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Chapter 4: The Dragons’ Pride
“I can’t believe he actually decided to show his face, after all this time,” Fluttershy snapped out loud, snorting angrily and pacing her lounge room, while Rarity, Twilight and Spike watched nervously from the light green couch they were sitting on, with the fluffy white form of Angel beside them. “Grrr… the nerve of that dragon… I swear I could spend an entire day kicking him and not feel bad about it.”
The sudden awakening of Fluttershy’s dark side had shocked her friends, not to mention scared them senseless, now they were wondering if following her inside her home had been such a good idea after all. It had been Twilight's plan originally, just to see if they could gain any more of an idea of what had happened between the two of them, but as of yet all they had learned was how angry Fluttershy could really get.
“Ahaha… Fluttershy… are you sure you’re not over reacting maybe just a little?” Twilight said quietly as she rubbed the back of her purple neck with her hoof, her face going red as Fluttershy’s eyes felon her. “He did say he was…”
“I AM NOT! OVER! REACTING!” Fluttershy screamed, glaring at her friends like she was about to give them a kicking as well; causing the three of them to jump for cover behind the light green couch, until she shook her head, regained her composure, and began pacing again, even then however they dared only watch her by sticking their heads out from behind their makeshift fortress. “I don’t expect any of you to understand… but for two years he was my best and only real friend… In fact he was like the big brother I never had. And then one afternoon, when I went to meet him in the forest and he was sweet and gentle… but then some of his dragon friends turned up, and he turned into a massive jerk… I don’t even want to remember what he said.”
“But that… doesn’t make any sense,” Spike jumped in, slowly creeping out from behind the back of the couch, and approaching Fluttershy as gently as he could as he spoke, causing her to stop her pacing and look at him. “There must have been some kind of reason… no offense, but he really doesn’t seem to be the sudden drop-you-on-your-tail type… did he give you any indication of why?”
“He said… he had only known me because it had been fun, and that knowing me as a friend was an insult… to the Dragons’ Pride.”
“The dragons’ what now?” Spike replied; scratching his head and turning back at the still mostly hiding purple form of Twilight, who was yet to leave the safety of the couch. “Any ideas Twi?”
“None whatsoever Spike,” Twilight sighed gently, at last creeping out and walking over to where Fluttershy was standing in the middle of the room, and now looking somewhat defeated. “You know ponies have very limited knowledge of dragons and their customs… so I guess the only one who’ll know anything about it, or what it is, will be Titan.”
“Well in my opinion something isn’t right here” Rarity said boldly as she emerged from behind the couch, at last joining the rest of her friends in the middle of the room. “He was sincere about apologizing and AJ was sure of that… so perhaps, whatever came between you two all those years ago Fluttershy is no longer a problem for him… so… maybe at least try and give him a chance at explaining himself.”
Fluttershy’s eyes darted between her smiling and nodding friends, but she still wasn’t sure, she had lived with the heart ache for thirteen years and wasn’t sure if a few minute long apology was enough. Then however, she felt a tug on her mane and looking down her precious Angel squeaking and nodding in agreement with them, his big black eyes telling her that it wasn’t easy but it was the right thing to do.
“Ok…” She sighed at last. “I’ll give him a chance.”
“I know it ain’t exactly a gem filled cave or anything,” Applejack said as she led Titan into the massive wooden structure that was Sweet Apple Acres' old barn, running her eyes between the old wooden beams with an expression of fondness. “But it should suit your needs.”
“I owe you dearly for this Applejack,” Titan yawned, his mighty legs and wings succumbing to tiredness, and rapidly pulling him down onto the soft bed of hay that covered the wooden floor. “It has been a long time since I slept on anything softer than cold stone.”
The old barn sat hidden amongst a grove of apple trees in the furthest western corner of Sweet Apple Acres, the ideal spot as it were for a tired dragon to sleep without being disturbed. The sky was now completely dark outside and the wind was beginning to howl like an angry timber wolf, the same sound Titan had been falling asleep too all the years he had lived in the cold south of Equestria. Gently he lowered his head onto the soft hay in anticipation for sleep, but it was then he realized Applejack had seemingly decided she’d prefer to sleep beside him in the hay, laying down next to his foreleg rather than making the long venture back to her own barn, her amber furred coat gleaming in the small amount of moonlight which flowed through the windows.
“You don’t mind do you?” She yawned in reply to Titan’s inquiring glance, pulling off her hat and dropping it beside her in the hay. “No offense but it’s dang cold out there… and I really don’t feel like walking two miles back to my room.”
“It’s your barn,” He smiled as he looked at her. “But won’t your family be worried?”
“I’m old enough now my big brother doesn’t need to worry about be… and Applebloom knows I like to spend the odd night at a friend’s place,” She grinned, looking back so her emerald eyes met Titan’s dark red ones. “What about you then partner, you got family?”
“I have… a much older brother” Titan hissed, the very fact he had to say the word ‘brother’ making him want to burn something. “He and I… don’t get along very well… he is what I would refer to as one who vigorously follows the dragons’ pride, which I hate everything about.”
“What the hay is the dragons’ pride?” Applejack asked, giving Titan a confused expression as she looked over her shoulder, emerald eyes glistening in the low light.
Titan mentally bit himself for letting the words slip, as he soon realized what he had just got himself into; now he knew he had no choice but to admit what had come between himself and Fluttershy all those years ago, despite how painful it was.
“Uh, the dragons’ pride is basically the idea that dragons... should be proud of being dragons, and hence should have little or nothing to do with any lesser or other race… regrettably, such as ponies like yourself… personally, I've never been a follower of such a stupid ancient rule, but my older brother has always been a strong believer, and hence we don’t get along.”
“Can choose your friends but not your family ha?” Applejack smiled, nuzzling his outstretched foreleg softly to calm him of his anger before going silent.
For a few moments she played with her hooves and was silent, but from her body language Titan could already tell that there was something on the tip of her tongue, and he probably knew what it was.
“You're curious to why Fluttershy and I fell apart aren’t you?” He smirked, blowing a breath of hot air in her direction and making her turn and face him with her cheeks red in embarrassment. “Admit it… I can see it on your face.”
“Can ya blame me?” She asked, something close to a note of venom in her voice, as she turned back away from him and spoke. “No offense alright… but the way Fluttershy was talking and going on, compared to what she’s usually like, just says to me whatever you did really hurt her deep.”
“No… I can’t blame you… but you will not like what I say, and I doubt you’ll believe me either,” He sighed, returning his former raised head to the soft bed of hay, as the darkest memories from his past began to fill his head. “The dragons’ pride came between us… I will not tell you what exactly transpired, but I will say that if I didn’t hurt her as much as I did, the situation would have been even worse… and that would have put her in a place of danger where even I couldn’t protect her.”
“Protect her?” Applejack asked in surprise. “From what exactly?”
“From… my kind,” Titan replied, closing his eyes and quickly falling away into sleep to escape both her questions, and the pain of his memories.
His dreams however only turned out to be worse.
“Why are your scales so rough?” Fluttershy giggled, putting her front hooves on Titan’s red scaled snout as he lay with his head in the grass of the clearing, the red dragon smiling and blowing a breath of hot air over her face.
“I don’t know… maybe it’s because I eat hard things like gem stones,” He chuckled as she happily climbed up his face and curled up in the gap between his horns. “That would explain why your fur is so soft, because you eat things like cupcakes.”
“But you eat cupcakes as well,” She said happily, looking down at him from her vantage point on the crown of his head, his red scales like a rough, but very warm bed underneath her.
“Yes… but only the ones you give me,” He smiled, his eyes flicking upward at the darkening sky as evening set in and the stars began to appear.
It had been the end to another perfect day so far for the pair of them, in Titan’s opinion anyway; they had started that morning with a flying lesson, before exploring the forest until lunch, and then the rest of the day had been spent working with the small animal friends of Fluttershy’s, who after two years of daily interaction had finally began to trust the massive red dragon. Now as the day drew to a close the two of them had found their way to a secret forest clearing, to lay tie together and watch the sunset, the same clearing as it were where Fluttershy had found him two years earlier with a chuck of wood lodged in his tail, the result of a stupid decision to test his strength on a dead tree.
“How come you never want to come into Ponyville?” Fluttershy asked abruptly, her sweet voice breaking Titan’s chain of thoughts and bringing a grin to his face.
“I really don’t think the other ponies would like me as you do,” He chuckled, the action causing a few puffs of smoke to escape his nostrils. “Besides… I really don’t think I could fit down the narrow streets of Ponyville on my own, let alone with everypony else trying to walk beside me.”
“I don’t see why they wouldn’t like you.” Fluttershy giggled, resting her head against one of his long and slender horns, laughing a moment later, as the end of his tail came up and rubbed her back gently. “You seem nice enough to me.”
Titan smiled at her laughs and returned his eyes to the darkening sky, which was now beginning to fill with stars; he admitted that he enjoyed being around her, but the need for secrecy was beginning to annoy him. He often wondered if he should at least try and befriend the other ponies he often glanced from a distance, when he and Fluttershy were together, but he always knew that such an action would end badly.
“How about you let me meet some of your friends?” Fluttershy asked suddenly, her words stinging his ears and causing him to let out a growl of surprise.
He had admittedly long ago thought of such a thing, but he had dismissed the idea in an instant, he liked Fluttershy very much and would do anything for her, but he would never do that, his pride wouldn’t let him. He had never told her much about his own race, let alone about how they would react to the idea of a pegasus and a dragon being friends if they were discovered. Titan had never really been a follower of the dragons’ pride, but he still had his own, and that pride of his own would never allow him to admit their friendship to any other dragon, for risk of embarrassment to him or harm to both of them.
“Fluttershy…” He sighed, closing his eyes as he thought of the right words. “I hold nothing against you… but you must understand it would be inappropriate for me to introduce you to my friends.”
“It’s… complicated…” He sighed, rubbing his snout with his claw.
The two of them were both silent for a few moments, listening to the songs of the birds as slowly, but surely, the red light of the sun began to turn to the darkness of night. It was then Fluttershy had decided she would head home to her cottage, and abruptly slid down Titan’s neck, nuzzling his cheek as she said goodbye.
“I’ll see you tomorrow ok,” She smiled, turning and walking off into the darkness of the trees.
“Of course,” Titan smiled, watching her go before shifting onto his hinds, and spreading his massive wings in anticipation of taking off into the sky.
his plan to head for the skies however went out the window, when a chilling scream shattered the peace of the forest and made his head snap round, he knew Fluttershy’s voice a mile away, and there was no doubt in his mind that she was the source of the sound. Half in rage and half in fear for her he charged into the forest in the direction of the scream, his huge red scaled mass smashing aside anything that got in his way, and leaving a trail of destruction behind him.
A thousand possibilities ran through his mind at what could have possibly happened to her; what he saw however when he stopped his charged and burst out of the forest was worse than all of them put together. Before him Fluttershy was backed up against a tree, her tiny yellow furred body quivering in the sight of two sets of snarling ivory dragon fangs; the fangs belonged to two male dragons that Titan recognized without a moment’s thought, one was the stocky form of a crimson dragon named Scorch, and the other, to Titan’s horror, was the massive muscular white dragon known as Storm, his older brother. Both snapped their jaws closed when they realized Titan was standing between the trees a short distance from them, apparently not exactly sure what to make of the situation.
“Titan… little brother… what are you doing here?” Storm asked, his gaze leaving Fluttershy as he stalked towards Titan, a confused look on his face as he stared down at his younger sibling. “It is late and you should be home by now.”
“I was going to ask you the same question,” Titan replied, looking over at Fluttershy and trying not to make it obvious, Storm however noticed, and a growl escaped his throat as his head snapped back toward Fluttershy, and then to Titan again. “What?”
“You do not know this pony do you?” Storm hissed, his white claws grating the earth between them. “You…”
“No… of course not,” Titan replied firmly, trying to sound as firm as he could as he fake snarled at Fluttershy. “Why would I care of such a weak creature.”
He could see the words hurt Fluttershy but he ignored her pain, he knew that if she had any chance of living through the ordeal, he had to put their friendship aside. His words caused Storm to smile and his silver eyes to spark with an uneasy pleasure.
“So then… why does your face wreak of the smell of her fur, little brother?”
A sudden knot formed in Titans throat as he realized there was no way he could deny knowing her, and now he had only two options left. The first was to admit they were friends, but that would end up with him being a joke among his own kind, and Fluttershy most likely ending up as a cinder or worse; the other he hated the thought of, but it really was the only choice left.
“Alright… I’ll admit I know her… but hear me out first,” Titan grinned wickedly, walking in circles around his older brother as he and Scorch watched him intently. “I met her some time ago and I felt sorry for her… she was weak minded, vulnerable, and all round simply pathetic, so I decided to have a little fun with her emotions to…entertain myself. Hence for the last two years I have pretended to be her friend… ha… she was so pathetically minded she actually believed me, even after I told her that dragons and ponies didn’t get along. It has actually been rather fun and rewarding… she gave me everything from masses of food, to her deepest secrets… and all I had to do was smile at the right moments, and she never suspected a thing.”
“You… you mean all this time” Fluttershy cried, tears running freely down her cheeks as Titan grinned at her. “Everything you said… all that time together… it was all a lie?”
“Sorry you pathetic ball of yellow fur… but pretty much,” Titan chuckled, his brother and Scorch joining in the laughter, which only made Fluttershy cry more. “But… yes it was all a lie… but come on, do you really think I would actually befriend you… uh… the very thought of such a thing is an insult to the dragons’ pride, let alone actually doing such a thing.”
“I must admit I am impressed Titan,” Scorch chuckled, flicking his crimson eyes from Titan to the tiny pegasus pony. “But I must ask… how did you keep it up for two years?”
“That was the easy part,” Titan grinned as he looked over at Scorch in the dull light of the late evening sky, leaning against his brother’s side to show how relaxed he was. “This pathetic creature had no real friends other than a few wild animals… so really, as long as I made the tiniest effort to make my emotions look true, she would believe every word I said… far out… I mean, I thought ponies were dumb to begin with, but even I was surprised by how gullible she was.”
His words prompted loud and seemingly impressed laughs from Scorch and Storm, Titan joining in just so it looked real enough, while inside he hated every word he had said. Once the laughter stopped Storm shifted his eyes from Titan to Fluttershy, his long tongue snaking from his maw and running along his lips hungrily.
“You know brother… all this laughter and talk has made me hungry… shall we eat her?”
“No!” Titan snapped, prompting unusual growls of surprise from the other two dragons, before Titan began to fake grin again. “Forgive me… but what I mean is that we shouldn’t eat her, because that’s just too easy after all the work I’ve put into her… I say we let her live, just so she can spend the rest of her life knowing how pathetic and stupid she was for ever thinking a pony could be friends with a dragon.”
“You really are stone hearted little brother” Storm laughed at the words, patting Titan affectionately on the shoulder with one of his massive white claws. “And that’s what makes you a true dragon… come then, let’s go home… the scent of this worthless creature is beginning to sting my nostrils,”
Silently Titan turned and followed Storm and Scorch back into the forest, the last fragments of daylight dancing off his scales as he did. Silently for just a moment he looked over his shoulder at Fluttershy as her glistening eyes followed him as he walked away, an immense feeling of guilt welling up in his gut as he turned away from her.
“If only there was another way…” He thought.
The sunlight suddenly shattered the darkness of his dreams, and Titan was gladly pulled awake at last, realising as his head shot up in alertness of the new day that he was panting, and that his cheeks were lined with tears.
1) Okay so just if you were confused the dragons’ pride is simply put the reason dragons don’t usually get along with ponies because they think they’re better…understand now?
2) Like I said with the former blog Thane’s back next chapter and another dragon will be joining the team…and for those of you who are raging at Fluttershy she’ll finally hear Titan’s side of the story