|Wings Over Yakyakistan|
|Published:||June 21, 2017 (#55)|
July 12, 2017 (#56)
|Credits • Gallery • Allusions|
Friendship is Magic #54
Friendship is Magic #57
The story opens in Yakyakistan, where the Wonderbolts give their first-ever air show for Prince Rutherford and the yaks. Thanks to her "honorary yak" connections made in Not Asking for Trouble, Pinkie Pie has also gotten Rainbow Dash's parents Bow Hothoof and Windy Whistles in to see the show. When the show ends, Bow and Windy congratulate Rainbow and her teammates, and although the yaks appeared to be mostly silent throughout the show, Prince Rutherford assures that it was very well-received.
All of a sudden, dozens of dragons appear in the sky over Yakyakistan and rain down upon the village with their fire breath. While Rutherford sees to his subjects' safety, he tells the ponies to take cover under a sacred stone monument on the outskirts of town. Rainbow Dash takes command of the situation and tells Fleetfoot to fly to Ponyville and alert Princess Twilight Sparkle. Before Rainbow can formulate a plan of retaliatory attack against the invading dragons, Spitfire reminds her that she is not a captain and that it's not the Wonderbolts' place to intervene in the yaks and dragons' conflict.
Rainbow believes that Spitfire doesn't want to confront the dragons because she's afraid of them. However, Bow Hothoof and Windy Whistles interrupt and remind Rainbow of how afraid she was to fly in front of other ponies when she was just starting out. It was thanks to her parents that she learned the true meaning of bravery and conquered her fears. After hearing Rainbow's story, Spitfire decides to fight back against the dragons.
In a coordinated effort, the Wonderbolts fly around the dragons to disorient them, Bow and Windy help Pinkie Pie blast them with her party cannon, and Rutherford and the yaks catapult boulders at them from the ground. Despite Twilight and her friends eventually arriving to provide backup, the dragons soon overwhelm the ponies and yaks with their numbers and firepower, and the ponies and yaks are forced to retreat. Rainbow Dash worries about Yakyakistan being destroyed, but Twilight says the yaks can always rebuild.
As the ponies take cover under the yaks' stone monument, Twilight, Applejack, and Spike wonder why the dragons are suddenly attacking. Having expected the dragons to become less aggressive under Ember's rule, Spike wonders if something happened to her. Just then, the dragons stop attacking, and a small group of them approaches the monument—being led by Ember herself.
Hours after the dragons' assault on Yakyakistan, the Mane Six, Spike, the Wonderbolts, and the yaks take shelter in the yaks' sacred stone monument, and Twilight looks through the yaks' ancient scrolls for an answer as to why the dragons have attacked. When Spike asks what happened when Twilight and Rutherford went to meet with Ember, Twilight explains that Ember attacked because the yaks broke a "sacred bond" between them and the dragons. However, Ember refused to explain the details of this bond and walked away, giving the yaks one night to rally their troops for the next day's battle.
Spike is further frustrated when his pony friends express animosity and insensitivity toward dragons as a whole, and he resolves to figure out the true reason behind this conflict. On his way to the dragons' occupation camp, Spike is captured for suspicion of being a pony spy and brought before Ember. He asks Ember why she has declared war on Yakyakistan, saying she was supposed to be a peaceful leader after becoming Dragon Lord. Ember expresses frustration over the difficulty she has had overcoming pony prejudices toward dragons, and the yaks breaking the "sacred bond" was the final straw.
Ember explains to Spike that, many moons ago, dragons and yaks fought over the land that is now Yakyakistan, and their battles caused considerable damage to the land. A peace was eventually established between Prince Ulysses of the yaks and Dragon Lord Scintilla, and they traveled together to find a place that satisfied Scintilla. The land they found would later become the Dragon Lands, and Prince Ulysses bestowed the title of "honorary yak" on Scintilla, declaring it "a sacred bond [...] that never would be replicated".
Because the title of honorary yak was reserved solely for the dragons, Prince Rutherford inadvertently broke the dragons and yaks' sacred bond by giving the title to Pinkie Pie. Spike suggests that the yaks merely forgot about it since it was so long ago, but Ember and the dragons consider that to be even more of an insult, and they even accuse the ponies of turning Spike against his own kind. Despite Spike's pleas, the dragons prepare to defend their honor in battle.
By sunrise the next day, Twilight still cannot find a solution in the yaks' ancient scrolls. The dragons start sounding the drums of war, and Twilight and her friends believe the battle is unavoidable. With Spike nowhere to be seen, the ponies and yaks prepare for battle and march toward the dragons, where Spike stands next to Ember. Twilight believes Spike has sided with the enemy, but Spike instead stands between the two sides to stop them from fighting. He declares that just as the ponies are guilty of making discriminatory generalizations about dragons, so too are the dragons guilty of trying to destroy the yak village without talking things out first.
When Spike reminds Prince Rutherford of the sacred bond between Dragon Lord Scintilla and Prince Ulysses, Rutherford finally understands what the ancient scrolls mean. As it turns out, the yaks believed Scintilla to be a volcano instead of a dragon. Both sides admit fault for the big misunderstanding, especially Ember for impulsively leading an attack on Yakyakistan and not living up to the title of Dragon Lord. To make it up to the yaks, the dragons help repair the damage they caused to the village.
Pinkie Pie offers to relinquish her title of honorary yak to fully restore dragon-yak relations, but Ember allows her to keep it, saying it's time for dragons to let go of the past and look to the future.
- Windy Whistles: Gosh, Pinkie, I don't[sic] how you managed to get us tickets for the first-ever Wonderbolts show in Yakyakistan.
- Pinkie Pie: It was nothing! Now that I'm an honorary yak, Prince Rutherford is much more open to learning about pony culture. And of course Rainbow Dash's parents needed to be here!
- Prince Rutherford: Flying ponies did good. Well received by yaks.
- Rainbow Dash, Spitfire, and Soarin: Really?!
- Prince Rutherford: Yes. Yaks barely able to contain excitement while watching.
- Pinkie Pie: Prince Rutherford! Aren't you coming with us?
- Prince Rutherford: No. Yak prince make sure yaks safe.
- Pinkie Pie: As honorary yak, shouldn't I come with you?
- Prince Rutherford: No. Yak prince want pink pony to be unharmed. Go to sacred stones on edge of town. You find cover there.
- Pinkie Pie: You really are a good friend!
- Spitfire: Who's in charge here? Last time I checked, there weren't any captain's stripes on your jacket... Rainbow Crash!
- Rainbow Dash: You're just not brave enough to confront the dragons.
- Spitfire: Watch it, Crash.
- Young Rainbow Dash: What's "brave"?
- Young Bow Hothoof: Brave is when you're scared to do something, but do it anyway because you need to.
- Soarin: Let me guess, you finished first in the competition.
- Rainbow Dash: No, fifth. It was my first one after all!
- Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Spitfire, and Prince Rutherford: For Yakyakistan!
- Applejack: Look! The dragons are standing down.
- Twilight Sparkle: And there's a small group of them heading this way! Can you make out who's leading them?
- Spike: No, I can't quite well... Wait. Yes, I can just make them out. It's... Ember?
- Spike: It just doesn't add up. This is not the way Ember was going to lead the dragons!
- Twilight Sparkle: Well, she still is a dragon. They're naturally aggressive. Perhaps warring is in their makeup.
- Spike: Excuse me? Have you forgotten that I am a dragon?
- Twilight Sparkle: Oh! I guess I actually did forget. You're more of a pony than a dragon, anyway.
- Spike: Gee, thanks.
- Ember: I have tried to be peaceful. Tried to integrate the dragons more with the ponies and others of Equestria. But so many of them have these notions of what we're going to act like. That we're going to bring destruction and total ruin.
- Ember: I keep forgetting how not a dragon you are.
- Spike: Uncalled for, but we'll get back to that later.
- Ember: You just don't get it. But why would you? You've been with the ponies for so long that you're more one of them than one of us. They've probably manipulated you into turning against your own kind.
- Twilight Sparkle: Girls, combine your magic. It'll make it that much stronger and hopefully push them back.
- Rarity and Starlight Glimmer: Yes, Twilight!
- Twilight Sparkle: Wonderbolts, are you ready to fly circles around these dragons?
- Rainbow Dash, Spitfire, and Soarin: Yes, ma'am!
- Twilight Sparkle: Pinkie and A.J., work with the yaks to keep those catapults going non-stop. Maybe you can get them to retreat.
- Pinkie Pie: You know it!
- Twilight Sparkle: Fluttershy, you stay here and make sure those who can't fight are well protected.
- Fluttershy: Yes, Twilight.
- Spike: [to Twilight Sparkle] You all need to stop making generalizations about the dragons!
- Spike: [to Ember] If you don't like negative generalizations being made about you... stop acting exactly like they expect you to! Trying to destroy an entire village over some ancient lore without even talking it over first? Really?
- Twilight Sparkle: That flame is supposed to be a dragon?
- Prince Rutherford: Ancient yak bad artist.
- Spike: What? You're telling me that all this happened because ancient yaks were lousy artists?
- Ember: Well, this is embarrassing.
- Ember: I'm sorry, Spike. You entrusted me with the greatest gift a dragon could receive. And I've not done the title of Dragon Lord justice. I wish there was some way I could make it up to every... pony.
- Pinkie Pie: If it helps, I am willing to relinquish my honorary yak title!
- Prince Rutherford: Yak prince agree with pink pony.
- Ember: Thanks to you both, but that's not necessary. After all, it's about time the dragons let go of their past and look to their future. Right, Spike?
- Spike: I'll say!