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Fanfic / Daring Do and the Journey to the Center of the Earth

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“Next time I’m trying to save you from a thousand-foot drop, let me know when you’ll survive me abandoning you.”

"I've been betrayed, doublecrossed, played like a damn fiddle, lied to, booby trapped, and quite possibly bamboozled across this whole misadventure. So please, forgive me if I seem out of sorts."
Daring Do

A My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Round Robin fanfic by Insaneponyauthor, and set in the same verse as their prior fics.

Daring Do is seeking the underground City of the Talking Dogs. Maud Pie is hunting a talking dog who stole her sister's soul. Naturally, they cross paths and decide to team up.

A bewildering array of villains stand against them: Diamond Dogs, magma dinosaurs, gun-wielding apes, time travelers, an army of bat ponies and lizard ponies, a council of interdimensional evil, and a possessed crown. But those villains are about to learn the hard way that no force on Earth—or under it—can stop the dynamic duo of Maud Pie and Daring Do.

Experience it here.


Provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Long Stairway: The stairs to the temple in Anguli. It takes Daring and Maud two hours to climb them.
  • Acid Pool: When David betrays Daring and Maud, he leaves them tied up and hanging over an ominously bubbling vat of bright green liquid. Then Daring Do points out...
    “The ‘acid’ won’t be much of a problem either because it isn’t. If it were anything dangerous it would’ve burned right through the vat already, and I can smell from here that’s just green Kool-Aid. I doubt it’s even hot. The bubbles are probably coming from an air compressor.”
  • Affably Evil: Spinae is genuinely friendly towards Daring Do and Maud, but also unwaveringly loyal to the Great One, who sits on the interdimensional evil council. Spinae is mostly a good guy, but mistaken or in denial about how evil his leader is.
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  • Badly Battered Babysitter: Skylark claims that he was babysitting Garter, and that they only wound up in the underground tunnels because Garter was screwing around with his time patrol watch. But this may have just been a cover story, since the time patrol left instructions for them underground.
  • Bag of Holding:
    • The bad guys pay Blossom with a bag of money that's "bigger on the inside".
    • Colt Skylark hides inside Garter's bag several times. He may or may not be a full-sized stallion when he does.
  • Beneath the Earth: Naturally enough, where most of the story takes place.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Pinkie Pie is saved—and the entire world, for that matter—but at the cost of Boulder's life.
    It wasn’t quite “happily ever after”, but the world had been saved, not only by Daring Do, but by the stoic and amazing powerhouse, Maud Pie!
  • Blob Monster: Frog-like creatures made of slime Zerg Rush Daring Do and Maud while they're in a Death Course.
  • Book Ends: The first and last sections were written by the same author.
  • Call-Back:
    • Colt Skylark was fired by The Duchess back in Tealove's Steamy Adventure and turned down a job offer from the time police in Diamond and Silver's Excellent Adventure. Apparently he changed his mind, because now he's working for the time police.
    • Garter was one of Cheerilee's students back in Parents of Ponyville.
  • Captain's Log: Gummy leaves a journal of the heroes’ progress, and three entries are shown in the story.
  • Caustic Critic: Quibble Pants, in his review of the fanfic. His excerpt starts by calling the story a farce and a self-parody, and he stays that negative all the way through.
  • Celestial Deadline: Inverted. The ceremony to summon The Baron must be performed while the Earth's tectonic plates are in a specific alignment.
  • Chainsaw Good: Daring Do uses a chainsaw to make short work of a swarm of slime monsters.
  • Companion Cube: Boulder. In spite of being a literal rock, he somehow unties Pinkie Pie all by himself. And the erudite Gummy considers him the wisest member of their adventuring party:
    Only the creature known as Boulder is aware of the danger. He has led us through many perils, steadfast and with confidence.
  • Cosmopolitan Council / Equal-Opportunity Evil: The council of villains includes changelings, Diamond Dogs, dinosaurs, and even some villains from Dragon Ball and Jojos Bizarre Adventure.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Pinkie Pie goes a bit dark when she threatens David for some information:
    “Now tell me how to stop that robot or I’ll stuff you so full of cupcakes your stomach will EXPLODE!!”
  • Death Course: An underground corridor with numerous holes in the walls. When Daring triggers a pressure plate in the floor, frog-like slime monsters swarm out of the holes to attack her and Maud.
  • Description Cut: When the protagonists get captured by David's henchponies, Gummy gets separated from the rest of the team. Pinkie Pie worries for Gummy's safety: “I just hope he’s okay. The poor little guy must be so scared!” Then the scene cuts to Gummy knocking out his captor and making his own escape.
  • Destination Defenestration: David disposes of Baron-Bot 2000X by asking Joey to throw him out the airship window.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: As Daring Do and Maud are under attack by a lava ankylosaur and a gun-wielding chimp:
    [Daring asked,] "Any other ideas?" [...]
    "We could wait and hope for conditions to improve", [Maud] said. "That is a joke, by the way. I am telling you that because I am told that ponies have trouble telling when I am joking."
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Joey, allegedly a minion of David (who himself is The Starscream towards the impostor Baron), is actually directly loyal to the impostor Baron and working to undermine David. Except he also has his own scheme that hinges on becoming the Baron's vessel. And he's still willing to do David's errands for enough money.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Lampshaded.
    “Oh boy oh boy oh boy!” Pinkie proclaimed. “We’re deep in the bowels of the enemy airship, with a bunch of unconscious henchponies! You know what this calls for?”
    “Stealing their uniforms to disguise ourselves,” Maud said.
    “Yep-a-rooney! My favorite part of any adventure!”
  • Durable Death Trap: Averted. The labyrinth in the Temple of the Lost is supposed to have shifting walls to keep travelers from leaving—but those mechanisms all broke down from age.
  • Exact Words:
    • Maud can deadlift a boulder, and she offers to demonstrate. When the Great One expresses interest, Maud instead pulls out a small rock named Boulder, and lifts him. The Great One isn't amused.
    • The last chapter is named "Everypony Lives", and every pony does indeed live. But Boulder and a robot both die.
  • Fourth-Wall Observer: Pinkie Pie, of course. She refers to events as "chapters", remarks that she enjoys the occasional "Not Safe For Work scene", and wonders why they can't Jump Cut to an event instead of waiting for it.
  • Gambit Pileup: David's grand scheme depends on becoming the vessel for The Baron's mind. As does Joey's scheme. And Baron-Bot 2000X. And the Cutie Mark Crusaders. And at that point, Discord shows up just to troll everyone, and Eventide Zeppeli shows up just to insult the Baron, and then everyone's schemes just collapse under the weight.
  • Gender Bender:
    • The narration flip-flops on whether "the skylark" is a male or a female.
    • The Great One is initially referred to as a male, but they're one and the same as Mistress Towa.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: When Daring, Maud, and Pinkie use their Paper Thin Disguises, the other henchponies realizes there's something fishy about those three. But they're too apathetic to think too hard about it or raise any alarms.
    Oh, well. Reynaldo wasn’t getting paid enough to care.
  • Grail in the Garbage: The Temple of the Lost mostly has random garbage, but there are a few important items scattered among the trash. Like Pinkie Pie's body, and a crown that can summon The Baron.
  • Hammerspace Hair: Pinkie stores stuff in her mane, including object far too large to logically fit in there. Daring Do even refers to Pinkie's mane as a "freaky hyperdimensional storage space".
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Gummy knows that the crown might vaporize him, but he puts it on anyway to prevent David from attaining its power.
    • Boulder deactivates a bomb, saving the entire world, but falls into the Earth's core in the process.
  • Kid from the Future: Eventide Zeppeli, the time-traveling son of Twilight Sparkle and Baron Zeppeli.
  • Killer Rabbit: Blossom, the 200-year-old wizard who steals Pinkie Pie's soul... looks like an adorable Pomeranian puppy.
  • Lampshaded Double Entendre: As Pinkie Pie is listing off what she likes about going on adventures:
    “And the occasional Not Safe For Work scene, if you know what I mean.”
  • Lava Adds Awesome: Anguli is populated by ankylosaurs made of living lava.
  • Lemony Narrator: A few authors dip into this.
    It was a slow crash, almost casual; The Stephanie Meyers of crashes. Like all Stephanie Meyers of Things, however, for all its slowness it hit Daring Do like a slingstone to the kidney.
    [Much later...]
    Dear reader, I will make the assumption that you know some things about our intrepid explorers. The thing in particular that will be most relevant to the next part of this story...
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Subverted. Garter mistakenly thinks Daring Do has betrayed him and allied with the Diamond Dogs. He intends to bring her to justice, but drops out of the story before a fight can happen.
  • Literal Split Personality: The bad guys refer to Puddinghead as a split personality of Pinkie Pie, yet they have separate physical bodies. (But on the other hoof, the bad guys act like Pinkie's and Puddinghead's souls are one and the same. And Puddinghead says something about how Pinkie's presence in a time period prevents her from being there. It's confusing and inconsistent.)
  • Lizard Folk: Lizard ponies are one of the species who live underground. One of them, named David, is trying to take over the world.
  • Lost World: The entire civilizations existing underground, including the City of Talking Dogs and Anguli.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    ... They had Daring Do, a professional explorer that had been in more than her fair share of mazes. It’s because of this that she had learned an ancient and most complicated technique, only taught to the most ambitious of explorers… the technique of sticking to the left wall.
  • Nested Story Reveal: The whole story may or may not be an in-universe fanfic—since one scene gets replaced by Quibble Pants' review of the fanfic.
  • Noodle Incident:
    [Pinkie said,] "This is almost as fun as last week's tea party with Minty!"
  • Old Friend: A group of Diamond Dogs surround Daring, Maud, and Pinkie. Everyone prepares for a fight, but then Maud recognizes the Diamond Dog leader, Rover. She had befriended him while studying ore processing techniques for her rocktorate degree.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Daring, Maud, and Pinkie have to pass themselves off as lizard ponies and bat ponies. They put painted cardboard boxes over their heads, wear stolen uniforms, and smear food coloring over their exposed fur. And Gummy successfully passes for a lizard pony just by wearing a helmet (that's several sizes too large for him).
  • Place Beyond Time: The evil council’s meeting place “below the shards of time”.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: Played with. Daring Do partially translates an ancient stone tablet, which contains remarkably prescient references to the events of the story. But it's explained later that a time traveler from the future left that tablet.
  • Pseudo-Crisis: The chapter breaks fall in the middle of random sentences, rather than anywhere that makes sense, and the author's notes try to pass these off as cliffhangers.
    “We’re looking for my sister’s soul.” Maud got straight to the point. There was a
    [Author's note: Tune into the next chapter for the thrilling conclusion of that sentence!]
    silence that lasted several minutes.
  • Put Them All Out of My Misery: After the heroes foil his scheme to conquer the world, David decides to destroy the planet in retaliation.
    “YES! If I can’t have [the world], no one can! AHAHAHAAAAAAAH!”
  • Remember the New Guy?: Several chapters in, Gummy appears out of nowhere, but everyone (including the narrator) acts like he’s been with Daring and Maud all along.
  • Robo Speak: Baron-Bot 2000X is overly verbose, only ever refers to himself in third person, and constantly speaks in bold text.
    “Baron-Bot 2000X observes the summoning ritual has produced a suboptimal end state.”
  • Robot Me: Baron-Bot 2000X, who's crudely modeled after David—and, like David, claims he's the perfect vessel for The Baron.
  • Rollercoaster Mine: The protagonists ride on mine carts to get back to the surface. The course is completely insane, and involves giant floating eyes, skeletons with crossbows, and tracks that will crash into walls if you don't know the right password.
  • Running Gag:
    • "The drugs were beginning to wear off."
    • Yet again, Apple Bloom crashes the climax of the story.
    • One of the chapters is named "Daring and Maud's Subterranean Adventure", a nod to the previous stories that followed the <Character Name>'s <Adjective> Adventure format.
  • "Save the World" Climax: It starts with Daring and Maud trying to retrieve Pinkie's soul. By the time they rescue Pinkie, they've stumbled across David's plot to Take Over the World—and when they foil that, David instead tries to cause The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: When the ritual to summon The Baron devolves into an embarrassing Gambit Pileup, the Baron responds by unsummoning himself.
    “That’s it. I’m done. This is all just too stupid for me. Next time you chuckleheads want to summon me, get your nonsense sorted out before I get here. Understood?”
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: Baron-Bot 2000X has one of these, which he activates upon deciding he no longer has a reason to live. Because there's No Kill Like Overkill, this mechanism is a nuclear bomb.
  • Ship Tease: Between Maud and Daring. Maud asks if she can visit Daring's house after the adventure is over. Daring cracks a suggestive joke to Maud, and gives her a Motivational Kiss near the end.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Blossom was inspired by Lily from this youtube video.
    • To Colossal Cave: "This place is a maze of twisty passages, all alike."
    • To the Doom comic: Daring finds a pedestal with the words "Rip and tear" engraved on it. Atop the pedestal is a chainsaw.
    • Discord shows up, garbed as a Romane centurion, and proclaims that he's Spartacus.
  • Snake Talk: Captain Bob the lizard pony talks this way. None of the other lizard ponies do.
  • Spanner in the Works: The time patrol leaves mission instructions for Garter and Skylark—on ancient stone tablets, written in an ancient language. The plan was for them to enlist Daring Do's help in translating them, but Maud cuts it short, because she thinks rescuing Pinkie is more pressing.
  • The Starscream: David, who serves the impostor Baron, while planning to double-cross him and steal ultimate power for himself.
  • Stealth Pun: David dives into a well to retrieve Pinkie Pie's soul. A "well of souls", if you will. In Real Life, the Well of Souls is a holy site underneath the Dome of the Rock in Israel; in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Well of Souls is the site in Egypt where Indiana Jones finds the Ark of the Covenant.
  • Straw Nihilist: Gummy dips into this in some of his internal monologues.
    My companions think that they are making progress because they put one hoof in front of the other. But perhaps this is merely a means for them to delude themselves into ignoring the grim futility of action before the void.
  • Super-Sargasso Sea: The Temple of the Lost is a labyrinth deep underground, housing anything and everything that gets lost. Which means most of its contents are mundane junk, like loose change, rubber bands, and socks. Though there are a few important items, like Pinkie's missing body.
  • Telepathy: The magma ankylosaurs communicate telepathically. Gummy also records telepathic journals; whether he can communicate with the ponies telepathically is rather inconsistent.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry:
    [Pinkie said,] “Aww, I just thought about Gummy and made myself sad.”
  • Theme Naming:
    • David’s giant bat minions are named Joe, Joe Jr., Joseph, Joey, and Josephine.
    • Twilight’s son from the future is named Eventide.
  • Time Is Dangerous: Garter's time-travel watch has a built-in painkiller injector, because time-travel hurts.
    The skylark rubbed her head. “Painkillers?” she asked. “Why was I on painkillers?”
    Briefs tapped his anklet. “Distracts your body from the fact that the taxi of your body just took a shortcut through the shopping mall of time. That won’t kill you, but it won’t be any fun either. Trust me.”
  • Time Police: Garter and Colt Skylark are now members of the Order of Harmony Corps, a multiversal temporal law-enforcement agency. Gummy might also be involved—he's aware that "recent temporal distortions" have affected the metaphysical barriers.
  • Totem Pole Trench: The Cutie Mark Crusaders show up in a large trench coat and a face-concealing fedora.
  • Train Escape: At the very end, as Daring, Maud, and Pinkie flee from David on hoof, a stampeding buffalo herd separates them from him, allowing the heroes to make their escape.
  • Trap Door: One of these drops Maud and Gummy into an underground lake. Daring has to dive after and save them.
  • [Trope Name]: The third chapter is subtitled, "Something Something Rock Pun".
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: Actually somewhat justified: the Round Robin format means that the authors won't know anything unless it gets explained in the chapter right before, which results in characters recapping stuff that just happened to characters who were also there. And lampshading the hell out of it.
    "Now," Daring began. "We need to reach the surface as soon as possible. If the lizard ponies get their, hooves? Claws? Whatever, on that crown, nothing will stop them from gaining ultimate power."
    Maud frowned. "Didn't we just go over this?"
    "I know," Pinkie chimed in. "It's like we all have terrible short-term memory loss or something."
  • Visual Pun: In Gummy's Captain's Log segments, he gives the "Stardate" as actual star symbols: "☆☆☆☆☆.☆"
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: As a result of different authors misunderstanding/disagreeing over what species certain characters should be:
    • Colt Skylark, who was a pony in his previous appearances, becomes a literal skylark in some scenes.
    • Mistress Towa initially appears as an ordinary pink pony but is later depicted as a giant lava anklyosaur.
    • In some scenes, Joey is a giant bat; in others he’s a bat pony.
  • Walk, Don't Swim: After Maud and Daring crash in an underwater ocean and swim to shore, Maud says it would have been quicker if she had sunk to the bottom and walked ashore.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Aside from the protagonists—Daring Do, Maud, Pinkie, Boulder, and Gummy—everyone introduced in the first half of the story just disappears after the scene with the frog monsters.
  • You Can't Miss It: When Rover the Diamond Dog tells the protagonists, via radio, how to navigate the mine carts to get back to the surface, his directions are so unhelpful that Maud eventually throws away the radio and consults Boulder for directions.
    "Now, when you see the third chunk of peridot on your right, you'll see an opening leading downward roughly six feet across."
    "Okay now what..." Daring Do began.
    "Don't go anywhere near that place. It's full of magma and the screaming souls of undead fire sprites. [...] Head north until you see a pile of dragon bones, swing to your left and you'll come across a path forking in three directions. I... can't remember which one's which, but if you see a chamber with a floating eyeball in the center with a clipboard, you're on track. Tell it 'diamond is unbreakable', and you should be fine. That's the current password until midnight, so you've got five minutes before it changes. Drive straight into the nearest wall, if all goes well the spell will let you pass through unharmed. If not, then I'm afraid you're most certainly doomed."