How Do I Stretch Arm?
So, guess what I’ve learned about Werehogs? It’s a fun little annoying fact, but I can’t sleep. At all. Sure, I might yawn, but I think that’s just a force of habit. More than likely, it just has something to do with the fact that the only time I’ve seen a Werehog out and about is at night. Does that mean I’m supposed to fall asleep during the day? If that’s the case, then why didn’t I fall asleep the moment I got to this world?
Actually, this might be a good thing. Since I can’t sleep, this means I can try and get a grasp on what my limitations are in this body, and if I can access some of my Traveler powers. Namely, my Pocket Dimensions, and my Traveler’s Blade. My gut’s telling me that my Auras are next to useless unless I’m in my human fo-
Wait. Can I still do that? Change into a human, I mean.
Alright, that’s it. I can’t keep asking myself these questions, and expect an answer to fall out of the sky (that's my job).
Quietly, I eased myself off of the couch, doing my best to make sure that I made as little noise as possible. Once I was sure that the sound of snoring coming from Whirl and Heart’s room was genuine, I snuck through the front doors. When I had crossed the threshold, I smiled to myself and imagined the sound of drums playing.
I won’t bore you all with the excessive details on how I made my way through the slumbering town. Nothing of interest happened, so I was able to reach the outskirts without having to hide in any cardboard boxes (Curses!). After checking in with the guards to avoid any suspicion, I found myself following a worn dirt path into the woods.
Even though there wasn’t much light, it wasn’t that hard to navigate the forest. Since there wasn’t any type of fight going on, I finally noticed how I could sort of…see, in the dark. I can’t say that exactly. It was more like a sixth sense than anything.
So, add “weird sixth sense” to list of things I’m learning about my body. Now maybe I can learn why my body is going through these changes!
Yes. You were supposed to read it like that. Now you can shudder at the mental imagery. I’m such a fourth-wall breaker, aren’t I?
A few feet later, and I was standing in the middle of a small clearing that was illuminated by the light of the full moon. Small boulders lined the edges of it, with a couple of pine trees that poked in as well. Not only that, but there was a small pond in the center of it…well, I say “Small” but it looked fairly deep. I could still see the path I had followed to get here, but the town? Completely out of sight and out of mind.
Good. Less chance of being discovered. Now then, prioritize:
1) Get a rough estimate of body’s strength/abilities.
2) Experiment with Traveler powers to see which ones work, and which ones fail.
3) Practice fighting skills to match abilities and powers.
4) Draw a smiley face on the moon.
Damn it, I will do that at some point! Hey, don’t give me that look. Everyone has to have a hobby or two. Mine just happens to be making ludicrous goals, and following through on them. Well, that and poetry. I like poetry.
No! I got off track again! Okay, sorry. Anyways, the clearing itself was fairly large. It was big enough to suit my needs.
“Okay…Live and learn!” I growled in anticipation, rolling my arms to loosen them up. So, let’s see how far I can stretch my arms out.
My fists both shot up into the air, easily stretching out to nearly ten times my size. Like before, my hands had unconsciously grown in size to match my arms. Is there a chance that I could somehow stretch my arms WITHOUT my hands changing, or vice versa? I remember something like that happening when Sonic had his stint as a Werehog…never bothered asking him how he did that.
Hindsight = 20/20.
With a small grunt of effort, I retracted my arms back to their normal state. Okay, so stretching hasn’t really reached a limit yet, but it’s obvious I can get ‘em pretty long. Not sure if they have a limit, but I can see how this could be useful.
“Okay, next…let’s see what these claws can do,” I half-laughed in excitement. There’s always something invigorating (I can use big boy words too!) about being put into a new body. You get to learn new things, make a fool of yourself, and generally adjust to a new point of view.
Eagerly, I walked over to my first target: a small pine tree situated just a little bit away from the general forest into the clearing. Digging my index finger into the groove, I carefully pulled it down, carving a long, thin line through the toughened bark.
“Alright, claws can go through trees…but can it cut through stone?” And can it blend? Okay, I’m done. Sorry.
Spying a small boulder about ten feet away from the tree, I dashed over to it, and slid my claw through it. With a bit of effort, I was able to carve another line through the stone…and then I got creative, and wrote, “Bark at the Moon – Ozzfest 2001”.
There. I have left my legacy for years to come. Now I can move on…nah. I still got stuff to do.
“Claws cut through trees, and stone…requires slightly more effort, but this implies my claws CAN cut through some pretty tough stuff. I wonder if I gave my claws enough momentum and strength…would they cut through steel?” I spoke out loud for my mind to catalog for later reference.
Funny fact that I’ve noticed: Immortal beings will get a tendency to talk to themselves. Seriously, it’s kinda strange when you think about it. I mean, look at Deadpool for crying out loud! Granted, that’s not the best analogy, but my point still stands!
Last thing I’ll test for my new body: strength.
Rubbing my palms together, I looked at the boulder I had just vandalized. It was fairly big, easily a few hundred pounds of pure stone. Hasn’t been set into the ground that much, meaning I just have to find a good enough place for me to grab it, and…
Jackpot. Groaning in effort, I slowly lifted the massive boulder a few inches off of the ground. Only a few inches?! But I’d seen Sonic hurl a freaking giant phoenix into the air as if it were nothing! He’s punched through stone, AND steel! The fact that I wasn’t able to lift a single boulder actually started to tick me off.
Without warning, the boulder shot up another few inches. I nearly let go of the boulder in surprise. “What? How did…” I started in confusion, before realizing: Anger. What did Gaia say about this form? Something about it being a combination of justice, honor…and anger!
Looks like the Hulk is strong with this form.
Releasing another roar of frustration, I hefted the boulder into the air, easily lifting it above my head as if it were nothing more than a bowling ball. Great. Now I’m mad, and I’ve got the urge to experiment in me…
I stretched my arms out with the boulder still grasped in my hands. Higher, and higher the boulder went, until it was about twenty feet in the air. Once I was satisfied with its position, I released the boulder and let it plummet towards my head while my arms returned to their normal length.
Just before the boulder reached my head, I launched my fist at it, hitting it dead center. A brief stinging sensation shot through my hand, as the boulder shattered into five large chunks that landed harmlessly around me…well, I wish that happened.
Take it from me; punches normally don’t just shatter solid rocks. At least not when there’s nothing restraining them. Still, I did manage to punch it away from me. I’m actually kinda glad that the boulder didn’t get smashed. My Ozzfest signature is something that will baffle archaeologists for years to come.
“The madder Omnius gets, the stronger Omnius gets,” I chuckled. There weren’t any scratches on my hand, although it did feel like I had bruised it just a bit. Okay, maybe a lot. Only one thing left to test now…
I looked towards the pond, and grimaced. There wasn’t any point in putting it off, but that didn’t mean I wanted to do this…
Hesitantly, I started treading water, my spiked shoes sinking deep into the mud. Cold water soaked into my fur, sending small chills up my spine. Okay…up to my chest now…just a bit deeper….up to my nose…above my eyes…
Shit. I really can’t swim. It’s not that I don’t know HOW to. More like I’m too dense to float. This could definitely be a problem later on…
“Well, that’s the basics,” I commented after I had left the pond and shaken myself dry (LIKE A DAWG!). “Now to see if I can still muster up some Traveler mojo.”
Due to extreme laziness on my part, I won’t go into detail about what I tested. Suffice it to say, none of my normal powers worked in Werehog mode. To add on to that disappointment, it took me nine whole minutes to shift back into human form! That’s way too long for my tastes. Guess I’m gonna be stuck in one form most of the time then.
On a brighter side, there really isn’t much use for my human form now. The ponies are already paranoid because of the Shadow-Stalkers, who’s to say they wouldn’t just shoot me on sight as a human?
As for the fighting style…well, after several smashed fingers, misdirected attacks, and cussing that would make this story instantly shoot up to “mature”, I had ended up with something that was a mixture of bar fighting, karate, boxing…
And one more style that I’m gonna need a straw hat for.
The sun was well up into the sky by the time I had finished my training session. I now had a very rough estimate of my abilities, and a basic technique to work with. That’s always a good thing, right? At least now I can start improving myself.
With the sun shedding some light on the town, I was able to see that they were currently constructing a wall to fit around the town. Maybe I should start referring to it by its actual name since I’m gonna be staying here.
Pine Falls. My new temporary home.
“Hey, there you are Battleclaw!” I heard Wing call out, swooping out of the sky. “I’ve been looking for you all morning! Where’d you run off to?” he asked me, slapping me on the shoulders again.
“Couldn’t sleep,” I grunted. “Went for a walk...” And got my pride/ego severely mauled and beaten. “Sky ask for me?”
The yellow Pegasus shook his head, saying, “Actually, he told me to tell you to report to him as soon as you were done with your business, whatever that means.”
Damn. That old Pegasus knows more than he lets on. Then again, he IS in charge of the guards. I should really stop over-thinking these things.
“Ah, Omnius,” Sky greeted me as I approached his desk. “Or are you goin’ by Battleclaw now?”
Am I the only one who’s hearing his voice as Sam Elliot? Seriously. He’s got the bandana, the old grizzled look, the wisdom…seriously!
“I’ll go with Battleclaw,” I stated. “You needed to see me sir?”
He nodded sagely at me. “Good, you’re getting used to authority. Now, mind tellin’ me what you were doin’ in them woods?”
I debated over cover stories in my head, before settling on, “I needed to train. Those monsters nearly killed me out there. If I’m gonna help protect this town, I’ve gotta learn how to be stronger.”
“Well good,” Sky said in approval. “Now, let’s get you a schedule worked out.”
He went on to explain how each guard was responsible for patrolling the perimeter, checking in with him, etc. If I saw anything suspicious, I was to report it to him immediately. For everything else, I was pretty much on my own. The barracks were barely able to hold the guards they had, meaning I still had to stay with Wing for the duration of my stay.
“Oh, and you’ll want something to wear with the town’s emblem on it,” he added. “It’ll let everypony know you’re in the guard.”
“I thought my name was supposed to do that.”
“Yeah, but the guards will want something to ease their minds,” he reminded me. “Some of the folks here in town don’t trust you one bit. Now if you were to have something in common with them…”
He let me figure out the rest.
“What did you have in mind?” I asked, my curiosity aroused.
With a knowing grin, he reached underneath his desk again (how does he fit that much stuff under there?) and pulled out a worn looking straw hat with a blue band tied around it. A green pine cone was stitched into the band, gold trim lining the edge of it.
Yes. YES YES YES! I GET A FREAKING STRAW HAT! BEST DAY EVER!
“This will work,” I whispered in a barely controlled voice. Must…not…make jokes yet. Those can wait. Note to self, become a pirate and search for legendary treasure at some point in this.
“Good. Now…there’s one more question I gotta ask ya.”
I tilted my head at him in confusion.
“…How do you feel about the night shifts?”