• 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 34: An Apple in the Woods

Above, the trees swayed in the midnight breeze, the shattered moon having turned, facing the world below, like a gaping maw… Grasses bent as hooves came clopping down the path, these were not the hooves of horses, but rather, they were black, spiked and gnarled chitin. A small pack of Changelings, turquoise eyes glowing in the dark… The ponies had discovered something, the agents, hiding in Canterlot had gotten word that Celestia, the queen of the sun itself, had discovered the existence of the world that Chrysalis now walked on… It was an unpleasant turn of events, but one Chrysalis had planned for. She kept the poison she brewed almost a month ago, now safely inside her, the vials morphed into her flesh… She couldn’t use them on the princesses now… But, they were still of use, she had spent too much time working on them.

The Changelings were not safe on Equus, and they were not secure here… Chrysalis needed to build her hive, and soon… But where... that was a question she was now wandering the woods to find. Her agents in the human city had discovered just how wild and unclaimed this world was, they only had four kingdoms, four major cities, but that didn’t change how scary these creatures were, they had alien weapons far beyond what ponykind used, and Chrysalis had second thoughts about coming here, but, there was no turning back now… She needed to find somewhere isolated, somewhere where no human or faunus lived...

As she trekked through the woods, there came the sound of wolves growling, and Chrysalis’ guards raised their black-stone spears, long chitinous poles with blades of black eldritch crystal. A wolf jumped at the queen, burning with black smoke and glowing red eyes, Chrysalis was unimpressed… The Queen glanced at her guards, ordering them, without a single word, to back away and leave this to her… It was time to show her superiority…

Chrysalis drew her sword, this one too made from black crystal and chitin, but studded with glowing green gems that dripped with an etherial liquid. The wolf stared at it, fear glinting in its crimson eyes. It looked as if it was going to run, but a blast of acid-green lightning struck it in the chest and it fell over, howling in pain… The other eyes, watching from the dark, backed away a bit, as Chrysalis stabbed her blade downward, the wolf simply dissolving into nothing in an instant when the black crystal touched its flesh, the crystals in the blade, a fusion of human dust and changeling magic bled with eldritch acids, killing the grass in an instant, and leaving the dirt blackened and dead.

Chrysalis stared the other wolves, hiding in the dark, straight in their eyes… Then, with a flick of her horn, green fields erupted around the wolven figures, dragging them forward in telekinesis, whimpering. Chrysalis inspected the wolves, holding them in the air, helpless… Then, approaching one, she opened her mouth, fangs dripping with saliva, as she sucked. Red energies flowed from the wolf-creature, changing green as they flowed into the Queen’s maw,

The wolf-creature cringed as its dark energy was drained, slowly, the wolf started to dissolve into smoke that too flowed into Chrysalis, until nothing remained of the beast… “Ahhh,” the Queen sighed, “Magic, pure, dark, and raw… Untainted by emotion, powerful magic too… Yes…” She muttered, going to the second wolf and sucking it from existence too, “So these are the creatures of grimm those humans are so afraid of, arcane spectres, magical constructs, dark energy given form…” She continued as she drained another wolf, “But such creatures couldn’t have been created from nothing, you were summoned, created by some force…” She absorbed another beowolf into her… “Where might you have come from then?”

Cardin and Apple Bloom were absent for most of the day off, Cardin’s jaw had been shattered, and a medical expert, a huntsman with a healing semblance, was caring for him… Meanwhile, Apple Bloom had been dragged off by Glynda for talking to in Ozpin’s office.

The elevator dinged, and out stepped the teacher and her student, Glynda wore a look of fury on her face, and Apple Bloom was scowling. “Unbelievable!” Glynda began, “Young lady, do you have any idea what you could have done!”

“That Cardin was hurtin’ another student!”

“You broke a student’s jaw!”

“He deserved it, after all the bullyin’ he was doin’”

“He is your classmate!”

“He’s a pile of horseapples, I’ve seen him goin’ after Jaune and Ruby… Hell, he went after me once!”

“That does not excuse your actions!”

“Silence! Both of you!” Ozpin shouted, he gave a sigh, then turned to Glynda, “Could you explain what happened?”

“Y-Yes, sir… This student-” She said with disdain, pointing at Apple Bloom, “Broke Cardin Winchester’s jaw.”

“He was hurting that Velvet girl after I had warned him about doin’ such in the ship…”

“That does not change the fact that you severely injured him, and could have killed him!”

Ozpin gave a grave sigh as they continued to argue… That Apple Bloom girl was fiercely loyal, that was evident… If what they were both going on about was true, then clearly she didn’t hesitate to harm others if it means protecting those she viewed as friends, even if they are subjected to something as minor as teasing… She was going to become a problem if this kept up… “Miss Macintosh… Or do you prefer Miss Bloom…” Ozpin began, “I applaud your haste to take action when you see your friends in danger, but you shouldn’t have been so… Aggressive… Your friends were only being subjected to some light teasing, you didn’t have to break a student’s jaw over this… If one of my friends was in danger, I’d rush to help too,” That line seemed to have made Apple Bloom’s tail twitch, “But, I would take the appropriate action, not overreact, as you did…”

Apple Bloom scoffed, “I ain’t about to let someone like Cardin go off the hook for what he did, gettin’ hurt like that will teach him his lesson…” She paused for a second, eyeing Ozpin, “And, I ain’t about to take advice from a liar.”

That last line took Ozpin by surprise, he bent the truth, he lied, sometimes, but why in the world would this little girl know that? Then Glynda’s voice broke Ozpin’s train of thought, “You little brat! You will be receiving detention this week, if there are no more incidents I may reconsider… As it stands, your loyalty and dedication to your friends is commendable, but, harming another student crosses a line…”

The next day began a bit differently, when Glynda ordered all the students to gather in the auditorium, and this time not for combat training… She said something about going into a forest, no one was really paying much attention, except for Sweetie Belle and Diamond Tiara… Then, they were all told to pack and gather at the northern end of the school grounds. Apple Bloom got into her armour, stuck Applebuck to her back, and walked off to the gathering crowd of first-year students…

An hour later, Apple Bloom was stunned, the leaves were red, and drifting down like they were in eternal autumn, but, at the same rate the leaves fell, they grew back, coating the forest floor in crimson, the leaves dissolving into the ground rather quickly… There was magic here, she could feel the fuzzy and tingling feeling that came from being around a unicorn casting spells… It made her fingers numb, and her headache ever so slightly… As she passed trees, they bent toward her, falling leaves floated in her direction and the trees she passed seem to grow ever so slightly taller and larger…

Glynda spoke up, “Yes, the forest of Forever Fall is indeed beautiful, but we are not here to sight-see. Professor Peach has asked that you collect a jar’s worth of red sap from the trees deep within this forest, and I am here to make sure that none of you dies while doing so… It also provides an excellent example of what fieldwork may be for some of you… The forest is full of the creatures of grimm, so make sure to stay together in teams… At four o’clock, we will return to the school grounds…”

Glynda continued talking… Apple Bloom was in the back of her team, and behind her was Cardin, face still a bit swelling and puffy, but his jaw had healed quickly… He kept his eyes on Apple Bloom’s back, and the girl was very, very, uncomfortable… But she pressed on, that jerk had learned his lesson…

Soon, they arrived at the grove Glynda was talking about… The magical energy here was stronger than in the rest of the forest, some kind of powerful spell was once cast here, that was obvious, clearly the cause of why the forest was so red… But, Apple Bloom didn’t quite understand it, Sweetie was clearly just as intrigued, as she walked around, looking at things that Apple Bloom couldn’t see with her earth-pony senses…

“Umm, miss Goodwitch, what happened here?” Sweetie asked Glynda, “Why is the forest so, weird…”

Glynda was a bit confused for a second, then replied, “Oh, I’m not sure about the details, but a few hundred years ago, there was a great battle here… Some fairytales talk about the Fall Maiden, but I believe that a warrior with a powerful semblance did something to the forest, for what reason, I’m not sure, but it does give the place an uncanny feeling…”

Sweetie looked deep in thought, but quickly returned to the task at hand, using a quick cutting spell to slice into the tree and start drawing the sap out with telekinesis… Scootaloo jabbed the blade on the end of her weapon into the tree and waited for the gooey stuff to drip into her jar. Apple Bloom walked up to a tree and placed a hand on it, instantly it started to grow ever so slightly faster, and she felt magic flowing through the wood, she felt the sap inside… She backed away and gave a hard kick to the tree’s trunk… The tree shook, and from where her boot slammed into the wood, it started to bleed sap, she placed her jar under the leak, and gathered the goo.

Everyone else was using their weapons, or getting the help of their team-mates… All except for Cardin, who stared at Apple Bloom, eyeing her angrily… In the distance, somewhere off in another part of the forest, there came the crack of gunfire, silenced a moment later with the shout “Everything’s fine, just a small beowolf!” And the forest returned to normal.

Apple Bloom, once handing her jar over to Sweetie Belle, who was keeping track of everyone’s jars, started to wander around the forest, following the magic in the air, trying to find where it was strongest… She didn’t notice the footsteps behind her… Once she was away from the group, a gun fired, and Apple Bloom felt a bullet slam into her back, she yelped, but drew her cannon… As she did, someone ran out of the woods and slashed at her with a pair of swords. Apple Bloom parried by slamming the guy in the head with the butt of her cannon, before pulling down on the lever and turning it into a hammer… The guy had rolled out of the way and stood back up before Apple Bloom could smash him like a nail.

Russel Thrush, holding his swords in his hand, they both burst into flames as the dust in their base activated, but Apple Bloom blocked the strike with the handle of her hammer and batted the boy to the side. She turned as another gunshot sounded from the woods, but narrowly avoided being hit by Dove, who stayed in the bush. Sky Lark burst out a moment later, charging her down with his halberd, but Apple Bloom dodged the thrust, grabbed his weapon’s shaft, and tossed it, with Sky still holding on, over her head… He fell down behind her with a thump, but a sharp pain from behind her reminded the girl of the other threats, as Russel sabbed at Apple Bloom, who gave him a hard kick to the face, making the aura around his head spark, meanwhile another gunshot came from behind her, and she nearly fell over as a bullet hit her in the back of the head.

Apple Bloom turned around, raised Apple Buck, and fired a trio of rounds at Dove, who dodged the first two, but the last shell struck him in the torso… There was a flash of pale orange light, and Dove fell over, aura broken. But, Sky raised his halberd and slammed the blade down on Apple Bloom’s shoulder, who screamed in pain as her own red aura shimmered, not broken, but a warning noise from her scroll told her that she was in danger…

She grabbed Sky’s weapon, but the boy let go this time, as his halberd was thrown into a tree, getting quite stuck in the wood. Sky backed away, as Apple Bloom angrily approached, and punched him several times in the gut… A plale blue shimmer overtook him, and she fell to the ground as a good, hard, earth pony kick to the gut broke his aura.

Russel got up, and jabbed at Apple Bloom’s back again, but aside from a small little sting, he didn’t get far, before Apple Bloom knocked him to the side with her hammer, batting the boy to the ground, his aura sparking in a pale greenish-blue. Then, when the fight seemed over, Cardin leapt from the woods and slammed Apple Bloom in the gut with his mace, the girl’s aura sparkling red before she collapsed, aura broken…

Cardin slammed a boot into Apple Bloom’s chest, and she coughed, the wind blown out of her by the strike. Cardin spoke, voice in pain from his still-healing jaw, “That was for breaking my face!” He stomped down on her chest again, this time Apple Bloom felt a jab of sharp pain in her chest, “That was for that little birdie pal of yours beating Dove!” He kicked her in the jaw, nearly knocking the girl out, “And that was for making me look bad on the ship!”

Cardin reached down, and lifted Apple Bloom into the air by her neck, “I think it’s only fair, after you broke my jaw, that I break some of your bones…”

Back in the glade, the sounds of gunfire echoed from a little bit to the east, followed by the sounds of swords clashing against metal, and the sound of a cannon… “What’s going on over there!?” Asked a worried Pyrrha.

“Isn’t that the way Apple wandered?” Blake asked.

“I’ll go check it out…” Jaune said, drawing his sword.

“Be careful,” Pyrrha muttered, “I’m coming with you…”

Together, the two wandered over to the disturbance, coming to a small field… There, Cardin’s team laid unconscious, with Cardin holding Apple Bloom by the neck, no one clearly heard what was being said, but Jaune was quick to act, charging forward, shouting “Let her go!” Sword raised.

Cardin dropped Apple Bloom, but didn’t react fast enough to block Jaune’s strike, as he jammed his sword between plates of armour, the sheer force behind his strike knocking Cardin to the ground. “Gah!” Cardin shouted, “Get off of me you little shit!” He pushed forward, knocking Jaune to his butt. Cardin got back to his feet and raised his mace into the sky, ready to throw it down on Jaune, but he was suddenly thrown to the side, right as a spear struck Cardin’s chest and knocked him down again…

“Jaune, go get Glynda!” Pyrrha shouted.

“G-Got it!” Jaune replies, running to find the teacher.

“Apple Bloom, what happened…”

Apple Bloom was on the ground, coughing up blood, “T-That jerk… Ahh… He and his team beat me up…” She spat out some more blood, “I-I think, they broke something…” Cardin meanwhile, tried to get back to his feet, but his armour felt heavy, immobile, as if something was holding him down, he tried to wiggle free, but every single piece of metal on his body was forcing him still, he continued to shout obscenities at the two girls next to him, until Jaune returned with a very angry Glynda…

Sweetie Belle was tired of sitting around, holding on to her team’s sap… Apple Bloom and Scootaloo had both wandered off… She turned to Diamond, “I’m going to go exploring a bit, mind looking after the sap?”

Diamond scoffed, “Yes, just leave me with all the sap and go wandering off like the others, damn blank flank…” She paused, “Actually, on second thought, you would probably just break it, go off and do whatever you Cutie Mark Crusaders do…”

Sweetie nodded, got to her feet, and wandered into the forest… It wasn’t long before some little thing caught her attention… She wasn’t quite sure what it was, just a strange feeling in the back of her head, like a little tingle, something magical, a different kind of magic than the nearly overpowering magic of this place, something that was different enough to stand out… It almost felt… Familiar…

She found herself in a small clearing when a little shape among the grass and fallen leaves caught her attention… Like a pebble, a little smooth black shape… She first thought it was a rock, but, when she saw it, it was like a little piece of black carved bone, shaped like a scarab. It tingled with magic in her hands, but she couldn’t quite tell what it was, the design was somehow familiar, but she couldn’t place it…

She stared at the shape a little longer, then, not wanting to get lost or left behind, placed it into her pocket, and forgot about it…

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