A/N: This is the revised version, and is a bit longer than the original (768 words) and a bit better with the writing prose.
“Gone to the (Diamond) Dogs”
We were fighting again, Simile and I.
Not with each other, mind you, but rather with the pack of Diamond Dogs we had intruded on. It was an entirely accidental thing, but they didn’t seem to believe this of us, and had been shouting about ‘defilers’ and ‘heretics’ for the last hour or so of fighting.
Simile was releasing blasts of green flames at the pack, and each blast came with a sound whose onomatopoeia was best claimed by, well, ‘Flash!’ and came with a burst of light in the oddly well-lit tunnels.
I should assume, of course, that you can tell we’re fighting for something important. In this case, it’s our life and freedoms. If they caught me, a moderately fit male, they would’ve made me into a slave and made me haul rocks and gems around for the rest of my natural life.
Simile would’ve gotten it worse, seeing as she’s equine, and therefore on the menu for them, once they’d finished working her to death. Ah, right, I’m cutting into the middle of the story. Sort of. Further back’s a little fuzzy right now.
And I can almost hear the quirking of your eyebrows, unless you’re nothing but a hallucination as I lay dying here.
Here’s a good description, in case I’m on Earth somehow, and I’m either in a hospital or an asylum;
She’s a magic, talking pony that can cast bolts of fire from her foot-long horn and is a bright, fresh-blood scarlet from her hooves to her muzzle, with a lovely cascade of (currently sweaty) shiny (mostly from the sweat right now) hair in her mane and tail.
At the time, I was too busy keeping stone-rending claws away from my face to really get a good look at my surroundings, and my Brain (a separate psychological entity due to a very mild case of DID) kept distracting me at the worst moments.
Ducking back and swinging wildly with the holed black sword I was carrying, I barely dodged a Diamond Dog that was trying to blind or disfigure me, either of which I wouldn’t be happy with.
At least I’ve stopped yelling while I fight. That was tiring. Wait, I’m rambling at myself again!
The Diamond Dog in front of me had been observing me the entire time, and recognized my mildly flighty mind and taken advantage of it. Looking back, I really did have to give him props for it, it was a brilliant move.
Grabbing a fistful of shiny gemstones, the Diamond Dog threw them off to the side, my eyes locked on them as he swung with the other paw, catching me entirely off-guard. The claws caught in the side of my coat, ventilating the poor material.
With a shout, I swung the sword in my right hand in an updraw cross-cut (diagonally up from the opposite quarter of the dominant hand. There, have a little lesson in swordswork) and scored a hit. The Dog yelped, a line of blood welling up across his chest where I’d hit him.
Still slashing the sword wildly, I continued backing my way down the slight incline that led even further into the stone. Without the amazing skills of the Diamond Dogs providing the ventilation shafts that led to the surface, often miles away from the actual den itself.
Sure enough, there seemed to be a breeze at my back, and it felt warm and comforting.
Yelling back to Simile, whose bolts of magically delicious doom were beginning to fade, I tried apprising her of the chance of a ventilation shaft leaving the den.
What came next nearly made me drop the sword I carried, and earned me a slash across my arm, which immediately began stinging. Simile’s response was odd enough without context, but with my background...
“I don’t mean to get technical, but there’s a swirly thing back here!” she called, curiosity and stress in her voice.
Those words, very similar to the line spoken by Cat on Red Dwarf, grabbed my attention solidly enough that a chill of foreboding (or maybe just adrenaline) raced up my spine like frozen lightning.
My expression falling to a more concerned cast, I asked, “That’s sounds really vague, can you elaborate at all?!” I was probably being a bit short of temper, but she hadn’t been too helpful at the time.
She replied, “It’s big, taking up the entire end of the tunnel, it’s glowing in all sort of colors, and it’s got a warm breeze coming through it!” a mixture of exasperation and exhaustion tinting her voice.
I pondered that as I continued to parry the attacks of the Diamond Dog still squaring off against me. It sounded liked some sort of cliche portal or something, and that could be good or bad. Either way, it was likely a way out, and the Dogs seemed to be afraid of it, most having simply huddled together a little ways up the tunnel.
We were several miles below the surface, tired, hungry, and exhausted. The passages had stopped branching a long time ago, and this particular tunnel had been oddly linear, with just a gentle curve to it. It was also smoother, and held a more... ancient feel to it. This was likely the place they had been accusing us of desecrating, which likely didn’t help our claims any.
The last of the Diamond Dogs engaging us backed off as I edged closer to the now-evident source of the tunnel’s light.
Sparing a glance behind me, I caught a glimpse of a shifting, opalescent sheet of light, like someone had stolen the reflection off the ocean at sunset, and suspended it in midair at the end of the passage.
Something about the soft, warm light was soothing, like a breath of fresh air after being inside on a summer day.
I turned back to the Dogs, who were massed just a few feet away, no more than a couple of yards from me.
Coming to a conclusion, I turned to Simile, and told her, “Go through it.”
She looked at me like I was crazy, a startled “What?!” escaping her.
“Go through it, I’ll hold them off.”
She turned towards the glowing portal/gate/optical illusion (seriously hope it wasn’t the last) and gave it a dubious look. I glanced back to her, and made a decision that would decide my fate and hers.
I dropped my arms to my side, and charged her, shoving her through the gateway, telling her to be careful on the other side.
My brain spoke up on the subject.
You do realize you just shoved her through a gate to somewhere else, possibly into an extremely hostile environment, without checking it out first. Right?
My eyes went wide.
Nope, didn’t think so. LEEEEERROYY, JEEEEENKIIIIIIINSS!!
I turned away from the Diamond Dogs again, and charged back at the shimmering portal.