"So you're sure this will work?" Daring-Do yelled over the roaring engine of the Skywagon.
"97% of my mental test flights have been successful. I've thought of anything that could possibly go wrong!" Atlas adjusted her glasses.
Atlas stood on the ground next to the Skywagon. They were in the middle of a large field, with a long strip of flat land in front of them. Daring-Do was sitting in the cockpit of the loud flying machine aimed straight down the long strip of land.
"Oh I feel so much better now!" Daring-Do yelled back.
"Don't worry, all you have to do is push the red button to start going and once the green light flashes pull back on the control stick." Atlas shouted. She stepped a few steps away from the Skywagon and bit her bottom lip. To be honest, she had no idea if it would work. But they didn't have any other choice if they wanted to get to Rabalon before the sandstorm buried it again.
Daring-Do swallowed and took a deep breath; if Atlas said it would work, then it would work. Maybe. It did have a lot of parts that looked like they were ready to fall apart at any second. This death trap had better be able to get her to Rabalon in one piece.
Daring-Do pressed the large red button on the control pad, the Skywagn coughed and started slowly rolling along it's wheels down the runway. Atlas trotted along side it, watching the machine carefully. The Skywagon started to pick up speed down the improvised road.
"Uh, ok, ummmm." Daring-Do frowned and looked around the control panel in a panic. "What do I do now?" She yelled at Atlas.
"Wait until you are going fast enough, a small green thing should light up!" Atlas yelled back, running along side the Skywagon.
The machine ran over a small rock, causing Daring-Do to bump in her seat. She heard metal clanging around inside the hood. She wasn't sure if this contraption could even take off. The Skywagon bumped faster and faster down the runway, Atlas began to fall behind it.
A green light started to flash on the control panel. Daring flailed her arms in a panic.
"Atlas! There's a green flashy thingy! What do I do now?" Daring-Do yelled.
"Ugh, did you even read the manual?" Atlas shouted.
"You know I don't read things! And besides, it was boring and I didn't understand it!" Daring-Do yelled back.
"Look, just remember what I told you to do, you just need to-WAH!" Atlas was interrupted by a stump that had caused her to trip. Atlas looked up and saw Daring-Do soaring down the runway flailing her limbs wildly. She spat dirt out of her mouth and cringed.
"Ok think Daring, what did she tell you to do when the green thing turned on?" Daring-Do said to herself. As she was wracking her brain she looked up and saw the end of the runway, which just happened to meet the edge of a forest.
"Pull up, come on." Atlas said to herself, her breath getting faster.
Daring-Do looked at the control stick and tentatively grabbed it. "Ok, I think it's this thing..." She told herself nervously. Daring-Do looked up again and saw the line of trees get closer and closer. She was really starting to regret not reading the manual.
"Pull up!" Atlas yelled from down the runway. "Oh I can't watch..." She said, covering her eyes with her hooves.
Closing her eyes Daring-Do yanked the control stick down as hard as she could. The Skywagon launched up into the air, skimming some of the leaves off of the top of the tree branches. She opened her eyes, realizing she was still in one piece.
Not hearing a loud crash, Atlas uncovered her eyes to see Daring-Do was now in the air flying the Skywagon off into the distance. She jumped to her hooves and shouted at the top of her lungs. Daring-Do started bouncing excitedly in her seat, she would be at Rabalon in no time.
Daring-Do turned her head and smiled at Atlas, who was jumping up and down in excitement. Daring-Do waved back at her.
"Good luck Daring-Do!" Atlas cheered.
Daring-Do smiled and focused back at the controls. She looked at the map attached to the control panel in front of her; only a few more hours and she would be in those ruins wearing the crown spoken of in legends.
The next few hours were more fun then Daring-Do figured they would be. Being able to fly over the lands without having to worry about being tired or exerting herself felt different, but not in a bad way. It was somewhat refreshing to her. When you're concentrating on moving your wings you don't always get the opportunity to look below you, especially when you are in a hurry.
She passed over all different kinds of places, from the bustling city of Manehatten to the plains of the Hooven Fields. She wondered what ponies thought of her flying over their heads in a strange machine. A few pegasi had flown along side her, a bewildered look on their faces; Daring-Do smiled and waved back.
After a few hours, Daring-Do looked behind her as the last bit of land not covered in sand disappeared behind her. She was completely surrounded by the desert now. Daring-Do looked at the map, it looked like she was getting close by now.
What was that?
The Skywagon bumped up a little bit, Daring-Do quickly looked around for the source of the disturbance. She looked behind her and saw something in the sand below her. It was her landing gear.
"Oh ponyfeathers..." Daring-Do said to herself.
And that was one of the wing's turning flaps breaking off.
"Darn it Atlas..." Daring-Do muttered.
The Skywagon started bumping and rocking in the air. Daring-Do struggled to keep the control stick under control. She looked over the side of the cockpit, she was losing altitude, fast. She gritted her teeth and pulled back on the stick.
Despite her best efforts the Skywagon continued falling towards the ground. Parts of the Skywagon started to fall out of the bottom, leaving a trail of broken metal in the sand. Daring-Do screamed as the machine careened towards the ground.
Daring-Do then remembered something Atlas had told her before she left, there was a package she was supposed to open if she found herself losing control. Daring-Do reached behind her and pulled out a brown square bag, Atlas had called it a "parachute". Unfortunately, Atlas had neglected to to tell her how it was supposed to help her.
Daring-Do fumbled with the parachute, trying to figure out how to open it. She found a string on the front of the bag and gripped it in her teeth. She wanked the string, causing a large piece of fabric to fly out and get caught in the wind, wanking it out of her hooves.
"Oh come on!" Daring-Do yelled at the parachute falling to the ground behind her.
Without any other option, she would have to jump out and use her good wing to land. She swallowed and took a deep breath as the Skywagon shook her. "Here goes nothing." She said to herself.
She unbuckled the strap that kept her safely in the Skywagon and put her hooves on the side of the Skywagon. With a groan she leaped over the side of the Skywagon and started falling to the ground.
She tumbled through the air, desperately trying to right herself with her good wing. She flailed through the air, trying to stop her descent.
"Come on you stupid wing!" She yelled.
Eventually she managed to get some air under her one wing and started to get herself slowed down a little. She saw the sand getting closer as she flapped her wing desperately. Seconds from the ground, she gave one last flap of her wing and braced herself as she crashed into the sand.
Everything went black when Daring-Do crashed into the sand. She hit the ground and rolled to a stop at the top of a sand dune. The Skywagon made a loud crash as it hit the ground, sending up a wave of sand.
For a few moments the desert quietly blew sand over the two crashed objects laying unmoving in the dunes. Daring-Do felt the life come back into her and opened her eyes. She had survived yet another encounter with death.
Daring-Do rose her head and saw she had landed at the top of a sand dune. She shook her head and slowly rose to her hooves. She brought her hoof to her face as the sand battered her eyes and mouth.
She saw the wreckage of the Skywagon laying in the sand up ahead; she began to slowly trudge over to it. She reached the Skywagon which was already half buried in the sand and looked into the cockpit for the map.
She rummaged through the wreckage for the map, she needed it if she was going to continue looking for Rabalon. Not that she had a choice at this point, she wouldn't be able to reach anything else without passing out from thirst.
Daring-Do ripped off a piece of fabric from the seat of the Skywagon and wrapped it around her mouth. She also grabbed a pair of goggled from the cockpit and put them on. Finally she grabbed the map and stuffed it in her pocket and buttoned it, she couldn't lose the map or she would be lost for who knew how long.
Finding nothing else of value in the flying machine she turned away from it and sighed.
"Atlas when I get back you're gonna get it..." She sighed.
Taking a look at the map she groaned and started heading forward to where Rabalon was marked on the map. She had heard stories of how ponies would get lost in the desert and go insane from heat. She hoped she would find something soon before she faced a similar fate.