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Cat out of Water (Hippogriffs only, ask for invite)

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"What a relief! First, an unfortunate series of events where a mysterious student would sabotage the decorations in the school's main hall originally had us all kept there cleaning up the mess until one of us had confessed. And even when someone did eventually confess, the lessons learned meant that instead of spending the entire holiday in Ponyville away from family, the party would get to spend Hearth's Warming Eve dinner with the professors at the school... and we get to travel back home for two weeks of more holiday! And to top it all off, today is a Tuesday!" Silverstream said as she bounced up and down on the soft jives of the Friendship Express.

 

Sitting across from her was an azure-colored griffin with a flat expression on his face. Gallus was invited by Silverstream to come to Mount Aris with her during the break from school since he had no official holiday to really look forward to in Griffinstone. As Silverstream recounted the events out loud to anygriff nearby that could hear, the train they were riding began to make view of the Aris Heights on the horizon. It glowed a magnificent yellow hue, reflecting the midday sunlight. "I'm so glad you decided to come celebrate the Three Days of Freedom Celebration with my friends and family. You're going to have so much fun! And thanks for taking the train, too." Silverstream sprung from her seat and started randomly dancing to no music. "You're gonna want to save as much energy as possible to get your feet moving for all the dancing we're going to be doing!"

 

It was already the first day of the celebration, the majority of the hippogriffs transforming into their fleeing nature as seaponies, the festivities taking place far below the waves. Because of this, the air traffic normally seen around the mountain was very clear. If it hadn't been for the train full of hippogriffs making the trip to return to their own families, it would have appeared to have been abandoned. As soon as they get off the train, Silverstream would not want to hesitate to make a dash for the ocean and participate in the annual festival. "We need to make break for the ocean as soon as we get off. We can throw our luggage into one of the storage shells. And remember, don't eat the kelp unless it's being sold by one of the seaponies with the turquoise stripe on its fin. They make the best kelp sandwiches!" Silverstream looked at Gallus, remembering his lack of understanding. "You did bring that book with you right? The one Queen Novo made for the Mount Aris board of tourism."

 

 

Spoiler

Show reference from Hearth's Warming Club:

 

 

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Gallus sighed. He hated being on trains. He didn't understand why they had to use trains when airships were a thing and they were faster. Flying was always faster than walking, always faster than swimming, and whatever it is you were traveling to see it was almost always worth it to hammer your way there and get to it. Gallus hated trains.

But he didn't hate this train or those on it, not today. In fact, the train was a blessing. He had been invited to the Three Days of Freedom holiday that the Hippogriffs of Mount Aris were celebrating thanks to Silverstream, who had been very direct and forceful about him coming. If he remembered it correctly she had continued to ask him if he was coming even after he said yes. She seemed more than a little...excited, but he figure it was their most important holiday. Creatures loved their holidays. Gallus wanted to. There wasn't anything for him to really love about Griffonstone or its holidays even though he desperately wanted to attach himself to something of his home. But seeing how ponies loved Hearthswarming and hearing of all those other traditions that his friends treasured from their own lands? It made him want to share it too.

Silverstream was the first and loudest when it came to forcing him to come to one of their homes to experience their traditions. Very much the first, very much the loudest, very much the best sounding of the bunch. He had said yes on only the second or third inquisitive push from Silverstream, though he came to regret saying so...kinda...around the fiftieth time she had asked. Silverstream was very...energetic.

“Thanks for the recap, Silver,” he said sardonically after Silverstream did just that. He wasn't sure why she felt the need to speak as if there was an unseen party who needed all of this information, but it was just one of her many quirks. “Thanks for inviting me. It was either this or watch Yona break a bunch of stuff, so yours seemed like the better option,” Gallus replied with a laugh as Silverstream thanked him for coming. It wasn't a hard choice because...her option had the opportunity for flying and the others, sans Smolder, did not. And Gallus wasn't sure that he wanted to be a fried griffon.

As for being thankful for him taking the train? “I think you have enough energy for the both of us, train or not. I'm more worried about you at this point,” he teased, fully aware that she would never run out of energy. She helped balance out Gallus who was more subdued than most of the other students. He was...observant. And he was happy to curl up on his seat and observe Silverstream create enough energy to supply three-quarters of the known world at any given time as they approached Mt. Aris.

She mentioned something about kelp and it was here that his first alarm bell rang. Did he have that book? Uhh...”Uhh....” uhhh? “...Oooh, I don't think so. I think I left it on my bed while I was packing...” he rubbed the back of his neck and then brightened up. “But that's okay, right? I mean, I have the best possible guide to see all the wonders of the Three Days of Freedom right here, and her name is Silverstream!” He said as he got up off of the seat and waved towards Silverstream like she was one of those chicks on a game show revealing a prize. “So, the water, why go there first? I mean I wanna experience all of it, but it sounds awfully...wet.”

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Silverstream had spent enough time with Gallus, about half a semester of mostly common friendship classes, to know some of the subtleties the griffon possessed. She typically overwhelmed others with her outgoing nature, but Gallus' cool demeanor kept her honest, her outwardly expressions hitting the cap on potential comprehension one of her behavioral illustrations presented. And this interaction was no different. Silverstream was excited for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which was the presence of a friend from school to bring home and share the festivities with! And even though not everycreature understood Gallus' true intentions underneath his thick blue feathers, she would carry with her the benefit of the doubt that Gallus' company with her was welcome. She had gone a long time since that was not the case.

 

She responded to his thanks and his teases with a perky smile, holding her train of thought for only a moment. Silverstream had a habit of always thinking several minutes ahead, always wanting to say things to empty her thoughts, but never able to actually catch up with the race of her mental capacity. And now, her being excited only elevated this sensation. She would have to continually remind herself to speak in the moment in order to keep whoever she was speaking with engaged. "No book? Oh, that's okay. Yeah, I know the whole thing by heart anyway." She said modestly. "And since you'll be with me the whole time, there is no reason to think you'd get lost." Her voice cracked and she chuckled. It was not lost on her how valuable her time with Gallus would likely be, and how it might drastically change her relationship with her griffon friend, probably for the better. And though she was slightly nervous about the challenges that would bring, her nerves were layered over by her never-stopping progression of thought.

 

"The water is where everyone is at right now! The first day is already half over, Gallus. We could join the waves on the third day, but then we'd miss out on the whale-singing and the shell-stringing." She pshawed. "You're not going to want to miss it. Last year, the whales that performed for us were generous to give us an encore. It was a-maz-ing!" Silverstream had noticed Gallus' hesitation about the water, but hadn't been able to address it until she was finished explaining the importance of spending the rest of the current day in the sea. She knew Gallus' catlike instincts prohibited him from voluntarily getting wet, but she hadn't seen him make a huge fuss about it before. Perhaps he just didn't like it until he was already in the water and there was nothing he could do about it. "You're not afraid to get a little wet are you?" She asked half joking, half sincerely.

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“Well, thats good to hear. I couldn't imagine a worse place for a hungry griffon to get lost than on an island surrounded by fish, and fishponies. Or is it ponyfishes?” Gallus asked rhetorically, claw to head as he tried to put on a more jocular attitude.

He was very appreciative of the flight aspects of the holiday, the stuff that involved staying dry. It wasn't that Gallus was afraid of the water, at least as much as he was afraid of tight spaces. That was an honest and pure fear. He just didn't like the water. Most griffons didn't. Sure maybe there was some sort of weird ancestral cat thing going on there but as far as he could tell it was more just that a griffon in water was generally a poor sign, meaning something had gone very wrong with that griffon's day. They were meant to be mighty hunters of the sky. The closest they got to the water naturally was swooping down to catch some fish. Flopping around, getting their big patches tufts of fur and feathers soggy. Made them feel heavy and slow, not to mention very cold. Gallus very much wanted to tell Silverstream all that and much more when she asked if he was afraid of the water.

But how excited she was about everything made him feel like all he would do was put a damper on her festivities, and he didn't want to be the cause of that. Not one bit. “Its...” he sighed, claw to face and then smiled, “fine, I guess. I'm not afraid of it. Just...” He mentally imagined approaching the water's edge and dipping a claw in, turning into some weird four-finned creature, before looking at her.
“You have that pearl that changes you into a seapony, right? And the professors, even before they were turned into seaponies, had a spell that kept them safe underwater. What do I get?” Gallus asked, wondering if he would turn into a griffonhippogriff. That didn't sound right. “No one wants to see me flap-paddle near the bottom of the ocean. Most of all me,” he rubbed the back of his neck. “Whatever happens, I just hope I don't look as goofy as that picture Yona drew of her as a seayak. That was...well, very Yona.”

While waiting for the answer on what to do about the water, he focused on some of the cool things that she had mentioned. Whales? Whales performing? He didn't know that they were all that sentient. He thought they were just big, dumb, floppy pieces of blubber that were too big to eat. Then again, he didn't know cows could talk, or that chickens had personalities. Kind of made him feel bad about his diet but...well, he didn't eat whales, so that wouldn't be too awkward. ”Whales sing to you? Huh. Wouldn't imagine I'd be seeing that...well, hearing it for that matter. Should I have packed earplugs? Can't imagine it is anything but loud...” he trailed off as the train came to a stop.

“Final stop, Mount Aris!”

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Silverstream's excited jitters beat in her mind as her mouth closed to listen to Gallus' explain his confusions and apprehensions. The feathered friend seemed to be second guessing the way that the festivities would go for him when he realized that the first night would also be the wettest night of the week for both of them. Silverstream understood his pause subconsciously, but only responded to the reality of what she knew would probably be the most likely outcome. "Oh, flying is just like swimming! or swimming is just like flying, depending on your perspective, hem. You can't move as fast in the water but neither can anyone else, so its just a lot more considerate down there."

 

Silverstream's shard of the magic pearl randomly sparkled when Gallus mentioned it. He seemed to now be confused as to what kind of spell he was going to be surrounded by, as if he might have a choice. Silverstream snorted as she answered, "No, no. You don't want to be griffon-paddling down there, you're going to want some fins and lose the feathers." Silverstream continued to listen to Gallus' concerns, which was now about the whale singing. When the train stopped and his rant interrupted, she assured him. "We sing with the whales, it's really fun and really easy. Don't you worry Gallus, there's nothing to worry about, everyfin just wants to have fun. You wont need to worry about food, everyone is very generous with offering tasty items. Don't worry about dancing, everyone looks weird underwater when they dance. There is a slight chance that the pearl will turn you into a lobster, but that won't happen. And my family is really to see me and will ask all kinds of questions about Equestria." Silverstream brushed passed the pearl's failure chance knowing it would probably trip Gallus, but she would only tease it. The shard had never failed to work for anygriff ever, so it was unlikely that the blue feathered student would permanently become a bottom feeder.

 

Silverstream hovered with her vacation bag in her clutches as she prepared to exit the train. She assumed Gallus was right behind. Upon exiting the train car, she increased her speed to the nearest travel kiosk, where there were temporary lockers for guests. Before she got to them, she waved pleasantries to the other hippogriffs recognized her as she arrived. Almost all of the hippogriffs and seaponies knew who Silverstream was, either because of her royal lineage, or because of her outgoing attitude, or both. She threw her bag in an unsecured locker and did an air flip. "Come on Gallus! We gotta get to the water before the sun sets!" The sun which was still several hours from setting, reflected the water quite beautifully. The waves were mild and away from the island the water was calm and mirror-like, repeating an upside-down view of the sky.

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Well, he guessed that was close enough to a good answer. He still wasn't sure that swimming was like flying or that flying was like swimming but he was willing to concede that he didn't really know what he was talking about, while Silver did. If she thought it might work out well enough for him, then he was reticent to complain much more. It was just him mewling over something he didn't know, after all. He did that. "Swimming like flying? Huh. I could swear I heard that somewhere...well, you'd know better, I guess," Gallus said with a smile. Okay. Silverstream seemed confident enough. He'd have to, at some point, just allow this to happen. "I'm gonna need swimming lessons, you know. Don't want to have me embarrass you too bad, right? Wanna make sure I swim all sorts of considerate," Gallus said as he allowed Silverstream to start telling him a bit more about what to expect. It was fun to hear her get this excited, he had to admit. Not that he would give voice to that directly.

 

He was caught on her use of the term everyfin. Everyfin? They all had fins but he had expected it to still be everyhippo or something. Even everygriff, he was used to that. But fin? Did that mean they also had every possible finned creature as part of it? That was strange. It would be even stranger when he had snatched up some fish for a good dinner. Equestrians had fish and meat products for export but since they didn't eat meat they weren't good at providing it. He'd have to get some nice...cod, maybe. Salmon? He wasn't picky. It just had to taste good. Maybe some lobster? Wait, what was that she said about the pearl turning him onto a lobster? She seemed to go by that real quick. "Uhh, what was that about-" he started up before the whistle blew its sultry tune. Everycreature, including Silverstream, got their bags in order and started moving on. He had brought only a small bag.

 

He didn't need that much. He also didn't have much, which was lucky for him because she was a ball of energy on the move. It was like trying to follow a speed racer on a test lap! Or maybe it was because it was just unfamiliar to him. Even with his time amongst the ponies he wasn't used to so many creatures so pleasantly sharing their space. Or maybe it was just Silverstream's infectious good nature and spirits. It could rub off on anycreature, no doubt these hipogriffs as well. He followed her as best he could. When they got the lockers he followed suit, tossing his small bag into the unmarked locker, landing without comment on top of her's. She seemed desperate to get to the water and with a sigh he resigned himself to his fate, if only partially because he didn't have it in his heart to dissuade her any further. "Well, you lead the way then. How does this pearl work, anyway?"

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Silverstream was only within an earshot of Gallus' hurried speech. She could sense the immense hesitation in his voice, but it was trumped by her own level of excitement for the expected agenda the next fifty or so hours would bring. Not too long of a quick glide and the hippogriff landed on the sand next to the water on the beach. She turned towards Gallus as he approached. "Oh, it's simple, I just touch the shard and presto!" She jumped and extended her legs. "Seapony magic!" She landed again and spoke more softly. "Although I've never seen a griffon take on the transformation so I don't know exactly what you will look like, but you should be able to swim, and that's what matters! We hold claws while I meditate on the pearl shard and we'll be all fins." What was a griffon version of a seapony anyway? It could just be like the other seaponies, but it was just as likely Gallus would feature different kinds of appendages of other aquatic animals. Too bad Headmare Twilight Sparkle wasn't here. She would be very interested in the results.

 

Silverstream started walking in the water and stopped once her legs could no longer touch the floor and she began treading water. Before Gallus could follow suit, she said to him with slight concern. "Oh, one more thing. I was going to say this on the train but I didn't want anygriff to overhear it." Silverstream slowed her speech to abnormal levels. "But, you should probably refrain from eating any fish this week. Hippogriffs used to eat fish on occasion, but ever since Queen Novo implemented seapony transformation, we lived in harmony with the ocean creatures as we created a new home in Seaquestria. And so many of them would not like it if you decided to snatch a cute little minnow as a snack, as it might be someone's pet." Silverstream used one free talon to gently stroke her mane, her expression one of worried nerves. She was confident Gallus would have fun under the water in his first ever visit to Seaquestria, but she wasn't comfortable telling him what he couldn't do. Raised mostly in the water, Silverstream was strictly vegetarian, but she knew that not all griffons, and hippogriffs for that matter, all had the same diet.

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Okay, so he wasn't going insane. She was saying everyfins. Was this learned behavior? If he took her to a pond near the school and had around it long enough would she start saying fin-related words? It would prove an interesting little interaction to see. And if it was at night, with the pale moonlight reflecting gently off of the waters, who knows what else he could find out? Maybe Professor Twilight was right and science was almost as magical as friendship. He followed her into the water without much in the way of hesitation, though he eyed it up sufficiently. Was it some sort of weird fusion thing? If he had a crab bite his paw would he get crab features? That would be highly annoying if she had to cart him around everywhere. Cart? Swam? Swim cart? He was just overthinking it. He followed her into the water without any real hesitation, coming to a stop when his paws were fully submerged in the warm waters off of Mount Aris. He took some deep breaths, closed his eyes, and stretched out to hold her in what would prove to be nothing at all for him to think too much about at all no.

 

Nothing happened, not at first. She started speaking as he opened his eyes. Okay, so he wasn't even allowed to eat fish? What was even- oh, come on! He always felt hungry since he moved to Equestria and that was with him also putting on some weight. A lot of cupcakes and not enough protein. No wonder they had to rely on random magical happenstances to save their flanks. He had been looking forward to something meaty and tasty but alas, looked like he was denied. Again. As usual. He gave a big sigh, a big, noticeable sigh as he gestured in a resigned fashion with his talons. "Fine. I promise I won't eat any fish when we're down there but at some point I'm gonna go meat crazy and eat one of Professor Applejack's cows. I'm not sure I can fit one in my talons and fly away but I'm gonna try at this rate. So, no fish when we're here, okay. I'm ready. Or I think I'm ready. Don't turn me into a lobster or crab. I'll be really upset and I won't even be able to tell you," he said matter of factly, trying to hide the fact that the little germ of an idea was gnawing at his fear center and they needed to get going. He knew himself well, so he took her claw in his and squeezed it with his eyes closed. "Do it."

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Taken aback to Gallus' feelings on a veggie vacation, Silverstream nearly chuckled at the probably-joking insinuation that Applejack would run short in her next cow census because of the carnivorous nature the part-feline possessed. Surely, he could go a few days without and return to normality without extreme measures, right? Her friend loved to occasionally exaggerate. He told a cheap off-color joke. Probably. Silverstream was confident a lot of this wouldn't matter within the hour assuming Gallus took to the underwater well and happened upon a lovely forest of kelp that he would no doubt devour.

 

To the hallowed bone truth of Silverstream's wings, nerves were starting to set in. The sudden realization of sharing this moment with a true friend in Gallus was actually kind of a big deal. It occurred to her that she had never shared her pearl magic with her new classmate friends to this point and she couldn't spontaneously understand why. The chick-mare's sensibilities with who she decides to share these types of moments with was always contained within the already established company of her family and the hippogriffs that surrounded her. The adventure she had going to Ponyville to learn about friendship and make friends in the process was her first real interaction with others not of her kind. Of course Silverstream was very happy about all of this, but this was one of the times in which it really made her think about how much her life has changed in only a semester at the academy. And possibly more importantly, only a couple seasons-worth of bonding with her favorite griffon.

 

When Gallus was fully anxious and ready, he grabbed her claw, closed his eyes, and awaited his fishy fate. Several seconds may have passed because for Silverstream, time had suddenly lost its meaning. Gallus was never afraid to bump wings or shoulders with anyone, his loyalty to his friends was often physically shown, a peaceful bird not afraid to show his claws. But in this instance, the locking of talons from Gallus to Silverstream seemed somewhat occasional. Gallus was trusting Silverstream he would be safe. He was out of his comfort zone, miles away from home, a true cat out of water. Or perhaps in the water in this case. He could handle himself if he needed to, but Silverstream was in charge. Now she was never the type of girl to let this run through her mind persistently, but in these long seconds, she felt the warmth of Gallus' heart through his talon and gave her a sense of purpose in his life. And where that purpose would ultimately lay was still a mystery.

 

Silverstream smiled, and then closed her own eyes. The two floated on the rocky waves of the sea for a few moments before the hippogriff reached her other claw to her pearl shard and touched it with intent. A magical glow from the shard flared light around both of them and quickly transformed them into creatures with the capabilities of effective underwater swimming. Silverstream morphed into her features of her seapony nature. First her head and ears, her wings fell transparent and angel-like, her hooves grew fins and her hind quarters completely transformed into a tail fin. Once her change was complete, she fell underwater and sunk as a fish does, using her fluke to make a last splash goodbye to the airy environment she was leaving above. With a confident smile on her face she turned to Gallus and attempted to assess his situation.

 

mlp_base_seapony_silver_stream_by_lorena

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The sensation was intense. First, it felt like the bottom fell out of him, a roller-coaster ride at top speed going down leaving him feeling discombobulated. Then there was...pain? Not pain. Wrong word. But his nerves were alight with information he couldn't really process...alarm was correct. Alarm, concern, but not pain- flooding him as a long tail with large fin came out of his rear, and his feathers were replaced in totality with smooth scales. Except for his wings which remained, complete with feathers, though he could feel it happening. He felt longer. He felt something. He felt everything...and then he passed out.

 

He woke up in a flash a moment or three later, his natural instincts freaking out. He was underwater! No, sinking! Swimming now sinking never! He was gonna...drown? He whipped around, his long tail slicing through the waves and hitting the seabed below, sending sediment flying around as his eyes darted about in a panic. Realizations came in. First, he had gills. Gills. As the water ran over him he found he could breathe and that as his eyes felt fine. He could see clearly. Then there was that tail, the long and powerful one that trailed behind him. His mind ran over on how to use it. Part of the transformation seemed to be that he was given some basic instinctual ability to use it. He swung it back and forth in large, powerful strokes that send sediment flying and sent him cascading about. His wings shot out and helped slow him down. Turning would be a bit much.

 

"Silver-" he began before closing his mouth once more out of instinct. He expected to suck down a bunch of water unpleasantly, but it was fine. He could talk underwater. "Silverstream, what am I?" He asked incredulously. It was fine, whatever it was. Fine for now. But it was still weird. "I feel weird. Should I feel weird?" He asked as if expecting a good deal of reassurance, a bit of vulnerability cracking through. 

 

Every part of his instinctual reason was on absolute fire. Griffons were creatures of the sky, far above the waters, safe from their crushing depths and the robbing of their majestic flight. He had his breathing under control for now but it felt like...being trapped in a small, tight space that was on you and around you all the time. he had to remain calm. Luckily, he knew he could rely on Silverstream. Believed he could. Trusted he could. She might have been a bit flighty and bright but she wasn't one to lie, and she was always there to help a griffon out when they seemed down. He trusted her. That was why he was here. And he was looking forward to all those good thoughts to be proven more than feelings given flight in the unsure heart of a kitten.

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Gallus thrashed into the water semi-violently, although it was not clear he was fully cognitive of his new physique for a few seconds. He sank the closure depth of the nearshore and softly hit the sandy seabed, picking up sand as he slowly became aware of his ability to move. Silverstream was wide-eyed. Even for her, this was a fascinating event to observe, and event most ponies and griffins alike didn't know they would be interested in. She wanted to pounce on his and swim him around to help him out, but she knew he would need to learn the basics by his own intuition. Fortunately, it did not take long.

 

Gallus was in shock, and asked what he was. Well Silverstream didn't know what the term was either. She swam to him with speed and gave him a mighty underwater hug. "You're Gallus! Underwater Gallus!" She then took a moment to inspect his body over, noticing features that translated his griffin to fish, and possibly a couple other details that could not be explained. He was a curious specimen indeed. "Oh, Gallus." She said emphatically. "I care about the way you look as a fish cat thing, about as much as you care about me being a hippogriff." In her mind, she didn't think it mattered how others viewed her in her physical forms, she just assumed the question was more about how one might actually judge someone's character based on their appearance, which after only one semester of friendship lessons was taboo. Of course, it helps that she was a fairly pretty hippogriff and seapony.

 

"So is everything alright? This transition is usually painless and self-explanitory. But I can tell you're a little apprehensive." She covered her mouth to prevent an uncontrollable giggle. "You seem to be picking it up good, just breathe the water easy, no need to strain. I've heard the hardest thing for first-time transitioners is realizing that every little movement of the tail and hoofins, er claws in your case, changes the orientation of your body and influences how you move. For someone who knows how to make your body aerodynamic in the air during flying, this should be simple for you." Silverstream started slowly circling Gallus to observe his ability to follow her movements. It was almost like teaching baby hippogriffs how to swim.

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The breathing. The breathing was a problem because it wasn't a problem. Every breath he took told him he was about to drown, all of this instinctual panic settling in and setting alarm bells off. He was drowning! He was drowning, sweet feathers!
Except he wasn't. Every breath he took also told him he was fine. 
The pressure was intense at first...or it should have been! Griffons and pegasi alike had weak bone structure when it came to pressure. The same reason they were o good at flight was why water could be so dangerous. The pressure as he went down, it should have been intense. Crushing his bones!
Except he could...feel the bones, they had changed. He was different. His skeleton was different. His muscles. He would be fine.

 

Moving underwater was scary. The water flowed over his feathers, ruining them. Except they didn't, because he was made for the water. Made for the sea. The way his large tail moved, the two massive...fins, were they, moved. It felt unnatural at first but the fins were like wings, right? That was easy enough to work his mind around. Claws too, that was easy enough. Of course, the water wasn't exactly like flying. Pressure changes, liquids versus gasses, a lot of stuff that was sciencey that was just second nature to him. The tail was harder though. A lot harder. A griffon's tail was light at the worst of times and didn't play much of a role except as playfully being swatted about. This was different. It was big. It felt like half of his body was in that tail! It was so weird and he couldn't get it right. It was just so big!

 

Every swing sent a wave behind him, disturbing the sandy bottom visibly and disrupting the calming surface. It would take a while to get used to this, if ever.

 

Thankfully, he wasn't alone. Within moments of him opening his shocked mouth underwater he was in a tight embrace, Silverstreams positive energy and flow managing to seep i through his dulled mind. She spoke and at first, he didn't hear her very well. Less so because of the water and more because the words were a little too nonchalant for him to register. At least she didn't care what he looked like, even if she didn't know what it was. The first half was shockingly soothing, more than he could have imagined. The second was worrying. Was he a freak? He didn't want to be a freak. He wanted to be Gallus. Underwater Gallus was a good name for what he was, though he was confident it wasn't a species name.

 

She helped guide him in the water. Her presence was warm and soothing- if he could hide his blush he would but despite the fact that he was always naked, he felt more vulnerable and nude now than ever before. It was comforting to have help. He found himself leaning ever so slightly on her unintentionally. When he was a chick, he had nogriff to turn to. He learned through imitation of the older chicks and kittens and through a lot of painful trial and error, a lot of humiliation, and one or two lessons from older griffons who wanted to send him somewhere that required he fly. That was how most learned in Griffonstone unless you were the rare type with an established family. That was why he took so much pride in what he could do, because he knew he had clawed his way to learn it.

 

But this was different. He was in Silverstream's world. A world she inhabited with such a carefree spirit that it was hard to deny that anyone could do it if they would only try. And she was there for him, in that moment, as terrified and insecure as he was. Somepony, somegriff, somecreature, was there for him, it felt, for the first time. He listened to her words and he moved with her body, allowing himself to be guided as he tried to learn how to be anything but a nuisance. He was quiet. Focusing on trying to not be a burden and embarrassment for both of them. Focusing on anything and everything but what was bubbling up within him, focusing on the slowly dying levels of panic that threatened to no longer derail his frazzled nerves.

 

Some time passed. He didn't know how long.
"I think I'm okay, Silver. You can...uhh, yeah I think I can go on my own, now."

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