59w, 5dHuman in Equestria
65w, 6dWriting Gold
42w, 5dThe Writer's Group
56w, 3dAussie Bronies
47w, 6dMy Second Life Fan Club
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52w, 1dMLS' Creme de la Creme
51w, 1dUnique Transformation
50w, 2dThe Usual
50w, 1dChess Game of the Gods
42w, 6dbronys united
25w, 2dStories I've read
18w, 1dVillains of Equestria
17w, 3dCompleted Story Compendium
10w, 8hThe Pack
6w, 3dThe Good HiE List
2w, 3dStraight Shipping
5d, 5mHumans turned ???
RED OF TOOTH AND SHARP OF CLAW
In the beginning... there was pain. Lots and lots of pain. My whole body felt like someone had decided to hit me over the head with a brick, toss me in a wood chipper, and than piece my body back together with a welding torch and some duct tape.
Usually when you regain consciousness to feel like this, your eyes fly open and the first thing you can think of is, "Holy shit, what did I do last night?"
Not me. I remembered everything. But... my eyes didn't fly open. I tried to open them, and they fluttered briefly, before closing again. They felt strange. Different, almost. My thoughts went back to the conversation I'd had with that crazy old punk from the coffee shop. Could he have really done it? My heart oddly leapt at the thought with joy, but my brain quickly took back control. I developed a mental list to help me determine my situation.
1.) Take an inventory of myself.
2.) Find out if I'm actually in Equestria.
3.) Find out WHERE in Equestria I am.
5.) Take over the world.
I'm an ambitious bastard, aren't I?
As far as I could tell from the weird signals my body was sending me, I was lying on my back, on some kind of cold, hard surface. I tried to open my eyes again, succeeding this time. The lids felt oddly heavy. This didn't do me any good, though, because wherever I was, it was pitch black. Oh well, at least I could move something. I roved my eyes around my sockets, and again I noticed how strange they felt. Whatever. I was on a roll now, so I moved on to the next phase of step one.
I tried my fingers next. I attempted to flex them, starting from pinkie to thumb. I couldn't be sure yet, but it seemed simpler in moving them, if that description makes any sense. I definetly felt something move, but it was if someone had stabbed a bike pump into my hands and inflated them. They felt several sizes larger, that much I could say for sure. Alright! That's a good sign! I can now officially say that I am not a pony! Ponies don't have fingers, somehow they get by just fine with their mouths. After a few minutes of finger twitches, I managed to make fists. Good. Now I can beat the false teeth out of that old guy next time I see him. Slowly, control over my fingers returned, and after a while I regained fully hand dexterity, but it still felt limited somehow.
I went for my arms next, staring with the shoulder muscles. Nothing happened. Huh. I switched back down to my hands again, rolling my wrists around instead, and working the forearm. What the hell? My forearms felt positively gigantic! I was kind of muscular before, but this just felt ridiculous. I then focused on my elbows, using the ground as leverage and lifting my forearms into the air, so that they were standing straight up. I was curious about my hands, so I slowly leaned my arms together until I felt them touch over my chest.
By the gods.
My hands were absolutely enormous now! They were thick and dense... and furry? I carefully ran my fingers over each other. Something felt odd. I started counting. One... Two... Three... Four... Uh-oh. It seemed that I only had four fingers now, including thumbs. These new digits felt much thicker and more robust, and I could feel something sharp on the end of each one, similar to a fingernail, but pointy. Claws, maybe? What exactly was I?
Some more wiggling around of my upper appendages eventually restored enough mobility to lift my arms up and about. I lifted them straight up, to encounter some kind of smooth resistance when they were three-quarters out. Huh. So I'm inside something, or underground. I gave the surface a shove, wincing as it abruptly gave way, letting in a blindingly white rectangle of light shine down onto me. I could hear bird calls, weirdly, and the sound of wind on trees. It was still winter where I'd been before, so this only encouraged my assumption that I was now in Equestria. Heart pounding with excitement, I pushed the rectangle as hard as I could. It literally flew off several feet into the air, before crashing down somewhere to the side.
The light was almost painful, as the sun was shining right down on my face. The sky was a uniform color, the palest of blues, and a few clouds chased each-other across the stratosphere. Blinded, I put a hand up to block the glare. A huge, meaty paw swung up where my arm should have been. Thick, stubby fingers, bulging forearms, and a relatively muscular bicep only served to confirm what I'd felt in the darkness. The entire limb was covered in what appeared to be a short, but thick coating of fur, longer on the outside edge where my elbow was.
Everything looked like it was straight out of a cartoon, I kid you not. I had a freaking outline, for Christ's sake! The colors were so much more solid than before, and there was a lot less detail to be seen. It was rather aesthetically appealing in a way, and I found that I enjoyed the new perspective immensely. Okay, I am now without a doubt in Equestria.
I reached up, grabbed the edges of my pit and hauled myself into a sitting position. The first thing I noticed was that I was still wearing the same clothes I'd had on in the coffee shop. My sweatshirt had torn open where my huge arms had grown, and my pants seemed to be strangely warped, as though my legs were broken underneath. Grimacing, I stuck my stubby thumbs under the waistband and tried to pull them off.
Shit. I guess I went and... ripped my pants. God damn you, Spongebob. Damn you to the blackest pits of hell.
I proceeded to tear the remains of my pants off my form, taking my shoes with them, revealing my legs to be covered in the same even coating of fur as my arms. That was where the similarities between my pairs of limbs ended, however. I ran my eyes over a brand spanking new set of animal legs. From the knee up, it felt pretty much the same. Below the knee, it seemed that the bottom of my foot had rounded out and lengthened, giving me an extra joint. I guess that means I would be walking around on tiptoes from now on. Wait, did I even have any toes? I glanced down again to reveal wide paws where my feet used to be, with similar stubby digits. Gleaming claws poked out from my toes. I wiggled them.
After another session of "get-to-know-you" with my new body, I pulled myself up and out of the pit, my new arms hauling me with ease. I sat on the edge and gazed around, taking in the new world.
I appeared to be on top of some kind of stepped pyramid in the middle of a tropical jungle. The container I had been in suspiciously looked like some kind of stone coffin, and it was covered in artfully crafted runes carved into the stone. I'd never been to anywhere equatorial before, but this seemed like the rainforest, almost. Huge trees with broad, palmy leaves stretched out of the jungle, hanging with snake-like vines and moss. From what I could see of the forest floor from my perch on the pyramid, it was covered in small ferns and dead foliage.
And it was roasting. This heat was almost unbearable. I glanced down at my sweatshirt and decided to make a few modifications. With a sharp claw, I cut it down the middle, cutting through the t-shirt underneath as well, opening it up as if it had a zipper, and tore away the ragged sleeves up to my elbows. Still not enough. I needed relief. Instinctively, I put my tongue out to pant, and found it oddly satisfying. I began to feel much better. All right, so I'm some kind of dog thing. Wait, that means... I whipped my head around to my backside, and sure enough, a short, shaggy tail was beating a soft rythym on the inside of the coffin.
I have a tail. ME FUCKING GUSTA.
I couldn't resist letting out a whoop of excitement. It came out more like a strangled yelp. Shocked, I tried to cover my mouth with my hands, but was met only with pain as they encountered flesh where before there was none. Suprised by this new discovery, I ran my paws over my new face, gingerly working out the shape. A long muzzle. Wet nose. Angled forehead. Soft, tufted ears. Bushy fur on the sides of my elongated jaw. I put an experimental finger in my mouth and winced. Sharp teeth, too.
What am I? That question now took priority above all else. I looked around again. It's not like I'm going to find a mirror in the middle of the jungle, so a river would be the next best thing. Plus, this heat was making me thirsty. There was a depression in the general layout in the forest some distance to the west. When looking for water, always go down. That's a general rule of thumb for survival.
Another good rule for survival is that a scavenger usually makes it to the end. With this in mind, I pilfered what I could from my clothes. Shoelaces from my discarded shoes, a few strips of denim from my abandoned pants, and my wallet, which still contained a few crumbled bills and debit cards. I still had my backpack as well, and inside I found my water bottle and my half filled three-ring binder for my psychology class. I rummaged around through the pack until I came across a jackknife I kept in a hidden pocket. The city I'd lived in had a reputation for being unfriendly at night, and from what I'd seen on Animal Planet, the jungle wasn't exactly a stroll through suburbia. I flicked the blade open to make sure it worked, then closed it and slid it onto one of my backpack's straps by the belt clip. After readjusting the straps for my new body, I slipped it back on.
With my course in mind, I pushed off the edge of the container, landing on extremely wobbly legs. Almost falling over, I managed to grab hold of the edge to steady myself. I groaned. Guess this means I'm going to have to learn how to walk all over again.
I took a quick peek over the side of the pyramid and mentally screamed every known swear in the english and equestrian dictionary. That's a lot of stairs. And here I was without a slinky...
Battered and sore, I had finally managed to reach the bottom. After the horror that was the staircase from hell, I can now understand why all those lazy bastards I see at the mall just take the escalator. Walking on flat ground was easier, much easier, and I soon found out that my absurdly long arms could be added into the motion. Soon enough, I was loping around at a brisk pace, Donkey Kong style.
As I made my way in what I hoped was a western direction, I couldn't help but notice how intense everything was. It seemed that my sense of smell was incredibly developed now, and I could smell everything from the mold on the underside of a leaf, to the laundry detergent I'd used on my now-sleeveless sweatshirt. My hearing was superb as well, and the smallest rustle of a plant could be heard crystal clear.
The jungle was vibrantly alive, and it seemed almost ridiculous how much life there was. The light shone down in brilliant sunbeams through gaps in the canopy, cutting through the silky shadows of the forest floor. The cries of birds were continuously overlapping, and yet eerily melodic, as if they were singing in some grand musical score that I couldn't possibly comprehend.
After about half an hour of loping through the jungle, I emerged from the shadows onto a sandy riverbank. The river itself was slightly brown, but it flowed swiftly and the surface was smooth. I bent down onto all fours by the edge and greedily slurped up as much water as I could. It tasted like liquid sunshine, despite the fact that there were bits of mud and bugs in it. I filled up my water bottle to the brim, and drank my fill a second time.
My thirst slaked, I now looked into the water to see what I had become. A noble, wolfish face cuiously looked back at me, and I was reminded faintly of the cartoon version of Balto. I smiled, and the face smiled back at me, baring wicked fangs that glimmered in the sunlight. My fur was a dusty brown, faintly streaked with red, and the underside of my new face, as well as my chest, was a creamy tan. My eyes had big black pupils, and very little discernible color to them. I wiggled my eyebrows roguishly, and laughed at how it looked. It sounded like a mix between an eighteen wheeler downshifting on the highway and a pig gargling molasses.
And yes, I've heard a pig gargle molasses. Don't ask. It's a very, very weird story.
It seemed that along with my new body, I had a new voice as well. "Do re mi fa so la ti do!" I sang, though it came out more like an off-key howl.
I pointed at my reflection. "You talkin' to me? Are you talkin to me?" My new voice was gruff and deep, and it felt like I was growling every time I said something. I could have some fun with this.
"I gotta do what I gotta do." Rocky Balboa impersonation? Dead on.
"Come with me if you want to live." The Terminator. Sexy.
"Euuuughghghghghgh!" It seemed I could now perfectly imitate Chewbacca, as well.
I couldn't help but cackle at this, a dry hyena-like chuckle. I spent the next few minutes trying out my new facial expressions, occasionally laughing some more when one struck me as absurd.
A sudden crashing in the undergrowth snapped me out of my fun. My ears whipped around before I did, straining to identify the source of the commotion. The noises grew closer, and developed into the solid rhythm that I somehow instinctively knew was the sound of a running pony.
As if to confirm this, a pony burst out from the undergrowth, running at full speed, eyes widening at the sight of the river as it skidded to a halt. It looked this way and that, and I could see fear in its movements. I looked at it carefully, taking in the sight of the first pony I would see in Equestria.
It was a mare. A pegasus, to be precise. Her coat was a sandy tan, and her long, unkempt mane was black, though streaked with lighter mixes of gray. From under an explorer's hat perched on her head, experienced magenta eyes shone brightly. She wore some kind of collared khaki shirt, and saddlebags were draped over this. Her cutie mark was a blue compass. One of her wings was heavily bandaged, as if broken... And she looked exactly like she did in the show.
Sweet baby Luna in her cradle, it's Daring Do!
Of all the ponies I'd thought about being able to meet, she was the one I'd least expected. The adventurer looked a little worse for wear, and she was panting hard, indicating that she'd been running fast and far. She hadn't noticed me yet, probably due to my earthy fur and green sweatshirt. Summoning up my courage and all known etiquette about greeting a sentient member of an opposite species, I spoke my first words to a pony in Equestria.
Daring Do whirled around, surprised by my presence. She shook her head and groaned to herself, "Of course, there's always one more when I least expect it. Why can't I just make a clean getaway for once. For once!" She obviously thought I meant harm, judging by the way that she was holding herself now, ready to bolt away down the riverbank. I had absolutely no intentions of doing so. In fact, she seemed like she could use a hoof, er, paw, right now.
"Whoa, chill out, miss. I'm not going to do anything to you," I said as gently as possible, but my new voice didn't make it sound very peaceful.
Her eyes narrowed. "Yeah, right! Like I'd believe a Diamond Dog! You guys would sell your own grandmare if it meant you'd get a few more jewels to snack on. Who do you work for, huh? Did Auihzotl send you?"
So I was a Diamond Dog, then. And apparently I ate gems. Huh. This explained her behavior, she probably thought I was going to attack her and rob her blind. No doubt she was loaded up with rare priceless treasures that I'd find delicious. I wonder what else could eat? I was beginning to feel a bit peckish.
I held up my paws in the classic "I surrender" pose. "Look, we could argue who sent me all day. I couldn't even answer that for you if I wanted to, believe me. But what's important here is that you look like you need some help. Do you want some?"
"Why would a mangy mutt like you help a pony?" she asked, disbelief clearly etched onto her face.
I recalled the old man in the coffee shop. "Why not? It's not like I've got anything else to do today."
Daring Do gave me a strange look, then. "You don't act like a Diamond Dog."
"Nope!" I said happily.
A distant crashing echoed in the distance, and both our sets of ears immediately flicked over to the source, farther into the undergrowth. Daring Do turned to me, desperation clearly written on her face. "They're coming! Ahuizotl's pets have been chasing me for miles now, but I can't clear this river. I don't know who you are, but please, I do need your help!"
I interlaced my fingers and cracked my bulky knuckles, making several loud pops echo across the river. "Anything for a lady in distress," I solemnly stated, and made an eloquent bow. I then strode up to her and offered her my paw. "But if I help you out, you have to answer a few questions for me."
The crashing sounded again, much closer. Daring Do grabbed my massive paw, which pretty much swallowed up her hoof, and shook it vigorously. "Deal!"
I gave her my best Ace Ventura impersonation. "Alllllllll righty then!" I turned and faced the undergrowth, was was now rumbling with the noises of her pursuers. I recalled the episode that Daring Do had been in, and I distinctly remembered the beasts that were approaching. "So, let me guess at what we've got coming out of there. Five cats: a tiger, a puma, a cheetah, a bobcat, and one itty bitty little fluff-ball of a kitten."
Damn, I'm good. This is what being a brony does to you, I guess.
"Uh, yeah... but how did you know that?" She stared at me like I had grown a second head.
"Internet." The crashing grew even closer. They were almost on top of us now, and I fancied that I could see some of the undergrowth shaking a ways off. I instinctively flexed my hands, stiffening my fingers, and the black claws coming out of them suddenly extended several inches, the dark edges gleaming like daggers in the sun. I glanced down at them and gave a wolfish grin.
There was a savage growl, and from the shadows leaped the biggest, baddest, most pissed-off looking tiger I'd ever seen. Hell, it's the only tiger I've ever seen, but you get the idea. Like an orange missile, it rocketed out from the undergrowth straight at me, claws outstretched to slice and dice.
It was at that moment that my complete surprise saved my life. I took a step backwards, tripping over my new feet, and fell over on my back. I saw the tiger streak over head where my face had been not a heartbeat before. There was a sudden, surprised yowling, followed by a mighty splash as it landed in the river and was promptly attacked by ferocious alligator. I could hear Daring give a whoop of triumph.
Turning my face from the grisly sight, I regained my footing and put up my dukes. Two more shapes sped out from the shadows, the puma and the cheetah. They came at me from the front, swiping with their claws and attempting to drive me back to the river. I stumbled backwards, clumsily dodging their blows. I felt one foot slide off the riverbank. Wetness on my fur. In the fury of desperation, I charged forward into the hail of tooth and claw, easily knocking the two cats aside like bowling pins in a seven-ten split.
I had a mere second to reflect on how that was possible. These things were the same size as I was on all fours, so the only way that made any sense was that I was obviously a lot denser than they were. This probably meant I had some protection against their attacks. Booyakasha!
The puma rolled with the impact and sprang right back up, charging at me before taking a flying leap over its fallen companion. Everything became a blur at that point. Reacting on pure instinct, I did the only thing that could come to mind.
I stepped into the attack and punched that furry son of a bitch in the face as hard as I could.
There was the distinct sound of bones breaking as my meaty ham of a fist stopped the puma mid-flight and sent it soaring into the undergrowth. Then, a sharp pain as the cheetah managed to dart in and sink its teeth into my leg. I could feel the whistling of wind in my ears as I grabbed it by the head and ripped the cat off, spinning around and flinging the light feline into a nearby tree with sickening speed, where it collided and slumped to the ground like a sack of bricks.
A scream of panic. I whirled around to find Daring pinned on her back by a bobcat, fending off a flurry of swipes with her forehooves, swinging up at the bobcat's face, giving as good as she was getting. But at this rate, she wouldn't last long.
Something took over in me, then. I felt a fire brew up in my chest, and it shot into my extremities like a bolt of lightning. I sank down onto all fours and sprinted towards her, the blood pounding in my ears so loudly that it was all I could hear. I opened my jaws and tackled the bobcat off her, slamming my teeth down on the back of its neck like a bear trap, before shaking it violently from side to side. The taste of blood flooded my system. I released my grip and it slumped to the forest floor, dead, its neck broken, the head hanging on by a few grisly strands.
I felt a sharp stinging agony on the back of my own neck, then. Howling in rage, I reached up and tore the source of the pain from its perch. I gazed at it stupidly for a moment. It was the fluffy kitten. He growled at me from the grip of my hands, sinking tiny white teeth into my thumb. After realizing this wasn't doing anything, he then ceased his efforts and tried to give me the big-eyed stare that only cute, baby animals are capable of making.
Into the river he went.
Panting with effort, I finally came out of my adrenaline rush. I looked around at the scene. A clearing had been flattened out by all the fighting, and Daring Do was sitting up, rubbing a cut she had on her neck. The broken form of the cheetah lay by the tree. The bobcat was by my feet, still bleeding out. On the edges of the clearing, the puma's black tail poked out from under a bush, unmoving.
Did I really do all that? I'd been in a few fights before, but nothing like this. This was different. Savage. Violent. Raw. And oddly satisfying. I'd never taken a life before at that time. But seeing the still forms of the attackers filled me up with a surprisingly small amount of guilt. It was them or us, right? Survival of the fittest and all that. Resolving to think about it on a later date, I thoughtfully horked a loogie to the side. It was crimson red with bobcat blood. I put a paw up to my face, and it came away a similar color. Jesus, I must be covered in the stuff!
Somewhat self-conscious now, I rinsed off in the river, careful not to get to close to the alligator, who by this time was making a gory mess of the tiger corpse. Weary, I took a seat on the forest floor next to Daring Do, who was busy digging around her pack for something, probably medical supplies.
"Well. That was fun," I sighed.
She looked up from her pack, eying me with curiosity. "You actually helped me."
Well, no shit I helped! I may be crude, sarcastic, and oftentimes downright unpleasant, but I am a gentleman. We have these little things called honor and chivalry. Both of these applied to this situation. Honor for upholding my promise, and chivalry for offering it to her in the first place. Call me old school if you will, because that's just how I roll.
I only nodded in reply. "I made a promise. It's considered good manners to keep those."
Daring Do smiled then. She was rather pretty when she did that. "You are a very odd Diamond Dog, uh..."
She was searching for me name. My name? I had a name, from when I was still human. But this was a new world, a new body. A new life. What I was before was nothing but an echo of what I could be now. An echo... I liked the sound of that.
I smiled back at her, careful not to bare my fangs. "You can call me Echo, miss."
"Excellent! Now I know who to kill for taking my beloved babies from me!"
That voice... it sounded like a cross between Dracula and Joesph Stalin. We both whipped around at the sound of this, and I found myself dazedly up into the face of this big, blue, monkey... cat... alien... thing. I immediately recognized him from the show. This was Daring Do's arch-nemesis, Ahuizotl. And he looked pissed.
I got up again, and wearily extended my claws, ready for a fight.
He eyed me disdainfully. "Please. You disgusting dogs have yet to learn your place. So, permit me to educate you."
And with that, a thin, whip-like tail, ending in what appeared to be a hand swept out from his side, knocking my legs out from under me. On my side now, tired and sore, I could only watch in horror as he lazily extended a massive, blue paw, sickle-like claws shining coldy in the sun...
...And slashed me right across the neck.
My vision suddenly went out of focus, and everything suddenly became muffled, as if I was falling asleep. I felt Auitzotl pick me up by my torn throat and fling me. I dreamily spun through the air, feeling myself collide with something light and feathery. The sensation of weightlessness was interrupted when I felt myself slow down, sinking into dense and wet and cold, before blackness overcame me once again.