• Published 27th Feb 2012
  • 3,963 Views, 106 Comments

Roar of the Manticore - solsticebrony888



Two injured Wonderbolts survive a Mantcore attackin the Everfree forest, but can't find a way out.

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Chapter 2

I haven’t been to Ponyville in forever…

After a short 20 minute ride where she signed loads of autographs and took pictures with adoring fans, Spitfire was ready to get cured, return to Canterlot, and sleep until the party was about to start. Her coughs were getting harder for her to shake off. They hurt her throat and the taste was awful. She sighed, knowing it was her own fault for not seeking out help before.

Though she didn’t want to, she decided she would fly to the forest to avoid distractions. Her wings felt heavy and her eyes didn’t seem to comprehend everything she saw. She hadn’t been that sick since she was a filly.

She squinted her eyes to see through the thick fog throughout the town, apparently the Pegasi here had several rainstorms planned, and fog always signified that it would rain soon.

The sickened Wonderbolt ascended in through the air until she had a view of most of the town. Through the distant fog, she could see what she assumed to be the Everfree forest. There was a small house near it, and a pathway that led straight into the forest. She flew at a moderate speed to not overwork herself through the sickness. The fog made it hard to keep an eye on where she was going, so the yellow Wonderbolt kept herself flying in a general direction of where the forest should be.

Spitfire wouldn’t admit it to anypony, being known as one of the braves mare in Equestria, but the idea of going into a forest alone caused her to be a little apprehensive and nervous.

“I should’ve asked Soarin’ to come with me,” The fire-colored Pegasus chided. “Horsefeathers…”

Landing on the ground near the entrance to the forest caused her to go right back into a nasty fit of coughs. When she finished, she looked towards the muddy pathway that led to the cave-like forest.

What kind of Zebra chooses to live in such a place…? if Soarin’ is pranking me, I’ll have to get him back ten-fold.

Slowly, she walked into the darkened wilderness. She eyed every detail around her. Everything was new to her. The large shrubbery, the massive trees that reached towards the clouds above and the noises from unseen animals around her. She kept calm, but was very attentive to the forest around.

Odd noises became more apparent as she walked further into the heavily wooded forest. Her senses were heightened; she heard every tiny twig break under her hooves, the splashing noise when she walked into a small puddle, and the distant voices of animals seemingly being voiced towards her from a distance.

The forest was covered by a massive black cloud and the trees seemed to be reaching high enough to pierce through it. Clearly, Ponyville had nothing to do with such a dangerous area.

Once the entrance to the forest was barely visible behind her, it was almost as if she had entered a dungeon, due to the lack of light getting through the clouds above. The trees seemed to reach for towards her and the muddy ground seemed unfit for her to even be walking on. She felt like prey, ripe for the picking.

Where in the hay is this hut?

A sudden growling noise caused her to whip her head to the left, only to be met by what seemed like endless, tall shrubbery. She couldn’t shake the feeling that something was watching her.

The Wonderbolt picked up her pace. Though her legs felt like jelly and running probably wasn’t the best thing for her to do, her conscious told her to hurry.

Sudden noises to her sides caused her to look each way, as if something was running beside her. The wet sloshing of the mud presumably made her easier to notice; however, Spitfire felt she needed to get her medicine and leave, with no time to take her time.

A glowing light appeared distantly in front of her, so she ran faster. Her galloping made her legs splattered in the sludgy mud. The light soon gave way to more detail, revealing that she had found the hut that Soarin’ had spoken about. She breathed a sigh of relief as she slowed down to a walk. Approaching the door, she glanced through the window to see the zebra in some sort of meditative state. Spitfire tried to shake her hooves of the mud, and looked through the tiny window on the door.

“Hello?” she called, her voice muffled by the glass on the window. “I need some help.”

Zecora calmly sat up and walked over to the door. “Who is this pony that is at my door? May I ask what it is you’re here for?”

“I’m really sick and I need to be healed as fast as you can. I’ll pay anything,” the Wonderbolt pleaded through the window pane.

“Come in, come in, and take a seat, I hope you’ll find the concoction neat. When it comes to sicknesses of all kinds, the best medicine to take, are the potions of mine.”

Gratefully, Spitfire walked in slowly and examined the small area in which the zebra keeps her potions. The Wonderbolt found all of the obscure items in the hut somewhat off-putting, though she told herself not to judge the zebra before she got to know her. The room had a musky smoke scent, and other scents she couldn’t identify. In an area where she was able to, she sat down; enjoying the relief it put on her legs.

“So how long have you been sick, miss Spitfire? I hope your situation isn’t dire.”

“About a week or so, but the past few days have been just awful,” Spitfire explained. “First it started with some coughs, then I started…well, you know, and it’s only gotten worse since then.”

“An extract of tea leaf....” The zebra said, while carefully adding the selected ingredients into the boiling pot, “...A drop of chamomile, the taste of this potion will leave you with a smile. Now don’t go drinking this entire potion too quickly, or else you may just remain plain sickly,” Zecora stated, stirring her boiling pot until the brew was nearly finished.

“Um, how long should I wait before I drink it?”

“Right now this potion is quite hot, drink this potion later when it definitely is not,"

“Thank you so much,” Spitfire said graciously. “You don’t even know how much this will help me,"

“You’re always welcome my pony friend, helping others is something I won’t end!”

“So how many bits? I’m sure I have some somewhere...” Spitfire said, checking the pockets of her Wonderbolts uniform for any bits.

“Though the potion I gave you is quite large, all my remedies are free of charge,” The Zebra mused with a smile, as she returned to her meditative state, sitting on the floor.

Spitfire didn’t want to disrupt the Zebra anymore, so she left quietly, holding the hot remedy in her mouth. She quickly realized that it was sprinkling, and that she needed to step up her pace if she wanted to get back into Ponyville without being completely soaked.

The mud was thicker, and was seemingly grabbing at her aching legs as she trotted back. It hurt her neck just to focus on not spilling the remedy that could save her from the sickness. She craned her neck forward to avoid spilling it.

The pathway started to seem much narrower. The massive bushes on each side seemingly crept towards her as she trotted, though she kept her focus on keeping the remedy safe. It was much darker in the forest than it was earlier, and the smell was oddly putrid with some sort stench she couldn’t even identify. Everything seemed eerily quiet.

She had an unsettling feeling in her chest when all she could hear was her own trotting through the flooding pathway. Then the feeling of being followed returned again. She trotted faster.

The tall blackened trees seemed much taller than she had seen from earlier, and the pathway was quickly giving away to shrubbery of all sorts. As she squinted through the fog, she noticed that she had made a terrible mistake and had gone the wrong way.

No need to panic, just find your way back!

She turned around with the intention of finding her way back, but was met with the demonic eyes of a large Manticore, inches from her face. Before she could scream, she was pinned down by the beast's massive claw, the potion falling onto a nearby rock and breaking instantly.

<><><><><><><><>

The party was going to start soon. Soarin’ was in his home in Canterlot preparing himself for an all-nighter with the Wonderbolts and company, a ritual he became all too used to. He spiked his mane, groomed his fur and was ready for some action.

Soarin’ had worked up a reputation for himself as the most ruthless partier. He gained this title by partying for two days straight with no sleep, while others weren’t even close to keeping up with him. He wasn’t alone at any time, because partying by himself would have just looked plain dumb.

He planned to work on breaking that record this party, just for the hay of it. The party was being hosted by DJ P0N-3, somepony he had requested since it was her party that he gained his reputation for his ability to outlast anypony on the dance-floor. He pretended that it didn’t bother him that Rainbow Dash left him for Vinyl Scratch, because her DJ-ing abilities were unmatched by anypony. In Soarin's mind, he couldn't pick another DJ just because his marefriend had left him for her, he would feel selfish since DJ P0N-3 was a favorite amongst his fellow Wonderbolts.

The Apple family worked up some apple cider just for this party and sent it all the way from Ponyville to gain reputation in places other than Ponyville itself for their apples in more towns. Soarin’ was ready and definitely felt like he was going to top his old record. He’s already known across Equestria as a Wonderbolt, why not get known for being the most extreme party pony.

His Canterlot home was a small one since he never really stayed in Canterlot for long. Nopony even knew that he lived there, which is good, because any break from the nagging fans is nice for such a famous stallion.

The party would be at the biggest venue in Equestria, modestly named ‘The Saddle’, though it wasn’t as quaint as it sounded. Generations of Wonderbolt members have been going there since The Wonderbolts formed many decades before, and it definitely wasn’t a tradition he was ready to break.

Instantly flying once he left his home, he noticed that it was a little darker outside than he had expected. He hoped he wouldn’t be late, which would just make him look ridiculous with the reputation he has. He flew swiftly and made sure he wouldn't arrive late.

Upon arriving at the door of the nightclub, the neon lights and strobe lights almost blinding him, he noticed Ice Wind and Lightning Streak inside with only a few other ponies mingling about. He flew inside and greeted his co-workers as usual.

“Who’s ready to PAR-TAY??” He exclaimed with a chuckle. “The apple cider is ready right?”

“Hay yeah!” Lightning Streak said, bro-hoofing Soarin’. ”I’ve already had a cup or two.”

“That doesn’t surprise me,” the pie loving Pegasus said with a chuckle. “The DJ here yet?”

“Yeah, she’s getting her stuff set up right now, I arrived first sadly enough.” Ice Wind said, thus changing the subject, “Is every Wonderbolt going to be here? Fire Streak hasn’t been to, like, the last five parties, what a wimp!”

“Spitfire told me she’d be here, but I don’t know about Rapid Fire or Fleetfoot, they’re morning ponies anyway.”

“Aren’t they still in Cloudsdale? They had a show didn’t they?” Lightning Streak asked as he downed the rest of his apple cider. “I guess that would explain why they aren’t here.”

More ponies starting arriving quickly, many of which the Wonderbolt’s were already familiar with from previous parties. The party area was huge, darkened by everything being black and had strobe lights nearly everywhere. There was a dance floor that took up most of the room, and adjacent was a bar where ponies could order anything they would want. There were massive speakers that were taller than most of the ponies there,


There was a second deck that overlooked the lower floor for VIPs only, which of course were the Wonderbolts. Vinyl Scratch and other ponies she invited were allowed up there too, so they had much more room to party.

Suddenly, the party started with the strobe lights flashing as fast as the techno music that blasted from the speakers. Instantly everypony was in a trance, and were partying like it was their last party. Soarin’ decided early that he would hold off on drinking the cider in order to party well into the next day.

Flashing lights, extremely loud music and every one of his friends. This was the recipe for a good night in Soarin’s mind. He started it off with a bang, spending most of his time on the lower flow with the fans and keeping an eye on the entrance for when Spitfire arrived. He didn’t know what he was going to do, but he felt more confident than usual.

However, after over an hour of partying, she still hadn’t arrived, or at least Soarin’ hadn’t seen her arrive. He flew up to the VIP section where Rainbow Dash had taken over the DJ-ing. This distracted Soarin’, because he hadn’t seen her since they broke up. He had to take a long way around just to avoid the awkward confrontation that was bound to happen. However, it was clear that Rainbow had come there to make up with him, when she left the scratch board just to tap him on the shoulder.

They turned to face each other, and Soarin’ gave her a blank stare in response. The silence was awkward, neither knowing what to say. The loud music seemingly stopped.

“Hi,” Rainbow Dash started, with an embarrassed smile.

“Hi,” He responded bluntly. He honestly didn’t know how to react, so he decided to just go with being the apathetic ex-coltfriend.

“I missed you…”

You have got to be bucking kidding me, what does she even mean by that?

“Yeah, I’m sure that’s true,” he chided, looking over his sides to try to see if he could spot Spitfire’. He didn’t know why he was being rude. He missed her too.

“Look…” The cyan Pegasus said, having to raise her voice as Vinyl Scratch returned to her scratch board. “We said we would be friends, and yet we never talk anymore…I still want to be your friend, Soarin’, instead of this ignoring each other thing we’ve been doing.” She rubbed the back of her neck with her hoof as a sign of discomfort with the conversation.

His heart softened, as it always did for the Pegasus. “Maybe I have been a little distant, but I am a Wonderbolt, my life is very…active, to say the least.”

Rainbow Dash smiled, “Well, I’m going to be helping Vinyl DJ this party, maybe we can meet up sometime?”

“Sure, I’d like that,” Soarin’ said with a smile, and gave the Pegasus a hug.

This interaction only boosted Soarin’s mood. He actually forgot what he had gone up there for until he started looking around for the yellow-coated Wonderbolt again. Edging his way through the other VIP ponies, he found Lightning Streak, who had already clearly over-drank himself.

“Soarin’! Wassahp?”

“You’re always the first to drink too much, huh?” Soarin’ jested his longtime friend. ”Is everypony here yet?”

“Yes I am,” The yellow stallion said.

“Answer my second question,” the blue-coated Pegasus said with a sigh and laughed. He continued to silently survey the area with his eyes, while waiting for a response from his friend.

“W-What?” Lightning Streak asked, as the tremendously loud electronic music got even louder.

“Is everypony here yet?!” The blue stallion yelled.

Lightning Streak looked around obnoxiously as if Soarin’ couldn’t have done the same exact thing.

“Lightning, have you seen Spitfire?”

“No, she’s sick.”

“She said that she’d be here. You were there when she said it. I’m guessing you haven’t seen her?”

“Nope, she’s *hic* p-probably just stayin’ home or something,”

The blue stallion pondered the situation. His friend was really sick and hadn’t shown up to a party that she had promised to be at. He didn't want to overreact and embarrass himself. Spitfire would remind him every practice.

It isn’t like her to miss a party that she said she’d go to.

“I think I’m going to go to her house and see if she’s alright,”

“What? You’re going to leave this party already? LAME!” Lightning Streak said with a noisy burp that could almost be heard over the music. “You can’t just leave!”

“I’ll be back once I know she’s okay,” The pie loving stallion stated. “I just need to know, she didn’t look too well earlier.” Soarin’ then started backing up so she could fly down from the VIP section and exit.

“You’re still in love with her, huh?” Lightning Streak said with a chuckle as his friend left. “You love all your ex’s!”

Soarin’ didn’t have time to think of a response, so he gave his friends a weird look and flew down to the bottom floor. The strobe lights didn’t make it very easy for him to see, but he managed to make it outside, into the chilling night air. The loud music was muffled by the thick walls.

Nothing seems quieter than the atmosphere when you just exited a loud party. He jumped into the air and flew casually towards his friend’s home in the middle of Canterlot. He always enjoyed flying at night, because it relaxed him. The cool air lightly flowing through his mane, the comfort of the clouds he could perch himself on and the rare taste of privacy he gets from flying higher than his fans could be able to recognize him.

Spitfire’s Canterlot home was very close to his own, and it didn’t take him too long to land in front of the quaint place, surrounded by roses and darkened by Luna’s night.

He landed quietly and trotted up to the front door. He had front door privileges, so he walked straight into the home. The clopping of his hooves was amplified by the echo in the seemingly empty house. His silhouette was casting a big shadow on the bedroom door that was across from the front door.

“Spitfire?” He whispered, towards the bedroom, “You awake?”

He received no response, which just told him that she might be sleeping.

The door was slightly ajar, so he pushed it slowly. The door squeaked quietly, so Soarin’ became more careful not to wake the mare up, it revealed a pitch black room. He focused his hearing, yet couldn’t hear any light breathing or anything to signify that his friend was there. He moved around the small room until he found the window, and let the drapes open to let in the moonlight.

Nopony was in the bed.

“Huh?” He said as he tried to get an idea on where his friend could be. He forcefully ignored negative thoughts that were appearing with this discovery.

Soarin’ exited his friend’s room to inspect the rest of the home before coming to a conclusion. Spitfire was nowhere to be found in her own home.

“Hmmm,”

He walked outside, trying to rationalize why she wasn’t at her home. Spitfire had no home that he knew of in Ponyville. The train she would have boarded would have arrived before the party started, because none arrived late at night for a reason he didn’t know. She knew nopony in Ponyville that she could stay with. At this point, Soarin’ started to feel a little worried for the fellow Wonderbolt.

I’m going to have to miss a lot of that party, but I need to go to Ponyville and make sure she’s okay.

Once again, he lifted off into the dark night air and started his flight to Ponyville.

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