(Theme song plays) “Midnight Express(The Chase)” by Giorgio Moroder.
“Good evening, everyone! You're in the right place, at the right time! This is Coast To Coast AM. Blasting out of the Mohave Desert like a sirocco, blazing across the land! Slamming into your radio like a supercharged nano particle of UNOBTANIUM! Greetings from the boldest, bodiest, most OUTRAGEOUS city in the world, the planetary capital of sun, fun, sin, sex... and SECRETS, my not so humble home town, Las Pegasus, Neighvada! I'm George Nag, your occasional host, designated driver of the airwaves, and moderator of tonight's upcoming cacophonous cavalcade of conversation!
“It's a comfortable night here in Las Pegasus, as you'd expect at this time of the year. Not too hot, not too cold! The sun was shining brightly all day! PRIME tourism time; and Celestia knows, they come here in droves EVERY day!
“Many ponies are still mourning the loss of the popular roller coaster ride The Wild Blue Yonder, that officially shut down EXACTLY one year ago tonight. I, personally, have been on that ride hundreds... if not THOUSANDS of times throughout my life; and it was a thrill EVERY SINGLE TIME. BUT, as the saying goes: all good things must come to an end. The cost of maintaining that ride has been REALLY high for the past number of years, and the owners felt that it was no longer profitable to keep that ride open, given the high maintenance costs.
“Rumors are circulating that an even bigger and better ride is scheduled to be built to replace the now defunct Wild Blue Yonder, but nothing conclusive has surfaced as of yet. We here, at Coast To Coast AM, WILL keep you posted regarding any new developments in that area.
“On tonight's show, we'll talk about... FRIENDSHIP! It's not often that we deal with such subject matter on this show; but deal with it, we shall! More specifically, we will be talking to two unlikely companions who, just six months ago, went to Mount Aris, the home of the hippogriffs, on a so-called “friendship mission”.
“You heard correctly, folks! These two males, one a dragon, the other a griffin, were conscribed, or DRAFTED, if you will, by PRINCESS TWILIGHT SPARKLE, the very Princess Of Friendship herself, to go on this mission who's objective was to solve a FRIENDSHIP PROBLEM at Mount Aris. We will hear from them on tonight's show.
“So let's assume the position! Bring in the dog and cat, put on a pot o' “joe”,slip into those silk jammies, turn down the lights and turn up the radio, 'cause we're about ready to rumble. In a moment, we'll hear this fantastic story about a FRIENDSHIP MISSION at Mount Aris! I'm your host, George Nag, and this is Coast To Coast AM.
(thunderclap sound effect)
“Welcome back to Coast To Coast AM, I'm George Nag, your occasional host of the airwaves. Our guests tonight are, on the one hoof, Karkovice Drake, a 10 foot tall bipedal dragon who's been a resident of Equestria for a LOOOONG time, and has done many things throughout his life. Most of you listening tonight may know him as the lead singer of the successful rock group The Reptilians, who've performed EVERYWHERE around Equestria and beyond over the years.
Most recently, though, he has taken up the job of Professor at Princess Twilight Sparkle's School Of Friendship that opened up about a year ago, where he has been teaching dragon lore and history and... oddly enough... PARANORMAL SCIENCE! That is, when he's not touring with The Reptilians.
“Our other guest is a young griffin who goes by the name of Gallus Gruff who hails from Griffinstone, that border town between Equestria and The Griffin Kingdom most famous for the griffin SCONES. If you've never tried them, I strongly suggest you do, because they're QUITE TASTY. He has been a student at that same school Kark teaches at since it first opened, and he became Karkovice's somewhat RELUCTANT partner during this friendship mission they were drafted into.
“They are here to talk about their adventure at Mount Aris. Welcome to the show, gentlemales!”
GN: Let's start with you, Kark. You've been touring with The Reptilians all these years. You've also been a sort of Friendship Ambassador between the ponies of Equestria and the dragons of the Dragon Lands when you're NOT touring. But recently, you've become a Professor at Princess Twilight's school. I know you're very close to Her Highness, but... how do you juggle it all!?
Kark: (laughs) It's just a relentless sense of devotion. I mean... I love what I do. These past few years, I've been slowly tearing myself away from the Ambassador role, and more into the role of lead singer for The Reptilians; which, by the way, is a SWELL group of guys! We love going out there and performing all of these songs to all of our adoring fans, and just basking in the love and adoration they have for us!
GN: YES! I've been to a few of your concerts, and was always BLOWN AWAY by what you guys do. You're REALLY awesome!
Kark: Thank you.
GN: I've heard that you guys just recently came back from Fillydelphia. How did that go for you?
Kark: It was GREAT, actually! We had two concerts back to back lined up; but we had to add on two extra nights because... there was SUCH a high demand for us! At the last minute, those two extra venues were put up, more tickets were put on the market; and we ended up selling out the Wells Fargo Center those four nights!
GN: OUTSTANDING! What I've noticed most about you and your group is that you always “play to the audience”, and that seems to be the key to your success.
Kark: Yeah, that's right! Before each concert, we always try to figure out what kind of audience we'd have, and what kind of songs they'd like to hear. A few days before the actual concert, we put it all together, rehearse, make sure everything's right; then go out there and do our stuff!
GN: AWESOME! Now, Gallus, you've been a so-called FRIENDSHIP STUDENT at Princess Twilight Sparkle's School Of Friendship since it first opened, is that correct?
Gallus: Yeah, that's right.
GN: How did you become enrolled in this school?
Gallus: Well, when word reached Griffinstone about the opening of this school, my grandfather, GRAMPA Gruff, thought it would be a good idea to have me represent all griffins in the kingdom at that school, and learn about friendship at the same time. As you probably know, griffins are not FRIENDLY creatures by nature...
GN: Oh, yes! I know that VERY well...
Gallus: Well, Grampa Gruff enrolled me in this school in the hopes that I would learn friendship, and bring that knowledge back to the Griffin Kingdom.
GN: But you were reluctant, at first?
Gallus: Heh! Yeah, I was! I didn't like the idea, and I TOLD him that! But he gave a good kick in the butt, if you will, and said (mimicks Grampa Gruff's voice)“You're goin' to this school, whether you like it or not! It's for the good of griffins everywhere!” Up until then, I've been helping Gilda Griffin with her griffin scones business, while I was not in Griffin School. Now while helping to make scones was fun, I didn't see myself doing that for the rest of my life. Even though I was reluctant to go to this new school, I saw it as an opportunity to not only learn friendship, but maybe learn some stuff that I can use in a new career or job.
GN: So they don't just teach friendship at this school?
Kark: Oh, no! There's DIFFERENT subject matters being taught at this school. Most of the Teachers on staff are Princess Twilight's closest friends. You probably know them as The Wielders Of The Elements Of Harmony...
GN: Ah, yes! They saved Equestria MANY times!
Kark: THAT they did! Most recently against The Storm King's attempt to invade Canterlot. But you have Applejack there teaching Agriculture and Farming Techniques, Fluttershy teaching Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine, Rainbow Dash teaching Flying and The Basics of Aerodynamics, and Pinkie Pie teaching The Science of FUN; so there's a whole range of subject matter these kids can learn ON TOP of friendship! I, myself, teach Dragon Lore and History, as well as Paranormal Science.
GN: And is Gallus a student in any of your classes?
Kark: He's in BOTH classes, actually!
GN: Is he a GOOD student?
Kark: Well, let's just say that I haven't heard TOO MUCH complaining from him about my teaching methods... HEH! He's looking at me kinda sideways right now. I think I struck a NERVE!
GN: (laughs) Well, that's something we can get into later. But for now, let's talk about this friendship mission you and Gallus went on. When did this start for you, Kark?
Kark: Well, it started quite unexpectedly for me. When I woke up that morning, and started to get ready for my day, like I usually do. That's when I noticed in the mirror that my horns were FLASHING RED.
GN: Flashing red???
Kark: Yes! I have jet black horns that I keep polished, sanded smooth and what not; and that morning, they were LITERALLY flashing on and off red; like a police siren, you could say. After getting over the shock, I remembered seeing something similar on some of Princess Twilight's friends; namely The Wielders Of The Elements Of Harmony; so I knew right away who to see about this.
So without hesitation, I went straight to Twilight's palace! It wasn't long after I got there that I found her in that big conference room she has, sitting on her throne and reading a book(like she usually does). I just said “Uhh... Princess Twilight???” She looked up, and you could see her eyes narrow in pony type shock. After a few moments, she finally said “Well, that explains EVERYTHING.” I said “What!?” she said. “Come here, Kark. There's something you must see.”
So she motioned for me to approach The Cutie Map...
GN: The Cutie Map???
Kark: Yeah, that's what they call it. That huge round conference table they have also doubles as a map of the world that tells them where in Equestria there's a friendship problem, and who The Cutie Map decides to send to solve it. Anyways, when I approached the table, I was surprised to see my family crest hovering over Mount Aris; and that's when I knew that The Cutie Map had called me on a friendship mission.
GN: When you say you saw your family crest, what do you mean?
Kark: Well, you gotta understand that when The Cutie Map calls a pony on a friendship mission, that pony's CUTIE MARK appears over the area of Equestria they need to go to; and since dragons DON'T have cutie marks, it was The Drake Family Coat Of Arms that appeared identifying me as the one being called.
GN: How did you feel when you realized that you were about to go on this friendship mission?
Kark: I was deeply surprised! I always thought that The Cutie Map only called PONIES into action. When I let Princess Twilight know this, she simply shrugged and said “The Cutie Map is free to call forth ANYONE it wished, regardless of what species they are.” So I knew that I was called, and I couldn't back out.
GN: But you ALSO knew that you wouldn't be going alone?
Kark: Oh, no! In the past, The Cutie Map ALWAYS called at least two ponies into action. Be it Twilight with Fluttershy, or Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie that time they went to Griffinstone; so I knew someone was going to accompany me. I just didn't know WHO at the time.
GN: So there was ANOTHER cutie mark or crest hovering over Mount Aris next to yours?
Kark: There was. It was unlike any dragon family crest I'd ever seen before, so I knew my mystery companion WOULDN'T be a dragon.
GN: Were you able to figure out what species that crest belonged to?
Kark: Not at first. Princess Twilight theorized that it belonged to a GRIFFIN, based on the design of the crest. She said it looked very griffin like. Just as she said this, GALLUS walked into the conference room with a worried look on his face. THAT'S when I knew who would be accompanying me on this friendship mission.
GN: I see. So Gallus, when did YOU first realize that you were called upon to embark on this mission?
Gallus: I didn't realize it at first, but you gotta understand that MY glow was on my right rear paw, so it wasn't noticeable at first. It was only when I arrived at school that morning that I was made to realize that I was called. When I got there, I got together with my friends before class, like I usually do. We were chatting away, and then my friend OSCILLUS, who's a changeling girl, and quite observant, kinda looked down and said “Gallus, what's wrong with your foot?” That's when I looked down and saw my glow for the very first time.
GN: And how did you and your friends react?
Gallus: We were in SHOCK, basically! I didn't know WHAT was going on, and neither did THEY. It was something that none of us had ever SEEN before. My friend Oscillus asked “Does it hurt?” I said “No.” I didn't feel any pain, so I knew that it wasn't anything harmful. So we were all scratching our heads trying to figure out what this thing was; when Sandbar, who's my PONY friend, said “Maybe you should go see Professor Twilight about this. She'd might know what it is.”
So I headed straight to her palace from there. When I walked into the throne room, I saw that she and Professor Kark were there, hovering over that holographic map of hers. I kinda interrupted them by saying “Uhh... Mistress Twilight??? I was told that you'd might be able to explain THIS.” and I showed them my foot. They both kinda blinked and looked at each other before Miss Twilight said “I think we now know who's going to accompany you on this friendship mission, Kark.”
At this point, I was like TOTALLY confused. I DEMANDED an explanation, so Miss Twilight motioned me over to her. When I got beside her, she pointed to what was essentially my family crest hovering over a scale model of Mount Aris, and said “Tell me, Gallus, does THIS mean anything to you?” I replied “Yep! That the Gruff family's Coat Of Arms.” That's when she smiled and said “That settles it! Looks like your BOTH going on this friendship mission.”
GN: That must've come as quite a SHOCK to you?
Gallus: It DID! I had, like, a MILLION questions going through my head at this point; like “what's a friendship mission?” “Why me?” “Why Professor Kark?”
Kark: Yeah. THANKFULLY Princess Twilight was there to break it down for us.
Gallus: Yeah. It was there that I learned that this Cutie Map of hers can call ANYBODY into action, and we HAD to go. It was like being DRAFTED.
Kark: Yeah. I already knew what I was being called upon to do, but poor GALLUS here was like a rookie baseball player being called to the plate for the first time, and being told to try to HIT something.
GN: (laughs) I can understand the feeling. GREAT analogy! So at this point, I guess the next logical step was getting ready to leave?
Kark: That's right. Princess Twilight made arrangements for us to leave the very next day by train. Gallus was given a week's leave from school. THANKFULLY, I had no concerts scheduled for that week. I was only planning to teach my courses at the school. If I had any concerts scheduled, it would've caused a MAJOR conflict.
So we essentially packed our bags for the trip, and headed to the Ponyville train station the next morning. Princess Twilight was there to see us off, and give us some last minute instructions.
GN: So how long did the trip take?
Kark: It took us about 16 hours to get there, with several stops along the way. By the time we got to Mount Aris, the train was PACKED full of creatures of all kinds!
GN: Sounds to me like Mount Aris would be a popular tourism destination to rival my home town of Las Pegasus!
Kark: If what I saw on the train that day is any indication, it would certainly SEEM that way! But that was not the most amazing thing about this journey; when we finally came into sight of Mount Aris, we were just AWED by the immense size of it!
GN: How big was it?
Kark: It was really hard to tell! Now, The Cutie Map doesn't do it justice. On the map, it appears as a small little mountain only a few inches high; but the real deal is MUCH MUCH bigger. It looked to me to be about a couple of miles high and maybe 4 to 5 miles wide. It was MASSIVE!
GN: Well that sort of thing could certainly make an impression on ANYBODY.
Gallus: (chuckles) Well, it certainly made an impression on most of the tourists on that train. Those that had cameras were just snapping away!
GN: Did you guys bring cameras yourselves?
Kark: Uhh, no, we didn't.
GN: Oh, what a shame. I would've LOVED to have seen some pictures.
Kark: Well, you'll just have to go there yourself to experience it in person, George.
GN: I think I WILL someday. At this point, though, how far away were you from the mountain?
Kark: We were still about 20 minutes away.
GN: .... Well, of course, a mountain that big COULD be seen from a long distance away.
Kark: It just filled your ENTIRE scope of vision, let's just say! (chuckles) But the way it's set up is that the mountain sits on an island out in the sea, and there's a causeway that was built that links their island mountain to the mainland, and that's how the train crosses over and leaves again.
GN: IMPRESSIVE. Were coming up on a break here now. When we come back, I want you both to describe what happened when you finally arrived at Mount Aris. Taking us into the break is the song “Santa Maria” written by the group “Trooper”. I'm your host George Nag, and you're listening to Coast To Coast AM.
GN: That was “Going To California”, by Led Zeppelin. I'm your host George Nag, and we're talking to Karkovice Drake and Gallus Gruff, who are describing their adventure at Mount Aris, the home of the hippogriffs, where they were sent on a so-called “friendship mission”. When we come back, we're gonna hear about what happened to them when they finally arrived at Mount Aris; so STICK AROUND. You don't wanna miss THIS!
(thunderclap sound effect)
GN: Welcome back to Coast To Coast AM. I'm your host George Nag. Now, when we left off, you we're in sight of Mount Aris and about to arrive. Kark, can you tell us what happened when you finally got there?
Kark: Certainly! Well, when the train finally pulled into the station, we filed out of the car that we were in; and we could see that it was a REALLY busy place. There were creatures of all kinds milling about, lots of tourists. Towards the end of the dock, we could see three male hippogriffs dressed in gold coloured armour. I told Gallus “I think that's our welcoming committee.” So we headed towards them. We could see that they were carrying long spears. I wasn't sure if they used them as weapons, or if they were ceremonial...
GN: I have to ask. Did you think that they'd might USE them on you?
Kark: At this point, NO. I had no reason to suspect that they were hostile in any way. Princess Twilight had sent advanced word to Queen Novo that we'd be coming, so I had no reason to suspect any ill intent from them.
GN: What was YOUR impression, Gallus?
Gallus: I was just a stranger in a strange land, basically; so I was following Kark's lead.
GN: Okay. So what did the hippogriffs do when you approached them?
Kark: Well, the one in the middle, who was the leader, took a step forward and asked “Are you Karkovice Drake and Gallus Gruff?” I replied “Yes, that's us!” Then he smiled and adopted this BOOMING voice and said “WELCOME TO MOUNT ARIS! I AM SKY BEAK, CAPTAIN OF HER MAJESTY QUEEN NOVO'S ROYAL GUARD! You are most welcome here.”
Then he placed his right hand on his chest, and bowed deeply in front of us. Now prior to leaving, Twilight told us that this grand gesture was their way of showing that we were welcome in their lands; and that we had to return the bow as a sign of respect; which was what we did, and he seemed quite pleased with that.”
GN: Nice! What happened THEN?
Kark: Well, after those formalities were out of the way, Sky Beak said “Queen Novo awaits you at the top of the mountain. If you'll follow us please.” So we started flying up towards the top of Mount Aris.
GN: What was the weather like?
Kark: There was some fog at ground level when we arrived, but as we rose higher and higher off the ground, the fog cleared up, and there was bright sunshine all the way up to the top of Mount Aris. The temperature was quite comfortable as well! It hovered around 20 degrees Centigrade the whole time we were there, even though it was the early part of fall for them, so it was REALLY nice.
GN: How long did it take you to reach the top of Mount Aris?
Kark: uhh... 'bout five minutes, I'd say.
GN: Five minutes?
Kark: Yeah. Being winged creatures, like the hippogriffs, it was much EASIER for all of us to FLY to the top of Mount Aris then WALK. There IS a winding road there that leads to the top; but you've ALSO gotta realize is that Mount Aris lies on a pretty steep incline. You can still climb it, but it would take you FOREVER to reach the top. That road was built there in order to allow those grounded creatures, like earth ponies and unicorns, to climb to the top of the mountain; but if you did THAT, it could take you 30 to 40 minutes to reach the top, depending on how fast you climbed. So it was MUCH easier to fly.
GN: Right. But if you decided to simply WALK up there; not only would it be more time consuming, I imagine you would get a pretty good workout at the same time?
Kark: Oh, YES! Definitely.(chuckles) Fortunately, though, there are hippogriffs readily available who can CARRY you up to the top of the mountain, if you asked them nicely. In fact, that's what they offer to tourists who are grounded. But you can still climb it, if you wish.
Kark: One more thing, George: During our flight up, I remembered Twilight Sparkle's own visit to Mount Aris with those three filly friends of hers called The Cutie Mark Crusaders, who were there on their OWN friendship mission; and I remembered her telling me about this hippogriff boy named Terramar, who felt torn between his parents, and that was the friendship problem THEY had to solve. I remember her also saying that Captain Sky Beak was his father, and I figured at that point that tensions between them had become strained again.
GN: You felt that THAT would've been the friendship problem?
Kark: Yes. So on our way up, I casually asked him “So how's things between you and your son?” He answered “NEVER BETTER! After the intervention from those three pony fillies, me and Terramar have been closer than ever!” Once he said that, I realized that I was barking up the wrong tree. So much for THAT lead. HEH!
GN: So the friendship problem wasn't centered around this Captain of The Guard and his son?
Kark: No. It was centered around someone else.
GN: All right. So what happened when you reached the top of the mountain?
Kark: We were guided towards their town square where Queen Novo was waiting for us. She was sitting in her hippogriff form on a makeshift throne at the top of a flight of concrete steps. I noticed that there was an altar right behind her throne at the top of the steps; so I guessed that, under normal circumstances, that altar was used for some kind of ceremony; or some kind of hippogriff worship. There were other hippogriff soldiers lined up on each side, each with their own armour and giant spear, and there was a red carpet laid out right at our feet.
GN: So you got the red carpet treatment, so to speak?
Kark: (chuckles) Yeah. Anyway, we were guided by Sky Beak to walk along this red carpet up to the bottom of the steps. Then Sky Beak, in his booming voice again, addressed the Queen. “YOUR MAJESTY, may I introduce Karkovice Drake from The Dragon Lands and Gallus Gruff from The Griffon Kingdom!” Then he bowed towards Queen Novo in the same way he bowed before us, and we did the same.
GN: What did the Queen say then?
Kark: She just said “We welcome thee to Mount Aris. How may we be of service?” That's when I told her why we were there. She seemed kind of surprised to hear this. But I asked her if she had heard of any one of her subjects having a friendship problem. She answered “I am personally not aware of any existing friendship problems among my subjects. Yet one must exist; otherwise, you would not be here.”
So I asked her again if she had heard of anybody having a friendship problem, even if it was just a rumor. She replied “I do apologize, but 'no'.” then she said “But I have noticed that when you Equestrians are on one of your friendship quests, the problem somehow always seems to find YOU.” I took that as a sign of encouragement.
GN: So what happened for the rest of the day?
Kark: Well, it was late afternoon by the time we got to meet Queen Novo. OH, and her daughter, Princess Skystar, was there too. She seemed quite excited to meet a full grown dragon and a teen aged griffin for the first time in her life. (chuckles) They were starting to prepare the evening meal for themselves, us, and the other tourists who were there.
They have a big communal hall where all the food and drink was served. Now, the hippogriff diet was based on FISH; so there were a lot of fish cakes, smoked salmon, and fish sticks for the kids. But there was also all sorts of fruits and vegetables laid out for the vegetarian creatures, like ponies. Since me and Gallus are omnivores, we had a little bit of EVERYTHING.
OH, and... (giggles)... I'm sorry, Gallus, but I HAVE to tell George this story.
Gallus: What!? AWWW MAN! Do you HAVE to?
Kark: YES! I'm pretty sure he'll wanna hear this. (giggles)
GN: Okay! What happened?
Kark: Well, the hippogriffs have this alcoholic brew called “salmon juice”, which is based off of fish oil. I decided, out of politeness, to try some; so they poured me a big mug of the stuff. Now, I've drank all sorts of bitter ales throughout my life, so I knew what to expect. I took a sip and said “This is GOOD STUFF!” which greatly pleased our hosts. I turned to Gallus and said “You've gotta try this! This is REALLY GOOD!”
Gallus: But I was reluctant at first...
Kark: Yeah, you were. But I kinda coaxed you into it. (chuckles)
Gallus: ... to my REGRET...
GN: What happened?
Kark: Well, there's a non alcoholic brew that they make for under aged creatures, like Gallus; so they poured a measure for him in a griffin sized pint. And WOULDN'T YOU KNOW IT, he goes and takes a big gulp of the stuff! What follows is probably the LARGEST spit-take I've ever seen from ANYBODY in my life!(giggles)
Gallus: IT WASN'T FUNNY, KARK! I thought I was gonna choke to death!
Kark: But you DIDN'T. Anyway, everybody was just laughing their heads off, 'cause they thought it was so funny.
Gallus: But it WASN'T...
Kark: But when I patted you on the shoulder, Gallus, and told you that I brought a keg of Sweet Apple Acres finest cider we could share later on. Applejack got you hooked on that stuff, since you visited her farm; so I KNEW that it would make you feel better afterwards.
Gallus: Yeah, that's TRUE.
GN: Okay, so that was the end of your first day at Mount Aris. All your worries about not being welcome there were put to rest, but still no leads as to who among the hippogriffs had the friendship problem you were sent to solve?
Kark: No, but what would change soon enough.
GN: Since we're coming up on a break, we'll pause the story; and when we come back, we'll hear about how you finally discovered the friendship problem, and how you worked on solving it. Taking us into the break is “Eagle”, an epic song by the group ABBA. This is George Nag, and you're listening to Coast To Coast AM.
GN: Welcome back to Coast To Coast AM! I'm your host George Nag. And that was “Mississippi Queen” by Mountain. Speaking of mountains, we're talking to Karkovice Drake and Gallus Gruff, who went to Mount Aris roughly six months ago on a friendship mission, and came away from that adventure forever changed. We'll hear more about their great adventure right after this.
(thunderclap sound effect)
GN: Welcome back to Coast To Coast AM! I'm George Nag, your occasional host of the airwaves. Your regular host, George Neighry, will be back tomorrow night with a brand new set of guests, and brand new stories of HIGH STRANGENESS to share with you all.
We're talking to Karkovice Drake and Gallus Gruff, who have been relating their story of the friendship mission they went on at Mount Aris roughly six months ago. So you both had a taste of hippogriff hospitality that first day. What was your second day at Mount Aris like?
Kark: Well, the next morning, we got up and went to the communal hall again for breakfast. Now, contrary to the previous night, there was nobody serving any food or anything. It was BUFFET style. Grab what you want, all you can eat!
GN: Let me guess, more fish cakes?
Kark: Heh! Well, there WERE some left over from the night before, but that wasn't ALL that was there. You could have yogurt, fruit smoothies, cereal with milk, orange juice, coffee, tea... They even had fresh baked bread that you can make toast with, and that whole array of fruits and vegetables as well.
GN: I imagine that after that, it was “let's get down to business”, and try to find the friendship problem?
Kark: Yeah. After breakfast, we planned to go around the village and ask questions to try to find our “target”, so to speak. But as we left the communal hall, we ran into Sky Beak dressed in his uniform and carrying his spear on his way to his morning duties, I guess.
After we said “good morning” to each other, he said “OH, by the way, General Sea Spray's here today. Since you've met him when he went to Ponyville with my daughter, you'd might want to see him again. He should be down by the foot of the mountain, near the beach.” Since we had no further leads, we decided to fly down to the beach and say “hi” to our old friend.
We soon found him over by the beach, but he wasn't by himself. There was a younger hippogriff with him. He looked to be a teenager of about 15 years old, a little older than Gallus.
We landed right in front of them, and I said “GENERAL SEA SPRAY, SIR! How are you on this fine morning?”
He was initially surprised to see us, but then he said “Karkovice Drake and Gallus Gruff, my young friends!” After we shook hands, he asked “What brings you two to Mount Aris?” So I told him that we were there on this friendship mission, and he was like “A friendship mission!? Well, I'm sure that a pair of strapping young lads like you will accomplish this mission IN NO TIME; but if ever you need any help, do not hesitate to ask!” And he had that thick British accent, too; so that sounded kind of funny.
He then told us that we was on shore leave for a few days, and that he'd be readily available, if we needed help. Meanwhile, this 15 year old hippogriff boy just stayed in the background, not saying a word, acting kinda shy; and Sea Spray didn't seem too eager to introduce him to us. So, to break the ice, I asked Sea Spray “Who's your young friend here?” Sea Spray said in his thick British accent “OH! This is my son, Blue Wave!” That's what he called him.
GN: So that was Sea Spray's son?
Kark: APPARENTLY. Anyway, Sea Spray introduced us to his son. To me, he didn't look very much like his father. By the way, hippogriffs are mostly covered in feathers. Some of them have a more ponylike type of coat; but for the most part, their body is covered with feathers. His feather colour was a little bit darker shade of light blue than Gallus, but Sea Spray's feather colouring is more PURPLE. I assumed he took more from his MOTHER than his father.
Now, this kid stayed fairly quiet the whole time... until the moment we were introduced. He suddenly let out a gasp, and... you know how those artist types, when they get that moment of inspiration, they do that rectangular frame thing with their hands?
GN: Oh, yes! I know what that is.
Kark: Well, this kid did that in front of us and blurted out “This is PERFECT!” We're like “What!?” He then said “I've GOT to do a painting of you two! Can I get your permission, PLEASE?” At that point, we were like TOTALLY taken aback. Sea Spray said “My apologies! My son likes to PAINT, you see; and I think that he wants to paint the BOTH of you.” Which was what Blue Wave wanted to DO! Then Sea Spray whispered something harshly to his son, but I could hear what he said. He said “This is NOT the time for this!” Blue Wave just whispered back. “YES it is! You can't stop inspiration!” Sea Spray seemed quite upset at this point. He still whispered, but I could clearly hear him “STOP THIS NONSENSE!” Blue Wave whispered back. “It's NOT nonsense, dad!”
GN: So he wanted to paint you and Gallus together?
Kark: Yes! Now, at this point, Gallus said something. You wanna tell George what it was that you said?
Gallus: Sure! I said “You mean you want us to stand still for HOURS while you paint our portrait!?”
Kark: And what Blue Wave said in reply really surprised me! He said “OH NONONO! There's no need to do THAT. I already have this picture in my mind of what you two look like. I just need to put that picture down on canvas. But I'd REALLY like to have your permission, PLEASE!?” He must have a really good memory to be able to do something like that.
GN: That IS most unusual...
Kark: So I said “Sure!” And... YOU SHOULDA SEEN THIS KID'S FACE LIGHT UP, George! It's like he just received a blessing from All Father Himself! I've never SEEN anyone so happy! He was literally jumping up and down, flying in circles and crying “OH THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANK YOU! You won't regret this!!”
Kark: But the whole time, Sea Spray was QUITE ANNOYED by this. As soon as I said “yes”, he just groaned and shook his head...
GN: ...Almost as if he didn't approve of his son's behaviour?
Kark: So I whispered to Gallus “I think we've found our FRIENDSHIP PROBLEM!” He's like “What!?” and I'm like “YEAH! Didn't you notice Sea Spray's reaction!!?”
Gallus: I really DIDN'T. I'm really not good at observation...
Kark: So I told Gallus “I don't think he approves of his son wanting to be an Artist.”
Gallus: Then I asked Kark “If they're the friendship problem, what are we supposed to do?”
GN: But at the time, you didn't know WHAT to do?
Kark: NO... I knew that, from that point, we had some serious thinking to do....
GN: You needed time to devise up a “plan of attack”, so to speak?
GN: So as this point, you gave this young hippogriff permission to do up a portrait of you and Gallus; I'm guessing he left right away to start working on it?
Kark: Yeah, he did! He excused himself to fly back up to the village of Mount Aris where his family home was; leaving us with his father, who apologized again for his son's behaviour. I said “No need to apologize, Sea Spray. I've seen how excitable some of these young hippogriffs can be.” He said “well, it's pure FOOLISHNESS, if you ask me!” THAT'S when I knew that we'd definitely found our friendship problem.
GN: But you weren't sure how to solve it yet?
Kark: No. After this, though, Sea Spray graciously offered to show us around. We took this as an opportunity to think about how we're gonna solve this friendship problem.
GN: Okay. We're just about due for a break. MY, how does time fly! This is a TRULY fascinating story! I can't wait to hear more! And we will do so on the flipside of this break! Taking us into it is Martha And The Muffins and their one hit wonder “Echo Beach”. This is Coast To Coast AM!
GN: Welcome back to Coast To Coast AM! I'm George Nag, your host for this evening. That was “No Son Of Mine” by Genesis. An appropriate song for this point of the story. We're talking to Karkovice Drake and Gallus Gruff as they relate their incredible adventure at Mount Aris they undertook roughly six months ago on a friendship mission. When we left off, they had finally found their friendship problem; and now they had to figure out how to solve it. We'll find out how they did that right after this.
(thunderclap sound effect)
GN: Welcome back to Coast To Coast AM! I'm George Nag. So now that you've found the friendship problem. How did you two work on solving it?
Kark: Well, we eventually came up with a plan. But for now, Sea Spray offered to show us around, which we accepted; and at Mount Aris, there's LOTS to see. I was most impressed by Harmonizing Heights.
GN: Harmonizing Heights?
Kark: Yeah! It's an area at the top of Mount Aris that's kinda forested, there's a stream running through there, but what's MOST impressive about that place is that there are crystal formations where, when the wind passes through them... even if it's just a small breeze... it produces a particular sound! It's like OOOOOOOOOOOOOO! And depending on the strength of the breeze, it varies the pitch the sound makes! Sometimes it can be higher, sometimes it can be LOWER. (mimicks the sounds he heard) Like THAT. So for somebody who's musically inclined, like ME, they can truly appreciate this area of Mount Aris. Sweetie Belle, one of the Cutie Mark Crusaders, who's ALSO musically inclined, kinda fell in love with that place, when SHE visited.
GN: Gallus, what were YOU impressed by during your visit there?
Gallus: I was just impressed by EVERYTHING. Mount Aris REALLY is a wonderful place to live!
Kark: But there's also an underwater world called SEAquestria, which we didn't get a chance to visit.
GN: Why not?
Kark: Because you have to be changed into a SEA PONY to go down there, 'cause it's under water, and you have to be able to breathe down there.
GN: And how DO they change into sea ponies?
Kark: Okay. Back when The Storm King first invaded that part of the world a thousand years ago, Queen Novo used this giant magic pearl she had to change her people into SEA PONIES, so they can hide out under water. When they felt it was safe enough to come back, they changed back into hippogriffs to reclaim their ancestral lands, which is MOUNT ARIS.
After they reclaimed Mount Aris, the magic pearl was cut up into small shards, attached to necklaces, and given to each and every one of them so they can move freely between land and water. And any being who's in any way MAGICAL can channel this power, and change into a sea pony; but since me and Gallus are NOT magical beings, we couldn't really be turned into sea ponies. The ponies that visit there CAN be turned into sea ponies, if they wished, because they can channel this magical energy; but since we CAN'T, we didn't have that luxury.
It always comes down to a matter of choice as well. The hippogriffs can't FORCE you to become a sea pony; and I, personally, wouldn't be too KEEN on being turned into a sea pony, even if I HAD the power to, and I don't think GALLUS would, either.
Gallus: No, DEFINITELY not.
GN: But I imagine if you REALLY wanted to visit Seaquestria, you could go down there using E.V. Suits, or some kind of scuba gear... or even a submersible of some kind?
Kark: Yeah, but we didn't bring any E.V. Suits with us; and speaking of submarines, the Hippogriff Navy are currently working on manufacturing some kind of submersible craft that could take land based tourists who couldn't or WOULDN'T become sea ponies down to Seaquestria for a tour, and Sea Spray has a HUGE influence in this, so that might be an option in the near future.
GN: So while visiting Mount Aris, and taking in all of the sights and sounds is fun, you knew you had to get down to business eventually, and work on solving this friendship problem?
Kark: Exactly! So, while Sea Spray was showing us around, I came up with a sort of “divide and conquer” plan. When we had a moment alone, I told Gallus that while I worked on Sea Spray, he would go find Blue Wave and try to talk to him. Since he and Gallus were roughly the same age, I felt that they could relate to each other more.
At one point, we broke for lunch and went to this seaside fast food place, I guess you could call it, where they served up probably the BEST tasting salmon steak you'd find ANYWHERE. There was also a sea food chowder that they served, and I think that's what Gallus and Sea Spray had.
Gallus: Yeah, it was.
Kark: This was where we decided to put our plan into action! I told Gallus to fly up to the village to find Blue Wave while I stayed with Sea Spray. So he snapped me a military style salute, excused himself under the guise that he wanted to go up to the village and ask around to see if he could find the friendship problem. At this point, we weren't gonna hint to Sea Spray that it was really HE and his son that we were gonna focus on.
GN: Smart move!
Kark: So after he left, me and Sea Spray went for a stroll on the beach. This was where I finally broached the subject with him. I said “Sea Spray, I couldn't help but notice that when your son practically begged us to paint our portrait, you were kinda upset, almost as if you didn't approve.” He just stared straight ahead. So I pressed by saying “So, you wanna talk about it?”
This was where he sighed(mimicks Sea Spray's sigh) and said “... It's a long story...” I said “Well, we seem to have plenty of time. We're here to solve a friendship problem, and we can't leave until it's solved.” This was where he said “You're very perceptive.” I said “I tend to be like that. So you wanna talk about it?”
This was where he started relating to me this story of how his family have always been in The Hippogriff Navy, from his grandfather, down to his father, then to HIM; and how he hoped that his son would continue the family legacy. By the way, there's a Junior Hippogriff Navy Corps that hippogriff boys, AND girls, can join once they turn 16. Now Blue Wave was 15, so he'd become eligible to join when he turned 16, which was only a few months away. Sea Spray wanted to enroll his son into this Corps on his birthday.
GN: But Blue Wave had other ideas?
Kark: EXACTLY! So I told Sea Spray “To me, it doesn't look like your son would want to be in the military. He seems much more content to just want to be an artist and paint.” He kinda closed his eyes, put his head down sadly, and said. “I know, and that's what worries me.” I asked “In what way?” I WASN'T gonna let him off the hook that easily, you see.
GN: Of COURSE.
Kark: So he starts telling me this story about how ever since Blue Wave was a young boy, he wanted to DRAW. He would often take crayons and paper and just DRAW. Sea Spray thought that that was normal, for a kid his age to do.
GN: Oh, for sure! I'VE done it. You've probably done it, too!
Kark: I DID, but eventually, I grew out of it; but in Blue Wave's case, he just CONTINUED. He eventually moved from drawing to PAINTING... first on sheets of paper, then on real canvas. At this point, Sea Spray was beginning to think that it was just a silly phase he was going through; but as he got older and older, he just KEPT GOING, even into his TEENS. So when he started spending most of his time painting various scenes around Mount Aris instead of doing that quote unquote “normal” hippogriff boys his age were doing, he started to think that this was MORE than just phase; he started to think that there was actually something WRONG with his son!
Kark: He said he tried MANY times to get his son to STOP painting, and go out and play with the other hippogriff boys, or whatever; but his son refused to do so. It even got to the point where there were SHOUTING MATCHES between them, and they've started to grow farther and farther apart!
GN: So instead of ENCOURAGING his son in his passion, he BERATED him!!?
Kark: EXACTLY! Now, if this were MY son, I wouldn't do that; but we're talking about SEA SPRAY here- a male who's very proud of who he is, what he does, and what he's achieved in life; but also very STUBBORN.
GN: I understand...
Kark: He's even blamed his WIFE for his son's quote unquote “condition”.
GN: YOU'RE KIDDING!
Kark: I kid you NOT! This, of course, has caused TENSION in their marriage... She's even threatened DIVORCE...
Kark: At the end of his story, he just looked up at me with this sad look, and said “I just don't know what to DO, Kark...” So I knew, right then and there, that I had to do a SERIOUS intervention!
GN: And WHAT did you do?
Kark: I started relating to him my OWN story of conflict with my OWN parents growing up. You see, my own parents were TEACHERS. My mother was a Grade School Teacher, and my father went on to get a PhD in Astrophysics – what you probably call STARGAZING. While my mother was in College, my father was teaching a Basic Physics course as part of his Master's Degree program that my mother happened to be in, and that's how they MET.
Of course, growing up, they expected me to follow in their footsteps and take up a Teaching career of my own!
GM: Of COURSE.
Kark: But I didn't WANT that. I just couldn't see myself standing in front of a classroom trying to teach something to a bunch of spaced out dragon kids who didn't even pay attention to you half the time.
Kark: I wanted to do something ELSE. Of course, we've had many arguments about it. They've asked me several times “Why don't you want to be a Teacher!? It's a great career to have!” and I've always answered “I don't WANT to be a Teacher, mom/dad!”... FINALLY, I made them understand that my destiny lied down a different path than theirs; and that I wanted to do something else. One day, they sat me down and said “Son, we just want you to know what, whatever it is you decide to do with your life, we're gonna support you 100%!” As soon as they said that, it was like “WHEW!” a HUGE WEIGHT was lifted off of my shoulders, and I smiled up at them and said “NOW you understand!”
GM: And I can see the big group hug that ensued...
Kark: Which was what we DID, oddly enough! (chuckles) So when the time came to choose my career, I took up an Accounting program at College, and worked as a Quartermaster for the Dragon Military for years; before I decided to break away from that and become a Diplomat.
GM: And NOW, you're the Lead Singer for a highly successful rock and roll band!
Kark: Yeah, that came later! I've always loved music, but I never thought I'd be a successful singer until FATE threw me down that path...
GM: AND, as fate should have it, you ALSO teach at Twilight's School Of Friendship...
Kark: (laughs) YEEEEAH... That's a different story altogether. You see, back then, in The Dragon Lands, you couldn't become a Teacher and teach what you WANTED. If you wanted to become a Teacher, they were like “Okay. You're gonna go teach THIS.” and it could be something that you have ABSOLUTELY no knowledge of, or subject matter that you didn't LIKE; but that's how things were done in those days!
Things are a lot different NOW. At Twilight's school, even though I still get nervous when I stand in front of that classroom, I get the chance to teach something that I LOVE and am PASSIONATE about. That kind of eases the tensions for me.
GM: Now GALLUS, when you listen to Kark say what he just said, what's YOUR impression?
Gallus: I just find it hard to believe that... this 10 foot tall dragon, who's a PROFESSOR at a school I'm currently attending, NEVER WANTED to be a Teacher!
Kark: That was a LONG time ago, Gallus. Things are A LOT different now.
GM: That's right! Now, coming back to your talk with Sea Spray. Okay, so he told you HIS side of things, and you told him a story that would be similar to what his son was going through at that point, how did he react?
Kark: Well, after I was done telling my story, he gave me the BIGGEST smile I've seen him do to this point. I first met him at Twilight's school on opening day, when he came with Silver Stream, and I saw him smile SEVERAL times then, but not like THIS. He just reached up, placed his hand on my shoulder, and said “Kark, from the moment I first met you, I always knew that you were SPECIAL. I just had no idea HOW special.” I placed my hand on his forearm and said “I sometimes don't even know MYSELF.” He just LAUGHED!
Kark: After that, he asked me “Okay, so when it comes to my son, what should I do?” I said. “Well, you have to LISTEN to your son. Not just hear what he has to day, but REALLY LISTEN to him! He's doing this for a REASON, and you have to REALLY LISTEN to his reason.”
He just nodded his head and said. “Okay, I'll try.” I patted his arm and said “That's ALL I ask. Now let's say we go find your son?” He agreed. So, from that point, we just flied up to the village to go see him.
GN: Okay. Now, GALLUS, while this was going on; you were on your way up to the village to try to find Blue Wave. Tell me how THAT went.
Gallus: Well, I flew up to the village with the intention of asking somebody where I could find Blue Wave. At the village entrance, I saw this hippogriff couple walking out, so I landed in front of them and said “Excuse me, but do you know where I can find Blue Wave?” The female hippogriff said “OH! You mean Sea Spray's son, the Artist?” I said “Yeah, that's him!” The male said. “Oh that's EASY. His house is right over THERE.” And they pointed towards a particular house up a particular tree. You see, they live in huts up in the trees, and they fly in and out of those huts all the time.
GN: And it seems to be a community where everybody knows everybody?
Gallus: Seemed that way, YEAH. At least THEY knew who I was talking about, so it wasn't hard to find where he lived.
Anyway, I flew to what would be Sea Spray's family home. The door was wide open. I imagine they must keep their doors open when it's nice out, to air out the house, and what not. I just walked in and called out “Hello! Anybody home?” I heard movement to my right and I saw Blue Wave peek his head out from what would be his bedroom, and he said “GALLUS! What are you doing here?” So I said. “Well, Kark's hanging out with your dad, catching up on things; so I thought I'd come up here to ask if I could hang out with YOU.” He said “SURE! Come on in.”
As soon as I walked into his room, I saw right away that he was REALLY passionate about being an Artist. I mean, he LITERALLY turned his bedroom into a studio with everything an Artist would want. There were art supplies everywhere, canvases, paint. I had to watch my step so as not to knock anything over.
GN: Kind of like... organized chaos?
Gallus: (chuckles) You COULD say that. I couldn't help but notice that his bedroom walls had a WHOLE BUNCH of paintings he had done hanging here. I saw a lot of scenes of Mount Aris, Harmonizing Heights, lots of hippogriffs and sea ponies, YOU NAME IT. I even commented on them by saying “WOW! These are REALLY GREAT!” he said “You really think so?” I said “SURE!” He just smiled weakly and me and said “Thanks.”
Then my eyes were drawn to the canvas he was working on, which was that portrait of Kark and me he had promised. He had already done Kark, and was about halfway through doing ME. There was no background to it or anything at the time, but it was STILL pretty amazing. What was even MORE amazing is that he had our colours done JUST RIGHT, even though he only saw us for, like, FIVE MINUTES.
GN: Well he said so himself that he had a great memory for such things.
Gallus: And it showed on that canvas, believe you ME! I even commented on it saying “WOW! This is looking good so far!” He smiled weakly again and said “Well, it's not done yet... OBVIOUSLY... but when you see the final product, you'll be BLOWN AWAY.”
So it was then that I decided to talk to him about he and his dad. I said “Listen, Kark told me your dad didn't really approve of you being an Artist. Is this true?” At that point, he immediately stopped painting... as if a brick wall just hit him... then turned to me with this “How dare you!?” expression on his face, but I could see the sadness in his eyes. “What do you know about that!?” he asked me. I knew I was getting somewhere. I said “Well, Kark noticed that argument you had with your father while you were trying to get our permission to paint us, and he seemed quite upset. Wanna talk about it?”
He just dropped his paint brush and said “You don't know the HALF of it!” To which I replied “Well, I'm here to TALK about it, if you want to. I mean, I can't FORCE you to; but I am here on a friendship mission, and if the friendship problem is between you and your dad, then we DO need to bring this out into the open. As we speak, Kark is talking to your father RIGHT NOW, trying to make him see YOUR side of things! I can understand your attitude of 'there ain't no point in talking when there's nobody listening', but I'M here to listen, if you REALLY wanna talk!”
He just sighed and started telling his story about how, ever since he was a little kid, he'd always wanted to draw. But his father never really supported him. He always thought that it was a big waste of time, and that a kid his age shouldn't be doing such things. His father even PUNISHED him several times when he wouldn't put down the paint brush, or spilled a paint can accidentally on the floor of his bedroom. He even made him scrub the floor to try to remove the paint stain, and wouldn't let him leave his room until it was, in his dad's eyes, “spic and span”.
GN: WOW! This family needed SERIOUS help.
Gallus: That's the impression I got! I could see how this was effecting him, too! When he finished telling his story, he was even SNIFFLING. He was about ready to CRY!
GN: What did you do THEN?
Gallus: The only thing I knew a good friend would do. I placed my hand on his shoulder and said “I know how you feel.” He wiped the tear from his eyes and replied in a shaky voice. “Y-you do??? You mean, you have arguments with your father all the time, too?” I said. “Not my father, my GRANDfather(Grampa Gruff). We argue all the time, but that doesn't mean that we don't LOVE each other. I'm sure your father loves you a great deal. Do you love your dad?”
He replied. “Yes, I do! I love him to DEATH, but I just...” At that point he sat down on his bed, shut his eyes, and started to sob.
GN: OH MY GOODNESS!
Gallus: Then he said “... I just wish he UNDERSTOOD! I mean, mom understands me, why can't HE!!?” At that point, I decided to just let him vent.
GN: I think that's about all you can do, when a person's THAT upset...
Gallus: Yeah... Anyway, this went on for... I don't know... five minutes or so. When he finally calmed down, I placed my hand on his shoulder again and said. “Blue Wave, if your father really has difficulty understanding you, maybe you should try harder in MAKING him understand. If this is really what you wanna do with your life, if this is your CALLING, you need to work hard to MAKE your father understand that!”
GN: And what did he do then?
Gallus: Well, he looked at me, wiped the tears from his eyes, smiled and said. “Thanks for listening. You're a good friend!” Then he HUGGED me!
GN: Oh, he DID!?
Gallus: Yeah. That took me by surprise! I just return the hug and said “So what say we go find your father and try to talk some sense into him?” He said “All right.” Then we left his house and flew down to find Kark and Sea Spray.
GN: WOW! This story just keeps getting better and better! We're coming up on a break now. Our last one of the evening, but I am anxious to hear the conclusion to this story. This is Coast To Coast AM! I'm your host George Nag. Taking us into the break is “The Logical Song” written and performed by the group Supertramp. I find it's an appropriate song for this point of the story. We'll be back after this!