• Published 27th Feb 2012
  • 3,967 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 5

“Looks like we’re two Wonderbolts short today…” Firestreak the then team captain I noted as he flew in front of the other four members. They were all lined up for a practice race as a warm-up, in their Canterlot practice arena. Firestreak was a light orange coated stallion with multi colored orange mane, though not very similar to Spitfire’s. He spoke with a raspy, aged voice, being the oldest Wonderbolt on the team.

“Soarin’ was at the party last night but he left to find Spitfire and didn’t come back,” Lightning Streak said, getting the attention of the others flying at his sides, “Methinks they didn’t want to be at the party. They wanted to have their own one, if you know what I mean?” He finished with a mischievous smirk.

After a few chuckles from Rapidfire and Fleetfoot, the orange maned stallion lifted his hoof up to silence them, “Everypony knows that Wonderbolts are required to send a letter if they’re going to miss a day; a day in advance, in fact. I received no letter, which means they intended to arrive today,” He said sternly.

“Hey hey hey, hear me out, Soarin’ told me just yesterday that he’s interested in Spitfire again….I don’t know, but it just seems to me they’re just…you know,” Lightning Streak continued, “You know their crazy past. They’re probably fighting or something right now because Spitfire ate some of his apple pie,”

“No,” Firestreak chided, before the group could laugh again, “You all know what we have to do. Did he tell anyone, last night at the party, where he was going?”

“Well Spitfire went to Ponyville to get some medicine, so if they’re anywhere, it’s there,”

“Why would she need to go to Ponyville just for some medicine?” The light blue maned Fleetfoot asked quizzically.

“Somethin’ about some zebra in the Everfree forest. She cured Soarin’s hoof when he hit his it on a tree or whatever,”

“Horsefeathers. She seriously went into the Everfree forest?” Firestreak added, face-hoofing in disappointment.

“Well, yeah,” Lightning Streak responded bluntly, “I-I guess we should go look for them,”

“Before we go, let’s plan this out. We can’t have everypony just go to the Everfree forest. Soarin’ and Spitfire are probably in their homes here in Canterlot. We can’t have too little of you go because it might endanger you. Let’s divide into groups now,” The captain said, still floating in midair in front of the group.

“How about…um…three of us go to the forest, one will go check their houses here and could check other places in Canterlot or Ponyville,” Fleetfoot said rubbing her chin with her hoof as she thought, “I wouldn’t want to send so many of us into the forest, but we can’t send too little either. I doubt any of us have actually been in there,”

“Alright!” The orange maned stallion announced, “We’ll go with Fleetfoot’s idea. Lightning Streak, Fleetfoot and I will go to the Everfree forest.


Trees, trees, and more trees, with no pathway to be found, this was all they saw hour after excruciating hour in the seemingly forsaken forest. There were no clues to where they should go. They had a decent amount of berries left from their earlier efforts, and Soarin’ was determined to eat as little as possible, knowing that the sick mare beside him needed the nutrients more than him.

They couldn’t walk too fast; considering that it could overwork Spitfire’s weakened body like their short run had done earlier when they heard a roar from a distance. They didn’t how far they had gone, nor which way they should go and it was unsettling for them both.

The blackened clouds above had threatened another downpour the whole day they had been walking, but nothing but a gentle sprinkle had fallen. This however quenched their thirsts, after being in such a humid area of the wild for so long. They were able t dink the faling rain, no matter how odd tasting it could be. They didn’t have a choice whether to ponder how clean the water was, they hadn’t found a single area of water from which they could drink from and had felt signs of exhaustion about the time the rain had come.

Soarin’ stopped once to look into the distance to see any sign of Zecora’s hut. He had done this periodically throughout the day, “It’s getting darker,” He said, his tone of voice deep and serious, “We better look for shelter. I might just have to build one if we can’t find another crevice…”

Spitfire walked beside him, breathing heavy, “I-I’ll help,”

“You’re sick, I can’t let you use more energy…we need it for our trip to home tomorrow,” He said, cautiously optimistic about their situation for her sake. The night was approaching fast, they were both drained from hours of changing direction and getting nowhere but increasingly more lost.

She couldn’t argue with him. It was a struggle for her to put effort into anything. She really needed some sleep, and needed time to figure out a way to get home. She felt responsible for their dire situation and she needed the energy to help Soarin’ instead of hindering their progress in the woods.

“I can’t believe we’re not going to get h-home tonight,” Spitfire confessed, “I’ll do whatever it takes for us to get back tomorrow…”

“Don’t worry,” Soarin’ said calmly, “We’ll find our way back sooner or later. We need sleep. I’m going to gather branches, wait here and rest. Yell for me if you need help and I’ll come, okay?”

“Okay…” She said, walking over to the side of a massive tree and sitting. She watched him leave while gathering large branches from trees. He left her alone with her thoughts once more.

A year ago, she had always complained that he didn’t do enough for her when they were dating. They got in many arguments over their own inability give and take and respect each other as partners. Out of spite, she had broken his autographed picture from one of the first Wonderbolt’s, something she had always regretted.

She avoided dozing off as much as she could, knowing it would be dangerous, but she couldn’t help it. The subject matter of her thoughts influenced the dream she would have next.

Spitfire didn’t know where she was, but she felt as if she was supposed to be there. She was sitting in some sort of field near what she assumed was the Wonderbolt’s practice facility in Canterlot. However, everything just seemed a little different, even surreal.

His voice brought a smile to her face, as he held his hooves over her eyes from behind her. Suddenly, there were flowers in front of her, and a feeling of joy spread throughout her whole body.

She turned around, in this blurry world of hers to see Soarin’ smiling, with a diamond hoof-ring in his mouth.

From a short distance away, she could see herself jumping up and down with joy, see herself hugging the stallion tightly, as if she was flying outside of her body and could see herself.

Spitfire felt joy like she never felt before, and everything felt so perfect…

Time suddenly skipped forward, though she didn’t consciously notice it. Everything felt so real, the emotions were almost tangible, the colors of her own dream world vivid enough to make her believe it were the real world.

There was a massive crowd from all across Equestria, every single member of the audience with a beaming smile. She saw the stage where she and Soarin’ were standing. From her clairvoyant view of this event she saw the tears in her own eyes as she looked up at the blue stallion who was appropriately dressed in a tuxedo.

She saw her deceased mom in the crowd, as alive as she ever was. She and Spitfire never had gotten along well and they had never made up with themselves, before her death. She was smiling and proud for her daughter, and Spitfire was proud to have her in the audience.

Time advanced once more until she was in her home, two unknown fillies in front of her. She knew they were her own fillies and she knew Soarin’ was their father. She had memories she hadn’t had before and felt unconditional love towards the fillies in front of her.

Soarin walked into the room, from a doorway that had seemingly appeared from nowhere and said words that she couldn’t even understand, like they were a blur.

She was in first person view, and saw her eyes gaze lower until she saw Soarin’s hind legs.

Then the dream darkened, and her feeling of love changed to deathly fear. She saw the deep wounds in his legs as if they were fresh. She felt her backside and noticed her missing wing. She felt the pain in her hooves from being slammed down. Everything felt so wrong…

Spitfire panicked in the midst of this horrifying change. Everything seemed to dissipate into blackness…into coldness…

“Soarin’?!” She yelled, though the voice didn’t seem like her own, “Soarin’ are you okay?”

She spotted the stallion walking away from her into pitch blackness, as if he was ignoring her.

“Soarin’! Please! I’m sorry for breaking that picture!” Her voice echoed almost infinitely, as Soarin’ disappeared into the blackness of her own dream. She didn’t know it was a dream, however. She started crying, a sudden despair seemingly controlling her.

“Spitfire?!” Soarin’s voice called, distant.

She heard the sound of trotting, and soon heard a voice close to her, though she couldn’t see it. The blackness surrounding her slowly started fading away…

“Spitfire?! You okay?” Soarin’ called, dropping the branches he was holding. When he made it to the distressed mare, he could see streams of tears cutting through the mud on her mask, “Are you okay?”

Her eyes opened slowly and she breathed a sigh of relief. She was back in the real word and couldn’t be more reassured. She took a few seconds to gather herself as the dark world outside reminded her of her predicament.

Spitfire relived the pleasant part of her dream then looked up at Soarin’ with a peculiar smile. He couldn’t see the redness on her cheeks from blushing due to her mask. so Soarin returned the smile, and offered her a hoof to help her up.

He used his hoof to gently wipe away the tears on her face, “Bad dream, I take it?”

“Yeah…kinda. Not all of it. It was a good dream, actually,” She said, awkwardly avoiding the actual subject of the dream, “Have you gotten all the branches and stuff?”

Soarin’ turned around, “Yes, I have a big pile of some large branches I can use to create some sort of shelter for us, well, at least for you. Oh, and I also found this type of tree that has some really large leaves, we can use that for blankets. I know you need to keep warm,”

Grabbing at four or five branches, each around five feet long, he set them down and had Spitfire hold one up at an angle. He grabbed a second and let the tips of the branches they were holding interlock into a sort to where the branches both leaned into each other supported their weight. He did this with about twenty others, ten on each side, until a decently shaped mini hut was formed This took them only about ten minutes, but it wasn’t finished. He grabbed branches of shrubbery with excessive amounts of leaves on them and put them atop their hut to block out as much rain as possible if it did rain. Then he used some of the big leaves he had gathered and put them in for bedding and blankets.

Though his work may have been considered sub-par to a survival expert pony, Spitfire found herself quite surprised at the stallion’s ability to make such a hut. It was about six feet in length, four feet in width, which was just barely enough for them to fit in. It was placed strategically between two trees so the structure would have additional support.

When he was finally finished, he couldn’t help but smile at the finished work, “Go ahead,” He said with a nod towards his hoof-made shelter.

Spitfire crawled in, avoiding hitting her injured wing on one of the stray twigs. After a fit of coughing, she spoke, “Wow, Soarin’…I have to say this is pretty impressive. Can you fit in?”

“Yeah, I’ll just have to squeeze in…if that’s alright with you,” The stallion responded tentatively, understanding that the mare had personal space. The forest seemed quieter than it had been the night before, and there was no rain in sight. It was also windless, so the night seemed to be promising for a decent sleep.

“Of course, I-I couldn’t let you sleep outside,” She said, with a small smile, and a voice crack that Soarin’ couldn’t but think was cute. She patted the area next to her as an invitation for him to lie beside her.

He squeezed in and rested his head one of the big green leaves he had prepared. When he was settled, he put hid hooves between him and Spitfire and closed his eyes comfortably.

“Are you warm enough?” He asked.

Spitfire reached behind herself and grabbed Soarin’ front leg and put it over her side, “Now I am,”

The stallion grinned, but was conflicted about what to do. He also found himself wide awake, though he had just felt extremely tired moments before.

“Do you need anything else? Do we have any berries left?”

The berries were in her side pocket that were facing up, so she hadn’t squished them when she laid on her side, “Oh, there are some left…w-want some?”

“Nope, help yourself,” Soarin’ said.

Silence soon came over them once again as they listened to the distant noises that the wild animals seemed to constantly make. The lack of wind and rain made it almost creepily quiet considering they could hear every little noise, but not see where the noise was coming from. Neither could let their imaginations get to them or else the night could be terrible.

When she was finished eating the berries they had collected earlier in the day, Spitfire attempted to go to sleep, but to no avail. Her thoughts started to keep her awake. The injured mare had so many different thoughts going through her head, and her short sleep earlier revealed thoughts she had suppressed for quite some time.

She keep could feel him breathing behind her, and assumed he was going to sleep.

What I would give just to talk to him right now...without it being so awkward...

She lay facing the wall of branches that made up their small shelter; though it was too dark for her to see anything more than something really close her to her eyes. Spitfire studied her dream from earlier. She remembered every second of it, the surreal emotions she felt during it. The despair she felt when she saw Soarin’s injuries in her dream. She had never had such a dream before, it felt realer than life and definitely disrupted her most inner thoughts about the stallion next to her.

Spitfire owed her life to him, and then some. He saved her life and has taken extra measures to keep her alive. She was beyond grateful the selflessness he was showing, but didn’t know how she would be able to thank him.

“S-Soarin’?” She asked in a quiet tone.

“Yeah?” He responded, surprising her that he was still awake.

“I-I can’t sleep…”

“Me either,”

Spitfire turned over onto her side, ignoring the pain in her wing just to face the stallion. She didn’t say anything at first, and neither did Soarin’, but they both caught each other smiling through the dim moonlight that shone through.

“I-I know this is going to sound weird…but I…even though we’re out here in the middle of a forest…there’s nopony else I-I would rather have with me than you…” The yellow Wonderbolt told Soarin’, “I-I don’t know how I’m going to thank you for saving my life, but I…I will find a way somehow,”

They were nose to nose, the situation as tense between them as it ever had been, “Spitfire, you don’t owe me a single thing… you’re alive, that’s all that matters to me…” Soarin’ said in a deep whisper. A single tear dripped down Spitfire’s cheek.

Through the dim light they could see each other’s eyes, and through the tense silence, they could feel the feelings they once had for each come into fruition, neither knowing how to act.

Soarin’ leaned in just a little closer, the injured Wonderbolt opening her mouth invitingly, leading them into passionate, life-affirming kiss, letting go of all of the tension that welled up in both of them during recent times. It was a moment they would never forget.

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