• 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 Three: From Bad to Worse

The next morning, Octavia woke up to the sound of muttering next to her. Wh- what happened last night? she wondered. She rubbed her eyes, and was surprised to find herself not only lying on some grass, but inside a crude shelter of sticks and leaves. Wait… why am I not in one of the bungalows we were heading to?

Octavia rolled over and stood up to see Vinyl Scratch next to her, pointing at various spots on her map and muttering some plans to herself. She had her glasses back on. Instantly, the events of the previous day came flooding back to Octavia. Celestia’s Mane, it wasn’t a dream! she thought despairingly.

“Monin’ Tavi,” Vinyl greeted her, still focusing on her map. “How’d you sleep last night?”

“Well enough,” Octavia sighed, accepting the reality of the situation. “What are you looking at on that map? We’ll still get to the bungalows today, won’t we?”

“Yeah, ‘course we’ll get to where we need to be,” Vinyl answered vaguely, folding up the map and putting it back in her saddlebag. “I was just double checking to make sure that we’re still going the right way. You ready to find breakfast?”

Octavia agreed, and Vinyl used her telekinesis to dismantle their makeshift shelter. Considering that it had been made without any proper planning or prior experience, it had worked surprisingly well. Unfortunately, the raw materials of the shelter were too bulky to carry around and reassemble when needed, but it was comforting to at least know that they could build a decent shelter if needed.

After nearly an hour of looking for food, Vinyl found a small bush covered in red berries. “Yo Tavi! I found us some chow!” From a few metres away, Octavia came over to Vinyl, who was pointing excitedly at the bush.

“Are you sure that they’re safe to eat?” Octavia asked hesitantly. Although her stomach was growling, she recalled the guide book she had read which warned about the grass of the Amarezon – what if many of the fruits of the plants were also poisonous?

Vinyl shrugged. “Dunno, but I’m hungry as all buck, and these look tasty.” Before Octavia could stop her, Vinyl craned her neck forwards and ate several of the berries.

“Vinyl! No! We’ve got to test them for poison –make sure that they’re safe!” Octavia said in a panicky tone.

“And how do you suggest that we do that?” Vinyl grumbled through a mouth of berries. Satisfied with them, she levitated another few from the bush and into her mouth.

“You could try casting a spell!” Octavia said, exasperated now. Vinyl’s impulsiveness and lack of concern for her own well being was making her more and more impatient to get back to the tour group.

“What sort of unicorn bothers learning a boring spell like that?” Vinyl asked, still grumbling. She levitated some berries over to Octavia. “C’mon Tavi, they taste –”

“They taste…?” Octavia asked hesitantly.

“They – my stomach!” Vinyl said, raising a hoof to clutch at her stomach. The berries she had been levitating fell to the ground as she stopped focusing on them. Octavia cantered across the small distance between her and Vinyl, concerned.

“Are you feeling okay, Vinyl? Do you think you can regurgitate the berries before the poison gets into your system? Do you need water?” Octavia was going through everything in her head she could think of to deal with a poisoning.

“My stomach feels… full!” Vinyl said cheerfully. “Now I remember that feeling!” Once more, she levitated some berries over to Octavia. “So, you want some, Tavi? They taste kinda like raspberries.”

“You worried me, Vinyl!” Octavia said angrily, ignoring Vinyl’s offer. “Here I was, thinking that you could die, and you’re just making me panic for no reason!”

“I didn’t mean to, filly,” Vinyl said sincerely. “I was just surprised at how good they tasted. Now, do you want some breakfast, Tavi?”

Octavia reluctantly accepted the berries once she was sure that they weren’t poisonous, although she was glaring at Vinyl the whole time. How she would survive the rest of the day with this unicorn, she had no idea.

Despite her anger at Vinyl, Octavia cheered up slightly once she and Vinyl had eaten enough of the berries to constitute a decent breakfast. “That’s another thing you have to thank me for, Tavi,” Vinyl said half-jokingly. The two of them were continuing along the path Vinyl had mapped out for them, keeping an eye out for some fresh water on the way.

“I’ll be happy to thank you once you apologise,” Octavia answered coldly. “I don’t know how many times I’ve told you now, but my name is Octavia, not Tavi.”

“Oh. Sorry, Tavs,” Vinyl said.

“No. Not ‘Tavs’, either. Octavia.”

“Octy?” Vinyl asked hesitantly.

Octavia,” Octavia said, restraining herself as best she could.

“Oh, okay. You don’t like Octy. Got it, Tavi,” Vinyl said. In frustration, Octavia bucked a nearby tree, unintentionally creating several large splits in the ancient trunk.

For the next hour or so, Vinyl and Octavia walked in mostly silence, with Octavia giving short replies to Vinyl’s few attempts at starting conversation, until Vinyl got the hint. Despite the solid night’s sleep that Octavia had gotten, she was still exhausted and frustrated. The jungle’s humidity wasn’t helping things, and despite their luck at avoiding any manticores or other dangerous wild animals, Octavia was still worried about what could potentially happen. The jungle was a dangerous place, after all.

Vinyl, on the other hand, was enjoying the entire experience. Well, aside from the humidity, of course. Being in the jungle was a unique experience, and once they reached their destination, she was confident things would get even more exciting. She hadn’t regretted one minute of the entire trip so far.

As the pair continued through the jungle in silence, they gradually found themselves getting swarmed by more and more insects as the humidity increased.

“Damn these mosquitoes!” Vinyl said angrily, swishing her tail violently to temporarily repel them. “Tavi, you still got that mosquito repellent?”

“Naturally,” Octavia answered, opening her saddlebag whilst also trying to keep away the insects. “Here you are.” Both mares applied vigorous amounts of repellent to their coats, which fortunately proved to be as effective as the bottle claimed it would be.

“Thanks, Tavi,” said Vinyl, grinning. “I wonder why there are so many bugs all of a sudden.”

“Maybe it’s because of that river just there?” Octavia suggested semi-sarcastically, pointing a hoof past some ferns and vines. Unlike the river the pair had travelled down on their canoe, this river was much murkier, and lacked any strong currents. It was actually somewhat serene, although the buzzing of the multitude of insects ruined the effect to a certain extent.

“Huh, I didn’t even realise that there was a river there,” Vinyl said. “In fact…” she said, getting out her map and examining it, “…I think that if we cross it, we might even have ourselves a shortcut!”

“What?!” Octavia asked, shocked. “You’re not being serious, are you?”

“What’s the big deal, Tavi? A shortcut’s a good thing, right? If it’s not too deep, I don’t see why we shouldn’t cut across the river.”

“Because we can’t just wade through a river!” Octavia insisted. “How do you know that there aren’t… crocodiles, or piranhas… something like that in there?”

“If there are any, they’ll probably just swim away once we enter!” Vinyl said dismissively. “Besides, remember how you thought that those berries I found were poisonous, and then they weren’t?”

“That doesn’t prove that this river is safe,” Octavia retorted. “This jungle is dangerous enough as it is, and I’d much rather take a safer but longer path to get back to the rest of the tour group.”

“But if we just cut across this river, we’ll cut down on travelling time by… I dunno, twenty percent!” Vinyl said, barely listening to Octavia now. She pushed her way past some vines, so that she was now standing on the bank of the river. “And look! You can even see the other side from here! It’s gotta be, what, thirty, forty meters across? That’s nothing!”

“Vinyl, you’ve already gotten us separated from the group, fallen in quicksand, and led me through the jungle rather than waited for a rescue team, like you should have,” Octavia protested. She was getting more and more fed up with Vinyl’s lack of thinking ahead, and was finally putting her hoof down. “I swear to Celestia, if you even put one hoof in that river –”

“Doesn’t seem too deep,” Vinyl interrupted as she slid her body into the water. “Bit cold, though.” The water went as high as the top of Vinyl’s legs, and didn’t seem to get any deeper than that. Vinyl was levitating her saddlebag just above the water so that her belongings didn’t get wet.

“VINYL!!!” Octavia shouted from the bank as Vinyl continued through the water. Did this mare listen to anything she had to say?

Vinyl turned back to face Octavia. “Look, Tavi, if you want to go around the river, be my guest, but this river seems safe enough, so I’m crossing here whether you like it or not.” Vinyl turned back around and resumed wading through the river.

On the bank, Octavia stomped a hoof in frustration, as though she were just a little filly once more. This wasn’t fair. She hadn’t even wanted to come on this expedition in the first place. Getting separated from the group was just more fuel to the fire… but Vinyl refusing to even listen to her now? It was enough to make Octavia want to break down and cry.

Despite how much she wanted to emotionally collapse though, Octavia had been raised properly. She wasn’t a filly who would burst into tears when things didn’t go the way she wanted – she was a sophisticated mare who held her head up high, no matter how bad things got.

Sighing, Octavia readjusted her saddlebag so that it wouldn’t be submerged in water once she waded in. She slowly entered the water, shivering as she felt how cold it was. Although she still thought that this was an idiotic idea of Vinyl’s, she was slightly reassured once she was sure that no creatures of the river were going to leap out and attack her.

“Please wait for me, Vinyl,” Octavia called out wearily. Vinyl was a little more than halfway across the river, but once she heard Octavia, she turned around and stopped.

“See? I told you that this would be fine,” she said as Octavia caught up to her. “And we’re saving a ton of time!”

“Yes, I suppose so. This was a good idea of yours,” Octavia agreed, not wanting another argument with her unicorn companion. All she wanted at the moment was to return to the tour group – all other needs were secondary.

Octavia’s reflection in the water caught her eye, and she found herself staring into it. Her normally sleek and stylish mane was messed up, and had small twigs and grass in it as a consequence of spending the night on the jungle floor. She had a small cut below her right eye which she hadn’t noticed, likely as a result of crashing into the tree the previous day. Both of Octavia’s eyes had bags under them, revealing her exhaustion. It was hard to believe that she had been in the jungle for less than a day.

As she stared at her reflection in the murky water, Octavia noticed some vague movement below the surface of the water. Despite her exhaustion and frustration at the challenges the jungle was posing to her and Vinyl, Octavia somehow managed to leap out of the water instinctively, and tackle Vinyl.

“Hey! What the –” Vinyl protested, dropping her saddlebag into the water as her concentration wavered. A moment later, an Amarezonian crocodile’s head emerged from the water and snapped at the spot where Octavia had been standing a moment ago. It was a good thing that the river was relatively shallow, or Octavia likely wouldn’t have been able to detect it.

“Crocodile,” Octavia explained simply as she got up from Vinyl’s body. The crocodile had slid back underneath the water, but it was no doubt planning another attack soon.

“Oh, horseapples,” said Vinyl in a monotone. She levitated both her and Octavia’s saddlebags out of the water, then started galloping out of the river, followed closely by Octavia. There was a brief moment of panic as the crocodile (or was it a different one?) threw itself in front of Vinyl, but fortunately it had leapt forwards too early in its anticipation. Vinyl simply stepped on the crocodile’s head as she fled the river, whilst Octavia cautiously side-stepped it.

Vinyl and Octavia managed to make it to the river bank safely enough, but just to be sure, they continued galloping for around another hundred metres or so before slowing down and collapsing. Both of them lay on the grass, panting from the sudden exercise.

“Guess I owe you an apology, Tavi,” Vinyl gasped. “You were right about the river being dangerous after all.”

Despite how tempted she was to say something such as “I told you so!” Octavia instead replied with “It’s okay, Vinyl.” As frustrating as Vinyl had been at times, she wasn’t actively trying to antagonise Octavia. “How have our supplies fared?” Octavia asked as she noticed their saturated saddlebags.

“Guess we’ll have to open them and se- ouch!” Vinyl slapped a hoof to her face.

“What is it?” Octavia asked, confused by what had just happened.

“Darn mosquito just stung me. The river must have washed off our repellent.” Vinyl opened up Octavia’s saddlebag and levitated out her mosquito repellent. Naturally, the two mares reapplied it to their bodies.

“Well, we know that the repellent survived, at least,” Octavia said, smiling slightly. “How’s everything else?”

“Let’s see…” replied Vinyl, “…most of your stuff looks good, except for – uh oh.”

“What is it?” Octavia asked. She was fairly sure that she knew what was coming.

“Sorry, Tavi – your book’s destroyed,” Vinyl said apologetically, levitating out a lumpy wet mess which had once been the ninth edition of The Interpretations of Classical Music in Today’s Society.

Octavia grimaced. She had been prepared for it, but it still hurt to see her book so utterly destroyed. “Anything else?” she asked.

“Uh… these bandages you brought might not be too usable… but that’s about it for your stuff. As for my things…” Vinyl paused as she levitated out her possessions “…phew, everything seems fine. The map’s a little – it’s a little wet, but if we let it dry out it should be okay.” As Vinyl spoke, she pressed a hoof to her forehead.

“Are you alright, Vinyl?” Octavia asked, concerned.

“Y-yeah, I just felt dizzy for a moment there,” Vinyl said. “I’m fine now.”

“I’d be a little more convinced if your voice hadn’t quavered just then,” Octavia said with a hint of sternness. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Of course I’m fine!” Vinyl insisted. To demonstrate this, she levitated all of Octavia’s items back into her saddlebag. “See?” she asked. Vinyl started moving her own items back into her saddlebag, but whilst doing so, her concentration slipped, and they all fell softly to the grass.

“Alright, Vinyl – you’re clearly not fit to travel,” Octavia said. “We’ll have to stay here until you’re better.”

“What?! Are you kidding?” Vinyl asked. “I’m as fit as a filly!” She surrounded her items with a magical field once more, but after a moment of consideration, thought better of it and moved them into her saddlebag by hoof. “Now, are you ready to keep going, or not?” Vinyl asked, sliding her saddlebag back on.

Octavia shrugged. “If you insist.” The two mares got up from the grass they had been lying on, and once Vinyl had determined the direction they should be heading in, they resumed walking. Unfortunately, it wasn’t for as long as Octavia would have liked, because after less than a minute, Vinyl stopped.

“Give me… a minute…” she said, leaning against a tree. Octavia said nothing, and waited patiently for Vinyl to feel better. After a few minutes and a sip of water, Vinyl said that she felt right to continue.

Barely two minutes had passed when Vinyl collapsed to the ground. “Vinyl!” Octavia cried, concerned. She offered a hoof to help Vinyl get back onto her hooves, but found herself picking Vinyl up from the jungle floor instead.

“…’m fine, Tavi…” Vinyl slurred. Octavia put a hoof to Vinyl’s forehead, and was only mildly surprised to find her burning up.

“Celestia’s Mane, you’re as sick as a sea serpent!” Octavia exclaimed. She gently put Vinyl back to the ground, who was mumbling something – probably insisting that she was perfectly fine. “How did you get sick so suddenly?” Octavia wondered out loud.

Rather than conveniently providing Octavia with the answer she wanted, Vinyl instead mumbled something incoherent. Sighing in response, Octavia gave Vinyl a sip of water, and then started searching around the area for sticks and leaves similar to the ones they had used to build their shelter the previous night. Although it was barely midday, getting Vinyl better was now Octavia’s first priority. Building a shelter would not only protect Vinyl from the elements, but it would also save time later that night if Vinyl didn’t recover today.

After about half an hour, Octavia was confident that she had enough materials for a shelter. She had been checking on Vinyl frequently, and it seemed as though Vinyl’s condition wasn’t getting any better or worse. “Now… how shall I build this shelter without telekinesis?” Octavia wondered, staring at the pile of sticks and leaves piled up in front of her.

“T-Tavi,” Vinyl croaked from somewhere behind her. Octavia spun around. Vinyl had curled up into a ball in apparent pain, but had now lifted her head up and was speaking.

“Yes, Vinyl? Do you need anything?” Octavia asked.

“I- I’m sorry, Tavi,” Vinyl weakly answered.

“S-Sorry?”

“Don’t hate me because I lied to you, Tavi,” Vinyl continued weakly. “Please? Please don’t hate me… I’m such a horrible mare…”

She must be delirious, Octavia realised. “It’s okay, Vinyl. Of course I won’t hate you,” Octavia said, comforting Vinyl.

“Promise me you won’t!” Vinyl groaned. “Promise, Tavi!”

“O-okay, Vinyl. I promise I won’t hate you,” Octavia replied, having no idea what Vinyl was going on about. “Do you need anything?”

“…Water?” Vinyl asked, still apparently delirious. Octavia trotted over to her, and helped her drink some water. Whilst she was doing so, she noticed a small lump on Vinyl’s face.

Aha, now I understand, Octavia thought. The mosquito that bit Vinyl must have injected a poison or something similar which made her sick. Once she was done drinking, Vinyl curled back up, mumbling thanks.

For the next fifteen minutes, Octavia struggled to assemble a decent shelter, which was fairly hard to do with hooves. Eventually, she managed to build something which would do for now, although it was far from being as sturdy as the one she and Vinyl had built the previous night. I suppose that it will have to do for now, Octavia thought as she pushed Vinyl inside it, who was now mumbling something about a fashion show she had helped host in Ponyville.

Now… we still have a canteen or so full of water, we’ve got a shelter… I suppose that I’ll have to find food now, thought Octavia. She hadn’t found any more of the berries which she and Vinyl had eaten for breakfast, or any similar foods whilst looking for materials for the shelter. Octavia was considering searching through the jungle for food, but didn’t want to leave Vinyl alone for what could potentially be hours whilst she did so.

Spotting Vinyl’s saddlebag lying where Vinyl had collapsed, a new idea occurred to Octavia. If I use Vinyl’s map, I might be able to find an area abundant in food… at the very least, I can search around without getting lost. After checking to make sure that Vinyl was still surviving and that she didn’t have any immediate needs, Octavia opened up Vinyl’s still-wet saddlebag and withdrew the map from it.

“Now, let’s see…” Octavia muttered to herself as she cautiously opened the soaking wet map, “… we should be about… here… and we –”

Her voice caught as she finished unfolding the map. For the most part, the environment of the Amarezon Jungle consisted of trees and rivers, with several spots being marked as uncharted. There were, however, a few temples and tombs built by ancient tribes marked on the map.

The thing which made Octavia’s voice catch was seeing three of these buildings circled, something she hadn’t noticed during her few glances of the map the previous day. Two of these were temples marked with numbers, whilst the third, a large pyramid, had one word next to it: “Destination.”

“Why, she – she –” Octavia muttered as she realised what this meant, “she’s purposely leading me off-course!”

Author's Note:

Suddenly, a cliffhanger!

I hope that this doesn't seem too left-field for everyone, but I did leave some foreshadowing and hints to it in the previous chapters... so, yeah.

Hope you all enjoyed this chapter!