|Beyond Equestria: Fluttershy Balances the Scales|
|Published||July 31, 2018|
|Previous||My Little Pony: Ponyville Mysteries: Journey to the Livewood|
|Next||Canterlot High Stories: Pinkie Pie and the Cupcake Calamity|
|Allusions • Little, Brown and Company • Hachette Book Group|
My Little Pony: Beyond Equestria: Fluttershy Balances the Scales by Sadie Chesterfield is the thirty-ninth book in a series of chapter books published by Little, Brown and Company and the fifth entry in the "Beyond Equestria" series.
|Table of contents|
Invitation to Seaquestria
The story begins with the Mane Six and Tempest Shadow having a picnic in Canterlot to celebrate Tempest's first month in Equestria. Despite Tempest's actions as the Storm King's lieutenant, the ponies of Canterlot have been very kind and welcoming toward her. Before Twilight Sparkle can share with her friends her idea of opening a school, a purple pelican arrives with a letter from Seaquestria, and Fluttershy discovers the letter is from Princess Skystar.
Ever since she helped the ponies defeat the Storm King and her mother Queen Novo grounded her, Skystar has become extremely bored, and she invites her land-dwelling friends to visit her in Seaquestria. Though most of the ponies want to visit, Tempest is hesitant after leading the attack on Mount Aris, and Twilight fears Queen Novo hasn't forgiven her for trying to steal her magic pearl. Fluttershy volunteers to visit Skystar by herself while her friends take Tempest on a tour of Canterlot.
Return to the deep blue sea
Fluttershy returns to the ruins of Hippogriffia and enters the undersea kingdom of Seaquestria through the same fountain entrance by which she and her friends entered the first time, using a bubble helmet to breathe underwater. There, she finds the kingdom to be very lively with activity as seaponies interact and party together. Two seapony guards named Cerulean and Salt Air deny Fluttershy entry into Queen Novo's castle at first—especially because she's friends with the one who tried to steal Novo's pearl—but when she shows them Skystar's invitation, they allow her inside.
Inside the castle, Fluttershy reunites with Princess Skystar and finds Queen Novo and some of her guards having a tense conversation and looking visibly alarmed about something. As Novo and her guards talk, Skystar borrows the magic pearl to transform Fluttershy into a seapony again so that she doesn't need a bubble helmet to breathe. Skystar then takes Fluttershy on a tour of Seaquestria to try out the local cuisines and take in its undersea culture. During this, Fluttershy notices blue crab-like creatures called Beezlebugs swarming over the food and overhears some seaponies talking about a dangerous creature recently sighted outside the city.
At the end of a musical starfish performance, Fluttershy and Skystar run into Sir Aston, Queen Novo's former royal advisor. He explains to them that some seaponies are worried because a Sand Dragon was supposedly recently seen near Seaquestria. Skystar assures Aston that it is nothing more than a rumor, but after he leaves, she tells Fluttershy that there may be some truth to the gossip. Skystar explains that Sand Dragons are believed to live deep under the sand of the ocean floor and awaken from their hibernation every few hundred moons, and that they can get extremely angry if woken up ahead of time. However, even if the rumor is true, she is confident that her mother has a plan to deal with it.
Beyond the seapony kingdom
Back at the castle, Fluttershy and Skystar find Novo in another meeting with Salt Air and seapony historian Coral Rose. Coral Rose explains to Novo that the rumor about the Sand Dragon is indeed true, and Salt Air informs Novo that Cerulean went looking for the dragon and never returned. Skystar volunteers for the mission to rescue Cerulean, and Novo—knowing full well she wouldn't be able to change her daughter's mind—tells Fluttershy and Salt Air to watch out for her.
As Salt Air and the other guards suit up in armor and spears to defend themselves against the Sand Dragon, Fluttershy considers trying to communicate with it instead, but her suggestions are ignored. Just before the group sets out to hunt down the dragon and save Cerulean, Beezlebugs swarm the city's main square in large droves, swarming over all the food they can find. However, Salt Air is more concerned about saving Cerulean, and she leads the group out of the city past the panicking seapony populace.
On the edge of the city, the group gets separated and lost among the dense and lightless sand and seaweed, but they are able to regroup thanks to the help of a luminescent rainbow-colored starfish named Harry. When asked about Cerulean's whereabouts, Harry advises the seaponies to ask the crabs and points them in their direction. While Salt Air and the others are anxious to move on, Fluttershy sincerely thanks Harry for his assistance.
Later, the seaponies encounter the crabs that Harry told them about, but only Fluttershy is able to understand their language. As Salt Air gets increasingly frustrated by their slow progress in saving Cerulean, Fluttershy communicates with the crabs and asks them about their missing friend and the Sand Dragons. One of the crabs eventually points the group in the direction of the Sand Dragons' burrows and warns them to "watch out for the oogle worms". Fluttershy relays this information to her friends, and Salt Air quickly takes the lead again. Upon passing through the sand tunnel, the group finds themselves covered in small, black, slithery creatures that clung them like leeches. After freeing themselves of the oogle worms, the seaponies find themselves in the vicinity of a Sand Dragon.
In the Sand Dragon's lair
The seapony guards prepare to attack the Sand Dragon with their dragons, but Fluttershy intervenes and asks them to let her try talking to him first so that Cerulean can be saved without harming an innocent creature. Princess Skystar agrees with Fluttershy's idea, and Salt Air concedes.
As the guards hide in waiting among the kelp, Fluttershy approaches the Sand Dragon and asks about Cerulean. The Sand Dragon cries about losing his friends and family and being abandoned by the Beezlebugs and says he only took Cerulean because he was alone and wanted someone to talk to. When Fluttershy mentions aloud that the Sand Dragon didn't want to eat Cerulean, one of the guards overhears and believes the dragon did in fact eat Cerulean. Distraught, Salt Air orders her forces to attack the beast, and in defense, he retreats below the sand, dragging Fluttershy down with him.
Inside the Sand Dragon's dimly lit burrow, Fluttershy finds Cerulean tied up in kelp. The Sand Dragon appears wailing in hunger, and Fluttershy appeases him by offering him seaweed cake. His hunger satisfied, the Sand Dragon—who had earlier introduced himself to Cerulean as Gnash—explains that the Beezlebugs harvest seaweed for the Sand Dragons to eat when they wake up from their hibernation, but the seaponies of Seaquestria picked the seaweed fields clean. In addition, Gnash is unable to find his friends and family because the seaponies built Seaquestria on top of the Sand Dragons' territory.
Fluttershy offers to be a peacemaker between the seaponies and the Sand Dragons, promising that no more harm will come to Gnash and his kind, and Gnash lets Fluttershy and Cerulean go free. However, Salt Air and the other guards infiltrate Gnash's burrow, and Salt Air attacks the dragon with her spear again, causing Gnash to defend himself. Fluttershy tries once again to get the two sides to stop fighting and explain the situation, with the help of Princess Skystar, but Salt Air believes Gnash's alleged innocence to be a ruse. As she attacks again, Fluttershy intercepts her spear, causing her to swim headfirst into the side of the burrow and fall unconscious.
Seaponies and Sand Dragons unite
Some time later, Fluttershy regains consciousness in a Sand Dragon bed, with Skystar and Gnash standing over her. Salt Air apologizes for disobeying Skystar's orders and causing Fluttershy to get hurt, and Gnash thanks Fluttershy for risking her life for him. Skystar also apologizes to Gnash for disturbing the Sand Dragons' sleep when she and her subjects moved from Mount Aris to Seaquestria, and as a sign of goodwill, she offers to hold a ball and banquet in his honor.
Gnash is uncertain about associating with seaponies after the reputation he's gained, but Fluttershy and her friends say they will explain everything and clear it all up, and he accepts the offer. Fluttershy and the others return to Seaquestria, and Queen Novo is thrilled to see her daughter back safe and sound. They explain to Novo what happened with the Sand Dragon and inform her of their plan to hold a great feast in honor of their alliance with the beast. Salt Air again apologizes for letting her temper and misconceptions get the better of her and promises to be more like Fluttershy in the future.
The following evening, Gnash—dressed in a fancy suit—arrives for the ball with his Sand Dragon brethren, and they are welcomed into Seaquestria with open fins. After some initial wariness toward the Sand Dragons by the seaponies, the two sides eventually come together in friendship and warmth. Queen Novo and the Sand Dragons toast their two races' new friendship alliance at the end of the night, and Skystar shares a lively dance with Fluttershy.
- Twilight Sparkle: It s not a proper Canterlot picnic party until we give you a taste of their famous chocolate-cherry cake. Just look at that rich chocolate frosting, that custard filling—it will change your life.
- Tempest Shadow: Canterlot has already changed my life.
- Twilight Sparkle: So... now that we're all here, I wanted to share an idea I had with all of you. It's about a school of—
- Rainbow Dash: Being grounded to the ocean floor is just about as grounded as a pony can get!
- Tempest Shadow: I don't think I'll be allowed back there...
- Twilight Sparkle: Tempest does have a point. I don't think Queen Novo would be happy to see me, either. Not after what happened with the pearl.
- Princess Skystar: Fluttershy! You came to visit! I can't believe you're really here! How long can you stay?! Oh, we're going to have so much fun! We can go to The Aria or see the octopuses dance in the village square, and, of course, we'll make seashell necklaces. Or seashell picture frames. Or bracelets. Oh, who knows?!
- Fluttershy: What's this place called?
- Princess Skystar: The Seaweed Shoppe! They have seaweed sandwiches and seaweed pancakes, too, but the soft serve is my favorite!
- Coral Rose: We are due for what is called the 'Dragon's Morning.' Every hundred moons, supposedly the Sand Dragons awaken from their hibernation deep in the sand. They wake up quite hungry and go looking for—
- Princess Skystar: For Seaponies?! It's true?! Seaquestria really could be in danger?
- Queen Novo: I know my daughter well enough to know that she is determined to go—no matter what I tell her to do. Salt Air, you must watch out for her.
- Salt Air: Of course, Your Majesty.
- Queen Novo: And so must you, Fluttershy.
- Fluttershy: M-m-m-me?
- Harry: The currents, you see—really bad currents. Creatures get caught up in there for days. Really a bit of a problem, but not one I can solve, no sirree. That sandstorm has been raging for as long as I've lived out here, yes that's right.
- Salt Air: What was that starfish talking about? These crabs don't even speak our language! How are they of use to our mission?
- Fluttershy: Actually, I can understand them.
- Princess Skystar: You can?! That is so super cool. Gosh, my friend is so cool! [to Coral Rose] That's my friend Fluttershy. Isn't she cool?”
- Princess Skystar: That was revolting! But kinda fun in a weird way?!
- Salt Air: You're okay with this plan, Princess?
- Princess Skystar: Absolutely! I trust Fluttershy. She knows more about creatures than anypony in Equestria! I don't see why it should be any different with a Sand Dragon. I mean, the filly can talk to crabs!
- Fluttershy: Wait! So you didn't want to eat Cerulean?
- Seapony Guard: Did she just say he ate Cerulean?!
- Salt Air: Nooo!
- Fluttershy: If the Sand Dragons build their homes underground, then you can't blame the Seaponies for not knowing where they were. After all, they are new to Seaquestria. They haven't been here for centuries like you have. And just think about why they left Mount Aris—their home was destroyed by their enemy. How do you think they'd feel if you threatened to destroy their new home?
- Princess Skystar: As princess of Seaquestria, I order you to stop!
- Princess Skystar: You could learn something from Fluttershy! We all could.
- Salt Air: From the same pony who tried to steal the pearl? Didn't her friend run off with it when you weren't looking?
- Princess Skystar: Um, nooooo. From the same pony who stood up to you when no other pony would! And will you let that pearl thing go already?
- Gnash: You are a nice Seapony. I've never seen bravery like that. And I've been alive for five hundred moons!
- Princess Skystar: I think he was just a little bit hangry, you know?
- Queen Novo: Hangry?
- Princess Skystar: Like hungry and angry at the same time.
- Salt Air: I'm sorry. And thanks. For everything.
- Fluttershy: Friends?
- Salt Air: Friends!
- Queen Novo: To centuries of good will!
- Sand Dragons: To centuries of good will!
- Princess Skystar: And to all the seaweed we can eat!
- Princess Skystar: This was one of the most interesting days I've had in a loooooong time.
- Fluttershy: Really?
- Princess Skystar: Yeah! For once, I didn't make a single thing out of seashells....
- Fluttershy: Oh no, did you still want to do that? Because there's still time if we—
- Princess Skystar: No, silly! Who has time for shells when they've got a best friend to cut a rug with?!