• Published 16th Aug 2016
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Ebony and Ivory: To the Future - SGZone



Ebony and Ivory expand their horizons to become the leaders their hive needs. While old enemies conspire against their family.

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Chapter 3

Author's Note:

New chapter! Sorry, this chapter took so long but I'm getting back into the swing of drawing so I'm still a little slow. Though, I feel like I'm improving little by little in both art and story-telling. Again comments and criticism are always welcome.

Ebony gasped for breath and doubled over as Ivory delivered a powerful punch to his ribs. Ivory had landed five punches in the same spot over the course of the fight. A purple bruise started to form and Ebony could swear it went down to the bone. Ivory prepared to follow through with a blow to Ebony’s wide open head but Ebony caught his arm at the bend. Despite the crippling pain, Ebony sprang forward his arm sliding up from the block and striking Ivory square in the mouth.

Ebony could feel blood spray onto his knuckles from Ivory’s nose. Ivory stepped back from the pain but Ebony wasn’t done. Pouring all his strength into his left fist he delivered a devastating blow to Ivory’s left side. Ivory choked for air and skidded back to escape Ebony’s barrage. Looking to end it Ebony once again through a powerful right cross to Ivory’s skull. However, Ivory managed to catch the attack like Ebony did before. This time, though, Ivory pulled Ebony toward him and raised his leg for a kick at Ebony’s stomach. Ebony tried to use his free hand to block it but Ivory’s superior strength won the clash. Ebony’s hand barely managed to absorb most of the kick but he could still feel it in his gut. With Ebony’s hand crushed into his sole Ivory stomped down, and Ebony’s hand followed.

Dread swept over him as he looked down at his wide open abdomen. Ivory sprang his other leg up and readied another kick. With his arms to the side, Ebony could only clench his teeth and ready his body for the blow. Ivory’s leg shot forward and dug into Ebony’s gut. Ebony was not prepared for just how much stronger his brother had become. He stumbled backward and fell to his knees, clutching his stomach.

“That’s enough,” a voice called from the other side of the room. Alexandrae, who had been watching from the side of the ring, walked onto the mat. With the fight over Ivory collapsed onto the ground holding the various bruises on his body.

While Ebony did lose he made a mess of his brother. Ivory had a cut on his right temple that started to swell, the bridge of his nose had been split open, and he had deep purple bruises all over his body, legs and arms. Ebony on the other hand from a quick glance looked less beaten up but he was probably in even more pain. His cheek had a deep gash, the right side of his body had a massive purple welt, and he had a deep purple bruise on his left thigh. Each of these wounds was from Ivory’s precise assaults, attacking the same spot over and over.

“Very good, you’ve both been improving but some more than others…” she looked from Ivory to Ebony.

“Ivory, congratulations, you’re strength one this match but just barely. You left yourself open too often. All it would have taken is one solid blow from Ebony and you would be tasting the dirt.” She ran one of her fingers across a bruise on his chest. “However, your form was impeccable you had a strategy and you managed to stick to it. Now learn how to keep your hands up and guard yourself, and you’ll be a force to be reckoned with.” She smiled and ruffled his hair.

“Ebony,” she walked over to the still huddled prince. “You lost this match. Now use this as an opportunity to improve. So what will you not do next time?” She asked.

Ebony looked up at his aunt. “Lose?” He asked back, which earned him a smack on the back of the head.

“Don’t be a smart-ass,” she growled. Ebony, unwisely, chose to take his smartassery a step further and rolled his eyes. Alexandrae grabbed him by a tuft of his hair and pulled his head up to look him in the eyes. “Stop being a sore loser and answer my question.” Ebony still had a small pout on his face, he already knows why he lost why announce to everyone?

“I got tired too quickly. I was winning but then I got tired and had to go on the defensive and catch my breath. That’s when he started to beat me.” He mumbled. Alexandrae sighed and let go of his hair.

“Good start.” She mumbled. She then knelt down next to the beaten prince. “If you would spend less time moping and spent more of it training you could be even better than Ivory. You’re built to be a fighter. You got these bony knuckles that hurt like hell.” She started, rubbing the bloodied stubs. “You’re good at taking a punch and dealing one back, not to mention your magic. But all of that means nothing if you don’t apply yourself.” She explained. It was a speech she had given a dozen times, but one Ebony found difficult to adhere to. Alexandrae let out a defeated sigh.

“Well think about it while I patch up Ivory.” The winner was always healed first. Ivory laid down on the ground as Alexandrae’s horn illuminated with magic. A soft red glow surrounded his many cuts and bruises. Leaving Ebony alone with his thoughts.

He knew his Aunt was right but it felt like he couldn’t apply himself anymore. He was “good” at just about everything, a jack of all trades, but he didn’t excel at anything. It burned a hole into his stomach as he looked over to Ivory. Ebony stewed and let time escape him until Alexandrae brought him back to reality.

“Ebony lie down it’s your turn.” Ebony looked over to see that Ivory’s beaten body was almost completely healed. All of the smaller injuries were gone, the swelling around his eye had gone down, and the larger bruises became smaller.

While Alex was tending to his brother Ivory was stewing in his own problems, mostly about Ebony. He knew Alex was right that he could have lost to Ebony just as easily and it burned him up inside. He had been learning from Alex nonstop preparing for the entrance exams to the academy. Yet his brother’s natural talents kept them on even playing fields.

“I think what you two need is a look at what it takes to enter the military. What they go through and how they prepare themselves. Today we’re going to the military academy so you can get a taste of training with incoming freshman. See how good you have to be just to be accepted.” Alex and Ebony stood up. His nastier wounds had healed to an acceptable level. He still had a nasty cut on his cheek, a sizable bruise and it still was uncomfortable to put pressure on his left leg.

Ivory perked up at the idea of visiting the academy. “Really? Are we really gonna get to see the marshalling-grounds and practice on it?” Ivory was practically jumping in place.

“We’ll have you go through a couple of drills and see what you can handle. You’ll also get to see what the classes are like.” She replied. Ivory pumped his fist in jubilation.

“Maybe that’ll give Ivory enough time can get some autographs, shine their armor, and maybe relieve some tension,” Ebony smirked and shook his hand in a suggestive manner. Ivory glared at him and jabbed him in his still sore side.

“Ouch, bastard!” Ebony cried and grabbed his side. He turned to Ivory and hissed at him. To which Ivory hissed right back.

“Both of you stop it,” Alex ordered. “Hopefully the ride to the academy will give you a chance to cool off.” Grumbling, Ebony and Ivory followed Alexandrae out of the room.

On the cart ride to the military academy, the two princes sat as far as they could away from each other. They were hugging the walls of the cart. Ebony peeked through the thin cracks of the thick curtains, still sulking. Ivory, on the other hand, had his arms crossed and was staring into space.

Alexandrae placed her chin in her hand and quietly sighed. ‘What on earth is their problem,” she pondered. ‘I can get why Ebony would be sulking. He’s always taken any loss a bit too hard but not Ivory, especially not after winning.’ She knitted her eyebrows and pursed her lips. ‘Do I ask them what’s wrong, would that work,’ she theorized.

“So is everything alright? You know you guys can tell me anything that's bothering you.” She cooed. The response was a unanimous and terse, no. The two didn’t even bother to look at her.

Alexandrae’s lips curled into a scowl. “Tch, teenagers,” she huffed. She leaned back and folded her arms with a sigh. Letting the carriage return to a tense silence.

Finally, the carriage arrived at its destination.

"Before we go in I want you to drop whatever attitudes you have. I will not have you embarrass me by entering this place like a couple of spoiled brats. To enter these hallowed halls without ever being accepted into its ranks is a great honor, even for royalty. Chrysalis rarely enters the place unless it’s vitally important to keep the sanctity.” Alex stated.

“Yes, ma’am.” They replied. They may be miffed at their situations but they would never risk jeopardizing their family’s honor or reputation.

Flanked by a platoon of guards the three royalty entered through the massive iron gates. The military academy was an intimidatingly beautiful structure. Sheer black walls made up the central academy building. The roof was sharp and jagged like a crown. With sharp spires extending towards the sky. To the right was a massive obstacle course that stretched to almost the entire length of the 100 yard-long walls.

Ivory looked ahead and saw another file of guards walk towards them. Between them was three other changelings. In the middle was a rather small woman, just a little taller than Arthemis, but she had the walk of a changeling of power. The changeling to the right of her was slightly taller and well built with well-toned muscles. However, he looked puny compared to the giant on the other side. The two princes had never seen a man that large. He was almost taller than their imposing aunt and his arms were like tree trunks.

“General Alexandrae, Colonel Kirix reporting. It's good to see you again sir.” The woman saluted.

“Corporal Avalanche, reporting general.” The right man saluted.

“Corporal Roaring Wind, reporting general.” The giant man saluted.

“At ease,” Alexandrae ordered. “Roaring Wind, huh? Quite the interesting name.” Alex looked over to the Roaring.

“Yes, ma’am, I was born in the sub-hive close to Manehatten. My parents took a liking to Equestrian naming conventions.” He replied. Alexandrae didn’t say anything but nodded her head in approval. “Boys introduce yourselves.”

Ebony and Ivory stepped forward and placed their fists on their hearts. “It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintances: Colonel Kirix, Corporal Avalanche, and Corporal Roaring Wind.” They said in unison, addressing each of them.

“It is a pleasure to finally meet you as well Prince Ivory and Prince Ebony.” Colonel Kirix responded with a bow.

“Very good now show us to the new recruits,” Alexandrae ordered.

“Of course, general, although I am still unsure about them joining in. You do remember today is orientation day.” Kirix asked. Alexandrae gave them a cruel smirk.

“Of course I do.” She chuckled.

Ebony and Ivory could feel a chill race down their spines.

It felt like Ivory’s heart was about to explode. Never before had he worked his body to this level exhaustion. His body was so desperate for a rest that the mud beneath him felt like as cloud. His sterling white hair was turned to a light brown by the mud. His face and naked body, save for some trousers, was caked in mud. He looked up at the shimmering green razors that crissed-crossed just above his head. They were made by finely cut magic crystals pumped with magic. They were officially called Verdant Wires but soldiers lovingly dubbed them Spring’s Edge; for they shined like spring and when they cut, it rained.

Ivory looked over his shoulder to Ebony who was just behind him. He was crawling beside two other changelings of the platoon they’d been assigned to. All around them were changeling cadets crawling along with them. Out of breath and trying to keep the mud from their mouths. Many of them were part of different platoons. He looked ahead at the “leader” of his platoon. The captains of each group were chosen before they arrived. He recalled the warning their aunt gave them before they left.

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“Alright, cadets as you should know these are: these are your Princes Ivory and Ebony.” Alexandrae declared to the packed lecture hall. “They will be training with you for today. Now simply because they are your princes, that does not mean I want you to give them any special treatment. Treat them as you would your own comrades. So if anyone treats them as less than their comrades...” She began, “you’ll get to be the targets for today's exercise on the shooting range, do I make myself clear?” Enunciating every syllable.

“Yes general sir,” the audience boomed back with a salute from every member.

“Excellent, now I understand you’ve already split up into your own platoons. Out of courtesy, I’ll ask if any captains will volunteer,” Alexandrae called. Immediately a hand shot up from the crowd. The princes felt their collective hearts skip a beat at the quick volunteer.

“What is your name, cadet?” Alexandrae called.

“My name is Xorik, general,” he responded. Alexandrae lightly hummed to herself.

“You have spoken to your platoon about adding two more members to it?” She asked.

“Yes general, we only have four members and with the two princes, we will have an even six like the rest. If that is alright with you general.” He replied.

“I have no qualms about this. Ebony and Ivory fro today you are in Xorik’s platoon.” She pulled the princes close before they left to meet their squad.

“Remember a kind gesture can be bait for a trap. Gauge their intentions and signal me if anything seems wrong.” She whispered and sent them on their way.

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Next to Xorik was the self-proclaimed lieutenant, Oak. Behind him was the other two members Vora and Topaz. Ivory looked behind and was surprised to see how well he and Ebony were doing despite their younger age. With Ebony keeping up crawl for crawl with Topaz at the rear.

Finally Ivory saw the end of the grueling crawl just ahead of them. As soon as he was positive his body was ahead of the painful beams did he crawl to his feet and face the next obstacle. It was a massive wall of dark wood planks with spaces so small not even an ant could slip through.

“Ivory over here!” Xorik called from near the wall with Oak beside him. “Alright you two send me up and I’ll pull you guys over.” He ordered. Oak nodded and got in position while Ivory suppressed a groan. Despite his exhaustion he set up next to Oak and the two made a platform with their hands. Xorik took a step back before climbing onto their palms. With all his might Ivory pushed up with Oak. Ascending Xorik as high as they could go. The changeling jumped off their palms and grabbed the top of the wall. Despite his muddy feet slipping and sliding against the wood he reached the top of the wall. Xorik dangled over the edge and extended his arm to the two still at the bottom. Ivory could see his arm faintly glow and stretch a few more inches.

“You go you’re stronger than I am.” Ivory turned to Oak. The changeling opened his mouth to protest but he knew the prince was right.

Ivory cupped his hands together to give Oak a boost up. Oak put his sole in the prince’s hands and climbed up to his shoulders. Were he stretched up and grabbed onto Xorik’s outstretched arm. Xorik grunted and heaved the changeling up to the top.

Now with both of them up top, they reached down to grab the next person as Ivory was joined by the remaining troop.

“Vora you go next you’re the largest of us,” Xorik called from above.

“That had better not be a dig at my weight!” She yelled back before getting ready go up.

Topaz ran over and put his hands into Ivory’s as Vora got into position. As Vora climbed onto their hands the two smaller males knees’ buckled.

“Oh fuck off I’m not that heavy you babies!” Vora spat.

“Never said that you’re a perfectly healthy normal woman which is kind of the problem,” Ivory grunted trying to push up with Topaz. “Ebony help us!” He shouted.

Ebony nodded and got behind Vora and began pushing her up by her posterior.

“Ooh, hello prince I see you were staying behind me on purpose.” Vora chuckled.

“Vora shut up and climb!” Oak yelled. Without another word Vora pushed against their palms and grabbed Oak and Xorik’s hands. Pushing against the wall she climbed up to the other two.

“Xorik you were up here first right?” She asked. To which the captain nodded. “Then go down and take a breath, I’ll take it from here, ” Xorik gratefully nodded and jumped off the wall to the other side.

“Alright, Ivory you’re next,” Oak called down. Ivory nodded as Ebony took his spot beside the wall. Around them, several groups had pulled their last member over the wall but much more were still lagging behind.

“Let’s pick up the pace changelings!” They could hear Xorik shout over the wall. Ivory quickly scurried up the wall and was quickly pulled up thanks to Vora’s longer arms. As soon as he got up Ivory opened his mouth switch with Oak, but he beat him to the punch and jumped off.

‘Hive mind,’ Ivory theorized as he reached down for the next person.

“I’m taller so I’ll go last,” Ebony stated. Topaz voiced no objections and scaled Ebony and was hauled to the top. This time, Vora stayed while Topaz jumped down.

Ebony took a few steps back and looked up at the intimidating wall. He took a moment to brush the thick mud from the bottom of his feet. Ebony then sprinted as fast as his tired body would let him at the wall. He took two steps on the walls surface before propelling himself upwards and latching onto Vora’s hand. Ivory tried to reach down and grab onto his brother’s other hand but it was no use. Ebony tried to pull himself up but the slimy mud still on his feet made it difficult to get any traction. Vora reached down with her other arm and tried to pull him up. However, with the thick mud coating their bodies Ebony could feel his hand begin to slip. Frantically, he kicked against the wall to reach Ivory but his hand was sliding away from Vora. Their fingers were centimeters from each other when Ebony slipped. He let out a shriek as he came crashing down to the filthy ground head first. If it weren’t for the soft muck on the course he might have seriously injured himself.

“Ebony, are you okay!” Ivory cried. Ebony hissed and clutched his throbbing head but nodded.

Taking a few more uneasy steps back he prepared to try again.

“Ivory I’ll lower you down so you can grab him,” Vora ordered and grabbed the hem of his trousers. Ivory gave a nod of approval and let Vora dangle him from the ledge of few feet lower.

Ebony took another run at the wall and clambered up, grabbing Ivory’s hands. With his brother firmly in his grasp Vora pulled the two up and the trio fell over the wall. Ebony and Ivory gasped for breath and looked in horror ahead as they were only halfway done.

As soon as their group crossed the finish line Ebony and Ivory collapsed to the ground utterly exhausted. The two were relieved to see that they were not the only ones feeling the burn. All around them, the other cadets were exhausted. On their backs and knees gasping for breath and trying recharge their bodies. Several groups finished long before their own but as Ivory looked back a couple more still had not finished.

‘Not first but definitely not last,’ he thought to himself.

“You did pretty well Prince Ivory, for a changeling so young,” Xorik said patting him on the back.

“Please, just Ivory, like my aunt said,” Ivory responded, still gasping for air.

“Of course, sorry force of habit,” Xorik replied.

“Hey Xorik, I never got to ask you before that gauntlet, but why were you so eager to have us for your group. We’re not exactly popular with most,” Ebony walked over to the two with his hands on his head. Ivory shot him a quick glare that Ebony quickly dismissed.

“Well for one we had fewer changelings for our platoon, so we would be at a disadvantage’ but I was also honored at the chance to have you two as my comrades, even for a day.” He replied.

“Mind telling me why? Remember it’s unwise to keep secrets from your princes.” Ebony stated. Earning another sharp glare from Ivory.

“Not at all when I was a young boy my parents were harvesters at a small Equestrian hamlet. I enjoyed the Equestrian culture and I made many friends.” He smiled but then his happy recollection turned sour. “However, one day my father’s disguise accidentally dropped. My parents were terrified of the mob that would come to attack us. I had never seen my father so terrified. He was bawling how sorry he was that he let this happen.” He continued, “but we were surprised when the townsfolk came to us, not with torches, but with friendship. They welcomed us to the town for who we were; we didn't even have to keep up a disguise. So my opinions of Equestrians is far better than most,” he smiled. Ebony eyed him like a hawk and tried to look for any hint of a lie. Just like his mother taught him.

“Ebony I’m pretty sure he’s telling the truth.” Ivory sighed.

“Fine but- whoa!” Whatever Ebony was going to say was cut off by two hands firmly grabbing his buttocks and squeezing. He spun around to see Vora pop up in front of him.

“Sorry my Prince it was just to make up for the course,” she cheekily smiled. “Besides I don’t think I could’ve resisted much longer, Equestrians are incredibly cute.” She wiped a bit from his face.

“God, Vora you are such a xenophile,” Topaz shook his head at his friend’s antics.

“That’s not… inaccurate,” She chuckled and brushed some mud from Ebony’s hair and forehead.

“Need I remind you I am your prince?” Ebony asked but did not stop the changeling’s poking.

“Not today my dear prince, today you’re a comrade.” She smiled back and pulled some more goop from his hair.

“Then is this how you would treat a comrade,” Ebony asked with a raised eyebrow.

“A cute Equestrian comrade, yes.” She replied with a saucy wink. “Oh and don’t think I’ve forgotten about you, my sterling prince.” She called to Ivory and walked over to him. “He was just more forward.” She whispered and proceeded to clean the Ivory’s face as best she could.

Watching from the observation deck afar Alexandrae sighed and put her face into her hand. “What did I just say?” She sighed.

“Something wrong general?” Kirix asked.

“That changeling over there, what’s her name?” She asked pointing to the group.

“I believe her name is Vora, general, she's the daughter of some governling, and she scored high on the entrance exam, what about her?” Kirix asked.

“It’s only been one exercise and she’s got those two by a string,” Alexandrae replied sitting back in her chair. Kirix looked back and couldn’t help but chuckle as Vora was picking the dirt from Ivory’s hair.

“Well, they are young, general, still exploring. Besides, I wouldn’t worry, she actually reminds me of a younger you.” Kirix patted her old friend on the shoulder.

“That just makes me worry even more.” Alexandrae sighed.

“Well I’m sure it’s fine, they’re just trying out the world is all. I take it they’ve made love already?” Kirix asked.

“No, not yet, apparently the suitable age for Equestrians is about seventeen so they have a little over a year left before Chrysalis would be comfortable,” Alex replied.

“My, my, I heard Equestrians grew a bit slower than Changelings but I didn’t think it would be that much slower.” Kirix gasped. "Does she intend to bed them herself or will someone else do it?" Alexandrae shrugged.

"It will be up to them who will receive the honor but Chrysalis will most likely persuade them to choose her. I doubt she would stand with someone else having them." She replied.