• Published 24th Feb 2021
  • 295 Views, 12 Comments

Scorching Blade - Silent Slender

Something has left the dark forests outside of Hollow Shades in splinters, the stumps left smoldering. Topaz of the Royal Guard goes to investigate with a little added help along the way in facing what has left a trail of brimstone in its wake.

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The Scorching Blade

[Ren's POV]

It was years ago, I was probably six or seven years old...

"I don't... wanna die...!"

Blood and sinew clung to yellow teeth, a breath that made my insides turn horribly at the acrid stench of rotten flesh. Two beady, burning orange eyes swam with hunger, the forked tongue hanging out the corner of its mouth, flames sizzling between its jaws. My ankle had twisted trying to run away, and I was pinned between two logs, the foot effectively trapping me with large, black talons.

Tears stained my face, as I held my ears, trying to block out the sickening roar of fire, it thrashed against my ears, just as badly as its roar that split the sky. "...mommy... help me...!"

There was a deafening silence, jaws sunk into something sharp as my eyes widened at the sight of fresh blood dripping down from a forearm. While the dark shadow of the monster towered, a smaller shroud blanketed me safely, an arm braced against the jaws, while the other held back the gums with a blade, all I could see was the glint of silver that radiated off the armor worn by a Hunter.

"...Attacking a kid, heh, pretty low for a dirtbag monster..." He was bleeding but refused to budge against the growls of the beast I continued to shiver in terror of. "You won't have to cry anymore... no one's dying today, I will save you."

Shaking off the memory, my thumb instinctively caressed the badge sewn into the right gauntlet against my shoulder. It was a replica of the badge the silver knight wore that day, the mark of a Hunter. Sure, it wasn't the genuine article, even if I earned my own official title this one always stood in its place. A symbol of the man that gave me the chance to move past my fear of fire.

Sadly, a deafening roar ripped through the air, alerting me to the reality that a certain monster was still at large, and judging by the pitch, it was challenging something. I gasped, picking up my feet with a serious expression stretched over my face. "Topaz...!"

[Topaz's POV]

I don't know how long I wandered the highlands for, all I knew was that I now overlooked the forest from atop a large cliff, seeing the sun dip into the curve of the world, the floor an endless dark green for miles. The trees had grown taller in this area, leaving me in a large, open expanse that led up to the edge where my knees sat just barely a meter from going over.

"The tracks end here but why...?" I scowled at the thought. "Great, more dead-ends, perfect!" I threw a stone off into the forest below, my horn's glow ceasing. "Really wish Zen was here, he'd know what to do." "Between him, Ren, heck, even Yui would be better at this whole tracking thing, what can I do?"

This was it, I'm a Royal Guard who can swing a sword and follow orders, nothing else after that I suppose.

With lackluster movements I glanced behind me, my eye just barely widening to acknowledge the low snarl of the monster that now loomed just centimeters away from my back. Its scales gleamed a variety of crimson and blue shades, with dark grey spikes and horns. Two beady, dark red eyes glowered back at me.

What felt like a final breath dragged my perception to a crawl, the creature began to shuffle back, obviously preparing to strike me down without a second thought, I did wonder though, why did it not simply charge me when it saw me? Did it not sense anything threatening despite my weapons? "No! Don't think, act!" Moving in the space, the tail rose to come crashing down across the cliffside.


[No POV]

Topaz's first reaction was to leap to her far left, just barely escaping the lunge of the monster's tail that scorched the cliffside in seconds. She blinked, looking down at herself for a second before leaping backward to avoid another swipe of the large, cherry-red tail that spat out molten embers.

"How did I do that? I reacted without thinking at all?" Topaz rubbed her mouth clean, coming to see the unknown monster for what it was. Ash stung her nose from that flaming tail and furnace within its mouth. A Brute Wyvern with dark red scales covering its body. Two rows of blue, bony plates running along its back, going from the eyes to the tail. Its underside is more of a cream color. The main feature of its physiology was the huge, sword-like tail. Its hind legs are powerful and muscular, while its arms are much smaller and mostly useless. The face and jaws are covered in sturdy plating, particularly resembling a Carnotaurus head.

"The Scorching Blade, Glavenus." Topaz gulped, she heard the subspecies called Acidic was the one Zen fought long ago in Ponyville, so this was its original form she surmised. What made it more ironic was that she was wearing its cousin's scales as vambraces.

"You avoided its attacks, impressive," The Glavenus growled toward itself, not realizing Topaz's widened eyes at the words. Swinging its tail around slightly, it continued to stalk the unicorn while a familiar voice spoke from afar. "I told you, no one is beyond becoming like me, you just needed to see that for yourself."

Topaz, instead, kept getting back up, she was trembling again, but she didn't stop herself from rising to face the monster. "You're seriously just going to stand there and do nothing - gee, thanks." The sun peaked at the horizon, shining brightly across the cliff-face between Topaz and the Glavenus who slowly stomped toward her.

"You know - ah, for the record - grah - I'm a little busy myself believe it or not!" Ren grunted, using the swing of her longsword to tear down another tree as it snapped at the base of the stump, falling down the slope of the highlands, away from the flames that flicked and danced behind her taut back. "Keep calm and clear the trees, you can do this!" She hesitated at the weft of the fires but kept her back to them, working to lob more trees down the slope

Topaz, now with her back to the cliff and a fire burning behind the massive wyvern, all she could think or feel was how much she regretted coming out here, but also, why she bothered at all in the first place. Where it all stemmed from.

When Topaz was younger, she accidentally got ahold of her Mom's signature sword, and sort of cut her cheek, leaving her with a faded scar after around a week of healing. She hated seeing blades of any kind for months after that. Yet her Mom told her something just before she left Topaz in the care of their neighbor before going on patrol.

"...It's not embarrassing to be afraid of a blade, or fighting, I'm always battling my fears too..."

"W-what? But you're super-super strong!"

"Hehe, of course, I am, I have to be to protect you, don't I?" Her hoof ruffled Topaz's scruffy mane, that smile never faltering once. "But you point to somepony who's not afraid and I'll show you an idiot."

"...That's not a nice word..."

"Hmm, I suppose you're right." Her Mom pouted, then looked to her daughter with eyes she hadn't seen before, maybe when she got angry, but this felt different, a look of... age? "The thing is when I was apart of a team I let somepony in peril die, right in my hooves."

"They... died?" Topaz asked, and her Mom nodded, flicking the earring that chimed gently

"I failed to save them because my spirit crumbled at the sight of blood, and that look on their face when they died... that's what scares me most," She gently reached forward to kiss Topaz's forehead. "If you ever wanted to be like me someday, facing the fact that you may die is simply apart of the job, and to be ignorant to that fear is to admit your life has no value."

She stood tall, smiling down at the yellow filly as her face reflected the sun itself, it was so beautiful. "To be a warrior of any kind is to embody your dreams, being bold, confident or fearless doesn't matter, so long as your spirit is strong, that you value the lives of those around you and vow to protect them with your life, that is the essence of a fighter."

"I vowed to live my life without regrets."

Her head rose a little at that dawning, Alternatively, Topaz's mind came crashing back like a wave, drying the last strands of hesitation left. "I can do this..." In a sudden flash, the silver gleam of her blade drew the sun's glare in an amber veil of magic. "Whatever it takes to live, to beat you and win!"

The Glavenus stomped once more, snarling closer to the earth, spitting a payload of fire to keep Topaz from advancing to the right, the blob exploding soon after, Topaz never even budged. Another pair of eyes evaluated Topaz's words and actions, noting her posture was shaken, Yet there, flickering in her gaze was a burn, gold ember, flickering over-and-over, it never grew nor did it allow itself to shrink.

A lengthy pause broke, Ren smiling fondly at the familiar sight, the last of the trees closest to the flames crashing down, "Think you can take it on your own, huh?" Then the Glavenus sneered as if agreeing with the huntress's voice, "You are filled with terror, yet your spirit refuses to put itself out, raging against that frigid storm, just like a Hunter." Admiration filled her smile for the mare.

Topaz tisked, grinding her teeth against each other. "I'm trying Not to panic over here!" She snapped back, her eyes, and Glavenus' hadn't broken, even while the two circled one another. "If you're not gonna help, then I'll do this on my own! Come on!"

Snorting, the Glavenus slapped the ground with its tail, dispersing embers and ash. Glavenus whipped his tail to bite down on its metal jaw, biting down on the rugged surface as the firey jaws tore away the rough texture dulled by its flames. The tail rose to cover half the monster's face with a large, molten, greatsword-like. Topaz, with her legs bent she readied to dodge.

With a low spin, the blade swiped the air, carving out the ground. With one leg it bent back around, tail almost crushing Topaz who ran far to the right. Glavenus simply spun back around, decapitating a tree while throwing several large rocks to intercept Topaz's path. It sliced across the right, then to the left, pinning Topaz between both strikes, a powerful thrust tore into the ground, to Glavenus' surprise Topaz managed to slide under the initial impact.

With a single, horizontal slash with the elegance of a swordsman, Glavenus shaved the treeline back, the crash and tumble of trees hid Topaz's hoofsteps, herself slashing at the backs of Glavenus' heels, splitting the softer scales with ease. Performing a side step itself, Glavenus' flaming tail set fire to the halved trees. It didn't roar, instead, the Wyvern only watched the pony's movements with a sharp eye.

A second later the tail curved, driving it forward into where Topaz was last seen. Now under Glavenus Topaz's sword struck the base of the tail, feeling her magic recoil from the bounce off the hot surface. Moving to avoid being crushed Topaz swung haphazardly, leaving deep abrasions in the Wyvern's hide as it jumped back, moving far slower but scoring the earth with a large wave of fire, nearly burning through Topaz's armor.

Glavenus roared, immediately spinning once, raining molten slag in a wide arc. Topaz performed a hoofstand backward, evading the flames while shaving a number of the scales with an overhead slant. "Just keep moving, try to stay in the blind spots of that tail."

Topaz went for the attack but Glavenus side-stepped, lunging with a flaming chomp that locked with Topaz's longsword, throwing her far into a tree that broke her fall while her magic to cushion the impact. Crying out from the sharp pain that tore across her side, Glavenus took the time to clamp down on its tail, sparks of gold flying while Topaz shook her head clear, sensing the oncoming danger as she rolled under a fallen log.

In a manner, unlike any monster, Glavenus tore across the treeline, the tail-edge carved through walls of trees, and scorched the earth with the massive halo of tiger-orange embers. Now, its gleaming blade swished in a hasty 'X' behind it, knocking Topaz and the tree away, though her shield aided in protecting her from the flames. Glavenus gave her a little warning, smashing its tail downward then with an almost immediate reaction it brought it down in the same fashion to the left, grazing Topaz's left forehoof.

With a hefty curl, the tail was ground against its crooked jaw, red-hot sparks seething against flames as the ear-piercing shriek of metal resounded. The tail jutted out from the applied force, a mere centimeter away from expelling said force in a massive slash of sharpened metal. That imminent threat suddenly skyrocketed inside Topaz, her weapon poised in a way Glavenus had never seen, wisps of gold particles rippling across the mare's body like the flames of a Teostra.

Glavenus swung outward in one massive spiral, carving the earth and all debris that stood in the wake of its blade. Fortunately, Topaz was no longer one of these obstructions, rather, the beast's crimson gaze caught the blur of marigold that slid under the curvature of its attack, falling under its legs. Several powerful slams of cold steel struck Glavenus' underside and legs, bringing it to stumble forwards. Glavenus snarled, leaping away to crush the pony under a tail-slam, only for its tail to meet dirt, light secretion of acid from Topaz's gauntlets eating through the metallic appendage.

Topaz then heard the snap of Ren's clutch claw, the claw sinking into the scales above Glavenus' eye, pulling forward Ren's foot blocked out the monster's right-hand view of the world, the swaying, and sharp jumps made it difficult to stay atop the beast as her hand was cut by the serrated scales. Ren had two fragments of shrapnel still loaded into the chamber, so, with her bleeding hand holding onto the head of the Wyvern, she plunged the device through the Glavenus' socket, screaming loud as she fired the projectiles through the optical nerve, blood spat onto her armor while she fell to the ground in a heap.

"How nice of you to join in on the fun," Topaz's dry cynicism was not missed, especially as the massive Wyvern stumbled past them.

The girls watched as the Brute stumbled through the thicket of trees, rolling forwards and through bushes and pines as they all fell atop its body, a sharp, strained moan escaping the monster's maw. Topaz's eyes couldn't get any wider, seeing how she was still alive and wasn't frozen to the ground, even as the trees rose and fell in a large plume of smoke, the sunlight casting a dark shadow over the forest if the simmering flames didn't accomplish that alone.

Ren for her part was still somewhat shaken being so close to the flames. It was pathetic, she spouted the same things she was told before many times, trembling at the sight of the flickering wisps Glavenus conjured. Meanwhile, Topaz fought with all she had, despite her smaller stature, if anything, the pony before the hunter should have been scared. How this world continued to amaze the whitette.

"I'm... sorry, I never meant to put you in harm's way, I just felt this was your test for the most part - and, you know, fire... everywhere," That brought out a low chuckle, dripping with mirth. "Besides, this is my job too - regardless of my fears. Now then, let's end this hunt!"

Focus like no other flooded into Topaz's face. "Right!"

The thundering steps were growing, and from the smoke, Topaz's scowl hardened alongside Ren's. They gripped their weapons patiently at the slow approach of the Brute before them. Topaz's heart pumped faster at the images of her mother in her head. The days she spent knowing Zen and Yui and the battles they shared, pulled a real smile to her face.

She charged recklessly with her weapon drawn backward, preparing for a cross-horizontal strike. The Hunter fell into line with Topaz, shifting back a little to counterbalance her longsword, coughing once under her breath while fixing her leer to the wyvern charging toward them. "I see now..."

With a great deal of effort, Topaz enveloped herself in magic, bending at the knees only to charge forward, her hooves nearly gave out while breaking up the land behind her, but the blade's tip was anchored to the Glavenus' heart. The Glavenus brought its tail up and over with a massive wall of searing flames, dividing the two Hunters that effortlessly kicked to the side to evade, the tail swiping over Topaz's head while she spun in a horizontal spiral between the monster's legs, tearing through the muscle fibers of the ankles, causing enough friction to buckle the weight of the Brute toward the left, the tail missing Ren by a hair while her crimson eyes hardened to their mark, blade prodding toward the thick skin.

Glavenus side-stepped her thrust, parrying with its tail, red and orange sparks reacting in the middle until they parted ways. A fire ruptured from within Glavenus for the final time, flames puffed between its jaws, igniting his throat and chest, turning the base of his spines a pale red. The sight frightened Ren, almost unable to draw her blade forward as the tail brandished another wave of fire toward Topaz, the mare narrowly escaping the blast that shook the world and Ren's heart.

"You're not its prey, you are not it's prey!" With her eyes dilated, a sudden, crimson burst of energy filled her muscles, constricting around her sword's edge. Ren swung wide up and around from her right to parry the flaming maw inches from her face, deflecting Glevenus' face to her left. Retracting its neck the brute chomped again only for Ren to spin into a backpeddle, blade held down by her right hip, striking strong and swiftly with an upswing, knocking the wyvern backward with a whine.

Continuing with her forward momentum she swung horizontally in a halo of scarlet, lacerating Glavenus' collarbone. Ren rolled under an swipe of flaming dirt, closing her eyes briefly to ignore the flames. Suddenly, a golden streak sawed through its right hip. Forcing the wyvern to focus on Topaz as itreeled its neck back and spat fire in her general direction. The molten slag exploded against her flickering barrier, shattering it like glass while the mare stared up at the snarling beast. She immediately rolled backward, bucking it with the jagged gauntlets across the jawbone while said jaw missed its chance to bite her in two.

Behind it, Ren slid across the earth, given her window of opportunity to steady her poise to thrust her longsword through the weakest point of the beast's scales like butter. "Hyrah!"

In a single plunge, she used the anchored edge of her sword to vault over the Glavenus' staggered body, flinging herself between the jagged horns while the underbelly was left exposed for her hands to raise her sword high, the glint of scarlet not lost in Topaz's eyes while she watched from below. The Hunter came crashing down, leaving a massive, vertical slant that pierced the twilight, and in turn, the wyvern that let out a dying roar, blood, and scales torn from its body in a stroke of crimson.

Both combatants stood five feet apart, neither moved an inch as the wind howled only once to signify the end of their fight, the body of the beast finally going limp. Both collapsed to their haunches, Topaz having suffered a gash to the right of her cheek, a few locks of hair trimmed too, while Ren held a hand to her stomach, noting the long gash that pierced her armor across her left hip.

Both glanced at the fallen wyvern, the fire in its tail snuffed out, allowing them a moment to bliss while the adrenaline ran from their veins. "Hey," Ren panted, gaining Topaz's orange eyes, that fire still burning away. With a soft smile, she raised her fist out to the Royal Guard. "Nice work, Guardian."

Chuckling, while noting her mouth was dry, Topaz lifted her own hoof in triumph alongside the huntress, winking under her wild locks. "And you too, Hunter."

The one thing that left Topaz nervous was the slight deforestation of the highlands, a number of logs left crackling in the descending sunlight. "I don't think any amount of paperwork is going to cover this." So while she groaned and fell backward, Ren simply broke into a hearty cackle, falling back herself, smiling at a job well done.

"Well, if it's any consolation... I'll buy you a drink." That was music to her ears.

Arriving in Hollow Shades small tavern after actively reporting the removal of the Glavenus' body, after Ren happily carved what she wanted from its body. The pair made good on their deal, sitting down at the counter in the quiet bar. With everypony still working it left the two and the bartender bat pony who silently served the pair, spotting the girls covered in soot and a few cuts and bruises bandaged up nicely. He grimaced at the stench but placed two glasses before them, filling them with a clear, amber liquid.

Topaz glanced to the side, glaring at Ren before sighing and tossing two bits onto the counter, "Offer a drink and you lack the funds, cheap." She huffed, sniffing her strong drink before chucking a large gulp down her throat. "So."

"So?" Ren mirrored, looking at her reflection in the drink before taking a sip, irked slightly by the strong kick. "Ugh..." That made Topaz snort a laugh, seeing that somepony wasn't tolerant to the taste.

"If you're like somepony I know, what's next? I don't take you as the kind to use magic," Topaz asked nonchalantly, though she did worry somewhat for the human now lost in Equestria, she had no way of returning the way she came, did she?

Ren paused a moment, swishing her drink around in the glass, wiping a stray smug of soot off her cheek, sighing softly with a strong smile. "Guess I'll just have to find my way back."

"But ho-" Topaz felt the fingers touch her lips, observing as Ren gulped the rest of her drink in a single swig, almost gagging as Topaz pushed her hand away to laugh at the girl's failure to act tough.

"*Cough-Cough* Okay, first, this sucks - b-but secondly, I mean it, if I fell into this world there's a way out, I know it," Ren was confident where Topaz still could not find, but that was an issue for another day, right now, she was just thankful the job was done, and with a lighter heart than before. "Thanks though, you're the best partner I've had!" Ren raised her near-empty glass with a toothy smile, enough to force a small, content smirk onto the guard's features.

"Heh, then here's to your journey home, Hunter." Topaz teased

"Pleasure's all mine, Guardian! Haha!" She beamed back

"Cheers!" Their glasses soon clanked, their quest fulfilled.


Author's Note:

This was fun to write, having a new Hunter on the scene alongside the supporting character Topaz was always something I wanted to do, this was the best opportunity. Also, this wasn't a long battle due to the fact Glavenus was already injured prior to this battle thanks to Ren, just to clarify.

I hope you enjoyed this piece to the Indomitable universe, appreciate the support as always, see you next time Hunters!

Comments ( 7 )

Nice! I can't imagine how difficult it would have been to put to words a long sword in action, let alone a pony using magic to carry a sword fight against glavenous. You always impress me with your works, and this is more of that combat action wordage I like.

Not to mention the characters! It very much feels like Topaz is transformed from a demoralized guard to a unique devoted person, And even with the short time I've been introduced to Ren I can really see her character and motivation for what she does.

The only thing I would critique is not having an after word, now that the monster is dealt with. It leaves a lot open to consideration, such as what Ren is going to do now that she's in the pony world. I'd also just like the see the scene where Ren and Topaz can have a moment outside of the danger to chat. But all that is probably just me asking to see more, and that's not really fair of me now is it. :derpytongue2:

Always a pleasure to bring the action that is Monster Hunter to life through words! As for your pointer about an after-scene with Ren being stuck in Equestria... I'll look into it now, shouldn't take too long to tweak, hehe :raritywink:

*Whispers* It is done, enjoy~

:heart: Thanks a lot Silent!

Not a problem, Hunter ^_^

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