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Red Cedar

[Saddle Arabia] I've Been Through The Desert

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The heat in Saddle Arabia was something else. It was much more than Applejack was used to, even working during the height of summer, but it wasn't enough to bring her down.

 

Ever since Equestria had been in talks with Saddle Arabia, things had gotten friendlier and friendlier between the two nations, which meant that both sides were able to start showing each other the best they had to offer. In Applejack's case, that meant her farm's best apples. She'd lept at the chance to start selling her farm's apples in a place that had rarely had them before, hoping to open up a new market to nothing but the best - her own farm's of course! Initially, it had meant a long trip by train along with the crates of apples, making sure the trip wasn't too long or bumpy or hot, so that they ended up arriving in less than excellent condition. Then it was a matter of finding ponies willing to take her apples and get them to local markets. But the weeks away from home paid off and paid off bigtime! Signed contracts in hoof, she was ready to head home and share the good news.

 

Partly because she longed to get home to her family quickly, and partly because she felt like she could treat herself to a beautiful view on the trip back, Applejack was heading for the airship dock to get back to Equestria by. With her heart light, and a spring in her walk, she felt like nothing could bring her down now!

Edited by Red Cedar

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The Great and Powerful Trixie

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@@Red Cedar

 

Trixie had mixed feelings as she heading for the airship dock at the edge of the desert. The heat that Saddle Arabia was known for was quite unbearable for the illusionist mare. Yeah, she could take a little heat in places like Appaloosa and Dodge Junction, but Saddle Arabia was much worse. As such it made it VERY difficult to keep her mane in the state she preferred, and it made living and working in her trailer very difficult. On the flip side she got to perform in front of royalty in a beautiful city that she never imagined she would evert visit. Add to that she got to spend time in buildings and see sights that rivaled some of the stories she was told as a foal.

 

Yes, she wanted to return to Equestria so bad, but she also hated leaving such a beautiful and welcoming city. Having been invited by the tourism director to perform as a result of better relations between the nations she was ever most grateful; yes for the bits, but also for the chance to experience something new.

 

Sighing to herself she noticed the airship that would be waiting for her. The trailer which she used as her stage and home had been sent back to Equestria on a separate flight the other day; which allowed her time to enjoy the sights once more. "Ah, Saddle Arabia, I know the citizens of this fine nation are appreciative of the Great and Powerful Trixie traveling such a long distance, and I will miss thee. Still, it would be nice to return home and refresh. Maybe one day I...err, she will return! Yes! Trixie promises that she will grace your borders again, in time," she said with loud exclamation; garnering some stares from ponies, griffons, and others nearby, not that she cared.

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Aboard the airship, Applejack took the time to take advantage of the nearly deserted deck to get a view of the city, marvel at its architecture from this vantage point, and just enjoy the sight. That was, after all, why she enjoyed traveling by balloon or airship when she could. Bound to the ground as she was, it made for breathtaking sights to be so high off the ground.

 

Making her way around the ship, she strolled towards the gangplank again, wondering if anypony else was going to be on this flight...

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The Great and Powerful Trixie

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@@Red Cedar

 

Trixie took her time as she trotted through the hals of the airship. It had lifted off earlier in the day and was flying over the city; gradually approaching the desert. Whenever she approached a window she stopped and marveled at the beauty of Saddle Arabia; truly a remote jewel in such a remote desert.

 

Heading towards the gangplank she began to wonder if any other pony was aboard that she might recognize; though she pushed that thought aside as she didn't notice any pony who was familiar in the city...

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Applejack had been shifting her gaze between the incredible view as the airship began its flight to the deck in front of her so often, she had almost missed the pony that was in front of her until it was too late. She stopped suddenly, looking up, smiling, ready to greet a new pony who was sharing this trip back home...

 

And then her face fell. She had to look twice. She couldn't believe it. Not this far from Equestria, it couldn't have been. All the way out here? Of all the blasted ponies that she had to be stuck on a long airship ride with... her?

 

Applejack forgot all pretense of being polite, given the shock she had just had seeing that all-too-familiar blue mane and coat. "What the hay are you doing here?" she demanded.

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The Great and Powerful Trixie

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Trixie sighed; content with fact that she was leaving the city, and probably for a long time. Granted she would miss the city, but she was ready to head home. The view was indeed incredible; Saddle Arabia very well rivaled that of Canterlot and the Crystal Empire. She was about to head back down the hall when she heard a familiar voice; and one that she wasn't thrilled to be hearing.

 

Shaking her head with a grin, she turned to find Applejack with that classic country glare. "As if I, the Great and Powerful Trixie, have to answer to one country bumpkin as yourself! Tell, what are YOU doing here? What business does a farm pony have in such a cultured city as this," she said; with that demeaning stare.

 

She was quite annoyed by the appearance of Applejack. She was hoping this would be smooth, relaxing ride, but apparently that couldn't be. Just why was she here? WHY!?

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There were few things in this world that truly set Applejack's blood on a slow boil, but Trixie's holier-than-thou attitude based on nothing more than unwarranted self-importance was most definitely one of them. It wasn't that she felt the need to justify her presence in Saddle Arabia to her of all ponies, but she wasn't about to back down, either.

 

"What business do you think I'd be doing here? I'm supplying apples to a country where they don't grow." she said, before adding sarcastically, "And since they're so cultured, I'd think they wouldn't take kindly to a second-rate performer like you!"

 

Applejack's gaze was so fixed on Trixie, as though expecting her to attempt one of her sneaky magical assaults again, that she didn't even feel the shudder in the deck of the airship.

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The Great and Powerful Trixie

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Trixie glared at Applejack with an intensity she hadn't had in such a long time. She had tried so hard to improve her attitude and standing amongst the other ponies, and it had been succeeding for a good while. Applejack, however, was a much tougher nut to crack...and as it stood she doubted it was worth it to improve her standing with a farm pony like her.

 

"Second-rate? Ha! Shows how much you know you country bumpkin," she scoffed at AJ, fixing her mane. "Turns out that Trixie was invited by the tourism director to perform for the royals, and the ponies of the city of course. And, as expected, she was received gloriously with loud and thunderous applause. Tell me, Applejack, did your apples do that!?"

 

She gave a smug grin; not even noticing how far above the city they now were.

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Applejack got the distinct impression Trixie was delusional enough to think silence was thunderous applause, somewhere within her own alleged mind. Still, she had tried to avoid Trixie's performances whenever possible as it was. The first one she had ever seen was bad enough, and the encore was far worse.

 

"No, my apples don't get applause," she conceded, then said, "They feed and nourish ponies the world over. Or have y'all never heard of something called a staple crop? That's more important than doing parlor tricks any day!"

 

Another shudder rumbled through the deck of the airship, and this time, it was enough for Applejack to notice. She broke her intense gaze with Trixie while trying to suddenly steady herself. Travelling by airship was not something she did regularly by any means, but it was more than just turbulence. "Did... that seem right to you?" she asked.

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The Great and Powerful Trixie

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Trixie yawned; growing tired of the Apple pony's presence already. She couldn't figure out why AJ got the sudden idea that people out in the desert had a sudden craving for apples. Supposedly only HER apples! The nerve! Yes, all creatures have to eat, but entertainment has it's place. Else, every pony would be bored out of their minds. Ha! And her apples would cure that?

 

"Oh, please, don't think my mind is on your level that you have to explain the basics to me. Yes, Applejack, I know that ponies have to eat. We KNOW that already! Listen, entertainment has it's place, and it's a very important one," she said with a slight vigor before turning into a smug smile. "Besides, it helps them deal with hardships or else gives them something to smile, laugh, or enjoy, which is something your boring apples can't do."

 

Just as she finished Trixie lost her balance a little as she felt a rumble, and this did not feel good. Suddenly feeling tense she could tell something was not right. Hearing AJ's question and immediately putting aside the hatred for a moment, "No...that's...not usual...ummm....," was all she said, looking around for any crew she could find.

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Applejack, too, now looked like she had better things to do than argue with Trixie, especially as the conjurer had pretty much confirmed her suspicions that this was not normal airship behaviour. Glancing about as Trixie had been, looking for a crewmember, Applejack decided to start for the stairwell to go above decks to look when another violent shake almost knocked her to the deck, followed by the distinct feel of going at a speed no airship should be able to travel at. She had only a fraction of a second to steady herself and look up, her jaw dropping as she caught sight of the view out the window.

 

The ground was coming towards them very, very quickly.

 

Applejack wrapped her hooves around the nearest support beam she could find, calling out, "Hold onto something and brace yourself!" before shutting her eyes tight.

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The Great and Powerful Trixie

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Trixie just froze; the sudden shaking and chaos erupting gave her a feeling of utmost dread. While most of her trips in airships were smooth, she did experience some rough turbulence here and there. As such she knew someone was seriously wrong as she never experience these violent shakes before.

 

Hearing Applejack call to her she quickly grabbed ahold of a beam and closed her eyes. "We'regonnadie, we'regonnadie, ahhhhh," she screamed, holding on for deer life as the airship finally crashed to the group in a big huff of smoke in the unforgiving desert.

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Applejack hung onto the support for dear life, wondering why it seemed like time had suddenly slowed as she waited for the inevitable when it had seemed to be coming at her far too quickly a second before.

 

She didn't have long to contemplate.

 

As the airship impacted the sandy surface of the desert, she had managed to hang on to her beam rather well as the hull began to slide along the sand, but when it finally lurched to a sudden stop, Applejack could no longer stand up to the forces acting on her. Flung across the deck, she landed hard against a bulkhead, a sharp pain shooting through her left shoulder.

 

Did she black out? For how long? How long had she been lying here. As she slowly opened her eyes and began to move, the pain in her shoulder flared up again, and she let out a small squeaky grunt. For a moment she worried that her left foreleg was broken...

 

A sudden shift of the ship's hull caused her to instinctively try to break her fall with her injured leg, causing an audible crack as her dislocated shoulder was forcibly reset into its normal place. She sucked in a breath through her teeth at the pain again, then relaxed as her shoulder started to feel slowly better, until it was merely sore, rather than painful.

 

Another breath, and she carefully started to turn and look around, trying not to put too much weight on her left foreleg yet.

 

"Hey! Is everypony all right?" she called out.

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The Great and Powerful Trixie

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@@Red Cedar

 

It was a flash; a fleeting moment in time. Trixie could barely register anything that had occurred from the last few moments. She thought she was in an airship and...something happened...an-"AH! WE CRASHED! WHA-OW!!!" Trixie had awakened from being temporarily knocked out, and as soon she attempted to get up she noticed to immediate sources of pain. One was recognizable; what felt like a strain in her right fore-leg; the same one that was injured in a previous excursion with Rainbow Dash. Along with that was the one in her head.

 

Thinking she must've knocked her head on something hard when the crash occurred she got up slowly and gradually; taking a look around. She heard a familiar voice, and even though it was one she didn't care for, she put that aside. "Trixie is...well, I am...yes...with some issues," she said; slightly limping towards the source of the farm pony's voice.

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Hearing Trixie's voice somewhere on the other side of the toppled ship, Applejack slowly hobbled in the direction, trying to keep her footing on the oddly angled bulkheads in order not to aggravate her shoulder any further. Finally, looking up, she found Trixie making her own way over. Applejack thought she had definitely seen better days, given that very nasty looking blow to her head.

 

One thing was for sure, if that was as bad as it looked, the last thing she needed was to be moving. "Here," she said, motioning to a bulkhead still within the shade of the airship's hull that looked like it would be good enough to rest on at its new angle. "Why don't y'all have a seat. Better not to do much after a blow like that."

 

As she was beginning to settle down on the bulkhead herself and take her weight off her sore shoulder, the sound of fluttering wings outside made here ears perk up, especially when it was followed by another strange voice calling, "Hello? Anypony here?"

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The Great and Powerful Trixie


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@@Red Cedar


 

As Trixie made her way towards Applejacks voice she finally spotted the mare just ahead; who immediately wanted her to take a rest. She was about to protest when the very thought cause her to wince a bit from the throbbing in her head. The pain in her leg was bad enough, even though she was able to walk well enough, but her head was another matter. She sighed, not fighting back as she leaned against the bulkhead. She winced slightly as Applejack called out to any-pony nearby.

 

She was initially worried that no pony had survived or had already left, but thankfully a voice did respond. "Yes! Trixie's here! With country bum-I mean...Applejack," she corrected herself; wincing from the pain still.

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 "Yes! Trixie's here! With country bum-I mean...Applejack,"

 

Applejack slowly turned her head towards Trixie, raising her eyebrow in the other mare's direction. Even in all this, that was her first thought to say? "Seriously?" she asked.

 

She didn't really have time to wait for a response, however, as a pegasus wearing a pilot's uniform made his way through a hole in the hull towards them, taking a look over the two of them. "Oh thank Celestia," he said. "You're okay. That accounts for everypony, then. You two were the only passengers on this flight."

 

Seeing how bruised the two of them looked, he trotted carefully back over to a bulkhead, unbuckling a small chest and dragging it over with his teeth towards where Applejack and Trixie sat. "This is an emergency kit. It has food, water, and a first aid kit, and there's other's around the deck just like it, you can see." he said, gesturing with his hoof. "The crew and I are going to fly back to the city and bring help. Stay close to the hull, so we can find you. It'll be cooler, too. Are either of you seriously hurt?"

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The Great and Powerful Trixie

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Trixie sighed; she still held contempt for Applejack, but she knew there was a line and that last comment was uncalled for. As she has experience in recent times old habits tend to die hard, but like she did with Twilight's other friends, there would have to come a time when she would have to get over that last hump. Sighing, she sat down as she heard the crew-pony speak to them. Of course she didn't like that they would be left in the desert for a time, but it was pretty much best case scenario.

 

"No...I'm not...ummm...Applejack...how are you holding up," she asked, figuring she would need to start someplace if they were going to get out of this, and hopefully on each other's better sides. "And...I'm...sorry for that comment..." Her voice was a little meek on that one; not wanting the crew-pony to hear that.

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Applejack sighed. She could already imagine this was going to be a long wait for the airship crew to return with transport, so she decided to bite her tongue and not make a bad situation any worse by harping on Trixie's earlier comments. She seemed to have realized her error in judgement, at least, if her small, quiet attempt at an apology was any indication, but it would have been nice if that had been realized before it had even been said.

 

Instead, she just addressed the more pressing problem. "I've got a left foreleg I'd rather stay off of right now," she replied. "My shoulder is killing me." She tried to move it around some, and promptly decided not to more than needed. She just hoped there was some willow bark extract in that medical kit.

 

The crewpony nodded, seeing as nopony seemed to be in life or death danger at the moment. "All right. We'll be back as soon as we can with a way to get you two back to the city." he said, and with that, he climbed back through the hole in the hull and immediately took to the sky under his own wingpower.

 

Applejack sighed again and sat back. And so began an eternity spent with Trixie.

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@@Red Cedar

 

Sighing, Trixie took a seat amongst the wreckage, making herself as comfortable as she possible could. Her front leg still hurt her a great deal and she thought it was the same leg that was injured in an excursion with Rainbow Dash. Her head, though, was a more immediate concern and the lingering pain was beginning to irritate her.

 

With the crew pony gone it was just the two of them, and most likely, it would be a LONG time before any pony would return with help. For all she knew they would be abandoned. "So....how long do you thing it will take? I meant...surely they can't just leave us out here," she said; the heat also becoming a bother.

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Applejack soon found that, even with a very sore shoulder, sitting around didn't sit well with her. Slowly, she hobbled over to the crate left behind by the pilot to lug it, painfully, to where the two of them were sitting so that it could be a little closer at hoof, at least until they needed the next one. Sitting heavily back down, she opened it up and looked through it. Thankfully, she found the willow extract in the first aid kit she had been hoping for, and divided up a dose for herself and one for Trixie. It certainly looked like she might have needed it with that bump on her head.

 

Hearing Trixie's question, apparently tinged with a bit of concern, she quickly dismissed the idea. "Now why would they leave us out here? What kind of pony would do a thing like that?" She quickly downed her painkiller and with it took a sip of water to wash it down. Trixie had had a point, though. They didn't really know how far away from the city they had gotten or how long it would take to organize a rescue. "But, we'll probably be here several hours. Maybe overnight." she admitted.

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Trixie watched as Applejack opened the crate and procured some aid from it. Sighing in some relief at the contents and that the farm pony had split some for her, she gladly took some with her magic, immediately forgetting that use of magic with a hurt head was a bad combination. Lightly hovering it to her hoof while wincing, she drank the painkiller and waited for it to take effect. Her head was the immediate concern, but she hoped that it would help her leg.

 

Sighing, Trixie looked at Applejack, then through the cracks. ​"I don't even remember how long we were in the air. We could be closer to Equestria for all we know, and they probably went back to Saddle Arabia," she said, worry still in her voice. "Several hours? How about DAYS!? For all we know they will get lo-AH!" Trixie winced; the pain immediately shooting through her head due to her excitement. Taking a few breaths she calmed herself down to allow the ponding in her head to settle. "All right...we need to remain calm. I need to remain calm. It's too hot in here...augh...still...thank you, Applejack...hopefully the willow helps..."

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Applejack looked a little concerned at Trixie until she started to calm herself a little. Apparently her fortitude under pressure was as fragile as her ego. Trying to be reassuring, however, she peered out of the hole in the airship's hull, trying to get an idea of how far they had gone. The deserts around Dodge Junction and Appleloosa were arid, but dotted with stone mesas and the occasional meadow or tumbleweeds. What she saw outside was sand, nothing but fine sand as far as the eye could see.

 

"From the look of those dunes, I don't think we got too far," she explained, "and those ponies on the crew were pilots. They know how to navigate. They won't lose us."

 

Applejack allowed herself the luxury of one more swig of water before giving the canteen back to Trixie. "And it'll be hotter than this outside, so, best stay under cover and conserve water." she said. "Besides, neither of us is in any fit state to go for a stroll, so we may as well just sit tight. They'll be back soon as they can."

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@@Red Cedar

 

Trixie nodded as she listened to Applejack. Staying quiet for a minute she let the pain subside somewhat before replying; wanting the willow to take effect. Closing her eyes she tried to turn off her surroundings; keeping herself calm. She thought back to her performances; using the methods she learned from her performances when dealing with stage fright early in her career. However; it proved difficult. The heat and isolation felt like a bigger monster than a cheering crowd ever did.

 

"You're right...we're not equipped to handle the terrain and temperature here. We just...have to ride it out for now," she said with a sigh, her gaze fixed on a crack over looking a mess of dunes. "It's amazing the Saddle Arabians were able to build such a city out here." With the pain in her head subsiding she tested out her leg, wincing after stepping on it. Apparently the injury from the earlier adventure hadn't fully healed.

 

Taking the canteen from Applejack she was tempted to indulge herself, but only took enough of a sip. Knowing that their situation was precarious she wanted to preserve what stock they had.

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Applejack sat back, trying to rest her left foreleg as much as possible, at least until the willow had a chance to work. "Well, they obviously built it there because they'd found what they needed there. Most likely a source of water." She nodded her head towards the view of sand through the hole in the hull. "You can put down roots and live just fine almost anywhere in Equestria if you didn't mind a little hard work, but out there... It's no wonder you don't see a lot of other ponies out here."
 

Applejack took a deep breath, the idea of being able to start a life with very little took her thoughts wandering back to her home on the farm. "That's how my great-grandfather did it," she said wistfully. "When he founded the farm, there was no town anywhere around. He and his family had to clear it all to plant the first orchards. There was no Ponyville until other ponies came and founded their own farms and homesteads and businesses." Her gaze remained fixed on the floor in front of her as she spoke.

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