• Published 6th Oct 2018
  • 388 Views, 1 Comments

The Flame - Soraya

After the war, Everfree Forest remains one of the only places untouched by radiation, nevertheless it remains the most dangerous. It’s a hazardous location to live, even for a chimera...

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The Death Goddess

Both chimeras remained silent for a moment. Keres remained focused on the smaller chimera. She stood with a paw protecting the deer carcass, as if expecting Elias to charge in and usurp her prey at any moment. Elias paced around nervously, looking up at Keres. The bigger chimera snarled at him with her tiger's head, playing with Elias' nervous demeanor. "I am aware that male chimeras are lesser in size and build than the females, but you are smaller than I thought you would be, and more reckless and daring as well." Keres' goat's head resumed the conversation.

Elias felt an instinctive caution about this new chimera. She was either trying to intimidate him or flatter him in a roundabout way. In either case, he wouldn't let his guard down that fast. "I am called Elias," he said. "I have not seen very many of my kind around here. Other than my mother and twin brother, you are the second chimera I have met." Simple information, he wouldn't reveal more than necessary to Keres.

The goat eyes of Keres reflected a light that was somewhere between hostility and curiousity. "We are an uncommon species, true enough. What was this other chimera like?"

Elias discreetly moved in closer to the carcass Keres stood over. "She wasn't very nice," he replied.

"Hopefully she wasn't anywhere near my territory," Keres' tiger head growled. "This section of the swamp on this side of the forest is mine, and no other female chimera is welcome here!"

The tiger head of Elias snorted. "Then I should be free to enter here to hunt for prey. But I can tell you have other intentions, or at least one of your heads does."

Keres' goat head laughed, the sound harsh. "It's not like it's hard to distinguish a male chimera from a female. Although to be honest, I don't get many chimeras of either sex who are bold enough to venture into my territory. Such an unexpected encounter, you showing up. But you're still in my territory, and I won't let you forget it!" She watched the smaller chimera, searching for any more indicators of fear she could play off of. If her eyes had emanated a simple curiosity before, now her gaze held hunger and anticipation. Elias backed away. This chimera was untrustworthy and he didn't want her to make the first move. With her outweighing him one and half times and in her prime, Keres could simply toy with him. She would have full control if it came down to a fight.

Elias snapped and snarled, his tiger head staring Keres' goat one directly in the eyes. "Do not underestimate my ability to fight, goaty. I did all the work of bringing that great deer down. The one you're standing over right now, bigger than both of us together!"

Keres' goat head shrank back slightly, but she stepped closer to Elias from her vantage point atop the deer carcass. Her tiger head bared her teeth. "One thing a chimera has that no deer can possess," she growled. "Three heads, and the power of cooperation. It's not so hard, accomplishing things when three minds work as one." Keres sprung at Elias, barrelling him over with her greater strength. She pinned the smaller chimera to the ground, both of her front paws stifling his chest. Keres' snake tail slithered over the smaller chimera's belly, with a forked tongue flicking in and out, while her goat head nodded silently, with a grin somewhere between boredom and amusement. "Very few bother to confront me, the strongest chimera in the forest. I can use qualities like that," Keres purred, her eyes reflecting anything but friendliness. Then her friendly tone turned into a snarl. "Don't ever come around here again and steal my prey!"

Elias' tiger head let out a rumbling growl. "You seem rather...conflicted, that's what you're telling me. Even more so than a chimera should be." His goat head butted in, getting straight to the point. "You, or all three of your heads, rather. You're just deciding what to do with me, but you can't agree between the three of you. Baaah! I am not stupid."

Keres' goat head now regained her focus on the tiger. "I like you, Elias," she bleated. "Now tell me...tell me more about this other chimera you saw. The female one, who was hopefully NOWHERE NEAR this swamp..."

A growl resounded from between sharp white tiger fangs. "Yeah, I heard you clearly the first time." Elias was perfectly content to go into a tale, especially one that was lengthy. With some luck, and given the things he'd observed, he had a pretty decent chance to distract this territorial but poorly cooperating chimera. Maybe she'd forget to fight him if it went on long enough. Regardless of what happened, it was worth the shot.

Elias' goat head began the story. "So, the other chimera I met also lived in a swamp with flaming geysers, but as you know there's more than one of them around here. I was in the Everfree Forest. I could tell she was there before I laid eyes on her. First off, Stripes here noticed the claw scratches in the surrounding trees. These rectangular pupils of mine noticed one tree that had worn bark, like it had been used to sharpen horns. Of course Fang Tail saw the discarded snake skin in the grass before anyone else did."

"I didn't turn back," Elias' tiger head took up the story. "Because I was specifically looking for her. Maybe as a potential mate. The closer I came to the swamp, the trees and grass showed more of these signs, and that's when..."

"Sssssilence! Can you jusssst get to the part where you meet her!" Keres' snake interjected. "Thisssss issss unnecessssssary."

Elias' tiger resumed the narrative. "First thing that chimera did when she saw me, her tiger head looked at mine and said, 'You obviously knew that this territory is occupied. Are you challenging me?' Then the goat and snake started arguing with her. The goat said, 'It's time that we find a suitable chimera as a mate. This is the one,' and the snake said,
'No way! Look how puny he is!' I just paced around the swamp, watching them argue. It was pretty funny. In between, I heard the goat comment that another chimera around would help her find some pie, or maybe even filly filet. She said that several years ago, a filly went right into her swamp pulling a cart filled with pies, but the whole escapade ended with her getting stuck between trees in her own swamp. Then..."

Keres' goat snorted. "Well, that one won't be much of a threat. Sounds rather incompetent to me, I like that. All the better for me, competitors that can be easily exploited. She doesn't sound like someone who could best me in a fight if some tiny filly got the better of her."

"Was this before the radiation?" Keres' tiger asked.

"After," Elias' tiger answered. "The other chimera said that after the incident with the radiation, she'd seen even more ponies venturing through the woods now. That one filly, Apple Blossom or Apple Bloom...can't remember the exact name. That encounter was a few years before the incident, but then many ponies fled into the woods. As inhospitable as our land is for them, it's one of the only places that didn't suffer impact from the fallout. The new ponies she saw were much tougher looking, and didn't look quite as out of place as that filly filet she never got to eat."

A light glinted in Keres' tiger eyes. She let off on some of the pressure to his chest. "Take me to her now," she said. "One like her, first I can prove my dominance, and then she can tell me what she knows. The more I know, the more I can take advantage of."

That was when Elias saw his chance.

Author's Note:
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