"I can't believe this is working." Rainbow Dash muttered.
A few feet behind them in a large cage with a blanket over it was U-3. The cage was normally used to separate manticores that were under Fluttershy's care from the other animals. Fluttershy herself had no problems with the manticore being out and about, but it made the other animals very nervous, for obvious reasons. The cage had a new addition of four large wooden wheels on the side, and was attached to Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash by a rope tied around the cage on the outside of the blanket. While the rope was used to pull the cage, it also served to make sure the blanket wasn't moved out of place by the wind.
"Well, you have to admit it was very clever of Lyra to think of all of this." Fluttershy said in her usual hushed tone.
"Yeah, I just can't believe SHE gets to ride in there while WE get to do all of the work." Rainbow Dash said.
A small giggle erupted from the inside of the cage-turned-carriage. Lyra had elected to stay inside of the cage and make sure U-3 didn't blow their cover. While Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash were quick to accept her offer (a choice Rainbow Dash was already regretting), Lyra also had ulterior motives for being inside of the cage. For the past hour or so, Lyra had lit a candle inside of the cart and studied U-3's figure. She took special interest in his hand, even going so far as to ask to play around with it, which U-3 of course allowed.
"Yeah, yeah. Laugh it up. Next time YOU'RE pulling the cart, and I'M riding inside of it." Rainbow muttered.
"Hey guys. What'chya got there?" A creamy white earth pony asked while trotting up to Fluttershy, causing both her and Rainbow Dash to stop in their tracks.
"Oh. Hello Bon-bon. We're just..um...--"
"We're taking Fluttershy's cousin to Twilight! Yeah, he's real sensitive to sunlight, so we're taking him to Twilight to see if she has anything that could help him!" Rainbow Dash interrupted, proud of having come up with an excuse on the spot.
"Why don't you just take him to the hospital to see if they have any medical strength sun-screen?" Bon-bon asked with a suspicious expression.
"Oh. Well, uh. We hadn't thought of that." Rainbow rubbed the back of her head with a hoof sheepishly.
"Uh-huh. Look, Fluttershy, have you seen Lyra anywhere?" Bon-bon asked, changing the subject.
"Oh yes, she came by my house earlier!" Fluttershy said, glad to be away from the subject of what was inside the cage.
"You didn't REALLY accept her offer to adopt a monkey, did you?" Bon-bon asked exasperatedly.
"Oh, no. While I don't mean any offense to Lyra," Fluttershy stopped for a second to make sure Lyra got the message from inside of the cage, " she's not the most responsible pony in the world. I don't think she would be able to handle something as exotic as a monkey."
Bon-bon breathed a sigh of relief. "Phew. that's good to know. I can handle Lyra by herself, but a monkey, too? That's too much. Hey , speaking of Lyra, if you see her can you remind her that it's HER turn to pick up the groceries?"
"Sure. I'll tell her if I see her." Fluttershy smiled reassuringly.
"Thanks girls!" Bon-bon said before trotting off.
Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash breathed a sigh of relief. So far they had been lucky enough to avoid attracting much attention thanks to it being the early hours of the morning. However, coming so close to being discovered had made them realize they needed to pick up the pace.
"Come on, Fluttershy. We need to get this thing to Twilight's before anypony else starts asking questions."
A few minutes later, a hard knocking sound resonated throughout Twilight's library.
"I'll get it!" A purple unicorn called out. Opening the door, she was surprised to see Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash tied with a rope around themselves leading back to a large contraption covered with a blanket that had the rope tied around it.
"Twilight! We need your help with something!" Rainbow Dash declared.
"What do you need my help with?" Twilight asked with a curious face.
"Oh nothing much..." Rainbow Dash nonchalantly pretended to rub some dirt off of her shoulder, "Just...an ALIEN!"
"What? Rainbow Dash, are you sure you aren't just imagining things?" Twilight asked suspiciously.
"Um, actually, Twilight, she's not making it up. We really do have an alien that's stuck away from its planet." Fluttershy whispered.
Twilight trotted over to the cage and lifted up the blanket. "Oh please, Fluttershy. Everyone knows there's no such thing as-- AAAHHH!"
Inside of the cage was Lyra and U-3 waving at her.
Twilight slowly put the blanket down, before turning around and fainting.
"I think she's waking up."
Twilight slowly fluttered her eyelids open. The first thing she noticed was a yellow and pink blob, which slowly reshaped itself into the form of Fluttershy. The second thing she noticed was that she was no longer outside. Instead, she was now inside of her bedroom.
"Fluttershy, please tell me you really didn't bring an alien to my house, and I'm actually just imagining it all." Twilight pleaded.
"Um, sorry Twilight, but we actually did. I mean, if that's okay with you."
"Ugh. Don't worry about it. It's fine. You haven't shown him to anypony else, have you?"
"Oh, no. We came straight to you after we found him. He's completely harmless. He wouldn't even hurt a fly." Fluttershy reassured.
"Well, I guess it's a good thing you brought him to me before anypony else could find him. Who knows what kind of panic he could cause? Speaking of which, where is he now?" Twilight asked.
"Oh, well...he's,um..." Fluttershy stammered.
"Yeees?" Twilight goaded on suspiciously.
"He's um... downstairs." Fluttershy lowered her head in admittance.
"Wait, you mean he's already downstairs? How did you even get him in through the door?" Twilight asked incredulously.
"Oh, we thought it was going to be hard at first, but we were surprised when we saw U-3 crawl through the door. He's in your living room right now. It's the only place he can stand up without hitting the ceiling." Fluttershy explained.
"Great." Twilight said sarcastically. Suddenly, she realized something. "Wait a second, you said 'U-3'. Is that the name of the alien?"
"Oh, yes. We asked it some things while you were asleep. I hope you don't mind, but we let U-3 use your chalk board. He can't talk."
"Interesting. Do you think he's affected by the language spell casted on Equestria, or do you think he actually knows Equestrian?" Twilight asked, any hesitation replaced by curiosity.
"Oh, I don't know. We didn't ask him about that. If you want to ask him yourself, though, I'm sure he'd be glad to tell you." Fluttershy said.
"Hm. How long was I out?" Twilight asked.
"Oh, you were out for quite a while. In fact, it's almost about noon."
"NOON? I can't believe I slept this late!"
"Well, maybe it would help if you stopped staying up all night? I-I mean, if that's alright with you." Fluttershy said sheepishly.
"Well, honestly I don't think it matters now. I'll have to re-schedule everything for today. This could be Equestria's first contact with visitors from other worlds!" Twilight said with a shine in her eye.
"Come on, Fluttershy! Let's go!" Twilight said, trotting towards the door.
U-3 flicked his tongue idly. While it was great to finally have a way to communicate with the 'horses' (which he had learned were actually ponies), and his head was clear as a whistle (Something he was VERY thankful for), eventually the group had fallen into a slump, and was now just lazying about. Lyra was laying down on the couch, while Rainbow Dash was reading a comic book called 'Daring Doo'. There wasn't enough space for U-3 to lay down, so instead he just stood there.
Thinking back to the purple unicorn, he had found it rather amusing when she had fainted. Lyra had actually been the one to come up with the plan to wave at Twilight when she peeked in the cage. Hilarious as that was, the humor had worn off only a couple of minutes later.
Getting out of the cage and into the house had been a problem until he remembered how easily he could walk with his upper half lowered. Getting from the cage and into the house without anyone seeing him had been a cinch, with Lyra simply holding the blanket with her magic over U-3 as he came out of the cage.
Magic. There's something he never thought he'd bring up in a serious conversation. Sure enough, he found out magic was plentiful in this world. Using his scientist mind and some chalk, he found out from Rainbow Dash that pegasi flew using a combination of hollow bones to make them lighter, and passive pegasus magic. He imagined Rainbow Dash's so-called 'Sonic Rainboom' was more of the later than the former, but upon asking her about it, he found out that even she didn't know how it worked. He had the heart to explain to her that the 'BOOM' sound was the result of her breaking the sound barrier. While she was confused at first about what the sound barrier was, after I explained to her that she was basically literally going faster than the speed of sound, the joyous expression that had found its way to her face had almost given him diabetes.
Heh. He was rather proud of that joke. He hoped no one else had come up with something like that yet.
His thoughts were interrupted by a sound from the bedroom. Looking towards it, he found a slightly nervous looking Twilight beside an even more nervous Fluttershy. Twilight flinched at the sight of his face, but quickly recomposed herself.
"Hello there. I assume you're U-3?" Twilight asked with a straight face.
I nodded my head, and wrote down something on the chalkboard, which I now carried around like a notebook. I held the board itself on my tentacle arm while I wrote with my somewhat normal hand. After I had finished, I turned it around for everyone to see and noticed that Lyra and Rainbow Dash had dropped out of their slouch and were now paying attention to us.
"Yep. That's me."
"Interesting. May I ask what language you're speaking?"
I was slightly confused at this, but I wrote my answer down anyway. "English. But I can also speak Spanish if you'd like."
All of the higher-ups in the Los Illuminados were taught how to speak English fluently. While the grunts and servents were completely under the control of their masters, they would still gossip and ramble as if they were never infected with the Las Plagas to begin with. Talking in another language served to make sure none of their plans were ever revealed before they were put into motion.
"Uh-huh. I bet you're wondering why you can understand us, right?" Twilight asked in a know-it-all tone of voice.
"Actually, yes. I've been wondering that myself for a while, although I didn't know how to approach the subject."
"Well, It might surprise you to know that, while you're speaking English, we are actually speaking Equestrian. You see, long ago after the banishment of Princess Luna, Equestria's trade and immigration was slowly increasing. With all of the mixed races coming in, there was quite an uproar about what to do about all of the different languages. The races coming in didn't want to give up their language, and by extent part of their culture, while the ponies already there were becoming increasingly frustrated from not being able to understand the newcomers from other lands. So, to solve this problem, Princess Celestia cast a spell across all of Equestria. The spell was a sort of 'universal translator' spell. It changed everything everypony else said and wrote into your natural language. This works both ways, though. For example, while you're hearing us talk an write in English, WE are hearing you write and talk in Equestrian. Understand?"
I nodded my head, taking in this new information. I had had Lyra give me the basic background of Equestria, but I guess she had only given me the very basics. Suddenly, I had a thought.
Wait a second, if this spell changes it to where everyone is speaking my language, what happens if I change languages?
"¿Se puede entender esto?" (Can you understand this?) I wrote down on the chalk board.
"Sí." (Yes.) Twilight responded in a natural spanish accent.
"Interesting." I wrote down on the chalkboard.
"Yeah, magic sure is fascinating. I don't know if they have it where you come from, but it really is amazing. Speaking of where you come from, you said you were from another planet. Where do you come from on your planet?" Twilight asked.
Back to English now, I guess. "Well, I was born in the village of el Pueblo, which is on the continent of Europe. Although I was born there, I was actually raised in America, which is on the continent of North America. I was sent a letter from my home town asking to come back and help with some research, but you can see how that worked out." As she finished reading, I gestured to my body.
"So, wait, this isn't your natural form?" Twilight asked curiously.
After shaking my head, I erased what I had wrote and started writing again. "Nope, it's not. My current body is the result of a horrible experiment to combine the qualities of certain animals into one controllable organic being."
"Wait a second, How would they be able to control you after doing those kind of things to you? There would be nothing stopping you from just breaking out." Twilight was in full-on scientist mode.
My shoulders sagged slightly. I had hoped I wouldn't have had to tell them this. Mentally sighing, I began to explain to them about the small cult of the Los Illuminados, and how they had uncovered a parasite hidden deep under an old family castle called the 'Las Plagas'. I explained how it would take over a persons mind while leaving their personalities intact, and how they could be controlled by someone using a 'control plaga' or a 'master plaga'. I explained how the infected the entire village with the Las Plaga, and then had them kill any who were not born in el Pueblo. I told them how they would invite people who had traveled away from el Pueblo to further their interest back to their hometown to help them with 'research', when in actuality they would just infect them with the Las Plagas and force them to work. I explained that I knew all of this, because I was one of the people that was tricked into coming back.
"That's horrible." Twilight's face was stricken with sympathy. "Being forced to do all that, but also being consciously aware of what's going on at the same time. I'm truly sorry for what happened to you."
I looked around. The others all had tears in their eyes.
"Do you... I mean, is the plaga still..." Twilight couldn't finish the sentence.
I nodded. "Although I can feel its presence at the edge of my mind, it's acting strangely subdued. I don't think it has any power over me anymore."
"Do...do you think we could take it out somehow?" Twilight asked hopefully.
I shook my head solemnly. "I don't think that would be a good idea. I think the plaga is the only thing that's keeping this body alive. Remember how I told you about the plaga's natural ability to communicate with other plagas, no matter the host? I think it's basically that, but instead of communicating between separate hosts, it's allowing one host to communicate between separate body parts they aren't meant to have."
Twilight looked down at the floor for a second, before suddenly looking back up at me with new found vigor. "Wait a second! You said that the experiment was to bring the qualities of certain animals together into one being, right?"
I nodded my head curiously.
Twilight jumped over to one of her bookshelves. "Well," she continued, taking one of the books out with the magic and flipping it to a certain page. "check THIS out!"
Twilight held the book up to my face, and after pushing it away a little farther, I could make out what it said. It mentioned the mythical chimera, a beast made up out of different kinds of animals. A picture beside the paragraph showed an animal that had three tails made out of snakes, the body of a lion, and had two heads where only one should be: one of a goat, and one of a lion.
Pushing the book away, I scribbled down a few sentences on my chalk board. "A chimera. Yep, that definitely describes me. Although, I don't see how that helps our current situation."
"Well, Princess Celestia and Princess Luna banned the creation of chimeras after they took control of Equestria. They claimed that nopony should ever play around with the creation of life, no matter what. I was only going to tell the princess about you later during my scheduled check-in, since I didn't want to borrow them with their royal duties, but I think this is as good a reason as any to interrupt their schedule. SPIIIKE!"
After a couple of seconds of silence, Twilight called out again. "SPIKE! Are you still asleep?" She said, walking back into her bedroom.
After a couple of seconds, a bipedal lizard walked sleepily out of the room, his eyes half-closed. He stopped and turned towards me, then continued walking. Suddenly, his eyes snapped open, and he jerked his head towards me.
I waved at him.
"Wow, Twilight wasn't kidding! There really is an alien here!" The purple lizard exclaimed in surprise.
"I can't believe you honestly thought I was making something like that up to try and get you out of bed." Twilight said, now walking out of the bedroom.
"You look really cool, Mr. Alien. I'm glad you're on our side!" He then leaned over to Twilight and whispered "He IS on our side, right?"
Twilight rolled her eyes. "No, Spike. We let a dangerous alien bent on destroying us all into the house."
I shook my head and attempted to chuckle before taking up the chalkboard again. From the look on spike's face, I don't think the chuckle came out quite right.
"What's up, dude? My name's U-3."
I paused at that. While I had told everyone my name was U-3, in honesty I actually couldn't remember my real name. I'm pretty sure it started with a 'P'.
Regardless of my name's viability, after Spike got done reading, I offered my closed hand out for a fist-bump. Spike flinched from the sudden movement, but he blushed a little at his reaction when he realized what I was doing. Something caught spike's eye as he fist-bumped me, and his face lit up in amazement.
"Wow, mister! You have claws, too!" Spike continued in excitement. "Do you know anything about dragons?"
I was about to nod my head when Twilight interrupted. "Spike, focus! You can ask him all the questions you want later, but for now we've got to get a letter to the princess!"
He looked a little down at not being able to get an answer to my question yet, before I tapped him on the shoulder, and nodded at him. He seemed to realize I was answering his question, and his face lit back up.
Then, out of seemingly nowhere, Spike produced a quill and paper.
Twilight cleared her throat. "Dear Princess Celestia, I apologize for not sending my letter in the allotted time slot, but I think you should know that I have come into possession of a Chimera-like being that claims he is from another planet. Taped to the bottom of this scroll will be a picture of the alien. I'm afraid I must request your presence at the soonest opportunity. Sincerely, your faithful student, Twilight Sparkle."
"Aaannnd... done!" Spike exclaimed, putting emphasis on placing the last period.
I was about to ask how we were going to get the picture when there was a bright flash. I leaned back slightly and covered my eyes with my human arm in a reflexive response, but it was, of course, already too late. I noticed my tongue had raised itself a lot further into the air, and I could only assume it was out of reflex.
The light faded to reveal Twilight Sparkle levitating a pictograph in front of her. A picture came out of the back, which Twilight then flapped in the air for a couple of seconds. To my surprise, the picture came out in full color, and showed me in a relaxed state (which was still pretty terrifying). My shoulders were slouched back, and my tongue held itself in front of me in it's normal position. My lower half hadn't changed much, considering it was still having to stand up and hold my weight.
Twilight levitated the picture over to Spike, who seemed to have somehow found a roll of tape while I wasn't looking. Taking the picture from Twilight's magic, he tape the four corners of the picture to the scroll, before rolling it up and breathing fire on it. I was about to voice my complaint when I noticed the ashes of the scroll roll up into a line and float out of the window.
Oh right. Magic.
Suddenly, a thought occurred to me. I started scribbling down on my chalkboard again before showing it to Twilight.
"I think you forgot to include the part where i'm not hostile."
"Oh, i'm sure the princess will be able to peice it together." Her face then showed a hint of doubt for a second. "I hope."
I erased what I had put so far, and wrote down another sentence.
"If not, you think my charming good looks will win her over?"
Twilight actually giggled at my joke. Yes! I can still be funny even if I look like a monster!
A line of ashes suddenly came in through the window, and materialized as a scroll in front of Twilight. Twilight caught the scroll with her magic and opened it up before reading it out loud.
"My faithful student, I will be right there. Put the scroll down on the floor and step away from it. I shall be using it as a guide for my long-range teleportation spell."
Twilight immediately ran over to a big, empty spot on the floor and put the scroll down. Afterwards, she ran over to the side of me and faced the scroll with the most official expression I had ever seen a pony have.
There was a bright flash of light , and when it faded, there stood a normal-sized white horse sporting both a horn and a pair of wings. Her mane was rainbow-colored, like Rainbow Dash's. However, unlike Dash's mane, her's was a lot brighter in color, and seemed to perpetually flow in a non-existent wind. She wore a hard expression.
"Twilight, get away from him!" The white horse ordered.
Twilight, in a mix of confusion and surprise, actually trotted away from my side and over to, who I now assumed to be, Princess Celestia.
This is looking really bad. I HAVE to defuse this situation somehow...writing, maybe? No, that's too slow... WAIT! I've got it!
Slowly, ever so slowly, I raised my hand... and waved.