by Colombiaguy

Chapter 17: Chapter 17- Learning and Catching Up.

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I found myself in an unfamiliar location. Around me were tall trees that grew until the sky was no longer visible. I could see small pools scattered about in small pockets of thick mud and the sound of bugs was apparent. Where was this? I knew Florida had swamps but this didn’t look anything like the Everglades. Hell, I’d never been to the Everglades. This place was just unfamiliar. I felt myself walking towards the largest pool of water I could see. The skeleton of several ponies were scattered about the pool. Some pieces of a pegasus wing, another was a unicorn’s skull. What really got my attention were the voices. I could hear a collection of voices originating from the pool before me. I couldn’t make out any particular conversation as most of the words were folding over each other.

As I got closer, I could see things moving beneath the surface of the murky water. I couldn’t make out any distinct forms, but they looked...snake like? Oh god, is this one of those snake breeding pits? No, wait, those happen on land not in ponds, swamp, things. Regardless of what they were, I felt compelled to go into the water and join the writhing masses, the only reason I didn’t was this building feeling of unease. I felt that if I went into the water, something bad would happen. I couldn’t logically determine how I knew something bad would happen but some...nagging feeling kept me at bay from so much as touching the water.

I was considering investigating the other pools when I heard something...horrifying. It was like hundreds of voices suddenly just started screaming and howling in pain and fear. I put my hands to my ears trying to block out the sound but no matter how hard I tried to impede the sound the cacophony of screams wouldn’t cease. What was happening? Where were the people screaming? Why were they screaming?

Then as quickly the screams started, they stopped, and a new sound broke the silence. It sounded like wood creaking and groaning. I looked up to see a sapling emerging from the water. At first it didn’t seem like a big deal but the sapling was growing at an unnatural pace and within a minute the baby tree had grown into a mangled and deformed willow tree. This tree scared me for some reason. Something about the tree’s existence struck me to my core with pure fear. This unnatural tree made that nagging feeling turn into a full on alarm, and the alarm gave a pretty clear message, “GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE!” I needed to run. I needed to get away.


“Join us”, called an eerie set of voices that all spoke at once in different tones of old, young, male and female.

The source of the voices seemed to be coming from the tree itself. Every second I’m around this damn tree I feel the sense of dread getting worse and worse. I turned and starting running as far away from the tree as I could.
“Join us!” This time the voices were much more forceful, and there was action behind the words. The hanging willows of the tree began to stretch toward me. The tree was after me!


Time to get the fuck out of here. I’m ...why can’t I move anymore? Why can’t I move?! I glance down at my feet to see them being devoured by the very swamp itself and it was dragging me towards that tree! No no no no no! I-I-I need to get away. I can’t be taken by that tree. I started to claw at the ground with my fingers trying to get a grip onto something to get me out of the mud. I felt like a trapped animal attempting to escape death in futility. The more I attempted to get away the more I was pulled closer to this tree. I was mere inches from the pond when I managed to grab a single root in the mud. I held onto that root and refused to let go.

“JOIN US! JOIN US!” The voices continued to chant as the tree continued to lurch towards me.

N-n-no... leave me alone! SOMEONE HELP! PLEASE HELP ME!



I let out a sharp gasp as I felt myself shooting upward from a previous flat position. I was back in the waking world, and in the relative safety of Luna’s room. Thank, God. I took a moment to calm myself down. It appeared I was in control of Luna's body. My nightmare had caused Luna's body to be drenched in sweat and her wings to come to full spread. It was pretty dark inside the room, but some light creeping around her blackout curtains offered some illumination. I had the sensation my tendrils had manifested and a quick glance at Luna’s sides showed two black lines leading to the ground.

“Dante! Finally! Thou were stuck in a nightmare most foul. Art thou, okay?” Luna inquired.

Huh? Luna was already awake? Why am I in control then?

“Y-y-yeah, I’m..okay, Luna. That was just a really intense dream. I’ve never experienced anything like that from a dream. Plus...I don’t even understand what it was about. Did you see it?”

“Indeed, we did. We regret we couldn’t pull thee from the nightmare, but twas a black dream”, Luna responded regretfully.

“A ‘black’ dream?” I inquired.

“In our time as the Princess of the Night we have come by many a different dreams. We have found that dreams can range from pleasant to...very disturbing.” That last statement came with some R34 images involving Celestia and/or other random ponies in some compromising positions, as well as some seriously demented images of things I’d expect to find in a modern horror novel.

Luna continued, “However, as with dreams, they can turn to nightmares. In the dreamscape, all dreams appear to us as doors. These door are surrounded by an aura. The darker auras signify unpleasant dreams or a nightmare, while lighter auras are more pleasant. Thy dream was a black dream, a nightmare that is usually related to a traumatic memory or some form of extreme phobia. We are incapable to entering such dreams as the emotions attached to the dreams are so strong that a barrier is created, locking the door to the dream itself. We are sorry,we attempted to wake thee externally, but it did not help.”

Well, that’s disturbing. So if I have that dream again, Luna wouldn’t be able to pull me out. Ugh...well, maybe there’s an alternative solution? “Is it possible to stop myself from having the dream again?”

Luna’s tone turned solemn, “We are afraid not. A black dream can only be broken when the source of the dream is confronted and conquered.”

Well, shit. I can’t confront the dream when I don’t know where it’s coming from! I’d never been to a swamp, I’ve never been scared of trees (I mean really who’s scared of trees?), and I love to swim so, the water didn’t bug me. Hell, I was a certified scuba diver! Damn it. Dream logic is confusing. I let out a sigh and let my trepidation work it’s way out of my system, “It’s cool, Luna. You couldn’t do anything. I appreciate that you tried to help....but why am I in control, if you were already awake?”

Luna was pleased to explain, “We had to return to sleep in order to attempt to pull thee from thy dream. We are thankful that ye were able to wake up and are in good health and spirit...but we would appreciate it if ye could relinquish control back to us.”

Right, well this shouldn’t be too hard. “Of course, I just need to detach myself and you should get control again.”

I went to move my tendrils so I could pull myself off Luna when I encountered resistance. I tried again and encountered the same resistance. The hell is going on? It felt like my tendrils were stuck. I could see my tendrils but they looked like they were heading directly into the floor. Maybe they were stuck on something? It was still a bit too dark to see what they were stuck on, so I used a bit of Luna’s magic to move her curtains to the side and let the sun shine in. Although, in retrospect, maybe should have done it a bit slower. The room was still fairly dark, and throwing the curtains wide open to let the sunlight assault Luna’s eyes wasn’t the best idea. Luna’s wings and hooves shot to block out the hellish sunlight as it assaulted her eyes.



“I immediately regret this decision!”


I used Luna’s hooves to rub her eyes and attempt to sooth the burning sensation caused by the drastic change in brightness.“Auugh...I really need to think things through more.”

“Thou don’t say?” Luna replied sarcastically.

After the spots faded from Luna’s eyes, I lowered both Luna’s hooves and wings to get a better look at my surroundings. I was horrified and dumbfounded by what I discovered. Parts of Luna’s bed were shredded on the sides and near the foot of the bed. The sheets were in near tatters and the floor on both sides of the bed looked like Wolverine had gone on a rager. Then I noticed my tendrils...or maybe the more apt word now was claws. Where normally my tendrils consisted of five finger like digits at the end of a black shiny arm, I found five hard, obsidian black blades that had replaced each digit. The blades, themselves,seemed to encompass most of the fingers up until the finger reached the knuckle where it seemed to taper off to a hard plate that was the back of the tendril. This was new. I wasn’t sure how I managed to produce these malicious looking hand blades but based on the carnage they left on Luna’s bed and the floor, they were stupid sharp.

I had to really work to jimmy the claws out of the ground but I got the damn things out. I lost some dexterity with this new modification. I could move the fingers from the knuckles but the joints that followed were locked in place. A curious tap showed that the backs of my tendrils were actually harder and tougher. I’m starting to feel a connection to my inner cat. I bet could cause some damage with these...oh wait, I already shredded Luna’s bed like a mountain lion. better apologize. “Uh...Sorry about royally wrecking your bed, Luna.” I said in sincerity.

Luna, thankfully didn’t mind too much, “Worry not. Thou would believe how many times we have inadvertently impaled our pillow upon our horn. Once we are in control we can easily fix it.”

I knew that had to be a thing! With horns that long and pointed there had to be a few accidental pillow impalements ...Hehe I just remembered that Fluffle Puff episode with the orbital pillow canon and Celestia getting a pillow to the face.

Luna caught a glimpse of my memory and was quickly confused. “Why werest thou thinking of our sister being assaulted by a pillow from a pink earth pony in strange armor?”

For some reason, that comment made it funnier, but I opted to inform Luna, “That’s Fluffle Puff. She’s a really well known pony back on my world.”

Luna didn’t seem to understand, “We were under the impression that there weren’t any of our subjects in thy world.”

I let out a small chuckle, “We don’t, Fluffle Puff was a fan made pony. Someone was inspired by the stories from Equestria and made their own pony to put in situations and tell stories about her.”

Luna started to understand, “So, she is fictional.”

“Yeah. Lots of people made a pony to have adventures in Equestria.” I affirmed, “I know there were tons of fan made stories based on you.”

Luna was taken aback by this bit of information, “We...have fans?”

I let a smile come across Luna’s face, “Totally. I knew guys who’d get so excited anytime you’d appear on the show. You had an enormous fan base and a lot of fan art of you.”

I could feel a genuine happiness starting to form in Luna’s mind. “C-could you show us? Please?” she requested with a bit of hesitation.

A simple request if I ever heard one, I’d been on enough image boards to have a nice library to reference. I decided to go with two of the most common images you could find on nearly any pony thread or discussion board.

“This is quite literally a small fraction of half the stuff your fans made. Trust me when I say there were people willing to have open fights about how awesome you are."

“And...they know about...Nightmare Moon?” Luna inquired with concern in her voice.

“Yeah, they know, and honestly most of them cared more about what you did as Luna than anything you did as Nightmare Moon. If anything they felt that your experience as Nightmare Moon made you stronger as a pony. You learned from what you did, and became better for it.

Luna’s happiness was palpable at this point, so much so I felt tears forming in Luna’s eyes. I decided to check on her, “Luna? You okay?”

Luna was focusing on the pictures I presented to her. Her happiness was flowing and so were the tears actively rolling down her face. “Yes...we are fine...we...are just very happy. Thank you for sharing this with us.”

I gave a broad smile as I wiped away a few tears. “Hey it’s what friends are for, right?”

“Indeed, it is.” I couldn’t see it but I could feel the gratitude Luna expressed in those words.

I gave a light chuckle and decided it was time to let Luna take control, “I’m going to go ahead and detach. You should gain control the second I’m off.” Luna said she understood and I let my tendrils retract. Thankfully the jagged claws and hardened plates of the tendrils quickly softened to their usual consistency as they returned to their point of origin. Relaxing my body, I easily slipped off of Luna and onto her bed. Luna’s body lurched forward for just a second but quickly stopped as she took control. From my perspective, I saw Luna stretching her limbs and wings in an attempt to shake off the sleepiness. She stopped halfway through a foreleg stretch when something caught her attention.

*Sniff* *Sniff*

“Oooh, it appears we need a bath”, claimed the lunar princess with mild disgust. Guess the fear sweat from the nightmare was really bad. She looked to her bed and then to me. With her magic she picked me up off the bed and moved herself off the bed as well. Through aura sight I noticed her magic was enveloping her bed, sheets, and areas of the floor that had claw marks. Guess that was the repair spell she mentioned.Once the spell finished Luna began to lower me onto the bed again when she stopped midway down.

*Sniff* *Sniff*

“GAUW! Ugh, thou dost reek as well! If not more so!”

I would have made a comment about that except I’m going on next to five days without a bath, and with everything I’d been through in those five days, it’d makes sense I’d be a bit...foul smelling. Guess, I’ll be waiting outside until Lunaaaa- why is she taking me in the bathroom with her? She’s not planning to-. N-n-no there’s no way she’s gonna- Why is she filling the tub?

Okay, Dante, calm your metaphorical tits of a moment and think. I’m sure there is a logical explanation. Perhaps it’s just a huge misunderstanding. Yes, of course. That’s it. I’m sure I’m just reading this all-

“Dante, how doth thou thy bath water?”

Ooooookay...I’m running out of logical reasons. Eeeh....how do I handle this? I mean I’d bathed with a previous girlfriend...but that’s just it! She was my girlfriend, this was royalty who I just recently established a friendship with.Ok, know what? I’m definitely over thinking this. I need to be rational. I’m letting my libido influence me. Perhaps she is merely filling the tub for me. Yes, yes that’s it.

I let out a few squeaks in an attempt to get Luna to place me onto her so we could communicate.

Luna cocked her head, “What?...Oh, thou can not communicate lest thou are touching us. We forgot.” With a slight manipulation of her magic I was lowered onto Luna’s back.

“I-I like my bath water to be on bit on the hot side, please.” I replied. My nervousness leaked through my thoughts and Luna was quick to notice.

“What is wrong? Thou sound nervous.”

I wanted to avoid giving Luna any more fuel to burn me with, and I definitely didn’t want her to think I’m some kind of pervert. Best to deflect for now. “It’s nothing, Luna, just...thinking a bit too hard is all.”

Luna was skeptical of my explanation, but she opted not to inquire further. She turned to face her sink while her tub filled. She plugged the bottom of the sink and let the water fill the cistern. A bit of steam rolling off the surface of the water indicated it was a bit on the hot side.

God damn it, Brain. She was asking so she could fill the sink so I could take a bath! You and Libido both go to the bad corner and listen to Reason for the next hour!

Luna didn’t let the water fill to the top but just enough that my body could reach the bottom and top simultaneously. She gave the water a testing touch and the water was a indeed my ideal water temperature. I voiced this to Luna who promptly placed me on the edge of the sink before checking on the tub. I went into my snake like locomotion so I could ease my way into the water and allow myself to acclimate to the water temperature. It took a bit of some maneuvering but by hooking part of myself on the lip of the sink and lowering myself in I was able to ease myself in at a comfortable rate.

Once I was fully submerged, I found that I felt oddly comfortable. The warmness of the water added some extra comfort to the overall sensation. I had always loved being in the water but this was different somehow. I felt like this was natural, like being in the water was my natural environment. I’d never felt like this before, even in my four years of scuba diving I never had this feeling of naturality. Maybe it was something with my Symbio side, but I...really like it. I could have spent all day just swimming in the sink , but Luna arrived to remove me from my little piece of heaven. I was going to voice my protest to being manhandled when Luna started to rub me with some kind of scented oil and It. Felt Amazing! Every rub of the hoof was euphoric. I learned there wasn’t much solid about me, but between Luna’s hooves I could be puddy all day if it felt like this.

My satisfaction must have had elicited some reaction from my body as Luna inquired, "Dante, are you okay? You’re....sagging.”

Sure enough with a bit of concentration into making a connection with Luna showed that my entire body was sagging like melting wax over the edges of Luna’s hoof. “Uh...hehe...I may have been enjoying the massage a bit too much.”

It felt like Luna had an amused looked on her face, and after a quick sniff confirmed that my now lilac scented body was a presentable amount of clean, she moved me to her back and gave me permission to attach myself. Luna suggested finding Celestia to have her send me back to Ponyville, but I asked if we could stop by the infirmary one last time to see if Fire Starter was doing okay. She was perfectly content with the idea after getting some brunch.

Brunch was mostly uneventful, aside from an awesome oatmeal with the best blueberries of all time! Seriously, I don’t know what they do differently but their fruits are just that extra bit flavorful and sweet! Each blueberry just explodes in your mouth (Luna’s in this case) and the flavor just hangs around, but in a good way. Hmm, maybe Applejack would know, and she did give me an open invitation to come back and visit.

Luna did inquire about my new found ability as she ate. The perks of mental conversation, you can talk and eat at the same time without showing off what you were munching on. “Dante, those...’claws’ we think thou called them. Hast thou always had those?”

“No, those are new. I think they must have formed during my nightmare” I informed Luna. “Which, if that’s true, may mean I can turn my tendrils into other things. I’m not certain how, but perhaps some experimenting might yield some different modifications?”

“Fascinating. If thy hypothesis is correct, thou could easily adapt to a multitude of scenarios. It could be a most useful trait” Luna concurred.

The idea of having a swiss army hand would be pretty useful. Kind of like Inspector Gadget without the lame catchphrase. The fact I’m amorphous except when concentrating would make sense. Something without shape could obtain a shape when given focus and direction. I’m definitely going to have to test this later.
After the brunch, we made our way to the infirmary. Upon arrival, we were surprised to find Celestia was there talking with someone behind a privacy screen. Celestia took notice of Luna’s entry and greeted her with a warm smile and motherly tone, “Good afternoon, Luna. How are you doing today?”

Luna returned the smile as she approached, “We are fine, sister. Dante is with us as well.”

I let a tendril form to give a friendly wave before letting it retract. “A good afternoon to you too, Dante” Celestia said with a smile.

A familiar voice chimed in at the mention of my name, “Dante? That name sounds familiar. Who is he?” The tone was particularly feminine with a hanging British accent. I’d heard this voice before, mostly because it had been a voice I used the night before. Sure enough, when Luna got close enough to see around the privacy screen, there was a light orange mare with a wavy white mane and auburn colored eyes. Fire Starter!? She’s...awake? How did they break the enchantment?

I noticed that Fire Starter had another guest with her as well, a light blue earth pony stallion with a short, yellow mane and light green eyes. I’d seen him before too. If my assumption of Fire Starter’s dreams were correct, this stallion was her husband. The way he was holding her right hoof between his own seemed to confirm my suspicion.

“Dante was part of the team responsible for helping locate your husband and several of the other ponies from last night.” Celestia responded.

Fire’s eyes widened and her ears perked with this new information, “He was?” She looked to where Luna was standing, she didn’t make direct eye contact with her, but seemed to be scanning the area around her. “Where is he? Can I meet him?”

Oh shit, this was going to be...something. Either she’d forgive me for using her body without permission and nearly getting her killed ,however unlikely that was, or she’d outright resent me. A part of me knew I had to own up to what I did, but another part of me was worried about how she would react.

Luna was quick to pick up on my guilt and doubts.“Dante? What’s wrong?” Luna asked.

“I....I don’t know if I can face her, Luna.”

“But you saved her husband and the lives of the other ponies. You deserve thanks.” She added in an attempt to enliven me.

“But I used her body against her will and I’m not even sure she knows! I...just feel like I’ve really wronged her.” I retorted with guilt dripping off my words.

Luna contemplated my conundrum, before she came to a conclusion and started to approach Fire Starter. When she got close enough, she prepared to speak in the booming Canterlot voice, but stopped midway. She seemed to consider how she was about to address Fire Starter and how she had been talking to me. She readjusted herself for a moment then began in a smooth calm tone, “We would like to ask you something before we introduce you to Dante. What did you feel after your incarceration?”

Ok, that was unexpected. I thought she wasn’t supposed to speak like that until Fluttershy worked with her on Nightmare Night, and she’s starting to using ‘you’ more than the olde speak......Oh shit, I am messing with the cannon! Will this affect how the show appears on Earth? What else is going to change because of my interference? I considered potential changes when a counter-argument came to mind. If I hadn’t interfered, Celestia would be dead. So...was this meant to happen? Was my interference supposed to happen? GAH! Where’s Doctor Who when you need him?

Fire was spooked that Luna addressed her but when she heard how calmly Luna was addressing her she relaxed considerably. “I remember my first night in the dungeons. I was so mad. It felt like the Princess had doomed my husband by imprisoning me. Then, I started to think how stupid I’d been,” Fire chided herself. “I am really very sorry Princesses. I...was...just such a foal. I believed that if I did as they said, that they’d return Sunny back to me. Looking back on it, they probably had no intentions of ever doing so.” As she spoke, tears began to form in Fire Starter’s eyes and her voice started to break and choke. “Sunny is all I have. I lost my family long ago to an Ursa Major attack. He *sniff* he was there for me, after that. He took care of me. *Sniff* I-I just couldn’t bear to lose him, too.” Sunny pulled Fire in close for a light hug. Fire slowly nuzzled his neck as tears began to openly flow down her face.

“It’s okay. It’s okay” Sunny cooed in a calm voice as he slowly stroked Fire’s mane. “I’m not going anywhere.”

Somehow this scene made me feel a little better. My righteous indignation from the night before felt more justified. My guilt eased up a bit, but not entirely.

Luna interjected still maintaining her calming demeanor, “It is fine. Dante informed us of how the changelings treated you and the other victims. He advocates for your acquittal. We are inclined to believe him.”

Fire Starter and Sunny both turned to look at Luna. They shared the same stunned expression, and a quick glance towards Celestia showed that she too was a bit stunned but gave an approving nod. “He-he wants to get me acquitted, as well?” Fire looked to Sunny and the two looked like they shared a silent conversation that ended with both of affirming their thoughts with a nod. “We would really be honored to meet this stallion and thank him properly.”

Luna gave a smile before she made sure I was prepared for introductions. I was not. If I had a throat I’m sure there’d be a huge knot in it at this point. I was happy I could reunite Fire with her husband, but...I don’t know I just felt she might resent me for what I did. I was never good at confronting my wrong doings. Mostly because my guilt and fear would always get the best of me. This scenario was no different.

Luna was still on point today and worked to quash my fears, “Dante, do you remember the night before when you convinced us to attend this year’s Nightmare Night?”

Oh please tell me she’s not going where I think she’s going with this. “Yeah. Why?”

“Did you not ask us to trust you, that if we went things would turn out for the better?”

Damn it, she is. “Yes, yes I did” I responded, knowing full well what the next line was going to be.

“Then trust us. We know this will be hard. We have had to do the same when we returned to our sister. If you show her how sorry you are, she may be mad but she will forgive you. Just be honest.” Luna assured me with the utmost confidence.

Why do I feel like she just stole a page from Celestia’s book just now. I’m going to talk to Celestia after this. I might not have a Time Lord but a millennium old ruler should have some insight into this. In the mean time, the Lunar Princess and one of my few friends is asking for me to trust her, and I’d be a hypocrite to not do so.

I let out a small chuckle, “Okay, I trust you Luna.” Using my own words against me. Clever Princess.

Luna put a hoof up to her non-ethereal mane, I let myself slide off her neck and onto her hoof. Luna brought me down and placed me on the center of the bed. “This is Dante. He is a Symbio. As far as we know, he is the only one of his kind. If you wish to communicate with him, you will need to make physical contact.”

Luna backed up leaving me to deal with Fire Starter. I looked to see her auburn aura staring at me. She looked back up to Luna then back to me again. Tentatively extended a hoof toward me and I leaned into it. “H-hi, Fire Starter. It’s...a pleasure to properly meet you.” I mentally stated. I was still nervous about the whole situation, but I had to make some kind of effort.

Fire Starter retracted her hoof almost immediately. Sunny looked to his wife, “Are you okay?”

Fire shook her head, “No, no. It’s just...his voice... it sounds...familiar.”

I shrank, and I felt a pit forming in my...uh...place that I think would be my stomach if I had one. I gathered what courage I had and moved closer to my previous host. It took a bit of contorting but I was able to make a “come closer” motion. Although she was still hesitant, she slowly lowered her hoof back down and made contact again. “How- how do I talk back?”

“You can either think it or speak out loud.” I explained, my tone still expressing my shame and guilt.

“So, like this?” Fire spoke in her head.

“Yeah, you got it” I affirmed, putting off the facade of normalcy.

“So... Princess Luna called you a Symbio. What kind of creature are you?” Her nervousness was fairly apparent in her words. That made two of us. For me it was more of an anxiety. I don’t know if Fire was picking up on it, but I was really hoping she wasn’t.

“I’m a...symbiotic organism. I attach myself to a host and I can sustain myself. As a bonus my host gains...some perks.” I explained.


“Yeah.” I squeezed out. I couldn’t help but recall the night before, and some of the “perks” I granted. “I give my host a healing factor, I can make them stronger, and I can give them an altered sight.” I paused, before recalling when I woke up earlier. “That’s just the ones I know about...I’m starting to suspect, I might be able to do more.”

Fire went silent as she started to digest the new information. I stayed silent. I could feel Fire connecting some thoughts. Your...your healing factor...Can it heal...burns? Severe magical burns?” She inquired with a bit of suspicion.

Oh no... she’s remembering. She’s remembering the pain from being blasted with the changeling’s magic. If I could become a pebble...no, let’s go with an atom at least that way she couldn’t see me. “Y-yeah. It can....y-y-you remember?”

Fire’s face shifted to match her realization, “T-that wasn’t a dream?”

With the truth out, most of my anxiety just released. I let my guilt show itself, “The night before, I was asked by the Princesses to use some of my abilities to investigate the location you gave them. To do so I had to use...somepony who the other possible conspirators might trust. So...I-I I used you.”

“What?” Fire stated out loud in an incredulous tone. The news broke her concentration and got the attention of her husband.

“What’s wrong, Fire?” Sunny inquired

“He..said that...he used me and I remember during my dream...it was like I was on fire. It hurt so much, I’d never felt that kind of pain before. But that wasn’t the only odd thing, I kept hearing a voice during my dreams. His voice. I just don’t understand how.”

“I can control ponies who are unconscious or sleeping. I used your body to get into the caves. When my partner and I were down there we were assaulted by the changelings and you were blasted by their magic. It was pretty bad, but the healing factor was able to fix up most of the damage. I know it hurt, because I felt it too. It’s another trait I have.” I stated my confession remorsefully. I felt better for admitting it, but I knew I still had to face judgement. “I am truly sorry Fire Starter. I...can fully understand if you can’t forgive me.”

I backed away from her and let myself come to rest in the center of the bed. I didn’t bother looking at Fire and above all I didn’t want to hear her rage. I just waited. I heard Fire asking Princess Celestia if what I said was true. She sounded a she was in disbelief. Celestia affirmed my story and admitted that there were few options available and that she wished there were better ways to handle the situation. Celestia offered her apologizes for putting Fire Starter in such a position that would lead to her being in harm's way.

There were several moments of uncomfortable silence before somepony said something. “I’m...not sure how I feel about this. On one hoof, I was used as a puppet without my consent and nearly killed” Fire Starter began. “But on the other hoof, I’m no longer slave to those bastard changelings and I have my Sunny Days back. I want to be mad at you, but I know that you did what you did to help the Princess. You also attempted to get me acquitted of my foalish actions.”

I felt a hoof touch me. The sensation of gratitude was prominent in this pony’s mind, “Fire may not know how to feel, but I want to thank you for what you’ve done. While they may have been questionable, they have brought me back to my wife. For that you have my gratitude. In time, I’m sure Fire will come around. Before we met, Fire was all alone and not a lot of ponies were willing to help her here in Canterlot. It lead her to be very distrusting. It took a months before she would trust me. Give her time.” The voice of Sunny Days informed me. He seemed like a pretty nice guy, and he made me feel a lot calmer about the whole situation. It was in that moment I recalled an important question that hadn’t been explained to me yet.

“I appreciate that, Sunny. Really. And for what it’s worth, I’m sorry for controlling your wife.”

Sunny waved me off, “Don't sweat it.”

“But I do have one question, though. When I dropped off Fire last night she was still under the effects of a sleeping enchantment. How is she awake?”

I felt Sunny smile, “Oh, it was due to the griffin sleeping in the cot in the corner over there” He pointed to the nearby corner of the infirmary that was obscured by another privacy screen. “When I arrived here, the old griffin was demanding to see Fire Starter. I was still weak from being fed on by those abominable changelings, but I was still able to walk. The griffin said he knew how to wake her up and after I told him that I was Fire’s husband he calmed down and gave me a slip of parchment with some strange writing on it. He said it would break the enchantment on her and wake her up.”

He must be referring to Grif. It’s the only griffin I can think of that would be in the infirmary. But he knew the rune to break the enchantment. So, he must have been the one to have made the runes on Fire’s horseshoes. Explains why the runes merely put her to sleep rather than killing her. Good to know that Griff was still fighting the changelings even while under their control. Good man.

“As the griffin said, the rune burned brightly on contact and Fire woke up almost instantly.”

Well, suddenly this answered some of the questions I had. Now I just had to worry about learning more about my body’s abilities and what repercussions of my interference in the events to come.

I gave my thanks and gratitude to Sunny, while apologizing once more. Sunny once again informed me to not dwell on the events and expressed his gratitude. I slithered to the edge of the bed and motioned for Celestia to come collect me. It's about time to get back to Ponyville.

Author's Notes:

Hey guys!
Sorry I took so long to release this chapter. I hit a major block and ended up rewriting it at least three times. I would like to thank Admiral Q Ponyform for getting me out of my rut. You're awesome bro.

On a very similar note: I helped out darkponDJ on their story, King of the Seas The story is amazingly well written and incredibly interesting. Give it a read!

Finally, thanks for the continued support and comments. Seriously, you guys have been giving me amazing criticism, ideas, and suggestions. Thank you so very, very much.



Next Chapter: Chapter 18- Calming down...but not really. Estimated time remaining: 4 Hours, 48 Minutes
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