• Published 12th Oct 2019
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Logan and Carol; The Wolves of Equestria - JNKing

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Tirek Arc - Prologue Pt 1

Logan had been told repeatedly that the Ever-Free was dangerous. Yet, up until now, he was confident he and Carol had the means to survive there. After one particular morning, though, he was suddenly a little less confident about it.

Logan was startled awake by the feeling of movement and something sinewy yet spiky pressing against him on all sides. It felt like he was being dragged along the ground. But towards what, he had no idea. His left side was unpleasantly damp and slimy, with whatever was dragging him not accounting for the mud and grime of the forest.

His eyes opened, and he couldn’t stop a muffled shriek from trying to escape his snout. ‘Tried’ being the operative word, as his snout was bound in thick black vines, which similarly wrapped around his body and arms. His legs and tail were lashed together and being dragged deep into the Ever-Free forest. He had no idea who was dragging him either; the vine holding his legs vanished into the shadows of the forest.

Either way, he wasn’t interested in finding out what had ahold of him. He concentrated, and let his magic flare to life around him. It took a bit of effort, but the lightning fried the vines and forced them to widen, giving him a space to slip out of before they could re-bind him again. Letting the lightning course through his claws, he slashed the vines away, and as the cut off section slithered away into the shadows, Logan cut his way through the vines that had bound him.

“Stupid, weird black vines!” Logan snarled. “Think you can just…”

“LOGAN!” Carol’s voice screamed.

Logan spun back around to see Carol being similarly dragged. Further off, he made out two cocoons of black vines, large enough to hold alicorns. But what mattered to him at that moment was Carol; the poor hound was similarly bound up like he had been. However, the vines had made sure to wrap around her eyes, blindfolding her and keeping her from using her magic.

“Logan, I can’t open my eyes,” Carol screamed. “What’s happening!?”

“Hang on!” Logan yelled, lunging forward… and falling flat on his face when another vine caught his ankle. He slashed the vine away with a growl, only for five more to take its place. Logan slashed back and forth, but each time he sliced one vine down, two more slithered up, entwining around his arms, legs, even his neck.

“Logan!” Carol sobbed, her voice growing faint.

With a snarl, Logan spun over another hopeful vine and lashed out with his lightning. The lightning curled like a whip, slicing through three more vines and severing the vine dragging Carol. The she-hound kicked her legs free and scrambled to free her limbs. Logan fought his way towards her, vines cropping up all around them, while Carol managed to free her eyes. Opening her eyes allowed her magic to form, and in seconds, the two stood back to back, a shield around them keeping the vines from entrapping them.

“So,” Carol noted, catching her breath. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Ever-Free seems a little more dangerous than it used to be.”

Logan glowered at the vines as they tried to poke through their shield.

“Might be tough if something else shows up,” Logan dismissed.

Carol sighed. “Save your jokes until after we deal with the hentai vines.”

“The heck is hentai?” Logan asked.

Carol flinched. “Never mind,” she said. She chanced a look towards Ponyville. “Let’s find the others. Maybe they know what’s going on.”

“When they told us the Ever-Free was dangerous,” Logan growled. “Maybe they should have mentioned vines like this.”

Carol didn’t reply, heading back for town. Logan chanced another glance at the alicorn sized cocoons, but they were already fading into the shadows, and more vines guarded them. Impossible for even Logan to take on alone. Growling, he followed after his pack mate, as the vines slithered along after them.

#

If Carol had hoped for the vines to stop at Ponyville, she was sadly mistaken. The two wolves skidded to a stop as they reached Ponyville’s borders. Carol gasped in dismay as she found the town covered with the black vines. Ponies were running or being dragged towards the forest, screaming their lungs out.

Carol slashed away a vine that was dragging a grey earth pony with a black mane, and pulled the mare to her hooves.

“Twilight,” she said. “Where’s Twilight and the others?”

“Er, it’s ‘Princess’ Twilight now,” the mare noted, only for Logan to seize her by the bow she was wearing.

“Just tell us where she is,” he snapped.

The mare yelped and pointed towards the center of town. Logan’s snarl changed to a grin, and he smoothed out her bow.

“Now was that so hard?” he asked, before he and Carol took off for the center of town. Turns out it wasn’t that hard to find the Mane Six.

Towards the town square, they saw Twilight, writhing and jumping around with glowing eyes while the other five mares, Spike, and – Logan growled as he saw him – Discord were watching. Discord was cackling as Twilight gasped, shrieked and sobbed, apparently in her own world, but the others were watching her with more worried expressions. Carol also noticed that they were all wearing the same necklaces they had worn when Discord had started bothering them. Carol smiled when she recognized Twilight’s crown safely nestled on her head. Logan, on the other hand…

“Discord!” Logan snarled, racing towards him. “Alright, you life-ruining weirdo, what did you…"

Discord snapped his fingers, and Logan’s teeth suddenly changed to a zipper, forcing his mouth shut.

“Sh,” Discord hushed. “You’ll ruin the best part.”

Logan fumed and tried to fire his lightning at the chaos spirit, only to have the bolt turned into another black vine that Logan ripped apart with a muffled growl. The commotion drew the other mares’ attention, and Fluttershy’s eyes lit up in joy.

“Logan,” she cheered, enveloping him and Carol in a hug. “I was so worried for you two…” she whimpered.

“RRR!” Logan growled, indicating his zipped teeth.

“Oh, right,” Fluttershy said, before giving Discord a look. The chaos spirit sighed, and snapped his fingers, freeing Logan’s teeth from each other.

“Thanks,” Logan mumbled, rubbing his teeth with a grimace, while Carol noticed Twilight’s spasming start to cease.

“So, um…” Carol asked. “What did we miss?”
“Zecora gave Twi some sort of potion,” Applejack explained, indicating the zebra next to them. “Said that it only responds to alicorn magic, but it should tell her what’s with these weeds, and well…”

She pointed up. Logan and Carol followed her gaze, and their ears perked as they saw that both the sun and the moon hung in the air. Oddly, the moon’s side was shrouded with a purple night sky, while bright blue sky glowed around the sun. There was an odd bit in the middle where the blue and purple mixed.

Logan and Carol were distracted from the odd sky when Twilight gave one final gasp and shook her head, her eyes returning to normal. She flinched as she saw the odd looks everyone (sans Discord) were shooting her.

“Why… are you all looking at me like that?” Twilight asked.

“It’s just… you were mumbling to yourself,” Applejack noted.

“And acting like you were having a seizure,” Logan said.

“Oh! And don’t forget the uncontrollable sobbing!” Pinkie added.

“We were really worried about you,” Fluttershy said.

“I for one found it delightful,” Discord replied. “Sort of a one-pony theater piece, if you will. You should really consider taking it out on the road.”

Logan growled at him, but the chaos spirit was unaffected.

“Look,” Carol said. “Right now, the Ever-Free’s twice as dangerous than before, and..." She indicated the sun and moon. "That's happening. How did Celestia let this happen?”

The mares stared at the wolves in shock. Carol’s ears flattened.

“Did… something else happen while we were gone?” she asked.

The mares looked at each other, before Spike spoke up.

“The princesses are gone,” he said. “Vanished without a trace.”

Logan gasped, looking back at the forest. Those cocoons of vines.

“The alicorn-sized ones…” he mumbled.

“What?” Twilight asked, almost knocking Logan to his back with how fast she raced to him. “Logan. Did you see something in the forest that looked like the princesses?”

“Yeah,” Logan said. “Those black vines had me and Carol tangled up. And they were dragging us somewhere, along with these two giant cocoons of vines. Looked big enough to hold someone like Celestia.”

Twilight gasped, and almost raced towards the Ever-Free on her own. It took Carol grabbing her by the tail to stop her.

“Whoa, slow down there, Princess,” Carol said. “You’re not going in there alone.”

“But Princess Celestia and Princess Luna could be in trouble,” Twilight insisted. “I have to save them.”

“Heck yeah, you do,” Rainbow Dash said, flying up next to her.

Carol grinned as the other mares, Spike and Logan formed ranks. “I didn’t say you couldn’t go at all,” she rectified. “I said you couldn’t go alone.”

Twilight gazed at her friends, and her expression of fear turned to happiness. Discord, on the other hand, rolled his eyes and yawned.

“So much for another LSD trip,” he mumbled, before casting Logan another look. “Oh, but I wonder how the wolves are going to make this more interesting.” He clapped with glee. “I’m going to need more popcorn.” He vanished with a pop.

#

In a matter of minutes, the mares, wolves and dragon had found their way back to the entrance to the Ever-Free forest. Logan still remembered how those black vines had driven him and Carol from the forest, and he tried to take the lead, his eyes scanning around the corrupted forest defiantly.

“Seems like only yesterday we were heading into these woods to find the Elements of Harmony,” Rarity bemoaned.

Carol gave them an intrigued look. “You got those necklaces from here?” she asked.

“It was how we beat Nightmare Moon,” Twilight explained. “We endured the trials of the Ever-Free Forest, with each of my friends proving themselves in an Element of Friendship. All ending with a confrontation with Nightmare Moon that summoned the Elements to our side.” She sighed wistfully. “I was so foolish back then; thinking I could go after them on my own.” She looked back at her group. “I don’t know what we’re going to face in here. But whatever it is, I know we need to face it together.”

The mares nodded or made other signs of agreement. It took Logan clearing his throat to draw their attention.

“You guys gonna continue congratulating each other on being pack?” he asked. “Or are we going to fix this?”

Twilight sighed, but she and the other mares fell in line. It wasn’t long before they reached a sickly green lake, with withered black vines growing out of it. Stepping stones poked out of the lake, a little too convenient for crossing.

“We can use these to cross,” Twilight noted, before Logan stopped her. “What?”

Logan sniffed at the bog. “Something ain’t right,” he replied. “Just… stand back for a moment.”

Twilight stepped away, and Logan hesitantly inched his paw out, and rested it on the stepping stone. It held. The group started to inch forward, but Carol held up her paw, silently insisting they back up. Logan’s gaze hadn’t shifted. He put more weight on the stone. It sunk down, but still held his weight.

At least, that’s what it seemed like to the mares. As Logan pressed down hard on the stone, it suddenly rose up. The stone wasn’t a stone at all; it was a scale on a tail. And as Logan hopped back, the rest of the stepping stones rose up as well, all scales on a large, angry…

“Cragadile!” Rarity shrieked. “Run for your lives!”

The mares scattered, save for Carol and Logan. The she-hound hurled a bolt of lightning into the water, and it lit the green pond up with lightning. However, the stony cragadile just grimaced and lugged itself out of the pond.

“That didn’t work,” Carol noted.

“No, but this will,” Logan replied, slashing his claws up in an arc.

The cragadile’s head jutted up where Logan hit it, followed by a sharp jerk to the side when Logan slashed it again. But the cragadile just gave another bellow, and snapped at the wolves, forcing them back.

Rainbow Dash joined the fray, smashing into the cragadile’s head and keeping its jaws shut. However, the cragadile had more strength than they thought, and dislodged her with another roar… only to get a burst of Logan’s lightning shot down its throat.

The cragadile backed away, snapping irritably at Logan. However, the show of weakness got the other mares to join in. Twilight lunged forward, ready to join Rainbow Dash in the air… only for her wings to give out and for her to skid across the ground. The cragadile whirled on her, it’s jaws opening wide. Twilight let out a shriek...

Only for Logan and Rainbow Dash to force the beast’s mouth shut again.

“Sparkle!” Logan snarled. “Forget the wings! Use your magic!”

Twilight shivered, but enough of what Logan had said got through to her, and she fired a burst of magic right into the cragadile’s eye. The beast wailed in outrage, but the mares, wolves and dragons didn’t have time for its pain.

Applejack nearly got yanked by some of the black vines, but Carol severed them with a slash. Her eyes brightening, the cow mare tied the vines into a lasso. And as Dash, Twilight and Logan dodged another snap and tried to force the cragadile’s mouth shut, Applejack lunged out with her new lasso, hog-tying the beast’s mouth shut.

Carol brightened at Applejack’s plan, and linked with Fluttershy and Spike. “Help me out,” Carol said. The pegasus, dragon and hound jumped onto the cragadile’s back, with Fluttershy tying the link’s tendril around the cragadile’s tail.

“Applejack!” Carol yelled, holding out her paw. The cow mare tossed her the other end of her lasso, and Carol and Spike pulled hard. The cragadile gave a surprised grunt as it’s body was forced up into a circle, its head looping right back around to its tail like a wheel.

“Get another one, Applejack,” Carol said, straining to hold the cragadile together.

“Hurry!” Fluttershy pleaded.

“Hang on,” Logan said, linking with Twilight and Rainbow Dash before extending the link to Carol and Fluttershy. Their strength powered the hound, while Pink tossed another batch of vines to Applejack. Crafting them into another lasso, Applejack tossed the lasso to Rarity, who used her own magic to twine the lasso around Carol’s link and the cragadile’s tail.

As the cragadile struggled, Carol quickly tied the two lassos together. Her link to Fluttershy faded, and Dash and Logan gave the monster one final combined kick. The cragadile rolled downhill like a wheel, it’s limbs waving feebly in the air as it rolled out of sight.

“We’re very sorry!” Fluttershy called out after it.

“Maybe next time, don’t con us with fake stepping stones,” Logan snarled after it.

The cragadile’s response was a muffled groan before it faded from sight.

Twilight sighed, her haunches shaking before she slumped to the ground.

“That was close,” she whispered.

“Too close,” Applejack replied with a sigh. She walked over to Twilight. “You sure yer alright?”

“I’m fine,” Twilight responded, glaring at her wings. “I just can’t seem to get these new wings to do what I want them to do… when I want them to do it.”

“So, stop focusing on them,” Logan replied. “You’re still a mage, right? So, focus on magic.”

“Well, she shouldn’t forget all her abilities,” Rainbow Dash argued. “Flying’s really awesome, once you figure it out.”

“But I need to figure it out now!” Twilight insisted. “The princesses need me.”

Applejack rubbed her chin with a grimace. She looked around at the others as they converged on Twilight.

“Well, if yer having too much trouble with those things… and with who knows what else could come after us…"

“Applejack,” Logan said warningly.

“I’m just stating the truth,” she argued. “Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea for Twilight to go back to Ponyville. Let us look for the princesses without her.”

“What?” Twilight stammered.

“Yeah, seriously?” Carol demanded. “I know you weren’t there for that incident with Sunset, but Cadence said that you guys need all six Elements together, or they don’t work.”

“That’s…” Applejack tried to protest, only for her eyes to widen in horror. “Actually true,” she admitted.

“But if something happens to Twilight…” Fluttershy whimpered.

“Princess Celestia and Princess Luna are still in trouble,” Rarity finished. “Equestria will need some pony to lead in their absence.”

“And Cadence can’t help you there?” Logan asked.

“She’s in the Crystal Empire!” Applejack protested.

“That doesn’t mean she can’t help out here,” Logan insisted. He pointed into the forest. “Guys, that had to be Celestia and Luna I saw in there. I don’t know why the vines brought them here or why there are any vines at all, but you’re going to need the Elements if you’re hoping to beat them. And more importantly…” he turned back to Twilight. “A good Alpha exists for her pack. For she is nothing without them.”

Twilight looked at Logan with hope in her eyes. “Logan…” she said. “You really feel like I should be here?”

“I don’t feel,” Logan told her firmly. “I know you should be here.” He put a paw on her shoulder. “You’re an Alpha, Sparkle; whether you believe it or not. And these guys need you.” He looked back at them. “Even if they don’t want to believe it.”

Applejack narrowed her eyes. “I’m just trying to protect her,” she insisted.

“And it’s good that you care,” Carol said, jumping between her and Logan. “But you can either stand united… or fall divided.”

Logan didn’t stray from in front of Twilight. “She’s coming,” he said. “Deal with it.” He turned to Twilight. “And you?” he said. “Stop thinking that you have to master every alicorn power. Focus on what you’re already good at. Figure out your wings when lives aren’t on the line.”

Twilight nodded.

“Now let’s go,” Logan said, leading them onward. His nostrils flared. “I think we’re getting close to where the vines wanted to take us.”

Author's Note:

I know Tirek doesn't appear in here yet, despite it being called the Tirek Arc, but don't worry; he'll show up in the next chapter.