• Published 2nd Aug 2013
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Rise of the Dragonking - Scarheart

The era for peace is over. Despite the best efforts of the Alicorns, an ancient enemy has returned to resume a war forgotten by even Princess Celestia. A world is plunged into darkness. Old foes must become allies if they are to survive.

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RotDK Chapter 12: Concerned, Convalescing, and Scheming

It was sunset. On the observation deck of the Aurora, there was great anger. One dozen changeling guards were lined up side by side, standing as still as posts with fear dancing in their eyes as the reflection of a very angry queen paced in front of them. Behind them stood the hulking Captain Myzanum. They were Silent Wing's personal guards, changelings who had trained with him since he was small, each one promising officers when they were old enough to assume their earned positions in the army. Each was was intelligent, capable of making quick decisions on the spot. They had all trained under Tseng Tzu and were a very efficient team. These were among the few changelings who could see beyond the prince's appearance, seeing him as their leader and comrade.

Each one would willingly die for him. Each one had taken an oath to serve their prince, continue their training with the prince, and be the first to usher in an improved army under the control of the Queen. Chrysalis had intended to use them to push out the nobles and their generals who currently had control of the armed forces.

She wanted them after her son. She wanted them dead. She wanted to kill her son. Well, not really, but she was furious. Queen Chrysalis of the Changeling Kingdom was simply in a murderous mood. Her ire was directed at Twilight Sparkle with her guards standing firm behind her.

Silent Wing had been gone for over six hours.

"I will say this one more time, your Majesty," the Alicorn was saying to the pacing queen. "I cannot and will not let you send changelings running around in Equestrian territory! It will start a panic." She was trying to be nice about it, hoping the fuming monarch would see reason.

Spike and Atalanta were sitting next to each other sharing a tub of popcorn.

"I don't care!" snarled Chrysalis in a thundering voice. "My idiot son jumped ship and nopony knows where in Tartarus he is because they did not follow him as they are supposed to!" She glared meaningfully at the dozen changelings. "Two with him at all times. Two at all times!"

As a unit, they gulped.

"You!" She picked one, third from the left. "Step forward."

The chosen changeling did so without hesitation, assuming his best military bearing. He appeared a normal soldier, like thousands of other faces. Chrysalis thought him to be a bit on the thin side, not much to look at. Just another run-of-the-mill soldier who happened to be one of her idiot son's bodyguards.

"Name?" she demanded flatly.

"Feidole, ma'am," he said firmly.

She scrutinized him carefully, towering over him for a moment before bringing her eyes down to his. "How long have you known the prince, Feidole?"

"Five years, ma'am." Feidole looked straight ahead, trying not to stare into those terrible blazing harlequin eyes. He thought she was looking for an excuse to kill him.

She assumed surprised, drawing back and touching a hoof to her chest. "Five years! That's a long time. Tell me, Feidole would you say you know the prince well?" she asked, flashing a deadly smile.

"Yes, ma'am," came the reply.

She nodded, expecting no other answer. "Would you say he considers you a friend?"

Feidole blinked, wondering if this was a trap. "No, ma'am, I do not."

"Really?" Chrysalis dipped her chin in thought and turned away slightly. Opening her mouth in an 'ah', she again faced Feidole. "Why is that, do you think?"

Poor Feidole was beginning to sweat. "Because he is my superior, ma'am!"

The Queen was genuinely surprised to hear this. Feidole had just lied to her face. Twice. "What was that?" She turned an ear to him, putting a hoof up to it. "Please say that again, Feidole."

He repeated himself, nearly wilting under her glare.

"Very good. You may go back in line, Feidole," she dismissed him. He had told her what she needed to know. Turning her attention to Twilight, she wore a false smile, her voice condescending. "What solution do you have in that pretty little head of yours, Princess Twilight Sparkle, the Almighty Alicorn?"

"I can get word sent out to the weather ponies to start looking for him," Twilight said through grit teeth and a smile.

"I'd prefer you tell the captain of this ship to turn it around," snapped Chrysalis.

Off to the side, Spike belched up a letter from Celestia. Ata was looking mournfully into the empty popcorn tub, wishing her mother would stop yelling at everypony and just go find her brother. She had just learned to fly and was starting to imagine herself leading the charge to finding her brother. The idea seemed good to her. Spike got up and held the letter out to Twilight.

"Got a note!" he announced. "From the princess." Spike delivered it casually, trying very hard to not melt under those frightening eyes. Sure, he was bigger than the queen, but there was no way he could match her on the scary factor. He slinked away like a whipped dog back to where Ata was.

"Is she answering my formal request?" asked Chrysalis impatiently. "The miles grow longer, Twilight Sparkle! What does she say?"

Twilight was at her limit with her patience. She could understand they changeling queen being upset her child had ran away, but to take it out on everpony on the ship was unfair. However, Celestia had entrusted her with dealing with the volatile queen. It had proven to be the probable cause of her next ulcer.

"Here," she snapped back thrusting the letter at Chrysalis. "Read it for yourself."

Taking the note, the queen smirked. "So much for harmony." She started reading, her eyes following the words. Moments later, she lowered the letter. "She's already has ponies looking for him. Wonderful. Outstanding." Chrysalis wadded it up with her magic and tossed it away, not caring where it went (Feidole, square between the eyes). "She requests my presence at Canterlot without delay and expresses her concerns for the safety of Silent Wing. Celestia also assures me every effort will be made to find my idiot son."

"Might I speak?" asked an old voice Chrysalis had quickly come to loathe. "Twilight Sparkle, might I please have a word with you?"

Twilight turned and noticed a white griffon she had never seen before. "How long have you been there?" she asked. "Who are you, for that matter?"

"Meddler in family affairs, that's what he is," growled Chrysalis. "Auras my bucking flank." Her baleful eye again went out, casting upon the blind Tseng Tzu.

He seemed not to notice. "Silent is my student. I am Tseng Tzu. The colt recently became aware of a fact he has yet to accept. Truth be told, he only denies it because his years have been harsh among the changelings."

Chrysalis dismissed Silent's bodyguard through Captain Myzanum, who barked at them. They turned without uttering a word in perfect formation a left-face and marched towards the elevator, having been dismissed to their quarters for the duration of the flight. Their punishment had yet to be determined. Myzanum followed to make sure Feidole and his friends were placed in their quarters and locked there.

They had a history of mischief and this was not the time nor place to put up with such nonsense. Each one was roughly Silent Wing's age and each one was incorrigible when they decided to do something as a team. There were eighty-eight other changelings just like them back home. Massive headaches for the established military order, each and every one and untouchable on pain of death by order of the Queen unless she so ordered it.

Chrysalis watched them, wondering if she really wanted to reform her military in their image. Perhaps she should take it easy on them, as Silent Wing was uncomfortable having guards following him everywhere, even if they were changelings he knew. He cherished his independence.

With a sigh, the Queen turned her attention to Tseng Tzu, wishing at that moment for a large object to fall from the sky and do something permanent to him. No doubt he was telling Twilight Sparkle everything, worming his way under her skin and gaining her confidence. Why did it feel so good to feel her old, deliciously evil self? What was so wrong about just giving in to her greed and lust for the power feeding off love gave her?

"I've been too nice," she grumbled to herself. Feigning indifference to the conversation between the blind griffon and the Alicorn, she swiveled a floppy ear to listen in.

"Really?" Twilight said with a catch in her throat. "That must have been rough on him. How terrible! Is it really like that there?"

"Oh," replied Tseng with aplomb. "It's not really that bad of a country. Truth be told, the food is actually quite good, once you get past what they consider sweets there."

The Alicorn blanched. "I'll take your word for it. So what can I do for you?"

"I know my student. I know where he is most likely to go. Truth be told, his instincts will lead him to where he needs to be. If I might have access to a map and a kind set of eyes with patient ears, I can tell you approximately where the prince might be."

"Well," Twilight said with a spark of hope in her eyes. "That's the best news I've heard all day. I think the ship's captain will be more than happy to help."

"Let us not waste time, then. Do an old bird a favor and walk with him, dear princess. Truth be told, these old ears of mine yearn for the voice of a pretty mare to talk to."

Twilight Sparkle smiled and blushed at the charming old griffon. Chrysalis gagged and suppressed the urge to vomit.

Once the last vestiges of the day surrendered to Luna's starlit darkness, twelve black forms quietly went over the side of the Aurora, free falling several thousand feet before taking flight upon translucent wings. After grouping up, they traveled in tight formation the direction the ship had come. A dozen pair of sapphire eyes blazed with determination in the stillness of the night.

"Well," said the doctor as he finished stitching up Silent Wing. The colt was sitting on the padded table designed for patients. "You are a very lucky colt to be so near town. Timberwolves are deadly and you had no business in their territory." He was kind, yet firm Unicorn peering at the colt from beneath bushy black brows. They were like a pair of caterpillars assaulting each other.

They were in a small room of a small hospital in Grazeland, a small town in the middle of nowhere and on the edge of the borders of Equestria.

"They had Trixie up a tree. She needed help. I helped." Silent watched as the doctor covered up the stitches, wincing. Forty six stitches for the gashes on his left flank. Another dozen for the jagged cut on his right hind leg. Sixteen stitches for the laceration on his right shoulder. To top it all off was his right wing, hyper-extended and now in a sling. It would be at least two weeks before he could even think of flying again.

The Unicorn paused from his work and gave the colt a reproachful look. "She was practically carrying you here. I want you to stay overnight, ah- Silent Wing, did you say your name was?"


"Good. Now, Silent Wing do you have any health problems I should be aware of?" The doctor made a gesture with his hoof at the colt's body, especially in regards to his left legs.

"No, Doctor -?"

The Unicorn supplied it helpfully. "Hop."

"No, Doctor Hop. I was born like this and I have never had health problems in my life." Silent Wing sighed and found himself staring at his holes again. "I wish I could look normal, but I don't and it's something I deal with it every day. People have been bringing it up an awful lot lately and quite frankly, I'm getting sick of being treated like a freak." He had not realized his voice had steadily risen as his temper flared. The word 'freak' came out in a yell, warbling between the voice of a colt and a stallion.

Doctor Hop had fallen back a step. "Oh, my. I do apologize, young stallion. I meant no offense."

The colt felt bad about his outburst. "No, no. I'm sorry. You've been nothing but helpful to me and I'm acting the foal."

The doctor reached out and patted him on his good shoulder. "You've had a busy day. Fighting five timberwolves is never something anypony would consider a desirable hobby to pursue. Please avoid such things in the future, won't you?" Doctor Hop smiled and left the room, leaving Silent wondering if he was supposed to find his own room or what.

A Earth pony nurse entered and smiled at him. "You look a lot better than when you came in. How are those stitches feeling?" She started checking them carefully as if she was not all that trusting of the good doctor's hoofwork.

"Some of them feel like they're pulling my flesh." Silent had to be careful to avoid sudden movements.

"There's no helping that, I'm afraid. I'm going to take you to your room, all right? Yes, take it easy, now. Watch that hoof now! Take my hoof if you need it." The nurse expertly guided him off the table as she was not interested in fixing popped stitches. "There! That's a good colt. Very nice of a stranger to help Trixie."

"She's unusual," Silent Wing said.

"So are you, so don't be surprised if you mad a friend of her this afternoon. She's been a bit of a lost pony since her husband passed away this past winter."

She guided him down a short hallway to one of four rooms where patients stayed. Currently there were no other occupants in the hospital. Grazeland was a very small town.

"I didn't know that," he said sadly as he followed. "How did he, um, pass?"

"There was some accident during a blizzard. Timberwolves got him. Wasn't much left when the search party found him the next morning." The nurse spoke as if it was still something of a sensation. "She's a good mare. Always puts on a good show when she's in town. Used to travel all of Equestria, taking her magic act to all towns and bringing joy to the faces of ponies everywhere. Stays here now, poor thing," rambled the nurse as she led Silent to one of four beds.

He obediently climbed in and listened attentively, sad to hear Trixie's abbreviated tale and at the same time amused at the nurse's gossiping. Not much must go on in small towns, he surmised.

"You'll be here tonight just for observation. Now, if you need anything, simply pull the chord next to your bed. An orderly will be on duty tonight, so don't worry about being alone." She reposed her self in thought, tapping a hoof to her chin. "Am I missing anything?"

"I haven't had anything to eat all day."

The nurse flared her nostrils. "Oh dear me! I'll see what I can get for you. You just get comfortable and I'll get you taken care of. All right?"

Silent smiled and nodded, saying, "That's sounds perfect."

The nurse bustled out, leaving the colt by himself. He found the window and stared out it, already feeling tired as well as hungry. Mother was going to kill him. Perhaps even physically murder him. There was a very good chance she was frantic right now, wrought with worry.

"I think she'll kill me," he sighed.

"Who will kill you?" asked a familiar voice. It was Trixie. "The nurse said you would be fine."

The colt smiled at the mare. She had brought a small picnic basket. Her foal was asleep on her back. "I feel fine. They let you in?"

"The nurse said you were hungry. Trixie expected this and brought you some food." She magically placed the picnic basket on the bed next to Silent Wing. "Trixie hopes you like it. She did not make the food, but Trixie has friends who heard of what you did and wanted to express their appreciation."

There was a cucumber sandwich, cold hay fries, a couple of apples, and a slice of blueberry pie in the basket. Silent salivated when he first smelled the food. No fish? Disappointing, but beggars could not be choosers. He was about to dig right in, but remembered his manners. "Have you eaten?" he asked the mare.

Silent also wondered why he wasn't stuttering like a foal like he did around other pretty mares. Maybe because he already saw her as a friend? Or was it because of under the circumstances which they met? Or was it the way she spoke? It was a strange way for a pony to address herself, but she was extremely comfortable with herself, it seemed. Maybe that was it, he reasoned. He was relaxed because she wasn't trying anything coy or trying to be cute.

Trixie shook her head, pushing the basket with a little shove towards him. "Trixie has eaten already. There is plenty here for you. Trixie was hoping to talk to you while you ate, if you are not too tired. She is curious about you," she said in a matter-in-fact way. Trixie was certainly a blunt mare.

The colt had fished out the sandwich. It was cut into two triangles. "I don't mind," he said as he took a bite. The bread was fresh and the cucumber crispy. Silent munched happily.

"If you are not a chimera," she began as she sat down on a nearby chair. "Then what exactly are you? Trixie has never seen a pony like you before. The doctor was frightened by your appearance."

Silent paused in mid chew. "Frightened? By me?" He swallowed, thinking to when Doctor Hop had first seen him. "I didn't mean to scare anyone."

Trixie plucked her foal from its basket with her magic. While holding the infant aloft, she removed her basket to make herself more comfortable. Then she curled up on the chair and nestled the sleeping foal to her side while placing the basket on the ground. The tiny Unicorn had a pale blue coat and a mix of cobalt blue and snowy white for his mane and tail.

"Trixie is sure you did not mean to, but there is not a lot of excitement going on around Grazeland. It's a very sleepy village." She rolled her eyes in bored resignation.

Silent finished the first triangle of his sandwich, suddenly ravenous for more food. He craved meat. "You never told me your baby's name," he pointed out as he moved on to the hay fries.

"His name is Merlin," she said with a smile. "He looks like his daddy. Trixie was showing Merlin where he sleeps when the timberwolves showed up." The smile had faded to an expression of extreme loss one could never quite get over. "He will know who his daddy was."

What is with mares and their awkward-inducing moments? "I'm sorry," Silent said lamely. Bits of hay fries were sticking out between his fangs. They simply were not built for handling foliage. He worked them back into his jaw where his molars were, moving his tongue to get those fries unstuck.

"Oh, don't be sorry. Trixie will admit she is not recovered from the loss. Her husband was irreplaceable, the completion of her heart. There will never be another like him." The mare gently nuzzled Merlin. "Trixie has a fond reminder he will always be with me. Does Silent Wing have a family or did he simply materialize from a cloud to swoop down and perform a bad impersonation of a hero?" She was grinning, shaking the melancholy mood and wriggling her eyebrows at the colt.

"I have my sister and my mother," Silent replied as his hoof pulled an apple from the basket. "Erm, what happened to my griffon claws?" He started looking around as the thought of not knowing where his master's gift was. Doctor Hop ordered it off while the colt was being tended to. Panic began to set in.

The mare seemed amused by this. "They should be in the footlocker at the foot of your bed. Shall Trixie look for you?"

"Could you please? I really can't move very fast right now." Silent had stopped eating and leaned forward, his wounds aching when he moved certain ways.

"Of course." She used her magic and opened the footlocker. There was only one item in it. The griffon claws were held up to the light, floating on air. "Happy?"

Silent sighed in relief. "Yes. Thanks."

The Unicorn laughed at him. "You are a worrier! No pony will take something that does not belong to them. We respect each other here and work as a community to make life more enjoyable." Trixie returned his weapon to its place and closed the lid.

"It was a gift to me from my master," Silent Wing explained as he resumed his dinner. The apple was crisp and sweet.

"Trixie has never seen anything like it," the mare admitted with a shudder. "You appear to have some skill in combat. Why do you need it?"

The colt shrugged as he regarded the Unicorn. "My mother insisted I learn a bit of everything and be capable of defending myself. I've been training for a military career for as long as I can remember."

"An officer?" the mare guessed with an arched brow. "Trixie finds that interesting." She rubbed her chin with a hoof. "Is she a chimera?" Trixie asked.


"Tell Trixie about her. She is curious to learn about your family."

She was painting him into a corner. "I'd rather not. I'm already in trouble with her as it is. I'm here because I got in a fight with her and I don't think I should be talking about here when I'm mad at her right now."

His excuse was part truth and part effort to turn the conversation elsewhere. It would probably not be a good idea to announce to a pony he had just met he was the adopted son of Chrysalis, Queen of the Changelings. It would not end well if he did.

"You hide things from Trixie," she pointed out smugly.

"I do hide things from Trixie," he responded in kind.

That made the Unicorn laugh merrily. "Trixie understands your need for privacy. Fear not, noble urchin, for she shall leave you in peace. Perhaps we can talk more tomorrow after you have rested. Trixie is finding she likes you. Perhaps we shall become friends while you stay here, hm?"

Noble urchin? Silent was not sure how to take that.

She picked up Merlin, eased her baby basket on her back and deposited him gently within. Once she was sure he was safely tucked away, she faced Silent. "Trixie will collect her basket in the morning. Do not rush eating and enjoy the pie. It is very good."

"Thank you, Miss Trixie. For everything." The colt beamed at her.

"Your manners speak well of your upbringing," she said airily. "Sleep well, Silent Wing. Trixie will come by in the morning to see how you fare. This she promises." With a hitch in her flank and a wink, she departed the room, leaving Silent Wing alone with his slice of blueberry pie.

Draccaria walked the halls of Chrysalis's fortress in the guise of a hoofmaiden, her steps echoing in the emptiness. She was a pretty, tiny thing, a new filly having just come to work the day the Queen had left for Equestria. This wing held Chamberlain Phillip's quarters and the Unicorn was beginning to position her key pieces into place for the coming day. She pushed in front of her a dinner cart with the chamberlain's late night meal as requested upon a silver tray. One of the patrolling guards leered at her as he rounded a corner and spotted her. She smiled and winked at him.

Let the foal try something. She was eager to put an end to the years of waiting. Having a little fun with a soldier would be amusing, but the trouble was not worth leaving a mutilated corpse somewhere to be eventually discovered. As much as she wanted the slaughter, the takeover had to be as bloodless as possible in order to keep the nobles in line. Once they bowed to the peasants, then control of the army would fall into Draccaria's grasp.

"Care for a spot of fun?" asked the guard as he stopped her. Like all changeling soldiers, he wore armor and carried a broad bladed spear. This one bore an ugly scar over his left eye, but it was still functional. His fanged grin was hungry with lust.

"The chamberlain will have my tail if I don't get his food to him," she whined with a pout. "Perhaps after?" Draccaria let it hang, not intending to follow through with it, of course. Changelings were repulsive insects who were nothing more than a means to an end.

He nodded eagerly. "Later then!" With a wave, he resumed his patrol, casting a glance over his shoulder at her receding flank appreciatively.

Draccaria fought the gagging sound trying to burble from her throat. She was at the door leading to the chamberlain's quarters and knocked.

"Yes?" called out an irritated old voice.

Draccaria replied sweetly, "Lord Chamberlain, your supper is here."

The door opened and the old changeling peered out. "Bring it in. Bring it in, child!" He motioned irritably, muttering under his breath. "It had better not be cold."

The smirking dragon pushed the cart, her eyes flashing from changeling blue to gold. "Oh, it's quite warm, my lord," she assured him. Her voice changed to something deeper and more ominous. "Are you ready to move, my dear chamberlain?" The door closed at her will and the room was magically sealed with a whispered word.

The poor old chamberlain jumped and gave a little yelp as he spun and found himself staring into the orbs of a monster he knew all too well. "My lady!" he gasped as he tried to recover his wits. "My apologies. I did not know it was you!"

"Of course you didn't," she snapped as she lifted the lid covering the food. "Roast duck? At this hour?" Draccaria shook her head and set aside the cover. She helped herself to a leg. "At your age, you should be eating foods better for settling your stomach, old stallion. Maybe a little late night love snack?"

"Ah, of course," he mumbled, confused. "Everything is ready. Is something amiss?"

"I'm not sure," she said as she polished off the bone. "Apparently our dearly beloved prince had quite the falling out with everyone's favorite mother of the year and left the airship. Captain Myzanum was not sure how to take this development, so he sent me a message asking if there was any change to his mission."

"All goes according to plan, still?" he asked apprehensively. "If the Queen manages to go after that foal, it will throw everything off and we'll have to wait for the next opportunity."

"I am aware of that," Draccaria growled irritably. "You do not alter the arrangements here. We shall go as planned without any deviations. I am not a silly filly as to allow for my left hoof not knowing what the right does. I will let you know if there are changes. Stick to what we agreed."

"Yes my lady!" Phillip wanted a drink. "A drink, Lady Draccaria?" he asked out of politeness.

She considered it. "No," she shook her head. "I have things I must do." The dragon turned changeling flashed her eyes back to the solid blue of the common changeling and winked at the old chamberlain. "Starting with killing that guard who propositioned me. I am offended, chamberlain. Deeply offended and I shall take steps to rectify the insult."

"But the risk of discovery is too great for such a trivial thing!" he protested.

"Frame one of the staff. Blame another guard. I don't care," she said with indifference. "You're in charge, aren't you? I'm sure you'll find a way to deal with it. I'm hungry and have not had a proper meal in a while."

Phillip paled as her fanged grin seemed to thirst for his own throat. "O-o-of course, my lady! As you wish, of course."

Draccaria left him trembling in his room, his appetite ruined.

She hunted, following his scent, nostrils flared an pupils dilated in anticipation as they flashed to gold for a brief moment. He was near, lingering, waiting for her promised return. Waiting for his spot of fun. Well, it was going to be fun for somepony. Rather, some dragon.

She found him on his rounds, enticed him with a shy smile and a suggestive wink. With a wiggle of her flank she had him hooked, leading him into a dark place where he hoped for a moment in heaven. Up a flight of stairs he followed her, outside, to a place where patrols never frequented. It was a forgotten chamber, once used to store arms and armaments for a race of beings no longer walking among the living. Its doors had long since been removed, leaving an almost cathedral like space nestled in the rear of the fortress, behind the palace. The guard breathed on her and she teased him, forcing him to wait, promising a special place where they could have fun.

"I've never been here before," he said as he looked at the interior, genuinely impressed.

"Its off limits to all but the royal family," Draccaria said, brushing against him. "In the old days, kings and queens of the past used to have their coronations here. It's more of a shrine now for the royal family. Nopony else comes here anymore."

The guard found himself wandering forward, towards a raised dais upon which was an ancient alter. "We should not be here," he said nervously. "I didn't know this was off limits. You'll get us in trouble, stupid filly!"

"Oh, I don't think so," said a deep voice behind him, chuckling with a hiss. "No, it will be quite impossible for you to get into trouble. You'll be dead by the time they find out."

Thinking the hoofmaiden was playing some prank on him, the guard turned around. "Very funny, but if you thi -" He stopped, looked up, eyes widening in disbelief and fear. Golden eyes glowed in the darkness, towering over him.

The screaming started, a high pitched screeching of a wounded animal. It echoed throughout the great room, unheard by none save the one who craved the sound and fed on the fear. The sounds became sobs, begging for release, begging for an end. None could hear the agony. The magic sealed the place from sound and the dragon played with her food in the darkness, an unseen shadow taking pleasure in the suffering of another.