Earlier, before the Sun Herd steeds had arrived to help, Wintermist chose digging as her way to escape the cave. She had decided against trying to fly out because she was fairly sure a few of the bones in her left wing was either sprained or broken, and even if she could fly, the pounding pressure of the waterfall would probably pummel her down onto the rocks. She remembered hearing about the tunnel that Morningleaf, Hazelwind, Brackentail, and the others had built to get the one hundred and forty steeds out of the valley that Nightwing had kept them in.
“Well,” she said to herself, “if it worked for a hundred and forty pegasi, a tunnel should work for me.” She began to dig.
For the first ten or so minutes she worked steadily, scooping wingfuls of the sandy soil out of the back corner of the cave and dumping them out of the cave into the waterfall. Then her left wing scraped against something sharp and hard under the sand.
Startled, she pulled her wing back quickly. She examined the tip of her wing. Something had cut one over her flight feathers almost cleanly in half. To avoid doing the same thing twice, she fanned the patch of sand with her wings to blow the sand away, and when the sand was clear she could see a flat piece of rock that was sharp on both sides. She touched the rock again to see if this was what had caused the trouble and sure enough, there was a cut in her feather. To avoid more damage to her wings, she cleanly broke the sharp piece of rock off with her hoof and kicked it over to the waterfall.
Now she had to solve the issue of there being rock where there had been sand. It would be much more time consuming to chip through thick rock. However, she was determined not to give up on the tunnel. She decided to widen it a little bit so that she could stand in it to avoid the fact that there was rock underneath.
As she worked on widening it, her front hoof slipped through a gap in the rock. There was open space underneath it, and as she tried to pull her hoof back up, she got stuck. She started struggling with her captive hoof. She brought the rest of her legs down in the space she had cleared, which turned out to be a bad decision. With the extra weight, the rock cracked.
She fell through and landed heavily on her left shoulder. When the worst of the pain was gone, she opened her eyes. The dust from her crash was still settling, but the sand she had landed on had muffled most of the sound. She tried to push herself up, but sharp blades of pain shot through her left wing. She winced and muttered, “Yep, that’s broken.”
Once the pain had been relieved, Wintermist managed to stand up. From the waterfall, she could see that she was about level with the pool, which meant her tunnel would have to angle upwards.
Working with just her right wing and front hooves, she dug through the side of the cave that she was in. This was quicker going, because as she worked her way levelly and up, the wall in front of her or a chunk of soil from the ceiling would fall, enlarging the tunnel. After this happened a few times, she realized she should probably get out before it collapsed on her. So when another chunk of the ceiling fell, she reared and kicked at that part of the ceiling with her hooves. It quickly crumbled and she crawled out onto the grass in the clearing.