• Published 30th Jul 2013
  • 708 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.

  • ...
0
 31
 708

Welcome to Paradise

“Get offa’ me!” Rearing back, Gilda raked her front claws along her assailant’s face… and took half that face off. The creature to whom the face belonged seemed completely unfazed, and continued trying to bite her with its blackened teeth.

Leaping into the air, she accidentally dragged one of the equine creatures with her. Pulling back one of her hind legs, she kicked it with all her might, causing it to explode in a rain of rotten flesh.

Oh… oh Sweet Son of Sombra. I think I’m gonna puke…

On the ground, Big Macintosh was faring no better. While easily able to overpower the pony like creatures, they refused to stay down, and seemingly endless rivers of the things were coming from the nearby ruins.

It didn’t take long for Gilda to figure out who was going to win this fight. “We’ve gotta get outta here!”

Nodding in agreement, Big Macintosh started trying to make his was to the edge of town, fighting the living corpses every inch of the way. Gilda, flitting back and forth overhead, was too absorbed in her worry for the stallion to notice one of the creatures making its way across a roof just a few feet below her.

“Gaaaah!” Tumbling down with a pair of grotesque jaws clamped firmly on her wing, Gilda smashed through two stories of wooden flooring before coming to a halt. Turning her attention to the not-quite-dead pony, she swore out loud when she noticed still more of them shambling from deeper within the building.

Startled by the griffon’s scream, Big Macintosh almost lost his balance to the onrush of creatures. While it was possible that his attackers’ still possessed enough of their brains to coordinate a strategic and well-timed rush, it was more likely a matter of coincidence that they seemed to be attacking more ferociously at that moment.

Turning in the opposite direction, he began smashing his way through the waves of creatures three at a time, forcing his way through to help his friend. But his limbs were growing heavy, and he never noticed the hooded figure watching from a short distance away.

Two living souls come to a village that is on no maps? Have they come seeking Sombra’s treasures, perhaps? But it is of no real consequence, when all is said; there is no room for the living in the land of the dead.

Grinning ever so slightly, the cloaked equine retreated further into the shadows.

-----

With no room to fly and an injured wing holding her down, Gilda was forced to duke it out the old fashioned way. But even she had to admit that the odds weren’t in her favor. Grabbing a piece of railing, she smashed it over one creatures head so hard that the wood shattered, then…

Wait, railing?

Turning around, she saw a staircase leading upwards, with light coming from above. She only then realized that she had fallen into the house’s basement, and had a clear shot out of the building. Sprinting up the stairs for everything she was worth, she collided headlong with yet another pony shaped creature. Pulling out her talons, she prepared to swipe at…

“Big Red?”

“Eeyup.” Blasting another creature with his hind legs, he led the griffon back outside, the two of them now fighting side by side to get to safety.

With Gilda tearing and Big Mac smashing, they made good progress. But even after destroying what felt like hundreds of the monsters, more just kept coming. Weary and injured, Gilda began to realize that they wouldn’t make it. Not both of them, anyway.

Her wing was starting to feel better, so if she just took flight…

Gritting her beak, she ripped the leg off of one corpse-pony and started using it as a club, knocking three more down before the limb broke apart.

They were still making progress. They were still fighting. She could see the edge of the village as they came around the corner of one house, just a hundred yards away. It was so close, yet so far…

Fighting with newfound vigor, they pushed forward as fast as they could. Come on… Come on! Just a little bit farther! They were almost halfway there; they might actually make it!

Without warning, a shrill whistling sound filled the air. Their muscles felt like lead, their movements became sluggish, and the air itself seemed to be made of mud.

No! Not now, not like this! Unable to fight back, they were overwhelmed by the torrential flood of creatures. Falling to the ground, Gilda struggled for a few final moments as her world went black…

But Big Macintosh was having none of it. Knocking his own assailants aside, he head-butted those that were holding Gilda down and started dragging her unconscious body with his teeth. Now taking blows from all sides, he struggled forwards without the slightest hesitation, never once stumbling. One foot, then five, then ten…

As he got within ten yards of the village’s edge, he realized that he wasn’t going to last much longer. Summoning every last bit of his strength, he swung his head and tossed Gilda through the air. Holding his breath for several tense seconds, he sighed in relief when she landed outside of the strange creatures reach. They seemed to ignore her now that she had exited the town’s border.

He collapsed on the spot, and waited for the creatures to finish him.

-----

The hooded figure started grumbling when she saw the red pony go down. She briefly considered going to fetch the female griffon first, but decided that she should grab the stallion. It was better if he was alive, after all.

Approaching the prone pony, she passed through the walking corpses unmolested. She spoke in an ancient tongue that few remembered, even in her homeland, and the creatures near the unconscious stallion parted for her. Kneeling, she briefly examined him.

Earth-pony. Large, and incredibly muscular. Probably a farmer. He would do quite nicely.

Her good mood restored, she grinned as she ordered the creatures to take him to her hut on the edge of the Everfree, then made her way toward the griffon. This one was also quite fit; not as good as the pony, perhaps, but still a valuable find. Perhaps this one could be the subject of one last test, before she completed her masterpiece.

As much as she disliked manual labor, the corpses couldn’t leave their village, so she would have to drag the griffon a short ways, first. Oh well. She was going to remedy her servants’ little problem soon enough, anyway.

-----

As Macintosh came to, he was vaguely aware of a voice coming from his right. It became clearer as his consciousness returned, and he realized that it was chanting. He recognized the voice as female, but didn’t know who it belonged to, nor could he understand the language being spoken.

Hesitantly cracking one of his eyes, he almost jumped at what he saw. He was lying on his back on a table in some kind of hut, and was surrounded by hideous masks and carvings. Shifting his gaze to the creature that was chanting, he realized that it was a zebra mare. He hadn’t seen very many zebras in his life, but he didn’t think that chanting over a pot filled with bubbling green liquid was normal.

Glancing to his left, he saw Gilda crumpled up on the floor. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he wondered why he got all of the special treatment, what with the vine restraints and a special wooden bed. But his focus was more on how to get them out of their current situation; it was pretty obvious that this zebra wasn’t just having them over for tea, and he wasn’t eager to find out what she did want with them.

Making sure that the zebra was still distracted with her brew, he tested the bonds. They were made from some kind of plant that he wasn’t familiar with, and they were pretty thin, so even his littlest sister shouldn’t have had any trouble breaking them. But they didn’t tear in the slightest, even when he tried pulling as hard as he could while keeping quiet.

Must be some kind of zebra magic… I think I’m starting to really hate magic.

Struggling even harder, he tried everything he could think of to get out. While he was reaching over and trying to pull on it with his teeth, he realized something very bad: the only thing he could hear was his own grunting.

“Woken up, have you? Care to try my special brew?” Carrying a ladle filled with the green substance, the zebra tried pushing his head back onto the table and forcing the vile liquid down his throat. Try as he might, he couldn’t loosen his restraints, and it was getting harder to keep his mouth reasonably gunk free.

Just as she forced his lips apart enough to get a few drops in, a second voice rose behind her.

“Hey, guess what?”

Turning around, her head swam with lights as she flew across the room.

“I might not walk too softly, but I did find a big stick.”

Apparently the zebra’s enchantment only protected the vines from brute force, as Gilda was able to free Big Macintosh with her claws. “You doing alright, big guy?”

“Eeyup.” Ignoring the zebra, they both ran straight out the door, Gilda taking flight not long after.

Still in a daze, the zebra staggered slowly to her hooves. “Arrogant fools, do they think they can escape into the flora? No creature outsmarts Zecora!” Calling upon her undead slaves once more, she ordered them to hunt down their quarry. They would bring back that stallion, whether he was alive or dead!

-----

Flying up above the tree line to get a better view, Gilda groaned when she saw where they were headed. “He, Big Red? You aren’t gonna like this.”

Just as she spoke, he burst through the last patch of foliage, and skidded to a halt next to a familiar looking building. “Uh oh.”

“Great, now we’re back where we started. Come one, let’s just turn around and find some other way out of the forest.” Unfortunately for them both, those plans were quickly shot down by the sickly moan of something else they were becoming far too familiar with. “Never mind, ‘away from the mindless corpse’ is a much better direction.”

Sprinting as fast as his heavy legs would take him, he almost came within sight of the village’s edge before more of the creatures showed up to block his path. Grunting, he slowed down, and looked for a way to get through…

Wait, was that..?

“Yo, where are you going?!” Gilda watched helplessly from above as the stallion, apparently stricken with a random bout of insanity, turned around and started running towards the village’s center.

Grunting as more of the walking-corpses appeared to block his path, he charged through them with abandon, determined to get to the very center of town. For there, sitting on the top of rickety flag pole, were the Elements.

-----

Well, well. It looked like he was indeed trying to get the relics that Sombra had placed there one-thousand years prior. But he wouldn’t make it. Her little minions would make sure of that. And then she could…

Wait, why wasn’t he stopping? Why did he have such a fierce expression on his face? How was he plowing his way through her living corpses without so much as slowing down?

He shouldn’t have been trying that hard. Sure, the artifacts were almost certainly valuable, but not enough to risk one’s life for. Darn it; she would have to step in herself.

Luckily, she had a way to deal with situations like this…

-----

Streaking across the sky at a speed that would make Dashie proud, Gilda tried to reach Big Red before he went and got himself killed. But she saw that stupid zebra starting to do another one of her little chants, and knew that it was too late. She didn’t scream when he went down. She didn’t cringe in pain, and start drifting towards the ground in shock. And she definitely didn’t let a tear fall down her face as she watched her friend fall to the ground.

“You monster!”

Turning just in time to get tackled by the feathery ball of rage, Zecora struggled for her life against the much larger griffon. Managing to kick her away long enough to get a word in edgewise, she shouted, “Stop!”

“And why should I? You murdered my friend!”

“Not quite, actually. He is simply unconscious, you see. But if you try to hurt me, my minions will not wait. Attack me, even once, and you shall seal his fate.” Zecora grinned, certain that she had won. She could finally claim her prize, and create a walking corpse of her own. He would not only be bigger and stronger than any of the others, but he wouldn’t be limited to this tiny patch of land. He would be the perfect servant. “Now surrender peacefully, and no more harm will befall him. Resist anymore, and his fate will be-“

Gilda punched her hard enough to knock her out cold. “I hate rhyming jerks.”

Forcing her way through the corpses to Big Red, she smacked him a few times in an attempt to get him back to the land of the living. She would never admit how relieved she was when he struggled back to his hooves, just like she would never admit that she cried when she thought he had died. “Come on, we really gotta get going this time.”

Seeming to gather his wits for a moment, he suddenly became distraught. “Wait, the Elements!”

Looking upwards, she saw the two metal rings hanging from the old flag post. “I’ll grab them, you get going.”

Fighting his way out for what was hopefully the last time, Big Mac was happy to note that the creatures were even slower and weaker than before, apparently sapped of their strength without their master giving them orders.

After rushing through the last of them, he was tempted to run up and hug Gilda in the safety of the outside world.

-----

Watching from a safe distance, Princess Luna smirked. Just as expected, they had done all of the work for her and gotten the Elements away from those repulsive creatures. Now, all that was left to do was to wait for her opportunity to strike.

Then, she would be able to go and grab the other Elements, and rub her prizes in her sister’s face. She would finally be able to prove that her brain was better than Celestia’s brawn, and put her in her proper place.

Luna’s teeth gleamed in the darkness as she looked up at the moon. Her moon. Soon, she would no longer be a princess. She would not even be a queen.

She would be the Empress of the Night, and ALL would bow to her will.

Author's Note:

… and then they slipped away while Luna was daydreaming.

For those of you that were thinking that Luna was more of a misguided good guy… so sorry, but she’s actually the worse of the two.

Also, I don’t apologize for anything. Not even taking this long to update. Sorry... no, wait!