• 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 Five: Darkhoof and Stumblefeather

Sweat ran down Vinyl’s brow as she tried to work out what to do. Should she try to hurl the nearest mummy ponies away with her telekinesis? Should she buck them? Should she get out her machete and attack them with it? In the end, she went for a much simpler, and in her opinion, better idea.

“EVERYPONY FOR THEMSELVES!” Vinyl cried out, forming a telekinetic field around the exit doors and trying to hurl them open as she galloped towards them. Unfortunately, these doors were much heavier than the entrance doors, and Vinyl couldn’t open them in time – instead of dashing through them like a terrified schoolfilly, as she had planned, she merely crashed into the heavy stone doors.

“Good to know you’ve got my back, Vinyl,” Octavia said sarcastically. She too seemed to be torn as to what to do – she was facing a mummy pony, alternating between preparing to leap at it and preparing to leap away. The mummy pony let out a low moan, and started to lean forwards… when it was surrounded by a blue, sparkly field and thrown against a nearby wall.

“No probs, Tavi,” Vinyl said, grinning as though she fought mummy ponies every day of the week. She lashed out with her telekinesis at several more of the mummies as they got closer, trying to keep them as far away as she could.

“I realise that now may not exactly be the greatest opportunity to talk about this, but you realise that my name is Octavia – right, Vinyl?” Octavia asked as she bucked a mummy pony which Vinyl had missed.

“’Course I do, Tavi,” Vinyl replied. She was keeping the mummies back as best she could, yet they were still managing to slowly press her and Octavia up against the back wall of the room.

In spite of Octavia’s powerful bucking and Vinyl’s telekinetic might, the mummy ponies seemed to be suffering no visible damage. They would be knocked to the ground, pick themselves up, and then continue shuffling over to the two vulnerable mares. If they couldn’t find a way out of this room soon, or find a way to stop the mummy ponies for good, it looked like this would be the end of Vinyl and Octavia’s journey.

“You got any ideas, Tavi?” Vinyl asked as she tried taking a step back and instead found herself pressed up into a corner. Right next to her was Octavia, who had been backed up into the same spot.

“Can you think of what brought them to life?” Octavia questioned, having to raise her voice over the small crowd of mummy ponies moaning. “If we could work that out, we might be able to return them to their former state!”

“Uh… maybe when the door closed, it did something to bring them to life?” Vinyl suggested, sidestepping into Octavia to avoid the bite of a mummy pony with its mouth exposed. A moment later, she forced her magic into overdrive and pushed the entire group of mummies over with a telekinetic burst which left her horn throbbing painfully afterwards.

“What? That’s the stupidest idea I’ve heard!” Octavia said. She leaped over the individual bodies of the mummies before they could get up. Behind her, Vinyl was clutching her head, trying to shake off the dizziness she was experiencing after using such a powerful burst of magic.

“I don’t hear you suggesting any better ideas, Tavi,” Vinyl growled through gritted teeth. She leapt over the bodies of the mummy ponies as they started picking themselves up. Vinyl joined Octavia, who was now standing on top of one of the coffins formerly occupied by their foes.

“Fine then,” Octavia said angrily, “open the doors, and see whether or not that does anything to stop the mummies!”

“Urgh – give me a minute here,” Vinyl said wearily as another wave of dizziness hit her. “Just keeping my horn alight is hard enough at the moment.” By now, the first few mummies had reached the coffins, and were struggling to climb up onto them. A quick hoof to the face, courtesy of Octavia, delayed them by a few seconds.

“Well please hurry it up!” Octavia said impatiently as she bucked another mummy pony hard enough to knock it down. “Once you’ve tried your silly theory, we can move onto another one – if we survive that long.”

“Fine!” Vinyl grumbled, fighting through the dizziness and pain in her horn. She focused on the closed doors of the temple and surrounded them in her trademark blue magical aura. Black spots appeared in her vision as the doors slowly scraped across the floor and opened once more. Exhausted, the light at the end of Vinyl’s horn extinguished as she stumbled slightly from the coffin she was standing on. “There!” she gasped.

There was a moment of silence before Octavia answered. “Well, Vinyl, it seems that I owe you an apology. Opening the doors really did –”

“GRRAWWWGHHH!!!” Although there was sunlight entering the room through the open door, it didn’t light the whole room, masking the exact locating where the roar came from. Octavia squealed in surprise, before kicking a hoof at where the noise sounded from.

“Vinyl!” Octavia shouted in a panic. “WHY AREN’T THE MUMMY PONIES DEAD YET?!”

“How am I supposed to bucking know?!” Vinyl asked. She was lying down on the coffin now, which was helping with the dizziness she had been experiencing a moment ago. “Look, I’ll – I’ll just try to get the other doors open, alright?” As she spoke, Vinyl felt something touch one of her back hooves, and she instinctively kicked back in response, feeling satisfied when she felt her hoof connect with something solid.

Vinyl got back up, feeling slightly better now that she had rested for a few moments. It seemed as though Octavia had made a smart tactical decision in climbing onto the coffins, as the mummies couldn’t easily climb up onto them, and it was fairly easy to kick those that got too close. Focusing, Vinyl once more lit up the tip of her horn with magic.

“Alright, Tavi – you distract them, I’ll open the doors,” Vinyl said confidently.

“What?! Me, distract them?” Octavia asked, shocked. She quickly jabbed a hoof at a mummy pony which was getting a bit too close for comfort. “What do you expect me to do, throw my hat at them?”

“That’d actually be a good idea,” Vinyl answered, not listening to her properly. As she spoke, the entrance doors to the temple slid shut once more – why they had apparently been enchanted to do that was a mystery. Vinyl turned to face the exit doors of the room, which the light from her horn illuminated. She focused intently on them as her telekinetic field surrounded them.

“Vinyl! Hurry up!” Octavia said in a panicked tone. Vinyl was concentrating on opening the heavy doors without overtaxing her magic, and so didn’t waste a moment glancing at her companion, but if she had, she would have seen Octavia frantically kicking each of the mummy ponies swarming her coffin.

“Nearly… done…” Vinyl grunted, feeling the strain of casting two spells at once. The exit doors were about half open now, but Vinyl was opening them as wide as possible in case they slid shut as the entrance doors had.

Vinyl’s concentration unexpectedly broke as she felt something painful on her hoof. Looking down, Vinyl gasped as she realised that a mummy pony had bitten her. “Urgh!” she instinctively said, recoiling. She quickly kicked her hoof forwards, throwing the mummy forwards.

“Right, I’ve had enough of these bucking mummies,” Vinyl called across to Octavia, who had resorted to using her lunchbox as an improvised hitting weapon against the mummies. “Let’s get out of here, Tavi!” Vinyl leapt from the coffin she was standing on and over the mummies that had been attempting to reach her.

Hoping that Octavia was following her lead, Vinyl galloped through the doors, which were sliding shut as she had feared. Fortunately, it was barely a moment after Vinyl passed through the doors that Octavia followed her, likewise fleeing from the mummies.

Vinyl and Octavia collapsed to the ground, panting with the exhaustion that comes after performing lots of spells and fighting mummies, respectively. With the mummies being so slow, none of them had managed to get anywhere near the doors before they shut.

“Good job, Vinyl,” Octavia complemented.

“Thanks,” Vinyl said, still drawing in breaths heavily. She examined her hoof where the mummy pony had bitten her. The mummy hadn’t been strong enough to draw blood, but there was a dark bruise forming, and her hoof ached as she moved it. “You still got those bandages, Tavi?”

Wordlessly, Octavia opened her saddlebag and passed her roll of bandages over to Vinyl, who wrapped a few lengths around her bite wound. “Vinyl… you realise that bandages traditionally stop bleeding, don’t you?” Octavia asked.

“’Course I do,” Vinyl replied, smiling as usual, “but I figure that I can use it as a bit of support.” She shrugged as she continued. “And you never know – it might start bleeding, right?”

“I suppose,” Octavia agreed. Although Vinyl had been annoying her more and more over the past twenty-four hours, Octavia had to admit it – she knew how to handle herself in a fight.

Both mares eventually picked themselves up. After all, they had only just begun to explore the temple, and there was still a key to find. In front of them were two lengthy and empty corridors, the walls covered in ancient hieroglyphs and intricate patterns, just as the pillars in the mummy room had been. There were small openings in the walls to let light in, eliminating the need for Vinyl’s light spell. Each took a step towards a different corridor.

“It’s this one!” they said at the same time.

“Pfft. As if, Tavi!” Vinyl argued. “Everypony knows that the left corridor is always safe!”

“And what evidence are you basing that on, Vinyl?” Octavia countered. “This corridor has fewer hieroglyphs then yours – I would wager that means fewer traps.”

“Amateur mistake, Tavs – they’re trying to trick you into –”

CLICK!

Both ponies looked to the floor where Vinyl was standing. The large tile she had been standing on had depressed into the ground. “…What do you suppose that does?” Octavia asked cautiously. A moment later, she got her answer.

KRA-KOOM!!! A large crack sounded out in the room behind them, followed by the sound of something heavy falling. It was almost as if the roof was caving in… but that was impossible, wasn’t it? As both ponies stared at the doors they had entered through, a large crack started running up the wall.

“Look out!” Vinyl cried, wrapping Octavia in her telekinetic field and throwing the two of them forwards. It wasn’t a moment too soon – the wall broke into several pieces and fell to the floor, landing in the spot the two mares had occupied half a second ago. Whatever the switch Vinyl had stood on did, it was effective.

“Oh man!” Vinyl said as she turned around to inspect the rubble. “How are supposed to get out now?” The wall had broken down into large pieces which would be too heavy to move by either hoof or telekinesis, and they were blocking the door.

As Octavia pondered Vinyl’s words, she had an idea. “Easily, Vinyl,” she said, smiling slightly. “We’ll get out through that hole in the roof – remember?”

“Hey, great idea, Tavi!” Vinyl agreed. “We get the key, then find some way out through there… I like it! Now, are you coming?” She gestured with her head down the corridor she had been facing before.

“Surely you’re kidding, Vinyl,” Octavia replied. “The trap to destroy the previous room’s roof was in front of that corridor – I’d say that proves that that corridor is dangerous, would you not?”

“Nah, that’s just to trick silly fillies like you, Tavi!” Vinyl said dismissively. “They put it there, so that you think it’s dangerous, then ponies like you head down your corridor because they think it’s safe, when it’s not!” Once she had finished speaking, she started trotting down the corridor she thought was safe. “Coming, Tavi?”

“Not this time, Vinyl,” Octavia muttered under her breath. For once, she wasn’t letting Vinyl force her path. Confidently, Octavia put a hoof forwards into the corridor she was facing - and then swiftly jerked it back as the tile she put it onto depressed. Parallel to where her hoof had been, a panel slid to one side… and nothing happened. Octavia cautiously waved her hoof in front of the panel, but if some sort of trap was supposed to activate, it didn’t.

“Well, who says that all ancient traps are still in working condition to the present day?” she mused out loud. Octavia confidently started trotting down the corridor, sure that any other traps would be likewise broken. Naturally, this proved to be her undoing a moment later as she stepped onto another hidden switch, causing a set of jagged spears to emerge from a hidden alcove and jab at the space ahead of her.

Octavia squealed, and leapt back in fright. Of course, the next trap would be working perfectly fine, wouldn’t it? Maybe it would have been a good idea to stick with Vinyl, Octavia reluctantly thought as she watched the spears retract back into their alcove. She slowly turned around, planning to go down Vinyl’s corridor instead, when –

“Oof!” As Octavia turned around, she hit something hard and pointy. Wincing, she rubbed her forehead with a hoof to ease the pain. After a moment, she realised what she had hit.

“Hey Tavi,” Vinyl said casually. “’Sup?”

“Vinyl?” Octavia asked in confusion. “What are you doing here?”

“This trap activated and nearly – I mean, I was nearly through that corridor when I realised that you weren’t following me,” Vinyl said. “So I decided to come back to see what was keeping you, and now I’m here!”

“Oh. Well, thank you, Vinyl,” Octavia said. Deciding not to admit that she had been about to do a similar thing herself, she instead politely suggested “Follow me through this corridor?”

“Sure,” said Vinyl. Treading cautiously, the two mares managed to make their way through the corridor without activating any more traps. Although they were quite pleased with themselves, unknown to the duo, Octavia’s initial thoughts had been correct: almost every single trap in the corridor had stopped working decades ago.

“Look. There’s our exit,” Octavia said, pointing a hoof to the ceiling as the two exited the corridor. Sunshine was streaming through the hole, illuminating the small room the two were in. Opposite to the corridor they had just traversed was a door similar to the ones they had passed earlier in the temple. “How are we supposed to get up there?” Octavia wondered out loud.

Vinyl shrugged. “Dunno, but for now let’s worry about this key!” she said, opening the door with her telekinesis. The two mares stepped through the doorway to see what awaited them, Octavia slightly more hesitantly than Vinyl.

As with the previous room, there were openings in the walls to let light in. Opposite the doorway was a small pedestal – if there was anything on it, it wasn’t visible from the doorway. Other than that, the room was exactly the same as the rest of the temple, if slightly dirtier. Octavia silently thanked Celestia that there were no more mummies to fight.

“Well, I guess the key must be up on that pedestal,” Vinyl said confidently. “C’mon, Tavs – let’s go get it.”

“Wait, Vinyl!” Octavia exclaimed in fright as Vinyl trotted across the floor. She had a horrible feeling about this room.

“Wait for what, Tavi?” Vinyl asked, confused.

“I… I thought that there might be more traps triggered by the floor,” Octavia admitted, realising how silly the idea sounded when Vinyl was already halfway across the room. She slowly walked up to Vinyl, still feeling paranoid. “…Sorry. I guess I was wrong.”

“You’ve been reading too much Daring Do, Tavi,” Vinyl said, playfully hitting Octavia with a hoof. She continued crossing the floor over to the pedestal. “Hey! There’s no key here! Just a dumb rock!” She held it up for Octavia to see – it was a stone tablet with hieroglyphs carved into it.

Octavia sighed and rolled her eyes. “Vinyl, have you considered that that tablet may be the key?”

“…Oh! Good thinking, Tavs!” Vinyl said as she gave the tablet a closer inspection. “Still, that’s a bit boring. I was expecting…”

“An actual key made of metal?” Octavia said in a deadpan tone. Between the traps, mummies, and Vinyl, she was starting to regret coming into the temple now, and wishing that they’d gone to look for water straight away after all.

“Well, who’s to say it isn’t, Tavi?” Vinyl pointed out. “You could be wrong, and this could just be a worthless stone tablet after all.” She shrugged and levitated the tablet into her saddlebag. “…But, I’m kinda sick of this temple, and I don’t see why there’d be all of those traps and mummies guarding this tablet if it wasn’t important, so let’s get outta here!”

“I do believe that this is the first time we’ve both shared opinions on something, Vinyl,” Octavia agreed. The two mares left the room and looked up at their improvised exit in the previous room.

“So… how were you planning on getting us up there?” Vinyl asked after several moments of silent staring. The ceiling was a good fifteen or twenty metres above their heads, well out of reach.

“…I’m not quite sure yet,” Octavia admitted. If they could grip the wall properly, then it would have been possible for the two ponies to climb up the wall, but unfortunately, hooves are not designed for gripping onto walls with. “I don’t suppose you’d be strong enough to levitate us up there?” Octavia suggested.

Vinyl shook her head, although her eternal grin was still plastered on her face. “Sorry, Tavs. Even if I hadn’t used a ton of magic recently, I’m nowhere near strong enough to lift that much weight that far.” She put a hoof to her chin in contemplation. “Although... we could reach it if…”

“Yes?” Octavia prompted. A moment later, she got a hoof to the face as Vinyl unexpectedly climbed up onto her head. “Vinyl, what are you –”

“…Nope. Can’t reach it from here,” Vinyl said, standing on her back hooves to try and reach the hole in the ceiling. She jumped from Octavia’s head back down to the ground. “Well, that’s me out of ideas.”

Octavia was suddenly struck by an idea which she probably should have thought of a while ago. “Vinyl, do you still have that rope?” she asked excitedly.

“Yeah, of course I do,” Vinyl answered, grinning as usual. She levitated it out of her saddlebag, and made a lasso out of it. “Let’s hope there’s something up there that it can catch on!” she said as she used her telekinesis to throw it upwards through the hole in the ceiling. After pulling on the rope twice and having it fall back through the hole, the third time Vinyl threw the rope it caught on something.

“Aww yeah!” Vinyl said happily, pulling on the rope to confirm that it could support at least one pony’s weight. Once she was sure, she wrapped her hooves around it, and started climbing up. Octavia patiently waited, ready to try and catch Vinyl if she were to fall, although fortunately she needn’t have worried, as Vinyl got up to the ceiling without any problems.

It was then Octavia’s turn to climb. She wrapped her hooves around the rope and slowly began climbing up – it was harder than Vinyl had made it look. I hope that Vinyl is ready to catch me with her telekinesis should I fall, Octavia thought as she looked down at the floor of the temple. It was a long way up, and if she hit it from this height, the results wouldn’t be pretty.

Despite her somewhat slower speed, Octavia eventually managed to make it to the top of the temple and climb out through the hole. “Took your time,” Vinyl said, although her tone wasn’t accusatory. To one side of the temple was a large tree, and once Vinyl had coiled up her rope and returned it to her saddlebag, the two mares climbed down it and to the ground.

“Well, that was fun!” Vinyl said, stretching her hooves in apparent relaxation. “Want to head to the next temple now, Tavi?”

“We still need to find water, remember?” Octavia reminded the unicorn. For a brief moment, Octavia thought she heard the sound of a pegasi flying, but once she looked up, she saw nothing. Bother, she thought. I certainly wouldn’t object to leaving the jungle right now.

“Oh yeah, I forgot about that,” Vinyl said sheepishly. She levitated her map out of her saddlebag as she continued. “Hmm… there’s a decent sized river about half an hour from here, and it looks like the nearest source of water, unless there are some streams nearby that aren’t marked on this map.”

“I suppose that will have to do,” Octavia sighed. “Which way is this –”

CRASH!

Octavia and Vinyl Scratch both looked upwards as a small shower of leaves drifted down and rested upon them. “…What was that?” Octavia asked.

“Dunno,” Vinyl said. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say that it sounded like a pegasus crashing into that tree.”

Octavia scoffed. “Come now, Vinyl. Who ever heard of a pegasus crashing? They would have to be a pretty bad flier to- ”

Octavia was interrupted a moment later as out of the tree fell a pegasus. Although he had fallen unconscious, he was otherwise seemingly unhurt. He had a dark blue coat and a brown, spiky mane and tail. His cutie mark was a broken vase, and he was wearing a single saddlebag. After an initial moment of surprise, Octavia leaped into the air.

“Yes! Yes yes yes yes yes yes!” she cheered, leaping around Vinyl in circles. “We’re free!”

“Uh… what?” Vinyl asked. Octavia stopped bouncing around for a moment to answer her.

“Don’t you see, Vinyl? This pegasus can get us out of the jungle!” Octavia said to Vinyl happily.

“Huh?” Vinyl asked, confused. “Why would we want to get out of the jungle? We still have to get the treasure.”

Octavia’s expression slowly changed from glee to a cold, hard glare. “Why would I stay with you when I have a chance to return to the tour group? Or better yet, Canterlot?” she asked slowly.

“What?!” Vinyl gasped. “You don’t want to help me look for the treasure? But… what about my dad?”

“Look, Vinyl,” Octavia said, sighing, “as sad as the news about your father is, I’m not willing to risk the dangers of this jungle to help you find your treasure if I have a chance to get out. Once this pegasus has regained consciousness, I’m going to ask him for a lift back to the tour group.”

It was now Vinyl’s turn to start glaring (although the effect wasn’t very strong with her eyes hidden behind her glasses). “Octavia… you –”

“Confound it all to blazes, Stumblefeather!” Vinyl was interrupted as a new voice entered the scene. Both mares looked upwards again to see another pegasus descending from the sky, this one with a dark green coat. His thick mane was a dull khaki colour, and he was wearing an orange jacket. Between the fierce expression upon his face and his bulky build, he would have looked quite intimidating… if it hadn’t been for his cutie mark, which was a pie.

“Honestly, I swear that you’re the worst assistant in Equestria since Princess Platinum ordered her number one assistant to take a letter, who instead had it incinerated by a dragon!” the new pegasus continued as he landed. Ignoring Vinyl and Octavia, he walked over to the blue pegasus, apparently named Stumblefeather. “Get up!” he shouted, kicking Stumblefeather.

“Um… excuse me,” Octavia politely addressed the green pegasus as Stumblefeather picked himself up, apologising profusely, “but who would you be?” Although he seemed angry and violent, she wanted to at least talk to him to gauge her chances of leaving the jungle.

“Me?” he barked as he turned around to answer. “I’m the noble Baron von Darkhoof, of course. And this is my bumbling assistant, Stumblefeather.” Although his tone was harsh, he didn’t appear to be overly hostile to Octavia or Vinyl.

“Pleased to meet you, Baron,” Octavia replied. I didn’t even know that Barons existed in Equestria anymore, she silently thought to herself. “Now – my companion Vinyl and I are both currently lost in this jungle due to… a series of contrived coincidences,” Octavia continued, giving Vinyl a cold sideways glance. “So we were wondering… would it be possible for you to give us a lift out of the jungle?”

“Hmm… I don’t know…” Darkhoof thought out loud.

“Really? Good,” Vinyl hastily said. “You see, what Tavi’s failed to mention is that we’ve just found this groovy stone tablet that we’d like to examine, and we wouldn’t want to disturb you two so… nice to meet you, goodbye!” She grabbed Octavia with a hoof and started dragging her off, not wanting her reluctant companion to get the opportunity to leave.

“Hold on a minute there,” Darkhoof said, flying over the two and blocking their path. “Where did you get this tablet?” He was sounding strangely interested in their discovery.

“Sir, isn’t that just like that big stone thingy we found in the- ” began Stumblefeather, speaking for the first time before Darkhoof silenced him with a hoof to the back of the head.

“Silence, Stumblefeather!” Darkhoof said. “I want to know where these mares found their –”

“But look sir, it really does sound the same!” insisted Stumblefeather, opening his saddlebag to reveal a tablet similar to the one Vinyl and Octavia had found in the temple.

“Hey! That is just like the one we found!” Octavia said without thinking. Next to her, Vinyl smacked a hoof into her face.

“Just tell everypony, Tavi,” Vinyl groaned quietly.

“Then… you must have come to this temple to get the key!” Darkhoof said loudly. “You’re also seeking the treasure!

“Stumblefeather! Take their tablet from them!”

Author's Note:

New chapter! :D

Maybe it's the fact that I stayed up til 2 AM writing the first thousand-odd words of this chapter and 11 PM for the next thousand-odd, but I felt like I really struggled with the middle part of this chapter. Is it good or not? Tell me, legion of masses!

Here's a picture of Darkhoof and Stumblefeather. (Pony Creator! )