• Published 22nd Mar 2012
  • 2,479 Views, 38 Comments

Epona - TankFodder

When several humans survivors of a battle show up in Equestria, they must try to survive.

  • ...

Chapter 2

Epona Ch.2

“mehercule...” Titus watched the pony run screaming into town. How had she seen him? He pushed it out of his mind, for now. Priorities first, he may have been discovered, but he couldn't allow himself to be captured. Titus turned and began to run back towards the forest. They would come looking for him, but he would not be there when the creatures arrived.

Applejack and Rainbow Dash raced towards the treeline where Lily had claimed to have seen a manticore. Applejack was catching up slowly, but Rainbow Dash put in an extra burst of speed at the last moment and pulled up to the trees just ahead of her friend. As she reached the edge of the path, she flared her wings, and lifted into the air for a victory loop

“Oh yeah! And the pegasus takes the win!” she cheered.

“Aw, you just won because you got a head start.” grumbled Applejack. All in good spirit of course.

Rainbow grinned and looked, “oh, Applejack, you know I- hey, what's that?'

“What's what?”

“Rainbow squinted “There's something running through the woods. It's heading towards Fluttershy's house!” with that, she flapped her wings and shot into a shallow dive towards the running figure. Huh, she thought, it did look like a manticore.

Applejack hesitated, before running through the woods in the direction Rainbow had gone. What had Rainbow seen to make her take off like that?

Titus looked back, as he thought he heard branches snapping behind him. He didn't even have time to curse before a multi-hued blur slammed into him, and knocked him off his feet. The human and pony both went sprawling, spluttering dirt and curses. Rainbow stood up, sizing her opponent who also recovered quickly.

It was pretty small for a manticore. She smirked, “Manticore, huh? More like manti-kitty cat!” she leapt at the beast, and was shocked when it ducked under her jump, and grabbed one of her hooves with a hairless paw. She felt momentum take over, as she arced straight into the ground. She got up again, and backed off warily. She stopped, and stared. This was no manticore! She looked closer, noticing the outline of a creature underneath the.. she blanched as she realized why it looked like a manticore. What kind of monster would wear another creature's skin like that? And it was going to go by Flutterhy's house if she let it get away! Rainbow's expression of disgust turned to one of anger, and she leapt at the creature once more, beating her wings for extra speed. What happened next was almost too fast for even her to really see. It sidestepped, and grabbed her hoof again -a pox on opposable thumbs!- and directed her into a tree. Pain exploded in her head as she heard the rasp of metal on metal, and something slashed across her side. Rainbow gasped, and bucked her back hooves, feeling the monster's breath blast out. The both backed up, assessing their wounds. An orange form suddenly crashed through the brush, yelling a battle cry.

“Ah'm here Rainbow! Don't worry!” Applejack skidded to a halt next to Rainbow Dash, and turned to glare at the intruder.

Titus looked at the orange horse that had joined the blue one with the odd mane. Watched as its look turned into horror as it saw its companions slashed side, and the lion pelt he wore, before shifting to rage. He couldn't figure out why, but he really didn't want to hurt theses ponies. Not permanently, anyway. They were shouting at him now, the orange one had moved between him and the multicolored one, who seemed to have just noticed the blood seeping from its side.

Rainbow gawked at her side. Blood flowed from a long cut that ran from her flank to nearly her wing. The monster stood four or five pony-lengths away. In its... paw now was a short metal blade, like a dinner knife, but bigger. Blood dripped slowly from its edge. HER blood, she realized numbly. She shuddered as she realized that if the creature had cut any further, she might have been grounded for a very long time, at the least. She looked up, and saw Applejack advancing on the monster. She started to call out to Applejack, before Applejack charged the creature, which leapt out of the way. It rolled and stood up again, facing Applejack, who also turned toward her opponent. The creature shouted at her, “abi sis, belua!”

Applejack scraped the ground with her hoof, and shouted back, “git outta here, you monster!Ah won't let you get any further!”

Rainbow walked up next to Applejack, and planted her hooves in the dirt. “Just run, monster, you can't win!” Though she sagged slightly from the wounds she had taken earlier in the fight.

Maybe the creature understood what she said, or maybe it had been thinking the same thing, as it began to back up into trees, never taking its eyes off of the two ponies glaring at it.

The romans at Zecora's hut had given up rather quickly on finding out any information from their captive. They couldn't speak, as no one could understand her language, and they could hardly have a horse do pantomime with hooves.

Cassius sat on a stool across the room from Zecora. They had taken her off the table after a while. The room she was in was locked tight, and he wasn't worried about her attacking him. He held his crested helmet in his hands. She couldn't understand him, so he just talked. “luppiter te perdat, you cursed horse. If Titus hadn't found you, I'd still have some hope of getting back to Roma. But no, this isn't Germania. This is just some foul land where horses talk and manticores really do exist.” He got up and left. In the front room, he found the other legionnaires. Sitting around a rough cooking spit they had erected over the hut's fireplace. “Where's Titus?”

Marcus looked up from the fire pit. “Still on that scouting job you gave him. It's not that unusual for Explorators to be gone for days, Cassius.”

“I know that, but I told him to only be gone for a couple of hours. It's been all day.” he sat down on the log they had dragged inside. "If he's not back by morning, take Gaius and find him."

Marcus nodded, "Of course, Centurion."

Rainbow Dash limped up to Fluttershy's cottage with Applejack. They had tried to follow the creature, but it had used a strange rope to fling stones at them, and had disappeared when they tried to take cover. Applejack knocked on the door. Moments later they could hear rustling inside beofre the door opened to reveal Fluttershy.

“Oh, hello Applejack, Rainbow Da-” she gasped. “Oh my goodness, Rainbow what happened? No, it can wait, come in and lie down, I'll fix you right up.” Rainbow Dash walked in slowly, wincing slightly when she stepped on her back leg. Applejack stopped at the door.

“Listen, Fluttershy, we came to make sure you were okay, Rainbow can tell you all about it, but ah need to get home before it gets too late.”

Fluttershy looked at her, “are you sure? I mean.. um... I wouldn't want you out there by yourself if you're hurt or anything.”

Applejack smiled, “naw, Fluttershy, ahm fine, just look after Rainbow, y'hear?” then she turned and trotted back down the path towards Ponyville.

Rainbow lay down on the floor next to Fluttershy's couch. In an instant, Fluttershy was next to her, bandaging her side. Fluttershy looked at Rainbow.

“If you don't mind me asking, what happened? Unless, you don't want to talk about it, that is...”

Rainbow shifted, to give Fluttershy better access to her wound. Her thoughts drifted back to the fight in the forest, the creature hadn't moved nearly as fast as she had, yet it was a step ahead of her the whole time, with those strange paws, using her own moves against her. She clenched her teeth. Next time would be different.

“Hello...? are you okay, Rainbow?” Fluttershy looked worried. Rainbow shook her head to clear it. “yeah I'm fine, Fluttershy.”

“Are you sure? I mean, I don't want to be rude, but you're being really quiet, Rainbow. What happened tonight?”

“There's something out there, Fluttershy. I don't know what it is, but it gave me this cut.”

“What?!? Rainbow you-” Rainbow Dash cut her off.

“Fluttershy, listen, you need to go into Ponyville tomorrow. And stay there, until we can figure out what's out there. Only you, me, and Applejack know something's up, but we need to get the town together so nopony gets hurt.”

“I.. okay, but what about my animals? I can't just leave them by themselves. Who's going to take care of them?”

“Fluttershy, listen. to. me. The animals lived her fine before you came to live here. I'm sure they can survive for a little while without you.”

“But what Zecora? She lives even further out than I do?”

“What about...? Zecora! She lives all by herself!” she stood up quickly, only to find Fluttershy blocking the door.

“No! You're in no condition to go into the Everfree Forest. Especially not at night. Go lie down.”

Rainbow wanted to argue, but there were times that even Fluttershy was unshakeable. Such as right now, apparently.

Outside in the dark, Titus watched. His stomach growled, and he looked to the dark forest in which he could find his companions. It was too late outside, though. He doubted he could make his way back to the hut without bumping into some of the monsters that he was sure inhabited the forest. So he waited. He watched the orange one leave and the blue one enter the cottage, and waited. Stealthily, he crept over to the cottage and looked around. He grinned when he spotted the chicken coop. He felt a twinge of guilt as he took one of the chickens and wrung its neck, as this was the place that had seemed so at peace earlier that very day. Then his stomach growled again, so he put it out of his mind and grabbed the eggs from the chicken's nest before making off with his dinner.

A/N: I kinda wanted this to be longer, but ending it here felt about right. I've been fiddling with the tags, I'm not really sure what to put up there. I'll probably put 'dark' back up, but other than that, I dunno.

All comments/critiques are welcome. G'night/morning/day/afternoon/evening folks!

Oh yeah, the latin bits. Thanks be to google.
mehercule: "by hercules"
abi sis, belua: "be gone, monster"
luppiter te perdat: "jupiter destroy you"
I think that's all of them.