• Published 26th Jan 2013
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Vinyl and Octavia Machete Their Way Through The Jungle - DoctorSpectrum



“If we don’t survive this, Vinyl… I’m going to kill you.”

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Chapter One: I Blame Vinyl Scratch

The humidity beat down heavily on Octavia the Earth Pony, causing her to wipe sweat from her brow for what felt like the millionth time in the past few minutes. She looked around at the ancient trees to either side of her, covered in moss and housing thousands of insects. Past them, in the depths of the jungle, hundreds of different animal calls drowned each other out and mixed together to produce a warning understandable to anypony: stay out if you want to live.

How long had Octavia been in the Amarezon Jungle now…? Was it days? Weeks? Months? If only she could stop for a few minutes and rest… But whenever she did –

“Miss… Octavia, was it?” the tour guide called out from the front of the small line of ponies she was leading. She was a zebra named Xeno, who claimed to know the jungle like the back of her hoof. Despite this claim, she was leading the tour group of ponies on a pony-made path. “Our itinerary has us scheduled to arrive at the bungalows at 6 PM sharp. I do not wish to tire you out too much before tomorrow’s walk, but we do have a schedule to adhere to.”

Octavia took a quick mouthful of water from the canteen she had hanging around her neck before answering. “Sorry – I’m not used to this heat,” she said apologetically. “I’ll try to walk a bit faster.” Xeno nodded, and continued leading the group through the jungle.

Octavia was a grey Earth Pony with a dark mane, who normally lived in Canterlot. Her cutie mark was a purple treble clef. Like most of the tour group, she was wearing a saddlebag with some basic supplies contained in case of emergency, although unlike the rest of the group, she was also wearing a small pink bowtie. Although she had come on this tour of the Amarezon Jungle of her own free will, this wasn’t the first time that she was wondering whether it was worth it.

Trotting slightly to catch up with the rest of the small group, Octavia found herself walking next to a blue pegasus with a dazzling, multi-coloured mane. “Hello!” she said friendlily, trying to make conversation. “Enjoying the tour so far?”

“Yeah, it’s pretty cool so far,” the pegasus answered, “although I was hoping that the ‘Wonders of Daring Do’ tour would have a bit less jungle and a few more tombs. Not to mention the price. I mean, tickets to see the Wonderbolts don’t cost as many bits as this tour does!”

“Well, that is fairly understandable,” Octavia answered. “This tour does include free food and accommodation for the few days it goes across – I doubt whether a Wonderbolts performance would include that.”

The pegasus glared at Octavia. “Are you saying that the Wonderbolts are cheap?” she asked slowly. Octavia opened her mouth to explain that no, she hadn’t been, she was just making a logical argument, when she was interrupted by a newcomer.

“What does it matter whether she thinks that or not? If this filly wants to think that the Wonderbolts are cheap, she’s allowed to.” The owner of the voice was a white unicorn with a shaggy, electric blue mane. Her cutie mark was a mirror image of two bridged eighth notes. Despite the relative gloom of the jungle, she was wearing large purple glasses.

Octavia grimaced, not enjoying being called a filly by this pony who looked no older or younger than she did. Still, the rainbow-maned pony muttered something under her breath before flying up over several ponies and to the start of the tour group, so the situation had at least been defused. Octavia hesitated, not sure whether she should thank the unicorn for preventing a misunderstanding, or be annoyed at the unicorn for chasing off a potential friend. In the end, she decided to stay neutral.

“Hello there,” she greeted the unicorn. “Who might you be?”

“‘Sup,” the unicorn said casually. “Name’s Vinyl Scratch, but I guess you’d probably know me better as DJ PON-3. Am I right?” She was wearing a small grin on her face constantly, in contrast to Octavia’s exhausted expression.

“Excuse me… should I know you?” Octavia asked Vinyl, confused.

“Sure you should! Unless you’ve never heard of the greatest DJ in all of Canterlot?” Octavia shook her head.

“No, I can’t say I have,” she answered sincerely. “My apologies, but when it comes to matters of music, I much prefer the classical genre – in fact, I play cello myself. My name is Octavia, by the way.”

“That’s cool,” Vinyl said, nodding her head to Octavia’s statement – or perhaps she was just beating her head in time with a rhythm which only she could hear. After realising that Octavia wasn’t going to follow up on her simple statement, Vinyl added “So what brings you to the dark and mysterious Amarezon, anyway?”

“As it so happens, I won a ticket to this tour in a competition,” Octavia replied. “It was just one of those small raffles you find at the market, and I entered without expecting to win –how wrong I turned out to be!” Octavia gave a short, cheerful laugh before asking Vinyl “And yourself?”

“Came here to check out the beats of the locals,” Vinyl answered simply. Octavia waited for elaboration, before realising that none was coming.

“…That’s really it?” she asked. Although she was trying to be friendly to this unicorn, Vinyl’s short and vague replies were frustrating her to say the least.

“Well, yeah,” Vinyl said seriously. “Have you heard the stuff some of the ponies out here make? I’ll bet it’s because they live so far from civilisation… I intend to learn those techniques, and work them into my music!” Octavia rolled her eyes. It was a fairly weak reason as far as she was concerned, but then who was she to criticise? She was exploring this jungle because none of her friends or family had wanted the ticket she had won.

A few minutes later, the group found their path ending at a wide river, which looked too deep to simply trot across. “Alright everypony – it’s time for a quick fifteen minute break, before we start the river portion of the tour!” Xeno announced. Although Octavia had felt embarrassed earlier when she was called out for slowing the group down, most ponies collapsed onto the ground in relief, showing that she wasn’t the only one who had had enough of the humidity and distance for now.

Lying down on a patch of grass underneath a tree, Octavia took a small lunchbox out of her saddlebag and ate a carrot from it. At an interval like this, she wished that she could have played her cello to pass the time, but it had been too bulky and impractical to bring along with her on the tour. Although she wasn’t consciously trying to, Octavia found herself overhearing a conversation between one of the tourists and Vinyl Scratch. It was one of the disadvantages to eating on your own – you inadvertently end up paying attention to the people around you.

“I ate all of my food,” the dark blue stallion said to the unicorn.

“Me too,” Vinyl answered. “I guess we’ll have to just eat some of the grass.” She and her friend headed over to a tree near Octavia’s and were going to start grazing when they were interrupted.

“No. Don’t do that.” Vinyl turned around to see Octavia standing up and slowly walking over to her. “You can’t eat the grass in the Amarezon Jungle,” Octavia explained.

“Really? Why not, Tavi?” Vinyl asked obliviously.

“Did you not read a single guidebook before you embarked on this journey?” Octavia asked. A moment later, she frowned, and added “And my name is Octavia, not ‘Tavi’.”

“Yeah, sure thing, sure thing,” Vinyl said dismissively. “Anyway, why can’t we eat the grass here?”

“Because it is poisonous,” Xeno said, walking over to the three ponies. “Much like the Everfree Forest, many of the plants in the Amarezon are not natural – the grass included. Although it is not enough to kill you, the grass contains trace amounts of poison, which would make you as weak as a foal for days. Fortunately, the poison is only effective once it enters your body – you can walk around on it perfectly alright.”

“Huh. I didn’t know that,” Vinyl said casually. “Thanks, Xeno. And thanks to you as well, Tavi – good to see that somepony knows their survival skills!” Octavia gave her a small nod, resisting the urge to correct Vinyl once more on her full name.

Octavia got out the sole book she had brought with her (The Interpretations of Classical Music in Today’s Society, 9th Edition), and continued reading it from where she had last finished to kill some time. Although Octavia tried to ignore Vinyl as she read, she couldn’t help but overhearing her once more. From what Octavia could hear, Vinyl was going around to everypony in the tour group and asking them what they were bringing with them. After what must have been the seventh or eighth time, Octavia finally called out, “Vinyl, what are you doing?”

“Just wondering what everyone’s got in their saddlebags at the moment,” Vinyl answered as she trotted over to Octavia. “Isn’t it cool how everypony will bring different things to each other, even if they’re expecting the same thing to happen?”

“I suppose,” Octavia answered, not moving her eyes from her page. Although she found Vinyl friendly, she was annoyed by Vinyl’s naivety and obliviousness to some of the things around her.

“Say Tavi –”

“Octavia.”

“ – what did you bring, anyway?”

Octavia sighed, and opened her saddlebag. “Since you’re asking everypony else, I may as well satisfy your curiosity,” she said. “Let’s see…” she began as she spread the contents of her saddlebag out in front of her neatly, “… I have two canteens of water, my lunchbox, a hat to protect myself from the sun, mosquito repellent, a roll of bandages, and some bits. Oh, and this book, of course.” Octavia put everything back into her saddlebag in one sweep of her hoof. “Happy, Vinyl?”

“Cool!” said Vinyl Scratch. “I’ll show you what I have!” She opened her saddlebag telekinetically and levitated each object up as she showed it to Octavia, who remained thoroughly bored by the display. “Here’s my net… my Swiss Army Knife… my canteen… a map of the area… a rope… and last but not least… my machete!”

“You brought a machete?” Octavia asked, surprised. Vinyl’s grin grew slightly larger.

“Yeah. When I heard about this tour, I knew I had to bring a machete. It’s traditional on jungle adventures!” Octavia merely rolled her eyes once more and returned to her book.

“If you say so, Vinyl.” Respecting Octavia’s seclusion, Vinyl headed off to ask another one of the tourists what they had with them.

A few minutes later, Xeno attracted everypony’s attention. “Alright, everypony- break time is over. Who’s ready for some canoeing?” Most of the tourists nodded, with the notable exception of the rainbow-maned pegasus from before, who muttered something under her breath about flying being faster.

“Now, including myself, we have – ” Xeno did a quick count with her hoof “- thirteen ponies here. If everypony will split into pairs, then there should be enough canoes for everypony, and one pony can travel in a single canoe.” Octavia put her book back in her saddlebag, and headed straight for the canoes which Xeno was pulling from the river, where they had been tied to a stake. She still didn’t know many ponies here, and if she was lucky, she’d be the person travelling in a canoe by themselves.

“Would you like anything, Octavia?” Xeno asked her as she pulled the final canoe from the river.

“Yes – I was hoping to be the person who could travel in a canoe by themselves. You see, I don’t really know anypony that well, and I –”

Xeno let out a hearty laugh, interrupting Octavia. “Octavia – unfortunately for you, I must be the one to travel in the single canoe. That way, I can be sure to stay ahead of the group, and lead everypony the correct way!”

Octavia frowned slightly. This wasn’t turning out the way she’d hoped. “Well, you make a valid point, but see, if you travelled in a-”

“In a canoe with a partner? But then somepony in the single canoe may fall behind, and that would muck up my itinerary.” Xeno gave Octavia a long, hard stare as she said, “You realise how important the itinerary is, do you not, Octavia?”

Octavia sighed. Oh well, she thought, the pony in the canoe with me may turn out to be somepony interesting. This might not be so bad. She nodded to Xeno and then trotted back to the group of tourists, most of whom had already found their partners for the cruise.

“Yo Tavi! Looks like we’re gonna be boatin’ together!” Vinyl greeted her. Octavia quickly looked around to see whether there were any other free ponies. As friendly as Vinyl was, Octavia wasn’t sure whether she was ready to spend the next few hours in close proximity to Vinyl in an enclosed space.

“Are you sure there’s nopony else available?” Octavia asked. “That stallion over there looks –”

“Nope. I’ve checked, and everypony has a partner, except for you and me,” Vinyl said happily. “You ready for this adventure?”

Octavia rolled her eyes before replying. “Yes, well I suppose I had better be.”

==============

Fifteen minutes later, everypony had put on life jackets and were starting their cruise down the river. At the front of their canoe, Octavia was giving directions to Vinyl, who was paddling the boat. It was a good thing that Vinyl was a unicorn, as she could telekinetically stroke the paddle through the water. The same couldn’t be said for the canoes without unicorns – the majority of them were either spinning slowly in circles, or not moving at all, due to the difficulty of using a paddle with hooves.

“Make sure you don’t capsize your canoe!” Xeno called out from the front of the line of boats. “The currents in this river would carry you away before you could say ‘don’t eat me, seaponies!’”

“Are there really seaponies in this river?” Vinyl asked curiously.

“Of course not. Everypony knows that seaponies are no more real than humans are,” Octavia answered her. For the next few minutes, Xeno paddled expertly around the canoes, giving advice to the ponies who couldn’t control their canoes. Once she was satisfied that everypony had at least mastered the basics of canoeing, she headed downstream, heartily calling for everypony to follow her.

Octavia stared at the jungle to either side of the river. Despite the dangerous beasts and deadly plants that could be found within, it really did have a unique beauty. “This place certainly is lovely,” Octavia murmured.

“You said it, Tavi,” Vinyl said, still paddling their canoe. “If I wasn’t such an awesome DJ, I’d probably be a jungle explorer.”

“Would you like me to take over the paddling for a little while?” Octavia asked politely. She had heard stories of unicorns overtaxing their magic and being unable to use it for several days afterwards.

“Nah, I’m good,” Vinyl said.

“Well you should at least take a break. There’s only one canoe between us and Xeno, and the current is carrying us along swiftly enough that we won’t fall behind.”

After considering this for a moment, Vinyl levitated the paddle out of the water, so that it was lying across the canoe horizontally. “Good point, Tavi.”

“It’s Octavia,” Octavia muttered under her breath. The two ponies stayed in silence for the next few minutes, content to simply take in the view of the exotic jungle. With Vinyl taking a break from paddling the canoe, the rest of the tourists overtook the pair within a few minutes, aided by the river’s current.

“Uh, Tavi? We’ve sorta fallen a bit behind,” Vinyl said once she realised that they were at the back of the group, the nearest canoe far off in the distance. She levitated the canoe paddle back into the water and resumed paddling their boat along.

As the pair continued down the river, they found themselves at a fork. “Turn left here, Vinyl,” Octavia said, spotting the rest of the group. Vinyl continued paddling in the same direction she had been, which led them more to the right branch. “Vinyl?” Octavia asked, turning around in her seat. “You heard me, right?”

“Right? Okay, if you say so,” Vinyl said, paddling slightly faster so that they were now heading directly down the right branch. Octavia looked at the disappearing left path, which the current was preventing them from returning to. She…did not… just do that, Octavia thought slowly, as her brain struggled to comprehend that they were now separated from the group.

Octavia fully turned around in her seat. “Vinyl! You’ve led us down the wrong side of the fork!” Now that the reality of the situation had hit her, she was beginning to panic.

“Oh, horseapples. Did I?” Vinyl asked, momentarily pausing her paddling. Although it was hard to tell with her glasses obscuring her eyes, she seemed to be fairly worried, although not to Octavia’s extent.

The current was building in speed, and Vinyl and Octavia’s canoe was soon speeding along uncontrollably. All the two ponies could do was hold on for dear life and pray that there was some way to get through this intact.

Oh sweet Celestia, Octavia thought as she spotted a sharp bend in the river up ahead. The canoe was travelling too fast to follow the water around the bend – a crash was inevitable. “Vinyl!” Octavia called out. “Look out – we’re-”

CRASH!

Octavia had closed her eyes in anticipation of the crash, and she cautiously opened them now. Her entire body was in pain – she had hit something hard. “Oh dear,” she said weakly as she took note of her surroundings. “I appear to be lodged in a tree.”

Author's Note:

New fic! I literally got the idea for this a few days ago, and I'm enjoying writing it so far. At the moment, the plan is for this to run somewhere between 5-10 chapters. Hope you all enjoy it!