Captain Skyheart in: Race to the Riches of Baleful Bay – Chapter 10
The cragadile opened its wide, dripping jaws and hissed at the interlopers. Skyheart took a couple steps back. “Fucking monster,” she swore. Nuuk stood firm, knowing that the creature hadn’t yet actually moved. Skyheart looked between him and the reptile, shaking her head. No way he’d end up bait. If anything she’d end up squelching down that wide gullet. “No, we do this together.” The mare marched forwards into the wide room with the cragadile’s thick tail splashing in and out of the water in anticipation. “Nuuk? Ideas?”
The zebra pointed to the water.
“Swim? In cragadile-infested water? Try again.” Nuuk continued pointing. Skyheart snorted and scuffed a hoof against the stone floor. “Alright, Plan B. Think Skyheart. What can you do here? That thing doesn’t look much like moving, but it sure as hell won’t let us pass.” Her hoof taps echoed about the bright room between the splashes and growls. Skyheart’s vision wandered up towards the ceiling.
The rather vaulted ceiling, she noticed. Look back to the cragadile, she reasoned that unless it could fly, all they had to do to get to the other side was brush along the ceiling. Looking over her shoulder, Skyheart started to grin. “This time we do it my way.” Nuuk stared blankly, until the pegasus spread her wings. The mare fought down the stings twitching through her hurt wing, but she powered through it, wings spread wide. The dagger she carried dangled from a wingtip. “Up,” she pointed, waving her hoof through the air, miming their impending flight pattern: Up and over the cragadile. Skyheart backed her big butt up to the zebra and lowered it some. “Climb aboard.”
Nuuk was not a small zebra, but he managed to wrap strong legs around Skyheart’s neck, with his hinds pressing against her soft barrel. More than once he brushed across her injury, and his size made him heavy to boot. “Alright,” Skyheart huffed, giving her wings a pained test beat. “Hang on tight!” The copper pony trotted back several paces, trying to get used to Nuuk’s weight, and planted her hooves, heart thudding in her chest. “Alright Skyheart. Do or die!” She charged forward with a yell, beating her wings through the pain and leaping to the sky once she broke into the room again.
The weighty pegasus lifted off the ground, swimming through the air in a wide circle to gain altitude before engaging the cragadile. The creature was watching with mindless eyes, tail flicking faster. Skyheart and Nuuk both kept eyes on the cragadile, but it stayed put. “It knows it can’t reach!” Skyheart gloated. Once Nuuk’s mane grazed the ceiling, she took off over the water and cragadile alike, keeping the zebra aboard and her legs tucked up against her body.
The cragadile struck! Skyheart’s eyes widened as the massive reptile leapt up, jaws wide, and an ear-splitting SNAP nearly deafened the mare. Skyheart jerked upward and banged her head against the stone ceiling. Nuuk gripped tight as the mare teetered sideways with a trickle of blood running down her cheek. “Guh...” Her wings began to flap out-of-sync, but Skyheart just managed to not plummet down into the vicious monster’s jaws.
Her vision cleared, two cragadiles forming into one, with it perched near the exit hall. “Shit!” Skyheart scream, Nuuk yanking against her neck as if to try and rein her upwards. The massive jaws opened once more before the two, slimy saliva dripping from a razor-sharp tooth onto a wide, twitching tongue. The mare’s acceleration was too fast. She was leading her and Nuuk alike straight into the gullet of a hungry reptile! “Fuck fuck fuck!”
Skyheart felt weight shift atop her. Clearly Nuuk was bailing on her, leaving the fat mare to be fat on the guardian’s scales. The moment stretched out forever, terror building inside the fierce pudgy pirate pegasus. That was, until a striped leg reached in front of her vision, griffon dagger held in the crock of the hoof. With an almost-casual flick, Nuuk sent the blade flitting through the air, and with a dull thunk it speared the cragadile straight in a closed eye. The monster reacted instantly, roars of pain seeming to shake the very foundations of the room, sending dust spilling down just as Skyheart and her passenger skimmed above the cragadile into the hallway beyond.
The crash landing was anything but pretty, Nuuk actually bailing this time and leaving the pudgy mare to use her own chubby body to take the brunt of the fall. She ended up on her side, back to a wall, panting heavily with mane askew. “B-better than a cragadile gut!” she squeaked, chest heaving for air. She stood woozily and tried to trot forward – away from the writing, screaming beast – but found her head spinning again. “Z-Nuuk, wait for me,” she tried, though her breath was still elusive, leaving the mare to sidle the wall and do her best to escape the half-blinded cragadile.
Skyheart thanked her lucky stars as she rounded another corner with no sights or sounds of pursuit behind. Her head was clearing, the mare wiping away the bloodstain on her cheek in the process. “Gonna thank Nuuk too,” she promised aloud, looking about for the zebra. “Gonna get a nice drink from what be a massive throbbing...” She trailed off, coming up to a wall. Or more accurately, a decision to make.
The hall Skyheart had wandered down broke off into two directions: One left, one right. “Nuuk?” she tried down one, than the other, both seeming to stretch for some time. “Damn it! He must’ve thought I was right behind him! Which way did he go?” Skyheart plopped her prodigious butt down on the stone with her tail twitching in annoyance, and a bit of fear. This deep in a strange temple with no backup and an enraged cragadile behind her all alone was not something she wanted to linger on!
Skyheart had faced some weighty decisions already since she first set hoof at Baleful Bay. Before her now stood a very simple one, but important nonetheless: Should the mare head left or right?