• Published 27th Feb 2015
  • 5,691 Views, 588 Comments

A Hiss in the Dark - Knight Breeze

One man is trapped in a game where the rules are unknown, allies are fuzzy at best, and nothing is as it seems. What else do you expect when the Gods play games with the lives of mortals?

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This Part Freaked Me Out Too

Amethyst clutched Dinky tighter to herself as she listened for the approaching Diamond Dog. Please, oh please, just let us be safe, she silently prayed.

“Are... are we going to die, Amethyst?” Dinky whispered to her sister.

Before Amethyst could answer, she heard the bathroom door rattle as the dog outside taunted them. “Come out, come out, wherever you... are!”

There was a bang from the door, followed closely by a sick, wet, metal shearing sound. Something fell to the floor without even a groan, followed by another sickening wet sound and a cough.

What... what happened? Amethyst thought to herself. Did the stranger win? Or did-

Before she was able to finish that thought, however, she heard the door open, then close again. The strange thing about that, however, was that she did not hear any footsteps from whatever it was that opened the door. Is the dog trying to trick us into thinking that he left after killing the stranger? Amethyst thought to herself.

However, despite her paranoia and better judgment, she found herself opening the door just a crack to peek out. What she saw nearly made her lose her lunch.

There, lying in a pool of its own blood, was the corpse of a Diamond Dog, a look of shock on its face and a hole in its chest.

“Sis? Is everything alright?” Dinky asked, unable to see past her sister.

“Y-yeah, everything's going to be fine,” Amethyst said as she closed and locked the door. “We'll just let our new friend sort out the bad people, okay?”

“You mean that dragon from earlier? Is he going to save everyone?” Dinky asked, her eyes wide as she looked up at Amethyst.

“Yeah, Dink, I really think he is,” she said as she gripped her sister tighter to her chest.

* * *

I didn't know how or why I was able to be so dang quiet, but I didn't really care. Anything to give me an edge and keep me alive for just a little longer as I crept through the hallways of the museum.

Now, let me think, what were The Hunter's powers? I thought as I followed the sounds of panicked whimpering. The Hunter... man, now that I'm grown and actually him, that name just freaking sucks. Not that it matters, though, but hopefully I'll be able to come up with a better name than that. Something that really strikes fear in others.

I stopped at that, crouching down on my haunches behind a display as I considered that thought. Why do I need to strike fear in others, though? Why am I even doing this? For all I know, the dogs are the good guys here, and the ponies are the bad ones.

I just shook my head at that, the look of fear on the unicorn foal's face still quite prevalent in my mind. Yeah, I had pretended not to notice, but I had seen the little foal sitting on the seat of the toilet through the mirror. I had seen the look of absolute terror on her face as she looked up at me, and how the older one had cuddled up to the younger one, shivering in fear as she did so.

No, I knew where I stood in this conflict. I might not know why the dogs were here, but I knew that they had to be stopped, if only to stay that child's tears.

As I sat there, I became aware of the sound of more crying children, as well as the sound of hooves and clanking metal. “Get a move on! If you lag at all, we'll kill you stone dead,” I heard a gruff voice shout up ahead. I perked up at this, my spear at the ready as I waited for them to come around the corner.

I wasn't disappointed in my patience when I spotted five heavily armed dogs round a corner, three grown ponies and two foals being herded in their midst. The grown ponies were trying to comfort the foals, but that didn't stop the crying that was being burned into my brain. Luckily for me, none of them had spotted me, further reinforcing my belief that I was somehow subconsciously using my invisibility powers.

There are too many of them... Plus, they have hostages, so they may try to use them as shields, I thought as I sized them up. Come on, I know this body has more powers than just stealth. It had quite a few things, if memory serves, all based around the chameleon specifically, and lizards in general.

As I thought this, the two most obvious facts about the chameleon popped into my head. One, they had the ability to slowly change the color of their skin to blend in with their surroundings. As a child, that would translate to invisibility to my young mind, but there was one more thing that set the chameleon apart from other lizards in their family. One thing that still made people jump whenever the chameleon used that particular part of their biology.

So, I know that I would have put that into this body, but how would I use it? Do I just open my mouth? Or is it some other mechanism...

* * *

“Shut those sprogs up, or I'll shut them up for you,” one of the dogs said, giving the ponies in front of him a shove with the haft of his mace.

“Please, honey, please, it's going to be alright,” Shoeshine stuttered to her son on her back.

He sniffled at that, then looked around at the Diamond dogs in fear. “Why are they doing this?”

“You shut him up right now, or so help me I'll take my dagger, and shove it up yombph!”

However, just as the unpleasant creature was describing exactly what it would do to the captive ponies, he was interrupted as a long, pink tentacle lashed out from a nearby nook at lightning speeds. Faster than the eye could follow, it latched onto the dog's face with an audible crack, causing him to drop his weapon. He was then dragged off his feet and back to the nook at only a slightly slower speed then when the tentacle hit him, strangely not struggling against whatever monster lurked in the shadows of the display.

“What in Tartarus?” the lead dog said, turning to face the new threat as he put his captives between himself and the darkened museum display.

The silence that followed this question was only punctured by a disturbing squelching sound coming from the shadows. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the monster around the corner hissed a slow, disturbing laugh. “Sss-sss-sss... you beassstsss taste quite good, you know that?” the voice whispered. “Makessss me want more, makesss me hunger...”

“Sh-show yourself!” one of the dogs said, taking an unsteady step backwards.

The voice didn't respond at first. Instead, their was a faint shuffling sound, followed closely by a slow, metallic ring that sounded disturbingly like a dagger being pulled from its sheath. “However, asss much asss I like the tassste of... dog... I think I'd like to sssample the waresss you have between you. Leave them behind, and I'll let you go... for now...”

“Y-you don't scare us, we'll-” one of the dogs said with a stutter, but was interrupted when he felt a paw on his shoulder.

“No, don't you see? This is perfect,” the lead dog whispered just loud enough for Shoeshine to hear. “We ditch the ponies, let the monster eat its fill, then get back and warn boss that something is loose here. We won't have to deal with annoying sniveling, and we also have less hostages to worry about.”

"Wait, what?" Lucky asked in alarm. However, all he got for that was a smack from the closest dog.

The lead dog then nodded to the closest underling, who then shoved the pony closest to him towards the display. “H-here, take them!” he stuttered in fear.

However, the pink tentacle did not shoot out at first. “Oh, no... You have to stay and watch. If my prey should essscape... I would be very... crossss...” it said with a hissing cackle. “If you leave now, I will hunt you to the endsss of the earth, and ensssure that your deathsss are mossst... unpleasssant...”

“F-fine, we not moving, okay? Just take the ponies and let us go!” he shouted at the corner.

Again, the pink appendage shot out of the dark, this time latching onto Shoeshine's chest. Shoeshine whinnied in fear as she felt the slimy tentacle latch onto her with quite some force, bruising her as it started to pull her forward.

“What? No! Please, for the love of Celestia, have mercy!” she screamed as she struggled against the the pulling tentacle, digging her hooves in as she fought with all of her might. No matter how much she struggled, though, she just couldn't seem to get any leverage on the smooth tiled floor of the museum.

Shady Daze just screamed in terror, gripping Shoeshine around her neck as he watched death swiftly draw near. With one final yank, the tentacle pulled them behind the display, allowing them to see the monster that would be their doom.

The monster was large, probably around six feet, and had a very distinct, dragon-like look to it. It looked at her and the foal, then quickly reached out with a single claw and clamped it over Shoeshine's mouth, silencing her. Her limbs were paralyzed with fear as she watched the beast raise its knife in its other claw, only to drive it twice into the flesh of the dead diamond dog at its feet.

“Play dead, both of you. I'm sorry for emotionally traumatizing the foal, but I suggest that you play along if you want me to save the other three,” the monster whispered, dropping the drawn out hissing it had spoken with earlier. It then let go of Shoeshine, then turned towards the now freaked out Diamond Dogs and their remaining prisoners. “That'sss two... I ssstill hunger though...” it said, exaggerating its sibilant lisp.

Shoeshine could only watch in amazement as the creature slowly stuck its head out around the corner, then vanish as it stuck its tongue out. She could still see the tongue, but the creature itself had all but disappeared from her sight, leaving behind nothing more than a faint outline of where it was supposed to be. Then, faster than she could blink, the tongue fired like a bolt from a crossbow at the nearest, foal bearing stallion, causing the foal on board to scream in fear.

The stallion snorted at that, trying his best to shake off the tongue as the strange creature reeled him in. As soon as he had been pulled close enough, the dragon reached out and nabbed the stallion by the muzzle, pulling him into the shadows as Shoeshine reached out and grabbed the foal on his back. “Shush... its okay, you're safe,” she whispered to the two of them as the dragon stabbed his knife into the corpse at his feet another two times.

“Be quiet, we still have one more to save,” the dragon whispered, turning back towards the Diamond Dogs.

“W-we gave you four, is-isn't that enough?” one of the dogs asked, a puddle forming underneath him.

“Oh, no... I think I could go for jussst one... more... bite...” the dragon said, extending its tongue one more time.

As it lashed out at the other pony, however, its slick claw slipped on the tile floor, causing its aim to falter. Instead of striking the final pony on the chest, the tongue instead latched onto the floor in front of him, pulling the dragon from his hiding spot as the tongue retracted. In its distress, the dragon made two mistakes. The first one was that it became visible to those around it. The second was that it reached out for anything to stabilize it, accidentally grabbing Shoeshine as it pitched forward, pulling her out into view as well.

“What the...”

“Is that some kind of-”

“It didn't eat the ponies...”

“GET IT!” the lead diamond dog shouted, pointing its mace at the prone reptile.

Quick as lightning, the dragon jumped to its feet and pulled its tongue back into its head before the dogs could reach it. It then pulled out the sword belted at its side and took a couple of steps to the right, brandishing both its sword and dagger at the charging dogs. “Run, you ponies! I'll hold them here while you go get help!” it shouted bravely.

Shoeshine didn't need any further encouragement. She quickly scooped up her foal onto her back while the stallion at her side scooped up the other. “What about Lucky?” Shoeshine asked, pointing towards her husband that was still being held by the lead dog.

“Yeah, what about Lucky, you pony lover?” the dog asked with a cackle. “Besides, we dogs have all exits covered. You no way out, pony need to fight through to get help!

“Never mind getting help, then, just get the foals to safety!” the dragon said, clumsily parrying the sword of the first dog that came at him. “I'll get Lucky, just worry about yourselves!”

Shoeshine watched for a few more seconds, then bolted in the opposite direction. Please, be safe Lucky, she prayed as she rounded the corner.

* * *

Yeah, that plan was kind of grisly, but it was the only thing I could think of that would get the ponies out all in one piece on such short notice. On the plus side, it removed one of the dogs from the fight and got four of the five ponies to safety, two of which were foals, so kudos to me.

On the downside, however, I had miscalculated just how slick my little plan would make my claws and the floor around me. Because of that, I was facing down three armed dogs while the fourth held his mace behind the fifth pony's head. “You stop right now, or the pony gets it!” the leader shouted. As he said this, the second dog took a swing at my head with his sword while the first pulled back for a distracting feint.

Crap, I hate hostage takers. Nothing but cowards, I thought as I clumsily blocked the sword swipe with my weapons, ignoring his threat.

Why did I ignore him, you might ask? Simple: I knew the dog was a complete moron. If you intend to make hostage threats like that, you do it with a dagger or a gun. Not a slow as heck mace that takes forever to swing.

Right on cue, Lucky reared his hindquarters up and delivered a kick to old Mace Mc'stupid's gonads that would have split stone. I visibly cringed when I heard the dumb mutt's armor split under the force of the impact, and could only watch in satisfaction as he was sent sprawling across the tile floor.

“Go! Get out of here!” I shouted at the stallion as I let the dogs push me back.

“What about you?” Lucky asked.

“I'll be fine, just get to safety!” I said, deftly jumping backwards to avoid getting boxed in by the three mutts.

I decided not to waste any more attention on him, as I was too busy with the mutts in front of me. Interestingly enough, as I fought, I couldn't help but notice that my tail seemed to want to get in on the action. It would curl up and lash about as I fought and dodged, unconsciously moving to just the right angle and position to counterbalance my weight and keep me upright and fighting.

Let me tell you this, having a tail when before you had nothing is weird. I could feel each twitch of its length, and each and every spasm was fully under my control, and it freaked me the heck out.

However, I wasn't about to let a gift go to waste. If the darn thing wanted to help me out, I wasn't about to complain. In fact, I could think of several uses for it right off the bat.

Grinning like a loon, I fell to my knees and blocked the swords of the two dogs on my right and left. This, of course, left me open to the third, who drew back his sword in an attempt to skewer me. As he pulled back, though, my tail slipped between my legs and wrapped around his ankle, yanking hard and causing him to fall as he overcompensated. I then jumped back, avoiding the other two sword strikes, while thanking my younger self for having the foresight to give The Hunter improved reflexes and speed.

However, despite that little trick, I had only bought myself a couple of seconds at the most. I knew who I really was, and that was just a normal college kid stuck in a superhero from his childhood. The superhero I made up might have been a master warrior, but I had no illusions about my abilities with the sword. Sure, I had taken part in fake, padded sword fights before, but that did not come anywhere close to the real thing. Real swords were fast, had little to no drag when you swung them, and had a lot more weight to them than those padded things I had used in the past. I could probably hold my own for a little bit, not to mention that I had a few other advantages that would level the playing field a bit, but I had no illusions as to who would win in a three-on-one match.

Lucky for me, however, this wasn't a three-on-one match. Lucky, completely ignoring my order to get clear, brought a single hoof down on the prone dog's head, knocking him out. He then twisted on his other fore-hoof, bringing his rear legs to bear against the dog on my left, sending the poor sod flying into the opposite wall head first.

His compatriot, shocked by this display of physical prowess, dropped his guard for a brief second, giving me just enough of an opening to run him through. As I pulled my sword out of his gut, Lucky moved back, a little unnerved at the sight of so much blood.

“Are- are you okay?” he asked, a little unsure of himself.

“Yeah, I'm fine. Do you happen to know how many of these things are here?” I asked him as I cleaned my sword and dagger on the dead dog's fur.

“N-no... I don't think there's more than twenty of them though,” he said with a shudder. “Why are you helping us, though? Shouldn't you be helping them? After all, their leader is one of your kind.”

I just looked at him in confusion at that. “I'm pretty sure that there is only one of me,” I told him as I made my way to where I had dropped my spear.

“No, what I meant is that they're being led by another dragon. Shouldn't you be helping them out?” he clarified.

A dragon? Sweet, and sucky at the same time, I thought as I picked up the spear. “Let me ask you something, do all horses agree on everything?” I asked him as I stood up.

“Well, we're ponies, but...”

“But nothing. I don't care who it is, I'll run my spear through anyone that has the audacity to hurt children,” I said, slinging my spear over my shoulder. “I don't know why Mr. Screwloose and his mangy mutts are here, but they picked the wrong place to attack.”

“R-really?” he asked, a little taken back by the bluntness of my answer.

“Yeah, now go find someplace to hide, before more show up,” I said, turning to run down the hall.

“Wait! I didn't catch your name!” he said, holding out a single hoof towards me.

I just shook my head at that, then flashed him a smile as a line from one of my favorite fantasy books popped into my head. I couldn't repeat it verbatim, but I figured that was unimportant, and decided to give my own little spin on it. “Names have power, little one. Maybe later you may be worthy of such power over me, but for now I choose to keep it for myself.”

I then turned tail and ran, well aware of just how corny that sounded. Oh well, at least I didn't give old Ben's 'with great power comes great responsibility' line, I thought with a grimace.

Author's Note:

If you were wondering about the pairing of Lucky with Shoeshine, it's based off of this shot from The Last Roundup:

Clearly, the small family had gone to Dodge Junction for a family outing, and were waiting for the train to take them home. If you're wondering how I explain the later appearance of Lucky with Wildfire, remember that that was a flashback, and that the two were shown fighting. A lot could have happened, including the two eventually breaking up (despite Cadence's previous intervention) and he could have met and hooked up with Shoeshine later on.

Just saying.

Also, I know that the protagonist stabbing a corpse like that was kind of dark, but to him, it was the only way he could see that could get them all out safely. He had to make it convincing, and he figured that mutilating a body was a small crime compared to letting children die.

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