• Published 10th May 2016
  • 3,478 Views, 438 Comments

The Titans' Orb: Rising Storm - Mister Horncastle

As Callum and the Mane Six continue their quest to find the shards of the Titans' Orb, the path ahead grows only more deadly, as they are now stalked by a relentless shadow that will stop at nothing to hunt them down...

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Chapter Two - A Grizzly Situation

Author's Note:

This chapter has yet to be rewritten, and is only semi-canon in the Titans' Orb storyline.

Should you wish to read on, please note that many scenes, plot elements, and lines of dialogue are subject to changes, some of which will be substantial.

The rewritten chapters will be uploaded as and when they are ready.

That is all. :twilightsmile:
- Mister Horncastle

“What are the biggest risks in going to Portugal? In Brazil we had crocodiles and drug gangs; in Ukraine we had radiation and mutants; what’s Portugal going to hold?” Twilight asked as we headed back to the camp.

“Well, it isn’t as bad as the first two locations; there’s only one type of poisonous snake, and you can sometimes find black widow spiders. Other than that, it’s pretty safe.” I told her.

“Okay, what about humans? Is there much crime?”

“I don’t know too much about that,” I shrugged, “but I can imagine it’s better than what we found in Brazil. There will most likely be a gang or two around the place in the poorer villages, but I doubt anything as bad as Inigo Montenegro.”

Twilight hummed, more to herself than to me. We were half way back to camp when she stopped me and turned to face me.

“I’ve wanted to do this for a while now, when we get back to camp, I’d like to make some modifications to your phone. That device is the only way to accurately track down the shards, so I’d like to improve it.” She told me.

I tilted my head.

“What kind of modifications?” I asked her.

“I just want to improve the device as a whole, a brighter torch light in case it’s dark, and a stronger case to prevent it breaking, that sort of thing.” She explained.

“Alright, we’ll look into it when we return to the others.” I replied.

She nodded and we continued our journey back to camp.

We soon entered the clearing to find chaos, absolute chaos; one of the tents were torn to shreds and the whole group were nowhere to be seen.

“What the fuck happened here!?” I blurted out.

“I don’t know, and I don’t like it.” Twilight said, fully of worry.

I looked into the torn up tent and found droplets of blood over the floor, fear began to course through me and my breath began to speed up. Something had attacked the camp, and one of the others were injured; we needed to find them as soon as possible.

“I’ve found blood.” I informed Twilight.

What!?” She yelped.

She rushed over and saw the droplets for herself, she slowly backed away and her eyes widened with terror. I looked around the camp for clues, the other tents were left unharmed, but the ponies were completely gone. I left the tent and looked around the ground for any sort of tracks, and found some hoof prints heading off east towards the coast.
“This way!” I called to Twilight as I grabbed Krocsbane and followed the hoof prints.

I continued tracking the others when I realised another set of prints, and they weren’t hoof prints…

“Oh shit…” I muttered under my breath.

“What is it?” Said Twilight shakily.

“A bear.” I replied.

I compared my hand to the size of the paw prints to find it was a very large bear, and was possibly a grizzly, but I wasn’t sure as I had no idea what breeds lived in this reserve. I picked up the pace and began to run alongside the prints in hope that the others weren’t too far ahead.

Up ahead I could hear someone howling out with pain, and I feared the worse; I sprinted as fast as I could until I came across the other five ponies huddled by a large rock; Rarity was on her side, screaming with agony as Applejack and Rainbow Dash held her down. As I grew closer I noticed the ground was splattered with blood, lots of blood.

Callum get over here, quick” Rainbow yelled as she saw me coming towards them.

I skidded to a halt and she got out of the way so I could get a proper look at Rarity, and gasped with sheer horror at what I saw.
All down the side of her neck was a set of deep lacerations, blood was still leaking out of them despite Fluttershy’s best efforts to keep pressure on them; on her back a small chunk of flesh was missing, and her hind left leg had massive puncture holes from a large bite, poor Rarity was gasping for air through her cries of agonizing pain.

“Oh fucking hell…” I muttered.

I knelt down by her and quickly took my shirt off and threw it to Twilight, along with my knife.

“Tear this into rags!” I ordered.

Twilight simply nodded and quickly began cutting the shirt up, her eyes wide with horror. I turned back to Rarity and put my palms onto her neck and put pressure onto the gashes; she cried out and tried to thrash around to get me off her.

“Rarity I’m sorry but you’re losing blood, I need to keep pressure on these cuts.” I breathed out.

She tried her best to stay still, but the pain was too much for her; she kept writhing and Applejack held her down as best as possible. I was nudged by a hoof and turned to see Twilight had finished cutting up my shirt; I took the rags and put them over Rarity’s wounds, it didn’t take long before they were completely soaked with her blood; she was losing far too much. I looked back to Twilight and gestured for her to come closer.

“Do you have any freezing spells? If these rags were cold, they'd help stop the bleeding.”

She nodded and knelt beside me, her horn lit up and the blood-soaked rags shone purple for a moment, before becoming so cold that they were almost painful to touch. I stood up and had Fluttershy take over with keeping them firmly pressed onto the lacerations. I wiped the blood from my hands onto the grass and looked to Rainbow Dash.

“What happened here?” I demanded.

“We were just having breakfast, when this bear came out of nowhere and tried to grab one of our bags. I grabbed it and hid inside the tent and it tore it to shreds! We all ran off and it chased us, we got here to this great big rock and it cornered us; it went for Rarity and mauled her; if it wasn’t for her saddlebag, she’d be dead. It ripped it off her and ran away with it, we kept all our food in that bag!” She explained.

{It was probably hungry…} I thought to myself.

“Do you know where it went?” I asked.

Dash pointed off beyond the rock, and I began walking in that direction.

“You’re going after it!?” She questioned, her eyes widening.

“I’m going to get the bag back, we need that food.” I replied.

I looked down to Rarity to see she’d passed out from the pain, and Fluttershy was applying anti-septic to the wounds before removing a surgery kit from her medicine bag, presumably to start stitching once the bleeding had slowed down. I picked up Krocsbane and put it back into my sheath, took one last look at Rarity, before gritting my teeth in fury and heading off in the direction of the bear.

I’ll keep overwatch! QUARK!” Blu squawked as he flew overhead.

I’d been tracking the bear’s prints for a while before I found a cliff ahead; it was quite an interesting geographical formation, it was as though the ground had been split in half and one half had raised upwards into a massive hill. I scouted around until I found a large cave entrance, where the bear’s paw prints had led to. I unsheathed my knife and approached the cave; Blu fluttered onto my shoulder as we entered together.

“Look for the bare necessities… The simple bare necessities… Forget about your worries and your strife…” Blu quietly sang into my ear.

“If you don’t keep your beak shut, I’ll throw you at the bear as bait.” I hissed back.

The Macaw gave my ear a playful peck before keeping quiet as we went deeper into the cave; I listened as carefully as I could, and some distance further ahead I could hear the grunts of the bear. I slowly pulled out Krocsbane and tip-toed ahead until I finally found the creature; it was in the middle of the cave’s heart and was trying to tear open Rarity’s bag, but try as it might, the bag wouldn’t break. The size of the bear was pretty daunting, it was absolutely huge; I was afraid for a moment, but then looked back at what I'd taken on in Chernobyl, this bad boy was no more difficult than that.
I knew the bear was strong, and that I’d need to be quick and make sure it didn’t land a heavy strike on me; if it were able to get a hold of me, or worse, pin me down, this bear could rip me apart with as much ease as it had with poor Rarity. I also knew this thing would be able to take a beating, I couldn’t just stab it and let its stamina drain like with the deathclaw, I’d need to plant a killing blow to properly bring it down.

“How are we going to take this on…?” I mumbled to myself.

Don’t.” Blu quietly chirped into my ear.

I looked at the bird and frowned.

Really, don’t. Just grab the bag and run… You don’t have kill everything on your quest.” He whispered.

I pursed my lips before nodding in agreement. I would not kill the bear. What I needed now, was a distraction.

“You know Blu, I think I heard the bear making jokes about you… Something about… crackers…” I hissed.

The macaw’s eyes began twitching as his feathers started ruffling and puffing out until he was at least twice his size. Blu then jumped off my shoulder and shot towards the bear like a bullet, screeching as loud as he could; he made contact with the bear’s head and began savagely pecking at its ears. The bear stood on its hind legs and began roaring in shock and distress, shaking its head around and lashing out at the air with its gigantic paws. This was my chance and I darted forward and was able to slide next to the bag and loop my arm through one of the straps.

CRACKERS! CRACKERS! CRACKERS! CRACKERS!” Blu continued to screech as he circled the bear’s head.

But by then the bear had noticed me taking the bag and had totally ignored Blu as it began charging towards me. I stood up as tall as I could and opened my arms up wide to appear as big as physically possible.

NO!” I bellowed at the top of my lungs.

The bear stopped in its tracks, before rearing up and towering above me. It roared savagely and I took the brief stall to turn and run. I sprinted at my absolute maximum and whizzed through the cave, the rush of fear and adrenaline was intense as I heard the thundering of the bear’s paws getting closer and closer towards me.

“Watch out chicken noodle, he’s gaining on you!” Blu squawked as he flew just above the bear.

{I fucking noticed!} I thought to myself as I ran as hard as I could.

I could see the light of the cave’s exit ahead and swung my arms harder and harder, trying to gain as much forward momentum as possible. I finally reached the exit just as the bear got me; it head-butted me directly in the back and I was sent hurtling forward and fell over head over heels. I rolled over at the last moment and held out my arms to protect myself, before the weight of the bear came crashing down onto me like a house; the bastard was heavier than the mutant queen, and I suddenly felt an excruciating crunch in my shoulder and both my hands.
I tried to cry out in pain only to be silenced by the thick fur of the bear. I closed my eyes and expected it to finish me off, only to find it had stopped moving; it was dead.

{Why do dead things always land on me!?} I thought with frustration through my pain.

I gritted my teeth and tried to move my arms, only for one of them to respond; the pain that followed was sharp and intense, and I yelled with agony into the bear’s hide. My only hope was for Blu to fly back and get help; which I assumed he already had done as I couldn’t hear him.

About two minutes later the weight was lifted off me and I let air properly enter my lungs with a big gasp, I looked around expecting to see the others, only to be completely alone. I looked to my right shoulder to see my arm had been dislocated, along with my left wrist being put out of place; I could still feel my fingers but I could barely move them, I tried to clench my hand into a fist only for the fingers to twitch pathetically, which was followed by a sharp pain. I gritted my teeth as I know I wouldn’t be able to relocate either until the others got here, so I just slowly got up to my knees and waited, slowly catching my breath and trying to block out the pain from the side effects of having a fucking bear collapse onto you.

Eventually I heard the voices of the girls and looked over to see Rainbow Dash, Twilight and Applejack coming towards me, I remained on my knees and waited for them to approach me.

Dude, your arm!” Rainbow cried with shock.

I looked to my left arm to find it had completely come out of its shoulder socket and was dangling around as though it were made of rubber.

“Oh that’s nasty…” I muttered.

“Need some help with that?” Offered Applejack, walking towards me.

I nodded and allowed her to take my arm in one hoof, I gritted my teeth as I knelt down to one knee. Applejack reared up onto her hind legs and took my arm in both fore hooves before pushing it hard back into place; there was a loud crunch as all the tendons and ligaments went back into their normal places. I let out a loud sigh that was a mix of both pain and relief, before standing up and moving the arm around in circles to properly realign everything, resulting in a few more satisfying clicks and cracks.
Now I had my left arm back, I took hold of my right hand and clunked my wrist back into place as well. Once I’d sorted myself out physically, I turned to look at the bear to inspect the body.

“Dude… What the heck did you do?” Dash muttered, who was also looking at the body.

The bear lay in a crumpled heap, with smoke slowly emitting from a large hole in its back; the hole went all the way through its body and had completely disintegrated its heart and most of its lungs, the flesh was burnt and still hot to the touch, the bear had been killed by a laser.

“Callum, how in the hay did you do that?” Applejack asked, astounded.

“That’s the thing,” I spoke with concern, “I didn’t…”

“Then what did?” Twilight demanded.

I shrugged, all I knew is that something just killed a bear with one shot and we were very possibly next.

“We should get back to Rarity.” Applejack brought up.

Everyone agreed on that, and we headed back to the others.

When we returned to the large rock, we found Pinkie and Fluttershy had put together a makeshift stretcher out of the destroyed tent from camp (they must have gone back to get it whilst I was retrieving Rarity’s bag), they had managed to put Rarity onto the stretcher, whom was unconscious. Her wounds were now coated in a generous helping of Oozima, and I presumed that Fluttershy had also closed the injuries too, judging by the surgery kit I'd spotted earlier, along with the specks of blood that now dotted her muzzle.

“I gave her a sedative for her own good, she’ll wake up in a few hours.” She sighed.

I nodded, while Twilight stepped forward with a disgruntled look.

“In a few hours? Fluttershy we need to move out now, we know where the next orb shard is.” She told her.

“I’m glad we’ve found where to go, but for now, Rarity needs to be transported back to camp, and kept there until she is in a better condition.” Flutters replied calmly.

“We have a mission, a-”

“And I have a patient. I’m sorry Twilight but we are not going anywhere until she’s recovered slightly.” She interrupted Twilight.

Twilight frowned before showing some understanding and backed down. I looked to Rarity to see the bleeding had stopped and had been smothered in Oozima, I could only imagine how much pain she’d be in when she woke up; the bear had caused some serious damage.

“What do we do until then?” I asked Twilight.

“You stay out of my way, and rebuild the camp with Rainbow Dash and Applejack.” She ordered.

“Hey, don’t get bitchy with me because we can’t move out right away.” I retorted.

Without warning I was swept off my feet by a magical blast and sent a metre backwards, I landed onto a heap on the ground and Twilight stepped right up to me.

“You tell me what to do, one more time, and I’ll get a lot worse than bitchy.” She hissed.

Applejack quickly got in between us and forced Twilight to back down and defended me.

“Woah there Twilight, there was no need for that!”

“Whatever…” She spat and trotted off to camp alone.

I stood up and brushed myself off before Applejack turned to face me with a concerned look.

“What was that all about?” She demanded to know.

“I don’t know, she just got really snappy all of a sudden.” I shrugged.

The farm pony hummed, and then sighed.

“This adventure is getting the better of most of us Sugarcube, but Twilight mostly…

Just try to stay as out of the way as you can.” She advised me.

I nodded and was about to head off to camp when Fluttershy came over to me and prodded my leg.

“Excuse me, would you be so kind as to carry Rarity along on the stretcher? You’re one of the strongest here and it would make it a lot easier.” She politely requested.

I dipped my head in agreement and went over to Rarity, whom was twitching with pain even while under the influence of a sedative; the majority of her white fur was stained red and brown from her own blood, if she hadn’t had Fluttershy and I to tend to her wounds, she’d be dead by now.

“Oh Rare…” I sighed with a great sadness.

I bent down and placed my hand on her forehead, I stroked gently down the left side of her face and closed my eyes; seeing my friend in such a bad state was very difficult for me, I inhaled shakily before standing up and taking the handles of the stretcher and began dragging her along behind me back to camp…

One Week Later...

It was the middle of the night, and the moon was high. I’d left my tent to find myself within a less jungle-like woodland, the trees around me went on for ever. In the middle by a campfire was Twilight, whom looked up at me and snarled.

“What do you want?” She hissed.

I didn’t say anything and sat beside her, and put an arm around her. The moment I made contact with her, she turned to dust, I recoiled in shock and looked around to find the tents were gone, and a few small snowflakes were falling from the sky.

“What’s going on…?” I muttered.

There was a horrific, loud, blood gurgling scream from behind me and I whipped around to see a trail of blood on the forest floor, the blood was glowing and the stench of death in the air was so intense I almost threw up. I followed the trail until I came across one of the six, it was Pinkie Pie at first, but every time I blinked she changed into one of the others. I went over to her and suddenly all six of the girls were surrounding me.

“Where are we?” I asked.

“Home.” A voice spoke.

The voice was male, it echoed faintly and sounded like sandpaper across your face.

“I don’t have a home anymore.” I replied, turning in different directions to pinpoint the voice.

“It’s our home, and will also be yours in time.” The voice spoke again.

All six of the ponies stepped in closer to me, and I gulped with nervousness.

“What is this place, really?” I demanded.

“This is the forest.” The voice calmly replied.

“What forest?”

Without warning the ponies began screaming with pain, their fur and skin melted away until they were nothing but bones, before they disintegrated into ash. Snow began to fall properly now and it started settling onto the ground, the trees began to wither. In the treeline ahead I noticed a black figure had appeared; whatever it was, it was concealed under a cloak; the moment I blinked, it was gone.

Suddenly an agonizing pain shot through my entire body and I froze like ice, gasping as my diaphragm stopped responding and allowing me to breathe, I looked down to see two large swords impaling me from behind; my blood dripped off the tips and turned the snowy ground a dark crimson.

“This… Is the afterlife of Equus… Where you will spend the rest of eternity…” Said a much more sinister voice.

The voice was raspy, deep, and demonic, it echoed as it spoke, and on the ground ahead I could see a large shadow that revealed whatever was behind me, to be a monster that stood eight feet high, and had six large legs on either side of its body.

“This… Is the Frozen Forest…” He hissed, before I fell to the ground.

I sat up in bed with a start, my forehead was practically dripping with sweat; I looked to my left to see Fluttershy fast asleep, thankfully my abrupt awakening hadn’t disturbed her.

{What a weird dream…} I thought to myself, before stretching and getting up.

I left my tent and took another, more satisfying stretch; before noticing Pinkie Pie sitting outside on her own. I walked over to her and prodded her shoulder.

“Hey, you alright?” I asked quietly.

“Yeah, just thinking.” She calmly replied.

I sat down beside her and put an arm around her shoulder.

“What about?”

“Just thinking about home.” She sighed.

“Aw Pinkie…”

She turned around and hugged me tightly.

“This place scares me… A lot…” She mumbled.

I gave her a great big cuddle and took a long sigh.

“You know Pinkie, this place scares me to; and I live here.
I know this world is full of nasty things that make it almost impossible to keep a smile on your face, but this mission is so unbelievably important; the fate of your entire planet depends on it. You’re special Pinkie, all six of you are; your friendships keep you strong; one is no good without the other.
We need you Pinks… You’re our smile…”

As I held her tighter, I could feel her jaw move slightly against the side of my head as she began to smile.

“You’re right, thanks Callum.” She beamed.

I pulled back and looked at her eye to eye, before giving her a large grin.

“Anytime Pinkie.”

Pinkie soon headed off to bed, while I lay on my back and looked up at the stars through the gaps in the trees. My newly upgraded phone vibrated and I pulled it out to see I had a notification, indicating that its new operating system had been installed.

“Very nice…” I grinned to myself.

Over the past week Twilight and I had been brainstorming on how we could improve my phone, and had put together some pretty useful new upgrades; Pinkie had allowed us to dismantle her JoyBoy for an extra motherboard, (the JoyBoy was like the Equestrian version of a Nintendo DS). Twilight had also used an alchemy spell to turn the phone’s case into a metal alloy from Equestria that was equal to titanium, if not stronger, I daresay it was stronger than an old brick Nokia.
My favourite addition, however, was the BioMetrics we’d installed. The phone could only be used by me, as it recognised my DNA whilst holding the device; it could also scan my entire body and find any illnesses, infections, or abnormalities; including my thirst, hunger, and levels of tiredness, and pretty much everything I needed to know. Thinking about it, it was a lot like a more advanced Pipboy from the game Fallout.

Feeling curious, I opened up the new BioMetric Body Scanner app, and looked at my bodily status.

Illnesses: None
Abnormalities: Autism, Depression
Hunger: Satisfied
Thirst: Satisfied
Rest: Slightly Drained
Fitness: Athletically Fit
Overall Status: Healthy

I smiled, besides being ever-so slightly fucked up in the head, I was a perfect human specimen!
My smile was soon replaced by a dull expression as I heard a pair of hoof steps, followed by Twilight’s voice.

“Get up, we need to talk.”

“Can’t I have a day without you being an asshole?” I muttered back.

I sat up and looked at Twilight, who had sat down behind me.

“You knew.” She said blankly.

“I knew what?” I shrugged, before letting out a quiet yawn.

“You knew that we’ve been here before.”

That got my attention, I sat up properly and turned to face her with a look of curiosity.

“What do you mean?” I asked her, tilting my head.

“Since I found the first orb shard, I’ve been getting visions; memories I don’t remember having. I just had a vision of my friends in a house, on Earth; there was a human, and he was hugging Rainbow Dash. Princess Celestia told me about the time difference between our worlds, which you already knew about.
You knew we were here before, and I want to know why.”

I wanted nothing more than to tell them all about what happened, but here wasn’t the place.

“Yes, I knew, but I had no involvement with the event.” I replied calmly.

“Well what happened?” She demanded.

“Twilight, it’s gone midnight, it’s the early hours of the morning; I’m not telling you here and now.” I said sleepily.

“Tell me…” She ordered, baring her teeth.

“I’m tired, and in pain from the bear attack. Just leave me alone.” I moaned back.

“Tell me now, or else.”

“I’ll go with ‘or else’, I’m really not in the mood Twilight.”

I heard the sound of Twilight’s magic, and before I knew what was happening, I was lifted into the air before being slammed back down into the ground, being pinned by her magic, I couldn’t lift a single limb.

“We’re in a sound proof bubble, nobody can hear us; if you don’t tell me the truth, I will force it out of you.” She threatened, her horn glowing.

With all my might I was able to break free from her spell and kick my legs upwards, hitting her in the jaw; I rolled backwards to my feet and clenched my fists.

“That was a warning, stand down or I will retaliate.” I growled.

For once, I was genuinely surprised as she deactivated her magic and looked down at the ground.

“I’m not in the mood for fighting…” She sighed, and walked off to her tent.

{What was that for?} I thought to myself grumpily, before heading back to bed.

A few days later, Rarity had made a speedy recovery; her wounds were scabbing over and were healed enough for us to progress into our mission, however it was clear they would definitely leave permanent scars.

“Darling, would you get my saddlebag?” She asked me as we all packed up the tents.

I smiled and nodded, before retrieving her bag; she beckoned me to sit with her as she used her magic to open one of the many enchanted compartments. I was expecting her to retrieve something for herself, but instead pulled out a black jacket and gave it to me.

“Here, I found this back in Ukraine while you were getting the orb shard; it’s not much, but it’s the most fashionable thing I could find.” She offered kindly.

“Rarity… This is lovely!” I grinned.

I took the jacket and put it on, it was both stylish and comfortable; along with having various pockets for storing things. It was actually really nice!

“I love it!” I exclaimed merrily and gave Rarity a tender hug.

“Ow, careful darling, that’s still tender.” She squeaked.

I backed away and looked at the large scabbed gashes down her neck, and I quickly apologised. I was tapped on the shoulder and turned to see Twilight.

“What’s up Twinkie?” I asked, rolling my eyes.

“The mission, is what’s up; follow me.” She grunted.

I looked to Rarity and pulled a stupid face, causing her to giggle. I got up and followed Twilight until she stopped a few metres away from camp.

“While Rarity’s wounds finish healing up, I want to send you to Portugal alone; I figured you could get a head start on finding the next shard.” She explained to me.

While she was evidently trying to get rid of me, it was actually a fairly decent plan.

“Alright, sounds good; but how will you guys find me though once you come to?” I asked.

“Thanks to the upgrades on your phone, we’ll be able to track you.” She answered.

“Fair enough.” I hummed.

I went over to my bag to get Krocsbane, I left the bag for Rarity to pack into her own saddlebag as I didn’t have any current need for it; I’d travel light for Portugal. Once I had said my goodbyes to everyone, I went back to Twilight and let her know I was ready.

“Right, let’s not waste any time; stand still, and prepare yourself.” She ordered.

Her horn lit up and my entire body started warming up, I could feel my skin vibrating as my entire being became enveloped in bright purple light; I started to rise up off the ground before I began to feel dizzy, my vision started to go blurry.

“Good luck walking across the entire country, human.” Twilight hissed.

“Wait, what!?” I exclaimed.

Everything went black.

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