• 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 52: Outside the Kingdom Part 2

The Razorhorn lept, eyes red with fury, and with a slice of her halberd, the deer-like grim was cleaved in half, “That’s three of the big ones, for me!” Sweetie Belle shouted gleefully, her body filling with arcane energy as she thrust her halberd out toward another group of beowolves preparing to leap upon the team, the resulting explosion sent rapidly dissolving arcana in all directions, along with a flurry of rock-shards that the girls’ aura more than accounted for. Scootaloo’s twin pistols unleashed jets of fire upon the growling horde that had attacked them from behind, blocking off the threat while Apple Bloom’s ‘bang bang bang’ of her autocannon tore apart the Alpha that had leapt toward Port.

“Good work miss Bloom,” Port said in his normal bombastic tone, raising his blunderbuss and firing into the Beowolf horde.

“Giant Nevermore, up on the ridge!” Diamond pointed out, raising her sword, pulling the trigger, and unleashing a beam of fire dust that immolated the bird out of the sky. Meanwhile, Sweetie twirled her halberd around, forming a minty green circle of magic energy, with arcane runes and thaumic matrices quickly filling in the circle, there was a pulse that made all the people flinch, and the Grimm halt, stunned, right before a dozen crisscrossing beams of magical light launched from the glyph and turned the Grimm in front of the girl into greenish ash.

“Weiss’ casting methods, while a little cruder, were certainly more effective and energy-efficient,” Sweetie thought to herself as she pulled her axe blade from the head of the final abomination. “And that’s the last of them, for now…” She said.

“We still need to press forward,” Port said, “We’re getting close.”

“Was it just me, or was there something… Weird, about these Grimm… They were, weaker than normal, I’ve fought plenty since we got here, but these ones, they just break apart at the tiniest touch…” Apple Bloom muttered.

“Nah, it’s not that they’re weak, it’s that we’re too badass!” Scootaloo said, cleaning the unignited dust from the end of her pistols.

“Miss Allgood!” Port scolded upon hearing Scootaloo’s swearing, which made the girl blush in embarrassment in letting that slip out. “But miss Bloom is right… There was something off about these Grimm…”

“Come on, let’s not waste any more time, forward, we need to fight what is attracting all these monsters!” Announced Diamond. They had left the forest behind a few hours ago, and were trekking up the back-side of what the professor had informed them was “Mountain Glenn”, it was a dreary and desolate place, the hard rock wall was barren of life, and there was a strange odor in the air, like molten sugar, the kind of scent that a burned and dead beehive made. It gave Sweetie some unpleasant memories of the Canterlot Invasion… But she shook those aside as they climbed the hills… The path was leading up into a distant cave that they saw from the ground, it would make good shelter for the rapidly-approaching night, and with the increasing density of Grimm, it also seemed likely that their goal, whatever that may be, was in that direction as well.

Scootaloo muttered something about “I never really thought about it before, but how does the sun rise and set without a princess to guide it” but no one paid her much attention as she marched on behind, keeping watch for any more attacks from the rear.

The mountain was cast in a ruddy orange light as the sun finally sank, and they reached the mouth of the cave, it was empty, completely empty, surprisingly empty… They quickly dropped their packs and set up a campsite… They could be here for a long time trying to find, whatever it was they were trying to find. Port took first watch, the fillies suspected he felt a little disappointed by the fact that they had demolished every Grimm pack they came across and wanted to regain some pride by guarding them, Scootaloo and Sweetie laughed a quiet laugh about this as they tried to sleep… Everyone else, the two earth faunus and the single pegasus faunus, quickly fell asleep, but Sweetie found it hard… How did they not sense that? That strange energy? Every moment since they landed the girl had felt a dark shadow looming over them, some arcane energy that made her hair tingle and hands shake ever so slightly. She busied herself trying to modify some arcane formulae in her mind.

Morning came all too slowly, and Scootaloo shook them awake, “Morning time, we need to keep searching, I killed a small grimm-rabbit, but nothing more came at us…” She yawned. And soon the campsite was packed, and they continued deeper into the cave.

“We need to turn back! It’s getting colder again!”

“Keep moving, I know I saw a cave this way, we can rest when we get there!”

“No matter where we go, it always just gets colder, I swear, it’s like the cold is following us!”

This place was filled with snow and ice, it wasn’t that bad earlier, but over the days, even if they stayed in the same place, it was just getting colder and colder. Raven swore under her fiery breath, she was the only source of warmth and the few who remained with her and Vernal were huddled around their leader as they trotted sullenly through the icy land… But her fire was slowly dying... They just needed to get to that cave. In the distance, they saw a mountain that had a few arboreal plants growing around it, a good sign that it was warmer in that direction, but now, every second, it seemed to grow colder and colder.

“I swear there’s something moving up there, it’s like a cloud but alive…” Vernal muttered, gazing upward, her feathers standing on-end, even with ice crystals growing on their ends.

“Whatever it is, ignore it, we just need to find shelter…” It took hours, but they crested the final hill and found themselves at the base of the mountain, “Let’s get up there, Sera, see if you-” Raven paused, looking at the remains of her party… When they ran from their old hideout, they were seventy-eight in number, now they were only two, Raven, and Vernal, “Where’s Sera?”

“Lost her five miles back, I tried to tell you… But you just kept walking.”

Raven growled, “We need to go back, we can’t-” There was a shriek from above, some ghastly and raspy howl, like icy wind and the screams of the dead, Vernal was right, there were shapes moving in the clouds and snow, ghost-like horses, vague and blurry though they may be, Raven said something bitter under her breath.

“We can’t go back, we need to find shelter!”

“Y-You’re right.” Raven quickly morphed into a bird and flew up into those haunted clouds, following the side of the mountain, Vernal followed, beating her large gull-like wings.

The team found their way through cracks and tunnels, the cave was winding going deeper into the hills, there was a beowolf now and again, but for the most part, Grimm had deserted it.

“Odd, normally the Creatures of Grimm thrive in this kind of environment… I wonder what made them leave?” Port muttered.

“It could be that strange energy…” Sweetie Muttered, the others nodded, except Port.

“What energy?” Port asked.

“You can’t feel it, there’s some kind of force echoing throughout the cave, like… Well, I don’t know how to explain it, it’s just something us unic- Umm, us faunus can feel… Well, at least I can.” There was more to it than that, the strange lights she saw, or, more accurately, the absence of light, this place was devoid of background magic, she had been a bit more careful with her energy use, she couldn’t just absorb it from the environment like every foal instinctively did… It was a bit disorienting, no doubt the others would start to feel it when they ran out of magic… “I’d also be careful about being hit, something tells me that you won’t really be able to regenerate Aura down here…” Port looked a little confused about that comment, but the others looked at one-another in realization.

“Interesting, that could be what has forced the Grimm out of this cave… Point the way.”

Sweetie nodded, soon she was going on ahead, clearing the path of any Grimm that remained, but they were weaker, much weaker than they should be, and scared, behaving less like aggressive monsters, and more like wary animals, attacking only when the girls got too close. An hour later of descending deeper and deeper, the air starting to get a bit thin, they got jumped by a Taijitu, The serpent bursting out of the wall, but it was more skeletal than the ones they’ve seen before, withered, sick… Like it was severely malnourished, and veins could be seen bulging from within it’s grimm-flesh.

Sweetie jumped forward, Apple Bloom taking aim with her autocannon, Sweetie was knocked out of the way as the serpent rushed forward, ignoring the girl, it rushed down Apple Bloom, who fired a moment too late, the snake knocking her to the ground and her shells cutting a line in the cavern ceiling… The grimm ignored her too, simply bolting for the exit, slithering up the cavern with surprising speed. “What in Remnant?” Port said, but, the very next moment, the ceiling collapsed.

There was a horrible cracking sound followed by crashing as the rocks came down, Sweetie stuck on the other side, her friends trapped in the darkness behind the slide, “You ok back there!” Came Scootaloo’s voice.

“Y-Yeah, just, a lot of dust, and not the magical energetic kind…” Sweetie said between coughs.

“What’s going on, I can’t see a thing!” Port said, his normal bombastic composure compromised by the string of surprises and strange events.

“We’re coming Sweetie, just give me a minute to move these rocks around,” Apple Bloom said, already the sound of Apple moving up and digging at the rocks. Followed by a sigh and some muttering from Diamond as she went to work digging as well.

“A-alright…” Sweetie muttered.

The lack of magic was more complete this deep in the cave, and Sweetie started to slowly wander down the path while the others were clearing the path. She began down a wide circle and an eerie green light started to fill the tunnel, in the end, she found some kind of room, it couldn’t have been formed naturally, something had carved it out… In the middle was a pool of black liquid, and a tendril of black chitin snaking down from the roof and dipping itself in the pool… The lack of energy was less obvious here, the magic was being sucked up into that tendril, leaving the area barren of energy. Sweetie reached out, and touched the pool with the tip of her finger, giving a yelp as it burned away her skin. She clutched the finger before casting a small healing spell, growing new, healthy, skin and stitching it back to her flesh.

At this disturbance, the pool rippled and then rippled some more as something started to move out of it, a bone-white claw, followed by a withered, sickly, black arm… Soon, half of a beowolf had pulled itself out of the ooze, specifically half, the other half was withered to the point of being useless, it’s hind legs unresponsive and dead, it’s tighs skeletal, and it’s tail merely a boney-nub. Its arms were rotting away before the girl’s eyes, breaking up at the slightest cut from the stony soil, spilling half-coagulated black ooze on the ground, its face was nearly melted together, teeth fused to teeth, jaw sealed to skull, and half it’s grimm bone mask missing, giving the appearance of a rotten corpse of a Beowolf than an actual Beowolf.

Sweetie, desensitized to Grimm over the weeks at Beacon, still backed away in horror at this thing, clearly in horrible pain, but unable to scream, only gargle with its half-formed insides. The girl poked at it with the end of her halberd, which caused the thing to flail in pain, she pushed it back into the pool where it thrashed, eventually touching and sticking to the green-glowing tendril, where it continued to gargle in pain as it was slowly sucked into the tendril like morning dew evaporating in the sunlight. The entire sight horrifying.

Sweetie tried to regain composure by analyzing the behaviour of the ooze and tendril, trying to figure out their nature using the more logical part of her brain, blocking out the horror still petrifying the other half. “T-This tendril… It’s absorbing magic, but where is it going,” She muttered to herself, “It couldn’t have stored all the power in this area by itself, there must be a bigger reservoir of power somewhere else…” She then crouched, taking a better look at the ooze, waving a hand in front of it, but not touching it, feeling her own power skitter across the surface as some other, darker, magic interfered with attempts to grab a sample in telekinesis. “The pool is magical too, very magical… Perhaps if I just…” She boosted her aura from her own internal magic energy and extended it outward, just like Pyrrah had shown her, then move that field into the pool… There was resistance at first, and it manifested as a cold burning pain across her body, but quickly vanished as a minty glow flushed through the pool, spreading like ink in water until the entire pool was attuned to her power.

She let go of the energy, and the pool started to rapidly evaporate just like the Grimm, turning from solid matter, back into magical energy, rapidly filling the area with the euphoric feeling of energy, at least to a unicorn separated from such power for so long. The tendril tried to absorb the power, but Sweetie grabbed on to the end, feeling it trying to drain her of her own magic, but with a strong pull, she cracked off the tendril’s end, causing it to wither and die, bleeding green ooze down into what remained of the now dissipated pool.

A few minutes later, the others broke into the room, “What happened down here?” Apple Bloom said.

“Something… Weird, there was a pool of thick black liquid” Port’s eyes went a bit wide as Sweetie talked, “And also some kind of vine or root growing out of the roof,” She pointed to what remained of the tendril, “I think it was drinking up the liquid, why I don’t know. But it’s all gone now.”

“I-” Port paused, “I suppose that’s good news… Yeah, good work, that was most likely the source of the Grimm in this area, come, let’s find those grimm that escaped us and make sure this area is clear before we depart.” Port was clearly confused and worried about something, but the rest agreed.

“The wind is too strong, we need to head back down the mountain, find shelter low down!” Vernal shouted, her wings violently flapping against the breeze… But to Raven’s senses, she could tell this was no natural gale, it circled the peak of the mountain, and the cave, like someone had put a series of fans around it, powerful ones… Some kind of magic was involved.

Raven dived to the surface, stumbling as she landed on her hind legs, and falling flat into the snow before stumbling back to four. “We’re getting up that hill, we’re going to have to climb,”

Vernal didn’t reply as she dove downward and again, still not used to her new body, crashed into the snow, but quickly regained her footing… Hoofing? Clawing? And started to follow Raven as she struggled up the rocky protrusions around the peak. Vernal quickly caught up, claws being superior to hooves in this instance, and helped Raven up. It took another half an hour of climbing only to make it a half a dozen meters, but soon they reached the cave top… The storm above had grown worse, from a flurry to a full snowstorm… There were things living in that storm, very real and very alive, no doubt about it, the sooner they got into the cave, the safer they would be.

They were up on the ledge, freezing their tails off, but alive at least… Raven would have sighed in relief had another obstacle come in her way… She trotted forward but slammed against an invisible barrier, as she ran a hoof against it, it resonated with yellowish energy, and standing-stones in front of the cave glowed brightly as the shield became visible. She slammed a hoof against the barrier, enraged to have come so far for nothing.

“L-Let’s go…” Vernal whispered, shivering, ice clinging to her legs and beak, wings stiff.

“No! No! No!” Raven screamed, “I will not die out here in the cold!” She let her maiden power flow through her body, eyes burning, not just with that arcane fire that she summoned upon being enraged, but also with the energy of Spring empowering her, she raised into the air, and called down twin bolts of lighting to strike the standing stones, the bolts powerful enough to bludgeon their way past the shield and split the rock apart, which sent sparks of energy flowing out of the enchanted stones and arcing in random directions, one very nearly striking Raven, another hitting Vernal in the leg, causing her aura to collapse completely, and leaving a nasty burn on her forearm… Foreleg… “Vernal!” the realization of what she had done shocked Raven out of her anger, and she swopped down to help. She ripped a part of her kimono and used it to bandage the leg, using some snow to help ease the burning, Vernal hissing in pain at the sudden cold. “Let’s get you inside… I don’t want to be alone in this frozen hell…”

Inside the cave was a pedestal featuring some old and cracked bell, coated completely in the green of tarnished and rusted copper. Raven called upon her maiden powers once again, and bent the winds to cause a rock slide and seal the two in the cave, away from the horrors outside, just enough space between the fallen stones to let air in.

Author's Note:

Sorry for taking so long to write another chapter, but I wasn't all that into RWBY and MLP anymore, but, recently I have started to reread Fallout Equestria, and listen to some of the RWBY OST, so I'm a little more back in the mood to write this, it may be a while until the next chapter, but I don't think the wait will be as long this time. I haven't bothered to proofread this chapter, so if you see any continuity errors or general mistakes, please point them out.

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