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Thread: Hexachromalurgy (Pokémon/MLPFiM crossover)

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    Default Hexachromalurgy (Pokémon/MLPFiM crossover)

    Because I never learn.

    This has nothing to do with my previous fics (if the pony crossover part didn't give that away). Rather, this has to do with what would happen in a world where monsters with bizarre powers roam freely, with only the moral ambiguity of humanity to try to keep them in check. Then there's the question of exposing an inexperienced race to this violence and terror, and well ... this is the aftermath of that scenario.

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    Hexachromalurgy


    I

    The search for a suitable gift is torn from my thoughts by a forest-shattering roar.

    My bundle of carefully-picked lilies drops from my mouth as I swivel and break into a mad gallop, nearly barreling into a towering fir in my haste to escape the monster. Ears, pinned flat against my head, flick backward at the dry crunching of sticks, the crashing of bushes, the claws pounding against the moist earth. Suddenly the world is far too large, yet simultaneously suffocating. All I know is that I must flee or fall.

    As I run, thoughts circle through my head; facts and identity try to reassert themselves despite the sheer primal fear surging fast and thick through my veins. I hear them, though I can’t quite listen: My name is Roseluck. I am twelve years old. My favorite color is pink. My mother wishes me dead. My name is Roseluck …

    Twisted roots surface out of the ground ahead of me, as if anxious to trip my rapidly moving hooves. I barely notice them, grazing just past their edges in a few quick seconds. Blackberry bushes reach, pull at my fur, leave long thin scratches as I rush past. Warm blood trickles down my legs, forming tiny red rivers across a white landscape. It stains the leaves of a few broad ferns as I pass them by, but I keep running. Beauty is my last concern.

    The trees and bushes grow thinner ahead, quickly melting into a plateau of earth and stone that rises gently before vanishing from sight. Memory provides a single word in warning. Cliff.

    Suddenly I’m skidding, hooves pushing hopelessly against momentum. Pebbles clatter as I push against them, desperate for traction. The edge nears, beckoning. I don’t slow.

    My body goes flying and flailing, searching for something, anything, to stop my fall through the whistling wind — and a tree looms up out of nowhere, receiving me with a spiky-armed embrace. I cling to the first branch I crash into with all the strength I can muster, trying to pretend its bark isn’t digging into my flesh as I slide uncontrollably down its length. The trunk slams into me and my vision explodes in a cascade of colors and stars. I only hold on tighter though, wrapping both pairs of legs around the branch. My limbs tremble but hold.

    As I remain there, gasping for breath, an almighty crunch pulls my attention to the direction from which I came. Still shaking, I turn my head to see the monster crashing down the cliffside, all horns and hide and snorting rage. Stones crumble beneath its claws as it skids, growling, to the cliff’s base. It looks none the worse for the wear, despite the impressive drop.

    Something tall and lanky clambers up to the edge, peering down at the monster. My breath catches. That being’s form brings to mind warnings of things worse than monsters could ever be. Simple gray clothing conceals most of its body, but I can see enough of its flat face to tell that a mocking interest is apparent even from this distance. Human. I shrink against the branch, praying for invisibility.

    The being laughs and shouts in its guttural language. Seething in fury, the monster charges, kicking up dust before slamming hard into the cliffside. The earth trembles, and I can’t repress a whimper as the tree too shakes slightly. Laughing again as it balances itself, the being takes something from its belt, which expands and opens with a flick of its wrist. My mouth falls open as I realize that small, innocuous red and white sphere must be one of those portable prisons that the beings insist on traveling with. If the being notices I’m here ...

    I can’t stay, I have to get away. Escape! Trying to move is useless though, as my limbs are frozen in terror and pain. I can only watch in morbid fascination as the scene over my shoulder unfolds.

    The monster rams into the stone again, and this time the being can’t reassert its balance fast enough. It shrieks as it topples down the cliff, chokes with every wet slam against the jagged rocks, and collapses in a pile of broken red and gray limbs at the bottom. It moans loudly as the monster shambles forward in slight confusion, sniffing at the suddenly broken body curiously. It grumbles and turns away in what I imagine to be disgust.

    Bile rises in my throat when I notice shards of white protruding from the blood-soaked mass, and with a whimper my head snaps away from the sight. I squeeze my eyes shut, but the awful image remains burned into my retinas, looming larger with every second of memory. How is the being not dead? How can those cries of agony come from the throat of any living creature? Why was I, and not it, fortunate enough to escape that unimaginable torture?

    I imagine our positions reversed, with my small body lying useless and crushed in the being’s place, and an inadvertent whinny escapes through my lips. My eyes flood with tears, and I press my cheek against the rough bark of the branch. It presses uncomfortably into my fur, but it’s vastly preferable to the horrible thing groaning behind me.

    I don’t know how long I lay there like that. The cloud-strewn sky’s light dims gradually, and the being’s noises die down to pitiful whimpers. I must be there for hours, though it feels like only minutes have passed when I finally lift my head and dry my tears. I have to get out of here.

    Looking downwards, I can tell by the fading light that there’s a lot of branches between me and the far-off grassy ground. Carefully prying my forehooves out of their deathly embrace, I reach towards the closest limb and slowly shift my weight on it. Once I’ve successfully transferred my body onto it, it creaks slightly but holds firm.

    My hooves tremble after the long lack of movement, but it’s the distance that really makes me shake. I only manage to repeat the process a couple more times before I have to pause. lest I fall right out of the tree. I stand there for a moment, staring down at the distant ground as dizziness begins to creep over me. I imagine myself falling, falling, falling, scraping past twigs and leaves rapidly before —

    A scent draws my attention. I pause, sniffing. On the air there’s a hint of citrus … whether lemon, lime or orange, I can’t say for sure. I remember the last time I had lemonade; it was years ago, yet the memory of that taste rings true with this occasion. I can’t tell where it comes from, or how, or why, but its existence is enough. The tanginess encourages me somehow, coaxing me onward. There’s more than the stench of death and dying, it says. There is beauty too, and simplicity.

    Taking a deep breath, I move down to the next branch, then the next, then the next. I move slowly and carefully, weaving my way down in a jagged zigzag formation. My limbs begin to ache, but I ignore them. One faltering step and I’ll fall. The leaves grow denser as I descend, and they rustle gently as I push past them. Otherwise there is silence.

    The lowest branch is several feet off the ground. I pause there, considering my next move. Should I jump and risk breaking a leg? Is there any other possibility? I might wait here until morning, hoping that somepony will try to search for me upon noticing I haven’t returned. But what could they do? Buck the tree down?

    Staring at the ground in thought, I notice a shape gradually taking form out of the growing darkness below me. Dark, spongy moss is bunched together below. What it’s doing there I don’t know, but I’m not about to look a gift pony in the mouth. Sucking the air in through my teeth, I say a prayer and take a leap.

    Fwump!

    Landing is an unpleasant jolt, but the moss has absorbed most of the impact. After making sure nothing is broken, I shakily stand. Realization of my success creeps over me, and a grin stretches my mouth. I giggle in triumph, stick my tongue out at the tree and bounce in place. Strange how much I took being alive for granted.

    A snort snaps me out of my celebration.

    The monster stands before me. The tree’s vast form conceals most of it in shadow, but I can still see its spiky body. It steps out into the rising moonlight, and detail fills in the outline in a swath of silver: resembling a rhinoceros, its body is entirely covered in rocky gray plate armor, with a jagged ridge running along its back. Its head is triangular; the horn on its nose is sharp. Pairs of claws, fangs and eyes gleam at me as it snorts again, head lowering.

    I want to scream. I want to repeat the chase through the forest, never slowing despite a searing pain in my chest and hooves burning in exhaustion. But I know that I will tire first, and it will catch me, skewering me with its horn and devouring my organs messily with those sharp fangs and ...

    But rhinoceroses are herbivores like us, aren’t they? This isn’t a normal rhinoceros, of course; it’s a bizarrely similar replica, a monster. But it’s a rhinoceros all the same. Why would it want to hunt me down like a common animal? For sport? It's not as if I've threatened it in any way.

    Rather than charging, the monster’s eyes flick downward to my forehooves. Following its gaze, I notice a particularly green patch of grass beneath them, somewhat flattened in my joyous trampling. Hunger, it seems. Not for meat and blood, but simple plant matter. Have I interrupted its meal?

    An odd thought occurs to me. The tall beings capture these monsters, enslaving them for their own gain. I don’t wish to enslave them, but perhaps this creature can be useful to me. It has an astonishing amount of strength, and it doesn’t seem particularly bright. It might be able to help me. Perhaps, given time, it can even be my friend. There’s an idea.

    Carefully, not entirely certain of what I’m doing, I pluck the grass out of the ground and extend it to the monster. My hoof shakes, but I resist the urge to bolt. I’ve made my move.

    The monster sniffs at the grass, nostrils flaring. Its warm breath splashes against my fur as its prehensile lips come forward and nibble at it, pulling in a few blades at a time with slow, thoughtful deliberation. There’s a soft wet crunching as it chews. Occasionally its fangs scrape lightly against my skin and I wince, but I don’t dare budge from my spot. I simply stand there, hoof outstretched, while the monster feasts. Fear drains from my body as I watch it eat.

    When the last of the grass has disappeared into its maw, it nudges at my hoof for more. I let it sniff searchingly, and when it nudges me again I pull up another hoofful.

    “There you go.” My voice cracks; the stress of the day hasn’t been kind to me. “That’s pretty tasty, isn’t it? I’ll feed you all you want.”

    I can’t tell if it understands me, but it doesn’t startle at the sound, so I suppose that’s something. We stand there like that for a while. My stomach rumbles, but I tough it out. Now that I’ve calmed down sufficiently, I can see that the monster isn’t actually that much taller than me. It’s broader and heavier, certainly, but only a couple of inches separate our heights.

    It soon finishes its meal again, and I cautiously pat its head. It grumbles in satisfaction.

    “I have to go,” I say. “Will you come with me?”

    The monster blinks, eyes blank. I sigh and turn away.

    The cliff is definitely something I want to avoid — I’m not sure the broken being at its base is entirely dead yet, and its prisons are already too close for comfort. I begin the long trek around it, keeping my eye on the rocky shape. I’m only about an hour away from home, but that doesn’t make getting lost an impossibility.

    Behind me, the ground trembles slightly. The monster follows.

    I smile slightly. Perhaps we are friends.

    The walk is long and rather difficult. I’ve never been out so late before. I yawn and squint into the darkness ahead as the land slopes upward, searching. The babbling of a brook catches my ears. Perfect. Follow that, and I should be home in no time.

    We stalk through the shadows, silent and serene.

    *

    The Mare in the Moon watches as we finally stumble upon our home. Nestled in the side of a great mountain, the entrance yawns before us, but only when we approach it from the correct angle. Snow still settles on the peak at this time of year, but the cool night air is far from wintery. The grass grows short here — not lush enough to attract the attention of plant-eating monsters, or, by extension, their carnivorous counterparts; but neither is it thin enough to reveal the light hoofprints left behind in the firm ground.

    Brownish lichens perched on the sheer rock face greet me as I approach. I find myself grinning at the familiar sight, but the grin fades as a growling shout echoes from within. Suddenly I wonder what I'm doing. Why did I think the monster would be a suitable replacement for those flowers? More importantly, how will they react at the sight of it? We live here because we are in hiding, not for fun. Realizing my mistake, I turn from the entrance and lead the monster further, towards the side of the mountain.

    The shouting fades into nothing as we walk. Passing over jagged slopes in the earth, we soon arrive at the edge of a large field, where the grass is slightly greener. Large sections of missing grass form uneven circles in the crop, but there's still more than enough for my family to harvest. They never noticed if anything was missing before.

    "Stay here," I tell the monster. It dips its head and begins to munch on the grass, but I pretend it's listening. "I don't know what'll happen if my family sees you. Panic, probably. You can stay in this area, but don't be seen, okay?"

    The monster grumbles in satisfaction. I take that as a yes.

    I'm on my way back to my home when a steady stomping noise approaches from ahead. Mouth suddenly dry, I scamper as quietly as I can around a boulder, pricking my ears. Crickets ring as loud as roars while I listen attentively, but from what I can tell the sound isn't coming any closer. Seconds pass as the sound fades gradually, oh so gradually. Curiosity overwhelms me, and when I peek around the giant rock I can see a red silhouette dappled silver in the moonlight. The figure marches with purpose into the forest I have only left a few minutes ago, disappearing into the shadows of trees long after the sound of hoofsteps has vanished.

    My sigh of relief is swallowed when I consider the implications of this. She's looking for me. I've taken too long to return, trapped as I was in the boughs of that tree. She must be very disappointed. That thought makes me shudder. Never make her disappointed, Dad always says. It's a fact of life I've taken to heart.

    I might be able to stave off the worst of the fury by taking off now, so I do. Stones clatter beneath my hooves as I gallop across lichens and grass, zigzagging through trails of boulders as I hastily retrace my steps. I can't understand why this is happening. She's never gone outside before. Her entire life has been spent skulking in the shadows behind our hard work. For her to emerge is unthinkable; it's as if the Mare in the Moon herself has stepped forth from her prison. A law of nature, broken over the course of a single minute. Not once did her anger ever drive her into the open, yet there she was vanishing off into the forest before me. I understand that finding a suitable gift was important to her, but I suppose I underestimated the levels she would stoop to when trying to get her way.

    Not that I could bring the monster back with me. That would be stupidity beyond imagination. At least without its presence I can be assured of some defense from the others. With the monster, I would be cast out into the wild to fend for myself, or worse. Betraying the trust of my race is an ugly crime, and revealing our home to the monster might be interpreted as such. I'm not sure what I was thinking. Was I trying to impress somepony with that great beast lumbering after me like an eager pet? Was I trying to convince myself I possessed that elusive self-worth, the unique niche in Equestria that I had yet to fill? My earlier naďveté, in hindsight, appears to be just like the hunched vermin of stupidity, and I mentally squash it into paste with flushed anger.

    Suddenly I find myself charging through the entrance of our hideaway, and soon I'm swallowed up in the tall stone passage. I twist to and fro around practiced corners until light flickers suddenly at the sixth turn and I arrive at the entry cavern. Dad's forest-green form is sitting in defeat on the floor of the round room, his golden mane gently glowing in the light of the trio of torches jutting from the walls. But his ears and eyes flit upwards at my appearance, and he reaches out and sweeps me into a crushing hug as soon as I'm within reach.

    "She's gone," he explains, stroking my mane as the events of the day suddenly crash down upon me and I whimper in his embrace. "Your mother's not coming back, Lucky. You're safe now." He smiles and cradles me as if I were a foal, nuzzling me affectionately as I sob in relief and my limbs sag in exhaustion. "You're safe."
    Last edited by SugarPesticide; 15th December 2013 at 2:21 AM.
    FF.Net profile | Blazing Frost | Project Valentine | River Styx | Hexachromalurgy | Fizzy Bubbles

    Latest PV pair: Shedinja/Sylveon - What if the MST3K guys did Roshomon? I think it would go a little something like this.

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    II

    Normally the cave tunnels feel suffocating. Walls and ceiling push inward, more quickly when you pick up your pace, and soon the very air feels compressed and unrelenting. Now, as Dad accompanies me toward the family chamber, they're as broad, spacious, and accommodating as the fields outside. It's easier to appreciate the fact that they're wide enough and tall enough to allow a dozen ponies room to move inside.

    The stone floor is level beneath my hooves, worn smooth from the path of boiling lava long ago. Shadows play merry games across the ceiling, but the light of intermittently placed torches sweeps them aside at intervals, revealing in swaths of flickering light the golden-brown of the rock that arches up and over our heads. There's a beauty to these caves I hadn't appreciated before, I realize, as the panic of the day begins to drain from my mind. If I look closely, I can see something glittering like enticing crystals, embedded irrevocably in the uneven walls.

    As we walk, a babble of murmuring reaches our ears, growing like a brook downstream. I give Dad a questioning look, but he only gives a comforting glance in return. And why shouldn't he? No creature outside can hear our family through the long and twisting tunnels; despite their volume, the sound is reflected back by great shelves of stone protruding from the walls. Of course, these echoes make the noise in the room all the louder, and generally we like to restrain ourselves to minimize the possibility of turning deaf. Perhaps the details in her disappearance were even more controversial than I imagined.

    Another turn finally brings us to the family chamber, a place where the apex of the ceiling ascends high enough that even our largest torches can't chase out the darkness from above. More tunnels branch out around the room, leading deeper into the mountain where one can find water and, further still, traces of magma. But the acoustics of the room fail to catch my attention in this instance.

    Flustered relatives are gathered around the dais in the center of the room, where a large cushion deigns to provide some sweet soft relief for a lucky pony. In this instance, as in many others, it is currently occupied by the familiar weight of my young brother, a colt who will never find relief from his baby fat. His red eyes sparkle as they dart upwards to us, and his wordless cry of greeting quiets the ponies, who look around as one in fear and curiosity.

    Near silence reigns for a moment. The light trickling of far-off water, together with the growling rumble of magma churning in the depths of the stone, reaches my ears.

    My brother breaks the quiet. "So, where's my present?"

    The memory of my unpleasant adventure flashes before my eyes, and I tremble, leaning into Dad's side for safety. He nuzzles my mane, mumbling pleasant nothings.

    Everypony starts explaining at once. From what I can understand, there was a fight while I was away — Mother lost her birthday gift for little Thorncrown, and with it went her temper. The shouting could no longer be overlooked, and mercifully the entire clan turned on her. Why she left is a simple matter, but where she's heading is trickier. Perhaps she's searching for the Apple family, wherever they are. It doesn't matter much, everypony supposes. The important thing is her absence. Whether she'll return, nopony can say. It didn't seem like she would, they say, but who can tell with that headstrong Roselight? She always was a hoofful, Grandma Apple Rose grumbles. Never treated her elders with much respect, that one.

    I barely notice or care. My relief at being here is palpable. It's not just that I'm alive, it's that I'm safe for the first time in years. My limbs are weak as water, and my next attempt at a step nearly sends me stumbling. I just want to sleep. I have to shut out the world for a while.

    Kind lavender eyes come to my rescue. My dear sister sweeps me onto her back and begins to make her way to the tunnel that leads to our room. Murmuring adults mill around us, but none try to stop our progress. They're too obsessed with gossip at the moment.

    Our room is a simple affair, with only the thin mats that serve as our beds to decorate the little cave. Nevertheless it sings to me like heaven, and I roll off of her back and onto my bed in a less than graceful motion. I sink into the fabric with a shuddering sigh. It's been a long day.

    "Double Delight?" The words only come with great effort, so great is my exhaustion.

    She pauses halfway out of the room with a smile. "Yes, Lucky?"

    "I'm happy." And I mean it. I scoot under my blanket, curling up into a little red and white ball as warm comfort begins to wash my trauma away. "Do you know? I'm happy."

    "I'm glad to hear it." She nuzzles me. "They're discussing what's to be done now. I'll let you get some rest. Good night!"

    She trots back to the group outside, but I'm not listening. Instead I'm drifting into a hazy state of mind, dissolving into a place where earth ponies can fly on a wish. Yet before I'm entirely overtaken by dreams, I remember the bulky shape of a looming monster, nibbling delicately with huge teeth at the broad expanses of grass. The world behind seems a larger place, filled with adventure and longing. Come with me, the monster seems to say. I will protect you.

    I'm not sure, but I think I fall asleep with the ghost of a smile.
    FF.Net profile | Blazing Frost | Project Valentine | River Styx | Hexachromalurgy | Fizzy Bubbles

    Latest PV pair: Shedinja/Sylveon - What if the MST3K guys did Roshomon? I think it would go a little something like this.

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    III

    The dream dissolves into waking as my eyes flutter open, letting in the half-light generated by the torch outside my room. Eight years have passed since that fateful night, yet at times it seems as if its unusual events have only occurred yesterday. For a moment I feel as vulnerable as I did in those days, curled up as I am beneath a thin blanket, and I can’t help but smile. Years may come and go, but memories, despite their hazy quality, are forever.

    I grant an automatic glance to the other bed, but it reveals itself to be empty. I sheepishly remember that Double Delight has earned a cave of her own, which she shares with her mate. It’s been weeks since then, but I still feel a tinge of loneliness in the weight of my relative solitude. It’s a wonder that I don’t wake up in the middle of the night looking for her dim-lit figure to anchor me to reality.

    But morning has come early for me. I reach for the saddlebags propped up next to my bed, recently filled during the last few days with various essentials. When I climb out of bed, I slide the saddlebags up and over my body, draping them across my back. They’re heavy, but not unexpectedly so. I should get used to it in due time.

    Taking care not to create too much noise with the clip-clop of my hooves, I make my way through the hall and out into the main cavern. Nopony is here to see me at this early hour, but the echoes can still reach them in their sleeping chambers. I tiptoe across the cavern, shooting the cushion in the middle a passing smirk. It’s been worn down steadily over the years to a simple burlap cover, with bits of cotton still leaking from its frayed edges. Thorncrown won’t be able to sit about like a prince anymore, that’s for sure.

    At the entrance to the passage leading to the outside, I pause and look back. My family still survives here, despite the dangers of the churning magma deeper within the mountain. It’s the lesser of two evils, I suppose. Better than being gutted by a monster, I assume. That’s about all they can claim, but it’s something, and they’re damn proud of it.

    And I’m never going to see them again.

    The thought is a lump in my throat, and I manage a painful swallow as I turn and begin the winding trek through the broad tunnel. It’s for the best, I tell myself. The caves were all very well and good when I was a filly, but I’ve outgrown them now. I can’t linger here for decades, growing into an old fat great-grandmother who can’t so much as take a step from her room. I have to … I have to venture, I suppose. Somewhere out there are answers amidst the danger of humanity, and it’s up to me to find them. Maybe, by some miracle, I can make the world safe for my siblings and cousins again.

    After many turns I catch sight of the pale light of day, and my steps quicken in anticipation. I emerge squinting out of the mountainside, covering my eyes with a trembling hoof as I examine the overcast sky. The sun isn’t quite up yet, but a blinding whiteness in the clouds to the east suggests that daybreak is close at hoof. I take a deep breath and compose myself. I want to believe this isn’t the end, but rather a new beginning. I have to head out now, before my treacherous mind can change.

    I begin to trot around the mountain, doing my best to avoid looking back at the disappearing entrance. The cool air hangs heavy with the promise of dew, and I’m mildly surprised that it hasn’t rained overnight. There might be trouble if I’m caught in a storm without shelter. It’s a good thing I’ve left so early.

    The uneven earth tries to trip me, but I’ve walked these familiar slopes too many times to be caught by their tricks. New landscapes will naturally pose challenges, but strength from the ground is a ubiquitous thing. At least it’s unlikely that the swamps and plains of Equestria will be littered with boulders.

    When the large field comes into view, I glance up towards the towering mountain and whistle twice. The sound bounces off the mountainside, echoing briefly before being swallowed up in the sheer expanse of space above. After that, little reaches my ears. Even the birds are quiet today.

    A clatter of rocks makes me spin in place. My monster ambles down the jagged rock almost gracefully, working her large muscles tirelessly beneath her sturdy plates of armor. I smile, remembering a time when I was foalish enough to think of her as a sexless beast. Now she is mine, friend and companion, despite her intimidating appearance. A monster shaped as if hewn from the mountain itself. Halimium.

    She closes the final gap between us with a dull crash, nuzzling me with practiced restraint to avoid skewering me on her horn. I scratch the leathery area beneath her chin in return. For a moment we stand there, sharing affection like the strangest dog and mistress to ever see the light of day. The past several days of longing are at last rewarded.

    Soon I shake myself to attention, pulling gently away from her as I point toward the rising sun. The light streaming through the clouds is washing over the eastern forest, bathing it silver-white. With any luck we will be well in the depth of those trees by nightfall, hopefully taking shelter aside some enormous fallen log.

    She watches my gesture intently, eyes lit with attention in the fading. With a quick jerking motion of her head, she begins to stomp off in that direction, bumping me slightly as she passes me. I follow right behind, eyes half shut in fending off the light. Regret can’t stave off my excitement as we begin the trek across the grassy field, turning our backs on the only place I have ever known.
    FF.Net profile | Blazing Frost | Project Valentine | River Styx | Hexachromalurgy | Fizzy Bubbles

    Latest PV pair: Shedinja/Sylveon - What if the MST3K guys did Roshomon? I think it would go a little something like this.

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    This. This was a good read. I'm quite glad I decided to read this. The title alone was what brought me here in the first place.

    The interaction between Ponies and Pokemon has always been a curiosity of mine. Adding in humans just adds to the enigma. I like what you did with it so far, and it leaves me quite curious as to further interactions between Ponies and Pokemon and Humans. It is quite apparent that Humans and Ponies are not familiar with each other, let alone Ponies and Pokemon. Something bigger is going on, and I have no idea what. I like that.

    I'm also exteremely interested in Roseluck and her family. Why are they living in caves? What is her relationship with her mother? You set yourself up to have multiple points of interest that you can explain further in the story.

    Roseluck's interaction with the Rhyhorn(?) also seems like it could develop into an interesting relationship. I'd like to see her reaction to evolution, and if she might somehow squire more Pokemon.

    I would love to be added to the PM List, if its no big deal.

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    And added to the PM list. Thanks for the interest! I hope I can continue to deliver.

    (The Pokémon is a Rhyhorn, yes; you hit the nail on the head.)

    If you're curious about the title:

        Spoiler:- Meaning:


    Creating this word was too entertaining to be healthy.
    FF.Net profile | Blazing Frost | Project Valentine | River Styx | Hexachromalurgy | Fizzy Bubbles

    Latest PV pair: Shedinja/Sylveon - What if the MST3K guys did Roshomon? I think it would go a little something like this.

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    IV

    A crash of thunder jolts me from my half dozing walk. I peer up at the sky and wince as I am rewarded with a raindrop that splashes directly between my eyes. Its brethren immediately begin to splatter all around me, and the towering boughs of the surrounding trees aren’t enough to stop them.

    Sighing, I make my way over to what appears to be the driest spot. I settle down beneath the branches of a tall oak, tucking my legs beneath me in an effort to keep them as dry and warm as possible. The rich earth is already damp, bordering on slimy; the sensation of it against my skin nearly induces a shudder. Another drop bursts against one of my ears, and I automatically shake my head vigorously as if ridding myself of an unwanted fly.

    Still, it appears that Halimium dislikes the current weather even more than I do. She stomps as close to the tree as possible, digging her rocky spikes into the bark like a knife through hot butter. She grumbles as she lies down, resting her enormous head on her forelimbs in resignation. Water rivulets run down her tough hide, outlining the edges of her plates in vivid detail. Some liquid drips down through to her skin, and her entire body tenses from the chill.

    I sigh and snuggle up against her side, seeking to share warmth. Not for the first time, I wonder what’s happening back at home. They’ve surely noticed my absence by now; how could they not? Perhaps a search party has been sent out, though I doubt it. Few ponies in my family dare to venture beyond the safety of the caves more than once a year, and of those few only I am bold enough to go past the grassy field where we harvest most of our food. It comforts me slightly to imagine Grandma Apple Rose nagging at my cousins to pack up for a lengthy expedition. Double Delight and her mate would be assailed with questions about my departure despite being entirely unaware of it. I can almost see Thorncrown curling up more tightly in bed, half hiding beneath his covers in a vain attempt to avoid helping everypony else. In my head an aunt storms into his room and drags him out by the ear, much to my amusement.

    Dad would remain sleeping, as he always does. Nopony would bother to disturb him.

    The thought makes my smile fade. I pull myself back to reality, unwilling to entertain that idea further. Now is the time for strength, not for weakness. If anything, I should anchor myself to the present. That seems a more logical course than mulling uselessly over the past.

    Though we lie beneath the largest and bushiest tree, its companions surrounding us are nothing insignificant either. Yews, sycamores, and evergreens have long since set their roots deep into the heart of the earth, anchoring them firmly despite the incessant pounding of the rain and wind. Their leaves and needles all seem to ripple beneath the force of every droplet, bobbing back up very briefly only to sink once again under the weight of water. It is as if we have been submerged in a great green ocean, and only the will of the princess saves us from an agonizing drowning.

    Familiar shapes in the fading light reveal the location of the bushes and ferns, bunched together in a thick undergrowth of branches and thorns. Bright red berries tempt me from beneath jagged leaves, but knowledge of their deadly facade holds me back. They too are pounded upon by the rain, although their are exempt from the sheer volume of the torrent by virtue of the unusual umbrella the trees form above them.

    The water splashing on the ground begins to form a shallow channel, and the falling rain coalesces there as minutes slip by. Soon an intricate network of tiny streams can be seen weaving in and out of the plant life, gurgling quietly as they flow between growing puddles. Rain crashes against water, displacing some liquid in a brief circular wave with each droplet.

    A sodden bird swoops down from the sky, perching atop a blackberry bush with careful claws. For a moment my heart stops, and I wonder whether this is an ordinary creature with no frightening powers, the first I have seen in years now ... Then the evening light glints against its dark wet feathers, revealing them to be blue rather than black. I exhale through my nose, wondering whether I should be surprised. Even the swallows have embraced the unusual for their standard.

    The swallow lifts a wing and jerkily begins to preen its white underside. Its twin tail feathers dart left and right with every sudden movement. Somehow I am reminded of my days as a filly, when Double Delight insisted on trying to brush my mane in the early hours of the caverns. Wiggling and squirming could not free me from her grasp, and only the most abrupt of motions could save me from the tedium of grooming. She would naturally catch me again within seconds, and we would laugh before she set to her task once more.

    Interest waning, I lay my head against my monster’s side, doing my best to ignore the constant patter of the rain. The bird is powerful but not aggressive, so there’s no reason to be suspicious of it. On the unlikely chance that there is danger nearby, it is lurking in the undergrowth, biding its time as it waits for us to sink into sleep.

    Halimium’s breathing slows to a steady cadence of inhales and exhales, and I consequently take up watch. My own exhaustion is nothing to our safety. The light fades further into shadow, and still I watch the forest. My eyes adjust gradually as they sweep casually around, drinking in the forest for the second time.

    The pounding rain beats almost rhythmically in its rising fury, transforming the scene into a natural orchestra. White sheets of water are cascading down from the sky, splattering mud and twigs and swamping the ground until the deluge creeps close to my body. I grit my teeth as the brownish mixture seeps into my fur, chilling me to the bone. I try not to think of warm caves and soft beds, and fail miserably. The music plays on, sublime and oblivious.

    In the distance, lightning flashes. My ears stand erect at the sudden burst of light, but they quickly relax into their natural state while the answering thunder shakes the sky, despite the primal instinct urging me to flee.

    The music plays on. Thus we lie there in the drenched forest, looking into the approaching night and waiting for the dawn. The promise of morning is yet afar.
    FF.Net profile | Blazing Frost | Project Valentine | River Styx | Hexachromalurgy | Fizzy Bubbles

    Latest PV pair: Shedinja/Sylveon - What if the MST3K guys did Roshomon? I think it would go a little something like this.

  7. #7
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    V

    The white light of dawn is creeping through the branches overhead when I wake suddenly, realizing in a fleeting panic that I can’t move my limbs. A quick look at the situation affirms that I am lying hoof-deep in chunky mud, which has done its best to creep over my body. It occurs to me that, should I choose not to expend any effort, I could simply remain here, devoid of food or water or energy, until the flies descend on my motionless body. For a moment I am buried, and the hungry earth has swallowed me up for good.

    I refuse to entertain that thought any longer. Straining my legs with all the strength I can gather, I manage to pull myself up into a standing position with a sickening squelch. Half of the mud sloughs itself off from the effort, but my entire lower body is soaked in filth. I can already feel it the caked layers scratching me through my fur, irritating my skin. At least it’s a bit extra protection from the chilly breeze.

    Halimium snorts, awakened by her own snoring. She extends herself and stretches hard enough to pop joints and scrape plates against each other, ripping through the mud entrapping her as easily as shooing away a fly. As she does so she yawns widely, displaying an impressive view of flat teeth.

    Scraping my foreleg against the rough bark of the oak helps shed some of its mess, but it’s clear that only water or time can help me further. Something like a brownish flag catches my attention from the corner of my eye, and only when I look around do I realize that the flag is my tail. With a scowl I slap it against the trunk, sending a spray of mud flakes flying in an arcing burst. They rain down on the ground with a tiny pitter-patter, breaking the silence hanging in the air.

    I pause, paying closer attention to the sounds of the forest. On second thought, it’s not quite silence that surrounds us ― if I listen hard enough, I can hear the cadence of birdsong trilling far in the distance ― but it’s close enough to silence to warrant caution. We’re not the only creatures stalking these trees; I can feel it. Today it’s possible that we might encounter monsters … or worse. There’s no time to linger.

    Turning to my saddlebags, I’m relieved to see that they’ve escaped the storm mostly unscathed. Taking care not to shed more mud on them than necessary, I weasel my hoof in beneath the flap and retrieve a simple piece of bread. I chew on it thoughtfully, savoring the fluffy and ever so slightly moist texture. There’s no butter or jam to slather over it the way I usually prefer, but it’s still edible regardless. It won’t be long before its brethren begin to go stale. There’s a twinge of regret at remembering how I snatched the loaf from the kitchen only a couple days ago while my poor sister’s back was turned. It’s possible she never even discovered it was missing.

    A nudge from Halimium reminds me that I’m neglecting her. I tear what remains in half and toss the portions into the air; in response, she rears back on her hind legs in almost a leap to catch it in her expectant mouth. When she lands on the ground again, the earth trembles.

    Satisfied, we proceed to make our way through the forest once more. I find myself glancing back at the oak tree every now and then, watching as it recedes further behind us until it melts into the background. It wasn’t much help with shelter, admittedly, but it did its best. Somehow I doubt the memory of waking up drenched in sludge will fade from my mind anytime soon.

    Buds are flowering on the trees’ leafy branches this time of year. I’m not sure whether the species I’m walking through bear edible fruit. For a moment I get lost in a vision of this very spot in the late autumn, when overripe apples drop onto a carpet of fiery leaves with a satisfying thud. Will anypony ever see it? I imagine the monsters will, but they don’t exactly have a keen eye for beauty. It’s not beyond them to trample over the rotten cores without a thought.

    We navigate our way through dense clusters of ferns, avoiding the hungry thorns of blackberry bushes. At least, that’s what I do. My monster seems perfectly content to trample over them as if they weren’t there, entirely unaffected by the pricks that scrape uselessly against her plates. With every crash this brings I can hear the birds stop their calls as if to listen, remaining quiet for a few minutes before resuming their ringing music.

    The canopy is thick above us, but through the gaps between the leaves I can see the brooding clouds fading into white wisps in the brilliant sunlight. The silver mist, already thin, dissolves like a vast ribbon unraveling in its course through the trunks. Mud still sucks at my hooves, stubbornly refusing to thicken and dry. That which is already in my fur adheres to each individual hair as it dries. The particles fall off little by little, creating a thin trail of flakes that follows in our wake.

    We walk like this for a while. How long it is, I can’t say. Maybe it’s been one hour; maybe six. There’s no way to tell what angle the sun is shining from, though I’m fairly confident that we’re still heading east. All I know is the steady rhythm of hoofsteps thudding beneath the crackling of branches as I march through the undergrowth.

    My thoughts wander. I wonder what it’s like here in the spring, when it’s awake and alive with the dance of rejoicing monsters. Small rodents scampering across the earth are ignored by huge hunched reptiles moving in slow herds, plodding along as if swimming through a vast green ocean. Wolves and other predators slink in the shadows, eyeing their next meal with no small anticipation. In the distance there’s a cry like laughter, and it’s answered with similar guffaws. Everything bustles and teems with life.

    But in reality, we encounter nothing. No creature swoops out of the branches above in warning or in hunger or by accident. Ordinary insects crawl along the undersides of rotting logs, but there’s no buzz of activity. Everything is quiet. Even the birdsong fades. Only our own noises bother the eerie calm.

    Up ahead I can see the trees thinning a little, signaling a clearing. I prick my ears, already certain that we can stop there and rest for a while. Perhaps we can nibble on some bread or grass to pass the time. Whatever we do, it will be nice to cease the incessant pattern of walking, walking, walking without so much as a chance to slow.

    At the edge of the clearing we pause. The ground is covered in soft green grass, calling to my weary hooves like a thick blanket. Buttery yellow dandelions poke their fluffy heads out at odd intervals. The sun shines directly overhead, bathing the area in golden light. On the far side I can see the dim shapes of bushes and plants in the shadows between the trees, the beginning of the next leg of our journey.

    My fur stands on end. Something is wrong with this scene. It’s too peaceful, like a calm before the storm. We turn and walk along the edge, ignoring my mouth as it waters in protest. I can rest just as easily over there, on the other side. When I’m nearly there, I glance at the clearing again. The uneasy feeling doesn’t pass at this angle.

    Something shrieks past my head and buries itself in a nearby elm.

    The bark explodes into a spray of woodchips and moss that rains down on my shoulders. My limbs lock. My breath catches. I stare ahead, not daring to look around. If I can’t see whatever caused that sudden shot, I’m safe. I have to be. If I can’t see whatever just flew past me, I’m safe. Don’t move. Blink and you’re dead.

    Another black streak shoots across my vision barely an inch away, ripping through bushes effortlessly before embedding itself in something unseen with a loud squelch. Panic can no longer be denied. I break into a gallop, racing as fast as I can. I have to get away. Escape!

    Something crashes behind me, heavy and powerful, snapping branches carelessly. With ears pinned back, I dart left and right and left and right, zigzagging around trees in an attempt to shake my pursuer. Thorns snag at the mud caked in my fur, trying to pull me back, but I resist. It’s no use. Whatever it is remains stubbornly behind me, following in a steady rhythm of footsteps. It can’t be shaken off my trail.

    A loud whoop rings through the forest, and it’s answered by several similar calls. A third bullet grazes my flank as I swerve past a silver birch. I nearly trip over a dip in the earth, but I pull myself out of the stumble without losing speed. I can’t afford to stop.

    Something sharp reaches my nostrils. It’s a sweet hot smell, and it makes me want to retch. Beneath the panic I think I can hear something humming, though I don’t dwell on it. It grows stronger as I run, but I’d rather deal with that than leave myself to the mercy of whatever chases me. Instincts war within me, urging me to turn around and let the east be while simultaneously snapping at my hooves.

    I burst through a wall of bushes and skid, flailing, at the sight before me.

    Wasps. Dozens, hundreds, thousands of wasps, great and terrible, burning yellow in the sunlight streaming down, all buzz before me with translucent veined wings. Three sharp stingers protrude from their forelegs and their abdomens. Around me, unmoving golden pods dot the area like splatters of honey. Hollowed trees give birth to brown caterpillars, each as long as my arm and bearing an equally intimidating point. They teem on the dying wood in waves, crawl on the barren ground in tides, always clicking with their small but sharp pincers.

    Eyes like rubies turn toward me, huge and unblinking. Almost in unison the insects raise their arms, which should be far too skinny to bear those conical spears. Their wings beat harder in a menacing murmur. The caterpillars pause, then resume their motion with a vengeance, heading directly towards me this time.

    I turn sharply and bolt. I don’t know whether I’m going north or south, but it doesn’t matter. My heart threatens to beat its way out of my chest as I hear them follow, swarming just behind. More pods decorate the trees looming ahead, staring blankly down at me with shining black eyes.

    My ears swivel at the sound of bloodcurdling screams. My other pursuers. One of them gurgles, then fades from my hearing entirely. I run faster, further.

    Whatever is still crashing behind me reaches my side, and the shape in the corner of my eye resolves itself into a vaguely familiar form covered in spikes. The monster swings her horn to and fro, knocking towering plants out of the way. My heart soars in relief, but I don’t slacken my pace. Instead I hasten on, leaping over small bushes and tearing through their larger cousins. I can’t stop. Nothing will stop me. I continue to flee.

    My hoof catches against something, and I stumble briefly, desperate to regain my balance. In those lone seconds of panic, the golden shape of another pod hangs before me, dangling from a low branch that extends from a half-dead tree. I can see the shape of slender legs folded across its thorax, straining as if to burst from the confines of its membrane. Black eyes narrow, and I can hear a faint hum emanate from the prone body.

    I blink, and the cocoon passes from sight. Another shout from behind pulls me back into the chase. Don’t stop. Can’t stop. Keep moving.

    Someone barks something that sounds like an order. The language is guttural, with each word choppy and distinct despite an alien nature. Some corner of my mind that remains rational strains uselessly to understand, but it fades when something sharp stings my nostrils. Smoke? A shape hunches in the undergrowth, coming up fast. Green canvas, stretched among branches to be draped into a lopsided dodecahedron. Is that a tent?

    My vision is shaky, but one of the tent’s sides bulges before it vomits out a monster. No — not a monster, despite its bulky wear. Gangly limbs, bipedal stance. Human. He snarls something in his hideous language and raises something long and thin. Taking aim. I prepare to turn away, ready to dart in a new direction, but something bursts from the end of his weapon almost too fast to see.

    Something pricks my chest. A second passes, and the world speeds up without me. Everything begins to blur … trees, bushes, human, wasp …

    The wasp strikes with a bloodthirsty spear, and the human goes down with a shriek. From behind him loom more golden insects, which converge on him greedily. One of them plunges its stinger into his cheek, and it bursts like an overripe tomato. An ugly sound tears from his throat, and then their blurry shapes burrow themselves into his flesh.

    Then I barrel through the tent, straining against the canvas that blocks my sight. Unfamiliar objects clank against my hooves, scattering before them like rodents. Then the canvas pulls itself from me, but I don’t realize this for a while. Only when an errant blade of sunlight stabs my vision do I realize that darkness is clouding my eyes—

    A wall of what is most likely a tree springs up in front of me, and I reel backward from the impact. Slivers are embedded in my skin now, and I focus on the stinging pain as best I can. But the new throbs in my face and chest still threaten to overwhelm me. My head spins. I breath catches. I nearly collapse then and there.

    Yet some miracle keeps me standing. My limbs shake uncontrollably, but they hold. I swallow the rising bile in my throat and stare blindly ahead, heaving and rocking back and forth. I can feel adrenaline still coursing through my veins, battling the exhaustion that begins to seep through my body. I have to keep moving. Have to leave before everything begins to hurt.

    I stare into the darkness. I stare and stare and stare, hard enough that my eyes begin to strain against their sockets. I pull whatever mental acuity I have left to my useless vision, anchoring it to my hooves. Nothing happens. The blast of a weapon startles me into stumbling a few steps forward, but I don’t stop concentrating. I can’t stop concentrating.

    Light and shadows fade into view. The gnarled shapes of trees stand silhouetted against a faint backdrop of green. It’s enough. I inhale deeply and break into another gallop, willing my body to be blessed with a second wind.

    The buzzing and the screams fade into the distance as I run. They fade, but I run on. Never stop. Never slow. I avoid looming trees as best I can, keeping my ears pressed firmly to my head. Everything ends, I think. All I can do is postpone my own doom.

    The faintest trill of birdsong reaches me as I race on through the gloom.

    *

    It’s dark when my body finally gives out. That tells me nothing, of course. My vision is dead, unable to pierce the haze of exhaustion. When I fall, my muscles continue to scream in protest. I simply lie there, a quivering puddle of fear and pain. Everything hurts. I can barely breathe, my lungs ache so much.

    Something stamps against the forest floor in approach. My sightless eyes flicker upwards. Halimium? The word rings like a clear note in my swimming head, but my lips can’t even part fully to speak it. Instead I cough, cheeks bulging, and every time I do it twists the knife through my chest.

    My side is prodded, and then I know nothing.
    FF.Net profile | Blazing Frost | Project Valentine | River Styx | Hexachromalurgy | Fizzy Bubbles

    Latest PV pair: Shedinja/Sylveon - What if the MST3K guys did Roshomon? I think it would go a little something like this.

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    There is quite a lot of description, which accurately contributes to the mood of a scene.

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    We all make mistakes, but the biggest one we can make is not learning from them.

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