by Colombiaguy

Chapter 12: Chapter 12- Here's the plan.

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Author's Notes:

Woo! Sorry for the wait ya'll, but I'm back! And don't think I haven't forgotten my promise! Ya'll have been patient and it SHALL BE REWARDED! This chapter will be followed up directly with another! You guys are truly awesome and supportive. Enjoy the chapters!

Ok, in all honesty, I was looking pretty calm on the outside but I was pretty freaked on the inside. Celestia, Luna, Shining Armor, and myself were making our way towards the castle barracks to meet with my partner for the mission, Night Glory. The trip was taking a while and I had some time to really consider everything that was happening. I understood what was asked of me, and how I planned to execute it. What was bugging me were the “what ifs”. As much as I’d like to be optimistic, pessimism tends to keep you prepared for the worst. I had run through a couple dozen scenarios of how I’d deal with any of these rebels/usurpers. I’d come to identify a possible problem: I could lie when calm, but my major issue was if I got nervous. I had a ton of nervous ticks, and if I tried to lie it’d be blatantly obvious. The only solution I could think of would be for Night Glory, my partner for the mission,to lie instead...assuming she didn’t have as bad a poker face as I did. I was mostly hoping that nothing would happen to make political assassination worse, or prompt another attempt.

The whole situation was hitting me at full force. It hadn’t been more than three days since I died and gotten a new body (that has to be attached to another body). I had learned a lot in that time, but my perception of this world was completely shattered. I mean the characters were what I expected and held to what I’ve seen, but attempted coups? Political Assassinations? Either Lauren Faust omitted some details, or she was some kind of psychic who caught glimpses into this place and missed some details that would have definitely bumped the FCC rating. Ugh, it’s times like this I wish I had gone into the military like my dad. He always had this confidence no matter what situation he went into. He was always calm and just seemed to know what to do. I, on the other hand, was nearing the pinnacle of my sanity. I mean this scenario sounded like it would be something an insane person would contrive or some kind a fever dream. I mean it was a new world, with different rules and laws. Who wouldn’t want to investigate something like this? It’s a world with magic, monsters, and mystery! That’s all the three M’s of adventure! I wanted to feel awesome, to rush off and go on an adventure!...But I need to be attached to something and I only get control if my host is unconscious. I mean I could be a dick and just jump host to host to do what I wanted, but I can’t do it. I couldn't! These ponies have dreams, aspirations, lives to live. They were still living things. What right do I have to force them to do what I want? I was already worried enough about being in the mare I was in now. Le Sigh, well maybe...when this is all said and done, I can figure out what to do with myself.

I decided to check on my escorts. We had made our way into the heart of the castle and were going down a corridor that hugged the edge of what I could only assume was the Royal Garden. I had to stop. I didn’t have much of a green thumb myself but I always had a perchant for natural beauty. Nature itself always seemed to create its own art. When an outside force would alter it, nature just went with the flow and adapted. The Royal Garden seemed to exemplify it. Flowers of every kind spotted different locations around the garden, each mingled with a complimentary fern, hedge, or tree. Everything just seemed to blend into this sort of natural picture. It was stunning. I could spend hours just looking at this garden. Unfortunately, I was broken from my amazement by Shining Armor nudging my host’s shoulder, “I know, it’s impressive. But we need to get moving.” I stole a final glance at the garden before continuing with Shining Armor.

We didn’t have to walk far before we arrived at the barracks. Celestia and Luna were waiting just outside the barrack doors; however, I noted the addition of a new individual. A very unique individual, a bat-pony! They were totally a thing! Her coat was a lighter shade of grey with a mane that seemed to be a light shade of baby blue with a midnight blue highlight. I could see her cutie mark was a moon peeking out from behind a set of clouds, but the one feature that really seemed to standout the most were her vibrant emerald eyes that had slits for pupils rather than the normal round ones. Then the most obvious feature were her leathery wings that were just a bit darker than her coat color. I’m gonna fan-gasm! Besides that one episode with Flutter-bat and a quick cameo in Luna Eclipsed, you rarely see bat-ponies. I kinda thought their design was pretty cool and....THEY LOOK SO DAMN FLUFFY! I’ll admit I just liked them for how different they were and how little was known about them outside of headcanon and fancanon. Plus they just look so damn cute...really..NO! Must....not.......hug....resist...cuteness....I am strong...I am... in control....I am....not gonna...lose to...fanboy!....*click*

Dante is no longer in control,

we are fanboy,

we are in control,

and we are going to hug the shit out of that bat-pony.

I moved with with the purpose and determination matched only by religious zealots and my victim was ill prepared for the glomp that was quickly and decisively delivered. “NUEW MAH GOD, YOU ARE THE MOST ADORABLY, AWESOME THING I’VE SEEN!” I shouted in a near squeal. Yeah, it wasn't my most manly moment, but damn it this world is full of cute! It compels me to hug! The fact my host’s voice was the one saying it didn’t really help, and it also didn’t help that my host was previously incarcerated for attempting to kill Celestia. So it came as no surprise that my orientation with the ground was suddenly inverted and my momentum was directed at the nearest wall. My temp body made full contact with the wall with surprising force. All the air in Fire Starter’s lung were immediately expelled upon impact and her head soon made friends with the ground. I was loopy from the encounter but I made my recovery to see a very startled Night Glory holding the pose showing how she just tossed my sorry ass. Shining Armor was dumbfounded at my glomp assault. Luna looked like she debating between laughing or face hoofing, and Celestia was attempting to contain a giggle and failing miserably.

I let out a couple of coughs and regained some air. After orientating myself, I felt my face go red. I realize it was a stupid thing to do and I had probably made a really bad impression on the pony that was meant to cover me for the mission. I made another mental note that I still needed to suppress my impulsive tendencies. Best apologize while I can, “Ugh...sorry. Never *cough* seen *Wheeze* bat-pony before.”

Night Glory was still huffing but she was slowly making her way towards me. Her emerald eyes were locked onto me and they were not deviating in the slightest. “You tried to kill the princess, and now you assault me. I don’t know how you convinced the princesses to let you out, but after that you’re going right back in.” Her voice was young and feminine, but carried the stern seriousness I’d come to associate with military personnel. Although, noticed behind that sternness was this cute little squeak that I was certain was unintentional. Her adorableness aside, she looked fairly pissed. Luna, bless her, stepped in and calmed her ire. “At ease, Night Glory. Tis as you stated, this mare hath attempted to take our sister’s life. However, that mare is not awake. Before thee is Dante Morelo, a Symbio. He has taken control of the mare to assist us.” I found it a bit unsettling that Luna refused to use Fire Starter’s name. I could only guess she still harbored some disdain for my host. “He is a bit brash, but he hath saved our sister and agreed to assist us despite the possible risks.”

“Yeah, I promise not to *ugh*do that again. I just think bat-ponies are really cool.” I said with a bit of a blush, my embarrassment apparent. Night was looking at me, but now it was more quizzical than angry. Shining decided to step in, “Look, I realize this isn’t exactly the best scenario. We are relying on you to help Dante out. He’s a civilian, but his abilities allowed us an in. If the two of you run into these rebels you can always say that Fire Starter escaped with your help. It might be enough to get you two into their organization and determine their plans."

Simple, very simple....except the execution was looking to be the hard part. I mean it's not hard to go somewhere and look for information. That's easy. Going somewhere and encountering assassins who want to take over a nation...yeah, you can see how confidence can turn into cowardice. But the weird thing was, despite the possible danger, the many hypothetical "bad endings" I'd mentally conjured, and the fact I was still learning about a new world, new body, and abilities that I thought were only possible in TV shows and comics...I was excited. I was scared, make no mistake, but some aspect of this had a thrill to it. I could compare it to the first time I skydived. Every fiber of my being screamed at me what a bad idea it was. My internal alarm was blaring how falling from an airplane 13,000ft in the air could kill me. But, I was excited. I was gonna stare death in the face while falling at terminal velocity and I was gonna walk away. I was determined. That's what I was feeling now, determination. I was going to prove my worth. I was going to do something possibly dangerous and walk...maybe slither if my host...ok need to stop the negative thoughts they're getting in the way of my determination. Either way, I was going to do this and show I could be useful.

I brought myself to focus and looked to Shining Armor, there were still details to go over. He conjured a map of purplish-pink. It outlined a small town or village (never could determine the difference). Shining Armor outlined the details in a tone I had heard military leaders address to subordinates, "Now we've discovered that the meeting location for this group is a long abandoned village just to the east of Canterlot. According to what we know the village was ransacked by an ursa-major some time ago and never recovered. There are plans to scrape the village so we need to make sure we get as much information as possible. With that in mind, some of the houses may have cellars or attics. Be sure to investigate each house fully."

Night Glory raised a hoof, and Shining gave her the go ahead to chimed in, "You mentioned what to do should we encounter any of these rebels, but what do we do should they turn violent towards us?"

Shining Armor maintained his serious tone, "Should they attempt to harm or capture either of you, you are to flee to the near by woods here." He pointed to the aforementioned woods which lied just to the east of the village. "I'll be putting a spell on both of you. If either one of you cannot make it to the fall back position or are captured, simply tap both forehooves together twice and a contingent of Royal and Lunar Guard along with myself will be alerted and we'll intervene." With the last sentence stated, both Night Glory and my host were enveloped in Shining's magic. I felt the magic wash over Fire Starter's body like a wave before it began to find residence in her hooves. Sweet, we have back up! Knowing the plan was helping ease my mind a bit. I was definitely feeling more confident. TIme to get one last detail out of the way. I lift my host's right fore hoof and waited for acknowledgement. Shining gave me the go ahead and I asked, "Ok, so we have the plan and back ups covered. When do we leave?"

"We are still prepping a few of the Lunar Guard on the details, but we should be set to move out soon Take some time to go over things with Glory. I'll get you both when the guards are mobilized." Night Glory and I both gave a nod. Glory gave a salute, to which Shinning returned before leaving. When Shining was well out of earshot, Celestia and Luna approached the both of us. Night Glory and I bowed before the both of them. Celestia spoke first, "I would like to thank both of you for doing this. This sort of situation has not arisen in Equestria in hundreds of years. I fear it can only serve as a precursor to something more menacing. I wish you both the best of luck and look forward to your safe return. Be safe my little pony, and my little Symbio." That last comment nearly made me roll my host's eyes. I realize she's the ruler of a nation and she cares for each citizen like her own child, but seriously that line just comes off as something a mother says just to embarrass their kid. Good thing I didn't roll the eyes. I can only imagine what kind of punishment you get for doing that in front of Celestia, let alone Luna. Well, as much as I always wanted to be an astronaut, I'm not going to the moon tonight. Celestia gave us both a final nod and left along with Luna. This let me alone with my bat-pony partner.

I wanted to say something to break the ice, but I was still recovering from the glomp incident earlier. The awkward silence felt like a noose round my throat. It didn't help that Night Glory was scanning me up and down with her eyes. It was stranger when she started walking around me. I felt like I was being appraised. I followed her with my host's eyes, but I dared not move. She finished her appraisal after a minute. "So, how are you doing it? Mind Control Spell? Voodoo?"

I had to take a moment to understand what she meant but once I made my response,"Oh, I'm linked into her nervous system. Here, look." I pulled away Fire Starter's lower mane to expose my hiding spot. "See that black spot? That's me." I held the mane out of the way while Night took a closer look. I felt her breath on my body, it caused a familiar set of goosebumps to surge through my host and my own body. Night took a step back and I let the mane fall back into place.

The bat-pony was looking skeptical now. "So what are you, some kind of parasite?"

"No, nothing like that. Based on what Princess Celestia and Twilight Sparkle have learned, the relationship is more symbiotic. When I'm attached I usually feel better than when I'm by myself. So, I'm certain that I get some kind of nourishment from my host. Then, while attached, I can enhance my host. So far, I know I can make them stronger, give them aura sight, and my host gains a pretty potent healing ability." I rattled off the info as best I could, but I couldn't stop the uncertain tone from being spoken along with the words.

Night didn't miss the uncertainty,"You sound like you aren't sure. How do you not know what you can do?"

I felt Fire's ears splay against her head. "I...I'm still learning. I've only had my body for a few days."

Night cocked an eyebrow, "So you're a newborn? They're pairing me with a freakin' baby!?"

Ok, nervousness tapped out and annoyance jumped into the ring. "Oi, I'm twenty-three! I just meant that I had my Symbio body for a few days. I'm a full grown man!"

Night's expression turned skeptical, "How's that possible? You've had your body for a few days, but you're twenty-three years old?"

"Well...I..." I've done this song and dance before, but having to admit I was dead on Earth was...it was like a grenade. By the time I got for the first word out, I had already pull the pin. The second "died" was uttered it was like an explosion of emotions. I could hide it sure, but it didn't stop that twinge of sadness from hitting. I hoped I could have gotten over this. I mean I'm alive now. I was thinking, I was feeling, and I was mobile...kinda. Why do cool thing have to come with baggage? Could it just leave it's baggage at home so it didn't inconvenience our time together? Well,might as well pull the pin and get this over with. I went through my last few days of existence and everything I had learned about being a Symbio. Night's expression turned from skeptical to shocked.

"That's...Wow...So...Yeah, I'm having a hard time with this." She took a moment to rub her temples. "Let me make sure I've got this. Three days ago, you were hit by a meteor and died."

I let out a sigh,"Yeah"

"Then the pale horse, himself, tossed you through space where you crashed into Princess Celestia and took control of her body."

"Yeup, again."

"Then the very next day, you discover that you're a species that hasn't been seen in centuries, with abilities that made ponies into legends, and on the very same day saved the life of the Sun Matriarch, herself."

"You're three for three."

Night looked to be considering the information for a bit before she made her next inquiry,"Ok, so can you show me?"

"Show you what?"

"Your abilities. I want to see what you can do. if I know what you can do, I can plan accordingly. It might make this mission a bit easier."

I took a second to think over what I could show her. I knew aura sight and the tendrils were probably my best bet. I let two tendrils form and I watched Night's pupils go from round cat's irises to near toothpick thin slits. Her body had back away slightly and her wings had popped open in what I can assume was a defensive response. I had to admit I got a bit of a kick out of seeing this kind of response. I always got enjoyment out of startling people back on Earth. Yeah, I can be an ass in that regard, but that spooked look and the sounds people would utter when they were startled...PRICELESS! Anyway, back to my spooked associate. I let the tendrils come into contact with Night. Just a simple pat on both shoulders was enough. She instantly snapped out of her shock and looked at the tendrils. Her irises turned back to a more rounder shape and her wings folded back into position. She did some investigatory poking, and looked at the source of the tendrils themselves.

I took the opportunity to explain, "This was the first ability I learned. I call them tendrils, but they most resemble the appendages I used to have. They're also the my preferred form of interaction." Night gave a nod and a made another once over of my tendrils before asking,"Can they do anything else? Any offensive or defensive abilities?"

I shrugged, "I don't know. Twilight seemed to think they might have some additional capabilities but we never figured it out."

Night let out a sigh

As I finished my explanation I used a tendril to point to my hosts eyes. "Do you see how her eyes look?" Night gave a nod, her body was still rigid but I had her undivided attention. "Watch."I closed Fire Starter's eyes and I put my focus into them just like I had done with Twilight, I felt the sensation flow over the eyes signaling the vision change had occurred. I snapped the eyes open for dramatic effect (aaand maybe to spook Night a bit more, again I'm an ass) and I saw Night Glory before me but she was radiating a light blue aura that matched her mane. As a bonus my dramatic eye opening had the desired effect and Night had gone back to her previous spooked state. I will never tire of that expression. EVER.
I let out a giggle despite myself and got back to my demonstration. "This is my Aura Sight. With this I can see the flow of magic. Yours, for example, is the same color as your mane." I looked around for any other auras in the area. I found two within barracks, one a light orange flowing down like a waterfall and another that was a vibrant green and radiating outward. I pointed a hoof towards the barracks, "I see two more auras inside the barracks. I'm guessing one is a pegasus and the other a unicorn?"

Night looked to the barracks before turning back to me. Her face was stunned and amazed. "You...you can see them?"

"It's their magical flow but yeah. I couldn't tell you what they looked like but I can tell you that they are there."

Night looked pensive for a moment. Like some gears were clicking in her mind. Then her eyes went wide and a smirk came across her muzzle, "This is good. This is very good. We can use this." Her tone was one of excitement and her followed matched.Her wings did a quick ruffle and her smirk turned into a beaming, toothy smile and a small squeak escaped her voice.. It was really cute to be honest. Like a child who just figured out a really hard puzzle. I couldn't help letting out a giggle, her reaction was just too much. Unfortunately, those bat ears weren't just for show. She caught onto my giggling, and immediately serioused up. Although, it did not stop a pinkish blush from creeping onto her cheeks. She let out a small cough and she composed herself. "I...uh...I believe we can use that ability to scan for possible threats. We'll do a check with your aura sight before entering the town and we can determine how to go from there....And wipe that smile off your face, this is serious!"

I couldn't make eye contact with her while that blush was still on her cheeks, but wow, those columns were really interesting right now. "Of course, I'm taking this very seriously."

"Then, why are you still smiling?" She said sounding annoyed.

"I have no idea what you're talking about." I said with my smile slowly growing. I couldn't help myself, this was just too funny. She went straight from giddy as a schoolgirl to a serious soldier. Although, the jab to my host's shoulder was enough to get me to stop smiling, "OW! Ok, I'm serious. Jesus." I rubbed the sore shoulder. Damn, she had a hell of a right hook.

Night looked off to the side, Shining Armor was waving us over. Night turned back to me, "Good, it's time to go."

The healing factor must have kicked in as the pain from the punch died down. I looked to Night Glory and then to Shining Armor down the hall. "Ok, let's do this." It was mission time, and it was time to prove my worth.

Next Chapter: Chapter 13- Mission is a GO! Estimated time remaining: 6 Hours, 31 Minutes
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