• Published 25th Oct 2011
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Heroes and Allies - LewisClarke



A great force threatens to destory Equestria and worlds beyond... Can two very diffrent peoples band together to stop it?

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Chapter Six: Into The Forest





Chapter Six: Into The Forest






Though It was the early morning, the F-15 crash site (Lenard preferred not to call it that,) was buzzing with activity.

There were scientists, engineers, and construction ponies all trying to make nose or tail of the situation. Despite not knowing anything about the stricken aircraft, the more observant members of the group were able to determine that underside of the plane was the most damaged. They had been told not to lay a hoof on aircraft until its pilot arrived, but some simply couldn't contain themselves.

"What do you suppose this does?" a mare in white scientist robes asked a tough looking construction pony.

She tried to pick up the object, but it was too heavy, so she stood it up and began to roll it.

"It looks like a wheel," the grizzled stallion replied.

"They're called landing gear wheels, and I told you guys not to mess with them!" a voice rung out.

The two ponies gasped and quickly swung around.

"Mr. Greene, we we're expecting you," the scientist spoke as she regained her composure.

The pilot rolled his eyes, but smiled anyway.

"It's alright. I don't think you guys could break this old thing anymore than it already is. Besides, we can forget the plane for now, seeing as there's something much more interesting to deal with today. An anomaly is supposed to appear!"

A lavender unicorn hit her head on the underside of one of the plane's wings.

"Did you say an anomaly, like the one you entered our world through? I have been meaning to study those! If one is opening today I'll need all of my magical equipment! We may even have new guests!" Twilight trailed off as she ran away in the direction of the library.

"Okay then, let's get going," The pilot began. "I already had that little dragon guy send off a letter to the princesses with that weird fire burp thing he does. You can already see that they've got balloons up all over Equestria, ready to spot an emergence. This plane can wait. Everyone- pony, I need your help to man- er, stallion the balloons of the new Ponyville-Cloudsdale Anomaly spotting team. The Cloudsdale end has already been notified, and the balloons are on their way. With any luck, I can finally get out of here!"

The ponies looked a bit dejected at this last comment. Some even lowered their heads.

"No, no you guys, I didn't mean it like that. This place is awesome! Really! And I'd love to stay a while, but there is much work to do back home. Chin up! This could be the start of an interplanetary colaboration! So you can see why I'm so excited to get home! People are going to want to know all about this place, just like you guys want to know all about my home. You guys get to be part of that!"

The ponies started to grin again as they began to understand just what was now possible.

"A whole new world to explore!" one pony said.

"Imagine the possibilities!" another stated.

"Have Muffins?! Muffin Acquisition?"

The ponies all began to murmur at this last comment, and gave each other strange looks, as a grey pegasus raised her hooves up in excitement.

Over the last two days, the pilot had wandered all over Ponyville. He'd met this blonde pegasus before.

"Yes Ditzy, we have muffins. I'll have to send you my mother's recipe, I'm sure you'll love it," the pilot explained.

The cross-eyed pegasus grinned, and clopped her hooves together.

"Anticipation!" she cheered.

*********************

All over Equestria, spotter balloons gracefully floated through the skies. Each was filled with watchponies, who vigilantly searched the sky for anything strange. Armed with spotting scopes, each team waited to shout down confirmation of a sighting and raise the alarm first. In one of the larger balloons, five ponies and a human all waited patiently for something out of the ordinary.

"Mr. Greene, What exactly should we be watching for?" Lime Tree asked.

"Believe me, you'll know when you see it. And please, I told you you can call me Lenard," the pilot answered.

"We still won't know what to look for if you don't tell us," Twilight spoke.

"It's a big blue ball of energy with lightning shooting out of it! Does that kind of thing happen a lot around here?"

"No," Twilight began, "I guess not. Though I can say I've seen much stranger things."

"Then you'll know when you see it," Lenard explained, a mock glare upon his face.

Twilight chuckled. "While we wait, I'd like to ask you a few questions for my studies. What is your world like?"

Lenard had been asked similar questions since his arrival, but never this direct.

"Earth, I mean our Earth, is um, well, it's a lot like this world. The skies are blue, the clouds are white, and the dirt is, uh, brown. There are beaches, oceans, lakes, islands, all the usually stuff."

Twilight picked up a quill with her magic, dipped it into some ink, and began writing.

"Ok, what are humans like?" she asked.

Lenard thought for a moment. No one seemed to have asked him that one before.

He looked at the other ponies in the area. Some of them reminded him of his friends and family. The caterers, The Cakes, reminded him of his parents. Hard working, but they always seemed to take the time to enjoy themselves. He looked over to three fillies that seemed to be trying to catapult themselves with some crazy contraption, while two colts looked on and snickered as they flung themselves into a lake. The five foals reminded him of his childhood friends. The bouncy pink pony riding in the balloon with him ironically reminded him of his hyperactive younger brother. The stoic guards he had spoken to back at the palace reminded him of his friends in the military.

A smile crept onto the pilots face.

"We're a lot like you."

**********************

Several sirens rung out between the balloons. On board Twilight's balloon, Pinkie Pie giggled as she spun the hoof cranked siren. Lenard noted that the sirens sounded eerily similar to the kind used in World War II. He would have dwelt on the other similarities, if not for the large blue sphere of raw energy floating in the distance, which quickly stole his attention.

"Target spotted," a stallion yelled through a cone.

Every spotter turned their scopes toward the event. Jaws dropped at the sight of it, including Lenard Greene's. This anomaly was different. It looked stronger, more stable than any before. Twilight was trying to feed parchment into some strange contraption that looked like something that would have spawned Frankenstein. The contraption frantically spat out lines and zig-zags on the parchment, indicating... well... who knows?

"It's incredible! I'm not sure what that is! It's not like any magic I've ever encountered!" Twilight babbled.

No one noticed her talking though. Everyone had their eyes locked on the otherworldly shape hovering in the distance.

"Um, Mr. Lenard, what's about to happen?" a timid Fluttershy asked, floating just outside the balloon.

"Look for something shooting out of it! Something like my plane. They'll be moving pretty fast most likely," The pilot yelled over the sirens.

But no planes came.






*****************






"IT'S BEEN ALMOST TWO MINUTES NOW! WHAT'S TAKING THEM SO LONG?" The pilot struggled to be heard.

"WHAT?" Twilight answered.

"I SAID, WHATS TAKING THEM SO LONG?"

"I DON'T KNOW! HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO ENTER?"

"About twenty seconds! They must not be coming. Tell them to turn off those sirens already! Wait a minute, what's that?!"

Just as he uttered the question, a massive rocket shaped vessel hurtled out of the anomaly and sped just past their balloon, just barely missing them.

"Is it another probe? Why is it so big?!" Lenard questioned.

"Ah don't know, but it's headed straight fer th' Everfree forest!" Applejack shouted out.

"Aww, it's headed right toward the Denselands. I don't think we're recovering that one," Lime Tree muttered, most annoyed by this outcome.

"WAIT! I see a chute! This thing must be important! I can't tell from here, but it's pretty big," the pilot spoke.

"What do ya think they left ya?" Applejack asked.

Lenard shrugged.

"Who knows, maybe it's more crazy human stuff. You think it's something cool?" Rainbow Dash wondered from outside the balloon.

"The portal thingy is closed now. Aww! I wanted to ring the sirens some more," Pinky whined.

"Can I borrow that cone real quick, Lime?" Lenard asked as he took the cone. "HEY SPIKE!"

A little dragon looked up from the ground. He took a cone from somepony else on the ground, and yelled back.

"WHAT DO YA NEED?"

"Send a letter to Canterlot. Tell them that something from my world landed in the forest, and we're going to find it. Oh, and it landed in the zone known as the "Denselands," whatever that means."

"You can't seriously be considering going in there after it, are you?" Spike asked.

The expressions from the other ballooners betrayed the same feelings.

"If it's got a parachute, it must be important, and they want me to find it!" the pilot shouted back.

"Okay, I'll send it! But I have a bad feeling about all of this!" the dragon gave in.

As they all waited for a response, Twilight lowered the balloon and the ponies and their human friend met up at the library. Spike soon joined them, and began to heave violently.

"You've got mail," he joked and choked at the same time.

A letter bearing the sun and moon of the royal seal materialized in front of him, and he read it aloud.



Dear Mr. Greene,

We just wanted to inform you of the dangers the Denselands pose. It is one of the most dense parts of the jungle, hence the name. It contains incredibly dangerous creatures that are not to be trifled with, some even by those as powerful as we. Please take a the provided royal guards with you. A small team will arouse the least amount of attention, and weapons may be needed to defend yourselves. Please, do not enter the Denselands unarmed. We would rather not have to explain to any future guest that you disappeared into the forest, never to be heard from again. May you find what you seek, and come back safe and sound.

With Regards,

HRH Princesses Celestia and Princess Luna


"Is it really that bad?" Lenard asked with a new look of uncertainty on his face.

The ponies solemnly nodded.

Lenard gulped "Well then, let's go arm ourselves."

"Wait, there's a p.s," Spike noticed.

The Elements will want to assist you on your journey. Please do not take them with you as they are not trained in dealing with situations like this. We fear they are not ready. They are to report to Mayor Mare's office to report to her directly. We will stand by with a rescue team if you require it.

"Did the princess just call us weak?" Rainbow asked, cocking her head to the side.

"No," Twilight answered. "We may be The Elements, but we aren't warriors. I doubt he'll need the services of a librarian, a vet, or a weathermare anytime soon."

"But we've been into the forest before," Rainbow started to argue.

"Not this time Rainbow, it's just too dangerous. We didn't even get anywhere near the Denselands, and the only other time I went in, I got frozen in stone."

"So what about Lenard? What makes him qualified to go in?"

Lenard smirked, "Worried Dash? Don't. I'm in the military back home. I do have some survival training. I'll be alright."

"I just think that if you're allowed to go, I should be too!" The indignant pegasus chided.

"Yeah but-"

There was a knock at the door. Twilight trotted up to it and opened the fore door, revealing two stoic Bronze and silver clad royal guards.

"Yes, can I help you?" Twilight asked.

The two soldiers, an Earth pony and pegasus, both nodded. The earth pony wore the slightly fancier armor that veterans typically wore. He saluted, then began to speak:

"Greetings, I am Sergeant Sky Blade, and this is Corporal Star Sabre. We have been sent to assist the recovery operation."

The two were the same shade of white as all the other guards, but Star Sabre, the pegasus, had a small tuft of orange hair in his mane. Twilight wondered if the Royal Guard really did dye their coats to match each other, and if these guards didn't expect to be on duty at the moment.

She let the guards in and sauntered back into the house.

"Lenard, you've got guests!" Twilight yelled into the back of the house.

Lenard quickly emerged. After a look at the two warriors in front of him, he decided to offer a Salute. The two guards seemed confused by this at first, but saluted back.

"We were told that there were similarities, but even the salute is the same, granted that it is performed with your hands rather than our hooves. Are you ready to depart, Captain?"

"Wait, I'm going with you," Lime Tree spoke out. "I've been deep into the forest before, maybe not as deep as the Denselands, but I know what I'm doing, and you could use some help. Besides, the princesses said the elements couldn't go, they didn't say anything about me."

The guard gave the green stallion a curious look and motioned the group to follow them outside. Twilight and her friends followed behind. Outside, two more guards were yoked to a chariot, filled with what appeared to be weapons.

"Do any of you have arrow-arms training?" Star Sabre asked the group.

"No," Dash spoke with her head down in defeat. "But I will next time! I Guarantee it!"

All the other Elements shook their heads, though one actually seemed rather relieved that they wouldn't be going.

"I've carried a crossbow before, but not spears, or javelins," Lime Tree spoke.

"Then you're in," Sky Blade smiled. "It's not often we meet civilians with any weapons training whatsoever, so your help is appreciated. Just try not to get in our way."

The guards tossed down a small arrow caster, which Lime Tree deftly caught in his mouth.

"A colt 54. I like it," Lime added. He strapped the small weapon to one of his forelegs and grinned confidently.

Lenard carefully looked over what appeared to be arrow launchers. They seemed to be miniaturized wooden versions of the kind of crossbows a human hunter might use, only designed to be pony friendly. They each carried five, six inch arrows in some sort of magazine and could be fastened to a pony's leg. Lenard's best guess was that a pony would fire the bow with their mouth while running, or with their other hoof when accuracy was important. There were other assorted weapons, including an extremely large bow with a four-foot long arrow, which Lenard figured was their equivalent to a shoulder mounted munitions launcher. Lastly, there were a few small spears, knives and what looked like a small steel sword, similar to what both guards had fastened to their armor.

"These are quite ingenuitive," Lenard thought aloud.

Lime Tree stared down at the massive bow in the cart. "I understand the crossbows, but a Javelin Spear Launcher? What exactly are going to be fighting in there that would require us fire a JSL?!"

The guards shrugged. "Who knows? It's always good to be prepared," Star Sabre stated, calm as ever.

"Which would you like?" Sergeant Sky Blade asked the human.

"I'll take a sword, and one of those Crossbows please," Lenard chuckled." -and that big one as well."

"Going for the heavy weapons I see. Wise choice if you're entering the Denselands," Sky Blade answered. "I've never been in there myself, but if our intelligence is correct, there is quite a large population of dangerous creatures and predators."

Lenard grinned. "That's why I also brought this."

The pilot pulled out a small black "L" shaped object out of one of his pockets. The guards looked it over and raised their eyebrows in curiosity.

"What is it?" Star Sabre remarked.

"It's a gun. Guns are the standard weapons of most law enforcement and military back home. Think of them as really powerful crossbows that use a miniature explosion to propel their arrows, instead of a bow. We pilots carry them just in case we have to eject into unfriendly territory. I found quite a lot of ammunition, so I think someone back home was worried. I'm glad they were.

A blond earth pony trotted up to the human.

"How's it work? Ah don't see any arrows," Applejack questioned.

Lenard was praying that somepony might ask him that question.

"I got some extra ammo, so I'll give a demonstration."

The guards and the small group of ponies watched intently as the human picked a small tin can off of the ground. It struck him as odd.

"Diced beets," Lenard read. "Hmm..." He realized that he hadn't eaten anything since his arrival, and like a wave, hunger began to gnaw at him.

The can was empty. Lenard silently wondered how a pony would open a tin can. It seemed that a lot of things, like the can, were eerily similar to objects found in his world. This "magic" explained most of it, but non magic users would seem to have trouble with certain things. He imagined Rainbow Dash trying to open a Can of soda.

That mental image made him chuckle.

"Basically, a gun fires a small piece of metal called a bullet, by pushing it out with a tiny blast," Captain Greene continued.

He motioned for the ponies to move out of the way, and lined up a shot with the tin can. With another chuckle, he pulled the trigger. Three distinct sounds rung out.


BANG!

"Eeep!"

Chink!

Fluttershy, who had launched herself into a nearby tree, floated back down and eyed the can.

"I didn't see anything moving, but look! There's a hole, all the way through it!"

The other ponies began murmuring excitedly.

"I think that will do." Star Sabre grinned. "You wouldn't happen to have any more of those things, would you?"

"No, but this is just a pistol, you haven't even seen what a rifle would do!"

"I think we are sufficiently armed now." Sergeant Sky Blade grinned even wider now.

"You're sure you don't need any help?" Dash tried one last time.

"Ma'am, we'll be fine. You and your friends should report to the mayor. She is waiting. Then you can resume your usual duties," Sky Blade answered.

"Don't worry you guys," Lenard took another clip from his pockets. It popped into the gun with an amusing clicking sound.

"-we'll be fine."

*******************

"It's pretty dark in here," a green stallion remarked.

"Really, Lime? I was completely unaware," a nervous looking human answered.

"No, I mean more than usual. We've definitely entered the Denselands."

"Oh." Lenard gulped. "Let's press on then."

They had made a great time through the thinner, more traveled sections of the forest, unhindered thus far. Lime Tree would point his right foreleg out towards a suspicious branch or tree every now and then, but nothing had caused him to fire the bow which was fastened to it... yet.

"You guys bring any food?" Lenard wondered.

"You hungry?" Star Sabre answered.

A loud stomach growl answered the question.

"The pink one left us some grub, but I'm not sure what humans eat, so you may not like it," the guard offered

Lenard tore into a daffodil, grass seed, and hay sandwich. He realized just how true the saying "Anything tastes good when you're starving" was. "Hmm, it's... interesting," Lenard spoke with the sandwich still in his mouth. "It certainly has a... texture to it. I just know I'll regret eating it later though."

He finished the sandwich and started fumbling around with his pistol. Then he examined the crossbow and the large, anti-vehicle sized bow slung over his back.

Despite their surroundings, they were quickly getting bored with the trip.

"How far in is this thing again?" Star Sabre asked.

"About seven or so miles into the forest, by Twilight's calculations," Lime tree answered.

"Our miles are the same, right?" Lenard asked nervously.

"I think they translate the same," Lime tree answered. "10,560 hooves, right?"

Uh, right." Lenard now appeared a bit nervous.


The group trotted and walked for several minutes in silence.


"We need to talk, or I'm going to go insane," Lime Tree finally yelled.

"What do you want to talk about?" Sky Blade asked.

"I don't know. How could I get some armor like that?" Lime asked.

"Join the Royal Guard," Sky Blade flatly answered.

"Oh. Okay then," Lime Tree mumbled. "So what's you're stud stamp look like?"

"Excuse me, my what?" The guard cocked his eyebrows.

The green stallion smiled. "You haven't heard? Stallions are starting to call their cutie marks "Stud Stamps" now.

The two guards grinned. "Bout time. I wasn't sure how long we we're going to suffer that emasculation. It's kind of hard to be stallionly with something called a "cutie mark" emblazoned on your flank," Star Sabre replied.

"Speaking of which, why don't you have a "stamp," Mr. Tree?" Sky Blade asked.

"Please, just call me Lime Tree. It just sounds better. Regarding my sides, in truth, I don't really know why I don't have one. My friends and I always joked that it's there, it's just the same color as my coat, so no pony can see it," the blank flanked stallion replied. "It's still weird being a full grown stallion without one though. Some ponies have accidentally assumed that I was a very large colt. I usually set 'em straight though," Lime Tree explained.

"What are you guys talking about?" the odd human out in the group wondered aloud.

Lime Tree thought a moment. "Cutie marks and stud stamps are a pony's identity symbol; images or objects that describe that pony's lot in life. No pony really understands how it works. Some say that it is predestined at birth, others say that the individual's actions decide what it is. Some say that they can change over a ponies lifetime, but this has never been proven. As for me, I haven't really felt a need to have one, but I have always wondered why I don't."

Lenard shrugged. "If a human really wants an identity symbol, you can just get some clothes, or a hat or a tattoo or something."

"What's a tattoo?" Sky Blade wondered.

"It's like what you were talking about, only it's a drawing burned into your skin."

"That sounds painful," Star Sabre remarked.

"That's why some people get them, to show off that they can handle the pain. Others just get them as, well, I guess, an identity symbol," Lenard explained.

"Do you have one?" Sabre wondered.

"Nah, I never like the idea of being stuck with some drawing on my body for life, though there are equally painful ways of getting rid of them. I just never saw the point. A friend of mine knows this guy that's literally covered with them. No one ever wants to start trouble with him, so maybe there's something to it."

"Oh." Lime scratched his head. "You guards still haven't told me what your stamps are yet," Lime stated.

"Mine's a star with a narrow sword in front of it," Star Sabre explained. "Go figure."

"I got an axe with the two royal seals on each side," Sky Blade proudly told. "I got it shortly after I joined the Royal Guard. The others seemed a bit jealous, but now that I'm a Sergeant, I get some respect."

The human cocked one of his eyebrows. "That I understand, but why is you're name Sky Blade? That seems more like, you know, a pegasus name."

"Maybe, but my folks liked it, so I have no objections," the sergeant answered.

The pilot gave in. "Well, this whole thing seems a bit strange. But I guess it's all "magic," so I'll just go along with it."

"Between us non-unicorns, I think the whole thing is stupid," Star Sabre complained.

"Whatever Star. Just keep moving," the sergeant replied.


The four adventurers wandered deeper into the forest.

*****************

"So how do ya' think they're doin'?" Applejack asked her friends.

"It gets p-pretty d-dark in there. I'm s-scared for them," Fluttershy whimpered at just the thought of such a terrible place.

"They've got a miniature armory with them," Twilight explained. "I don't see what could possibly stop them."

******************

"WHAT THE FLANK IS THAT THING!" The younger guard, Star Sabre exclaimed.

"Quiet corporal!" Sergent Sky Blade half yelled, half whispered. "That's an order! I do not want that thing to hear us! To answer your question," The Sergeant began, "It's a hexa-hydra. Six heads. All of them equally deadly."

"All I know is that it's chewing on that huge ship thing! We've got to do something! Now!" Sabre replied.

"Mr. Greene, how long do you think that thing will stand up to this punishment?" The Sergeant asked.

"I have no idea! I don't know anything about it! It's much larger than it looked from the balloon, but it's going to be flat if we don't stop that monster!" The human whispered.

"Why don't we just shoot it?" Lime Tree asked quietly.

"Because the last thing we want to do is anger it. It could damage the target!" Sergeant Sky Blade explained. "We've got to get it away before we attack. We need a distraction."

Sky Blade, Star Sabre and Lenard Greene all looked over to Lime Tree, who cocked his eyebrows and asked:

"Why is everypony looking at me?"

*****************

"I still don't think it's fair. I should be there with them!" Rainbow Dash pouted.

"Don't ya'll ever get tired of gettin' in ta' trouble, Dash?" Applejack deadpanned. "They don't need our help."

*****************

"We need heeeeeelp!" Lime Tree shouted as a large six headed beast stomped behind him, shaking the ground with every step.

"You guys can unleash your brilliant plan any time now!" the blank-flanked green earth pony whined, still galloping for his life.

"Just keep going, we're almost in position!" Sky Blade yelled out.

Lime Tree was breathing quite heavily now. "Why am I the decoy anyway?!"

"You're the brightest color out of all of us. You stand out!" Star Sabre answered from behind a rock.

"That's horseapples! I can tell you're orange under that dye!" Lime retorted.

"So what, you expect me to waste time washing it out so I can be the decoy?!" Sabre yelled back.

Lime Tree gasped for breath. "You're the one with the armor!" he tried to yell.

"Exactly! Without armor, you can gallop faster! Now shut up and keep going! We're almost ready!"

"You can fly!" Lime Tree argued the obvious.

"I said shut up and keep going!"

"Lenard, are you hurting it?" Lime tree yelled as he watched the human fire shot after shot into beast.

The bullets seemed to be imbedding themselves in the hexa-hydra's hide, but didn't seem to be doing any real damage.

"I'd kill for a grenade right about now," the pilot mumbled under his breath. "I'm just annoying it! We need heavy fire!" Lenard yelled out. "Is it set up yet?!"

Sky blade darted out behind his cover, an explosion of leaves and twigs following in his wake. He had the large arrow launcher on his back. The sergeant pointed his forearm crossbow towards the beast, hoping it wouldn't be the last thing he ever did.

"I'm ready!" Sergeant Sky Blade exclaimed. "Lime Tree! Duck!"

The green stallion dove behind a large boulder and covered his head with his hooves. Sergent Sky Blade bit his forearm bow's trigger yoke and shot a few small arrows at one of the beast's heads to get its attention.

They harmlessly bounced off.

As the hydra turned around, the grizzled soldier pony put the JSL trigger yoke in his mouth, and lined up a shot.

"The foals are just gonna love this story," he muttered under his breath.


He bit the trigger.

********************

Five ponies and a dragon walked up to Rarity's Boutique.

"What do ya think Rarity's been up too all this time?" Spike wondered.

"Ah don't know, but when Rarity disappears, strange things start happenin' remember?" Applejack warned. "Remember Nightmare Night?"

Twilight shuddered, then raised a hoof to knock on the door. "Rarity? You home?"

"Coooooooooming!" a voice rung out from behind the door.

Rarity opened the top half of her door, wearing the same red glasses she always wore while designing, confirming her friends suspicions.

Rarity was up to something.

"Ah, girls, I'm glad you came! Now I can show you my project! It's absolutely fabulous!"

********************

Lenard looked out toward the downed hydra and came to an immediate realization.


It wasn't dead.

Weakened, but not dead.


Despite the four foot arrow stuck right into the place where its heart should be, it stood up, popped its many necks, and growled furiously. If it wasn't a mindless killing machine before, it was now.

"Retreat!" Sergeant Sky Blade growled out to the others, each of which took off in the other direction, running as fast as they could through the forest. Surprisingly, Lenard was able to keep up.

They ran, realizing that there wasn't really much they could do at this point. All they could do now was hide and hope the beast would give up the chase.

The two royal guards, the mayor's assistant, and a human pilot took cover under a large downed tree.

"So what do we do now?" Lime Tree whispered.

Lenard stood up, "I say we let him have it!"

Sky Blade agreed. "FIRE EVERYTHING!"

The four adventures threw everything they had the beast. Lime Tree and the two guards fired the rest of the arrows in their forearm bows. Lenard's pistol hurled several rounds into the defiant beast as well.

"Reloading!" Sky Blade yelled out, grabbing a new magazine of mini-arrows from his saddle bag.

"I'm out!" Star Sabre screamed at the top of his lungs.

"We've got to take this thing out before it kills us!" Lenard yelled.

They each fired the last of their arrows and Lenard inserted the very last clip into his pistol. With a few last defiant blasts from the handgun, the forest went silent.

"Did we really think that was going to work?" Lime Tree whispered.

"More of a desperate hope, really," Lenard answered.

"So how long do you think we can hide?" Lime Tree asked.

A large tail crashing through their cover answered the question.

"RUN FOR IT!" Sky Blade ordered the group. The small band of jungle explorers bolted away from the beast as fast as they could... again. Three on four legs, one on two, they made quite a symphony of foot/hoof steps.

The Hydra was gaining on them.

As it closed within striking distance, the group cringed, ready to accept whatever swift demise awaited them. Lenard pulled out one the swords he'd requested earlier. He waved the sharp metal in his hands, and the ponies held blades in their mouths, all of them acting in a futile attempt to scare the massive beast. Somehow, all four of them knew it wouldn't work. This beast was clearly not planning to show any mercy. The beast lifted one of it's huge arms, preparing for a final strike.

CRACK!

One of the hydra heads suddenly toppled over.

CRACK! CRACK! CRACK!

Three more went limp.

CRACK! CRACK!

The hydra keeled over like a redwood tree.

"HA! HA! Six shots, six dropped!" a voice rung out over the forest.

"Chief, you out there?" another voice asked. "Boss, is that you?"

The four exhausted warriors stood up, looking for the source of the voices.

Lenard turned his head towards the object they'd gone into the forest to find in the first place. The "target" as they had called it, had a door, and a multitude of human beings seemed to be climbing out of it.

"It was some kind of shuttle, a delivery system. Whatever it is, it's huge!" Lenard realized. He spotted two very familiar faces.

"Gerri, Mike! You guys rode in on that thing?!" Lenard exclaimed, thrilled to be reunited with his friends. "How'd you guys take out that monster anyway?!" he asked, clearly amazed.

Gerri grinned. "That wasn't us..." the female pilot began. "We brought a friend, and he brought a few of his friends."

Out of the capsule, stood a man whose stature almost demanded respect. The marine stood to his feet, his 50. caliber sniper rifle still smoking. The ponies could only gawk at the abnormally large human in front of them.

Lenard quickly recognized Mike Kaiser's old friend from the Marine Corps.

"Mace?"

Author's Note:

Authors notes.

Man that was a long chapter. That's why it took so long I guess. Props to Shadowmane for inventing the term "Stud stamp" y'all should use that from now on. This part of the story was one of the most fun parts so far, and it's cool to finally start getting into it! Thanks for reading! Goodnight!

-Lynolius

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