• 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 Six: Up The River Without A Paddle

“Like buck we’ll let Stumblefeather take our tablet!” Vinyl protested to Baron von Darkhoof, stomping a hoof down in rage.

“Oh really?” Darkhoof said with a mocking tone to his voice. “Well then, maybe you’ll save him the effort and just give it to me?”

“W-what?” Octavia stammered as Stumblefeather started slowly advancing towards her. “Why should we do that?”

“Because,” Darkhoof began, grinning, “if you do, I’ll help you and your unicorn friend get out of the jungle.” Octavia and Vinyl had started to cautiously backing away from Darkhoof as he and his assistant had been pressing forwards towards them, but as he spoke, Octavia stopped.

“Really?” she asked enthusiastically. “In that case, Vinyl, give me the –”

“Never!” Vinyl growled. Her horn glowed with her trademark blue aura and, a moment later, Stumblefeather was telekinetically pushed into Darkhoof, knocking them both over. “You take care of Stumblefeather!” Vinyl said as she trotted up to Darkhoof, kicking him in the chest whilst he was still vulnerable.

“Um… hello,” Octavia meekly said as Stumblefeather picked himself up and hovered into the air. “I don’t suppose I could convince you to forget about this silly fight and to instead assist me in leaving this jungle, could I?” Somewhere to her right, Octavia could hear Vinyl brawling with Darkhoof, each shouting insults to the other.

“Sorry, boss’s orders,” Stumblefeather said, sounding genuinely apologetic. From his airborne position, he swooped down towards Octavia. Octavia flinched and closed her eyes, expecting to be dashed onto the ground after a few moments… only for Stumblefeather to misjudge the angle he was swooping at and instead crash into the ground. His momentum carried him forwards to Octavia’s hooves.

“Well… that was unexpected,” Octavia commented out loud.

Meanwhile, Vinyl had managed to prevent Darkhoof from flying by tackling him to the ground and forcing him down. Although he was slightly larger than her, Vinyl’s telekinesis gave her an advantage and was keeping him grounded… for now.

“Just give me your tablet!” Darkhoof barked, struggling to get up. “You don’t deserve it anyway!”

“Oh yeah?” Vinyl replied cockily, straining to hold down his strong hooves. “And what makes you entitled to have it?”

“It is my inheritance!” Darkhoof shouted, right in Vinyl’s face. She grimaced slightly as she smelled how bad his breath was. “I am the rightful heir to the von Darkhoof treasure, which that tablet unlocks! How do you think I got my tablet?”

For a brief moment, Vinyl hesitated. Was this true? A moment later, she shook the thought off. Screw him, she thought, even if he’s telling the truth, I’m still going after that treasure myself.

Unable to break free of Vinyl, Darkhoof looked over to Stumblefeather, who seemed to have knocked himself unconscious. Standing over his body was Octavia, reluctantly prodding him with a hoof.

“Hey you! Come help me out!” Darkhoof barked. He had stopped struggling against Vinyl by now. Looking over to Vinyl and Darkhoof, Octavia frowned in confusion. Was he talking to her, or Stumblefeather?

“What, you want me to attack Vinyl?” Octavia asked sarcastically, slowly walking over to the two. Between Stumblefeather knocking himself out and Vinyl managing to restrain Darkhoof, the battle was practically over before it had begun.

“Pfft. How stupid are you?” Vinyl asked, growing confident now that Darkhoof’s attack had been stopped. “Tavi wouldn’t attack me for anything. Would you, Tavi?” She gave Octavia a playful shove with her hoof, still prepared to hold Darkhoof down with telekinesis if he tried anything.

“Really? Not even if I got Stumblefeather to escort you out of the jungle?” Darkhoof asked Octavia, an evil grin on his face. “Isn’t that what you were asking for just a few minutes ago? To get out of this jungle?”

“Well… yes, I was…” Octavia said slowly.

“Oh, come on, Tavi!” Vinyl exclaimed. “As if you’re going to listen to him!” Octavia said nothing, instead staring blankly into space as she weighed up the offer that Baron von Darkhoof was making her. “…Tavi?” Vinyl asked hesitantly.

Thinking carefully about it, Octavia made her decision. Naturally, she wanted to get out of this jungle as soon as possible. She raised a hoof and moved closer to Vinyl…

STOMP!
…only to kick Darkhoof in the face. “You honestly thought that I would choose you over Vinyl?” Octavia asked the dark green pegasus, who was wincing in pain. “Yes, I may wish to get out of this jungle, but that doesn’t mean that I shall betray my friend for that opportunity!”

Vinyl grinned upon hearing this, and turned to her Earth Pony companion. “Really, Tavi?” Unfortunately, whilst doing this, she took her attention off Darkhoof for just a moment too long.

“Bah! So be it!” Darkhoof barked. Unfolding his wings and pressing them against the ground to help give himself lift, Darkhoof pushed himself upwards, forcing Vinyl off his chest. A moment later, he was in the air.

“Come, Stumblefeather! We’ll worry about these two foals later!” he shouted at Stumblefeather, who seemed to have recovered from his faceplant.

“R-right you are, sir,” Stumblefeather groaned. He forced himself up from the ground, and flew into the air. Within moments, the two pegasi had zoomed off and were specks in the distance.

“Well, that was weird,” Vinyl said bluntly, staring into the sky in the direction that Darkhoof and Stumblefeather had fled. “I wonder why Darkhoof didn’t want to stay and fight.”

Octavia shrugged. “I suppose that the possibility exists that he and Stumblefeather are just as tired as we are,” she suggested. “Or perhaps he was worried that either tablet may have been destroyed were the fight further prolonged.”

“Or maybe… he’s afraid to take on the two toughest ponies in all of Equestria!” Vinyl said, rubbing Octavia’s head with a hoof affectionately. Octavia winced at this.

“Please don’t do that again,” she said.

“Ah, whatever, Tavi. You know you love it,” Vinyl said dismissively. She got out her map from her saddlebag as she continued speaking. “Now, are we good to head to this river?”

“It sounds like a plan to me,” Octavia agreed. The two mares headed to their destination, walking at a leisurely pace. Between the mummy ponies, the trapped corridor, climbing the rope, and fighting the pegasi, neither of them were in a hurry to exhaust themselves further.

“Say, Tavi…” Vinyl began after a few minutes silence.

“Say, Vinyl…” Octavia mimicked.

“Was that true what you said to Baron Darkhoof? Do you consider me a friend?” Vinyl asked. Although her tone was casual, it was obvious that the question was important to her.

Octavia hesitated before answering, though she tried to hide it. “W-well, of course I do, Vinyl,” she said shakily. “You’re my only companion in this jungle – I’d be a bit worried if I didn’t have a friend here.”

“Aw yeah!” Vinyl said happily, pausing her walking for a moment to rear into the air in apparent happiness. “You know, when this is all over, I’m totally going to shout you a cider back in Canterlot. Ooh! No, even better idea! I’ll buy you a cider at one of my gigs! Then you can see me play!”

Octavia let Vinyl ramble on, busy thinking things over. In truth, Octavia wasn’t sure how she felt about Vinyl – she had surprised herself when she had refused Darkhoof’s offer. Octavia thought back to the moment in which Darkhoof had tried to tempt her. Her current logic was that she was unwilling to trust somepony such as Darkhoof, whom she didn’t know anything about. Although Vinyl may have been manipulative, at least she was seemingly telling Octavia the truth from now on.

After all, the alternative – that Vinyl was growing on Octavia and that she really was thinking of her as a friend – was impossible. Right?

“…and then we can stay at my apartment after the gig!” Vinyl finished, failing to notice that Octavia’s thoughts were a thousand miles away. “Whaddya think, Tavi?”

“Hmm? Oh, sounds splendid,” Octavia answered, not even trying to recall the question Vinyl had asked her.

“Awesome! Now all we need to do is get the other tablet off Stumblefeather and Darkhoof, then we’re all good!” Vinyl said cheerfully.

“Wait, so we’re not going to visit the other temple?” Octavia asked. “We are just going to take the tablet which Darkhoof somehow acquired?”

“Well duh, Tavi!” Vinyl rolled her eyes, although the effect was lost with her glasses on.

“…And how do you suppose we take Darkhoof’s tablet?” Octavia asked with a hint of scepticism in her voice.

“Well, we’ll have to just find some way to ambush and trap them,” Vinyl said matter-of-factly. “Heck, they’re probably planning something similar to get our tablet as we speak.”

“W-what?” Octavia questioned, astonished. “You really think that they’re planning to… to hunt us down, like animals?”

“Oh, heck yes,” Vinyl answered casually. “Isn’t it fun? The thrill of being both hunter and hunted, not knowing whether each moment could be our last?”

“Actually, that was one of the things I was looking forwards to leaving behind once we exited the jungle,” Octavia said in a monotone.

“Oh, whatever! You’re no fun, Tavi!” Vinyl said dismissively. “Where’s your sense of adventure?”

“I believe that I left it behind in the temple after fighting all of those mummy ponies,” Octavia answered tiredly. Changing the subject, she asked “So, you have no idea what the treasure is?”

“Nope. Nopony knows,” Vinyl answered. “All I heard about it was from my dad, and he read all about it in some book. ‘Course, I couldn’t find that book anywhere when I tried looking for it.”

“Did you try a library?” Octavia asked, curious about this book.

“…Hey! That’s a good idea! Why didn’t I think of that?” Vinyl said excitedly. She hit Octavia with a hoof, playfully. “See what I mean when I say that you’re smart?”

“Yes, who would have thought to look for a book in a library?” Octavia asked. Although she rolled her eyes, she was smiling slightly at Vinyl. As annoying as she could be, Vinyl was at least fun to talk to in a silly way. You just had to be prepared for some potentially low-brow conversation.

“Hey, do you think that Darkhoof knows what the treasure is?” Vinyl suddenly asked. “He did say that it’s his inheritance, after all.”

“He what?” Octavia asked, unaware of what little information Vinyl had found out about their adversary during the fight. Vinyl explained to Octavia about Baron von Darkhoof’s claim.

“Hmm… well, that certainly would explain why he’s looking for the treasure,” Octavia mused. “As you say, it would be interesting if he does know what the treasure is.”

“I bet it’s gold,” Vinyl said happily.

“…You think that your father wants gold so that it can save him from whatever he’s dying of?” Octavia asked sceptically, raising an eyebrow.

“Well, what if the gold has a spell on it?” Vinyl suggested, getting excited now. “It could be enchanted to make him better, and then afterwards we can sell it!”

“Naturally, Vinyl,” Octavia said, humouring the unicorn.

For the next twenty or so minutes, the two mares continued on their way, discussing what the treasure could potentially be, and wondering whether they’d meet Baron von Darkhoof and Stumblefeather again whilst heading through the jungle. Before long, they’d arrived at the river.

“So, what next?” Octavia asked as she dipped one of her canteens into the rushing water. It seemed to be clean enough for the two mares to drink, and so far it didn’t look like there would be any more unexpected crocodile attacks.

Vinyl finished filling up her canteen and got her map out of her saddlebag. “‘Corrding to this, we can actually get across this river to get to the pyramid,” she said. “Since we don’t have to detour past the other temple, this should save us a day or two of travel… although, it does place us in some uncharted territory.”

“Let me guess,” Octavia began, “you want us to go through the uncharted territory to save time?”

“Well, I was actually thinking –” Vinyl started before being interrupted.

“Because, even though it’s potentially full of pony cannibals and manticores and all sorts of creatures, you want to save time.”

“No – I was going to –”

“And let me guess – you’ll justify it by saying that we need to beat Darkhoof to the pyramid?”

“No – Tavi – I was actually going to ask you your opinion on it,” Vinyl said, finally managing to say what she wanted to.

Octavia blinked in surprise. “Oh. Well, thank you, Vinyl. I- I was expecting you to simply override my decision once more. Thank you.”

“So, what do you think?” Vinyl asked. “Do we cross here into uncharted territory, and save time?”

Octavia looked across the wide river to the thicket of trees on the other side. Or at least, she would have, if there hadn’t been what looked to be a large spider web wound around most of the trees. If Octavia had noticed it earlier, she would have refused to fill up her canteens at this section of the river.

“Well, I suppose that saving time is always a plus…” Octavia said, thinking it over carefully. “But we should find somewhere else to cross the river.”

“Awesome. Sounds like a plan!” Vinyl said, folding the map up and returning it to her saddlebag.

After roughly an hour, when the mares had decided that they had travelled enough distance from where the giant spider presumably lived, they found themselves ready to cross the river. Unfortunately, there was a problem. A big one.

“…When did the bank rise up so far over the river?” Octavia asked nervously, looking down to the river roughly fifteen metres below them.

“And why is the only bridge to cross the river here so rickety and old?” Vinyl added, pointing a hoof to a simple wooden bridge with rope side-rails. As she pointed, a small breeze rocked the bridge slightly, emphasising its fragility. Vinyl shivered slightly. “I dunno whether this is the best place to cross.”

“In an ordinary situation I’d agree… but we don’t know whether there’ll be any other bridges to cross,” Octavia pointed out. “And obviously we can’t head back down the river… if there had been an appropriate place to cross, we would have done it there.” She grimaced before continuing. “I think we’ll have to cross here.”

Octavia stepped forwards and put a hoof on the bridge, testing its weight. Despite how weathered and beaten the bridge was, it seemed stable enough to hold her. Feeling slightly more confident, Octavia moved her entire body onto the bridge. It still seemed fine.

“Come on, Vinyl!” Octavia called behind her as she started trotting across the bridge, satisfied that it wouldn’t suddenly break. “It’s completely safe!” Being met with only silence, Octavia turned around to see Vinyl standing before the bridge, looking hesitant to step onto it.

“I- I dunno, Tavi,” Vinyl said, her voice at a slightly higher pitch than usual. “I’m not sure whether it’s okay to cross.”

“Of course it’s okay!” Octavia said, rolling her eyes. “Stop being such a scaredy-pony and just cross!”

“But what if it breaks with both of us on it?” Vinyl asked as she slowly and hesitantly put a hoof onto the bridge.

“Don’t be so silly, Vinyl!” Octavia answered. “You’re a unicorn. You can just levitate yourself to safety if something happens.”

“I- I guess so,” Vinyl said, her voice shaky. Slowly, she walked over the bridge to where Octavia was, roughly a third of the way across it.

“See? It’s not that bad, is it?” Octavia asked as Vinyl reached her.

“Nah, you’re right, Tavi!” Vinyl said happily, over her temporary fear. “This bridge is way tougher than it looks! I’ll bet that it’d take a ton of … stuff … to break it!” She jumped on the spot slightly, sending a small wave through the bridge.

Octavia giggled. “I like your thinking, Vinyl, although I wouldn’t do that again if I were you.”

“Now who’s the scaredy-pony?” Vinyl teased as she jumped again, this time slightly higher. Octavia found herself grabbing one of the side-rails with her hooves, surprised at the strength of the shockwave.

“Okay, Vinyl, that’s enough now,” Octavia said, slightly worried now. “Let’s just cross this bridge, and then we can –”

“What’s the matter, Tavi?” Vinyl interrupted. “Worried that the bridge is going to break?” As she spoke the last word, she jumped once more, sending the strongest shockwave yet down the bridge. There was a moment of silence as Octavia held onto the side-rail for dear life, worried that the bridge truly was going to break. And then… nothing happened.

Both mares burst out laughing at the silliness of it all. “I suppose that I did worry a bit much there,” Octavia admitted as she let go of the side-rail and continued walking across the bridge.

“Just a bit,” Vinyl said, grinning as she caught up to Octavia. “I mean, it’s not like the rope’s going to –”

SNAP!

Both mares spun around, in a panic, towards the source of the sound. It took each a moment to realise that one of the ropes holding up the bridge had snapped before they found the planks they were standing on tilt ninety degrees.

Instinctively, Octavia reached out and grabbed the planks with her hooves before she could fall too far. She was hanging from the side of the bridge which was still held up, with nothing to support her legs. Next to her, Vinyl managed to let out a burst of telekinesis to slow her descent and allow her to follow Octavia’s example of hanging from the remaining planks.

“Oh, good job, Vinyl!” Octavia shouted once she was sure that Vinyl was okay. “Just go ahead and break the bridge, why don’t you?”

“Hey! You were the one who kept insisting how sturdy it was!” Vinyl countered.

“I said that it was safe to cross, not that you should jump up and down on it to test it!” Octavia argued. She had been hanging from the planks for less than thirty seconds, yet her hooves were already growing tired.

“Whatever, Tavs,” Vinyl said. “Can you sorta – move further along the planks?”

“Do I look like Daring Do to you?” Octavia argued. “I can barely hold on as it is!” As she spoke, she pulled herself up slightly – she had slipped down a bit as her grip weakened.

Vinyl sighed. “Well, I guess there’s only one thing for it then,” she said, sounding regretful.

Octavia frowned. “Wait a moment, Vinyl – what are you –”

“Geronimo!” Vinyl said, letting go with her hooves and throwing herself back. Octavia gasped as Vinyl fell downwards and landed in the river. She didn’t resurface.

“No! Vinyl!” Octavia called out, as if her words could rewind time and bring her unicorn friend back up to the bridge. After a moment of hesitation, Octavia followed suit and let go of the planks. If Vinyl was drowning, it was Octavia’s duty to rescue her as her friend.

Octavia hit the water hard, wincing as she felt some water go up her nose. Fortunately, the river was deeper than it seemed, and whilst Octavia sunk several metres below the surface, it was enough to cushion the impact of her fall.

As Octavia resurfaced, gasping for air, Vinyl’s head popped up next to her. “Yo! Tavi!” she said happily. It seemed as though the unicorn was fine after all.

“What in the name of Celestia were you thinking, Vinyl?!” Octavia shouted, half out of anger and half to make herself heard over the current which was dragging Vinyl and herself further downriver.

“I figured that we couldn’t get across the bridge, and that the river wasn’t too far below us, so it couldn’t hurt,” Vinyl said, as though it were the most obvious thing in the world. “Plus, we were probably going to fall off eventually anyway, so it was gonna happen no matter what.” She was still somehow wearing her glasses, although the fall had cracked one of the lenses.

“Well… I suppose everything worked out in the end,” Octavia answered as she thought it over. “Although, we still need to get across this river.”

“Is that a spot over there?” Vinyl asked, pointing a hoof to a small bank further down the river. The two mares paddled their way over, struggling to not let the current carry them past their destination. Eventually, they managed to reach the bank and pull themselves up onto it.

“Urgh, I hate having a wet mane,” Octavia said, shaking herself slightly to dry off. She was trying not to think about the contents of her saddlebag, saturated as it was now.

“Really? I think that you look good with it,” Vinyl said absentmindedly. She had taken her glasses off and was carefully examining the crack.

“…Vinyl, are you hitting on me?” Octavia asked slowly. With Vinyl’s personality, it was hard to tell what was a joke and what wasn’t.

Vinyl grunted in displeasure, not satisfied with the state of the glasses. As she put them into her bag, she answered, “Of course I am, Tavi. You’re the hottest mare I know.”

There was a moment of silence before the two friends burst out laughing. “Okay, now I know that you’re joking,” Octavia chuckled.

“Yeah, you got me,” Vinyl answered, still laughing herself. “Although, can you imagine how weird it would be if we did end up going out? Imagine what everypony would say!”

“Pfft. I don’t think anypony would care,” Octavia replied, a smile on her face. “Who would be interested in seeing us together?”

“Yeah, you’re right,” Vinyl said, starting to head into the jungle from the bank. “We’d be the most boring couple ever.”

“I mean, it’s not like we – wait a minute… do you hear that?” Octavia asked as she followed Vinyl into the jungle. Both mares stood still for a moment and cocked their ears.

“Sounds like… drums,” Vinyl said after listening intently.

“Yes… it does,” Octavia said, a hint of worry creeping into her voice. “There are still tribes around these areas, aren’t there?”

“Well… we should be in the uncharted territory now,” Vinyl explained, “so I dunno whether there are any tribes in this specific area. But it’s always possible.” The two mares had resumed walking, although they were paying careful attention to their surroundings now.

“And do you know whether the tribes are… hostile?” Octavia asked. The increasing frenzy of the drums was starting to worry her. From time to time, Octavia thought that she saw something moving out of the corner of her eye, but whenever she looked, there was nothing.

“I dunno too much about it, since I’m not really an expert on the Amarezon,” Vinyl admitted. “But from what I do know, I think that most tribes will leave you alone if you leave them alone. Although…”

“Although what?” Octavia asked sharply. The distant sound of the drums had reached a crescendo by now, and hushed whispers could be heard from behind some trees. Although Octavia was starting to feel scared now, she didn’t want to say anything in case her and Vinyl’s stalkers decided to attack.

“Well… there are rumours of cannibal tribes in the Amarezon,” Vinyl said. “Although, I don’t think they’ve ever actually been discovered.”

“Well, we are in the uncharted parts of the Amarezon,” Octavia said, breathing in deeply to try and stay calm. By now, her and Vinyl’s walking speed had slowed down to a snail’s pace. “So… it is possible…”

“…That there are cannibal ponies around here,” Vinyl finished. She looked around nervously. “Hey, what’s happened to the jungle? It feels… quiet.”

It took Octavia a moment to realise what Vinyl was on about. “The drums. They’ve stopped,” she said simply.

“What do you think that means?” Vinyl asked.

It was barely a moment later when she got her answer, as a group of tribal ponies leapt out and surrounded the duo.

Author's Note:

Wow, I sure have been lazy in updating, haven't I?