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Section 5 - Mountain Pass

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The Setting

Make sure you follow the sign! Well, usually. Sometimes there is a pony or two who like to switch the sign pointing to path ahead over to the path leading up the mountain side. Careful though, the path is very rocky right here, and a pony could easily trip and hurt themselves.

th_Kinoicon.jpg -Lampwick 'Flicker' Jane-

Phew! Lampwick's lungs felt like they were on fire! As the thought shot through her head, she took a cursory glance down at herself to make sure that she wasnt indeed, on fire. Relieved to rule that terrible option out, she decided that the next immenent threat was that her lungs might explode. Pretty sure that wasnt the case, Lampwick still thought it a good idea to take a break until she felt a little less likely to catch on fire, or explode from her exertion.

Puttering out fast along the increasingly rocky trail, she trotted up to an old rickety sign and leaned up against it. Lampwick liked old rickity things; she loved things that had the feeling of age and mystery about them. Sure, it was just a sign, but it felt like a little piece of home sticking out of the ground.

Phew- she had run hard that last stretch- all the ponies clustered up about with her; all the leaves falling throughout the forest, the wind and motion and life in the air as they stampeded through- it was just so exhilerating. Lampwick had never been an athletic pony, even though she had been a very mobile pony all her life; but for this day she thought she could really understand the excitement and joy that pegasi seemed to feel when gliding through the air. It was exhilirating.

She was pretty surprised she could keep up; but that wasnt going to happen without a rest- she knew she'd pushed herself harder than ever before, and the race wasnt even over. Her eyes were droopy, and her lungs tingled uncomfortably. Long deep breaths seemed to help calm her thudding heart- and it felt so good to shut her eyes and just let them rest...

Lampwick was soon asleep; dozing away against the old rickety signpost. As she leaned into it to let it support her weight, the little arm of the sign was pushed out to point down the trail branching off to the right.

Unknowingly, Lampwick had pointed the sign to the quicker and easier trail around the mountain side; the steeper old-trail path to the left wound up the mountain, and over it down the other side to meet up with the other path. It was a longer and harder path, but the view it offered was also breathtaking- from a vantage point that high up, a pony could see quite a bit of the race from above.

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Zephyr kept fighting the fatigue overcoming his body and legs as he gave chase to the griffon. He would catch up with her, he just had to. She could be seen in the distance, but Zephyr wasn't gaining on her very fast, if at all. He seemed to be falling further behind the griffon. The ends of his legs were starting to feel like stiff weights. Each time his hooves hit the ground, their momentary rest gave a split second relief. If only that relief could last. His wings were starting to call out. Flight was beginning to get very tempting.

The griffon was still within eye sight as the path started to become rocky. His tired legs fought with him even more against the harsh rocky ground. It was becoming harder to run and griffon wasn't showing any signs of slowing down. Inevitably, Zephyr began to slow down in response to the growing pulsating pain in his legs each time his hooves hit the rocky surface. He was going to lose the griffon at this pace. A choice had to be made quick. He was still tired from before and his legs were sore. If he flew... no, that would be cheating. He glanced around, side to side, and behind him. There were a few others around, some faster, some slower, all galloping toward the finish line. They would call him a cheater... It didn't matter, what was the chance he would ever see any of these ponies again? He wanted to catch up to the griffon, who had kicked up dirt at another pony. That wasn't very sportspony like... Then again, she wasn't a pony.

Though it would be frowned upon, even by himself from a racer's point of view, he kicked off the ground as he spread his wings, letting them do most of the work as he let his legs droop down to rest. The wind flowed through his mane, and his tail waved behind him. One pony gave him a nasty glare as he flew by her. At this speed, the griffon came up fast. It was such a relief for his legs to give them this rest. The griffon sure was giving it her all. She must really want to win this race, there was so much determination with each stride she gave. He zipped close and figured he'd better stop his flight. Doing that for too long and he may not qualify for a place at all, though not that it mattered much. Winning the race was never much of a goal... His legs sure felt to counter that thought though. As he landed into a gallop, his speed dropped considerably, but he was fast enough to stay next to the griffon. His legs immediately complained about the ordeal placed on them.

He decided to speak to the griffon beside him and get her attention.


What to say to a griffon the first time you meet one? How would a pony introduce themselves? Zephyr was no good at talking to others, especially introducing himself. The confusion and awkward feelings showed in his expression, but he was eager to at least get a response.

"Uh... lovely race we're having, it's a lot of fun, don't you think?" Bleh, that was no way to introduce oneself. Zephyr always seemed to second guess himself in these moments. The fact that he was talking to a creature he never spoke to before only made things worse.

((OOC: Okay, I had this post set up before hand, figured I've been first 4 times in a row, I couldn't kill the streak. :P ))

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Number 34, Klondike, stood on the path looking at something with an all too focused expression across his muzzle, his tongue sticking out in thought. After pouring a great amount of stamina into his gallop through the previous leg of the race, he had managed to emerge out of the Whitetail Woods visibly alone. There had been no pony in front of, or behind him as far as he could tell. Whether he had somehow managed to gallop past every pony or fallen horribly behind the rest of the herd was also something he was uncertain of.

The only thing he was certain of was that he had to make a decision.

“Hmm…” He throat-ed as he stared at the object in front of him.

It was a sign post. A wooden post with a plank of wood and an arrow drawn on it, all held together by a single rusted out nail. The painted arrow pointed down at the ground.

Klondike gingerly, but effortless, moved the plank of wood and moved it so the arrow pointed left, turning his gaze in the direction it pointed. He could see trees and the tip of a few mountains in the distance. He took his hoof off the wooden plank and it swilled back down, the arrow once again pointing to the ground.

He repeated the process but made the arrow point right this time. In the distance he could see nothing but trees as the path seemed to wine through them. He let go of the wooden plank and it once again swiveled to point to the ground.

“Well, that’s just shoddy craftsponyship right there. What pony builds something and only uses one nail to hold it all together?”

He looked left and right again as he weighed his options, and then stared back at the sign as a slight breeze caused the wooden plank to swivel a bit.

“If I had my satchel with me, I could fix this but…”

He looked at his bare back with a longing expression across his muzzle. He missed his tools, his jingling satchel. An orchestra to metallic sounds that announced his approach and accompanied him everywhere he went. He was starting to realize that without the constant jingling companionship of his tools, he felt naked. Well, he felt more naked that he already was, considering ponies hardly wore clothing on a daily basis.

He had left his tool filled satchel back at the starting line, as he assumed every pony had with their own belongings.

“Maybe I can still fix this. Just have to figure out which way is the correct way so no ponies get lost and injured as a result. But…”

He looked left and right again as he continued to weigh his options. His thoughts quickly turned into a stream of debates.

“Both paths have trees but one leads towards the mountain… But, the other one could too and just be a longer route than the other one… Or, both could just run near the mountain and skirt its base... But this part of the leg is called Mountain Pass… Does that mean it runs through the mountains or near it?”

Klondike began to look pleadingly at the sign, as if expecting it to tell him the correct answer. When the sign didn’t answer though, he simply let out a heavy sigh as his right ear twitched. An idea was forming.

Gingerly picking up his hoof again, he placed it on the wooden plank with the painted arrow and closed his eyes as he held his breath. He gave the sign a furious spin and let it spin a few times before slamming his hoof against it to stop it. Klondike opened his eyes, glistening with hope.

The arrow was now pointing to the sky above.

“Well, that was a dud…*SIGH*

He let go of the sign again so it could swivel back and point to the ground again. He would have to make a decision soon.

“Celestia forgive me… but the leg is called Mountain Pass and I see mountains to the left…”

He trotted off to the side and picked up a stick in his mouth and brought it over to the sign. He moved the arrow so that it pointed to the left and towards the mountains and positioned the stick under it so that it propped it in that position.

“There, I don’t need my tools when I’m this skilled!” Klondike began to trot away from the sign and towards the mountain. His right ear twitching the entire time as he began to hum.

He suddenly stopped, turned around, and walked towards the sign before kicking the stick from under it. The sign swiveled and pointed to the ground once more.

“If I’m wrong, then I’ll be responsible for somepony loosing the race, or worst, getting hurt. This way, it’s only me I’m responsible for and no pony else. Plus, if I don't find anymore signs, I can just turn back...”

His right ear still kept twitching as he began trotting up the left path and into his gallop, a smile formed on his face as he began to hum and sing something he had learned earlier that day.

Oh when I leave for the briny deep,

At the early morning bell!

I'll give a kiss to my lovely's cheek,

And I'll kiss her sister as well!

“Hehe, courtesy of Miss Droll.” He called out through the trees.

Klondike disappeared up the path, uncertain if he had chosen right or wrong, or if somepony else would follow him. Only time would tell.

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The look of exhaustion working its way onto Cat's face was unmistakable. One of the disadvantages to her height was the fact that she had to work her short legs twice as hard to even think about being able to keep up with the other racers, let alone beat them. Panting lighty, but not looking in any less of a good mood than she normally was, the little artist nodded to Rose with a grin. "Fun, fun.. hahh, yeah.. Inky's like that. Always the one to chicken out.. first chance he gets.."

With a burst of effort, Cat sped her gallop a little more seeing the change in terrain. Lovely Whitetail Wood had drastically changed in appearance, now a rough rocky landscape barren of many trees. Briefly she pondered how cool of a setting this would make for a dramatic painting, shook herself out of her thoughts, opened her mouth to respond to Rose, only finding nothing to come out other than a giggle as not one, but TWO racers ended up slamming into trees.

"Oof.. poor folks.." She panted, even through her goofy grin it was plain to see the sympathy in her eyes. "They'll be fine.. hahhhahh, I've had my fair share of crashin' into things in my time... whew.." The filly panted, a slight stumble in her step showed as she started to slow her pace. She was starting to lose her energy from this lengthy run, poor Cat had never been great with endurance. Nonetheless, she pushed onward, feeling great pride knowing that even as she was having fun with a dear friend, she was also doing her part for Equestria and helping turn the seasons.

"Ahh, man.. at this rate I dunno if I c'n keep up well much longer.." She wheezed, tongue drooping out of her agape maw as she panted and attempted once more to pick up the pace. "Ngh.. I sure as hay can try though!"

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When Mojo saw that tiny Appletini was being cared for and was safely on Carrot Fields, he gave a nicker of satisfaction before he galloped off and back into the race. He left so soon, he missed the shrunken mare's encounter with Granola Gracie, otherwise he would've stayed to explain that Appletini was NOT a toy.

Now the Paint stallion decided to make his move. He'd been holding back, trotting at a leisurely pace to conserve energy, but now, he excellerated his gait. His new friend Lyra was way ahead with the lead pack while his other new mare friend Shanna was lagging behind him. In his mind, Mojo wondered how to explain to her what had happened to her twin brother.

"Dash it all! How do I tell Shanna that her brother was now her sister?" the galloping Paint pony muttered. "Not exactly a cool, subtle way to do this. Should I wait and see if Hoss gets cured of the poison joke first? Marvy! If she becomes he again, then I won't have to tell that cute lady anything! I can spare her feelings! Groovy!"

Mojo was now approaching the foot of the mountain and the place where the Mountain Pass starts. The trail looked a bit narrow, plenty of room for racing participants but no room on either side for stopping. Once he entered the pass, the Paint stallion realized he'd have to keep galloping or risk getting trampled under hoof. Mojo focused on the ground immediately in front of him. Loose rocks or fallen tree limbs could trip him up in an instant, so he wanted to be very careful. He was now running along side Mobius and Stormsong and decided to 'break the ice' with them.

"This race is absolutely smashing, ain't it?"

If Mojo had looked far enough behind him, he would've spotted more of his friends....


Trapped within a pack of race contestants, the galloping Jubilee and Louise LaMare heard a voice above them, Looking up, they spotted a brownish colored mare calling down to them by name. It was Hoss, but now in a form unfamiliar to either of them.

"How do you know our names?" Jubilee shouted up towards her.

"We'd love to stop and chat with you miss, but we're trapped in this herd of ponies! Can't stop, step aside or fly up!" a panting Louise explained.

"Help us out of this jam and we'll gladly help you, whoever you are!"

Meanwhile, as the winged Granny Smith was still riding uncomfortably as a 'surprise' passenger in Diamond Tiara's Pegasus drawn chariot, back at the starting line bleachers, Starflower accepted the garlic from Madam Bistro as she stuck it under the passed out Saddlesore's nose with her unicorn magic, attempting to revive him.

"C'mon Saddlesore, wake up, please!" the light blue unicorn neighed as the blue stallion opened his eyes.

"That smell! That horrible smell! Get it away from me!"

"You're up! Thank goodness! How are you feeling?"

"I'm ANGRY! That crazy old Pegasus owes me twenty bits for testing that stupid piece of junk for him! I WANT MY MONEY!"

"Yep, he's back to normal alright," Starflower giggled. A short distance away, Misty Magic was touched by Snail's suggestion. This goofy looking foal seemed to truly care about her. The short yellow unicorn with purple mane looked up at the wide eyed youngster and smiled.

"That's a very good idea, Snails, thank you. I've struggled with my magic all my life. Sometimes I've done great things with my spells, sometimes, not so much."

Seated beside her, Professor Krashkop heard Saddlesore shout his name in anger.

"Ack! Dat is mein test subject! Pardon me, I must pay dat brave pony vhat I owe him!" the green colored Pegasus said as he rushed over to him.

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No! not even a face plant into a rock that's hard as heck could slow this pony down!

That or the other ponies he passed by were pacing themselves far better then he was, or got in much worse incidents.

putting these speculations aside he charged as quick as he could, looked back at his number to ensure it had not fallen off yet. pleased by the fact that his number still remained he faced forward again with a pleased look. Approaching opening in the tiger woods he looked into the distance, and the sun's shine off the white, glistening snow covered tops of the mountains gave a warm feeling of beauty and wonder. "wow...would you have a look at that....those mountains certainly make quite the view..."

This view made one-wing think back as to when he was a younger stallion, and how he once in a few times climbed mountains like these. searching for his mark, willingly marching heavily through the deep dark winds and bites of cold from the tops of the mountain.

as well as climbing rocky outcrops high above the ground. also the hectic feel of falling, and doing a long sky dives to return to the grounds. Despite most of these trips having been attempts for attaining his cutiemark, the beautiful views one would get at the tops were astounding, breathtaking and almost tear making, doing far more then making up for the long trip.

Thinking back at his much younger times, put a subtle smile on his face. He began looking forward to the path ahead, whether it was the short or long path it did not bother him much, he didn't think he was going to win anyways. so why not go through the rockiest, roughest way to get a gorgeous view over Euqestria?

"well no point in standing around here waiting, this is still a race after all."

One-wing began trotting again, and after some walking, as he approached the sign that determined which way to go, he stood there for a moment, looking at it, thinking about whether the right path lead to the mountains for the left. Being at a stalemate with himself, he was unable to pick a path. He turned, nervously, and asked the pony(or creature) which came trotting along; "Umm, pardon me, but which way do you think we are suppose to go?"

Not knowing any of the ponies at the race event all to well, one-wing did not know who to turn to amidst the confusion and speed of the race.

Even if he didn't get a response, he would simply take a random path, and hope it led to the place with the best view.

He gave an small smile to the pony which he had asked, hoping for a positive response.

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Survey barely recovered from crash as he blushed at the words of Klondike looking back at the mare, his eyes widend and sweating a bit, feeling very awkward about the situation. He peered up, gently pushing the mare of him and ran away. ''I-I'M SO S-S-SORRY!'' he yelled back, blushing brightly. He shook his head and bit his lip, closing his eyes, dashing as fast as he could and not paying attention to what was going on around him, bumping into several ponies again.

As he was running he was completely ignorant of the nearing sign, running straight into it. BAM! He stumbled back and holding his head, suprised about the fact that he ran away he sighed, still blushing. ''O-oh.. C-Celestia..'' he said to himself, looking up at the sign. ''I-i'll j-just s-sit h-here.. w-waiting f-for t-that m-mare.. i s-should.. a-apologize..'' he said, sitting on his flank next to the sign, trying to find the mare that crashed into him.

He got lost in thought and sighed again, grabbing the Puzzle Cube he had with him, using his magic to turn the sides. He always knew that it would be handy for the race, as he knew things would get akward atleast once during the race. He stuck a tongue out of his mouth, trying to match the sides of the little cube, fully focused on the colorful enigma. He looked up as the pegasus asked him something. ''O-o-oh.. s-sorry.. i d-don't... he said as politely as possible. ''I-i'm j-just.. w-waiting f-for s-somepony..''

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Carrot Fields was surprised the tiny orange farm filly knew his name, but he realized that he'd written it down for her, after all. Still, it made him a little warm in the face that she had made the effort. There'd been many ponies that had stopped at her table, after all. He smiled warmly has he carefully raised his hoof, not wanting her to fall off. "A-Aye! Too roit! Oi'm Carrot Fields!" Ach, Carrot, why're ye tellin' her yer name when she just called ye by it! Dumbtail!

Applejack however was singularly focused on her situation, already jumping up and down on his hoof. Before he could ask how he could help, another pony plucked her from his hoof thinking she was a toy of some kind. Looking up, he was about to say something, but was momentarily surprised that yet another familiar face had appeared, a brown earth filly with a green mane and her ... umm "pet". "Oye! Oi remember ye from th' marketplace! Ye're ummm ... Granola, roit?" He couldn't forget any filly that gave him the time of day, but seeing her was a surprise, he didn't recall spotting her before the race.

But he didn't have time for that - Applejack was jumping up and down, waving her forehooves wildly and yelling at the top of her little lungs, explaining her situation. It was Poison Joke! Carrot had heard of the mysterious magical plant that grew in the deepest, most wild parts of dark forests - he'd heard rumors of a Poison Joke outbreak here in Ponyville, as a matter of fact, shortly before he'd gotten here. He had never actually seen any, though, or directly witnessed their effects..until now. That made him think.. Oi wonder ... Oi wonder what would happen tae me if Oi e'er touched it?

That train of thought was broken by Granola's claim that she knew of a cure for the affliction. Carrot was going to let her go about that when the brown earth pony got awfully close to him, asking so sweetly for his assistance. Carrot blushed fiercely felt himself sweating, a goofy grin spreading across his face. Part of him wanted to bolt, feeling suddenly so shy about the situation. Bolting is what he had done on more than one occasion as a colt when a filly seemingly got affectionate - not that he wasn't interested, but just because he panicked, having no idea what to do. He wasn't a colt anymore, though, and he really wanted to help the neighbor filly out of the situation she found herself in.

Looking at Granola, who was smiling a few inches from his own face, Carrot nodded; feeling rather flushed at all the attention he seemed to be getting during this race. Nothing like this had EVER happened to him before! "Oi ... Oi'm roit willin' tae help, Lass. Gotta hie on, though, so if'n ... ah ... " Ach, Carrot ye still have nae gotten th' orange filly's name! Pointing down at Applejack, and felling rather foolish, but not knowing how to ask, he said "Umm ... the lil' lass here an' I gotta get roit back tae th' race!"

He hoped Lyra was alright! Hadn't he just sworn that he wouldn't leave her side for the rest of the race? But he couldn't have anticipated somepony needing his help even more! Hopefully she was well ahead, running along happily, and probably oblivious to his absence; after all there was a race to focus on! Still ... this only added to the urgency of the situation! All he wanted to do run the race, but how could he resist helping so many cute fillies?

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Breaker was so completely flustered by Shanna's attentions (not to mention their close call) he was even more oblivious than usual, compeltely ignorant of the hubbub around him, right down to the sizeable snake darting from underneath his hooves. He glanced over at her, trying to figure out how to point out that his mutterings about beauty certainly weren't limited to the scenery. The pace he was keeping was starting to take it's toll, though, and winded as he was, squeaking out the words between breaths certainly wouldn't have the affect he hoped they'd deliver.

His mind was drawn away quickly though, there was a small, confused cluster of ponies up ahead, breaking off in opposite directions. As he drew closer, he overheard a few of them arguing over which way was correct, but even more just pausing in confusion. Breaker thought back to the map he'd glanced over at the starting line, he remembered quite a few twists and turns in the latter half of the wood, though many had already passed, and taken out a few ponies who weren't quite watching their step in the process. He drew up to a stop in front of the sign for a moment, glancing around him and searching his memory.

"If'n I recallan right," he thought out loud, catching his breath for a moment. "De path be a circle, in a way... drawan back to Ponybille. We're eas' now..." With a glance up toward the sun, assessing his position for a moment, Breaker marched up to the sign and lifted the arrow to point west, to their left, and with a fierce stomp of his hoof, hammered the loose nail in to hold it in place. Several arguments ceased, seeing his decisive actions, but a few more got worse, with some ponies taking off in the opposite direction anyway. The remainder took off hot on Breaker's heels, but it wasn't long before the mass of hooves thundering by slowly but surely shook the sign back into disarray...

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Lyra couldn't help but feel happier after Carrot's pep-talk, especially his last assurance that "Oi was quite glad tae be able tae help such a lovely filly." Lyra had smiled at this and moved a little closer to him. "Aww, that's sweet of you Carrot!" she said, before giving him a quick nuzzle on the cheek.

As the pair ran on they were joined by Lyra's other new friend, Mojo.

"Hello again Lyra! Didn't get a chance to tell ya how great you were back at the bridge! You wouldn't believe me if I told ya all that I've been through to get here!"

"Oh, hey Mojo! Glad to see you caught up. Sorry I left you behind," she said sheepishly "but I didn't want to spend too much time out of the race. You'll have to tell me all about it. Oh, hold on a second." She looked ahead to see that they were nearly out of the woods. The path swerved ahead and was covered with roots, so she needed to pay attention here. Focusing on the bends before her she dodged around the tricky track, first left, then right, then left again. Soon she was clear of the forest and heading towards the next section of the race.

"Well, that's a relief, eh boys? Oh! That's right, I forgot to introduce you two! Carrot, this is Mojo and Mojo this is- Hey, where'd you go!?" Lyra skidded to a halt on the dusty trail. Looking back she couldn't she either of her stallion friends. Had she run too fast? She was only doing her normal reserved canter. Maybe they'd stopped for some reason? She waited a few moments to see if they would reappear, when she heard a voice from behind her.

"Umm, pardon me, but which way do you think we are suppose to go?"

[EDIT: Didn't see Buxy's post before I did this. Please assume this next part happened just before ^^:]

Looking back towards the path she saw a one-winged pegasus pony standing next to the sign post for the next section. "Oh, well, we went to the right last year. The sign post should point the correct way." she said, before stepping forward and actually seeing the sign pointed down to the ground. "Well that's no good. But I'm sure we're supposed to go right. That's where the trees are after all."

The aquamarine pony was about to move onto the right most path and continue or her way when a set of hoof prints caught her eye. They were leading up to the mountain. "Could somepony have gone up there? It looks so dangerous." she came back to look at the sign. "No, couldn't be." She moved back to the path. "But what if they changed the route?" Back to the sign. "But the trees are on the right." Back to the path. "But if somepony went up there they could be in trouble!" The sign. "But I have to continue the race!" The path. "But if I let somepony get hurt..." Lyra span in a circle, desperately trying to make a decision on what to do. Finally she came to a conclusion.

"Darn it Lyra, you're too nice for your own good!" she muttered to herself. "Well," she said to the pegasus "I think the path is to the right, but I need to go left because somepony might need help. Best of luck in the race." and with that she galloped off to the left path.

Then she came back. "Excuse me a moment." she used her magic to pick up a nearby stick and quickly wrote a message in the dirt:





"Okay, now off to help a pony in need!" she exclaimed, running back to the mountain path.

She didn't even notice when another green unicorn ran into the signpost and fell backwards onto her message. Now all scuffed up, the message simply read:


WENT LEF# ## #




Diamond nearly jumped our of her coat when an old green pegasus landed in her charriot, shaking it violently.

"Hey! What do you think you're doing you crazy old mare!?" she cried rudely, while her chauffeur tried to steady them.

"SUNDAY DRIVER! Who's flyin' this here contraption? And who's this foal sittin' back here with me?"

Oh no. thought Diamond. She's going to be one of those adults. Crazy and unreasonable. Just my luck. Out loud she said "Lady, you were the one who crashed in to me! You're old enough to know that you should watch where you're flying! I am Diamond Tiara, and I don't appreciate you intruding on time I could be using to watch the race or look for Applebloom!" Diamond eyed the old pony with anger in her eyes. Who did this old pony think she was? Diamond had certainly been told that she should respect her elders. The foal had taken this advice on board and then dismissed it. If her elders weren't going to respect her (as they should!) then why should she bother? At least Miss Cheerilee was nice to her. When she wasn't giving detention.

"As for who's flying this thing... he's totally not important."

"Gee, thanks."

"Quiet you. Now you've bothered me enough, so flap those wings of yours and go already." she said, already trying to find her other candy bar in her saddlebag.

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One-wing, slightly confused still, as always. He looked along both paths, thinking of which to take.

"well, the unicorn said to go right towards the trees. and that the mountain was on the left path...." he sighed slightly, "well im not going to win, so i might as well take the path with the best view!!" (that, and that and even unicorns need help from time to time, so it cant hurt if i go this way.)

He then began going along the left path, towards what he thought were the mountains. not because he didn't distrust, but because a noble samurai would rather die by a blade then a bulle- wait what does this have to do with anything? He went left for the view, and due to it being a more dangerous path he felt it in the good side of his nature to go this way, just in case.

walking along the left path, he looked upon the sky. He smiled as the wonderful clouds flew overhead, and the sun shine glimmered and shined brightly. "tis' been a while since we had a gorgeous day like today, hasn't it?...."

((occ: i might be overdoing it a bit on how pretty the day is. but then again, everyday is a wonderful day. just gotta take the time and....why...why do i ramble AWN like dis -yunoface-))

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Gilda's determination never faltered as she charged ahead rapidly. The time she had spent tripping up ponies and getting tripped up herself by the colorfully-maned unicorn had caused her to fall behind a little. A couple of the other ponies had pulled ahead of her, with the unicorn still at the front. She had stuck her tongue out mockingly as she passed Gilda again. That had made Gilda fuming mad. She now had two rainbow-manes she was going to prove her awesome speed to.

As Gilda was focusing all her attention on passing back up to the front of the pack, she was greeted by a familiar face. The green pegasus who had helped her with the hornets had just used his wings to fly up through the pack to join her. Gilda smirked. That was pretty hardcore. So much for him being a do-gooder. Even Gilda wasn't going to use her wings so flagrantly just to advance just yet. They were just for more strategic purposes. He landed at her side and proceeded to call out to her. What was with this guy?

"It's not bad, I suppose," Gilda answered the pegasus in a smug voice. "It'll be better once I've claimed my victory!"

Gilda continued to stare ahead as she ran. The terrain had turned mountainous as they entered the race's fourth leg. They had to pass a number of rocky cliffs and such along their way. Gilda spied one such precipice not too far off in the distance, at a part of the race where the path narrowed considerably. Atop it were an assortment of large rocks.

"Ah... I think I just got an idea as to hot to ruin these dweebs' day..." GIlda started, laughing to herself. "This should liven the race up!"

Nodding to the pegasus, GIlda took flight. She found her way quickly to the top of the cliff. Once there, she began to shove the large rocks into the pass below. She wasn't trying to crush the ponies with the rocks, though she wouldn't mind too much if she did. She just wanted to crush their spirits by blocking them off. If she obstructed the path of the ponies behind her, she wouldn't have to worry about more ponies passing her after all.

"Look out below!" Gilda called sarcastically as she snickered and shoved more rocks down off the cliff, thoroughly satisfied with her most fiendish act of foul play yet.

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Stormsong, having been completely distracted with the scenery of Whitetail Wood, had almost forgotten she was in a race, and it had definitely slipped her mind that she should have been moving faster than a walk. Up ahead, Stormsong could see two ponies, a brown pegasus with only one wing and a green unicorn who appeared to be taking a break, around a sign with an arrow pointing straight down. On the ground near the other unicorn, she could see the remains of a note, seemingly scuffed up by other passing ponies on their way to the finish line.





Looking around, Stormsong could see that the path split off to the left and the right. It seemed pretty obvious to her, from the note on the ground, that the real path went to the left, and whoever had written this note was making sure their friends knew about it. Her thoughts were solidified when she noticed that the one winged pegasus had already taken off down the left path, leaving the two unicorns behind. She was completely oblivious to what he had been saying, lost in her thoughts as she was about finishing the race so she could try to find Holly Dash again. So, she set off trotting along the left path, toward the mountain, confident that she might not be finishing in last place.

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His ear's twitched as he heard the rumble of the rocks, and the griffins shout. he looked about as to what the commotion was about. The second he saw the rocks tumble down the cliff, with a slightly cocky voice. he called out "ROCK SLIDE!" with a rather large grin. challenging the natural, or non natural occurrence he attempted to dodge the rocks. lacking a lot of stamina, he made up for it with quick movements. this of course didn't save his flank by much, he took a few rocks to his body, and right as he was about to clear the rock-slide a larger rock landed on his tail stopping him completely. luckily the majority of the rocks had finished falling, but he was now stuck, and had taken a lot of rocks to his working wing which shielded his bag. he laid down, in either pain or exhaustion. "i think...I'm...just gonna rest here for a bit...." and closed his eyes, with his tail still under the boulder. jokingly he murmured to himself "I'm getting to old for this..." despite only being a well aged stallion... He had been too cocky at the face of slight, and he pretty much got nailed for being so. figuratively(or literally) speaking.

((occ: if i am spaming, then id like to apologize. its just this rp is getting rather exciting. :grin: but please say if i Should tone it down a bit on the speed... :???: ))

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Shanna had blinked when the strange leaf creature spoke politely about the lovely day. "ummm ok, that means you are a safe creature right? Iyyyy think I'll just catch up with 'Breakah'.." Nervously she ran around the minty and red ponies watching the strange beast.

She sprinted quickly to catch back up with the tall stallion.. 'in TEN Seconds Flat!' like Rainbow Dash would say. She was entering the more rocky area without as many leaves marked on the race map she had seen before the race as "Mountain Pass".

She wasnt even sure he had noticed her lagging yet with those bushy dredlocks, so she had missed him hammering the arrow in -the wrong way.

She neighed to Breakah and anypony in earshot as she remembered something after following a short way toward the left. "Ummm, I was watching from above last year... Didnt' the trail go the other way last year?..."

Suddenly there was a rumble, and there was that griffon on the trail switchback above rolling rocks down on the road she would have been on had she not followed 'Breakah' "WHAT!? Is she crazy?!"

She neighed at Beach Breaker "I'll be RIGHT back!" She jumped into flight and in moments circled the crazy griffon well out of clawswipe range. "HAY! Are you nuts? You could hurt somepony! Not even Rainbow Dash did a stunt this dangerous last year!"


Meanwhile, among the non-racers...

Hoss thought for a moment "I'll be right there!" and set down the jet pack. He...she quickly wiped any bits of poison joke off her hoofs and tail with the bandages from her leg, and took off again, embarassed he looked even more like Shanna without that bandage on.

Hoss then flew up to get a view of where they were, spotting a walking mound of leaves in the shape of a pony. "I'll have to see if that's another victim of Poison Joke, but first..." she swung around and flew low above Louise and Jubilee, her sore leg held up out of reach "Jump and grab on!"


Madam Bistro smiled proudly at seeing the garlic worked right away "Only the finest ingredients."

Snails gave a goofy grin seeing Misty was cheering up somewhat "I'm sure you'll get it right eventually. That's what Mom says about my magic.."

To show off, he concentrated on making his horn glow, accompanied by sounds of a starter motor sputtering... "Getting there... almost..."

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So far, so good for Mojo. He was managing to stay focused on the road ahead and avoided potential pitfalls along the way. The Paint pony with the peace sign cutie mark was galloping forward now, enjoying his new quicker pace until he stopped at a fork in the road. The road sign was gone but he could make out a message left behind, apparently for him:





"What a bummer! Part of this writin's been rubbed out. Hmmmm. It WAS meant for me, I can see me name, and Carro could be the name of another pony. WENT LEF probably means WENT LEFT and REAL PAT, REAL PATH! Of course! The left way is the real path! And look, LOVE LYR, LOVE LYRA! That mare really LOVES ME! COMING, SWEET THING! YOUR MOJO'S ON THE MOVE!!!"

The instantly lovestruck stallion took off like a rocket down the left path. Now he was running on pure adrenaline, wanting to catch up to the mare who loves him! He leapt over fallen rocks as if he was dancing on clouds. he was determined that NOTHING would stand between him and his one true love, Lyra! As he glanced up ahead, he spotted One Wing who seemed to be stuck. At that moment, the dreamy minded Paint stallion came back to his senses.

"That pony needs me help! It's NEVER cool to miss an opportunity to help me fellow pony! Lyra, my love, you'll just have to wait."

Mojo came to stop near One Wing and proceeded to use his hind legs to kick at the large boulder that had landed on his tail.

"Hang in there, chum, I'll have ya out quicker than you can say 'Bob's your uncle!'"

It took several hard kicks for the boulder to move enough to release the older pony's tail.

"There ya are, pal. Name's Mojo, glad I could be of service!"


The still galloping Jubilee and Louise LaMare nodded at Hoss's words, quickly reaching up to grab the brown Pegasus mare's legs so they could be lifted out from the middle of the herd of hard charging ponies. When the winged mare sat them down to the side, the gratiful duo expressed their thanks.

"That was a great rescue, thanks, we owe you one!" Jubilee neighed.

"Thanks, and we do owe you one," added Louise. "How can we be of service to you?"

"Just name it, lady and we'll DO IT!"

Meanwhile, still aboard the air chariot, Granny Smith looked upset when she heard Diamond Tiara's words.

"Hay young foal! You need to learn respect fer yur elders! I got half a mind to turn ya over my knee and put some wood to yur flanks! I don't care so much for ya razzin' me, I'm old and I'm used to it, but to insult that nice driver feller steerin' this here thing! You really orta apologize to'm!"

Then Diamond Tiara ordered the lime green Pegasus to fly off.

"Be happy to leave! I don't wanna be wur I ain't welcome!" Granny Smith neighed as she began to flap her wings, only to watch them instantly vanish on the last flap. "HAY! What in tarnation's goin' on? Oh yeah. Guess them flyin' fillies were right about them wings disappearin' at any time. Looks like I'm stuck here, kiddo. Did you say my Applebloom was in this here race? I had a hunch she was here! Wur is she? Have ya seen her yet? I smell chocolate! How about givin' some to me? I ain't et nutin' since the prunes I had fer breakfast!"

Back at the starting line bleachers, Professor Krashkop paid Saddlesore the bits he had promised him.

"Are you sure you're alright enough to leave on your own?" Starflower asked the blue stallion.

"That's what I said, lady, gee, are those ears of yours PAINTED on? I'm outta here!" he grumbled before galloping away.

"Vhat an impolite pony!" the green colored Pegasus stallion snorted. "Dat dumkoff didn't even tank ya for all ya did for'm!"

"It's OK, Professor. I've known Saddlesore for a long time. If he DIDN'T act like this, I would KNOW something was wrong with him!" the taller light blue unicorn giggled. "Thanks again, Madam Bistro, for your assistance."

Snails was starting to make Misty feel better. She giggled a little watching the unicorn colt trying to activate his magic as sparks flew from his horn.

"You can do it, Snails! You're almost there! Keep trying!" the yellow unicorn mare cheered.

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Number 34, Klondike, having chosen to take the left path leading towards and up the mountain was still doing his best to keep a steady trot as he followed the winding path he had chosen. It was a harder path that was entirely uphill at this point and he was visibly winded. His spirits though, remained high. The extra exertion this particular path required was doing wonders for helping him to remain focused on the race. Although admittedly, he was most likely too spent to think of anything else. Still, the trees had become visibly scarce the longer he followed the path, so it was understandable that he was doubtful he had chosen correctly. His right ear hadn’t stopped twitching since the sign post.

“WELP! I think I may have caused myself the race. At least I didn’t leave that sign post pointing this way. Hopefully other ponies won’t follow my mistake.” Klondike halfheartedly muttered to himself as he continued up the path.

He paused for a minute as he looked up the path and up the mountain, he was closer to the top than he had imagined. He began to trot faster up the path intent on reaching the crest of this particular mountain in order to get his bearings. The winding path, with its patches of trees here and its outcrop of rocks there, had done a marvelous job to disorient him.

“Must *huff* keep *puff* moving… Almost *huff* there *puff*… Sweet Luna and Celestia *huff puff* just a bit more…”

Klondike finally made it to the top.

“Oh… Oh my…”

The view from that high up was breathtaking. He had never seen anything like that. As far as the eye could see, there was a sea of oranges, gold, reds, and browns below him. The tree tops yet to be cleared. He could now see the winding path that led down the mountain side and further into the tree line below him. It visibly joined another path and continued into the distance.

“Its… I…” Klondike was speechless with the sight before him. “I-I-I was right… This is the right path… But so was the other one! I-I took the scenic route!?”

Klondike kept looking ahead at the path down the mountain; it looked steep, rocky, and dangerous. But, at this point in time, he didn’t care. He was too taken back by the view and splendor of it all. He wanted to see more of it.

Quickly looking off to the sides, he spotted a rock that was jutting out over the side of the mountain he had just finished trotting up through. It was a higher view point than where he was currently standing and it would give him a perfect 360 degree view of everything. Going down the path on the other side of the mountain, he began to look for a way to climb it.

Klondike only walked a few feet down the slop and winding path before he finally found it, a small tree path marked the incline that led up to the jutting rock. But, before going up it, he looked around for something to write with.

Spotting a white piece of rock, he grabbed it and returned to the top of the mountain where he had stood but a few seconds ago and began to write on one of the faces of a rock.


Klondike placed the small piece of white natural chalk he had found on the ground and turned around to head back to the small tree and climb up to the jutting rock. He paused and picked up the chalk again as he added a small note to the previous one in smaller letters.

“-Courtesy of Klondike-“

Content, he dropped the chalk again and made his way to the path up the jutting rock and began to climb it. It didn’t take him long and soon enough he was viewing the grandest sight of all of Equestria. Equestria herself.

For the first time in his life, Klondike felt true jealousy towards his pony brethren.

“Why should Pegasus pony be the only ones to enjoy this on a daily basis?” Klondike thought to himself before quickly becoming disgusted with the feeling and himself, shaking his head to get rid of it. “No, that’s not fair Klondike… Being able to see this only after working so hard makes it so much more special. Shame on me…” Maybe having a clearer mind wasn’t always the best thing.

Turning around on the jutting rock so that he could see everything, he soon noticed the path he had just climbed up. The trees beyond it were almost bare, thanks to the efforts of everypony taking part in the race. Below him, he could see a few pastel colors following the same path he had taken up the mountain, a cloud of dust clearing as if something had fallen.

Klondike narrowed his eyes as he tried to get a better look. He could see a small herd of pastel ponies being led by a dark gray coated stallion with a colorful mane, a Pegasus arguing with a griffin, and a Unicorn as well. They were not much more than colorful pastel specs in the distance down the mountain, but big enough for Klondike to discern key features.

Laying down on his jutting rocky perch, Klondike decided to take a small break as he took in the wondrous sight in front of him.

“Looks like I may have some company soon. Hope they don't have trouble getting up here. That cloud of dust looks ominous.”

Klondike's tail began to flick from side to side as his right ear continued to twitch and he began to hum again. He would continue down the other path in a few minutes.

(OCC - Apologies for the horrendously long post. I may be enjoying this event a bit too much :geek: )

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Stormsong had been trotting along the path for a few minutes, when she heard a call from somewhere up ahead and above of "Look out below!" She stopped herself short, seeing the rock slide ahead of her, and cowered up against the side of the mountain, not even thinking to try magicking the rocks out of the way. As she put her hooves over her head for protection, Stormsong heard another shout from further along the path of "ROCK SLIDE!" from somepony else. Whoever it was, they were in quite a lot of danger, and while Storm would normally love to be of help, she couldn't bring herself to get up with the sound of moving stone still coming clearly to her.

There was some more shouting coming from above, so even though the sound of the rock slide had stopped, Storm kept her hooves firmly planted over her head. She heard the sound of hooves rushing by, accompanied by a shout of "That pony needs me help! It's NEVER cool to miss an opportunity to help me fellow pony! Lyra, my love, you'll just have to wait." Whoever this new arrival was, he must have been one of the intended recipients of the note that had been left back at the sign.

Expecting to be directly addressed by the stallion soon enough, Storm was surprised to hear his voice from further up the path saying "Hang in there, chum, I'll have ya out quicker than you can say 'Bob's your uncle!'" She peeked out from her hooves to see a brown and white stallion kicking at a boulder that had landed on the one winged pegasus' tail. After a few kicks, he had managed to move the boulder enough for the pegasus to get free, and said "There ya are, pal. Name's Mojo, glad I could be of service!"

Stormsong got up from where she had been cowering near the mountain, shaking all over from the excitement of the rock slide, and approached the other two ponies. They looked no worse off than she felt, but she still asked them "Oh my... are you two okay?" She glanced upward, looking for the source of the shouting voices she had heard earlier, saw only a lone pegasus flying around something, or someone, that Storm couldn't see from her vantage point on the ground.

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"HAY! Are you nuts? You could hurt somepony! Not even Rainbow Dash did a stunt this dangerous last year!"

Gilda looked up to see some pony predictably fly up to greet her. She seemed to recognize this pegasus from somewhere. Hadn't she called Gilda out for her cheating before or something? Maybe not. The lame ponies all seemed to look the same after a while.

"Got a problem with it, dweeb?" Gilda said, her haughty reply already prepared. "I gave them all a fair warning..."

Then the words the other spoke hit her and she felt the need to say more.

"Wait... Did you say Rainbow Dash?" Gilda stepped toward the pony, frowning in disapproval. "Don't tell me you're one of that flip-flopping slowpoke's loser friends?"

"I'm faster, smarter and cooler than that lame pony will ever be," said Gilda coldly and pointedly as she glared at the pegasus. "That's why I'm going to win this race!"

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After meeting yet another pony in the race, one Willow Wisp most recently in addition to two members of the locally famous Apple Family, Mobius had decided to pick up the pace. Socializing and taking it easy had seemingly landed him further back in the pack that he had intended, and as he recalled from what he saw of the race map, the mountain pass marked the start of the last half of the race. He still only sped up to a slow pace canter, but it was enough to catch up the ground he'd lost in all of the stops he'd made. The pale gold Pegasus had no idea that even more stops awaited him up ahead.

The first soon came into view in the form of two signs - one with an arrow and the other with a scuffed up message - that stood in front of some bushes at a fork in the road. Nearby the bushes sat a familiar face, the Pegasus chuckling as he slowed himself down to a trot while approaching. "Hey again, Survey. Everything alright?" he asked with a friendly smile as he came closer, giving a greeting nod to the pale green Unicorn before turning his attention to the two signs. Normally he would have followed the arrow like anypony, but the other sign seemed to have a relevant message. "Mojo, Carro. Went lef. Real pat. Love lyr," he read aloud, sounding it out at first before taking a closer look, his eyes squinting as he noticed a large amount of scuffed writing at the end of the center two lines, "Hmn... well that's odd... there had t' be somethin' else written here." As he spoke aloud to no one in particular, he put a hoof against the scuffed writing, as though that might somehow make things clearer. "No reason t' write all this if they wanted t' tell somepony t' go left. Hey, Survey, yer good with puzzles; think ya can help me figure out this message?"

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Holly stopped dead on her hooves, turning back. The crashing sounds of the earth alerting her to the actions that she had just buzzed pass. She looked up and saw the brown winged shape in the sky. That stupid griffon! She had challenged her so abruptly, and then ignored her? How dare she! She pawed the earth furiously, and turned around, giving up the spot she had unconsciously gained up near the front of the pack. She barelled back to where some ponies were gathered about where a rock slide had taken place. She looked up to where the rocks had fallen, and saw the griffin that had yowled at her earlier.

"Too busy cheating?!" She called up at the griffon, and her horn glowed brightly, and pushed on the griffon's wings with her magic, a sweat forming on her cheek from the effort, "afraid you won't win if you fight fair?! Lose the wings and quit cheating, squawky!!"

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As Granola and Carrot rushed into the now barren-looking forest, Applejack sat miserably waiting on them next to a hungry venus flytrap. In the past she has found herself in several strange predicaments and unforgettable situations with Rainbow Dash, but this one certainly takes the cake.

Precious snapped towards Applejack and she dodged his attack. "Hay! What'er think you doiong!?" She hadn't expected this kind of attack from a friendly pony's pet, but then again, Applejack probably wouldn't want to encounter Rarity's Opalescence with her current size either.

Precious wiggled back and forth to intimidate and made short barks with his petals to petrify. Applejack was angry and confused. "What does that mean?" Precious then snapped again, causing Applejack to dodge again. Applejack glared at Precious. "I'm gonna kill you!" Applejack tried to tame the venus flytrap, but it kept snapping at her and even jumped with pot and all towards her position, trying to eat her. Applejack wouldn't have anymore of this nonsense. She would then grab a rope with a lasso knot, seemingly out of nowhere, and begin twirling it in the air. "Grab a kazoo, Precious, let's have a duel. Now when I count three..."

Applejack began her little tiny circus with the venus flytrap unaware that anypony might be watching. "1. 2. 3!" Applejack shot her rope around the Precious and tied him up in several knots, keeping him immobile and less dangerous than before. "Heh, heh. Dressed up like a young apple tree. A young apple tree that can't snap at me, that is." Precious cried a pathetic whimper.


Completely unaware of Appletini's danger, Granola trots quickly with Carrot into the de-leaved forest where her shack was. Her shack wasn't that far off the trail. She opened the door for Carrot to what seemed to look like a glorified beaver dam, lodged in a ravine. It had plants of all kind all over and invited hummingbirds everywhere to vacation during the midday weather changes. "Come on in, Carrot! Welcome to my humble home."

Once inside, Granola started looking frantically everywhere for it. "Where is it? I can't find it!" The inside of Granola's hut was a mess if you didn't know where to look. Crazy contraptions and potions were located everywhere, and only Granola could make any sense out of it. This time, though, she was flustered. "Can you help me find it, Carrot? It's a clear bottle and the liquid is also clear, so you should see right through it." Granola then skidded across the hut looking for the bottle. At one point, Granola walked behind a bottle from Carrot's point of view, but Carrot could still see her.

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Douglas continued onward for the deep wooded area surrounding the Mountain pass. Glancing back at the Pegasus he helped and hoped it wouldn't be held against him if he want on without him. Slowly as the tree line at the mountain's base started to move closer Douglas could see a few ponies gathered at a fork in the road. An apparent faulty sign being the main cause of the hold up. Upon trotting to a stop Douglas looked over the ponies. One being a pale Gold Pegasus and the Other a lime green unicorn. "Hay! Did the sign fall loose?" Douglas asked, plopping onto his haunches a little ways from the sign to rest. He started to think about which way was the proper route to take. "So...any idea which way it originally pointed?"

He wondered if the left path was correct. Thinking that Ponyville was the finish so they'd have to work their way back around sooner or later. That would lead to the left being the proper path, except there were few trees and the right path held many trees. Thinking in a racing perspective, the left could probably be correct, but the race was only a side-goal. The real reason for the Running of the Leaves was the shake down the leaves, which meant they should probably take the right path since it held the most trees. Douglas lowered his head as he thought over the predicament. He felt he should voice his views on the path, but he wasn't entirely sure on which route to take. "Hm, I'm leaning right...but I'm not completely sure."

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"Too busy cheating?! Afraid you won't win if you fight fair?! Lose the wings and quit cheating, squawky!!"

Gilda looked down to see another pony calling up at her. She smiled when she realized it was that colorfully-maned unicorn from before who was shouting up at her. How wonderful. Did this pony not realize her hypocrisy?

"Says the pony who tried to trip me up earlier!" Gilda called down to her, scoffing. "You really think you can talk after that low blow you tried to pull earlier?"

Gilda laughed and shook her head. "This race is anything goes as far as I'm concerned."

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Mojo heard a lovely female voice and turned his head in that direction. When he did, his eyes bugged out at the sight of the elegant looking blue unicorn with the full note cutie mark.

"This must be me lucky day," the Paint stallion said to himself, "all these wonderful fillies I'm meeting! I should enter competitive races more often! But wait, Lyra loves me, can't betray her! Besides that, someone brought these blinkin' stones down on this trail on purpose and I think I know who it was!"

Mojo then smiled before he spoke, "I'm fine, miss, but I don't know about me pal here yet. He got his tail caught under one of these fallen rocks. Hope he's alright to continue racing. Name's Mojo, pardon me while I do some investigation."

Acting quickly, the hippie brony grabbed a round stone the size of a baseball in his mouth and set it carefully on the edge of a nearby tree stump. Then he turned his back on it and maneuvered his body slowly.

"Gotta aim this just right," he muttered as his hooves came to a stop. The Paint pony then reared back and kicked the stone with all his might, sending it straight up in the air until there was a loud, audible 'thump' that was followed by screams of pain and a few white feathers floating down towards them.



Now watching the action in the large, shimmering portal, Starflower and Misty Magic grew angry at Gilda's antics.

"How could she be so cruel?" Starflower growled.

"Griffins are not exactly renowned for their virtues," added Misty. "Oh my gosh! I forgot about Granny Smith! I hope she's alright."

The portal seemed to respond to Misty's words, fading in to show the elderly green mare now riding in an air chariot with Diamond Tiara.

"How in the name of Equestria did she end up THERE?"

"Don't know, but LOOK! Her wings are gone!"

"At least she seems to be ok. Perhaps she landed in that chariot before she lost her wings."

"It's good that she's safe. I still don't know how I did that. I have to be more careful with my magic."

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