• Published 27th Feb 2015
  • 5,699 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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I Always Thought That Dragon Breath Was Just an Expression

Avalis calmly picked at his teeth with a single claw, clearly bored with waiting. “Have your dogs found it yet?” he asked impatiently.

“Not yet, boss. We smash many cases, but shiny stay hidden,” Jeff said, but then hesitated a bit.

“What is it?” Avalis asked, noticing the dog's pause.

“Something... wrong. Four dogs missing, and five others turn up in east hallway, four dead, one unconscious,” Jeff answered, twiddling his thumbs nervously.

“Is it the Royal Guard? I would think they would be a little wiser in how they endanger their people,” Avalis said with a sigh.

“We not think so, no guards show up,” Jeff said with a shake of his head. “One other thing, pony demand see children, know they alright.”

“Pah, tell them they can see their children after I have the broach in my possession,” Avalis said with a negligent wave of his claw. “Tell them I have no intention of harming them if I get that broach. However, if they cause any trouble, we'll kill the brats one by one. That should keep the others in line.”

“Yes sir,” Jeff said with a salute. “By the way, what do we do with them once we get the shiny?”

“I meant what I said earlier; I have no intention of harming them if I get that broach. Only kill the ones that are causing trouble, and only harm the children if their parents don't behave,” Avalis said with a snort of his gray flame.

“Yes sir!” Jeff said, then turned and made his way to where they were holding both sets of ponies.

As Jeff left to deliver his message, Avalis just snorted at his lackey's stupidity. “After all, the more people we kill will mean less souls for The Devourer once he wins this little contest.”

* * *

“What have you done with them!” one pony's voice demanded, which was quickly echoed by several others.

“As have said, foals are perfectly safe,” the nasty looking cross between a German Mastiff and a jarhead said. “Boss just wants his shiny, and when he has it, he will let you all go. However, should you cause any trouble, I'll kill the little sprogs until you stop. Understood?”

He paused as he heard the door behind him open, then close, making him sigh in frustration. “What is it now, Fido?” he asked gruffly.

However, as the dog vocally displayed his frustration over this 'Fido' character, I took my spear and thwacked him as hard as I could against the back of his head, dropping him like a stone. I then made it a point to step on his face as I walked over him, grinning as I felt his flesh compress underneath my weight.

“Okay, listen up,” I said, striking the butt of my spear against the tile floor, causing them all to jump. “Your children are safe, and I've taken care of the guards that were watching them. However, I would suggest that you keep your calm and not all charge out at once.”

“Wh-why should we believe you?” one particularly brave unicorn in the front asked.

I just sighed at that, and shook my head in frustration. “Because I just took out the guards. Were you not listening? I'm not even going to stand watch or any such thing,” I said with a grunt. “What I'm going to do, however, is I'm going to go take on the rather screwy dragon who's been directing this whole debacle. Does anyone know how many of those dog things he brought with him?”

There was a mass of muttering coming from them, until finally one pegasus raised her hoof. “I saw three of them enter the window with him, but then they opened this weird box, which seemed to teleport about forty more in,” she said with a slight tremble of her voice.

“Great, that means that there are about twenty nine left in the museum,” I said, shaking my head in disbelief. “They seem to be looking for something, so you shouldn't have any trouble going to your loved ones. I suggest stealth, but they are being held in the bathroom down the hall, so you shouldn't have to be too stealthy. I told them not to leave until I got you, so they should all still be there. You never know with kids, though, so I suggest stealth, but very quick stealth.”

“...Really? You're just letting us go?” the first pony asked.

“Of course. I have no reason to keep you here. Just passing through, and thought I'd lend you a hand,” I said with a grin. Then, before any of them could ask me any more questions, I turned to leave, making sure to step on the stupid mutt's face one more time on my way out.

“Wait! Why would you do all this for us? And why did you have to... kill him?” the pegasus asked just as I reached for the door.

“I didn't kill him,” I said, prodding the unconscious, yet still breathing mutt with a toe. “But both those questions have the same answer: These morons dared to even threaten to lift a paw against children,” I said, then left without another word.

* * *

“Sir, we've got troops surrounding the place, as well as pegasus patrolling the skies,” Lieutenant Burst said with a salute.

“Excellent. What about The Moon's Ascent?” Captain Nightfall asked as he poured over the plans for the museum.

“In position, with Unicorn Snipers on deck and ready to fire on your command,” Lieutenant Burst reported. “However, Captain Breeze would like you to know that something fishy is going on in there. There seems to be less dogs, and the ones that are there seem to be quite jumpy.”

Captain Nightfall looked thoughtful at that. “Well, until we hear word from our infiltration team, or until the dogs make their demands, there's nothing we can do but wait,” he said with a shake of his head.

I just hope that this one doesn't turn out like the tragedy at Los Pegasus, he thought grimly to himself.

* * *

Avalis looked impatiently out the window, twirling a gem in his claws. He then lifted the gem to his lips, but stopped, instead deciding to put down the tasty morsel and turned to the apparently empty room. “How long are you going to be lurking back there, you little sneak?” he asked as he folded his claws behind his back.

“Oh, I dunno, probably as long as it take me to size you up,” the intruder answered, his tone relaxed and, if Avalis wasn't mistaken, just a tad bit flippant.

“Well, I have to commend you on your apparent skill. Had you not drawn your knife, I probably wouldn't have even noticed you. You should have drawn it before you even entered the room, then you might have stood a chance against me.”

“Well, you live and learn,” the interloper said in a perfectly level tone.

“Yes, I will, but you will not,” Avalis said, quickly sending a stream of fire towards the nearby display on Griffon Sky Pirates.

The entire thing burst into flame, and Avalis wasn't sure, but he thought he saw a shadowy outline scramble out of cover and dive behind a new display, this one on Minotaur agriculture. “Your magical camouflage is a pretty impressive trick, but you should know that that sort of thing only works on the unobservant. I've already caught you in the act, so why try to hide?”

“Well, it keeps me from getting roasted for another few seconds, so that's always a bonus,” the voice answered. “Also, you never know how I might use it. After all, I could just be using it to distract you.”

So, he isn't a dragon. If he were, he would be wary of my firebreath, but not worried about such a small blast frying him, Avalis thought to himself. “From what, more of you? If you had reinforcements, they would have come to your aid by now. As it stands, you seem to be acting alone. Who are you working for? The Royal Guard? The Eyes of the Blind One?”

“Nah, I'm what you would call an 'independent player',” the intruder said. “I just like to see self entitled little twats like you taken down a peg.”

“Independent, huh? Come now, you must at least give me a name. I deserve that much,” the dragon said, sending out another gout of flame at the agriculture display.

As the wooden manikins that were part of the display went up in flames, however, Avalis couldn't spot the movement of his foe, causing him to smile a little. “Gotcha, you little-AHRG!”

This last bit was said as he felt something small, sharp and irritating cut through the membrane on his right wing, effectively grounding him. Almost immediately after that pain, Avalis saw the knife that had caused his pain tumble end over end as it continued its journey towards the opposite wall, finally embedding itself into one of the burning manikins from the Minotaur display.

“Crap, I missed. I was aiming for the spot between your shoulder blades,” the voice said.

It was then that Avalis realized that he had no clue as to the location of his assailant. The echoing quality of this room, while making each move easy to hear, also made it impossible to pinpoint exactly where that sound came from.

On top of that, now there was the sound of burning to further mask the stranger's movements, making him even harder to locate.

“Oh, and by the way, you don't deserve my name. A pompous little child like you? Nah, all you deserve is my spear between your eyes.”

“You seem quite sure of my position as a spoiled brat,” Avalis said, turning quickly to where the dagger had been thrown from. “What makes you think that?”

“Nothing, really. I just like to call wankers like you names, you disgustingly fat tub of elephant lard,” the intruder said.

“Really, now? Aren't you old enough to be past such amateurish and obvious tactics?” Avalis said, holding his arms out wide. “Come, now, we're both warriors, why not duel me honorably? Strike me down in single combat?”

The only answer he got, however, was a cackling, humorless laugh. “And let you barbecue me? No thanks. I'm stupid, but I'm not that stupid.”

“Oh really? And here I was thinking you to be quite intelligent,” Avalis said with a giggle. “Tell me, what is it you've done that makes you think you're unintelligent?”

“Well, if you must know, it took me about three months to finally get up the courage to ask the girl of my dreams out,” the intruder started to ramble. “Turns out, she already liked me, had heard from a friend that I liked her, and had actually turned away quite a few suitors in an effort to seem as available as possible. All while dropping none-to-subtle hints that she was into me, I might add.”

As he talked, Avalis couldn't help but notice what appeared to be a bit of brown fabric dangling on the edge of a nearby display. “Yes, I do suppose that might make you think you're quite a moron. But do you know what is even more unintelligent?”

“What's that?”

“Dropping your camouflage,” Avalis said, lighting up the display that the interloper was hiding behind.

As the display burst into flames, however, Avalis suddenly reared back in pain as something sharp entered his shoulder. He then lashed out with a claw, catching whatever had the audacity to stick him and sending it tumbling to the far wall, pulling the offending weapon out as it went.

Avalis then turned to finally gaze upon this annoying nuisance, and burst out laughing at what he saw.

It wasn't a dragon, but whatever it was was a very close parody to one. It had green scales, a dragon-like muzzle and head, as well as a serpentine lizard tail, but that is where the similarities ended.

All four of its claws, for instance, were far too small and delicate. Each were clearly made for grasping and climbing, not combat. Further more, its tail was thin and lithe, lacking any sort of spines and spikes, also showing its unsuitability for the battlefield. On top of all of this, It also bore no wings, giving it a closer resemblance to a gecko or an iguana, rather than a noble species like the dragon.

“How... how on earth did you deflect that? That spear should have lodged itself in your spine,” the interloper said, clearly still dazed from his trip to the wall.

“Oh, no, don't get me wrong, you did everything right. However, it will take a lot more than some piddly little toy to kill me,” Avalis said, quickly walking to where the annoying iguana was trying to get up. However, before he was able to do this, Avalis stopped him by stepping on his leg. Hard.

“GHAAH!!” the iguana shouted as the bones in his leg snapped.

“Ah ah ah! Can't have you causing any more problems now, can we?” Avalis said, kneeling down and relieving him of his still sheathed sword. “Now that we have those pesky weapons out of the picture, why don't we start with a name?”

“Here's a better idea,” the iguana said through gritted teeth. “Why don't you take a long flight over the ocean, help calm you down. Oh wait, I kind of clipped your wings, too ba-AUGH!”

“Huh, I like you. Defiant, even when you have lost all ability to defend yourself,” Avalis said with a smile. “I like that in my prey, makes the hunt more... fun...”

However, before either of them were able to say anything else, they were interrupted by the sound of footsteps, closely followed by the sight of three dogs entering the area. “Boss! We've found it!” their leader said, brandishing a small, gold and green broach in his paw.

“Excellent. I'm sorry, my dear boy, but I'm afraid that we must cut our conversation short. We'll have to do this again, sometime,” Avalis said, giving the downed iguana a smack to the leg as he did so.

“Ghah... you're just letting me live?” the iguana asked in pain. “Why?”

The dragon didn't answer immediately. Instead, he leaned in close, letting the iguana feel the heat of Avalis's breath on his skin. “Because, a strong soul like you would make a delicious meal,” Avalis whispered in his ear. “I would never think to deprive my Lord of that pleasure.”

“I'm honored, I'm sure,” the iguana responded flatly.

“Well, not that this hasn't been fun, but I really must get going,” Avalis said, standing up with a groan. He than waltzed over to his dogs, taking the broach from the outstretched hand while the other two dogs brought a small, black chest forward. “Places to go, things to do, you understand.”

“What about your lackeys you're leaving behind? Even if you haven't told them anything, they still might let something important slip,” The iguana said with a grunt.

“Oh, don't worry about that. Even the ones you killed are coming with me,” Avalis said, closing the lid of the box with a kick. The box than began to glow, increasing in intensity with every passing moment. “As they say in Prance, au revoir, my defiant little friend.”

As the victorious smile spread across Avalis's face, the iguana opened his mouth one last time, presumably to give a parting remark. However, this impression was dashed to pieces when he shot a long, pink tendril from his mouth quicker than the eye could follow towards the dragon. Avalis raised a claw to ward off this new attack, but lowered it when the iguana quickly retracted the tongue.

“Was that supposed to scare me?” Avalis asked flatly.

The iguana didn't immediately answer. Instead, he opened his mouth again and spat something small and golden into his open hand. “Nope. You can go now, I got what I needed,” he said, waving the stolen broach.

Avalis, realizing what had happened, lurched forward in dismay. However, before he could reach the infernal iguana, the entire room dissolved, only to be replaced by his cave, as well as an odd mix of confused, unconscious, and dead mutts.

“NO!” Avalis shouted, pounding a clenched talon into a nearby rock wall. “You rotten piece of filth, I'm going to rip your heart out and EAT IT!”

However, all of his threats and sputtering was for naught, for the interloper was far outside of his reach to harm.

* * *

I can't believe that worked... I thought, clutching the small broach to my chest. I then opened my hand to take a look at it, only to let it slip out of my claw as my current state suddenly hit me.

I was covered in blood, most of which wasn't mine.

At this, my hands began to shake as each and every face of each and every life I took started to pile themselves upon my conscience. During the time, I had hid behind the excuse that there was innocents to save. However, now that all of that was over, I could feel the weight of each life pressing down upon me, crushing me under their debilitating weight. I lost track of time as questions about those I had killed and what I had done continually bombarded me, filling me with guilt, forcing me to second guess every decision I had made since my arrival.

I... I don't... it wasn't... I thought as tears came to my eyes.

You didn't have to kill them all, a small voice said in the back of my mind. That one dog that you ran through? You totally could have knocked him out, instead. Also, you were pretty quick to reach for your murder tools in the bathroom.

No, please, I just wanted to save them, I thought, not even aware of the voices and shouting around me.

Well, you certainly saved one group of people, I'll grant you that, the nasty little voice taunted in my ear.

At that, I couldn't hold back the tears any longer, and with a wail that surprised the guards around me, I began to cry like a child.

Author's Note:

Well, here is chapter four! Going to take a little break on this one, now that the museum is done with, and head back over to What I've Done for the next chapter.

Also, if you see anything wrong, don't hesitate to point it out! I'm really good at taking criticism, honest!

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