The Mountain Bull let out a deep, bellowing groan as loud as a canyon's roar as it was suddenly punched in the face, the sheer size and velocity of the impact cracking the titan's stony jaw and forcing it to stagger to the side in an attempt to regain its footing. But before it could properly steady its hooves, green spikes and a long, reptilian tail ducked out from the corner of the Bull's sight and slammed hard into the titan's side, taking advantage of the Mountain Bull's imbalance and forcing it to tip over, away from the city. Wind howled as the mountainous weight of a Titan fell to the earth, its crash into the green pastures quaking the ground so massively that it was a wonder that Tartarus itself didn't feel the shaking.
When the rumbling had subsided it was as if the whole world had gone quiet. The thousandfold cawing of the storm of birds up above, the frightened screams of panicking ponies echoing out of the city, the blaring horn of the city's siren that warned of death to all who had ears; they had all just become silent white noise that disappeared into the background as the awe of what had just transpired choked out all sound.
"SKREEOOONK!" cried out a mighty roar filled with such powerful fury, piercing through the valley's awed silence like the victorious roar of a lion over a fresh kill.
A massive, talon foot slammed down hard against the rocky belly of the fallen titan, spreading cracks across its stony coat. The scales of this appendage were numerous in number and traveled far up the colossal form that was as towering as the Titans themselves. This towering figure had talon claws wringing with strength, green spikes that were massive and stocky in shape numbering over its bipedal back like a mountain range, a powerful tail as long as a street whipping about from behind, and a massive maw of sharp teeth misting over from its scorching hot breath that all added up to a very draconian form.
The Guardian had arrived.
Standing over the Mountain Bull like a conqueror over new land, the Guardian's greed had enhanced his growth like no other dragon, scaling him up to literal titanic heights. But it wasn't just his growth that had surged with greed. From between the folds of purple scales smoldered emerald flames, seething and dancing with fury as they coated the Guardian's scales in a glowing miasma of green ember. This burning miasma coalesced with the Guardian's form, allowing torrents of emerald fire to burn continuously between the large spikes on his back, while a fiery green light continued to glow from within the back of his maw.
Now so taken ahold with greed, the Guardian's massive form was literally seeping with it. Even the pupils in his eyes had disappeared behind the surging glow of his greed, indication that some sense of higher thought had been overshadowed by instinctive desire.
An instinctive desire to protect what was his.
The Guardian turned his burning gaze to the Titan under his heel, to the Mountain Bull that was steadily rising back up to its hooves despite the weight of a titanic drake upon it. Growling at this, the Guardian stomped down hard onto the Bull, forcing it back down against the ground with a mighty rumble and spreading even more cracks across its stony coat. This did not illicit out any groan of pain from the Mountain Bull, Titans didn't feel pain, instead it only arched its head up slightly and focused its shining ruby eyes onto the Guardian directly.
Satisfied at putting the titan down, the Guardian then sucked in a deep breath, the green ember smoldering over his scales burning bright as fiery power boiled inside of him. Directed downward, the Guardian was about to release this breath over the titan when—
The Guardian whipped his head up with a roar of pain as a cloven hoof of stone struck hard against his shin, a torrent of emerald fire surging out of his maw and into an empty patch of sky. It seemed that the Mountain Bull had finally taken notice of the dragon holding it down and had decided to deal with this obstruction.
With mountainous strength, the Mountain Bull quickly rose up off of the ground as dirt and pieces of foliage dribbled off of its form like crumbs off of bread, forcing the Guardian to remove his foot off of the rising Titan lest he lose his balance.
Standing back to its full titanic height that shadowed the surrounding area, the Mountain Bull swerved its gaze over to the Guardian, its ruby eyes glowing bright from within the shadows of its massive horns.
Opening wide a burning maw of sharp teeth, the Guardian let loose a mighty and powerful roar filled with challenging incentive that was directed solely at the titan before him; instinctive fear traveling up the spines of many in the valley as they trembled like prey near an apex predator.
Despite this terrifying roar, the Mountain Bull's eyes continued to only stare emptily at the unusually large drake near it, incapable of being impressed or of feeling fear.
So it was that the Mountain Bull directed its gaze away from the Guardian, dismissing him as an ant does to a grain of sand, and instead returned its gaze forward, in the direction of the city ahead.
...In the direction of his horde.
Before the Mountain Bull even had a chance to take a step in that direction, the burning Guardian placed himself in the titan's path. With talon feet clenching deep into the trail of torn up earth, another roar rampaged from out of that fiery maw.
Only to be quelled by horns of stone slamming into the Guardian's stomach, his fearsome roar gurgling into a grunt of pain as burning claws gripped the Bull's shoulders in a reactive attempt to stem the charge.
Nostrils flared with dust and stone. Mighty hooves of earth strode forward against the dragon as scaled feet dug up wide trenches in resistance. This titan could not be denied from its path. No force in this material world could stop it.
But then, despite such an inviolable fact, it was all the more surprising when the momentum had suddenly slowed to a still. For the Guardian had recovered and had dug in his heels, leaving the two giants locked in a strained embrace. An embrace broken when the mighty dragon brought down his elbow onto the titan's head, stumbling it and allowing him to reposition himself and slam back into the Bull.
Then, with a mighty roar, the Guardian pushed.
Trees were uprooted and the earth scarred as the Bull's hooves were grinded against the land. Green flame lashed out from between hard scales against rocky skin as muscles rippled in defiance of the titan. Step by momentous step, the Mountain Bull was steadily pushed back across the valley, ever further away from the city and its far off destination.
This could not be abided by a force of Order, and the Mountain Bull began to thrash wildly against this opposer, forehooves reigning and head bucking at the dragon. When a stone horn pierced through the hardened scales and the Guardian let out a pained roar, the retaliation was swift and brutal.
A claw grasped one of the reared forehooves, holding it up in the air like a prize won. A maw of razor teeth then clamped down on the Bull's neck, bright, emerald flames flaring out and searing the stony skin. Pulling against the titan, cracks began to form across the held appendage, before finally, with a great and mighty strain, the leg was torn off. A second later from this mutilation, the Guardian's maw crunched down onto the Mountain Bull's neck, crushing it and tearing away the Bull's head away from the body.
The decapitated head landed on the grassy plains with a thunderous boom, its expression as frozen as a carving. Behind, the headless body of the Mountain Bull collapsed down onto its one remaining foreleg.
For but a moment, there was silence.
Then glimmering ruby eyes shimmered so much brighter, and the head uttered out a bellow that reverberated across the valley.
The Mountain Bull's decapitated head began to crumble and turn to dust; the resultant debris rising up towards its body. Like puzzle pieces to a picture, the clumps of rock and dust reformed the Mountain Bull's head back onto its body. Even the severed leg within the Guardian's grasp crumbled out from between his claws to reattach itself back to the Bull.
And just like that, the Mountain Bull was fully formed once again.
And it did not wait a second more to topple the obstruction before it.
With a great, mighty force of momentum, the Mountain Bull slammed head-first into the Guardian, tripping up the massive dragon from off his feet. Landing on his back, his flaming spikes piercing and burning the earth under him, the Guardian had no time to recover before the Bull's hooves began to trample over him like a gravel road.
Leaving the dragon bruised, battered, lying on the ground, and literally no second thought spared for him, the Mountain Bull continued its march forward.
Then a claw grabbed onto the Bull's back leg, and thoughts were spared.
Ruby eyes looked back, in what could almost be described as a glare, to find the Guardian, wounded but furious. Defiance and rage clear in those burning eyes, the Guardian pulled the leg it had gripped back, tripping up the massive titan and splaying it onto its rocky stomach. Then, before the Mountain Bull even had a chance to recover, the Guardian came about and grabbed the Bull by its neck and pelvis; both claws crunching the stone skin of the titan as the talons pierced deep into it.
That was when the Guardian, with a massive surge of strength and a terrifying roar, lifted the Mountain Bull from off the ground. And what would be an extraordinary sight to all those who saw it, the Guardian held aloft the titan over his head, the Bull's stone hooves flailing in the air as it struggled, and cast his fiery gaze across the valley.
Then, with a great and mighty heave, the Guardian threw the titan.
The Mountain Bull sailed through the air for only a short time before it crashed leagues away from the city, its impact thundering the valley and shaking the ground so violently that it was a wonder that it didn't uproot all the trees and collapsed all the buildings for miles.
With a slow rise, the Mountain Bull got back on its hooves, the cracks and shattered apart limbs broken from the crash reforming as it did so. Taking four massive steps to the left, the titan realigned itself back onto its Path. There it stilled, not moving an inch as it cast its ruby gaze at the dragon opposite it.
What an inconvenience this was.
Across the valley, the Guardian roared defiantly at the titan.
Such a delay to the inevitable this had become.
Fiery, emerald flames surged out of the Guardian, the spikes on his spine beginning to glow that same radiant energy.
It was clear that a change in tactics was needed.
Stone nostrils snorted out dust and dirt, one of the titan's massive forehooves ground into the earth, and horns were angled forward.
And for the first time since the old, decaying world needed Flattening and Structure, the Mountain Bull Charged.
The land shook, the earth was torn up from under those hooves, and the wind howled as a mountain galloped across the valley, ready to decimate anything and everything on its Path.
But the Guardian was on this Path, and the Guardian met stone with fire.
From out of the Guardian's maw surged forth a torrent of green flames that slammed into the Bull's head and blanketed over the titan's body, enveloping it in a raging inferno. But this did not stem the titan's charge, no more so than a cannon could stop a crashing wave. The Mountain Bull continued on through the storm of fire, its momentum unstoppable, even as emerald flames barbed themselves onto every crevice, every crag, and every surface of the titan's exposed skin of stone and dirt.
It was from out of this inferno charged the Mountain Bull, the entirety of its form completely coated in flickering, emerald fire as it barreled down onto the Guardian.
With flames dying from his breath, the Guardian only watched as the titan stampeded toward him.
But just as the Mountain Bull was about to plow right through him, instead of slamming into the Guardian, the titan passed right through him, like a cloud dispersing around a tower. The magic of the Guardian's flames had enveloped the body of the titan, now it was as immaterial as a fire's heat.
Barreling down on its Path, the Mountain Bull whisked through the urbanized sprawl of the city harmlessly, passing through ponies and buildings like a swift mist. Every once in a while a hoof, a horn, or some other body-part of the titan would whisk off the flames and become material once again, running the risk of colliding with a skyscraper or some other building, but these instances were for but mere moments before the emerald flames ensnared the Bull fully back into its inferno. Titans could not be contained long by any form of magic; tied too much to this world as they were.
But that was alright. The Guardian didn't need to hold onto the Mountain Bull for long.
Just long enough.
When finally the Mountain Bull exited from the city confines, it traversed speedily up the mountain range, helped along it was by the emerald flames that made it as weightless as a leaf on the wind. It passed around the storm facility without issue, the thunderstorm above much more docile than it had been. It was when the titan reached the peak of the mountain where the facility was located on that the coat of flames were finally shaken off of its form and it was free to continue on its Path unobstructed.
And the Mountain Bull did so, without a single glance back at what had happened.
Behind the titan, nothing but silence permeated the valley.
Then came the cheering.
"Well, what do you know? He did it."
Ivory and golden scales shimmered in the daylight as Kindle stood high atop the ledge of a cliff that purveyed her a view of the entire valley below her.
She had seen it all; the entire battle between guardian and titan.
To say that the sight had been an epic experience for her would have been a gross understatement. Nothing could have awed her more than the sight of such a clash.
With a swift shake of her head, the dragoness broke out of her stupor and turned away from the view of the battle-torn valley. Not far from the cliff edge was a large, gaping opening into the mountain. It was her nest, and with a bountiful of glowing crystals in her tow, she entered into the cave.
Traversing quickly through the tunnel, she soon came upon her hoard. Gold, silver, and jewels were clumped together to create a massive pile of value, whereupon it sat her most precious treasure of all.
The small dragon of ivory scales and black spikes that was barely the size of Kindle's open palm looked in her direction with milky eyes.
"Mom? Is that you?" he asked, voice weak, before curling into himself as his body suddenly spasmed painfully.
"Yes, my son. I have returned," Kindle replied, so much warmth in her tone as she climbed on top of her hoard and encircled her child. Setting down a clump of energy crystals near her son, she said, "And I have brought medicine. Eat this, it will heal you and rid you of these spasms."
The young dragon reached a claw for where he had heard the sound of something being set next to him, blindly grasping at thin air as he did so before finally taking a hold of a single crystal. Popping it into his maw and biting down, he grimaced at the jolt and sour taste.
"Will... will it also let me see again?" he asked with a grumble, the unwelcome taste still on his tongue.
"...No," she finally said, her voice morose, "there is nothing that can be done about that."
With a scowl, the young child turned away from the crystals and ruefully replied, "Then I don't want the stupid medicine."
"Dammit, Spark! These crystals will save your life!" shouted Kindle, exasperated and pained.
"A life where I can't see!" shouted her son, his wings enfolding themselves over his head as if doing that would shut him off from the rest of the world, "How can I be a mighty dragon like you said I'd be if I lose the one thing that all dragons have!?"
Kindle paused at her son's words, staring at his small, bundled body as she did so. Then slowly a small, somber smile blossomed on her face.
"Is that what you're worried about?" Kindle spoke in such a soothing tone, "My dear son, have I never told you of the mightiest dragon known to our kind? He's just as disabled as you, you know?"
Slowly, Spark's head peaked out from between his wings, curiosity detailing his expression even as another spasm shook him, "R-really? The mightiest dragon was blind?"
Kindle chuckled with such mirth in her tone, "No!" she barked out, startling her son, "It was even worse than that. For he had no wings and could not fly."
Now her son had fully perked up, befuddlement playing out in his blind eyes, "No wings!?" he cried out, aghast, "How can any dragon become mighty or fearsome without their wings?"
Kindle smiled, "Promise to eat your medicine, and I will tell all you wish to know about the Guardian."
Spark hesitated, his claws gripping the gold and jewels under him nervously, before straightening up and giving a resolute nod, "I promise."
I know why you are here.
You're curious about him, aren't you? You want to know why he's so different from his kin. Why he's so strong, so much bigger and so much more reactive to his greed and hoarding than the other dragons. That's why you've come to me, why you've traversed my golden mountains and stepped into my burning nest. After all, if there was anyone who could answer this riddle of yours it would most certainly be the Mother of All Dragons now, wouldn't it?
Well, he's not one of mine if that's what you came to expect. And I mean that in both senses of the word. I have never laid an egg such as his, and neither have any of my children today done the same. In fact, you can just give up now on finding any relatable blood to him. Dust and old bones are the only places you'll find such relation.
His was a long-dead egg: an ancient fossil uncovered in a dig site among dozens more and used as a test to gauge how your foals and prospective apprentices handled failure.
No one expected that egg to hatch. It shouldn't have hatched. That egg was older than I, older than your own Mothers; your fellow princesses. It was lain and then died a pre-life during the final years of the Old World, back when I was still primordial with the world and could only interact with the lives of those old dragons in the most vaguest of senses. It was only when came the New World and Her Breath of New Life allowed me to take form did I nest and raise children of my own.
So, no, he won't find any long lost kin here.
Now don't you fret, dear. You already know full well that he already has plenty of family with him right now that gives him just as much love as any biological parent could.
But I digress, you came here to learn why he is so different from his kin, and I will enlighten you.
The reason why he's so different, why he has no wings and can grow to such towering heights so quickly due to his greed is simple.
It's because the Elements of Harmony made him that way.
On the day when Loyalty called out to the other Elements and awakened them on the first steps of their destiny, the Powers of Harmony had surged out of Magic and into the material realm, searching for one that was perfect for fulfilling a needed role. And in their search, they had found a fossilized egg of an ancient dragon, before granting life where there had once been none.
The gift of life is not something that can be given so freely, and so when that little, purple drake hatched from his dead egg, his fate was just as much tied to the Elements of Harmony as the bearers were themselves. For as they now embodied living, breathing forms, the Elements had need of a protector, someone to always be by their side and safekeep them against the many powerful forces that make up this world.
And so the Powers of Harmony had hatched a Guardian, giving him life and reshaping the dragon to better fit his role.
His wings? The Powers removed them. At the behest of their greed, a dragon with wings will be compelled to fly off with their hoard when they see it out in the open and threatened. This will not do, as the Elements of Harmony are not simple gems to be hidden away in a cave. They have a will of their own, a will that calls them to help others, and they do not need to be picked up by their Guardian and flown away every time they approach danger.
So the Powers of Harmony took his wings, and instead gave him a greed like no other. A greed that enhanced his strength and size more so than any other dragon.
A greed for you and your friends, Princess Twilight.
Two metal doors slammed open and in walked the Guardian, back in his miniature form and slightly worse for wear if his bruises and small cuts were anything to go by. Walking into the shadowed chamber, he stopped in front of the floating orb of storms that centered the room and let himself collapse onto the floor with a groan, the glowing glyphs carved into the floor shining against his body as he laid there.
"Ugh, feels like it's been years since I've been back here," the Guardian moaned out, eyes closed in exhaustion before letting one peek open to blearily see her, "so... how was your day?"
"Quite well, Spike," came her response as lavender hooves trotted past him on her way to the exit, "the spirit has been successfully exorcised and the storm generator is no longer going to go on a rampage."
"Well, that's good," he said as he closed his eyes again in a somewhat futile attempt to catch some sleep, I'm sure the city will be grateful for that."
He wasn't sure, but it suddenly felt like Laughter had just danced through the room and had a party behind his back. It was the only explanation he could think of right now for why mirthful giggling suddenly escaped from her mouth.
"Oh, I'm sure they'll be grateful, yes," came the teasing answer, "but I do believe that they'll be quite busy celebrating their hero than pay any attention to what I did today."
"What!?" said Spike, eyes snapping open at the thought of anypony not paying due notice to his most favored gem, "Who!?"
He felt a hoof tap down on his head. He didn't need to see her to know that she was flying above him.
"You, silly," came the laughing response, "now come on, I'm sure the city will have a huge celebration for the big hero that saved them from the rampaging titan."
"Oh yeah," said Spike sheepishly as he stood back up, before swelling up with dragon pride and turning towards her, "Hey, do you think they'll have a parade in my honor? I always love it when they do those."
That same smile he had known since the day he had been hatched greeted him once again, even with those wings and ethereal mane, she was still the same to him, "I'm sure they will, my Number-One Assistant."