• Published 30th Jul 2013
  • 707 Views, 31 Comments

Progress - suijin

A tale of some not-really friends trying to work together to save the world. They're not even acquaintences, really. WARNING: Sequel.

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God of the Old World

Ancalos looked down at the insolent creatures that dared to intrude upon his lair.

Ponies. He hated ponies. Noisy, arrogant, bothersome little creatures, and always finding new ways to annoy him, even after all these years. Well, no more. He was going to crush these two glorified and oversaturated insects, then he was going to lay their feeble race to waste. They would become corpses, their cities would be turned to ash, and he would gloat over the bones of their dead friends and family.

Smiling slightly at the thought, he began his work.

When the dragon roared, its voice shook the rock around them, and dislodged massive chunks of stone that rained down upon the two mares. Trixie ran around in a way that vaguely resembled a headless chicken, while Vanilla tried her best to keep away from the beast's claws.

But its arms reached across for dozens of feet, and it had little trouble tearing chunks out of the far wall. His lower body remained submerged below the magma's surface, yet what was visible was still much larger than Ponyville's town hall. When he turned his head to get a better look at his prey, she realized that his eye was over twice as large as her entire body.

Managing to keep her head on straight, she deftly weaved between his attacks, looking for some way to harm the creature. Every part of him looked like it was armor plated, and she doubted that she could even do any kind of significant damage to his eyes. At least, not without any magic... glancing down, she was glad to see that Trixie was relatively safe for the time being.

After managing to gather her wits and realizing that the dragon wasn't focused on her, Trixie began casting two more spells; one to protect her from fire, and the other from physical attacks. She hoped that it would work against such a mighty beast, but her hope was running rather thin.

After several more missed swipes at the pegasus, Ancalos decided to try a different tactic, and sunk back into the depths of the lake. Seeing her opportunity, Trixie called Vanilla down to her, and managed to erect the last of her defenses just in time to stop the dragon's next attack.

Reemerging, Ancalos spit forth a new river of molten rock, covering and liquefying the entire stone platform that the mares were standing on.

But Trixie's magic held, and the two ponies were left dry and unmelted. Grinning slightly and congratulating herself on the powerful magic, Trixie very nearly lost her concentration when Ancalos decided to go back to the direct approach.

The caves once again shook as the drake's mighty hand came down on the immobilized ponies, pushing Trixie's shield to its limit. Gritting her teeth, she tried her best to hold out, but knew that it was hopeless. The two would-be-heroes were going to die here, and she couldn't do a thing to stop it.

Watching as Trixie visibly shook with every blow, Vanilla felt an anger rising in her. She was angry to be helpless. She was angry to be so close as to have her goal in sight, yet be unable to claim her prize. But mostly she was angry there was someone in front of her in danger, and she was doing nothing about it.

With a final, thundering strike, Trixie's shield gave way, leaving the two mares defenseless. Collapsing, Trixie let her eyes drift closed as she waited for her end.

But it didn't come. Instead, she heard Vanilla's voice shouting a challenge to the monster. But there was something wrong with the way she sounded. Her voice sounded hollow, almost like it was echoing. Opening her eyes once again, Trixie gasped at what she saw.

Vanilla was gone, and in her place was a creature that Trixie had never seen before, in all her travels. It was shaped vaguely like a pony, but it was pitch black and had a shell covering its body, rather than fur. It had what appeared to be a mane on its head and neck, but it looked like it was rotting. A green, fiery light was coming from the horn on its head, and it was using its magic to do battle with the dragon.

Shocked at the sudden appearance of the new creature, Ancalos still decided that it was best to continue on as he had, and tried to crush the creature. He immediately regretted his decision when his fist was met with a sensation that he had never felt before.

He was being burned.

Roaring in agony rather than anger, the dragon now backed away from the strange creature, clutching his wounded had. It followed him, using large, insect-like wings to fly above his head. As it moved, Trixie saw familiar patterns and maneuvers, although with a slightly more unsteady rhythm than before. As she watched the still graceful movements of the creature, Trixie lost any doubt about who she was looking at.

"Vanilla... what are you?"

If the creature had heard the half-spoken question, she ignored it. Focusing on the dragon, she continued dodging around his heavy blows and shooting green bolts of magic at him. His seemingly impenetrable scales were chipped away by her spells, causing more and more pain to the behemoth.

But as Trixie watched, she saw that 'Vanilla' was losing more and more air to the drake, who was starting to turn the tables. Getting more and more desperate, the creature was only barely managing to dodge the dragon's attacks as he pushed her back. As she saw the final strike coming to knock her out of the air and into the pool of magma, 'Vanilla' realized that she still hadn't been able to save Trixie.

Falling to her doom, the creature began to slowly close her eyes, and prepared for her sudden exit from the world of the living. But rather than a soft but painful splash into the lake, her body was met with a hard impact on a very solid surface. Jolting back into full awareness, she realized that she was being supported by Trixie's magic. Turning her head, she saw the unicorn walking towards the titanic beast.

"Hey, you!" Whatever else 'Vanilla' thought about Trixie, she couldn't help but be astounded by the strength and weight in her voice as she faced a creature that could easily kill her in an instant. "Yes, you! If you know what's good for you, you'll stop attacking us right now, and do as Trixie tells you."

After several moments, the dragon reared back its head and let loose a thunderous laugh. After shaking the cavern for several more seconds, he looked down to see that the pony was still entirely serious. "Oh, really? And why should I listen to you?"

"Because if you don't, someone very dangerous will put you in your proper place."

Once again letting out a tremendous laugh, the reptile seemed ready to collapse in his mirth. "What, like your little 'princesses?' They tried putting me in chains before, pony, and they failed. I had that sun-butt running with her tale between her legs, and you know why? Because I am Ancalos! Greatest dragon alive, and a god compared to puny creatures like you!"

Trixie began casually examining her hoof as she spoke again. "Strongest dragon alive, eh? Well, Trixie supposes that Sombra can always fix that."

After she spoke, Ancalos became perfectly still, a look of wide-eyed terror on his face, followed quickly by suspicion. "You're bluffing. There's no way that he's still alive after so many centuries!"

"Oh really? Is it really that hard to imagine that the most powerful pony that ever lived, one whose name has gone down in the history of all races as one of the greatest creatures to ever walk the face of the planet, might have been able to find a way to cheat death? Would it really be so hard to believe that he has fully ascended to his rightful place as a god, possessing immortality itself?" Trixie looked Ancalos right in the eye as she finished.

The dragon seemed to wrestle with himself for several seconds, before finally conceding defeat. "What do you want."

Trixie smiled, and said, "Trixie believes that there are two items in your horde that we would very much like to have. Give them to us, and you shall never have to hear from us again. Withhold them, and risk Sombra's wrath."

The dragon let out a bellowing sigh. "Very well then. But you may only take two things. Anymore and I will kill you, regardless of whose wrath I invoke."

Deciding that the dragon was thoroughly cowed, Trixie turned back to her silent companion. "... Vanilla?"

The creature cringed at the name, and turned away from Trixie's curious looks. "I'm sorry. I lied to you, and that was wrong, but... how do you explain something like this? How do you say, "yeah, sorry, but I'm secretly not a pony at all, just a shapeshifter that can make myself look like one?" I'm just... I'm so sorry." Breaking into a fit of sobs, 'Vanilla' jumped when she felt Trixie's comforting hoof on her side.

"It's okay. You saved Trixie's life back there, even though it meant giving up your secret. I really owe you one."

"No you don't. You just saved both out lives by talking that thing down."

"I heard that."

Ignoring the dragon's complaint, 'Vanilla' continued on. "If anything, I owe you one. But, I guess that's what friends are for, right?"

Trixie stood stock-still for several seconds, a vacant look in her eyes. "F-friends?"

"Well, I mean... if you'll have me."

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean it like that, it's just... I've never really had any 'friends' before."

Smiling, the creature pulled Trixie into a hug that was only slightly uncomfortable. "Well, you do now. Wait... did you say 'I'?"

Trixie's eyes grew wider than anypony would have thought possible, before she shouted out a hasty, "Trixie did no such thing!" and ran towards the dragon's horde, casting her lava-swimming spell on the way.

Chuckling, Zoraptera followed her new friend towards their destiny.

Author's Note:

Points to any science geeks who know where 'Vanilla's' new name came from, without looking it up.

Bonus points to any fantasy-literature geeks who know what the inspiration behind Ancalos is.

Remember to drop some critiques. I love them, even if they're negative. Just make sure it's actually thoughtful.