Scootaloo was flying through the sky, she was actually flying! Well, not so much flying as falling, but she could feel the wind in her wings and mane, and it felt good… Better than anything she had ever felt before, her pegasus magic surged, and she propelled herself forward on a jet of air. She wasn’t going to gain much height, but she could glide… The others weren’t going to be able to do that. She looked around, spotting Diamond who was tumbling through the air as if she were shot from a cannon.
Scootaloo twisted her wings and the air flowed with them, allowing her to control her movement in the air, she dove toward Diamond and raised her arms, grabbing the girl from her tumble. The extra weight didn’t help her flight, but though she was dropping, and dropping fast, she still had control, and so she twisted between the rapidly approaching trees. She shouted in Diamond’s ears, nearly impossible to hear over the sound of the wind, “Get your aura ready!”
They both glowed as they channelled their aura, finally coming to skid to a halt on the forest floor, completely unharmed. Meanwhile, up above, Apple Bloom had drawn Applebuck from her back, stuck the gun’s stock right into her chest, and pulled the trigger. The flash from the end of her gun was not the bright yellow she had come to know from most firearms but was rather a bright purple flash with a black core, the force knocked the wind out of her, but it slowed her down, so channelling her aura she held down the trigger.
Boom-Boom-Boom-Boom-Boom rang over the forest as each shot slowed the girl drastically. The shells impacted the forest floor and large purple-black explosions tore at the ground, ripping craters in the woods, and finally, the girl came to land with an earth-shaking boom in the middle of her crater.
Sweetie raised her poleaxe, channelling magic down its length. The staff started glowing as a shimmering spherical shield appeared around the girl, glowing so brightly that she looked like a falling star. The shield ball rammed into the ground and dug a deep trench before the spell collapsed and Sweetie fell to the ground inside the ditch, gasping for breath.
Scootaloo got to her feet, “We need to find the others,” She muttered, looking to where Sweetie had fallen.
“Agreed,” Diamond replied, activating her sword’s energy field. From behind them came the growl of a bear, Scootaloo proceeded to draw her pistols and fire twin beams of heat in the direction of the growl. The ursa came barreling through the trees, its chest and face badly burnt, swinging its claws at Diamond.
Diamond slashed at the ursa as it’s paw came toward her head, the sword bit into the ursa’s flesh, but it didn’t cut through, and the subsequent blow sent the girl staggering and falling to her back. As the beast lumbered over the fallen form of Diamond, Scootaloo charged and fired off another two blasts at the bear, burning off chunks of flesh and leaving large glowing red wounds in its side.
The creature’s head turned toward Scootaloo as Diamond got her hands on her sword again and stabbed upward, impaling the beast’s neck. It roared in pain as she pulled the blade out and swung it downward, hacking at its neck, pouring black smoke, until she had cut its head off and the creature stopped struggling, starting to vapourize a moment later.
“Yang was right,” Diamond gasped for air, “They are a bit tougher over here.”
Meanwhile, Apple Bloom stood up from where she had landed. The crater wasn’t deep, but the shockwaves caused by the gravity rounds had created a nice clearing where she landed, knocking over smaller trees and saplings, pushing rocks out of the way, and uprooting grass. Spread around the crater were the forms of numerous beowolves, all pulling themselves back up. One roared as it spotted Apple Bloom.
She raised her hammer, and as the first one charged she knocked it into the air. She spun and smacked another one, sending it flying into the forest, and as two more charged, she turned it back into a gun and fired. The shot sent both her and the grimm flying backwards in opposite directions. She impacted a tree and despite her aura, she felt a spike of pain in her back.
She grunted as she transformed her cannon back into a hammer. There were two wolves left. She leapt and smacked one mid-air with her hammer, but as she landed the second one jumped on her, and its claws tore at her aura. She bucked her legs and gave the wolf a hard kick in the gut, dislodging the creature, and sending it tumbling back. She was about to charge and smack it, but a blast of warped ruddy air burned off a chunk of its side and it fell to the ground, dead.
Scootaloo, holding one of her pistols up, followed by Diamond, came through the trees. “Looks like you had some trouble…” Diamond commented.
“I could have taken them… Well, I could have taken them a bit better if I didn’t have these stupid gravity rounds…” As she said that, Apple Bloom turned her hammer back into a cannon and loaded a drum of standard ammo.
“We should find Sweetie, She’s bound to run into monsters too…” Scootaloo replied.
“The professor told us that we need to find the relics… Once we grab Sweetie we need to figure out where this temple he mentioned is,” Diamond continued.
Apple Bloom held her cannon on her shoulder as they trotted off toward Sweetie’s landing point. Meanwhile, Sweetie pulled herself from the ditch she dug with her landing, her magic was nearly gone, absorbing the impact was painful, but she had gotten good at dealing with magical strain over the past week… She wouldn’t be casting spells for a good few minutes though.
She noticed she was alone, there were no animals, no monsters, no people in this part of the forest… The others would have noticed her landing, they would be along shortly, so waiting here was the best course of action.
She waited for a few minutes when she felt a magical presence in the woods and turned to see four glowing eyes, brilliant red… “Perhaps this forest isn’t so empty…” She muttered to herself, drawing her halberd. The beast charged, four glowing eyes behind a bone mask from which a great and gruesome looking rack of antlers extended outward, a four-legged four-hoofed body that looked like a tall and elegant pony, like one of the princesses… Except for the antlers atop its head, the four malevolent eyes, and spikes across it’s bone-plated back.
She raised her weapon’s shaft to block the beast’s charge, catching the creature’s powerful antlers, but it hit like a train, and she could bearly hold her ground against its incredible strength. But, the deer-like monster soon realized its failed attack and leapt backwards, then trotted circles around the girl. Sweetie pointed the end of her poleaxe toward the beast and charged with the intent to impale, but it hopped over the attack, skidded to a halt behind her, and charged, counterattacking.
Sweetie turned just in time to try to block the attack again, but she failed to catch it by the antlers and felt a stabbing pain across her face as one of the spiked ends of its horns caught her. There was no wound, but Ruby was right when she said that aura couldn’t block out all the pain… She realized she was lucky to have an aura, as that last attack would have torn out one of her eyes, and the aura was blocking out some of the pain, so she could only imagine how worse it would have felt had she actually been harmed.
She was pushed to the ground, but rolled out of the way to avoid being trampled. She conjured what magic she still had after her landing and slashed out with the cutting spell, but it didn’t slice the beast apart, rather it simply resulted in a large glowing wound across its chest, enough to get it to back away, but not enough to kill.
The beast charged again and Sweetie held out the tip of her axe like a spear, expecting it to run straight into it and impale itself, but at the last moment it dodged right and kicked out with its hindlegs, meanwhile, Sweetie dodged left but not fast enough to avoid getting kicked in the side and sent tumbling to the ground.
Growling, she slammed her fist into the ground as the grimm-deer prepared to charge again. She let loose with a wave of telekinesis, the magic not directed, not intended to grab, but rather simply meant to push everything away, and it did, knocking the creature over to its side. As it clambered back up, it gave Sweetie enough time to retrieve her dropped poleaxe and aim the dust crystal toward the beast, unleashing a continuous blast of green lightning for a few seconds. The power arced along the deer’s body, made it convulse in an electric seizure, and at last go still, turning to smoke.
Sweetie dropped her axe and fell to her knees, exhaustion taking its toll… A few minutes later there came some rustling in the leaves, and Sweetie, still tired, staggered to her feet, leaning on her axe for support. Out from the woods strode Diamond, followed by Scootaloo and Apple Bloom.
“Could have used your help earlier…”
“Certainly looks that way,” Scootaloo commented, looking at the path of destruction Sweetie’s cannonball landing caused.
“Good… Looks like everyone’s here and unharmed, let’s make our way to this forest temple,” Diamond said, lifting her head as she pointed deeper into the forest, away from Beacon Cliff.
The rest of the girls nodded, “I suppose it’s better than sitting here,” Sweetie retorted. They marched off, spending a few minutes wandering through the woods, Diamond cutting at the forest with her energy sword and clearing a path, whenever the fillies got turned around, it was relatively easy to tell which paths they had gone down before, as Diamond hacked at every tree, every branch, every bush, every vine, and every bramble she came across.
Eventually, Scootaloo grumbled, “We’ve been moving in circles for twenty minutes now.”
“Actually, it’s been seventeen minutes and twenty-five seconds,” Sweetie replied. Every pony looked at her, “What? It’s not like I have anything else to do…” They had just finished clearing up a pair of beowolves that had climbed from the forest. Apple Bloom failed to understand how firearms worked and forgot that, despite changing ammo drums, there was still a gravity round loaded in the chamber, and so when she went to shoot the first beowolf with her cannon, she found herself propelled back into a tree, meanwhile both wolves were sent hurtling backwards by the shell's detonation, smashing into vapour upon hitting the trees.
Scootaloo was lifting the fallen Apple Bloom back to her feet as she grumbled.
“Finding some ruined structure in the middle of this overgrown mess could take hours!” Diamond shouted, “But, it’s what we need to do, so shut up and keep walking…”
“It would be nice if we could get a better look at the forest,” Sweetie commented.
Somewhere up above was the half-screech half-roar of a nevermore. Scootaloo rolled her eyes and sighed, used her pegasus magic, and leapt up to a tree branch. “Scoots, what are you doing?” Apple Bloom asked.
“Getting a better look at the forest…” She replied and she leapt up to another tree branch.
Eventually, the pegasus faunus reached the top of the trees, off in the distance were some stone structures, “Guys, I think I see something, buildings, ruins, way off that way,” She pointed, making sure that the girls on the ground could see her. She paused as she continued looking. Then, she turned her head as she heard a loud scream echo across the sky, flying through the air came the form of a human, unrecognizable at this distance, hurtling toward one of the distant structures. “And I think some other students are in trouble… We should hurry!” She shouted as she leapt back down to the ground, a magical cushion of air allowing her to land safely.
With that, they started running in the direction she had pointed.