Two Changelings, in a World of Foes

by Orcus

Chapter 1: Prologue: Pursuer's Prey

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Prologue: Pursuer's Prey

"I did try to convince them," Potshot, a brown-furred unicorn bandit, spoke, with a hint of bragging in his voice, as his two allies and himself sat, looking over the newly-acquired bag full of food, on the crumbling garrison wall of an old, abandoned fortress, in the middle of the Everfree Forest. "But nooo they just had to try and defend themselves."

"Did you really have to burn their house down?" the earth pony with a dirty blue coat, holding an old battleaxe, asked.

"No, he didn't, Cop-Out," Cutpurse, a gray pegasus wearing a rusty, iron helmet, replied, callously, as he took a bite out an apple. "He's a pyromaniac, remember?"

"Oh, yeah," Cop-Out chuckled.

The three let out laughs that rang out through the silent woods, and echoed through the ruined, vine-covered fort. It soon died down, and they resumed eating the stolen food, until Cutpurse, after making a chance look up, made a discovery.

"Hey... what's that?" he asked, his hoof pointing to the orange, setting sky. The other two quickly looked up, and saw what he was talking about. There, in the sky, flying toward them, was a giant bird. When it was a few more wingbeats closer, they saw what it really was.

"Is that... a giant crow?" Cop-Out spoke, scratching his head. "And what's that in its talons?"

The shape was vague. It looked large, but was clearly in the clutches of the bird, and had a metallic appearance, as seen by the way it reflected the sun's rays. It drooped a bit below the bird's grasp, but was held tightly on. When the creature had flown a bit closer, an awful, and mean-spirited idea came into Potshot's mind.

"Remember when I told you guys about the time I once blew a pegasus out of the sky, from over two-hundred yards away, using only my fireball spell?" Potshot asked, an evil grin stretching across his face.

"Umm... yeah. Why?" Cop-Out asked. His question was answered, as Potshot's horn suddenly lit up, and a ball of fire burst out of it, the attack headed straight for the oversized bird, at lightning speed. The bird let out a scream as the flame hit against its left wing, and black feathers scattered into the evening sky. It dropped the shape it was holding, and began to spiral out of the air, its smoking trajectory being the Everfree Forest, but a patch almost a mile away. They listened to the sound of the crash, and trees uprooting, even though it was out of sight's range.

"Pretty good, huh?" the brown-furred stallion said, his tone full of boisterous pride, as if he had just defeated a dragon. Cutpurse rolled his eyes, while Cop-Out, as if ignoring them both, had his gaze fixed upward.

"What is that thing?" he inquired to Cutpurse, pointing to the falling object. After taking the time to look at it, he rubbed his chin before responding.

"You know, the funny thing is, the closer it gets, the more it looks like a giant sword..." the gray-coated stallion said, his eyes squinted as they strained to see the rapidly-approaching thing. They soon stretched to the size of dinner plates, when he realized just where it was going.

"Incoming!" Potshot shouted, as he fled behind a nearby broken shaft of the fortress's wall. The others did the same, each shouting in fear, as they ducked behind or beneath cover. The silence that followed the sound of the sword slicing into the ground told them it was safe to come out, and they did so, cautiously poking their heads out to get a good look at what it was.

No sooner had the bandits looked at the object, which really was a sword, its blade being twice the width of themselves, and the length being impractically long, along with the intricate, circular symbols that adorned it, another, enormous shape impacted against the ground behind it, kicking up a cloud of dust and debris, causing the ponies to flinch behind their makeshift barriers once more. When they decided to see what it was, they saw an enormous figure, in a kneeling position, most likely from the recoil the landing made.

The shape was most definitely not a pony. It was humanoid, and covered from head to toe in metal, knight-themed armor, not exposing an inch of flesh, while a woven satchel full of random weapons laid strapped onto its back. On its protruding chest armor was a visage of multiple, screaming faces, and clutched in its left hand, was a large, semi-circular shield with two indents on its dual sides, its span more than enough to cover the giant's body, should it be put to use. As it began to stand up fully, it raised its helmeted head to look at the three unsavory individuals in front of itself, the visor suddenly emitting a single, brief red glow from the inside, like some unholy eye, as what appeared to be dark energies surrounded its bulky frame. For the next minute, the being silently observed the bandits, each staring back with quivering faces, before placing its free hand on the handle of the half-buried sword it stood in front of, and pulling.

The ponies could only gape in awe and pure fear, as they watched the giant wrench the greatsword from the ground, spending as much effort in doing so as a foal pulling a stick out of mud, scattering several rocks as it was hoisted from the stonework with a crack. With what must have been positively absurd strength, it raised the weapon overhead, before easily letting it come to a rest by its side, and then, as if it had no amount of surprises, slowly ascended into the air, leaving the floor behind, until it was levitating just over a foot off of the ground.

Cop-Out shrieked as the being suddenly rushed forward through the air with a supernatural speed, and swung its sword from overhead, which proceeded to slam into the wall behind the pony as he just narrowly dodged it, cutting through the rock and stone like a hot knife through butter. Unhindered by the miss, and with a low, guttural, animalistic hiss, never heard before by the trio, the relentless Pursuer yanked the sword from the ruins, and appeared to be readying for another charge, until it was, all of a sudden, engulfed in a surprise fireball.

Potshot had sent the ball of flame, as indicated by the small stream of smoke that left his horn, and the grin on his snout. "Guy's toast now," he snickered. "No metal can withstand my strongest attack!"

His smile then disappeared as quickly as the smoke left from his attack faded, revealing the condition of the creature. It was completely unaffected by the attack. Not one bit of the being had been burnt by the flame. Terror, once more, overtook the ponies.

"I-I'm getting out of here!" Cutpurse yelled, as his wings extended, his body turning about. Just as he took off into the sky, Cop-Out, throwing his weapon away, lunged at his ally, and clamped his hooves around the pegasus's back leg, hitching a ride, all while whimpering profusely, as the two flew off.

"No! Wait! C-come back!" Potshot shouted, looking up to them with pleading eyes. "You can't leave me here like this!"

His allies were too far off on the horizon to hear his words. With a shaky face, he turned to look at the unstoppable force that was now heading his way.

"N-no, wait, please!" the unicorn begged, pitifully, tripping over a stray bit of rubble in the process, as he struggled to make distance between himself, and the armored creature, which now floated toward him, slowly and silently, in a most ominous manner. The sword it held started to glow a bright blue color, black energy oozing off of it in a mist, as it was raised over his head for another, final attack. Potshot could find no more ground, as he reached one of the old fortresses's walls, cornered like a rat.

"W-ait, n-N-NO!!" were Potshot's last words, before the blade was mercilessly brought down.

Next Chapter: Chapter 1: Times Change Estimated time remaining: 1 Hour, 58 Minutes
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