"Did you find any relics in your area?"
Nat shook his head, "No. I really tried but...-"
"It's alright." Shiggy adjusted his backpack. "We'll just have to bring what we have back to the orphanage."
The 1st layer of the Abyss, right beneath the town of Orth and the only part of the Abyss considered 'safe'. Beginner Delvers or Red whistles often traversed this level, searching for lower grade artifacts amongst its calm biomes. Nat and Shiggy walked together, occasionally glancing at the clouds that hung above the lower levels.
"... You don't think we'll be strung up naked for this?" Nat asked.
Shiggy didn't respond, simply hanging his head down. Nat looked away, copying Shiggy's stature before his eyes winced, his face catching a glint.
"Hey..." Nat then knelt low, inspecting the shiny piece of metal. "What's this?"
Shiggy walked up next to his friend, "Keep onto that, it could be a-..." his sentence faltering as he looked up.
A giant 'machine' was embedded within the dirt ahead of them, the disturbed earth indicating that the wreck must have fallen from a long distance. Its design was a thing of mystery. The first part, the front, consisted of a metal and glass container in the shape of a large sideways L, with two inactive bulbs at the end of its 'hood'. The back was a giant square tent over metal, it's color a dirty green. Wheels seemed to be attached to the bottom but were horribly bent from the impact. Shiggy and Mat stared at it, at awe at the size of the relic.
"Woah..." Shiggy said with wide eyes, "It looks like some sort of metal... carriage?"
Nat cautiously walked up to it, inspecting the side of the front part before turning back to Shiggy. "Hey! There are smaller relics attached to it!" He then turned around and pulled at the 'ears' of the carriage, tearing off the rectangular thing. He grunted, the novice Delver surprised as he almost fell back. He then held it up, a smile on the boys face. "Shiggy, look! It's some sort of mirror!"
Shiggy paused before relenting, walking forward to look down. "It is, and it's so clear..."
Nat could barely hold his excitement. "I never would have imagined we'd find a relic this big, especially in the first layer!"
"Then let's check out the rest of it." Shiggy said, reaching what appeared to be a handle. "I'm sure we'll find more."
It opened, a bottle dropped out of the side of the container as the two kids flinched. It landed on the dirt, rolling slightly before Nat picked it up, squinting his eyes. "What is this?"
Shiggy took it out of Nat's hands, inspecting the strange letters and blue adornments on it. "Wow... These runes are completely unknown!" He then tilted it, watching the strange liquid slosh inside. "... Amazing..." He then turned his head to notice the interior of the container. It consisted of two seats made of an unknown material, as well as a bizarre wheel placed in front of the leftmost seat. Random relics were strewn inside, molded and dusty from age. Nat had begun to climb as Shiggy began to hesitate.
"Wait, maybe we're being a little too hasty."
"Huh?" Nat turned his head, on foot already atop the seat as another grabbed onto the wheel for purchase. "We can't afford to be cautious anymore, Shiggy, not before a bunch of other Delvers find this giant relic and-"
His hand touched the center of the strange wheel.
Nat literally jumped, as did Shiggy before the former tumbled off the chair and painfully landed on his behind. Nat let out a yelp of pain, form quivering, "I-I didn't mean to do that!"
"Calm down, nothing's happened..." Shiggy responded, looking back up at the metal thing. "It must've been one of the functions of this giant relic."
Sure enough, nothing had happened. The giant relic had remained the same, inactive and unmoving thanks to its broken form. Nat watched before standing back up, "O-Okay..." He then began to climb up again...
Only to stop upon hearing a distant growl.
Both Delvers turned their heads, noticing a shadow fly over the relic. Nat turned to look up just as Shiggy grabbed him by the shoulder, pushing Nat and himself into the container of the relic, closing the door behind them. "Wha-?"
"Splitjaw. Crimson Splitjaw. I-It's smaller so it must be a juvenile." Shiggy simply said, sweat already beginning to bead on the kid's face. "Hide."
They both did just that, finding space in front of the chairs and compartment of the relic. The small space was dusty, if not a little cramped, but they both managed to stay silent despite the conditions. The low growl of the Splitjaw could be heard outside, vibrating the metal and stirring the dust within.
It was moments like these that both kids could already see their deaths, food for the passing juvenile.
The growling then stopped.
A few tense moments passed, Nat and Shiggy holding hands over their mouths before the Splitjaw smashed into the relic. Both kids screamed, glass from above shattering over the seat as the metal beside them dented, indicating that the Splitjaw had rammed it from the front. Nat looked up, "What do we do!?"
Shiggy froze up, eyes darting around before blinking. He then turned, reaching into his giant backpack as the Splitjaw roared outside.
He produced a light stone bomb, Nat's eyes widening.
"Where did you-!"
"I made it!" Shiggy then climbed out of the small space, the glass bottle in his left and the bomb in his right. The Splitjaw was rounding to the front again, preparing another ram before he threw the homemade device, covering his eyes at the last second as it detonated on the hood of the relic. The Splitjaw screeched, its senses overloading as its giant head shook and quivered. Shiggy grabbed Nat by the backpack with his free hand, pulling him up. "This is our chance! Run!"
And they did, opening the door and rushing outside with their backpacks. The grass was bumpy, but thankfully the lack of artifacts they were carrying meant they could run faster. Shiggy pointed at a rocky outcropping ahead.
"We can take cover there-"
And then he tripped over a bump. His glasses fell off, disappearing in the grass before him as Nat came to his side. "Shiggy!"
The Crimson Splitjaw had recovered, rearing its body away from the truck and turning toward the two kids. It roared, slithering through the air. Shiggy attempted to get back up, using the bottle as leverage as he and Nat looked up from the grass.
A figure stood before them, the sun casting a shadow over the two orphans as the person raised something, aiming with both arms. A cacophony of bangs was heard, almost deafening as Nat and Shiggy covered their ears, just able to make out the pained screech emitted by the Splitjaw. It carried on for a second or two before finally stopping. A moment passed, both orphans slowly looking back to see the result. The Crimson Splitjaw was unmoving, body resting on the grass and head riddled with bleeding holes. They then looked back, both boys getting a good look at their savior.
The strange Delver wore a full hooded bodysuit of dull green, with layers to indicate armor stored underneath and various pouches to for carrying. The person also sported a brown belt and black boots, with a strange-looking machete and device holstered right and left respectively around the belt. A weapon, possibly the source of the noise, was held within its hands, consisting of metal and orange wood, with the stock at one end and barrel on the other to indicate that it was some sort of musket. Delvers often stayed away from black powder weapons, as they were loud and could only fire one shot before having to suffer a lengthy reload, not enough to stop a rampaging creature of the Abyss. Yet this person had fired an uncountable amount from a single barrel.
How was such a thing even possible, was it some sort of relic? It did look the part, as a strange J shaped container connected to the bottom of said weapon.
Finally, the most outstanding feature of all was the mask the person wore beneath their hood. It was pure black, with a long tube running from the back like a trunk. Two soulless lenses stared at the kids, both unable to see the eyes of its user. Nat attempted to say something, only for the words to die in his mouth. The presence this person emitted was almost terrifying, inhuman even as the person raised a finger in front of the mask.
"Shhh..." It muffled before placing the weapon on its back and taking out something else, a long tube with a pump beneath it. The person racked a hand beneath it, a satisfying *Schklikt* sounding before walking past them. Nat and Shiggy looked at each other before looking at the Delvers bulky backpack, noticing the person walking up to the body of the Splitjaw and pausing in front of it.
And then the juvenile sprung to life, revealing that it had been playing dead despite the numerous wounds it had sustained. Its maw opened, revealing two sets of giant fangs as it lunged straight toward the person.
Shiggy's eyes widened as Nat called out.
The strange Delver simply raised the tube and fired.
A portion of the Splitjaw's maw was blasted off, fang along with it, it somehow kept going, trying to bite the Delver with the remains of its mouth. The Delver dove to the side, avoiding the attack and pumping the weapon again before aiming at the side of its already damaged head. The shot blew off a giant chunk, tossing its flesh and brain matter through the air and onto the grass.
The Crimson Splitjaw was finally dead, slumping down atop the grass as its tongue lolled out of its closed serpentine mouth. The Delver held their weapon still, waiting for a moment before finally holstering the weapon. The person took out a small grey device and held it upright before clicking, a small bright flash harmlessly striking the body before the Delver placed the device back into one of their pouches.
Nat and Shiggy slowly walked up to the person, the latter having retrieved his glasses as they stared down at the dead Splitjaw. The person turned to them, resting the weapon on a shoulder before squatting down, head level with both kids.
Shiggy then realized that the figure was holding out a hand, fingerless gloves expecting something.
"Дайте його тут." A masculine and muffled voice spoke behind the mask.
He somehow knew what the now revealed man wanted despite the completely unknown language he spoke, handing over the bottle full of clear liquid as the man took it.
"Спасибі." The man said again, uncorking the top.
He then took off his mask, revealing a strong but tired face, shaved hair and a thin grey goatee around his mouth. His eyes shared a unique blue, dull like the rest of his gear, almost as if they had lost light to them long ago. He then raised the relic to his mouth, drinking the liquid within it before looking down at the two kids.
Despite his worn appearance, he smiled at the two orphans and spoke, accented words that they could finally understand.
"So, Children. Mind telling me where I am?"
So what exactly is this story? For starters, it's a S.T.A.L.K.E.R and Made in Abyss crossover, something which I'm surprised has not been done seeing the similar themes in both series. We'll get a better idea of how exactly this Veteran Stalker ended up in the Abyss in the next chapter... and what exactly makes him a game-changer for the rules of the Abyss. I'll give you a hint, it involves a very particular artifact he has in his possession. I don't know how far this story will go in all honesty, but I'm hoping it'll get just as much love as my other story as I love both MiA and Stalker.
If you read the story and liked it (or disliked it), leave a review or a PM, I would really appreciate it.
P.S. This story takes place quite a bit BEFORE the events of Made in Abyss Season 1 take place, about 4 months or more even. There will be a few time skips here and there, so it'll catch up eventually. I've also read the manga but don't worry, there won't be spoilers for that until much later on (if it helps, I'll also put a warning on later chapters that are delving into manga territory).
Дайте його тут - Dayte yoho tut - Give it here
Спасибі - Spasybi - Thanks