• Published 30th Jul 2012
  • 1,529 Views, 169 Comments

Afraid Of My Shadow - Deyeaz

Sometimes, our most irrational fears can become our worst nightmares.... (Sequel to Horns, Hooves, and Fur)

  • ...

X - Black Magic 101 (Praxis)

Afraid Of My Shadow

Written by CraimerX and ShadowWeaver

X - Black Magic 101 (Praxis)

The party ended much faster than any of us could’ve expected.

It had started off at about... sundown, I reckon, which was around... what, eighteen hundred hours? The sky had been so many shades of fire, ranging from red to yellow on a gradient scale. Now it’s a little bit before midnight. The moon shone high up in Luna’s impeccable night sky, the lunar sphere pouring its indigo blood into the environment, the radiance from the moon being like a lighthouse and giving off enough light upon the town to allow other ponies to see where they trek off to.

“Some party, eh?” Jace asked me, nudging me in the ribs a bit. He and Vinyl were heading to their bed in their brilliant mansion at the edge of the village; me, Trixie and Riku were heading to my treehouse in the forest, with the latter on my shoulder in a fireman hold, for he had been fast asleep.

Speaking of sleeping, I still need to buy beds for Trixie and Riku...

“Too right. I haven’t had fun in quite a while,” I commented, adjusting my grip of the sleeping child that was on my shoulder.

“Because you were a garden trinket for about four years,” Trixie chuckled, with a round of laughter coming from everyone, even me.

“True, true...” I stifled a yawn and shook my head, trying to keep awake. Right now, I envy my son for being able to sleep as heavily as he does.

The time seems to fly once again, faster than an eagle diving for its prey. Before I can even begin to comprehend how quickly the sands of time had poured, we had already reached Ponyville’s outskirts, at Jace’s and Vinyl’s mansion.

“See ya in the mornin’, Prax,” Jace yawned before he and Vinyl walked past the gates and onto their property.

“Hold on, Trixie,” I said before I grabbed the azure mare and slung her over my shoulder as well.

“Hey! Put Trix - I mean, me - down this instant!” Trixie admonished.

“Ehh, shut up,” I grumbled before I started running again. It was at a rather slow jog, but enough for me to travel at a fast, brisk pace.

It only took about a minute before I reached the edge of the Everfree Forest. I ventured inside and found my tree-house in a matter of seconds. After, I went inside, I placed Trixie down on one couch, and Riku on the other, before tossing a blanket over each of them and walking upstairs. “G’night, Trixie,” I yawned.

“Good night,” the illusionist replied. I jumped into my hammock and started swinging on it from the momentum I had given it from my landing.

I waited awhile to let rocking motions lul me off to sleep.

"Er... Praxis?" I jerked awake to see Trixie again.

"Yeah?" I said tiredly.

"I just wanted to say... thank you. For having fun with me tonight... and taking me in." She smiled warmly, and embraced me. I was a bit taken by surprise, but I smiled and hugged her in return, patting her back.

"Don't mention it." Trixie pulled away. "Now, why don't you get some shut-eye, huh?"

"Alright. Good night, Praxis..." she said again, going back downstairs and leaving me in peace.

I awoke the next morning, the sun in my eyes being the source to my arousal.

I’m getting real tired of your bullshit, Celestia. REEEAAAL tired.

I walked downstairs, and shook Trixie and Riku awake.

“Guys, get up. Wake up, y’all.”

“Mmm...” Trixie grumbled.

“What do you guys wanna do today?” I asked the two.

“Food. Trix - er, I - require food.”

“Okaaaay...” I looked over to my son. “Riku? What about you? Ya wanna hang out with Wubsy and Vinyl and Jace?” I suggested

“OH SHOOT!” Riku screamed abruptly, his brown eyes wide in shock as he was up and about the living room of the treehouse with a start. “I can’t believe I forgot!”

“What do you mean?”

“Auntie Vinyl kept telling me that when Uncle Jace came back, she and him would get married!” Without warning, he grabbed my arm and started dragging me out the door. “We GOTTA head to Ms. Rarity’s right now!”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” I exclaimed before yanking my arm out of my son’s grip. “Shouldn’t we at least have breakfast first, kiddo?”

Riku sighed in frustration. “Okay...” he groaned. Me and Trixie chuckled lightly.

“I’m gonna go rustle up some grub,” I said, looking around for something to carry our elusive breakfast in. “Trixie, do you mind giving me your hat?”

“My hat?!” Trixie swiped her hat off of her head and held it close to her torso like it was a newborn foal. “Trix - er, I - shall do no such thing!”

“Please, Trixie?” I asked politely, my hand extended to grab her hat. A few seconds transcended before Trixie finally gave up the hat with an “oh, fine....” in defeat. I grasped it with a smile and a small “thank you” before leaving the house. I turn to the large macintosh apple tree next to my house. The fruits were still large, green, and ripe, the skin shining in the light of the sun.

I had planted that fruit tree when... well, when Big Macintosh had died. It had happened so suddenly; one minute, he was fine, and the next... he was laying on the floor of his family’s barn, coughing up blood as a support beam came crashing down on him, rupturing his lungs and breaking his ribs.

I had to venture to Tartarus to bring the stallion back to life. Ezekiel, or Zeke the Grim Reaper, had given me a vial of golden glowing sand, an incredibly rare grain collected from the black beaches of Tartarus. The golden sands are capable of granting one wish, but only if you concentrated very hard on what you want to come true.

I couldn’t stand to see Applejack’s, Granny Smith’s, and Applebloom’s sorrow at the passing of their family member, no matter how well they tried to hide hat sorrow. So... instead of wishing for all the money and women in the world, or immortality... I wished for Big Macintosh to come back to life.

I can honestly say it was a good thing to do.

With a sigh, I grabbed a few apples off of the tree and put them in the hat before venturing deeper into the Everfree Forest.

The trek takes about a few minutes at most, but at last, I find a plethora of bushes, each with a different assortment of berries dotting them here and there. Boysenberries, blackberries, blueberries, et cetera. With a little smirk, I walked over and started to pluck the berries from the bushes and into the hat.

I consumed about a minute of plucking before the hat was full. I turned to leave... but I stopped cold in my tracks when my sensitive hearing picked up the sound of growling.

I slowly turned around and saw a manticore staring at me from across the clearing. I gulped in worry. Sure, I had handled a manticore before, but... this didn’t look pretty.

I put down the magician’s cap full of fruit and sighed heavily. “Look, I didn’t come here to fight you. I just came to get breakfast. Now kick rocks,” I told the beast. When the manticore didn’t comply, I raised my fists up in a defensive martial arts stance, despite not knowing any martial arts. “Did I not make myself clear? Beat it!”

The beast growled louder and advanced slowly. Something felt off... the manticore’s eyes were pitch black, rather than having any white vitreous fluid. I felt my right hand tingling a bit, with me not noticing it until now due to how transfixed my gaze was upon the manticore and its eye problem. I glanced at my hand and went wide-eyed again at whatever transformation it was undergoing. The fingers on my hand elongated to about two-and-a-half feet long, the undersides of each finger appearing as sharp as dragon scales. The cerulean eye on my hand was now a glowing malevolent red.

“Last time, damn it...” I warned. “Get lost!”

The manticore only roared, before charging me violently. I rolled out of the way to avoid the attack before it could trample me. The manticore whirled around and whipped his scorpion tail at me, the tip ready to pierce the flesh and pump me full of venom. I sidestep to evade the jab, but just by a few inches. The tail lodged deep into the trunk of a tree that was behind me and stayed there, regardless of how hard the beast tried to free itself. Instinctively, I swung my right hand down upon the tail before it could relinquish its stinger from the tree. The fingers sliced through the armored tail like a heated knife through warm melting butter.

The manticore roared in agony now that his tail has been removed, stepping back as green toxins sprayed out from the severed end like someone had violently shook a can of soda and opened it afterwards. The monster leered at me again before charging once more. I bent my legs and jumped over the stampeding monster, landing behind him. The manticore whipped around again and slashed at me with his claws. I hadn’t been quick enough to dodge the attack, however, so the claws sliced through my torso, leaving a quartet of parallel gashes upon my body.

The cuts weren’t deep. But the pain... it felt unreal. Like the claws were not only sharp, but as hot as fire.

“AAAAAAGH!” I exclaimed, watching as the blood poured from the wounds and raced down the front of my body into my fur, staining the brown hairs red. “You dirty bastard!”

Without thinking, I charged at the monster, finger-blades poised at the ready. The beast slashed again, but I sidestep again. I swung my hand down, slicing off its paw. The limb plopped onto the floor with a thump, and the manticore screeched even louder as blood paints the green grass crimson. Without hesitation, I jabbed my hand into its mouth, the fingers stabbing into its throat and out of the back of its head. I felt anguish race through my arm when I see the fangs of the manticore had buried into my forearm. Ignoring the excruciation as best as I could, I angled my hand so that the fingers were pointing down, yet my arm was still straight. With a flick of my wrist, I ripped off the head of the manticore, gore splashing out in rivers out of the creature’s neck wound.

I backed away from the decapitated carcass of the monster, its head still weighing down my arm. I gingerly removed the fangs from out of my arm, almost yelling from the pain. The head landed the ground with a thump, but I gritted my teeth from the pain that surges through my arm like electricity.

I tumbled on my arse, exhausted from the attack and pain I was enduring. I heard a sizzling sound coming from my arm, and I chanced a look at it. The holes where the fangs had pierced the limbs were sizzling and smoking, each artificial orifice slowly closing up. Four or five seconds transpire before the holes disappear, like they had never even been there in the first place.

While my arm was now perfectly fine, with the fingers now returning to their original length and appearance and the red eye now back to being cerulean, the same couldn’t really be said for my chest. I looked down, and I saw nothing other than my wounded torso and my flute.

My flute...

Hold on...!

It’s been four years since I’ve done bioharmonic magic, the magic of creating, improving, and enhancing life through music. And since satyrs can perform this kind of magic through woodwind-playing...

I lifted my flute up to my lips, happy to feel the swirling engravings on the silver instrument’s surface. I started playing a tune from my childhood.

My memory of flute-playing started to come back to me as my fingers flew from hole to hole, plugging each one in the appropriate tune. Slowly, but surely, I felt a tingling sensation on my body as magic poured itself onto the wounds. I looked down and, sure enough, the slashes were gradually sealing themselves shut, first the flesh, and then the skin. After I had finished playing, It didn’t even look like I had even been injured at all.

Good God, Nintendo 64. You know how much I love you right now, correct?

I got back up again, but I had to grab onto a tree to keep myself from losing my balance and falling onto the ground from how lightheaded I was, from both the blood loss and the performance of magic... especially on a sentient and sapient being such as me.

“Urgh... I think my magic is reserved for plantlife only, I guess,” I groaned as I walked over to Trixie’s hat full of fruit. Shockingly, the fruit and the hat had all remained untarnished from the bloodshed. I grabbed the hat and carried it back towards my house, the journey taking a bit longer than I was accustomed too.

I entered the house and tossed the hat of fruit on Trixie’s lap. She caught the hat, smiling at the food inside, but she saw me and her eyes became fraught with worry. “Praxis, are you alright?”

“Y-yeah,” I answered dishonestly. “I’m fine.” I sat cross-legged in front of the coffee table in the center of the room, with Trixie sitting on one of the couches. I stared at the ceiling and enjoyed the quiet of the room. “Where’s Riku?” I turned to face Trixie, and I think the look on my face was enough to scare her.

“He, um... he had to go to the Carousel Boutique,” Trixie said far too quickly. "Yeah. He wanted to get our clothes for the wedding, is all." I narrowed my eyes, scanning her face for any emotions that would betray her answer.



And a smattering of fear.


“What a load of shit,” I spat. “Trixie. Where. Is. My. Son?” I gritted my teeth again, flashing the sharp points at her. Trixie buckled under the pressure.

“He went deeper into the forest to look for you, you had been gone for too long!” Trixie quickly screamed. I felt my heart stop and plummet into my stomach, my hearing suddenly failing me, like a flashbang had gone off.

Riku... is in the forest?!


“SHIT!” I suddenly hollered, running outside, my eyes scanning frantically for the little boy, my ears taking in every audible detail around me until I heard-


“RIKU!” I screamed, rushing northbound into the forest where I had heard him. My outrageous speed helped me reach his location within a matter of seconds, but I stopped at what I saw.

My son was treed up a tall sycamore, cowering violently as a half a dozen timber wolves were looking up at him hungrily, maws dripping out a weird secretion, like saliva. Their eyes, however, weren’t a glowing yellow... but instead, an empty black.

“Baba!” Riku cried, tears pouring from his eyes and landing on both the ground and the timber wolves below him. “Help me! Please!”

“Hang on, Riku! I’m coming!” I roared before facing the timber wolves, who also turned around at my voice. “Hey! Twiggy bitches! Get away from him!”

Hey, it’s decrepit and immoral of me to swear in front of my offspring, but if it gets those wooden freaks away from my son, then I could care less right now.

The wolves advanced, and the fingers on my right hand started to become blades again, with the draconic eye becoming red once more. I gritted my teeth in anger at the six wolves that encircled me. Two wolves lunged at me, their claws and fangs sharpened and poised to hit me. I stepped back, letting the two collide with one another, a sickening crack ringing out from the impact. Without mercy, I whipped my right hand upon their necks, decapitating the two cleanly as tree sap, their version of gore, spilled out from their throats.

A third wolf leapt and tried to swipe at my chest, but I sidestepped and launched my fist at him, the black limb stretching and socking him in the cheekbone. The struck wolf skidded a few feet in the dirt, yet came back at me in full force. He jumped, and I slashed at him, cutting him in half from his wooden nose to his tail, the tree sap splashing down my arm.

The last three wolves simultaneously charged at me, and I just barely evaded it. I sliced again, cutting off the fourth’s head, and scarring the fifth, the sixth being out of reach from the attack. The two remaining wolves were persistent; I’ll give them that. But it’ll do them no good.

The fifth and sixth timber wolves Zerg Rushed me, but I saw it coming. In one jab, my arm shot out and skewered the fifth wolf, killing him in mid-air.

Unfortunately, the sixth wolf manages to land on me and starts slashing at my body.

Once again, agony crashed into me like tsunami waves, almost crippling me and causing me to writhe in the excruciation.

“BABAAA!” Riku cried from up on his tree. Before the wolf could bite my neck and rip out my jugular vein, I pulled my arm out from the dead timberwolf’s body and grabbed my attacker’s head with both hands. With as much exertion as I could summon, I violently turn the wolf’s head 120 degrees, snapping his neck.

Gingerly removing the wolf’s carcass off of me, I got up off the ground. With my right hand now back to appearing normal, I pressed its palm to my re-slashed torso in the hopes that it would heal the wounds like it had with Jace’s broken leg. Sadly, the vein-like tentacles did not appear and heal the injuries. I put my flute to my lips and played the Lost Woods tune again, magic pouring from my body... into my body. The multiple slashes closed up after twenty seconds of playing. I let the flute fall and dangle off of its strong rope necklace, more lightheaded than before. I tried to jump up the sycamore tree and land on the branch, next to Riku, but my energy reserves were severely drained. I threw my right arm at the branch Riku was still on, my arm stretching to reach it. I grab the bough and held tight. “Come on and climb down, Riku.” The boy started climbing down my arm precariously, until he finally reached me. I slung him over my shoulder. “Let’s go.” I started walking away from the corpses of the timber wolves.

That’s so bizarre. I’ve been living in the Everfree Forest of a long time. Many of the monsters, like the manticores, cockatrices, and timber wolves, haven’t bothered to disturb me at all. Now, since I came back, they’re just... enraged.

Those black eyes of theirs... I saw nothing but hatred and violence in them.

I reached my treehouse about half a minute later. I glanced behind me to check for any monsters that were following us. When I saw none at all, I sighed in relief.

“Riku,” I said when we entered the house. “You’re grounded for a month.”

“What?! Why?” Riku demanded.

“Because you went out into the forest without a guide! What would have happened if I hadn’t heard you? You could’ve gotten lost, or killed!”

“You get to go into the forest without a guide! Why can't I?!”

“First and foremost, don’t talk back to your father. Second, I can go in there because I can defend myself, and I’m old enough!” I turned to Trixie, who shrivelled at my glare. “And you, Trixie: why the hell did you not stop him from going out there? Or at least go with him and keep him safe?”

“I... I don’t know...” Trixie said dumbly. “I thought that you were close by... so I just... I just don’t know, Praxis, alright?”

I inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth, calming my nerves slightly. “Look. I’m not doing this to any of you because I hate you or I want to make you miserable. I care about you two... and I don’t want to see any of you get hurt, alright? I couldn’t live with myself if something had happened.”

“But can I at least be at the wedding today?” Riku begged, his brown eyes looking up at me in a form of pleading.

Damn. Out of one of my many weaknesses, it’s the begging puppy-dog look.

I sigh once more. “Fine.” The boy smiled widely. “But after today, you’re grounded.”

“D’OH!” Me and Trixie snickered at the boy’s exclamation before we set out for Rarity’s Carousel Boutique.

Weirdly enough, I saw neither Jace nor Vinyl Scratch.

Perfect: that means I could think in peace.

What was up with my arm, back in the Everfree Forest? I mean... it’s as if it went into attack mode whenever I sense danger, or an enemy.

Maybe I need to look into it more...

But for now, we should get our attire for Jace’s and Vinyl Scratch’s wedding. What I don’t get is why the hell it has to be so sudden...

~End of Chapter X~