• 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 37: The Clash of Thunder and Lightning

“Since you’re so forthcoming with your technology, I suppose I should be too…” The Kaiser said, walking up to Luna and motioning her to follow… They moved down, below the imperial palace… The deal had already been struck, a dozen of the experimental beam-casters and their schematics in exchange for a sizeable sum of gold, gems, and coal. The gold and gems would go a long way in securing the economy of Equestria, they could be redistributed to all the workers working overtime to aid the nation in its new industrial revolution, and the coal had its uses, although the coal industry was a dying one, ever since the diplomatic tensions between Equestria and the zebra grew unstable during the last years of Kaiser Hades’ reign, Celestia had started to phase out the use of coal and replace it with liquid rainbow, but of course, that was a project all of its own, and one that was still not yet fully completed, the trains still ran on coal, and many of the mills in Fillydelphia still used vast sums of the rock, particularly in steel manufacturing.

They went down flight upon flight of stairs, they were far, far, underground… They passed into some kind of lab, it didn’t look zebra in nature, in fact, it reminded her of- Suddenly, Luna’s train of thought was disrupted as Kaiser Erebus began, “My predecessor, Kaiser Hades, he had plans to invade Equestria for some time, even before you returned and sturred up the church against your nation, luckily, he perished before his plans could be set into motion, and I have managed to calm the worst of the zealots, but there is still plenty of anti-Equestrian sentiment, but I’m sure this trade deal will go a long way in calming that, I can emphasize that, if your kind were truely enemies, why would you give us your weapons…”

Luna nodded in understanding, and Erebus continued, “The former kaiser had been designing all sorts of weapons to wield against you, I had many of the old scientists locked away, a few, even executed…”

“What would warrant such treatment, other than their questionable loyalty and access to weaponry, that is…”

“You have given me your trust, giving me your experimental weaponry, so I shall give you the same…” He said as the two arrived at a door marked “Balefire Breeder Pool” painted over ancient words that Luna could bearly recognize as “La-u-ae H-ve An-ma-o-s Phy-i-s -es-arc- I-st-itu-e”

Abyssinia was rapidly approaching, a surgical strike on their shoreline capital… Tempest watched the city, grand sandstone pyramids, and brick buildings, covered with copper and brass pipes that churned steam to their machinery.

The smoke billowing from their airship formed an ominous cloud-bank, and Tempest ordered the ships to slow, they would emerge from the clouds, let the Abyssinians think it was just a simple storm approaching.

“Looks like the cat’s airships are turning in our direction…” Grubber muttered.

Tempest didn’t bother with responding to the little hyena’s mutterings, he was an imbecile, only caring about when he was going to get his next meal… Then, his words finally registered in Tempest’s mind, and she slapped the spyglass from the little diamond dog’s paws, “What!” She shouted, “They couldn’t have known that we were coming!”

She turned the spyglass on the approaching ships, it was hard to see at this distance, but she could make out the vague shapes of the cat’s guards aboard the vessels, and a magical glow coming from the bow of the head vessel. “Scryers!” She shouted, “They know we’re here, everydog! To your battle-stations!”

The next few minutes were chaos as the diamond dog soldiers rushed to the harpoon-launchers and prepared to board the enemy ships. Tempest charged her horn, ready to unleash a blast of magical lighting toward the abyssinian capital ship.

Tempest stared in shock as her spell was deflected, there was a powerful magic-user aboard that ship, no doubt the one who saw them approaching with their scrying… Then, flashes of white shone from the deck. “Take cover!” She shouted, realizing a spell must have been flung back at them, then, before anyone registered the order, blazing bolts of white energy ripped through the ship, burning clean through wood and slagging metal. Tempest ducked, and held her hooves to her ears until the flashing subsided… She looked up, and when she opened her eyes she was greeted with the sight of Grubber, half of his face missing, blown off, his seared brain visible behind a melted skull.

She jumped back to her hooves, “Harpooners! Fire! Now!” She looked around and saw just what happened to the ship, the massive balloon above was dotted with singed holes, the wooden deck was spotted with hoof-sized breaches that cindered and sparked, and a hoof-full of diamond dogs lay wounded, luckily, their cold-iron armour held up against the magical attack, but that didn’t do much for those unlucky few who were struck between their armoured plates.

The harpoons fired a moment later, at least those that weren’t too damaged… The bolts flew forth and struck the hostile vessel, reeling it in.

In the heat of the glistening sun, the clicking from her brass pocket watch was soothing to Catrina… She was in her full battle-decorum, an enchanted brass-plated cuirass underneath a red and gold robe, her belt decorated with magical trinkets and fetishes. The pocket watch was one of these, it was no normal clock, as it was decorated with arcane symbols and sigils, there was one crystal-tipped hand and it pointed to the bank of dark clouds ahead… The watch’s head showed, in a small clear orb of crystal, the image of a purple pony commanding scores of dogs as they rushed to their stations aboard their vessels...

“It seems they’ve caught on, I was hoping that they wouldn’t suspect that we knew of them for a while longer…” She sighed, “Well, the game is about to unfold,” She snapped the watch closed, ending the scrying spell, “Battle stations!” She finished, shouting as the air-sailors rushed into action. “Sarcophagus guard! To me!”

The sarcophagus guard were the king and queen’s royal guards and armed with the new gemspark-arquebuses… It was a shame that they didn’t have the time to arm everyone with such weapons… Catrina saw, right before closing her scrying watch, the unicorn charging a spell aboard the enemy ship, thus, she raised another trinket, a silver ankh studded with rubies, and pointed it toward the hostile cloud bank… There was a loud, thunderous, bang, and a flash of light from inside the clouds, a bolt of magical energy soon emerging and flying at the abyssinian airship with amazing speed… The gems on her trinket glowed, and the spell stopped mid-air as it struck a magical shield, sparking, only a few inches from hitting its target when it dissipated.

The silver ankh melted in her grasp, falling and splattering molten metal across the floor, that quickly cooled, the broken pieces of the rubies set into the metal sticking out of the sterling blob. Catrina sighed, “A shame, it takes so long to make those…” She drew a wand from a holster and pointed it toward the hostile ship starting to emerge from the clouds, “Let us return the favour! Fire!”

There were dozens of small cracking noises as the guard fired their arquebuses, bolts of white magic sailing forth and flashing against the hull of the hostile vessel… That was followed by the noise of the weapons being reloaded, as the cats cracked open the breaches of their weapons and slid bottles of lighting into a compartment, removing the dead, empty, glass vials that were inside previously.

A series of metal rods shot from the enemy vessel, flying to strike their ship, wich they did, rocking the vessel and throwing some of the sailors off-balance, one or two unfortunates stumbled off the railing and fell off the ship with chilling screams. “We’ve been struck, harpoons!” A sailor shouted, “Should we try and cut them!”

“No, let us take the fight to them!” She shouted, and leapt forward, off the bow, and on to one of the metal cables linking the two ships… The sarcophagus guard followed, despite their heavy gold-coated, armour, they moved with cat-like grace as they sprinted across the cable, many pausing as they got closer to the ship, taking aim with their arquebuses to snipe the ship’s crew, trying to unhook the cable before they were boarded.

Catrina leapt to the deck of the ship and channelling magic down the length of her arm, punched right through a diamond dog’s chest, leaping out of the way as a bolt of multicoloured lightning nearly struck her in the side. The rest of the guards had made it to the ship, and, while some in the back loaded their weapons, many others drew their khopeshes and charged, the diamond dogs raised shields and bidents. The dogs had range, while the cats had speed, they ducked around the jabs and slashed at the cracks between their armour with their swords. It was a bloody show, as some abyssinians didn’t dodge in time and got pinned by the dog’s spears, but for each abyssinian lost, the dogs lost five, either to the hacking and slashing of the cats in melee or the arquebusiers firing the occasional magical blast.

The pony leapt over a bleeding diamond dog and launched a lightning bolt at an abyssinian arquebusier who was subsequently fired in her own armour and dropped dead with the smell of burned flesh. The pony turned, and narrowly avoided a stunning spell from the paws of Catrina. She turned, saying “Catrina, the wicked witch of the south, I’ve heard a lot about you…”

“I’m glad you know of me, but forgive me for not having the time for an autograph,” She replied, waving her wand at the unicorn, shouting “Samekh!” And launching another spell at the pony, who leapt out of the way, the spell sailing past and striking one of the abyssinian guards, who suddenly went stiff, then, without any way to keep his balance, fell overboard.

Catrina growled as the pony leapt across the battlefield, dodging the sorceress’s spells, the pony replied with blasts of lightning that Catrina either dodged, or raised another ankh charm to block, but she was slowly running out of charms, as they could only sustain three or four spells before melting. The pony finally stopped and stood still, Catrina fired a spell at her, but the pony fired another spell back, the two cancelling each-other out and causing a magical pulse that knocked everyone to the ground, some cats and dogs getting knocked overboard.

The pony got back to her hooves and Catrina scrambled back up, but, the pony didn’t notice that the last of her diamond dog allies was just slain by an arquebusier, and turned to see a cat looming over her, right before knocking her to the ground with the butt of his arquebus. Catrina approached, and screamed another “Samekh!” Pointing her wand right at the horse’s head, making her go stiff and unresponsive.

“She’s still alive,” Catrina said, “Take her back to the ship, I’ll question her personally once the battle is over.”

“It would be easier to kill her and be done with it…” The guard replied.

“Weapons and tactics and the bravery of warriors are only a part of how you win a war, information is one too, we will get what we can out of her, then give her off to her kin, the pony’s princesses will know what to do with her…”

“By your leave, ma’am,” The guard replied, taking hold of the pony and marching back on to the cable, running back to the flagship, the battle was far from over, and more enemy ships were emerging from the clouds… Catrina cleaned the blood off her claws, then gestured to the surviving abyssinian guards to follow her and she blasted down the door leading deeper into the vessel. Cackling, she yelled, “I know spells of such power that you, pathetic little mutts, can never hope to compete!” Before charging down into the hull, magical power flowing around her body.

Another pony fell unconscious, his magical energy drained away… Tirek now loomed twice the size of a stallion, he was getting bigger, and more powerful, but his actions were starting to be noticed, there were more guards around every corner, and he had to be careful not to get outnumbered if one saw him. Surely, the news of his return was sure to reach the princesses soon.

A trio of guards had seen him, and one turned the corner, pointing a spear at the beast, “Stop right there, criminal scum!” He shouted, only to drop the spear as his energy was drained away… Soon, he might be able to draw power from more than just the unicorns...

The mountain, surrounded by a verdant jungle and glimmering lakes, loomed before Celestia as her chariot raced through the sky… That town she passed through had placed a peculiar curse on itself, one that made the creatures there silent and emotionless… Celestia dispelled the curse with ease, but she was positive the moment she left, they would simply curse themselves again… At least she got the location of the Hidden City from the village leader, and she had picked up a passenger.

It was clear to see that the little kirin was dreadfully lonely, particularly after getting banished from her village, and while there was little Celestia could do for the town, she could at least ask this Autumn Blaze if she wanted to be delivered to the Hidden City, where she was bound to find other, more talkative, kirin… She agreed and spent the entire trip chatting to Celestia about what life was like in their respective kingdoms.

They flew into a large cave, no doubt a volcanic channel, and passed right under the glittering roof, lined with crystals, and then out into the main volcanic tunnel, extending down for miles and miles into the earth… It reminded Celestia of her time visiting the dragon lands… The buildings were built into the rock walls, made from volcanic basalt and reminded her of the ancient Neighponeese before they were integrated into the Kingdom of Equestria. Carved tunnels led to different parts of the city, some natural and others dug out by the kirin over their centuries of isolation.

Everything was lit by the crystals in the ceiling and walls, it all glittered a magnificent array of colors, and Celestia knew she would need to give Rarity a vacation here one of these days. Finally, the chariot came to land in an alcove with a massive, gold and crystal decorated palace, Autumn was told to stay in the chariot, and Celestia walked on to the platform in her glittering gala dress, something she chose to wear when engaging in diplomacy, as it gave her the impression of wealth and splendor, and reminded everyone of her power, while not being intentionally intimidating, which could make her come off like a tyrant.

Finally, a few knights in their plated armor, and a kirin monk, walked out to greet the newcomer, surprised to see a pony in their kingdom, a kingdom they had kept hidden from the world for the past one and a half thousand years. But, it was about time they returned to the scene, particularly with recent events… She was going to do her best to convince the empress to open her borders and engage with the empires around her… And so, with an odd solemness falling over her… Celestia wandered into the Empress’ domain.

Author's Note:

I'm going to take another quick break once Chapter 38 is done, since, between this chapter and the next, I'll be wrapping up many of the smaller storylines in Equestria, and turning my attention back to Remnant for a while.

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