Part 4 – Season 1: Fenrir Guild Arc – “Red Moon with a Side of Shrimp”
118 3 5
X
Reading Options
Font Size
A- 15px A+
Width
Reset
X
Table of Contents
Loading... please wait.

***

A Certain Skyscraper in A Financial District, Earth:

"Taffy." The Starchaser in crimson and gold addressed the little unicorn sitting on the Executive's chair.

"Star Rose." like his former Starchaser, Taffy radiated a malevolent aura just as bad as Melrondia's.

"We're only here for advice. Cecil shouldn't be alive anymore. We need to put him out of his misery." Macy, Star Rose's familiar explained.

"I know we're part of the hypocrisy but familiars are innocent." Star Rose kept her monotone.

"...and I'm very happy to lose that innocence." Taffy cut in coldly "When Melrondia was corrupted, I took that personally... I will bring every unicorn here if I could. I will see my world's hues and colors change red and sparkles to turn to flames just to right that one wrong." He seemed to be growing every moment, his Aura was starting to become more suffocating that to the untrained eye, there was a Nightmare sitting on that chair.

"You're on a roll this month." Macy remarked to Star Rose.

"Let's talk then, about Cecil. Can you help?"

Wordlessly the unicorn opened a portal. Not bothering to explain he trotted through it, his visitors followed.

 

***

Redberry Woods, Teragalia:

Ingrid had formed an Adventurer Team consisting of herself and two previous companions; Kvaris and Kinu. The two of them were fluffy Kobolds which resembled dogs, which was partly the reason Ingrid invited them and arranged a regular salary.

She called her Team "The Whales"

"Why whales?" Siria, the Elfen Guild Secretary had asked.

"It's a euphemism where we're from, it's the totem animal of the God of Wealth." Cecil explained.

"What an auspicious name, I like it." Siria remarked.

"Pfft"

 

***

"C'mon! c'mon let's pick up the pace, boys and girls!" Kvaris called "You don't want to get caught out during a Red Moon!"

Kinu however was mostly barking and repeating "RED MOON! WOOF! WOOF WOOF!" which was still enough for anyone to get the message.

Ingrid busied herself helping out with the other adventures pack up.

The Whales were one of the few Teams assigned to clearing up the nearby areas around New Gorpisal of any campers. For various reasons people would pitch their tents a few miles outside of the town; some were engaged in night missions such as picking herbs that grew only in the moonlight, others were tasked with exterminating dangerous fauna or those that have been causing damage to crops and livestock, while others were travelers who were close to town, but were already too tired to continue.

Certain areas, like the Redberry Woods were considered safe enough to make camp with. Mainly due the presence of the Shepherds.

"They can grow as big as a wagon, have ten legs..." Kvaris began.

"You mean the big spiders?" Cecil asked "George mentioned how annoyed he gets having to corral them into the city during the night."

"Well it does get cold at night" Ingrid cut in "I can only imagine what an SUV-sized frozen spider would feel like if it slid off the wall and rolled onto you."

"Splat!" Kinu said, slapping both paws for emphasis.

"That would be really ironic." Cecil said.

It didn't take long for Ingrid and Cecil to learn about this world's interesting ecology. Neither were spooked by giant bugs, Ingrid's fought her share of them and Cecil has "MMA'd" one to submission when he enveloped one's head and then began to rapidly contract in a stranglehold.

Furthermore, their Kobold companions told them they eat the giant bugs that prey or parasitize people. For people themselves, the Shepherds were indifferent, all they saw in people were moving lures which they used to ambush their prey.

"So ironically.... Redberry Woods is safe because the big bugs try to prey on campers, and they in turn get eaten by the Shepherds." Ingrid said thoughtfully.

"Precisely." Kvaris' tail wagged.

 

***

"Well, I guess that's the last of them," Ingrid observed. "We still got plenty of light left before the Red Moon sets in."

"Hold on...I'm picking up something," Kinu said, walking off to the side and sniffing. He let out a bunch of loud barks.

"That should do it." Kvaris said but Kinu cut him off.

"No! That guy over there hasn't moved for a while."

"Ugh!" Kvaris said but it sounded more like a throaty bark. "He might be sick or something, c'mon!"

"Hey! Hey! Pack up already! We got a Red Moon coming, buddy!" Kvaris said, before joining his pup brother's barking.

"I'll go ahead!" Ingrid said, leaping from one tree trunk to the next, as she kicked off from one tree to the next, she set up a barrier so it isolated the impact force. Ingrid's velocity increased from each kickoff like a pinball allowing her to find the tent in the space of three seconds.

It was cloaked.

It was cone-shaped, just barely refracting the light but it was otherwise completely transparent to the eye.

"Hey... anybody home?" She said.

Ingrid sighed, she doubted this wizard's invisible tent would stand up to a horde of monsters when they come stampeding their way to New Gorpisal.

"Look, I'm going to huff, and puff, and blow-"

"Doctor Livingstone, I Presume?" said a voice from within.

"No but wait... how do you know that?" Ingrid said. Nobody in this world should know that piece of literature.

Something peeked out, she didn't know what to make of it but it looked like a...

"Whoa! A human! It's been so long!" With great gusto, a big Terrestrial Lobster quickly skittered over to Ingrid and embraced her with all four arms, it's mandibles clicking happily.

"Aaagh! What the hell is that!?" Cecil screamed, recoiling in horror. He wasn't scared of the Shepherds but that was mostly because they kept their distance. Having an elongated giant isopod rushing at you however filled him with revulsion.

"Don't hug me! You're way above the legal size limit!" Ingrid protested mildly "What if the gestapo from the Marine and Wildlife see us?!"

"KILL IT INGRID! KILL IT WITH FIRE!!!" Cecil protested, horror filling him completely as the creature with too many legs wrapped itself around Ingrid and wriggle around.

"Don't be rude, Cecil!" Ingrid yelled, patting the lobster's back as it happily chittered and blubbered in joy. On a more practical scale, the talking lobster wasn't as nasty as she expected. It was definitely large, almost six feet tall when "standing up" but it's compact body was free of the usual spikes she saw on your regular Maine dinner night, so even if she didn't have her shields on it wasn't going to accidentally tear a hole through her proverbial cloak.

And he looked very familiar.

"Hold on to it, Ingrid!" Cecil cried, panicking "I'll get the thyme and lemon butter!"

"Please, get me out here buddy," the lobster said, delirious with joy. "I'm starting to go nuts! I was only halfway through the Season Three of Breaking Ba-"

"BAD SLIME!" Ingrid swatted at the window, "don't you recognize him?"

"I do! On a Betty Crocker's catalog! Lying in a Pyrex tub with lemon slices and parsley!" Cecil had pressed himself against the wall of his virtual room.

"You superchatted him a hundred bucks last week you idiot!" Ingrid yelled.

"Huh?" The Lobster said. Stepping back so he could get a good look at the human and her slime familiar.

Simultaneously, both the Lobster and the Slime pointed appendages at each other in recognition.

"You're the V-tuber SCP-Shrimp 288!" Cecil exclaimed

"And you're SlimeBoi 836! I recognize that voice!" SCP-Shrimp said.

"I thought you were using a rig!" they said in unison.

It was at that point that Kvaris and Kinu burst through the clearing. Kvaris gave the group an exasperated "What are you waiting for?" shrug.

"You want me to pack up for you?" he said with annoyance. It seemed to the Earth-based trio that SCP-Shrimp didn't strike them as strange.

 

***

"So your ship crashed or something and you ended up here?" Ingrid asked, as they trekked their way back to town.

The Lobster nodded, he introduced himself as Arek Ixilos and claimed to be an alien called a Gulan. He was currently living on Earth and just as he was about to leave the planet for a quick shopping run his ship had an FTL accident and ended up here.

"I flew. On a spaceship. I'm sure as hell I wasn't crossing the street on an early morning beer run, and a tractor driver would be more scared of me than I of it"

"When you landed here you didn't happen to have a letter of your wife with you?" Ingrid asked.

"No, just a shopping list; thought I could get them faster if I FTL to Braxis-2, but I live on Earth for most of the time. I make a decent side hustle by making moonshine on..." Arek suddenly paused. "...uhhh... somewhere, not that I think you'll narc on me." He handed a slip of paper to Ingrid.

"a dozen eggs, meow-mix..." Ingrid meanwhile, was reading the shopping list Arek gave him " ... huh, milk."

"Where's your ship then?" Cecil asked.

"Buried it. It's engine coil is busted but I got it's transponder going off on regular intervals. So hopefully we'll get some help soon." He took out of all things... a smartphone.

 

***

The two Kobolds briefly glanced at the device but were more focused on keeping a look out. It seemed that the Sea-folk and the two Fae were from the same land, or World if Ingrid was telling the truth, which they were disinclined to believe. Just another of the oddities from their strange land.

The two Kobolds and Ingrid had come to the understanding that their true role was not really of combat but mostly as guides. Their Sire Father was a traveling merchant and they spent their first eighty years of puphood being in various places. When they decided to become adventurers; their parents had allowed for it, under the belief that it would knock the foolishness out of them and as traveling merchants they did need to get accustomed to the real rigors of travel, and not on a wagon.

Now from what they could pick up about the Sea-folk man, this Arek, he seemed to be some sort of huckster, and jack-of-all trades, an otherwise ordinary man. That the only thing extraordinary about him was he had lived amongst the Fae for a long time, hiding amongst his errant hosts as it was apparently against the law.

And somehow he had been shipwrecked and some kind of Fae magic was cast, to summon help.

However it seems that after some discussion, Arek had come to the realization that perhaps this help would not come and that their best chance of returning home would be to salvage what magic items their ship have. Well, that's not their problem. They're guides, not porters and Arek then volunteered for the job.

 

***

"Two on the left, you guys keep going." Ingrid said and vanished from view.

"Uhhh... didn't you guys say the nasties only come out during a Red Moon?" Arek's mandibles chittered nervously, The two Kobolds look up to him and nodded.

"Yes, but it's not uncommon for them to start showing up the closer it comes to sunset. You're lucky we found you while it was still high noon. Why didn't you come out?" came Kinu's answer.

"Well uhhh... I was told that some people would find my appearance frightening." Arek replied.

Kinu cocked his head to the side curiously, "Why?"

"Kinu, don't you get it? He's probably from some far place that are mostly Sea-Folk. Remember that weird Ogre City in Zvilo where they keep to themselves because they think all Small-Folk find them scary?"

"Well yeah, I mean, if you put your books to an Ogre, he'll find the fifty mistakes you didn't see after reviewing ten times. Dad got really nervous everytime he had to come Anram's office and submit his budget."

"Why are Ogres book-keepers?" Arek asked curiously

"Because to them, they live in a world full of Small-Folk so they gotta be careful where they step, gotta be careful where they go, they end up developing an eye for the smallest details." Kinu answered.

"Yeah, I remembered one time Kinu had his school books full of lines from Anram" Kvaris laughed.

"Like you were any smarter, you stuffed nose whelp." Kinu muttered under his breath.

"Ah go pick your nose, Kinu!"

The two kobolds' dialogue then denigrated to angry barking and raised hackles.

Sibling rivalry, it's multi-universal Arek thought, as he watched two fluffy dog-people argue.

At that point, something that looked like an oversized pig stumbled out of the bush, the two brothers then dashed at it swords drawn but still barking at each other, content to turn the pig into their punching bag.

"Oh yeah, nice big cut, that's what your girl is like you ARF ARF ARF ARF ARF!!!" Kvaris said as he nimbly dodged the Boar's tusks and stomping feet.

Eventually the Boar was sent running, having been "persuaded" to find less troublesome and quarrelsome prey.

"Look, that's how fast you run when RUFF RUFF RUFF RUFF RUFF!" Kinu yelled over the din.

Arek continued to scuttle along the path quietly.

 

***

As they neared the town, Arek chittered his mandibles, a Gulan's way of clearing it's throat

"I have to say, Ingrid..." Arek began

"Huh?" Ingrid turned her head.

"Here we go..." Cecil muttered, more to himself than anyone.

"Since you're the only human around here..." he made a Terran salute gesture, "and you need to know that that is now Humanity's-"

"WASSUP GEORGE!" Ingrid waved to the Orc guard

"Hurry up this time." George said in annoyance, rolling his eyes when Ingrid started combing through her Storage. "Get a Porter, will you please?" he added.

Arek looked like he was about to say something but Cecil shook his head.

"Don't question it buddy, just don't" he said as Ingrid rummaged through her Storage for money.

"Just pay me back when you can, it's two silvers per head." Ingrid said to Arek and handed the money to George.

"Welcome to New Gorsipal." the Orc guard said in his usual bored monotone, barely giving the giant terrestrial lobster a glance, but it did make him hungry.

 

***

The Guild Receptionist didn't bat an eyelid as Arek did his registration in the guild.

"What's your previous occupation?"

"He makes moonshine, and is New Mexico's greatest me-" Cecil said in a stage whisper but the Reception gave him a dismissive wave.

"I was a farmhand. But I can do other menial work."

"He's an RL Streamer who packs a bluetooth speaker so people can play embarrassing music." Cecil added. The Receptionist ignored the slime's obscure Fae rambling. Whatever it said though, caused Arek to act like someone frantically searching their pockets for money.

"If it's the fee, that's twenty silvers. but first..." She then rattled off a list of expected duties of a Porter to Arek so he understood his job. Meanwhile, Ingrid was reaching into her Storage for twenty silvers. A worthy investment, Ingrid thought.

Of all her abilities, her Storage was not only the most damaged but also the one she was the least proficient in, as she was used to fighting with her fists. It was due to this current state that she wondered if she truly resurrected or had never died at all.

Maybe when I got pulled into this world it somehow reconstructed me. Ingrid thought, and the thought did not amuse, because the Dark Queen Melrondia was still unaccounted for.

When she was done Arek was standing near her.

"The elf lady said I gotta do a physical proficiency test, not sure why."

Ingrid shrugged, "just play along. Even if you fail, you're coming with us, it just means we get less benefits but that's not my priority."

"So..." Ingrid said after a pause. "As you know we got a Red Moon coming, you packing any heat?"

"Uhhh... about that..."

 

***

Ingrid whistled as she saw Arek open up one of his sports bags which was labeled "Emergency Food". Cecil however narrowed his eyes.

"Really? Where's the laser guns? Where's the phasers? Why is it the boring guns you'd see from Call-"

"First of all" Arek said quickly, his mandibles clicking fast "You can't get those laser guns through customs... I mean you know, Space Customs. What, do you think they don't check your bags at the airport in space? And second, I zap some guy in self-defense in some Kansas farm, who's your suspect? Farmer Smith, church-going guy next door, or the alien shrimp man from outer space?"

"They don't check guns through space?" Ingrid narrowed her eyebrows.

"Do you get taken aside if you got detergent or baking soda in an airport? No." Arek said. "Even though those could be considered ingredients for explosives nobody cares. Same for the rest of the Galaxy, they see a disassembled gun they'll think you're the intergalactic equivalent of a guy going to a samurai cosplay event."

Ingrid picked up one of the rifles, and with practiced hands she quickly inspected the slides, charging handles and the sights.

Arek's mandibles clicked "How does she know..."

Cecil shook his head "before we recruited her as a Magical Girl she was hunting down SEEDS like she was-"

"...John! Rick! ...and Ed!" Siria called out to the three captains of the Adventurer Guilds to help organize the defense of the town.

"You afraid of heights, Arek?" Ingrid asked as the Adventurers were scrambling.

Arek gave an A-Ok sign, or the best he could, having only three claws per hand.

 

***

Atop New Gorsipal Hall Tower, Teragalia:

"You okay with this, Arek?" Cecil said after some silence.

"Okay with what?" Arek was still looking at the vast expanse of monsters inexorably marching from all directions.

"We just rigged this tower to explode. You'll die." Cecil said flatly.

"And I just told you, I was once a cameraman back in Nam" his mandibles clicked comfortingly.

"Yeah but it's different, you know? It's not like you went there expecting to die."

"Maybe I already have." Arek said. "You and Ingrid got here because she was basically mashing Circle on that Mero-something Queen."

On their first day of visiting New Gorsipal, Ingrid was able to put food through the Cecil's Window. They have been experimenting ever since. So long as part of Cecil was inside it, he could poke parts of himself out. As a bonus, it basically allowed him to fly anywhere.

And now he was high up on a tower with Arek, Ingrid had given them the job to make use of his smuggled arms.

"You're quite natural with that, Cecil" Arek chuckled as he saw the slime carry an .50 cal BMG rifle, The sights and trigger were engulfed into his body, stabilizing it. Meanwhile, an assault rifle was also engulfed, but not so much. He couldn't operate both weapons simultaneously but he could quickly switch if needed.

Cecil let out a nervous laugh. "The truth was, when Ingrid was still Star lily, I also helped along. It was only when Melrondia started targeting people with latent Mana that my role was basically reduced to being a cheerleader. On the plus side, it did mean that the frequency dropped."

Arek shifted his own sniper rifle, he still couldn't believe how light it was. It seemed that Lily's enhancement was the real thing after all.

"Here comes our homegrown wizards..." Arek said quietly, The town erupted with bright lights as all the mages the town could muster cast their most devastating magic.

"Shoot anything that looks like it could attack from a distance." Cecil said.

"Gotcha. This is gonna be like old times SlimeBoi, but for real." Arek replied.

The two began scanning for likely targets, soon it'll be the turn of the warriors to rush in and engage in melee combat.

"What a hell of a world to meet you, pal."

 

***

"Stick to the plan, boys!" George roared down the assembled adventurers on his section of the wall. "Do not wander off too far, that's for the archers and mages to deal with!"

It was time, the monsters were closing and despite the work of the mages the stampede was still too thick.

George and the other Orcs let out a deafening, defiant roar, Mana enhancing the fighters around them. Horns blew and the warriors of New Gorsipal charged in unison.

Behind the front lines of the monsters, a huge explosion sent carcasses flying in all directions.

Ingrid emerged from the crater and with great speed she lunged into the thick of the fray, Her Aura widened to immense proportions as she tore through their ranks, and it shredded and eviscerated all that came into contact. What survived was too maimed to keep fighting and was subsequently trampled by the relentless horde.

Concentrating her Mana and letting the ambient Ether coalesce into a lethal maelstrom of energy, Ingrid sprinted at high speed in a circle around the town's outer perimeter, cutting off the bestial front lines from support and allowing the defenders to slaughter them wholesale.

As Ingrid completed one circuit she froze herself, causing a large area around hers to be enveloped in a jagged icy prison, and those who were rushing in ended up cutting or impaling themselves along its surface. Even the places a considerable distance from the ice became covered in frost, freezing the monsters and causing more to slip and get trampled.

The ice shatters and Ingrid mindfully directs the force away from the town; towards the attackers, and she makes another circuit,

After a third circuit the horde has thinned significantly. There's still a lot going, but she decides to take her time on this one.

In between Ingrid's circles of death, the mages take this opportunity to make a concerted effort in blasting away those attempting to join the front lines.

 

***

Arek and Cecil had no spotters so after shooting they switched to automatic fire, aiming high into the thickest of the fray. When they found something that was casting spells they immediately used their BMG rifles to take it down.

"Wish you brought RPG's today" Cecil yelled over the din, emptying another magazine at a growing concentration to the west.

"I forgot my Red Moon Emergency Kit, my bad!" Arek yelled back as his sniper rifle took out the head of a skeletal wight that was creating a firestorm, keeping the adventurers at bay.

 

***

The town's defenders were now pushing forward, and Ingrid herself began leaping into the concentration of monsters further back, which this time were full of high-level threats.

There were a lot of them, and many of them felt stronger than Zardos. Well, to be fair she didn't know if he was the strongest in town so she decided to not take the chance and head for them directly.

She wasn't going to dodge their attacks, she redirected more of her energy into her protective Aura and let them get the equivalent of trying to grab a dremel tool or punch a belt-sander. With that she wildly swung away as she tore through the hordes, her straight blows sending forth a spectral lion that savaged it's prey before detonating, her swinging hooks and kicks creating crescent-shaped shockwaves the cut through several bodies.

Those that tried to strike her not only had their attacking limb shredded but also pulled in the rest of their body, flinging them towards their companions and bowling them over. A huge sword struck her in the back, creating a fan of shrapnel that cut and maimed those behind her and sending the weapon flying into the others’ heads. One Lovecraftian creature tried to swallow her up between its massive jaws, causing its head to twist out of its body which then began flopping and scrabbling about, crushing and tearing everything about it

 

***

Arek led the charge, guns blazing as the Arthropod-like Gulan skittered up the hill towards the now thinning mob, many of which were beginning to return to their senses and running away. Cecil had attached himself to his back, picking off targets with his .50 cal sniper rifle. He kept a tendril hanging low to support the belt of bullets that fed Arek's totally-not-legally-sourced M60. With two claws he held his machine gun and with the other pair he held up a flag bearing the town's Coat-of-Arms. As the two reached the top of the hill, Arek waved the banner, rallying the defenders.

It didn't take long for the once-driven horde to scamper away. Arek, hamming it up, emptied the rest of his belt to the sky.

 

***

They found Ingrid punching it out with a Fire Elemental. The impact of their blows even from this distance felt like a light shove to the chest. The defenders, exhausted and figuring that Ingrid probably provoked this one, turned and went home to celebrate, treat their wounded, and bury their casualties.

The celebrations went on well into the morning, Arek somehow being made into a local hero. Cecil was beside himself giggling.

"What's so funny?" Arek asked.

"The last time I saw someone like you being flipped around like that, It also came with fried rice, peas, and onions."

Ingrid later returned that afternoon, arm-in-arm with the elemental as they both staggered and slumped over a table, to doze off for a week straight. Cecil would later learn that just because it's "Fire" Elemental doesn't mean it's always burning hot (though it has no problem maintaining that state for extended periods of time). Its involvement in the Red Moon was simply coincidental and Ingrid had mistaken it as hostile.

 

***

A Certain Skyscraper in A Financial District, Earth:

"Macy..." Taffy said just as Star Rose exited the room.

The Kyuubi fox familiar was about to exit the door. "...you know how this is going to end."

"I would have done the same even if it was for you, Taffy." the fox replied "...Ingrid knew that Athena was responsible" she added, jerking her head towards Star Rose's direction and left the room.

"... and yet she trusted her!" she shouted through the door.

 


Author's notes

Arek's debut will never not be funny to me.


Chapter 4 Glossary 

Arek Ixilos

A Gulan that has been living on Earth for a long time. Is well-versed in Earth's cultures and is implied to be living there illegally and frequently engaged in less-than-legal activities such as smuggling, both on Earth and the rest of the Galaxy. Hinted to have been residing in rural America due to his mention of running a moonshine business.

Known to the general populace in Earth as a V-tuber going by SCP-Shrimp, his IRL streams often being dismissed as simply an elaborate rig and/or virtual avatar.

Athena

Real name of Star Rose, Leader of the Starchasers, Surname unknown.

Gulan

A sapient species from the planet of the same name. They come from the same Dimension as Earth does.

They resemble terrestrial shrimps or lobsters. They walk "upright" with their upper halves reaching the heights of most sapient species. The lower halves walk on eight legs while they have four "arms" posessing three claws per hand. The second set of arms are naturally folded when relaxed. Gulan's bodies are compact, lacking any spikes or long feelers as they have originally adapted to living in very dense jungles.

Gulan mouth parts are similar to most crustacean organisms and they click in certain audible patterns to indicate certain tones and emotions. Their hands are also dexterous enough to match five-fingered hands. As a species with an exoskeleton, Gulans generally do not wear clothes in the traditional sense, aside from decorative or indicative pieces such as a scarf.

Red Moon

A regularly occurring phenomenon where monsters and other hostile fauna are influenced to hunt down people en masse, leading to a mass of monsters assaulting towns. During this time the affected monsters become enhanced, becoming stronger that usual. Despite it's name the Moon itself does not become red but rather the ambient Ether assumes a visible red hue, reflecting onto the sky, mists,and clouds.

Shepherds of the Forest

Very Intelligent species of gigantic spiders that live in dense forests. They prey on large insects which in turn prey on people. Some even wander into towns, much to the consternation of the guards who have to wrangle them to get inside the town itself so it can stay warm by the fire.

By Earth standards they have the intelligence rivaling if not higher than great apes and cetaceans,

Small-Folk

A collective names taller races like Ogres and Giants use on sapient species much smaller than them.

Taffy

Unicorn. Former Familiar of Melrondia. Currently runs or is involved with some kind of underground Yakuza-like company.

The Whales

Ingrid Lily's Adventurer Team. Members consist of Ingrid, Cecil, the Kobolds Kvaris and Kinu, and Arek.

Cecil has jokingl explained that a whale is a totem animal of the "God of Wealth."

On Earth, a Whale is a term for someone who splurges a lot of money.

Unicorn

Implied to be capable of turning into a more malevolent Nightmare. Taffy hints that behind their well-known wholesome traits are capable of extreme depravity and evil.
5