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Legend of the Kumquat of Aris

by LightHeart101

Daring Do was neck-deep in a flooded cave system as she was looking for the legendary Kumquat of Aris. She had heard legends of this incredible fruit and its unique applications. Stories said that it can be used in the elixir of life, and responsible for skywriting, a long lost art that was supposedly lost when the Hippogriffs went into hiding. Little had been said about these techniques and their fullest potential due to the lack of connection between the two lands.

Daring always dreamed about heading down south to learn of this fruit and its magical effects, but it’s always been too far away.

Until now.

Twilight’s recent expeditions to this land have led to new connections between Equestria and the Hippogriff empire, namely a train. This is the best opportunity that Daring could find to head to the Hippogriff empire.

After questioning the locals, Daring found herself pointed to an old cave system. The hippogriff she talked to only added to her curiosity. This was supposedly the fruit that dreams were made of. Now it was a matter of finding this ancient fruit once and for all.

The caves were clearly designed for hippogriffs with the water nearly flooding the tunnels, having shallow parts in some areas while being completely flooded in others. She started to regret not spending more time practicing her swimming or packing some scuba gear. But this wasn’t going to deter her from her goal, no matter how close to drowning she got.

As she made it through the last (and frankly the longest) submerged part of the cave, she finally came into a clearing that was above land, leading to a dimly lit opening.

Daring smiled as she saw the signs of green life in a cave opening. “Finally, a dry walk and a sign of my prize. What could make this better?” She asked out loud as she whipped off her hat.

“Ah! Daring do!”

Daring rolled her eyes as she turned around and saw her old arch nemesis waiting for her in the shadows, looking surprisingly dry. “Dr. Caballeron. How long have you been here waiting for me?” Daring asked as she straightened her hat.

“Oh, I didn’t come here for you. I came for the Kumquat of Aris. You just showed up a few minutes after me.” Caballeron explained as he looked at the hole behind her. “I also saw the bubbles coming from the hole and thought there was some fish or something in there.”

Daring froze in place as she heard him say that. “Wait… a FEW MINUTES?!? How do you explain your dry clothing?”

Caballeron looked confused as he pointed above her. “I took the cave that the locals told me about. They had two, and I took the one for the flyers. I’m not going to bother with the sea pony one.”

Daring groaned as she realized her mistake. “Of course! Two forms, two types of caves! And I nearly drowned three times!!!” She whined while kicking a stone across the room.

Caballeron was first considering starting the fight now, but then he noticed that Daring was genuinely angry about this oversight. “Um… do you want to take five minutes? I mean, I had a rough time getting here, having to climb through those caves without my crew.”

Daring groaned before suddenly realizing that Caballeron was actually alone. “Now that you mention it, where are those thugs?”

“Cliff Hoof has a cold, Right Hook’s wife is expecting, Random thug number three had kettle drum practice, and Bob is a no show. Something about allergies.” Caballeron explained as he rubbed his shoulder. “This is what happens when you can’t get any help. Do you know how hard it is to use a rope?”

Daring held up her whip with an unimpressed look. “Try me.” She said before rolling her eyes. “Listen, I have had a rough day, so let’s get this over with. I have a book signing in Hippogriffia at seven.”

“Eh. Fair enough. My train leaves at six.” Caballeron said as he dramatically pointed a hoof at her. “Get her!!!”

Daring readied herself for a fight, but nothing came at her. The two enemies stayed frozen in place as they looked at each other, waiting for something to happen.

“Oh… right… my crew isn’t here…” Caballeron said as he chuckled nervously. “This is awkward.”

“Yeah… I’m gonna punch you now.” Daring said as she got ready to charge at him at full speed.

Before the two adventurers could start punching it out, they heard the voice of an old mare holler at her. “Hey! What are you youngins doing in my front lawn! There is no need to be fighting in my cave?”

Daring and Caballeron both turned to see a small hippogriff walking towards them. She clearly had to be in her seventies, but she looked rather spry for her age.

“Sorry, but this pony is after the Kumquat of Aris, and I refuse to miss out on my childhood dream,” Daring said firmly as she was getting her whip ready for combat.

Daring was instantly whacked on the head with a walking stick. “Just because you want it really badly, it doesn’t mean you have to fight the other kids for it. Come on in, and I’ll get you two some elixir of life.” The mare said as she used her cane to pull Daring inside.

Daring was trying to pull away, not wanting her nemesis to gain access to this ancient tree, but she noticed the doctor’s eyes widening in shock as they walked further into the cave. Daring barely managed to turn her head to see that there was a full grove of trees in this cave, all covered in these strange kumquats.

“There’s… so many…” Caballeron said as a grin started to form on his face.

“Yep. The only fruit that grows down here.” The mare explained as she led them to a small hut with a large bowl of juice. “You mix these babies with some Apple juice and a squirt of lemon and you get the best fruit punch in the kingdom.”

Daring stopped struggling as she heard two words that didn’t make sense to her. “Wait… Fruit punch?!?” She asked in shock as Caballeron’s jaw dropped.

“Yep. An old family recipe. Our elixir of life.” The mare said as she handed the two ponies a glass. “Help yourself.”

“B… but wait… this is the elixir? What about the skywriting?” Daring asked as she was trying to process this.

“That? That’s just a habit we have.” She said as she pointed to the hole above the trees. “We get a good view, so me and my kids like making some paintings of the sunrise and sunsets and sell them for a few bits. They’d look lovely in your living room.” The mare explained as she pointed to some paintings that she had stacked up on the side of the hut. “You know, you only get the right orange when you mix a bit of kumquat juice with it.”

Daring felt like she was going to cry as she tried to understand this. “But… aren’t there any magical properties?”

The mare chuckled as she poured a glass of juice for herself. “The only magical thing about these kumquats is that they’re magically delicious. Some hippogriffs even call these the thing dreams are made of.” She said with a chuckle as she took a long sip of her drink. “You can’t beat a drink like this.”

Daring’s heart dropped as she realized that her childhood dream was nothing more than some over-exaggerated legends. “I… I nearly drowned for this…” She said as her eyes were tearing up.

“Well, there was an entrance for you flyers, although I should get one for the poor earth pony there.” The mare said as she went inside. “Let me get a hankie for you.”

As Daring was getting ready to start fully break down, she felt her enemy pet her back. “Um… let’s call it a truce this time. Agreed?” Caballeron asked as he held his cup next to her.

Daring sighed as she nodded. “Truce.” She said as she took a long drink of the juice. She licked her lips as she processed the flavor of this punch. “Do you know something, Caballeron?”

“What?”

“I think this was actually worth it.”