• Published 28th Oct 2019
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Fillies and Monsters - Solaris Vult

After overhearing the CMC wanting to hunt monsters, Discord gives them and Diamond Tiara a chance in the world of Remnant

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Chapter 20: Sleeping in the Abyss

They had been chased to a ruin built atop a great chasm, below was a misty abyss. Some kind of castle or palace was once built here, large towers connected by stone-arched walkways were constructed over and through the pit, a large cliff wall overlooking everything, atop which more ruined structures were built. The deathstalker crashed its way through the trees as the nevermore circled above, eight students ran toward the tower in the center, hoping to stop the advancing scorpion.

The bird sat atop the largest still standing tower and screeched, meanwhile the advancing scorpion ripped its way through the woods, the students ran. Rocket-propelled grenades flew through the air, exploding mid-air as their timed fuses detonated, forcing the bird from its perch.

Pyrrha and Ren tried to stall the advancing deathstalker, but their guns bearly scratched it’s ancient, thick, and armoured hide. Meanwhile, the bird flew back around, ramming its head into the platform they ran across, splitting the students in half. Nora transformed her grenade launcher into hammer form and sent herself and Jaune over to assist the others in a rather explosive manoeuvre. Their landing sent Blake tumbling into the abyss, but with the help of her Gambol Shroud, she slung herself back to the tower, but not before she landed atop the nevermore and slashed at its back.

The fillies ran through the forest and arrived at a small ruined structure, what must have once been a shrine of some kind. On pedestals were various objects, it wasn’t until they got closer that they recognized them for what they were. “Chess pieces?” Sweetie asked.

“Looks like most of them are gone already,” Diamond noted.

“Let’s just take one and get back,” Scootaloo continued.

Sweetie nodded, marched up, and saw the white queen piece sitting atop its podium… The professor did tell them to take the white queen piece, but she was a little confused as to why there were two, one on opposite ends of the structure. She just shook her head, and grabbed the piece, handing it over to Diamond.

As they moved to return to the cliff, there came a tremendous crashing sound from deeper in the forest, followed by the screech of a nevermore and the sounds of gunfire. “What in tarnation!” Apple Bloom yelled as the earth shook beneath them

“Sounds like some other students are in trouble!” Sweetie yelled.

“Come on!” Scootaloo shouted, already running in the direction of the noise.

Diamond scoffed but was quick to follow. Apple Bloom raised her autocannon while Sweetie started sprinting after the others. They followed the path of destruction through the trees, eventually entering a large overgrown courtyard, they arrived just in time to see Nora fly through the air and smash right into the head of the deathstalker, sending the creature tumbling into the mist below.

Apple Bloom ran up and helped Jaune back to his feet as Scootaloo did the same for Ren. Nora had already gotten back to her feet on her own, and Pyrrha had landed without losing her balance. Diamond and Sweetie caught up and watched the Nevermore circle above as blasts from Yang’s gauntlets flew out through the air.

Ozpin stared at the feed from his scroll, originally he was mostly observing the faunus girls, it seemed they had already formed themselves into a team… But, then the other eight students and their battle with the giant nevermore and ancient deathstalker had distracted him. A brief flash of concern crossed his features when earlier the nevermore collapsed the remains of his old castle, but they were proving coordinated and creative… The Arc boy’s tactical awareness was impressive, and he watched his team send the deathstalker falling into the Emerald Chasm.

He continued to watch as Tai’s daughter leapt into the beak of the nevermore and crashed it into the cliffside, only to be caught by the Schnee girl. Were he in a seat, he would be on its edge, watching as Ruby catapulted herself toward the abominable bird, catching it by the neck, and running up the cliff wall, slicing through its head as she reached the cliff edge.

Impressive… Reckless, there was a whole litany of things that could have gone wrong, and Ozpin knew that miss Rose most likely didn’t have a plan B should one of those things indeed go wrong, it depended on each of the girl’s allies working in perfect synchronicity, but none the less, it was only the second day of school, and they had slain a grimm that would have posed a threat to a single moderately skilled huntsmen.

As Ruby used her semblance to fly back down to rejoin the rest of her comrades, Ozpin watched the bird, corpse streaming black smoke, fall into the chasm. Once it had disappeared into the mist, he thought he saw something… A glimmer of red down in the fog. His hands went cold… No, he killed it! There was no way it could have survived that fall, there was no way it could still be down there all this time!

He shouted, “Glynda!” Glynda turned to face him, her face coated in a look of worry, “Go to the Emerald Chasm and recover the students before they all die!”

“What’s wrong, what is it!” She replied.

“Just go!” Ozpin continued… He should have been more thorough all those centuries ago, he hadn’t killed it… It was still down there, and those fools just dropped a tower on it!

“That was awesome!” Scootaloo and Ruby yelled in unison once they reunited on the other side of the gorge.

“Good job Ruby,” Blake added.

“I told you I could make that shot,” Weiss continued.

“That was sooooo cool, the way you just ran up the cliff, and how you shot yourself forward like that!” Scootaloo was hopping in place.

“Hey! Part of that was my work too!” Weiss retorted.

“Yeah! We taught them a lesson!” Yang shouted, pumping her fist into the air.

“Good work,” Pyrrha complimented, “You were spectacularly brave to leap into the nevermore’s beak like that.”

“Let’s get back to the cliffs, we shouldn’t wait around in these woods for too much longer…” Diamond Tiara said.

“Right,” Ruby agreed.

As they packed up their weapons, they began their return trek, but before they had left the ruins, there was a deep shaking in the ground, and everyone stopped, raising their weapons, expecting another giant monster to appear. But Sweetie, she was more sensitive to magical energies, and what she felt chilled her bones and sent shivers up her spine. “G-Girls…” She began.

Before she could continue, there was a series of gurgling howls from the direction of the chasm, and they could swear they saw a long, black, clawed, hand reach up from the fog and grab the edge of the pit… Then another black tendril reached out from below, this one a bit larger, just large enough that they could make out its three bone-clawed fingers.

Another reached up, then another, and another, in all sorts of sizes, all inky tendrils with claws at their ends, reaching up and grabbing hold to the nearest object, dozens of them, then hundreds of them… Some of the larger black claws, ones large enough to hold an entire person, had glowing red eyes on their palms or arms, some of these eyes moved across its flesh as if they were rocks floating in a river of ink.

Pyrrha drew her weapons, followed soon by the others. Ruby took aim with Crescent Rose and fired at one of the arms, waving in the air. The shot tore a hole clean through the arm and split the hand from the rest of the limb, the hand pouring black smoke as it fell into the abyss, the wounded limb flailing around violently. A howl came from that misty depth, a chorus of voices, hundreds of voices, all in different tones and in different volumes.

Another arm came from the depths, this one was racing toward Ruby, “Get out of the way!” Diamond shouted as she drew her sword, leapt, and slashed off the hand of the offending limb. She continued to slice through the arm, removing chunks of the limb before it retreated back from where it came.

More claws came from below, grabbing on to its surroundings, these ones pulled at the ground and ruins, “Is it trying to pull the cliff down?” Weiss asked, raising her rapier and firing a blast of fire toward one of the offending limbs.

“It’s climbing!” Pyrrha shouted, “Take out the arms!” She raised her rifle and shot the arms until they retreated. Jaune charged and chopped wildly at one of the clawed tentacles, another tendril came up to bat away the boy, but a quick chop from Blake’s cleaver removed the tendril’s hand. Once Jaune had finished cleaving through the arm, he and Blake moved on to the next.

Boom! One of the arms exploded into a black and red mist that soon vanished into the air. “How many of these darn things are there!” Apple Bloom shouted, firing her cannon at another approaching arm. It seemed like every time they destroyed one, another two took their place.

Something loomed in the mist, and steadily it rose upward on its hundreds of arms, a great pillar made of writhing tendrils and mutated flesh… Large bony protrusions stuck out like claws or horns, looking like the spines of a cactus. In the mass one could make out the hooves of horses, the arms of humans, the talons of birds, the paws of wolves and bears, and hundreds of other animal parts. Millions of eyes glowed across its body in a variety of sizes, some were mounted on the heads of various creatures that stuck out from the mutated mass, while others were intertwined with the tendrils, buried in pockets of flesh, or even freely moving around inside the mass.

Heads of various creatures protruded from the thing’s flesh, one looked like the head of a nevermore but split in half down the middle, tendrils of red goo connecting either side, there was a horned skull that leered at the humans, half-buried in the mass, there was the head of a beowolf with only a single cyclopean eye, there was the fanged maw of a deathstalker twitching and biting at nothing. Hundreds of mouths, some attached to the numerous howling, screeching, roaring, and chattering heads, others, like the eyes, were simply fanged maws as part of the mass. In some places, wings protruded from the abomination, some like those of a bird, others more bat-like, and some insectoid.

The students stopped their firing to stare at the thing in awe and horror, this was only the tip of the creature, as the worm-like mass extended downward into the abyss. A few more tendrils shot from the grimm, but it shook the students from their horror, and bullets started flying again. There was a loud boom-boom-boom-boom as Apple Bloom fired her cannon at the creature, the shells punched through its form, some even piercing from out the other side, the wounds billowing black smoke, but the creature didn’t die.

Ruby leapt forward, propelled by her scythe, and chopped off three of this thing’s limbs at once, but more came shooting from out the mass to replace them. Blake fired her pistol at the monster, but the bullets didn’t even register to the abomination. Pyrrha charged forward and impaled one of the hands with her spear, pulling the blade out and slashing downward, splitting the hand from the body, the tendril simply returned to the mass, and Pyrrha continued to fire shot after shot toward the creature’s uncountable eyes.

“We aren’t doing anything to it!” Ren shouted as he slashed away some tentacles that were closing in on him, before firing a volley of rounds toward the creature.

“We need to get in closer!” Jaune shouted, just bearly raising his shield in time to block a black arm that shot toward him.

Ruby growled, “Weiss!” She yelled, “Launch me!”

Weiss didn’t bother arguing, she summoned a black floating circle with a snowflake-like emblem on it in the air, Sweetie stopped firing green lightning toward a tendril to stare at the shape with interest, as Ruby placed her feet on her scythe’s blade and, with the help of Weiss’s glyph, shot herself toward the mass. She yelled as she slashed forward and stuck her scythe deep into its flesh. A thousand mouths of all kinds of creatures screamed in agony as she tore at the beast, but for all the billowing black smoke, it was bearly a flesh wound to the creature, and Ruby now held on to the side of the creature, kept from falling down by her grip on her scythe.

Apple Bloom yelled, “Horseapples!” As she removed her empty drum from her cannon’s side, loading the one with the high-explosive rounds. Nora fired her grenade launcher, keeping some of the tendrils away, but they didn’t have the punch to really damage the creature’s flesh. Apple Bloom aimed toward where some of the tendrils joined with the rest of the creature and fired. Boom-boom-boom-boom-boom-boom! Rang over the ruins as shell after shell struck the abomination, ripping holes in its torso, but these seemed to have just as little effect as everything else… It wasn’t that this thing was armoured, or even particularly tough, simply that there was so much of this creature that it was no different than poking one’s arm with a needle repeatedly, painful but not damaging.

But, they did at least catch its attention. The creature finally turned toward them. Ruby leapt off the beast as it started to twist, pulling her scythe with her, and just bearly grabbed hold of the side of the cliff wall by virtue of her semblance. “Ruby!” Yang yelled, running forward and grabbing the arm of her sister. As she pulled Ruby up, one of the creature’s uncountable arms reached forward and grabbed Ruby’s leg, but a sharp kick from the girl broke its grip. As Ruby and Yang tumbled to the ground, Pyrrha leapt forward and raised her shield, stopping another claw in its pursuit of the girls.

Pyrrha was about to retreat and start shooting when another five tendrils shot toward her, she slashed at one, cutting the hand from the rest of the tendril-like arm, and flung her spear toward another tentacle, impaling the eye in the claw’s palm, and slung her shield toward another, the bladed edge splitting the arm apart, but as she pulled her weapons back to her, another tentacle shot forward, the claw catching her by the neck.

The entire mass began shifting, turning toward them, it lowered its… You couldn’t call it a head, more like a front-end, toward the students atop the cliff. It’s end started to split apart like one would unwind a rope into the individual cords, cords into individual strings, and strings into individual fibres. Revealing a mouth, or at least something similar to a mouth… Deep inside it glowed red, like a furnace, it was more like it opened itself up as if the creature was hollow, its inside lined with more gnashing, biting, foaming, mouths of various creatures. One could, if they strained their eyes, see a single glowing red eye at the very depths of this thing’s core.

While the occasional explosion tore at the worm-like mass or the occasional bullet flew toward the thing’s eyes or mouths, everyone else was too busy fending off its claws, the creature growing more aggressive with its movements, more and more arms flying forth to assault the students. Pyrrha struggled as more clawed arms leapt from the thing’s maw, like abominable tounges, wrapping around her arms and legs, dragging her forward, as the mass lumbered closer to the cliffside… For the first time in a very long time, she felt true fear, she was going to die, ripped apart by its hundreds of mouths.

There was a flash of pale pink, and the tendrils latching on to Pyrrha were severed, turning to vapour. She gasped for breath and collapsed to the ground, “Run! Get the professors!” Diamond shouted at the top of her lungs.

“No! This thing is too powerful for you to fight alone!”

“I’m not going to fight alone.”

A wave of green energy slashed out from Sweetie’s halberd and cut at the side of the writhing thing. It howled as more and more tendrils lashed out from its mass, there must have been thousands of them now, half supporting its weight, while the other half lashed out to attack, these ones though acted more like legs, as it clambered over the edge of the cliff like an oversized millipede, the maw of this creature large enough to swallow the deathstalker they had fought earlier.

Pyrrha could feel her aura, it was weak, running low, she couldn’t fight off this thing for much longer. Diamond raised her sword and in a single stroke severed another dozen tendrils from their host, running forward, now that the creature was clambering across the ground, she slashed up close, cutting apart the faces that bit out at anything that dared come that close. Scootaloo ran up to the monster’s side, twisting the nobs on her pistols and shooting jets of fire that burned the grinning, growling heads that seemed to grow from every inch of the creature. Apple Bloom raised her hammer and smashed in one of the glowing eyes on the beast’s side, the blow hard enough to cause even this colossal thing to budge.

“Apple Bloom! Scootaloo! Keep distracting its tentacles!” Diamond shouted. The two girls nodded, running around the creature, jumping and dodging the tendrils that lashed out, Scootaloo leapt twenty feet into the air, gathered wisps of white vapour around her hands that slowly turned darker and darker, then lowered both her arms toward the creature, unleashing twin bolts of lightning that left large patches of seared grimm-flesh in its wake, she rolled around in the air to dodge the monster’s retaliation.

Apple Bloom raised her cannon and fired shell after shell, a boom-boom-boom tearing tentacles from the monster’s flesh, rending eyes, and shattering the monstrous heads across its body. Diamond was dancing around the fight too, hacking at the limbs that raced toward her. “Sweetie! With me!” She yelled to the girl, who was still shooting blasts of electricity at tendrils. The girl ran up to meet her friend.

“Got a plan to kill this thing!” Sweetie replied.

“We go down its throat and rip it apart from the inside-out.”

“Well, that’s insane… But, it’s bound to be more effective than what we’re doing now!”

With that, they ran forward, dodging the tentacles that rushed to meet them, quick slashes from Diamond’s sword slicing the limbs as they passed. They leapt into the creature’s maw, over the massive teeth that lined its entrance and coming down inside its grotesque mouth. Diamond and Sweetie ran forward to dodge more tendrils that were spawning from the walls, and to avoid being nipped by the sea of monster heads and eyes that this abomination’s throat was.

Diamond smashed the head of a grimm sabre-tooth cat as she ran, meanwhile Sweetie sent a wave of telekinetic force that stunned the heads ahead of them, and kept the tendrils from assaulting them. Eventually, the monster’s throat took a ninety-degree turn downward, signalling where the thing was hunched over the cliffside. “We’re going down!” Sweetie shouted.

With that, Diamond and Sweetie leapt, deeper into the creature, which was now looking more and more like a black and red cave than anything biological. Here, there were fewer limbs and heads and other animal body parts sticking from the walls and floor and ceiling, and more stalagmite-like teeth and claws. Diamond was swinging her sword around wildly as she fell, slicing apart the claws that manifested from the walls.

The bottom was approaching quickly, “Shield!” Diamond called, and Sweetie manifested a green ball of energy around them, the teeth, claws, and arms that extended from the walls helping to slow them down, at the cost of more strain for the unicorn faunus. Then, they came to the bottom.

There, at the bottom of this thing’s throat, was a massive plate of bone, covered in red vein-like markings, featuring a glowing red eye with a yellow iris… They came to a stop with a crash, Sweetie screamed from the pain of a hard landing for the second time today, and collapsed to the floor. Diamond got to her feet, the impact had cracked the bone-like plate, and black smoke poured from the cracks… The entire mass howled in pain, echoing through the tubular body like it was an oversized pipe organ.

Diamond raised her sword and stabbed downward into its eye, the howling reached a crescendo as she stabbed all the way down to the hilt. She pulled the sword’s trigger, and with a painful-sounding squelching noise, her blade split in half, further cutting apart the infernal eye, revealing the dust cannon. She pulled down on the trigger again… The fire dust she had loaded while still in the forest, after using her ice canister on a horde of ursai, filled the cavernous space with fire that burned at her and Sweetie’s aura, but did far, far worse to the creature’s insides. All that fire was channelled upward, from the outside it looked as if the worm had just breathed a blast of flame.

The walls started to billow smoke, and, lifting the still weakened Sweetie to her feet, Diamond yelled, “Get us back up, we need to get out of here!”

“You don’t…” She paused, gasping for breath, “Have to remind me…”

There was a blur of purple, and descending down the throat of the monster came the huntress… Glynda.

Author's Note:

Once upon a time, a very angry and very drunk Salem told a geist to possess other grimm... This was the result. Tentacles! It was mostly inspired by this image of a Shoggoth.

The fight with the shoggoth-worm was a really hard one to write.

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