Sep 22, 2021 5:09 PM
Tales gets blown off course
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It was a beautiful day at Cantermore, but there was nothing for Tale Spinner to do. There were no giant frogs to fight or rescue, no missing foals, no magical artifacts stolen from the university, no alien-carrying meteors, and all her friends were at work. She’d already caught up on all of Daring Do’s books, which just made her more restless for adventure. She’d flown around looking for quests, and instead found herself helping an old mare find her way to the train station (by carrying her, despite her insistence that she could walk) and helping a farmer haul potatoes. When she asked the Royal Guard if there were any criminals on the loose, he gave her a scathing look and told her not to make trouble.

So Tale caught a thermal above the turrets and soared over the city walls. She flew around the mountain until Cantermore was no longer visible, then higher and higher, where the winds blew faster and colder. She couldn’t wait until she was on a proper adventure again, but for now, she could go on a long flight.

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As Tale flies higher the winds turn to a blizzard, cold and cruel. Soon she struggled to guide her own flight as she is blown from the sky, hurtling to the ground below.

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What is this blizzard thinking, coming out of nowhere like that?

Tale hadn't checked the weather forecast before she set out, but she was pretty sure that the pegasi hadn't scheduled any freak winter storms for today.

She braces for impact.

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As it turns out, even the fluffiest of snow hurts if you collide with it fast enough. She ends up plowing through easily a dozen feet of snow. More snow is falling around her every second, everything she can see is snow. Well, except for that big chunk of ice sticking out of the snow a few yards ahead of her.

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Tale climbs up out of the snow and sees the chunk of ice.

Well, she's lucky she didn't collide with that.

Not only was there a freak blizzard, there was also a freak snowfield. Snowfields don't pop out of nowhere, unless it's been snowing for a while, and there was only rock and grass a few moments ago.

Tale runs through the possibilities. Is she dreaming? No, the snow's too cold, and that hurt. Did she fell asleep while she was flying? No - she would have to be sleep-flying for hours. Did she go through some invisible portal between worlds in the sky? That must be it.

Whatever the explanation, though, she's going to freeze if she doesn't get out of here soon.

"Hello?" she shouts as she scans around for shelter.

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No shelter in sight. Just her, endless snow, the giant chunk of ice, and  - she can just make out - a splotch of red, frozen within the ice

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Tale examines the red thing in the ice.

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The red thing, as it turns out, is a flag, crimson with an orange triangle in the center, frozen atop the flagpole of a ship buried in the ice. She can just barely make out a frozen figure standing on the deck of the ship, hands on the wheel.

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That doesn't look like a flag she's familiar with, which confirms that she is very far from Cantermore.

She gives the ice a good kick with her hooves. Worth a try, right?

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A bit of ice does flake off! Why at this rate she'll be able to get to figure on the deck within only a dozen or so years.

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Interesting as the frozen ship is, it probably won't help her right now.

Plan B: keep walking in a direction for ten minutes, and if she doesn't find anything, she'll dig a hole in the snow and hide there. She takes out a compass from her bag to keep track, because of course every adventurer has a compass.

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After 5 minutes of walking, she spots a glimmer of light in the distance, nearly obscured completely by the storm.

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Tale closes her eyes and then opens them again to make sure it's not a trick. Then she runs towards the light. As fun as digging a snowfort is, finding somepony else, getting rescued, and lying down next to a warm fire seem much better.

"Hello! Help! Wait for me!"

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"We're coming!" A voice yells back as she runs towards the light. As she catches up to them she sees that they are not ponies at all, but rather eight-legged creatures, like giant spiders, with rags and furs wrapped around their limbs and body to shield against the cold. One holds a lantern, the light she saw earlier.

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Tale is too cold and numb to be very surprised. But of course, why would she expect the residents of this very far-away and possibly different-dimensional place to be ponies?

"Thanks. I thought I was going to freeze to death all alone here..." Compared to the spider-creatures, she is very under-dressed, only wearing a flight-vest. "Can I have some clothes?"

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"I can spare my outer cloak for the walk back, though it might have a few too many leg holes for you?" replies a spider wearing a bright orange cloak.

"You can have my scarf" says another.

"And my boots" says a third.

 

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"Oh, that's very nice of you," Tale said, taking the cloak. It has twice as many leg holes as Tale has legs, which means Tale can put each leg through two leg holes, which is fun.

She puts on the scarf and boots as well.

"So... where am I? What is this place?"

 

 

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"It's summershold!" chirps the smallest of the spiders "are you an ice monster?"

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"Summershold? This looks like winter to me," Tale says, rubbing her hooves together to try to get warm.

"I am neither ice nor a monster. But if you didn't save me, I would be turning into ice. Like that ship back there."

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"Oh it used to be warmer but- did you say you saw a ship!!" the small spider replies.

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