Defective Family

by Lupus




I jumped over the heads of the first line of earth ponies, and grabbed the forelegs of a couple of low flying pegasi. I drained them a bit before dropping into the middle of the army. Trusting that the ponies behind me would be taken care of, I turned my attention to the ponies in front of me. Earth ponies with swords between their teeth, and unicorns with horns aglow rushed me at once.
The swords were easy enough to avoid, obviously these soldiers were not used to dealing with such an agile opponent like myself. Add to that the fact that every time I'd drain from them they grew weaker didn't help them much. The unicorns tried to blast me with magic, but were stunned when their attacks had no effect. I took advantage of their shock and grasped two of them by the horns. I began to drain them, while at the same time I spun them through the air. I made a single full revolution, slamming the ponies around me, before releasing the ponies in my grasp. They flew in opposite directions away from me, and crashed into more of their comrades.
I don't know what it was-instinct? intuition?-but something in that instant made me lean back while fully stretching my arms out to either side of my body. At the same time, the snake dropped from the air and slithered quickly along my outstretched arms and chest, using them as a guide to launch himself towards two unicorns. He wrapped himself around their legs, causing them to fall and at the same time he drained them. The snake then slithered quickly between ponies, weaving between legs, and dodging weapons. Controlling every inch of his body, he was able to brush against multiple ponies legs while simultaneously draining from them. He quickly coiled himself in one place and used his body like a spring to launch himself upwards towards two pegasi who flew a little too low. After bringing them crashing to the ground, the snake spread his bat-like wings and flew off to a few unicorns attempting to regroup.
Wait, since when did he have wings?
A sharp pain flared in my side. I chastised myself for becoming distracted, and turned to my attacker. A unicorn mare with a spear levitating next to her. I smiled at the fact that the unicorns were forced to improvise. Obviously they weren't too adept at using weapons, otherwise I might not still be here. I easily avoided her next attacks despite the pain in my side. The mare soon became frustrated. Exactly what I needed. She thrust the spear forward harder than before, and I dodge it like the rest. But before she could pull it back, I grabbed the spear's shaft and drained the magic surrounding it. Now weaponless the mare tried to call out for help, but I had my hand around her horn before she could utter a word. After draining her I noticed the pain in my side had dulled considerably. Huh, I thought before jumping back into the fray.
In the midst of fighting I began to notice something odd. Well, a few odd things really. First, and most shocking was that while fighting, I would often spot my companions and couldn't help but notice that they've changed. The snake, in addition to the wings (which I still had trouble believing) he had grown two arms that ended in three long claws. The birds began to look more like the images I saw next to their pod. I also noted that there was no longer any doubt that they were female.
The second thing I noticed was that the longer we fought the ponies, the better we became at working as a team. Sometimes I would find myself and the snake (or whatever he was now) back to back against a large group of ponies, other times I would be soaring through the air in one of the bird's large talons only to be dropped onto the backs of pegasi. Thirdly, despite our fighting for what seemed like hours (in reality it probably has only been a few minutes) we never seemed to become fatigued. I wondered if the magic has been sustaining us.
I was facing down a group of unicorns when I heard it. A loud,low bellow echoed throughout the chamber. I saw the unicorn's eyes widen to the size of dinner plates, took that as my cue to jump. I flipped in mid air and managed to spot a large black shape pass under me. After landing I saw that the shape had scattered the unicorns and was preparing to charge another group of ponies. The shape was a bull with long white horns and black eyes that, at the moment, betrayed his fury.
"It's about time you woke up!" I called to him. The bull looked at me, then stamped the ground with a hoof. "Uh-oh," the bull charged again and I jumped over him and onto his back. I gripped his black fur as he charged through an ocean of ponies towards the hall where we first entered the chamber. The horse was there waiting for us. The bull didn't slow down as he approached and instead turned back towards the ponies. I jumped off near the horse. "You're late," I said.
The horse's eyes never left the battle. He grinned and said, "I figured the four of you could handle things."
I scoffed and looked over my shoulder, "Maybe at first, but I think the ponies had backup." I watched as the birds dropped pegasi like flies, the bull charged any ponies trying to regroup, and the snake slipped in and out of sight, but lies of drained ponies betrayed his path. "Anyway we've been holding ourselves back so the new guy could get his hooves dirty. But now..."
"Now it's time to finish this," the horse said, finishing my thought. I hopped onto his back as he asked, "By the way, what happened to those three?"
"Things. Now charge!" I assumed the horse rolled his eyes before charging into the heart of the army.
With the addition of the horse and bull, the fight quickly turned in our favor. We would have escaped by now, but every time we moved towards the exit, a mass of ponies would block our way and force us back. It became obvious that we would need to take down every pony, which was fine with me. Yet I couldn't help but feel cheated.
The horse and bull changed like the others. The bull was now running on his hind legs, while his fore hooves turned into hands like mine, except he only had four fingers. He didn't seem to notice though, as he continued his strategy of charging any ponies who tried to group together. Except now he could grab, throw, and punch.
Of all of us, the horse changed the most. His silvery white coat became a lot more silver, his black mane acquired a blueish tint to it. His muzzle shrank, while his eyes grew to dominate his face. Aside from his size, he became indistinguishable from the ponies we've been fighting. Twice I caught myself almost attempting to drain from him before I sensed no magic in him. I tried playing it off like I was jumping over him to get at other ponies, but I think he knew.
I however changed the least. As in, nothing about me changed at all! Well maybe I was a little taller, and my feet became more dexterous that I found myself fighting as often on my hands. But that was it. No horns, No wings, not even heightened senses.
So not fair!
Pain flared in my back. I turned quickly and glared at a pegasus mare holding a sword, dripping with my blood, between her teeth. The pegasus returned the glare before she pounced at me. I bent backward to avoid the blade, the wound in my back flaring in protest, but I ignored the pain. She landed behind me, and kicked at me with her hind legs. I jumped back before lunging for her with my arm outstretched. She jumped back as well, but I pursued. The pegusus never let me get near enough to lay a hand on her. Anytime I would come close, she would chase me away with her sword, or her powerful legs.
We faced each other and for the first time since the battle started, I felt winded. The burning pain in my back didn't help either. This one's different, I thought to myself. During our standoff, I was able to really study my opponent. She had a white coat, like the majority of the army, and sometime during the fight she had lost her helmet allowing her black mane to flow freely. Her piercing golden eyes never left mine. I had also noted that she hadn't taken flight, and I wondered if she still had the magic to do so.
From the corner of my eye I noticed a stallion galloping towards me with a sword in his mouth. I smirked when he jumped at me and, without taking my eyes off the pegusus, I grabbed his muzzle stopping him dead. Draining him healed my back and washed away all of my fatigue. The mare's glare hardened as the stallion fell,and I picked up his sword. For a few moments neither of us moved. We stared at each other as if to read the other's minds, oblivious to the battle still raging around us. Then we simultaneously sprang forward, and our blades meeting with a resounding CLANG!
Once again, as she and I dueled, my mind wondered on what the ponies' "tests" had done to us. As far as I knew I had never touched a sword before, and yet I was holding my own against a trained opponent. There was one major difference between us, though.
I wasn't trying to kill her.
The mare managed to drive me back, and I nearly tripped over another fallen sword. I grinned as an idea formed in my head. I managed to push her away from me, and I gripped the sword in my left foot and flipped it into my right hand. I slid the blades over each other before flashing the pegasus a toothy grin. She didn't rise to my taunt, and instead continued our duel.
With two swords in hand I was slowly gaining ground on the pegasus. I would use the sword in my left hand to defend against any attempt she made to regain control of the duel, while my right kept her on her hooves as she always managed to stay jus out of reach of my sword.All in all, you could say that we were dancing, and I even managed to bring a third sword into the mix via my tail.
The two of us found ourselves locked in another one of our numerous stare downs when I heard the horse's voice, "That's enough. Finish her so we can go."
"Awww," I pouted, "and I was just about to fight upside down, too."
The pegasus raised an eyebrow and chanced a look around the room. I smiled as the realization dawned on her. A couple of facts that I had picked up on when I grabbed the second sword. She was the only pony left standing, all others drained and littering the floor.
And that I've been playing with her the whole time.
Slowly the mare transferred her sword from her mouth and grasped it with her wing. She looked at me with those defiant eyes before crying, "For Celestia!" She the charged me one last time.
I dropped the sword in my tail and met her blade with my own. "I don't know who this 'Celestia' is, but I bet she's really disappointed in you," I managed to slip my blade underneath hers, and after a few twitches of my wrist the pegasus was disarmed (or would it be dislegged? Diswinged? She doesn't have her sword anymore alright?!) Before her sword hit the ground I had lunged for her with my right sword, aiming directly for her neck.
At the last moment I was able to angle my bade away from her neck, but wasn't able to stop completely. Instead the sword cut her right beneath her left eye. The motion brought me closer to the mare, and I immediately began to drain from her.
When the pegasus fell, all I could do was stare at her. The scene was replaying itself over and over in my mind. I knew what I was about to do. I could feel the blade sink into her flesh, and once again I felt disgusted with myself. How could I have come so close to do something so...and it was all on instinct. If I hadn't... When I clenched my fists in frustration, I felt the grip of the sword dig into my palm. I let it clatter to the ground, and felt the horse by my side.
"I almost killed her," I said without turning.
"But you didn't," the horse reassured
"I know, but..." I faced the horse, "What did those ponies do to us? These powers to drain magic, this knowledge of how to fight," I gestured to the others, "your bodies. Why were we created?" When the horse remained silent I walked over and examined the changes in my companions. "And more importantly," I spun around and pointed to myself, "Why am I the only one who didn't change?"
The horse stared at me blankly for a moment before smirking. I returned his smile with my own. I knew that now wasn't the time to break down over almost killing the pony. We still needed to escape after all.
The birds landed on either side of me, and the snake and horse joined us. We waited for the bull, who was busy eyeing every pony on the ground, to complete our circle. When he finally noticed us staring at him, he sheepishly (not an easy thing to do by a bull) joined us while folding his arms over his chest. The horse stared at us in turn, his face unreadable. I, meanwhile , was doing my best not to glare at the snake's wings with envy. I was failing and he knew it, a small smile lifting his face.
The horse opened his mouth to speak, but the sudden appearance of a large power stopped whatever he was going to say. We all turned our eyes to the high ceiling. "Large" was a gross understatement for what we were feeling. There was massive, maybe mountainous, but I think planetary is the closest. Whatever the word, all of that power was coming from a single source.
And that terrified us.
The birds grabbed my hands for comfort with their finger like feathers, and I found myself tightening my grip as well. The bull was visibly sweating, though doing his best not to show his fear. The only ones who didn't seem affected were the snake and horse, but I knew that they knew what I knew. There was no way we could fight that.
"Time to go," the horse said calmly but urgently. We all nodded and he led the way to the far exit.