Daring-Do woke up in her bed rubbing her eyes. She had had the most peaceful sleep she had gotten in a long time. She leaned up in her bed and looked over at the picture of her and her father on her dresser.
Her father; she had dreamed about him again last night. It was mainly replaying the few memories of him over and over in her head, dreaming about how they had visited a number of exotic locations together.
She had dreamed of him adventuring through faraway places and finding buried treasures. She had tried and tried to be just like him but he always seemed to have had an adventure bigger and better then one she did.
Her thoughts changed to the ancient city Rabalon and the crown inside it. If it could grant any wish, maybe she could use it to bring him back? That was it! She could use the wish to bring him back!
Unless... he never wanted to be found. He was still alive, Daring was sure of it. Nothing could stop him. But if he vanished without telling anypony why, it must have been an important reason, and if he wanted to be found, he would have left a trail for her to follow.
Wait a minute, maybe he did?
Daring-Do suddenly leapt out of bed and opened one of her drawers. Inside was the piece of paper he had given her all those years ago before he disappeared. She grabbed it and ran over to her study room.
Daring-Do grabbed a large map with her mouth and spat it onto the table. She quickly unrolled it and looked for the Sandy Dunes Desert. Locating the desert she grabbed the paper and placed it on top of the map.
The markings on the paper fit almost perfectly to the map. She adjusted it until it matched the map. The paper showed a location in the middle of the desert, it was almost a perfect match with the location Atlas suspected a certain ancient city to be.
"Rabalon...no way." Daring-Do gasped, her mouth hanging open. "He found it, and he left this for me to find it too..."
Daring-Do stared at the map; with a little modification the paper could lead her straight to Rabalon. To the biggest treasure vault she would ever find. A once in a lifetime adventure.
"Wow Daring, this is impressive." Professor Atlas leaned over the piece of paper laid out on a map of the Sandy Dunes Desert in the Atlas' office. "I never thought I would see something like this."
"Pretty awesome huh? I knew my father wouldn't leave me with nothing. He found the map to Rabalon and he wanted me to go find it!" Daring-Do hopped in excitement.
"Well hold on Daring, I don't know about this. Why would he leave the map to you in the first place?"
"Who cares? We know where it is, so let's go! Even if we have to dig our way to it, we can get there."
Atlas bit her bottom lip. "I don't know, the constant sandstorms would make it pretty dangerous. Even if Rabalon was still standing, the sandstorms would make it impossible to get anywhere when one hits."
"Well don't we have weather ponies keeping track of that stuff over there anyway? We could schedule a trip sometime when there isn't a storm."
"Oh, um, I'm afraid we don't have access to the weather data from the Sandy Dunes Desert area." Atlas nervously smiled.
"Oh? Well what's this?" Daring-Do jumped and swiped a scroll of paper before Atlas could grab it. Daring-Do leapt to the other side of the room before Atlas could stop her from opening it.
"Hm, sandstorm patterns in the Sandy Dunes Desert." Daring-Do read the title of the page." Gee, this looks like it could be useful for exploring a certain ancient city with untold riches don't you think? Why would you hide it from me?"
Atlas brought a hoof up in exasperation. "I, uh, fine I'll tell you. I didn't want you reading it because I didn't want you taking too big of a risk for a treasure. I didn't want you to go."
"Well why did you not let me see the sandstorm data?" Daring opened the scroll and looked at the most recent entry.
Daring-Do mumbled to herself as she read the latest entry.
"Hey Atlas, what's this mean?" Daring-Do pointed to the graph under the entry.
"It means that there was a large storm a few days ago, the biggest on record in years, and that a large amount of sand was moved from that area."
"So does that mean the storm could have uncovered Rabalon?"
Atlas sighed. "It's possible."
"Awesome! What are we doing standing around? Let's go already!"
"You don't know how sandstorms in that area work do you? Sandstorms in the Sandy Dunes Desert always come in pairs, one shows up and another one matching it comes by a little bit later, normally a few days afterwards. I'm just afraid that if you go now you'll get stuck inside the second storm."
"Oh, that's why you were trying to hide the storm data." Daring-Do said.
"Yeah, because I know if you saw an opportunity, I wouldn't be able to stop you from going."
"But I have to go, we may never get a chance like this ever again! Come on Prof, I know you want to know what kind of incredible treasures might be in there." Daring-Do wrapped her arm around Atlas' neck and pretended to show her all the riches she might find.
Atlas's eyes widened, as dangerous as it was, she realized that the crown would be the discovery of the century.
"Ok fine, I'll help you get there, but I'm warning you that with your wing in such bad shape it won't be easy." Atlas reasoned.
"No problem, I can handle anything!" Daring-Do struck a pose.
Professor Atlas rolled her eyes. "Well, because of your wing you are going to need some way to get all the way out into the desert before the second storm, and I happen to have just the thing. Come on." Atlas waved her hoof and walked down the hallway.
Daring-Do grinned and followed her, practically bouncing with excitement. Atlas led her into the garage of the museum. Atlas walked up to the large object covered in a tarp that Daring-Do saw yesterday.
"I've been waiting for the day when I would get to see this in use." Atlas said to herself as she grabbed the tarp in her mouth.
"Daring-Do, say hello to my latest project." Atlas yanked the tarp off of the object. "I call it: The Skywagon!"
Daring-Do stared at the device in front of her. It was a round pod with two sets of wings on the top and bottom. It looked like a train car but with wings and no massive wheels.
"Uh, what is that thing?" Daring-Do asked, dumbfounded.
"Why this is the innovation of the century!" Atlas exclaimed with a large grin. "A device that can grant the gift of flight to unicorns and earth ponies! I've been tinkering with it for a while now, and this is the perfect opportunity to test it out."
"Cool!" Daring-Do said, walking around the Skywagon. "So, does it work?"
"Does it work? HA! What a silly question to ask." Atlas pretended to laugh.
"So does it?"
"Um....I don't know, it's just a prototype, I've never actually flown it. But it's relatively easy to fly, I based the controls on the movements of a pegasus in flight, so you should be able to pick it up really quick."
"This thing could really get me all the way to the Sandy Dunes Desert?"
"Yep, the fuel tank is big enough to get you there and back in one go. It's a real technological marvel!"
Atlas climbed into the Skywagon and pressed a button on the control panel. She turned and smiled at Daring-Do. Daring-Do stared back at her as the Skywagon did nothing. Atlas frowned and kicked the engine, the machine groaned and roared to life in the garage.
Daring-Do covered her ears at the loud noise of the engine. "It's a little loud!" She yelled.
"What? I should be proud? Why thank you, I am!" Atlas smiled again.
"No! It's a little loud!"
"TURN IT OFF!"
Atlas pressed another button on the control panel and the Skywagon shut itself down. Atlas reached into the cockpit and pulled out a heavy book. She tossed the book over her shoulder and Daring-Do instinctively caught it.
"What's this?" She asked, looking at the book.
"The manual, it will tell you everything about how to fly it. I want you to read it before we go." Atlas said.
"I have to...read?!" Daring-Do opened her mouth in shock.
"Yes, just the first chapter, that will tell you how to fly the Skywagon. Read that while I set everything up for your journey, I want to pack everything you might need into the Skywagon."
"Oh man...." Daring-Do slumped her head.
A pipe sticking out of the Skywagon coughed and spat a cloud of black smoke in Daring-Do's face. She coughed and shook her head. She just wanted to get to Rabalon and get that crown already.
Daring-Do sat at a table and opened to the first page of the manual. "Great, no pictures." She sighed.
Atlas poked her head into the room. "Don't worry Daring; the first chapter is only 43 pages long."
Daring-Do groaned and slammed her head on the table.