mood after all of these events - he'd be okay in a while, sure, but it was hard for the young dragon to take the fact that all that work had been entirely devoured right before his l'il draconic eyes!

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As the steadily enlarging group of ponies made their way to the safety of the castle, Rainbow Dash made several strafing runs past them, her swiftly flapping wings generating micro-tornado after micro-tornado to clear a path, to keep their flanks clear ... it was a hopeless task for the long term, but she didn't need a long term solution, she just needed to keep them safe for a few more minutes!

"Don't worry about getting rid of them, Derpy!  Just blow them away for now!  I promise no one will be upset with a little accidental damage today!  Or distract them with muffins, but I think the muffin shop is already full of beetles!"

She was about to tell Derpy to go get a storm cloud, but a glance upwards showed her that this idea was already far too late.  What few clouds were left in the sky were looking ragged and sagging in the air under the weight of the beetles, and even as she watched another one puffed into shreds and every scrap devoured.  

"Comon, Derpy!  Just a few more passes, and they'll be to the castle!"

There, the castle doors were opening!  But between the group and the castle was one final batch of beetles, piling up against the base of the shield surrounding the castle, scrabbling at it with tiny creepy beetly legs, as if trying to overwhelm the shield with sheer numbers.  They were a *wall* of beetles!  A chaotic mass of color, the invaders scrabbling over each other to try to reach the scared village ponies within, great sharp mandibles clacking, hissing menacingly in their beetle way, almost enough to overwhelm the skies themselves...

Dash lifted herself up higher into the air for the extra distance to get up momentum, then dove for the blockage, straining herself to pick up all the speed she could while pulling the wind along with her.  Just before hitting the shield, Dash pulled to the side and let the accumulated winds rush on to hit the wall of beetles, her wings giving a few quick and practiced flaps to turn the straight current into a wild flurry of stormwinds every-which-way, sending the beetles flying.

But she couldn't completely get rid of her momentum, and she flinched and lifted her hooves up as she plowed right into the last cluster of beetles, wings spread wide to catch them all, burying her utterly in the rainbow-colored bugs.  EWWWWW!  Her beetle-coated hoof reached up out of the piled mass.  "Go on without me!  Get to safety!  Don't let my sacrifice be in-"  her hoof touched against the shield and all the beetles were scrubbed clean of it.

...  "Oh."  She lightly trotted through the shield and was completely bug free.  "Nevermind!  I'm OK!"  She smiled brightly to Daring Do and Rarity as she flitted over to them, hovering in the air.  "Thanks, you two!  Knew I could trust you to catch them!"  And as Derpy returned, she smiled to the grey pegasus.  "And great work out there, Derpy!  Thanks for the help!  Good job keeping cool in the midst of danger, Fluttershy!"

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"Thanks, you two!  Knew I could trust you to catch them!"


Daring nodded to Rainbow Dash, a smile hovering on her features. Rainbow was a quick flier that was for sure!


"No prob! Those are important books," She allowed on more quick smile before her features went back to a business like intensity.


They had all made it into the castle. More ponies continued to flood in after the group and Do wondered if the whole town would be able to fit. Well, the whole town probably wouldn't be able to get there. Some just had to be trapped in their homes and else where by the terrible beetle plague! They had to do something! Well, she had to do something. She was Daring Do after all and a town in peril was right up her alley!


"Whew! We got in here just in time to think of a plan and I have just the plan in mind!" Do trotted up to where Twilight was, figuring the group would gather around. "I've heard tale, not quite a legend but almost. Anyway, there is supposedly a talisman in a temple in Saddle Arabia  that can control bugs. Bugs like these darn beetles!" Do glanced back outside the castle doors and the flowing masses of rainbow hued beetles teeming everywhere. "Anyway, since the tuba didn't work, I think we need to go for the talisman. I know it's kind of a long trip but I don't think there's a better way to clean things up than to get that talisman and use it to move these beetles!"


She glanced around. "So, I guess the question is...how do we get there?" She didn't leave time for the others to decide if it was a good idea. Of course it was a good idea. She wasn't the master of adventure for nothing!

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Applejack galloped hard and true with the group, abandoning the overstuffed cart in good time. The contents had by now become the masters of the cart, eating their way through the cloth trappings that had so ineffectively imprisoned them a short time ago. The beetles spilled over the carriage and into the world, joining their brethren in destroying the town. Applejack had no other choice, though- she had to get under that shield no matter what. Only then could she start to plan how to get these critters out of town and off of her farm. She galloped alongside her friends under the shield, feeling a brief sense of unnatural warmth roll over her in an uncomfortable sense before she was safe and sound behind the walls along with her friends. It was a good feeling and one she was sharing with an increasing number of ponies. Townsfolk from across the way started to stream in their ones, twos, and families. It only emphasized how quickly they needed to get it done.

Not that Twilight was slacking considerably in that regard, even as she tried to usher the great majority of townsfolk deeper into the castle. Guards and castle worksponies and servants joined them, trying to comfort the panicked masses. By the time her friends had arrived in their totality Twilight believed much of the town was already interred in the castle. That was comforting to a degree, though what was more comforting was Pinkie Pie tackling her out of the wildness of unknown space, where Twilight was starting to suspect Pinkie really lived. She rattled off all the things that didn't work, seeming shocked that one method of pest control didn't work on another set of pests. Well, that would have been an easy fix for the problem but Twilight hadn't counted on it.

She gently pulled the hyperactive ball of energy off of her, directing her attention to Fluttershy and receiving her mail. “Thank you for the mail...I guess...Fluttershy,” Twilight giggled, trying to imagine the possibilities of how she ended up with it. Well, Derpy was here and hadn't done it, so one mystery solved right off the bat. Neither ran nor sleet nor walls of nigh impenetrable beetle hordes could stop the Ponyville mail. “Too bad about the tuba. That would have been a simple method of controlling this problem. I hope we can solve this before Sugarcube Corner suffers any extensive damage. I guess we'll have to think out of the box- well even more than using tubas- on this one,” Twilight opined, wondering where they could be from and what they were exactly.

It turned out she needed to be thinking outside of Equestria instead of just out of the box. Saddle Arabian beetles? How could they have arrived In Ponyville? There were strict laws about bringing insects and animals from one country to another so the ecosystem wasn't harmed. Somepony must have broken them, brought some of the beetles home as pets. She'd have to go through documents to figure out who had been Saddle Arabia lately and narrow it from there. On a more important subject, they needed that talisman. Figured that some sort of artifact would be required to solve this issue, not just a simple spell or tool that they could replicate here. No, that'd be too simple and if Twilight had learned anything it was that Ponyville getting attacked by some sort of wildness couldn't be solved simply. What was it about this town that attracted such silliness? She was starting to think it was her. Needed to study it further, after she figured out who was to blame for this.

“Getting to Saddle Arabia isn't easy. Or at least not if we wanted to get there fast. Most methods involve balloons, airships, or a combination of methods often involving a train as well. The main issue is that while all of those methods work, none of them are fast enough. I can cast an endurance spell for a further shield to be in place for a further forty-eight hours before we go, but none of those methods would even get us to Saddle Arabia in that time span, let alone get back. If we leave for any longer than that, the town is absolutely doomed- well, doomed in terms of surviving as a physical structure and not as a metaphysical concept involving the survival of the townsponies since they should be just fine,” Twilight wondered before her mind wandered. Applejack, meanwhile, snapped to attention.

“What about one of those pedal craft? Y'know, those flying contraptions y'all use pedal power on? Ah'm sure thar's one in a museum or such not too far away, maybe even one of them REA ones” she added hopefully, looking over tha remains of the destroyed comics. “Shoot Spike, tha Fantastic Filly Flash number one? Shoulda told me ya had it. Was looking at getting Apple Bloom some comics for her birthday comin' up. Speaking of tha fillies-” she looked up at Rarity, “Sweetie Belle should be fine. She was stayin' over with Apple Bloom, have her in tha cellar. Things get bad tha others will join her. They've got enough food an' drink fer a month back there,” Applejack said to reassure her friend, more than confident in their ability to have this solved by then. Not that it showed in her face, which was flustered and red and beaten with signs of terrible worry.

“A pedal plane wouldn't be a terrible idea. Some pedal, some pull in the air, others use magic to power it instead of coal. Between the combination of abilities it wouldn't be impossible, but there aren't many around. I wonder where one could be...”

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  • 2 weeks later...



Derpy flapped her wings, clearing a path to the best of her ability. Her wings weren't nearly as strong as Dash's but the beetle's light body were still susceptible to her inferior gusts nonetheless. After what seemed like an eternity of burning wing muscles and a near heart attack for momentarily thinking Dashie wasn't gonna make it, they finally did it! Derpy leap through the shield with an overabundance of enthusiasm and crashed into the floor. When she stood to her hooves, she looked around. This was the first time she's been in the castle. It was gigantic! She'd probably get lost in here without a map. Heck, she'd get lost with a map. Everypony was here and Fluttershy was still loyally protecting the mail. Derpy trotted up to the mare after she handed Twilight her letters and saluted. "Thanks for keeping the mail safe, Fluttershy. I'll take it from here."


She took the mailbag and examined it for a minute. The villagers didn't seem like they were in a state to care much about their mail right now though. It was probably best to just keep it safe until this whole beetle mess got cleared up. She overheard the ponies discussing where to get a pedal plane, which would be the only thing fast enough to get to a Saddle Arabian amulet that would move the beetles out of Ponyville. Hmmm, she could've sworn she'd seen one before. That or she's imagining one right now and mistaking it as a memory. Applejack suggested one might be at a museum. "Do you think a museum would let us borrow their pedal plane?" She asked.

Before Derpy did anything else, she needed to put the mail somewhere safe. She trotted over to Spike to ask him where she could put the mail bag. But the little dragon didn't seem to be in the greatest mood. She slowed her trot and approached with a concerned expression. "Hi Spike. You got a pretty big frown on your face. You okay?"

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Fluttershy rushed over to Rarity as the white unicorn galloped in.  "Thank goodness you're all right!" Fluttershy gushed, hugging her friend.  Angel, still riding atop the pegasus, sneered down at Opal. 


After reassuring herself that Rarity was OK, Fluttershy moved to the edge of Twilight's shield, looking skyward in concern.  Rainbow was still up there, trying to keep the strange beetles away from the fleeing ponies.  Fluttershy watched nervously as Rainbow Dash dove toward a thick cluster of the airborne bugs.  She blew one batch away, but fell right into another!  She watched, feeling helpless as her friend fell. Then...!  Nothing.  Dash fell through the edge of the shield, instantly sweeping the bugs away from her wings. 


As the brash pegasus landed, she dismissed the danger, as usual.  Fluttershy approached her, anger showing in her normally timid eyes.  "Rainbow Dash!" she said curtly.  "Don't scare me like that!"  She then grabbed the prismatic pony in a hug. 


Once Fluttershy saw that all of her friends had arrived safely, she allowed herself to relax a bit, and turned her attention to other arrivals.  As more ponies arrived, they brought their pets with then.  Fluttershy moved around the area, soothing frightened animals.  When she saw her friends gathered around Daring Do, she reluctantly joined them  She knew that they would be called upon to stop these bugs, but she wasn't looking forward to it...

As Twilight pushed Pinkie off of her, the earth pony went into an exaggerated forward tumble.  She rolled out of it, coming to a stop on her hind hooves, her fore-hooves thrown in the air.  "Woo!  Stuck the dismount!" she crowed, before dropping back to all fours.  Turning back to Twilight, she gave the alicorn a quizzical look.  "Well of course we've got to think outside of the box, Twilight.  It would take a really really big box to hold all those bugs!"  She glanced out of one of crystalline windows, letting her worry show for an instant as she looked toward Sugar Cube Corner.  She really hoped Twilight was right... 


She cheered back up as she saw Rarity, AJ and Dashie all enter the castle, along with many of the townsponies.  Derpy followed closely behind Rainbow Dash, indicating that Fluttershy probably hadn't really gotten a mailpony job.  That was a silly idea anyway.  How could she be a mailpony and run her animal shelter?  Unless she got all the animals to deliver the mail...  She'd have to talk to the pegasus about that later.  She then noticed that one of the ponies in the castle was not from Ponyville at all, but was still very familiar.  "Oh Hi, Miss A.K. Daring Yearling Do!"  She said to the adventurer cheerfully.  "Normally I'd throw you a Welcome party, but we're having a... supply problem at the moment."


Pinkie got a twitch in her cheek, and turned to see Spike's forlorn face.  Gasping, she rushed to the young dragon's side.  "Oh no!" she wailed, picking up a tattered piece of colorful paper.  "Not the 'Power Ponies' issue 115 Silver Edition!"  She grabbed the little dragon by his cheeks, and said, "Don't you worry Spiky Wiky!  We will avenge your helpless comic books!"


The pink pony was a blur through the castle, stopping to check on or cheer up the ponies taking shelter there.  However, when she noticed all of her friends gathering together, she joined them for the strategy meeting.  She produced a hoofball helmet from somewhere, popped it on her head, then threw her forehooves over the backs of Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy in a huddle.  She nodded along as Daring and told then what she knew, and as Twilight did her egghead thing.  When the alicorn mused aloud where they could get air transportation, Pinkie exclaimed "Psshh, that's easy!"  She jumped into the middle of the ring of ponies, pulling off the helmet, revealing a pair of aviator goggles on her head.  She then grabbed Fluttershy by a hoof, pulling her toward one of the castle's many doors.  "I had 'er moved here when we were redecorating the castle!" she explained, opening the door to a big, open room. 


Inside, was a large framework, made up of candy-striped structural tubes.  The craft had two rotors, and places for six ponies to power it.  Painted on the side was the name 'Griffonchaser II.'  "Whadaya think?" she asked.


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Spike had kinda zoned out of the conversation a little...to be fair, he wasn't to be expected to be hanging on every word when a catastraphe of epic proportions had fallen upon him the likes of which many comic collecing ponies would sympathise with - or at the very least tell him he should have kept them a whole bunch more secure. Well, lesson learned - sure, it had cost him a years worth of collecting and effort, but sometimes that was one of the things needed to wake a dragon up to the harsh realities of being a comic collector!


Still, it was the voices of two ponies who finally snapped him out of this small moment of funk...both Pinkie Pie and Derpy had expressed their individual concerns in his direction, and that was just enough to drag the little draconic victim of comiccide out of his internal ponderings and back into the reality currently taking place around him. Considering that Pinkie had already moved on before he even had a chance to give the rapidly moving pink party pony a welcome, his due attention was thus given to the friendly mailmare instead.


" Oh, hey Derpy... " he manages to say as he forces a small attempt at a smile...doesn't really work though. " I, uh, had a small run in with those beetles - they pretty much ate most of my best comics...oddly enough they won't touch the one Twilight gave me about smartypants. " he comments, managing to at least crack a small joke. " Not sure who's taste that speaks about more though...Twi's or theirs. "

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  • 2 weeks later...

Rarity hugged Fluttershy tight. "And you as well, dear. It was truly a frightful scene out there," she said before turning back to the others.


She listened attentively as Daring Do began the discussion. Saddle Arabian beetles--what could those possibly being doing so far from home? Whatever the case, it was abundantly clear that they needed to do something about is as quickly as possible, lest Ponyville was doomed.


She gave a contented nod as Applejack looked to her and explained that Sweetie was with Apple Bloom safely in the cellar. "That's a relief to hear, darling. If things do get much worse, I only hope my parents find their way to a safe place as well..." Rarity muttered, a little ill at ease about it all.


The conversation turned to how they would get to Saddle Arabia. Applejack brought up the idea of a pedal plane, a plan which Twilight seemed keen to agree with, if they could find one. Derpy brought up that a museum might have one, but before that line of thought could be explored, suddenly Pinkie Pie defied all reasoning by unveiling her own pedal plan in the next room over. Rarity stared at the plane, stunned.


"Not to doubt your engineering skills, Pinkie darling, but can we really expect this strange contraption to take us all the way to Saddle Arabia? It hardly looks like the sort of thing which has passed very many safety examinations..." Rarity said awhile studying the machine.


She looked toward the others, unsure. "Perhaps Miss Hooves has the right idea instead. As it so happens, I know the curator to many of Canterlot's best museums, one of which I know does showcase a few flying machines. Perhaps if I were to ask nicely, she might be willing to let us borrow one for a while..."


Rarity could get a sense already before the words were out of her mouth that they were somehow foolish. There were too many uncertainties involved...and though Canterlot was close to Ponyville it would still take time to get there. As pressed for time as they were, it would be foolish not to go with the option right in front of them. Rarity took to pressing her hoof against the machine's frame, testing it for structural integrity, a worried expression on her face.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Rainbow Dash brushed at her pelt, trying to get rid of the feeling of all those creepy-crawlie legs.  Ew.  She grinned as Derpy landed next to her, the two pegasus ponies worn out from the brief fight, but victorious!  Sure, all those creepy little legs were icky, but that just added to the awesomeness of the fight!

"Nice work, Derpy!" Dash cried happily, giving her a solid, approving thump on the shoulder.  "That was one heck of a scramble!"  What a great day this was turning into!  Except for the Ponyville-in-the-process-of-getting-destroyed part.

The celebration was partially interrupted by a flying tackle courtesy of Fluttershy.  Dash could feel a few of her ribs creak at the fierce hug.  One hoof awkwardly patted at Fluttershy's back - the other was trapped.  "Ah ... there ... there ... I'm OK." she gasped out with what little breath she had.  When she was finally released, she gasped in air gratefully, and grinned at her oldest friend.  Silly Fluttershy.  Wow, the gal could out-muscle Applejack with the right motivation.

Then it was time to plan the grand adventure.  And the trip.  With ... some sort of goofy 100% Pinkie Pie flying device.  "Uhhhh..." Dash drew out her uncertainty with the contraption.  "It looks ... slow.  Different plan:  Daring Do and I fly to Saddle Arabia ourselves, it'll take us no time at all.  We'll get there, find the tomb with the bug-ulet, get through the traps, get captured by the local vizier, Daring Do will romance the captain of the guards to help us escape, I'll learn a valuable lesson about being able to accept that I can be awesome and yet still let myself have a soft side, and ... uh ... where was I going with this?  Oh, right.  Long story short, after the two of us finish fighting off the entire army of giant scorpions with just our hooves, we'll finally grab the amulet, get back here, and save the day.  It'll be quick, yeah?"

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  • 3 weeks later...



Long story short, after the two of us finish fighting off the entire army of giant scorpions with just our hooves, we'll finally grab the amulet, get back here, and save the day.  It'll be quick, yeah?


Do cast a sideways glance at Rainbow, quickly turning the idea over in her mind. She glanced at the flying contraption. It was true, it did look sorta slow. And silly. The mare raised an eyebrow. "Ok, I have to agree it doesn't look 'safe' exactly..." It wasn't the safety she was concerned about. The machine just didn't really have that look to give it the Daring Do stamp approval. It did have a cool name though.The problem was, Do knew it would take more than herself and Rainbow Dash to get this mission accomplished. There were just too many steps that needed to be taken. They would need backup, and these ponies had already shown they could be useful in such situations as those they were about to head into.


"You know, I'd usually agree with you Dash, but I think it's gonna take more than just two ponies to get this mission accomplished." She turned her attention Pinkie. "What's the top speed on this thing? We need to get to Saddle Arabia fast." Then she had an idea. "Princess? Anything you could do to this thing to get it into a faster flying gear?"

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 Twilight stood flabbergasted as she watched Pinkie pull a plane out of a room in her very own castle, the Princess wondering all the whole how it could have escaped her attention. She didn't doubt the power of Pinkie;s overwhelming randomness but ome things didn't just defy expectations and even reasonable thought, but the very definition of reality. She could swear that she had been in that room at least once a day and yet here was something so large that it defied any rational explanation. That had become so commonplace with Pinkie Pie though that she didn't even bat an eye after her initial shellshock wore off, chalking it up to Pinkie simply being Pinkie, an Equestria mystery no mare could ever solve. No matter what though, she was pleased something was here.

She looked at the plane, studying it intently. She was joined by Applejack, both of them tackling the problem from different angles. Applejack was a hooves on mare. She knew how these things worked but she was concerned more with how it felt. Twilight was a mechanic mentally and even though this was out of her field of expertise, a puzzle of levers and pedals and machines was no more complex than any other. Neither of them considered the innate silliness of the machine- Pinkie was Pinkie, and doubting her was sillier than any device she brought out. Applejack poked. Twilight prodded. And as everypony gave their opinions on the aircraft and it's feasibility, the two mares studied it until they reached their conclusion, nodding to one another.

“Alright...yeah, this ain't gonna get us nowhere near Saddle Arabia.”
“Not over those currents that straddle the seas, anyway. But that doesn't mean it can't help us!”
“It can get us all tha way 'cross Equestria. And thar is a small REA flight school for their 'bout half dozen pedal planes not far from tha very edge of Mustangia, near white calf bay. Ah've seen one 'fore an' Ah know it can handle winds somethin' fierce. Y'all only need one pony ta pedal it, an' it uses some sort of magical dohickey ta make oodles of power out of it.”
“I can get a letter sent there ahead of us to have it prepared. Applejack, once we're there, can you pedal that plane for us?”
“Sure can.”
“Good. We'll rotate. But until then, we'll use this. Pinkie Pie, you're the...umm, expert on this, I guess. Get us moving and let's do it fast- once we get out of this place, who knows how long we'll have until the beetles are all over us. Spike, take a letter- three, actually. One to the Mayor, one to Celestia, and one to that REA facility,” Twilight said as the two mares took their positions- or something similar- on the pedal plane. “Dear Mayor Mare, please...” Twilight continued, dictating her letters as they prepared to go.

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Spike nodded as Twilight asked the usual question - luckily, he had managed to salvage a slightly patchy roll of manuscript...although he'd still had to swat a lone chomping beetle of it away before being able to unroll and use it. After a few seconds of rolling some unusable scraps before something of relatively decent useability presented itself. For a quill, he had some stored away nearby in a vase, just in case of quill emergencies, which was something to thank past-spike for later! 


He After making sure he was prepared for the act of letterscribing, Spike then listens and scribbles down the message quicklys as they're dictated to him, taking extra care not to tear or rip the small holes that the beetle might have made...although the ink wasn't necessarily making it totally the easiest task in the world to accomplish. After finishing the letters and double checking for anything resembling a mistake, Spike rolled up the scroll and inhaled sharply before releasing the usual burst of green draconic magic that allowed instantaneous travel to its destinations.


" Aaand done! " spike announces cheerfully, just glad to have at least taken part in something that might help put an end to this once and for all. " I hope the princesses aren't having this problem, it'd be a nightmare! "
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