Spike scaled the cliff face, his claws digging into the hard stone with ease, he carried with him his favourite weapon, a lance, several foot long which he held in his coiled up tail. His cape billowing in the wind, his armour doing nothing save weighing him down. A multitude of cracks and holes mapped Spike's long and arduos journey having been climbing for several hours, looking back he saw he was several miles above the ground, he doubted even he could survive a fall like that but he wasn't afraid. His mission was too important and now that he was so close to his goal.
In the dark of the night, whilst the rest of Ponyville was sleeping, they had come, stealing the fair lady Rarity from her bed. Everyday since he had tracked the perpetrators, taking a sacred vow to rescue her and bring her back safely. Now he had found them, they had taken up residence in the abandoned Castle of the Princesses, deep in the heart of the Everfree Forest. The bridge that spanned the large valley, which seperated the Castle from the rest of the forest, had eroded with time. Not to be perturbed Spike, using his lance, had pole vaulted across the gap, falling short he dug his claws into the valley wall to stop his descent and began to climb. Finally reaching the top, he tensed up before propelling himself upwards and landed safely on the other side of the valley. Looking up, he smiled.
Before him lay an army the likes of which had never before been seen in Equestria. There were thousands of them, Diamond Dogs and Changelings coming together to oppose him.
"Finally some action!"
He unravelled his tail and grabbed his lance with one hand, using his other hand to gesture to the horde
"Come and get me if you think your up to it!"
They charged, the ground shaking as hundreds of paws and hoofs moved together. Spike waited until they were close enough before leaping into action, soaring far above them, as he landed in the shockwave of the impact scattered the crowd, a flash of purple was all that could be seen as Spike charged through the crowd, his trusty lance batting them aside. The fighters began to panic, there efforts at stopping him futile. They began to back away, both in fear and in awe. Spike smirked and with as much force as he could muster he drove his lance as hard as he could into the ground. Large cracks formed all along the plateau, then pushing downwards on the handle he used his lance as a lever to break away the cliff where the army was standing. Their screams could be heard as the large dislodged rock fell to the bottom of the valley. Spike turned his back and walked slowly through the large oak doors and into the main chamber.
The castle had changed drastically since Twilight and her friends travelled there all those years ago to retrieve the Elements of Harmony, the new residents had completely renovated it, the pillars, once white marble were replaced by black jet, the ceiling and walls had been patched. The stained glass windows, once a testament to the defeat of Discord at the hands of Celestia and Luna were replaced by blood red panes, the moonlight shining through them casting an ominous shade across the floor. In the centre of the room was a large pit, several feet deep and even more so wide. On either side of the room were two large structures, what they were Spike couldn't tell, all he could see were the large red cloths that covered them as they hung above the ground, along with the large chains which were connected to them and ascended to a large iron ring at the top of the room. Peering into the pit Spike could see lava bubbling away, the heat radiating from it sufficient to warm the entire room. Spike took a step back from the pit and looked around for any dogs or changelings that may attempt to push him in. He knew he could survive the lava and the fall, instead he just didn't want to do any more climbing. Looking up at the ceiling Spike jaw fell open in awe. Painted onto the ceiling was a shocking image, it showed a large dragon, adorned with a large robe and a crown sitting on a throne. Then suddenly a large clang, Spike swung round expecting an attack, only to see a large portcullis had slammed shut over the door, denying an escape.
"A trap, figures."
Spike walked over to the portcullis, he couldn't lift it, he couldn't cut it and the gaps were too small to accomadate his large frame, even if he did burn through the door he wouldn't be able to leave. He heard a laugh deep and booming that resonated around the chamber, an unknown gale extinguished the torches that lit the room, the only light that remained coming from the large lava pit in the centre. Spike faced the pit, clutching his lance he waited, preparing to attack whatever rose from it.
The room shook as up from the pit rose a large creature, covered in black scales, claws that curved into a set of deadly points. The lava dripping from it's monstrous figure. As it's oily wings swung back, the large head rose up and unleashed a torrent of flames, a display of force for Spike, who had since dropped his lance and was shaking in fear. The large dragon that emerged from the pit looked at him, an evil grin on his face. He leaned down so that his face was inches from Spike's before unleashing a roar, louder than anything Spike had ever heard before and with such intensity it flung Spike across the room, he smacked into the portculis with such force the metal warped and the wood behind it began to crack and splinter. Spike's back hurt, his ears were ringing. The Dragon laughed once again.
"Is that all you have young one? You're a dragon! Not some common grass-muncher. Where's all that macho gone? You made short work of my troops, now your next opponent will be me." The Dragon streched out showing off the full extent of his size. Only his upper torso was visible, his lower half concealed beneath the lava and yet he was still having to bow his head slightly to avoid hitting the ceiling.
"I have waited thousands of years for this oppurtunity, I sought this castle for I knew what lay within, the Elements of Harmony, the strongest magical artifacts in Equestria, when I finally took this castle for my own however I found that someone had beaten me to it!" he punched the wall in anger.
"As you can imagine I was not pleased. I decided to do things the old fashioned way, so I recruited those empty headed mutts as foot soldiers. Then a development, news that I had been waiting for for so long." Spike struggled to his feet, using his lance to steady himself.
"You see when your friends dispelled the changeling Queen Chrysalis from Canterlot, I learned that it was they who possessed the elements. The Queen showed me who they were and I made my plans to lure them here. It was all very simple, the changelings could disguise themselves and infiltrate Ponyville with ease. Chrysalis was opposed to the idea but she soon changed her mind" He admired his sharp claws "I found I can be very...persuasive." he chuckled slightly. "I kidnapped that prissy unicorn because I knew it would lure the others here. With them, the elements would be mine to control and then not even Celestia could stand in my way! Mwhahahaha!" A lightning bolt struck in the distance.
"You know I'm kinda glad I could barely hear anything because I get the sneaking suspicion that you were monologing." he said with a smirk. The dragon growled at him. "I don't know why every villian insists on doing that, it gets boring after a while."
"You insolent little brat" he brought a claw down hard and fast, pummelling Spike into the ground. "Not so tough now are you? You really are pathetic you know..." The Dragon was interrupted as he felt resistance "What?!" Spike pushed up against the claw that had threatened to crush him. Whilst holding it up with one hand he reached back for his lance. Upon grabbing it he stabbed the tip into the dragon's palm causing him to recoil and roar out in pain. Spike's expression had changed, no longer cocky, but one of deep concentration and focus.
"Where is Lady Rarity?"
"Where is RARITY!!!" he roared.
"Oh you mean the pony, she's right here" and with that the dragon hooked one of the cloths around his finger and pulled it away, revealing the cage it concealed. Rarity lay unconscious at the bottom of it.
"What did you do to her!" he shouted at the Dragon, who merely chuckled once again.
"What's the matter boy? Don't tell me you actually care about this piece of meat?" Spike's eyes narrowed
"Oh you do! You sick little dragon, well don't worry about her, I merely drugged her. Stupid thing wouldn't shut up, kept whining about how "drab" this place is, whatever that means. Besides I wouldn't worry about her right now, I'd be more worried for yourself"
He slammed his claw down again, ready this time Spike evaded to his right, the claw narrowly missing him. He jumped on the claw and began to run up the outstreched arm until he reached the elbow, curling his fist he punched the joint as hard as he could, breaking the arm. The dragon began to swing his arm in pain, propelling Spike high into the air, using the momentum Spike raised his lanced and swung it downwards, hitting the dragon cleanly on the top of his head, stunned the dragon fell forward. Spike clung onto the dragon's spines as he fell. The dragons head collided with the edge of the pit, causing chunks to fall away and into the lava pit below. Spike leapt from the dragon's head and turned to face him.
"Let her go...NOW!" he yelled.
The Dragon blinked as he began to regain his composure "You...you impudent, you dare make demands of me?!"
"Let her go, or next time I'll break more than your arm"
The Dragon reared it's head, drawing in air. As it began to swing forward again Spike ran towards the him. The dragon unleashed yet another blast of fire. Spike evaded the Dragons attack yet again, sliding under the flames before coming to rest under his chin. A quick swing of his tail forced the Dragon's head upwards, then clutching his lance like a javelin, Spike threw it at the dragon's exposed throat. It embedded itself in the dragon's neck piercing the soft underbelly, blood began to gush from the wound and into the lava pit, causing acrid smoke to billow forth. Choking the Dragon uttered what he knew to be his last words
"You...have beaten me young one... well done... but that doesn't mean you will be able to save them!"
"Them?" said Spike confused.
The beaten black dragon swung his tail upwards and shattered the ceiling. The iron ring holding the chains collapsed into the lava. The chain and the dragon began to sink into the lava the dragon quickly becoming completely submerged. The cage holding Rarity collapsed to the floor. As the chain sank the cage was slowly dragged across the floor towards the molten lava pit. Seeing what was happening Spike ran towards Rarity's cage when he heard a frightened voice calling out to him.
"Spike! Please help me!" the voice pleaded
Spike turned, the second cage had also crashed, the sheet covering it had fallen off with the impact, inside was the conscious and very frightened Fluttershy. Her cage was also being dragged into the pit by the heavy chain. Spike ran towards her cage, but remembered that Rarity was right behind him, he turned around again. Looking quickly back and forth between both cages. The cracked ceiling had begun to collapse. He had only time to save one of them.
"Spike please, don't leave me!" Fluttershy pleaded.
I can't do this
"I don't want to die! Please for the love of Celestia. Get me out of here!"
My fair maiden, the one I vowed to protect.
"P-please, Spike! Don't just stand there! Help me!"
Or the kindest pony I know
"Spike! The cage is getting closer to the pit"
The one who loves me, or the one I love.
"Don't do this Spike, don't leave me like this!"
I'm...I'm so confused!
Spike had to make a choice, the most difficult choice he had ever face. In anger Spike threw up his hands.
"Why can't I save you both!"