• Published 2nd Jun 2018
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A Wolf in Cybernetic Armor - Shadow Quill



A machine built for exploring new worlds and preparing them for possible coloization. A land of magic and friendship that has not seen the blight of war in over a thousand years. This is what happens when the two come crashing together.

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3 - The Bigger They Are....

The light of Celestia’s sun broke over the Castle of the Two Sisters in a wave of color and warmth the following morning, causing Twilight and the rest of the mares to stir from their slumber. The purple unicorn let loose a huge yawn as she stretched her back like a cat, hearing the others moving about as they too forced the clutches of sleep out of their minds. Twilight got her eyes to open after a few minutes of struggle, although as she turned her attention to her surroundings she noticed that one of the group was still out like a light.

Fluttershy was still curled up against the mechanical wolf’s flank, her tail curled over her muzzle and her breathing smooth as the wolf’s crimson gaze shifted from the sleeping pegasus to Twilight, its head slightly tilted as if asking permission to wake their peaceful companion.

Twilight stepped forward and gently poked Fluttershy in the side, her attention still partly locked on the wolf as it stayed perfectly still. Try as she might, she couldn’t bring herself to completely trust the machine, given they knew almost nothing about it. It seemed to be operating under peaceful intentions, although that could change in a second if it had some kind of ulterior programing hid beneath its calm exterior.

Fluttershy shifted slightly at Twilight’s gentle prodding, her eyes opening as she rubbed them with a hoof, “T-Twilight?” She let loose a jaw-splitting yawn as she forced herself to her hooves, “What time is it?”

“It’s just past dawn.” Twilight replied as she stepped back to allow the pegasus to rise, “I was thinking we could get going once everypony is awake and aware. We don’t want to hang around here longer than we have too. This is the Everfree after all.”

The demur mare nodded, turning her attention to the wolf as it too rose to its paws, towering almost a head higher than the ponies as its head did a quick scan of the surrounding room. Fluttershy tapped the wolf’s paw with a hoof, getting its attention as its gaze leveled on her, and Twilight was taken by surprise as the shy pegasus lifted her head up and gave the side of the wolf’s face a tender nuzzle.

The wolf stayed in its still stance as Fluttershy pulled back, tilting its head slightly as if in confusion at what the mare had just done. A tiny smile graced Fluttershy’s lips as she turned and walked over to the others, leaving Twilight to figure out what in Equestria had just happened. The duo turned to look at one another, and the wolf seemed to consider her for a moment before walking past her and towards the castle entrance. For a second, Twilight warred with herself about trying to figure out what had just transpired but shook her head as she cleared the thoughts from her mind.

“This isn’t the time or place to be wondering why Fluttershy is acting like that.” She reassured herself as she walked up to join the rest of the group. “Just focus on the bigger picture and things will work themselves out in the end.”

“So, what’s the plan Twilight?” Rainbow asked as she took to the air, hovering over the group as she glanced over her shoulder at the wolf standing guard at the barren doorway.

“Well Ah for one don’t want to be in this forest for any longer than Ah have too.” Applejack stated as she glanced around at the still dimly lit castle, “This place might not have a bunch of monsters running around, but that doesn’t mean we won’t run into trouble on the way back if we stick around too long.”

“I completely agree,” Rarity added with a flip of her mane, “this ghastly forest is no place for any self-respecting pony unless extreme circumstances are present.” She let out a huff as she turned and walked over to join the wolf at the castle gate, “I would think getting our new friend back to Ponyville would be our top priority now that we know what is going on.”

“I still think we should keep an eye on that thing,” Rainbow said as she hovered over to the wolf’s side, the automaton simply turning an ear towards the prismatic mare but otherwise making no indication it cared about her presence. “who knows what it might do if it gets into a town and goes crazy on us?”

“Why would Wolfie do anything like that?” Pinkie asked as she bounced up to the wolf and rested her hoof over its back, causing it to look her way as she cast a questioning look up at Rainbow, “He’s been nothing but nice to us since we met him, he even let Fluttershy sleep next to him when we all went to bed last night.”

Rainbow nodded her agreement, although she still locked the wolf with a penetrating glare, much though it seemed the wolf had little care for the pegasus’ ire as it turned its attention back to the forest. The wolf had its ears perked and its glowing eyes roaming over the foliage, as if searching for something that none of the mares could see.

“Perhaps we could continue this conversation back in Twilight’s library?” Rarity suggested, following the purple unicorn as they joined the rest of the group at the castle entrance.

Twilight narrowed her eyes at the back of the wolf’s head as it once again scanned the forest for something, her eyes naturally following its gaze in an attempt to spot what it was looking at. “I think the wolf is looking for something, although I don’t know what it is.” She stepped past the mechanical hound and motioned for the others to follow, “Let’s see if it tries to find whatever it is as we head back to town. I’m curious to find out if it was sent here with a specific mission in mind.”

“But what could it possibly be looking for in this forest?” Applejack asked as they filed out of the castle and over the rope bridge, the wolf following them as it continued to survey its surroundings, “For all we know it simply hasn’t seen anything like Equestria before, especially wild lands like the Everfree.”

“Maybe it’s simply looking around to get familiar with its surroundings?” Fluttershy added from the back of the group, “After all, machine or not, it seems to have at least some form of intelligence that guides its actions. If it wasn’t made of metal, I wouldn’t have a hard time thinking it was just another animal.”

“While that might be true,” Twilight said as she led the group back towards town, “the purpose this machine was sent here to complete is still unknown, so we won’t know anything until we can get some answers out of it, assuming it will tell us the truth once it can speak Equish.”

For a while everything seemed to be going well, the girls talked about innocuous things, the wolf continued to watch the forest like a foal in a candy store, and the sun travelled across the sky in a slow arc. Yet, something began to nag at the back of Twilight’s mind as they got further away from the castle. Something was making the fur on the back of her neck stand on end, and she couldn’t put her hoof on exactly why. It wasn’t until there was a lull in the girls’ conversations that she realized what it was that had made her so nervous.

The birds had stopped singing.


Shadow was paying close attention to the falcon’s readings as he scanned the forest around the group for threats, the image of the extra large feline quick to reassert itself in his memory banks as the equines led him along a moderately beaten path through the wood. For the first three hours the trip was relatively uneventful. He managed to record a large sample of the native’s language, although without any kind of reference material he was unable to form any kind of translation matrix. He had made an educated guess with the introductions back at the castle, and it seemed to have paid off, although as the cluster of equines made more and more progress into the foliage, the sensors of the falcon began to pick up something massive on its radar.

Moving through the forest to the north of their position, was an organic that had to be at least a hundred feet in length, its mass creating tremors that his paws were able to detect even though it was still miles away. For a moment Shadow believed that the titanic thing would simply pass them by, as its trajectory was going to miss their path of travel by a significant margin. Yet that belief was quickly dashed as the signal paused for several seconds, then changed direction and made a rapid beeline for the traveling group. If the sudden lack of birdsong was any indication, the approaching creature was not something they wanted to mess with, and he readied his weapons systems as the creature’s steps began to reach audible levels.

Weapons Status: Active…Awaiting Deployment…

Avian Scout Status: Defensive…Weapons Systems on Standby…

Shadow turned his head in the direction of the approaching creature, the equines pausing as the purple one held up a hoof and tilted her head as her ears rotated back and forth. For a moment nothing happened, then the purple one’s eyes widened in a highly expressive show of fear, and with a high-pitched yell the equines all ran down the trail as fast as their hooves could carry them. Shadow followed closely behind the group, the falcon’s long-range cameras finally picking up what was creating such powerful vibrations, and he nearly stumbled as the scout’s scanners provided him with an in-depth analysis of the creature barreling down at them.

It had to be at least one hundred feet from nose to tail, its body supported by two stubby legs as it crushed any tree that dared to get in its way. Four triangular heads swung on long necks and flashing teeth the size of his leg glinted in the starlight as the reptile locked its gaze on the retreating group. Performing a quick calculation of the creature’s speed and its direction, Shadow realized that it would overtake them before they could get into any kind of shelter, meaning they would most likely end up lunch if he didn’t do something.

Avian Scout Status: Aggressive…Weapons Systems Deployed…

Shadow ordered the falcon drone to distract the beast as long as it could while he protected the equines, watching through the falcon’s optics as it dove down on the advancing reptile and fired its small collection of mini rockets at the creature’s leftmost head. The explosives were only the size of a grenade, and did little more than make the reptile flinch as they detonated between its eyes, although it did cause the heads to turn and address the small metal bird that was flying straight at it.

Yet it was not to be. Seeing that the shiny bird was not much of a threat, the huge beast began lumbering after the group once again, ignoring the falcon’s claws as they did little more than scrape the scales that covered its neck and back. Using what data he could get from the falcon’s attacks, Shadow knew that the only way he was going to stop the monster chasing them would be to stand and fight himself, although his self-preservation codes were at war with his directive to protect intelligent life. True, the code had never been intended to include anything other than humans, but it had still been written with all intelligent life as the primary directive. It took several seconds, in which the monstrous creature drew close enough for him to see over the treetops, before he was able to come to a conclusion. The protection of intelligent life overrode his self-preservation codes, if only by a technicality, but it cleared his processors of the errors and looping commands that had prevented him from acting.

With his mind made up, Shadow braced his legs against the ground as the group passed through a large clearing, his claws digging up grass and dirt as he slid to a stop. The platting on his shoulders folded back and his plasma cannons extended as he began charging up his attack. He could hear the equines coming to a stop behind him as he turned to face the huge reptile bearing down on them but paid them no mind as he let loose another echoing roar. He hadn’t put everything into it like the last one, the hearing of his companions being accounted for, but it was certainly enough to catch the creature’s attention as its four heads turned to lock onto him.

Blue energy charged up and sparked around the ends of his cannons, and with a slight adjustment for the beast’s movement, he fired off his first shot. Without waiting to see how it would react, Shadow followed up with another set of blasts aimed just below the first, hoping to score a double hit before the creature could get into the clearing.

The first two bolts impacted the middle two heads just below the jaw, the heated matter searing the flesh and scales as the creature roared in pain. It stumbled to a halt just as the second round of plasma hit it directly in the center of its chest, the two compressed balls of energy impacting the same location and punching a hole into its body as the beast roared even louder. For a moment Shadow thought that would be the end of it, but to his utter shock, the hole in the creature’s chest began to close up, just as the burns under its middle jaws regrew the missing scales and flesh. The falcon was still flying around its heads in an effort to distract it from the group, but it did little against the monster’s fury as it leveled all four sets on eyes on the mechanical hound.

Shadow crouched and charged up his cannons again, watching the power levels of his core drop a few percent as he poured much more power into the attack. If this thing could regenerate, then he simply needed to hit it faster than it could heal. He turned his head to look at the equines hiding at the edge of the clearing, barking out a single word as the plasma around his cannons reached the size of basket balls.

“RUN!!”


Twilight was jerked out of her shock as the wolf yelled something at her and the others but was too engrossed in the events happening before her to pay the sound much mind. Not only had the wolf somehow sprouted weapons that could pierce a hydra’s hide, they could actually slow down its healing factor, something that not even Princess Celestia’s magic could accomplish with such ease. Hydras were known as one of the most formidable creatures within the Everfree Forest, with nearly impenetrable scales and a magic resistance that made dragons look like pushovers. Not to mention the nasty habit they had of growing extra heads if one were foolish enough to try and remove one of them.

The others were just as gob-smacked as she was, Rainbow being forced to land as her wings locked up from the sheer awe, while Fluttershy, Rarity and Applejack simply stood with their jaws hanging low. Pinkie was strangely the only one that wasn’t frozen stiff, and that was because she was too busy calling out to the mechanized wolf in a voice that would normally have been seen on the sidelines of a hoofball game.

“You can do it Wolfie!” She cried as the massive balls of blue energy racketed away from the machine and impacted the hydra in the upper sections of its chest, “Kick that hydra into next week.” She made sound effects like the events in front of them were being depicted in a comic book, punching the air with her forehooves and jumping about like a pogo stick as the hydra’s hide sizzled and melted under the intense heat of the wolf’s attack.

For a moment, it seemed that the wolf had done actual damage to the hydra, the gaping hole in its chest trailing smoke and long lines of bright green blood, only to slowly begin healing as the beast charged forwards and into the clearing. Two of the heads snapped at the mechanical hound but munched on nothing but dirt as the wolf leaped out of the way.

A small silver speck was strafing the hydra’s heads, although Twilight couldn’t make it out clearly because of how fast it was going. Somehow, she managed to keep her eyes locked on the battle raging before her, the gears of her mind running a mile a minute as she tried to figure out what was going on. She could tell the weapons on the wolf’s shoulders weren’t using magic, but for the life of her she couldn’t figure out what it was they were firing if that was the case. It was certainly generating a lot of heat, if the scalded flesh and the smell of boiling blood was anything to go by.

Then, just as the wolf seemed to be getting the upper hoof on the hydra, it stopped moving and squared its legs as if it were going to charge the massive serpent. Twilight gasped as the light in front of the twin weapons grew to almost impossibly bright levels and watched with helpless horror as the hydra took advantage of the wolf’s immobile state and lunged forward with all its might.


Shadow knew his options were limited. He couldn’t do anything to hurt the creature permanently, and with the equines so close, he couldn’t use any of his more powerful weapons for fear of collateral damage. Not to mention the complete lack of harm his cannons were managing to inflict upon the titanic reptile, unless he counted ticking the thing off as a wound. The falcon scout was less then useless to him, no longer even acting as a distraction as the beast lunged at him once more with two of its heads, forcing him to dodge or else risk getting crushed by its jaws.

Then, as if his processors had been working over the problem in hyperdrive, he came to a possible conclusion, although if it failed, he would be destroyed with almost complete certainty. Yet it was the only idea he had that posed any chance of success, and thus he slid to a halt and charged up his cannons with as much power as they could handle. His power core dropped another six percent as the cannons’ charge reached critical mass, and he stood perfectly still as the enraged reptile lunged for him with gaping jaws. Waiting for the last possible moment, Shadow bunched his legs, and leaped into the open maw of the beast, feeling the mighty creature’s jaws close in around him before his optics were plunged into darkness. He could tell the beast had swallowed him by the tight confines of his surroundings, the heat of the plasma in his cannons burning the flesh of its throat on his way down as he waited for his chance. He was only going to get one shot, so he had to make it count or else none of them were going to get out of this situation alive. He shut off the feed from the falcon and focused all of his processors on his auditory sensors, trying to locate the one thing that he hoped would put the beast down for good.

Author's Note:

Well here we go again, charging into the action and then leaving things up to your imagination as to how things will end up. I know I'm a terrible person for leaving you with something like this, but i just couldn't resist. Plus, it finally allows me to use this lovely little clip. It's something I've been wanting to use for a while now but it never fit the end of a chapter quite as well as this one. So, here you go,

Also, leave a like, follow if you wish, and comment to your heart's content. I'll see you all next chapter, or maybe I won't. :rainbowwild:
Shadow Quill, Messenger of the Moon.