The five former homunculi felt their journey through Tartarus to be neverending with how they saw no signs of changes other than what the prisoners looked like. They were lucky to constantly hide from the groups of demons in hot pursuit of them after they heard news of their escape. Greed was frustrated about this and turned to Wrath "What do we do now, Wrath? Unless we can manage to sneak past those demons and find a possible exit from this place, we're screwed!"
The furious pony looked around "We've been traveling for an awfully long time now...It is indeed a surprise to know there isn't anything new with how far we've gotten. Perhaps we should try another route-"
Greed hissed at Wrath "We've been doing that for God-knows-how-long!! We need a new plan or else those damned demons will rape our skulls!"
Envy scoffed at Greed's frustration "What's gotten you so tied up in a knot, Greed? Does this place scare you THAT much or something?" It smirked "I figured the Ultimate Shield wouldn't have a problem with a little hellfire like last time..."
Greed growled "Piss off! I'm just getting tired of all this running around...If anything, I'm confused as to why we're ponies! I mean, look at us!"
The other former homunculi took this thought into consideration and inspected themselves. Even they never expected to come into a figurative hell as ponies. Lust inspected her mane and her horn "But the better question is why we have these...features? Like the horns on mine and Greed's heads or rather Wrath and Envy with their wings. The only one here without much visible features is Gluttony."
The voracious pony looked at his brothers and sister and looked down with a sad expression "I wish I had wings..."
Envy snickered at Gluttony's misfortune, but then perked up when it heard voices nearby. The jealous pony trotted over and peered around a corner and noticed two demons keeping their eyes peeled for the former homunculi. They seemed livid from having to drag this chase on for so long. Envy turned to the group "Guys, we got trouble..." The others joined Envy to look over and view the enemies up ahead and gathered away from the corner to forge a plan.
Greed shifted his gazes towards his brethren "So, any ideas? Unless we go for the old-fashioned 'rush and kill', I don't think we have much else to do."
Lust nodded to Greed's words "And while there appears to be a couple in front of us, a whole group is on our tails. We won't get far if they continue to attack us in numbers."
Gluttony gave an innocent smile "Can't I just eat them? They're just so tasty!"
Wrath shifted his gaze to the voracious pony "While I would oblige your appetite, Gluttony, we cannot afford to waste time and have them gain the upper hand with more reinforcements...We'll have to find a way to move past them, knowing that they're growing more resilient with our passings."
Envy scratched its head, but then looked at one of the cells to notice some chains. A smile slowly formed on the jealous pony's mouth and it turned to its brethren "I have an idea! But I'll need cooperation and good acting!"
Greed, Wrath, Gluttony, and Lust were all wrapped in chains while they looked beaten-up. Envy chuckled and rubbed its hooves together with devious glee "This is gonna be good..." The small green aura surrounded the jealous pony and transformed it into a convincing demon disguise. It then grabbed the end of the chain and looked at the bound group as it spoke in a low masculine voice "Okay, just let me do the talking! I'll get us out of here in no time!" The 'demon' then walked with the rest of the group in tow and yanked the chain to signal them to follow.
The demons taking point on the path looked around, but then turned to see another demon dragging four of the prisoners in chains "Alright! Move it! Come on, you slugs!" The group grunted in pain while they were being dragged by their captor. After it reached the others, the demon dragging the ponies turned to the others and smiled "Hey, fellas! Good news! I already grabbed the prisoners!" It pointed to the battered group, and it grinned to see that they slowly took the bait.
One of the scouting demons raised an eyebrow at the one handling the ponies "Wait...Do we know you?"
The other one whispered "I think he's one of the new recruits."
Upon hearing this, the former demon replied with an incredulous look "Seriously!? If that's the case, then he's got a lot going for him! I mean, I heard from one of the others that these ponies are dangerous!" The demon turned to the captor "Excellent work! We can take it from here and send these miscreants back to their cells!"
The demon holding the ponies flinched and blurted "NO!" This caused the others to be taken aback and the demon quickly caught himself "I-I mean, I can handle it! In fact, They aren't supposed to be in their cells!"
The others were not convinced as the second demon spoke "What? Then where else would they go then, hm!?"
The captor shifted his eyes "Well, you see...they're all beaten up and clearly not worth our time, so...I'm...feeding them to the...dogs...?" For the first time in a while, The demon began to sweat. He never thought he would get this far.
The others perked up as the first one spoke "The dogs? Well, why didn't you say so! They need another good chew toy or two!" The first demon pointed down a direction "The gates are just an hour walk from here! Try not to keep'em waiting!"
Talk about luck. The captor gripped the chains and grinned 'U-Uh, thanks for the directions! Probably wouldn't have made it without your help! See ya!" He yanked the chains and walked off as the group followed.
"Wait a minute..."
The group stopped in their tracks as one of the demons advanced "Wasn't there supposed to be six of them?"
A sixth escapee? This never occured to the demon or the rest of the group. But regardless, the demon needed to act "Uhh, one of them tried to get the drop on me, but I tore off its wings and sent it into a fire pit! As for the sixth one, I didn't run into it yet, just these guys! I'll come back and help later!"
The two demons crossed their arms and nodded as the first one spoke "Not bad...It's about time we get some good recruits around here! See ya!"
The demon holding the chains gave a nod and walked off after giving the chains a good yank. Greed grunted and growled as he glared at the demon 'I think you're egging this on a bit, Envy!' He was getting annoyed at the constant yanking he had to deal with, even if he was in his Ultimate Shield form.
When they were at a safe distance, the ground below them shook as another loud collision was heard. They all looked back and noticed some demons being tossed in the air from an unseen force. Greed squinted his eyes "What the hell is that!?"
Envy reverted back into its original form and flared its wings "No time! We're getting close to the exit!!" The jealous pony flew off while the others released themselves from their chains and followed on the trail.
The group finally trekked long enough until they came into an area that seemed like the entrance to an enormous cave with a set of gates on the other side. There were bones laid around certain areas along with some rocks, but other than that, it was a pretty barren area. Envy noticed the gated and grinned "Alright! Sweet freedom! I can't believe those idiots bought it!"
Greed chuckled "I'm with ya! They fell for it hook, line, and sinker! Now all we have to do is go through those gates and we're in the clear!"
Wrath perked his ears and heard growling "I wouldn't be so sure, Greed..." He looked around with narrowed eyes "It seems that Envy was correct about the 'dogs' that reside in this place..." The others began to look around as well.
Envy dropped to the ground and scoffed "So what if I am? They're probably just a bunch of rotten mutts! We can take care of 'em if they get close to us!" The jealous pony towards the gates "Besides, I'm not gonna let them get in the way of my free-" A large black paw slammed down in front of Envy, and it looked up to show the group's latest obstacle.
It was a dog like they knew before, but it was very large, black, and carried three heads instead of one; each of them wearing a collar. They all growled and looked down at Envy, then descended to its level and roared at the jealous pony's face. Small bits of slobber flung from their mouths and pelted Envy as they roared. Envy shook off the slobber covering its body and flew back before the large dog swiped at the jealous pony with its large paw.
After Envy gathered with the rest of the group, they all prepared for battle as they glared up at the monstrosity with all three heads growling at them while they bared their fangs. The three-headed dog gave another roar and ran towards the group while they scattered away from its mighty trail.
Wrath flew upward and calculated the massive beast from above. When he spotted a vulnerable spot on the monster's side, he swooped down and careened along the edge while one of his wings grazed at the sides as he flew at a remarkable speed.
The dog's heads whined at the cut and focused their attention to Wrath. They constantly jumped and snapped their jaws at him in hopes of grabbing him, but he avoided every attempt. However, he was having trouble calculating his next move while the dog made every attempt to snap at him.
Greed saw that Wrath was having trouble and then stepped forward "Looks like we're up!" Before he left, he turned to Lust "Hey, Lust! Try to see if you have any useful skills so you can give us a hand!" He then turned to Gluttony "C'mon, Gluttony, let's move!" The two galloped into the skiff and made for the large dog.
While the dog was distracted, Greed made for one of the dog's hind legs and leaped up as he pointed his horn forward. He was successful when his horn jabbed into the dog's right hind leg and caused the heads to whine and cease their quarrel with Wrath.
Gluttony leaped at the dog, but did the opposite and went for one of its forelegs with his mouth wide open. He then sunk his teeth onto the dog's left foreleg and made the heads whine more.
The dog was now both slightly injured and very infuriated as it growled and shook off Greed and Gluttony as they hung on their own legs.
While Gluttony can hold something in his mouth with great strength, he could not hold his own with how hard he was being shaken by the large dog, and he found himself flung away from its foreleg after he left a massive bite mark. The round pony collided and bounced off the ground, then landed once more as he rolled back towards Lust. He shook the pain from his head, and ignored it for a moment when he noticed the lascivious mare next to him trying to focuse and smiled "Hello, Lust!"
Lust had her eyes closed, and she almost lost her concentration once again when Gluttony innocently greeted her "Not now, Gluttony..." She clenched her eyes shut when she tried to remember all of the times she had put her power to use as the Ultimate Spear. With each passing memory, her horn began to glow 'Almost...'
Greed was able to hold his own until he was finally shaken from the dog's hindleg. Unlike Gluttony, he was able to recover onto the ground on all fours, but he knew that it was impossible to try the same trick twice. The avaricious pony galloped around the monster while he thought of another plan.
Envy flew around with Wrath and wondered what the best course of action would be, until it got an idea. The jealous pony transformed into another Wrath and flew down at the dog in hopes of confusing it. Wrath noticed his duplicate and smirked at the cleverness of Envy's idea, then proceeded to go along with the plan. The two Wrath's flew around the dog's faces and each head began to get dizzy with how they constantly see double.
The three heads were then agitated as they each let out a deafening roar and threw off the two Wrath's flight pattern. They were then slammed to the ground by a massive paw. Envy reverted back to its original form and grunted in pain as it laid sprawled on the ground with Wrath. The jealous pony already missed when it used its true form back in its old life and could not wonder why it was unable to do so now.
Gluttony saw his brethren in trouble and bounded onto his legs "I'm going to beat you for hurting my family!" He yelled and galloped at the monster, and earned its attention in the mix.
Greed galloped around, but then noticed Gluttony charging at the dog head-on with widened eyes "Gluttony! Don't do it!!" He was too late when he saw the voracious pony being swatted away by one of the dog's massive paws. If that wasn't enough, one of the dog's heads heard Greed's yell and all three heads focused on the avaricious pony as he made a course and galloped underneath the dog's body "Heh! Try and get me from here, mutt!" He was successful to confuse the large dog as it tried to move around and locate Greed.
Lust's horn glowed more until it was in a bright purple aura. But instead of the effect Greed used on himself, her horn extended significantly long and was more sharp in appearance. When the dog got close to her while it tried to find Greed, Lust ran forward and jabbed her horn into the same side Wrath cut into. The dog's heads roared in pain and turned to Lust with indignant eyes. The lascivious mare drew back her horn and retracted it with a smile "It seems that I've gotten my power back as well. Now I can actually fight for once..." She turned to the dog's underside and called out to Greed "Greed! I'll distract the dog! Go tend to the others!"
Greed nodded and responded "Roger! Try not to get hurt now!" He galloped towards the three injured ponies while the dog was focused on Lust.
Lust saw the dog advance towards her and quickly galloped under its body as Greed had done before. She then activated and extended her horn as it stabbed into the dog's chest. She then galloped with her head and horn facing up as her horn gradually cut down the dog's chest and producing another large cut.
The dog, after feeling the pain, hopped away and landed on the ground with a large thump. When the dog landed, it shook up the ground along with the group. Greed managed to help up Wrath, Envy, and Gluttony, but they all saw that the monster was now ready to rend the flesh from their bones as it leaked blood from its wounds. While they appeared to be lethal, it wasn't enough for a monster this size.
The dog's heads roared and charged once again while the group of former homunculi banded together and prepared themselves for Round Two. Before they could act, Wrath's ears perked up and heard something approach them from behind at a fast velocity. His eyes widened when it came close "Everyone scatter! Now!"
They were lucky to heed Wrath's word when they moved and noticed a destructive blur come from behind and made a crash course for the dog as it charged. But instead of the dog emerging victorious, it was flung back and its back slammed against the gates as the destructive blur vanished in a sea of dust.
The group of former homunculi coughed as the dust slowly settled. Greed rubbed his eyes "Dammit, this dust! But who did that??" The group stared intently at the silhouette behind the settling dust, and the figure came into full view after the dust permanently subsided.
It was yet another pony, only this one was very different. It was very large and muscular, dwarfing the rest of the group with relative ease. It wore a light blue coat and a wild black mane and tail, its forelegs were found with chains, and just like the other ponies, it carried an Ouroboros tattoo on its flank. It turned its head to reveal that it had a left eye similar to Gluttony's while its right eye was covered under its mane. It bared sharp teeth like Greed, but its mouth was contorted into a frown as it spoke in a deep voice
"...What a pain..."