by Colombiaguy

Chapter 18: Chapter 18- Calming down...but not really.

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Author's Notes:

Holy crap, sorry this took so long. School took me away from the story for a bit and it took me some time to recall where I wanted to go with it. But I got back into it and I'm back in action. Thanks for waiting.

The feeling of alleviating guilt was always a sensation I reveled in. It was the feeling that things weren’t as bad as they seemed. As far as my situation with Fire Starter, while I’m still not sure if she would forgive me, but at least coming out with what I had done took away some of the anxiety.

I’m currently being hosted by Celestia with Luna following nearby. We had left the infirmary after checking on Griff, who was asleep at the time. He was still in pretty bad shape, but the old bird was still breathing. The doctors had informed Celestia that he was suffering from an extreme magical deficiency. Apparently, had we not acted when we did, Griff may not have lived through the night.

Given a bit of time to think about what has happened, I realized something. This was twice that I’d been shown the potential for loss of life. I mean, yeah the season four finale was like something out of a DBZ episode and hell the season two finale had a full on invasion...which is still something in my near future. But no one died! I’m just inside a week and a ruler of state and a foreign dignitary nearly died. Hell, the changelings nearly killed Fire Starter and me. Perhaps it’s some kind of naievety but maybe Equestria and Earth aren’t so different. Just different rules? Since they have magic, mythical creatures, and some alternate technological progression, maybe I can just make some parallels. Eh, I wish I was a smart enough to figure this shit out.

Ok, break it down. Currently, I must be in between episodes. The ordeal with Discord has already happened so...if this is going in canonical order, what’s the next event?....It’d be...Twilight’s freak out! But who knows when that’s going to occur? Hell, would the episodes occur canonically? ...For that matter, what is it today? Monday? Saturday? Is it June? I have absolutely no time frame right now. I’m usually pretty good on keeping track of such things. Hmmm, maybe backtracking would help? When I first came here, I was on my way to work. The weekend just ended. So, Monday. So this is my sixth day in Equestria...so it should be... Saturday! Okay, that’s a good start. Now let me just confirm this before I start making any more assumptions.

I turned my attention to my host, “Princess? Can I ask you a question?”

Celestia gave me her attention, and responded with a calm, warm response,“But of course, Dante. So long as I can ask you a question in return.”

Okay a tit-for-tat agreement and based on her thoughts she it wasn’t anything earth shattering, “Of course.”

“Then you may ask.”

“What’s today’s date? I just sort of realized I haven’t been keeping track of time.” I admitted sheepishly.

Celestia chuckled a bit, “Is that what you were concentrating on? The way you were focusing, I thought it was something more serious. It’s Tuesday, September thirtieth.”

Tuesday? Hang on, full day Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday...six days. Did I miss something? Did I gain an additional three days? No, she said it’s September. It was April when I left, I’ve gained months! Fuck me, this is...this...this whole thing is lunacy....I am not smart enough to figure this nonsense out. As if the whole body thing wasn’t crazy enough, now I’m dealing with this wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey bullshit.

I broke out of my time crisis, remembering that Celestia had a question for me too. “T-t-thanks for that...uh, you had a question too?” I stated trying to shake off that little mind-fuck.

Of course, the two way link let Celestia catch it, “Are you okay?”

“Yeah...just realized I’m really missing some time...a lot of it”, I didn’t bother hiding it. At this point, Celestia was my confidant along with Luna. If I couldn't trust them with my problems who could I? The fact they were so willing to help me as well kept me from keeping secrets.

Celestia was surprised by this news, “You’re missing time? What do you mean?”

I explained my time deduction and the inconsistency. She didn’t seem to sure how to explain the time issue. When asked, Luna seemed at a loss of how to explain the missing time as well. They asked what I could remember from the time I left Earth to the time I came to Equestria. My explanation of my encounter with Death/The Reaper and what felt like two minutes of travel didn’t appear to solve much. The closest plausible hypothesis was that when Death said he was going to “Fast track” me, it was literal and he moved me through time to where I needed to be. How he did it can only be accounted to extremely powerful magic. I was wondering why here and now. Yeah, I was present to save Celestia, but... what about after? What was my role after that?

With little to nothing to go on, we agreed our hypothesis would have to be pondered when more information was available. “Ugh, things can never be simple can they?” I groaned in frustration.

“If everything in life were simple, we’d never learn. Overcoming the challenges and problems of life is what allows us to become stronger and better ponies. But for now, do not dwell on what cannot be answered. I’m sure some time in Ponyville will allow you time to rest and gain focus. And don’t be afraid to ask friends for help, just because a task is hard does not mean it must be tackled alone.” Celestia assured me in full teacher/mother mode.

Heh, that’s a good point. I don’t have enough information to discern Death’s purpose for sending me ahead in time. Maybe it’ll come to me eventually but trying to wrack my brain around it without the appropriate information wasn’t going to help. Focus on the here and now for the time being.

“I understand, Princess. Thank you.” I was about to start a new tangent when I remembered my previous agreement, “Oh, You wanted to ask me something and I completely derailed you. Sorry ‘bout that.”

Celestia just smirked, proposed her question“It’s not a problem at all, Dante. I was just noticing that Luna has been adjusting her vernacular. She’s been very set in her ways in using the royal ‘we’ and old Canterlot verbiage. But back in the infirmary she actually used ‘you’ and didn’t use the Royal Canterlot voice when addressing Fire Starter. You wouldn’t happen to know why, would you?”

I debated how to answer. I noticed the change too and I could tell Luna was remembering our conversations before she spoke to Fire Starter. So...maybe I was the cause? I wasn’t sure but I couldn’t discredit that our conversations last night and this morning hadn’t caused her to adjust how she spoke in some way. “I...I’m not sure. I mean I noticed it too, but...I guess I might be the reason.”

Celestia cocked an eyebrow, “Well, what did you do that might have swayed her?”

“Well, we chatted last night before we got to your bed room. Ya know kinda casual chat. We talked about her going to the Nightmare Night celebration in Ponyville, then we got onto the topic of spooking people for fun and we seemed to share the hobby and we ended up hitting it off. By the time we were done, we were friends.” I explained.

Celestia was almost taken back by the statement and she stopped all forward movement. “You and Luna are friends?” She asked with a spark of joy building in her mind.

“Y-yeah. Is it that surprising?” I asked a bit incredulously.

Celestia’s excitement exploded into full on elation before she grabbed Luna in a bear hug, “OH Lulu! You made a friend! I’m so happy for you!” She practically squealed. Guess this was a big deal.

Luna, who I’m guess was getting her lungs crushed, attempted to respond, “T-thank you, T-t-tiaaah. Though *hng* we’d appreciate it *herk* if you could *nerg* release us.”

Celestia released Luna from the bear hug, and Luna was able to regain some breath. Celestia could barely contain herself and was smiling from ear to ear.

“Sorry, I’m just so happy you have a friend!”, Celestia apologized, with her glee being over apparent.

Wow, Celestia is super happy about this. Am I Luna’s only friend? There’s no way. I’m sure she has some friends among the Lunar Guard, right?...Right? Would she be offended if I asked? Hmmm. “Um, Princess. Mind if I ask another question?”

Celestia reined herself in as she acknowledged my question, “You may and thank you for befriending Luna. She’s been very lonely since she returned. I’m sorry to say that many of my little ponies are still a bit scared of her.”

“I kinda figured based on how others tend to act around her...but she hangs out with some of the Lunar Guard right? I'm sure some of the guards are chummy with her. At least when they are off duty right?" I knew I was grasping in the hope that Luna's only friend before me was her sister.

Celestia's jovialness suddenly tapered a bit at my follow up, "No, the Lunar Guard are indeed her chosen guard, but they do not interact with Luna in the same way you or I do. Thestrals are loyal to Luna, but I have never seen them act friendly towards Luna, whether on duty or off. They are guards, just like the Royal Guard. They do not interact with either of us outside what is necessary for their positions."

Well....hmmmm....just....Okay, okay. I’m Luna’s friend and I will do what I would do for any of my friends. Heck, with Nightmare Night coming around maybe I can get Luna to be friends with Rainbow Dash. She is going to be part of our Nightmare Night spook scheme anyway so it could work. If one friend is good, two should be fantastic. “Thanks, Celestia-erh Princess, sorry.” I’m getting a little too comfortable addressing Luna and Celestia so informally. I really don’t want to offend them. Luna doesn’t seem to mind and we’re friends so it’s okay for me to be informal with her, but I can’t say I’m that familiar with Cel- Princess Celestia that I can use just her name.

Celestia giggled a bit, and put my worries to rest “It’s okay. It’s nice to not be addressed by my title. It’s refreshing. After a thousand years of being addressed as ‘Princess’ it’s nice every now and then to be addressed informally.”

That’s...a pretty good point. Twilight is Celestia’s student and even she doesn’t call Celestia by just her name. Plus, I think I’d get tired of being addressed by the same title all the time. If Celestia is okay with it... I guess I can be a little informal. “Okay...Celestia. Sorry, for the awkward question. I was just surprised that Luna didn't have any friends other than me."

Celestia turned melancholy at my mention of friends, "Yes, neither of us have many friends. For the longest time, I was just as lonely. I was thankful that there were so many ponies who blessed me with their friendship. Many were my personal students and I cherished them all. I hope my sister can learn the same from you and those who come."

Internally, I wanted to mention Sunset Shimmer and what happened between her and Celestia but I opted to keep my mind focused on what Celestia said. As much as I wanted to satisfy my fan boy curiosity I'm sure that might be a sore subject...but hey if I'm here long enough I could get to meet her. Hey maybe my form in human Equestria is better than a blob. Yay for future possibilities!

"I'll do my best not to disappoint, besides with our plans for Nightmare Night I got a feeling she's gonna hit it off with Rainbow Dash." I assured the princess.

Celestia brightened up a bit and put on a smile. "I'm sure they will be the best of friends. Twilight has written that she has a tendency to be a bit of a prankster. I’m sure they will get along well."

I couldn’t argue with that. With Luna planning things out and Rainbow and myself executing the majority...oh I get all giddy inside just thinking about it....Although, I had to remember not to go showing off my tendrils around Ponyville for a bit. If that got out it’d ruin the scare. With that little mental note out of the way, Celestia and I noticed that Luna was staring at us. Guess it’s weird when you can hold a conversation that only two individuals can hear. Celestia apologized for the silence and the three of us, with Celestia relaying my thoughts, talked casually the rest of the trip to Celestia’s bedroom. Luna and I even let Celestia in on our plan for Nightmare Night. Celestia, despite a few qualms about scaring some foals, was interested in the tale and our execution.

We continued through the castle until we reached Celestia’s chambers. When we got inside I saw the ornate jewelry box that had been my carriage for going between Canterlot and Ponyville. Guess it, was time for me to get ready to head back. I prepared to removed myself when Celestia stopped me with a hoof.

"Before you go, Dante. I wanted to ask a favor of you." Celestia stated.

"Um, sure. What can I do for you princess?" I asked with a bit hesitation, the last favor required the use of another pony’s body and nearly had said pony barbecued.

Celestia understood where my hesitation was coming from and worked to put my worries to rest, "Don't worry it's nothing dangerous. As I'm sure you are aware, I've had Twilight write to me about her findings on friendship."


"I'd like you to do the same, but in regards to your Symbio abilities. You are a virtual unknown, any information you can discover would set precedent and allow us to learn more about your species. So when you discover any new information I'd appreciate it if you could write to me or Luna with what you have discovered."

Well, I can see the reasoning. New creature not seen in who knows how long, has abilities no one thought possible outside of magic. I'd like to know about it too...in fact I’m still learning. With the discovery of the claws, I think it's time I really start to experiment with my body... Somehow that came out a little dirtier than I initially thought.

"Sure, I can do that. But I how do I send something to Luna if you’re not available?”

Celestia informed me that Spike could easily designate where he wanted anything to go with his dragonfire. So as long as I told Spike who to send the letters to, they’d always appear to the correct recipient. I feel with magic like this, texting is going to take a long time to be invented...in retrospect, maybe that's not such a bad thing.

"Well, if you want me to report on new abilities and the like, I discovered a new ability this morning. I can try and show you now, if you want." I stated with a small amount of excitement.

Celestia was intrigued and gave me the go ahead to demonstrate. I produced my tendrils and held them out in front of her. I attempted to remember the sensation of the claws and how it felt. Initially nothing happened, and any more attempts to yielded more nothing. Okay, what am I doing wrong? What did Celestia say about my tendrils the first time I tried to produce them...it's a reaction. So what were the claws a reaction to? Fear? No, that doesn't make sense. Unless...the dream. I was scared but I was attempting to claw my way away from that tree. So, maybe the tendrils were reacting to my want to get some traction? My need to get away? My fear? Guh, I hate not knowing how to do cool stuff! Worse I hate not knowing my own damn body. I have claws. CLAWS! I demand to release my inner wild cat! Hmmmmph....Think....think.... I put myself back into the moment from the dream, that desperate feeling of wanting to escape. The feeling of trying to dig into the mud and grab something, anything to help me get free of the mud. I was clawing...at the ground. I had to...Wait...what if this is different from the tendrils. The tendrils reacted from reaction and instinct....what if this was...more physical. Okay. Let's try something. I let my hands go ridged like a claw, like an animal. Like if I were to swipe at someone it'd be my nails to strike first.

Sure enough, I could see the digits of the tendrils start to slim down, compact, and sharpen, and the sound the accompanied the change was something else, it sounded like ice when you drop it into water and it makes that cracking noise or the sound of glass slowly breaking. All I know is it made the transformation sound kinda...creepy. So, that works to make my claws...what else can I do? I hate not knowing...but learning...makes me feel like a little boy on Saturday morning.

Celestia was startled by the change but curiosity quickly overrode fear and she asked to inspect them herself. I warned her to mind how she inspected the claws, as they were capable of making marks in stone. That tidbit sent Celestia into full inquisition mode, how was this sort of transfiguration possible? Where would this sort of offensive ability be necessary? She make some inquisitive pokes with her hooves and ran the them along the blade of the claws. "Amazing, it's similar to obsidian, but....it appears to consist of your own biomass." Celestia released my claws and I relaxed my tendrils. Thankfully, they turn back to their normal state. Sweet! I'm learning! I wonder what kind of damage these things can do? They can make marks in stone, but could they hold up against metal? Could I sword fight with my claws!?

Might have had that a little too hard, "Dante. As much as I like to encourage experimentation, I hope you aren't planning to get into a sword fight to test how strong the strength of these 'claws' are." Celestia said with a bit of a chastising tone.

That stopped my internal man-child from continuing down that line of thought. I opted to try and convince Celestia that I intended to be as professional and scientific with learning about my abilities and biology, "Nooooooooooo." I stated like a child caught in a lie.

I could tell Celestia was unamused.

“I’m not going to get into a sword fight to test my claws. I promise!” I stated a bit more sincerely, if not a bit disappointed.

Celestia felt that I was being serious (enough) and moved on to the her next thought. “So, do these work like your tendrils? They produce out of an instinctual reaction?”

“Actually, no. It’s weird to explain but...I can actually will them to change. It’s like...uh,” I stopped part way. I wanted to say that by making my fingers rigid I could make the claws come forth, but I wasn’t sure if there was something to compare it to...wings maybe? Guess that’s the best I can go with. “I guess it’s like if you were to make your wings fully stiff then it makes them change. Does that make sense?”

Celestia considered my words and flexed her wings a bit until they went fully rigid and were sticking straight into the air. “Like this?”

"Yeah, kinda. I'd say if you could bend your wings like my claws it might be sim-"

"Tia, what are you two talking about?", Luna interjected with an incredulous look on her face.

"We were merely discussing Dante's new ability. Why do you ask?" Celestia responded curiously.

"We ask because uh...well, you appear to be...*ahem* ." Luna stated while pointing behind Celestia.

And it was at that point, Celestia turn around and realized what was possibly the greatest unintentional payback I could have ever dealt anyone. Celestia's fully erect wings made it look like she had a full on wing boner. Upon said realization, the all powerful leader of Equestria, Controller of the Sun, and Princess of the Day...blushed, hard.

Now, as gloriously unintended as this was, it had the the added bonus of being...just so damn hilarious, and while I couldn't laugh out loud like a stupid idiot. I could savor every little moment like sweet sweet vengeance ice cream. I'd never be able to pull this off again, and I wanted to remember this moment.

"Dante...you planned this?"Celestia inquired with embarrassment as she clasped her wings close to herself.

"Nooo...But I'm totally willing to take full credit for it regardless." I stated not hiding my jubilance in the least.

Luna continued to look on in confusion as Celestia's blush sustained. Then, Celestia, despite her embarressment, started giggling.

"Sister...why are you laughing?" Luna asked with a bit of concern.

I shared similar sentiments. "Yeah...why are you laughing?"

Celestia attempted to stifle her giggles, "Sorry, just it has been so long since somepony has gotten me like that. It's just so funny, that you didn't intend for it to happen." Then mentally Celestia informed me, "I've been around for a long time, Dante. A simple joke, even an unintentional one, is still a joke."

"Huh, it's just...I thought you might be sore or...retaliate."

I felt smirk of a thousand deaths return and direct itself at me, and I felt a chill go through my body as malicious thoughts ran through Celestia's mind, "Do you want me to retaliate?"

...I sense I'm in danger again. Celestia was already contemplating the many ways she could easily screw with me....I am so boned...DO SOMETHING NUMBNUTS!! "Nope! Not needed. Totally even! All good! Noooo need to retaliate aaaaat all! Please?" I rebuttled as fast as I could. I don't think I could handle Celestia's strategic mind working to prank me in some manner or another... The thought alone scares me.

The smirk disappeared but I could almost hear an "Aaaw" mumbled under her breath.

Luna continued to look on at the spectacle until she seemed to get what Celestia was talking about. "Dante...was able to prank you?"

"Unintentionally, but yes." Celestia stated as she finally calmed herself, but kept the smile.

Luna looked fairly impressed, before she gave a snide smirk. “You must be slipping dear, sister. It has been years since you have been the subject of a jest.”

Celestia didn’t flinch and the gears in her mind started up again, “Why Luna, if I didn’t know better I’d say that was a challenge.”

Luna’s smirk deepened, “Mayhaps it was.”

Ok, Celestia planning a prank is bad, with Luna getting involved I think it’s time for me to go...now! I started to remove myself from Celestia, when she stopped me. Oh God, I don’t want to get involved!

“Before you go, Dante. I just wanted to give you something.” Oh thank, God. I saw Celestia’s magic reach out and grab something that looked like a small bag that could fit in the palm of my once human hand, seemed pretty full too. “This is a little compensation for your deeds. Consider it a small down payment until I can properly reward you for your actions. Use it as you see fit.” The bag was placed next to my box to be teleported along with me and I heard the distinct sound of metal coins jingling.

Hey, a bit of spending money! Sweet! Not sure, what I’m going to do with it, but nice to have a bit of...bits!...........I’m so sorry for that stupid ass pun. Won’t happen again.

With the final preparations taken care of and my bad pun shame put in check, I was sent on my way back to Ponyville. But I heard something before I left that made me glad I was leaving when I did, “Now...you going to make good on that challenge, Luna?”

The dragonfyre transit was becoming a pretty common thing for me now. I was even getting used to the rapid acceleration and rapid stop. Much like before, I felt my box come to a halt and my exit was punctuated with a lovely belch from Spike. However, within a few seconds I could tell something was wrong. Spike sounded like he was out of breath, had he been running? Not only that but I noticed that there were tons of auras present outside the box. Were we in the middle of town?!

“Huh? OH! Dante!” I heard the dragon say in a weary tone.

I felt the box being lifted along with a jingling of coins from the bag Celestia gave me. The box was opened and I felt a claw grab me. Downside of being so small, it’s hard not to be manhandled. Thankfully, my snake like movements let me wriggle my way to Spike’s crest and link up. Within a second I could tell something was wrong. Spike’s thoughts were focused on Twilight and where she might be. Better investigate.

“You okay, Spike? You sound like you’ve been running a marathon.” I asked in full concern.

Spike took a second to collect his thoughts, “It’s Twilight. I think she might have finally snapped!”

Snapped? That doesn't sound good. Better keep pressing, “What do you mean? What happened?”

“Well, it started when we went to pick up some cupcakes for a picnic with the girls and when we got back to the treehouse, Twilight did her usual double check of her calendar for today. She realized she hadn’t sent a Friendship report to Princess Celestia in a week and now she’s running around town trying to find a problem to solve!” Spike explained attempting to keep his concern in check.

OH MAH GAWD! This is Lesson Zero! Sweet!......Soooo....what do I do? Spike’s obviously concerned and Twilight does go overboard. Maybe I could stop her from doing something drastic...but,Celestia said not to interfere unless necessary. Besides the “want it-need it” spell, there wasn’t any real danger, but a small riot over a stuffed toy wasn’t a good thing either. Someone could get hurt ...wait aren’t the CMC there? Considering death is still a real thing here, this could be bad. Eeeeh....I don’t know what to do! Hmmmm...Ok, let’s be smart about this. First, find Twilight. Second, observe. Then, interfere if necessary. Sounds decent enough...now let’s see how the execution goes.

“Ok, Spike, I’ll help. Where’d you see Twilight heading to last?”

Spike snapped out of his train of thought and started thinking about my question, “Uh, she was at the treehouse before she started freaking out, then she just bursted out the door saying, ‘The clock is ticking’ a lot. I know she already visited the others, but I think she might be willing to try something desperate! I'm really worried!"

“Like causing a problem for her to solve?” I offered knowingly.

Spike went stiff, the thought had been lingering in the back of his mind and my statement merely brought it to the front. "No...she...she'd...Oh man, she'd totally do something like that! Dante, we need to find her!"Spike said as he grabbed the frills on his head.

"Ok, first calm down. We need to be calm and rational, Spike." I stated as calmly as possible. Then I had an idea, "Now think, Twilight's looking for a problem to solve, right?"

Spike nodded.

"So, if where would be the best place to find a friendship problem?"

Spike pondered my inquiry rubbing a claw across his chin. Where would there be a friendship problem? Well, you'd need ponies first. Twliight already tried finding a friendship problem with the girls and that didn't work out. So where else, would there be ponies? With a bit more pondering, he snapped his fingers in realization. "The park!", he stated out loud, earning some confused looks from those around him. Spike rubbed the back of his head and apologized sheepishly.

"Heh, right you are Spike. Now, let's see if we can't stop Twilight from doing anything drastic."

Spike nodded and we made our way off to the park to find Twilight....man I hope I do not mess this up.

Next Chapter: Chapter 19- Fix it Fix it Fix it Fix it! Estimated time remaining: 4 Hours, 28 Minutes
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