The Perfect Predator
A “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” Fanfiction
Written by Jade Dawn
“My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” is owned by Hasbro. "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" is owned by Universal and Amblin. I own none of the characters except the ones I have created for this story.
On most nights, Fluttershy would try to be in bed and asleep a good few hours before midnight if she could help it. As much as she loved taking care of animals, even she would admit that it took a lot out of her doing so. Tonight, though, her forays into the world of sleep had been delayed. One of her chickens had suffered a mild case of indigestion, and she'd elected to stay with the afflicted avian until it felt better and went to sleep.
As Fluttershy finally pushed open the door to her cottage, she glanced up at a clock hanging from the wall.
Oh my, she thought. I really was up for a long time, wasn't I? Oh well...at least I can finally get some rest now.
She yawned heavily as she slowly made her way up the stairs to her bedroom. As she entered the room, she noticed Angel sleeping in a small bed of his own off in the corner, snoring contentedly.
Fluttershy smiled at the sleeping rabbit. He'd really been a big help that evening, bringing Fluttershy supper while she tended to the ill hen. She'd sent him off to bed a few hours before, assuring him that she could handle things from there.
Groggily, she climbed up into her bed, pulled the blankets over her body, and shut her eyes. She let out a moan of pleasure as the warmth of the blankets soaked into her body. Given her tired state, it wouldn't be long before she dozed off completely.
If it weren't for a sudden tapping sound that echoed through the room.
Fluttershy's eyes snapped open, and she bolted upright in the bed, the blankets sliding off to the floor. "Who's there?" she asked, her alarm banishing the fatigue she had felt mere moments earlier.
The tapping came again. It took Fluttershy a moment to realize that it was coming from outside her bedroom window.
Slowly, she slipped out of her bed, went over to the window, and pulled back the curtains. Outside, perched on the ledge beneath the window, was a young owl, barely an adult.
Fluttershy breathed an inward sigh of relief, and opened the window to let the little owl in. "Hello there," she said. "Is there something I can help you with?"
The owl responded with a series of sad-sounding hoots. The majority of ponies in Equestria would only have the faintest inklings of what it was trying to say, but Fluttershy knew better.
"You went to get a late-night snack and got lost? Oh, you poor thing," she said, sympathy coursing through her voice. "Would you like me to help you find your nest?" As tired as she was, she couldn't bear the thought of not coming to the aide of an animal who needed her help.
The owl gave a small nod and hooted in affirmation.
"Alright, then. Now, where do you live?"
The owl hooted again.
And just like that, Fluttershy's whole outlook on the matter shifted.
"Oh..." she said nervously. "You live in...the Everfree?"
Everfree. One of the last truly wild forests in Equestria, completely outside of ponies' usual control. The weather was unpredictable. Animals lived by their own rules. Even the way plants grew was off. And that wasn't even considering all of the things that made it their home in that dark, forbidding place...
Of course, Fluttershy had been in there plenty of times before. But she rarely did it alone. She usually was accompanied by a friend or two. And she knew that she could communicate with some of the less aggressive creatures there.
It didn't stop her from being scared of the place, though.
That being said, she wasn't about to let that fear cause her to turn away someone who needed her help.
"Well..." she said, trying to keep her nervousness hidden. "Alright. I suppose I could help you find your way back. Would you give me one second, please?" She turned away from the window, and headed towards Angel's bed.
She really hated to wake him up. She knew that he'd be quite unhappy with her, being the ironically grouchy rabbit that he was. But she didn't want to wake Twilight or Applejack or any of her other pony friends from their sleep to help her with something like this...
Fluttershy leaned over Angel's bed and whispered softly into his ear. "Angel? Could you wake up please?"
The rabbit snorted and groggily opened his eyes with an understandably annoyed look.
"I'm really, really sorry to wake you up at this hour, but there's this little owl whom I need to get back to the Everfree Forest, and..." she hesitated. "I was kind of hoping...you might come with me?" she finished with a sheepish smile.
Angel's only response was a silent glare that spoke volumes. After a moment, he rolled over and covered himself with his blanket.
"Oh, don't be like that," Fluttershy insisted. "Please?"
From the rabbit, nothing.
Fluttershy sighed. "Well," she said, her voice taking on a decidedly "poor-me" kind of tone that she rarely used. "I suppose I could do it all by myself. But then I might get gobbled up by some big, hungry monster, and you wouldn't be there to keep me safe, and–"
Angel let out a loud yawn, and begrudgingly got out of bed. He stretched for a moment, and then looked up at her as if to say "what are we waiting for?".
Fluttershy smiled. "I'll take that as a 'yes'." She was met with a small, tired nod. "Come on, then. Let's bring this little guy home."
She figured it wouldn't take too long. She'd get the owl back to his nest, and then come back and finally get the sleep she needed. It would be like taking a walk in the park.
In the middle of the night...
In a place where there were a million and one monstrous beasts who wouldn't hesitate to eat a pony for supper and then come looking for a second helping...
Actually, the more she thought about, the more she realized that going through the Everfree was the exact opposite of taking a walk in the park. Creatures don't eat you in parks.
Most of the time.
As it turned out, their trip into the forest took a lot longer than Fluttershy would have normally cared for, but they had managed to make the whole way without any sort of trouble.
They had finally arrived at a medium sized oak that, after a moment of conversation with Fluttershy, the young owl had identified as its home. Fluttershy gazed up at the tree, the owl perched on her back, while Angel stood beside her, barely able to keep awake.
Fluttershy looked over her shoulder at the owl.
"You're sure this is it?" she asked, wanting to be absolutely certain. The last thing she wanted was to leave the owl in the wrong tree. The owl hooted in affirmation.
"Alright then. Hang on." She unfurled her wings, and slowly, gracefully, lifted into the air. Sure enough, there was a small nest on a branch near the top of the tree. She pulled up along side it, and let the owl hop in.
The bird looked at her and gave a soft hoot in thanks.
"You're very welcome," Fluttershy replied. "Happy to help. See you later." With that, she slowly lowered herself to the ground beside Angel.
"You see? That didn't take too long, now did it?"
Angel replied with a tired squeak.
"Yes, we're going home now. You've been very patient. Thanks for coming out with me." With that, she turned and began to head back down the path they had come, Angel following wearily behind her.
At this time of night, the Everfree was, as per the norm in that region, quite dark. The Moon's light was hampered and distorted by the clouds above, and strange shadows stretched out from the forest's trees with their twisted, eerie-looking branches. Mist rose from the ground in certain spots, and Fluttershy could hear the sounds of the native wildlife, some friendly, some not.
Fluttershy glanced upward, looking at the night sky that poked through holes and gaps in the forest canopy. The Moon was already beginning to set. Soon, Princess Celestia would raise the Sun, and ponies would begin their daily routines.
Reluctantly, Fluttershy resigned herself to the possibility that she was likely not going to get very much sleep after this.
She looked down to admit this to Angel, when suddenly something–just barely visible out of the corner of her eye–darted across the path in front of her. Almost instantly, it vanished into the underbrush, leaving nothing but fallen leaves blowing lightly in its wake.
Fluttershy froze in her tracks, barely suppressing a frightened yelp.
"Angel?" she asked nervously. "D-did you see what that thing was?"
Angel squeaked, telling her that he couldn't quite make it out. From the way he sounded, it was obvious that he shared her alarm.
After a moment, Fluttershy continued forward. But she began to move slowly, cautiously, because now she had this unshakable feeling that something was watching them. Regarding them.
In the gloom behind them, something–a branch, probably–snapped. Fluttershy whirled around, eyes wide with fear.
"W-who's there?" she called.
Fluttershy turned forward again. Angel was in front of her now, his chest rising and falling rapidly, his head turning in all directions looking for danger.
"Rainbow Dash?" Fluttershy inquired. "I-is this another one of your pranks? Because if it is–" She paused as she saw that Angel had suddenly froze, his eyes wide. "Angel? W-what's the matter?"
She didn't need to wait long for an answer.
The first thing she heard was footsteps. Soft, barely audible. Coming towards her from behind.
The next thing she heard was the breathing. Like the sounds of the footsteps, it was soft, but there were the faintest hints of a growl in addition.
Fluttershy wanted to turn and see what this thing was. She tried. But she couldn't. She was–quite literally–frozen in terror.
The sound of the footsteps came up very close behind her, the rhythmic breathing so close that she could feel it, and the fur on her back stood on end. A shadow, elongated in the diminishing light of the moon, suddenly rose up behind her, as though the thing had reared up and was towering over her.
It was right behind her. Oh, sweet Celestia, it was right behind her.
She stood there, staring straight ahead, barely even breathing.
And then a long, black, cruel-looking claw entered her line of vision. It lowered itself just in front of her face, just a hair's-breadth away from her eyes, and then raised up again. She felt a lock of her pink mane getting tangled in the claw, rising with it, and winced ever so slightly as the lock was pulled taught. She felt something begin to sniff at her mane, before letting it slip from the claw. She blinked as the lock fell against her forehead. There was a light thud, as though the animal had dropped back on all fours again.
By this point, she was shaking like a leaf, and her terror was extreme. She didn't want to turn around; she was afraid of what she might see. But at the same time, she felt like she had to see it.
And so, ever so slowly, she began to turn herself around. Her mind was flooded with all kinds of ideas at what might be behind her; a manticore, a chimera, maybe even a cragadile...
But they all paled in comparison to what she saw.
Her first impression was that it was some kind of dragon, but she almost instantly realized that was not true. It could've passed for one, certainly. It had an unmistakably reptilian look to it. It was much, much bigger than her, about twenty feet or so in length, perhaps more. It stood upon four long, spindly looking legs, the front two of which were much shorter. It had large hands with sharp, curved claws and opposable thumbs. A long tail swayed slowly behind it. The head was long, almost box-like in shape, curving at the snout. Sharp, uneven teeth rose out and interlocked along its lips. Its body was glossy black in color, with a striking gold stripe along both sides. Crocodile-like scutes ran up its back, and clusters of quills adorned its neck and arms.
It was the most terrifying animal Fluttershy had ever witnessed. And she'd seen plenty of scary creatures in her time, but this one left them all behind.
But it wasn't the claws and teeth of the thing that scared her the most. It was the eyes. They were fiery orange with yellow irises and black, cat-like pupils. They were firmly locked onto the little pegasus, watching her every move.
But even then, it wasn't the eyes themselves that frightened her so. It was the manner in which they looked at her. There was a feeling of intelligence about this animal. Like it wasn't just staring at her like a predator investigating an intruder in its territory. Rather, it regarded her like a colt who has found a curious-looking insect, cocking its head first one way, then the other. Studying her. Scrutinizing her. Judging her, perhaps.
Judging her for what, Fluttershy couldn't help but wonder. Did it wonder what she was? Did it think she was a threat?
Was it trying to decide if she'd make a decent meal?
She tried to say something. Emphasis on tried, because all that came out was a small, barely-audible stutter.
She paused as the animal began to open its mouth. The massive jaws, large enough to swallow Fluttershy's head and then some, opened up, far wider than anything Fluttershy had seen, and she got a nice, pleasant view of those sharp teeth. A soft hiss escaped from the animal's throat, rather like that of a cat, which lasted for several seconds before fading out.
Fluttershy looked on in a kind horrified trance. She could've sworn that the jaws were getting a little bit wider each second.
And then there was a sudden, stinging pain shooting up Fluttershy's right hind leg. She yelped in shock, and leapt back. The jaws abruptly snapped shut, and Fluttershy fell to the ground. The animal reared up and roared, a roar unlike any other Fluttershy had heard, and lunged downward.
Instinctively, Fluttershy scrambled out of the way, the mouth missing her completely and biting down on the earth and roots of the forest floor. She scooped up Angel in her hooves, and darted forward, leaping into the air and flying over the path at a speed that would've impressed even Rainbow Dash.
Behind her, the monster roared in frustration, and she could hear it charging behind them, kicking up leaves and dirt in its wake. A loud, wailing screech echoed through the forest and flooded Fluttershy's ears. But still, she flew forward, Angel dangling from her forelegs, struggling to keep a grip, her wings beating at a furious pace, propelling her through the air at nigh-breakneck speeds while the surrounding vegetation blended into a dark green, brown, and black blur.
Suddenly she spotted a massive, fallen tree in the path in front of her. The trunk alone was at least ten feet in width. In a few seconds, she would collide with it.
Fluttershy did her best to pull up, and barely–just barely–missed the fallen tree by no more than half an inch. The monster was apparently less fortunate. She heard it smack into the tree behind her, and there was a loud crashing sound that made her wonder if it had actually smashed the log.
Finally, she turned her head to look back, the screeching noise dying out as she did. She'd left the monster–and the tree it had unwittingly collided with–far behind her, so far back that she couldn't even see them anymore. Only then did she slow down and descend to the ground in a rather large clearing, Angel sliding out of her forelegs as soon as her hooves touched the ground.
Fluttershy sat down, panting like a dog. Her wings burned from exhaustion, and her throat was hoarse. At first she was confused by that, and it was only then that she realized that the screeching noise she had heard had been the sound of her own screaming. She'd been so lost in her terror that she hadn't even realized it.
"It...it tried to eat me," she muttered numbly to herself. "It tried to eat me."
And then she noticed that there was a small bite mark on her right hind leg. It was far too small to have been from the monster, and the only one nearby her at the time that could've bitten her was...
"Angel?" she asked in a whisper (her throat was still sore from all the screaming). "Did...did you–"
A frightened squeal from Angel silenced her. He pointed frantically at the foliage ahead.
The bushed parted, and out stepped a large, lion-like animal, with a pair of bat-like wings and a tail very reminiscent of that of a scorpion's.
A manticore. And a very hungry looking one, at that. It crouched on the ground, moving slowly towards her, getting ready to pounce.
On any other occasion, Fluttershy would have tried to talk down the animal, or use her Stare if it came to that. But her mind was still reeling from the horror of the monster, and now all that terror was coming back in the face of what lay before her. She froze once again. Her terror-stricken mind barely registered Angel frantically pulling her tail in a vain effort to get her to move.
Suddenly, from directly behind, there was a crashing of bushes and a vibration through the ground as something large and heavy leapt down from some unseen perch. Fluttershy and Angel both whirled around, and even the manticore halted its advance to look at the newcomer.
It was the monster, looking no worse for the wear after hitting that tree, shifting from foot to foot in an agitated manner, and snarling viciously.
And suddenly, poor Fluttershy found herself caught between two predators, one an unknown, and one that she was all too aware of what it could do to a pony.
She had never given too much thought to her death. Like most potentially-lethal things in life, it scared her to no end. But on the occasions that her mind did wander in that direction, she always hoped that she would die peacefully in her sleep with a long, happy, fulfilling life behind her.
Needless to say, she'd always hoped–prayed, really–that she wouldn't die like this. But reality seemed to have different ideas.
The monster crouched down, readying itself to leap forward. Fluttershy fully expected to feel sharp teeth and claws ripping through her fragile body when it came at her, shredding her into pieces and ending her life.
The monster jumped forth–
–and sailed completely over her head.
Surprised, Fluttershy turned just in time to see the thing slam into the manticore, knocking it onto its side and sending them both rolling across the ground.
The manticore picked itself up, shaking its head in surprise. The monster got up and just growled, completely unfazed.
Fluttershy took the opportunity to dive into a cluster of bushes at the edge of the clearing, Angel following close behind her. She peeked out between the branches to see what was happening.
For a moment, the two combatants circled each other, sizing one another up. The two very much contrasted each other in appearance; the manticore was large and powerful, while the monster had a thinner, almost scrawnier form. The manticore now seemed a little unsure of itself in the face of the newcomer, but continued its threatening posture and growling. The monster, on the other hand, honestly didn't seem to care if it had never seen a manticore before. It continually flexed its front talons, snarling in anticipation, almost daring the manticore to try and make a strike.
Which it did. The manticore leapt again, roaring, towards the monster...only for it to sprang into the air at the last second on its long hind legs, turned in midair as it cleared the manticore, and slid across the earth upon landing, digging its claws into the ground to slow itself. Then, while the manticore was still bewildered, it charged forth, tackling the bulkier animal to the ground and pinning it with one large hind foot. It struck again and again with its mouth and claws, trying to bite and scratch at the neck and chest, while the manticore retaliated with it's own claws and batted at the thing with its wings. Splashes of dark liquid began to appear along the surrounding ground. The roars and snarls of the two rung through the forest in deafening echoes.
Fluttershy and Angel watched all this in a fixated, silent horror.
Suddenly, the manticore's tail raised up, the dark red of the tail glistening in the moonlight, and darted forth, striking the monster in the right shoulder. The animal let out a cry of pain and stepped back, and the manticore slid out of its grasp and regained its footing. Fluttershy now saw that the manticore's right side was covered in scratched and bite marks, bleeding heavily. Bunches of fur and mane were missing, littered on the ground its blood. It panted heavily, growling at its wounded opponent.
The monster looked over its shoulder at the wound. The stinger had penetrated deep into the animal's flesh, leaving a gaping, bleeding wound. The monster seemed to stare in shock. And then it slowly turned back to the manticore, and let out a growl that quickly became a roar of fury, before leaping forward again with renewed vigor. It was as though the act of wounding it was the greatest offense one could make against this thing.
The two opponents, collided, briefly locked jaws, and then pulled apart before charging again, biting, scratching, clawing, trying to cause as much damage as they could to the other.
But now Fluttershy noticed that the monster was moving a little slower, less coordinated than before. Whenever it stepped back, it shook its head as if dazed, and its tail had begun to droop.
It took her a second to realize that the manticore's venom was beginning to take effect.
The manticore charged at the monster again, when the latter abruptly reared up on its hind legs and kicked–kicked–the manticore full in the face with its left hind leg, sending its rival reeling backward. Some kind of liquid spurted into the air, gleaming in the moonlight. The manticore hit the ground with a thud. The monster dropped back on all fours and waited, panting heavily.
After a moment, the manticore slowly lifted itself to its feet and glared at the monster.
Fluttershy couldn't help but let out a small gasp at what she saw.
A huge slash now stretched across from below the manticore's chin, up its face, and well into its forehead. Blood poured from the wound, and a large chunk of its red mane was now missing from the left side of the top of its head. Its eyes were still intact, but given all the bleeding, it must have been half-blinded.
The manticore gave out one last, painful roar, before turning and disappearing through the underbrush. The monster growled disdainfully as it watched it leave.
But then the growl devolved into a kind of gurgle, which further transitioned into a string of choking gasps. The monster gagged uncontrollably, its body suddenly racked with spasms. It swayed on its feet for a moment, before keeling over and falling to the ground. Foam began to appear from its jaws.
Fluttershy's animal-lover instincts took over, and she burst from the bushes toward the fallen animal, Angel following in confusion.
"Oh my goodness," she whispered as she approached. She repeated it over and over again, a kind of frightened mantra. "Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness..."
She finally came up alongside the monster. Its claws twitched spasmodically, and its eyes rolled in their sockets. Its whole body shivered. She took a look at the wound the manticore's stinger had left behind. It was very, very deep, and it bled heavily. It must have gotten a pretty decent sized dose of venom. And whatever this thing was, it was not reacting well to it.
She looked over her shoulder above the treetops. She could just make out the lights of Ponyville against the clouds in the midnight sky. They weren't too far away now...
"Angel," she said. "Run back to the cottage. Tell Harry that I need him out here as fast as possible."
Angel squeaked out something along the lines of "are you insane?".
"Please, hurry!" Fluttershy begged. "We might not have much time!"
Finally, with an air of reluctance, Angel turned and bolted through the forest in the direction of the cottage.
Fluttershy turned to look back at the monster. She noticed that it had locked its gaze upon her, and seemed to be making an effort to stay that way.
She leaned forward and began to gently stroke the creature's side. Its skin was scaly and coarse, but warm, and had a texture that was not totally unpleasant to touch.
"There, there," she whispered. "It's going to be okay. I'll help you. It's going to be okay." And she meant it, too.
Then she thought of what it had done to the manticore, and she began wondering what exactly she was getting herself into.