• Published 8th Feb 2013
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Harmony's Warriors: Flutterhulk - Avenging-Hobbits

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Act II - 12 - Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Act Two:
"You Better Run"

Chapter Twelve:
"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"

As soon as her conversation with Iron Will was complete, Hoofcuff had once more made a beeline for the airship. Her hopes of a swift return to Canterlot were dashed within moments. Upon questioning, the captain of the airship had stated that the damage to the engine was such that a crucial part was in fact damaged beyond repair and they'd have to wait for the replacement part directly from San Franciscolt.

Upon hearing that news, Hoofcuff had released a very long and exhaustive list of names and offensives, to which the captain simply replied with, “Arg, ye be a real fanged siren with a bitch up her tail.”

Hoofcuff had no response to that.

So, she had been forced to hunker in a tiny motel perched over a bar of all places. The motel wasn't an awful place, but the fact that it was built over what was apparently the only bar in town certainly didn't help her personality. Even though a part of her felt like finishing the mission she had been given was the best decision (namely her now bruised ego), another part felt that she should at least attempt to report Iron Will, tell one of his superiors that he was blackmailing her. Then, they could release her from her contract and she could finally get out of this backwater town without fear of her until-now spotless arrest record being tarnished.

All of a sudden there was a knocking sound on her motel room door, snapping her out of her musings.

Ugh who is that? she grumbled as she trotted to the door and opened to reveal a young stallion in a mail delivery uniform.

“What do you want?” she asked, eying him with disdain.

“Package for Ms. Hoofcuff,” he stated, motioning towards the mammoth package marked ‘Air Mail’.

“Sign here.” the mail pony added, holding a check board in front of Hoofcuff’s face. Grumbling, Hoofcuff levitated the small pen that was attached via a chain to the board and quickly scrawled her name at the bottom.

“Welcome. Bug off.” she grumbled, irritated to be interrupted by what she saw as a totally pointless diversion. The mail pony shrugged, seemingly offended to being dismissed in such a brusque manner and he trotted away, muttering under his breath.

“Don’t have to be such a bitch...” he grumbled, causing Hoofcuff to shout after him.

“I’m not a bitch!” with that, she turned her attention back to the package, and started to drag it inside her motel room.

/////////////////////

As it turned out, the package contained more than a half dozen portfolios filled to bursting. On the top of the pile was a small card which said:

Sorry about not picking you up. But I need you to do some snooping around first.
- General Iron Will

Hoofcuff facepalmed. Figured he’d send me this... she thought. Letting out a grumbling sigh, she went about reading the portfolios. Shockingly, the portfolios had actually contained information that Hoofcuff found to be rather interesting. For one thing, they had seemingly nothing to do with Fluttershy. Instead, it was a disturbingly well researched series of documents concerning a certain earth pony named Tree Flower.

As it turned out, this Tree Flower mare had been living in Ponyville for the past twenty or so years, having moved there after a family tragedy. Apparently, she had lost both her husband and only child in an event that was simply deemed as “Incident 2”. Since then, she'd mostly worked as a teacher at the local school and her life was an especially boring one.

Hoofcuff wondered what had possessed Iron Will, who Hoofcuff had seen was almost fanatical in his dedication to capturing Fluttershy, to amass such an incredibly large amount of information on what was supposedly a totally pointless pony.

She continued to read though, her curiosity piqued. Something was off here, but she couldn't quite place it. She grazed through the dozens photos taken of her over the years. Most were the standard surveillance faire; always taken from an awkward angle and most of the time, a little fuzzy. Under each photo was a label that gave the date, time of day and the special codename assigned to Tree Flower, “Den Mother”. She continued to page through the portfolio, growing more frustrated by the minute.

There was nothing to look at. Just grainy black and white photo after grainy black and white photo.

“Agh, this is pointless!” she groaned, throwing the folder away in frustration, causing it to smash into several other piled up folding which only managed to create a pile of papers on the floor.

Figures that bastard would waste my time on something so pointless, she thought, standing up from her sitting position. Once she did so however, her eyes caught sight of a random paper with bold lettering along the top that read:

Potential connection between Tree Flower, codename ‘Den Mother’ and Fluttershy Braveheart, codename ‘White Whale’

"Well, what have we here?" Hoofcuff muttered, pulling the sheet of paper out from underneath the pile it was under. It was a small memo, where, in typeface, was the following text:

Research has demonstrated a potential connection between Subject Den Mother and Subject White Whale.

Blood sample tests show a strong likelihood of blood relation, showing a 96-98% DNA match between Subject Den Mother and Subject White Whale. It is this researcher's opinion that all available personnel should be tasked with the observation and surveillance of Subject Den Mother.

Hoofcuff’s eyes widened upon reading the words. She was in the same exact town as Fluttershy’s mother?! A plan instantly started to form in her mind. She had to find this Tree Flower. If her hunch was correct, and if she could find Tree Flower, she could maybe use her as a way to find Fluttershy. And once she found Fluttershy, she was scott free! With that piece of information and the hope of finally ridding herself of this mission, she bolted out of her hotel room, running down the stairs as fast as her legs could carry her.

Her train of thought was interrupted, however, when she tripped over her own hooves and was sent tumbling down the stairs. She landed hard on her face, grabbing the attention of the patrons of the bar below.

“Oh hello Agent.” General Iron Will said, causing Hoofcuff to look up.

“General?” She groaned as she stood up, making sure to dust herself off. “What the hay are you doing here?”

“Simple, Hoofcuff. Thanks to the watchful eyes of this town’s citizens, reports of a mare matching Fluttershy’s description came from this town. So we came to check it out.”

Hoofcuff nodded, looking past Iron Will to see a small army of soldiers all hanging around the bar. She spotted a familiar white pegasus skulking about by the door. She noticed that Snowflake had seemingly bulked up quite a bit since she last saw him and seemed to manage to make himself look even more tightly wound.

“Ugh, fine...” she finally muttered, “So, are we going to go find your little ‘White Whale’? Or do you just want to hang around and drink peppermint schnapps?” she asked, unable to hold back her own sarcasm against her better judgement. The General however, seemed unfazed.

“That depends. Me and my troops are prepared, are you?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

Hoofcuff nodded brusquely. “Yes I’m ready. Let’s just get this over with.” she muttered. Iron Will nodded.

“Excellent.” he said, smiling. “Boys!” he all of a sudden barked, causing all the soldiers to snap to attention.

“Let’s go find our target.” he said, making his way to the door and stepping outside, followed closely by Snowflake and the troops, leaving Hoofcuff alone. Letting out a grumbling sigh, she followed after them.

/////////////////////

Fluttershy shied behind her mane as she and her mother sat quietly on a park bench. Tree Flower had insisted that the two of them take a walk, if only to stretch Fluttershy’s leg, which had healed remarkably well, given the injury. Tree Flower had saved the leftover balm Zecora had used in a jar, saying that she might need it at some point. Once that was done, the two of them had made a beeline for Ponyville Park, which was an incredibly modest affair, it’s center being a simple fountain.

For Fluttershy, the experience was both a blessing and a curse. It was a blessing because this was the first time she had been able to enjoy the park in almost twenty years. It was a beautiful summer day with the sun shining brightly and now there were several large cloud banks hanging in the sky. The park however, was relatively empty, as it was a work day and most ponies were busy at their jobs at this time, leaving the park to Tree Flower and Fluttershy.

However, there was the cursed fact that Fluttershy couldn’t deny. She knew for a fact that those wanted posters she’d seen had been there for more than a day, and pointed it out to Tree Flower, and her mind was dominated by the fear that someone might have recognized her.

“Mother can’t we just stay at home...” she finally asked, looking at her mother with concern. Tree Flower smiled warmly, and put a comforting arm on Fluttershy’s shoulder.

“Don’t worry Fluttershy. Just relax,”

“But what about the poster I showed you in town?” Fluttershy asked. Tree Flower smiled warmly.

“I’m pretty sure that there aren’t any more wanted posters. In fact, in all my years living here that is the first one I’ve seen. Don’t worry. If we just keep a low profile and don’t attract any attention, like we’re doing now, we’ll be fine.”

Fluttershy sighed, looking at a squirrel that was scampering up a nearby tree. “Alright then Mother...”

“Good,” Tree Flower smiled. “Now, how about we start planning what to do once we get into Manehattan?”

Fluttershy shrugged, her mind still more concerned on if they’d be seen. She was already scanning the bushes and trees for anything that might seem out of place, mentally preparing herself to be ready to run at a moments notice. Her mother continued to talk aloud, running through the plan she had devised once they got to Manehattan.

“...so, once in Manehattan, we either take a subway or a taxi or a bus to get to Dr. Sound Mind’s office in the Upper West Side. Which do you prefer?” Tree Flower asked, diverting Fluttershy’s attention away from the squirrels scampering about.

“Um...well...whichever you prefer Mother, it’s really up to you.” Fluttershy shrugged, looking back at the squirrels. Tree Flower let out a sigh.

“Fluttershy, please, tell me, what’s wrong? I mean just an hour ago you were perfectly okay with going and now you’re suddenly apprehensive? Why?” she asked, looking at Fluttershy with concern.

“Well...Mother, I was wondering...what would happen if...” she hesitated, shuttering at the thought of New Fluttershy exploding in anger on a subway. “...I lost it?”

Tree Flower let out a sigh. “Well, Fluttershy, I can’t tell you. That’s really up to you. I mean, from what you told me, I think it’s just a matter of self-control, just like anything emotional,” she shifted on the bench, looking at one of the squirrels as well. “Just try and maintain self-control is all I can tell you. I honestly don’t know what else to say.”

Fluttershy simply sighed dejectedly, her eyes drifting about, not really focusing on anything, unsure of what to say next. That’s when she saw it. A glint of something in the bushes. She squinted, praying it was a trick of her eyes.

It wasn’t.

The figure of a pony, clad in camouflage and observing her through a pair of binoculars caught her eye and her heart sank.

They found her.

“Mother we have to leave now,” she said, turning to her mother in fear. Her mother raised an eyebrow.

“Why?” Tree Flower asked, raising an eyebrow.

“No time we just have to leave!” Fluttershy answered, bolting up from her bench and starting to run. Tree Flower followed close behind.

“They found you?!” She called out, with Fluttershy nodding rapidly. Before Tree Flower could respond, the low droning sound of zeppelin engines kicking in and Fluttershy glanced behind to see a zeppelin coming out from behind one of the cloud banks. There was a sudden explosion of noise as a voice shouted down from the zeppelin, apparently barking orders.

Fluttershy heard a shout and turned to see her mother barely dodge a large net attached to some kind of cable. Fluttershy looked up to see a mint green pegasus wielding what Fluttershy could only describe as a bazooka. A long cable ran from the weapon to the ground where the net had impacted. The pegasus yanked at the cable and the net began to retract, being pulled by the cable. Another loud bang and Fluttershy saw what she assumed was a dart impact the ground just inches away.

Fluttershy and Tree Flower used this as a cue to run even faster, the two soon running in a full on gallop. Fluttershy could hear her heart thundering in her ears and she felt New Fluttershy start to fight against whatever forces held the monster back as her adrenaline climbed higher and higher.

No please no... Was all she could think as she continued to run, ducking into the bushes in an attempt to shake her pursuers. There was another loud bang and she heard her mother, who was now quite a ways behind her, cry out in pain. Fluttershy ground to a halt and spun around to see her mother pinned down by the large net, wide in the open of the park. "Mother!" She cried out, making her way out of the bushes in order to go help her mother.

Her mother however, waved a hoof in protest. "Get out of here Fluttershy! Now! Leave me and go!" Tree Flower shouted, still struggling against the net. Fluttershy shook her head.

"But I can't just leave you Mother!" Fluttershy shouted back, unable to fathom abandoning one of the only ponies who'd ever shown her kindness. Tree Flower shook her head.

"Fluttershy just go! I'll be fine!" Tree Flower protested. Fluttershy hesitated, her heart torn. There was shouting everywhere and Fluttershy could see dozens of troops coming out of the foliage behind Tree Flower, all aiming their weapons directly at her and Fluttershy.

"Fluttershy run!" Her mother shouted one more time snapping Fluttershy of her panicked state. Fluttershy felt tears start to run from her eyes as she nodded fearfully and turned back into the bushes, hoping against hope that she could somehow lose the army that had suddenly appeared.

There was a rustling sound to Fluttershy's left and she looked to see a white blur come out from seemingly nowhere and felt something big and heavy impact her sideways. Her and her attacker rolled and tumbled through the bushes, with Fluttershy struggling wildly in a desperate last ditch effort for freedom. The mysterious white pegasus that was her assailant however, was much stronger than her, and he was quickly winning the fight, pinning her down like a wild animal.

Fluttershy felt herself quickly begin to lose control again as her adrenaline went into overdrive and green began to seep into her vision. "Leave me alone please!" She sobbed out, still struggling against her attacker, who simply shook his head, pinning her down even harder as he reached behind to pull out a pair of hoofcuffs. Fluttershy began to hyperventilate and she felt New Fluttershy quickly start to take over as her vision went entirely green.

"Leave me ALONE!" She roared, bucking the white pegasus off of her in a sudden explosion of strength. The white pegasus spun through the air before catching himself with his own wings. Fluttershy felt herself beginning to shift and transform and she looked up at the now shocked hovering pegasus.

And all she felt was rage.

/////////////////////

Snowflake spun away in shock as the weak pegasus mare beneath him bucked him away as if he were made of paper. Quickly flapping his newly strengthened wings to regain control, he looked down to see the mare writhing on the ground, her yellow coat changing to a shade of dark green and her flowing pink mane growing longer, wilder and darker in color until it was blood red. She growled an monstrous growl that sounded as if it were coming from some demonic creature trying to break free. Her legs flexed and stretched, as her body quickly began to expand with new muscle mass. Her size continued to increase until she was at least five times as large as before, her wings now no more than comically short stubs. Her eyes were now glowed a bright shade of emerald green and she stared up at him, her eyes burning with an almost demonic level of rage and hatred.

FLUTTERHULK SMASH PEGASUS!” the monster roared, swiping a massive green hoof towards Snowflake, and Snowflake dived out of the way, landing on the ground and readying himself for the next attack. He wasn’t about to back down now. He had The Power now. Grinning boldly, his eyes narrowed.

“Time for a rematch!” he chuckled, spreading his wings and making a flying leap towards the creature, throwing himself with all his might into the creatures jaw. The punch however, did absolutely nothing and Snowflake practically bounced off the beast as if he were a rubber ball. He tumbled to the ground, almost instantaneously regaining his footing. He stared up at the beast who glared back at him with burning rage.

PUNY PONY!” she roared, slamming a hoof down on the ground, sending a shock wave of rock and dust into the air that caused Snowflake to go tumbling again. Snowflake caught himself again and this time pulled out his weapon, firing off a shot at the monster before jumping into the air and firing off another shot. The shots seemingly had a slightly better result, as the monster roared in what Snowflake assumed was angry pain, swinging another hoof, which Snowflake dodged gracefully.

There was a sudden boom and then an explosion of fire and smoke and the monster cried out in pain again, shifting her attention to the tank that had been lying in wait. Growling, the green monster turned and galloped towards the tank at incredible speed given her size, leaping into the air to come crashing down on it, crushing it underneath as if it were a soda can.

Snowflake flew after the creature. This was their battle. Time to prove that he was the best. Spreading his arms, he tackled the monster from behind, wrapping around its neck like a vice. The monster growled in protest as she reached behind to grab Snowflake by his wings and this time, flung him with all her might to the ground. Snowflake felt a burst of pain as he impacted, and everything went back.

/////////////////////

Flutterhulk stood over the crushed remains of the tank, letting out another loud roar. Her roar was greeted by a hail of gunfire. She growled in anger and swung her arms out to sweep away the tiny ponies tormenting her as if they were insects. She looked around, readying herself for the next attack when her eyes focused on the tiny figure of a slate grey mare galloping towards what appeared to be another pony, this one a coral mare captured in a net.

For some reason, something told her that the coral mare was something friendly and that the grey mare was an enemy. Gritting her teeth, Flutterhulk let out a roar and started towards the grey mare.

/////////////////////

Hoofcuff now only had one goal in mind. Avoid getting caught and crushed by the monster that was now rampaging somewhere on the other side of a hedge of trees. The sounds of explosions and gunfire confirmed her suspicions. Everything about this mission had now been completely and utterly rendered unsalvageable. She ducked behind a tree, searching for the coral mare she had seen earlier running with Fluttershy. Might as well arrest her and get something out of this crapsack mission. She thought as she caught sight of her laying on the ground, trapped in one of those dorky net things that some of the troops were given.

This is probably the worst idea I ever had. Hoofcuff thought, as she scampered across the field towards the coral mare. Horn aglow and gun at the ready, she ran up next to the mare, who was no longer struggling against the net, but was now sobbing in what Hoofcuff assumed was anguish.

“Mrs. Flower!” Hoofcuff called out, hoping that this was in fact the mare she was looking for and not another innocent civilian. “I’m sorry it has to be this way but you're under arrest for aiding and abetting a fugitive of the Equestrian Government.” she then whipped out her hoofcuffs and was about to latch them around Tree Flower’s wrists when she heard a roar from behind.

She turned to see the mammoth green form of the monster galloping towards her. Her eyes widened and she quickly conjured the first shield spell she could remember, now wishing she had listened to the teachers in school. She hoped that it would hold.

It didn’t.

Hoofcuff was assaulted by a backwash of her own magic, which exploded in a shower of red, sending her flying backwards, landing on the ground hard. She rolled over, groaning as her ears rang and her head felt as if it had just been hit with a sledge hammer. Shaking her head to clear it, she stood on her hooves, looking for the monster. She was greeted by the sight of a green hoof slamming into the ground directly at her left and another to her right. Looking up in panicked fear, she was greeted by the sight of the monster looming over her, eyes burning in rage.

The monster raised it’s right arm, it's hoof clenching, obviously readying herself to crush Hoofcuff underneath. Hoofcuff swallowed one last time, her body frozen in fear.

“Fluttershy don’t!” a voice called out and both Hoofcuff and the monster turned. Hoofcuff was greeted by the sight of Tree Flower, still pinned under the net, looking up at the monster with a pleading look in her eyes.

The monster seemed confused for a moment, as if it were trying to process what the older mare had said, before it put it’s hoof down slowly and started to stomp towards Tree Flower. Hoofcuff simply watched in shock and confusion as the monster loomed over the earth pony a long, strangely quiet moment, before all of a sudden reaching down and scooping her up off the ground like a toy and setting her on her back. The monster then looked back at Hoofcuff for a moment, it’s eyes narrowing.

Leave Flutterhulk and friend alone.” it growled, before turning and galloping off into the trees, leaving a bewildered Hoofcuff standing alone, unsure of what she just saw.

Author's Note:

Chapter title from the song "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" by The Who.

YAY FOR MAJOR STORY REVISIONS HALF-WAY THROUGH WRITING THE STORY!

Hopefully it all works and doesn't feel forced. Figured we'd have a moment of Flutterhulk actually doing something that could be seen as heroic, rescuing Tree Flower and all that.

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