• Published 26th Jan 2013
  • 12,804 Views, 103 Comments

Vinyl and Octavia Machete Their Way Through The Jungle - DoctorSpectrum



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

  • ...
4
 103
 12,804

Chapter Seven: Going Native

“Tavi! What do we do?!” Vinyl shouted, her voice sounding slightly more high-pitched than usual due to fear.

“How in the name of Luna’s horn am I supposed to know?” Octavia replied, taking a few steps back as the tribal ponies moved in closer. They were all Earth Ponies and, aside from some sort of face-paint and slightly more rugged fur, they didn’t look all that different from regular ponies.

“You’re the smart one! Can’t you think of something?” Vinyl asked.

Before Octavia could reply, a tribal pony with a brown coat and white face-paint cleared his throat. “Uh, you do realise that we’re not going to attack you, right?” he asked. Vinyl’s jaw dropped and probably would have stayed that way if Octavia hadn’t pushed it closed with a hoof.

“W-what?” Octavia asked, shocked by this. “Then what’s with the – the beating drums, and leaping out at us like that?” Somewhere in the back of her mind, a small filly was jumping up and down and shouting “And how come you can all speak normally?”

“That is our traditional way of welcoming guests,” the tribespony explained. “The beating of the drums represents our anxiety to meet new ponies. Our surprise leaping out represents how friendship and comrades can be found in the most unexpected of times and places.” He put a hoof on his chin thoughtfully. “You know, now that I come to think of it, it’s fairly intimidating, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, just a bit!” Vinyl exclaimed, having recovered from the shock. “You nearly gave me a heart attack just then!”

The tribespony chuckled. “That is almost exactly what our most recent guests said to us,” he replied in his deep voice. “I’ve always found pegasi to be somewhat calmer than other races, but these two nearly fell out of the sky when we announced our presence to them!”

Wordlessly, Octavia and Vinyl exchanged glances. Each was thinking the same thing – two pegasi? It was obvious who they had to be. Vinyl faced the tribespony once more. “Say, mister… uh, what’s your name?”

“I am Chief Green Grass,” he explained.

“Right,” Vinyl said, continuing, “Chief Green Grass, when did you meet these guests of yours – these pegasi?”

“It would have been not one hour ago,” Green Grass helpfully answered. “In fact, they are still in our village now.”

“Awesome,” Vinyl said. “Is there any chance that we could go to your village?” Vinyl was already concocting a plan to get Baron von Darkhoof’s tablet from him, assuming that he and Stumblefeather were the two pegasi guests.

“Of course. Why do you think we gave you the traditional welcome?” Green Grass asked. He turned to the rest of the tribesponies, who had silently been listening to the conversation. “Tonight we shall show these two ponies entertainment and a feast the likes of which they have never seen before!” he shouted loudly. The tribesponies all hooted and cheered in response.

“Follow us, and we shall guide you to our village,” Green Grass said to Vinyl and Octavia. “It is not far from here.” With that, he strode confidentially through some ferns, with the rest of the tribesponies following immediately afterwards.

“Vinyl, are you sure about this?” Octavia asked her companion quietly as they followed at the back of the group.

“Sure about what?” Vinyl asked, equally quiet. “Getting the chance to steal Darkhoof’s tablet from him? If I can get it from him and he starts a fight, the tribesponies will side with us since he’ll be the one to start the fight! It’s the perfect plan!”

“How can you even be sure that Darkhoof – and Stumblefeather, for that matter – are the pegasi in the village?” Octavia pointed out. “For all you know, we’ll get there and we will find two random, ordinary pegasi.”

“No biggie,” Vinyl said, refusing to listen to Octavia’s arguments. “Then the tribesponies will give us free food and water and stuff, and we’ll be totally rested to reach the pyramid! You’re not gonna complain about that, are you, Tavi?”

“Well… no,” Octavia admitted. A moment later, a new thought occurred to her, which she immediately mentioned to Vinyl. “But then again… how do we know that they aren’t cannibal ponies?”

“What the hay?” Vinyl asked, frowning. “You think that cannibal ponies who had us at their mercy just a few minutes ago are going to politely lead us to their village and make friends with us? Yeah, that’s totally realistic.”

“They could be lulling us into a sense of false security!” Octavia insisted.

“Yeah… you’ve definitely been reading too much Daring Do,” Vinyl answered, rolling her eyes. “Why are you so eager to find a problem with us going to this village, anyway?”

“I’m not eager to find a problem with it,” Octavia said, defending herself, “I am just preparing for the worst-case scenario. What would you do if we got there and not only was Darkhoof not there, but the tribesponies really were cannibals?”

“I wouldn’t worry about it, since neither of those are gonna happen,” Vinyl said, flashing a grin to the grey Earth Pony. There was a moment of silence before Vinyl added, “I’ll bet you a million bits that they’re not cannibals.”

“…You don’t have a million bits, Vinyl,” Octavia pointed out.

“Well, neither do you!” Vinyl accused, already forgetting whose idea the million bits had been. “How about half a million bits?”

“I would be willing to bet that you don’t have that much either.”

“One hundred thousand?”

“Try a bit lower.”

“…One thousand?”

Octavia rolled her eyes before answering. “Vinyl, even if I had that much, I’m not placing it on this silly bet with you.”

“That’s because you know that you’ll lose!” Vinyl said triumphantly. “Now seriously… how much do you have on you?”

“Unless I lost some of it in the river, I recall having somewhere around the sum of fifty bits,” Octavia replied dully, humouring Vinyl.

“Awesome! Now, I have… twenty-four bits, so how about we bet that much that they won’t turn out to be cannibals?” Vinyl asked a little too enthusiastically.

“What part of ‘I’m not placing this silly bet with you’ don’t you understand?” Octavia replied, sighing as she did so. Vinyl went silent for a few moments.

“…Twenty-four bits that we end up having to run from them, then?” Vinyl finally said.

“Wait… so you think that they are cannibals?” Octavia asked, confused.

“Nah, I’m just trying to get you to agree to a friendly bet,” Vinyl said happily. “And since you won’t bet that they’re cannibals, will you at least bet that we’ll end up having to escape from them?”

“Wait, now you’re confusing me,” Octavia said. “Are you betting that we’ll run from them, or am I?”

“You are, of course. You’re the paranoid one,” Vinyl said simply.

“I am not paranoid! I am just being cautious!” Octavia argued.

“Whatever. So, do we have a bet?” Vinyl asked, holding a hoof out. Octavia sighed for what felt like the hundredth time that day.

“Fine,” she said, shaking Vinyl’s hoof. “But you do realise that I am only agreeing to this because I am humouring you, don’t you?”

“Whatever. Works for me, Tavi.” Vinyl’s grin spread further across her face, confident that she was going to win the vastly sum of twenty-four bits.

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

“…and here we have the Great Gravel Path,” Green Grass said, pointing a hoof to a long section of gravel. Once they had reached the village, he had immediately given Vinyl and Octavia a tour which was only just now starting to wrap up.

“Why would you need a Great Gravel Pa-” Octavia began, frowning, before Vinyl interrupted her.

“Cool, cool, looks and sounds awesome,” she said hastily. “Now, Chief Green Grass, I was wondering, about those pegasi you mentioned earlier…?”

“If you wish to meet them, then it is no problem,” Green Grass said, not questioning Vinyl’s desire. He walked over to a nearby tribespony who was trying to start a fire, and started talking to him.

“What do you think the odds are that it’s not Darkhoof and Stumblefeather who are here in the village?” Octavia said whilst they watched the chief.

“Probs about zero,” Vinyl said. “Man, I’m gonna be able to get Darkhoof’s tablet – this is gonna be so awesome!” A moment later, Green Grass returned to the duo.

“Unfortunately, I have bad news for you two,” he said calmly. “Concerning the two pegasi we invited into our village… we have been forced to lock them up.”

“What?” Octavia asked, not expecting this.

“You guys have locks?” Vinyl asked sceptically, raising an eyebrow in surprise.

“The pegasi were discovered in possession of a treasure most sacred to us –” Green Grass started.

“What?! How could they have gotten to it –” Vinyl began angrily.

“ – a stone tablet, which if combined with its twin, allows one to access an even greater treasure of our tribe’s.”

A single drop of sweat ran down Octavia’s brow. It sounded as though Darkhoof and Stumblefeather were the two pegasi who had visited the village, and if they had been captured for having one of the stone tablets, then what would happen to her and Vinyl if they were discovered in possession of the other one?

“W-what’s going to happen to them?” Octavia asked shakily.

“And more importantly, what’ve you done with the tablet?” Vinyl asked bluntly.

Answering Octavia’s question first, Green Grass said, “Seeing as how they have broken the most ancient rule of our tribe – seeking the legendary treasure – the same thing will happen to them that has happened to all of the ponies who have come before them to seek it. They will be put to death.”

Octavia winced, whilst noting that Vinyl didn’t seem to have any sort of reaction to this. “And as for the tablet,” Green Grass continued, “we have decided to keep it in the village, so that we may protect it. This particular tablet went missing decades ago, and it is good to know that it has been returned to us in the end.”

Green Grass’ expression changed from sombre to smiling in an instant. “Now, I don’t expect you wish to speak to scum such as they but, should you wish to, come and see me and I will allow you to talk to them. I have business to prepare for tonight’s feast, so I must leave now.”

With that, the village chief departed, leaving Vinyl and Octavia alone.

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

“No, Vinyl. You are not going to steal Darkhoof’s tablet,” Octavia insisted. The two mares were inside one of the village’s abandoned huts, having asked for some time alone. With the villagers safely out of earshot, Octavia was now trying to persuade Vinyl to abandon her reckless plan.

“Are you crazy, Tavs?” Vinyl replied. “If he’s locked up, then there’s no way he can stop me from grabbing it! Then we just need to head straight for the pyramid, use the tablets to unlock the treasure, and bam! I’ll have the treasure and we can return home! Heck, we might even be able to return to the tour group if we’re fast enough.”

“And if the tribesponies catch you stealing the tablet – or even if they find out that you have the other one – you’ll be put to death alongside Darkhoof and Stumblefeather!” Octavia pointed out. “If you insist on going to the pyramid, could you at least… I don’t know, go without trying to steal the other tablet?”

Vinyl Scratch facehoofed. “Have you forgotten that we need both tablets in order to unlock the treasure, Tavi? We’re gonna need to – waaaaaait a minute,” she said, replaying Octavia’s words in her mind. “What do you mean if I insist on going to the pyramid? Are you thinking up another crazy plan to ditch me?”

“Well, I’ll admit that the thought of simply staying in this village did occur to me,” Octavia said. “It seems safe enough here, and it would mean that I wouldn’t have to go along with your dangerous treasure hunting.”

In response, Vinyl snorted. “Yeah, I’m sure you’d just love it here, Tavi. Face it; you couldn’t keep away from civilisation for a week if you tried.” Her expression changed from a cynical frown into her usual grin as she walked over to Octavia. “And let’s face it – you secretly think that adventuring with me is fun.”

“Well, you’re right about one of those things,” Octavia muttered, too quietly for Vinyl to hear her. Speaking louder now, she said, “Look, I am just trying to look out for you, okay? And if you’re caught stealing Darkhoof’s tablet…”

“Yeah, like that’s gonna happen,” Vinyl said, suddenly cheerful and optimistic. “So, are you in to help me steal the tablet or what?”

“If I say no, you’re going to find some way to force me to help regardless, aren’t you?” Octavia asked. In response, Vinyl’s grin grew larger. Sighing, Octavia answered, “Fine, although I fail to see any benefits of us inevitably being chased out of the village by the tribesponies.”

Vinyl shrugged. “You’d win the bet.”

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

The hut was completely silent, save for the sound of two ponies breathing quietly in their sleep. Outside, past a few other huts, the tribesponies had all gathered around a large fire and were enjoying a hefty feast. Although tonight was by no means any sort of celebration, there were still much noise to be heard from the direction of the fire.

Quietly, the door of the hut was pushed open and two ponies quietly snuck in. “Are you sure that this is where the tablet is?” Octavia whispered to Vinyl.

“Ssh! Keep your voice down!” Vinyl hissed in response. “This is a sneaking mission! The use of stealth is required!”

“…Says the white unicorn with a neon blue mane,” Octavia muttered under her breath.

“Now, when I was looking around the village before, this was the only hut I couldn’t get into,” Vinyl explained quietly. Since it was too dark to properly see anything, the two ponies were slowly hugging the wall and making their way across the hut that way. “It had a guard outside, so I figure that the tablet must be in here somewhere. Good thing he’s at the feast now.”

“Any idea why there was a guard here?” Octavia asked in a hushed tone.

“Yeah. Baron von Darkhoof and Stumblefeather are being kept here,” Vinyl said dismissively, pointing a hoof to the centre of the room. In the darkness, Octavia could barely see anything, but as she focused, her eyes managed to adjust enough to make out a large cage. It seemed as though Darkhoof and Stumblefeather were asleep, judging by their slow and steady breathing.

Staring at the cage as best as she could in the darkness, Octavia began to feel a strange sense of pity for the two pegasi. Despite their opposition, Darkhoof and Stumblefeather couldn’t really be described as evil ponies, yet they were being sentenced to die at some point in the near future. What’s more, their only crime was exactly the same as Vinyl and hers – treasure hunting. The only difference was that Octavia and Vinyl hadn’t been caught by the villagers yet.

“Ah ha! They’ve left the tablet in Stumblefeather’s saddlebag!” Vinyl said triumphantly. Her search of the hut had led her to the back of the hut. As she spoke, she interrupted Octavia’s train of thoughts, and Octavia slowly walked over to join her friend.

“So… what did you need me for again?” Octavia asked in a slightly bitter tone. “You seem to have found the tablet perfectly fine on your own.”

Vinyl shrugged. “Never hurts to have another set of eyes on the lookout. Now, we’d better get out of this village faster than a Sonic Rainboom. If we stay any longer, the villagers’ll probably figure out that we’ve taken the tablet. You’ve got all your supplies in your saddlebag, yeah?”

Hesitantly, Octavia answered, “Well, yes, I do… but…”

“But what?” Vinyl asked impatiently.

“Well… what about those two?” Octavia asked, pointing a hoof to the cage where the two pegasi were still sleeping. In response, Vinyl facehoofed.

“Dammit, Tavi! We agreed to grab the tablet and then get going straight away, and you want to stick back? And help our enemies?!” It was a miracle that Vinyl hadn’t woken up Darkhoof or Stumblefeather with her voice raised the way it was now.

“So you think that they deserve to die for being caught by the villagers?” Octavia asked coldly.

“No, but I – it’s just –” Vinyl spluttered, trying to find the right words.

“You what?”

“I – fine, you know what? If you want to free them, knock yourself out, Tavi,” Vinyl said, defeated. “But don’t expect me to help you. I’ll meet you outside the village, ‘kay?”

“That’s fine by me,” Octavia said, glad that Vinyl wasn’t putting up a fight. As Vinyl opened the hut door once more and exited, Octavia said to her, “I should only be a few minutes.”

As Octavia approached the entrance to the cage, she saw that it had a simple bolt-like lock made of some sort of bamboo-like substance. Due to the way it was arranged, it could easily be opened from the outside, but not the inside.

“Stumblefeather! Darkhoof! Wake up!” Octavia hissed as she slid the bolt open and opened the cage.

“Who is it?” Darkhoof said, somehow managing to sound tired and angry and the same time. “Oh, you’re that Earth Pony from earlier today,” he said as his eyes adjusted to the darkness and he could take Octavia in properly. “What are you doing here? Are you working with those savages?”

“As a matter of fact, I’m freeing you,” Octavia said, glaring at Darkhoof as he and Stumblefeather picked themselves up from the floor of the cage. “No need to thank me.”

“If anything, you should be thanking me, Earth Pony, for giving you the privilege to save me!” Darkhoof said loudly as he exited the cage. He evidently hadn’t learned any humility from being locked up.

“The name is Octavia, not Earth Pony,” Octavia said coldly to Darkhoof. “And your argument makes no sense.”

“You mean you don’t consider it an honour to –”

“Thank you for saving us, Octavia,” Stumblefeather interrupted obliviously. “That cage was really small.”

“You’re welcome, Stumblefeather,” Octavia said as the three ponies exited the hut. “Now, I shall leave you two to your own devices and go and re-join my –”

GUARDS! GUARDS! THE EARTH PONY IS FREEING THE PRISONERS!” Baron von Darkhoof bellowed unexpectedly. There was a moment of silence before the sounds of galloping hooves rang out, headed for Octavia’s position.

“What in Equestria was that for?!” Octavia asked Darkhoof, shocked at his betrayal. He grinned evilly at her.

“You think that I’d let you and that unicorn get a head start on the treasure?” Darkhoof asked as he rose into the air. “Not on your life, you foolish Earth Pony fool! Come, Stumblefeather!”

As the sounds of the tribesponies grew nearer, Stumblefeather also began hovering, waving a hoof at Octavia as he did so. “Bye Octavia! Thanks again for freeing us!” The villainous duo then zoomed off, with Stumblefeather shouting out, “Looks like Team Darkhoof’s flying off again!”

Starting to panic now, Octavia tried galloping away… only to run face-first into a group of the tribesponies looking for her. “So there you are!” one of them shouted.

“Look! She really did free the prisoners!” another said, opening the door of the hut to show the empty cage where Stumblefeather and Darkhoof had been. Octavia tried backing away, but, to her dismay, enough villagers had arrived that she was surrounded without an escape route.

“Why, Octavia?” Chief Green Grass asked, making his way through the crowd to the grey mare. “Why would you free the prisoners who broke our most sacred of rules?”

“I- I –” Octavia stuttered, trying to think of an excuse.

“Look!” one of the tribesponies said, emerging from the hut with Stumblefeather’s saddlebag, which had been left behind. “The tablet is missing!” There was a collective gasp from the crowd at this revelation.

“So, you were working with them all along?” Green Grass asked, immediately leaping to conclusions. “You freed them so that they could get away with the tablet and get the treasure for you?”

“Where’s her unicorn friend?” somepony in the crowd called out. “I’ll bet she’s in on it too!”

“N-no, Chief Green Grass. It is nothing like that!” Octavia insisted, still stuttering.

“For this crime, there can only be one punishment,” Green Grass continued, ignoring Octavia’s defence. Octavia gulped, knowing what he was about to say.

“Death.”

Author's Note:

Whee, new chapter! Stumblefeather x Octavia. Get on it, shippers!

For the record, I'm going back to university this week, so I don't know how much time I'll have to write from now on. I'm planning to end this fic in another ~2-3 chapters, so hopefully I can at least finish this before I get bogged down with assignments.