• Published 9th Jul 2019
  • 3,208 Views, 570 Comments

Scarlet - Skijarama

Forced to leave her peaceful hometown and flee for her life alongside a mysterious orphan filly named Primrose, New Equestrian war-veteran Scarlet Frost will have to use every resource at her disposal just to stay alive.

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Without the walls of her home to deaden the sound, the sudden blast of thunder that shook the world made Scarlet’s teeth rattle together as she sprinted down the street. Her cloak hugged her body, soggy and dripping from the downpour already. Rivulets of water poured over her face, forcing her to squint to see, and her mane clung to her neck and shoulders. She swept her eyes back and forth to scour the streets as she ran, making sure to keep her breaths even and steady.

She came to a four-way intersection, the only source of light being the purple glow of the street lights. She slowly spun in place, her eyes frantically darting back and forth to study the environment for any sign of her quarry. However, nothing stood out to her, and she inwardly scolded herself for thinking she had any hope of tracking Silent or his Nightblades. They knew better than to leave tracks...

She was knocked from her thoughts and her ears swiveled when a loud, high-pitched scream echoed from down the street behind her. Without missing a beat, she spun on her hooves and broke into a gallop after the sound, her heart beating faster in her chest. As she drew closer, she could just make out voices, shouting to be heard over the din of the storm.

She rounded the corner and slid to a stop. She could see Silent at the entrance to an alleyway, his posture low and his wings flared out. Razor sharp blades poked out between his feathers, catching the purple light menacingly. His Nightblades stood around him, three in total. One of them was a unicorn, and in his amber magical aura were two curved daggers. The others were earth ponies, the horseshoes they wore adorned with sharp claws that now pawed restlessly at the earth.

“Nowhere left to run, girl,” Silent shouted, starting to stalk forward. “You’ve run out of holes to hide in, tricks to pull, and ponies to cower behind. Now, be a good girl, make things easy on yourself, and pass me that lamp.”

“No!” Primrose’s shaking voice barked back from the alleyway, making Scarlet’s blood run cold. “You can’t have it! I promised I’d protect it!”

Silent rolled his eyes before taking another threatening step forward. He lowered his head closer to the ground, like a predator stalking its small, pathetic prey. “Ah, well, I never said you had a choice in the matter.”

He flared out his wings and tensed to lunge.

Primrose screamed.

Scarlet sprang into motion.

Before she even knew what was happening, her horn had been enveloped in a bright amethyst light, and several barrels were hauled from under a nearby awning and hurled at the gathered assassins at high speeds. Silent was the only one to see them coming in time and quickly sprang back to avoid being clobbered. His comrades were not so lucky, each one being struck with enough force to shatter the projectiles and send them sliding, out cold, into the mud.

Scarlet’s horn brightened again, her teeth grinding together. It had been a long time since she’d had to use this spell. The light on her horn pulsed, and suddenly spread out in a blinding flash of light, accompanied by a loud burst of sound. The world around her, for a fraction of a second, ceased to exist. It was just light and sound and arcane winds. Then, as quickly as it began, it ended, and Scarlet reemerged in the alleyway, facing the street.

“Wha?! Sc-Scarlet?!” Primrose squeaked from behind her.

She didn’t turn to look, her stance widening and her ears going flat against her head. “Shut up and stay back!” she barked, leaving no room for argument.

A second passed before Silent slowly came back into sight, his cold eyes glaring into Scarlet’s. “Frost… I told you to stay home,” he noted in a low, warning tone. “I warned you not to get involved. Step aside. Right now.”

“How can you expect me to do that?!” Scarlet demanded, her nostrils flaring and her horn sparking into life again. “How can you tell me to get out of your way when you were clearly about to slaughter an innocent filly?!”

Silent’s face visibly tightened with frustration. He took a deep breath before speaking again. “As I said back in your home, I have already told you far, far too much. I cannot tell you anything else.”

“You told me she was valuable to ponies in Newcanter,” Scarlet rebuked, her eyes narrowing. “And that you were here to escort her back to the capital. But then you started chasing her through the streets with wingblades drawn and a squad of trained assassins! You weren’t going to take her anywhere! You LIED to me, Silent! So until I know exactly why you were about to murder a foal, then I am NOT going to get out of your way!”

A heavy silence fell over the two of them. Thunder boomed in the distance, little more than a low rumble that made Scarlet’s chest quiver in dread and anticipation. Silent stared at her in disbelief for several seconds before letting off a long, disappointed sigh. “Very well… forgive me, Scarlet, but you leave me with no choice.”

His wings unfolded, the blades within snapping out with a metallic sound, before he sprang forward. Scarlet’s eyes widened, the light on her horn erupting forth in a beam of magic. The pegasus charging her skillfully swerved around it, closing the gap quickly. His eyes were focused, and Scarlet knew in that moment that he was not going to hesitate.

So she didn’t, either.

The air in front of her rippled and shimmered with mystical energies before a curved sword of raw magic materialized there. She brought the blade up just in time to catch Silent’s, sparks flying free and energy crackling along the point of impact. She took a step back, knocked off balance by the force of her opponent’s swing. Silent followed through quickly, his other wing slicing forward.

Scarlet met the strike, but only barely. Her eyes flew wide when she saw the tip of Silent’s blade mere inches away. She could easily see how sharp they were, and her muscles tensed involuntarily.

Before she could make to counter, Silent followed up on his swings to spin in the air and buck her hard in the face. She cried out and staggered back, her sword swiping before her in a clearing sweep to give her some breathing room. Silent skillfully leaped over the blade and dove back down for her, his hooves outstretched.

He plowed into her, knocking her down into the dirt and dispelling her sword. She rolled one before coming to a stop, mud and muck clinging to her face, fur, and coat. She lifted her eyes, briefly catching sight of Primrose watching from the back of the alley, her eyes wide open with shock. Those eyes then darted to look at something behind Scarlet, and the filly’s pupils shrank.

Acting on pure reflex, Scarlet conjured a dome-shaped barrier over herself, just barely catching the swing of Silent’s attack. It bounced off with a distorted clang, and he stepped back with a grunt. Scarlet capitalized on the moment, the barrier fading away and replaced with not one, but two magical swords. She shot up to her hooves and spun on her enemy, swinging the swords in rapid succession to drive him back.

He blocked each strike masterfully, though his face became twisted with strain and effort. Seeing an opportunity to push an advantage, Scarlet stepped forwards and intensified her assault, a guttural shout of rage tearing forth from her lips. Silent took another step back, grunting with effort.

Sadly, she got overconfident. She went in for a lunge, but Silent was expecting it. His blade knocked it aside, and one of his hooves reached forward to strike her in the jaw. Stars exploded across her vision as she staggered back before a thin cut appeared on her cheek. She gasped sharply, a hoof flying up to the injury while her swords vanished and another dome appeared before her to stop Silent’s follow-up.

“Hmph. You’ve gotten rusty, Scarlet. You can’t defeat me as you are. Give up now, and you have my word you’ll be shown mercy,” Silent told her, confident.

Scarlet glared at him through the purple barrier before pulling her hoof away from her cheek and looking at it. A bloody smear stained the fur. Silent had gotten the first blow, and Scarlet had to admit that he was right. There was not a chance she could beat him, as out of practice as she was. She opened her mouth to acknowledge this, to accept his terms and surrender, when a small bead of the crimson began to roll down her hoof.

An image flashed into her mind again, empty eyes staring back at her and blood staining her hooves. Her heart twisted in her chest with guilt, guilt at what she was seeing, and guilt that she could even begin to consider surrendering an option here. With every second that passed, that guilt began to simmer and boil. It turned to anger, then rage, and finally, it flooded her system with a liquid fire that burned at the base of her skull.

She looked back at Primrose to see the filly watching her intently, her big eyes silently begging Scarlet not to give in. The rain pouring down her body made her look so much smaller than she really was, like the world itself was pressing down on her. The image seared itself into Scarlet’s mind, and she turned back to Silent.

“Buck you.”

He scowled at the profane remark, his wings spreading out again. “...So be it,” he snarled before charging again. He lifted his blades and thrust them forwards, their tips hitting Scarlet’s barrier. To her horror, they pierced right through, sending particles of dust and magic flying by her face. Cracks began to appear on the surface of the dome, spreading out with the sound of breaking glass.

The blades were less than an inch from her face, and Scarlet’s heart leaped into her throat. She recovered quickly, and just as her barrier shattered into nothing, her horn sparked into life and unleashed a wave of energy at Silent. He folded his wings in front of himself like a shield, catching the wave and shielding his body from the worst of it. However, it did little to protect him from the forces of momentum, as illustrated when he was sent flying back through the air several yards. He crashed into the wall of the building on the other side of the street with a grunt before landing on his hooves again.

Scarlet quickly conjured her blades again, her eyes looking around for an escape route. She didn’t have enough time to properly formulate a plan, though, as Silent kicked off the building and shot for her yet again. She lifted her swords just in time to catch his wingblades with a deafening clang. She grimaced and slid back a few inches, trenches being dug into the mud of the alleyway.

Silent growled, and shoved forward, folding his wing up on his back. Scarlet gasped as he slipped past her defenses and tackled her. They fell to the ground, Silent’s weight pinning her to the mud. She looked up at him and went to lift her forehooves over her face to protect it, but his own had hers pinned down.

He snarled down at her, his wings unfurling and the blades extending once again. Scarlet’s eyes latched onto them, and her heart began to hammer in her chest as panic overtook her. Her horn lit up with amethyst light, and she was about to unleash a point-blank burst of magic when Silent suddenly leaned down and clamped his teeth down on it. Scarlet screamed and thrashed as her magic was cut off, desperate for any way out of this.

Silent’s wings angled themselves to the tips of his blades were aligned with her chest, and Scarlet’s frantic cries swelled in volume. She screwed her eyes shut, trying in vain to tell herself that she had actually fallen asleep and that this was all just a bad dream. She would wake up soon, take Primrose to an orphanage, and forget she had ever met her.

She felt Silent tense, ready to plunge his blades into her.

Suddenly, his weight shifted back, and his teeth detached themselves from her horn. She could hear Silent letting out a shout of alarm and pain, and her eyes snapped open to see what had happened. To her rapidly growing shock, Primrose was there, a rock in her hoof and a terrified look on her face. Silent was rearing back, his right eye closed as blood ran down his face from a sizable scrape that had just been created on his brow.

“Gah! You brat!” he spat, angling his blades for her, next.

Primrose dropped the stone to the mud with a moist thump, the color draining from her face. Her entire body went rigid, and the barest hint of a squeak could be heard coming from somewhere deep in her voice.

A surge of adrenaline flooded through Scarlet’s veins. Acting fast, a raw blast of unfocused magic leaped from her horn and into Silent. The air was knocked from his lungs, and he was thrown off of Scarlet to land with a thud at the entrance of the alley. He was already starting to pick himself back up, though, and would not give either of them another chance.

Scarlet moved quickly. She reached out with her magic and encased Primrose in an aura of telekinesis before hauling her over. The filly squeaked before being wrapped up tight in Scarlet’s hooves. “Hold on,” the unicorn told her before screwing her eyes shut and focusing. She could hear Silent lunging for them again, and could feel the air shifting around them as he made to cut them both down in one fell swoop.

And then she and Primrose were encased in a rush of wind and sound, disappearing in a teleportation spell. They came out of it with a mutual grunt as they landed on something cold and hard. Scarlet opened her eyes and looked around, trying to figure out just where her panicked spell had placed them.

They were on a rooftop, and judging by how high they were, they were a good block or two away from where they had just been. Scarlet let out a heavy sigh of relief before looking down at Primrose, who was gasping frantically and clinging to the unicorn like a lifeline.

“What happened?!” she asked, her eyes darting around in a panic. “Where are we?! Where’s Silent?! What is- MMPH!”

Scarlet silenced her by quickly covering her mouth with a hoof. “Shh! Shut up!” she hissed into Primrose’s ear before perking up her own and listening. The filly squirmed in her grasp for a moment longer before going still and listening as well. Several seconds passed, and the only sound was that of the water pummeling the rooftop around them.

Eventually, Scarlet released her hold on Primrose and looked down into her wide, terrified eyes. The filly looked none the worse for wear, thankfully, though she was shivering from the cold, the rainwater soaking into her coat steadily sapping the warmth and strength from her body.

“Are you alright?” Scarlet finally asked in a whisper.

Primrose nodded shakily, offering up a timid “Mhmm” as her response.

“Good,” Scarlet breathed before standing up. “Come on, we need to get out of here.”

The foal looked at her in confusion, her head tilting to one side. “Where are we going?” she asked, briefly glancing over her shoulder.

Scarlet came to a stop at that, her ears slowly drooping and her eyes widening as the reality of the situation finally hit her. She opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out.

“...Miss Scarlet?”

She felt sick. Scarlet staggered to one side, her eyes slowly panning over the cityscape before her and taking it all in as she finally realized what she had just done. “...I’m a fugitive,” she choked out, her heart starting to hammer in her chest. Not out of fear or anger, but out of sheer despair. Starting to shake, she turned around to look at Primrose. The filly stared back at her, her own eyes wide and confused.

Primrose took a step back, unable to meet the unicorn’s increasingly hostile gaze any longer. Her ears drooped, and her entire body wilted under that cold stare. “I… I’m so sorry,” she whispered. “I didn’t… I wasn’t trying to…”

Scarlet shook her head. “Shut up,” she spat before looking out at the city again. “Spare your apologies until we’re safe. Silent will be looking for us, and we don’t want to be up top when he starts searching the roofs.”

Primrose nodded but didn’t say anything.

Scarlet gave her a cold glare before taking a deep breath and letting it out in a heavy sigh. “Don’t blame her,” she told herself emphatically. “She did nothing wrong. I’m the idiot for getting involved…”

With that thought burning in her mind, Scarlet turned back to Primrose and put a hoof on her back. “Close your eyes and keep your mouth shut. I’m going to teleport us again.”

Primrose nodded and did as told. Scarlet observed her for a moment before channeling her magic and picking a destination. Her home. They wouldn’t have long, but if they were going to be fugitives, there were a few things she was going to need.

Then, in a flash of light, they vanished from the rooftop, the sound of the spell lost amid a blast of thunder as lightning filled the sky.