• Published 5th Jul 2012
  • 4,435 Views, 492 Comments

Leather-Winged Oddity - Deyeaz



More often than not, we don't always become what we want when we go to Equestria.

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XXV - Hatching a Plan

~Leather-Winged Oddity~

XXV - Hatching a Plan

Have you ever had your own personal catharsis?

Like, a sort of stress relief that you and those who share the same interest as you can all have? It varies between different people. Typically, it’s when you come home after a long day of work or school. People find ways to rid themselves of their stress when they are in the sanctities of their abodes: they tend to take off their pants (or bra, if you’re a lady) when they walk in the door, they eat, they take a nap, they watch television, they masturbate—I won’t sugar o’er the devil himself by telling you a safer variant of that word; I’m telling it to you like it is—they bathe, they read, et cetera.

For some people, it’s one or some of these things.

For some others—the real freaks of nature—it could probably be all of these things.

For me, however, given the gorey ramifications of “slaying” Apep, an obvious form of stress relief is performed.

...No, I’m not talking about wanking, that’s fucking disgusting. I’m talking about bathing.

The hot spring water, steaming slightly from the geothermal energy of the adjacent volcano’s magma, corrodes the tenseness in my muscles, as well as washing off the ichor and nasty dust that caked my body earlier. The others sink in, even Matsimela, who found a second hotspring next to ours, and proceed to cleanse themselves with the pristine fluid. All except Kaileena, being too afraid to get in.

The next minute and a half mainly consist of her and Fleur de Lis arguing with the hydrophobic Bast that the water was perfectly fine, and that there are several cats out there that are capable of swimming. However, she had none of that, and still remains adamant in her refusal to enter the pond and rid herself of her stink.

The arguments and rebuttals only end when Mat decides that he’s had enough, plucking Kaileena by the back of her neck. Flailing and yowling, Kaileena plummets into our hot spring, a huge splash eliciting from her collision with the steamy water. We wait until she swims upward, gasping for air and screaming at the top of her lungs. “Hot! HothothothothothotHOT!” she yowls in anguish, drenched from head to paw as she scratches and claws her way out of the water, shaking the water vigorously from her coat.

“They don’t call it a hot spring for nothing...” Osiris grumbles as he digs a pinkie into an ear hole on the side of his head.

“Precisely,” croons Fleur de Lis, sighing in ecstasy. “And the heat is so good for my complexion....”

“Uh, can everyone look away, please?” I say, ensuring that everyone closes their eyes or turns their heads before I get out of the water and put on my clothes. Once that’s over, I give them permission to look again.

“Why you wear clothes in first place?” Mercutio asks, climbing out of the spring and shaking the water out of his fur, sprinkling everything within a four-foot radius of him. Looks like he’s done, too.

“Back where I’m from, clothes’re necessary ta hide our nudity. See, there’s a taboo back home that prohibits bein’ naked in public.” The Diamond Dog nods and hums in understanding. The two of us wait patiently for the others to get themselves cleaned up, and in the meantime, we just tended to our weapons. While Mercutio inspected his hammer for any faults that could be detrimental to its performance, I also examined Ellipsis, looking for anything that showed signs of damage. Whilst unsure if mithril could even be damaged, I’m still curious—perhaps even paranoid—about what might have happened.

No... not a scratch.

Well, that reinforces my little theory of mithril being like Wolverine’s adamantium.

Just then, I feel something tap me on the shoulder. Craning my head around to face Kaileena, she asks me, “Hey, Damien. Listen, can you help me with something?”

Mercutio was no longer next to me, and he was now chatting with Osiris, Fancypants, and Fleur. How long was I zoned out? “Sure, what is it?”

“Well... I was wondering if you could help me with telling apart colours. It’s weird to not know what they are and yet experience them.”

“What, like give ‘em names so that ya can distinguish them?” I inquire, setting Ellipsis down next to me.

“Yeah, that.”

I turned my whole body around to face her and motioned for her to take a seat, which she obliged to. “Y’know, if I had me iPod, it’d help ya loads more,” I say, subtly mourning the loss of my backpack—which had all of our food and other provisions, mind you.

*Rrrrrrrr*

Speaking of food....

“Why not check your pockets?” she suggests. “They could be in there.”

“Preposterous.” I don’t know why I barked like that: maybe the food—or lack thereof—is getting to me. Easy, man, I chide myself.

“Just do it.” Under her snap and hardening gaze, I dig my hands into my pockets, under the impression I’ll find nothing. However, that’s not the case. Once my hands enter my hoodie pockets, it feels like they went on for eons. I dig my hands deeper into my pockets, all the way to the middle of my biceps, yet I could still keep going.

“What the hell?” We both say as I try looking around for my iPod like Kaileena asked me to. I feel something metallic enter my right hand. I grab it, pull my hand out, and lo and behold, my iPod is clenched in my fist.

“See?” she says in a slightly smug “I-told-you-so” tone, obviously dusting off the fact that I had just performed a physical impossibility. “I had a feeling it’d be in there.”

“I’ll say this again: what... the hell?” I delve deeper into my hoodie pockets, my arms sinking into the unusual void, my hands brushing by several things. “Okay, this is ridiculous.”

“I’ll say,” Kaileena comments, bugged-out eyes watching my sweater precariously. “Look at you go.”

At random, I start pulling out things that are supposedly in reach. Five wire coat hangers, a massive chunk of fibreglass in a spacious plastic baggy, two cans of soda, a hammer, a razor, a pushpin, a bottle of rubbing alcohol, a frying pan and pot, sandpaper, two exotic daggers, a rolled-up brown tent the size of an American football, and a little dream catcher necklace later, I’ve had just about enough of the inanity known as my hoodie. “I swear ta God, if I pull out an anvil, I’m gonna slap th’ shit outta someone,” I growl, pulling out the ink, quill, and paper I once kept in my backpack.

But no... food....

“Relax, there’s no way something that heavy would get in there.”

“Ya wanna test that theory?” I watch as Kaileena puts her paw in the pocket. Her eyes grow even bigger as her arm sinks inside, all the way to her shoulder.

“What the– It’s like there’s no end to this!” She says in a fusion of astonishment and worry. “What is this, I don’t even...” She pulls her arm out, cradling it in her other paw as if it were on the verge of falling off.

“I know.” I turn on the iPod, unlock it, and browse the superfast, magically-enhanced Internet. I go to Google Images, searching for “colour names”, and select a picture with a detailed list of colours and their names. “Study up on that,” I say as I get up to discuss with the others on what to do.

“Wait, you’re not helping me?” If guilt could lead to weight loss, then I’d probably be anorexic right now. “I can’t learn this all by myself: especially since I can’t read this.” Great... now I could definitely be at my birth weight.

“Alright, fine...” I sit back down in front of Kaileena, who looks overjoyed that I’m sticking around. It takes awhile to distinguish the colours she wanted to learn, since I had to tell it to her in English, and watch her write it in her language, with the help of an adjacent stick and the dirt beneath us. I listened to her pronounced her native language aloud to help comprehend the names better; it sounded like she was speaking a fusion of Chinese and Klingon.

It’s funny how time seems to contradict our wishes and desires. As much as I want time to hurry up, it does the opposite of what I want. The minutes slugged by, until impatience started setting in. “Okay... now a quick little pop quiz,” I say. “Name th’ seven colours o’ th’ rainbow.”

“Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.” I applaud at the correct answers, watching as Kaileena raised her arms in victory (with me celebrating in my head the fact that we’re finally over with it).

*ROAAAAAAAR*

“What the hell was that?” Mat gets up, hollow eyes supposedly scanning the horizon in search of the noise. Another roar blares across the sky like a siren, and Mat points it out: a smaller volcano about a third of a kilometre to our right. “It’s coming from over there!”

Osiris beats his wings and flies up to Mat’s eye level. “I think we should check it out.”

Mat nods in agreement. “I think I might know what it’s all about...”

“How ‘bout no?” I say, before they could move another metre. “That roar was horrifically loud: that’s a sign that it’s definitely gonna be a huge baddie this time.”

“Plus, we just got done killing a monster,” erred Kaileena, arms fold on top of her chest. “Can we please let the matter resolve itself?”

“All in favour of letting this go and bidding farewell to this horrid place?” suggested Fleur de Lis, raising her hoof. Fancypants raises his, and me and Kaileena follow suit. Mercutio, Mat, and Osiris are the only ones not willing to follow our example.

“Well, this is a democracy, after all, and majority does rule,” says Fancypants. “Come along, everyone, let’s depart.” He turns to face me. “Now, which way leads to Canterlot?”

“What’m I ta ya, a compass?” The alabaster stallion raises a brow, clearly unamused. “Oh, fine.” I look around for the sun, and see that it’s setting behind me, and behind the volcanic mountains. That means that behind me is west... if that’s the case, and judging by how these badlands are south of Equestria, then–

“That’s north ta Equestria,” I announce, pointing to my left. “Once we get there, we’ll ask fer directions ta Canterlot.

“Excellent! Come along, everypony!” Fancypants and Fleur trot in the direction I pointed in, with Kaileena and I following them.

As I look behind me, however, I don’t see Mat, Mercutio, or Osiris coming with us. Instead, they’re making their way to the volcano where the roaring came from.

“Guys, what are ya doin’?!?!” I screech to the three, the others I’m following whipping around and standing stunned at the griffin/dog/Ent trio. We pursue them as fast as we can, panting from the distance we have to cover.

“Will you shut it?” Osiris growls at me, leaving me taken aback. “I’m tired of listening to you! It’s because of you we’re here, it’s because of you we had to fight that– that thing!" No doubt he's talking about Apep. "I’m pretty sure if we listened to you any longer, we’ll be killed! Horribly! Besides, how can we know you’re right or not? Whenever we’re in danger, it’s your fault!”

Something’s not right here... didn’t he help try to save me not more than two hours ago? Plus, he's going to where there is a dangerous creature that could kill him., and he's blaming me for being the source of all our problems? If this were a story, this would be a story just loaded with plot holes.

I bite my tongue and hold back what I was going to say, stung by the insults he blasted, even if they are true. “I know they’re my fault. I know I’m th’ one who causes these types o’ things ta happen. But guess who’s the fuckin’ dumbass who pals along with me? Who’s the moron who still sticks around?” I stab my finger into his feathery chest. “You.”

“Aren’t you being a little harsh, Dam–”

“Like hell I am!” I roar at the speaker, Fancypants, who recoils from by outburst. I take a breath and rub my temples, trying to calm myself down, before facing Osiris. “Don’t ever think that ya were forced ta join me. True Pariah recommended that we have backup; it’s not like he demanded that ya come along. Ya can get th’ hell out now while ya still can, an’ go back ta Pariah.” I point at the horizon north.

Osiris falls silent, sputtering feebly in the attempt to retaliate. Failing that, I watch as he fires me the dirtiest look he can muster. I shudder at how scary it looked, but I grit my teeth and launch back a death glare of my own.

“Okay, can you two stop being little kids?!” Kaileena says, grabbing the back of both of our skulls and headbutting us together, the griffin and I a bit stunned by by the surprise collision. “Gods, you guys are such children! Osiris, stop chewing out Damien: it’s not his fault he has a talent for trouble.”

“Pfft... yeah, right...” grumbles Osiris, crossing his arms.

“What was that?” Kaileena growls, pulling her hooked sword out and pressing it against the griffin’s throat.

“N-n-nothing!” A nervous smile creeps along his face, and Kaileena puts away her sword. Osiris wipes his brow of sweat and sighs in relief.

“And Damien, you shouldn’t lose your temper like that,” Mat tells me. “It’s definitely not good for your health.” He reaches into his foliage and pulls out a handful of fruit, before presenting them to our entourage. They’re figs, by the size and shape of them. “Here, eat a fig."

"Why?"

"Because you're an over-exasperated brat when you're hungry." We all give our thanks to the Ent and eat up, our stomachs gladly taking in the fruit. I finished up the rest of the fig greedily, and before I know it, I’m gorging myself on a second. Then a third. I’ve never had a fig quite this sapid before. It was so sweet, so juicy, so amazing. It was like a never-ending celebration going on in my mouth. "Better?"

"Yeah!" Unfortunately, in the attempt to speak, the fig went down the wrong pipe, and I end up choking on the mouthful of my fourth fig.

“Whoa, slow down!” Mat says when I thump myself on the chest to clear my airway, and tell them I’m fine. “Feel any better?” We nod, our stomachs no longer barren. That’s funny. My agitation is gone. A miracle, really, what food can do to improve your mood. “Look, the reason why I came here as well was because I had some important business to attend to first.”

“What kind of business?” Kaileena inquires.

“Well, Isis told me to come see you first. She told me you’d come here.”

“Isis?” I tilt my head. “You mean th’ Egyptian goddess o’ fertility an’ magic?”

My daughter is with the Ent?’ Nut’s voice booms in my cranium. "Well, this just got interesting."

“That’s the one,” Mat finishes.

Kaileena sighs. “Okay, so if you left because you had things to do, and Osiris left because he’s kind of an ass–”

“Hey!”

“Then why did Mercutio leave with him?” The Dog in question scratches at the earth with his hind paw, drawing circles in the dirt as he looks down.

I walk over to him, scan him in an analytical way. Mercutio looks up, brow raised in curiosity as the rusted-over gears in my head start turning once more, using whatever knowledge that still remains in my head from my Psychology. “Lemme take a guess: Ya’ve known Osiris fer a while now. I’d classify th’ two o’ ya as inseparable, yes?” Mercutio nods. “Huh. I’m right fer a change.”

“Well, will it be any trouble if we help you with this one last task?” Fleur asks Mat.

“I’d be happy as a clam if you came along.” Mat smiles. “So, here is what Isis relayed to me earlier. A dragon in the badlands has been terrorising a Diamond Dog crew and their airship for a while now. Isis also told me that their base of operations, their meetups, usually take place here in the Wastelands, in one of the volcanoes. This one–” he rapped on the surface of the magma-spilling mountain. “–is where they’re meeting up.”

We scale up the escarpment of the volcano, taking care not to let the steep slope make us slip and slide back down to the bottom. An easy task for me and Osiris, what with wings and all. Mat’s roots help him grapple onto the mountain’s face, and Kaileena’s and Mercutio’s claws seem to help with holding on as well. The only ones having problems are Fancypants and Fleur de Lis: but of course, I can sympathise with them, since hooves aren’t exactly ideal for grabbing onto things. So, Mat offers a hand by letting them climb onto his hammock in his foliage.

After about six minutes of profuse climbing/flying, we make it to the lip of the volcano. The temperature has no doubt increased drastically, and the ember rain is coming down harder now that we’re close to one of its sources. I watch as Fancypants and Fleur both use their magic to string up a magic barrier around Mat so that he wouldn’t get torched. “Thanks,” he mumbles to them. I do the same thing, pointing at the rest of us with my left hand and saying “Protego”, clear but impregnable barriers surrounding us. The gem in my hand was growing dimmer from my magic use: I have to recharge it one way or another if I want to perform more magic with it.

We peer into the inside of the volcano. A big, solidified island of obsidian sits in the middle of the lava. A huge chrome and steel airship, probably about the size of a baseball field, rests on the island. Near the airship is a large black dragon who was almost twice as tall as Mat, his angry yellow eyes glaring down upon a fleet of Diamond Dogs, the mutts in question quivering in place with their tails between their legs. “Did you bring enough?” the dragon growls. A large wolf-like hound—the Alpha, by the looks of him—walks up to his airship. The air around his vessel ripples a little bit, and that makes me raise an eyebrow. There’s something fishy about that airship, alright....

The Alpha opens a big hatch in the side, and out spills a rainbow-coloured cataract of gems, the waterfall of jewels splashing at the feet of the dragon.

“What is this?” The dragon asks, obviously not amused by what he thinks is a meagre pile of rocks.

“Y-Your shipment of jewels, O wicked one,” stutters one of the Diamond Dogs. “S-s-straight from our m-mines, brought t-to you b-by our zebra s-slaves.”

“This is not enough!” I wince as the dragon slams his fist into the ground, the Dogs cowering. I should’ve guessed: as they grow older, a dragon becomes more and more greedy. That’s how they get so huge in the first place. If we rush in guns blazin', we'll be toast for sure.

“Okay, guys, how’re we gonna go about this?” I ask in a near-silent voice, for fear of the dragons and dogs overhearing us.

“I dunno...” Mat answers in a low volume.

“Now I wish I’d gone back to Pariah...” murmurs Osiris.

“Oh, don’t be such a baby,” Kaileena whispers.

“What do?” Mercutio looks a little afraid of what was going on in the volcano.

“What we need is a plan,” Fleur and Fancypants say simultaneously. I scan every single thing there is to scan in the volcano, anything that we can use to get that dragon out of commission, and stop those dogs from harvesting more slaves.

Airship. Dragon. Dogs. Airship... Dragon... Dogs...

…!

Ideeeeaaaa~!

Author's Note:

Wow, it's been MONTHS since the last update. It's because I've got some things going on right now (art, other stories, school work, anime(huehuehue)). I know this chapter is probably not satisfactory at all, but, I figured I'd publish it out anyway. Hopefully, this will at least make you all a little happy.

~S.W.
:3