Chapter 10- Twilight's Champion
King Aurelius walked slowly down the ravine towards a much more dense part of the forest. A single Changeling walked in front, leading the king a newly beaten path. Grass lay crushed beneath their steps at each side. The sounds of a bird of prey could be heard- Which meant silence. Birds of prey do not make noise when hunting.
The sun had been setting, but even in the dense forest, the orange hue was blocked to keep the color from changing. The King kept his gaze ahead, wondering what this ape would be like. He had yet to see it in person, leaving his subjects to look over things. According to the reports, the ape creature had been found hanging from a tree. It had been brought down and looked after, in case this ape could provide emotions.
After walking for what seemed a long time, the King came up to the body of the ape. A single changeling had been looking after it. The minion stepped aside and let the King look at the creature. It had puffed brown hair, and a pair of spectacles over its eyes. Aurelius found it odd, this creature was dressed from neck down to its toes. Blue pants, small brown leather shoes, and a green shirt. Truly odd, this ape did have a flat face. The other thing he found odd, was out of the white coat chest pocket, a pen and other writting utensils rested inside a white plastic container.
Hal Emmerich, aka Otacon, was waking up.
Otacon picked up his head slowly, releasing a small groan. His right hand moved up, moving to make sure his glasses were in place. He felt a bit of pain, but nothing felt broken. Bruise and scrap here and there, from the looks of it. The scientific engineer moved slowly to sit up and look around. Looking up, he spotted a parachute that was tangled up from branches. He then inspected himself, trying to find any signs of blood. So far, nothing that would warrant emergency medical attention.
"What happened?" Otacon spoke, his voice a bit cracked. His mouth opened and closed, feeling his mouth dry. His tongue moved to try and moisten them. He was thirsty.
"Are you alright? Do you not remember what happened?" King Aurelius said. His head had tilted to the side, inspecting Otacon. He said nothing, trying to see how it would react.
"I think I'm alright... just thirsty," Otacon said, opening his eyes to look over at the voice speaking to him. All he spoted were two small black horses and a much larger black horse. His right hand moved back, trying to adjust his glasses to inspect the creatures. These were no ordinary horses...
"I see. Bring our guest some water," The King said, throwing his head to the side. The guide nodded and then left the area quickly. For now, Aurelius could play the role of benevolent ruler. Least, till he found out some info.
"You can speak my language?" Otacon said, lowering his hand to inspect the tallest one. He saw the lips moving, and he heard the voice. Was he suffering from a concussion?
"Ah, well, I am glad that we at least speak a common tongue stranger. My name is King Aurelius, lord of the Changelings. May I know your name?" The king spoke, making sure his voice was soft and pleasant. Least, as much as he could muster.
"My name is Dr. Hal Emmerich. I can't believe I am taking to a horse," he said, moving to stand. He did so slowly, trying to test his balance and his legs. No problems so far. "This is just like one of my Japanese animes," he commented in a low voice.
"Greetings Dr. Emmerich. It appears that you are alright. Can you explain how you came to be in this forest?" King Aurelius said. He was impressed, a doctor. A few observations also gave the king some ideas. The fellow looked thin, so problably an intellectual. No weapons visible of any kind, so he doubted Hal was a warrior. The clothes were also appear to be made for comfort rather than practicality or combat.
"You can call me Otacon if it makes things easier for you King Aurelius," Otacon said, trying to take a few steps. The King noted that the ape had a limp in one of his legs. "I.. remember being in the air. I was piloting a helicopter over an oil rig that had been taken over by a terrorist cell," Otacon said. He debated not telling the truth, but he was talking to a black horse that could talk back.
"A he-li-cop- er," King Arelius tried to pronounce the word. It sounded foreign, as did oil and cell. But the word terrorist he knew. "Were you there to assist the injured?"
"Ah, no. I'm not that kind of doctor, sorry. I was there as in pilot capacity, taking hostages off the oil rig. I managed to drop them off and moved back to the rig to pick up the squad deployed to take care of the situation," said Otacon. The engineer moved his head to the side, hearing a rustle. A changeling had returned, carrying water inside a gourd. "Oh, thank you very much," Hal said once he got the gourd. He smiled and nodded in thanks before taking a drink.
The King was getting impatient, but he said nothing. A pilot... That sounded like a chariot driver or boat captain. It did not sound as if this ape belonged to the other mercenary apes. He did mention a squad- Perphaps he was the one who brought the others? "What happened next?" The King said. So far, it seem that his ploy was working and this ape was opening up to him.
"I was taking the helicopter back when there was a large explosion. It made me veer off course and almost crash. It all happened very fast, and I can't remember what happened very well. I must had ejected, I see the parachute I must have used to escape. But I was so far from land... how could I have landed on dry land..." Otacon veered off, his voice low as he lowered the gourd. The water did the trick, he was feeling much better.
"I see. You must have suffered a blow to your head in the accident or when you landed," King Aurelius said. He tried to appear inteligent, although he had no idea what a parachute was. This fellow eyes' though, they had intelligence. That, and naivety. So trusting. A soldier would have not volunteered information until he was sure it was secure to do also. A soldier would also try to gain as much into as he could in case he was in enemy lines.
"I must have. Where... Where am I?" Hal asked, finally getting a clue. These smaller horses had no eyes, they remembled more of an insect. He also noted their strange shape.
"You are in a forest called "Everfree." It is in a nation called Equestria," The King responded. Good, this doctor was no soldier, but smart enough to put two and two together. A good sign- One never wants a doctor of anything to show signs of stupidity.
"Equestria? It doesn't sound like any nation I know. And I studied the roster of the United Nations," Otacon said. The poor engineer finally got a clue and knew that he should be acting diplomaticly. He was in front of a king after all.
"Forgive me King," Hal said, suddenly moving to get down on his good knee. "I lost my manners," he said, bowing his head a bit.
"Please, you do not have to bow for me stranger. While I am a king, we are not in my kingdom," King Aurelius said with a laugh. He found it amusing, manipulating this creature was going to be easier than he thought!
"Thank you for your courtesy, and thank you for finding me. No telling what could have attacked me in this forest." Otacon asked, picking up his head again. "You do not rule Equestria?"
"No, this land is rule by a cruel and evil princess, named Celestia. She rules alongside her dark sister, Luna. Let not their names fool you- Their appearance hide a cruel and evil intent," the king said. His indigo eyes narrowed, snorting once. Otacon took a step back, as the other changeling were also showing signs of hostilty at the names.
"What makes them so evil that your subjects act like this?" Hal asked, picking himself to stand up. He took a step back and begun to look for a way to run and hide.
"Forgive me, but my anger is beyond justified. Please sit Doctor. In order to understand, I must tell you our story from the beginging. Leave us, and bring food for our guest," The King commanded. Hal nodded, seeing the others leave and the King relax. Otacon moved to sit down on the ground, next to a tree.
"They should be back soon, with food I hope you can eat. As I mentioned though, this is not my land. My old kingdom is besieged by a plague. You must nave noticed our sickly colored eyes and out legs," Aurelius said. He walked over to sit in front of the doctor. Good, good, this ape was eating things up.
"I did not want to comment, but i did find the holes in the legs as an odd sign. I am amazed that you can walk your majesty..." Otacon said, clearly impressed. This earned another chuckle from the King. Aurelius hoped that all this acting would provide some fruit. Since the doctor was no warrior, perphaps he could be a spy or a hostage at least.
"My Queen, subjects- those well enough to walk- left our kingdom in search for a new home and with any luck, a cure. We found the cure at least, in Equestria." The king raised his head, turning to look at the darkening sky. Better not ham it up to much.
"Let me guess- You tried peaceful negociations with the Princess of the land, but she demanded a price that you could not pay..." Otacon said. It sounded like a familiar plot, long ago used up and cliched. But unfortunately, one seen all too often in real life.
"Yes.. you are an intelligent doctor, O-ta-kon," The King tried to pronounce. Hal laughed, both liking the praise and the sound of his favorite handle pronounced so. The King smiled, though not for the same reason. This farce was getting better and better. Aurelius found himself liking this creature. Smart but guilible, and potentially useful. Mayhaps he will spare this one, making him a jester.
"Forgive me for laughing. Please continue," Otacon said. The human found himself liking this creature. Usually- creatures in black were evil. But here and there animators like to use reverse colors to keep things from getting stale.
"No no Otakon. It is good to hear laughter. My subjects have forgotten how to," King Aurelius said, lowering his head in mock saddness. Otacon immediately felt sad for laughing. "My Queen is not here, she had gone to reason with the Princess one last time. However, she was attacked by a group of mercenaries of incredible power," King Aurelius said.
"If I can be of any help, I will. It is the least I can do for your thanks. You are a noble king, showing concern for a complete stranger when your own people suffer," Otacon said, impressed.
King Aurelius merely smiled, lowering his head to look away. A plan was forming in his head.