by Colombiaguy

Chapter 14: Chapter 14- It just got real.

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So...ever have that moment when shit gets so real, you almost immediately know you got to do something? Like the universe just gave you a direct slap to the face and said, “Move.”Well, me neither, until now. Hearing the startling revelation that changelings were instigating a coup prior to the royal wedding put me in immediate action mode. I was in the middle of the build up to the changeling invasion! HOLY SHIT!! Was this going on while the narrative was following the Mane 6?! Could I stop it? Could I prevent the invasion?!....I need to talk to Celestia! I need to move! I-I...I need to get Night and everyone here out! I quickly detached from Griff and made my way back to Fire Starter. The second I acknowledged I had control, I got moving. First things, first. My healing factor isn’t healing Griff. Not sure why, but that's for later. I need to keep him going, he knows what happened. I moved to him, "Griff, you still with me?"

The worn griffon looked to me, still kicking good. "Fire...Starter? I thought-"

I interjected,"Nope, me again. Symbio? Well, name's Dante, but I'm the Symbio from before. I'm using Fire Starter as a medium, so to speak." Agh, getting off topic. "Listen, we're going to get you out of here, but I need you to try and save your strength. Can you do that for me?"

The old bird looked confused but he nodded regardless.

"Awesome, just hang in there." I turned to Night Glory, who was staring at me. I'd wager she had been trying to figure out what Griff had been saying. I made my way to her, if I looked as frantic as I felt, it'd make sense she looked concerned. "Night, listen, I don't have time to explain. I know what's going on. We need to call in our back up and get back to Canterlot."

Night blinked a few times before she shook her head. I was on a rapid fire mode, so makes sense she wasn't catching everything I was saying. She fell to her haunches and put two hooves up in a 'hang on moment' motion,"Whoa, whoa. Slow down. Why do you look so freaked out? What did you learn from Griff?"

I groaned,"Ugh, what part of 'there's no time to explain' wasn't understood?! We need to get these everyone out of here and back to Canterlot! Things are about to get-"

"Hey, who's over there?" A new masculine voice called from one of the outcoves.FUUUUUUUUUCK!

Both Night and I turned toward the new voice. Sure enough, a male pegasus was standing in one of the outcoves with a male unicorn standing next to him. The pegasus was a light shade of red with a black mane that was combed neatly to the side and a slightly cropped tail. He had some piercing blue eyes. The unicorn was light green with a yellow mane that was swept back, giving him a sort of aristocratic look, and his tail was long and flowing. His eyes were a fairly standard brown that gave him an apathetic feel. "Where did you two come from?" inquired the unicorn in an annoyed tone.

Night was about to say something when I grabbed her tail and pulled her back "Night! WE. NEED. TO. LEAVE. NOW!" I said through gritted teeth.

"But we agreed that if we found more of the-"

I interjected, "The situation has changed. Majorly." I stole a quick glance at the two stallions through aura sight. Both of them were emitting a neon green aura. These were the two I saw earlier. Now the similar colors made sense. I released my aura sight and turned back to Night, "They're not what they seem. Their auras are the exact same color. They're changelings!"

Night suddenly looked agast, "What?! That's impossible. Celestia banished them to a volcano years ago."

I shot a glance to the "stallions" again. They were looking pissed that we hadn't answered their question. "I'm going to ask one more time. Where did...wait." He narrowed his gaze at me. "Fire Starter? I thought you were captured. How'd you escape?" Okay, maybe we can talk our way out.

Night took the initiative, "I helped her escape."

The two looked at each other before turning back to Night, "Why?" asked the pegasis.

Night rolled her eyes, "Huh, you think bat ponies get good treatment just because we're Luna's select guards? Our hours are crap, at best, and we don't get half the respect as the Solar or Royal Guard. We don’t even get as much responsibility as the other guards. I think a change in rulership could do us some good. Maybe go back to the old ways." Night replied with a bit of disdain in her voice. Yeah, she was a better liar than me...unless she was serious. I couldn't tell, I was going to go with the former.

"Hmm, you make a decent point. Fine, welcome to our 'rebellion'" The unicorn said.The two stallions seemed to have bought Night's story. They started to approach us, when I felt something clutch Fire's foreleg. A quick glance showed, Griff's talon locked around the aforementioned leg, "Don't..let them...near her!"

That got my full attention. I turned to see that the unicorn was powering up a spell, "We just need to put you through the initiation."


I shoved Night out of the way just in time for a neon green magical bolt to miss by a hair's breath. The two stallions did not take kindly to my actions. They were both staring me down with disdain. "What do you think you're doing, Fire Starter?" Then in a quick deceive motion, the unicorn back-hoofed me across the muzzle. OK, seriously, why the muzzle?! THAT SHIT HURTS!...oh answered my own question. "Don't you want to see your husband again?" The unicorn added with a particularly smug look on his face.

Ok, I might have let the smack to the face go, had he not said that. I went from mildly worried to full on pissed. These bastards were using her husband to make Fire do their dirty work! They had the audacity to hold it over her and abuse her at their own leisure......Ok, I wasn't sure how to feel about Fire Starter before, BUT NOW! Now, I knew how I felt! She's a victim and some fuckers needed a reality check! I stared down the pretentious S.O.B and I retaliated, with prejudice. A right hook across the side of the head was enough to not only get the "unicorn's" attention and send his happy ass to the ground. I pointed an accusing hoof at the both of them."Fuck you! How dare you use their loved ones against them! What gives you the right?!" I caught a glance at Night who was balking at my outburst.

"Dan...Erh...Fire Starter, I thought you wanted to-" She stopped herself as her eyes locked onto something. Following her gaze, I saw the unicorn I decked earlier was glowing neon green. The glow suddenly became an elrich flame that engulfed the unicorn turning his once light green fur to black chitin that contained holes along his legs and his once yellow mane turned to thin wispy follicles that ran along the nape his neck. His horn turned jagged and deformed and he sprouted two wings similar to his "mane". His eyes went from glassy watery eyes to a multi hexagonal eye with a central glowing iris. The transformation finished and flame died leaving the fully formed changeling in his glory.

"Ch-changelings?!" Night exclaimed.

"I FUCKING TOLD YOU!" I yelled in retort.

The now changeling hissed as he got back on all fours, "I don't know how you broke free of the spell, but we'll be sure to make it stronger next time. Grimlock, get the thestal, I'll handle this wretch." With that command given the other changeling resumed his natural form and started heading towards Night. I wanted to head towards her to back her up, but I was cut off by the changeling who looked to be harboring some ill-intent for my previous assault on his face.

I wasn't entirely sure how I was going to fight this guy but I did have one advantage, this changeling still thinks he's fighting a regular unicorn, and that was a confidence booster for me. I arched Fire's body into a forward angle and readied myself for a fight.

"So, you think this retaliation will get us to release your husband? You can't over power us! His love for you has made us strong and you are weak!" the crackly voice of my opponent gloated. He was definitely trying to demoralize me, but I was riding the righteous indignation express and this guy was gonna get a privilege check. He made the first move and lunged at me with his fangs bearing down on me. I backed stepped out of the way, causing him to miss, and retaliated with a full frontal charge with Fire's head lowered and horn pointed at my opponent. Unfortunately, the charge didn't have the effect I wanted, as he merely raised his own head to parry me half way through. We were locked horn to horn and neither of us was budging. Honestly, this is about where I wanted to be. If I could keep him close he wouldn't be able to blast me with magic. I know that simple magic didn’t hurt but I wasn’t willing to learn what offensive magic felt like.

The changeling was confident in his abilities and they weren't unfounded. In a single move he relinquished some ground causing my host to stumble forward, and then raised up on his hind legs to bear down on her skull. I felt teeth grit as the force of the changeling's hooves came down on the crown of my host's head and the taste of dirt was hardly welcome. What wasn't helping was he was keeping pressure on Fire's head and he was continually adding pressure. I tried to resist but he was blasting the ground where I was trying to get a foothold. "See how weak you are? If you beg for forgiveness, perhaps I'll forget this whole ordeal." He whispered in Fire's ear with a snide smugness that made me want to slug him again...and damn it I was going to!

I didn't want to use my enhancement ability unless it was necessary, but I'm definitely not letting this arrogant prick talk down to me or Fire Starter. I ignored the pain radiating from Fire's skull and started putting focus into her muscles and I felt the response as her body started to rise. The changeling did manage to blast her forelegs as she started ascending but what burns she received were quickly healed. My opponent took notice, and his confident bravado wavered, "Wha?! How are you-?!"

With a mighty heave, I tossed my opponent off my host's head. He was staggered for a second and I took the opportunity raise up on my host's hind legs, then I proceeded to wail on his black armored face. The added power of my enhancement had a noticeable effect as after a few decent whacks, cracks began to form in his chitin. I had him on the ropes, I hit the changeling as fast as I could and with enough force that he couldn't repoise. I grasped his throat with a hoof (don't ask me how, I wasn't really thinking about it) and was about to deal the knockout blow when I heard a voice call out, "Don't."

I turned to see the other changeling, Grimlock, had Night in a headlock with one leg locked on the side of Night's head and the other around her neck. He was threatening to snap her neck. DOUBLE SHIT BALLS ON A STICK!! I was on a roll! I managed to win a fist/hoof fight! Throw me a freakin' bone here! I looked back to my opponent who was breathing heavy and spitting up some nasty looking ichor intermittently. Okay, I did feel a little guilty, but not by much. He was still a smug asshole. I released my grip on him and let him hit the floor. I took a step back so Grimlock didn't think I was going to try anything.

The defeated changeling took a second to get to his hooves before he leveled his gaze on me. With a scowl and a grunt he made his way to his compatriot. I must have knocked him stupid, because he was not walking straight.I took some pride in that, but I had to put my focus into rescuing Night along with the other hostages. The other ponies and Griff were behind Grimlock. How did they get them over there? Damn it, I need a plan. I needed to get them away from Night and the others.

Grimlock made some kind of chittering noise at the other changeling to which he responded with a hiss. Grimlock nodded before he looked back to me, "How did you break the spell, Fire Starter? Talk or your friend is dead."

I couldn't tell him the truth, if he didn't buy it he might do something drastic. But if I try to lie and he doesn't buy that either I could get the same result. I was stuck. Damn it, Dante! Think! What can I do? Tendrils? No, too far away. If I tried to punch either one of them, they'd see it coming. Maybe I could try and get close? No, that's stupid, they'd know I was up to something. I needed an edge. I need...backup.... (internal facepalm) Good God, I'm stupid sometimes.

I started formulating a game plan, if I could get these guys talking maybe I could buy some time for the cavalry to arrive. Time to win me an Oscar. I put on a smirk and shook Fire Starter's head, "I figured it was obvious. Your magic is shite. It didn't take much to break it." I was trying to sound as vague as possible. Hopefully, it'd make them-

"Impossible! Only a high level unicorn could break that kind of magic. A mere survivalist pony couldn't possibly manage that!" Grimlock retorted. Oh, that's what Fire Starter's symbol meant! Wait, not important right now, time to get smug.

I gave a small double clap of the forehooves, hopefully that'll send the word out. Night seemed to realize what I had done and smirked. I kept my ruse going, "Well kudos to you, you underestimated me. Well, numb nuts over there sure did." I pointed to Grimlock's battered partner, who was practically seething with anger. "You got lucky, bitch!" the butthurt changeling retorted.

Grimlock was staying pretty level, despite his partner's outrage, "Easy, Stalker. She has a point. We did underestimate her." Ha! Suck it. "Which is why we need to remove her before she completely ruins our operation. Kill her."...well...that wasn’t part of the plan.

With hardly a smirk, Stalker (or Butthurt Changeling #1) blasted me with several neon green bolts that singed fur and boiled flesh on impact. I tried not to scream but this was some of the worst pain I've ever experienced...aside from the space boulder, but that doesn't detract from my point. The pain was wracking Fire's body and I could tell from her dream that she was suddenly very aware that something was going on. She was screaming and so was I. I was going to have to explain this to her later for sure. I really hope she’s a forgiving kind of pony. Right now, though, I had to stay strong. If my healing factor was as good as Twilight and Celestia said, I could recover from this. I just needed to stay conscious and stay strong.

The blasts stopped and I was still standing, barely. Fire's body had large portions of flesh burned off and I could see exposed bone at some parts. The pain was intense but it was dulling slowly, the healing factor was at work. I tried to take a step forward but the second I tried to move her she doubled over and Fire's body hit the ground in fetal position. Stalker of the Butthurt was laughing his happy ass off. "Not so confident now are you? You should have thought better than to resist us!" Oooh, that cocky attitude pisses me off! I'm gonna deck this prick again before this is all over. Maybe, I can use this.

A tingling sensation in one of Fire's right foreleg prompted me to investigate. I could already see new muscle and sinew being formed around the wound. The overall pain was subsiding as well. Ok, good sign. I took a glance at the two changelings and Night. Night looked horrified, Grimlock was just eyeing me, and Stalker McSoreass was still having a fuckin' giggle as he approached me. When he was right on top of me with his horn aglow with the green glow of imminent death he lowered his head to speak, "So whelp. Any last words?"

"Yeah. I got a few." I said through the pain. I looked him dead in the eye as I got ready for my final assault. Oh, I hope this works. I took a deep breath and proclaimed,"PRAISE THE SUN, MOTHER FUCKER!" In a fell swoop I grabbed Stalker by the throat with a tendril and slammed him into the ground, knocking the air out of his pompous lungs. Then with Fire's left front forehoof planted in the ground, I used her back right leg to kick off the ground and pirouette allowing me to face Grimlock. I used the spin to get some snap action from my tendril as I hucked Stalker into Grimlock. Grimlock looked too stunned to act and Night took advantage of it. A quick jab in the gut was enough to break the headlock and allow her to get free before Stalker careened into Grimlock.

I made my way to Night, albeit slowly. The pain had subsided, but Fire's body was protesting every step. Her muscles were sore and I wasn't willing to push it any further. I met Night half way. She still looked worried and was looking over my host from head to tail, "You weren't joking about that healing factor. There's barely a scratch on you!"

"Yeah, but I don't think I could do that again if I wanted. Fire is spent. I'm barely keeping her on her hooves."

Night's ears suddenly shot to attention and turned in the direction of the tunnel we entered through, "Well, looks like backup arrive. Clever thinking, alerting them like that."

I left out a light chuckle, "Yeah, just glad Dicky McButthurt has such a short fuse."

And as if on cue, "YOU WRETCH! I WILL END YOU!" The changeling was on a rager and the only thing holding him back was Grimlock. Probably for the better, after the royal smackdown and the grand slam, Stalker's chitin armor was virtually shattered. A green ichor was seeping from the cracks in his chitin and part of his dome eye was a distorted color compared to before. His high blood pressure and rage only seemed to be exacerbating his condition. Again, little guilty, but he was a dick so meh.

Grimlock had to physically drag Stalker away, seeming to know that staying to fight was no longer a viable option. The two of them were making their retreat, when Night was about to chase after them. I snagged her by the tail to hold her back, "Why are you stopping me? They're getting away!"

I had to level with her, "Yeah, they are. But even if we went after them we'd never survive. I didn't catch your fight with Grimlock, but he obviously overpowered you and I had to use super strength just to handle Stalker. On top of that, I nearly got this body incinerated. If I didn't have the healing factor, Fire Starter would be dead!" Huh, if my host dies, do I die with them?...Yeah, let's not test that. "Let them go. We need to tend to the infirmed and let Shining Armor and the rest of the guards handle this."

Night looked like she heard what I said, but wasn't too happy with it. She kept looking between me and the exit route the changelings had taken. Eventually, she let out a long sigh and conceded, "Fine."

It didn't take long for Shining Armor and his squad to arrive. Night and I were checking on the captives when they arrived. We gave Shining a run down of the events that transpired and pointed him in the direction of the fleeing changelings. A small contingent was sent to chase after them, while the rest tended to the infirmed. Thankfully, a unicorn medic was present to give preliminary diagnoses and treatment before they were sent off to get proper medical treatment. I asked the medic if Griff would pull through. She gave me an unsure look and said it was hard to say. She did assure me that he would receive the best medical treatment possible. I wasn't sure how much of that I believed. It sounded more like a line you tell someone to keep them from worrying. Well, it wasn’t helping. I realize there was something regarding how changelings feed off loved but I never really understood how that weakened the victim, but my healing factor did not have an effect on it. Jesus, how many questions was I up to now? We’ll add those two to the list. I was going to have a very long chat with Celestia. I don’t know if it’d affect the continuity of what was shown on TV, but I’d rather reduce what ever damage could occur from the invasion.

I told Night that we needed to tell the Princesses about what we had learned and about what had transpired. She seemed to agree, but insisted she stay to assist with the mop up. It felt like what had occurred with Grimlock and Stalker had harmed her pride in some way. I didn’t object. I wished her best of luck and said my goodbye. She wished me safe journey before turning to join the rest of the guards.

My next objective was to locate Shining Armor. He could get me back to Canterlot. Shining was coordinating the evacuation of the captives as well as the guards, when I approached. “Captain Armor, I realize that your priority is to get everyone out, but I need to get to Canterlot as soon as possible.”

Shining held his commanding stature as he answered, “What have you learned?”

“I know what the changelings are planning, I need to talk with the Princesses, like asap.”

And with that statement, the composure was broken, “You do?! Quick we’ll teleport to the castle!”

Oh cool we can tele...wait. *one quick flashback to last teleport later” “NO! DON’T!” I waved Fire’s legs in the air frantically hoping I could stop Shining before it was too late.

Thankfully, Shining wasn’t as quick on teleporting as Twilight and stopped. He suddenly looked confused, “What? What’s wrong? I thought you needed to get the castle?”

I nodded, “Yes, I do. Just for all that’s good and holy, DO NOT TELEPORT ME! Teleporting messes with me. In all seriousness, last time it felt like someone put me in a blender.”

Shining’s confusion gave was to surprise, “Wow. That bad?”

“Like a whole bottle of vodka the night before and waking up the next day bad.”

Shining winced at that one, “Yeowch. Ok, I’ll have the carriage brought around in that case.” With that he called for a pegasus and bat-pony to bring the carriage around for me. The two guards gave immediate salutes and took off to do their assigned duty.

Then I thought hit me, “Wait, you know what vodka is?”

Shining gave me a gentle nod, “Yeah, what Royal Guard hasn’t had a night where somepony challenges them to a drinking game? Why wouldn’t I know about vodka?”

Ok, I wasn’t expecting that response. Uh, need to think of an excuse...Uh..uh...fuck it, might as well be truthful, “Honestly, I didn’t think Equestria had vodka.”

“Uh, why?”

I let out a sigh, I was going to have to address this later, but for now I had something to take care of, “I’ll tell you later, promise.” Shining cocked an eyebrow at first, but gave a dismissive shrug accompanied with a friendly smile, “Okay, but I’ll hold you to that promise.”

I gave an affirmative nod with my own smirk, “Fair enough. See you around.” I barely made it past the first bend of the tunnel to leave when one last question came to mind. One that might immediately confirm or deny my running hypothesis. I peaked around the corner and addressed Shining Armor, “Uh, Captain, mind if I ask one last question?”

He turned to face me, “Sure. What’s up?”

I rubbed the back of Fire’s neck,“Kinda out of left field, but....are you engaged?”

Shining looked caught off guard and had to blink a few times while he processed. Eventually he cocked his head and gave me an answer, “Uh, yeah. I’m getting married in a few months. How...did you know that?”

Well, that confirmed my hypothesis. All the more reason to get to Celestia and Luna. I looked to Shining and gave the most cliche and non-committal answer I could give at the moment, “Just a hunch. Congrats, by the way. I need to get to the Princesses, good luck down here. See ya!” With that I took off down the tunnel and to my awaiting carriage.

Author's Notes:

Ok first attempt at an action sequence. It was short yeah but I'm kinda reading up on it. If anyone has suggestions please oh please leave them below.

Next Chapter: Chapter 15- Fixing guilt and family relations. Estimated time remaining: 5 Hours, 56 Minutes
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