• Published 21st May 2016
  • 4,145 Views, 185 Comments

This Changeling Life - Nasha Rei Kun



Self-decided victim of a fail-safe used to prevent the rampage of a dark power, Naruto thought life for him was over. He's proven wrong when he meets a white unicorn guard recruit, and then the wall-eyed love of his life. Naruto x Derpy. Anthro.

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Back into the fray, once again, and we’re shaping things up to hit the final chapter, in chapter 5.

Now knowing myself, by this point, I’m almost 80% sure that chapter 5 is going to be hella big. No if’s, and’s or but’s, it’s a given considering how things have been so far.

I may very well beat out my first story’s word limit, but we’ll see after this chapter.

Also, as you guys know, I’ve posted a new story, but it’s not really a “Story”. It’s an anthropology of omakes, that I’ll probably update every time I do a chapter update for a story (guaranteed), or when I’m just in the mood.

So yeah, that’ll be fun.

Onto this chapter, we’re going to learn a LOT of things. And I mean A LOT. Some of it will be subtle, some of it will not, and otherwise you’ll just have to find out yourselves.

The romance hits its climax this chapter, as well. There’s going to be a lot of juggling for me, and Naruto, once it gets more intimate, in a way.

Well then, now that that is over with…

Roll the episode! I mean, chapter!

~TCL~

How? How had this happened?

It was supposed to be a normal scavenging mission. Nothing big. There wasn’t supposed to be anything of a threat here.

It had been him, and his hive-squad. Five members, with one newbie in their midst.

So when they heard the newbie’s scream, they’d rushed to his location. They were in a cave, but it was supposed to be relatively safe. Scouting missions had been done here before, so they felt justified in their own horrified screams, when they found a skeleton.

A pony skeleton. Which meant that they weren’t the only ones here.

The roar that echoed throughout the cavern left them with little choice, but to run.

~TCL~
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Hi it’s Derpy again!

Wait, isn’t there supposed to be something that goes here? Oh yeah! :} “Dear Naruto”, hehe.

Wait, does that count?? Naruto does it count? Well I mean, I won’t get your response until later, but you’ll tell me if it counts right? Of course you will!

Last time you had Spike send a letter, he also added in a coupon for ice cream and muffins!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Wasn’t I supposed to- Oh right, the letter!

Everything is going fine here in Manehattan! Everything’s been nice and quiet, and the Moxy Pot is going strong! We’re so much bigger now, and the boss even hired more staff. He misses you, ya know. His “buggy gold pot at the end of the rainbow.” I think he’s still happy about the time you helped get this place back to working order last year. Hiring that many workers would of have been a nightmare, but then you came in and he was so happy to save money!

I even got a raise!

Dinky’s doing well. She misses you, and Spike. I think she’s got a crush on your little brother! It’s so cute!

I mean she’s now six, but isn’t Spike eight? Nine? Eight and half a muffin?

Now I’m hungry. X 3

Thinking about it, I wonder when this will reach you. Golden Harvest recently started going to trade school. She’s planning on opening up a Carrot Juice business, and I can say that the product is GOOD!

Dad’s been feeling a little under the weather as of late, so I’m probably going to take a few days off to look after him. The boss doesn’t seem to mind, so I’ll probably do so if his condition gets worse.

I’m hoping for the best.

Well, sorry for leaving off on a sad note, but I hope you’re doing well. I know that you might be busy, so I won’t take too much time.

I wish you the best.

Sincerely Derpy

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Finishing off the letter, Shining could only chuckle slightly.

“I don’t think she gets that, you’re not supposed to put ALL your thoughts on the paper,” he stated to his blonde companion, as the changeling in question finished his last set of push-ups. The blonde was lacking a shirt, left only in his blue sweatpants. On each of the former ninja’s wrists, ankles, waist and even neck, were a set of bands. Dark blue in color, with a single teal line going through the center, they glowed briskly every now and then

All around the two were sets of workout equipment, from weight benches, to treadmills. Shining currently sat on a weight bench, form docked in a pair of white sweatpants and a white shirt, with the Royal Guard insignia on both. At his sides were a pair of towels, two water bottles, one half empty, and an orange underarmor shirt.

Currently, the changeling was sweating up a storm, as he finally pushed up for the last time.

“Yeah, well, Derpy can sometimes take a few liberties with things like that. It’s one of her more confusing better points,” he stated, before his twin horns glowed a pale yellow. The glow travelled its way to the bands on his person, making contact, and causing the bands’ lights to diminish.

Even as the glow around them died off, halfway up the length of either horn was a splotch of faded yellow. It seemed to be a small luminescence that originated from the inside of the horns themselves, ever present.

Letting out a breath, he brought himself into a seating position, and reached for a nearby towel to dry off.

Shining offered his fellow soldier a water bottle, which the blonde took graciously, before the changeling took several swigs of it.

“Ahhhh~ Water is the true life giver!” Shining grinned at this

“Yeah, well there’s plenty of “life giver” on the floor below you and in the towel, so make sure to clean it up. We don’t want Captain Morse Code on our flanks.” He pointed to the spot by the blonde, who only sheepishly scratched at the back of his head.

“Yeah, I’m sure that’s probably not the first thing he’d want to see when entering this place.” His piece said, two clones popped into existence.

“Okay guys, I need you to clean this up.” The two clones looked at one another, before giving their original creator a look.

Shining sat there, cheek in hand, as he watched the trio of squabbling blondes. He idly wondered when he’d gotten so used to the sight of his blonde friend, literally, arguing with himself

“Pfft, whatever. Come on me, let’s leave our oh so glorious leader to his business, while we clean up,” one of the clones said, before leading the other off in search of a mop.

“...I swear, ever since coming here, they’ve gotten so much moodier. I’m not like that...am I?” Naruto said, before turning to Shining for support.

The unicorn young adult grinned.

“You want the truth, or a lie to make you feel better?”

“...Yeah, I just do not care for you right now.”
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Stretching, with his shirt back on, Naruto let out a moan of relief, as they exited the weight room. Shining, on his left, was finishing off a bottle of water. Once done, the twenty-year-old tossed the plastic into a passing recycling bin.

Turning to his friend, Naruto asked.

“So Lt. “rising to promotion” Shining Armor, what’s on the agenda for today?” The two-toned blue maned male blushed, as he scratched his cheek.

Please stop reminding me of that. Mom won’t stop talking about it, and I swear if I see another set of clothing I might break out into hives.” Naruto snickered, before his expression soured. Shining could only guess why, as he turned his head forward to see an approaching duo.

“Lt. Glow, and Lt. Glow!” he saluted, even as the twins saw the grin on his face. “What do we owe this you this fine day?”

“Don’t patronize me, Lieutenant. Oh wait, it’s still junior officer.” Lumen didn’t give more than a thin lip, while Bright simply shrugged, before patting his sister on the shoulder. Naruto let his tongue flick outwards, before smirking as Lumen’s face dusted a slight pink.

Ah, the greatest of bro-cons.

Lumen seemed to catch his smirk, face burning slightly more, before she growled at him. Holding his hands up in surrender, he looked elsewhere.

Shining shook hands with Bright Glow, who tossed Naruto a hi-5, before getting down to business.

“Right, so we’re actually here to get you two. Captain Morse wants to see you, soon to be lieutenant, as well as you Uzumaki,” Bright started, even as Lumen grumbled

Ignoring her, he continued.

“Uzumaki, you’ve been cleared for your fifth mission...officially.” They all shared a look.

Yes, the blonde had more than enough “experience,” in the eyes of those that were there to see him in true action. That didn’t mean he could just skip regulation, considering he was still considered a junior officer.

They couldn’t bend the rules like that for him...at least not officially.

Under his record, Naruto had, maybe, four real marks for missions. But unofficially?

He was well into his twenties, as far as count went.

Nodding their heads, both changeling and white unicorn, followed their commanding officers.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Derpy,

Yo! How’s everything been? Not sure, when you’ll get this, Spike can really only send mail to you as fast as the next mailpony, but hope ya doing well.

As for the whole “Dear Naruto” thing...Maybe? I’ve never really had to write a lot of letters before, so I’m no expert. Though, haven’t we had this conversation before?

Maybe it’s just me.

I’m glad you like the coupon. There’s not really a lot I could have gotten for you, besides another muffin eyepatch, so I figured, why not an actual MUFFIN?

Well it’s a coupon, but it’s basically the same thing.

I think.

I ‘m glad to hear about the raise. Old man Boss can be really nice when he’s got a couple extra workers. =^_^=

Tell Dinky I miss her too, as does Spike. Though I have to ask, has he been sending more of those books to her, or is that just me?

I didn’t think that they’d really start getting into those interactive novels. First it was Destiny/Stuck Daylight, then it was that Choice Master series, Armor Hero and that one about the mafia.

I still think he made the right choice to drop Blade Style Visual. You know, that one about that seemingly OP guy, called the Dark Bladesmen, trapped in an illusionary game?

Seriously, I’m glad the dragon’s got taste.

As for the crush...I’m going to be ribbing Spike later. Don’t worry, he shall never hear the end of this, until the day goes long.

Yes, Spike is now Eight, muffin not included.

Enjoy the coupon.

Good for Golden, I remember the last time she had us test it, and it was okay then. Did she make it better?

I’m hoping your dad’s feeling better. I’ll see about maybe finding some medicine in Canterlot. Even if this reaches you late, Canterlot medicine is pretty damn good.

No worries, I’m just happy to know that everypony is relatively okay.

Oh right, how’s the black belt test going? You’re going for your second dan, right? I’ll have to remember to help keep you on your toes, metaphorically.

Also have you been practicing that? I know we just started, but practice makes perfect.

Gotta end it here. We’ve got a mission to someplace, near an area of the Trottingham’s Swamp.

Talk to you later.

-Naruto

P.S. I think it's supposed to be “Sincerely Yours” then your name. Maybe? I just ignore it altogether.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

She heard her little sister read off the letter, allowing a smile to come to her face, her uncovered eyes closing in response.

“Sister, it sounds like he’s doing just fine. Though, Dinky having a crush? She’s still only six. Besides, I bet they’re just friends,” Amethyst Star stated, as her eyes moved to the stretching form of her sister.

Derpy was currently dressed in a pair of black, form fitting, spandex shorts while over her top was a black tank top. Said clothing items were currently being put to the test of covering modesty, as the pegasus mare bent in all manner of ways, the clothing slightly damp.

Amethyst Star gave her sister a half-lidded look, as they sat in the living room. Her eyes traced her sister’s body in slight envy, before she grinned a cheeky grin.

Subtlety, so as to not gain Derpy’s attention, she removed a camera from her pocket.

Waiting for the exact moment, as when her sister was too far into certain stretches, she snapped a photo or two.

‘Hehehe, Naruto’s going to be getting a surprise soon,’ she thought mischievously, not noticing her younger sister coming up behind her.

“Amethyst, what’s the camera for?” The unicorn teenager froze, as she slowly turned her head behind her to see Dinky giving her a confused look. In the foal’s hands were a towel, and water bottle.

“Hmm?” Derpy stood up from a stretch, attention now on Amethyst’s frozen form.

“Uhhhhh~ Photos!” the pink unicorn in the room exclaimed, catching both her sisters off-guard. The two gave her a larger bemused stare, causing her to grin nervously at them.

“Photos for Naruto, of course!” she said it like it was common sense. “You know, let him know nothing really bad has happened. Like Dinky getting a peg leg, or Derpy sprouting a horn. You know, update pictures.” she stated with a wave of the hand, sweating the whole way.

‘Buy it, buy it, buy it, buy it!’ Derpy gave her sister a slightly suspicious look, before it disappeared into a cheerful grin.

“Amethyst that’s a wonderful idea!” the teenage unicorn let out a breath in relief, before Derpy put on an alarmed expression.

“Wait!” Amethyst froze, eyes going wide in disbelief.

‘Did she-?’

“I can’t take a photo dressed like this! I need a shower,” bringing up the lower portion of the tank top she gave it a sniff, and cringed, “And new clothes, yuck.” she pouted.

Amethyst watched as her sister did this, her eyes lowering from their widened states, as she held her chest in relief.

“Ooh, mama, you can wear the nice blue one.” The pegasus’s eyes widened before she zipped to and past her baby girl. On the way she quickly retrieved the water and towel, gave the unicorn six-year-old a kiss on the head, and disappeared down the hall.

Ignoring Dinky’s giggles, Amethyst merely smirked as she looked at the camera in her pocket.

‘Oh Naruto, you owe me big for this one.’

She’d have to get this developed when she was coming home from school.

~TCL~

A certain changeling was currently sitting in his partnered tent. The slightly large structure was currently empty, save for him, but he wasn’t worried. He could hear the others outside as they were finishing up putting things away for the night.

In his hand was a decently sized envelope, which had appeared in a flicker of green flame.

“Spike’s range is pretty ridiculous, now that I think about it.” Though that might very well be his fault.

He might have actually, probably, possibly, gotten the drake to tap into the magic of his being. Well more like, he was able to teach the drake how to harness it for things other than sending letters.

Ever since Celestia had officially given him over to Twilight’s care, the boy had had a very passionate interest in being like Naruto. It had been cute. Most of the family had even encouraged him to try, probably not thinking it’d develop into anything other than more hero worship.

Had been.

Naruto could still remember their faces when he’d accepted the drake into his tutelage, none more so than Twilight and Trixie, when they found out.

Now they probably thought Naruto was just going to humor the drake. After all, Naruto could do things that just weren’t very...plausible.

That’s when Shining had got involved, and joined them in their little sessions, and was following along with Spike, leaving the others with more curiosity. Especially when they’d taken the drake with them for a month of training with the Royal Guards.

One month later, came Spike’s triumphant yell, when he came home.

Not from his newly developing wings, that’d they’d found on his back, but from the glowing flame hands he now wielded.

Needless to say, Trixie had been beside herself with indignation.
______________________________________________________________________________

“Trixie’s number of rival students has grown!”
______________________________________________________________________________

He chuckled as he opened the envelope.

Trixie wasn’t the only one to be flabbergasted though. Twilight was beside herself in shock, and the freak out that followed after was hilarious.
______________________________________________________________________________

“But, but, you, you can’t! This isn’t-! Why is! SNenfjjngjfwene ekfj!”
______________________________________________________________________________

All in all, Spike now having magic powers was accepted by this point. Twilight could now share in more of her studies with the drake than she already did. Trixie now, after thinking about it in some kind of twisted logic, had a junior student. Moondancer was fine letting him join, though she had to get use to him.

Night Light had been ecstatic, actually. He remembered the days when he’d taught Shining Armor, and now he could do once more with Spike. Twilight Velvet, on the other hand...Well she was quick to lay down ground rules about his now, more magicky, fire.

And Spike?

______________________________________________________________________________

“I am the Metal of my Blade!”

“Begone in death, and returned in Life!”

“So as I plead, Infinite Sword Realm!”

“Do you have enough in stock Emperor of Champions?!”
______________________________________________________________________________

He was enjoying himself, immensely.

He wasn’t going to be sending off a lot spells anytime soon, but the young dragon was able to use a pretty good sensing spell. That was just it though. The drake had had the spell for all of a year, and he seemed to practice it ALL the time.

It had been especially hilarious when the drake had been able to sense Shining and Cadance, ahem, in the moment, across all of Canterlot. Luckily, nobody had to give a child ‘The Talk’ that night, as Naruto had gone ahead by himself to investigate.

Ever since, the drake would use his new powers to thwart the enemy known as ‘long distances away from home.’

For his part, Naruto had asked Celestia to teach him the spell that she had taught Spike.

When asked why, he replied that he had a pen pal that he wanted to keep in touch with and that Spike would mail it for him, considering the drake also had a pen pal in the same neighborhood.

Oh she knew he was telling the truth, completely, but he had a feeling that Spike and Cadance might have mentioned Derpy in explicit detail.

The alicorn princess couldn’t smirk hard enough...Oh wait, she had started grinning at him!

Tattle-tales, the lot of them.

Back to the present, he shook out the contents of the envelope, and found the usual letter.

Along with some additions.

There were several photos among the items, and another square envelope as well.

Picking up and reading the letter, he set it to the side, and picked up the four photos.

One held a picture of the whole family of them. Derpy, Dinky, Amethyst and Rolling Barrel.

Another held a picture of Derpy with Golden Harvest. They were standing in front of a small store, with a Carrot emblem on the top of it, both holding up their two fingers in a V.

The third held a picture of Amethyst looking embarrassed, as she gave a hug to Dinky. If the changeling was right, Derpy was probably cooing about how cute they looked.

The final picture, the blonde took a good time looking at.

It was Derpy, in a lone picture by herself. She was currently smiling at the camera, her right eye closed, with a pale blue eyepatch over the left one. The eyepatch was emblazoned with two things, a trail of muffins on one end, and a triplet of bubbles in the center that the muffins spiraled into.

On her body was a large, mulberry grey hoodie. It was a zip-up hoodie, and currently the zipper was zipped up to about a foot, leaving the article of clothing open, revealing her white shirt beneath. On her bottoms she had a pair of normal shorts, red in color. To tie it up, she had a single bangle on her right calf, a trend that he’d heard was catching on.

It was a simple set up, minus the eyepatch which was the only irregularity.

Simple, casual and comfortable. It was Derpy in her element. He couldn’t help, but to stare at her posed against a railing, smiling at the camera with the sun setting in the back.

He let out a soft smile. Amethyst Star was truly gifted in the way of photo taking. To make a jewel shine in the best way, that was what the teenage unicorn’s Cutie Mark meant, but she might not understand just how ambiguous “jewel” can be.

He was looking at a pretty precious one, even now. All of them were of a quality that led him to believe that she could go far, if she did this for more than a hobby.

“Naruto? Oh I guess you got mail from Derpy again, huh? Hehe, getting gifts from your marefriend, I know that feel.” He didn’t know when Shining Armor got behind him, so he jumped slightly before looking at the lieutenant to be in confusion.

“When the Tartarus did you get here?” The unicorn ignored the question, before going over and picking up the letter. Reading over it some, he raised an eyebrow, as he looked up at the blonde.

“Update photos?” he asked, causing Naruto to show him the four pictures, which Shining whistled at.

“Damn, these look good, especially the one of your marefriend.” he stated, causing the blonde to nod, before he froze.

“She’s not my-!” Shining waved him off.

“Right, right, denial. Blah, blah, blah, she’s a friend, blah, blah, blah, you don’t feel that way, BLAH. Dude, you two dance around the issue so much, me and Cadance set up a betting pool with the whole family.” Naruto’s brain stopped to process that for a moment, face turning blue.

“You what?!” he seemed to squeak, whereas Shining merely shook his head at him in disappointment.

“You two have got it so bad for one another, it’s painful to look at.” The ninja still tried to argue.

“But-”

“You go to see her in another city.”

“I-”

“You send letters to each other, all the time, or when you can.”

“You-”

“How’s Dinky by the way?”

“Oh she’s fine! She’s pretty smart for a filly her age, and I think all that reading between her and Spike is doing her some good. She recently started going to school and she’s above all the other kids. I’m so proud, you know?” The blonde stopped to smile in pride, before noticing the look on Shining’s face.

The blonde thought for a moment, about what just happened and slammed his face into his hands, Shining “Tsk”-ing the whole way. Naruto peeked down at the papers and photos in between his fingers, and eyes that one envelope he didn’t open.

Picking up, the lone square envelope, he turned it around and read the front of it.

To: Naruto

From: Amethyst

You owe me, one.

He looked at the small words for a moment, before popping open the envelope. Four more pictures were situated inside, and he moved to remove the stack and flared them out in his hands.

He stared, and his mind came to a halt.

He stared hard.

He stared harder than he ever thought was possible, to stare at a horribly SEXY inanimate object.

Shining took notice of his changeling friend’s current disposition. The changeling’s countenance hadn’t changed, not even a twitch of the lip. His eyes stayed in a mocking fashion of apathy, but the unicorn officer could see the blonde’s face quickly lighting up to neon blue intensity. It didn’t even look like Naruto was breathing at this point

He blinked, and crawled over to look at the photos in the blonde’s hands, and froze.

They both stared, faces shining the color of their life waters, before Shining snapped out of it, and coughed harshly off to the side, tearing his eyes away from the photos in Naruto’s possession.

His mind betrayed him, and put Cadance into the placeholder of those positions, and his mind completely rode down into the gutter.

Naruto was too far gone to notice his brother in all but blood, falling unconscious onto his mat.

His mind was too preoccupied.

‘Napinfoiaunwostripednaounfcuanecunabsoluteterritorynouenofnea!

~TCL~

They’d run for so long. Their breath had been dry, their carapace had been cracked and their numbers...dwindled.

They’d made it some distance from the original dangerous location, but the beast had followed

There lay only two of them now, well technically it was three, but the third one. The newbie, had been a spy. A goddamn spy!

“Curse there all-mother! Damn her, and her entire colony to the deepest of pits!” he growled, the only thing tempering his rage was the groaning of his lone squad mate.

*Groan* can a ling not get some peace and quiet around here? Ow.” his compatriot had deemed himself fit, to return to the land of the awake, thankfully.

“Are you okay?” he asked in concern, causing his partner to groan as he held a hand to his rib section.

“What...What happened? Where is everyling?” here he snorted.

“Dead, or a traitor! The newbie, he was a spy from the Ruby Hive! He lead the damn beast here, and left us all to die!” the other one’s eyes widened in disbelief.

“How? How?! He shouldn’t have been able to just join us like that.”

“I don’t know! All I know is, that we’re down here in a pit!”

“Why are we in a pit anyway? Couldn’t you just transform and get us out?” He looked at him in shame.

“I, I cannot. I’m tired, I’ve lost so much blood, I having a hard time staying upright.” His partner gave a mere understanding nod.

“Then, since I’m awake, I’ll get us out. Errg, ah! Why can’t I?” his partner hissed, as his form flashed green but his form lay unchanged. The shameful look increased tenfold, and he sunk farther into it.

“You can’t.”

“Why not?”

“I had to use the emotion I had stored up to stabilize you.” His silence was expected.

“You what?! You could have gotten away from here! You could have easily transformed and run-”

“Run WHERE?! We aren’t in any position to do anything! You expected me to go back out there, and try and outrun that animal?! To leave you here to die, only for a slight chance of living myself?!” His outburst was loud enough to shake the confines of the pit they were in, causing them both to grimace and use their hands to shield their heads.

His partner threw him a look, and he deflated at it. Letting out a sigh, he allowed himself to lay fully against the floor.

“I didn’t want to be alone,” he said.

“...”

“...”

“...Fine, fine, I get it. Way to be the dramatic. So how long do you think until we’re toast?”

“...”

“Okay geeze, just trying to lighten the mood.”

Right then, there was a loud roar, as well as the sounds of voices they didn’t know, causing him to shoot up in alarm.

“Wait, did you hear that?! Others!” his partner exclaimed, before grimacing. He, himself, did so as well.

There weren’t supposed to be any others out here, so that only left two options.

Either there were ponies out there, which carried with it, more implications. Or...it was an enemy hive squad.

They hoped desperately for the former.

~TCL~

“Naruto, I don’t like the looks of this.”

“...It’s the same as before,” he said, currently knelt down by a rather large patch of disturbed grass. Getting up, he moved over to Shining’s location, only to stop as he looked down once more.

The troop they had been in had been moving throughout the swamp some time ago.

Trottingham wasn’t anywhere near close to Canterlot. It was on a small isle, somewhere closer to Manehattan, than anywhere else.

Even now, he was kind of sad. He couldn’t visit Derpy and them, but he was on the job at the time. There’d be time to visit them in a month, so he wasn’t that broken up about it. Besides, if he was truly desperate...Well, Kage Bunshin was always an option to send across the waters.

As they were treading through the swamp, the blond couldn’t help but think of the reason they were here.
______________________________________________________________________________

“There have been reports of a chimera roaming the Swamp.” Sail Wind stated, as he flipped through the set of papers in front of him. In front of him stood Naruto and Shining Armor. The two stood in attention in front of the pegasus captain’s desk.

Done sorting through the documents, green eyes moved up to the two in front of him, his hands steepled.

“I’m sending you two, along with a squad, to find and deal with the appointed creature. If it can be reasoned with, a deal of diplomacy can be dealt out. Otherwise…” he left the other option unsaid, but they both understood.

“Yes, sir!”

“Good. Now the reason I called you two into here is because Shining Armor will be leading the squad for this mission.” Their eyes widened, before Naruto bumped the bluenette’s shoulder.

“Dude!” The unicorn in the room flushed slightly, before saluting.

“It’d be an honor, sir.” Sail smiled at him, before saluting him back.

“It’d be good of you to get used to this lieutenant.” the unicorn just grinned even harder.
______________________________________________________________________________

A chimera, huh?

“Hey Shining, I read the report, but how many of these things are we supposed to be looking out for?” Shining frowned at the question, as he kept his eyes forward. He could hear the muttering of the squad of junior officers behind him, and gave the question some thought.

“It’s highly unlikely that there’s more than one. Chimera, while neither rare nor common, usually keep to themselves. Mostly on part of the fact that they can be made up of multiple animal parts, some of which may have sentience that keeps them of disjointed opinion of one another.” The blonde nodded his head, before frowning.

“Then I think we need to move, and quickly.” Lieutenant-to-be noted his urgent tone with a frown.

The blonde changeling continued, getting up quickly. His body moving away from the sets of hoofprints that he found in the soil, that lay possibly a couple of meters from a large paw shape they found earlier.

“We’re not the only ones in this forest with the chimera!”
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

They rushed, as they moved through the slightly muddy area.

“I want all available personnel to be on the lookout! This just became a search-and-destroy mission!” Shining barked out orders as he, Naruto, and the squad of soldiers ran through the forest.

“Naruto, I want clones!”

“Already on it! Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!” he shouted, crossing his fingers along the way. The next moment found several explosions of smoke, before the copies of the ninja began running alongside the troop.

Many of those with them had only really heard of the blonde’s skillset. So they stared, mouths agape, even as they ran.

Shining gave the order.

“Spread out!” And the clones scattered to the four winds, each blurring out of sight, before the troops were alone, figuratively, once more.

They slowed their run to a stop.

“I want everyone in four man groups! No matter the group I want a unicorn in each one! If you encounter something, I want an immediate flare before anything else! Your priority is civilian safety, and all else comes second!”

“Sir, yes, sir!” Came the cries of his troops, as they moved about in disciplined fashion into their sets of groups.

This breakdown left Shining with a squad of five, though he was quick to amend this.

“Naruto,” the ninja’s attention snapped to his friend’s call, and he looked to the white unicorn.

“I need you to scout ahead. You’re the best fighter here, and I can trust you to have your own back. Both metaphorically, and literally. You have the best chance of not being caught off guard badly when alone.” He wore a serious expression, but the blonde still smiled at him, and gave a quick nod.

“I’ll move on ahead then. Keep an eye at your backs.” With his piece said, he disappeared from his position into the forest.

Shining watched the space where the blond was for a moment, before deciding to move.

“I want all of us to stay close! No matter what, keep yourselves quiet, and your senses wide,” he ordered, as they moved in a southern direction.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

He dashed around, as the floor beneath his hooves became slightly drier in comparison to what it was before.

He’d ventured a good bit away from the swampy areas, and headed towards the rockier terrain. It was still mostly flat land, and forest, but it had several small dips in geography.

“Hello! Is anybody out there?!” He shouted once, or twice, before moving on farther into the terrain.

He stopped. The memories of a clone shot into his mind, as it reached the end of the island from the direction it went. Going over the path it took, he was sure the other clones got the same information, so he continued forward.

Several more instances of this happening, and he could only grunt in disappointment, as they each summed up to basically “nothing was found” kind of memories.

He must not have been paying attention to where he was going, because the next moment had him right in front of the entrance of a large cave-like divot.

He couldn’t help but to notice this strange feeling he got.

It was like a weird tingle in the back of his mind. It was kind of like his connection to his shadow clones, but different. More instinctive than even the clone bearing ability own sensibility. He didn’t notice how the small dull splotch of yellow in his horns brightened slightly from within the shell casing.

Something was calling to him here. He didn’t know what it was, or maybe, who it was, but it caught his attention all the same.

They say curiosity killed the cat, but Naruto wondered if curiosity had met a certain cat named Tora.

So with nothing to lose, he shouted down into the burrow.

“Hello?! Anybody down there?!” his voice echoed as it went down, rebounding off walls and probably becoming louder than he was expecting.

He waited, and waited, seeing if there would be any form of callback.

When ten minutes passed, he opted to just leave the area, and continue forward.

“Hello! Please help us! Is anyling out there?!” this shout froze him solid.

His mind catching up, he came closer to the entrance, and shouted again.

“Yes, yes! I’m here! Are you okay?!”

“We need help! We’re both injured!”

The blonde changeling didn’t even waste any time going down there. Before the end of that sentence, he was already running into the cave. Right before, though, he made sure to create and then dispel a clone.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

They’d all but given up hope of surviving this, before they heard the voice…

...And felt the feeling that came along with it.

His eyes widened, as did his partner’s.

This was impossible. No, it was more than impossible.

“He’s male?” they looked to each other in disbelief, as that feeling grew closer.

“Hello?! Anybody down there?!” the voice echoed, and that confirmed it. Definitely male.

They looked to each other in shock, before realizing that this was their chance!

“Yes, yes! I’m here! Are you okay?!” he shouted, his partner blinking for a moment, before joining in.

“We need help! We’re both injured!”

They waited at that point, minds filled with a kind of anxiety of what, or who would find them.
In a moment, that feeling on the edges of their senses seemed to split in TWO, before it became one again.

Their eyes widened, as they turned to look at one another.

Wait, what?

“I’m coming! Just hold on!” They could feel that feeling coming closer with each moment, their senses catching onto how potent and familiar this kind of thing felt.

“It shouldn’t be possible, but, but,” he started, but his partner simply sighed.

“We’ll find out in a minute, won-” he didn’t get to finish, because in that moment, something crashed into the floor by them, kicking up dirt and an obscuring dust cloud.

“Okay, so maybe jumping ALL the way down, wasn’t such a smart idea...Still worked though.” they could hear someling from within the cloud, and as it cleared, they felt their eyes widen.

HE was in uniform, of a sorts. Fashioned from leather paddings, and straps. The fact that he wore pants was just telling, of how far more civilized he was, compared to other hives.

But that wasn’t the biggest factors. No, the biggest factor was that he had a pair of 4-inch horns on his head, with an illumination coming from the center portions, and the color of his eyes.

Blue compact eyes looked at them in shock, as their own greens looked at his.

The Sapphire Hive.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

When Naruto looked at the two, who he would be saving, he could be forgiven for freezing on the spot.

They were...they were…

“Just like me…” it came out as more of a whisper. Sure there were a few differences.

They both bore green eyes, and a top their heads he saw no real discernable “hair,” as well as the fact that they both had only one horn. Those aside, he was just generally taller than them, but that was it.

He wasn’t sure how to deal with this. Sure he was stranded, but from his home dimension, not from wherever these guys came from. So he wasn’t really sure on how to feel about this, they were basically just like him.

The difference between them, was that one had a set of fins coming from the top of his head, like a shark as he stared from his position on the floor. The other, using his right arm to look up at him, had a pair of bands on his stomach.

Taking them both in more carefully, he noticed that there were several cracks in either of their shells. The cloth they wore though, was a seeming mismatch of cultures. One was wearing what looked like a tore ruffled shirt, and shorts, the one with the head fins. The one with the bands was wearing a long set of cargos, that were ripped at the ankles, and a sash.

He looked down, as he felt his hoof step into something wet. Looking down, he saw that it glowed a dark green color and lead back to the cracks in the banded one’s side.

He focused.

“Are you guys okay?” he asked as he crept forward, only for them to flinch as he did, causing him to stop.

What?

“What hive do you hail from?” the shirtless one questioned, as he tried and failed to move himself into a defensive position.

“Hive? Oh,” he said thoughtlessly, before realizing right after.

Well, it made sense. They were bug-like, regardless of the pony shape. He scratched the side of his head, as he looked at them. He saw their looks of apprehension, and wasn’t sure how to go about it.

“Uh, well, I-”

“Do you hail from the Emerald Hive? I’ve never seen you before, and while I know we have a few of you Blues, I’d recognize that outfit from checkout,” the one with the Prench era looking top shot off.

“Well I’m-”

“Who ARE you, really? Your kind should be extinct outside of any clan,” the sash wearer, shot off as well, causing the blonde’s eyes to widen.

“What?”

“You...You don’t work for one of the Others...You’re here to finish us off, after your buddy tried to kill us!”

“Wait no, hold on!”

“What are you?! There shouldn’t be any other mo-Ah!” the one with the fins screamed, from his place on the ground, his partner looking at him with concern. The both of them were shocked to find that the blonde had somehow managed to appear between them, kneeling by the changeling with the ripped ankle length pants.

‘T-Too fast! /His speed!’

Naruto looked over the wounded changeling’s side, his bright blue eyes catching the cracked shell near his lower left side. Reaching into the side of his pants, they froze in horror, awaiting the weapon, only for a small bit of smoke to come into existence, before it cleared to reveal a med-kit.

Naruto was quick to apply what medical knowledge he actually had, those from Konoha and the Royal Guard.

Removing the bandages, he inspected the wound, and turned his face up to the expecting changeling.

“I’m going to need to move you. You don’t trust me, but right now, you need to stem this, or it’s going to get bad.” The changeling seemed too shock to do anything, other than nod. Following a little bit of wincing from the sash one, he got him wound up and patched, before working on his friend.

Looking at his handy work, the blonde smiled at his good job. Not the best, but he was fairly proficient, thanks to his RG training.

Sashy and Prenchy looked at one another, before turning to him.

“T-thank you! We weren’t expecting another changeling, who’s not our own, to actually...help us,” Prenchy said, causing the blonde to frown.

“Wait, hold on, this makes me remember what you said earlier. What was that all about?” They looked at him, as if he’d been living under a rock.

Looking, once again, at each other, Prenchy turned back to him.

“You...You’re not with any of the established hives, are you? That has to be it, you’re a Blue-eyes, so it can’t be anything else, unless you’ve been hidden away all this time.” His words caused the blonde to tilt his head in confusion.

‘Blue-eyes?’

“I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about.” he said with a straight face, causing them to look at him even harder. They searched his eyes for any trace of deception they could find, but came up short, yet their eyes went higher onto his head.

Their eyes widened, as they remembered.

“You-you’re a,” he gulped audibly, “m-monarch?!” Sashy was giving him the same look of awesome, fear and intrigued.

Though, he noted, the fear seemed to win out.

“A ‘monarch?’ I’m no prince, as far as I know, so you must be mistaken.” They shook their heads immediately in the negative.

“I-impossible! You’ve got the Sense of one! I’ve only ever felt these when, when,” his mind swam deeper, and deeper into his pit of fear, as his partner finished.

“When the Queens come out to “play”.” The sash wearing one shuddered, as he recalled the memory. When the Queens came together, there was no knowing of what would happen.

They were sisters, by blood, but they hated each other to such a degree. To call them sisters would be a moot point, when they’d take any chance to kill each other. They’ve done it before, considering their use to be FIVE sisters.

“Queens? I thought the only royalty was the princesses.” His words caused their jaws to drop. The mere thought that there was any changeling alive, that knew not of the Queens! It was physically impossible.

“How?” Naruto frowned at the whisper from Prenchy, before the changeling looked at him with an intense gaze.

“How?! How have you bypassed detection for so long?! Where have you been, under a rock?!”

“Lavae, calm down.” “Prenchy, or “Lavae” now, turned to his associate.

““Calm down”? This isn’t a situation to ‘calm down’ about! We’ve been infiltrated, there’s a spy in our ranks, and now we’re dealing with this!” he gestured to the, now, pouting Naruto. The only one in the pit, with any kind of “hair,” snorted.

Rude.

“There’s nothing calm about this, Roamure.” Roamure grimaced.

“I know, but nothing about this matches up.” He turned to Naruto, with a determined frown.

“Who are you?” Roamure didn’t gus it up, straight to the point, which Naruto could appreciate.

Wearing his best serious smile, he introduced himself.

“I’m Naruto, Naruto Uzumaki. Changeling of the Royal Guards, junior officer.” They looked at him in shock.

“Nah-rue-toe?” Lavae pronounced, causing the blonde to scratch his head, brushing past the “locks”.

“You know you’re a changeling, but nothing of the Queens, clans or even your kind?” Naruto frowned, as he looked at them, their expressions shifting to slight fear before he spoke.

“Nope! I didn’t know I was a changeling, until Princess Celestia told me I was. Or more like, called me one. Hehe,” he laughed nervously, as their expressions shifted to uncomfortable.

“Um, not to be rude, Sire,” the blonde rose an eyebrow at this, even as the changeling gulped once more. “Forgive my rudeness, but where have you been? Surely you must belong to some colony. You’re a Monarch Changeling, sir.”

At the question, Naruto only closed his eyes, as he ran the term “Monarch changeling” through his mind.

“I’m not sure how to tell you this, but I found my way to the land of Equestria by...circumstance, some four years ago. I didn’t know of any others like myself, and was alone,” here he smiled. “I met up with some pony Royal Guardsmen, and well, here I am now.” He grinned at them, trying to calm their nerves.

They deflated, minds reeling as they tried to take this in. Naruto wanted to give them quarter, but this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance, for this life anyway.

Other changelings. The mere idea was something he’d never really contemplated before. Sure, Celestia mentioned them in passing, about the amount of hives, but he’d given it little thought since then.

Now? He had a set of them in front of him.

So many questions, so many things he wanted to ask them.

Oh! He knew, what to ask first!

“So, man this is weird, but what are hives like?” his question threw them for a loop, though the eager look he had made it hard for them to deny him.

That, and well, he was monarch.

Pren-Lavae, spoke up.

“We live in colonies of a few thousands, the hives, but there are separate groups. They are the clans, typically recognized for their reproductive qualities.” He took that in, before tilting his head.

“Reproductive qualities?” They nodded at him.

“Qualities that make a better drone. Speed, power, magic, transformation, and understanding of transformation. There are typically five main big clans of those types, but there are sometimes sub-branches.” Naruto couldn’t help but blink at this.

It was scary, just how similar they were to ninja clans. It was frightening. Snapping himself out of it, he asked another question.

This one being...of a more personal, biological nature.

“So, reproduction?” they looked like they wanted to run away at the question.

Had noling ever given him the Talk of Coitus?!

Seeing the looks being sent his way, he nervously laughed, before coughing into his fist.

“I mean; I know what sex is! What I was asking, was, well, is that how we reproduce?” he couldn’t help the heat going to his face, as he revealed the meaning.

They stopped looking like they wanted to run, at the least, and considered what he said.

“Well, that depends on some factors.” Roamure started. Naruto urging him on, with a pleading look, actual got the changeling to chuckle slightly before he coughed into his own fist.

“For most changelings, or the males, we’d breed by using our ovipositors,” he started. Seeing Naruto’s questioning look, he was about to explain, before Lavae piped in.

“Our dicks.” glaring at his partner, he sighed, but saw that Naruto got it.

“Right. We’d lay our eggs in our chosen mates, and in about 2 months’ time, those eggs hatch and breed our young.” seeing the blonde’s wince, though, was cause for concern.

“You seemed dissatisfied, my Quee-err, King.” Naruto rubbed the back his head, as he looked at them.

“Isn’t there, like, any other way?” they looked at him, confused, so he elaborated.

“Like, isn’t there a way to reproduce without the eggs, bit.” Roamure was looking at him in confusion.

Lavae, on the other hand.

“You mean like a pony, don’t you?” the Prench looking one asked, causing Roamure to snap his head in his direction, before turning to Naruto’s. Naruto had a large line of blue going across his face, as he scratched his cheek.

“But, why? I don’t get it. Shouldn’t you want to, I don’t know, revive your hive? Tartarus, if anything, I’m sure there would be plenty of female changelings willing to mate with you. You’re the literal first male monarch, you’d be getting laid left, and right, OW! Roamure, you dick!” Lavae hissed, as his fellow changeling kicked his in the shin, before Roamure turned to Naruto.

“Regardless of how, eloquently, he put it, Lavae is not wrong. With the right pheromone mix, you’d have your own personal hive within a year. Heck, I bet even our Queen would recognize you as the worthiest of giving her children. Prestige, fame and power,.” he stated, factually, Lavae nodding in the background.

“You could have it all.” Naruto looked at him for a moment, before he smiled a true smile.

A memory of a certain cross-eyed mare, coming to his head, he shook his head.

“I seek none of those things. I... there’s a pony, that I’m friends with, and I want to do my best by her. We’re not together, but I hope to one day, know her better than we’ve established ourselves as. She’s lead a rough life, and well, if it ever got that far, I want her to feel as normal as possible.” he spoke in the sincerest of tones, that it took them aback.

Monarchs didn’t normally do this. They loved their subjects, but whenever they did something, it was for the hive and personal gain. What this one was saying, though…

“Well, it’s not like egg making is the only way,” Lavae said, with a small smile. Roamure closed his eyes for a moment, before nodding.

“He’s correct. It is very possible to give birth normally.” His eyes widened, before he eagerly leaned in.

“Like we said, there are clans, and that the Queen mates to get the most reproductive quality. We can breed through eggs, and the normal birthing process, and she will hold the child for usually about 6-7 months, before giving birth.” Here, Naruto blinked.

“6-7?”

“Yes, that’s the typical average. There are even hive-memories of changelings who’d birthed outside of the hive with other species, and the same holds true. Changelings are built to be born quicker. It’s just efficient.” Naruto looked at them, before sighing in relief.

“So how do I turn off the egg-making function, of my dick?”

Things proceeded, much more fluidly, from there. Until the concept of age came up.

“Changelings mature in molting cycles. Typically, they molt on specific years of their lives. The birthing where they shed their egg casing, at their 3rd, 7th, 10th and 13th year, they grow. Come the 14th-18th years, they become aware of how pheromones work, as well as mating. Come their 20th, they’re considered adults and gain any final characteristic defined by their birth,” Roamure said, as he, Lavae and Naruto sat in a circle.

It’d been maybe all of ten minutes since he’d finished tying the bandages on these guys. 15 minutes since he’d found them, and 18 since he’d left on Shining’s orders.

He didn’t have any memories, or clones for that matter, of anything affecting the others.

“By the way, Sire, if you don’t mind me asking. How old are you? I’d assume you’re in your twentieth year, or you’re getting close.” Naruto tilted his head at this.

“Huh? How can you tell? I mean, yeah, I’m 19, but what tipped you off?” Lavae gave a closed eyed grin, before tapping the blonde’s forearm. The sound of Lavae’s digit, vs Naruto’s shell made a sort of crick.

“That’s how. You may not notice it, but you’ve been filling out your shell. We heard it earlier, when you were patching us up. You’re entering the final stages of adulthood, though I’m not sure if it’s going to be the same as normal changeling adulthood. Especially the monarch kind.” Roamure nodded his head in agreement.

Noling had ever seen a MALE changeling monarch before. The concept was so alien, that he may very well go through a different aging process than them. That, and he’d be developing his “mark” soon.

“Well, I’d trust you guys on this. I have been feeling sort of itchy as of late. So does this molting thing take time, does it happen overnight, or what?” Once more, they found themselves struck dumb.

“Waitwaitwaitwaitwait, what?!” Lavae exclaimed, before he leaned in to look at Naruto, causing the monarch to lean backwards. Roamure leaned too, and once they saw something, they looked at him dumbfounded.

“Y-you’re telling the truth? W-what, what the fuck?!” Lavae was as his usual language level.

“That’s...I don’t understand, how?” The sash bearer simply looked as stumped as his friend.

Naruto scratched the back of his head, and shrugged.

They looked to each other, and sighed. The two changelings simply gave up on understanding this one.

“Molting is a natural process. It’s going to happen when you decide you want it to. Though the closer it gets, the more you’ll notice just how tight your shell can get.” Naruto nodded his head, as he thought.

“So what do I do? You know, when I want it to happen.”

They explained all they could, about the process. He heard all of it, and paid close attention, soaking it all in. Just as he was about to ask another question, the cave shook, as a roar pierced the confined of the space they were in.

They did what they could to save themselves the issue of dust, and stray of pebbles/rocks, coming down on themselves.

Lavae and Roamure felt themselves freeze at the sound.

“No, not again!” Lavae screamed, as they felt the cave shudder.

“Tsk, it’s still around”? It must have been in the water again.” Naruto snapped his eyes to the sash wearer.

“It’s what? Wait I thought you guys got tricked down here?” Lavae’s gaze turned narrow.

“We were, and when I find that prick who did this, he’ll be dead by my feet. Thing is, there used to be five of us, traitor included, and two of us…” Lavae trailed off, leaving Roamure to pick up.

“Two of our hive-squad were eaten by one of the weirdest looking monsters I’ve ever seen. Forelegs like a wolf, a lion body covered in a golden exoskeleton and a tail of a raccoon. The worst part, is that it has two heads, one a large bird and the other a salamander. Ugh,” Roamure shudders, his form shaking in tune with the cave.

Naruto’s eyes widened.

“So that’s why we couldn’t find it?”

“You know what that thing is?” Lavae asked Naruto, as the monarch changeling nodded his head in thought.

“It’s a chimera. We, the Royal Guard, were sent to handle it. It recently showed up, and the locals were worried,” he explained to the two, before the pit was pervaded by another sound. It wasn’t a roar, but more of a static-like noise.

Feeling a slight flare at the tip of his horn, Naruto looked at them as a small spark of magic flittered between them.

“Nar..Ne..d...fo…. Hear...e.?”

The blonde of the three changelings held up a hand to the base of his horn, and closed his eyes.

“Shin..g? Wha..?”

“Chim..a! Fo..d\in..ocea..Back.p!”

The spark died, and the blonde felt foolish for having had this conversation run so long.

“Okay guys, I think we’re going to have to take this outside,” Naruto said, standing up, and shaking off any stray dust or pebbles.

The two other changelings looked at him in confusion, as he crossed his fingers. Looks of confusion turned into looks of shock, as the blonde monarch had multiplied, and the Feel of a monarch split into two.

Grabbing onto both of the changelings, the duo of clone and clone-maker jumped and ran up the side of the edge of the drop. Soaring over the edge, the clone and his originator landed with their passengers, before leaving the cave altogether.

Setting the two down, Naruto’s clone dispersed, leaving the sole blonde changeling.

“Okay...I wasn’t expecting that, but whatever, we’re out of the cave. Yay us,” came Lavae’s lackluster cheer, as he allowed himself to flop onto the ground unceremoniously.

Roamure was simply sitting, as he allowed his arms to keep his upper body up, before turning his head to the standing monarch.

“You’re planning to leave, Sire?” Naruto’s eyes simply narrowed as he focused in on the direction of the south.

“I have to go and protect my friend. What about you guys? Do you have a plan, or?” he asked, even as he fidgeted in place. Seeing the teen’s bodying language, Roamure gave a single nod.

“We will be able to make it back to the hive. We’re low on energy, so we’ll scavenge for a bit, and regain our strength.” Naruto listened, before he slipped a hand into one of his pockets, and retrieved a scroll.

Unfurling it, he made a handsign, before there was a puff of smoke.

“Here, take these. You’ll need them far more than I will. Besides, I have a feeling I’m going to need to take down that thing, before you guys can go anywhere.” He handed them his pack, recently unsealed, full of some decent food, bandages(extras) and canteen.

Taking the offered item, Roamure looked up, as Naruto stood and began to walk off.

Naruto was going to quickly make his way, before he heard the sounds of grunts and shuffling behind him.

Turning, he found the strangest sight. Lavae and Roamure kneeled in his direction, before they stood up shakily.

“We wish you a fortuitous battle!” Roamure.

“Kick some ass, Sire!” Lavae exclaimed, causing Roamure to slap a hand over his eyes in exasperation.

Naruto chuckled for a bit, before giving them a two fingered salute, and blurring off to the south of the isle.

Watching the young “ruler” go off, and disappear from their sights, they checked the pack and began towards the West side of the islands.

The Badlands were a good distance off, and they’d still need to wait it out, until the Chimera was defeated.

As they walked/limped, Lavae couldn’t help but ask a question.

“So what do we tell Queen Chrysalis? There’s now another “ruler”, and she’s not going to be too happy about that.” The question was on both of their minds, but the answer to it was complicated.

Naruto desired no hive, rule or anything of the sort. He simply wanted to live his life as it currently was. He’d saved them, and done enough to let them return.

Were they really going to tell Chrysalis?

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” said the sash wearer, leaving Lavae confused.

‘What is he talking about?’

“We’re going to tell her everything, of course. That’s the whole point of us stealing this supplies, from an abandoned Royal Guard tent. We got patched up by some ponies under disguise, and left before anyling noticed.” Lavae stopped walking for a moment, as he watched Roamure walk on, before he grinned and caught up with him.

“Yeah, that red eyed bastard that left us out here to die is gonna get what’s coming to him.”

“Indeed, he will.”
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

When he finally made it to the shore, he found Shining’s squad, along with the collective others, all keeping their distance from the waters. He launched himself from the forest canopy, to land at the side of a random guard, tossing his eyes over the rest of the soldiers.

They looked like someone had thrown them into a washer, and push the “pummel” setting. Their armor had been dented to an extent, with most of them looking waterlogged and/or like someone had run them through the Suiryudan no Jutsu.

He caught sight of Shining Armor, the lieutenant-to-be seemed to be faring the best at the moment. Catching his eyes, Naruto dashed over to him.

“What’s the situation?” Shining’s eyes twitched to the blonde changeling, before narrowing in on the waters.

“We found the target, as of 9 minutes ago. All attempts to make negotiations, have been...failing. The chimera doesn’t seem to display intelligence, like some of the others, and has been aggressive since the beginning of contact. It currently uses hit-and-run tactics.”

Naruto cursed at this, as he surveyed the waters, mind thinking of a few ways that he could probably lure out the beast, and keep it on land.

“Has any attempt at getting it to stay out of the water been successful?” Shining thought for a moment, before hesitantly speaking up.

As far as that was concerned, all their attempts had been failures, but not from the tactics themselves. It was more that the thing was too quick. It could slip back into the sea fast enough that they couldn’t get a good handle on it.

Now that Naruto was here though.

“Naruto, do you have any ways of keeping the chimera held still, even for a moment?” The blonde in question thought about this inquiry.

He didn’t have any spells for that, nor any jutsu. He could use the Kage Bunshin, he was indeed fast enough. That said, the shadow clones were still fragile.

No jutsu to hold it down, but...he didn’t need Jutsu here, but a spell.

“I have something, but it’s going to be tricky. I’m going to get it out of the water, and try to keep it down. The moment I have it down, you need to hold it down with these.” he reached into his back pocket, and pulled out a pack of papers, tied together.

Taking one, Shining looked it over, before his eyes widened.

“Are these?” Naruto nodded.

“Fresh off the press.”

“But, I thought they hadn’t been tested yet.” Naruto chuckled nervously, scratching his chin.

“They’re still in the experimental phase, but you’d be surprised what a bunch of unicorns in Celestia’s school would be capable of doing.” Shining sent him a flat look.

Naruto spared him no more than a glance before he began towards the waters, his form changing as he went.

Going from biped to quadruped, as his skin turned pale blue and slick, like that of a fish’s scales, a vulpine body jumped high into the sky, before coming down and slipping into the water, it’s meter long, fin-like tail disappearing into the depths.

Those on the shore waited, even as Shining passed out each of the five tags to the squad around him.

The next moment, the water erupted skyward, as the transformed Naruto leaped out, with his tail elongated back into its wire shape, but thicker. Said tail was currently still in the water, stretched beyond normal dimensions, before the changed blonde gave a harsh mid spin.

Like the line of a fishing rod, the tail retracted, and with it came the chimera.

Sailing out of the air, with a displeased roar, the large beast fell and shook the ground upon impact. Dazed slightly, the chimera let out a vicious hiss from its salamander head, as the fox-fish hybrid came down on its lion-like body.

Naruto wasted no time, as his tail flickered orange, and multiplied, until there were nine wire like extensions in total. Each of the tails shot out, and aimed for a limb, or body part, to incapacitate.

Tail, forelegs, back legs, body, and necks captured, Naruto used his last tail to beat down on the chimera.

Its attention fully on the transformed ninja, Shining’s squad surged forth, and slapped tags onto several parts of beast, before several unicorns’ horns glowed, and chains shot out.

With five chains coming to lay around the beast’s legs and tail, Naruto released those from his own back appendages, and allowed his other four tails to thicken.

The chimera was having none of that, as it tried to rear back, only to find its body hard to move. The wolf limbs bulged in effort, as it tried to get into standing position.

Naruto stared down at the bird head, as it went crazy, screeching at nothing and everything before it fell silent and harshly swung its neck in his grip.

Snapping its own neck.

His eyes widened as he watched this happen, before the chimera’s body began to rumble. Its form began to be overtaken by magic circles. Naruto was quick to release his hold, when the circles began to encroach upon the portions he was holding, and burned him.

‘Yikes!’

He found purchase in the ground near Shining, skidding to a stop, as he turned to look at the display of the chimera.

The circles rotated around its being, gaining speed, before it all became one large egg. Little flickers shot off at random, before it stopped altogether.

What was revealed though, wasn’t what they were expecting, as the chimera’s shape seemed to change.

Gone was the large raccoon like tail and eagle head. The tail was now lizard like, with a flash of silver fur going down its middle, with the salamander’s head now fitting perfectly square on its own shoulders. The whole body has shifted in color to dark blue, same as the salamander head, and was far moister than they would be comfortable touching. Large horn like extensions shot out from the back of the salamander’s head, arching in a way not unlike a deer’s. The biggest change had to be that the thing was now walking on two legs, and its forelegs switched to arms of a more bearish quality.

They stared for a moment at the changed beast. It was like it gave up ALL its other parts for a simple change to normalcy.

If only it were that simple, as they soon found out, once its cheeks bulged outward.

“Get down!” Shining barked, as he grabbed two by him and brought all of them to the floor. Naruto went as fast as he could, as he had his tails split back into Nine to grab as many soldiers as he could, before leaping over a beam of a sludge like substance.

Those who’d gotten to the ground, barely inches away from the splash area, began to scramble away from the now hissing liquid product. The slime eating through the sand and forest floor alike.

Naruto, and those he had with him, could only stare from up above at the area where the beam had landed.

‘That’s not good.’

Landing on sand once more, he leaped again as the Chemander shot another blast his way. This repeated a couple more times, incensing the vulpine fish, and his tail’s occupants. Shining watched on, as he saw the creature focus solely on his transformed friend.

“Sir, what are we supposed to do?” he could hear the two beside him ask, the pony on his left being the one to voice the question. Taking the two in, he found himself in the presence of a pegasus and earth pony, male and female respectively.

Turning his head back to the Chemander, he thought hard about what they could do.

He took in its now slimy skin, the horns which now sparked every now and then, and larger, bulkier legs. He blinked, once he realized that the tags weren’t on the creature anymore, and looked down to notice that they were now on the floor, half-eaten away.

“The slime is now acidic in nature, and I can only assume that it has some form of lightning capability.” He watched as Naruto jumped over and onto the water. The beast’s horns sparked once, and lightning shot out of its maw at the fox fish’s location.

The changeling ninja was quick to shift his skin to a nonconductive nature of yellow scales, but still launched himself out of the erratic beam of energy. The electricity surged through the sea and more than just a few dead fish rose to the surface, with the beam splitting the ocean with waves one pony high.

He winched at the sight, before shaking his head and letting out a breath.

‘Focus on the enemy, nothing else is important. All your mind should see is a way to beat it, not failure. Captaining 101.’ He focused in on the Chemander, as it finished its beam attack. He noted that the horns weren’t clicking with energy anymore, and that the head was dry at that moment.

Looking down at its legs, he saw that said appendages were in troughs of its own making. Recoil from the blast, maybe?

Naruto was apparently tired of being a large target with multiple hit points, as a familiar pair of black horns came into being on his, the fox’s head. The horns glowed a familiar yellow glow, before the area around the Chemander grew intense. The ground, where it stood, sunk down as a force exerted over its general area.

The Chemander was quickly finding itself hard to stay upright.

“Oh yeah, gravity spell for the win!” The mare couldn’t help but exclaim, Shining feeling the same way, before he noticed something wrong.

From where he stood, the air around the Chemander looked intense with the spell in effect. Random appearances of deep dark lines and purple lights emitting every few moments, but as time went on, the spell began to flicker. It was blinking every other moment, and seemed to lose more force, as time went on.

Naruto had landed, and released his fellow officers, and focused on applying the spell. He shifted back to his normal form, and his eyes twitched every now and then.

He could feel his control over the spell wavering, before he let out a gasp, and the spell died as it lived.

He grit his teeth, as he thought about just why it failed.

‘It’s still not ready for on the call use,’ he thought, watching as the salamander, former chimera, moved its body.

“Everypony, get your plots over here!”
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

“Okay, so that didn’t work out too well.”

“You think?”

Naruto sighed as he heard two officers grumble to one another. A third came in and broke it, but the group were still pretty much behind the feeling.

He could still hear the Chemander shooting slime blasts everywhere, so he knew it was on land.

Shining was off in a corner, currently trying to think up a counter strategy to be used here. Every now and then, his eyes would flicker over to the group of gathered officers, and he’d mumble to himself.

Naruto could see the strange divide that was happening, even if nopony else would notice. So getting up himself, he walked over to Shining’s side and sat opposite him.

“Shining? Yo, Shining, you hear me?” he tried, barely catching the blue maned unicorn’s attention.

“Um, what? Naruto?” he looked up, and Naruto could see the sweat on his brow. The changeling frowned, before he smiled.

“Shining, think of Cady, and what she’d tell you, if she saw you like this,” he said, catching the unicorn off-guard. He did as was suggested, and thought of his marefriend, before smiling slightly. Bringing a finger up to his chest, he twirled it once, and then waved it away.

“Phew, thanks Naruto. I kind of needed that.” The ninja grinned before holding up a fist, getting an appreciative fist bump from his friend.

“Now, I do believe we have a counter-attack to make.” The current officer-in-charge looked to the blonde, and then to the soldiers on the other side of the small trench they’d improvised.

“I’m trying to lay this all out. I don’t want anypony to die on my watch, so I want to make defensive measures as well, but we need to defeat the thing and so offensive measures must be taken.”

“Shiny calm your mane man, you’re flipping it again.” the officer groaned, as he brought his hand back down.

“Right, right...We need to keep it in one place, but if it gets back into the water…” he trailed off.

“It’s going to be a pain in the plot trying to get out again.” It has acidic properties now, and Naruto wasn’t sure if he could try and bring it up without taking some damage.

One downside to losing the Kyuubi, his regenerative abilities took a gigantic nosedive, not something he liked right now.

“Right, so we have to attack in the next minute, or-” the area went silent as the stomping sounds of the beast ended, causing them all to freeze. They then heard the sound.

Shit.

“Get down!”

Lightning blitzed its way through the overhead of the trench, all personnel fell to the floor immediately, as the beam tore its way through the forest. Shining quickly threw up a shield spell as trees fell, and trunks crashed into the defensive construct.

They could hear the pants of the former chimera, as it let out shuddering pants.

Shining looked over to the gathered officers, and looked up at the shield, before turning to Naruto with a determined glint in his eye.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The former chimera looked on, as it took in the destroyed forest. Its mind wasn’t too developed, one of the few of its kind to be that way, especially since it lost its other half.

That said, it thought it did a good job.

“Fire from below!” came a muffled shout from underneath it, causing the beast to snap its head left and right, before the looking down at a growing light.

The explosion that followed enveloped the Chemander in smoke, the blast radius destroying flat land it had been on. Sand glassed over, and was kicked up into the air.

The Chemander screamed an anguished sound, as its legs lost their footing, its bulky appendages flailing slightly.

“Unicorns keep it off balance! Earth ponies are to surround it on all sides, and bring out the chains! I want all available pegasi giving me updates on air currents, and the target’s status!” Shining barked out, as he and the rest of the squad exploded out from their cover.

The earth ponies traveled in lines, as they carried a translucent, shining chain. Unicorns were using every available spell to keep the Chemander under fire; Some used fireballs, others used levitation to toss up more dirt and charred rock, and some went as far as to start zapping it with magic shots.

Once the earth ponies were in position, Shining signaled to the unicorns.

“Bring it out of the hole, on my mark!”

As one, all those with magic available to them, stopped their assault on the beast. Their horns beginning to glow, as the former chimera let out roars of pain, and fury, that breached their ears.

“Mark!” Shining’s own horn glowing, they all as one grabbed onto the Chemander, before quickly removing it from the hole it was in. They barely lifted it out, before tossing it over to a side of the shore.

“Earth ponies!”

They shouted in affirmation, as they already crossed the distance to the monster, before the chains were hurled to every available part of the Chemander. The beast struggled the whole way, tossing and turning, pretty much making a big nuisance of itself.

Its slimy texture had come back, but it was covered head to toe in grain, giving the chains enough hold on its limbs and neck.

The officers holding onto the chains struggled, as the beast stumbled to its feet.

“The clouds are gathering! It’s something big!” Shining could hear from the pegasi, and grit his teeth before he ordered them into action.

“Cut off its horns and put a stop to it!” those in the air nodded.

The three pegasi, before diving, ran past some of the gathered clouds, clutching some of the dark cumulous in their hands, before diving at the Chemander.

The beast was preparing to let off a large blast, its horns flickering with sparks and energy, before it let out a screech as the pegasi cut into its horns.

The pegasi struggled as they pushed their swords further and further into the thick bone extensions. They could see the sparks in between the horns getting brighter, and the tried to hurry it along, the clouds on the handles of the swords could only absorb so much lightning before they became miniature bombs of energy.

“Seems like you guys could use a PUSH!” The swords seemed to flow through the horns, as a pair of blonde changelings found themselves on top of the Chemander. The Narutos put their hands on the blades, before they glowed a blue color that seemed to cancel out the sparks on the sharp weapons. The blades glowed the same color, before they seemingly slipped through the bone like it was butter, removing the extensions.

They flew out the way, as the gathered lightning above the Chemander’s head exploded outward, destroying the clones, and extending outwards before being stopped by a shield that covered the entire beast.

Those around the encapsulated beast had to cover their eyes at the light show, before it died down. The creature’s wails had turned into whimpers by this point, and it smoldered, as bits of glass and burnt sand fell off its staggering form.

Naruto appeared out of the ground near Shining, and gave the leading officer a nod. As one, both unicorn and changeling charged.

Shining Armor drew his blade. Calling upon the training he’d received from both Fukasaku and Naruto, he enhanced his body with the flowing energy within him. Next, as he ran, he summoned a pair of shields that enveloped his sword. The constructs covering both sides, meeting at a sharp point at the edges.

Naruto allowed his right forearm to glow, the bright portion of his limb elongated. The shape curved, before the shine died down and revealed a large membrane-like blade. The blonde’s black shelling made up the base as a glowing yellow, sharp edge made up the ends.

They ran as one, the blonde allowing Shining to keep pace, though he was faster than even most earth ponies by this point. As it turned out, the Chemander still had some fight left in it. Even as its form stumbled, it stopped whimpering, and focused on the two approaching officers and shot a blast of corrosive slime.

The two barely allowed it to slow them down, the unicorn allowing a shield to pop up before him, and launching off it, as the changeling monarch went low.

The beast was apparently going to aim higher, only to find several chains wrapping around its neck, tugging it off balance, as the other officers kept from being idle.

Shining Armor allowed one more shield to pop into existence, this one aimed towards the Chemander. He allowed his hooves to touch it, before the shield glowed and shot him off towards it, at a hard to catch speed.

Naruto allowed his chakra to roam freely in his body, more enthusiastically, before his own form destroyed the distance between him and the former chimera.

As one, the two’s blades grew, before bringing into and through the beast itself, bisecting it at its waist and center. The halves fell to the wayside, as the pegs merely remained standing.

Shining landed in crouch, as Naruto slid to a stop.

Their work was done.

~TCL~

They had gone back to inform the locals of the deed being done, before walking back to the campsite.

Even as they all walked, limped or otherwise, Shining felt pats of congratulations from his fellow soldiers as they passed them. The unicorn lieutenant blushed under the praise, and Naruto smiled from his side.

Catching the blonde’s grinning visage, Shining grinned as well before holding up a fist to his friend.

The fist bump was quickly reciprocated.

~TCL~

She looked on, as the blonde rested in the center. Her violet irises taking in the strange occurrence she’d never truly seen before.

The green, slime like texture of the cocoon that Naruto resided in, was fairly translucent for the most part. She’d already had her protégé come see the blonde on occasion, as well as his students. On more than one instance, she could find Spike in the room the blonde had been given for the time of his rest and change.

She looked out from the railing towards the evening’s horizon, her magic’s passive effects giving slow rise to the sun. They, Naruto and her, were currently at the top of a tower, a sort of large circular balcony that had a cone at the top to protect those in it from the rain.

Naruto was currently curled up in a ball, eyes closed as they had been for the past month. His form had undergone a few noticeable changes since the start of this process. When he’d told her of his contact with the changelings, and the things he’d learned from them, she was shocked, and intrigued.

The blonde was to still grow, if the changelings’ words were to be believed. She had taken notice of some of those changes the blonde was privy to, and some he might not recognize.

As she went over these thoughts, she turned her sight inward on the blonde. More than a couple of times, she’d had several doctors, students and professors come here, with the blonde’s permission, of course.

They would check over the spectacle, giving her updates on her… “Friend,” which was even weirder now that she’d thought about it.

It had been close to four years since he’d arrived here, and she was surprised to say, they bonded, in a way. They hadn’t had the best start, even after two years she’d been cautious with him. She only really started to relax around him in the third year.

For in that year, she’d been able to watch as the blonde taught her adoptive son.

It was more than a little jarring, when the drake spoke of the blonde with such high regard some years ago. Now? She simply smiled amusedly every time Spike would come to her and tell her about his day. He’d tell her of the blonde’s lessons, both magical, and philosophical.

To protect those most precious to you, never abandon a friend, preserve life, cherish those closest to you, and so many others. On more than one occasion, she and the little drake would talk at long stretches of time about some of the lessons, after which he’d fall asleep in her arms, like the child he was. Her child.

Focusing back into the present, she remembered one of her professors telling her of his rising consciousness as of late. She could only agree, as she could feel his magic “awakening” as the days passed. That wasn’t the only sign though.

Looking farther into the cocoon, she looked at the blonde’s horns and pouted slightly. They’d grown for a while, before they nearly matched her own in length. Not that she was insecure! Of course not, that’d be ridiculous!

Ahem.

His horns, as stated before, had grown and along the length of them were large splashes of yellow. The yellow on his head extensions had glowed every now and then since the middle of the month, and have only gotten brighter as the month came to pass.

Eyes roaming downward, she settled them on his right shoulder, where an insignia had seemingly placed itself.

It was an image of a white, round circle, in which lay a copy of the markings that had been on his stomach, in black. If one looked at it at the right angle, the mark might look like a sun, what with the way the black squiggles branched out from the circle.

Oh, she’d find some way to turn that on the blonde, and tease him.

Looking up at the skyline, she felt her biological clock tick, and rose the sun for greeting the day.

Right as there was the sound of something moving around, and breaking behind her.

The Monarch had returned to the land of the living.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Naruto didn’t know how long he’d be in the cocoon. He remembered Lavae and Roamure telling him that the usual was a week, with the longest being close to a month.

He couldn’t help but try and stand on shaky hooves, before he felt himself steadied by a soft glow. Looking up, with slightly blurry eyes, he could see the vague form of Celestia.

He cracked a tired smirk. Actual eyes, black pupils on blue iris with blue tinted sclera. Looked back at her.

She smirked at him.

“Welcome back to the world of the conscious, Naruto Uzumaki.” He grinned in response.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

He looked himself over in the mirror of room. The room itself was rather large, decorative, and overall just too stuffy for his taste.

He heard the door open, and the padding feet of Spike, as the drake stumbled in, a set of clothes in his arms, that he laid on the bed. That done, the drake hopped up on the bed, and grinned that cheeky grin of his, to which Naruto returned with one of his own.

Going back to the mirror, he looked himself over, and took in the new changes.

“I’m not gonna lie. Looking good Naruto,” he flexed, “looking real good.” He could hear Spike giggling behind him, causing him to smirk.

He looked up at his horns, that now curved slightly with that yellow splotches he could see near the tip. His shoulder’s new addition was strange, but not all that unpleasant. Though Celestia could lay off it.
______________________________________________________________________________

“Oh, I didn’t know you were trying to emulate me. Well, it only makes sense, no?”
______________________________________________________________________________

He could still remember her hand trying to hide the grin she bore.

Those taken into consideration, he was happy about two very important things. The first being his eyes, which had been something he missed. Being able to distinguish pupil form iris was cool to do again, and while the pupils were a little bit more cat-like, he preferred them far more now than before.

That all fell second, though, to his favorite part of it all.

Looking down at his body, he couldn’t believe that it looked…. well normal. Mind you, he still had an exoskeleton over it, but it was like the skeleton conformed to him like a skin. The shelling was softer, but he’d bet it was more durable. He could see the contours of his actual body and muscle mass.

No more blocky iron. He was streamlined steel, baby!

Looking down at his abdominals, he ran his fingers over the seal that chose to remain, though now he could feel...Something. It was a strange feeling. It might be better to say, he felt “nothing,” but he could tell that there was a purpose for it. Something in the back of his mind that was telling him that he could use this “void” to store something.

He’d find out one day.

Bringing his head back up, he saw his “mane” bob backwards, and looked at that too. He could see it was far more hair-like, almost indiscernible from normal manes/hair. His fangs had even receded!

He was liking this metamorphosis more, and more, by the second! The last change, was actually something he wasn’t expecting.

Lifting his tail, he looked at the appendage, willing it back to normalcy, but it didn’t change. It retained the wire-like shape, with a wicked swirling tip like end. Moving it back and forth, he finally allowed it to rest still.

All in all, he was new and improved. Still didn’t have wings though, but he was fine with that. Too many positives to care really at this point.

Done inspecting himself, Naruto walked over to the bed and flopped into it, causing Spike’s form to bounce, before he settled into it. The blonde gave the drake’s head a rub, before he started to put on some clothing.

He had been only in boxers since this all started. Which made it all the better, after the shower.

He put on the dark blue cargoes that held splotches of lighter blue across the thighs. Next, he put on the orange fingerless gloves, securing the straps on the wrists. Second to last, was a long sleeved grey shirt that was kind of tight around the chest and waist, which he found weird.

Was it just him, or were his clothes slightly smaller than before?

Now that he thought about it…

Standing up, he looked down at Spike, who gave him a tilted bemused expression.

“What? Do I have something on my face? I don’t have more gem dust on it, do I?” the little dragon rubbed at his face, his wings moving about in response to his own rubbing.

“Nah, don’t worry about it Spike, just a stray thought. Come on, let’s go, I’m HUNGRY!” The blonde pat his stomach, only now realizing how hungry he actually was. Spike seemed to dig the idea, and hopped off the bed.

“We can hit up Joe’s Donut Shop. He’s got some of the best!”

It was as they were about to walk out the door, that it opened, revealing a certain alicorn, and a maid following after her. The two blinked in surprised, as did Celestia and her maid, who was staring up at the blonde in confusion.

Naruto for his part blinked, as he stared eye to eye, with Celestia. Celestia did the same.

*Blink*

*Blink*

*Blink*

Naruto couldn’t stop the grin, that now adorned his face. Celestia seeing it, merely frowned, before huffing and looking away.

~TCL~

They stared. He knew they stared. They knew, he knew, they stared, and so on. Even as he passed by all others, there was never a moment where they didn’t stop and gaze up at him.

Coming out of a passageway, Spike at his side, Naruto couldn’t help but notice Blueblood. The egotistical noble was currently chatting it up, or attempting to, speak with a certain noble looking mare, who couldn’t look more disinterested.

Naruto honestly couldn’t care less, so he paid them no attention, even as he and Spike walked past.

Blueblood, for all he was worth, couldn’t help but notice that the mare he was courting, had her attention elsewhere. He blinked in disbelief. Impossible, what could possibl-!

He stopped, and stared at the blonde that passed them. Said male was currently wearing a shirt that, even he was unconsciously forced to admit, left very little to the imagination of what laid underneath. His mane was a brush of soft spikes, with two long bangs in the front of his forehead, parted by long, styled horns. At the back, his mane was surprisingly silk-like, and tied, making it look like golden tresses of the finest cloth.

All in all, it was like a male alicorn had just descended, and all attention was on him. Turning back to the mare he was courting, something in the back of his mind broke at the look she sent the blonde.

She was currently fanning herself uncontrollably, as she stared at the well-muscled back of the passing blonde. If Blueblood was correct, which he usually was, he could hear her panting.

This was impossible, who could possibly.

“Hey Naruto, you sure nothing weird is going on? Everypony keeps looking at you weird.” Came the sound of the little lizard next to the tall, royal-?!

“I don’t know Spike, it has been a month since I’ve seen daylight, maybe that’s it. Plus, it’s still early, maybe they’re all tired?” The blonde haired soldier said, with a hint of questioning, even as they continued to walk.

Blueblood merely stood there, mouth agape, as the mare quickly excused herself.

WHAT?!

~TCL~

Before anyone says anything! I need to make this clear.

This is part 1 of a chapter, I had to break up into two parts.

Plain and simple.

So we’re clear, alright? Alright.

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