• Published 12th Jun 2017
  • 2,473 Views, 94 Comments

In Search of Sunset: The Mysterious Island - Jongoji245

One trip to apologize to Sunset turns out to be even longer than expected.

  • ...

Monsters Exist

Author's Note:

Now out of the frying pan, and into the fire. Will they find Sunset, or become someone's dinner?

Pop Quiz: See which monsters I've used in this chapter.

The collision with the rock has left The Venture with a cut in the massive hull. Crew members of all fields do what they can to stop the water.

“Status, Mr. Hayes!” Englehorn calls while walking towards the breach.

“She’s taken a pounding, Captain!” Mr. Hayes pushes a crewmember aside. “We’re doing what we can, but the water’s breaching too fast!”

“Captain!” Englehorn turns to Jimmy just halfway down the flight of stairs. “You better come up quick!”

As if he didn’t have enough on his hands, Englehorn travels up deck and looks to where Jimmy is pointing at. Under his nose, Princess Celestia, Twilight, and the Rainbooms have taken a small, inflatable motorboat towards the island. Pinkie Pie, Sci-Twi and the Crusaders look back, imagining how the trouble they’ve added now they stole property. While Princess Celestia kept a good vigil, Twilight notices Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, and Fluttershy whispering to each other as the first steered the ship.

“Do you want me to go after them?” Asks Mr. Hayes.

Unnerved at the question, Englehorn steps to the port of the Venture ordering, “I want this ship up and afloat by the next high tide!” He turns to the island again, shaking his head. “We’re leaving Mister Hayes.”

His duty done for the day, Jimmy flips the the last page he read before they reached the fog. Finishing the page, he flips over to the next one, skimming it before his eyes catch an interesting paragraph.

We could not understand because we were too far and could not remember because we were traveling in the night of first ages, of those ages that are gone, leaving hardly a sign - and no memories. We are accustomed to look upon the shackled form of a conquered monster, but there - there you could look at a thing monstrous and free.

The cabin boy partly closes the book, staring at the massives rocks ahead of him.

“This isn’t an adventure story,” Jimmy turns his head to Hayes, “is it, Mister Hayes?”

“No, Jimmy.” Hayes answers, not even turning his gaze from the island, “It’s not.”

Passing through the choppy waters and rocky cliffs that dot the edge of the island, the group of girls and dogs reach the rather peaceful interior. Along the left and right of the river channel they float on, rainforests as far as the eye can see, reaching so high up the cliffs that they disappear into the misty air. While they are in a whole new world, it’s nice to be in a place of peace and quiet; no large crowds, no noisy vehicles. Just calm rivers, green jungles, and chirping birds flying overhead.

Only… These birds aren’t like any they’ve seen. Landing on the raft is a sight that even had Fluttershy jump a little. It’s body is even avian; from it’s snout to the tip of it’s pointed tailfin, it resembled a barracuda with bird legs and leather wings.

“That is one…” Without taking her gaze away from the strange animal, Rainbow Dash turns her head to the left, “ugly ass bird.”

It still tickles Sci-Twi’s fancy, kneeling forward so close, yet the fish-bird feels unnerved. Knowing this, Rarity leans forward.

“It’s not… scared?” Against common sense, the fashionista reaches forward, gently stroking it on the head.

“It doesn’t view us a threat.” Fluttershy adds, reaching out and giving the fish bird consent to perch on her finger. Though it could just as well bite her nose with needle-like teeth, it instead remains just as fascinated with the human as those around it.

“Did we…” Sci-Twi looks at everyone, “just make the discovery of the century?”

“I saw it first, I name it!” Rainbow Dash shouts, pressing her temples while coming up with a suitable name. “Birdusfishius awesomeness… No… Rainbowus fishius!”

Unnerved by the amateur attempts at science, Sci-Twi raises a finger, “One: that’s not how naming things works. And two: it doesn’t even have feathers, in fact, the wings look like those of a pterosaur.”

“Pteracuda!” Pinkie Pie shouts, echoing the jungle. With a pursed lip, both Twilights look at each other before the true human shakes her head.

“Pteracuda it is then.” She confirms with a shake of her hand.

“Oh come on!” Rainbow Dash protests so loud that it echoes the valley. Before she can say any further, her mouth is covered.

“Do you want to wake up the whole island?” Applejack mutters.

While still looking at the so-called Pteracuda, Fluttershy notices something on a sparse hilltop. At best, it resembled a large white tiger with a red face and antlers. But what’s more interesting is the robed figured on the beast. A native perhaps? And if so, where would the person live.

“Girls, there’s-” Before Fluttershy can finish, the boat suddenly chugs to a halt so quick that everyone gets tossed around. Twilight colliding with her human counterpart causes the device to glow before popping the lid.

“No, not again!” Sci-Twi tries to pull it away, but the device aims itself at the princess. Twilight feels a pain in her stomach, as if a knife went in and began twisting. While the other rainbooms pull Twilight away, at the same time a purple mist seeps from her body and gets sucked into a tiny ball of energy before snapping itself shut. As if the ride aboard The Venture made her sick, now Twilight is deathly ill; even her skin became a sickly color. Princess Celestia wraps her arm around her protoge, Spike the Dragon places his paw on her.”

“What did you do?” He asks Sci-Twi.

“It wasn’t my fault,” Sci-Twi lifts the device “this stupid-”

As if things couldn’t get any worse, the center of the boat pops, quickly bringing them underwater. As with the instinct of all land dwellers, they immediately start swimming for shore. Fluttershy and Rarity held both Spikes on their heads, while Applejack pulled the drained Twilight to shore. One by one they reach the grassy shore, but just as Sweetie Belle can feel the shore, something grabs her legs and pulls her under.

“Sweetie Belle!” Rarity cries out before rushing to the water.

Sweetie Belle couldn’t see much as she is pulled quickly underwater, but pushing and scratching the thing entangling her gave the Crusader an idea. Stroking with all her might did little to stop her from getting closer to the creature’s mouth between its tentacles. If there is such a thing as God, she better hope he can forgive Sweetie Belle and her friends for being Anon-a-Miss. But God works in mysterious ways; in the blink of an eye, something massive snatches the squid from below, pulling her so fast, she became unconscious.

Breaching the water is another anomaly the rest of the world has never seen. To the scientifically profound, one can easily call this a plesiosaur, one of many long necked sea-reptiles long extinct with the dinosaurs or so now they thought. But there are quite a few differences; Aside from the four paddles that kept it still in the river, it also has two arm with claws like a bear, and most recognizable is how the head seems to be deprived of any skin, giving it a zombie look. Ink drinking from its teeth, the animal lifts its head and makes another chomp that severs the tentacle that wrapped Sweetie Belle, dropping her to the water again. Asking Rarity to go back to shore, Rainbow Dash makes a swim for the little girl; she didn’t go far when the massive reptile dives again, creating a wave that pushes Sweetie Belle close enough for Rainbow to grab her and backstroke to shore.

“Sweetie Belle!” Rarity calls out again, hoping to hug her sister if Applejack isn’t holding her back.
Rainbow Dash pinches her Crusader on the nose and and breaths into her mouth before pushing her chest a few times. A couple attempts later and Sweetie Belle coughs out water, giving hope to her sister.

“Give her some room!” Rainbow Dash orders, pushing Rarity aside. “Sweetie Belle might have the bends!”

“Okay,” Applejack raises her arms, trying to find the right words, “do you realize just what we got ourselves into?”

“Yeah, we found a MUTO!” Everyone, save for Sweetie Belle, Twilight, and Celestia, is confused at the word “MUTO.” Pinkie Pie pulls down a size chart of the creature they encountered; though only from the top of the head to it’s withers, it’s already big enough to dwarf them. “Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism, I thought you guys would get the joke by now.”

“That wasn’t a good joke, Pinkie.” Applejack grumbles before pointing at Sweetie Belle. “Sweetie Belle almost drowned is not a joke. Hell, this entire voyage is not a joke! What does this have to do with us finding Sunset anyhow?!”

“Yeah,” Rainbow Dash gently lifts Sweetie Belle to her feet, “and we know who to ask.”

Princess Celestia and Sci-Twi laid Twilight in front of a mangrove tree; the purple princess now felt feverish; it’s even hard for her to move. As she stands up, Celestia’s ears pick up a quick rustle of bushes. As if she has a sixth sense, the Alicorn turns around and grabs Rainbow’s incoming fist. Though deprived of her magic in this world, some things still remain such as superhuman strength. A little more pressure sways the athlete, pulling away her hand and shaking it.

“Alright,” Applejack takes a deep breath and crosses her arms, “tell us everything we don’t know.”

Even with said super strength, Celestia is outnumbered eleven to one. She sits down, fists on her knees and answers, “Monsters exist.”

“No shit.” Grumbles Rainbow while applying.

“There are monsters in Equestria, you’ve fought them before. But these…” Celestia raises her arm at the river behind them. “These are beyond harmony. No conscience. No remorse. No reasoning. Just destroy. Long before any of you were born, Starswirl the Bearded, Luna and I rounded them up then sent them away. I didn’t think this is where it would be, but coming here, I could feel it.

“So…” Applejack pinches the bridge of her nose, “What does this have to do with Sunset?”

“She must have felt the same thing as I have, some form of recent pulse.”

“Of course!” Sci-Twi lifts the device at her face. “We can track her magic… If…”

“If?” Rainbow Dash stands up, glaring at Sci-Twi before turning to Celestia “Are you this was a wild goose chase all along!? And you just lead us to the slaughterhouse?!”

“I’m sorry. Believe me I truly am. But if you want to make this worthwhile,” Celestia stands up “get us home with my daughter.”

Everyone is stunned at this news, even Twilight. True she didn’t know that much about Sunset Shimmer before she came to this world, but to think Celestia cared for her like her own. Their objective clear, Sci-Twi lifts the device at her face, seeing a blinking light to her left. With this information.

“Okay, then let’s get going.” Applejack walks over to Sweetie Belle and picks her up. “The creature just fed, he won’t be hunting for a while.”

“With just one squid?” Asks Spike the Dragon as he goes into a trot.

“Well, carnivores don’t eat when they're not hungry.” The other Spike raises a paw at his master. “Sci-Twi does.”

Keeping close to each other, they travel through the green jungles of this uncharted island, where creatures look so different yet act very familiar; namely more fish-birds with beaks like parrots and finches. In time, Twilight regains her strength, yet she feels empty. The only time she felt like that was when Tirek drained her powers in exchange for her friends. Only a being of that caliber can do that, yet a small human device does just the same. Now it’s her turn to ask questions, and so she catches up with Sci-Twi.

“While my power was being drained you said, ‘Not Again.’” Twilight’s question did get her human counterpart to turn her head a little before looking at the blinking device. “What did you mean by that?”

“I made this device to track magic,” Sci-Twi lifts the device “but it started draining magic ever since.”

“So the others don’t have magic either?” She stops and turns around, getting some questionable faces back. “Do you know how to get our magic back?”

“I’ve tried to, but everytime I open it, portals start appearing.” Sci-Twi points the device forward again, turning slightly to her right. Twilight’s brow furrowed; she’s not just looking at a mirror, she’s back at her own past, when she was a bit reckless. Knowledged with the magic of harmony, but reckless.

“Look at the brightside,” Spike the Dog wags his tail, “I can talk!”

But the gesture resulted with a glare from Twilight Sparkle; the dog curls his tail between his legs and draws his ears back before continuing his trot.

“I can tell you right, now: messing with something you don’t know is the worst idea in a long, sad history of bad ideas.” Twilight leans at her counterpart, “Don’t expect results without the consequences.”

The new direction takes them away from the green jungle and to the open plains. There they see more anomalies: deer with rabbit heads, antelope with proportions of elephants, elephants themselves with lower jaws like shovels, and flightless storks feasting on a carcass. They keep to the shore, where is little cover for any land predators, whatever they are. While still in Applejack’s arms, the ill Sweetie Belle slowly turns her head before she screams.

Laying before them are more massive squids, their tentacles just touching the shore. Though the stench is a bit unbearable, the desire for food had Pinkie’s tummy rumble. Reaching to her hair, she pulls out an apron, a cutting board on one hand and a butcher’s knife with the other.

“Well, who’s hungry for sushi?” Pinkie’s offer for them to eat raw, rotting, meat made most of the present company gag, Rarity to almost faint, and Sweetie Belle to upchuck on AJ.

“Really?!” Applejack scolded, putting the weakened Crusader down before walking to shore to wash up.

“Pinkie Pie,” Rarity collects herself before pinching her nose, “you expect us to eat that after God knows how long they’ve been beached?”

“We all need a break.” Rainbow Dash backs away, “just… not a lunch break.”

Both Twilights take a look at the rotting corpses. Some had dozens of pteracudas nipping at their tanned hides. One has another new creature: a wolf with the attributes of a killer whale yanking on the flesh with all it’s might. Downwind, the carnivore is ignorant of their presence. But the way the squids are lined up had them raise an eyebrow.

“They’re not beached,” Sci-Twi backs away, not keeping her gaze from the corpses, “they were cached.”

“Cached?” Asks the young dragon in a nasally tone.

“When a lean season is approaching,” Fluttershy lifts her hand, “an animal would store any caught food for later.”

“Well, aside from Nessie,” Rainbow Dash points to the river they escaped from, “what could possibly eat these mutant squid things?”

The ground begins to rumble, sending the pteracudas to the sky, the whale-wolf to run to the nearby jungle, and the denizens of plains animals to run further away from shore. Being close to shore felt like an aftershock that had them fall on the sand. And to make matters worse, they are dowsed with the rising water. They wipe their eyes and look up, some gasping in terror again.

“That answer your question?” Scootaloo asks with a gulp.

From the torso, this new monster appears as a crab, but balancing on two large legs, the creature turns around, showing to beady, black eyes behind a mouth holding another squid like a closed flower. It’s torso also sports two pairs of tentacles holding a creature with a shark’s upper body and octopus’ lower half. It looks down, tossing the sharktopus aside before starting to bend down. Up close the head is larger than a bus. If she was capable, Celestia can smite the beast with one blast at its chest. All she can do is stand before it, braving death once more as she has all her long lifespan. The creature’s mouth “blooms,” letting out a screech with a rumbling undertone.

Soon after, another roar echoes not just the valley, but the whole island. Far away, the crew of The Venture are astonished at the unusual sound. The two-legged crustacean rises up and turns around. Behind it, and in front of our heroes is another reptile resembling theropod dinosaur with five fingers on each hand. With five rows of spines on it’s back and a massive underbite with a defined “chin,” this animal is more than ready to pick a fight.

Accepting this challenge, the bipedal crustacean, and iguana charge at each other, echoing the valley with their roaring. The walking crab parry’s a claw swipe and pulls the lizard on the legs before he could turn around. Submerged, the hard-shelled beast plunges after him and spreading water all over the shore.

“We have to move!” Orders Celestia just as the waters rise once more. The crab has all four tentacles wrapping the lizard by the shoulders and tosses it again into the depths before the reptile grabs the beast by the head and pulls it under. Though she wants to put her bets on the walking crab cake, even Rainbow Dash isn’t stupid enough to stay and watch the dangerous spectacle.

While they were running, the waters rise once more and sweep them off their feet. The iguana clamps its jaws on the crab’s neck, as tight as it can to end it’s life. But the two-legged arthropod shakes off its adversary, turns around and upchucks a steamy, viscous substance at the reptile’s eyes. Blinded, the animal screams in pain before it is given a smack at it’s side and into the deep blue once more. From the corner of its left eye, the arthropod spots the group of humans and two dogs running as they can to escape and gives chase. As awkward is its walk, the stride it has carries it’s body toward the intruders in two steps. Tipping its head forward, it reaches forward with all four tentacles and grabs Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rarity (with the dragon dog in her arms), and Sci-Twi. Spike tries biting on the tentacle, but that only works so much as a bug bite and gets the two-legged crab to lift them to its mouth and readily accepts its snack.

“Rarity,” Spike wraps his paws around Rarity’s arm “there’s something I always wanted to tell you! Will you-?”

Before Spike can finish, a blue dot of light stabs the crab in the eye before blowing it up with a delayed explosion. It drops its quarry before desperately rubbing the empty socket with a tentacle or two. And if that isn’t enough, a boulder falls on its carapace, getting its attention to the bipedal reptile once again standing by the edge of a cliff. While she stood up, Sci Twi spots the splintered object that removed its one eye and grabs it before Twilight pulls her up. Enraged, the two-legged crab charges forward, lowering its head to push him off. In some odd form of intelligence, the iguana tunnels into the ridge, dirt shooting out like a geyser as can be seen from a safer distance.

“What’s it doing?” Asks Rainbow Dash.

“He’s making that ridge unstable.” Twilight answers.

Indeed, when the lizard digs itself out, the cliff collapses under the walking crab's weight. In one, desperate attempt to save itself, the arthropod wraps the reptile by the arms, doing little if only to take it’s adversary down with it. There is one trick up its sleeve: a series of lights flash from the tip of its tail up to its eyes before arching back and exhaling a green fire that severed the tentacles like a knife through butter. The crustacean falls faster than a rock, making a big wave upon hitting the river. The shockwave made a few large, loose rocks fall off, crushing the walking crab cake. The reptile roars triumphantly before the end collapses under its weight, joining its fallen adversary.

“Well,” - Applejack takes off her Stetson to wipe her brow - “two birds with one stone I suppose.”

The ground rumbles once more before the waters rise.

“You had to jinx it?” Mutters Rarity when the waters rise again. The bipedal iguana surfaces, lets out a howling roar, then dives into the water. As much cause there is to celebrate, survival comes first, and so the small band of settlers brave the jungle again.

Taking note of the chaos in the island, some of the Venture’s crew team starts arming themselves to the teeth. Rifles, automatics, chloroform, even Lumpy packs a steak fork for good measure. They take to the lifeboats, boarding one by one as Hayes prepares to come ashore. That is, before he grabs one of the crew by the shoulders.

“Jesus, Jimmy!” He scolds, pulling away the sailor’s hat that everyone else wore and takes away the rifle from Jimmy’s hand.

“Hey, I need that!” Jimmy tries to reach for the weapon to no avail.

“I’m not giving you a gun!” Hayes keeps the gun out of reach, pushing the boy away.

“You were younger than me when they gave you one!”

“I was in the army.” Hayes leans forward, giving the boy a stink eye. “I was trained. I had a drill sergeant!”

“I wanna help bring them back.”

For as long as he can remember, Jimmy was a thorn at everyone’s side. Yet Hayes seemed to be more of a father figure to him. Even that isn’t saying much given the boy’s stubbornness. With a huff, Hayes gives him the rifle. The boy starts walking to the lifeboat when he is gripped by the shoulder.

“Don’t make me regret it.” He asks of him before joining him. As the lifeboats lower, Captain Englehorn leans forward, gripping the safety rails.

“You have food, you have ammo, you have seventy-two hours. After then, you’re on your own.”

The sun sets in the land time seems to forget, swallowing the jungle in deep, primordial night. Tired, cold, hungry, and many having their own brush with death, the first rescue party found refuge by collecting dead brush and forming a protective circle while Applejack scrapes a couple pieces of flint and making fire before sitting down puffing her cheeks.

“This has gone too far now.” Applejack eyeballs everyone. “First thing tomorrow, I say we make it back to the river.”

“Here… Here…” Rarity shivers.

“But, what about Sunset?” Asks Spike, the dragon curling up into a tiny ball.

“What about her?” Rainbow Dash stands up, throwing a stick in a fit of rage,“We almost got eaten! Eaten!” The athlete sits back down, grabs a couple pebbles and tosses each one into the fire, “She’s dead as far I can tell. We had our chance, we blew it.”

“She’s not dead.” The others look at Sci-Twi fiddling the arrow pieces, “this arrow proves otherwise, we’re not alone on this island. If we find them,” Sci-Twi lifts the device around her neck, the bright light pointing to their right, “we find her.”

“How does a-?”

“Now, that’s enough!” Applejack stops Rainbow from talking any further, turning to everyone else “We’ll look for one more day. But not because of what you said, Twi. Let’s get some sleep.”

“And I know just the song to sing to.” At the same time a mosquito spies the pink wonder, Pinkie reaches inside her hair, pulling out a tiny banjo and begins strumming, “Marsha, Will, and Holly on a routine expedition met the greatest earthquake ever known. It… struck their tiny raft.”

“Pinkie?” Rarity asks as she, like everyone else, notices Pinkie’s skin become pale.

“And… plunged… them…” Pinkie spins around on the rock she sits on; the mosquito that had it’s eyes on her is now filled up with blood as big as a bagpipe. Once more, Rarity gags and vomits behind her. “A thousand…” The loss of blood is too great for her, and Pinkie falls on her back to the fire, dousing it with her life water.

“Eugh! Seriously!” Shouts Apple Bloom in the now pure darkness.

The search party slept like rocks throughout the night. Not a creature in the night stirred them, yet they are lucky not one of them got picked off one after the other. From her sleeping spot, Fluttershy feels a little aching pain in her eye and opens her eye. The darkness of the jungle is giving way to the warm, orange glow of the sun. While this is still unknown territory to her, the caretaker knows her zoology enough to say this: predators favor the midday. As long as she keeps close to camp, Fluttershy can do just fine.

With a sharp piece of rock, Fluttershy marks her trail on each large tree before continuing on. With the passing of a few birds of paradise, the caretaker stumbles upon a sight she thought she would never see. A vast field of flowers of blues, greens, and reds. Untouched by the devastation of man’s handiwork, this beautiful garden in an unforgiving island invigorates the caretaker. Looking ahead, Fluttershy sees more of the land she and her friends must cross, along with a few animals never seen by human eyes, from long necked lumbering reptiles to two headed eagles with wingspans over thirty feet.

Just when she turns around, Fluttershy lets out a little yelp. The same cloaked figure she saw at the river is standing next to her, letting the wind sweep under its cloak. There are additional details she couldn’t see from afar, namely the light blue weaving on the edges of the cloak.

“Uhm. Hello?” Fluttershy asks, getting the figure to look at her. Underneath the hood is a mask of orange and eggshell that covers all but the figure’s straight mouth. “Do you know where there might be a village somewhere?”

But the figure doesn’t say a word, just keeping its silence while looking at the caretaker. At the least the figure doesn’t attack, but at the same time, it doesn’t show a bit of naive curiosity. Though peaceful, the silence is a bit nerving for the caretaker. Fluttershy raises her hands, waving them calmingly before returning to the path she marks. If there is any hope of finding the civilization Sci-Twi is implying, the figure would certainly know.

When she makes another left turn at the tree she marked, she stops. And with good reason; between her and her friends is a large tan, pug-nosed crocodile tearing away at its recent kill. As if rewarding her for caring her children, Nature keeps Fluttershy’s scent downwind. She hides behind the tree she marked: if she isn’t the kind, gentle being everyone knows her as she would curse at the top of her lungs. She’ll have to take another path and moves to her left.

Getting her face to face with another of them. Though the tiny eyes imply a poor sense of vision, the slow hissing at the animal opens its mouth tells her otherwise. In the world she lives in, Fluttershy could tame even the most maniacal of bears with a technique her friends dub “The Stare.” But as she said before with the pteracuda, this creature doesn’t know the fear of man as its persecuted relatives have known elsewhere. Timing it right, Fluttershy rolls to her right and starts running as fast as she could with muddied boots. But with short legs, crocodilians can still run fast by simply bounding, but they still aren’t great at tight turns once Fluttershy makes a sharp right and dives into a hollow log. But the crocodile is as voracious as the kaiju that prowl the island, and just digs its way into the log, much to the confusion of the crocodile feasting on its meal. Fluttershy backs up quickly before she is cornered. Fearing the worst, she closes her eyes, ready to accept the ultimate fate of all living beings.

But her ears pick up a gnashing sound, halting the beast in its tracks. The crocodile is pulled back, whimpering in agony while it tries to keep a hold on the sides of the log to little avail. Fluttershy closes her eyes once again when another, larger predator lifts it’s captured victim off the ground and ends its life with one more bite. The other crocodile doesn’t make a second guess and scurries off ASAP.

“Fluttershy!” Shouts Rainbow Dash. Hearing nothing after that, Fluttershy crawls out of the log.

“I’m over-!” A large growl interrupts her response. Her face gripped with fear, Fluttershy turns around to the large being behind her. Before her stood what appears to be a large, blue Allosaurus with a large spike at the end of its tail and thick hind legs; standing slightly upright, it resembled a kangaroo. Predators would usually finish their meal, but it focuses on the Easter colored girl speaks for itself as its growl becomes faster.

Fluttershy immediately turns tail and runs as she can, not daring to look back as the thunderous footsteps become louder each second she runs. She rushes to her right, running along a ridge where she is at eye level with the dinosaur at a steady trot. Fluttershy eventually returns to ground level, barely avoiding the large feet from crushing her, sliding along a muddy trail to thick undergrowth, scurrying like the rabbits she cares for before lying next to a fallen tree. The thunderous footsteps come to a halt, but the growling still continues. Fluttershy holds her breath, slowly turning blue when the growling stops. She lifts her head to find the dinosaur gone. Now far from her trail, the best Fluttershy can do is to sit and wait.

And that isn’t saying much when the log starts to shake. The caretaker looks down; another one of the pursuer’s kind thrashes its head back and forth against the log in the hopes of getting a snack. Fluttershy grips on the dead tree for dear life. Not saying much for the plant; the rocks that the tree has gripped for centuries gave way, getting her to the level of the dinosaur’s massive toenails. She curls into a tiny ball, too afraid to see a reptile the size of two giraffes to swallow her. In her blindness, she feels the hot breath turn away.

“Up here, you colossal fossil!” Hearing Applejack’s voice filled Fluttershy with hope before seeing her friends high on a ledge, throwing and pushing large rocks on the dinosaur. The beast curls his lip before turning to them, just missing Fluttershy with a sweep of its mighty tail. When one rock hit his eye, the animal roars before slamming his tail, shattering the log, then jumped up and kicked the cliff face with such force it shattered.

“No!” Fluttershy screams in anguish while she sees her friends fall to certain doom.

But luck is on their side when several blue dots collide with the large boulders, reducing them to sand and cushions their fall. But that isn’t saying much as the dinosaur reaches down with jaws wide open. The team scamper off in time before the great set of teeth bites down. Spitting out sand, the carnivore turns his attention to Rainbow Dash and Rarity behind him before slamming his tail on the ground, sending the athlete high in the air. Deprived of her wings, Rainbow screams as gravity takes her to the saw-toothed maw of the animal before another light, green this time, explodes on the side of the dinosaur, wrapping it in a tight bond.

Safe… As long as Rainbow Dash clutches on the nostrils with an iron grip while being thrashed like a ragdoll. Another green arrow explodes around his ankles, toppling the great dinosaur and sending Rainbow Dash to the rocky ground. Bound up and unable to untie himself with tiny arms, all it can do writhe as another blue arrow shoots speeds at the ground behind it and makes a steep slope. The Rainbooms, Crusaders, and Princess Celestia watches the animal slide down and fall off the nearby cliff, echoing the island in a large boom.

“That’s gotta hurt.” Says Pinkie Pie just when the figure Fluttershy met lands in front of them and turns around. Fluttershy and Celestia aside, the others are creeped by the figure just staring at them.

“Uhm, yes.” Rarity breaks the silence. “Thank you kindly.”

The figure just continues to watch them silently. Sci-Twi steps forward, raising a finger.

“Do you. Know of a civilization?” She spoke slowly and clearly. Yet the figure still continues to watch, as if feigning ignorance.

“Let me try, let me try!” Pinkie Pie bounds forward to the figure, staring nose to mask before raising her fist. “Bah weep granah weep nini bong!”

Her attempt at the universal greeting does even get the figure to shift it’s gaze. But what does is a foghorn in the distance.

“Miss Rarity!” Shout’s Hayes from a great distance. Immediately, the figure dowses the ground in smoke. When the Rainbooms sweep the smoke, the figure is all gone.

“Miss Twilight!” Shouts another. Risking the terrors of the jungle once more, they rush through, stepping on bush after push, pushing through branch after branch until at last they reach another river, where another rescue team floats the current of the river.

“Here! Over Here!” They shout. With a turn of the wheel, they come ashore to a shallow pool. Now in the company of armed men, the band of women and dogs can relax unless the next big predator shows up. But the meeting is only sour sweet as Celestia and Mr. Hayes talking with each other.

“Seen enough?” The First Mate crosses his arms, raising an eyebrow.

“Yes.” Celestia reaches into her pocket and pulls out a small chunk of gold, but the first mate isn’t swayed this time.

“We’re taking you all home, right now.”

“Not without Sunset.” Twilight steps forward, Sci-Twi next to her holding the gadget, the light blinking at twelve o’clock. Yet, the first mate holds his ground.

“If Twilight and Celestia are staying, I’m staying too!” Rainbow Dash adds to their defense, followed by the others all the way down to Fluttershy. Still not feeling convinced enough, Applejack grabs a rifle from Lumpy and shoots a bird with good accuracy.

“That good enough for you?” She asks, this time getting a coy grin from Hayes as he turns to his rescue party.

“Anyone else want to stay?” Haye’s question is answered when Lumpy, Jimmy, Choy, Preston, and a few other crew members come to his side. “We have twenty-four hours, pray you keep up.”

Everyone loads up their guns, one of the crew passing one to Rainbow Dash and Apple Bloom, and begins their journey. All except Princess Celestia, standing there as she silently gives them a blessing. Twilight, deprived of her powers and in a dangerous world, turns around and hugs her mentor. This could be the last hurrah for the Princess of Friendship.

They continue their journey through the dark jungle and yellow grasslands, keeping away from the edge of the river. Though they realize the peril throughout the island, for once in a long while, the fact that nothing has attacked them since morning gives them some relief. That is until the shorebirds start to fly when the ground rumbles and the river bubbles. Without question, the armed sailors aim their weapons at the object rising from the water. Over thirty-eight meters tall, it was a crimson beast, save for the edges of bone that surrounds it’s head. Opening it like a flower reveals it’s red, tusked whale head. Knowing a monster when he see’s one, Lumpy aims his rifle, yet the beast is unfazed. Hayes grabs the gun barrel and lowers it; the beast doesn’t show any aggression beneath those relaxed eyes. It shakes it’s body a little, lets out a monotonous rumble, then walks back to the water.

Continuing through the plains, they notice a set of moss covered structures jutting off the ground. Seeing more of them collected uphill made Pinkie shake, contort, and distort in ways the human body couldn’t possibly imagine. To the Rainbooms and Crusaders, they know this well as a “doozy.” And such a doozy is proven correct for over the other side of the hill is a wasteland, a scar in the isle of greenery. Even in the steaming fog, large bones of a couple giant apes dot the area. After staring at the unknown for a while, Hayes takes a look at the still gawking Sci-Twi.

“So, is this the right direction to your friend?” That question got the young scientist to lift her device, seeing the lights point in the same direction they are going. No alternate routes, just straight through the bone yard. “Than that’s where we’ll have to go. Stay close and be alert.”

“Wait, wait, hold up!” Applejack interjects, pointing at Pinkie. “Pinkie just had a doozy. And when she’s a twitchin’, you better listen.”

“And do you have any faster ways?” The girls didn’t bother to answer Hayes. True, there are other wars around a main trail, but as always, going straight through is the fastest. “Then that’s where we’ll go. Stay close and be alert!”

As everyone walks down to the wastes, Rainbow Dash sputters, tapping the tip of the barrel to her shoe and grumbling,

“Sure, we fought a she-demon, blasted three sirens with rainbows, and just survived one day on this God-forsaken rock. How do we know?” Rainbow Dash lifts the gun on her shoulder and walks down, cursing whenever she can behind their backs. Unknown to them, the mysterious figure is watching them, joined by a few more people in yellow markings.

The yellow fog not only obscured their vision but also gave off such a stench that it would make noses bleed. Rarity pinches her nose, but that doesn’t do much when she has to breath. Sci-Twi and Twilight braved the stench, wandering a little from the ground to study the bones of the fallen. Many questions flood their minds. What happened here? How long has this gone on, and how did this not get noticed by settlers from nearby islands? They do discover the reason for the yellow haze: a fissure over several meters wide and several fathoms deep. From the looks of the claw marks at the edge, this is no natural orifice. Lumpy walks over to a similar fissure and tosses his finished cigar. The result is a large explosion that echoes of a volcano.

A few ear rubbings and pressure adjustments, the rescue crew hears an odd noise. A soothing voice, almost like a song. Except for Sci-Twi and the crew of the Venture, this strange tune is awfully familiar. But in this tune, a cruel, crisp clicking sound is heard nearby. Immediately both Twilights, Spikes, and the crew of the Venture hide in the skull of a massive reptile while everyone else hides behind some protruding shoulder blades.

From those in the skull, the being behind the made itself known. From a distance, it resembled a Komodo dragon on the prowl, even flipping its pink tongue evokes the behavior of the world’s largest extant lizard. Though it appears to have no eyes, it does have eyes beyond the white snout just next to the jawline. Like the giant arthropod from yesterday, it balanced itself on two legs. As it emerged from the fog, it carried someone, or something, on it’s back. An anthropomorphic, spiny lizard just nine meters tall, steers the larger beast towards the rest of the Rainbooms and Crusaders.

“I knew this was a no-no spot!” Pinkie Pie mouthed, curling herself as tight as she could as the creature’s hissing gets louder.

With a jerk of the reigns, the two-legged lizard stops and starts to dry heave. Rarity gags again when bones, human bones mixed in bile and bits of cloth. The beast turns around and walks back to the fog. While the two split groups reunite, Sweetie Belle, against her common sense, notices an oddity and starts fishing it out. As the creature moves further, Choy becomes enticed by the sweet music and slowly walks away.

“Is that your civilization?” Asks Hayes, gripping hard on his rifle.

“Not even close.” Rarity answers, stifling vomit from going too far up.

“Guys,” Sci-Twi lifts up her device, which is no longer blinking, “I don’t have a reading.”

Choy’s little misadventure blindly leads him through the haze before his eyes see a silhouette.

“So what?” Applejack motions to her left with her rifle, “Let’s pick up where we left off and-”

“We can’t…” With shaking hands, Sweetie Belle shows the object she found in the bones: a piece of black leather with a few silver studs. Sci-Twi doesn’t understand the significance until she sees the others lower their heads.

Choy continues to approach the silhouette, unaware of a certain danger behind him; one that has big teeth and a bad attitude.

“So…” Rainbow Dash sniffles, trying her damndest not to cry, “Who’s going to tell Celestia?”

Everyone slowly turns their heads to Princess Twilight Sparkle. The one who brought their school together and got Sunset to change her ways. The one who they promised to look out for her and they failed. With a stifled breath, the Alicorn in human clothing accepts the hard decision.

“I’ll tell her.”

While everyone prepares to leave, Lumpy notices they are missing one member when a scream is heard nearby.

“Oh shit, Choy!” Lumpy wastes no times running to the scream, but it is all too late. Two of the lizard men are already tearing the Oriental man apart, scattering pieces of bone and splotches of blood. Gritting his teeth, the cook fires a few rounds on the one on his left, landing a few shots on its skull and scaring away the other with Choy’s right hand. Without a cause and now down one person, the normally collective group of girls get panicky when the ominous song is no longer heard.

“Set up a perimeter!” Shouts Hayes as he loads up his gun. In no time at all was there a defensive ring; one man perches himself on the skull of a massive dinosaur. Vengeance in his heart, Lumpy stands up, pulling out his machete. Breaking the silence are the echoes of clicks and snarls of predatory animals. Whether it was gut instinct or something else, Lumpy raises the long blade and glares at the nothing.

“Death before dishonor.” He mutters before the lizard man with a bloodied maw rushes out of the haze. In an instance, Lumpy spins around and slashes the beast by the stomach.

The boneyard became a war zone as the unarmed seek cover in the bones. From the safe distance in the green, the figure and it’s cohorts see bits of lights in the fog as if it was lightning. From his perch, the sailor is able to mow down hordes of the lizard men before they came too close. But with numbers so great, guns can mean nothing. Lumpy prepares to make another strike when his arm is bitten and torn with great force. But the cook doesn’t give up the fight and punches any incoming intruder before he is overcome, screaming as he is torn apart. After firing her last round, Applejack reaches for some fresh rounds and stands up when she is pounced.

“Applejack!” Twilight shouts before turning to her human duplicate. “You gotta get our powers back!”

“I-I don’t know how!”

“What do you mean you don’t know how?!” Princess Twilight exclaims when a raspy screech is heard. The beast that was on Applejack is now pinned to the ground by a long spear in its chest. The wielder in question slides down, pulls the spear off the corpse and throws it at another. Their ears pick up a loud, sharp whistle before several dozen arrows with blue tips land on the ground and explode. Not long after, ten tribesmen, each adorned with markings as diverse as fingerprints, land in front of them, spears and bows at the ready.

“Looks like the cavalry's here!” Rainbow Dash cheers before the tribesmen continue their assault. For once, the tables start to turn again; it seems that the lizard men seem to fear these tribes folk; natural enemies perhaps. But with every side to a war, there’s always an arms race. Joining the war cries is a raspy screech from the same large, two legged lizard charges forth.

“Incoming!” Pinkie Pie shouts before running aside.

Whether it’s biology or sorcery, bullets seem to not harm it as it barrels to the soldier on the dinosaur skull, smashes it, and catches the soldier with its forked tongue before turning it’s attention to Rarity and Spike and takes chase.

The Fashionista grabs the pup and runs as she can with a long skirt. Some of the lizard men take notice of the fleeing human but are crushed by their larger ally. Disturbing as it sounds, Rarity takes refuge in a ribcage. But age has not been kind as the beast easily parts the bones with its head. Even if he was a small dragon, Spike would singe the legged serpent. Still, it didn't hurt for him to try as he pulled his ears back, opening his mouth like a handheld lighter.

Desperate to save everyone, Twilight snatches the device and pulls the lid with all her might.

"Twilight, don't!" Sci-Twi cries too late. Upon opening, the device, a beam of light shoots out and opens a rift to another world. On the other side, two dragons are fighting for a diamond horde stolen from a diamond dog colony. One of them dodges his rivals fire breath, which shoots through the rift and chars the assaulting beast. Rarity takes this advantage and scurries off.

"Keep firing!" Shouts Hayes before he and a few of his shipmates fire a few rounds at the burned reptile. Realizing her mistake, Twilight tries to close the device, but it’s with Sci-Twi’s combined strength that fully closes the device and the rift. The beast shrugs off the fire and gives one of the shipmates a good smack with its tale into a drove of lizard men. Hayes turns to Jimmy and the Crusaders.

“Jimmy, take them and run!”

“No, I’m not gonna run!” The boy argues.

“Don’t be a damn fool, Jimmy!”

“But-!” Jimmy feels a hand on his shoulder and is spun around.

“Look, kid,” Scootaloo shouts, “I’d like to stay as much as you, but running sounds like a good idea!”

Much as it pains him, Jimmy provided cover fire while joining their escape. For such a large beast, the two-legged lizard is as agile as a jaguar; after jumping a good distance, it scoops up a warrior in it’s mouth, devours him, then slaps its tail to the ground and sending a Venture crewmate flying. But even a large predator has a preference for easier prey such as the old, sick… or young. Rainbow Dash notices it pursuing the four and tries to outflank the creature only to be stopped two of their enemies.

The children were able to reach the fringes of a jungle when the beast jumps at their left and cuts them off with a tail slap. Apple Bloom and Jimmy aim their rifles, though it won’t do them much good. It’s intentions are unclear as it slithers around the kids, keeping them corralled with it’s tail.

“Scootaloo,” Sweetie Belle mutters, her arms close to her body, “remember how I said Diamond Tiara broke your first scooter?”

“Yeah, what about-” Realizing what she’s meaning, Scootaloo turns a glare at her friend, “You little-!”

Just as the beast leans up to take a snack, the mysterious figure slides like a baserunner and shoots an arrow precisely down the creature’s gullet. While not powerful enough to explode it, the creature does perish from internal bleeding, spurting out blood before becoming limp. Before the cloak covers up the figure’s body, the Crusader’s notice patches of tan skin: not Applejack’s but a familiar orange color nonetheless. The figure stands up, turning its masked head to another form of trouble: another one of the lizards, thwacking it’s tail on the soft ground and shuffling it’s shoulders. Apple Bloom readies her rifle when four hairy limbs land around them. Standing above them is a white gorilla, around twenty-five feet tall, laced with scars and a broken jaw, glares at the reptile. Getting the idea, the children join the figure by walking backwards and getting a clear distance from the great ape.

The gorilla grabs a large tree and strips it of its branches. The legged serpent charges forth, the ape doing the same, dragging the tree like a heavy sword. The gorilla batters up and smashes the tree at the reptile; he tries to collect the larger piece, but the predator recovers quickly and pounces at the large mammal. With both hands keeping it from snapping at the gorilla’s neck, the reptile wraps its tail around the waste, twists, then tosses the beast aside before noticing the figure’s white tiger rushing to its master’s aide.

“Nuh-uh!” Scootaloo backs away, “I’m not hopping on that thing!”

“It’s either this thing,” Apple Bloom immediately aims the rifle, eyes becoming pinpricks, “or that!”

The kids turn around and find the lizard approaching them with an open maw before a distant roar is heard. The serpent turns around just as a rock is smashed on it’s face.

“All aboard!” Scootaloo doesn’t have to ask a second time, as the stranger and the children climb on the white tiger and run off.

Happy that the smaller humans got away, the ape turns to the massive lizard, using its arm as a shield against the sharp teeth before it is pounced again. Jaws shaking it like a rag doll, the ape frees itself by punching the reptile in the ribs and starts prying open the jaws. Either it was disgusted or annoyed, the gorilla tears off its enemy's tongue, spits it out and pins the lizard with its feet. Not even minding the lizard clawing its legs, the ape grabs the jaws again and pulls them long and hard before they are torn apart like a walnut. Shaking the limp creature in amusement, it pounds its chest before letting out a mighty roar.

This victory isn’t the same for the others. Out of rounds, spears, and knowing the danger of the device, the Rainbooms, Hayes, and the surviving shipmates and warriors are surrounded by droves of lizard men.

“Think that universal greeting’s gonna work this time?” Asks Rarity, holding onto Spike for dear life.

With all the numbers needed for a feeding frenzy, they still don’t attack. Instead, they stand there, chattering their teeth and making jerky motions. In tune with the beautiful song coming again, they close in on their personal space. To the young princess, this reminds her of how she and her friends were captured during Cadence’s wedding with Shining Armor. But the song in the wilderness, so strange, yet so familiar. But the answer will have to be discovered later as they are lifted off the ground and carried faster than five draught horses pulling with all their might.

For a big cat, the tiger is able to move faster than a cheetah and with great ease across rocky terrain and tangled vines. With a tug on its mane, the figure is able to stop the beast to a sight that had the children gawk. Before them is a wall made of stripped trees woven into a unique vertical; the growth rings show off the pattern of a dotted wall surrounded a few curved rectangles and a crucifix. As they do, the figure grabs the rifles and tosses them to the deep blue river, then gets the beast to move again. Climbing down from the ramparts, the children are beheld a large village arranged in the same pattern as the insignia on the wall.

Up close, they find not just warrior men, but women clad in woven reed dresses dyed in colors from the brightest golds to darkest blues. The children are adorned with camouflage robes; the boys don’t display the markings the warriors have; perhaps in a rite of passage. They stare at the foreigners; the Crusaders and Jimmy expected the warriors to come up, spears drawn at their throats. But they don’t seem to mind when they go back to their daily lives. Some of the younger tribes children trot next to the walking tiger, saying a few foreign words in a happy tone before the figure rubs a boy’s hair. In a short while, the beast takes the four to the part of a shipwreck.

Inside is a stark contrast from what they expect from native. With a small hydro-wheel, the wreck is illuminated with a small light bulb. Two floors high and wide enough to store five weeks worth of food, the walls are adorned with illustrations that hearken a bygone era. One part of the wall is adorned with weapons, including a trident forged from wood layered with sheet metal. After its passengers dismount, the tiger walks over to a large patch of hay and lays down.

“So, when are we going to save Hayes?” The figure doesn’t answer Jimmy’s question, instead a platter of fruit drops down on crude wooden table.

“But what about Rainbow Dash?” Scootaloo asks, though that doesn’t get an answer as the figure passes her and sits down.

“And Applejack?” Asks Apple Bloom; again, no answer.

“And Rarity?” Sweetie Belle adds; but when the figure doesn’t answer once more, the girl adds, “And Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Spike, and-!?”

“Why have you come?” Asks the figure for the first time, the voice feminine standing up in a manner that reminds them of batman. The three girls know from the start, yet they are too afraid of the presence of this person who just saved their lives. Not getting her answer, the figure walks ahead of her “guests and starts brandishing her arrows.

“We’re looking for…” Scootaloo gulps, “a friend.”

“There are many friends here.” The figure answers, not even turning it’s head.

“Yes, but this one’s different.” Apple Bloom taps her fingers. “See, last winter we messed up… Big with Anon-a-Miss.”

The figure stops it’s business and slowly turns around. Seeing the girls through hell already is made worse with their sad faces, especially with Sweetie Belle.

“We were…. We were…” Sweetie Belle’s eyes well up before she howls, “We were jealous that our sisters were hanging out with Sunset Shimmer more and we killed her!”

“We didn’t-!”

“We did, Scootaloo!” Sweetie Belle wails at her orange friend, “We’ve been on the island for nothing! And Rarity, she’s, she’s…”

The Crusader collapses and cries so loud that some of the villagers turn to the source of the sound. Knowing that her sister is in the same situation, Apple Bloom wraps her arms around Sweetie Belle, stifling a few tears of her own before weeping. Scootaloo clenches her shaking fist, trying hard not to cry; she’s never seen her hero cry, but perhaps even idols cry. The figure looks to the right for a while, taking a deep breath before approaching the girls.

“I’m sure that somewhere, somehow, Sunset Shimmer will forgive you.”

The three girls look at the figure, sad and confused.

“What makes you say that?” Asks Scootaloo, almost choking on her sadness.

A long period of silence, the figure grabs her mask and hood and pulls it off. The three girls look like they’ve seen a ghost; one that has first terrorized their school, than saved them from a trio of sly, writhing beasts, and have been driven away by them. Now they are looking at the familiar tan skin and bacon colored hair that has been missing for so long, they thought they’ve given up. She doesn’t look angry, rather, empathetic with calm eyes inside an orange painted mask.

“Because she’s here.” Answers the person they’ve looked for: Sunset Shimmer.

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