Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Ponies Unexpected: Chapter Ten

Chapter 10:  Boat ride Unexpected

After days of buying books, Pinkie and Twilight, along with Newsie and Panorama are riding on the Dartmoor Pony a steam powered, canal boat in a tree-lined canal.  Two Dream Valley Unicorn mares named Captain Quarterdeck and first mate Roadstead, as well as a deckhoof Earth pony stallion named Afloat were the boat’s crew.  Wearing sailor berets, sailor tunics, and slip resistant boat shoes for their rear hooves, these ponies are keeping the boat moving.  These boat ponies would take time to point out landmarks and every hour offered food and drinks to the four pony passengers.

This boat was built for a comfortable ride for about twenty to thirty passengers.  But Twilight had rented it so she could travel without being bothered by Equestrian pony fans.  In fact, the fan ponies had become so annoying that Twilight had used her magic on herself so her coat appears to be a steel gray Tungsten, while a wildflower pattern sundress hid her wings and cutie mark.

Twilight wrote in her group’s journal, “I didn’t know how Pinkie did it, but on her own she had turned her pink coat, mane, and trail the bluish color of polished cobalt.  I didn’t ask how Pinkie had turned from a bright pink to shiny cobalt.  Similar to Pinkie Sense, this is something that I have stopped attempting to understand, but accepted as Pinkie Pie being Pinkie Pie.  The fact is that Pinkie has a magic that I don’t comprehend nor understand, but accepted as something that is outside of my ability to understand with observation and science.”

On the canal shore, Pinkie sees some brightly colored flowers, and then she bounces to the other side of the boat to get a closer look.

Every time their rented canal boat was going to pass by another boat, Pinkie would blow her crystal flugelhorn.  Pinkie thought blowing her horn was fun.  But, it also meant that Captain Quarterdeck had one less thing to worry about as she guided her boat deeper into Dream Valley.

From talking to the boat ponies, Twilight found out that Quarterdeck, Roadstead, and Afloat had met each other in the Dream Valley Republic’s navy.  After their enlistment was over, they pooled their money and then bought a new canal boat and had been taking passengers and mail along the valley’s canal network for two years.

Twilight’s canal boat comes to a stop next to what looked like to her eyes to be the bottom of a huge and robust ferrous wheel.  But, unlike the Equestrian ferrous wheels Twilight had seen that were built to entertain ponies, this canal wheel was for moving boats up and down a steep hillside.  The canal wheel had two water-filled gondolas, suspended by four huge rotating rings, where boats could enter on the bottom and exit on the top, or vice versa.

Twilight’s canal boat begins to ascend counter clockwise as a coal barge descends.

With Panorama operating her television camera, The Unicorn Newsie, holding a wireless microphone in her magic, begins to speak with Twilight.  “Ponies and cargo travel in Dream Valley as well as to and from our distant provinces by our canals or by our roads.  Of course, trade and travel slows down during winter, as the water in the canals freeze solid and snow makes travel by road rather difficult.”

Twilight asks, “Why don’t you use trains?”

A confused Newsie asks Twilight, “What are trains?”

Twilight uses her magic to levitate a book out of her saddlebags and opens it up to a picture of an Equestrian train.  Twilight says, “Trains roll on steel tracks and have engines designed to pull carriages for passengers and freight along steel tracks.  Trains in my nation carry passengers, mail, and freight, while they almost never are stopped by winter’s cold and snow.

An amazed Newsie tells Twilight, “I’ve never seen anything like that train contraption in Dream Valley or in any of the nearby kingdoms.”

“So what you’re telling me Newsie is that Dream Valley ponies invented and built amazing canals, but not trains?  From my pointy of view, these Dream Valley ponies are living unexpected lives.”

Bouncing by on her hooves, Pinkie tells Twilight, “Oh Twilight, think of all the unexpected things that have happened in your own life.  As a foal, did you expect that Princess Cadence would become your foalsitter?  Before you enrolled in Princess Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns, did you or your parents expect that you would become Princess Celestia’s most faithful student?  Did you expect that you would meet such diverse Ponyville friends?  Did you expect that you and your friends would become the bearers of the Elements of Harmony who would overcome Nightmare Moon, Trixie, Discord, Queen Chrysalis, King Sombra, Trixie again, Discord's black thorny vines, the Mane-iac, and Lord Tirek?”

Standing on her hind legs, Pinkie added, “Twilight, part of growing up is dealing with unexpected events in our lives.  Yet, as a result of all those unexpected events, we pony friends are living far-out, groovy, and terrific lives.”

Twilight puts a hoof on her chin, considers Pinkie’s words for a moment, and then tells Pinkie, “When I was a blank flank filly, I had no idea how wonderful my life would turn out.  I suppose that my life has been a series of unexpected events, between weeks or months of predictable routine.  However, what were these foalish ponies thinking when they build canals that froze for three months during winter?”

Pinkie added, “Twilight, from the point of view of the Dream Valley ponies, Equestrian history seems as strange to them, as Dream Valley history appears to us.  Twilight, you should accept the fact that simply because these ponies invested in canals but not railroads does not mean that they are worse off than you or better off than you.”

While Twilight considered Pinkie’s observation, Twilight’s rented canal boat comes to a stop at the top of the boat wheel.  And then, the boat continues down the canal, now lined with homes and retail businesses.  The boat’s public address speakers come to life, as Quarterdeck’s voice interrupted Twilight’s thoughts.  “On behalf of Roadstead and Afloat, I would like to thank our passengers for choosing our canal boat.  Please look around and take all your belongings with you.  Please walk with care off this vessel and we hope to see you soon for another pleasant journey.”

Twilight’s boat came to a stop in a marina dug out of the ground beside the canal.  Quarterdeck and Roadstead used their Unicorn magic to attach the boats mooring lines to the dock, while Afloat used his shoe-gloves to put the boat’s gangway down, allowing the four ponies to walk to the dock, and then walk to the shore.

Twilight said, “Quarterdeck, thanks for the ride.  I’ll send you a PDA message when my friends and I will need a ride back to our airship.”

Pinkie added, “You guys have a great boat and your cookies are wonderful!”

Then, the four ponies walked into a city park, where they saw an outdoor concert with six musician ponies making upbeat trumpet and piano music, on a stone stage for an audience of thirty ponies dressed in business attire.  But, much to Pinkie’s dismay, their group or in this case Twilight didn’t have time to listen to music, no matter how good the music was.  Pinkie started talking to the journalist ponies, leaving Twilight to consider all the things she had seen so far in Dream Valley.

My Little Pony:  Friendship is Magic, Copyright © 2010 Lauren Faust, Hasbro Studios, and DHX Media

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