• 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 Four: Dead Rising

Vinyl slowly opened her eyes. She had been drifting in and out of sleep for the past few hours, ever since the mosquito had stung her. She slowly put a hoof to her face, trying to recall what had happened. We crossed that river, she recalled, and then Tavi’s book got destroyed. And then… pain? Vinyl closed her eyes, trying to recall at what point she had started heavily drinking. That could be the only explanation for her sudden illness.

Vinyl slowly opened her eyes once more, taking more notice of her surroundings this time. She was pleased to notice the shade of purple tinting everything, indicating that Octavia hadn’t taken off her glasses whilst she had been asleep. She was lying on some grass inside a shelter similar to the one she and Octavia had built the previous night, although this one was somewhat less sturdy. Wait… did Tavi somehow take me back to the shelter we built while I was hung over? Vinyl wondered. But we dismantled it – didn’t we?

Vinyl slowly got up, groaning in protest as the mild pain she was experiencing intensified. The combination of a headache, throbbing horn, and burning stomach all forced her back to the ground. After a futile moment trying to wish the pain away, she got up once more, and somehow stumbled through the entrance of the shelter. As she stumbled through, one of her back hooves knocked over one of the sticks supporting the entrance, and half of the shelter collapsed as a result.

“Taviiiii……” Vinyl groaned as she spotted her companion a short distance away, lying down. “Help….” A moment later, Vinyl collapsed to the ground once more as the throbbing pain in her horn flared. Looking at some grass which was literally in front of her face, Vinyl contemplated eating some, despite Octavia’s warning the previous day.

“Evening, Vinyl,” Octavia said in an entirely unsympathetic tone as she got up and walked over to Vinyl, who was now curled up into a ball. Why… why aren’t you helping me? Vinyl thought. She was failing to remember the many, many times that Octavia had given her water and comforted her during the day, in addition to building her the shelter. “How are you holding up?”

In response, Vinyl groaned. “Why did you let me drink so much, Tavi?” she asked. She raised her head to try and look directly at Octavia, although as she was currently seeing in double vision, this failed spectacularly. “Why would you do that?!”

“I beg your pardon?” Octavia asked, confused. “Any water that I gave to you, I gave because you asked for it.”

“You – you’re lying!” Vinyl said as angrily as she could, which wasn’t very. She weakly tried to hit Octavia with a hoof, but seeing as how she was lying on the ground, this amounted to more of a weak swat in Octavia’s direction.

Octavia sighed. “Vinyl, a mosquito stung you, and it’s made you sick and delirious,” she said. “Try to get some food into your body – that should help absorb some of the poison.”

Vinyl focused once more on the delicious-looking grass located just in front of her face. “But… you won’t let me!” Vinyl complained. Although there was some part of her mind telling her to pay more attention to Octavia, Vinyl’s thinking was for the most part hazy and illogical.

Octavia sighed and rolled her eyes. Resisting the urge to throttle Vinyl, she went over to a pile of berries she had found a few hours ago. They were slightly spicier than the ones which she and Vinyl had eaten for breakfast, but they were still quite edible and filling. Octavia picked one of the berries up in her mouth, walked back to Vinyl, and dropped it on her head. “There. Eat that.”

Cautiously, Vinyl tilted her head so that the berry fell onto the grass, and then opened her mouth and ate it. “Thanks Tavi,” she said weakly. “Do you… have any more?”

“Plenty,” Octavia replied, “but you’ll have to come over here if you want them.” Groaning once more, Vinyl slowly crawled over to Octavia, who had gone back to the pile of berries.

For the next few minutes, Vinyl ate in silence whilst Octavia watched her. “Are you feeling better now?” Octavia asked once Vinyl finished.

Vinyl nodded. “Yeah,” she said. Although her usual grin wasn’t plastered onto her face, she was still smiling slightly. “My horn’s throbbing like all buck and my stomach feels a little queasy, but for the most part I’m feeling better.”

“Good,” said Octavia, smiling in turn, “because I have some questions for you.”

“Sure,” Vinyl shrugged. “What are they?”

WHY ARE WE HEADING DEEPER INTO THE AMAREZON JUNGLE WHEN WE SHOULD BE HEADING OUT??!!!” Octavia exploded. All of her frustrations and rage against Vinyl had been pent up inside her from the previous day, and now that she had found the scribblings written on Vinyl’s map, she had an excuse to unleash them.

In spite of Octavia’s outburst, Vinyl’s grin grew slightly larger. “What are you talkin’ about, Tavi? We’re heading towards the bungalows, just like we would be if the river hadn’t driven us off-course.” She chuckled slightly, started coughing as a result of the chuckling, and then resumed talking. “Heck, you’re the one that told me to turn right down that river – I should ask you why we went into the jungle!”

“Really?” Octavia asked coldly. “Is that so? We just ended up in the jungle due to a random error?”

Vinyl felt a shiver go down her spine as she looked into the face of the grey Earth Pony. Uh-oh, Tavi knows something, she thought. “Yeah, we sure did,” Vinyl replied, trying to act flippant. “If it hadn’t been for –”

“Then perhaps,” Octavia interrupted, “you might wish to explain this?” She had procured Vinyl’s map from somewhere, and was pointing a hoof at the pyramid circled Destination.

“Oh, that?” Vinyl asked. “That’s where the tour was supposed to go, remember? I marked that on my map before we even got lost!”

“Oh, my mistake,” Octavia said, looking at the map once more. “I completely forgot about that!”

Phew, she bought it, Vinyl thought confidently. “Yeah, since the tour group was heading there, I –”

“You really think that I fell for that, Vinyl?” Octavia asked in a deadpan tone. Vinyl bit her lip. Horseapples! she thought.

“Fell for that? What are you on about, Tavi-”

One,” began Octavia as she started walking towards Vinyl menacingly, “you were clearly leading me the wrong way yesterday. Don’t try to get out of it, I noticed the position of the sun – remember?”

Vinyl started backing up as Octavia reached her. “W-well, Tavi,” she stuttered, “you see, it depends upon what’s relative to –”

Two,” Octavia continued, not giving Vinyl a chance to defend herself, “once we crash-landed on the river bank, you were pretty eager to head straight into the jungle.”

“Well, like I pointed out at the time, we couldn’t –”

“And finally, the tour doesn’t go to the pyramid marked on this map,” Octavia said. Vinyl found herself bumping up against a tree, unable to back away from Octavia any more. “Now tell me Vinyl – why do you want us to go to this pyramid?”

Vinyl spent a few desperate moments trying to think up another excuse before giving up. “Fine,” she sighed, taking off her glasses as she did so, “I’ll tell you, Tavi.”

“Octavia,” the grey mare corrected. Vinyl walked around Octavia, and back over to the pile of berries Octavia had gathered, many of which remained. She lay down on her stomach, and then tapped the ground in front of her with a hoof. As she did so, the tip of her horn lit up, providing the duo with a small amount of light.

“C’mon – might as well be comfortable,” Vinyl said. Octavia trotted over and sat down where Vinyl indicated. “Basically,” Vinyl said, “I want to find the treasure hidden in that pyramid. That’s it in a nutshell.”

Octavia frowned. “That’s your reason?” she asked with a hint of poison. “You’re dragging me through the jungle and risking my life for some treasure?!” She smacked a hoof into her face. “Celestia’s Mane, I wasn’t expecting much, but I thought that you’d have a bit more of a deeper reason than that.”

“Hey! I haven’t finished!” Vinyl protested. “I’m not just going there for the sake of the treasure.”

Octavia raised an eyebrow. “Go on,” she said, her voice dripping with scepticism.

“You see, the legend is that the treasure of the pyramid can give you… power,” Vinyl said hesitantly. At this, Octavia threw her hooves up in the air.

“Oh! Of course! It can give you power, so you decided to drag the nearest mare along with you on a dangerous trek through the jungle – without her consent, I may add – so that you can turn yourself into an alicorn!” Octavia was fuming now, and had to muster all of her will not to buck Vinyl in the face.

“Would you shut up for a minute?!” Vinyl asked angrily. “I don’t want it for myself – I want it for my dad!” This stopped Octavia for a moment.

“Your father?” she repeated, not having expected it.

“Yeah – he’s… dying at the moment,” Vinyl said hesitantly. “But he used to read all of these history books, and he’s convinced that the treasure of this pyramid could save him. At least… that’s what he said the last time I talked to him.”

Wary of Vinyl’s ease with lying, Octavia cautiously asked, “Is that true? This isn’t some lie to get me to co-operate in your hunt for the treasure?”

“Tavi, look into my eyes,” Vinyl pleaded. “Do you really think that I would lie about my dad like that?”

“…I guess not,” Octavia admitted, interpreting Vinyl’s emotions as genuine. Curious now, she asked “So, what is this treasure, anyway?”

“I dunno,” Vinyl said. “Nopony’s seen it for centuries – but my dad insisted that it would help him.” She put her glasses back on as she thought for a minute. “Hey, does this mean that you will come with me to the pyramid, now that you know the actual reason we’re in the jungle?”

“What?!” Octavia asked, genuinely shocked. “When did I ever say that? Vinyl, I do feel sorry for your father, but that doesn’t mean that I’m willing to machete my way through this dangerous jungle just for a vague treasure which isn’t guaranteed to help him. I mean, I only met you yesterday!”

Vinyl’s expression had been serious for the past few minutes, but as Octavia spoke it slid back into its familiar grin. “Really, Tavi? So you’ll head to the bungalows on your own now?”

“I – what?”

“I’m heading to the pyramid whether you want to come or not,” Vinyl said. “I’m willing to risk going alone to reach it – are you willing to head to the bungalows by yourself? Especially seeing as how you couldn’t even wait on a river bank for five minutes by yourself?”

“Vinyl,” Octavia started, shocked, “surely you wouldn’t force me to go through the jungle by myself, would you?” She had been unsure of her opinion of Vinyl ever since she met her, and despite these new revelations about Vinyl, she was still unsure of her opinion.

“I’m not forcing you to do anything, filly,” Vinyl answered, her grin as wide as ever. “I’m just saying – I’m definitely going to the pyramid, whether you want to come or not. You can try to make it back to the bungalow by yourself if you want… just don’t expect it to be as easy as if you were coming with me. Oh, and another thing – we’re not a day from the bungalows, we’re three. I was lying to you yesterday.”

Octavia bit her lip. It was a tough decision to make. A large part of her was tempted to hit Vinyl and force Vinyl to accompany her back to the tour group, although she knew that it wouldn’t work. She could see why Vinyl was so determined to complete her self-appointed mission, yet at the same time, couldn’t find it in her heart to empathise enough to accompany Vinyl. For Celestia’s sake, she just wanted to get back to the tour group – or better yet, back to her warm bed in Canterlot.

“Alright, Vinyl,” Octavia said as she made her decision. “I’ll come with you to the pyramid – on one condition.”

“What’s that?” Vinyl asked, smiling.

“Once we get your treasure from the pyramid, we get out of the jungle straight away. I don’t care how – we get the attention of some pegasi and get them to airlift us out,” Octavia said. “If the treasure turns out to be fake, or you break it – too bad. We’re getting out of there.”

“No problem,” said Vinyl, not spending a single minute debating it. “Works fine by me.”

“Alright then, now that I know why you were leading me astray, I’ve got another question,” Octavia said. Vinyl nodded for Octavia to continue. “Did you choose me to accompany you through the jungle on purpose, or were you just planning to bring whomever got in the same canoe as you?”

Vinyl shrugged. “Bit of both. I wasn’t specifically planning to ditch the tour group on the river; I was just planning to ditch them whenever I got the chance. But I’d always planned to take somepony with me, and in the end I chose you, Tavi.”

“Why me?” Octavia asked, confused. “I’m hardly the exploring type.”

“Maybe not, but you did come prepared,” Vinyl pointed out. “I found out from you that the grass here in the Amarezon is poisonous, and you said you’d read tour guides and stuff on the Amarezon – you seemed like a good partner.” Vinyl shrugged once more. “And besides, when I went around looking at everypony’s equipment, you were the only pony who brought some more useful stuff, like bandages. Most other ponies just brought food and water.”

Octavia thought back to just before the canoe journey. Vinyl had been going around asking everypony what equipment they’d packed, with the naïve excuse of “being curious”. She’s had this planned for a while, Octavia realised.

“Well, I suppose that answers all of my questions,” Octavia yawned. She hadn’t realised how long they had been talking, but it was incredibly late. It was a miracle that none of the jungle creatures had found them and attacked them. “Vinyl, just…please promise me that you don’t have any more secrets.”

“’Course I don’t,” Vinyl said, nodding her head as she said so. “Heck, you probably know more about my reasons for coming to the jungle than I do!” Now that the serious matters had been dealt with, Vinyl had relaxed back into her casual, laid-back personality. “What about you, Tavi? Anything you wanna get off your chest?”

Octavia shrugged, and smiled slightly. “No, I don’t have any secrets – I’m just an unlucky Earth Pony who was lucky enough to win a ticket for this tour.” Octavia yawned once more, leading her to suggest that the two of them go to bed for the night. Vinyl agreed, and they reassembled the shelter before going to sleep for the night.

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

Although the two mares had yet another decent night of sleep, they awoke in the morning to find that some sort of wild animals had eaten their supply of food which they had helpfully left outside in a large pile. Wordlessly, they looked to each other, disappointed that they hadn’t thought to finish it off the previous night, or store some within their saddlebags.

“Well, look on the bright side,” Octavia pointed out, “at least they didn’t find us in the shelter.”

“Urgh – what are we gonna do for breakfast now?!” Vinyl asked, throwing her hooves up in the air in frustration. “If we have to go search for food, that’ll cut into the time travelling to the temples!”

“The temples?” Octavia questioned, confused. She suddenly recalled the two temples marked on Vinyl’s map – if the treasure was at the pyramid, then what had they been circled for?

“Right, I didn’t tell you –” Vinyl began, fishing her map out of her saddlebag “- but we’ve got to take a detour through these two temples. It’s a pity, too – the pyramid would only be a few days away if it weren’t for these temples.”

“What?!” Octavia asked, angry now. Not only was she being forced along on this adventure, but now Vinyl was insisting on extending their route? “Why in Equestria would we need to go past those temples?”

“To get the keys to the treasure,” Vinyl replied, folding the map back up and returning it to her saddlebag. “Duh, Tavi.”

“Wait – there are keys now?” Octavia asked.

“Well, the ancient tribes of the Amarezon couldn’t have just anypony coming along and taking the treasure, could they, Tavi?” Vinyl answered leisurely. She started trotting off as she continued. “C’mon, we’ll find food on the way there. Anyway, the tribes made keys for the treasure, so that only those worthy of it could reach it. And the keys are inside these temples, so we have to get them before we head to the pyramid.”

Octavia cantered to catch up with Vinyl before continuing her questions. “So what if the tribes needed to check on the treasure?” Octavia asked as she spotted a flaw in Vinyl’s information.

Vinyl shrugged. “I guess they’d have a secret entrance to reach the treasure?” She stopped for a minute to make sure that they were heading the right way. “Say Tavi – how are we doing for water?”

Octavia checked the canteen she had hanging from her neck. Upon feeling how light it was, she grimaced. “Thanks to you getting stung by that mosquito yesterday –”

“I didn’t do that on purpose!”

“- we’re pretty low on water. I’ve got half a canteen here, but I’m fairly sure that’s all that we’ve got left.” Octavia gave Vinyl a stern look. “Surely we should prioritise finding food and water over getting to these temples?”

“Nah, I’d rather head to the temples,” Vinyl said dismissively. “I reckon we can reach the first one by early afternoon if we don’t get any delays.”

“But Vinyl – what if we reach the first temple and don’t find any food or water along the way?” Octavia pointed out. “I’d much rather find food before we go there.”

“All right,” Vinyl agreed, starting to trot away again. “You look for food and water, and then meet me outside the temple once you do. Deal?”

Once more, Octavia cantered to keep up with Vinyl. “What? How am I supposed to know where the temple is without the map? And what if I encounter any –” She stopped speaking and instead glared at Vinyl as she realised what Vinyl’s plan was. “You’re trying to force me to prioritise the temple, aren’t you?”

“Yep,” Vinyl said casually, not caring one bit about her treatment of Octavia. “And really, I don’t see why you’re not already. The faster we get to the temple, the faster we get the first key. The faster we get the first key, the faster we get the second one, and the faster we get to the pyramid. Therefore, we get the treasure faster – and we get out of the jungle sooner. See?”

Octavia sighed, feeling utterly defeated. Why couldn’t Vinyl ever agree with her on just one thing?

“I’m not an idiot, Tavi,” Vinyl added, as if she’d read Octavia’s mind. “I just want to get to the temple, and then if we haven’t found food by then, we’ll look in the areas around the temple. Sound good?”

“Yes, I suppose so,” Octavia reluctantly agreed. Despite this small compromise, she still felt as though she were getting the small end of the stick in this adventure. Vinyl had been controlling things from the very start of their journey, and despite her revealing her true purpose behind the trip, Vinyl was still making the decisions between the two of them.

So help me, Celestia, if she doesn’t start listening to me soon… Octavia thought silently. Resigning herself to the fact that she couldn’t do anything against Vinyl at the moment – at least, not so long as she wanted at least some degree of protection and companionship – Octavia silently continued trekking through the jungle with her companion.

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

“Well, whaddya think, Tavi?” Vinyl asked Octavia cheerfully as they reached the first temple marked on Vinyl’s map. As Vinyl had predicted, they had reached it in the early afternoon. On their way to the temple, they had also been fortunate enough to find some exotic and tasty fruit which they had eaten. In addition, they had found some small black berries, which they were saving for if they couldn’t find any more food.

“It’s… smaller than I expected,” Octavia admitted. From their position on a ridge overlooking the temple, they could see the entire exterior of it – the temple barely seemed to be one hundred metres long. It had a set of stone doors as a front entrance, currently sealed shut.

Giving the temple a quick glance once more, Octavia spotted a large hole in the ceiling towards the further end of the temple – no doubt a result of age. “Well, shall we enter through there?” she asked Vinyl, pointing a hoof at it. “It may be a bit difficult to get up onto the top of the temple, but once we have-”

“Nah, that’s boring,” Vinyl said, jumping off the ridge and sliding down a smaller slope to just in front of the temple. As she landed, she noticed that the dirt she was standing on seemed to be covering some tiles. It looked like this temple might have been bigger once, before nature managed to overtake it. As it was, the temple was swarmed by trees so much that it would have been hard to spot from in the air.

Sighing, Octavia followed Vinyl down the ridge and to the front of the temple. “I suppose you’ll want look for water after we’ve explored the temple?” she asked.

“Hmm… I wouldn’t mind exploring the temple now,” Vinyl mused, “but I guess we’d better look for water, huh?” This surprised Octavia – she’d expected Vinyl to want to go into the temple as soon as possible.

“Well… it’s not exactly as if we’re dying of thirst,” Octavia pointed out. Although she wouldn’t admit it to Vinyl, she was somewhat curious about the temple now that they’d reached it, and they still did have a little water left.

“So we’ll go in now?” Vinyl asked Octavia, her grin broadening.

“I suppose,” Octavia replied. “How are we supposed to get the doors open though?” she asked. “Wait – let me guess, we have to find some sort of tablet which we insert into a pedestal to open them? Or there’s a lever somewhere which we have to take an agonisingly long path to reach in order to open the doors?”

Silently, Vinyl’s activated the magic of her horn to surround the doors in a telekinetic field. They swung open easily, offering no resistance. “…Or you could do that, I suppose,” Octavia admitted.

The two ponies entered the dark temple. The room they entered was dark, and so Vinyl activated the spell to light the tip of her horn. “Wow! Isn’t this awesome, Tavi?” she suddenly said excitedly. “Just look at this room!”

“Awesome” wouldn’t have been the word Octavia would have used to describe the room they were in. Aside from the annoyance of the darkness, there were webs coating most of the walls and ceilings. Likewise covered in cobwebs were some torch holders in the wall, their fires having been extinguished years ago. In the middle of the room were four large supporting columns covered in intricate hieroglyphs.

Oh, and there were also several dozen coffins in the room, carved entirely out of stone. They were lined up neatly around the columns in three rows. Like the walls and ceiling, they were coated heavily in cobwebs. Overall, the feel of the room was less “awesome” and more “spooky”.

“So, what now?” Octavia asked. “Is this key we’re looking for in this room? In one of the coffins?” She immediately regretted saying that. Knowing my luck, it probably will be, she thought.

“Well… to tell the truth, I’m not really sure what the key we’re looking for is,” Vinyl admitted. “It could be in this room, it could not be. The legends surrounding the treasure are pretty vague.”

“Well then, I suppose we may as well head out of this room,” Octavia said hastily. “If we don’t find anything else in the rest of the temple, we’ll come back.”

“Oh, come on, Tavi!” Vinyl protested. “There’s no point in exploring the rest of the temple if it turns out that the treasure is in here, is there? Go on, open one of the coffins and see whether the key is in it.”

“What?!” Octavia asked, shocked. “Why should I?”

“Because you’re the one who suggested it, that’s why!”

“I can’t open up the coffins, they’re too heavy! Do it with your telekinesis!”

“No!” Vinyl argued. “You do it with your hoof!”

Octavia tapped the lid of the nearest coffin with her hoof as lightly as she could. Naturally, it failed to open. “Okay, your turn, Vinyl.” Grumbling, Vinyl Scratch surrounded the lid of the coffin with her telekinesis, and cautiously slid it to one side. It fell to the floor with an almighty CRASH!

Both ponies looked to each other nervously. Then, hesitantly, they leaned over the coffin and looked in. A wave of stale air hit them – this coffin had evidently been sealed for centuries. Inside the coffin was the decayed corpse of a pony, wrapped up in filthy bandages. The years hadn’t been kind to this pony’s body.

“Well, that was anticlimactic,” Vinyl said. “I was hoping there’d be more in there than –”

“Than a body, what the coffin was designed for?” Octavia replied smartly. Behind her glasses, Vinyl rolled her eyes.

“Yeah, yeah, whatever.” Straining slightly with the weight, Vinyl lifted the lid of the coffin back on with her telekinesis. “Well, what now?” Vinyl asked.

“I suppose that we’ll have to just head through the rest of the temple, and return here if we can’t find the key?” Octavia suggested. Vinyl nodded.

“Sounds like a plan.” The two were nearly at the exit of the room, opposite the doors they had entered through, when the sound of grinding stone caught their ears. Both spun around, worried that the mummy pony had somehow come back to life and was climbing out of his coffin… but it was just the doors of the temple sliding shut.

“How in the hay does that work?” Vinyl wondered out loud.

“Magic, one must suppose,” Octavia theorised. Both turned back around to continue through the temple, knowing that they could get out using Vinyl’s magic just as easily as they got in… when the same noise of grinding stone sounded once more.

“Vinyl… you closed the lid of that coffin, didn’t you?” Octavia asked as she turned back around.

“’Course,” Vinyl answered, her voice shaking slightly as she said so. “If I ask why you’re asking, am I going to regret it?” As she spoke, the noise continued sounding behind her.

“Yes,” Octavia said, her legs shaking slightly now. She wanted to turn and run, but she was petrified by fear. Reluctantly, Vinyl turned around to see her suspicions come true.

Each of the coffins was opening one by one, and mummy ponies similar to the one Vinyl and Octavia had examined earlier were climbing out. Somehow, some sort of magic had given them the energy and strength to return to life… or at least, a pale imitation of it. As they took in their surroundings, somehow able to see in the mostly-dark room, the mummy ponies started stumbling towards Vinyl and Octavia, who were still standing by the door.

“Oh, horseapples,” said Vinyl.

Author's Note:

This chapter sure does have a lot of exposition, huh?

I realise that Vinyl can come across as a bit unsympathetic in this chapter with the way that she's manipulating Octavia, but I'm trying to show that she's desperate and really wants to get the treasure. I plan to remedy this in upcoming chapters. (Please don't hate me...)

Now everyone comment and tell me how stupid giving Vinyl a sympathetic motivation for wanting treasure is.