• 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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Water into Whine

Chapter 3: “Water into Whine”


“And, so… well, that’s The Noble Dragon Code,” Spike said, setting the index cards down at his side.

The assembly of dragons stared back at him.

“So, ummm… any questions?” he asked, dancing his fingers together.

An awkward silence sat around the meadow, one that hovered there as the dragons blinked, each one lost in the high, holy sacred mysteries that had just been read to them on index cards written with crayon.

“I have a question,” Grumplight Grumple said, still unmoved from her stare of heavily grumpified grumpiness.

“Ummm, yeah? Twi?” he said, staring down to her. He couldn’t help but notice all of the pencils, and the small mountain of pencil shavings, that sat upon Kenbroath’s back.

“Ya know that you totally read the whole thing before I had a chance to pass out pencils, right?!” she said, her voice filling with several varying degrees of grumpiness not previously known to ponykind.

“Oh… well, it doesn’t matter, they were too small for them to use anyway, ya know,” Spike said, turning back to the assembly.

Twilight’s cry of frustration was largely ignored as Spike once again asked the crowd, “Okay, any questions, really?”

“Oh Spikey-Wikey!” came Rarity’s voice, floating up to him on the happy tones he adored. “I should just like to note, just in passing, that you didn’t let me finish passing out the notepads, either!

Spike looked down to her, and as her right eye twitched he recoiled in horror.

“Okay,” he said with a sigh, once more pinching the bridge of his nose. “Look, any dragons out there have a question about the code?”

A lot of silence, and blinking, met him. Spike arched an eyebrow, and gazed down at Kenbroath. The massive drake shrugged his shoulders at the little whelp… sending Twilight tumbling amid her pencil shavings.

“Really?” Spike said, addressing the crowd. “You all came here and none of you even… okay, fine. Just, just tell me what ya think is wrong or stuff, okay?”

There was a polite cough, and in the back a rather yellowish dragon raised his clawed hand into the air.

“Forgive me, Lawgiver, Author of the Code, Spirit Walker… forgive me, oh he who is the Truth Speaker, the Coursefinder,” the dragon said.

Spike twisted his body left and right, his eyes panning around him, wondering who in Equestria the dragon could possibly be talking to. After a moment, Spike realized it was no creature other than himself.

“Oh, ummm, yeah, go ahead… ah, what was your name?” Spike asked.

“Vulgar the Unmentionable, Lawgiver,” the dragon replied.

“So, ummm, Vulgar, what is it that…” Spike began.

“Please don’t mention my name, Lawgiver… it’s unmentionable,” the dragon added, staring to the ground sheepishly.

“Ohhhhkkkaaayyyy,” Spike said, arching his eyebrow another few degrees higher. “What is it about the code that bothers you… nameless dragon guy.”

“Well, forgive me my Lawgiver, I do not mean to invoke your high, holy judgment,” the dragon said, bowing low.

“I… I, okay, wow. Yeah, you don’t have to worry about that too much,” Spike said with a sigh, placing his face in the palm of his hand.

“Merciful is The Lawgiver!” cried the dragons.

Spike sighed again. He lifted his spare hand, rolling it through the air as though attempting to conjure the rest of Vulgar’s commentary.

“Well, Lawgiver, it’s simply that the code, well,” the dragon began. Vulgar stopped, coughed politely, and then darted his eyes around the group. “It’s just that the code, well… seriously?”

Spike’s arms hung low in front of him, and he eyed the crowd with a sort of distant disapproval, as though hoping that they’d all somehow spontaneously combust, be swallowed up by the earth, or be sucked into an alternate dimension filled with shopping lists and properly spell-checked erotica.

He grumbled a little grumble, and then picked up his index cards once more.

“Look,” he said, lifting them up, the crayon-strewn holy texts dancing in the perceptions of the adherents below. “I know that it’s all really kinda weird for you, as you’ve lived the way you have for like… I dunno, millennia? Eons? Centuries?”

The assembly lifted their clawed hands, wavering them about and giving a collective “meh”.

“Okay, the whole point of The Noble Dragon Code is to give dragons a chance to be, well… better, ya know? I know these were really specific, but when ya look at what they mean when we put ‘em together, they tell us bigger things, okay? Like, they make bigger thoughts about how we should act, what we should try to be, you see? Like, for example, if ya take these here…”

He tried to pull out a few selected cards, but soon a jumble of paper appeared in his hands. As he snatched a few out of the air, Spike continued his thoughts.

“Like, okay, if you put some of these together, they become bigger truths, right? For example, if we talk about these, they show us-”

“All hail The Lawgiver for giving us his larger truths!” cried a dragon.

“All hail The Lawgiver for giving us his individual laws in the code!” cried another.

The two eyed each other.

“Indeed, great are the truths, but the laws are what guide us,” the second said with a baleful rumble.

“Verily, but it is the truths that supersede the laws,” growled the first.

“Sacrilege!” cried the second.

“Blasphemy!” cried the first.

At once they were on each other, their claws flashing, their teeth snapping. Great brown clouds of dust rising into the sky as they tumbled across the meadow, their tails lashing out, their wings going wide as they fumed, hissed, and bit.

“–avoid conflicts, and getting into fights, and stuff,” Spike said, his voice betraying a tremor as it drifted off in disappointment.

The assembly watched the two dragons tussle, the cries and growls of their battle interrupted only by the sound of Spike slapping his own forehead.

“Ahem.”

The two dragons slowed their fray, and as the plunger of Celestia Invictus floated before them they both gulped, and then retook their seats, looking slightly worse for wear.

“Like I was saying,” Spike continued, a rumble in his voice, “there’s bigger ideas in here than just rules, okay?”

He flipped through the index cards once more, and more fell from his grasp as he tried to place them in some kind of order. He moaned, and then leaned down to pick up as many as he could.

“The most important thing, ya see, is how we treat others. Creatures only look on us as, well… jerks. Do we wanna be jerks?”

“Yes!” the assembly cried.

“No! No we don’t!” Spike yelled, jumping in place upon Kenbroath’s head.

“No we don’t!” the assembly cried, correcting themselves.

“No, we want to be noble dragons, like we can be! Like we should be!” Spike implored. He opened his arms wide to them, their pudgy-cheeked god offering them his exhortations.

“Listen, what do you guys know about ponies?” he asked, turning to the crowd.

“They’re delicious!” called an anonymous voice.

The entire population of Ponyville felt a cold chill go up their spines.

“Ummm. Or… so I’m told,” came the same voice, sliding back into anonymity as it noticed the looks upon the faces of The Lawgiver and his friends.

After the nightmares finished screaming inside Spike’s mind, he returned to the task at hand. This was, of course, the unenviable task of attempting to turn his entire race back from the animalistic brutes they had become, which was an awful lot to fit one little dragon’s hand, truth be told.

The largest mass incident of dragon-eyebrow-arching in recorded history transpired as Spike strolled back and forth across Kenbroaths’s mighty brow. As the dragons watched, Spike hummed contemplatively, his finger upon his lips.

Their eyes slowly shifted back and forth as Spike paced up and down Kenbroath’s nose, the massive dragon going cross-eyed beneath him as he made his thoughtful noises. For a few minutes only the song of birds, Gothrang’s continued wailing, the rush of the waters beneath the petrified Mill Creek Bridge, and the continued grumblings of a grumpified grump of a unicorn (and the whirl of her pencil sharpener) rolled across the scene.

“Okay… okay, ummm, why they should listen to the code?” Spike pondered. “How do I show them what it’s like not to be greedy or be big dummy jerks?”

Spike’s eyes lifted to the village of Ponyville. Despite the substantial increase in the number of dragons in the streets, it was still a remarkably happy place, even if the denizens seemed a touch more wide-eyed than usual.

Spike’s mind lit up, and a smile went across his features.

“Oh, hey!” he called, giving a small, enthusiastic leap. “What I want ya all to do,” he said, pointing to his draconic adherents, “is take a good look at the ponies, okay?”

Davenport lay upon his back, the cool, smooth paving stones of the street brushing against his coat, driving coldness through him. His heart pounded, his breaths became shallow, and great streaks of sweat and tears poured down his face.

His hooves pawed at the stones weakly, the stallion’s mind racing as he felt himself pressed further into the unyielding cobblestones.

Above him, a dozen vast, reptilian eyes peered down over him. They were immense, and they filled his vision. The dragons peered down across him, drove their sight through him. The dragon’s eyes gauged him, picked apart the fibers of his being, their irises like scalpels that vivisected his very soul, which ripped apart…

“C’mon! I didn’t mean for you to literally look at them, ya know!” Spike cried.

“Oh,” mouthed one of the dragons, and soon they had returned to their spaces in the green meadow, leaving a tearful, heaving Davenport awash in his thoughts about predation, quills, his mortality, sofas, his loved ones, and other various and sundry mixed imponderables.

“What I meant was, what is it that makes the ponies so much different from us?” Spike said, crossing his legs as he sat on Kenbroath’s nose.

The dragons scratched their heads. They looked at one another and made uncertain sounds before awkwardly turning back to their adorable little god.

“Hooves?” volunteered a rather stark crimson dragon.

“Uh, nope,” answered Spike.

“Manes?” asked another.

“No,” Spike answered flatly.

“Is it their penchant for bursting out into elaborate and intricate musical numbers,” a dragon asked, “ones that seemingly would have involved months of rehearsals and seem to include the entire population of these cities?”

“Yes!” Spike called. In an instant he startled in place.

“Well, no, not really, but that’s kinda closer,” he said, rolling his hands through the air. This both confused those dragons that had no idea what they were talking about, and disappointed a few others… specifically, those who had long-hidden secret desires about starring in musicals.

“Listen!” Spike said, interrupting their daydreams. “Look, what makes the ponies so different from us is the way that they treat one another. They care about one another, they treat each other the way… well, the way that they would want to be treated. I grew up raised by ponies, and I’ve observed this my whole life, okay? It’s kinda become just a regular, natural way of doing things for me, and I think that the code could help us…”

“All praise the intrinsic kindness of The Lawbriger!” roared a familiar voice.

“All acclaim the glorious gentleness of the Author of the Code!” answered another familiar draconic rumble.

The two eyed each other.

“Indeed, great is his gentleness, but it was his innate kindness that first appeared,” the second said with a baleful rumble.

“Verily, but without the gentleness of His Holiness–”

“His Holiness? Really?” Spike said with ample doubt.

“– the kindness would have faltered,” growled the first.

“Sacrilege!” cried the second.

“Blasphemy!” cried the first.

Once more the two massive dragons went rolling across the meadow, their teeth and claws bared, their great long tails whipping about horrifically.

“So, like… like I was saying, the ponies care about one another. They treat each other real good,” Spike said, his voice slowing, falling into a shadow of disillusionment as the two battling dragons tore great holes in the earth. “And they don’t get into fights… yeah…”

“Ahem,” lifted Celestia’s voice once more.

The two larger dragons stopped in mid-tussle. The particularly prominent form of a toilet plunger once more stood before them, and the repentant creatures once more took their seats. The sweat that cascaded off of them added a salty tang to the air, one that made Rarity gag discreetly. As they did, their faces, and all of the other draconic faces in the crowd (and the ponies as well, not to forget them), all turned and looked at the figure that sat on top of Kenbroath’s head.

He was unhappy. Their little purple god was unhappy.

“Wow, really?” he said, putting his hands on his hips in a way that was supposed to communicate deep disappointment, but which instead made him wobble unsteadily.

“Look, what’s different about the ponies is that they do three things. They treat each other the way that they want to be treated, they play by the rules, and they show respect to those who have earned respect,” he said, tapping his finger into the palm of his other hand. “We, well… we don’t. Now, if you had lived with the ponies the way that I had…”

“Blessed is the foresight of The Lawgiver!” cried another dragon. “He has bid us to live as Equestrians!”

“Great is the insight of the Author the Code!” agreed another. “His Holiness offers us life among the Clan of Canter!”

“We hafta live with the ponies!” called a less articulate one, and soon the assembly of dragons was once more racing through the meadow and down into the rather surprised streets of Ponyville below.

Spike, watching them go, seemed to lose the ability to articulate rational thought, simply repeating his finger jab over and over until he lost all co-ordination and collapsed in tiny pile of dragon god upon Kenbroath’s head.

“Live with the ponies?” Kenbroath asked. “Interesting. I attempted that once before.”

“There are still stains that might, magic, and all-purpose cleaning solutions have not removed from Canterlot,” giggled Celestia, looking up to him.

Kenbroath only smiled in reply.

Smiling was not particularly the first thing crossing the minds of most of the citizens of Ponyville at that moment. In reality, the first thing crossing most of their minds was, “How do I avoid being eaten by/steer clear of getting crushed by/set up renters insurance for these dragons?”

That would of course imply that the ponies were using their rational minds, which would be a wholly inaccurate statement to make. Many ponies were, in fact, screaming, running around in circles, and flailing their hooves over their heads.

They were, of course, upset.

The dragons, having taken wild liberties with what their purple god had been about to say, began doing their best to live with, and as, Equestrians.

Almost immediately a juvenile dragon went running up the street, his face painted with almost obscene amounts of joy. Beneath either of his arms, a rather wide-eyed Lyra and surprised Bon-Bon listened in a combination of horror, fear and bemusement.

“We’ll go to the park, and have a tea party, and fly kites!” the young drake called, leading them off on some grand adventure. “We’ll have a seven-legged race, and we’ll go to an ice cream social…”

The two simply stared ahead, unspeaking.

Meanwhile, at Sugar Cube Corner, one dragon stuck his head in the second story, entering just about where Pinkie’s suite was located. As Gummy chirped in reptilian solidarity, the dragon pushed his head all the way through in a desperate attempt to determine where the guest lavatory was located.

This concluded when he accidentally pushed all the way through the building, his head emerging on the other side.

This had the effect of thrusting Mister and Misses Cake out of the second floor ahead of their newfound tenant. They landed quite safely, as they had been in their bed at the time, and it had softened their fall. That did present the situation that the Cakes, having taken advantage of the emptiness of their home that day, had been partaking in marital relations at the time.

Cup Cake looked up to discover that she and her husband were now upon their rather crumpled bed and in the middle of the street, she laying above her husband as deep blushes came over their faces.

A rather red-faced Cup Cake threw her hoof over her mouth to conceal her rather libidinous vocalizations. She looked down at him, and after a moment they realized that they weren’t attracting a particularly great amount of attention, namely because most other ponies were screaming and running around in circles as dragons began investing in real estate.

Therefore, all other concerns being put aside for the moment, she smiled a naughty little smile and then pulled the sheet back over her spouse and herself, and simply carried on from just about where they had been interrupted.

Not far away, another dragon sat with his head buried deep within city hall.

“No, seriously,” rumbled the immense dragon, his clawed hand gesturing a questioning wave while his words fell out into the streets.

“Seriously,” he asked once more, apparently having cornered the mayor at her desk, “what is it that you actually do?

The wails of market ponies, the screams of town ponies, and the jubilant cheers of realtor ponies masked the mayor’s reply.

“Wow… oh, wow. Really. That… wow,” said the dragon. “And the Mistress of the Plunger knows of this?”

If one had been listening closely, once could have heard the mayor, her mind racing with terror, relay all of the horrible truths that being mayor of Ponyville truly entailed. If one had been listening closely, one would have heard the poor mare impart the secrets that came with the title, the unspeakable truths and desperate responsibilities that consumed her office.

Though, if one had been listening that closely, the sounds coming from a bed in the middle of the street would have probably garnered more of one’s attention, if one were being honest with themselves.

“Gosh,” whispered the dragon, the horrors that she had been revealing thudding across his perception. On the outside, one could see the dragon seem to deflate, as though even his ancient frame could not absorb the painful, horrific truths that the mayor revealed.

Outside of the dragon, few could see the sacrifices of mind, body, and soul she had made to keep her word to defend her city.

Outside of this dragon, none could see the terrors that presented themselves with her words.

Inside the dragon, it was too dark to see anything, really.

“Gosh,” he whispered once more.

Around city hall, ponies screamed, wailed, flailed, and held open houses with little tea cakes and the like while they gave tours and pointed out the number of bathrooms on the property to the eyes that stared in the window.

Finally, after a long moment, the dragon spoke again.

“So,” he asked the mayor, after recovering from the ordeal, “is that your natural hair color?”

Pinkie Pie went bouncing along, a song on her lips, a smile plastered across her face, as was pretty usual for her. She called out to friends, waving to them as she merrily made her way up the streets, bringing delight with her presence and being oblivious to the larger concerns of the day. This, of course, was typical for her as she made her way through Ponyville.

Gothrang the Destroyer, a massive and powerful dragon covered with jagged spikes and unsanitary-looking piercings, bounced along behind her. He held his tiny cupcake, a vast smile playing about his face as he tried his best to copy her jubilant notes and happy leaps… which wasn’t something typically seen in Ponyville’s streets by any stretch of the imagination.

At a nearby restaurant, a large dragon had somehow managed to seat himself at an outside table, notably by squashing all of the other tables flat in the process. He fumbled through a menu, gingerly picking at it, and peering down at Haute Cuisine from time to time as he did.

Haute Cuisine, showing the calm, practiced professionalism that had always been his trademark as a waiter, stayed stoic and a staid in the face of the unfolding crisis. To anypony that could cease their screaming and flailing long enough to look at him, he appeared cool and collected… which is to say that he was only panicking inside his own mind.

“If sir is having difficulty with the menu,” he said, lifting his eyes and noting how the dragon was fumbling with the tiny menu in the tips of its claws, “then I would be more than happy to suggest something for sir to enjoy.”

The dragon grumbled, snorted, and then turned its implacable will upon the waiter.

“Very well!” the huge drake announced. “What is it that you shall summon for me from the kitchens beyond, Banquet Master!?”

Haute Cuisine coughed a little, both in astonishment over the dragon’s labeling and at the creature’s breath, and at once returned to his polished demeanor.

“May I suggest the dandelion sandwich and the hay fries, sir?” he said, not bothering to look back up to his colossal customer.

“Intriguing!” bellowed the dragon. “And how has it come to pass that you have selected this meal to place before me, Food Lord!?”

“Because it was already upon the serving tray when you suddenly planted yourself at my restaurant, sending the pony who ordered it screaming and flailing through the streets, sir,” Haute answered.

“Practical!” answered the dragon in a great, vast, rolling tone. “Present it to me, that I may feast upon it! I now partake of the food which nourished The Lawgiver!”

“Indeed,” Haute answered, placing it upon the table. The stallion recoiled slightly as the dragon’s head lowered, and its mouth came open. As tall, dirty teeth came into view a massive tongue snaked out of the dragon’s head, filling the waiter with disgust.

“And how does sir find the meal?” Haute Cuisine asked, watching as the dragon attempted to take bites out of the dainty sandwich.

“Deplorable!” replied the dragon. “I have never been afflicted by such a repugnant consumable!”

He nibbled upon the tiny plate of hay fries.

“Appalling!” he wailed. “Bring me fifteen thousand or so more, that I may commune with The Lawgiver and the horror of pony gastronomy which he suffered!”

“Yes, very well,” answered Haute, the waiter looking more than a little put-upon. “I shall let the chefs know that they will be working overtime for the next few years. Meanwhile, may I suggest that sir try applying some variety of condiment?”

“I heed your recommendation, Food Lord!” bellowed the dragon. “Place such before me, that I may… what’s this?!”

“It is called ‘mustard’, sir,” Haute said, lifting a fine silver bowl from the remains of another table nearby. The dragon stared down into the bowl, transfixed by the pool of yellow that sat there. His massive nostrils inhaled the scent of the mustard, and a pegasus known as Thunderlane who had the extraordinarily bad luck to be flying past at that moment, in a single massive snort. As the confused stallion sat partly lodged in one nostril, the dragon swam in the scent of the condiment.

“Amazing!” cried the dragon, his roar freeing his sinuses of both the scent of the mustard and the emotionally compromised pegasus. “Not since I tore open the great storehouses in the castles of the Tybrish kings have I smelled such exotic and powerful smells! Tell me, Dining Master, what is the purpose of the Mus’ Tardh?! Is it a weapon?! Is it enchanted?! Speak now!”

“Sir places it on his dandelion sandwich, or any other such foodstuffs as he might enjoy, as a way of increasing the pleasure of eating such,” Haute Cuisine answered the dragon, passing a napkin to the trembling and snot-bestrewn figure of Thunderlane as he did.

“Remarkable!” the dragon exclaimed. He lowered his claws, gently plucking the bowl of mustard off the table. A glint of silver caught in the spring sunlight, and then the sound of a dragon fumbling with a mustard service (something, admittedly, which was not often heard) fell over the scene.

“If it would please sir, I am more than happy to apply the mustard,” said Haute, watching the silver jar as it flashed amid the dragon’s massive fingers.

“Oh, Celestia!” wailed Thunderlane. “It’s in my eyes!”

Haute passed the pegasus another napkin, and then repeated his offer. “I say again, sir, that I would certainly apply the mustard, if it would be more convenient for sir…”

“Nay, Feast Master!” raged the dragon, his concentration narrowing on the tiny serving spoon that sat within. “I shall afflict the sandwich with the Mus’Tardh of my own accord, or not at all! As our Lawgiver would say, ‘I’ve got this one’!”

Haute Couture looked up to the dragon dubiously. He was pretty sure he’d never heard Spike say that… and he was pretty sure that Spike had never had a fight with a mustard jar, either.

“I must insist, sir, that you allow me to assist,” Haute Couture said, raising his hoof.

“Nay, Food Lord!” answered the dragon. “As the Author of the Code would say, ‘I’m all over this one, yo!’”

Houte sighed once again, quite sure that Spike had never said anything like that, at least not in public where he could be properly ridiculed for such.

At once there was a metallic ping, and Houte looked up to see the mustard jar go flying through the air, describing a wide arc that sent it flying across the village.

“Unfortunate!” cried the dragon. “Perhaps I was not as ‘all over it’ as I had assumed… yo!”

“Most assuredly not,” answered Houte. Together, the dragon, the befouled pegasus, and the waiter watched the silvery glint of the mustard service as it flew through the air…

…and finally fell in the meadow, releasing its contents across Twilight Sparkle and her pencil shavings.

A grumpy shriek of maximum grumpiness lifted into the air.

“Eep!” said the Mill Creek Bridge.

There was a flash of light across the city, and the dragons felt the heat across their scales.

“Hear me!” came a powerful female voice. “Heed my words, you of the greater and lesser clans, you of the ancient lines! You who have taken to the streets of my city! Hear me, you drakes both ancient and powerful!”

The dragons felt their pulses quicken as Celestia appeared above them, her sun at her back, her eyes alight, her plunger rubbery.

“Knock it off,” she concluded.

A very solemn line of dragons began to sheepishly proceed out of the city limits of Ponyville. The very relieved citizens, and distraught realtors, watched them go. Celestia followed along behind the last dragon, her plunger swinging back and forth like a metronome, humming happily as she corralled the dragons like a very adept shepherdess… if shepherds corralled dragons, which they generally don’t. As she went she took tiny nibbles out of the largely uneaten dandelion sandwich, enjoying it immensely despite the lack of any mustard.

Once the dragons had been reassembled in the meadow, they sat there under the gaze of a very disappointed looking adorable purple god.

“Seriously?” he said. “You didn’t even let me finish! I was gonna say that I have friends who will help you learn about this kinda stuff! You keep assuming stuff, and changing what I say! Don’t do that, okay? You know what happens when you assume, right?”

“It leads to you discovering vast caverns of wealth, vast hoards of glittering jewels, and…” announced one dragon, the massive creature falling over in a kind of covetous rhapsody.

“No,” Spike said unequivocally. “It makes an… you know what? Nevermind. Just… jeez, just actually listen to what I’m saying rather than applying your own meaning, okay? Please?”

The dragons smiled, their toothy grins offering less reassurance than he would have hoped, instead setting up nightmares for the ponies that witnessed it for any number of nights to come.

“Okay, okay,” he said, rubbing his forehead with the back of his thumb. “My friend Applejack agreed to help us out.”

Spike raised his head. Even as he did the familiar orange frame and blonde locks of his earth pony friend appeared on the horizon. Looking past where Twilight still sat grumpily among her pencil shaving and mustard stains, Spike put his hand over his eyes and spotted the next part of his plan.

A flock of chickens followed along behind her, coming down the road in a great poultry-based tide.

Kenbroath raised his hand, and soon he had lowered Spike to the ground. “Kenbroath?” Spike said, lifting her hoof into Kenbroath’s claws. “I’d like to present Applejack! She’s such a good friend, and she even saved my life once!”

“Miss Applejack. Thank you so much for coming!” answered the massive dragon.

“Well, howdy!” she said, taking his clawed finger, giving it a massive shake.

“All hail the Lifesaver of The Lawgiver!” roared the dragons. “Appreciate her folksy demeanor!”

“Whoa Nelly!” answered Applejack, chasing her hat.

“Now,” Spike said as Kenbroath once more lifted him upon his perch. “Applejack, or A.J., as we all call her… she’s cool like that, has brought you each one of her chickens. A.J.?”

Applejack walked forward, her flock of chickens following along behind. She lifted her hat to the first dragon amid the assembly... a bright blue one. The blue dragon returned the gesture with a great, vast, toothy smile, one that earned him a place in her nightmares for days to come.

Behind her a fine, large rooster walked forward, the yardbird making prideful strides towards the dragon. It lifted its head, looking upon the dragon, the avian and the reptile eyeing each other with a mix of emotions.

Applejack moved to the next dragon, greeting it and receiving another polite, and nightmare inducing, smile for her trouble. She presented this dragon with a large, fluffy hen as Spike continued his sermon.

“Now, the ponies care about one another. They worry about one another… they put the needs of others first!” he said, pounding his fist into the palm of the other hand. “So, well, to help us learn to be caring, Applejack is introducing you to one of her chickens. Now, your job is to take care of the chicken. You are going to learn all about…”

“What if we’ve already eaten ours?”

Silence settled over the meadow.

“W-what?” asked Spike.

The eyes of the entire assembly shifted to the bright blue dragon, and as a few rooster feathers fell from its lips the mouths of the ponies and dragon whelp fell farther and farther open.

“I already ate mine. Sorry. Can I have another?” the bright blue dragon answered.

Silence sat heavily around the meadow, the birds going silent in horror at what had just transpired with their avian cousin.

Rarity gave a concerned whimper, placed her foreleg across her forehead, and then fainted away. So did the Mill Creek Bridge.

“Is that a ‘no’?” the blue dragon asked, confusion hanging in its voice.

“He…” began Applejack, her voice breaking slightly as rooster feathers settled around her. “He… he only had ‘bout three weeks until retirement!”

“So,” interrupted another dragon, the one she had just given the hen, “are we or aren’t we eating the chickens? ‘Cause I could go either way on that, honestly.”

Though not the smartest creatures, chickens do have some power of perception. What they perceived, in that moment, was that they were in immediate danger of being consumed alive by a rather large group of dragons.

Understandably, the flock immediately began to squawk and bawk, and then immediately crossed the road in a mass panic to escape being consumed by theologically inspired dragons, proving at least one third-grade joke book correct as they did so.

Applejack retreated from the scene, pursuing her errant fowl as ten thousand nightmares floated through her mind. As the flock fled, great clouds of feathers arose from them, marking their hasty departure.

Grumplight Grumple sat grumpily. She already was dealing with having the ashes of her raincoat digging into her coat, and they had been joined with the pencil shavings not long after.

The mustard had been unexpected… but then again, with the way the day was progressing, it was hardly a surprise.

As the chicken feathers settled over her as well, she simply stared forward grumpily. Now, properly mustardized and befeathered, Twilight simply took deep breaths.

“Hi Twilight!” Pinkie said, leaping past her friend in her typical happy leaps.

“Pppfffttt!” Twilight replied, blowing a suspiciously sincere raspberry.

“Oh, hey!” Pinkie said, hopping around Twilight in a tight circle. “You’re all covered in mustard and feathers and pencil shavings and why didn’t ya invite me!? Ya know I’m all about that type of party!”

“Pppfffttt!” Twilight repeated.

Pinkie stopped mid-leap, and then settled upon the dragon’s back. In an instant she felt herself being led forward by Spike.

“Kenbroath, Pinkie!” he said, shoving her along, the little dragon quickly reaching his wit’s end. “Pinkie, Kenbroath!”

“Charmed!” said Kenbroath, rolling his eyes back to get a glimpse of the mare as Spike pushed her up the larger dragon’s neck.

“Hiya!” Pinkie answered. “Hey, Spike? Whatza matter with Twilight?” she asked.

Spike looked down to find that she had somehow appeared beneath him, and was now carrying him along on light, bouncy trots. “Oh, ummm,” he said, looking back to the monumental grumpus of a grump that had a slight resemblance to his best friend. “Don’t worry about her,” he said. “She just missed breakfast.”

Having reached the top of Kenbroath’s head, Spike introduced Pinkie to the assembly of dragons. “Now,” Spike said, lifting his hands to show the pink pony off, the mare grinning widely, “this is another of my good friends, Pinkie Pie! I can’t think of anypony better to teach­…”

“Yyyaaaaaaayyyyy! Ppiiiinnnkiiiiiieeeee Pppiiiiiieeeeeee!” roared Gothrang the Destroyer, his scales tensing, his spikes rattling, his piercings clattering.

“Hi!” she called in her bubbly voice, waving to Gothrang. Soon the dragon was waving back, protecting his tiny cupcake as he did. Other dragons were joining in, waving to Pinkie.

“Great are the friends of The Lawgiver! Great are the blessings that they give!” called a familiar voice.

“Blessed are those who bless us in the name of The Lawgiver! Blessed are those who he calls friends!” answered a second familiar voice.

The two eyed each other balefully.

“Oh no!” cried Spike. “Not you two again!”

“Indeed,” continued the second argumentative dragon, not noticing the invectives of his little purple god. “Great are his friends, and the blessings they give that well from within them.”

“True,” growled the first combative drake. “But it is the friends that originate the blessings, as he has deemed them fit to do so.”

“Blasphemy!” roared the second.

“Wickedness!” snarled the first, and soon the two were off tumbling through the meadow once again.

“I was gonna say that Pinkie was gonna teach us about kindness and sharing,” Spike said, his arms hanging in front of him, the whelp drooping in disappointment, “but that kinda, well, seems moot now, huh?”

“Sharing! Neat!” called a crimson dragon. With that, it snapped its jaws, devouring Gothrang’s cupcake in a single bite.

“Thanks man!” it called. “Got any more?”

Gothrang lifted his claws. As the sound of the two fighting dragons lifted across the meadow, an understanding went across the massive drake. He no longer had his cupcake.

This made him upset.

This made him very, very upset.

And, noticeably, when dragons become upset, they do not flail their arms and scream. They roar, rage, and bathe the landscape in fire.

And Gothrang the Destroyer, being a dragon, did just that.

Spike looked upon the spectacle, his demeanor falling farther and farther away into hopelessness. “Really!? Seriously!?” Spike called to the air, waving his arms around frantically. “C’mon, what in the Well is it going to take to get you all to try to live by the code?!”

“It will take a miracle,” answered another dragon, this one hiding behind Kenbroath, sheltering from Gothrang’s rage behind the larger dragon.

“I know… that’s what it feels like,” Spike said, giving a great sigh. He crossed his arms in front of him, and to his surprise the sounds of combat died down. He blinked twice, still staring to the sky overhead.

Rainbow Dash went soaring by. She gazed at the scene below, and then wisely decided that she wanted nothing to do with anything that seemed to be happening.

Watching her go, Spike blinked again, and he noted a complete lack of dragon sounds.

“No, really, Lawgiver,” rose a single solitary draconic voice. “That’s what it will take.”

Spike lifted his head, and he found himself looking down into Kenbroath’s upturned eye.

“What?” Spike asked. He looked out over the dragons. The two had stopped fighting, and even though locked in the mutual embrace of their combat they stared towards him. The rest of the scattered dragons peered at him from behind the shelter of Ponyville’s homes and businesses, and even Gothrang and the charred victims of his cupcake-less rage all peered back at the little whelp.

“I think they want you to perform a miracle, Spike,” Kenbroath said, his eyes still lifted to the whelp upon his forehead.

Spike blinked.

“What?” he asked.

“What?” Rarity said.

“What?” Twilight added.

“Neat!” Pinkie laughed.

“Eep!” said the Mill Creek Bridge.