• Published 12th May 2022
  • 815 Views, 34 Comments

A Snowy Day - The Ancestor

Lyra decides to investigate the Everfree for any presense of humans. It goes about as well as you'd expect.

  • ...

By The Skin Of His Teeth

A sharp barking noise cut through the emptyness of the cabin, startling Lyra awake. She jumped due to the unexpected noise, hitting her head on the roof of the bed with a yelp. She looked around, frantically searching for the source of the disturbance. A fearful expression distorted her features when her gaze fell upon the restless form of a timberwolf, who was currently jumping around the room, waggling its tail excitedly.

Lyra hid under the covers, squeezing into the bedframe. She tried to make herself as quiet as possible, flinching when she heard a groan coming from up above her.

"Suka blyat, kakogo huya ty orlyosh!" Oleg said, an irritated tone clear in his voice. A series of fast barks came as a reply, and the man spoke with disbelief in his voice. "Ne mozhet byt'... Ty uveren? Dai posmotry." She felt weight shift above her, peeking from under her covers to see the man drop to the floor, muttering what she supposed to be obsceneties in a pained voice.

He approached a window, opened the blinds and gasped, as the light of the morning sun shone brightly into the room. A blanket of snow was coating the surrounding woods, but not a single spek of snow fell from the sky.

"Lyra!" He yelled, running towards the wardrobe, gutting it to find warm clothes. "You've got five minutes to get ready." He said, cursing to himself when the he hit his left hand on the wardrobe door. " Fucking hell..." He hissed, nevertheless donning his winter coat, its left sleeve still bloodied since yesterday.

"What? Why?" Lyra said, jumping to the floor, pointedly missing the window, choosing instead to approach her friend, who was now in the process of putting on his shoes.

"The blizzard's stopped, we're going to Ponyville." He said, donning his winter hat and throwing another at Lyra, the mare catching the apparel with her magic. "I don't know for how long the weather will remain good, so you better hurry." He grabbed a strange object Lyra's never seen before. It had two tubes on one side of it, with a wooden part on the other side. Oleg grabbed two small red objects, cracked the first object in half, and put the red things in the tubes before closing the device shut.

"Oleg, are you sure you're strong enough to go?" Lyra said, eyeing up his left arm incredulously. Her gaze traveled upwards, to his bloodshot eyes and red nose, to the pale skin on his face and the dark bags under his eyes. "Let me check your temperature-" She said, reaching a hoof to him, the man instead taking a step back and grabbing his sled.

"There's no time for that!" He sternly said, throwing up his arms. Lyra couldn't help but notice the awkward manner with which he moved his left hand. "Get on the sled, DD's going to give you a lift." He said, giving the rope attached to said sled to DD, who woofed in responce. "I'll walk beside you, to ward off any unwanted guests." He said, nodding at the tubular object in his grip.

"You're goint to do that with a stick?" Lyra said, raising her brow. Truth be told, she was more worried about the man charging at something the size of a manticore with a stick and getting more injured, rather than her own safety.

"With a boomstick." He corrected, snorting whe he noticed the cluelessness written across Lyra's face. "You'll see what I mean." He said with a wave of his hand, stopping for a moment and shaking his head. "Actually, let's hope you won't."

"In any case, get on the sled, we need to get going." He turned to the door, taking a step towards it.

"Wait, I didn't check your temperature!" Lyra protested, grabbing his left hand with her magic, accidentally yanking it as Oleg continued moving, while his arm was fixed in place.

"AAAH!" The man screamed in pain, stumbling backwards towards Lyra, his left hand sliding out of the sleeve. Lyra gasped as she saw red, angry wounds, the area around swelling like from a bee sting. "Don't do that again, ladno?" He said, carefully guiding his left arm to the sleeve as Lyra's concentration faltered, her magic aura dissipating. "Bloody hurts..." He muttered to himself, sitting down on one knee, not noticing Lyra approaching him. He gasped when a soft backside of Lyra's hoof touch his forehead, nearly falling on his back.

A low growl came from the timberwolf, one Lyra did her best to ignore. "You've got high fever." She said with a frown, looking disapprovingly at him. "And your stitches are infected. You can't go anywhere like this." Oleg rolled his eyes, using DD for support to stand up.

"I'm a grown man, I'll decide what I can or can't do, thank you very much." He said, dusting off his shoulders, opening the door. "Get into the damn sled, we don't have all day." He said angirly, his tone demanding no rebuttal.

Lyra did just that, sitting down as comfortably as she could on the rather small sled. Just as they stepped outside, Lyra put her hoof on the man's right hand, grabbing his attention. "Promise me to see a doctor when we get to Ponyville." She said, giving her best puppy-eyed expression when the man looked at her with an irritated expression. "Please."

"Fine." The man said, waving his hand dismissively. "If it gets you out of my hair." He grumbled, slamming the door shut, the trio walking off into the cold.

The repetitive crunch of snow under feet and paws was a pleasant noise to Lyra, who was quite fond of the winter. Something about walking through the snowy town on her way to work, or going to get a cup of cocoa with Bonnie made her feel fuzzy on the inside. "It'd be nice to go for a cup of cocoa with Oleg..." she thought absentmindedly, before a loud crack made her jump in her seat with a yelp.

Oleg turned to her with a raised eyebrow and a faint smirk on his face. "Everything's alright?" He asked, patting DD and saying something to him, the timberwolf slowing his pace. "I stepped on a twig if that's why you're freaking out."

"I wasn't freaking out!" Lyra protested, raising her front legs defensively. "I was just... being wary. A lot of scary stuff lives in the Everfree! Maticores, cockatrices, timberwolves..." A short bark caught her attention, the mare coughing into her hoof. "No offense."

"He actually thanked you for putting him on the same level with a maticore." The man said with a snort, before his tone turned serious. "I'd like it if you stopped talking before you jinxed us." He said, looking around warily.

"Come on, don't tell me you're the superstitious type!" Lyra said accusingly, trying to get a reaction out of him, the walk up to now being spent in silence.

"I'm not superstitious, 'but'..."

"Nope, anything before the but doesen't count!" She said triuphantly, not knowing what was about to hit her.

"Well, never thought you were butt kinda gal." He said, scratching his chin as if in thought. "I can see where you're coming from, but I always liked to see the bigger picture, the full package, if you will." He said through his smirk.

"I-I didn't mean it like that!" Lyra protested, fighting off the red that quickly spread through her face.

"Say, DD, what do you think?" Oleg said, gasping when he heard a bark in reply. "Goodness grascious, DD, not in front of the lady!" He said in mock-offence, chuckling all the same. A scratching sound came from the timberwolf, and after a second or two Lyra realised that it was laughing along.

"On a more serious note, it's life experience, not superstition. Shit tends to happen at the most unopportune time, especially if you start talking about it." He said the last part through gritted teeth, shooting Lyra a dirty look.

"You're just a pessimist!" Lyra shot back playfully.

"Oh no, I'm an optimist, through and through! I just like to keep a certain phrase in mind: 'Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.'"

"That doesen't sound very optimistic to me..." Lyra grumbled, silence being her responce.

A good twenty minutes passed in silence as the trio made their way through the gloomy forest, canopy blocking most of the sunlight from coming through.

"He can't just come back to here." Lyra thought, looking at Oleg's back in worry. His head was on a swivel, constantly on the lookout for possible dangers. "Nopony can live like that, not indefinently... And despite putting on a brave face, I know he's hurting, in more ways than one." A low growl alerted the man, his posture tensing up in a matter of seconds. He lenghtened his stride, and half-whispered to Lyra, not turning around.

"DD said something's following us. Keep calm, don't show it we noticed, we're almost out." His tone tried and failed to be reassuring, as a spark of uneasyness shone through his confident facade.

"I-I'll t-try..." Lyra said nervously, gulping audibly. A thought came to her mind, sending a chill down her spine. "O-oleg? If we're almost out... Doesn't it know that too? What if it'll try to attack-" Any words died in her throat as an antagonistic growl came from bushes behind the mare, a bead of sweat rolling down Lyra's forehead.

"Fucking jinxed it." The man said in an even a tone as he could muster. He slapped DD on the back, bringing up his boomstick, aiming it at the bushes. "Get her to town ASAP, I'll deal with whatever this is." Before either of them could make a move, a giant beast jumped out of the bushes, Lyra jumping away from the sled just as it was being crushed, narrowly avoiding the same fate.

"ETO CHTO ZA HYUNYA?!" The man yelled, backpedalling away from the creature, who fixed its hungry eyes on him. "Zrya ya eto skazal." He managed to say before a heavy paw hit him on his side, sending him flying to the nearby tree with a gruesome crack.

The manticore took notice of the small green pony, and intended to go for her next, but an ear piercing howl echoed ttoigh the forest as DD charged the beast. The manticore took notice of this, trying to hit the timberwolf with its scorpion tail, sttikin about a dozen times but missing each one, thanks to DD's smaller frame and agility making him a hard target.

The timberwolf leaped at the manticore, attaching himself to the beast's face, clawing madly at its eyes. A pain-filled roar reverberated throught the Everfree as skin and fur were torn to shreds in a whirlwind of strikes. The manticore began hitting its head on the ground, shaking DD off after a few seconds. It once again focused its now one-eyed gaze on the unicorn mare, and in that moment Lyra saw her life flash before her eyes.

The first time she played her lyre.

Her first concert, and the proud looks on her parents' faces.

Her move to Ponyville, and the crazy greetings party that followed it.

Comfy winter evenings spent with Bonnie.

The blissful feeling of Oleg's finger running through her mane, massaging her scalp.

A loud boom interrupted her memories, followed by an even louder roar of pain as the manticore wavered, turning to the source of the sound.

"G-get fucked." Oleg said, loading two more slugs into his double-barrel shotgun, pulling the trigger. Just as he did so, the manticore's stinger tail leapt at the man, piercing the palm of his hand, before another blast hit the monster in the chest, sending it to the floor.

The manticore whined, crawling away deeper into the forest, leaving a trail of red snow in its wake.

"Oleg!" Lyra exclaimed, rushing to the man's saide, DD doing the same. She gasped as she saw blood flowing from the punctured palm of his ledt hand, staining the snow beneath. She took off her winter hat with her magic, ripping it to make a crude bandage, wrapping it around the wound.

"H-hey, no need to w-waste a perfectly good hat on me!" He said weakly, wincing after his forst chuckle. "Oh god that hurt." He croaked, color draining fron his face. "Let's go, we need to get you home." He began to stand up using DD for support when his face contorted into a painful expression.

"Oleg, you can't walk, not in your condition!" Lyra protested, looking at the man worriedly.

"I-" He was about to protest, but a sharp bark from DD, coupled with the pain in his chest caused his resolve to waver. "Aight, you're right this time." He said, taking fast and shallow breaths. "But what are we going to do? The sled's destroyed, and there's a good fifteen minutes back to town?" He argued, looking at a pile of wooden chunks that used to be a sled.

DD woofed excitedly, lowering himself to the ground to fit underneath Oleg's legs, before rising to his full height, the man sitting somewhat-steadily on his back.

"Good idea, DD!" Lyra praised, giving him a causcious pat, recieving a gratefull woof and a wave of a tail in responce.

"I am not giving you a piggyback ride for this." The man stated flatly, addressing the timberwolf. "You ain't a pup."

A group of five ponies marched through the snowed-in streets of Ponyville at an accelerated pace. Well, four of them marched, to be prescise. One of them was impatiently bouncing and hopping through the town, urging her friends to hurry.

"Come on girls, we have to hurry to save Lyra, so I can throw her a 'Glad You're Still Alive' party!"

"That's a bit morbid, don't you think, Pinkie?" Twilight said, using her magic to clear the path ahead.

"Well, I'll throw her a 'Glad You're Alright' party! Or I can throw her a 'Happy You've Found A Hugh-min' party, that one will be a blast!" Pinkie exclaimed, practically vibrating with excitement.

"Maybe you should wait with throwing that party, Pinkie." Fluttershy said, a concerned frown on her face. "The poor dear must be scared half to death right now!"

"The first thing this 'poor dear' will get, is a stern talking to." Bon Bon said, trying to hide how nervous she actually felt. "Or a snowball to the face, depends on her condition, really."

"As the only medical professional on the scene, I implore you to refrain from traumatizing your roommate any further, Bon Bon." A white-coated unicorn in a doctor's cap said, a stretcher enveloped in a yellow aura floating behind him.

"I know her better than you, Major Fracture, I'll decide what to do with her." Bon Bon said in an irritated tone.

"Alright, we're almost at the Everfree, get ready to-" Twilight began, words dying in her throat as she saw two form exit the forest. One of them was undoubtedly Lyra Heartstrings, lyre player extraordinare and local human enthusiast, while the second was...

"Lyra, run! There's a timberwolf right next to you!" She yelled, readying an offensive spell as the two figures ran towards her. As they got closer, she began to see a third figure, laying on the timberwolf's back.

"Wait, don't shoot!" Lyra yelled, stopping a few hoofsteps away from Twilight. "DD-the timberwolf- is good, I can vouch for him!" She said, patting him on the head, the timberwolf rolling his eyes, but nodding.

"Well, I-" Twilight began, but was cut short when something pushe her aside, walking past her.

"Lyra Heartstrings!" Bon Bon began, her voice on the verge of a scream. "What were you thinking going to the Everfree alone, in such harsh weather?!" She said, pointing her hoof at her friend. "You could've gotten cold, or hurt, or..." She trailed off, noticing the weird clothes the mare was wearing. "Where'd you get this hoodie?" She asked, dumbfounded.

"That's my hoodie." Bon Bon nearly jumped at the hoarse sounding voice that came from the timberwolf's back. "You'll have to wash it though, it's been trough some tussle lately."

Bon Bon's eyes drifted to the bloodied figure talking to her, the lack of color on it's face making it almost indistinguishable from the surrounding snow. "L-lyra? What is that?" She said, pointing at the human, his face contorting into a frown.

"Fuck you too, Candyhair." The man said flatly, coughing as he chuckled at the mare's outraged expression.

"Why you little-"

"Wait!" Lyra said, interrupting Bon Bon's attempt to get closer to the man. "You can bicker later, right now he needs medical attention!" She said, her eyes darting to the only medical professional on the scene.

Before she knew it, Major Fracture was next to the human, looking over him intently. "Can you walk, mr..."

"Melnik." Oleg said, getting a raised eyebrow feom Lyra. "What? Can't a man have a surname?" He turned to look at the pony doctor once again. "I don't think I can, doc. Whole body feels awful heavy right now." He said, trying and failing to lift his hand.

"Understandable. We need to get him on a stretcher. Ms. Sparkle, could you lend me a hoof?" He said, turning to the mare, all the while levitating the stretcher next to the man.

"Of couse, Dr. Fracture." She said, enveloping the man in a purple aura, causing him to yelp. She strained a little as she carried him to the stretcher, dropping him a little too harshly than intended. "Sorry! You're heavier than Iexpected!" She said, bashfully rubbing the back of her neck.

"And now you're calling me fat." He said glumly, coughing as the group began moving towards Ponyville General. "Say, doc, what was your name again?" He said, his eyes half-shut as they became too heavy to keep open.

"Major Fracture." The doctor said, looking increulously at the man. "Do you have any other complaints? You don't look too good."

"No way." The man muttered, his eyes growing wide as dinnerplates. "No fucking way." He muttered to himself, clearing his throat before continuing. "Why, I actually do have a complaint." He said, taking a deep breath.

"Major... I'M BURNING UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUP!" He yelled, throwing his arms wide apart, before cackling at the top of his lungs. He wiped an errant tear from the corner of his eye, a satisfied expression on his face. "Now I can die happy." He croaked, melting into the stretcher.

"Oh! OH! I get that reference!" Pinkie Pie screeched, hopping beside the man. "Here, have a cupcake! It'll make you feel better!" She said, dropping said cupcake beside him on the stretcher.

"Does it have cocaine?" He said weakly, his gaze drifting lazily from the mare to the cupcake. "It does, doesen't it?"

"Nope!" Pinkie chirped. "But it's full of painkillers!" Before the words left her mouth, the man scarfed the cupcake down, much to Dr.Fracture's chargin.

"Pinkie, painkillers need to be taken carefully! Who knows what his tolerance is?" Dr. Fracture said, glaring at the mare.

"Don't worry, he'll be fine." Pinkie said with a wave of his hoof, just as Lyra stepped towards the stretcher, accompanied by Fluttershy and Bon Bon.

"He was stung by a manticore in his left hand, and hit in the chest with its paw." She began listing his injuries, her voice filled with concern. "He also has stitches on his left hand, and last I checked - they didn't look too good."

"Got it, I'll get the antidote right away when we get to the hospital. Miss Fluttershy? Can you tend to his wounds while we're moving? I can't do that and carry the stretcher." The white unicorn said as the group walked through Ponyville's town square.

"I'll do it." Fluttershy said, unusually assertive. She rolled up the man's left sleeve, gasping as she saw the inflated flesh around his stitches. "Oh you poor thing, you!" She cooed, putting a hoof on his head. "Doctor! His stitches are infected, you'll have to clean the up and stitch it back again." The white unicorn nodded, not turning to face her. "Who could've done such a poor job..." She muttered to herself, a little too loudly.

"Hey!' The man said weakly, startling the butter pegasus just a tad. "You try stitching yourself up while being drunk as a skunk." He huffed indignantly. "We'll see how well you fare."

"You did it by yourself?!" The mare asked, horrified.

"Well, Lyra helped me a lot too..." He murmured bashfully in responce, closing his eyes.

"No!" Lyra screeched, waking him up just a tad. "Don't sleep, talk to me!"

"Ugh, keep it quiet, will you? I'm very... very tired..." He said, his eyes slowly closing. He shook his head before they shut completely, turning to look at the green unicorn mare. "Lyra, listen, if I don't pull through-"

"But you will!" Lyra all but screamed in desperation. "There's no way you don't!" She said, tears welling up in her eyes.

"And yet." He said sternly. "If I don't survive... If I die here, I want you to promise me one thing." He weakly raised his roght hand, resting it on her shoulder, soft texture of his hoodie feeling weirdly cold against his scalding-hot skin. "Live for yourself. Forget about me. Leave the cottage in the Everfree, and if it's not too much of a bother..." He sighed, his eyes fluttering for a second before returning to being half-open. "Bury me there." Lyra was about to protest when he raised a finger, stopping her from speaking up. "Have fun with your friends, family... Live your life to the fullest."

"B-but.." Lyra began, tears streaming down her cheeks, freezing by the time they reach her chin. "W-what about y-you?" She asked in a wavery voice.

"I'll... I'll be just a story." He said absentmindedly, his lips pursed. "Just make it a good story, eh?" He suddenly frowned, wiping away a tear from Lyra's cheek. "Lyra Heartstrings, crying over me eh?" He started scratching her cheek, Lyra leaning into his hand, sobbing.

"Oh, and one last thing." Oleg said, turning his gaze to the timberwolf, who was following his master, walking closely by his side. "Take care of DD, will you? Can't imagine him returning to The Everfree." He said with a small smile, the timberwolf emitting a low whine. "You'll be alright." He turned to look at Lyra, givng her a sincere smile that looked out of place on his pale face. "It's a shame, really." His hand left Lyra's cheek, falling limply against the stretcher.

"I was starting to like you."

His eyes closed shut, a ragged sigh leaving his mouth.