Ice Crushing Wyvern

by Silent Slender


Ice Crushing Wyvern

The large crown ejected a puff of steam before barreling down toward me, without conscious thought I screamed out the only word I could, "Yeet!" I threw myself into the snow, the boulder smashed to pieces in an instant while I scrambled to my hooves, wings flapping once to throw me back onto all fours. "Okay-okay, happy thoughts, Akira, you have - Ahh!"

I did not have this! I evaded a sudden charge, the Barroth slamming into the side of the mountain's wall, bringing down a large plume of snow atop its form while I drew my sword, don't ask me how it can be held in a hoof I've wondered that for years now. As it reeled from the snow, I rolled to my right, seeing it slam its head into the snow as it struck forward, producing three large chunks of ice and snow. Flying back I raised my buckler to take one of the ice blocks directly. I gasped, flipping through the air to evade its sudden charge, landing while the Barroth moved far faster, as if it swam through the snow, slithering toward me with the weight of a train.

Pivoting left the Barroth missed its upward strike, leaving it open for me to fly above, slicing across its plated back, dusting off some of the snow as I swung forward with my buckler, battering the thick metal sheet against its crown, followed by another lunging slam, then a downward slant with my sword, twirling under its chin before it could crush me. flicking three more ice balls across the uneven terrain. Barroth charged forward, swinging up to try and catch me as I flopped back into the snow on my hooves, itself shaking off loose snow as I was caught by the raining debris.

Caught in a large blob of snow I shook the frigid substance off in time to deflect a slam with my shield, the force throwing me backward with a grunt. This thing was definitely not as lumbering as most Brutes tend to be, what a pain. Grunting as I shot from the snow I flew headfirst, backhanding the crown as the force flipped me around, giving me ample time to perform a little trick by spinning vertically down its back, flicking off the thrashing tail as I left many scores in between groves in the scales, kicking off more of that snow armor. Spinning into the air I gasped as the tail sailed around, cracking me across the hip, cutting off my flight in seconds.

"Ow..." Pulling out a green jar from my bag I slipped away from its charge to chug the weird flavored drink, feeling the pain in my back leg lessen as I took to the air to evade a massive boulder of ice torn up by Barroth's head. He was very big on chucking ice at me, and that shake-off of snow could prove to be risky if I move in at the wrong time. "Okay, think, Akira..." As I contemplated I had to flap back, evading a sharp hip-check followed closely by the head snapping up, clipping my tail while I flew behind a boulder to hide, switching my empty bottle for an amber waterskin. Wrinkling my nose, I just got it over with. "I hate this stuff..."

Popping the cork with my teeth I dusted myself in the powder, sneezing sharply the second the boulder fell apart, revealing the bulbous tail as it clanged against my shield, only now my muscles felt firmer, bracing the might of the tail a second longer for me to skate the appendage away. With a cocky grin, my body shimmered with a faint, silver outline, flashing a matching contrail in my irises. "Tch, my turn to be the freight train," Leaping up with resounding force applied to the snow, I zipped around the wyvern, slashing in wide, silver arcs, sharply pivoting through the air, leaving it unable to pinpoint just where exactly I'd be before my blade tore through its scales, chipping away at the softer skin housed within. "Hyrah!" One sudden backflip drew my back hooves across the cheekbone, knocking the Barroth down with a wail.

Twirling above where the eye could see me, I flew straight down like an arrow, shield risen to cover my muzzle. The shield's edge crashed against Barroth's crown, my sword drove forward in an uppercut forcing the head back with a sickening 'crunch'. Last, I shoved the shield into his throat, striking with enough force the recovering beast to stumble toward the cave walls, scales splintered, and decorating the snow and rocky terrain. Keeping on the offensive, steam jetted from its head, throwing alarms through my head to evade the sharp pivot and charge, the bull of a wyvern tearing across the snow quickly.

Keeping my focus on its approaching forehead, I brought both my forehooves closer to my chest, keeping my wingbeats steady to expel the dark energy building around my weapons, it was a little tricky to perform mid-flight but with a little more practice... A dark purple and black aura enveloped the world before my eyes, contorting into a large sphere of dark energy. "Dark Pulse!" Throwing my hooves down, the force threw me backward, but the energy attack slammed into the approaching beast, the shadowy attack disrupting its rampage as it shivered from the force of the blasts, large chips from its crown sprinkling the floor.

The sudden pause in Barroth's movements made me smile with a sense of relief. "Haha, flinched, now then-!" Flying high I swooped down to deliver another series of blows to its hide. "-payback!" My speedy attacks weren't as fast without 'Quick Attack' but it finally lost all its snow, leaving it completely exposed to my slashing and blunt-force trauma, one particular backswing with my buckler breaking off a few later plates from its shoulders. Barroth roared, disorientating me due to my sensitive hearing, and that was proven to be a big mistake.

Its head swung forward, battering my guard for a lighter shove of its forehead, tossing me back the moment I tried to fly away, leaving me ground in the snow for it to charge, bracing its muscles with an ejection of steam as I gasped sharply, narrowly blocking the charge as I was torn from the ground, attempting to outfly its tremendous force with both hooves against the inside of my shield. Bearing my teeth, I felt my bones buckle and strain against the overpowering force, I could block attacks not stop them entirely, my body can't take this! "T-tch, dammit...!" I squeezed out, feeling my eyes bulge at the loss of air, my wings and back smashed against a tree as the head flung me to the right, headfirst in the snow.

Pain rocketed through my back, feeling a hot sensation run down one of my wings as I bit back a whimper, feeling my right-wing flop to my side, clearly, it was dislocated from the impact. I weakly threw myself aside from another three chunks of ice, followed by the sweep of its tail brushing away the snow. Grabbing another green potion from my bag I thanked whoever made these reinforced bags for one, cushioning the blow, and two, keeping the majority of my supplies safe. Chugging the minty liquid I felt the bone pop back in place at my sharp but grateful sigh, flapping the appendage back against my side. "Dad's right, these things are a God-send," Then I remembered something important. "Yaaaah!" I felt I was diving alot into snow today.

Barroth roared, head tearing through snow and boulders, airing out the flatland we battled in as he shook off some loose snow through the white cloud, jade scales glistening in the midday rays. As I returned a swing from my blade it hopped back, rooting its forehead through the snow to tear several balls of ice, then again with another hop back, keeping me on the defense as I skipped in retreat myself, feeling my wings were safe to flap once more, taking flight.

"I need a plan, otherwise I'll be the one buried six-feet under," Cautiously, I kept my distance, evading the periodic ice balls while my eyes scanned the surrounding area. Trees to my back, not much in the way of inconvenience for Barroth. The caves weren't deep but there were large stalactites lining the ceiling. I squinted. "Maybe..." I snapped from my critical analysis, dipping to evade a large boulder of snow, flapping under the chin while Barroth swept off snow in an attempt to snatch me.

Grinding my teeth together my wings flipped me upside down, drawing my left hoof forward as it swirled with dark light again. "Dark Pu-" My lungs collapsed, finding my buckler slammed into my chest as the large ice ball crashed into my body, locking my muscles a second later from the jade crown tearing through the white haze. Whatever lift I had was torn from my wings, the force comparable to a tree headbutted me, if not for the snow I'd have broken something on my collision with the dirt.

Slowly, I hacked up some spit and pushed myself up again, buckler chipped and another of my precious green potions downed to keep my body from immediate collapse. Panting I locked my muscles, posing my shield since Barroth hissed for another charge I couldn't evade, even if my body screamed at me to do so. Barroth held the advantage, crashing headfirst into my defense that almost fell apart under my hooves, even my back legs were buckling to so much as withhold the inevitable impact that sparked between metal and bone. Even though my bones were far stronger than your average pony I could hear them groan like joints of tempered steel, I couldn't keep this up, he's too strong!

"I... I...!" I'm an idiot! Why did I do this it makes no sense! What did I have to prove, what am I doing!?! "Doing all this to prove what? You can get yourself killed spectacularly? Fail to simply protect a small village? Why are you even here if you can't even beat a single monster!?"

Whatever thoughts that rummaged through my head were quickly silenced. My lungs collapsed against my voice, blood flying out my mouth as my buckler broke in half, revealing how broken my spirit was. His crown collided with my stomach, hurdling me across the plateau and into the snow, my eyes hazy while blood flaked my muzzle.

I... can't beat him. I was sure I got stronger since the training but compared to this single Brute Wyvern, I'm... still too weak. My legs were trembling and my body wouldn't move. My head snapped upright, catching the low growl escaping frozen jaws lined with teeth, a pair of cold, unwavered eyes piercing my hesitant orbs, each footstep Barroth made pounded in my eardrums.

I stumbled back on my haunches, and my hooves were trembling. "No.. my hooves... won't stop shaking!" Not even a jolt from my wings sturred me from the earth. "Get up, move!" I heard my voice echo but my legs were locked, the ground anchored them as I felt my chest cave with fear, the blood I lost ran cold. Everything was black and white while I heaved heavy breaths, labored with each spike of pain.

"Why... Why can't I move!?" My thoughts cried out, not once did I let my sight leave small, crimson, pinprick eyes, the rigid scales sharpened with my attempts at combat, a faint trace of my own blood tipping the massive crown. "I-I can't... do anything right..." My body slumped back, face contorted in terror as I saw my weapon by my side, the buckler felt so heavy, pulling me down to the cold ground. "I really wanted to make you proud..." I squeezed my eyes shut, practically bracing for what I knew came next after that jet of steam, it was inevitable. "I'm sorry."

...

...

...

...

An astral flicker of blue wisps formed a hand on my forehead as if to chop lightly, forcing my misty eyes to open as the motes flickered and danced. "Come on, now, there's nothing wrong with being afraid," That caused my throat to hitch, that voice...? "Without it, we'd never know our own weaknesses, and you need to know them to become a stronger and gentler person," A light flickered in my chest, like an obvious answer that lifted my heavy bones, inches from the crown that bared down on me. "You can stand as many times as it takes."

Whatever that was, it succeeded in snapping my consciousness in place seconds before Barroth's head collided with the ground under me, hooves bracing the buckler as tightly as I could, though the force was too great, chucking me sideways and out of his charging line. Coughing, I winced from the sudden flinch in my hooves, but I was okay, I was still breathing. Taking a sharp look around the area, I was still alone, no one else was coming to find me, so then where did that voice come from?

Gritting my teeth, I drew my sword back to my hoof, grunting at my own arrogance. "I'm an idiot..." I haven't learned anything, but I wasn't going to die to atone for that, not when there were innocent lives depending on a fake Hunter like me. Keeping my eyes steady, a rising heat blew away the harsh, arctic wind, a light red hue emitting from my fur, glazing my eyes. "Alright ugly, ready for round two?"

Barroth reined its head toward me, snorting sharply with a battle cry of its own, stomping and dragging its right foot through the snow and dirt like it was testing my next move. I didn't have time to guess how patient it was. Bringing my sword up, I let my own energy rise through the blade, lighting up my aura with a red sheen. "Swords Dance!" While my physical energy took a hit, my strength rose considerably. I quickly tossed my bag aside, freeing up my body while feeling a cord hidden in my cloak bob with a peculiar item I kept on my person at all times. "My turn."

Not wanting to put myself on the edge of defense I took flight directly toward Barroth, I was furrowly done with the snow, heck, this whole season's just one pick pain in my ass that I wanted to be rid of! Steeling my nerves I tore across the field as Barroth charged it too eager to conclude out bout. Drawing narrowly to its right side, I tore my sword across as it hazed with a dark purple and black aura, elongating as the tip of the etheral blade dug into its scaly body. "Night-!" A streak of dark purple shattered across Barroth's side and flank, splitting scales with tremendous force as I slipped under the thresh of the tail. "-Slash!"

This wasn't it! Folding my back legs against the dirt, I pressed down and twisted my body completely, stripping back the snow under the air force I shook from my wings. Had I recklessly thrown myself into this position from the beginning I might have died, that was because I never had another strategic play on my mind now, however, was a complete turnabout. Forcing was stamina I had built up from the adrenaline pumping through my veins, I clutched my left hoof to my chest, feeling the brittle object underneath begin to strain.

The tail skimmed my forehead, so I circled the appendage, kicking off the plated tool, sweeping up and over its back, slicing across the wounded scales with a flourish of attacks. It caused Barroth to stumble, the tip of my sword nicking the right eye in passing as it attempted to batter me with its crown, but given its poor eyesight pinpointing my petite body was easier said than done what with all the snow and dirt we've kicked up diluting its sense of smell.

Skipping to place my back to one of the larger maws of the caves, I awaiting its glowering gaze to rest heavily on my sharp grin, begging it to charge as I crushed the object under my cloak, tossing out the dust the second Barroth roared, stomping its way forward, body braced and unyielding. Blowing the bangs from my right eye, I ushered forth the words faintly from my lips. "Meditor." The specks of dust expanded, paling blue against the frigid air as I dived to my right.

Barroth lunged into the spell, unable to bring itself back in time before its head was immediately diverted into the lip of the cave, crashing onto its side and rolling deeper into the mouth, the ground under me practically growling from the sudden abrasive attack. Shaking my head, I kept my distance, Barroth shakily beginning to pull itself onto its left side, exposing all those deep gashes to the swaying, chipping spears of rock above. Then I felt it thunder against my own chest, a sharp wave of fear and dread as Barroth's nickered devolved to a high-pitched wail the second those stalactites came free, plunging down and through its hide like a knife to butter.

I inwardly winced at the instant but effective result of being impaled in several spots, a part of me felt a little bad for the Barroth as that deathly glare faded from its eyes, the muscles going limp not a moment later. It didn't quite sink in, rather, I just shook my head, chuffing once. "I... did it?" Then came my small, almost thankful smile, it wasn't moving at all, not even a faint trace of an aura. "I-I actually did it! Hahaha, ye-e-e-es, woo~!" Clopping my hooves together, my body slumped back on its haunches, unable to take another breath without a serious lack of energy.

Throwing my head down my breathless sigh echoed into the back of the cave. "Thank heaven..." That calming notion of peace shattered.

"Boo."

"YAH!!" My shriek from being tapped on the ears threw me down into the dirt, followed by a familiar laugh that left me both mortified and embarrassed. I knew this might happen, a strange part of me considered it an impossibility, that the likelihood was too improbable, that part of my brain was stupid sometimes, like myself. "...mmm..." Peeking through my mane, my heart sank to my stomach at the familiar blue coat, and sharp, predator eyes licked a piercing scarlet.

He stood as a bipedal wolf with blue and black fur. He possessed a short, round spike on the back of each forepaw, in addition to a third on his chest, a long snout, and ears. His torso was cream-colored with blue fur on its thighs that resembles shorts.

"Busted...~" He sang as I sat up, slumped with my back to him. I didn't want to - no, I couldn't face him, even with my crowning achievement laid out before me I felt like I still lost, especially after nearly dying no more than a few minutes ago. "Akira?"

Biting my lip, I had to answer and face the music. "...sorry... Dad," Of course he'd find me first, that strange aura stuff was impossible to hide from, I should know, I've used it. What else could I say? I took my stuff and left with a vague note on my location, going against both their wishes to fight a wyvern capable of wrecking a small town if it wanted, not exactly something considered 'easy'.

"What are you - Oh right, the whole, 'leaving me clueless and your Mom to practically burst into flames with rage'," That sarcastic tone made me flinch, it was the only thing close to 'angry' my Dad could get. "Yeah... no sugarcoating that trainwreck." Someone kill me, please... "You took down the Ice Crushing Wyvern, Jade Barroth, a subspecies," My ears perked up at the knowledge, eyeing him over my shoulder.

Dad wore this earnest look on his face, rubbing his chin while playing with his red scarf as he eyed the Barroth up and down, gerning at the impaled portions of its body. "Not the most elegant of kills but I've left Vaal half-sticking out of stone before so I can't complain about methods," Then he flashed a smile, canines showing to my surprised and bewildered face. "Nice work, kiddo!"

"Uh, w-wha?" I sputtered out, turning to face him as if I didn't hear him correctly. A second ago he was scolding me and now this? Dad shrugged, rubbing his snout. "B-But I nearly died... I..."

"I know," He pointed up. "I was watching the whole time from a tree," He did what!? Now my jaw dropped. "You seriously think I'd like my adorable little girl to get bludgeoned to death!? If I didn't want to die then I'm sure your Mom would do it for me!" His tail, ears, and head-feeler things shot up. "That's actually a fate worse than death, forget I said that."

Now I felt my victory completely fall down the drain. He was watching the whole time, I... if I did come close to death then I'd have been saved, knowing how stupidly strong Dad was I bet this Jade Barroth would have been a pushover. Now that voice was familiar, it was his telepathic link, he probably used 'Calm Mind' on me like when I had nightmares as a foal. Tch, of course, I couldn't beat this thing on my own.

"I'm pathetic," I muttered out, rubbing my nape. "No wonder I got thrashed around like a ragdoll."

"Stop," My body jumped at his low tone. Now his expression warped to an irked scowl, ruffling his head. "It's not that, I - Dammit, that was just - you were so... reckless, and headstrong I almost jumped in several times out of pure instinct I was so worried!"

Now my eyes squeezed shut, unable to lift my head for what I imagined was the remainder of this scolding, yet that never came. A pair of warm arms pulled me to the side of his chest spike. "You dolt... you really shouldn't be copying me, I think I stressed your Mom out enough with my antics alone to last a lifetime," My eyes widened, feeling his racing heart underneath his fur. "I didn't want to pull you away from any of this, and I knew the only way you'd understand the severity is by experiencing it yourself, so I'm sorry, but..." His arms tensed, tightening the hug as my chest twisted at his soft words. "I'm so proud of you, Akira."

No, stop getting emotional, this was your fault, Akira! "I - b-but I couldn't have even won without you! I-I'm not as strong as you!" No one was, I never could be...

His paw moved to stroke my mane, making it harder to stay together as I instinctively bit my cheek, I had to keep it together, I didn't deserve this win at all! "...If I'm honest, that's okay, 'cause without Yui, I'd have died long before now, then I'd never have met such a talented and amazing young mare, and helped her grow up so fast," My throat clenched after that, dipping my head against his chest. "You're stronger than you think, just because I gave you a few words of encouragement doesn't subtract from that, okay?"

That broke down that dam with minimal effort, I barely had enough mental strength to so much as withstand it as my face buried itself against his fur, letting a few tears slip by. Returning the hug, my lips curled into a smile, happy, and relieved that it was over, that... I could make Dad happy. "...thank you, Dad."

Dad grinned from above, rubbing my back, then he flicked my snout. "Just next time let us know before you go off running into danger, well, after you're probably reprimanded into oblivion." Just that thought alone brought my pleasant mood down, much as I hated the idea, I sold my soul to this risky quest, guess evading my Mom's out of the question. Although, Dad's arms continued to hug me tightly. "For now though, enjoy the fruits of your work, sweetie, you've more than earned it!"

He pulled away, showing me his paw clenched to a fist, holding it out toward me with a toothy smile, it was a 'fist-bump', something from his home. I liked it, he only ever did it when he and Mom came back from beating a wyvern or similar monster, and now... he was waiting for me to return it. Wiping back my tears, my own sharp smile appeared, curling my right-wing to reach out and tap off his knuckle. "I will, thanks!"

Then Dad winked knowingly, "No problem, Hunter." Despite the tidal wave of emotions and events both past and waiting in my near future, just that one word alone put all those unwanted fears to rest.

While I watched Dad collect my supplies for me, since my legs were on strike I decided to break the silence. "So, um... M-Mom's not... here is she?"

His fur shivered. "Nope, just me." Why did that sound so forced?

Tapping my hooves together I piped up, "So... why are you letting me do all this? Reporting the slain wyvern and receiving the reward?" It honestly bugged me a little at how... generous Dad was given all the wrongs I've committed before coming here. Stealing supplies from around the house, leaving without their consent, or a note, etc. etc. Not quite the qualities of a 'Hunter'.

"Simple, I suck at being angry at family, your aunt's alot better at it than me," Dad grinned shyly, holding up my bag. "As for 'why', well that's simple, enjoy your freedom..." His body paled whiter than a ghost. "Because you're gonna treasure this happy memory for atleast two weeks, not even the Gods could save you from what's waiting."

I think my heart stopped beating there for a second. Sweating a little under my cloak, I gulped. "Can I say it, just this once?"

His head bobbed, "I would, kiddo."

Awesome, "Oh... crap."

End