The Featherblade Legacy

by Mysterious Stranger

Chapter 1: Chapter 1: Pruning trees like a real stallion

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Sharp Wing stood on a ladder with his fore legs braced against the trunk of the apple tree he was scrutinizing. His blue eyes moved back and forth, searching for branches that met the criteria Applejack had given him for the job. A branch that pointed upright caught his attention. A vertical branch couldn't grow apples, and would serve no purpose except to hinder sunlight from reaching the rest of the tree.

It would have to die.

Using the sword he gripped in his light gray right wing, he hacked off the offending branch. Being a pegasus, Sharp Wing usually had no need to use ladders, but in this case he did. This job required being off the ground, and he couldn't fly and hold things in his wings at the same time. At the moment, he was only using one sword. His other one was still sheathed in the scabbard strapped to his left side.

"Sharp Wing! What are ya doing to that apple tree?!" a small voice behind him called out in shock and dismay.

Sharp Wing turned his head to see who had spoken. Behind him stood a little yellow filly with a large red bow in her mane. Her eyes were wide with horror.

"Oh hi, Apple Bloom, I didn't see you there. I'm just pruning the apple trees," Sharp Wing answered cheerfully.

"Pruning, what the hay is pruning?" questioned Apple Bloom.

Sharp Wing tried his best to summarize the description Apple Jack had given when she had explained the job to him.

"Well, the idea is that when you cut off certain parts of a fruit tree, it should be able to grow more fruit then before."

"So yer makin' it smaller in order to make it bigger?" asked Apple Bloom, her little face scrunching up in confusion.


"But that don't make a hayseed of sense!"

"It doesn't make any sense to me either. But your sister is paying me to cut off tree parts so that's what I'm doing."

"She's paying you? How much?" Apple Bloom inquired.

"That's none of your business."

"But why are ya workin' for mah sister anyway? Scootaloo said you were a monster fightin' mercenary."

The words made alarm bells go off inside Sharp Wing's head. When that orange little pegasus has asked him what he did for a living, he hadn't expected her to spread his answer around.

"I am a monster fighting mercenary!" Sharp Wing said defensively.

"Then why are ya working for mah sister? Scootoloo says monster fightin' mercenaries make loads of money."

Sharp Wing realized that he was trapped.

"Let me tell you a story, and maybe you'll understand," he suggested.

"Ah like stories!" Apple Bloom said enthusiastically.

"I'm sure you do. Are you ready to listen?"

Apple Bloom nodded.

"There was once a brave and noble stallion who lived in Ponyville. He was a master at duel wielding swords and his fighting prowess was unmatched. Duel wielding swords was his cutie mark talent, you see. One day he approached the mayor of Ponyville and kindly offered to defend Ponyville from monsters. However, the mayor laughed at him and told him she wasn't about to waste tax bits on something she knew the stallion would do for free. The stallion told her he could easily stand by and not defend Ponyville, but she only laughed even harder. Then the stallion realized that while they had been talking she had somehow manipulated him into rearranging all the furniture in her office. And that is why that stallion never saw a single bit for all the times he had driven monsters away from his hometown."

"So basically the mayor crushed his dreams," interpreted Apple Bloom.

"Exactly, and that's why that mercenary has had to find other means to put bread on the table ever since."

"I get what you're sayin'. I think. Anyways, I came out here 'cause I was looking for mah sister. Do ya know where she is?"

"Sure, she's down at the barn milking the cows," Sharp Wing replied as he pointed a hoof in the general direction of the barn.

Without any warning a deafening roar tore through the trees from the direction Sharp Wing had just pointed at. The sound caused the feathery brown hairs of Sharp Wing's mane to stand straight up like needles. It was the roar of a manticore. Reacting on instinct, he jumped off the ladder. Sadly, instinct had forgotten one of his wings was preoccupied with holding a sword, and he belly flopped ungracefully of the ground instead of flying off with style.

"Stay put!" he ordered Apple Bloom as he picked himself up and took off at a full gallop.

The muscles in Sharp Wing's light gray legs bulged with power and his feathery brown mane and tail flapped in the wind as he raced towards the barn. Despite the danger, he was grinning. It had been a while since a monster had wandered out of the Everfree Forest. Perhaps for once he would be able to kill it instead of just driving it off.

The first thing that Sharp Wing noticed when he arrived at the barn was that Apple jack was literally already on top of things.

"You leave our cows alone ya stinkin' beast!" she hollered.

Apple Jack had somehow managed to get a rope around the manticore's thick neck and was riding it like a bull. Sharp Wing's timing couldn't have been better. While Apple Jack had the thing distracted he would have the glory of finishing it off. Sharp Wing charged in and jumped up, using his free wing to boost himself high above the maticore's head.

"What's up?" he greeted Apple Jack before gravity yanked him down towards the head.

At that moment the manticore decided to move forward. In order to adapt, Sharp Wing twisted in mid-air, landed on the manticore's neck, and held on tight with his legs. This was it. This would be the day he finally killed a monster.

"For Equestria!" he proclaimed as he whacked the beast on the back of its head with the sword.

The manticore roared in pain but didn't stop trying to shake off the ponies on its back. Sharp Wing glanced at his sword. No blood. Why was there no blood?

"Is that the sword you've been using to cut off tree branches all day long?" asked Apple Jack from behind him.

"Maybe," Sharp Wing said carefully.

"Might be a bit too dull to cut through manticore hide by now don't ya think?"


"Ya should have used the ax ah offered ya."

"But swords are cooler though."

"Well now it's duller."

"Fear not, fair Apple Jack! I have two swords for a reason," Sharp Wing said as he slid the dull sword into the sheath strapped to his flank and drew out the sharp one from his other side.

"Did you just call me fair?"

"I thought the amount of bits we agreed upon for pruning the trees was reasonable," explained Sharp Wing, thinking quickly.


Sharp Wing wished he could see Apple Jack's face from where he was. He made a mental note to watch his words more carefully when he was high on adrenaline. He raised his sharp sword up for the finishing blow. This time the manticore would fall. Suddenly the manticore slammed Sharp Wing's wing into the side of the barn, making him drop the weapon. The cows that had been grazing nearby when the manticore arrived winced at the loud smack the action made. Sharp Wing howled in pain.

"Are ya all right?" asked Apple Jack.

Sharp Wing thought the question was stupid. Did she not see how hard the manticore had smacked his wing against the barn?

"Just dandy," Sharp Wing hissed as he drew out the dull sword again. Surely if he hit the manticore long and hard enough on the head it would die. He proceeded to wail away.

"Are ya killing it or giving it a bad mane cut?" questioned Apple Jack as locks of manticore mane flew into her face.

"I'm doing both. Multi-tasking is my cutie mark talent."

"Is there a cutie mark for multi-tasking?"

"Wouldn't surprise me if there was."

The manticore, it seemed, was getting sick of getting a bad mane cut and getting whacked with a blunt sword. With another roar it turned around and made a bee-line for Everfree Forest.

"Nice work, Sharp Wing. Looks like the thing is sick of us. Mind cutting mah lasso loose? Ah'd hate to waste perfectly good rope on a manticore," Apple Jack remarked.

Sharp Wing paused his beating long enough to comply. He yelped in pain as Apple Jack's rope slid out from underneath him, giving him a wicked rope burn. Apple Jack landed on all four hooves as Sharp Wing held on.

"What are ya waiting for? Get off of it before it takes ya into Everfree Forest!" Apple Jack called after him.

"I'm not getting off until its dead!" Sharp Wing yelled back as he resumed hitting the manticore.

Apple Jack tried to keep up with the manticore but it left her in the dust as it entered the Everfree Forest. Sharp Wing kept hitting his ride. The stupid thing still wasn't bleeding. So intent he was on killing the manticore, Sharp Wing didn't see the low hanging branch until it was too late. With a painful whack Sharp Wing was scraped off the back of the manticore and hung over the offending branch like a wet sock. It was actually a pretty thick branch. The tree was so big and the branch so huge, Sharp Wing doubted it could ever be snapped off the trunk.

It snapped anyway.

Sharp Wing yelled as the branch he was plastered against slammed into the ground and started log-rolling down a hill. Round and round Sharp Wing went, yelling incoherent and short expressions of pain with each rotation. Finally, the branch slowed to a stop in a patch of blue flower-like plants. Sharp Wing groaned. Both of his hind legs were pinned under the ridiculously large branch and he hurt all over. Not to mention he still had that nasty rope burn Apple Jack had given him. He would have to thank her for that later. Sharp Wing spent a few minutes trying to free his hind legs before he gave up. Apple Jack knew he was in the Everfree Forest. Surely somepony would find him eventually.

Next Chapter: Chapter 2: Better red than dead Estimated time remaining: 1 Hour, 59 Minutes
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