by Colombiaguy

Chapter 24: Chapter 24- Recruiting the Victims, but not in a bad way.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

Author's Notes:

Hey guys... so yeah this took WAY too long. Seriously, way too long. I'm so sorry for this. I really am. The new year hit me really hard ,in a bad way, and it kind of put me in a funk for a while. But I'm back in action and working on my stories full throttle. Again, I'm very sorry for the delay and I hope you enjoy the story.

Special thanks to Aburi and Appletank for their continued assistance in proofreading and editing the new chapters.

Nothing like brisk morning air to get you ready to face the day. The warmth of the sun, the slight coolness of the breeze, the slightly annoyed voice of a unicorn asking questions in your head. Well the last one was not as relaxing, but I’m trying to remain calm for this because no matter how I phrase this or what environment I say it in, this is just going to be crazy.

“So... why were we at Rarity’s?”Twilight asked in groggy annoyance.

“I asked Rarity to make a costume for Nightmare Night. I just wanted to stop in and drop off payment real quick,” I explained in my calmest tone.

“Couldn’t you have waited until I woken up?It’s very disconcerting to wake up and realize you’re not in the place you went to sleep.”

I couldn’t fault her on that. I’m certain that’d throw anyone off their game. But this was kind of necessary. “Yes, and normally, I would, but I need to be in control for this.”

“Why?” Twilight asked in a suspicious tone.

“Because I have a strong suspicion you’re going to freak out when I tell you what I’m about to tell you.” ... Probably could have said that better.

“What could you tell me that’s going to make me ‘freak out’. I’m not sure you are aware of this, but my friends and I have dealt with a lot of stressful stuff and surprising things.” Was that cockiness I just got there? Hmm, it was small amount of cockiness, but I still think I can knock that out of her.

“Oh, like the time you tried to understand how Pinkie’s special senses worked, couldn’t and practically singed your mane in a fit of rage?” I posed with my own cockiness.

“Well, that was a very-....” she stopped as what I just said really sunk in. I could feel a small amount of unease in Twilight’s mind. “How do you know about that?”

Well, here’s the hill. Best get this boulder rolling because there’s no stopping now. “I saw it happen. You had spent most of the day trying to scientifically figure out how Pinkie Sense worked, had gotten gratuitously injured due to some... wacky antics and right when you thought you had it all figured out, Pinkie disproved your ideas and you burst into flames.”

I was dead on and it was scaring Twilight a bit. “How can you know that?! You weren’t there... or were you? Have you been spying on me?”

I found a small bench along the road I had been walking on and took a seat. “Unintentionally, but in a manner of speaking, yes.”

“What do you mean unintentionally?! You only just arrived a week ago! Have you been lying to me? To the Princess?” Okay, that’s confusion turning to anger. Need to stop giving vague answers.

“I have yet to tell anypony here a straight lie... mostly because I can’t... Well I can, but you’d know,” I explained still maintaining a small amount of calm, but my worry was growing. “Okay, so... remember I said that I was something else, before I became what I am now?”

“Yes,” she responded in a unamused tone.

“Well... my people, humans, don’t have magic, don’t have wings, and we aren’t as connected to nature as Earth ponies. But we do have one thing Equestrians don’t, and that’s technology. Advanced technology.” Twilight was still listening but I could tell my segue wasn’t making her any less wary of me or cooling her growing anger. “So one piece of technology we developed was called television. Essentially a box that played moving pictures for the purposes of entertainment. One of the shows that is on the television is called ‘My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic’. To put it plainly, it’s all about Equestria. More specifically about you and your friends. The Elements of Harmony.”

That actually caused Twilight’s anger to cool, if only by two degrees, but it didn’t stop her confusion from reigniting and her wariness to bolster as well. “I... what? What do you- I don’t understand. Your people watch us for... entertainment? How?”

I didn’t really have a response to that. Prior to a week ago, I would have still thought MLP was just a really good show for kids and adults. Considering I’m now talking to Twilight Sparkle... while also being Twilight Sparkle is kinda nuts. “I... don’t know. Most of us just thought it was a work of fiction. Magic isn’t real to humans. It’s just illusions or slight of hand. So... we really didn’t think Equestria was a real place, that talking ponies were just... you know... a story. Ponies don’t talk on Earth.”

Twilight attempted to wrap her brain around the concept. Pondering whether I was telling the true or pulling her leg. Trying to figure out how I could have learned about Equestria and thought it was fake. In the end she came up with one simple solution or it’d be better to say one simple demand, “Show me.”

So, I did. I pulled on my entire brony data base, from episodes from season one to some fan works. I layed it all out in one big mental image. Although, I think it was a bit too much at once as I felt Twilight’s train of thought ground to a halt. She probed the information I presented for any hint of contradiction, for any sign that this was a hoax or some kind of elaborate joke.

“I... wha... I don’t.” She was floored and a little anxious. I felt her heart beating heavily in her chest. If I wasn’t the one holding her up, I’m almost certain she would have collapsed by this point... maybe I’d dropped too much on her too fast. I really need to work on my delivery.

“Look... sorry if this is really sudden, but... you and the others were going to figure it out eventually. My thoughts are an open book to you and to anyone else I’m on. I figured it’d be better to just tell you and get it out of the way.” I did my best to try and sound sympathetic. I could tell she was really thrown off by all this information so early in the morning... Oh God, I feel like an ass! I could have at least waited until she wasn’t still shaking of sleep! “I’m... I’m just... I’ll get off if you-”

“How much...do you know?” The question was shaky. Like she was trying to process everything as she spoke.

“I... I know about everything that happened from the Summer Sun Celebration and Nightmares return up until... well. Without saying too much. I know enough that I know about things that are going to happen. The only issue I have right now is when they are going to happen.”

I felt Twilight thinking over this information with a hint of understanding, but there was a bit of confusion. “What do you mean you don’t know when they are going to happen?”

“Well, here’s the thing,” I started, “I’m pretty sure about a few events right now, but they’re out of order from what I’ve been shown. Like Nightmare Night is on track, but the wedding is happening earlier than I originally suspected.”

Twilight took in the information calmly, but I felt a twinge of curiosity building as I mentioned the wedding. She wanted to ask... and I was dreading her response when I did tell her. I mean I wasn’t expecting her to freak out...much, but I wasn’t sure how she’d deal with it coming from me, a guy out of time and a different reality. Then again...huh... is it worse to get this kind of news from someone who isn’t related or part of the family, or is it worse to get it via letter? I swear someone told me this once... or was that about break ups? Ugh, I’m procrastinating. Better get this done and over with quickly. Just like a bandaid. “Soo, this brings me to the reason I brought this up. Ya know that wedding I brought up?” I asked hesitantly.

“Yes... is it important?” she asked tentatively.

“Big time and your brother is involved in it too,” I stated and braced myself for the reaction. I think Twilight’s body tensed a bit as well.

“My brother? What does he have to do...” Twilight halted as she started to put the pieces together. “W-wait... the wedding... who’s getting married?”

Okay... here we go, “So the wedding is in Canterlot ,” I started trying to hold off saying what was going to happen. Damn my nerves, just say it! “And it kinda a big deal for... anoth-” Say it, dumbass! “Know what? I’m stalling so I’m just going to say it. Your brother is getting married to Cadence, your old foal sitter.”

Twilight’s mind went from confused to stunned and shocked in an instant, before shifting into annoyance melded with a bit of elation. Then she got quiet as she started to focus on something and I felt the annoyance building.“Dante?”

I don’t like that tone. It sounds... irritably annoyed. “Y-yeah?”

“When is the wedding?” she asked with what I could only assume was a slowly mounting anger.

“Uuuuh... why do you-”

“When. Is. The. Wedding?” she asked one last time. At least, I assumed it was going to be the last time if I failed to answer again.

“It’s in a few months... November, I think?” I answered realizing I still hadn’t gotten an exact wedding date. Really need to get on that.

Twilight was silent for bit after that. Well, verbally she was. I felt that mounting annoyance turning into full on anger. Part of it was toward Shining Armor for not telling her about the wedding and really the only thing keeping her irie from blowing out of proportions was the image of her brother and Cadence together.

I halted Twilight’s body as I decided (against my better judgement) to see how she was doing with this large info dump. “Sooo... I know, this was a lot aaand hearing about a family member’s wedding from someone not in the family...or the same species is not exactly the greatest thing...but I only bring it up because it’s a major event. Hope this isn’t too crazy for you.” I let the thought sink in as Twilight’s body shifted to match my sincerity.

I waited for a bit for Twilight to respond. Her mind was still stuck on the wedding. Eventually, she asked a follow up question. “Why is my brother getting married considered a major event?”

“Okay, so... Your brother really loves Cadence... and that love attracts the attention of some changelings with a bit of a vendetta against Celestia. They are going to use his love to give them enough power to... take over Canterlot,” I stated again in hesitation. She got pissed about not know about her brother’s wedding. I just dropped that said wedding was going to be the staging ground for an invasion. I felt Twilight’s body tensing again... which might have been a good thing, because-

“THEY’RE GOING TO WHAT!?” Twilight exploded. I am once again thankful the mind only has one volume setting... and I have control of the voicebox right now. “Do the princesses know about this?!”

“Yes, yes they know!” I countered trying to keep my host calm. “They already started bolstering security and they’re looking out for anything suspicious.”

That did calm Twilight a little, but not enough to keep her from asking more questions. “Well, how are they going to invade? How do they get into Canterlot? Do they succeed? Princess Celestia stops them right?”

Okay, too many questions too quickly! “Okay, okay, hold up! Twilight, I will explain everything! I swear, I will. But first I need you to calm down and I will explain everything on the way back to the-”

“Hey, Twilight? You okay?” a new voice added. It sounded kinda feminine. “You’ve been making weird faces and not moving.”

I looked around for the new voice but couldn’t really find the source, so I went with the next logical step...I looked up. Then... I nearly flipped my shit. Before me was a light grey pegasus, with blonde mane and tail, but the thing that gave away this mare’s identity was her yellow eyes and the fact one eye was looking at me and the other eye that was looking at something else. This could only be one mare. IT’S DERPY! NUEW MAH GAWD! This is amazing! I need to...no! I must... contain... fanboy!


No... must... not hug...adorable... Derps!


Eeeeeeh, so tempted to... hug! Must...find an... out!

“Dante, why are you getting all excited?...And why do you have a strong urge to hug Muffin?” Twilight asked in a confused... wait a sec, Muffin? “Her name is Muffin?”

I felt some confusion coming from my host as I asked that. “Yeah. What’d you think her name was?”

T’was at this moment I realized exactly how cruel and stupid it was of me to assume her actual name would be Derpy or Ditzy...but Muffin? I mean yeah she likes muffins, but what’s that have to do with her mark? How do bubbles relate to muffins? Or maybe it has to do with a bubbly personality? No, that doesn’t make sense... Bah, another question to the many things I need to find answers to, for now I go with Muffin, but she shall always be Derpy. “Something, that I now realize, makes no sense. Let’s call it a moment of naivete.” In all honesty, I probably should have known her name wasn’t Derpy, but I really had nothing else to refer to her as. Although, I really hoped her name was something better than Muffin, but hey. It is what it is.

“I’m fine, Muffin. Really, I’m just... thinking about something is all,” I replied to the pegasus floating above Twilight, attempting to give my most convincing ‘I’m fine’ smile I could muster.

“Are you sure? You looked like you were flinching. You’re not in pain are you?” Derp...Muffin asked with a bit of concern. Her gentle voice mixed with the look of general concern made me feel like Muffin was worried for Twilight. She seems like a nice mare. Although, I was starting to notice that her voice sounded a bit different than I recalled, but I also have two different voices I can put to her face, so meh.

“Yes, I’m fine. Really. I just had something on my mind is all,” I countered, waving off the wall eyed mare with a hoof.

Muffin just looked at my host...well, one eye did until the other came back into focus. She looked at us, before giving a light hearted smile. “If you say so, Twilight. Just be sure to talk to somepony if you’re having any troubles.”

I returned her light hearted smile with one of my own. Muffin nodded and went on her way. I prepared to do the same before the sound of something hitting the ground. I turned in time to see a small dust cloud billowing out of a side street and Muffin yelling, “I’m okay!”

I sustained a small chuckle. It’s not right to laugh at other people’s suffering, but... come on, that’s like classic slapstick! I saw her flying away a moment later, so I’m sure she’s fine. “Right, that was fun. So... back to the library?” I asked Twilight in my general nonchalant tone.

Twilight for her part was deep in thought, but what struck me was that she was really focusing on me. “Dante... we are going to have a long talk on the way back to the library. I want to know how much you know about the wedding, and how much the princesses know. But before that, I need you to do two things.”

“Okay?” I responded feeling that Twilight was preparing to voice some greviences.

“First, I need you to promise never to take my body outside the treehouse without my express permission. I understand you were doing a simple errand, but waking up outside your home with no idea how you got there is very disheartening and without question scary,” Twilight stated sternly. “Look,I can tell you’re a good...er...”

“Person,” I added meekly.

“Yes, a good person and you wouldn’t do anything with it, but my point still stands.”

I felt a sense of shame growing in my mind. In retrospect, I should have waited for Twilight to wake up. Would have been more respectful.“I understand, Twilight. Sorry,” I replied solemnly. “I’m guessing you want your body back, yeah?”

“Yes, that would be appreciated.”

I did as was instructed and detached myself from Twilight until she took over. I then put myself back into position. “So... what’s the second thing?” I asked still feeling the shame from before holding.

Thankfully, Twilight didn’t let me stew in my shame. “I want you to tell me everything you know about my brother’s wedding. I want every last detail.”

Oh...that isn’t too bad. “Fair enough. But let me premise this by saying, I don’t know some key points only that they are going to happen.”

Twilight shook her head as she started making her way back to the library. “It’s fine, I just want to know everything you do.”

“Okay. So here’s how it starts...well, minus some surprise since I’ve already told you. Anyway it starts with a letter from Princess Celestia and an invitation-”

By the time we arrived at the library’s door step, I had gotten to the part where the wedding went south. She’d been quiet the entire time and only stopped me when she needed clarification. “So after you announce that the other Cadence is a changeling, she sheds the disguise and reveals her true form.The changeling you call out is Queen Chrysalis, the head changeling. She announces her plan and what she had been doing to your brother the whole time. Princess Celestia doesn't take kindly to this announcement and moves to take her out.”

I felt Twilight getting excited at this and part of her mind anticipated this being the end of the story. Needless to say, she wasn’t happy with what came next. “Unfortunately, after feeding off your brother for who knows how long, she had more than enough power to overpower Princess Celestia and knocks her out.”

Twilight mentally and physically blanched at this. The idea of Celestia losing at...anything seemed like an impossible, nigh infeasible concept to my host. If it weren’t for the fact I was doing a mental play-by-play, I doubt she would have believed it. I continued anyway, “Before the Princess falls unconscious, she tells you to take the rest of the girls and get the elements. It’s at that point the invasion force breaks through Shining’s barrier. The entire city of Canterlot is completely overrun by the time you and the girls make it out of the castle.”

This comment put a pit in Twilight’s heart. That pit of dread and foreboding that sets your heart into a slow but horrifyingly steady rhythm. However, she reminded herself that this was to come and the changelings were unaware we knew they were planning. Along with the thought she’d be helping save her brother’s wedding was enough to shake the dread from her heart. “That’s not the end, is it?”

“No, nor is it the end of Canterlot. If it was, I’d brought this up way earlier,” I assured my host before continuing. “To shorten this up a bit so you don’t look worried when we head inside, the elements are already guarded by two regiments of changelings. You and the girls fight off the first, but get captured by the second. The thing that saves Canterlot is...the strength of Cadence’s love for your brother.”

Twilight noticed that little moment of hesitation and she confronted me about it, “Why did you hesitate?”

Because defeating an overwhelming invasion force with the power of love just sounds ridiculous when you say it in conversation. But I’m also in a world where the equivalent of a nuclear weapon is friendship. Then again... “magic” how does it even work... hmm. Better idea, come together children it’s time to learn a lesson. “Just a thought, but do emotions affect magic?”

Twilight stopped for a moment before I felt her figure out why I asked. “Well, it has been recorded that extreme emotions like rage, sadness, and even love can affect a unicorn’s magic. Rage tends to spark spontaneous and sometimes detrimental magical surges, sadness or depression can nullify magic, and love or a strong connection can often bolster one or both magical users’ output.”

“So that’s why that worked. Also, I would like to point out, the power of love is not a supernatural force back on Earth, but it is one hell of an awesome song. So I hesitated, because if I said that to anyone besides... well anyone here, I would have gotten some odd looks.” Truth be told, I gave myself an odd look just think-saying it.

Twilight had some small intention to ask me about Earth more but she convinced herself there was a more important matter to deal with first. We finally made our way into the library and Twilight immediately went to her work desk with the notes on Symbios. Spike greeted us but Twilight was in full focus mode and gave him a quick and dismissive greeting. When she got to the desk she started scribbling down the details of the wedding, as I had explained.

While I’ll admit it was damn impressive to see Twilight transcribe everything with a quill, I had to admit I was envious. I was never fast a writing with a pen or pencil; I used a laptop. I am not a pen and paper person. Anyway, she transcribed everything down, then she looked it over... then she looked over it again. Finally, she stopped and asked about the one thing I hadn’t mentioned. “Dante, you didn’t say how the changelings captured Cadence or got her into the crystal catacombs. I need to know how to stop that from happening. And I’m not sure you ever mentioned where Princess Luna was during the invasion.”

“Uuuh, yeeah. Soo here’s the deal,” I started nervously. “I don’t know how or when they do that. She’s just sorta captured already when that episode started.”

Twilight lets out an annoyed groan, but ultimately she let it go. I tried to assure her that Cadence had some covert guards watching her and that the Royal Guard was on high alert due to an incident where changelings were discovered near Canterlot. I opted not explain what said incident was and did my best not to think about that particular incident. I didn't need Twilight finding out that Celestia... nearly had an... never mind she might catch on. I don’t need Twilight worrying about something that already happened.

So with Twilight assured that everything was okay in Canterlot, she got to work on counters for the wedding and I noted one counter that got me wondering. Twilight put a note about moving the Elements of Harmony to be more accessible during the wedding. While I thought it was a good idea, it made me wonder what the Elements would do to changelings. I mean, they don’t exactly kill. Tirek got banished back- wait, they didn’t have the Elements for Tirek, nevermind. What did the actual Elements do? Oh, yeah Discord got turned to stone and Nightmare Moon got...de-eviled... or something. Maybe it’s like a purification thing? Eeerh, no that’s not right. If that’s what it is, then Tirek would have gotten nicer and Discord would be less sporadic. What would happen to a changeling? Would they become regular ponies? Would they become bugs? Ew, what if they became pony sized bugs. Bleg. I really hope I can shift one of my tendrils into a mega boot or something.

Twilight was still pounding away at the wedding when Rainbow Dash showed up. It sounded like she flew in through the upstairs window with a simple “What’s up, Twilight?” When she did take notice of Twilight going through a particularly large amount of parchment that detailed various scenarios and counters to those scenarios.

“Hey, Twilight. What’cha doin’?” she asked casually as she approached us from behind.

Twilight turned and was about to answer but stopped when a thought crossed her mind. “Dante, how many ponies know that you know about the future?”

“You and the Princesses, that’s it. I plan to tell Rainbow eventually, but I think it can wait for now.” I mostly didn’t want Rainbow getting overly gung-ho. I mean, closer to the wedding, I’d let her go nuts. Until then, best keep it under wraps.

Twilight nodded. “Just a little project, Rainbow,” Twilight half-lied.

Rainbow mostly dismissed the statement as she seemed more eager to do something else. “Yeah, yeah sounds cool. Mind if I borrow Dante for a bit?”

“Yeah, sure. Let me just tell him something real quick,” Twilight stated before returning her attention to me. “I’m going to keep at this for a while. When you two return, I’d like to ask a few more questions about what you know.”

I saw no problem with this, although I was probably going to keep some stuff hush-hush for a bit. Spoilers and all that. I affirmed I’d answer her questions, within certain parameters, and made my way over to my new host for the afternoon.

“Hey, Rainbow,” I greeted my friend upon getting a connection, she had been waiting with a mounting impatience that was palpable by the time I became fully ingrained in her mind.

Rainbow returned my greeting with a bit of excitement hinging in the back of her mind.“Sup! So what’s the plan for today?”

Man, she’s really getting into this. Best not disappoint. “Okay, this is the final preparation stage and this is IMPORTANT!”

Rainbow started to prance in place at this.

“We need ‘victims’,” I stated with added tendril air quotes.

Rainbow’s excitement waned slightly as she cocked an eyebrow. “Victims? What do you mean?” She asked.

“Ok, so what makes something even scarier than your average jump scare?”

Rainbow pondered the question as we flew out of the library. We reached altitude before Rainbow gave me an answer. “Making it... really loud?”

I giggled a bit at that, “No... a perceived threat, danger. Peop- ponies get smart to constant jumpscares. So you need to ramp it up. We need some insiders to make it seem like there is a real danger.”

Rainbow flashed a look of understanding and stopped mid-flight and letting out a giddy squeal. “That. is. SO. BRILLIANT! Oh my gosh, I’m so excited for this! So who we getting to be the victims?!”

I got a little giddy myself at this.“Weeeell, Princess Luna and I have discussed it. Since Nightmare Night is directed at kids, it might be a good idea to get some to help from some local kids. Any idea who we could get?”

Rainbow barely had to think on it as a memory popped into her head. “OH OH! I saw Scoots and her friends heading to their clubhouse when I was going to the library. We could ask the Crusaders to help.”

“Couldn’t hurt. If they say no, we could always see about other kids.”

“Sweet!” she stated as she took off toward Sweet Apple Acres.

It took a short amount of time for us to arrive at the clubhouse tucked away in the back part of Sweet Apple Acres. It was a decently sized little clubhouse with a small window on the side and another sun window with a little flower box hanging off the windowsil. The front door to the clubhouse was wide open and we could hear a trio of voices talking from within, more than likely our targets. Rainbow made her way to the front door and we got a better look at the inside. Applebloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo were in the center of the one room clubhouse. Aside from a simple table and a lone crate there wasn’t much to see. The only other things I noticed was a small rug on the floor and another window I hadn’t spotted from the outside. All it took was a small announcement from Rainbow to gain the trio’s attention.

“Heya, squirts. Whatcha up to?” Rainbow asked.

The three fillies turned to look at us, Rainbow more than me. Scootaloo had the most surprised and excited expression of the three and was also the first to respond. “Hey, Rainbow Dash! We were just discussing our next crusade for our cutie marks,” she stated exuberantly. “What are you doing here?”

“Yeah, what are you doing here?” Sweetie Belle asked, her voice cracking a little as she spoke.

Rainbow donned a subdued smirk, as her ego started to build. “Well, a friend of mine asked for some help on a secret operation for Nightmare Night and I thought you three might be interested in helping. Wanna hear about it?”

While Applebloom and Sweetie showed some interest in the proposition, Scootaloo looked like she was about to take off with her little wings out of pure excitement. “Uh, sure. What’cha workin’ on, Rainbow?” Applebloom inquired.

Rainbow’s smirk turned into a sly grin. “Well, my friend has been working on this story for Nightmare Night. So, we’re looking for some help to make it happen. He has a special role for you three and I thought you three might want to help. Still interested?”

“You’re enjoying taunting them,” I stated, knowing that Rainbow was lapping up the growing interest of the three fillies in front of her.

“Maybe a little,” Rainbow countered, barely hiding her mischievousness.

“Yeah, if a little means a lot.”

Rainbow laughed at that, not really rebutting my comment. She returned her focus to the three fillies who had huddled up and were quietly discussing what to do. I could see Scootaloo’s wings still buzzing in excitement. After a bit of internal conversing, they broke the huddle and the three asked to hear the story and what their role would be in said story. Rainbow told them the entire story and as she did, I saw Applebloom starting to put the pieces together. Sweetie and Scoots merely listened until Rainbow finished, “So the Slendermare uses her long black tendrils to take fillies and colts away into the Everfree, never to be seen again. We were thinking you three could play the ‘victims’ to make the whole thing seem more dangerous.”

Before Sweetie or Scootaloo could say “yea” or “nay” (note I didn’t take this opportunity to make a horse pun), Applebloom spoke up with a small question. “Wait a moment, Rainbow. This ‘friend’ of yers. It wouldn’t happen to be Mr. Dante, would it?”

Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo gave their earth pony friend and odd look at this question. “Mr. Dante? Who’s that?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“Yeah, I’ve never heard of that pony before. Kind of a weird name,” Scootaloo added.

Rainbow blinked a bit at this statement. “Wait, Applebloom knows about you?”

“Yeah, Twilight and I trying the strength enhancement thing with Applejack to see if the power could be used without causing fatigue. Applebloom was there when we did it.”

“Ah, okay...” She paused for a second before adding an additional question. “Can you use it without making ponies tired?”


“Crap.” She let out a small sigh before returning to Applebloom’s question, “Yeah, it’s Dante. He’s here right now, actually.”

This comment got Scootaloo and Sweetie to begin looking around the room in a vain attempt to discover my location. Rainbow found some amusement in their search and, to be honest, I found it a little funny myself. In the end, Applebloom had to point out my “hiding” place in Rainbow’s mane. Although, upon hearing that I was hiding in Rainbow’s mane, the two crusaders gave very skeptical looks to their friend. It wasn’t until I produced my tendrils did the pegasus and unicorn understand what that meant. Obviously, both were quite startled by my appearance. “It’s real?!” Both of them shouted simultaneously. Scootaloo looked a partially interested, but Sweetie looked... worried.

Okay, that’s an odd reaction why would... oh, right. I used my talons to make a cage around Smarty Pants so the crusaders couldn’t get to him...her... one of those two. Did they think that was a hallucination or something? I suppose a that spell Twilight used did mess with their heads a bit.

“Why’d y’all think Dante wasn’t real? We saw him when Twi did that weird spell on us ‘member?” Applebloom stated.

“But... but didn’t that one have claws? Like really sharp claws,” Sweetie Belle pointed out in a slightly concerned voice and shrunken back position.

“That sounds kinda cool,” Rainbow stated before she decided to check on this info. “Can you do that?”

“Actually, yeah. I figured out I could do that two days ago. I didn’t show you that?”

“Um, no!” Rainbow said with a bit of offence in her tone.“That’s pretty awesome though. You totally need to show me that later.”

“Will do.”

“Yeah, that must have been him, but he’s cool. He helped make this plan.”

This got seemed to get Scootaloo a little more fascinated, but Sweetie seemed to be retreating a bit more. Just to make the little unicorn feel a little more comfortable, I let my tendrils retract. I felt bad. I mean, I get that I’m not exactly “pleasant” to look at and I kind of give ponies a particular “I’mma steal your soul” kinda look, but it doesn’t stop the fact that it still hurts a bit to see them look at me like I’m a demon...well, they’re looking at my host and how they look like a demon, but I know what they are really focusing on.

“So... You and Dante came up with this?” Scootaloo asked, snapping me out of my thoughts.

Rainbow got eager at the question. She wanted to drop what she knew but she held off... for now. “Well, not entirely. Dante came up with the story, but somepony else devised the plan and how it’ll play out,” she explained with a sly smirk.

The crusaders seemed curious and when they asked who made the plan, Rainbow said she’d only tell them if they agreed to help as this was considered “top-secret”. I wouldn’t have gone that far, but I wasn’t exactly in charge of correspondence. Anyway, the comment was enough to get the fillies to think over what to do. They retreated to the back of the clubhouse and huddled up. They talked amongst themselves in hushed tones,while they occasionally shot a glance in our direction.

“Do you think they’re interested?” I asked Rainbow Dash.

“I’m sure they’re just trying to figure out the best way to say yes. I’d be willing to bet Scoots is going to be all over this and Applebloom seems okay with the plan.” She hesitated when she thought of Sweetie. “I think Sweetie Belle might be scared of you, but I’m not sure.” I was kinda hoping that wasn’t the case and I was just over analyzing.

“Yeah... I noticed. I tend to have that effect on others,” I replied sullenly.

The trio eventually broke their huddle and Applebloom was the first to approach. “Well, we talked it out and we’d be willin’ ta help. The only thing is Sweetie Belle is sorta scared of Dante. Ah tried to tell her he’s a nice guy, but she’s still a mite concerned.”

Rainbow looked over to Sweetie Belle and it was apparent that she was keeping an eye on Rainbow while also keeping a substantial gap between herself and Rainbow. Her ears were flat against her head and her tail was curled around her leg. Man, I hate that I’m scary. I mean, in a fight, I’d love to be scary. I doubt anyone would mess with me, but not around kids. I’d rather not be scary to them. Especially when they are this small and adorable. Fanboy demands it.

I felt Rainbow was a bit saddened by the Sweetie’s reaction as well. It was a definite assault to her ego. She was used to admiration and praise. This was the first time she’d ever had someone look at her with genuine worry and fear. What made it worse was it was someone she knew and it was the sister of a close friend.

“Ah, was thinkin’ though. Maybe, Dante could talk to her? Show he’s an alright guy,” Applebloom proposed. “If Applejack says he’s a good guy, he must be right?”

Rainbow nodded, “Of course. Dante’s a cool guy. A little weird, but he’s an alright guy.” She changed her focus to me, “Do you mind talking to her, Dante?”

Hmmm, I’m hesitant to say no, but I don’t want to force it on her either. I’d prefer she want to talk to me. “Ask her if she wants to first. I don’t think forcing her to talk to me is going to make things better.”

Rainbow agreed and she turned to look at Sweetie Belle. “Hey... uh, Sweetie Belle,” Rainbow called out hesitantly, to which Sweetie twitched nervously. “Look, Dante really isn’t a bad guy. He’s actually pretty cool.” I then noticed something going on in Rainbow’s mind. It felt like a small amount of guilt in the back of her consciousness. “And in all honesty... I didn’t really like Dante when I first met him. I thought he was just trying to hurt my friends, but after I spent some time him, I found out he’s really cool.” Doesn’t surprise me. I pretty sure if I hadn’t had Twilight around, Rainbow would have chucked my sorry ass out the nearest window. Who knows what would have happened from there.

Sweetie looked like she was listening as Rainbow spoke. She seemed a little surprised by this admission and she seemed to relax a bit. It was clear she was still a bit scared, but she wasn’t as scared as she was before. Her tail seemed to have let go of her leg a bit and her ears weren’t as flush against her head anymore. Sweetie looked at Rainbow, but I noticed she wasn’t looking at Rainbow. She seemed more focused on the nape of her neck.

“So... do you wanna... like talk to him? Just so you can get to know him, ya know?” Rainbow offered, keeping her tone calmer than usual.

Sweetie looked to her friends. Applebloom was giving an encouraging smile, while Scoots seemed to just be interested in what was coming next. After that she turned back to Rainbow. The little white unicorn seemed to be deep in thought, and while it was clear she was still on edge, she gave a slight nod. Rainbow gave her a small smile and started to approach her, but I stopped her. “Hang on, Rainbow.” I requested calmly I had an idea that might make Sweetie feel more comfortable.

Rainbow stopped and her ears came to full attention. “Huh? What’s wrong?” Rainbow asked in response.

“Put me on the ground. I’ll make my way towards her progressively and if she changes her mind, I’ll just stop.”

Rainbow didn’t really have any qualms with my idea... other than it wasn’t a particularly quick plan. Despite her personal reservations, she gave me a hoof to get on and placed me on the floor. Ah, hello aura sight, been a while. So let’s see, four auras. Cyan one behind me is Rainbow, the yellow one to my left must be Applebloom, the orange one to the side is Scoots, and the lime green one at the far end of the clubhouse has to be Sweetie Belle.

“Whoa. He’s smaller than I thought he’d be... and not as cool either,” I heard Scoots say. And excuse me for being small! I squeaked an annoyed retort, but all that did was cause Rainbow to sputter a snicker. When I turned to yell/angrily squeak at her, she broke into full on laughter. No one takes the angry black slime seriously.

Bah! Forget it. I got better things to do. I turned around to see that Sweetie’s aura was in a more curious position. She was leaning in a little and her head was cocked slightly and she seemed to be looking in my direction.

“He... can’t talk?” Sweetie asked in a very hesitant but curious voice.

Rainbow, still laughing, responded with, “I guess- ha ha- he can speak in- BWAHAHA- Squeaks!” She then went into a stronger set of hard laughs. Thanks a ton, Rainbow. My frustration came out in an annoyed bubbly grumble that sounded like I was blowing bubbles underwater. Ugh, I need to determine if there’s a way to communicate when I’m on someone. I mean I’ve given up on trying as a blob. All I have is squeaks and that only ends in laughter.

I turned back to Sweetie who, I’m guessing based on her positioning, was looking at me still. I think she had gotten a little closer and I took that as a safe sign she was curious to some degree. In a slightly hopeful manner, I slowly made my way toward Sweetie. My approach was halted when she twitched away slightly. I waited until she relaxed before approaching again. However, we had some added pressure from Scoots, who like Rainbow, seemed to be getting impatient and was huffing her annoyance. Rude.

Anyway, I got closed enough to the little unicorn that she was only a foot away from me. I slowly came into contact with her and made a slight connection with her. “Uh... Hi, Sweetie Belle.”

While the greeting was about as low key as I could go with, Sweetie immediately pulled away. I heard her shudder slightly and I could see her examining the leg I touched. I couldn’t determine how she was feeling or what her facial expression was, but her next comment seemed to give a hint of curiosity. “He... I heard him in my head,” Sweetie exclaimed with a bit of shock and surprise.

“Yeah, it’s a bit weird a first,” Rainbow said with a small chuckle. “You get used to it and the random thoughts after a while.”

“Random thoughts?” Applebloom interjected.

“Yeah, you can hear his thoughts sometimes. He can hear yours too. I think Twilight said it’s because he links up to your nervous system or something.”

I saw some cocked heads from Scoots and Applebloom, but Sweetie looked like she was staring at me again. Her hoof came down, albeit slowly, and she gave me the okay to go again.

“You doing okay?” I asked in concern.

“Uh... yes, I guess?” she responded. “This is weird.”

“So, you can hear him?” Scoots asked.

“Y-yeah. It’s... something.”

“So... feeling better? I’m not gonna do anything to hurt you three. I used my claws to keep you three away from that doll or at least hold you off for a bit. Sorry if it was a bit much.”

I felt Sweetie’s mind processing my words, like she was questioning if I meant what I said. While I let her process I caught a small snippet of a thought, it was like some sort of deeper relief. Like she wasn’t viewing me as a threat anymore. I then caught a glimpse of a memory. It looked like Sweetie’s point of view from the doll debacle. Hints of strong admiration coupled with a undertone of fear. Then there was an image of Twilight with the whites of her eyes turned black, leaving her lavender irises to be the only other defining feature that stood out beside my tendriled arm and talon. She was scared of this image.

“Hey... look. I get that... I’m not particularly pleasing. I’m slimy, I make ponies look scary, and my abilities are not... er... not very... appealing? I guess. All I can say is that I had no intention to hurt you or the other crusaders. I just wanted to keep y’all away from the doll until Twilight could figure out how to fix the problem,” I explained in a soft tone. “I can tell you still find me a bit scary. I’ll keep my distance until you feel more comfortable near me. Sound okay?”

I felt some amount of calm go through Sweetie Belle, as well as a minuscule amount of guilt. I turned to see the other crusaders looking in our general direction. “Sooo, what’d he say?” Scootaloo asked Sweetie. “We only caught what you said.”

The feeling of guilt grew in Sweetie’s mind and I felt her body reflect this feeling. “He... uh, he said he was sorry. He didn’t mean to scare me and he’d... stay away if it’d make me feel comfortable.”

I wasn’t entirely sure if Sweetie was still scared of me or not, but I opted to stay true to my word. I went back to Rainbow and gave the filly her space. When she was ready to be near me she’ll make it known. I got back to Rainbow and reestablished our connection. Ah normal vision, you may not be as cool as aura vision, but you’re just so familiar and detailed.

“Sooo... did the chat go well?” Rainbow inquired upon the connection taking effect.

“Well, I wouldn’t say she’s not scared of me, but that’ll take time. Until then I’d say she’ll be tolerant of my presence, just give her a bit of space.” Rainbow nodded in understanding before giving the fillies her attention.

“So, now that that’s taken care of, did you want to help?” Rainbow asked with a desperate want to move forward burning in her mind.

Applebloom and Scoots looked to Sweetie Belle, their faces showed concern more than anything. I’d wager a guess they wanted to make sure Sweetie was okay with this before they gave their confirmation. The white unicorn filly gave her friends a meek nod and the other two returned with their own. This led to Rainbow getting all excited because it meant she could drop the mega bomb that she had been storing. “Well, all right. So, before we go any further, I need you three to Pinkie Promise not to tell anypony anything about this plan or who this is for.”

The three agreed and went through the actions associated with a promise that, if broken, would lead to the loss of a friend and probably the wrath of a particular bubblegum pink pony. After the movements were completed Scootaloo was the first to voice the groups curiosity, “So who is this for? You’re acting like it’s really big deal.”

“It is kind of a big deal. This is for Princess Luna when she arrives on Nightmare Night,” Rainbow said with the biggest grin she could muster.

The sound of the lower jaw lines of three fillies hitting the ground was clearly audible after the announcement was made. Their eyes went wide with astonishment and they didn’t blink for a whole thirty seconds. That last one was pretty impressive, and I suddenly had an extreme urge to blink... a lot. Anyway, after the three got over their astonishment they began bombarding Rainbow with questions about why the Princess was coming to town, why she had picked us, and (of course) what marks they could probably get for assisting a princess.

Rainbow chuckled to herself, she was feeling particularly happy about the reaction she’d gotten from the three and she wasn’t about to let up. “I’ll take that to mean you are definitely on board. So you guys want to hear the entire plan?”

Applebloom and Scoots gave a definitive, if a bit energetic, nods, while Sweetie’s nod seemed a bit more subdued, she at least flashed a small smile. I got a feeling she is still uneasy, but given some time I’m sure she’ll be a little more comfortable around me. Besides, with this Nightmare Night scare underway it’d give her plenty of time to do so... or not. I’m hoping she gets more comfortable around me. Hope for the best, but expect the... actually, I’m just going to really hope for the best.

Rainbow gave the rundown of the plan and explained how things would go. She was iffy on some details, like dialogue and certain “spook” points as we hadn’t really figured out any of those just yet. I figure Luna was still working out those details. I’ll have to try and remember to ask her about it. Maybe she can give me an idea of what we should be doing. I mean, I doubt she is going to ask for anything too complicated. More than likely we’ll just need to practice the scares and the “abductions” before Nightmare Night rolls around. Either way, it shouldn’t be too hard, most of it is just timing.

We spent the next hour or so just discussing the ideas of how the story would be executed and what the crusaders would be doing and how I fit in. The crusaders were mostly behind the idea and Scootaloo was adoring the idea of scaring the other kids in her class. With that said and done, Rainbow requested that they meet her back at the clubhouse after classes so we could let them know about any new information Luna may relay. The trio happily agreed and Rainbow told them that we’d be back tomorrow with more information.

The trio were perfectly fine with this and they said they’d be at the clubhouse immediately after school. Rainbow was almost as giddy with anticipation as the trio, but I think she was hiding it better. The fact I had access to her thoughts helped me know she was just as psyched. With the last of our crew recruited, it was time to get into the real meat things, but until I updated Luna we weren’t going to get far. I asked if Rainbow could drop me off at the library so I could send an update letter to Luna. My host was more than willing to do so.

“Okay, squirts. I got to take Dante back to the library so he can update the princess. Be back here tomorrow, ‘kay?”

“You got it, Rainbow Dash!” Scoots responded with a salute.

“Can do, Rainbow,” Applebloom affirmed with a nod.

“Okay,” was Sweetie’s energetic reply.

“Alright, see you guys tomorrow!” Rainbow finished before heading out the door and taking off into the sky toward Ponyville.

Rainbow and I had some time to chat on our flight back to the library. Rainbow had a drastic desire to vent a squee that she wanted to let out but refused to let out in front of the crusaders due to it being “uncool”. “THIS IS GOING TO BE SO AWESOME!” she yelled as we soared through the air. Her excitement and anticipation was quite palpable and she was already prepared for the next step of the process.

“Feeling’s mutual. Way to secure the pitch back there.”

Rainbow’s ego inflated a little at that, “Heh, nothing to it. I figured once I dropped that the Princess was behind this thing, they’d totally be down to help.”

Yeah, because no one would avoid the chance to do a princess a solid. I opted to keep my sarcastic remarks to myself, as this had been a productive two days. Got some info on my new species, had recruited Zecora and the CMC, and albeit not the best way I could have done it, I managed to tell Twilight about the wedding and my knowledge of future events. I wish I was this productive when I was in high school, who knows what I could have accomplished? “Without question, sold it better than any business man...pony. You know what I mean. Good job all around.” I’m not particularly good at not voicing my sarcasm. So when I have a sarcastic thought but choose not to voice it, everything tends to come out... eck.

Rainbow chuckled,“I get ya.” She then rolled one hundred eighty degrees so she was now looking up into the sky, “So what do you think happens now?”Rainbow asked her excitement still apparent.

“I’m not really sure. I would think we should maybe do a dry run of the path and test out those spots we found yesterday. Hard to say, but we are out of prep and into practice. So it should be interesting.”

My multicolored cohort agreed, “Oh yeah, hopefully, Rares will have the costume ready by then. I’m so ready for Nightmare Night.”

I was remiss to disagree. I’ve never gone through with anything like this before. I’d discussed and hypothesised doing something like this, but never executed this of the planning stage. Hell, officially, we were now in the practice phase. In a few weeks... oooh. Now I’m getting all excited. Heh, this is going to be fun. Until... the we- NO! NO! Let’s stop that right now. Yes, it’s going to happen. No, I’m not thinking about it... right now. I got a feeling I’ll be discussing it with Twilight once I got back to the library. For now, fun times! “I’m feeling pretty hyped for it myself. This is gonna be pretty awesome. Plus... Imagine the looks on their faces when shit starts getting too spooky for them. It shall be glorious!”

Rainbow giggled as the images of startled and scared ponies running from the faceless mare with pitch black tentacles. The idea was just tantalizing to her, so much so she started to wiggle in giddy anticipation mid-air. This thought, however, caused Rainbow to remember something and she halted mid-air.

“I just remembered! You need to show me these ‘talons’ that Sweetie was scared of,” Rainbow stated with a continued giddiness.

Oh right, nearly forgot about that. I did promise... and this is probably one of the few ponies I can brag about my abilities to without them being scared. Plus, who is going to see this in the sky... huh, never thought I’d say that. Anyway, I produced my tendril and shifted them to talon form. Rainbow let out a bit of a gasp before it switched into into an “ooh” of pure interest. I held them in front of her with the palms up. Rainbow observed and felt my bladed appendage. She was genuinely curious and interested, but something happened. While looking at my talons Rainbow let one of the blades rest against her left hoof. I, unfortunately, didn’t notice because Rainbow’s mind was in such a frenzied mess that I overlooked it. Anyway, she went to check out one of the talons and it cut her pretty good. This caused her to jolt the affected appendage away... and it collided with my tendril. This cause my tendril to absorb her leg! WHAT!? I mean... What?! I’m assuming this is a normal thing, but I was not expecting that!

“WHOA! WHOA! WHOA!What the hell?! What did you do?!” she mentally shouted at me. She was surprised and panicking a little, the addition of her heart rate skyrocketing also confirmed this. Her mind was probably the most active I’d ever witnessed at this point, but considering my arm just ate her leg... another thing I never thought I’d say, it was within reason.

“You really think I know? I’m still figuring have this stuff out!” I retorted.

“What did you do to my leg?!”

“I don’t know! We need to figure that out!” I added in an attempt to calm down my rainbow maned friend. I wasn’t sure what this was or what this meant, there was no pain and Rainbow still seemed to have full motor function of her leg, I assumed this wasn’t a bad thing.

Rainbow was still running on a partial adrenaline rush, but she did eventually get a few calming breaths in and got her heart rate under control. She found a cloud she could land on and we began our inspection of the... “affected” appendage.

Okay, so where to start with this? Rainbow’s leg is completely black... Boy, Rarity would have a conniption if she saw this. Rainbow already has too many colors in her arsenal, black is the one color that just doesn’t belong. Detracting, sorry. Looks like the tendril has also wrapped around the left side of her barrel as well. Uh, my talons are still active, but they’re moving without my input... wait. “Rainbow... are you moving my talons?”

Rainbow didn’t respond immediately, she was fascinated with her new digits and also contemplating whether or not it was capable to mulching a tree. Heh, I wanted to do that too. Wait, no, science stuff. Focus! “Rainbow, you are moving the talons, right?” I repeated a little more forcefully.

“Huh? Oh yeah... these are are super cool! You think I could-”

“More than likely, but that is awesomeness for another time. You can use my talons! That’s... wait. Zecora said something about armor, is this it?” My hopes were soaring at this thought, but Rainbow quickly brought me back to earth when she poked her arm and the entirety of her leg just jiggled like jello.

“Don’t think so. Doesn’t look like this could defend against anything.”

Well damn. Hopes and expectations dashed in less than ten seconds. New record. “Okay, so maybe it’s not armor, but it is something. You’re now... part... me I guess?” I was mostly unsure what I’d done aside from the observable. I was curious if it was repeatable, but a small part of me worried that Rainbow’s leg was trapped in my tendril or if it could return like my other tendrils. Best test if this was a permanent thing or not.

I relaxed my tendrils as if I were retracting them and the right one went away, the one on Rainbow’s leg did not. I was about to worry I had given Rainbow the most permanent dye job of all time, but I noticed that she was still fiddling with the claws. “Hey Rainbow, could ya do me a favor?”


“Could you relax your left leg a little. Like if you were putting your wings to rest or sitting down.”

While Rainbow understood why I was asking this, she was less than happy to do so. Apparently she found her favorite ability. She agreed so long as I put them back after we tried it out. I agreed. So Rainbow relaxed her leg and the black on her leg slowly receded up and into her mane. Okay, not permanent. Sweet! Which means... hehehehe. “Hey... Rainbow.”

Rainbow was already ahead of me. “Do it.”

BAD ASS MODE! Engage! Both my tendrils shot out, talons at the ready. Rainbow reared up on her back legs and threw her front legs into them. Immediately the two legs were absorbed, her barrel was now fully encased, and Rainbow was sporting dual bladed hooves.The mutual feeling of awesomeness was so amazing, Rainbow had to squeal for both of us. Dear lord, this amount of awesome should be illegal. Hell, the fact I have ten razor sharp blades ready at a moments notice is pretty bad. The TSA would have a shit fit if I was back home.

“Oh my gosh! This is so AWESOME!” Rainbow gushed. “OH OH, do you think my eyes are black?!”

“I’d say so. Why?”

My question was immediately answered by Rainbow’s devious mind going to that place where all her little mini pranks lay. While I understood what she wanted to do and who she wanted to scare, but I don’t think Twilight needs the extra stress. “Maybe another time, Rainbow. Twilight is kinda stressed at the moment. She doesn’t need any more worry.”

This caused Rainbow to let out a groan, I caught a small thought relating to Twilight but it was too quick for me to catch. “So, what’s got her all freaked out now? Hopefully, nothing like that thing two days ago.”

May have overextended with that. Best to keep it low-key. “She got a bit of... well, not exactly bad news, but it got her pretty riled. I don’t want to mess with her too much right now,” Rainbow seemed to take me at my word and dropped the idea of scaring Twilight with the new... symbiotic... claws?...Nah, not cool enough. Hmmm, meh I’ll have to think of a name for this. Anyway, she dropped the idea and her new talons, before taking off toward the library.

We reached the library in next to no time, and we... well, Rainbow mostly, used the window to enter. I can see why Twilight finds this annoying, anyone with wings can pretty much come and go through here, but it also goes straight through her room. Soooo, kind of an invasion of privacy... and unlawful entry! Then again, Rainbow is that friend who’d barge in on you at some random time. Good thing Twilight is pretty understanding and tolerant.

The second we cleared Twilight’s room and made it to the lobby, we spotted the owner of the public book storage site. She was hard at work at her desk working with a fervor achieved by those of devout religious faith or those with an extreme OCD. I was banking on the latter.

“Hey, Twilight! We’re back,” Rainbow called out. Twilight barely twitched, she looked pretty engrossed in whatever she was doing. “Twilight. It’s Rainbow Dash and Dante. Hellooooooo!” Rainbow tried again. Twilight’s ears didn’t even twitch. It wasn’t until Rainbow went up behind Twilight and physically get her attention with a shoulder tap.

“Huh, wha? Oh hey, did you guys just get here?” Twilight responded as she turned around to face us. Her eyes looked a tad bloodshot and part of her mane was a bit disheveled. Oh boy, here we go again. Obsessive Twilight was active and at maximum capacity. Might be able to get her to maybe... I don’t know, get her on a topic that won’t give her high blood pressure.

“We’re fine. You doing okay? You look kinda rough,” Rainbow inquired.

“Huh? Oh, yeah. I’m fine just... uh... working on a small project. Nothing special,” Twilight responded a bit hesitantly. “Did you guys get your... errand done?”

“Yeah. Good to go, but we also discovered a new thing Dante can do! It’s so awesome!” Rainbow said with a large smile.

This got Twilight’s attention and her ears snapped to attention. She immediately called for Spike and grabbed a quill and parchment with her magic and gave us her full and undivided attention. Rainbow and I were more than happed to recreate the... er... man I really need to think of a name for this. Eeeh, let’s just call it the “share” ability until I can think of something less corny. Man, naming stuff gets tricky. I digress, I produced my talons and Rainbow threw her hooves into them creating our “shared” talons. Twilight was obviously interested but also a little intimidated. Her ears had gone flush against her head and her pupils looked to have shrunk a bit, not that it kept her from still take notes. Before Twilight could say anything, an impressive sounding “Whoa!” permeated the library. Rainbow turned toward the source to see Spike standing in the kitchen doorway with a small platter. He was hunched over and his normally slitted eyes were now completely circular.

“Rainbow!” Spike exclaimed. “You’re like part dragon!... Well, except for the eyes, but still too cool!”

Oh, do you hear that? Sounds like... yeup. A bountiful ego being oh so carefully stroked and it is purring. Rainbow puffed out her chest a bit as she showed off her newly acquired digits, “Aw yeah, except I’m faster and way more awesome!”

Spike came closer as Rainbow sat down on her haunches. “Whoa. This is cool. How is Dante doing that?” Spike inquired as he observed the bladed talons on the ground.

“Apparently, if you put your legs into his tendrils they just sort of... absorb ‘em,” Rainbow responded with a nonchalant shrug.

“Wait, wait,” Twilight interjected, she had questions to ask (as if she wouldn’t). She passed the quill and parchment to Spike as she continued. “The tendrils contorted to your legs and barrel, while the talons just adhered to your hoof? Just like that?”

“Yeah, it’s kinda like they locked in,” Rainbow replied. “Plus, I can control them too.” Rainbow then flexed the blades on her right hoof. The blades expanded horizontally before coming together and scraping against one another. “I wasn’t expecting this, but this is pretty sweet. The blades, I mean. You really need to try this, Twilight.”

To my surprise, I actually saw Twilight stop her notes for a moment and observed Rainbow messing with the talons. I saw a single moment of interest pass through her before she shook her head. “No thanks. I can use my hooves and magic just fine.”

“I doubt she’d want to damage her books anyway. If they can cut through rock, imagine what they’d do to books,” I suggested before letting a small mental image of Twilight accidentally shredding a book into confetti. Rainbow snickered.

“But, the reason I asked is because this could be the armor Zecora talked about,” Twilight stated with a smile.

Rainbow shot her down about as fast as she did me. “Yeah, don’t think so. It’s all flabby. Doesn’t look like it could defend against much.”

Twilight’s face scrunched up at this. Was she disappointed or just thinking? Hard to say. She went back to writing notes before she approached. “Mind if I take a look, Rainbow?” Twilight inquired.

Rainbow shrugged and held out her left leg for Twilight to investigate. Hell, if anyone could figure out how this stuff worked it’d be Twilight... ya know. You’d think when Death decided to plop my happy ass on this world, in a new body, he’d at least left me a hand book. Shit, I’d been fine with a “how to be a co-dependent blob”. Figuring this all out from scratch is a pain... well, at least I got help. Fuck me running, if I had to do this by myself.

Anyway, Twilight had Spike take over note taking while she investigated Rainbow’s augmented leg and barrel “So, do you feel different at all? Stronger or anything?”

Hmmm, is she thinking what I think she is? “No, I feel fine. Why?” Rainbow inquired.

Twilight hmm’d to herself as she added something to her notes. “What do you think she’s thinking?” I queried my rainbow maned compatriot.

Rainbow shrugged and inquired what Twilight had in mind.

“Well,” Twilight began. “While it might be a stretch, but maybe this is how the Dark-Eyed Warriors were able to have their strength and stamina. I was hoping that you were feeling stronger.”

That... actually makes a bit of sense, except how does this flab make a brace... wait. Gonna steal a line from Rarity real quick. “Ideeeeea! Rainbow!” Rainbow twitched a bit before giving me her attention. “I gonna try something. I’m not sure if it’ll work but just go with it.”

Rainbow wasn’t entirely certain what I was up to, but she gave me the go ahead. So... here’s my thinking. Rainbow currently has my tendrils on her front legs. I can’t manipulate them, but it’s also only on her front hooves. Twilight seems to think this might be where the warriors get their stamina. Assuming she is right (and let’s be honest she probably is) maybe I can-

“Whoa!” Spike exclaimed in surprise as I produced a new set of tendrils! Ha Ha! I was right! Which means, I can do this! I lowered my tendrils and slapped them against Rainbow’s back legs and, sure enough, the attached to them! However, there was an additional effect I wasn’t exactly expecting. The tendrils engulfed Rainbow’s... er... well... putting this politely, they covered her flank and back side before... ahem.... Constricting. I did not know this was going to happen I swear! Hell, I’m wondering why it didn’t constrict before!

Rainbow let out a surprised squeak before blushing and getting reasonably pissed. “Are you copping a feel!?”

“NO! No no no no no! I swear! I was just trying to see if I could... even out the ability. What use is it just having front leg enhancements on a four legged creature? I swear I’m not trying anything perverted!” I retorted noticing I was a little warmer than I was before.

Twilight was beyond interested, “Oh my gosh! They tightened! This could be the Symbio armor! This is so-” She halted when she noticed Rainbow’s new color addition. “Rainbow, why are you blushing?”

Rainbow blushed a little harder at the question. She then called Twilight close so she could voice her offense without tainting a certain tiny dragon child’s virgin ears. “Dante is totally copping a feel on my flanks!” She whispered pointing a talon at her flanks.


Twilight looked at Rainbow’s legs and backside with a perplexed look before excusing herself to look for a book. She went over to the health and wellness section of the library and after a bit of searching she found whatever she was looking for and pulled it from the shelf. She popped the book open and flipped through it until she found whatever she was searching for. “Actually,” Twilight said with a smile. “Dante isn’t doing anything er...,” she looked at Spike before she changed her wording, “Like that, at least not intentionally.” Not helping, Twi.

Rainbow gave a her unicorn friend a skeptical look. Twilight decided to elaborate. She flipped the book around to reveal a diagram of the muscular and skeletal anatomy of pony. “I thought it was weird that Dante’s tendrils were just enveloping your barrel and your legs, but looking at these muscular groups, it makes more sense. They’re lining up with your muscle systems for your fore and hind legs,” Twilight said with exuberance. She then laughed for some reason, “Him... er, adjusting to those parts of your anatomy is him connecting with your hehe, gluteus maximus muscle which happens to be the biggest and most important part of your back legs.” Twilight continued to titter a bit to herself. “I’m not sure, but this might be the real enhancement ability.”

Oh, that was the trigger word. “Wait, you think these could be-” Rainbow posed in with a mounting excitement.

Twilight nodded, “It could be. Dante’s previous ability seemed to be more of a ‘last resort’ boost. This seems more encompassing and might actually be the real deal. Of course, I’m just speculating but-” She didn’t get a chance to finish.

“Can we test it!?”

Twilight flinched, “What?”

“Can we see if these can make me faster?” Rainbow repeated an excited grin on her face.

Twilight blinked before she tapped her chin in thought. “Well... we could, there is a treadmill in the basement. The only issue is that we don’t really have a control.”

“A wha?”

“Like a comparison,” Spike chimed in. “It’s basically a pony who would do what you would do just without Dante’s help.”

“Oh... well is that really important?” Rainbow asked hoping that Twilight wouldn’t say-

“Yes, it is,” Twilight interjected decisively. “We need to determine how strong this ability is and if it has any side effects. You remember what his other ability did. You couldn’t fly for two days!”

Rainbow wanted to make a rebuttal, but Twilight’s reasoning made her reconsider. Some memories were flowing through her head, the soreness of her wings, the fatigue her body felt. She couldn’t deny Twilight had a point. “Hey, if anything we can give it a shot tomorrow. Maybe Applejack will be willing to help.”

“Yeeeah... I guess. Just sucks. I really want to see what this can do... you think they’ll work on my wings?” Rainbow responded clearly not entirely happy with the turn of events, but still retaining some eagerness and curiosity.

“Well... why wouldn’t they? I mean, they attached to your legs pretty easily. Hell, we could test them too, so long as there are no aftereffects like Twilight said. I’m pretty curious to see what these bad boys can do.” I could understand Rainbow’s frustration. I mean, imagine you had a pair of... I’d say half a foot long, blades at your disposal. You can’t tell me you wouldn’t fuck around just a little. Hell, if this was the states, I’d be at the nearest junk yard figuring out what I could and could not shred. I’m still questioning if these things could go toe-to-toe with a metal sword. Be like the Wolverine... but like with... obsidian claws.

“So... you can’t be the... control or whatever?” Rainbow inquired to Twilight.

Twilight shook her head dismissively. “I’m afraid that wouldn’t work. I’m nowhere near your level of athleticism. You’d clearly be faster than me and easily be able to last longer in any form of endurance. Even the other way around it’d be pretty difficult. We need somepony with equal skill and endurance. Like Applejack.”

My rainbow maned compatriot sort of understood what Twilight was talking about but there was still a nagging desire. As much as she wanted to encourage that desire, better reasoning told her she’d have to wait lest she submit herself to another grounding. “Okay... I get it. Think we can test them out tomorrow?”

“Why not? I’ll see if Applejack will let us use part of her farm to test the ability and its effects. Probably need to get some monitoring equipment as well. Hmm... I need to make a list,” Twilight then started to mutter to herself about items and equipment she’d probably need. She eventually snapped out of herself thought by Spike clearing his throat.

“Uh, can I stop now Twilight? You two haven’t really discussed anything new in a while.”

Twilight chuckled sheepishly and dismissed Spike to do whatever he wanted. Poor guy, everyone forgot he was there. But... come one this is pretty awesome. I mean... bio-weaponry and armor! Exoskin! All the coolness!... Okay, I kinda forgot he was there too. I didn’t mean to, but I did. I was distracted by cool shit. It’s a weakness. I’m working on it!

Anyway, Spike passed off the notes he’d taken to Twilight and went off to do his own thing. This left Twilight, Rainbow, and myself to determine tomorrow's plan of action. Rainbow explained that she had to meet with the CMC to discuss our next plan of action, but also said that it’d be on Applejack’s farm anyway so it wouldn’t be an issue. Twilight said she’d bring some equipment to allow us to see how much of a boost, if any, the share ability gave the host. Rainbow was fine with this and said she’d be back tomorrow a bit early since they were still waiting for a shipment of... clouds (who knew) from Cloudsdale (coincidence abounds) and until they came she didn’t really have much to do aside from some advance weather planning.

Rainbow promised she’d be back the second she got off work. She let the leg exoskins drop so I could actually leave. Apparently, this new ability kind of “locks” me into my host. Like... literally locks me. Once she did drop them, I was able to disconnect myself and head over to Twilight. I hooked back up with Twilight and we both said goodbye to Rainbow for the night. Rainbow took off, leaving Twilight and I to discuss things... a lot of things.

“Sooo... you’ve been busy,” I casually broke the ice.

Twilight was quick to respond, “Yes, but can you blame me?You dropped an invasion plot and my brother’s wedding on me. I wasn’t going to just do nothing.”

Fair point. “Well... what did you come up with? Looks like you were hard at work when we came in earlier.”

My unicorn host went back to the table she had been at prior. From a cursory glance, I saw a few images of changelings along with some notes about their biology. Another set of pages looked like maps and tactical data. Jesus, I really wish I had half her focus. I might have gotten through law school quicker. Hell, might have been done before the meteor hit. I really should stop using Jesus’ name then using Hell in the following sentence.

Anyway, Twilight had obviously done plenty of research. Which in hindsight is probably a good thing. Twilight knows more about this world than me... which I need to work on. Seriously, I wonder if this library has a legal section. Maybe... I could try to become a lawyer once I try and help with all the problems that come around. Huh, wonder if Celestia and Luna could make that a thing. Equestria’s first Symbio lawyer. I’d have to get an assistant for sure. Hey, they could be my paralegal! Hehe, that’s... wait, I’m getting off topic. “Okay, so you’ve been very busy. What did you do exactly?”

“Well, I did some research on changeling biology, checked over the maps of Canterlot for possible alternate locations to hide the Elements, looked into some possible anti-magic barriers that might be able to neutralize changeling disguises, and did some searching to see if there are ways to prevent mental tampering.” Holy crap, she rattled that off like that was normal thing for someone to research in five hours. Damn, I need to step up my game.

“Okay, first off, damn. Secondly, what can you tell me about what you learned? If I’m gonna be useful I’m gonna need to learn what I can,” I stated knowing that the incoming lecture would last a while; but it was vital. Twilight and I needed to pool our resources, and so far I have a pretty nice repertoire. Sharp finger blades, on call adrenaline rush, aura vision, and now limb enhancements (maybe). We’ll put that under “to be determined.”

As much as I didn’t want to think about it, an invasion was going to happen. Hopefully, by the time the wedding rolls around I’d be ready. Until then, best to learn me a thing or two.

Next Chapter: Chapter 25- Life Talks and Crew Meeting. Estimated time remaining: 1 Hour, 25 Minutes
Return to Story Description


Login with