Back within the seemingly endless seas that was the event horizon, small red wooden boat was traversing its currents. Cold, old, and so very full of mold, this chronal ‘dinghy’ held three occupants. The first and the apparent leader of the group was a short rotund man clad in red armor that covered his entire body from head to toe with cartoonishly large pauldrons, white gloves, white boots, and a white cape. Clenched in his right hand was an ornate staff, the same color as a morning sunrise. Upon this staff rested a large flat clock, the hour hand on six, and the minute hand on thirty.
The second and third were apparently identical twins. They each had blond hair that reached down to their cartoonishly large shoulder-pads, deep emerald eyes, white-skin, blue half-helmets with blacked-out visors that covered up the top halves of their faces, and silver full-body jumpsuits. The word “Tick” was written in black letters on the chest area of one’s suit, and the word “Tock” was written on the chest area on the other. Clenched in each of their hands was an oar that they were using to propel the dinghy forward.
Grunting in pain as they rowed with all of their might, the one named “Tick” asked, with a cockney accent so dense you could block out the radiation of a star at a distance of zero meters, “How long do we have to keep at this Conjurer!?”
“Yeah!” Said the one named “Tock”, in very much the same cockney accent. “Our arms are starting to feel like raspberry jam!”
The rotund man, whose full title was that of the “Chronal Conjurer”, narrowed his eyes upon his two henchmen with ire.
“Well then, maybe you two incompetent ninnies should have thought TWICE times TWICE before you threw that party and blew up my ship!” He bellowed out with barely contained rage.
“Hey! It ain’t our fault!” Yelled Tick.
“Yeah! Deadpool was the one who ignited the Privateer’s stock’o powder! Not us!” Yelled Tock.
“Ahhh! But who were the couple of bird brained buffoons that decided to throw the celebration in which the Merc with a mouth became royally inebriated, ey?” The Chronal Conjurer asked rhetorically. “Who were the two that broke into MY personal supply of spirits and shared it with the most mentally unstable crew of ne'er-do-wells that has ever been my misfortune to captain!? And who were the ones that decided to draw things on my face as I lay sound asleep!?”
“Uhhhh...the internet?” The twins said in unison.
The Chronal Conjurer’s left eye began twitching something fierce.
“You know...the two of your are extremely fortunate that I don’t decide to give you some electroshock therapy right about now as punishment rather than making you row this dingy dinghy.” He said with a menacing tone. “Because I assure you that if you two did not currently comprise the total number of crewmen I had at the present, you’d already smell like bad british barbeque.”
The twins gulped audibly.
“If there’s anything filling my heart at the moment with thoughts that aren’t homicidal, it’s that Captain Salazar and the other “Patrollers” of the event horizon are likely licking their wounds after their fight with Entropy Beard. Meaning that it should be relatively easy commandeering a far more sizable vessel and returning back to business as usual.” He said a in a much calmer and serene tone. “Now hold your tongues and row, else I decide to cut them out and use them as nourishment.”
The twins gulped audibly again. As they finally decided to shut-up, the Conjurer turned back towards where he was facing earlier and brought out his spy-glass once more.
“Business as usual.” He chuckled darkly to himself as he saw the profile of a ship appear just over the horizon.
For the past two minutes straight, the black colt they had fished out from a watery grave (with the odd break for intaking the seemingly vast air currents his lungs held dominion over, of course) had continued his bellowing towards the powers at be beyond the clouds. Unfortunately for the Crusaders as they held on for their dear, albeit short lived lives, with their forehooves on their ears, it had since then not faltered in its intensity, the opposite proving to be a most terrifying of realities.
Though, they had to admit: they’d never seen anypony who could maintain a yell THAT loud for THAT long before needing air. They also had to admit that if their fore-hooves were pressed any tighter against the side of their heads, not only would their ear-drums snap because of this long before the scream did them in, but their heads as well.
“What’s that guy hollerin’ about!?” Yelled out Applebloom over the din.
“What!?” Yelled out both of her friends, back over the din.
“What’s he yellin’ fer!?”
Sadly, that was all she could manage to let out. For it was then that she noticed the ground beneath her suddenly grew darker, and in the pattern of something menacing. Looking backwards and upwards, she saw a gargantuan three-headed beast looming over them all, water trickling down its necks.
The central head had its ears covered by the heads on either side of it, its pair of eyes gazing furiously on all four of them. The pair of peepers on the other two were not far behind.
Suffice it to say, Applebloom’s face looked bleached. “Uhhh...guys?” she said, turning her friends’ heads around so that the beast, the Hydra, was in full view.
Their faces became bleached as well. For a while they stood there, transfixed on the beast before them, the yelling of the black colt still as loud as ever. Slowly, the heads moved down towards them until they were a mere three feet away. Their nostrils flared and six gusts of warm air impacted upon their faces.
They turned tail and ran, their own screams dwarfing the colt’s briefly. Applebloom stopped for a second before draping said colt onto her back and catching up with her friends. “For Celestia’s sake! Shut up!” Applebloom tried to yell over the colt’s constant screaming as she and the Crusaders weaved their way through the forest, unsure as to their destination so long as it was as far away from the Hydra as far as Equinly possible.
Back at the pond, the beast lifted its head back up and yawned with a gentleness unbecoming of its immense size.
Back with the Crusaders, they had all accidentally ran into the side of a timberwolf. They picked themselves and the still screaming colt up as fast as possible and continued to run as the timber wolf howled to bring forth the rest of its pack.
Back with the Hydra, it was busy stretching out all of its joints.
Back with the crusaders, they had accidentally ran into the side of a manticore. As with the timberwolf, they picked themselves up and continued to high-tail it elsewhere.
Back with the Hydra, it was busy flicking the dirt from beneath its finger nails out.
The Crusaders, barks and roars and claws and teeth not far behind them, came across a river.
“Sweetie, TELL me that timber wolves and manticores don’t like lots of water!” said Scootaloo.
“For the last time! I’m NOT a dictionary! Or an encyclopedia!” said Sweetie Belle.
“Well, time to find out!” said Applebloom. “Geronimo!”
In between gasps for air from the colt, the Crusaders jumped as high as they could and dived head first into the river. For as long as the air in their miniscule lungs would allow, they hugged the murky bottom, swimming like their lives depended on it (because they did). One by one though, they had to resurface. Applebloom was first since she was swimming for both herself and the colt (who continued his screaming under the water), followed by Sweetie Belle, and then Scootaloo.
At the bank where they had made their getaway, the timberwolves and the Manticore had forgotten their unspoken pact to team-up to take the crusaders and the colt down. They were now engaged in a ferocious struggle against each other, as was their nature.
“Phew,” the crusaders said in stereo.
Speaking of nature, it was then that a primal roar, louder than even the colt’s screaming, tore its way through the Everfree. So loud was it, in fact, that the colt stopped and looked just as wide-eyed and trembling as the crusaders. Back at the bank, the timberwolves and manticore ran with their tales in between their legs to back into the forest.
“Guys...was that the--” said Scootaloo.
Before she could finish, the Hydra from earlier ripped its way through the tree-lines and dived into the river, creating a wave that sent the crusaders and the colts further along than they were for a little bit.
“Yes!” said Sweetie Belle as all four of them started to paddle their way downstream with the same energy they had shown running away on land.
Well, he could safely say he didn’t see THIS coming.
“Ahhh!” Splazor said as he kept up with the three ponies he had met whose names he just realized he didn’t know. “Hey! What do you guys call yourselves again?”
“Now’s not the best time!” said the girly unicorn in between pants.
“Yeah! We’re kinda busy paddling for our lives here!” said the girly pegasus in between pants.
“Well duuuhhh...” said Splazor, rolling his eyes. “As fun as moving away from a giant monster about to kill me is though, I wanna know who I’m playing this game with!”
“Are ya crazy!?” said the girly regular pony.
Splazor put a fetlock to his chin. “You know, I get asked that question A LOT, and every time, I still can’t give a good answer,” he said with complete seriousness. “So, you three gonna say your names or?...”
“NOT! NOW!” they said in stereo.
“Geesh. And I was taught that girls were supposed to be polite,” Splazor said, rolling his eyes.
“Tell me that at least you guys have some superpowers or funky cool gadgets or magic to take that scaly loser down?”
“Dude! We’re just kids here! Heck, you’re a kid too, kid! How the hay are we supposed to take down a big scary monster all on our own!?” said the girly unicorn.
Splazor stopped swimming and started treading the water. As the three ponies swam ahead of him, his eyebrows knitted together and his breathing quickened as his nostrils flared. “KID!? JUST!? HAY!?”
Ahead of him, the ponies stopped and turned their heads around. “What in tarnation do you think yer doin’!?” said the girly regular pony.
“Move it ki--” began the girl pegasus.
“--Don’t you EVER call me that again! YOU especially, STUBBY!” Splazor said before pointing to the girly regular pony. “And to answer your question, HAIR BOW, I’m going to show you just what “just a kid” can do!”
He turned around and faced the oncoming hydra without so much as a flinch. Behind him, he heard splashing. Stealing a glance, he the girly regular pony was being held back by her friends, who were trying to drag her down river if it killed them as she tried to get up river towards him if it killed her.
He rolled his eyes. “Oh quite worrying, would ya? The only one who's not gonna be feeling right tomorrow is this hydra! You wanna know why?” he said, turning his head back towards the monster. “Because I’m a firin’ meh--”
Before the last of that sentence was finished, the central head of the hydra dived down, scooped him up in its mouth, and swallowed him down its esophagus, whole.