• Published 17th May 2013
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Children of a Lesser Dragon God Boy Whelp Thingy Guy - The Descendant



The truth of the matter is, Spike didn't realize that writing The Noble Dragon Code would get him worshipped as a god but, hey, whattcha gonna do? Them's the breaks.

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The Dragon God Who Wasn't There

Chapter 2: “The Dragon God Who Wasn’t There”


A familiar figure went hopping up Ponyville’s streets in a blur of pink, treats at the ready.

“Hi!” Pinkie Pie said, bouncing in place. “Who are you?!”

She bounced and bounced, staring up at a particularly unwholesome looking dragon. It stared down at her balefully, its spikes rattling across its back and across its scales in a way that seemed to give it any number of horrible lacerations.

“I am Gothrang the Destroyer! I am he who casts mountains to the sea!” the dragon spoke, the flame in his eyes hovering over the pink pony. “It is I who spreads his fire across fortress walls! It is I, Gothrang, who drove the entire nation of the Drijn into ruin! It is I who threw down the seven ancient lords of…”

“Neat!” said Pinkie, and then she pressed a cupcake into his open claws. “Have a great day, okay?”

Gothrang stared at the pony as she bounced away, a happy song lifting from her as she introduced herself to other dragons. The massive drake looked down into his clawed hands, and there witnessed the single most beautiful thing he had ever seen.

He reached out his tongue, lapping at the frosting of the diminutive, almost invisible cupcake held in his claws. At once the taste of it spread through him, and all of his senses went wide-awake, filling places inside of him that he had long thought dead with a golden glow.

His jaw trembled, and soon great wet tears were falling to the streets below…

… washing away several market stands and compelling Twilight Sparkle to summon raincoats for Rarity, Spike, and herself.

“Do allow me to introduce Kenbroath, a dear friend,” Celestia said. “Spike, will you not come meet him?”

The little dragon waddled forward, rubbing one arm with the opposite hand. He looked at the ground, remembering his own past encounters with grown drakes. He stopped short as the massive form of the dragon bowed before him.

“Greetings to you, Spike. Greetings, Author of the Code, you who we name The Lawgiver,” Kenbroath said. In a moment the dragon had lifted his head. The big drake extended his claw forward, remembering the pony custom, and with a wink he added, “Though I must say that ‘Spike’ is a fine name all by itself, don’t you think?”

Spike blinked, looked down to the claw, and them took the tip in his own little hands. “Heh,” Spike laughed. “Yeah…. heh. Oh, ummmm… hi. Hiya!” As the little whelp and the big drake made small talk Celestia looked on happily, noting how their frames shared the same hard points. Perhaps, perhaps today was the day to tell Spike that…

No, she realized. Today would be filled with enough surprises, and hard understandings, for the little dragon.

“My, my, Spike! I must say that I’m jealous of the company you keep!” Kenbroath said, laying the charm on so thick that it threatened to sweep Rarity and Twilight down the streets. “Will you do me the delightful favor of introducing me to these lovely mares?”

“Oh, sure!” said Spike, something in the little dragon seeming to come alive. He hadn’t wanted to admit it, but having a big drake like this Kenbroath fellow seem so articulate and… well, nice, made him a little happy. It made him very happy, actually. Just the thought that all dragons weren’t big dummies or jerks… well, that was what he’d been hoping all along.

Spike bowed to Rarity, and as she blushed he gathered up her hoof.

“This,” Spike said, presenting her to Kenbroath and the assembly of dragons at large, “is my dear, dear friend Rarity. She’s super talented at dressmaking, she owns her own shop, and she’s graceful, and she’s generous… and beautiful–”

“Lady Rarity,” Kenbroath said, leaning down far to kiss her offered hoof, the unicorn blushing demurely as the massive lips touched to her hoof gently.

“–and, and pretty, and she’s just so awesome,” Spike concluded, little hearts popping over his head, his eyes going soft as he spoke of Rarity’s better traits.

It did not take the assembled dragons long to note the way his eyes settled across the unicorn, and as a group they passed their judgment.

“Hail the Consort of the Lawgiver!” the dragons cried.

Rarity’s jaw hit the ground.

“Oh, oh no,” she stammered. “No, no, no. I’m afraid that you’ve misunderstood the nature of the relationship that I have with my dear Spi…”

“Hail the Consort of the Lawgiver!” the cried once more. “Shower her with gifts and baubles!”

“I’m okay with this,” Rarity said softly, washing back into the library on a wave of precious gems.

“Huh, anywho,” Spike continued, stepping over the pile of trinkets. “This is Twilight Sparkle! She’s my very best friend,” he said, bowing before her and then gathering up her hoof. Twilight giggled a little, surprised that he’d present her so formally.

He passed Twilight’s hoof into the offered tips of Kenbroath’s claws.

“Miss Twilight,” the drake said, once more bending down and affixing a kiss as well as he could without swamping the pony with his lips. “I’ve had the pleasure of hearing all about you from your mentor, my Lady Celestia. She has spoken of your talents, and I am most impressed.”

Twilight blushed and looked away before returning to his gaze with a sheepish smile.

“Twilight is so super amazing, and super strong, and super cool and, and, and she’s even the one who hatched me from my egg and stuff!” Spike called, the little dragon becoming more and more excited as events unfolded.

Kenbroath’s eyes went a little wide. “Extraordinary! Does that mean that you consider yourself Spike’s mother?”

“No!” Spike and Twilight called in unison, and then back up to each other in a mix of surprise, hurt, and embarrassment. A steady, fluttering stream of comments followed.

“Well, it’s kinda like she’s my sister…”

“I do my best to take care of him…”

“But it’s not like she actually is my sister. I’m actually not sure…”

“I admit that I haven’t always done the best job…”

“She treats me real good! Well, except when she makes me work late…”

“I do really love him, it’s just that I have issues stemming from an interpersonal social disorder that developed in my childhood.”

“Sometimes she throws me against the wall.”

The dragons looked on aghast. Well, mostly. Gothrang was still crying his eyes out.

“So, ummm, we take care of one another,” Spike said. “It’s a little bit of everything, I guess.”

“We’re a team!” Twilight said, forcing a small laugh.

“Hail the… Mother-like Sisterly Very Best Friend Thing of The Lawgiver!” the dragons cried. “Shower her with gifts and baubles!”

Spike’s eyes brightened, and he extended his arms in anticipation of receiving another small mountain of gems. Instead, he felt something extraordinarily heavy placed in them, and he fell forward to find a large book in his grasp.

“Yeah, what else would they give Twi,” he mumbled.

Twilight, for her part, took the gift very well. Namely, she quickly snatched it up, spinning with it around and around while squealing like a filly on Hearth’s Warming Day.

“Yes, yes, yes!” she giggled, prancing around and around, the tome waving back and forth in her magic.

“Look, Spike!” she said, lifting him into the air, joining her dragon to her prize in orbits of her very happy body. “Omigosh! It’s a hardbound copy of The Dragon Tales! Omigosh, there’s only like two of these in the world!”

She danced her hooves in excitement, and then turned back to face the dragons.

“Thank you all so much!” she exclaimed, making little leaps in her excitement. “The Dragon Tales are so old and so rare that they’ve never been compiled in one place except for once or twice! I only ever got to see the compendium once, and it was during a special event. They say that the principal authors–”

“Ask her if she’s a virgin!” came a dragon’s voice from deep within Ponyville.

“Ah! Good question!” answered Kenbroath. “Miss Twilight, have you ever known a stallion conjugally?”

“–whaaruu ahhhua rawwwialllyy,” Twilight concluded, her ability to articulate decreasing as a blush erupted across her face.

“The only reason we ask is because it’s quite impossible for a maiden dragon dam to hatch an egg with her innate magic, so if you are still unspoiled then that must make you extraordinarily powerful, as we have reason to believe,” Kenbroath continued, not noticing how much redder Twilight was becoming.

“Rewwahh greeuuurrrr, dagggghhhh,” Twilight continued, struggling to form words as her raincoat burst into ash at the power of her embarrassment.

“Oh dear,” Celestia said, rising to her hooves, noticing how the blush across Twilight’s features had become so warm that it warped the paint on the nearby Golden Oaks Library sign.

“Well, yeah she’s that powerful!” Spike answered. “Sure she is! She’s amazing and stuff, and the closest thing to a stallion she’s ever been with is in a box in her nightsta…”

At once the library sign erupted into flames. “Kitchen!” the unicorn called, wrapping Spike in her magic, bouncing him off the doorpost as she retreated inside.

“Do give us a few moments,” Celestia said, following the sounds of a heated discussion as it disappeared within the tree.

As the door closed, the dragons were left outside. In their midst the good citizens of Ponyville did their best to go about their business, their eyes wide as they tried to maneuver around the draconic obstacles that had appeared overnight.

Silence hung around Ponyville, the only truly noticeable sounds being the slow crackling of the flames that were consuming the library sign and Gothrang’s continued wailing.

“Verily, she’s a virgin,” said one dragon.

A chorus of agreement arose from the assembly.

“Eep!” said the Mill Creek Bridge.


Inside the library, Princess Celestia discovered Rarity humming happily as she stacked and counted her gems. Her happy tones were somewhat muffled by the bickering voices of Twilight Sparkle and Spike as they discussed the disparity between dragon and pony cultural mores.

Spike seemed to be making the argument that the dragons thought that she was amazing, and that she had nothing to be embarrassed about.

Twilight was making the counterpoint that, whatever the dragons thought of her, the little secrets that they knew about one another weren’t the kind of things she wanted shouted out where all of Ponyville could hear!

“I don’t get it, Twi!” he answered in a huff, folding his arms. “Why is it such a big deal that you haven’t started dating yet? Everypony knows how busy you are and stuff, it’s not like it’s a surprise or anything.”

Twilight stopped in mid shout, literally hovering in the air.

“Dating?”

“Yeah, ummm, isn’t that what ‘virgin’ means? Somepony who isn’t married, or has never been on a date?” he said, dancing his fingers together anxiously.

“Spike,” Twilight said softly, thudding to the ground, “you think ‘virgin’ means… oh. Oh! Well, yes, I suppose… I mean, under ideal circumstances…”

Spike helped her back to her hooves.

“Well, yeah,” he said. “Isn’t that what it means? That you haven’t found your special somepony yet? Twi?”

He rubbed her foreleg, and Twilight saw the struggle for understanding that was falling through her little dragon.

“I’m pretty sure that’s what it means… right?” he asked, tilting his head as he searched through her eyes. “It means that you haven’t found the stallion who’s gonna be great to you, who is gonna take care of you? Right? The one who’s gonna love you, who is going to treat you as wonderful as you deserve to be treated? It means you’re waitin’ for that special stallion–”

Twilight’s eyes watered, and she gathered her great little guy into a tight hug. Spike’s arms came up around her sides, embracing the pony that meant the most to him in the world, the one he desperately hoped would find true love in her life… that she would find somepony who would make her as happy as she truly deserved to be.

His embrace told her this, and in response to his hopes her muzzle fell down to the top of his head, nuzzling there tenderly.

“Awwww!” squealed Rarity.

“Awwww!” sighed Celestia.

“D’aaawwww!” whispered the dragons that were staring in through the windows.

“–and that you’ve never had sex,” Spike softly concluded, hiding a smirk.

“What?” Twilight said.

“I said, ‘and so what comes next?’ What do they want from me, Twi?” he said, releasing her from his embrace.

“I… I don’t know,” Twilight said, running her hoof through his frills. “Please, Princess, do you have any idea what is going on?”

“Oh, it certainly is all quite easy to explain,” began Princess Celestia. “It is simply that the dragons are aware of Spike writing The Noble Dragon Code. Kenbroath broached the subject, you see. Now, in their minds, this makes him the living incarnation of a spiritual figure that is supposed to bring them back to the state of glory and honor that they held millennia ago. This Lawgiver, it is said, will return them to the point before their society collapsed. They are simply here to receive high, sacred knowledge.”

“Oh,” said Spike with the slightest of whimpers.

“In short,” Celestia said, smiling down over them, “there are some of them who believe Spike is something akin to a god.”

“Oh,” said Spike, this time with a much louder whimper.

“B-But Princess!” Twilight said, her hooves dancing in place. “That’s ridiculous! I mean, wow, he’s just a little whelp! This, this is ridiculous! That’s almost as ridiculous as… as me becoming an alicorn!”

“Hey,” Spike said with a laugh, “it’s not that ridiculous!”

“I know, right?” Twilight said, giggling at her little joke.

“Good one, Twi!” the dragon said with a chuckle.

“Oh, darling, what an image!” Rarity said, her delicate laughter joining that of her friends.

“Ha!” laughed the assembly of dragons that stood at the windows.

Celestia smirked a knowing smirk.

“Eep!” said the Mill Creek Bridge.

The occupants of the library recovered from their hysterics, and after a short while their attention turned back to the smiling figure of the alicorn.

“Princess?” Spike asked, walking up to Celestia sheepishly. “Why… w-what do they want me to do? I mean, jeez, I’m no god. I’m just an assistant, ya know?”

“I did explain as much to Kenbroath,” Celestia said, hiding a withdrawn sigh. She let serenity settle back upon her features before continuing. “He believes that there is simply too much to gain from letting Spike explain the code to let the opportunity slip away.”

“P-princess?” Spike asked. “I know that ponies don’t… don’t know much about dragons, but… well, what is there to gain?”

Celestia smiled down over him once more, and then turned to the many eyes that stared in through the windows. Her head bowed slightly, and some of the light seemed to come out of her.

“The draconic peoples have always been a… shall we say, shy race,” Celestia said, her voice falling. “We may not know much about their biology, and they have not been inclined to share.”

The eyes in the windows all blinked in unison, making a rather noticeable noise.

“But, Spike, the brighter a star shines, the more attention it gathers, you see.”

Celestia lifted her head, as though pondering the vast living oak into which the library had been set. A single contemplative note lifted in her throat, and soon the sweet melody of the alicorn’s voice began to lift around the room.

It was a song, a ballad. As Celestia’s words began to fill the room, Rarity swept her sofa from beyond wherever her magic stowed it. Rather than fall over in a bit of unnecessary melodrama, she instead patted the cushions, offering Twilight and Spike a seat.

To his great joy Spike felt Rarity wrapping him with her forelegs, placing him in the hollow between her chest and barrel.

The Daybringer’s sun streamed in through the few spaces between the eyes that peered in through the window, catching her in shafts of light as the dragons heard her words, and more than a few of the eyes that gazed upon her went misty.

Procer Celestia Invictus, The Daybringer, The Firstborn Alicorn, lifted her song around the library, her sweet notes filling the room. There was a deep bass thrum, the dragons adding their own voices, holding a deep tone that fell through the library.

It was a ballad of ancient days and forgotten realms. It was a song about high places upon young mountains. It was the song of the fall of the dragons… the great lament of their kind, the Difetha.

Held tightly to the pony he adored, caught in her delicate perfumes and scent, Spike could be forgiven for letting his mind wander… for letting it get caught up in the images that the song lifted around the library.

In his mind, Spike saw the great keeps of the dragons of old. These were polished halls where immense dragons came and went, each one arrayed in ornaments of gold, silver, and gems too fantastic to be named.

The song showed him great councils held above the clouds, showed him lords and ladies in their draconic majesty. The song showed him vast storerooms of precious things… but, more importantly, it showed him much more than these petty baubles.

It showed him dragons winging across continents, learning and knowledge falling behind them as gifts over a young world. It showed him legends and myths made real at the brush of a clawed hand. The song opened the world to him, and the dragons lifted above it in nobility and grace.

He heard the songs of the dragons, of his ancient kin. He saw ranges of mountains, each snow-capped peak embraced by a dragon that lifted their melody, adding it to that of the others until the world below was filled with the music, as it rolled through valleys and thundered across the plains.

The dragons were singing, their long-lost voices echoing down the millennia in the song that passed Celestia’s lips, on the deep thrum that sank through the library. Spike saw them, heard them, and deep within himself he felt his own song lift to match theirs… to add his voice to the harmony.

Celestia’s voice changed, and the song shifted.

The shafts of light that fell around the room seemed to dim, and with it some of the beauty came out of the words. Instead, loss filled the alicorn’s voice, and sadness gathered in her tones.

Greed, avarice, and jealousy… these crept into the music, but it did not begin where Spike suspected it would. As the song progressed, even the unicorns gasped in amazement, and he felt himself pulled that much closer to their warm coats.

Ten thousand races gathered, their armies filling the savannahs and dry riverbeds, spilling across the woodlots and farms.

Great vast machines, horrible and black, rumbled up the stone roads. Metals he could not name tipped them, and he knew they must only have one purpose… the slaying of dragons.

The song that lifted from Celestia threw every stereotype upside down, flipped Spike’s perceptions of his own kind as thoroughly as if he’d been kicked down the stairs.

The armies stormed the mountains, devastated the halls, and laid siege to the keeps of the dragons. Their horrid machines sprang to life, and bolts went through the air, stealing out the lives of the dragons that swooped upon them.

Dragon’s fire rolled out across the plains, and their enemies died by the thousands. Yet, on they came in tides of anger, of hatred fueled by lies, until the very aeries of the dragon lords were deluged by an onslaught of flesh, armor, and steel.

Roars of dragons mixed with the cries of languages lost to time, and images of warriors streaming into nesting warrens fell out of Celestia’s lips. Mother dragons fell to the cold stones, their lives stolen out as their eggs were smashed and their fingerlings cried and mewled.

The stereotypes were reversed. It was greed that drew these races, that made them stoop to gather up great handfuls of the dragon’s gems as they pushed forward into the stony keeps. There, the last High King of the Dragons clashed with his tormentors… and his vast crown went rolling along the passages as his head hit the floor, the purple of his blood gathering in pools beneath his still form.

Fire erupted across the mountaintops, and a powerful magic drew itself across them all. From a mountain nearby a witch looked on, her two daughters at her side, and she smiled at the victory of her treachery.

The song spoke of the exodus of the dragons, the draconic peoples escaping their desecrated aeries, the survivors fleeing far and wide. They found small hollows or caves in forgotten places. They flew on and on, hoping to escape the wrath that had fallen on them from nowhere.

They became less… they simply began to hoard for themselves, became solitary creatures that invoked the very image of the greed that had destroyed their realms.

Spike’s eyes watered, and he wiped his face against Rarity’s legs as the song presented him with the fall of the dragons, of the cataclysm that turned them into animals.

At once, a strong resolve passed through the whelp, and he lifted himself from Rarity’s embrace. If… if there was a chance that The Noble Dragon Code could help them, make them go back to that world… to help them stop being jerks…

“Princess?” he said, stepping forward. “I’ll do it. I’ll…”

There was a splash, and Spike fell forward into the great reservoir that had developed in the library while the princess had sung her song.

“Very well, Spike,” Celestia added, clearing her throat as she floated on the table that held the unicorn bust. She looked to the eyes that peered in through the widows, each one filled with the tears that had found their way into the library.

The front door of the library came open, washing the couch and its occupants out into the street. The great flood of tears extinguished the smoldering library sign, and left the two unicorns, the alicorn, and the little dragon god staring up into the blubbering faces of a few hundred dragons.

“Umm,” Spike said nervously. “Okay, yeah. Do… do you all wanna hear about the code thing Twi and I came up with?”

Great cheers erupted from the crowd, and soon more rain of tears fell over them, this time of joy… of great sopping bucket loads of joy. Spike groaned and pinched the bridge of his nose. In a moment, Twilight had stepped forward, placing the raincoat she had summoned earlier around the dragon.

“Hail The Lawgiver!” the dragons cried as Kenbroath lowered his tail, lifting Spike upon his back. “May his words bring solace! May his code prove true! May his adorable widdle rain hat stay firmly affixed to his cute widdle noggin!”

The god sighed and put his head in his hands.

Twilight stepped forward, and Kenbroath scooped her up as well.

“All hail Twilight Sparkle! All hail the virgin!” the dragons cried, their voices lifting high and settling over Ponyville in exactly the right way to make sure that all of the ponies heard each and every word.

Twilight groaned in frustration, hiding behind the hoof she had placed over her eyes.

“All hail her unblemished beauty! All hail her uncorrupted nature! All hail her untouched perfection!” they cried, not noticing how close to death by embarrassment Twilight was coming. Kenbroath chuckled, and then settled her upon his back.

Rarity stepped forward, quite impressed by the lovely titles. She lifted her forehoof and let her mane catch in the sun, the elegant twist of her hair falling out behind her. The dragons caught the sultry motions that came so easily to her, and their eyes shifted back and forth to one another.

The dragons lifted their voices. “All hail Rarity!” they said in unison. “All hail the Consort of the Lawgiver! All hail… well, ummm…”

An uncomfortable silence followed, and a mumbling Rarity settled upon Kenbroath’s back, looking very put upon and disappointed in their critical response to her life choices.

Before long Celestia had joined them, and together the assembly made their way to a nearby meadow. The Mill Creek Bridge gave a small “Eep!” as dragons gingerly made their way across the stream to find a place to sit and listen to their adorable new god.

Spike scrambled up Kenbroath’s scales, stopping only to huff and pant and lay aside his raincoat.

A familiar dragon stood in the crowd, watching the whelp with a judgmental stare.

“This is stupid,” Garble said.

“Dude! C’mon, just… cool it!” replied the white dragon at his side, another juvenile.

“Naw, this is crap!” Garble announced, throwing his arms up in the air. “That’s the little kid who tried to impress us during the migration! The kid didn’t know one thing about being a dragon, and now we’re supposed to listen to his rules?”

“Uh, hey,” answered another adolescent, a sturdy looking one. “Like, maybe that’s the point… and stuff?”

“Heh, what?” Garble said, rolling his eyes. “Whatever.”

“Dude, maybe that’s what will make this work, okay?” the white dragon continued, stretching his arms forward, looking to Garble with the shadow of hope in his eyes. “I mean, maybe the fact that he’s… well, different, maybe that makes all the difference?”

Garble grabbed the white drake by the shoulders, spinning him around.

“Oh, shut up!” Garble said, pointing his clawed finger directly into the white dragon’s face. “You wanna give up the good life we got, give up living like a real dragon? Huh, Treble? Fine… be a pussy.”

“Hey, dude, that’s not…” Treble stammered, shrinking back under Garble’s words.

“Hey!” Garble continued, thrusting his clawed finger against Treble’s chest. “You wanna be a pony? We’ll call ya Tea Cozy! We’ll get ya an apron so you can go to your parties with their namby-pamby, pretty-witty, sparkly-warkly princesses, you great big fruit! I bet…”

“Ahem,” said a female voice, and a great shock of magic went across the scene with a thunderous rumble. The dragon’s faces went gaunt, and as Princess Celestia walked among the adolescents her voice was soft, her eyes fluttered, her words drifted over them in giggles…

… and her toilet plunger hung in her magic with a formidable, rubbery presence.

“Thank you very much for calling me ‘pretty’, and ‘witty’,” she said, her mane tickling beneath Garble’s nose, driving of shock and fear through him. “Unless, perhaps, I failed to understand the context?”

The plunger drifted along, hovering at the edges of his vision. Garble’s breaths became shallow, his mouth hanging open to draw at each one as panic rose behind his eyes.

“I was not mistaken, was I?” she cooed, batting her eyes at him. “You do find me ‘pretty’, do you not? You do believe me ‘witty’, I hope?”

Her tail draped across his stomach scales… and her plunger traced the length of his tail. Inside his own mind, Garble began to scream as the worst nightmares of his race came alive before him.

“Y-yeah,” he said with a shutter, watching as the other dragons cowered in the presence of The Daybringer, their eyes looking upon her plunger, knowing of the millennia of rumors that surrounded it.

“That makes me very happy, young drake,” Celestia said softly, leaning against him tenderly… the plunger lifting and falling against his arm in wafts of her magic. “You said that my mane was sparkly. Thank you so much for noting that, as I do try my hardest to keep it so. Do you like my mane, young drake?”

Garble shook his head as quickly as he could. He would have done it faster, but doing so probably would have caused his Adam’s Apple to explode out of his throat. As the rubbery defiler traced across his shoulders he nearly swallowed his entire larynx in alarm.

“I want to hear you say it, young drake,” Celestia said, lifting her muzzle to his ear, her giggle falling down into a demanding hiss.

“I… I, I uh…” Garble began, feeling the long, yellow handle of the plunger slowly tickling the back of his neck, moving in agonizing inches that seemed to take days to complete. White flashes of terror shot through him, and he fought for words.

“I really like your mane!” he bellowed, tears falling from his eyes.

“How wonderful! Thank you so very much,” Celestia giggled, holding the notes as they fell among the horrified crowd. “Now, I am sorry that you are dubious as to what is transpiring here, but if you are not able to, at the very least, listen to ideas that challenge your beliefs…”

She slowly drew the plunger around his body, tracing his arm until it gently pressed against the scales on his chest.

“… then I can think…”

She tapped it to his chest, and then dropped it down a few inches across the quivering, shaking dragon’s body.

“… of some other ways…”

Horrors bred horrors, and as the instrument of untold generations of terror touched to his body, Garble fought to breathe.

“… to pass the afternoon.”

“Eep!” said the Mill Creek Bridge, the sound of its cry being drowned out as Garble pelted across it. He went screaming down Ponyville’s streets, so mortified and terror-driven that he seemed to forget that he knew how to fly.

The assembly of dragons watched him go until he became a single speck on the distant horizon, his cries following him, and then turned back to Celestia. They gazed upon the princess with no small amount of worry painted across their features.

“Oh, my,” she said with another giggle. “I can only assume that he was not enthusiastic about either prospect.”

She sat in the spot that Garble had vacated, directly in the middle of the group of juvenile and adolescent dragons. Her plunger came down gently at her side, and as the solar winds continued to drift through her mane she sighed an inward sigh, and then let serenity fill her features once more.

“I suppose that it falls to the rest of us polite dragons to sit and listen with a modicum of respect, does it not?” she asked the crowd at large.

“Yes, Ma’am!” came a chorus of replies, and with that the assembly went silent, staring directly towards Kenbroath, and great big sweat drops appearing on the faces of the decidedly attentive adolescents.

All the dragons went silent… except for Gothrang, who was still cradling his tiny cupcake and pouring great wet streams of tears.

“Oh, okay… ummm, hiya!” Spike said, waving to the crowd.

“It’s a blessing!” a voice cried from within the assembly. “A blessing from the…”

Spike quickly retracted his hand.

“Oh, never mind!” concluded the voice.

Spike wiped the sweat from his brow, and then tried once more to engage his audience. He paced back and forth across Kenbroath’s head, the tip of his finger in his mouth.

“Okay,” he said, spinning back to the assembled dragons. “Now, you all came here to learn about The Noble Dragon Code, right?”

“All hail The Lawgiver! All hail the Author of the Code!” they cried, their winds knocking him from his perch.

“Whoa!” Spike said as he dangled precariously off of Kenbroath’s head. The large drake arched an eyebrow, helping the whelp regain his place. “Okay, whoa… alright, ummm. Okay, let me ask ya all this, how many of you have, well, read the code?”

Kenbroath raised his massive clawed hand into the air. It was conspicuous in its solitude.

“Well, Spike,” Kenbroath said, a self-conscious shadow falling across him, “to be fair, the single copy did cost me seven-hundred thousand bits…”

“Wow, what? Whoa! I only got, like, three cents in royalties!” Spike said in a huff, crossing his arms.

“Well, the code only cost me two bits, forty-seven cents,” he said, his eyes straining to lift themselves up high enough to see the whelp. “The rest went towards the repairs of the bingo hall–”

“Archive,” Celestia said.

“–archive, as I had some troubles finding a door, you see,” he concluded.

Spike pinched the bridge of his nose and grumbled. “Okay,“ he said, “I’ll read you the code, and then we’ll go back and talk about the important stuff. Now, any dragons out there wanna take notes?”

Quite a few clawed hands went into the air.

“Okay! That’s good! That’s great!” he said, hopping in place. “My assistant, Twilight Sparkle, will get you each a pencil, and…”

“What?” came the voice of the unicorn, sounding very flat and uninspired.

“Please, Twi, this is really important and stuff,” the dragon pleaded, literally folding his hands to her. “Just do it for me, huh, please?”

Twilight Sparkle grumbled, and in a flash their familiar old pencil sharpener had appeared before her… along with about five hundred boxes of fresh, new pencils. The unicorn gave a single grumble, and affecting a disinterested gaze she began sharpening the pencils one at a time.

“Ya know these are going to be way too small for them, right?” she called up, barely lifting her eyes from her grumpy gaze of industrial grade grumpiness.

“Must you make fun of all the stuff I do?” he said, sighing once more.

Rarity stifled a giggle as she listened to the exchange between her friends, and held another as she watched Grumplight Grumple work her way through the boxes of bright yellow pencils.

“And my lovely assistant, Rarity, will bring you all some notepads!” he said to the assembly.

“What?” the elegant mare asked, and in an instant Twilight’s magic washed over her, burying her in a few hundred notepads.

The two unicorns stuck their tongues out at once another as Rarity gathered the pads in her magic. After fluffing her mane, she turned out towards the crowd, and high above Spike began his exhortations.

“Now, umm, what I want ya to know is that… well, this is gonna be tough.” He began, lifting his hand into the air. “There’s a lot of hard, dirty work to be done if we wanna try to live by the code, okay?”

Spike cleared his throat, feeling a little more confident.

“It’s gonna take a long time to try to figure out what the code means for each of you, and you are gonna hafta try to give up a lot of stuff that seems like fun, and in the end the only reward is a life of poverty, charity, and abstinence. So, if that doesn’t appeal to you, then feel free to give up and fly–”

There was a great rush of wind, and the ponies and dragons were buffeted by it. The winds rolled across the hills of Central Equestria, climbing the mountains, rolling across rivers, and driving down the valleys.

Spike lifted his head to see more than half of the dragons already departing into the blue sky beyond.

His hands fell down at his side, hanging loose. His jaw fell open, and his entire body seemed to deflate a touch.

“–away.”

“Hooray!” called a voice from the noticeably depleted assembly. “Abstinence!”

Spike squeaked a wounded squeak.

“Remarkable!” said Kenbroath, all irony absent from his voice. “In one fell swoop you’ve managed to reduce the number of followers to the hopelessly devoted and the demented fundamentalists!”

Spike squeaked once more.

“Well played, Spike, well played!” Kenbroath said, genuinely impressed.

“Eep!” said the Mill Creek Bridge.