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West of the Land of Dreams.

by IgnitedSage

Golden mist with a hint of rosy pink coated the mountainous landscape that expanded in all the directions that surrounded her. Sunrise was breaking above the horizon, the night fading away and giving itself to the dawn. Some areas were still bathed in a medium blue such as the ground below, the valleys and hills and cliffs that were entrenched in between the rugged surroundings. The various peaks, however, were the first to receive the beam of sunshine from the rising dawn thus glowed in a brilliant shade of orange above the fog. For three days and three nights, she had to travel along the serpentine road to her destination. Now it was the dawn of the fourth and she was hoping it would be the last time. It was a torturous processed and, in her own opinion, completely unnecessary. Yet she had to do this if she wanted to make up for her idiotic mistake.

Sunny Starscout was not a perfect pony. In all her adventures, she had made plenty of mistakes and her flaws were often a hindrance to her life and usually the cause of the numerous problems that arose in unexpected and unfortunate times. But she always strives to do better and cope with what she is given. Although she honestly has to wonder what was going through her mind when she made some of her choices. It as if her past self was a completely and honestly a dumb pony. Such as why she said yes to be an ambassador of the Earth Pony Federation to the Kirin Confederation.

Being an ambassador wasn’t that hard. Yes, they have lost contact to the Kirin for over a thousands of years and yes they were strange and traditional folk. But Sunny honestly thought it would be easy and something to butter up the higher ups until her next mission. She honestly didn't want to be an ambassador, at least not for the rest of her life. This was just a temporary position. At least it should have been.

The rough terrain was starting to incline upwards and now that it was winding upward, it was getting hard to hike. Sunny let out a strained sigh and pushed forward. She tightened her backpack and double checked to make sure her gear was balanced on her back. By the time the sun came upon her, her orange fur was glistening with sweat. Sunny took a moment to look around. Even though she was in pain and exhausted, it was beautiful scenery that she would probably never see again.

Sunny started moving roughly an hour before dawn. Her years of traveling had disciplined her into doing things quickly and getting ready to move at a moment’s notice. Eat breakfast. Wash mouth. Pack your gear. All within five minutes. Yet despite being on the move well before the day had actually begun, Sunny felt sluggish. She felt like she wasn’t making good time and that she was falling behind in time. It was probably because she was cutting back on her sleep. She hasn’t been sleeping well and with the time constraint that was placed on her, it was just getting too stressful to rest and relax. Not like she used to do when she was young.

A small plateau awaited her when her comm device alerted her. It took Sunny a moment to sit down and answer her well worn device without falling off the edge. The message was from Izzy, her unicorn friend and unofficial second-in-command of her small entourage.

“Sunny!” Izzy’s cheerful voice screeched out of the muffled speakers of the comm device. “I see that you are near the destination of this so-called guru. I just wanted to let you know that Hitch is almost finished with his information gathering and such on the locals and we will inform you as soon as we can. Hope I didn’t wake you! Okay! Thanks! Bye!”

The message ended with a click.

“The mission will be a success if I can ever find the end of this path.” Sunny muttered as she wiped her brow.

Hard work wasn’t a stranger to her. She was used to it. She did it all the time at her father’s old shop. Walking endlessly was a different story however. It was something she was just not used to.

Then a smell was hitting her nostrils. It was a strange, alluring smell. Sunny took a sniff. It smelled like food. Like somepony was cooking! Sunny’s eyes widened. With a sudden renewal of energy, Sunny bounced up to her worned down hooves and picked up her pace.

It wasn’t long until she found herself reaching the apex of this particular mountain. Still, it took a better amount of the hour for Sunny to reach it. The closer she got, the stronger the smell was. It was with her until she lifted herself up on top of her steep incline that level out into a tiny peak with barely enough room to move around.

Yet this must be the spot for there was a tent pitched here and evidence that somepony was living here in this isolated spot. A small fire was burning in the middle of a pot of stew placed above the embers. Cushions of various colors and fabrics were scattered in a circle. Tied to the tent pole and rope were flags and ribbons of various ceremonies and religions were flapping in the wind. There was barely any room for Sunny to set her stuff down.

Then came the pony she was seeking. A gray figure trotted out of his tent. It was a pony with light gray fur, a messy white mane and beard with a misshapen horn protruding out of his head. Sunny couldn’t tell if this stallion was a unicorn or a kirin, although admittedly she didn’t really meet much of either species.

For a moment, it seems like the figure didn’t notice her. He was busy stirring the stew with his old, withered hooves. Sunny approached, hoping to get his attention. But he kept going with stirring his food. Sunny was about to speak when the old pony looked up and gestured for her to sit. Sunny did so, taking one of the cushions.

The silence continued for about five minutes. Then the old stallion poured the stew into two bowls and gave one of them to Sunny. Sunny took the bowl after a moment of hesitation but didn’t eat it. She looked at the food, stange brown chunks of something was mixed with the vegetables and the potatoes. Sunny looked back up to the old stallion.

“Are-are you this guru I’m supposed to seek?” Sunny asked.

The stallion stared at her before replied with the simple word “Eat.”

Sunny did so. But it wasn’t long until she found that the brown chunks was actually…meat! Sunny nearly vomited right then and there but kept her stomach down. Last thing she needed to do was screw this up too. So, she work her way around the meat, hoping it would be enough to please the guru.

After a few moments, the guru began to speak.

“Why are you here?” he asked Sunny.

Sunny cleared her throat. “Well, that is rather personal.”

“But not unfounded.” the guru said. “Normally, no pony seeks me unless they are told to do so. And the only ones who usually do so are ones who have offended the Kirin Council. So, this leads to the question: why are you here?”

“Well, it is one of life’s great mysteries.” Sunny said as she put her bowl down. “I guess if you really wanted to know. It is because I called one of the council members a hot head. Apparently that was a mistake because kirins take offense to the word hot head. You see I’m an “ambassador” and they didn’t like my little gaffe, so they threaten to cut diplomatic ties with the Federation if I don’t seek you out and help you. Sprout was particularly insistent that I do this or otherwise he will ensure that I won’t be able to sneeze without going to jail.”

The guru nodded. “So, do you know that you made a mistake?” he asked. “Or are you allowing your pride to keep you from admitting that you made a mistake?”

“Oh, I know I made a mistake.” Sunny said, waving her right hoof dismissively. “It’s just why do I have to go on this stupid journey? It’s not like I’m the first to do this. They seem to be particularly overly sensitive on the most dumbest things ever. I mean, I’ve been insulted plenty of times before and I never went to war on them. Well, maybe when they stole stuff from me. But that’s totally different. I mean, that is material things. How much can simple words do to somepony?”

“So, you believe your words don’t have consequences?” The guru put his bowl down and grabbed a small bag. “That you can speak freely?”


“Let me tell you a simple story.” The guru pulled some powder out of his bag and threw it into the fire. “It is a story that deals with these mountains and the valleys below. You see, the kirin weren’t always isolated. They were a connective race of ponies who passed down their wisdom throughout the generations. Everything was peaceful once. But they were not the only ones in this area. On the other side of these mountains is the Congolian Jungle, home of the gorillas. They were trade partners with the kirins and they were interested in continuing their relationship with the kirin. However, pressure from two empires, the Pony Empire and the Simian Union forced the two nations into a bitter rivalry. The leader of the gorillas, Gor-sak, sent his brother Gor-Gu to ease tensions between the two nations and tried to fight their imperial overlords by forcing them to submit to their nation’s preferred system.”

“But overtime Gor-Gu was bored with his position and resented his brother. He began to be rude to the kirins and dismissive of their culture. To make a long story short, he was fired. So, he began to attack his kind and started a guerrilla warfare against his brother. So, you see words have consequences.”

“Think before you speak.”

Sunny paused before saying “oh, f