Longhaul

Slice of Life Lighting the Dark Path

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(edited)

Oh, thou overestimate mine humble contribution in that story, mine lief! Although, I admit the kick - guilty as charged *giggles* Thy writing is good, dost not diminish thy own virtues!

Edited by Alexshy
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1 minute ago, Alexshy said:

Oh, thou overestimate mine humble contribution in that story, mine lief! Although, I admit the kick - guilty as charged *giggles*

Well, it was something you said in the Lounge that gave me the starting point for the story, and I give credit where it's due.

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I rather address mine nudge, forcing thee to post it, as "the kick" *winks* The rest is arrant thine merit. Mine gratitude anyway *hugs*

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(edited)

Suppose I could post it here, too...hope you enjoy.

1141388733_Lightingthepath2.thumb.png.9054f76e19b1ce6379d0ae490ab6c7b4.png

 

The last rays of the setting sun were fading in the western sky, as Longhaul hitched up to his assigned wagon.  Another long night awaited him, another trip to Oatlahoma and back, and if he was lucky enough, he would be home before the sun arose once again in the east.  He looked over his manifest carefully and, after connecting himself to the wagon, he gave it a few quick tugs to make sure everything was locked into place.  He was thankful that this load was lighter than last night’s, shuddering a little, when he remembered how his wagon was just about to chase him down Honey Creek Pass.  Thanks to some expert maneuvering and braking on the hill, he managed to avoid becoming a pony pancake and made it safely to the rendezvous point a few dozen miles ahead.

After receiving a signal from the yard workers that he was ready to go, he began his nightly ritual.  Bowing his head and closing his eyes, he began to speak quietly, in a faint whisper:

‘Luna, I don’t know if you hear me every night, but I ask that, if it is within your power, you keep me safe from harm in my travels, and guide me through your glorious night with the light of your stars to point my way.  Your most humble servant thanks you.’

  He lifted his head, and with a well-placed kick from his left hind hoof, released the brakes holding the wagon still. With a pull and a groan, Longhaul got the wagon rolling and was soon on his way out of the freight yard.

The lights of Ponyville faded into the background behind Longhaul and he steered toward the main route to Oatlahoma, a route he had taken so often he could practically do it in his sleep.  On some nights, it felt like he was doing exactly that, beaten by exhaustion and a general feeling of ennui.  There wasn’t much that could be seen along this route, which was one drawback of traveling during the dead of night.  The scenery blended together into a featureless blob of black, the details only coming into focus when the moon was at its brightest in the sky.  Occasionally, small nocturnal creatures darted into his path, and he took great pains to not squish any of them under the heavy load contained in the wagon.

He saw something ahead in the dim light, and began slowing down as he approached.  He thought he saw — naw, it couldn’t be, he thought, that would be nigh on impossible.  There was no way that an alicorn princess would be standing in his path, on this lonely road, in the middle of the night.  It had to be a mirage, an illusion formed inside his over-tired brain.

Sure enough, it really was an alicorn princess — coat of the deepest blue, flowing ethereal mane twinkling with embedded starlight, silver shoes, and breastplate with a reproduction of her cutie mark — and this alicorn princess was standing directly in his path.  Longhaul brought the wagon to a halt and stood, staring wide-eyed at what he saw before him.  He fumbled for his hat and removed it from his head.  

“P—p-princess Luna, w-w-what an unexpected honor,” he stammered, bowing deeply and trembling out of nervousness.

“We pray thee, rise, dear one.  You are the one called Longhaul, correct?” Luna asked, her rich and sonorous voice flowing like a stream and washing over him.  “And I ask thee, call me Luna.”

“Y-y-yes, ma-am—err, Luna—I am Longhaul,” he replied, still awestruck.  “What brings you here, if I may be so bold as to ask?”

“I have heard thy supplications, dear Longhaul, and it hath puzzled me as to why thou wouldst do so night after night,” Luna said, sizing up the stallion standing before her, hitched to an overflowing wagon and shaking in his little horseshoes.  “Doth my presence intimidate you?” she queried.

“Oh…please forgive me, the last thing I expected to see was royalty standing in front of me, and I’m still trying to get over the shock of it all,” Longhaul answered.  “I never in my wildest dreams expected to ever meet you, much less stand here talking to you.  It’s a little overwhelming.”

Luna giggled.  She found his candor refreshing, a refreshing change from dealing with the nobility in Canterlot.  “I wish not to make thee uncomfortable, nor delay thee in thy labours.  May I walk with thee for a while?  We can talk about thy supplications to me, as we travel.”

Longhaul smiled.  “You honor me, Luna.  I would be quite happy to have you accompany me for as long as you are able.”

“Excellent!” Luna said happily.  “Now, stand fast!”  Luna’s horn flashed briefly, and Longhaul instantly felt as if a great weight had been lifted from him.  He gave a quick tug to see if he was still connected to his wagon, and almost was pushed forward, when it rolled with very little effort.

“What…just happened?” a very confused Longhaul asked.

“We have lightened thy burden with a featherweight spell.  Thy wagon shall remain as light as the very air around us until thou unhitches at thy destination,” Luna explained.  “We do not wish thee to be overly exerted, whilst we speak with thee,”  Luna said with a grin.

“That’s very…very nice of you, Luna, thank you,” Longhaul replied, still getting himself back in order.  He stood straight and ready.  “I am at your convenience, Princess, whenever you are ready.”  

Luna positioned herself on Longhaul’s right, and the two began to walk down the very beaten path.

After a short period of awkward silence, Luna looked over to Longhaul and asked, “Pray, tell us why you beseech us for aid every night.  Surely thou knowest our primary role is in the dream world, ensuring peaceful slumbers and warding off nightmares.  And yet, every night without fail you send your supplication to us, nev’r receiving an answer.  Until this moment.”

“I also know that you hold sway over the night,” Longhaul answered carefully, “so it would only be logical that I ask you to watch over me in my nightly travels.  I highly doubt Princess Celestia would be available for looking after some little ol’ freight hauler in the dead of night.”

Luna suppressed a small giggle.  “Nay, our sister doth slumber, to refresh herself from her daily toil.  But that does not explain, why thou persists in thy pleas.”

“In a word, comfort,” Longhaul declared simply.  “It’s a part of a nightly ritual, and it provides me with some sense of relief and comfort.  I never expected an answer, truthfully.  Heck, I never even expected that you’d hear me every night.  But the simple act of asking and the blind faith that maybe, somehow, my little prayer would be heard, was enough to see me through some pretty dark nights.”

Luna nodded as she pondered all that Longhaul had said.  “Thy reasoning is sound, and we are flattered that thou thinkest so highly of us to ask for our aid.”  She paused, thinking how to phrase the next part.  “Longhaul, tell us sooth … doth thy supplications come from a sense of … how can we put this … romantic longing toward us?”

Longhaul almost stumbled over his hooves upon hearing this.  “Ah. I think I understand why you’re asking this … I imagine you have quite the list of those that wish to be your consort, am I right?”

Luna sighed.  “Thy imagination barely scratches the surface of the vast quantity we have encountered,” she said wearily.

“I see,” Longhaul said, nodding in understanding.  “Luna, while I feel you are quite attractive, and that anypony would be lucky to call themselves your suitor, I can assure you that my intentions are pure, and I am not trying to put the moves on you.  If I have any intentions at all, they are geared more toward friendship than romance.  Besides, I highly doubt I would have stood a chance, even if I were trying to woo you.”

Luna leaned over and gave Longhaul a quick peck on his cheek, which made him blush.  “Thou art good of heart, dear friend Longhaul.  It pleaseth us to know that thither are those rare gems of pure friendship that shine out in the darkness of carnal desire.”  Her expression changed to a neutral, if not dour one.  “It hath become so that we must tread carefully through the dream realm, lest we encounter some … rather explicit and somewhat disturbing visions from our subjects.”

Longhaul blushed more.  “I can see how that could be a bit, shall we say, disconcerting?”

Luna snorted.  “Thou hast a knack for understatement, my friend.”  She glanced over at Longhaul again.  “Thou dost not seem put off by our choice of language, another rarity we have discovered in thee.  How dost thou explain this?”

Longhaul got a far-away look in his eyes as he stared ahead into the distance.  “When I was a colt, we studied the works of Shakespony in school.  Words and language are of particular interest to me, and I was enthralled by the use of Old Ponish.  It really felt, like I was being transported back to those days, and I could hear the voices speaking this elegant language, and comparing it to today’s language was another journey I loved undertaking.  I think I was the only one that enjoyed those lessons out of everypony else in my class.”

“Thou art quite the complex pony, friend Longhaul,” Luna said, sounding somewhat impressed.  “And thou didst not speak to us in that way for what reason, pray tell?”

“I didn’t want to sound like I was mocking the way you speak,” Longhaul replied. 

Luna smiled.  “Thou art most kind, too.  We have enjoyed out time with thee, yet we must return to our duties.  Before we depart, we wish thee to have a simple token of our gratitude and friendship.”  Luna’s horn glowed, and a small pin in the shape of a crescent moon, much like the one adorning her breastplate, appeared before her.  She levitated this over to Longhaul and secured it to his hat.   “Wear this proudly, and keep it as a reminder that wherever thou dost travel in thy labours, we are with thee always.”

Longhaul, having come to a stop, was overcome with emotion to a point that he could no longer speak.  He finally found his voice, and managed to squeak out, “Th … thank you, Luna, this means the world to me.  I shall treasure it always.”  He bowed deeply to her.

Luna lifted his head, and gave him a gentle, friendly hug.  “Fare thee well, dear friend, and mayhap we shall accompany thee on thy nightly sojourn sometime soon, as our schedule allows.  Safe travels to thee.”  She unfurled her wings, and with a mighty flap, was soon airborne, flying through the night sky toward Canterlot.

Taking a minute to process all that had just happened, Longhaul sat down and looked toward Oatlahoma, the halo of the city’s lights visible in the distance.  Of all the trips he had made to this place, he would treasure this one the most.  With a smile on his face, and a renewed feeling of vigor, he began pulling his load toward the city, his thoughts still on his encounter with the lunar princess, the symbol of her friendship glinting in the moonlight, as he made his way to the sleepy town ahead.

Extra-special thanks to @Yoye Wolfgrel for the awesome cover art!

Edited by Longhaul
added cover art

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Yay! *hugs her literary modest friend* The story is good, now it shalt receive more readers.

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(edited)

I really like the tone of the story.its a great introduction to your character.in what seems to be a story that will continue eventually.but can also stand on its own.

P.s.

As a fan of medieval literature.i love that you kept luna's royal voice instead of modernizing it

Edited by Lord Valtasar

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