═ The ══════════
══════════ Son ═
An MLP:FiM Fanfiction by Midnight Shadow
Chip had stood guard the entire night, legs locked as he slept upright, fitfully, ready at a moment's notice to leap into action. It hadn't been necessary. Sharptooth had slept in the school, unable to fly and unwilling to lumber through the ravaged town. Nobody had dared to deny Chip his request. In the morning, things would be different, but for now he was fulfilling the role of his father, the ambassador.
Dawn brought sunlight, birdsong, and the distant sound of hammer, nail and saw. Rebuilding had begun. It would take a while, but it would be completed thoroughly and without fail. Most of the foreign diamond dogs had been run off. Those who hadn't had done the bidding of their new Lord, currently one Chiphoof Irontail Leatherback of the Diamond Expanse Dragon Clan, and also Lord Pro-Tem of the Sapphire Reaches.
New sounds outside brought Chip to wakefulness. He unlocked his legs and stretched, trit-trotting through the doors to see who had arrived. He wasn't very surprised when he was greeted with four pegasi, who spread their wings menacingly before him, blocking access to a large white winged alicorn, a silvery grey pegasus, a lavender unicorn and two small dragons.
"At ease, gentleponies, we're all friends here." Princess Celestia said, softly, her musical voice carrying across the divide.
Chip nodded, "Good morning, Princess Celestia. My father is... indisposed."
"Your father," said Sharptooth from behind Chip, "is quite capable of speaking for himself."
Chip skittered out the way, equal parts embarrassed and worried for his adoptive father.
"Tia, so nice to see you. Finally."
The princess scowled, "You wound me."
"I think you'll find it is I who am wounded, my dear." Sharptooth chuckled, then winced. It was going to be a long walk home, if he couldn't get a lift.
"I can see that. Are you alright?"
"I will live, Celestia. We dragons are hardy creatures. What doesn't kill us won't get a second chance and all that."
"What happened here?" the winged unicorn asked, "I have been kept busy with insurrection across my realm, a viaduct is blasted to rubble and a mail-train is sent to the bottom of a very deep gorge. A mail train that I was reliably informed had passengers. Passengers which, I hasten to add, I later find ensconced in Ponyville, of all places, sat on a sofa purchased under duress, having tea with my prize pupils number one assistant."
"A sofa?" Sharptooth raised an eye-ridge.
"I only needed the box." Chip replied, meekly.
"Perhaps you could have persuaded the salespony to part with just a box?"
"I didn't think of that, alright?" Chip stomped a hoof.
The dragon sighed, rubbing his temples with a foreclaw, "If you see fit to send me the bill for it," Sharptooth addressed Celestia wearily, "then you will also see fit to send me the sofa. My son here is overdue a very long talk about the value of money and ownership."
"That's another thing," Celestia added, coldly, "I believe this belongs to you?"
Hairpin trotted over to Chip and abased herself before him. Chip blushed at the astonished expressions all round.
Sharptooth looked on with an amused expression on his face, "Son, I believe we are also overdue a talk about keeping pets."
"My little ponies are not pets, Sharpie. I thought we had that settled?"
"My dear Princess Celestia, I am quite sure there's a good reason for this."
"Indeed, it had also better cover just why two members of the Irontail family now find themselves enslaved to the Diamond Expanse clan, and in particular to the young scion of said clan."
Sharptooth sighed, "There had better be," the dragon added, ominously, "Chip?"
Chip set his jaw, "They were subject to a contract put out on them by my uncle. Now deceased."
"He paid two dragons he had hired to protect him, to kill him. He wasn't thinking straight at the time. They also burned down his mansion, so my cousin is currently homeless."
Celestia closed her eyes and sighed, waving the guards off, "secure the area, ponies. I am quite safe in the company of this dragon lord. We need to finish our little chat in privacy."
"Lords, Tia. Lord Swiftwing of the Sapphire Reaches is no longer with us. He was slain in battle by my son here, who is currently acting Lord Sapphire."
The alicorn looked down at the pony-shaped dragon, and then up at her friend, "What am I going to do with you? Go on, little one." Celestia prodded Chip, who opened his muzzle and continued, stutteringly, to explain.
"I... I had no choice, P-princess Celestia. Y-you couldn't protect them. I could. My clan could." Chip faltered as he gazed up into the alicorn's deep purple eyes.
"My little pony-" the princess began.
Chip shook his head, "N-no, Celestia. I'm not. I'm a dragon. I'm not your little pony. I'm not a pony. I o-own Hairpin Turn, she was a gift and I will not give her up."
"You will not?" Celestia's eyes flashed as she glared down at the pegasus, who cowered behind Chip.
Chip glared resolutely back up at the princess, "No. I tried once, and she pledged herself straight back to me. I-it's all she's known, it's not right to make her do something she doesn't want to. One day she may want her freedom, and when she does she may have it, b-but right now, she is mine, for as long as she wishes."
"Is this so, pegasus?"
Hairpin Turn hung her head, and nodded.
Celestia's jawline hardened. "I see."
"My f-family is free, if you can guarantee their safety. They are safe with Pig Iron at the moment."
"Ah, Pig Iron. I see where you have gained your propensity for acquiring pets." Celestia spat.
"Tia, stop hounding the boy! He has been through a lot."
"And he has come out the other side a mo-"
"Do. Not. Finish. That. Word. Celestia." Sharptooth growled, pointing a long talon at the speechless monarch. "My son is an honourable dragon, and the Lord of a clan. You will treat him with as much respect as you grant me. He has spent the last few days defending your crown from dangers you yourself seem unable to deal with. Cross him and you cross me. Cross me and you cross my people, Celestia. Do not make me make an example of you."
Celestia stepped back, blinking in surprise and a good deal of wry amusement.
"I gave my cousin everything, Celestia." Chip said, clearly, "It's all in the letter she has. Everything the Irontails owned, even my home in Neighvada. I don't want it, any of it. That is pony business and I am no longer a pony. Lord Sapphire took my parents away, you... you helped give me a new one. I thank you for that, but I will not turn away from him. I cannot be one of your ponies any longer." He glared at the pony princess.
She, in return, glared back. Eventually, she broke the gaze, nodding coldly to one side, "As you wish."
"I do." Chip shook. He'd just argued with the princess of all Equestria. At any other time, he'd have been running for the hills. But now... he looked back at the winged unicorn. She actually smiled, though with sadness.
"To keep them safe. To keep her happy. To protect your family. I do not agree with your methods, young dragon, but I do see your logic."
"I don't agree with my methods," Chip added ruefully, "but I had no choice."
"And what of the machinations of Swiftwing? I take it he was behind the actions of this now-dead uncle?"
"He was, and I hope they died with him. They were all for naught, Celestia. Whatever map he coveted, it is as lost now as it ever was. Misunderstandings and malfeasance has brought nothing but wrack and ruin. Now, I just wish to go home, to heal and to rest."
"And you shall, my friend... just as soon as you have satisfactorily explained to my prize pupil here why she found a new sofa and unexpected guests in her library.
"Chip, my boy, I think it is time we had that talk about an allowance."
Chip winced. His eyes met Spike's as Twilight Sparkle, the unfamiliar lavender unicorn, trotted over hesitantly.
Spike and Chip grinned at each other whilst Sharptooth and Twilight rolled their eyes.
Seasons came and went, Tacksworn recovered, and prospered. Chip settled down into his new role of school-foal, and even got used to extracurricular lessons on flying, fighting, bellowing and fire-breathing.
One day, one lazy warm spring afternoon, Chip was sorting through the papers that had arrived from his home in Neighvada. Out of a nondescript set of schoolwork from his time with the private tutors back in Neighvada, fell some of his pony-father's papers.
Chip peered curiously at the pages spilled across his bedroom floor, and spread them out. He blinked. He checked again. He swore under his breath, and then turned to shout down the stairwell to Sharptooth, "Dad! Dad! Come here quick!"
End of Book 1, The Ambassador's Son.
Author's Note: Well, this is the first story of this length, that I can objectively say isn't total trash, that I've completed. I've seriously enjoyed writing it, wending my twisted way through the weft and woof of it all, and - as you can probably see - I've got several Chekov's Guns left in the armoury that I haven't even fired yet. I hope you enjoyed reading it, and I hope you'll join me, Chip, Sharptooth and friends again for the next installment, which has already hit your screens!
Make some room for...
THE KING OF DIAMONDS