The Wreck

by JohnPerry

Chapter 6: The Answer

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The crash of waves. The wind in her hair. The smell of salt. Yearling looked up at the hulking wreck, her brow furrowing as she unfolded her wings. This time she was ready.

It only took a few flaps of her wings to get herself airborne, as the stiff breeze swiftly lifted her skyward. She glided on the air currents, floating above the ship’s bow before she dipped towards the ocean, lazily circling overhead before finally alighting upon the ship’s deck.

The deck was littered with objects; rotting deck chairs sat beside discarded baggage and overturned tables. The metal railings and vents were completely corroded and the wooden boards lining the deck were rotted, and that was when they weren’t missing entirely. Now that she was standing on the deck, Yearling could feel the wreck shifting ever so slightly beneath her hooves, each wave sending a dull rattle through the ship’s crumbling hull.

In the middle of the deck lay a gaping hole, perfectly square in shape. Yearling slowly approached and peered inside, seeing steel beams and shattered glass lying on the floor beneath, recognizing them as the collapsed remains of a skylight. She inhaled sharply, then carefully fluttered her way into the depths of the ship.

Beneath the deck, the air was still. The sound of the wind and waves outside was dulled, but now Yearling could clearly hear the ship grinding and creaking around her, its rusting metal parts sliding and scraping against each other as the wreck slowly succumbed to the elements. The floors were showing strain, slowly buckling from the pressure of the wreck caving in on itself, while the metal walls were rusting away, coated in hues of brown and dark red and spotted with patches of green.

Yearling shivered as she continued further into the depths of the ship, approaching a narrow hallway that vanished into shadow. The creaking of the wreck grew louder with each step she took, now akin to a dull rattle that reverberated through the metal beneath her hooves. Shafts of light cut through the darkness, revealing thick particles of dust hanging in the air.

“Wait… dust?” Yearling peered at the particles hanging in the air. They were huge, far larger than any dust particles she had ever seen, and looked finely detailed even to her naked eye. “There isn’t even anything in here that could create dust. But then…”

Her thoughts were interrupted as she felt something soft beneath her forehoof. She glanced down to see that she had stepped on one of the patches of green. It squished slightly under her weight, and as she peered closer she could see it looked like some sort of moss. Now that she looked around, she could see that the patches of green were becoming larger and more prevalent the further she moved into the wreck, nearly covering the entirety of the walls and floor just beyond the shafts of light.

She picked up her hoof and watched as a cloud of particles emerged from the moss where she had stepped on it. They hovered in the air, floating in the shaft of light before Yearling, who watched them intently.

“It’s not dust, it’s… pollen?” She pressed on, feeling the soft, cool feel of moss underhoof. In the dim light, she could see complex structures in the middle of the largest patches of green: short, purplish red tendrils poking out of thick patches of moss, holding small buds coated in pollen. Yearling stared at it, feeling vaguely reminded of something she had once read…

The rattle of the ship grew louder and a shudder passed through the hull with the crash of another wave, as if the wreck itself was a breathing animal. Yearling continued on, spotting a gaping hole in the blackness ahead. She shuddered, her steps becoming shakier as she approached the hole, still struggling to recall the memory. In her mind’s eye, she could almost see the words on a page, the description of a strange plant, an image, a warning…

Just as she reached the rim of the hole, it clicked together in her mind. She let out a short gasp as the memory returned to her. Yearling paused, the ramifications of what she now knew settling in, before she took the last step and peered down into the hole.

Two ponies were lying on the floor, their forms barely illuminated in the dim light. One a pegasus mare, the other a gray-coated stallion. The mare stirred. She could feel the cold steel pressed against her body, the sensation of something alien upon her. Her mustard yellow coat was dulled, a tinge of green mingling with the hairs of her coat.

She turned her head, groaning at the effort it required. Through her blurred vision, she could just make out the stallion’s body, rising and falling slowly with his breaths, his coat tinged green from the moss that nearly covered him. It covered the floor, surrounding them. She looked down at her body, seeing the moss growing upon her as well.

Her limbs were stiff, and pain shot through them as she tried to move. She gritted her teeth, weakly tugging her forehooves away from the surrounding moss and slowly rolling onto her side. She drew her forelegs close to her chest as feeling slowly came back to them, and with it further pain. But fear drove her on, and she started blindly swiping at her coat, frantically trying to brush the moss off. In the dim light, she could just make out the blurry form of a cloud of pollen lifting off of her.

Gasping, eyes watering, she reached out her forehooves, trying to pull herself across the floor. She made it only a few inches before she felt one of her hindlegs refusing to move. She looked down, seeing it coated in thick moss, holding it to the floor.

“Don’t fight it, Yearling...” She froze at the sound of First Sight’s voice, and looked over to see that it had come from the stallion beside her, mumbled in a weak, hoarse voice.

She frantically began tugging at her hindleg, but it was held in place. Her breathing became frantic, her gasps turning into cries of pain as she continued to pull. Tears began streaming down her face as she planted her forehooves on the floor, struggling to stand up. Something heavy around her neck weighed her down, and she stumbled. She remained on the cold floor, panic overwhelming her as her cries turned to pleas.

“You’re just causing yourself pain, Yearling… Don’t fight it.”

First Sight’s voice was soothing. The pain was excruciating. She wanted to go to him. How easy it would be to just let the pain go… to let everything go…

“Untold riches, Yearling…” he mumbled. “Think of what we could have together.”

She gritted her teeth, snorting heavily as she pushed herself to her hooves once more. She focused on the pain, feeling the fear course through her veins as she stood up and began tugging at her hindleg again, frantically trying to reclaim it from the thick moss.

At last, with a final mighty tug, she yanked her leg out, crying out as the hairs of her hoof and fetlock were ripped clean from her skin. She stumbled and fell upon the floor again, her body racked by her sobbing. She curled into a ball, pleading for the pain to stop.

“You’re only hurting yourself, Yearling.”

The fear drove her on. The fear told her she needed to flee. She rose to her hooves again, now able to see only the dim light through her blurred vision. She took a step towards the light, then paused and looked back at the mumbling stallion, still lying on the floor.

A tug-of-war was fought between two instincts driving her. She couldn’t leave him. She couldn’t stay.

She collapsed on her knees beside the stallion, frantically trying to brush the moss off his coat. She tugged at his body, pulling with every bit of strength she could muster, before she finally managed to yank him onto his back, patches of his coat ripping away to the moss that had held him to the floor. He stirred, kicking out with his hooves and letting out a cry, but soon fell limp again.

“Come on…” she croaked, kneeling beside him and tugging at one of his forelegs, wrapping it over her shoulders so that his body was propped on top of hers. She struggled to stand, picking the stallion up with her, only to collapse under his weight.

She let out a sob, tears leaking down her face as terror gripped her heart. She gulped down air, her legs shaking as she tried to rise to her hooves again. “Come on…” she pleaded.

“Yearling, think of what we could have…” the stallion mumbled, his head hanging limp beside her own.

She took the first shaking step, and then another. The weight around her neck, combined with the weight of the stallion, made each step excruciating, sending stabs of pain through her body. She continued sobbing, but kept moving, fear pushing her on.

The light seemed brighter. Through the fog of her vision, she could sense it coming closer. She took another step before her head suddenly collided with something. Something was holding her back from the light.

Panic struck her. She propped herself against this invisible force blocking her path, feeling its solidness. With one forehoof clinging to the stallion, she raised the other and smashed it against the barrier. She did it again. It rattled with each strike.


Her pounding became more frantic. She heard something crack. She reared back on her hind legs, clinging to the stallion with her forelegs as the weight of both of them fell toward the barrier…

“I’ll always be here for you…”

They struck and the barrier shattered. Blinding light filled her vision and the air was full of sound. A brisk wind whipped at her, smelling of salt. She continued to fall as her whole body suddenly pitched forward, the weight of the stallion pushing her over while the weight around her neck pulled her down. She felt the floor leave her and for a moment all was light and sound as they plummeted through the air.

Her body hit something and suddenly the light and the sound was gone. She gasped and felt water fill her lungs. She immediately lost her grip on the stallion. Her eyes stung and her movements became frantic, her limbs flailing about underwater. She was dimly aware of a faint light overhead and slowly reached up towards it, but the heavy weight around her neck pulled her further down. She stopped flailing as the last bit of air left her, the light becoming dimmer as she sank into the dark depths below.

A sound like muffled thunder filled her ears before she felt herself tumbling through the water, helpless in the powerful current. A great mass of white water struck her and she spun in its midst, unable to tell up from down as her vision began to darken.

Suddenly, the world was filled with light and sound, but it was short-lived as she soon found herself beneath the waves once again. This occurred twice more before her body was flung against something hard, its coarse surface scraping her underside. The force of the impact rattled her body and she coughed violently, choking on the water as it left her lungs. She gasped for air, coughing up more water between frantic breaths.

A wave of water washed over her, submerging her briefly before receding. She reached out with her forelegs, feeling them sink into the wet sand beneath her as she pulled herself away from the water, inching across the ground.

At last, she stopped and rested face-down on the sandy earth, feeling the warmth of the sun upon her back. Her eyes slowly adjusted to the light and a barren, level beach came into focus around her, rising into cliffs and rolling hills in the distance. The sound of waves crashing against the shore filled the air, and in the sky she could see the form of birds lazily circling above.

She looked down at herself, seeing a wet, olive green vest clinging to her chest. A thick golden ring, wider than her body, hung around her neck. She slowly pulled it up over her head and let it fall to the ground, where it struck something solid resting beside her.

She rolled on her side, finding herself facing the stallion, now laying on the sand beside her. In the light, she could make out his black, tangled mane, his white vest and spotted ascot, and a cutie mark of a vaguely skull-shaped gold artifact. He was slowly breathing as he lay on his side, clutching an object in his grasp.

The object was pale in color, round with one part protruding out at an odd angle, with a green band wrapped around the top. She blinked, her vision slowly coming into focus to reveal a pith helmet.

Her pith helmet.

She glanced towards the ocean, seeing the looming form of a huge ship sitting in the waves, its rear half completely missing, the words “EQUESTRIAN STAR” printed in rusting letters on the side of its bow.

Daring Do laughed. She couldn’t help it. A smile spread across her face as she reached out to grasp the pith helmet, prying it out of the stallion’s hooves before hugging it tightly to her chest. She rested her head against the sand and closed her eyes, letting the world around her fade away.

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