Winter Flowers - 5

Mar 6th, 2016
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  1. A few kilometers away…
  3. Your eyes were heavy from lack of sleep and your stomach was empty. You had run out of food last night and now you were starving, your mind searching for ideas of what to eat. Stripes had always been better at this kind of stuff, but he wasn’t here now, was he? You were fucked.
  5. Four days of mindless wandering. Four days of almost sleepless nights. Four days of almost freezing to death. Your strange new wings were helpful, as they offered a little bit of insulation but you had lost half your pack to that fucking freaky bear last night, including your sleeping bag.
  7. It had turned up out of no-where, causing you to abandon your fire and half your pack to sprint off into the forest. Your wings flapped uselessly, trying your hardest to both speed up and possibly take off at the same time, to no real effect. It was a lot harder to run with your pack strapped to your side, and even if you had taken off, there was no guarantee you wouldn’t have just smashed into the floor two seconds later.
  9. You had spent the large majority of last night sitting up and watching the forest, shivering from the cold and forcing your eyes open to keep awake. You were so fucking scared that the bear would turn up out of nowhere and rip your throat out that you forced yourself to avoid sleep, sleep that you definitely needed. Eventually, you had fallen asleep and had nightmares of abandonment.
  11. Now, it was the morning and the cold had forced you awake. Mist had fallen in overnight and now, in the dark light of the rising sun, you picked yourself up and forced yourself to light a fire. You had avoided lighting one last night in case the bear could see it, but now, the fear of freezing to death was higher than the fear of the bear. Worst comes to worse, you could always run again.
  13. You took out your striker and got a small fire started, warming your hooves against the small flickering flame. It wasn’t amazingly effective, but it was definitely better than nothing. You drank a bit of your remaining water and wet your parched throat. You knew how to purify water by boiling, but you had lost your pot last night.
  15. You had no idea where you were headed, you were losing more and more sleep every night, you had no idea where your friends were, and you were hungry and out of food.
  17. You were fucked.
  19. The sky was suddenly lit up, like a huge persistent lightning strike had struck. Half a second later, a deafening boom struck your ears and you were pushed over with the force of the blast. You swiveled around and saw the remnants of a huge beam of light fading away a while away.
  23. You sat, stunned by the massive blast of light. What could it have been? Cautiously, you picked yourself up and began walking toward the source of the light.
  26. __________
  29. Your ears were ringing and your head was filled with a heavy dizziness. You tried to pick yourself up, but you felt so strange and heavy that you fell back to the ground again. After a while, the ringing began to fade and the dizziness lessened. You glanced around, seeing that the ground around you had been completely cleared of snow, revealing the grass and dirt below the snow. Your vision was still blurry, but you forced yourself to look toward the place where the bear had been. There was a large black lump lying in the snow, motionless and steaming.
  31. Did… Did you kill it? What had happened? The bear’s corpse was quite a bit from you, but you were still worried that it would jump up at any second and rush at you. You were awake enough now to see a green light shining above your head. You looked up at your forehead and saw that your horn was glowing green. You tapped it with your hoof, but pulled away quickly as a strange electric feeling surged through your horn.
  33. That light… That blast… You had caused it. You had somehow shot a huge beam of light out of your horn and killed the bear. Magic? Some kind of alien technology? Magic was the most plausible answer, what with the whole “Magically turning into a unicorn” thing.
  35. “Stripes!?” You jumped up in shock and a few green sparks flew from your horn. You turned to the source of the noise and saw Seed standing there with hit jaw dropped and his eyes wide open.
  37. “Did you do that? That huge fucking laser thing, was that you?”
  39. “I don’t… I don’t know, but I think so. My horn is all glowy and stuff.”
  41. “Where’s the bear? We gotta get out of here before it comes back.” Seed said and ran to your side.
  43. “I think I killed it, man.”
  45. You pointed at the steaming lump and Seed gasped.
  47. “You killed it?”
  49. “I… I think so.”
  51. The both of you slowly approached the bear together, hooves crunching in the snow, almost heightening the suspense. As you arrived in front of bear, you examined the huge hole in the stomach of the bear. It was reeking, the smell of rot and blood that you were familiar with mixing with the new smell of burning flesh. It’s face was motionless and blank, it’s mouth gaping open.
  53. You nudged it and jumped back, expecting it to lurch up, but it sat still.
  55. It was dead.
  57. “Seed, it’s dead!” You smiled widely.
  59. “It’s dead!?” His face filling with relief and happiness.
  61. “It’s dead!” You jumped at Seed and wrapped your hooves around him. He stumbled back a bit, but threw his hooves around you as well, hugging you tightly.
  63. The both of you laughed in hysterical relief as Seed spun around swinging you with him. You were so happy, the weight almost disappearing from your shoulders in an instant.
  65. “We did it, Seed!” He slowed down and placed you back on the floor. Tears of happiness dripped down and you wiped your eyes, the smile on your face shining almost as bright as your horn.
  67. “We did it.” Seed smiled back, his eyes watering as well.
  69. “What the hell happened here?” A new voice spoke from behind you and the two of you spun around.
  71. Standing at the edge of the treeline with a shocked look on his face was a pastel blue stallion with a pale grey mane.
  73. “Flitter…?” Seed muttered out before walking toward him.
  75. Could that really be him? By process of elimination, there’s only one person that could be! That was Flitter!
  77. You ran toward him, barreling past seed to stop right in front of him.
  79. “Woah, kid, slow down! What the hell is going on?”
  81. “Flitter, you stupid fuck! It’s me! It’s Candy Stripes!”
  83. “...Stripes?” He looked you up and down, just as Seed had done when he first saw you.
  85. “But you’re... “
  87. “A girl, I know.”
  89. “I was going to say “a kid”, but I guess that’s accurate too.”
  91. Seed walked beside you and smiled at Flitter.
  93. “It’s good to see you again, man.”
  95. “Seed? Holy fuck, dude, I’ve been looking for you guys for so long.”
  97. Now that you had gotten over the surprise of seeing your old friend, you got the chance to actually look at him. His face was gaunt, his eyes were lined with darkness and heavily bloodshot. He was shaking and every time he blunk, he almost seemed to lose consciousness for a split second. He was in a horrid condition and you needed to help him.
  99. “Seed, we need to start a fire as soon as possible.”
  101. “What? Why?”
  103. “Look at Flitter, man! He needs food warmth and water as soon as possible!”
  105. “Flitter? No, I’m…” He closed his eyes and tried to straighten himself, but ended up stumbling a bit. “I’m fine.”
  107. “No you’re not” You shouted at him. “Seed, go get my striker, I’ll get him warm and fed.”
  109. Seed nodded and ran back toward the camp where you had left most of your gear last night. Meanwhile, you walked an extremely shaky Flitter to a nearby tree and lay him against it. You had one last granola bar in your bag, so you pulled it out and unwrapped it for him. He greedily ate it and afterward, you handed him a bottle of water. He drank deeply and sighed from satisfaction.
  111. “Th-thanks, man. Seriously.”
  113. “It’s fine.” You smiled warmly at him.
  115. He was still shivering from the cold, but at least he had some food and water in him. Luckily, he had his parka still, but looking through his pack, it was mostly empty. He had a fire striker, a mostly empty bottle of water, a few reeds and his pants, which had a huge rip through them.
  117. “Flitter, don’t let yourself go hungry again. If you haven’t noticed, we’re animals now. You can eat leaves, grass, shit like that.”
  119. “Grass? That’s gross, man.”
  121. “I know it’s gross, but it’s better than starving.”
  123. He cringed but nodded and sipped from the bottle.
  125. You sat together and waited for Seed to get back. It almost seemed unreal, but after all you had gone through, starvation, the fever, the bear, everything had been worth it. You had found your friends. The bear was dead. Things were finally starting to look up. You rested peacefully and slipped into a deep sleep.
  127. __________
  130. Once again, the gold world surrounded you. Just as before, the patch of “reality” seemed to be larger than the last time you were in this dream land. You could see a few lush bushes at the edge of the reality patch, and a small cobblestone path, going on for a few metres before disappearing into the gold again. Standing in the center of the grass, examining his surroundings with awe, was Flitter.
  132. “Pretty cool, huh?” You spoke, causing Flitter to jump and turn around.
  134. “Jeez, man. You scared the crap out of me.” He rubbed his neck nervously.
  136. “Ha. Not sorry.”
  138. You smirked at him and giggled, his face getter an even deeper red from embarrassment.
  140. “I-I’m just still on my toes, Stripes. The bear might be dead now, but we’re not out of the woods yet.
  142. “Literally.” You laughed and sat down on the park bench. Flitter cautiously joined you, but once he was sitting, he relaxed completely.
  144. “It's good to have you back, Flitter.” You smiled warmly at your friend. He grinned happily and closed his eyes, leaning back into the surprisingly comfortable, yet still quite solid bench.
  146. “It's good to see you again.” He said, satisfaction in his tone and on his face. “I legit owe you my life, man. I was… I was really fucked. If I hadn't found you, I wouldn't have had any food, any water, the nights are getting colder and colder. Without you guys… I could be dead right now.”
  148. “Fuck… Flitter, I'm so sorry.”
  150. “Why? You should be the opposite of sorry right now.”
  152. “I know, I just… I wish I could have found you sooner. I know exactly what it's like. The last few days have been absolutely insane, and I had a steady supply of water. I can only imagine what you had to go through.”
  154. “Trust me, I'm tough. We’ll get home together.”
  156. You smiled, his words filling you with confidence regardless of how true they may or may not be. Flitter sat back in the bench and sighed audibly.
  158. “Gah, what I wouldn't give for a fucking burger right now.
  160. “Trust me dude, meat is the last thing you want right now.”
  162. “What?”
  164. “I set up a trap and caught a rabbit, ended up with food poisoning and a fever that only just wore off. I'm pretty lucky I didn't fucking die.” Your face scrunched up, remembering previous few days of your life.
  166. “H-holy crap, Stripes…”
  168. The beautiful, relaxing voice spoke out from the gold void again, this time hardly muffled at all, almost as if she was talking to you from a few meters away.
  170. “Good day, my little ponies.”
  172. Flitter jumped and scrambled backward in the bench with a shocked look on his face before turning to me.
  174. “Holy crap, what's that!?”
  176. “Please do not fear me, Flitter Feather.” The voice calmly spoke. “I have spoken to your friends, Candy Stripes and Deep Seed. They are aware of me and know that i mean no harm.”
  178. He glanced at me and I smiled back, nodding to assure him he was safe.
  180. “You have all struggled so hard, and come so far. I am proud of all three of you.”
  182. “Uh… Thanks?” You rubbed the back of your neck nervously.
  184. “Who are you?” Flitter asked.
  186. “Oh how rude of me! I believe I haven’t introduced myself to you before. My name is Celestia.”
  188. “...Celestia? Sounds like something from an eighties fantasy movie.” Flitter quipped.
  190. “I’m not too sure what you mean.” She laughed
  192. “Nevermind.” You laughed and nudged Flitter playfully. “So what’s going on?”
  194. “My strength grows, little one. My connection to your world is getting closer and closer, and in a few hours, I will be able to help you.”
  196. “Y-you will!? That’s great!” Relief began to spread throughout your mind. You had no idea what the hell she could do, but this apparently all powerful being was going to be able to save you all!
  198. Flitter tapped you on the shoulder and you turned to face him, seeing a worried look on his face.
  200. “Wh-what’s going on, Stripes?”
  202. “I… I don’t really know, but I’ll explain this whole thing once we wake up, just know that… I trust her.”
  204. He pursed his lips and hesitantly nodded.
  206. “Alright… If you’re sure, then I trust you.”
  208. You smiled at him before addressing Celestia again.
  210. “So, my little ones, I see you have been reunited. I am very glad. I was worried that you would not find each other in time. Pray tell, how did you find each other?”
  212. “I saw this… Massive beam of light in the sky. I was desperate and hungry, and had no idea what the hell it was, so I walked towards it and found Stripes with Seed.” Flitter spoke up.
  214. “A beam of light?” Celestia said, an inquisitive tone in her voice. “Where did it come from?”
  216. “Uh, I think… I did it.” You said.
  218. “Oh dear. A magical outburst at your age is not uncommon, but one that powerful is usually quite dangerous and only spurred in times of turmoil.”
  220. “M-magic?”
  222. “Yes, all unicorns are able to summon a certain amount of magical power with their horns.”
  224. Holy shit, you could do magic!? That’s fucking awesome!
  226. “Kinda wished I knew that earlier.” You giggled.
  228. “I am curious, what caused your magical outburst?”
  230. “I was being chased by that damn bear again, but you’ll be happy to hear that it is currently lying a few hundred meters away from us with a hole in it’s chest, thanks to this magic thing.” You laughed, almost unbelieving of what had happened.
  232. Celestia let out a gasp before remaining silent.
  234. “Is… Is something wrong?” You asked.
  236. “My ponies, you must wake up, immediately!”
  238. “Wh-what? Why?”
  240. “There’s a reason why the ponies who were here before were unable to eradicate that bear! It is able to regenerate, even after death!”
  242. As soon as her sentence was over, the sky dipped to black once more. You knew what that meant. It meant Celestia was right.
  244. __________
  247. You jolted awake, struggling for a short bit to free yourself from Flitters hooves. Your head whipped around, searching the trees around you for the bear. Eventually, your eyes fell on the spot where the bear was lying. Or at least, was lying.
  249. It was gone.
  251. You shook Flitter with your hooves, shouting his name as you tried to wake your sleeping friend.
  253. “Flitter, wake up! You have to wake up!”
  255. Emotions rushed into you once more as your mind swam with fear and worry. The looming presence of the bear felt almost everywhere, there was pretty much nowhere it couldn’t be.
  257. Eventually, Flitter began to stir and his eyes blinked open.
  259. “Thank god, you’re awake!”
  261. “S-Stripes? I just had this… Weird dream. You were with me in this strange yellow place, with a chair and some grass…”
  263. “It wasn’t just a dream! I was there too, and Celestia… That voice was telling the truth! We have to get out of here n-”
  265. You were cut off by an un-natural roar coming from quite a while away accompanied by a familiar scream…
  267. “Seed!”
  269. You jumped to your hooves and ran through the forest, weaving through the trees towards the scream. You heard Flitter shout something behind you, but right now, you didn’t care. The only thing that mattered was helping your friend.
  271. You burst out of the bushes to find Seed pressed up against a rock with the bear looming over him, claw raised in preparedness to strike. In a blind panic, you tried to replicate what you had done before with your horn and tried to cast some sort of magic at it.
  273. You felt your horn heat up and begin to glow, the magical power that your body somehow possessed now building up at the tip. A green light shot out and hit the bear directly in the back. It was pushed a little by the light, but aside from a small smoking spot on it’s shoulder, it had not affected it in any way.
  275. What the hell was wrong with you? Why couldn’t you do it again? You tried to fire once more, but the light was even dimmer this time and did nothing but enrage the bear further. It spun around, it’s black pits staring directly into your soul. It roared again and you felt your body try to shrink backward in fear.
  277. You heard the rustling of leaves as Flitter ran out of the bushes you had just come from, skidding to a halt at the sight of the bear.
  279. “Oh, fuck! It’s alive! How the hell!?”
  281. You saw now that seed was completely stunned, still pressed up against the boulder with a face full of fear and shock.
  283. “SEED!” You shouted out, grabbing his attention. “RUN! NOW!”
  285. This managed to pull him out of his stupor and he ran off to the side. The bear span around to the boulder again, only to roar, seeing its prey gone. It dropped to all fours and sprinted towards you, rage in it’s monstrous face.
  287. “Stripes, I think it’s time for us to run now!”
  289. You silently agreed and started off, running as fast as your stubby hooves could take you, toward where Seed had ran. You could see him about fifty meters ahead of you, occasionally glancing behind him, only to pick up speed when he saw the bear running almost directly behind you.
  291. Your breathing became ragged and raw, as you pushed your body as fast as it could go. You twisted your head around and attempted to fire off another beam of light, this one having absolutely no effect besides tiring you out even more.
  293. As you went back to looking forward, you had to force yourself to stop, skidding as your hooves tried their hardest to grip onto the soil and snow beneath you. As you finally stopped, you managed to see what exactly you had stopped for. In front of you was the edge of a cliff, dipping off at a ninety degree angle. If you hadn’t turned around at the time you had, you would be hurtling off of that cliff right now. Beside you was Seed and Flitter, both cowering in fear. The bear had come to a stop and was now standing behind you, growling a horrifyingly unnatural growl.
  295. It stepped forward once and you tried to back up, hooves slipping as you fumbled at the edge of the cliff.
  297. “What do we do!?” Seed shouted in a panic. “Flitter, can you fly with those wings?”
  299. “N-no! They… They don’t work!”
  301. The bear menacingly stepped forward again, it’s growl almost sounding like a laugh now.
  303. You looked down the edge of the cliff, seeing if it would be safe at all to jump, but there was nothing but jagged rocks below.
  305. Suddenly, the voice that you had heard in your dreams spoke out to you.
  307. “You must jump!”
  309. “WHAT!?” Flitter shouted as the bear took another step. “You trying to get us killed, lady!?”
  311. “Please! There is no other way, you must jump!”
  313. Glancing out over the cliff’s edge once more, you began to contemplate her words. She wouldn’t say to jump if she knew you would die, right? Right?
  315. “We… We have to!” You called out to your friends.
  317. “Are you crazy, Stripes!?” Seed shouted at you.
  319. “No! I… I trust Celestia! We have to jump!”
  321. Seed and Flitter looked at each other, and with a fearful look in their eyes, they nodded toward you. Oh god. You were really doing this.
  323. You spun around and launched yourself off of the cliff. You could hear screams from beside you as Flitter tried to flap his wings and Seed silently plummeted.
  325. Eventually, all you could hear was wind rushing past your ears. The rocks flew closer and closer toward you. You trusted Celestia. She would help you. She would. You closed your eyes, and the rushing of the wind stopped.
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