• Published 13th Sep 2013
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A Daughter and her Dragon - Level Dasher



Spike longed for years to have a family of his own. With Twilight's help, he applies for adoption. But what is it like to be raised by royalty?

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Prologue

“Somepony wants to adopt me?” Cotton Candy flittered in the air, her wings buzzing with excitement.

Mother Matron was torn between joy and trepidation, watching the raspberry-maned filly flit about the room. She smiled weakly.

The little filly was dear to her heart, and it broke the old mare each time the little pale-tangelo pegasus was passed over. Cotton had lost her parents during the Great Fire of Canterlot, and entered the orphanage at the tender age of three. Matron had grown fond of her over the last nine years. Cotton was always polite, and as she grew older, she started helping Mother Matron care for the younger children.

Every year, Cotton would watch the other foals find homes with loving parents. Every year, she would grow older. Every year she would lose a little more hope; Matron watched it leak from her face, her eyes, and her gait. Every year she was ignored, because of her scars.

“Yes, there is some… pony, who wants to adopt you. I’ve met him, and he is very, very nice. But it is important for you to remember…” Matron’s smile faltered. She feared she was setting Cotton up for disappointment. “Ultimately, the decision is up to you.”

Ж

When Matron had received the letter bearing the seal of Her Royal Highness, Princess Twilight Sparkle, she had expected it would be in response to her request for more funding. She hadn’t expected it to be a letter of sponsorship for adoption.

The Princess’s brother was looking to adopt. The request confused Matron; Princess Cadance and Prince Shining Armor already had a foal of their own—not so much a foal anymore—and insofar as everypony knew, there existed no marital issues between them. But the sponsorship was for a single-parent adoption.

Adoptions would often only be granted to single parents under special circumstances, but Mother Matron had to admit, this was one doozy of a special circumstance.

She had been called to the palace for the initial interview. While definitely unorthodox, she had understood that anypony attached to the Royal Court would require some amount of privacy, so she acquiesced. Not that she would have dared deny a royal request in any event.

The gent wishing to adopt came with glowing recommendations from not just one, but all four princesses. He was the Chief Librarian for the Royal Canterlot Archives, with doctorates in Library Sciences, Equestrian History, and Fine Arts. He had been knighted for services to both Equestria and the Crystal Empire. She could not question his credentials as a fitting role model and likely suitable parent.

What the letter had not mentioned was that he stood twelve feet tall on all fours, and over thirty feet from muzzle to tail, with razor sharp claws, green spines along his back and gleaming purple scales, along with two large, talon-tipped wings. It most certainly did not mention the massive white teeth that greeted her when he smiled.

Matron’s first meeting with the father-to-be was soured by an ear-splitting scream and a bout of fainting.

Ж

“This was a dumb idea, Twilight,” a deep voice resonated throughout the room.

“Hush, Spike,” a softer voice chided. “She’ll be okay. Why don’t you ask one of the staff to fetch us all some tea?”

Matron came to with Princess Twilight Sparkle kneeling over her, waving smelling salts under her nose. She blinked her eyes and tried to pull herself up.

“Oh, Your Majesty!” Mother Matron got to her hooves. She looked warily around the room. Nopony was there aside from the Princess and several guards. “I am so very sorry, it must have been the excitement of coming to the palace. I thought I saw a d—”

Spike reentered the room. “Tasty Twist wants to know if we’d like any pastries with the tea.”

“d-d-d-”

“Oh dear…” Twilight chewed her lip nervously.

GUARDS! HELP! THERE’S A DRAGON!” Matron backed away from the door.

It was only years of professionalism that stopped the guards from laughing. Professionalism, and the look of hurt across their friend’s face.

“Ma’am, we’d greatly appreciate it if ya didn’t scream at Sir Spike.” A gruff-looking stallion with a scarlet-gray coat stepped forward. “He might look like a dragon, but he’s a damn national hero and pony through and through. He’s been protectin’ Equestria since before Ah was even a foal.”

“Thank you, Sergeant Nova.” Twilight smiled, turning again to the startled mare. “Please, come sit. I hope you will hear us out.”

Matron looked towards the dragon at the opposite side of the room. Aside from the aforementioned scales, spines, and teeth, she could admit he didn’t look too threatening, and had certainly not done anything to make her think him a threat. She studied him closely, and realized he didn’t look that ferocious at all. The way he held himself, if he were a pony, would have shown dejection. In his eyes, no matter how reptilian, she could see his sorrow and pain. Matron cursed at herself under her breath and stood.

“Your Majesty, I must apologize for my outburst. And Sir Spike, I beg you forgive my insult.” Spike winced as she bowed deeply before them. “I have long taught my foals to not judge a pony by their outward appearance. It seems, even at my age, it is a lesson I should take to heart myself. My name is Mother Matron; I run Luna’s Orphanage.”

Twilight beamed, motioning for the mare to rise. “See, Spike? I told you it would be alright. Please, Mother Matron, come this way.” She guided Matron towards a small oak table, where the three of them sat. Or, at least the Princess and the old mare sat. Spike laid on his stomach, propping his long neck up with his foreclaws.

Matron pulled a small photo album out of her saddlebag, placing it on the table in front of the two, as a palace servant left some tea and cakes on the table. Twilight levitated the book in front of them.

“Sir Spike—”

“Please, Miss, just call me Spike. I hate that title.”

“Well, maybe you should have thought about that before you went around saving kingdoms and empires!” Twilight playfully poked his cheek with a hoof, laughing as he pouted.

“Well then, Spike…” Matron smiled, watching the playful banter between the two. “…if you have any questions about any of the foals, please don’t hesitate to ask.”

Spike read through the album with Twilight, each page detailing a little about the children in each photo. Twilight had asked a few questions about several of the children, Matron noting that she seemed to linger on the more academically-minded ones.

Matron’s pleasant smile slipped as the two stopped, gasping. Everypony had the same reaction when they got to that particular page. Matron had taken the photo herself, but even with the pale green dress, and the lovely sun hat she wore to complement her mane, they could not hide the scarring across Cotton's muzzle and neck, or the damage to her right eye. Matron forced the pleasant smile back onto her face before the two looked up.

“Cotton has been with you, I am guessing, about nine years?” Spike asked. Matron nodded in response to the dragon’s question.

“Twelve is rather old for—” Twilight stopped speaking as Spike pinched her muzzle shut with his claws. His draconic senses could smell and hear what the alicorn princess could not. Matron’s heart was beating faster, and he could smell her anger.

“Yes, many of our children are adopted younger.” Matron kept her smile. “And yes, it is also true: the older foals get, the harder it is to find homes for them. It is a sad fact of life, it seems.”

They continued through the book, Twilight making a checklist of the different foals, their names, and ages. When they finished the album, Twilight passed it back to Matron, who slipped it back into her saddlebag.

"Thank you for coming here, Mother Matron." Twilight smiled, nodding to the other mare. "Spike and I will discuss which foal he might want to adopt over the next few days. We’ll get back to you soon."

"Thank you." Matron smiled, getting to her hooves. "I look forward to hearing from you."

“I’d like to adopt Cotton, if that’s okay?” Spike interjected, before she could leave.

“Really?” Both Matron and Twilight asked with shock.

Spike turned to his sister. “Twilight, think. She’s twelve years old. She’s been with the orphanage nine years.”

“Oh…” Twilight trailed off, looking away from the dragon, embarrassed.

“A-are you certain, Sir Spike?” Matron was visibly shaking.

“I am,” he answered, nodding. “And I know my wife would approve as well.”

“Your wife?” Matron cast her mind back to the application; it was for a single parent, she was certain. “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you were married.”

“I was married, to a wonderful mare. She owned a boutique in Lower Canterlot. We always wanted a child, but you can probably guess why that never came to pass.” Spike’s eyes watered at the memory. Twilight nuzzled his cheek, her fur getting matted by his tears.

“She was a wonderful friend,” Twilight said with a smile. “You probably learned about her in school. I’m sure you remember the Element of Generosity.”

Matron gasped. She knew the name well, and not just from her school days. Dame Rarity had donated tens-of-thousands of bits to charities and orphanages across Equestria.

“I loved Rarity more than life itself. W-we lost her, nine years ago.”

Author's Note:

It needs to be said that I was not this story's original author. That honor goes to Crystal Moose. I was initially the story's editor, but when he stepped back from the story, I officially adopted it and continued where he left off, and Shahrazad took over the position of Editor. See here for details.

Any Author's Notes that were originally written by Crystal Moose have been put in quote boxes in the A/Ns up to the end of Act 1, which is where he stopped.


This story has an enormous cast of original characters, so I created a "Cast List" so readers could catch up when I go on publishing breaks. Although a new OC isn't introduced or updated every chapter, the list is linked in the A/N in all of the chapters leading up to where the cast list ends. It's recommended, but not required, that you read the list as you go, because there are certain characters where I was not able to write in descriptions, so you will have a vague idea of what they look like. However, for the sake of spoilers, do not read past the chapter you've read. There's a note on the list's first page, so please read that first.

Also, here is the original cover art by the amazing MelonDraws, which was commissioned and gifted to Crystal Moose by the just as awesome iakovl. Big thanks to you both!

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