Fillies and Monsters

by Solaris Vult

Chapter 24: Follow the Leader

The Atlesian Knights raised their rifles, but the rainbow-haired girl was faster, firing off a burst of red beams toward the nearest machine, the beams melting their armour and warping their internal mechanisms. She washed her fire over the hostile knights, meanwhile, Abraham raised his pistol, but before he could understand what just happened, there was a flash of purple, and his body froze solid, not as if he were trapped in ice, but rather, more like lost all feeling in his limbs and torso, rigid as stone… He couldn’t move his arms, he couldn’t feel his legs, his mind was foggy, and all he remembered later was falling over into the snow.

The dropship’s engines roared into life, and as the autocannons continued to fire at the purple barrier, the ship started to rise. Twilight was grunting with the effort, that weapon the ship was using was a whole lot stronger than any crossbow she had blocked, and trying to keep the shield up and cast her stasis spell on the human at the same time was taxing. “Spitfire!” She shouted, “Take out that thing’s weapon!”

Spitfire nodded, raising her vaporizer, firing off a crackling bolt of golden energy toward the dropship’s autocannon. The bolt obliterated the matter it passed through, breaking it down at an atomic level, separating molecules into atoms… It burned clean through the autocannon, and continued on through the hull of the dropship, burning its way out the other end, leaving glowing orange ashes in its wake.

Meanwhile, inside the cockpit, the pilot was panicking, he pulled on the throttle, trying to get the ship up into the air… Whatever kind of weapon the orange featherbrain had used not only destroyed the gatling cannons but had gone clean through the heavy composite armour of the vessel and destroyed many important and sensitive internal components. No matter how hard he pulled back on the throttle, the ship wouldn’t go up. He checked the diagnostics and damage reports, and the collision avoidance mechanisms kept on saying that he was millimetres away from hitting a wall… Walls that were apparently on all sides…

Down on the ground, Twilight struggled to hold the ship in place, she was a good telekinetic, but whatever was propelling that thing was making it hard to hold on… She gasped for breath as she let go of her telekinesis, and the ship, once coated in a glowing purple field, suddenly rocketed off into the air, but, as it did so, one of the engines sparked and burned, little pops signalling internals damaged, and suddenly the ship tumbled in the air before falling back down to the ground with a loud boom, crashing somewhere over the hills…

“Well,” Rarity said, pulling her sword from the neck of one of the automatons… “That could have gone better…”

Twilight got back to her feet, “Let’s grab one of those automatons, I want to inspect them myself... Then, let’s get out of here, more guards are sure to come…”

“What about that Abraham human?” Spitfire asked.

“He should be fine, I cast a stasis spell on him, it’ll keep him asleep while protecting him from the cold… Any human spellcaster can remove the enchantment, it’s a very simple one.”

"If I know anything about the guards, they'll do their hardest to track us down, and with this snow, following hoofprints won't be hard," Rainbow began. "Most of us can fly, but I'm not sure how Rarity can cover her tracks."

"Don't worry darling," Rarity began, "Outside of a princess, you won't find a better matter manipulator."

They still had a few hours before classes, yet Diamond woke the fillies at five in the morning… “What is it?” Scootaloo asked as she was dragged out of her bed.

“At seven-thirty we have lunch, but I want to do some research on our classes and teachers, figure out what we’ll be doing, and how we should prepare…”

Apple Bloom pulled out a few bottles of different coloured liquid, “Plus, I want to test these out!”

“You made some potions?” Sweetie asked.

“Yeah, don’t know what any of them do yet, none of the plants here are the same as back home…”

“Ooh, what’s that one,” Scootaloo said, pointing to the bottle of brightly glowing blue liquid.

“Ice dust and water… Honestly, that one wasn’t even me trying to make a potion, I just wanted some ice yesterday after that big fight, so I put some into water, hoping it would cool it down or something… Instead, it just made this, and I know enough about potions to know that you should never drink an untested potion.” As Apple Bloom talked, Scootaloo grabbed the potion, removed the cork, and started to down the contents… When Apple Bloom was done talking, she turned to see Scootaloo with glowing blue eyes, and ice collecting around her arms. Apple Bloom facepalmed as she just stared at the filly.

Sweetie had already left the room and Diamond was shouting, “Scootaloo! What did Apple Bloom just tell you!” Meanwhile, Scootaloo started to float up into the air, and the room’s temperature suddenly dropped as a powerful wind started to circle around the filly.

Clouds had started to form in the room, puffy, white, and cold… They joined the mini whirlwind forming around Scootaloo as she stared at her arms, veins glowing blue, “This is awesome!” She shouted… Suddenly, the wind wooshed outward, blowing open the windows and scattering the bedsheets and pillows, the clouds dissolved themselves into fluffy white snow and launched outward from the filly, who, in a flash of blue, lost all the energy flowing through her body, and her eyes ceased glowing.

She fell back to the floor with a thump, looking around to see the entire room covered in snow. Apple Bloom pulled herself from the corner, coated in rapidly melting snow, as Scootaloo ran up to her, “That was amazing, is that what it feels like to be a unicorn? I guess I should ask Sweetie that, I was flying! Can you make more, ooh, with different kinds of dust too, I want to shoot lightning from my face!” She shouted, talking so quickly the dazed girl could hardly understand a word.

“Monsters! Daemons! Prowlers of the Night!” The teacher, Professor Port, announced to the room, “Yes, the Creatures of Grimm have many names, but I merely refer to them as prey!”

“Wooh!” Scootaloo whooped, along with a student they recognized from the initiation as Koa Van, up in one of the upper seats. The design was interesting… In all the schools the fillies had ever seen, none had desks set up like bleachers.

“That’s the spirit!” Port replied, “But before we continue… A story… A tale of a young, handsome, man… Me!”

As Port told his story, Sweetie and Diamond listened intently, studying the tale for anything of academic value, Scootaloo was lost in the adventure, cheering and booing along with events in the tale, Apple Bloom was over with Ruby, doodling and sharing notes, while Weiss was growing ever more angry with her team.

Finally, Port finished his tale with the words, “A true huntsman must be honourable, a true huntsman must be dependable, a true huntsman must be strategic, well educated, and wise! So, who among you believe themselves to be the embodiment of these traits?”

Three hands all shot up simultaneously, Weiss, Diamond, and Sweetie. “Good, it seems we have some eager souls in my class…” Port said, still regretting that he couldn’t get a beowolf for his first class… “Now, as much as I’d like each of you to display your abilities, I only have time for one… Perhaps the two members of Team Trass should go together?”

Weiss sat back down in her chair, angry, as Port gestured for Diamond and Sweetie Belle to both stand up, then he pointed to a cage in the corner, “Once you get into your combat gear, let’s test your skills…”

Diamond and Sweetie both left for their lockers and returned not ten minutes later to a class eagerly awaiting their display… As they were away Port told another long and overly dramatic story to the class, as evidenced by the overly ecstatic Scootaloo.

As they stepped down to the classroom’s bottom floor and raised their weapons, Silverglow’s energy field active, and Lapis Luminatus glowing bright with magical energy, the teacher smashed open the lock to the cage and out came charging an abominable boar, “Sweetie! Shield!”

Sweetie Belle charged, the crystalline tip of her halberd sparking with green energy, “Sweetie Belle!” Diamond shouted, rushing forward. Sweetie dodged to the side as the boar charged, launching a bolt of lightning, the bolt hit the boar in the side, but it kept running forward, smashing its tusks into Diamond, sending the girl flying to the back of the classroom, her grip on her sword lost, energy field flickering out and falling to the ground.

“Now what will you do without your weapon?” Port said.

The boar stood atop Diamond, who raised her hands in an attempt to block the blow from the creature’s hooves as it stomped on her. She screamed as its hooves smashed into her face with enough force to break bone should she not have her aura. As the creature reared up for another kick, there was a flash of green, and a minty field of energy materialised around the grimm pig, suddenly the beast was flung into the air, and Sweetie Belle, telekinetically launching her halberd, impaled the monster mid-air, before pulling her weapon back into her hands with her magic.

“Bravo! Bravo! Impressive use of your semblance, a flashy kill...”

Diamond growled as she got back to her feet and went to collect her sword where it lay on the floor, one of the dust crystals cracked. She stared at Sweetie, who, with a look of triumph, returned back to her seat.

“I’m afraid that is all the time we have for today… Remember to cover the reading assignments regarding the different types of grimm and their various sub-classifications… Class dismissed…”

“Early this morning, at approximately 0200 hrs, a small explosion reminiscent of a powerful dust cannon striking the ground was detected in Area-1C, just outside the kingdom’s walls, over one of the larger dust mines operating in that area… It was speculated to be terrorist activity, attempting to collapse the mine, so a dropship loaded with the new AK-200 prototypes was launched to investigate, they have not reported back since and are believed KIA…” Ironwood read out the report… While the terrorist activity part was certainly believable, there was a chance it was the work of an even greater threat… Particularly if what Qrow said was true, if Amber had been attacked, then the likelihood that... she... was setting her sights on Atlas, was growing larger by the second… That was why he gathered the Ace-Ops in the auditorium of Atlas Academy.

“You want us to investigate sir?” Clover spoke up.

“Precisely, head to the last known location of the missing dropship and report your findings… Luckily any tracks the culprits have left should still be fresh, so once you send in your report, continue to track down the perpetrators.”

Everyone gave a salute, then departed, the Ace-Ops heading toward the airship docks, and James back to his office… This was the last thing he needed, he had already made plans to head over to Beacon in two months to assist in the preparations for the Vytal Festival… Oh well, he would just need to wrap this up before he left.

The sun was low in the sky, dawn had passed long ago, but it was far from noon, the mid-morning cold of Atlas was starting to give way to the pleasant chill of a summer’s day, and one by one the Ace-Ops all marched out to the landing pad where an atlesian manta transport was waiting. They filed in, readying their weapons as they took their seats, then the ship took off and flew out into the tundra.

“It’s a bit weird…” Marrow began.

“What?” Harriet replied.

“That we’re being sent out just to apprehend some regular old terrorists.”

“Yeah… That is a bit odd, for huntsmen like us being sent out for something the military should be doing…” Elm continued.

“Whoever these people are, they managed to destroy, or at the very least disable, an armed dropship and the new AK prototypes, the general has good reason to be cautious,” Vine finished.

“Still… Something about this just doesn’t feel right,” Marrow finished.