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Section 6 - Sappy Situation

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The Setting

Wow, can you smell that tree sap? It'll make some wonderful syrup once it's all been gathered! Watch your hooves, or you may end up in a sticky situation! There are drops of tree sap everywhere, making a lot of the path way sticky. Although, I bet that syrup is mighty tasty...

th_Kinoicon.jpg -Lampwick 'Flicker' Jane-

The world was fuzzy and warm all around her. She was dimly aware of the flecks of sun that flowed over her coat like warm speckles. The world swayed back and forth, rocked, bounced lightly; it was rather soothing, like being carried along her Pa's back when she was just a foal. She used to drape her arms over his shoulders, stick her nose in his mane, and fall asleep there. Maybe thats where she developed her first love for traveling.

Lampwick yawned loudly- so loudly that she woke herself up. Blinking groggily she stopped her canter and looked around. The rocky path had turned back into soft earth, and trees were more dense again, and there were puddles of water lying all around. "Well thats not right... last thing I remember is taking a break next to that sign... how did I end up here?" Lampwick looked down and observed her legs; they felt a little tired, but they didn't ache with the exertion she had felt before she stopped to rest. Looking around proved that she wasn't in the same place as before...

Lampwick suddenly realized that she'd been jogging with her eyes closed. No, that wasn't quite right; shed been racing while asleep! Placing a hoof against her ear, she gave her noggin a good confused rub. She could see ponies in the near distance, both in front of her and behind her, perhaps she had followed them by scent and sound. Either way, Lampwick felt pretty good- but she could certainly use a drink of that water; she felt parched after that nap!

Stepping up to the nearest puddle she immediately realized it wasn't water. The sweet smell of the liquid was unmistakably sappy; and while this sap smelled awfully sweet, she was certain it would simply make her mouth that much drier. Truth be told, she feared it getting in her mane or tail far more than that simple inconvenience though. Maybe she could come back after the race with a few empty jars and fill them up to have later. She liked that idea- and promptly deciding that that is exactly what she would do once she got back to Ponyville, she set off down the trail again to catch up with the ponies around her.

A slight blush crept into her cheeks. Hopefully too many of them didn't notice her unusual behavior; and maybe she could overhear just exactly where she was in the race too. Oh colt, would she have a story for her Pa when she saw him this year!

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Zephyr still wanted to catch up to the griffon. If he did win, maybe it would show her a bit of humility. Hopefully it would. Her earlier methods in the race were less than admirable. Oh... and if he beat the griffon, maybe he would look good for the cute rainbow-maned unicorn just behind him. Zephyr didn't like showing off, but the race and recent events within built up a competitive nerve in him. He was having fun, despite the griffon playing unfair and unsafe. And if he could maybe talk to a cute mare in the process, despite winning or not, it would end up being a really good day. 'Maybe she'll like me.' He thought. 'Wait, she's behind me right now! Is she looking at me? I wonder what she thinks of me.' The more Zephyr thought about it, the faster he tried to run. Everything was really exciting and the final stretch of the race was coming up.

Although, these thoughts were stupid. He didn't even know the mare and he disliked show offs, especially when it was for mares. Zephyr always saw it as a silly gesture. There was no need to get worked up over this. He simply passed off the thought as a high from the excitement of the race. Zephyr refocused back to the griffon, she was still in front of him and he had to get the lead on her without cheating.

The rocky surface started to change and they were back to a softer ground. His hooves immediately felt better to not have to pound against the hard rock from before. It was quite a relief. His wings ached to spread, not to fly, but just to feel the wind blow through them. He couldn't though, a gesture like that would definitely be considered cheating and anything this close to the end of the race in that manner would be highly frowned upon. He could do this, he was sure of it.

With the change in hoofing, so did the scenery and the smell. Ooh, what was that smell... It was a syrupy smell of some kind. Then he saw it. The tree sap! What a smell that gave off. He saw small pools of tree sap on the ground and he remembered a run in he had with the stuff in the forest close to Manehattan. With that thought, he knew he had better avoid stepping in any of that.

((OOC: Yep, I had to. I can't break this streak. I've had it going this long.))

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Number 34, Klondike, watched as more ponies ran past him and the mint colored unicorn towards the next leg of the race. The smell of sweet syrupy goodness from the trees ahead had made him rather hungry, and, considering what he’d been through in the last few legs of the race, it was no wonder that his mind immediately jumped to comfort foods. A nice plate of hay pancakes to be specific.

“Come along Miss Mysterious Unicorn.” Klondike said playfully as he trotted around the mint colored unicorn before coming up to stop next to her and giving her a slight nudge to follow him. “Don’t think there’ll actually be hay pancakes up ahead, but a pony can dream.”

With that, Klondike was off down the path with hopes of finding a nice sweet treat up ahead. Obviously he would not find hay pancakes, but he knew he’d make do with whatever he found. It would be a nice little sugar rush to help him to the finish line.

A slight wince escaped his muzzle as his body suddenly reminded him of what he had endured only a short while ago. He quickly shrugged it off and turned around to look at the mint colored unicorn as he waved a hoof at her, a smile across his muzzle.

“I’ll entertain us with a song I just learned!” He said with as he turned around and began down the path again.

“She'll be sliding down the mountain when she comes!~ She'll be sliding down the wait, I don’t remember learning this song… Why do I know it?... Hmm?”

He paused again as he raised his hoof to his muzzle in thought, only to quickly shrug it off as he had done with the wince.

“Oh well… She'll be sliding down the mountain when she comes! She'll be sliding down the mountain when she comes~”

Klondike was off again to a light cantering gait.

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Swift's eyes were locked in a squint as he ran, trying to decipher the course ahead. Occasionally, he suddenly had to duck as a low-hanging branch didn't come into focus until the last moment. Eventually... he came to the next leg of the race. "Well, that last leg was fairly straightforward," he commented, still not even realizing the trouble that had occured with the branched path.

Peering forward, the pegasus found that the race course seemed to have puddles in this section. Had it rained recently? Was the ground just naturally waterlogged? No matter. He supposed it would be better to avoid the larger puddles. The water would add extra weight if it splashed on him. He swerved around one large puddle, getting a bit more confused. Something smelled sweet. As he swerved around another puddle, he looked into it. "...awfully murky for it to be just w-whoa!" As he looked back toward the puddle, apparently he stepped right into one of them. The tremendously sticky substance held his hoof fast as the rest of him tried to keep going, causing him to tumble and land right on his back in one of the puddles. "Ow... agh.. What is this?" he asked, mostly to himself. Giving a curious sniff, he found that it was the source of the sweet aroma. Struggling, he pulled a hoof up to give a tentative lick. "...tree sap. Lots of tree sap," he muttered.

"Well, no sense letting yourself just lay in it," the monk chided himself. Pushing hard against the ground, he strained to get clear of the sticky sap, grunting and getting turned over onto his front before being snapped down to his belly by the substance. "Gah!" Gritting his teeth, he planted his hooves and started pressing himself upward. He could feel it pulling on him, trying to get him to stay down, stuck in the muck. "The diligent ant does not quit when life troubles him," he encourages himself, legs trebling slightly. Bracing himself, he took a tentative step forward. As he placed his hoof down, then deliberately shifted his weight to it, he looked around as best as he could. He wasn't sure if he could just pull himself free on his own strength, with as much as the sap kept trying to pull him in. It felt like every strand of his pelt was being pulled. Another determined and careful step. He could feel it pulling on his mane and tail, as well as if they were extra limbs to pull by, since they were braided. Another step. He leaned forward against the pull of the sap, gritting his teeth as his wings, still sore from his earlier help with the rescue, got pulled as well. Fortunately or unfortunately, sap had also gotten under them, pulling them back toward his body. "Come.... on.... Swift... Breeze..." he grunted, struggling to lift his hoof to take another step. He wasn't certain how he'd get out, but he knew that he was a sitting duck if that griffon showed up while he was like this. So, he kept up his struggle, keeping an eye out for others.

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Mojo couldn't believe his luck! Even with all of the distractions he had faced in the race so far, he was near the lead pack of racers now! This meant that instead of having to gallop through all the cascading leaves as the leaders knocked them out of the trees, HE would be one of the first ones doing all the 'knocking down!' Spotting the random puddles of tree sap along the road, Mojo's agility helped him avoid them, so far.

To the Paint stallion's delight, he spotted Lyra closeby and now Applejack was running right beside him, back to her original size!

"Hello there, Applejack! How was that surprise you pulled on your brother? Bet ya both had one ripper of a laugh over that, right?"

Then Mojo rushed slightly ahead of the country mare to finally reach his beloved Lyra.

"Hi Lyra! Got your message back at the mountain pass, and I love you too! I know this is rather sudden, but love at first sight is totally groovy! Let's say you and me get together after this race and pitch some woo! You name the place and time, darling!"


Quickly mastering the use of her 'new' wings, Misty Magic zoomed up to the Professor with Snails arriving shortly thereafter.

"Professor Krashkop! We need your help!" she shouted as she flew up in front of the retreating green Pegasus.

"Misty? ACH UN-KNEE-MAL! How did you get doze vings, fraulein?"

"Nevermind that now! Our friend Hoss got a dose of Poison Joke! He needs your cure to return to normal!"

"But mein formula is untested! It could make Hoss vorse! I cannot take dat risk!"

"Hoss wants to take the risk! You're not a failure, Professor! We all believe in you! Please come back with us and give Hoss your cure!"

As Misty continued to plead, Jubilee and Louise LaMare arrived back with Hoss to the starting line bleachers.

"Starflower! Where's the Professor?" Jubilee asked.

"Yeah! We brought Hoss with us, where is he?" added Louise as Starflower got to see the 'female' Hoss up close for the first time. Her eyes bugged out and her mouth swung open in shock.

"Who does your mane, ma'am?" she asked in a moment of confused bewilderment.

"HAY! Stop teasing my boyfrie... I mean, stop teasing Hoss!" the petite blonde Pegasus roared.

"Better do as she says, I wouldn't want to get on her BAD side," Louise quickly whispered into the ear of the light blue unicorn mare. This was enough to 'snap' Starflower back to reality.

"Oh! Forgive me! I didn't mean to bring more attention to your condition, Hoss. The Professor left but I sent Misty and Snails to bring him back here."



"C'mon guys! We better move out after him! The three of us can fly up to get him and,,,"

"LOOK!!!!" Louise squealed, pointing a front hoof upward when she saw Misty and Snails flapping their wings in perfect rythem with Professor Krashkop's as the trio descended and landed in front of them.


"Well, not on purpose, I mean.... well..... that is to say....."

"Young stallion, I mean, mare, vell vhatever, I must varn you dat dee poison joke cure I made is very experimental. It has never been tested on ponies before. I vill not force you to be dee first test subject, dat decision is yours, mein friend. Vhat is your answer?"

Meanwhile, the still hidden from view Sheriff Silverstar trotted off to shadow the race competitors. He now had a perfect view of the lead pack, and spotted the unmistakable figure of Gllda falling back of the race leaders.

"Ha! Serves'er right! That griffin's been nutin' but trouble throughout this here race! Jist wait'll I git to the judges and show'm all these here pictures of her cheatin'! They's been some weird goin's on in this race, contestants meetin' big spiders, fallin' into rivers and then gittin' shrunked down by poison joke, but none of them shenanigins was agin' the rules. All that Gilda's been a-doin' breaks every rule in the whole book and I'm gonna make sure them racin' judges knows it!"

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Having recovered from the several blows he had taken to the head during the entire race he decided to put alot of effort into the final bit of the race. upon approaching the sappy area of the forest, the wonderfully sweet smell of syrup filled the air. tingling his scenes, the syrup reminded him of a tasty pancake restaurant over in manehatten he had once dined at. he tried to avoid the puddles as he trotted happily along. As he took a drink of his mixture, he emptied the bottle. before putting it in his bag he got an idea, and went to one of the trees which was the source of the syrup, and filled the newly emptied flask with the sticky liquid. he had a somewhat devious plan for revenge, if not outright cruel. After filling the flask he put it back in his sack and continued running. He had faced the fact that he would not win, but and decided he would deliberately let everypony pass him in the final stretch, an act of honor so to speak. but to do that he'd have to get there first, so he put his hooves it into full gear and charged ahead.

After having run for a few minutes through the forest he had passed some ponies. however, he had also ran out of breath, and was now going at a rather average pace. He took a deep whiff of his surroundings, enjoying the sweet scent of the syrup. he looked the forest over in his slow paced walk, and smiled as he looked over the tree's.

he went over to yet a tree that was leaking a lot of syrup and licked it straight off the tree, slightly blushing as the sweet taste of the syrup covered his tongue.

"Mhmm~" (Its been a long time, miss syrup~)

((ooc: i always found syrup to have similar effect on me the few times i drank it by itself~ :smug: ))

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~Apple Mallow~

The number 82 danced on the white pegasus' flank as she trotted down the path, her hooves trotting daintily over the multi-colored leaves that decorated the forest floor.

Apple Mallow hummed to herself as she trotted along down the path, looking around at all the wonderful colors the leaves were. She skipped around a few rocks in the path, bouncing along happily, not really caring at all about the race. She had been in it since the beginning.... but she didn't know what place she was in. She didn't really care either... races weren't really her thing. They were more her sister's, Strawberry Orange's, but since she was off on a long delivery run today she wasn't able to enter. Orange begged Mallow to enter for her, to at least tell her how the race went. So, being the good older sister, Mallow entered for her.

"I wonder how Orange is doing... she had a larger than average order run to do, and she's going to be gone all day... I hope nothing bad happens to the weather.." Mallow said to herself, thinking out loud. She usually did it, even when there were ponies around her. But, she hadn't seen any other ponies for quite some time, so she had no worries.

"Well, Orange can handle herself, I know that. But still, one bad storm and who knows what would happen to the treats being delivered! I wrapped the boxes in a water-proof bag just to be sure but..."


Not looking out for where her hooves went, Mallow stepped in one of the sap puddles that were becoming more numerous as she walked, faceplanting right into the dirt. She sat there for a second as stars danced behind her eyes.

"WOAH! That's what I get for not paying attention!" She said right out loud as she sat up, laughing at herself. "I haven't fallen that badly since I was a filly!"

She stood back up, flapping her wings a bit to get the dirt off of them.... and characteristic of her, didn't even notice the dirt all over her face and chest. She looked down at her hooves, curious as to what tripped her.

"Candy sticks.... what is this stuff?" She said out loud again, trying to tug her hoof out of the sticky residue. No matter how hard she pulled, her hoof would snap right back into the sap, the sticky gunk refusing to let go.

"Well, this won't do me any good. Let's try something else." She said, opening her wings and trying to take to the air. With more 'horsepower' behind her pulling, her hoof started to leave the sap, but my bit, the sap stretching out as it tried to hang on.... and finally let go with a loud SNAP.

Mallow cartwheeled through the air as she sap finally let go, reorienting herself in mid-air. She looked at her hoof, which still had the sap stuck to it. Being a pegasus, and only living in Ponyville a short while, she had NO idea what sap was. She looked at it... sniffed it.... and finally, licked it.

"It's sweet!" She said delightedly, giving her hoof a few more licks. "It's light, but has potential.... I wonder if I could use it for any of my candies... I'll have to experiment with it's boiling point..." She started off on a candy-making tangent, carelessly floating off down the general direction of the path as she somewhat resumed the race with her mind filled with candy thoughts and her face and chest still covered in dirt.

(sorry it's so long >.<; )

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Shanna, still wearing her numbers (44), found herself closer to the middle of the racers, now even caught up with Big Mac again. It was good to be among the ones still shaking down the leaves instead of getting facefulls of leaves behind them.

She trotted steadily. The dashes in the past couple of stretches were beginning to wear on her, but her steady gain meant the leaders were wearing out faster.

At this point, she didnt care if she won, so long as she or that green pegasus managed to beat Gilda.

Shanna waved at Applejack when she saw her "Thanks for the apples earlier. That was just what I needed!" and gave an extra joyful hop to show her appreciation.

She also waved at Mojo and Lyra, even if it seemed he had more interest in Lyra for the moment.

Hopefully she could introduce 'Breakah' to him, the tall easygoing stallion seems the type to be great friends with Mojo. She looked back to see if he was still with her since she trailblazed a way off the cliff...

She suddenly skidded to a stop, almost running into a pale green Pegasus *..celadon green?..* her mind popped up helpfully.

Shanna looked at the white-maned pegasus and at the puddle she thought had been a mud puddle, just one of many she had been avoiding since entering this stretch. *Good thing I have so far, apparently...* she thought. "Oh! What? Oh dear, you are stuck. May I help?" As she got close she ohhed "Didnt' I see you fly up earlier to help my brother with that silly pony?.."


Hoss, landed in relief and looked around for the Professor, then heard Starflower's comment. Hoss reached up and self-consiously brushed a hoof through... her now fuller, lush mane. Something stuck behind one ear came loose, falling on the ground. An intact Poison Joke bloom.

Hoss sighed and smiled sheepishly "It's okay Jubilee. Apparently my mane is still styled differently than Shanna..." (any ideas where the poison joke spots would be in a full body change like that? the mane?)

Suddenly Misty and Snails arrived with the Professor. Snails bounced happily "That was Amazing! I flew! I flew! Thanks Misty!"

Hoss was wide-eyed in awe seeing Misty and Snails, resisting an urge to bow to apparent alicorns. "Er, ah I guess you are the mare who put wings on Granny Smith? Um, great job! I havent seen her that excited since she rode in our pegasus cart."

The temporary mare turned to the Professor as he warned Hoss it may not work right. "I am willing to take a chance, especially before Shanna sees me like this, or somepony hits me up for a date. I'd never hear the end of it..."

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Lyra could only stand with her mouth open as the blue pony began talking about... well, everything?

“Pony heaven seems to have pleasant company. Figured angels would be more like Pegasus ponies though, no offense, just an ob-“

"Uh-" what was he talking about? Did he think he was dead?

“Umm, forget that last part… Hi! Name’s Kl- Hmm, I’m going to have to replace these at some point…â€Â

"Um-" Okay, he figured it out, and at least he doesn't seem too hurt.

“Hi! Again… Name’s Klondike! *sniff sniff* Do you smell maple syrup? Think somepony is making haypancakes. Could sure go for breakfast. Care to join me Miss... umm?â€Â

What an odd pony. Lyra extended a hoof and shook with Klondike. "Pancakes? Actually I can smell them. Oh, nice to meet you, I'm-" but before she could finish her introduction a group of other racers ran past... including the yellow pony she saw at Sweet Apple Acres... running with her eyes shut? How strange. Maybe she had dust in her eyes?

“Come along Miss Mysterious Unicorn. Don’t think there’ll actually be hay pancakes up ahead, but a pony can dream.â€Â

Lyra could only laugh nervously. He seemed fine considering the tumble he just had. "Well, if you're sure you're okay. That was a nasty fall you had there! And my name is Lyra!" she said with a smile. The pair took to the path and began running once more. They'd lost a lot of ground, but there was still time to catch up.

“I’ll entertain us with a song I just learned!â€Â

Lyra's eyes lit up! A pony singing for her! That would make a nice change! But as soon as Klondike began "his" song Lyra began laughing loudly.

"Oh you silly pony! That was the song I was singing earlier when I came to rescue you! You must have good ears to have heard it from the bottom of the slopes!" Lyra chuckled a little. Klondike may be a little odd, but he was kinda fun. Lyra was making some interesting friends today. Three stallions too! What would Bon Bon say? While she was thinking on this, Mojo caught up with her, as if on cue.

"Hi Lyra!"

Lyra gave a warm smile to her friend. "Oh hello, Mojo! I'm glad to see you caught up."

"Got your message back at the mountain pass, and I love you too!"

Lyra blinked a few times at this. What was he talking about? The message? She always wrote Love Lyra at the end of her letters. Many ponies signed letters with "Love". It was just a friendly gesture. Had he misunderstood? She left the message for both him and Carrot Fields after all.

"I know this is rather sudden, but love at first sight is totally groovy! Let's say you and me get together after this race and pitch some woo! You name the place and time, darling!"

Oh dear. He had misunderstood! He was a nice guy and all but she had only just met him and this was too much for her! And now she would have to explain to him and let him down!

"Oh. M-Mojo. Um... t-that message... I w-was only trying to tell you and C-Carrot which way I went. I-I-I didn't mean it that way. That's just how I write. Oh Dear" She trailed off, unable to look Mojo directly in the eye and blushing furiously even as she continued to run.


Diamond winced at the old lady's words. This was going to get her in so much trouble.

"Yee-up! I'm AppleBloom's granny! I'm so proud of her! Wanna see some photos of her I carry with me everywur I go?"

"I'm good. Thanks." she replied, her face carefully blank.

"I gots a better idear, sweetie! This here flyin' thing kin cover a lot more ground than two ponies on hoof! Betcha we kin find her by flyin' over the racers agin! YOO HOO! Nice young feller flyin' this here chariot! Would you do an old gray mare a favor and fly another low pass over all them runners below us, PLEASE? Purty please?"

"Of course Ma'am!" said the driver, the sneaky grin on face left hidden as he was still facing away from the chariot.

"Hey! What's the big idea!? You're supposed to listen to me! My parents paid for this you know!"

"Your parents paid me to let you watch the race from my chariot and that's exactly what you're gonna do. Why complain?" he said with glee. He'd been waiting for a chance to get some payback on this little twerp.

"See thar youngin'? THAT'S how ya talks polite to other ponies. They's an old sayin', y'all can kitch more flies with huney than ya can with vinegar. But then agin, vinegar does taste better on my homemade prune surprise than flies do."

Diamond pouted and crossed her forelegs. Bested by an old lady and a chauffeur. She was have her daddy complain to the chariot agency about this! Just then, she glanced down over the side. "Hey, there's the race! They've gotten to the last section before the finish line!" she exclaimed. She scanned the crowd for Applebloom. Even if she couldn't make fun out loud at least she could have a good laugh at the blank flank failing in the race. An evil smile appeared on her face.

This should be good!

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Big Mac found himself to be making the final turns up towards the sappy area ahead...he could sniff the powerful sweet scents up here on offer and it made him think back to the times that the family had gathered around for apple pancakes and syrup.

Times like those were just absolutely golden delicious!

Shaking off the warm memory, his eyes flicker to both the left and right of him...this place was still full of potential stumbling blocks in the shape of trees, hedges, tree-roots, and...well, Celestia knew what else. He had to keep attention focused on his current footing...especially now more than ever considering he'd inadvertantly been lumbered with an unexpected passenger, his sister Applebloom no less, a little while back!

For the most part, he wasn't really bothered as much by her being around right now...although she was constantly loudly trying to encourage him to go faster - which was difficult to balance properly considering that he didn't wanna endanger her by going TOO fast here, but he also needed to keep up a good strong pace going in order to compete. He also thought that he'd seen Applejack pass him sometime earlier too, which didn't really help keep his mind undistracted from that one small personal goal of his - if she won the race higher than him, he was likely to suffer her gloating ways for a good while, and the tall Stallion knew that she'd make him aware of this fact at any given time over the next year.

All Mac could do right now was keep his head down and try not to lose sight of the path ahead for the time being - the end was getting closer!

He really had to try and make some proper headway here, or there was just no way he'd make a decent finishing position!

For Big Macintosh, The race was now well and truly on!

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Mojo was at full stride as he listened closely to every word Lyra said to him. His ears twitched, straining to hear her when the voice of the lovely unicorn mare faded.

"Didn't quite hear that, love. Would ya mind repeatin' that, sweetheart?"

The Paint stallion's mind raced with possible answers to why she spoke in a lower tone.

"I'll betcha Lyra's tryin' to whisper sweet nothin's in me ear!" he thought to himself, "I need to get even closer to her!"

Mojo gritted his teeth and pushed himself to his physical limits to gallop faster and lean in closer to Lyra.

"Now, what was that you were sayin' to me, dollface?" the hippie brony asked with a beaming smile.


High above the racers, Granny Smith leaned over the side where Diamond Tiara was looking.

"Like I was-a tellin' ya, youngin', fiyin' this low will help us find my little AppleBloom. Wure are my manners? I'm Granny Smith! Y'all can tell by my cutie mark that I love to bake pies! What's yur name, kido?"

Meanwhile, back at the starting line bleachers, Professor Krashkop used a spray bottle to cover Hoss with a cloud of greenish mist as Jubilee, Louise LaMare, Misty Magic, Madam Bistro and Snails nervously watched.

"if dis vorks, vee will see results immediately!" the gray maned Pegasus said as the cloud of mist began to clear up. All the ponies gathered around gasped when they saw the 'new' Hoss.

"HOSS! YOU'RE BACK TO NORMAL!" Jubilee shouted as she fluttered up to the brown winged stallion and hugged his neck tightly with her front hooves.

"SUCCESS! Mein formula vorked!!" Professor Krashkop shouted, doing a happy strut.

"You did it, Professor!" added Louise with a loud voice. When she took a glance at the shimmering portal, she spotted Sheriff Silverstar in the bushes doing investigative work. "Sheriff! What the hay is HE doing here! I've got to see him!"

In her excitement, the brown furred Pegasus mare flew towards the portal.

"WAIT LOUISE! DON'T FLY INTO THAT THING!" Misty warned seconds before Louise flew through it, emerging on the other side where she was now hovering over her beloved mustached stallion.

"MISTY! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?" Starflower shouted in complete shock.

"I didn't do anything, honest, I even tried to stop her from flying into it!"

"Vait a moment. Dis must be a dimensional portal vee have here!"

"HUH?" the collective bunch of ponies asked in unison.

"Dis is not a mere vindow to distant lands, it is a doorvay! Any pony could valk through dis und travel to dee place day are seeing! Oh Misty, you must remember how you did dis! It vould revolutionize going from place to place in all Equestria!"

"But Professor, I don't know how I did it. it just happened, like the lightning and Granny's wings... and.... my wings too...."

On the other side of the portal, all could now see Louise LaMare flying down until she was directly above the Sheriff.

"Sheriff Silverstar!" she shouted. "What are you doing hiding in these bushes?"

"SHHHHHHHHHH!" he said in a soft tone. "Keep quiet and git down outta sight. I ain't supposed ta be spotted by these here runners."

"What the hay are you saying?" the airborne Pegasus mare asked as the Sheriff reached up, grabbed her by the tail and pulled her down beside him.

"I'm here to watch fer cheatin' goin' on in this here race. The judges sent me out to do this task without the runners knowin' about it."

"So, has any pony cheated in the race so far?"

"No PONY has, but thar's one big cheatin' griffin in this race and I got photographic proof of it!"

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Mobius continued down the path from Whitetail Woods and into the next section of the race, keeping himself at least within earshot and view of both Douglas and Survey as he ran. If he was right about this next stretch, there'd be plenty of hazards to hold any of the three ponies back, and so the pale gold Pegasus figured it would be best to stay near them both to receive help if he accidentally got stuck in some of the sap, or to help one of his comrades if they found themselves in the same predicament. As he had predicted, he noticed a number of dark patches along the road ahead where sap had been spilled or, as he had to admit in some obvious cases, overflowed. "Alright. Eyes peeled, you guys. No more takin' in the scenery," he shouted to both Douglas and Survey, as well as any other ponies who happened to be nearby, "Looks like we got ourselves an obstacle course for this stretch!"

As if on cue, the very second he finished speaking a large patch of sap came across his path, forcing the Pegasus to make a long leap across the dark brown liquid, his years of touching down on the ground while still moving forward when landing from a flight coming into play as he skillfully continued on at his previous pace, beginning to increase it from a relaxed canter into a full fledged gallop. "Y'see? No problem at all! Jus' gotta concentrate 'n react!" he shouted in a re-assuring, confident tone, leaning to his right to turn sharply around another puddle of sap before centering himself on the track once more, his eyes darting around to see if anymore puddles were ahead of him before he chanced a brief glance in Survey's direction, wanting to make sure his friend and first time racer hadn't gotten held up by the sticky brown substance.

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As Seeker galloped through alongside the rock walls, the path made a sharp turn, and led back into the woods .

"This path doesn't look very used," he tought, as Blacky ran up ahead. "Better follow him, no point in giving up now."

Doing his best to follow Blacky, Seeker noticed that this path was considerably less comfortable then the paths up to this point. This almost certainly wasn't the offical race track. All of the sudden, his dog made a sudden jump into the brushwork to the right. The path up ahead was blocked, he noticed, by a tree that had fallen over. So he followed Blacky into away from the path. This wasn't very save, but "No risk, no reward" he thought. "Those trees need shaking, too, after all."

If Seeker wasn't so preoccupied with the race, he would have noticed that the trees he grazed while making his way through the woods where awfully sticky. But he didn't. And so he made his way to what he hoped was the correct way this time.

(ooc: not having much luck with my rolls, but I'll be damned if that stops me from finishing this race)

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Rose ran fast, as fast as she could, in order to get away from everything. Her heart beat like the wings of a hummingbird, her eyes opened so wide she feared her eyeballs would pop out, and her mouth was drier than the rocks she'd just left behind. It was a nightmarish ordeal that she'd found herself enduring, and she couldn't believe she'd survived it.

It all began when she ran along the rocky path and heard the sound of collapsing rocks. The sound was enough to make her shriek and cover her head with her forelegs. It was a miracle that she hadn't stayed there and gotten flattened. As soon as the first pebble hit her, she looked up and saw the much bigger rocks heading for her. That was enough for her to bolt out of there as fast as she could, barely avoiding the other ponies on the path. She could have easily collided with them and sent them over the ledge to their doom, and it just filled her with even more dread.

As she looked around frantically for more rocks coming her way, she saw that a griffon, the same one she saw earlier, was responsible for them tumbling down. It couldn't be real. She couldn't be seeing one of the competitors losing their mind and trying to hurt the others, was she? How many ponies had she already wounded - or worse - by the time Rose had spotted her? It wasn't something she enjoyed thinking about at all, so naturally she couldn't stop.

Even passing back into the safer area of the forest didn't assuage her fears. The other ponies were no longer competitors; they were potential threats. Any time they could turn on her, trample her, cripple her. The only solution was to run too fast for them to catch her. They wouldn't get the best of her today! Not today!

But her plan hit a snag. She kept darting her eyes this way and that for anything that could rush out and get her that she didn't see who was in her way until it was too late. A brown earth pony galloped next to a blue-green unicorn, leaning in to hear her whisper something. Were they conspiring against-


She hit them like a bowling ball, rolling off the road and into the dead leaves by a tree on the ground. Her whole body ached, from the exercise and from the collision. A wave of shame washed over her. What was she thinking, suspecting everypony of plotting against her? All those two had done was get hurt by her. Stupid, stupid, stupid!

"Oh nonononono," she muttered, rushing over to them. "Are you hurt? Are you alright? Oh please be alright! Please!" That's when she noticed that one of her hooves was stuck to the ground by an odd orange-brown fluid. "Get it off!" She struggled to get her hoof free, only making it feel like she was wrenching it around. "Get if off get if off get it off get it off get if off get it off!"

She had yet to notice a new feature added to her face. A trail of tiny blue polka dots stained her red fur, forming tear trails from her eyes to her chin. She wouldn't know what this meant, but somepony else might...

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(more timely response from my non-racers, trying to catch up to Bramble Rose...)

Hoss closed her eyes as the Professor sprayed the cure on. There was a strange tingle, then Hoss opened an eye "Am I back to normal yet?"

He got his answer when Jubilee wrapped her hooves around his neck, He flipped his wings forward to hug her back as his forelegs was supporting them both for the moment.

Hoss felt lighter than air as the pretty pony hugged him. He blushed and stole a small kiss while his wings were screening them both. "Be my date for the after race party?"

After a moment to enjoy the bliss, he suddenly remembered the other victim of Poison Joke, maybe more.

"OH Celestia and Luna! Bramble Rose! He needs the cure too!"

Gently pulling free, he went to the professor for the spray bottle. "Fantastic job Professor, but there's at least another racer who needs this too. May I?"

Suddenly, Miss LaMare flies through the scrying window. "Well, that was unexpected!"

Taking up the spray bottle while Professor Krashkop examined the portal, Hoss smiles at the professor "Now I have a short cut! I'll help Bramble Rose and anypony else I see with the spots! Wish me luck.." as he flies through the portal over Sherrif Silverstar and Louise and over the road.

He flew in a growing circle over the tapped maple trees. "Bramble Rose! Where are you? I have the cure! Anypony else have Poison Joke problems? Speak up!"

Meanwhile, Snails clopped up to the.. 'dime shon al' portal? "Woweee! If I can learn ta' do this someday, I can study bugs everywhere in Equestria an' be home for supper! Awesome!"

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Holly slowed her pace as she entered the sweet-smelling wood. The trees smelt so wonderful here! It gave her a craving for pancakes. With whip cream and strawberries and blueberries and...her mouth was watering at the thought of all that deliciousness. But that didn't keep her from keeping an eye on the sticky ground. She trotted along cheerfully, watching out for sticky puddles of goo, and hopping over the ones unavoidable. She then heard a racket.

"Come.... on.... Swift... Breeze..."

She looked over to see a male pegasus pony, stuck in the sap. She could not bring herself to simply walk by when somepony needed help. She hesitated only a second before trotting over to the pegasus pony.

"Quite a sticky situation you got yurself in, huh?" she asked humorously, smiling widely as she eyed the points where he was stuck, being careful not to go into the sap herself, "Lemme help you outta there, pal!"

She powered up her horn, and lifted the pegasus pony with some effort, biting her lip as she concentrated. She pulled this way and that--the sap stretched taut, but did not snap. She frowned, and began trotting away, still holding the male as she walked, the sap began to snap in places. Until finally, with one final yank from her horn, he was sent sprawling free. Unfortunately, Holly had been tugging towards herself, and the pegasus was sent crashing on top of her. Luckily enough, they didn't land in another pond of sap.

She chuckled and smiled at the pegasus pony, a total stranger, crashed on top of her, "Well...Lucky I came along, huh?" She laughed, "My name's Holly. Holly Dash. Nice to meetcha!"

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Even though it took her far more time than she had originally hoped, Stormsong managed to make it off the mountain without incident, or without further incident, to be precise. She was still a bit shaken up by the rock slide and the fact that someone had done that intentionally, just because they wanted to win the race. Now that she was down from her wonderful vantage point, she could see that the other path from back at the sign actually connected with the one she had taken. 'So that's why the sign pointed down,' she thought to herself as she trotted down the path, 'because both ways were right!'

After a few minutes full of only the sound of hooves and leaves against the ground, Stormsong was assailed by the all too familiar smell of syrup. Or not quite syrup, she corrected herself, seeing spots where tree sap had fallen into the path. Moving carefully to avoid stepping in any, Stormsong found herself moving along quite well compared to some of the other ponies, who were either sticky with sap, or busy eating it. She guessed she had probably managed to move up to around somewhere in the middle of the pack, despite all of her setbacks earlier in the race. With that thought, she continued to trot along, confident that, even though she may not win, she certainly wasn't going to embarass herself by being last!

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As if his misguided detour hadn't been bad enough, the terrain was starting to take a toll on Breaker. These rocky hills were a far cry from his smooth, flat sandy island, and not only was he getting winded, the impact was making his legs ache from his hooves to his withers. He struggled to keep up with Shanna as they made their way back to the trail, but found himself falling behind, and a light sheen of foamy sweat forming over his body.

"Now where'n she gittan herself to..." he muttered to himself, craning his neck to see over the ponies ahead of him. Sure enough, there she was, catching up with the big stallion he'd seen earlier. Tired and sore as he was, a race was a race, and Breaker refused to back down from any challenge, especially one he set himself, and he pushed ahead and dodged through the small crowd separating them.

After a bit of fancy footwork, some of which managed to stretch the knots out of his legs, a line of tightly packed ponies was all that stood between him and his race buddy. Spotting a gap to the side, closer to the treeline, Breaker went for it, weaving to the side. He brushed against a tree trunk, nudged through some low-hanging branches, and burst through toward Shannah. What he failed to notice, however, was just how sap-covered that tree trunk had been. And how loose the leaves on those branches had been. Breaker glanced back at the ponies he'd passed, quite pleased with himself, only to find them giggling at him. He glanced down at his side and saw exactly what was so funny.

With a spattering of leaves on his side, and a gigantic, toothy grin on his face, Breaker pushed ahead and sidled up to Shanna again, just as she skidded to a halt. More than a little confused, but grateful for the chance to catch his breath, as well as help a pony in need, he trotted in a circle around her and stopped.

"What seem t'be de problam eeyah, frens?" Breaker tilted his head quizzically, craking his neck down to sniff at the muddle around the trapped pegasus' feet. "Hoo! Dat be some pooowarful stick!"

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Mobius continued down the path from Whitetail Woods and into the next section of the race, keeping himself at least within earshot and view of both Douglas and Survey as he ran. If he was right about this next stretch, there'd be plenty of hazards to hold any of the three ponies back, and so the pale gold Pegasus figured it would be best to stay near them both to receive help if he accidentally got stuck in some of the sap, or to help one of his comrades if they found themselves in the same predicament. As he had predicted, he noticed a number of dark patches along the road ahead where sap had been spilled or, as he had to admit in some obvious cases, overflowed. "Alright. Eyes peeled, you guys. No more takin' in the scenery," he shouted to both Douglas and Survey, as well as any other ponies who happened to be nearby, "Looks like we got ourselves an obstacle course for this stretch!"

As if on cue, the very second he finished speaking a large patch of sap came across his path, forcing the Pegasus to make a long leap across the dark brown liquid, his years of touching down on the ground while still moving forward when landing from a flight coming into play as he skillfully continued on at his previous pace, beginning to increase it from a relaxed canter into a full fledged gallop. "Y'see? No problem at all! Jus' gotta concentrate 'n react!" he shouted in a re-assuring, confident tone, leaning to his right to turn sharply around another puddle of sap before centering himself on the track once more, his eyes darting around to see if anymore puddles were ahead of him before he chanced a brief glance in Survey's direction, wanting to make sure his friend and first time racer hadn't gotten held up by the sticky brown substance.

Douglas held tight within the small group of friends as they soon came into the sixth leg of the race. The puddles that littered the ground would probably deceive several other racers of the sticky substance that truly laid in their path. Sticking together as best as possible they began their movement through the next area, Douglas heard Mobius' call to keep alert at all times. He couldn't agree more, if there was ever a bad time in this entire race to take your eyes off the road than this was surely it! The puddles of sap were upon them in no time. This was going to be harder for the Earth pony than it was for the Pegasus. Douglas shifted his weight to the outside to pass a puddle in the center, followed by throwing himself to the opposite side of the road to avoid a large puddle. His body trying to keep up with his mind, Douglas could only take a half step before barely hopping the next incoming puddle. Slowly he shifted back into the middle of the road, letting himself take a deep breath to relax. "Phew! Cut that last one a little too close!" Douglas said, keeping his eyes focused on the road instead of looking back at his fellow racers.

Looking a little ways ahead, Douglas felt a returning dread as the next grouping came up. "How the hay does so much sap wind up on the road?!" Douglas exclaimed at the sight ahead of him. Sure enough, there were now only small puddles, but they practically littered the ground! Douglas chewed his bottom lip as he came up upon the next set of puddles. Each small, but their numbers nearly uncountable! Douglas stumbled, putting his forelegs out shorter than his momentum could hold as he hopped the first few puddles. His eyes scanned the road ahead as he placed his forelegs down onto the ground split slightly more apart than he was comfortable with. His hind legs barely splash in the puddles as Douglas hops awkwardly to his side to get by the next puddles he didn't have time to leap over. "This...is...Crazy!" Douglas mumbled between hap-hazard steps and hops until one of his hind legs caught a puddle. Letting out an angered groan, he jerked his hoof out with the squishing snap of the sap. Finally hitting a clearing, Douglas could feel his hoof collecting dirt with each step from the small sap that coated his back hoof. "That could've been bad!"

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(ooc): Nice one, Inkwell! Excellent! :grin: Good work, Boss Hoss!

As Mojo strained to hear Lyra speak again, the two of them got tumbled by the wayward Rose Madder. The force of the collision sent the Paint stallion rolling far down the road until he skidded to a sudden stop, thanks to the big poddle of tree sap his body was now firmly attached to. Shaking his head to regain his bearings, Mojo now realized he was stuck to the ground. That wasn't his main concern at the moment. Lyra! Where was Lyra? Was she alright? Could he come to her rescue? As he prepared to call out for help, he heard Rose asking questions:

"Are you hurt? Are you alright? Oh please be alright! Please!"

"I'm alright, miss, just in a bit of a sticky wicket at the moment, quite literally. Any chance you've seen me girlfriend Lyra?"

Mojo tried to roll over to get back up, but his left side was firmly stuck to the ground. He flailed his four legs, trying to shake himself free, but with no success.

"I also seem to be quite stuck at the moment, could you help me get free?" Mojo asked, but then glanced over to see that Rose's leg was just as stuck as he was. "Oh my, looks like you're caught too. I hope my Lyra's ok."


Jubilee squealed for joy after Hoss asked: "Be my date for the after race party?"

"YES! YES I WILL! I'D LOVE TO!!" the petite Pegasus shouted out. Before she could hug Hoss again, Hoss shouted out:

"OH Celestia and Luna! Bramble Rose! He needs the cure too!" and asked "Fantastic job Professor, but there's at least another racer who needs this too. May I?"

"Javol! Of course! Help your friends vith dee cure I made!"

After watching Louise LaMare fly through the portal, Hoss did it next.

"HAY! COME BACK HERE SWEETIE!" Jubilee shouted as she zoomed through the shimmering portal.

"WAIT! STOP IT!" Misty shouted. "Look at the portal! It's becoming unstable!"

The others watched as the portal began to shake as it faded in and out of focus.

"Uh oh! I tink Misty's right! TAKE COVER EVERYVONE!" the Professor yelled, using his own body to protect Snails as the portal began to 'spin' out of control. Starflower helped as many ponies as she could to safety under the bleachers while the spinning portal began to make loud cracking noises.

"MISTY!" Starflower yelled. "GET OVER HERE NOW!"

"NO! I brought this thing to life and now I'm going to stop it!" the yellow unicorn neighed as she stared into the moving portal and closed her eyes. Her horn began to glow. "DISAPPEAR NOW!"

Instantly, the out of control portal vanished.

As Louise LaMare hunkered down next to Sheriff Silverstar, she heard the sound of colliding ponies in the distance.

"What was that?" the brown Pegasus asked.

"Looks like there's a three pony pile up about a half mile from here," the mustached sheriff said as he looked through his binoculars. "One of them's a Paint horse with a peace sign on his flank."

"OH NO! MOJO! C'mon darling! We need to help him and the others!"

"Wish I could, Louise, but as a racin' O-fish-al, I ain't allowed in interfere with the course of the race."

"But I CAN!" Louise neighed as she flew straight up. "Those ponies need help and I'm going to do what I can to help them!"

As Louise started to fly off, she spotted Jubilee flying towards Hoss.

"Jubilee! Hoss! Quick! Come with me! Mojo's been in an accident with two other ponies! Follow me!"

"MOJO! Hang in there, pal! I'm on my way!" she shouted as she followed Louise, hoping Hoss would follow them too.

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This was not going how he expected, but now that he concentrated, Seeker thought he heard the sound of hooves to his left. More and more leaves were falling from the trees around him, and stuck to the tree sap that covered his hide by now. He payed no attention to it whatsoever.

He broke through the treeline, finally back on the correct track, or so he hoped. To an observer, he would have looked dreadful, barely like a Pony at all, more like a mass of leaves and dirt, with a horn poking out of where the head was supposed to be. Seeker assessed the situation for a moment, but saw nopony around. The ground however was warm with the hooves of several Ponies, so he divided to lose no more time, and hurried on forward, hoping to catch up with the runners ahead of him.

Seeker galloped away, leaves whirling around him.

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Bramble smiled happily to Ginger Mint, accepting the hoof up, blushing softly at the praise. "I couldn't agree more... and I see that you are a pony who cares about others," she said softly the sweet earth pony.

She ran along with Mint as they finally got going again, but it was starting to be *very* hard for her... even with the thundering rumble of magic coursing through the area, tearing the leaves from the trees, and carrying with it the endless energy of the hardy earth ponies, her legs were burning, her lungs were burning, and her throat was parched. She just wanted to get to the finish line without giving up, that's all she wanted.

She also wanted to talk with Ginger Mint, but it was a lot harder to talk as she ran. She was really running out of juice - but it was nice to come down out of the mountain pass - to feel the lush forests around her again. It lent her an energy. Not much, but enough to give her a second wind. The energy of nature gave her just a bit more of a spring to her step.

She was too savvy with nature to be fooled by those sticky puddles - she circled round them carefully, with a smile to Ginger Mint. "Ah... ah... ah-heh... I'd ... love to ... have tea with you ... after the race," she panted softly.

Then she thought she heard her name being called. She glanced up. "Did you hear that?" she panted out, still running as fast as she could.

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Gilda looked around as she ran swiftly through the woods. She quickly assessed the race. The rock slide incident hadn't bought her as much time as she had hoped. She still had about the same standing in the race, right up at the front. Some red-maned gray earth pony stallion seemed to have taken the lead. Meanwhile, it seemed Gilda was on about the same page as three ponies: the colorfully-maned unicorn mare who had tripped her earlier, some blue earth pony stallion, and some pegasus stallion with a braided mane. All of them looked really fast. The wily Griffin was going to have to find an extra speed boost if she was going to pull ahead of these ponies.

Though her primary concern was these four ponies, GIlda's mind was still partly with the pegasi who had confronted her atop the precipice though. The green one in particular had kind of impressed her, flying up in claws grasp of a griffin and challenging her face to face? Sure, he was still a dweeb for calling her out for cheating, but he had to be commended for his guts. Because of that, Gilda was determined to play fair... or at least for this leg of the race. Yep. She was going to give her wings a long rest and stay on the ground. She didn't need her wings to outclass some lame ponies in speed, and she was going to prove it.

Gilda studied her surroundings. This leg of the race didn't have quite as much character as some of the previous ones had. There weren't any rocky cliffs and mountains, no bridges and streams, just a lot of forest. The only interesting thing about it was a lingering smell of something very sweet in the air. It smelled even sweeter than the leg through the apple orchard had. Gilda wasn't entirely sure where it was all coming from, and she didn't really even give it much thought.

The griffin realized her body was getting tired. She needed to get the drop on her competition somehow, but her speed was likely only to go down. She was still determined to stay on the ground though. She figured it was time she tried cutting some corners. She spotted what clearly looked like it might be the quickest path through the trees. Could this be her chance to perhaps take the lead? Wanting to grab that chance, Gilda took a break for this apparent shortcut.

Almost immediately, her legs found some resistance. Gilda's momentum immediately dropped to nothing. She looked down. She had stepped in something wet and very sticky. It was a massive puddle of it too. Gilda struggled against it, but she just couldn't quite get free. She gave a frustrated roar as she realized it was extremely sticky tree sap. So that's what the sweet smell was...

Gilda cursed as she continued to struggled. "Grr...! So this is what I get for trying to play fair for once?" she lamented, deeply agitated.

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Carrot Fields galloped faster than he had anytime before in the race. Maybe it was the nice new horseshoes with the studded grips that gave him the boost, maybe it was that he just so desperately wanted to get out of the situation he was just in. That very recent incident kept playing over and over in his mind as he second guessed himself trying to figure out how he could have handled the situation any better. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't think of any. What really bummed the young stallion was the idea that one, or worse, both fillies now disliked him for refusing to pick sides ... Carrot ... ye are th' dumbest ah th' dumbtails, ye meet nay one, but two. Two! Bonnie fillies, and ye manage tae get 'em tae be mad a' ye! As much as Carrot admonished himself, he cringed even more at the thought of what his sire would have said to him if he witnessed the situation. Oh, to be back on the farm with its quiet, solitary routine!

Carrot nearly tripped over the rocky trail, forcing his thoughts back to the race. There was no time for this! He was already forced to make up for lost time. Galloping between the various boulders, he couldn't help but notice how they were wrapped up in vines, twisted together so as to hold the rocks in place. "Ach, that cannae be natural ... What th' hay is goin' on ah' this race?!" Then he saw the most confusing scene yet, some message scrawed into the dirt:


#ENT #EF# ## #



Well ... he was sure it was a message of some sort, before all the hoof prints and dirt of the mountain covered half of it. What made it intruiging was, well, what he could gleam from the remains, it was his name, and Lyra's. That's what he thought it said, anyway. Yet another filly he'd no doubt disappointed, leaving her after she'd hit her head, to go help that shrunken filly ... Apppleeesomething. Carrot snorted at the reminder he never even knew her name as he again took off with a determined gallop. Now he wanted to finish the race just to get it over with as much as for winning.

As he moved with a new resolve, the grey stallion racing past several groups of ponies, some more interesting than others. One large red stallion he seen from time to time in the same large apple orchard that the beautiful orange filly lived, except he had a small yellow foal riding on his back. Was that his foal? Wait ... could the orange filly be married and this was her husband and foal?! Ach, just figgers, din it? Mos' bonnie filly, thought she was showin' interest in me, an' she's prolly married wi' a family. Then he spotted that odd purple unicorn with the silver mane whom he first through was a filly but was really a stallion, but ... good grief, he looked so much like a filly! If Carrot didn't know any better ... no, no, she was certainly a filly. Ugh, this was so confusing.

He finally had reached the next leg of the race, passing easily by most of the ponies, getting back towards the front of the pack. Man, if he could just have kept running like this the whole time, he'd be way in front! Carrot started to finally feel more at ease - the sweet smell of the maple trees around him helped relax the strung-out pony, even if he had to avoid some awkward puddles of the sweet, sticky liquid. The rhythm of the gallop, the scent of the trees, the crisp air - ahhhh, yes. Soothing.

Then he spotted her, Lyra! Oh good, she seems tae be doin' just fine, Oi hope she is nae upset at all that Oi disappeared Before could get close enough to utter a word, he watched as some brown and white stallion proclaimed dramatically how he "loved her too" and saw her blush fiercely while running. How many taken fillies was he going to meet on this race!

Carrot hardened his face as he barreled past the mint colored unicorn, only looking straight ahead. That other stallion could watch over her, then. Only a few others to get past, including that griffin...

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Shanna neighed happily as Beach Breaker was just behind her and also stopping to help the stuck pegasus with her "Fantastic! Thank you Breakah!" She blinked and giggled softly as she saw the leaves stuck to his side "Oh my, those match your mane colors nicely."

She turned back to Swift Breeze just as the rainbow maned unicorn mare stopped to help "Oh Thank you, this is what I love about the Ponyville spirit. I'm Shanna. Now maybe if we.."

Before she could finish, the unicorn used her horn power to pull the celadon pegasus back and forth, until h finally snapped free and landed atop her. Shanna ran up and looked to be sure they were okay.

Shanna giggled "Well I guess our work is done, Thank you, Holly Dash."

She smiled to Beach Breaker "Well, shall we?" and started running again. She rounded a bend and faltered a moment, seeing a pony pileup ahead "Mojo? Lyra?"

Shanna dashed ahead to help.. "Oh no! Is everyone stuck?

She stepped in to lend a hoof, starting with Mojo, tugging on his forehooves. "Come on, wiggle that hoof."

She did not notice at the moment one of her wings getting glued to her side...


Meanwhile, with nonracer Hoss...

Hoss neighed happily as Jubilee joined him as he searched for Bramble Rose. "Thanks for joining me, Jubilee!"

Just then, Louise called to them both about Mojo being stuck.

He wheeled about in a quick piroette in mid air and flew in Ms. LaMare's direction. "Right away!"

The stallion passed over Bramble Rose along the way "HAY BRAMBLE! BRAMBLE ROSE! CATCH UP! I GOT THE CURE!"

Hoss chuckled good naturedly as he saw his sister and a tall, dreadlocked stallion also stopping to help. "HI Sis! Still having your usual luck I see.." as he winks teasingly at her.

Hoss lightly landed and checked the others, suddenly seeing now all too familar blue dots on a unicorn mare who was also stuck.

"Dont Worry Miss, I'm Star Skybright, or Hoss to friends. I'll help you get unstuck but first, we need to cure your Poison Joke."

He lifted up the spray bottle and gave a spray in her direction...


Back at the bleachers...

Snails smiled happily as he got out from under cover after watching her close the portal, then bumped Misty Magic with his nose "You did it! On demand even! Ya' must be getting better, even if just a little, eh?

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