• Published 20th Sep 2012
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Seeing the Pattern 2: Death Take You - Aegis Shield



Pinkamina battles Death incarnate using the mysterious power of the Pinkie Sense.

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Death's Battle

Seeing the Pattern 2: Death Take You
Part 11: Death's Battle

Papa Apple awoke in space between spaces, clinging to the ground. He thought he could see his hooves but he wasn’t sure. “Whut happened t’ me?” he wondered aloud, peering about. “I was runnin’ to turn off the tillin’ machine and—” he trailed off, looking at the long and endless field. On the far horizon was a strong light. It was warm and friendly, flanked with twinkling stars and inviting comets. “Whut a weird place this is.” Then something caught his eye, a great black blob flying across the sky. It was pony-shaped and didn’t seem in a particular rush. “Hey! HEY! Down here!”

It stopped in midair and wheeled around. Then it PLUNGED towards him at a deadly speed and landed with a stomp. “Soul! Move tolds the light! Thou art deceased and bound for the great beyond!” it was a massive, midnight mare with wings and a horn. An alicorn!

“Deceased? But ah feel fine.” Papa Apple said, confused.

“Oh-hoh? Clop thy hooves together.” The dark pony said with amused lidded eyes. Papa Apple snorted and made to do so, but found he had no hooves. His whinnying shriek of shock made her laugh. “Thou art a shapeless blob of soul right now, thou hast no hooves to clop!” she caught the double-meaning as soon as she said it and it only made her laugh harder.

“That’s not ver-eh nice of you!” Papa Apple snapped.

“We art the goddess of death, we don’t need to be nice!” She snapped, poking at him with a massive hoof (he couldn’t feel it). “Besides, we art waiting for a little colt right now, dost thou think he deserves special treatment as well?”

Papa Apple flinched. “Little colt? You mean Big Macintosh? No! You can’t have ‘im!” The very much dead stallion threw himself at the dark goddess with all his might. It was like beating someone into submission with a serving of cotton candy (she couldn’t feel it). “You can’t have mah son!” he shouted angrily. “He’s just a liddle thang and he ain’t goin’ nowhere to no great beyond or nowhere else!” Though he no longer had a jaw to clench, and no muscles to coil against his opposition, he was an Apple! He would stand in her way as long as it took. “Dun make me MAKE you see it mah way, you hussy!”

Hussy?! The dark goddess stopped, her mouth a little agape. “Thou darest insult me?!” she demanded, stomping her massive hooves. “Rise and sayeth it to mine face!” she gave a powerful gesture and Papa Apple’s soul was clenched in ancient magics. With a poof of shut-up-she’s-a-goddess magic, she conjured a more true-to-form stallion soul-shape for him. Papa Apple’s ghost, in a sense. The death goddess stared at him, momentarily startled at his size. They were eye to eye. Not many ponies could brag of such stature. (it didn’t hurt that he was devilishly handsome either) “Well? Speak thy peace.” She demanded when she got ahold of herself.

“Ah said I’mma stand between you and mah boy, death god.” He told her right to her face.

She blinked, just staring at him like he’d grown an extra head. Nopony ever back-talked her like that. She forgot about the little red colt entirely for a few moments. This big red one was far more interesting. “And if we were to tear your soul in half and deny you an eternal bliss of the afterlife?” she threatened, leaning over him with a powerful snarl.

Papa Apple shoved his face into hers, and for a few scant seconds they had a push-with-your-forehead battle. He was quite strong for a mortal pony. “Then that few moments is gonna deny you mah little one for as long as ah could.” He snapped. She was impressed to say the least. The stallion had balls on him. The deny the gods something was suicide, but to achieve a goal of keeping them FROM something, even for a few moments, was ballsy indeed.

“Thou art as stubborn as the mountains.” She finally said, stepping back a moment to really survey him. He snorted hot air, pawing his ghostly hoof at the ground a little. Giving her starry-night mane a toss, she chuckled in a mischievous way. “But how STRONG art th—?!”She’d-let-her-guard-down-Ka-BUCK! Her head snapped back and her pupils turned into dots. He was pacing back and forth like an angry mountain lion, ready to do battle with her. She rubbed the underside of her chin. “Oh-hohoho…” She smirked. “Thou must hit harder if thou art to harm a goddess, we are afraid.” She raised a hoof when he approached to do just that. “But thy resolve is quite powerful, we admit. What wouldst thou do to preserve thy little red colt?”

“Anything. Everything.” Papa Apple said, stomping his hooves back and forth like he was warming up for a race (or a battle). “If ah gotta do battle with a god, so be it!” he reared up and whinnied powerfully, hooves the size of plates crashing against the ground. The sound of the impact echoed a bit over the flat plains. She peered about. It had been a long time since any soul, much less one with a bodily shape, had done that. His spiritual resonance was just beautiful.

She held up a hoof to stop him from aiming for her face in his initial attack. “Suppose thou came to work for us instead, then?” She smiled mischievously, leaning forward with a sultry smile. “The current Aspect of Death is a quiet shepherd with no stomach to grasp at those that wilt not die when they are supposed to.” He blink-blinked while she explained, taken aback. “Become our new Death, and THOU SHALT BE AT THE RIGHT ARM OF THE PRINCESS OF THE NIGHT!” She flourished her hoof, lightning blasting across the sky in a spectacular display! He dug his hooves in so her mere voice would not blow him away.

“And you’ll leave Big Macintosh alone?” Papa Apple said without moving from where he’d dug in.

“Oh his karma will be up eventually, but we imagine thou wouldst only make half-hearted attempts to collect thy offspring’s soul.” The dark goddess said, tossing her mane and nodding. Leaning over and grasping at nothing, she conjured a beautiful black silken cloak. It was layered thickly to hang down like a winter’s belt, but still flowed and changed at the slightest movement. Whatever fabric it was, it seemed to defy anything Papa Apple had ever seen before. “Do we have a deal?” she said to him, smiling like slow and syrupy night. After a long time of staring at the cloak, he nodded once. She tossed the cloak over him and pulled the hood up over his handsome head. He stood stock still when tingly magicks began to scan over his soul. He shuddered visibly, grimacing and shifting his weight back and forth. “Thou shalt have a new body when thou takest thy cloak off, but thou art mine now.” She pointed with a massive hoof. “Betray me, and thy colt is mine.” Papa Apple gulped, and then nodded. Reaching down, she clipped the golden clasp. Papa Apple’s ghost/soul burst into unholy flames, screaming and rolling around in agony. “Thy first assignment is clear! Go slay thy predecessor! He bores us!” she smiled cruelly at his transformation overtook him in the most painful way imaginable. “Well, when the flames go out, that is.” She watched him burn for a long time. The first time was always the worst.

=-=-=-=

Pinkamina stood against Death incarnate armed with nothing but an ice cream scoop and a saddlebag of odds and ends. Having finally learned his identity, there was a long silence of her standing there panting. Her initial adrenaline rush had been taken out on poor innocent Big Macintosh, who now lay splayed over the embankment bleeding from the head.

“Let’s get a couple’a things straight, eh?” Death said to her, cocking his head from one side to the other. “This here’s what you’re after.” he parted his cloak briefly, pulling out a mint-green puffball of what looked like sticky cloud. It was glowing slightly, idle and a little bit limp. Pinkamina leaned, then nodded once she’d gotten a good look. He put it back in his pocket, or hammer space, or whatever it may have been. “You get it off’a me before ah kill you, and we’ll say you win, eh?”

“What makes you think I won’t kill you first?” Pinkamina snarled, tossing her curtain-like mane so she could see him better. Holding Steelie in her hoof, she brandished it like a weapon.

Death threw his head back in a great, thunderous stallion’s laugh. “Ah got news for you, little filly. Ah been dead for near t’ fifteen years now. There ain’t no killin’ what’s already dead. Ah promise you.”

“Well I guess I couldn’t expect it to be fair, huh?” Pinkamina snarked. “Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a very good trap, now would it?” They were already wandering out into the orchards. Trees passed between them, one by one, until they were safely away from Big Macintosh.

“Nnope.” Hearing the phrase come from Papa Apple sent flashes of the crimson stallion she knew across her vision. Like father, like son. It was creepy, really. “Ah don’t reckon.”

“I’ll stop you this time.” Pinkamina said angrily. “You’ve gone too far and now I’m gonna stop you for good.”

“You’ll try, little filleh. You’ll try.” Papa Apple/Death reached, pulling up his hood. “Good luck beatin’ me in mah Aspect form, though.” Pinkamina had just enough time to shield her eyes before he clicked the golden clasp shut and BURST into flames! His skin, muscles, fur, and body burned away in moments, sending ash into the air. She squinted as he reared up, clattering his teeth and slamming his hooves down. The pink mare tittered across the ground a little, for it had shuddered with the impact. So, so strong, this stallion.

Pinkamina licked her lips, brandishing Steelie as her only weapon. If it was good enough for the son it would certainly be good enough for the father. Shedding her saddlebag under an apple tree, she looked up and Death was gone.

Sssssshing!

She barely had time to duck as Death had appeared behind her, shorn a tree right off of its trunk and missed her neck by inches. She saw a few pink hairs catch the breeze and fly away. Bucking wildly she caught his shoulder and then went sprawling. Even in his skeletal form he was much, much heavier than her. By the time she’d righted herself he was gone again. “D-don’t worry Pinkamina.” She whispered, turning in quick circles so he couldn’t sneak up on her. “He might have you outmatched in height… and weight… age… skill, magic, strength and power.” She sagged a little, her mane falling over half of her face, but she gave it a toss. “But you can still whip his sorry flank.” She held up Steelie with an assertive snort, eyeing the fallen apple tree he’d just smited for no reason than to scare her. “It’s not nice to do that! You know how long it takes to grow an apple tree that bears good fruit?”

Death reappeared in a flash of fire, solid once again. His jaw clattered back and forth and she could practically hear him yelling something like ‘don’t lecture ME about farming!’ Taking up his scythe in his teeth, he charged at her! Pinkamina shrieked wildly as he came at her with a barrage of crazy, deadly swinging. Back and forth they danced while he carved the ground, split rocks and leveled trees to kill her. She was a nimble little minx, this one. She practically defied gravity! When he’d blasted another stone apart trying to cleave her head he paused to look at her again. She was breathing hard, but otherwise unharmed. He heaved the weapon back into the upright position again. This was too open. Too much space. She was too nimble. Rushing at her again with a thundering of hooves he chased her in a slow circle, back and forth with the massive weapon, always pressing her backward. If only he had something to press her against, just for a moment, he could strike her in half!

Pinkamina panted a little when he paused, watching him adjust his teeth-grip on the scythe and adjust his stance. “When was the last time you actually fought someone?” she wondered aloud. “Or anypony for that matter…” she admitted. Since wars were a thing only seen in history books anymore, a pony of the combat persuasion was either a royal guard or into karate like Rainbow Dash (exersize as much as it was a sport). It suddenly struck her that not even Death himself was particularly fight-savvy. He just had a fancy signature weapon. She fought down a grin, but failed. “You dunno how to swing that thing very well, do you?” she said wryly. Death cleaved the tree she had been leaning against, sending a spray of twigs and debris in all directions. She’d definitely lost some mane that time, for it bannered on the breeze and no longer hid her face. She ran a hoof gently over her forehead, feeling a mild scratch on her skin. Death stopped to look at her again. Not so invincible after all. Pressing his attack, he went after her relentlessly, worming through the orchard until they found themselves at the barn. Pinkamina bucked the doors open, veering back and forth so he wouldn’t take her head off. The tiny lantern that lit the building was sputtering in the breeze of their deadly dancing.

She finally held out Steelie, ready to go on the offensive. The ice cream scoop gleamed in the moonlight. She brandished it at him with a chilling glare. Standing in the massive archway of the barn with his scythe held out, Death clattered his jaw with uproarious laughter. He leaned one way, then the other, on the frame of the massive double doors. Pinkamina waited angrily. Suddenly gathering himself, he slammed both doors with a kick, trapping them inside. Lashing out with his long weapon, he shattered the lantern and set the flame upon the stray floor. The pink mare gasped as the oil lit and started spreading fast. “You’ll kill us both!” she shouted angrily. Clatter-clatter laughter. Oh right. He was already dead.

Death leapt upon her as the flames shot high, licking hungrily at the barn wall and filling one of the stalls immediately. Dry hay to save for the cold seasons was going up in smoke. Heat roared across the room, and started sucking the oxygen out of the air. The pony’s danced a terrible dance, and finally Pinkamina had the bravery to meet his weapon with her own. The ring of metal was loud, but even a slight block sent her reeling. He was strong. He was so strong! Adjusting herself to defend at an angle, she send one of his swings glancing off of Steelie as she walked ever backward. She wasn’t a combat mare, she just didn’t know how to fight an armed opponent! All it would take was one hit and she’d be done. For the first time in a long time, fear gripped Pinkamina for her own life. This really could be it.

Her flank bumped against something and for one icy second she chanced a look behind her when Death paused briefly to adjust his grip on the unholy blade. Stairs. Steep ones. The loft! The upper part of the barn. She gagged briefly, for the fire was growing and pressing hard with its blistering heat. Coughing loudly, she backed upward on the loft stairs and he followed her like a spirit from Tartarus itself, vengefully swinging back and forth. Wood splintered, flying back and forth as he tried to take her hooves off, tried to cleave her skull, anything to get rid of her for good. She bumped her butt against an angled ceiling. Whinnying wildly she threw Steelie with all her might! It struck a doorstop, knocking it away. The trapdoor of the loft slammed with all its massive weight upon Death’s head. She flung herself upon it, reclaiming her weapon and using her body weight to hold it closed. She tried to breath, tried to breath and think. He was unstoppable, he wasn’t enough wearing down like any other pony was. He was already dead, frozen at the peak of his own life and he would never wear down.

The curve of the scythe exploded through the wood of the trapdoor, up between her back legs. She shrieked, rolling wildly before another attack blasted the barrier apart. Heralded by smoke and soon flame, Death imploded out of the lower floor and up into the loft. Pinkamina reared and kicked at him wildly, swinging Steelie back and forth. He blocked her with the shaft of the scythe, splitting crates and then catching her right across the chest. She tumbled with a scream of pain, blood blossoming with a straight-line spatter across the floorboards. There was a pause in the battle, shock from both sides. He’d managed to get her that time!

Clutching at her chest for a moment, Pinkamina’s adrenaline dulled the pain as best it could and she rose on shaking hooves. Whinnying like a wild, Amazonian zebra warrior pony, she charged him head on, swinging wildly back and forth. Death shifted, turning this way and that. Every connection of their weapons sent pain down her wrists. She clobbered him in the shoulder and he staggered. Turning to use her momentum, she was stopped by another heavy block. They were so close together, shivering with effort to overpower each other. But the massive stallion was victor. He shouldered her hard and she went like a skipping stone into a pile of crates. She shrieked as she was buried in debris.

There was silence.

Death stood waiting, leaning a little and wondering if he’d finished her off. The flames sparked and popped below, already threatening the structure of the building. Covering the floor with hay and then packing a stall with hay… then lighting the place with a flame lantern. He thought he’d taught his son better. But oh well. The fire would burn the body and--!
One of the crates shifted and Pinkamina forced it aside with her back hooves. Grunting back upright, she shook her head again. There was a cut across her forehead that was bleeding down into her eye. She wiped it quickly, then spat to one side. “Well?” she said, brandishing the steel ice cream scoop at him again. “We’re not done yet. Come on!” she snapped angrily. Death heaved his weapon about again, readying for the next round. The room was filling with smoke, which strained the pink mare’s lungs and vision. She coughed again, looking over her shoulder at the loft-crane (a device used like a giant fishing rod to lift heavy things up into the loft.) Rushing, she bucked the window open to let the smoke out. Death followed quickly to simply press her out! The fall would kill her. She anticipated his assault, somersaulted forward and comically rushed between his giant legs. The massive stallion left more than enough room for her to simply crawl under him. She gave one of his legs a good whack with Steelie as she passed, and he staggered for a moment.

They danced back and forth while the flames came ever higher. There would be no escape. Pinkamina was pressed for time. She saw the hatch to the roof. Last chance. Guiding Death back and forth she watched him, watched for the pattern. She saw the pattern. She was Pinkamina Diane Pie. She could see his pattern! The lul in his attacks would come… now! She bum-rushed right into the stallion at the split-second when it counted the most and knocked him down. Death was completely caught off guard and careened onto his side, his hooves bicycling wildly. Turning flank, the pink mare rushed up the ladder to the hatch and slammed it open. Crawling out of the loft and onto the roof she crashed it closed again and waited, Steelie raised high while she coughed. The barn was a ball of fire. There wasn’t much time.

Death forced the hatch just in time to get a steel ice cream scoop to the head. His hood didn’t act as very good armor, needless to say. He buckled under the force like a freakish whack-a-mole, then exploded out onto the roof. Pinkamina reared, tumbling back in the recoil. He slammed the hatch behind himself with a kick, blocking her escape. He reached suddenly, unclasping his cloak. His muscles, skin, and body grew back. “Ya’ll can’t escape now, Pinkamina. You can jump an’ break your neck, or burn up right here. I can wait either way.” He smirked. She only brandished Steelie at him, ready for another round. “And really now, the ice cream scoop wuz a liddle funny at first. Now it’s just in-sultin’.” He shook his head a little at her, disappointed. “You could’a brought anything, and that’s what you picked to face down against Death incarnate? Buckin’ insultin’.” He slashed his scythe to one side, burying it in the shingles of the fast-burning barn.

Pinkamina recoiled as he came forward, parting his cloak for her in an inviting way. The massive stallion’s chest was handsome, but riddled with scars beneath the fur. Crimson fur, like blood, not like apples. It was a darker shade than the apples. She could see him for what he really was. “You became a monster.” She told him. “You’re not a shepherd of the dead, or anything else like it! You’re just a monster!” While she watched, he took off his cloak for her, tossing it over his shoulder. It landed nicely on the scythe, like it was a coat rack. His eyes burned magnificently in the cold winter night while the flames began to poke their little heads up around them through the shingles. Pinkamina shifted back and forth, the heat steering her towards the edge of the roof as the wind shifted. The barn was turning into a shell of itself, the flames climbing ever higher to consume them both.

“Just so’s we both know you never had a chance, take your best shot.” Papa Apple poked his coiling, muscled chest with one hoof. He served himself out to her, tilting his head back to present the biggest possible target for her. “Take your best. Bucking. Shot.” He grinned at her from under his eyebrows. “And let the flames consume you after.” He gestured with his muzzle to the fires rushing up greedily around them. Pinkamina stared at him, at the flames, at the massive crimson chest. She looked down at Steelie the foot-long ice cream scoop. She was shaking despite the blistering heat gnawing at her trimmed fetlocks. Why the buck not? Rearing up on her back legs she gave a mare-ish shriek and baseball swung at him with all her might. A massive chunk of Papa Apple’s chest exploded off of him like he was made of paper mache. He gave a roar of agony, rearing backward with a whinny of terror. Pinkamina fell like she’d hit nothing at all, falling with a shriek. It was like punching a wet sandcastle! He drew breath and howled out again, holding the massive hunk of missing body. The edges of the injury where red hot, like someone had fired a cannonball through him. The insides were black and rotted, like… like… he suddenly coughed red ashes, glaring murder at her. “S-solar magic?!” he demanded, mortally wounded. “Who the buck puts solar magic in a bucking ice cream scoop?!” Pinkamina had no idea either.



End of Part 11