• 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 54: Healers and Killers

Damn Vernal, damn Raven, damn this icy hell, damn this whole weird world… And above all else, damn this hideous dog-body, Shay continued marching through waist-high snow, luckily he wasn’t one of the things that walked on all fours, but his comparatively small legs were not built for this weather, at least his thick brown fur meant the cold got to him slower than others, but he continued to fall face-first into the snow upon tripping on a shard of ice or rocky protrusion. North-west, as far as he could tell from the sun, was the general direction he was heading, away from Raven and Vernal’s trek along the mountains… He had passed into a thick arctic valley, not a single bit of plant life could be seen, nothing but glacial fields and hilly snow-mounds as far as the eye could see… He thought he could vaguely see some shining light in the distance, and although he had no clue what it could be, he headed toward it regardless. “At least I won’t die of thirst out here,” He said bitterly, his voice a little raspier and gruffer than back on Remnant.

At first, he hoped to find some hopelessly lost rabbit or bird, but nothing living was out in this icy plane, even if he did find something, his pistol was out of bullets, and he didn’t have anything, not even a speck of fire dust, to cook with. He now questioned whether leaving the group was a good idea… There was still time to find his way back into the mountains, even if it would be nightfall by the time he got back, and right now the sun was the only thing keeping him from freezing to death, his aura had long drained away, and without rest, it wouldn’t regenerate.

Right as he was about to turn around, the snow around him shifted, he thought he heard something moving… His hungry mind raced, and he figured there must be some burrowing creature beneath the snow, eating raw food didn’t sound appealing, but now, anything would do… He leapt forward, jumping on the next shifting patch of snow, but the next thing he knew, he was lying on his back… Something had knocked him in the jaw, hard… Suddenly, all around him, emerging from cloaks made of some shimmering cloth that matched the shape and texture of the snowy earth perfectly, came horses, the same small and misshapen horses that some of his tribe had been turned into, but these ones bore heavy silver and chrome colored armor that matched the white and dull blues of the snow plains. They raised crystalline devices, weapons of some kind, mounted to saddles. “Halt, you are illegally trespassing on the borders of the Crystal Empire, state your purpose Diamond Dog.”

“D-Diamond?” The comment caught Shay off guard, he didn’t look like a diamond, he certainly didn’t have any with him, even if he really wished he did, but he quickly shook off the thought, “I-I’m just cold, and hungry, please, do you have any food, there are horses like you out here, there must be a village or town…”

One of the guards pulled out a scroll, not a fancy digital holographic one, just an ancient paper scroll, and said “Sir, the description matches, he is one of the bandits seen around the Crystal Mountains, wanted for murder, robbery, and destruction of government property.”

A lump formed in Shay’s throat, and the leader-horse replied, “Alright, get some rope, let’s take him to the Princess… See if he knows where the rest of these bandits are...:” Next thing he knew, his arms and legs were tied up, he was given a bowl of warm soup that he was deeply thankful for, even if he was a prisoner. He was loaded into a cart and hauled by a pair of soldier-horses… He was unsure how these horses, ponies they called themselves, did it, but they trotted along the snow as if it was solid rock, even the cart didn’t dig into the frost, but rather rolled across the surface as if it was completely solid. Hours passed, the sun started to set, the sky getting ever so darker, but on the horizon, a solid spire of crystal started to rise from the hills, the entire structure looking like a luminescent needle of pure diamond, and it indeed was luminescent, it glowed as the sky darkened, lighting the clouds above.

As they got even closer, he was amazed to see horses trotting around, some in armor, some in clothing, many simply naked, walking around crystalline buildings, how they made these things was beyond him, and suddenly he realized that perhaps diamonds weren’t so valuable after all… The thing that really amazed him though, was the grass… All around the spire, in a massive circle, there was fresh and warm grass growing, with fruit-trees dotting the fields, some otherworldly warmth passed over him as he crossed through a gate, a pair of massive amethysts jutting from the earth, and at that moment he felt like he was back in the south of Mistral, rather than an icy and alien hell.

His legs were unbound, and he was hauled upright, standing on the ground felt strange after being in the back of the cart for so long, but he was pushed forward and started walking, quickly marching toward the base of the crystal spire, then up a flight of stairs into said tower, passing by beautiful rooms and luxurious halls… Shay briefly fantasized in living in such a place, even the rugs and tapestries were made from crystals woven into long threads.

Eventually, he was brought before a door, and his wrists were unbound, “Bow to her majesty, Princess Mi Amore Cadenza,” The guard told him, and then the door opened… What he saw was the strangest thing he had ever encountered in his entire life… The throne room was as expected, crystalline and radiant… What he didn’t expect was an aggressively pink horse, twice the size of every other horse he had encountered, with wings on its back and a horn on its head, staring him down.

It was warmer in the cave, but still, their legs and hooves felt numb. “This is the last of my private rations,” Raven muttered, pulling a bag of nuts and dried meats from her kimono.

“You have it…”

“No, I don’t want to watch you starve,” Raven said weakly, she spilled the bag on the ground, and divided it between the two, “You can have all the meat, it doesn’t taste as good in this new body.”

The two grazed on what they could, but they were still deadly hungry afterwards, “I suppose that’s the last taste of home we’ll ever get, we’ll need to find some alien food from here on, though that big lizard thing was tasty…”

“You stay, and rest that burn, I’ll explore the mountain, see if there’s anything edible around.” Raven moved up to the rocks blocking the cave’s mouth and pushed them aside, stepping out into a cold morning… The clouds and swirling creatures above had gone for now, the sun was shining. She looked down the hills, then stood stock still in shock… She ran back inside, “They found us!”

Up the mountain marched a quarter-legion of guards, no more, as the mountain was perilous enough without trying to march a full army over it, Cadance flew overhead, circling the mountain, the winds were strong and magical, someone had enchanted the peak with an everlasting cyclone, but she was an Alicorn and her power surpassed whatever ancient sorcerer had done this spell, she flew to protect her soldiers from the wind, redirecting the gusts with great telekinetic fields.

Clouds grew overhead with unnatural speed, and the wind started to blow faster… Out of the cave mouth flew a kirin, Cadence had never seen one in her life before, and they looked strange to her, but she knew what she was seeing, the creature was flying without wings, magic keeping it aloft, the kirin summoned forth bolts of arcane lightning and fire, raining them down upon the guards, but Shining Armor was down there, his speciality were wards and spells of protection, the quarter legion continued unharmed under Shining’s shields.

Cadence flew up to face the Kirin, “You have committed crimes against my kingdom and my ponies, surrender and you may be unharmed.” The kirin didn’t listen, jetting forward and drawing a blade with her hoof, charging the princess. The long curved sword was made from magically active crystal, and it took only the tiniest spark of her horn to shatter the blade long before it reached her, and the Kirin backed away, then fired a pair of blue fireballs. Cadence summoned forth a pair of boulders from the ground below and shielded herself from the fire, flinging the two at her attacker.

She sliced one boulder in half and dodged out of the way of the second, moving faster than any pegasus, but with less grace and stability, her sword now had a new blade, once again made from crystal, but different in color and magical signature, Cadence used her geomancy to shatter the crystal, and this time she collected the shards and sent them flying toward her attacker, the storm of razor fragments causing the kirin to grunt, and sparks of magical energy to fly from her body, but the kirin was otherwise unharmed. “I will not die!” The kirin shouted.

“Surrender, and no one will die today!” Cadence replied.

As the two battled in the sky, crystals, fire, and lightning arcing between them, Shining Armor continued his march up the mountain, it was rough and the winds nearly threw them off the cliffside, but soon, they crested the peak. The soldiers marched into the cave and found only one bandit within, a hippogriff, holding a wounded leg, the only other thing of note was a paper bag on the ground and a rusted copper bell. “Capture here, confiscate everything else.”

“Including the bag sir?”

“Yes, including the bag…”

The guard marched up and surrounded Vernal, “I-’ll come peacefully, just don’t hurt Raven.”

“Wh-” Oh, Raven must be the Kirin, Shining realized, then he gave a slight chuckle, “You clearly haven’t met the princess, she’ll be fine.”

Shining and the guards led the Hippogriff out of the cave, carrying the bell inside the paper bag. “Surrender, we have your accomplice!” Shining shouted, and that caught the Kirin’s attention.

Raven paused for a second, “Vernal!” And then at that moment of hesitation, Cadance fired a nerve-blocker spell, artificially paralyzing the Kirin from the neck-down and flying to catch her as she fell from the sky. In less than ten minutes, Vernal and Raven were both tied up and being carried down the mountains, when they came to the foothills, they saw a large chariot and a few smaller ones, standing next to it was a dog… No… Not just any dog, “Shay!” Raven shouted. The dog started to back away at hearing Raven’s voice, the woman-turned-kirin realized what happened in an instant, “You sold us out!”

“I- I didn’t have a choice, boss!”

“You betrayed the tribe!” They were all thrown into the back of the larger chariot and as the other horse-soldiers mounted their chariots, the tall pink one bent down over Vernal and started to remove her bandages, “What are you doing?” Raven said angrily.

“I’m not going to hurt her… I’m a healer, one of the best in Equestria, and the only medical mage you’ll find in the Crystal Empire,” She gave a chuckle, “You wouldn’t believe how long my list of ponies needing my aid is…” Raven watched, not quite understanding what was happening, some kind of magic she guessed. Vernal showed no signs of pain as flesh was stripped away, energy glowed within the wound, and new flesh was grown out to replaced the damaged tissue, finally, skin was melded together over the meat and her leg, while featherless, was unharmed. “It will be sore for a few days, don’t strain yourself too much… You were very lucky I found you, it was starting to become infected.”

“What are you going to do with us?” Raven said.

“Do not worry, I believe everyone deserves a second chance, so I won’t have you executed, yet, but you still committed severe crimes against my ponies, and I will not take that lightly… Be thankful that you ended up in the Crystal Empire, and not in Equestria… My aunt, and in particular, her sister, are not as merciful as I.”

With that, the horned and winged pony mounted herself to the chariot and took flight, and Raven was amazed as the chariot flew up into the cold air with little effort, flying off to some pony-city, caught like rats in the care of aliens. “I’m sorry…” Raven said.

Vernal raised an ear, “Hmm?”

“I’m sorry for dragging you into this… I… I wish the power of the Maiden never came to me. I wish there was some way I could get rid of it…”

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