Survive the Everfree

by DarkStarWolf53

The First Night

Noctis makes it to a marshy area along the river and studies the plants.

Let's see, those blue-leaved plants are poison joke- not lethal in of themselves, but the things they might do if I touch them or eat them could make it harder for me to survive out here. Those hood-looking plants are skunk cabbage- not good to eat. And is that hemlock?! I don't dare even touch that! The cattails are okay for me, but I better be careful. It's blackbird breeding season, and they don't like anything near their nest. And I know some of the reeds and sedges are okay for food. And the water in the river is clean, so I have something to drink.

The bat pony moves closer to the water and bends down to take a drink. But she sees a slight movement out of the corner of her eye and jumps back, just as an enormous scaly beast leaps from the water, its sharp teeth snapping right where her head was.

Sweet Luna, a giant crocodile! I thought those only lived in Zebrica! If I'd been just a few seconds slower...

She shudders at the thought.

The huge crocodile charges at the little filly, and she tries to take to the air. Unfortunately, the tree branches are so low, flying away is out of the question.

Desperate to escape, she grabs on to a branch with her wing claws and hauls herself up, then hangs on for dear life. The crocodile snaps its jaws shut just beneath her, but she's too high to be reached. After a few more tries, the beast gives up and leaves, but Noctis remains cowering on the branch for what seems like hours.

Eventually, hunger and thirst drive her back down. Again, Noctis approaches the water, much more cautious this time.

She sniffs the air and listens for any unusual sounds, but there's nothing. It's strangely quiet, especially for such a warm evening.

Noctis bends down and takes a long drink of the cool river water, then fills her canteen once her thirst is satisfied. This done, she grazes on the shore grasses and sedges for a bit, then gathers some of the edible plants for her saddlebag.

She doesn't notice the forest has suddenly gone dead silent. Not even the insects are calling.

Something, some kind of tendril wraps around her hind leg, getting her immediate attention.

The strange tendril wraps tighter, and an enormous serpentine shape appears in the water.

Noctis's rational mind shuts down, overtaken by an instinctive desire to flee. But her leg is caught tight- she cannot run.

The serpentine creature surfaces, a long neck topped by a snake-like head with razor-sharp fangs- a sea serpent. And it looks hungry.

The creature's coils continue to wrap around Noctis, first trapping her legs, then wrapping around her body. She's frozen with fear.

A forked tongue flicks out of the serpent's mouth, and it moves its wicked fangs nearer to the filly's body.

Noctis snaps out of it and bites the serpent as hard as she can with her sharp bat pony teeth.

An angry hiss, and the grip on her loosens. She does not hesitate one second, but bolts in terror for the second time that night.

Once far from the river, she dives into some thick brush and hides.

After a few minutes to catch her breath, she tries to focus on getting her bearings, only to be distracted by a low growl behind.

A glance back reveals a very large manticore. The beast licks its muzzle and reaches its scorpion stinger toward the filly. A drop of poison falls from the tip, hitting Noctis.

It's all Noctis can do to keep from screaming as the poison literally burns her. Again, she is forced into panicked flight, running without looking out for where she's going, the huge feline beast close behind.

Soon, she's running out of breath and growing weak. The manticore reaches a huge paw toward her, as if to stun her with a blow to the head and then kill her, but it hesitates, seeming to focus on something in the shadows.

Then things get even stranger: the manticore actually flees in terror! At first, Noctis is perplexed, but then she hears wild howling nearby. The fur on the back of her neck stands up at the chilling sound.

Timberwolves! And I'm a lone filly... Oh Celestia and Luna, I'm doomed!

As if on cue, a huge pack of timberwolves surround her, and again, she is paralyzed with fear.

One of the beasts pins her down, its gleaming fangs reaching for her throat. The fear subsides, replaced by desperation to be free. She bites the wolf's forepaw as hard as she can, forcing it to let her go. She tries to bolt, but the wolves surround her.

Rational thinking falls by the wayside as the bat pony's desperation takes over yet again. She ducks low, flattening her wings against her body, and literally runs underneath the nearest wolf's body.

Her attackers seem momentarily confused by the unexpected flight, giving Noctis a chance to lose the wolves in the thick briars and brambles. However, she doesn't bother checking exactly what plants she is running through...

Now I need to get back to my tree... rest for a while... thinks Noctis. An unusual weariness spreads throughout her body. Hopefully nothing else comes for me...

Wild howls echo around the area again, lending a renewed sense of urgency. Noctis speeds up, ignoring the thorns and branches that are tearing into her wings and body. Her only thought is escape.

She does not stop until she's back by the river and by her tree. Ignoring the pain from all her injuries, she lays down on the hard ground, shuts her eyes, and immediately falls into a deep and dreamless sleep.