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Distant Shores · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
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A Princess of Mares
The large stallion tromped noisily through the undergrowth, muttering darkly under his breath with every step into the sodden jungle floor.

“Stupid jungle… All these… TREES and and and INSECTS! Can’t even take two steps without, without tripping over some tree root or running face first into a spider web the size of of a hoofball court and—” His diatribe came to an abrupt end as a small sapling he shoved out of the way sprang back and slapped him in the face. He let out a choked roar, face flushed red with fury as he ripped the tree out by the roots and being laying about himself with it, whipping the vines and the creepers and the trees and every single thing in the whole stinking jungle until he stood, panting with exertion, eyes wide and ears back, panting as he fixed a gimlet eye on the thoroughly cowed plant life.

A slightly impressed whistle issued from further along the trail. A young teen pegasus in an oversized pith helmet leaned against a free standing stone, evidently having passed through the brush without any difficulty whatsoever. “Well if nothing else you’re the strongest Earth pony I’ve ever seen. Still, you should try to be louder, Mister Shores. I’m sure there’s a panther or bug bear that hasn’t heard you yet.”

The stallion narrowed his eyes as he crashed up to the mare. “If I wanted your opinion, Miss Do, I would give it to you.” He looked around the jungle, lips puckering as he made a moue of distaste. “If it’s so dangerous, what are you doing out here anyway? Can’t be so bad if they got a little filly running around as a nature guide.”

She snorted as she started back down the trail. He hurried behind her, not wanting to be left behind. “I grew up in these jungles. I was raised by electric eels. They taught me the secret to channeling electricity through your body.”

They marched in relative silence for a few minutes before he cleared his throat. “So, uh,” he tugged uncertainly at his cantine, “what’s, what’s the secret?”

“Being born an electric eel.”

“Oh.” The jungle lapsed into a contemplative silence, underscored only by the chirruping of insects and the crash of vegetation underhoof. “Well, you know, I feel you. My parents were unicorns, always using their magic for everything. Hard being an Earth pony in a unicorn household.”

The pegasus nodded slowly as she threaded her way down the path like a shadow, hardly a leaf stirring at her passage. “You know…” She began, carefully not making eye contact. “I wasn’t, like, actually raised by electric eels. That was, uh. That was a joke.”

“Oh. I knew that. Of course.”

“Yeah, kind of ridiculous, a pony being raised by electric eels.”


“I was raised by piranha.”

“Of course—wait what?” Distant stopped in his tracks, mind briefly filled with images of the young mare swimming through a river surrounded by ravenous, betoothed fish devouring the corpse of some nebulous creature before giving his head a quick shake. He gave her back a dirty look as she flitted through the trees. “Oh, very funny.”

She giggled. “You’re not as quick as Far, are you?”

“Hey, I do alright for myself. I mean, I’m an accountant now, but I used to play hoofball back in college.” He brushed a spiderweb out of his face as they pressed forward.

“So I guess he got all the adventuring genes, huh? I always thought for a unicorn he was a wild one.” Her smile faltered a bit, and her steps slowed until Distant was able to catch up and place a consoling hoof on a shoulder.

“You were… Close, then? With my brother?” Shores was not by nature the touchy-feely type. His voice was uncertain and he patted her back a little too forcibly.

Daring turned to him, lip quivering, eyes moist. “Y-yeah. I guided him to the same temple when he suddenly vanished in a flash of white. And he…” Daring leaned in closer to him, looking up into his eyes, tears on the verge of spilling.

He swallowed. “Y-yeah?”


Their faces were very close now and he could feel her breath, hot and quick. “Yeah?”

“He never payed me!” Daring roared, tears of fury spilling down her face, Distant reeling back with ears back, eyebrows trying to merge with his mane. “HE OWES ME THREE HUNDRED BITS! THREE HUNDRED!” Daring stalked back and forth, slamming her hooves down as she worked herself into a fury. “He thinks he just vanish in a hidden temple that I found? That he can just cut and run with the secret treasure that I know he must have stolen, teleporting away to Celestia only knows where and stiff me on my cut? He’s got another thing coming!” She reared up, wings unfurled, hooves kicking at the air. “I’m Daring Do! DO YOU HEAR ME FAR SHORES! I’M DARING DOOOOOOOO!”

Distant Shores cautiously peered out from behind a tree at the panting mare, chest heaving, thick rivulets of sweat carving paths through the layers of dirt and plant detritus that coated her face. ”You uh. You doing okay there?”

Daring started, seeming to remember she was in the company of a fellow horse, face filling in with a rosy blush. She cleared her throat. “Uh. Yeah. Yeah I’m fine. Just uh, you know. Lot of emotional buildup.” The silence grew longer and more awkward, the horses shuffling their hooves and not quite meeting each others gaze until Daring snapped her head around, face lighting up with a smile. “Speaking of changing the subject, I remember where we are now! The temple isn’t far, quick, this way!” With that she darted away, weaving her way through the trees as a surprised Shores stumbled clumsily after her.

“You didn’t before?” Distant asked, somewhat alarmed.

“Of course I did,” she replied airily, dismissing his concern with the wave of a wing. “Generally.”


“I knew we were certainly in a jungle.”

“Why do I talk to you?”

The temple thrust out of the jungle, an edifice of black stones that seemed to eat the light of the sun. The sight of it looming menacingly before him made Distant’s coat stand on end and he found himself turning in circles, looking for… Something.

Daring, in typical fashion, was unmoved by the massive structure. “Come on, the entrance is this way.” She trotted blithely up the steps and into the cavernous darkness. Distant stared into the vast blackness; it seemed less the absence of light and more the presence of a great, dark beast. Something hungry.

He shook his head, and squared his shoulders, silently chiding himself for freaking out about nothing. Head held high, jaw clenched, he walked into the darkness.

He paused just inside the door, waiting uncertainly as his eyes adjusted to the all encompassing darkness. He could make out the vaguest suggestion of shapes, but nothing more. He shivered. It was strangely cold, the sweltering, steamy heat of the jungle cutting off without any graduation.

“Daring?” he whispered.

She was suddenly behind him. “Boo.”

If there was one thing Distant would be proud of even to the twilight of his years, it would be his complete nonreaction to her sudden appearance. Yes, so, maybe it was because she scared him stiff and he hadn’t been able to move, but still. Appearance is important. “Miss Do.” -his voice was calm and smooth as butter. Well done! he thought.

“Darn, I was hoping to get you.” There was a suddenly blinding light as Daring lit a torch; Shores screwed his eyes shut as they readjusted to the sudden brilliance.

The ground was clear of any sort of debris, the heavy black stones interlocking so tightly there was no need for mortar. In fact, the more he looked around, the more he felt as if this temple could have been constructed just that morning, and not a thousand years ago, when ponies once lived here. The vague shapes had been statues, but the horses were wrong, bearing six limbs to the fore and two behind. They had alien eyes, segmented and dark.

“I don’t like it here,” he said suddenly, surprising even himself. “Everything feels wrong. Oppressive.”

“Don’t quit on me now, stud, it’s just a tomb of a long dead civilization. Come on!” He flinched as she swatted him on the flank and sashayed into the darkness. He followed quickly behind her as she lead them down, deep into the reaches of the ancient temple.

The mosaics looked like Equestria but somehow… Wrong. There was nothing overtly incorrect, but the angles seemed somehow off, the horses and animals depicted drawn expertly by an inexpert hoof. Everything was subtly disquieting, the torches light stretching not more than four paces around them. It was utterly silent save for the crackle of the torch and their heavy breathing, but even that was muted, covered by a heavy sheet of shadow.

As they progressed, Distant could make out the faintest sound of humming. The further they went, the more pronounced the sound got, eventually clarifying itself as an odd mechanical thrum, like the engine from a steam train made miniature and left to idle away. Additionally, the darkness seemed to lift by the smallest increments, until Daring stamped the torch out, leaving them in a soft white light springing from no source, casting no shadows.

Daring cocked her head over her shoulder and looked back at him. “We’re almost to the throne room. Well, your brother assumed it was a throne room of some kind, anyway. I was too busy searching for treasure when suddenly—” Daring made an expansive gesture with her hooves, “Boom! Everything flashes white and he was gone, nothing left but his hat.” She touched the brow of the pith helmet she was wearing. “It’s mine now for services rendered.”

“Bit big on you, don’t you think?” Shores replied, tone distant as he motioned for her to continue down.

“I’ll grow into it.”

They finally entered the throne room, Shores struck speechless at the spectacle unveiled before him. It was thrice the size of any hoofball field he had ever played on, and stretched up higher than the Equestrian South University Stadium. That same diffuse light pulsed in the air, revealing statues of ponies in a variety of heroic poses, standing above what he assumed were carved stone chests. These ones at least had the correct number of limbs, and Distant was oddly satisfied to see that they were all Earth ponies writ large in white marble. In the very center of the room there as a pedestal on a golden dias, made of the same white stone as the statues.

“Whereabouts was my brother when he vanished?” He asked, looking around the room for anything else of note. His eyes found Daring, half inside one of the chests, hind legs flailing in the air as she rooted through the contents. He trotted over and pulled her out by a leg, lifting her up into the air, upside down. She was bedecked in a variety of jewelry, eyebrows raised in surprise and the pith helmet hung on her chin by the strap.


He looked at her evenly. “Hi.”

She gave him a bright smile as the jewelry slowly slid off. “Uh. These belong in a museum?”

He snorted and flipped her back over, setting her firmly on the floor. “You said my brother was looking around in here too. Do you know where?”

She gestured vaguely in the direction of the dais with a hoof while her wings worked feverishly, picking up gems and gold from the floor. “He was mucking about with that thing, whatever it is. You check it out while I investigate these chests.” He looked askance at her as she returned it with an expression of innocence, spoiled only slightly by the pilfered riches poking out of her pockets and around her neck. He shook his head as he went over to inspect the pedestal.

It was a strange sort of thing, carved of the same white, luminous stone as the statuary that lined the expansive room, inlaid with curls of gold that sprouted from the vast dais it rested on. Atop the pedestal, seemingly suspended on nothing was a globe. It looked much akin to the ones of Equestria he’d seen back in school, though the continents were far more numerous and the oceans smaller.

He reached out and touched the globe. It was cool and smooth against the frog of his hoof. He found that no matter how much pressure he exerted on it, it refused to move. “Huh. Hey Daring, you know if he was messing with this…” He trailed off as he turned in circles, eyes widening as he realized he was entirely, utterly alone.


He called out again, voice wavering with uncertainty as he climbed the stairway. He had searched the room for a long time, opening each and every chest in the forlorn hope that maybe she had gotten stuck inside one. They had been full of more valuables than he had ever seen, but that was just a sign she hadn’t been in them.

Finally he faced the unpleasant reality. She had left him inside this tomb and left, taking with her the only light source. He hadn’t wanted to think she would do that, but you could never tell with some ponies. Was this what had happened, he wondered as he trudged up the endless staircase. Had she left my brother in this place, alone in the dark? Left him to paw desperately at the ground, searching for a way out before he—

He blinked as he stepped out onto a stony mesa, free of trees. The rock was stained a muddy red that contrasted with the black stone of the significantly smaller monument he had climbed out of. He looked back in the door. Yes, well lit by that sourceless white light. He looked out over the stony expanse before him. Obviously not a jungle.

He sat down and had a refreshing panic attack.

Time passed as he slowly regained control of himself. He lined up his thoughts by the ones and twos and took stock of his situation.

Obviously, I am not where I was before. I must be where my brother is, right? So if I was my brother, and I was somewhere without water and not even grass to crop, where would I go?

Shores looked around, searching from some sign of civilization, or a landmark, anything that Far would have headed towards. For a brief moment he felt a flicker of hopelessness in his heart when his eyes narrowed.

There. In the distance.


He began to gallop.

He panted as he looked down the hill towards a small village. It seemed a quaint little thing, like one of the hamlets that dotted the Equestrian countryside.

Only on fire.

And full of screaming pony shapes.

Distant Shores was not, by nature, a particularly valiant stallion—he was very much aware of his limitations when in comparison to his brother—nor was he a smart stallion, or given to flashy acts of heroics. However, despite all that, he was a good stallion, and he was not the sort to standby and do nothing when it looked like good folk were in line for trouble.

And thus he found himself pounding down the hill, charging at speed towards the burning village.

There was a small crowd milling on the outskirts of the village. A fire brigade no doubt, he thought to himself, emboldened by the thought of assistance, Come to extinguish the flames and save the town only those stallions appear to all be wearing some sort of antique armor and and all those other ponies are chained up and yolked together and oh dear those stallions definitely have eight limbs.

And they’re coming right for me.

The first soldier to notice was an unusually burly sort, scarred across the bridge of his snout and missing one of his eyes. He regarded the tiny four-legged equine steaming down the hill with the sort of incredulous anger with which one might address an attack levied by a mad chicken. Still, an attacker—no matter how ridiculous—was an attacker; he prepared himself to dispatch the patently silly creature.

The line soldier reared back on his hind hooves, raising his six forelegs high to smash viciously down on Shores as he bowled into the village. The blow never landed, however—in the heat of the moment Shores’ frantically called upon the only martial training he could muster; his college hoofball training. He lowered his head and shouldered into the eight-legged beast with every ounce of force he could marshall. The soldier’s eyes went wide as Shores collided with him, stunned as his body folded in half, collapsing to the ground like so much laundry.

The rest of the squad of marauders fell silent for a moment, his attacker having been the largest and presumably the most combat-hardened of the bunch. Shores eyes darted back and forth across the silent, staring crowd, his countenance frozen in an apologetic grin, seemingly quite embarrassed at having so easily bested his foe, as though the whole attack had been some sort of a foreign joke, the punchline to which he was not privy.

After a moment or two, the most ornately bedecked of the marauders finally composed himself enough to issue an order, barking a guttural command that sent three more of the alien equines to attack; Shores bucked hard, and the first of these was launched soaring across the village; it smashed through the wall of one of the shabby hovels and did not stir or attempt to rise again.

The other two, seeing the fate of their comrade, chose to attack at once, howling a furious battle cry as they charged into the fray from opposite sides. Shores jumped, and in jumping launched himself scores of feet into the air as gravity’s effect on the red planet did seem have much less effect upon him. As he fell, he performed an exceptionally aerobatic somersault, bringing his forehooves down with crushing force upon both of his attackers heads right as they crashed into each other. They too fell silent.

Distant Shores stood astride their still forms, completely gobsmacked at how the fight had progressed; he was not a fighter, and yet here had bested three massive, combat-trained soldiers without even breaking a lather. The leader of the squad of brigands was, however, confused and enraged in equal measure—he hopped furiously in place, cursing in his native tongue at the dozen or so warriors that constituted the remainder of his command. They looked at the small, feeble looking quadruped that stood grinning stupidly before them, then back at their leader, faces filled with confusion and uncertainty.

The remainder of the attackers formed up into a hardened square, their leader kept safe by serried ranks of armored horseflesh. He gave a guttural command and the unit tromped forward, four legs raised high, prepared to strike this seemingly powerful assailant down. There was no one as strong as he, mighty war chief Roho Lyong! He had smashed the skull of the serpent Grevas! He had sacked the city of Jorbun! His deeds were numbered in the book of heroes! He was—

His thoughts cut off abruptly as the charging Earth pony ran roughshod over his defensive formation, tossing his forces aside as if they were made of papier mache. His brave soldiery! The last loyal members of his once mighty army, thrown about like infants during a cull!

Finally the field was silent. The attacker stood over the fallen forms of Roho’s forces, their bodies laying still on the rocky ground. Roho drew the tatters of his dignity around him and drew himself up to his full height, nigh on twice the size of this puny fighter, so much like the usurper who had stolen his legions right out from under him.

“I do not know you, warrior,” Roho said, his voice like thunder echoing across the field of battle. “But I know you are my enemy. I am Roho Lyong, of the tribe of Kings! I have never been bested in combat, never known defeat! I shall honor you, scum! I shall dash out your brains with my hooves, and eat your heart to know your power. Prepare yourself!”

Distant Shores cocked his head, smiling uncertainly as the alien stallion bellowed and waved his hooves in the air. His language was an odd thing of sibilant hisses and roughly spoken vowels; utterly incomprehensible to Shores ear. “Uh. Sorry about. All this. I guess I just don’t know my own strength sometimes!” He gave a half hearted chuckle that died in his throat as the alien reared back, seemingly enraged by the laughter. Distant hardly had time to raise a hoof in apology before six hooves crashed down on his head, driving him into the ground.

Roho reared up again, smashing his hooves into the back of Shores head, driving his face deeper into the soft dirt. As he rose up once more, intent on slaying the impudent fool who dared to laugh at him, he found himself halted. He looked down in surprise, segmented eyes going wide as he saw Distant under him, standing, holding his mighty six hooves back with a meager two. No matter how valiantly Roho strained or fought against the tiny creature, he could not muster the strength to break his fearsome hold!

Distant grunted, blood flowing from his face as he struggled against the giant alien stallion. His head hurt mightily—this one hit as hard as he’d ever been hit during a hoofball game— but if there was one thing he prided himself on, it was taking a hit. With a grunt Shores reared back, further and further, until the alien’s hooves were freed from the dusty earth.

Shores grunted and heaved with all his strength, and Roho Lyong, great war chief, mighty lord, went tumbling end over end, bellowing, into the distance, to smash into the ground in a great plume of orange dust.

Shores slumped, then looked up, surprised as the warriors he had earlier defeated surged up to their hooves and stumbled away, clearly retreating in the face of their leaders ignoble defeat. He watched them run for a moment before turning to the chained pony villagers, all of whom were cheering, tears streaming down faces, awe etched into every line.

How am I going to get them out? He looked over the chains, then past them towards the holes he had busted in walls and craters he’d made wit the bodies of those giant horses. He shrugged and grabbed a section of chain, and with barely a flex of his muscled forelegs the iron links gave way, no match for Earth pony strength.

He worked his way down the line, snapping chains, breaking yokes, awkwardly smiling as weeping mares grabbed at his legs to kiss his hooves and strong backed stallions grovelled at his feet.

“Saviour! Hero!” They fawned over him as he freed the last filly from her bondage.

“I uh. I’m no hero.”

“Lord! Wondrous One!”

His face was twisted into a rictus that some may have considered a grin, were they feeling particularly charitable. “I’m just, you know, right place, right time. So uh, if you could get up that’d be great.”

“Take my jewels, noble warrior!” A stallion laid out a princely sum before Shores and pushed it forward, head low.

“No, blessed hero! Here, take our daughter!” A mare pushed a comely young filly forward. The filly blushed, but she made eyes at Distant and ran a hoof languorously down his chest. “Father many strong young through her!”

Distant backed up quickly, so fast he fell over onto his rump. “I’m sorry? I don’t—I mean I’m not—”

But the other stallions and mares all began to bicker and speak over one another.

“No take my daughter! She is fertile and strong!”

“No, take mine! She’s still a virgin, she will warm your bed as no other!”

“What! Are you saying my daughter isn’t a virgin!”

“I didn’t say that, I only implied it!”


Distant Shores watched in horror as the freed ponies began to fight each other for the right to have their daughter marry him, as the girls formed up around him to stroke wonderingly at his coat, touching his flank, lingering over his compass cutie mark and touching other, more private places.


The bickering crowd quieted suddenly, fighting pairs separating and the fillies scattering from his lap. The voice’s owner made himself known—a grizzled Earth pony stallion standing almost as tall as Shores himself, in stark contrast to the villagers who seemed no more than two thirds the size of a normal pony. He was battleworn, covered in ash and burns, no doubt from fighting the village blaze. He held a spear loosely in one hoof. Not pointed at Shores, but certainly able to be swung up at a moment’s notice.

He pointed a hoof accusingly at Shores. “YOU! USURPER! TRAITOR! HORNED VILLAIN!” He pulled out a set of hoof cuffs. “You are under arrest, fiend, for your crimes against the Princess!”

“What?” Shores asked, appalled. “But I only just got here! I haven’t done anything! I don’t even have a horn!”

“A likely story!” The stallion harrumphed and clapped the shocked Shores in irons. “No doubt you sawed off your horn when you fled the capital to escape justice, Mister Far so-called Shores!”

Distant’s eyes went wide, and he reached up to grab the battle scarred stallion by his armor, snapping the cuffs like they were so much twine in the process. “Far Shores? My Brother? What do you mean ‘fled?’ WHERE IS MY BROTHER? WHAT DID HE DO?”

The stallion seemed almost comically surprised, dangling in the hooves of a monstrously strong mad nag. “Well, um. Yes, he—he took the Princess hostage and attempted to overthrow the kingdom. So, um, if you wouldn’t mind, you’re under arrest.”

Shores stared at him.

The stallion seemed to consider his situation. “Please?” he ventured.

Shores let himself be led away by the stallion, while the crowd chatted amongst themselves loudly.

Oh Far, he thought numbly, What have you done?

In an Equestrian temple, deep in an unexplored jungle, a mare closed her eyes as a sudden flare of white light blinded her. As she blinked away the glare, she realized she was quite definently alone.


Daring Do raised her hooves, covered in gold and silver and precious gems of all sorts to the heavens, beseeching some higher power.

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