• Published 12th May 2017
  • 3,553 Views, 138 Comments

Embracing the Fog - SunnyDays



Clearly, Spitfire and Fleet didn't seem to need him anymore. There was no turning back after this, no amounts of "I'm sorry"s that could make this right. Soarin was done being a Wonderbolt.

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4 - All's Fair in Love and Reconnaissance

“So it started a couple of years ago, one of our first missions.” Starry leaned back, taking a breath as she started to recount the tale. “Nothing complex. Spy on a ‘couple griffons that wouldn't buzz off from the border. Celestia was in endless talks with the king, no progress of course, so Luna asked us to take a look in case things came to a head.”

“What, like a war?” Soarin snorted, setting the timer for the pizza to bake. “With the griffons?”

“Not war, but it wouldn't be hard for them to make us look like the aggressors. From there...well that’s a bit of a mess to put it lightly.”

“Well… Uh, you kill ponies and griffons and such. I’d imagine that’s pretty messy work.” Soarin joked.

“An expert can do so cleanly and quickly.” Starry smirked, “No time to leave a mess.”

“...Ew?” Soarin asked.

Starry couldn’t help but laugh, “Innocent little guy, aren’t you?”

“I’m not little! I’m taller than you and Shadey! But innocent… Maybe.” Soarin admitted.

“Cute, but that’s not something that’ll stay if you stick around.” Starry shook her head, growing serious, “We’re not like the Wonderbolts in that regard. We’re the last line of defense that is meant to cut off the head of the problem before it ends in disaster... Or the balls, if the problem is being an asshole.” She nodded, smirking slightly at her own little joke.

“So… What kind of disaster were you faced with this time?”

“Thankfully nothing as huge.” Starry tittered, “A ‘couple griffons weren’t a problem, though that’s not to say a disaster didn’t nearly follow…”

Soarin listened intently as Starry began to tell her story, her voice shifting deeper and attempting a Detrot accent whenever Charger spoke:

“You know...these suits are kinda tight around the rear.”

Starry Skies wasn’t having a good night. Firstly, she had been sent on a mission at the last minute by her captain on orders of Princess Luna. Secondly, it was full black ops, meaning utter silence and deniability.

Sadly, that led to three, the reason staying quiet was so difficult at the moment, “I swear to the divines, Charger. Shut your mouth.”

“I’m just saying.” Charger replied casually, looking out for their targets. “It gets distracting. I’m sure you’ve noticed.”

“No, I haven’t.” Starry muttered, “Can you focus on something other than your plots?”

“Why yes, I can.”

“Or my plots.” She glared.

“I never said that; I’m not a creep.” Charger huffed. “See our targets?”

Sure enough, a group of armored griffons came out from the shadows, surveying the area and setting up a camp right on the border. They were talking to each other, but it was completely unintelligible from where Charger and Starry were standing.

“Hmm.” Starry nodded, “Right on the border. I can’t hear what they’re saying though, we’ll have to move in.”

“Right.” Charger nodded. They slipped down the slope ever so quietly, making their way towards the camp. “...So, what are you doing after this?”

“Nothing.” Starry snorted, glaring at the back of his head.

“Cool. Cool.” He nodded, “Wanna go out for a bite or somethin’?”

"I'm not hungry," Starry muttered.

"Not even for a snack? I know a place around here with some of the best-"

“Charger, we’re in the middle of a mission, damn it!” Starry growled louder than she meant. The two paused, noticing how the camp suddenly grew quiet. They each dodged behind a tree with learned swiftness, right as a griffon came charging into the brush where they had just been.

He had a sword ready and was glaring at the horizon, watching for movement. His feathery ears twitched at even the smallest of the forest’s breezes and rustling leaves.

Standing on the tree atop the unaware griffon, Starry spread her blade-laden wings and prepared to drop. In the dim reflection of one of the blades, she watched Charger shake his head at her. He motioned for her to hunker down like he was. She struggled with the thought for a moment before realizing that the griffon had moved on.

Without warning, Charger dove from tree to tree, making his way closer to the camp. Starry followed with noticeably less grace. Her eyes glanced over to watch just how effortlessly he duck and dove between branches. She tried to follow in his example, finding that he followed a rhythm of sorts in his movements. Eventually meeting her in a great oak on the edge of the griffons’ little camp.

“Good call.” She muttered quietly.

“Thanks. You would’ve given us away if you killed him. Even if we managed to dump the body out of sight.” Charger whispered back. The two were pressed close together, trying to keep their talk as silent as possible.

Starry found that despite how close they were, Charger was minding his own space and business. It would have been so easy for him to say something completely uncalled for, but he was stock still and his focus was now entirely on their mission. Starry was just relieved she didn’t have to frame a teammate’s untimely death tonight.

Charger motioned as the griffon that charged at them earlier came back into his camp.

“Whatever or whoever it was, it’s gone now.” He said.

“You just heard a beast or something, big ears.” One of his campmates snickered. “Now, Cap, what’s the deal?” She looked over to a slightly smaller griffon than the two of them, currently looking over a map in the light from the campfire.

He looked up, “Stay here until told otherwise. I want to reiterate, though. If we’re attacked, one of you needs to take this letter to the Emperor’s legion.”

Charger and Starry eyed each other suspiciously.

“Looks as if this border isn’t exactly hard to defend against them.” The big-eared griffon spoke, “If we could just push our luck…”

“I said nothing until we’re ordered otherwise.” The Captain repeated firmly, glowering at his subordinate.

That was all Starry needed. With a nod to Charger, she began to back quietly out of the tree. He followed suit, making their way to the ground in silence.

“So… Where’d you learn to jump through the trees like that?” Starry asked once they were far enough away, “It was like something out of a ninja story.”

Charger chuckled, “Ninjas? It’s just similar to the roof jumping I used to do as a colt. Not much place to run round in Detrot except the rooflines. Didn’t know you’d be so impressed.”

“Well, I was. Sorry for yelling at you earlier.”

“Nah, you were right. It wasn’t really the time.” Charger admitted.

“But I’m still going to decline your offer,” Starry said immediately. “Don’t get any ideas.”

Charger sighed, “Right, right.”

“Listen, Charge, you’re a good stallion and all, but I’m just not interested in relationships. I’d rather we just be teammates and not make things complicated, alright?”

He nodded, “Alright.”

They walked in silence for a few moments.

“But, hey, I’m a free stallion if you ever change your mind.”

Starry rolled her eyes, “I’m not going to, but thanks.”

Several chuckles broke out as Starry finished telling her story.

Soarin blinked as he looked around to see that the others had joined he and Starry at the table. He had been so engrossed in the story that he hadn’t noticed the others come in. Or maybe it was just an assassin thing to come into the room so quietly that you scare the shit out of everyone around you. He had a feeling they’d all insist it was the latter if he asked them.

“Hey, we got what we needed to get. Sure, the flirting thing was at the wrong time, but it was still worth a shot.” Charger chuckled.

“‘Wrong time’ is an understatement.” Nightshade, to no one’s surprise, had put herself as close to her older brother as possible. Namely: right next to him. She chuckled as the timer on the oven dinged, “So… Pizza?”

“Oh yeah, everything’s ready,” Soarin said, going over and pulling the pizza out of the oven. “Help yourselves.” He took a step back, letting the group line up uniformly, get their desired toppings, and then get out of the way for the others.

Blitz trotted by, a piece of cheese pizza hanging out of her mouth. She paused, tilting her head, “Mmmmph?” She pulled the pizza from her mouth, “You okay, Soarin?”

Soarin blinked, realizing that he should’ve gotten in line, “Huh? Oh! Yeah, right.” He nodded.

Nightshade chuckled, “Not used to the structure, are you?”

“Well, no.” Soarin admitted, “It’s usually a stampede to get to the mess hall, let alone the little kitchen in the barracks. I always sat back and waited for the insanity to pass before going up.”

“What kind of operation is Captain Spitfire running, a henhouse?” Stratus grunted, settling down at the table.

Soarin frowned as he got in line behind Charger, biting back a retort. But instead of defending the ‘honor’ of someone who had just screwed him over, he grabbed his own pizza, loading it with all sorts of toppings. Luckily, no one noticed his sudden bad attitude.

"Only if it's a headless henhouse." Charger guffawed.

Glancing over, Soarin could see the sad look on Blitz's face. It seemed as if she had something she wanted to say but just couldn't bring herself to do so. He knew why, too. Blitz had always had some sort of fixation of Spitfire, much to the other mare's chagrin. The image of Blitz barreling into Spitfire at break-neck speeds at the most inopportune time made his throat close, so he pushed the image away.

However, it seemed that Blitz's mood hadn't gone unnoticed, “Soooo, how was the meeting?” Starry asked Nightshade and Stratus quickly.

“Typical.” Stratus responded, “There have been reports of the Storm Kingdom supplying new airships, but no specific orders coming in from the Princess.”

Nightshade spoke up as Soarin sat down, “No new orders coming in is excellent for us, becaaause…” She grinned at Soarin, “I have a proposal for you, Soar.”

Soarin stopped chewing to give her his attention.

“Stratus and I have decided that there’s enough space in this compound for one more Shadowbolt.” Nightshade smiled, “Would you like a trial run to join us, Soarin?”

Soarin swallowed the bite he was chewing. He knew this was coming, but he couldn’t shake the tight knot in his stomach. He looked around at the group looking at him with various levels of eagerness, “I…” He bit his lip.

Nightshade put her hoof on his, “Sorry, didn’t mean to put you on the spot.” She gave him a sad smile, “You can give me your answer in private if you'd like."

“I mean. It's okay. I. Just.” Faces flashed through Soarin's mind: Fire Streak. Lightning Streak. Surprise. High Winds. Misty Fly. Silver Lining. They were all still his team too, Spitfire and Fleet be damned. Then again, while Nightshade hadn't meant it, Soarin did feel awfully pressured with the eagerly awaiting eyes of the Shadowbolts on him. He weighed both options in his head, frowning slightly as he shook his head, “...It’s too soon, Shadey.” His ears folded, “Sorry.”

“It’s alright.” Nightshade nodded, “We understand.”

"I'm glad he didn't say yes." Charger said, which led to all eyes glaring at him. "I didn't finish!" He defended, "We would've all wondered in the back of our minds if he said yes just because he was put on the spot. ...Am I wrong?"

"He is correct." Stratus agreed, "Even if we don't have spots on the floor to put him on."

Soarin blinked questioningly at Nightshade, but Starry caught his attention first.

“But to be clear, you’ll still be our cook, right?” Starry asked, already going for her third and fourth piece of pizza. "I don't think I can go back to Charger's slop after this heavenly, cheesy goodness."

"Hey!" Charger pouted, "After that story, the least you could do is give me some respect," He took a bite, chewing it for several minutes, "...shit, this actually is really good."

Soarin laughed, “Yes, I’ll still be your cook. Shadowbolt or not.” Starry and Blitz whooped in response.

Author's Note:

Hey guys, I'm back! Expect a blog in another couple of minutes.

Also, big shoutout to River Road for helping Uria and I edit this one!

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