• Published 7th Dec 2013
  • 5,714 Views, 81 Comments

Training His Relief - LuminoZero



Shining Armor knows he cannot protect Twilight forever, so he does what anypony would do. He finds a replacement.

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Training His Relief

"Catch him!" came a shout from the corridors of Canterlot Castle. The steady rumbling of hooves on the stone were heard as the fugitive ducked around a small corner. He would have been the only one there capable of running quietly, lacking the armor and the hooves that made such noise as he moved. He heard the sound of hooves pass by his hiding spot under the stairs, as the voices began to fade. Victory!

The little drake opened his tiny claws, looking at the small emerald he held. He licked his lips and his mouth began to water. He raised the gem to his lips, and opened wide, eager to chomp down on it. Just before he could taste it, he felt his body being pulled back. He grabbed at the gem that fell from his grasp, watching it bounce along the floor with a sharp clinking sound. The same magic that grabbed him also plucked the gem from the ground, as he felt himself and his snack being pulled out from under the stairs. His claws gripped onto the floor, and left some rather impressive gashes in the solid rock. Still, the magic won out, hoisting him up by his tail and holding him upside down. He was now face to face with a slightly bemused, blue-maned unicorn.

The unicorn didn't want to hurt the drake, so he adjusted his magical hold on him as soon as he could. When he first saw him under the stairs, all he could see was the edge of his tail, so that was what he'd grabbed. He held him aloft, his entire body supported by the magic spell. The drake was no longer squirming, instead he was pouting. "Captain, I have him!" the unicorn called down the hall. The sound of hooves returning came quickly, and the older unicorn came around the corner a moment later.

"Excellent work, Armor. I'll return the jewel to the throne. Take him back to the nursery, if you would." The captain moved up, claiming the jewel and giving the drake a reproachful glare as he turned to leave. He had stolen a gem right out of the throne, just plucked it out like he was picking a grape off the vine. Why Celestia let that thing run around the castle was beyond him, but it was not his place to question her motives.

The hallway was empty again, save for the junior unicorn and the sulking drake, who was still being held in the magic field. Shining Armor looked up at the purple-scaled child and sighed. "If you don't try to run away again, I'll put you down," he said, not sure if the dragon could understand him. He'd known the dragon Twilight hatched remained in the castle, but he'd never actually seen it before.

"Fine..." the dragon responded in annoyance. Shining blinked for a moment, looking closer at the green-eyed dragon.

"You can talk?" It seemed like a silly question to ask now. "All right then, question time," Shining said, as he placed the dragon onto his back and began walking through the castle. "Why did you steal that gem from the royal throne?"

"I didn't steal!" the dragon shouted out in frustration. "You leave food lying around in rooms all the time for ponies to eat!"

Shining Armor pondered on the drake’s statement. He'd seen banquets before, large spreads of food set out for ponies to indulge on. Dragons ate gems, as he had discovered recently, so a large amount of jewels sitting around would appear to be the same thing. The dragon honestly had no idea that what he had done was wrong.

"Well, you should always ask before you take something,” Shining said. “Don't want to get in trouble, do you?"

"That is very good advice. I hope you were listening, Spike."

The voice caught both of their attention. Shining whipped his head forward to see Princess Celestia before them. He quickly bowed before her. He had never encountered her in a one on one situation before. She nodded to him, and he rose slowly.

"Now Spike, you cannot just take whatever you want. I know Twilight has been teaching you better than that."

Spike did not meet the gaze of the princess, remaining quiet. Shining heard the sound of sniffling from his back and cringed.

Oh great, wailing dragon incoming.

Celestia sensed this, picking up Spike in her own field of magic. "Now now, little one. It is all right, I'm not mad at you. I am, however, very disappointed with you. You gave your brother a lot of trouble."

Shining Armor and Spike stood in shock. Spike blinked in confusion, while Shining's mouth fell open.

"Brother?", they said simultaneously.

Celestia smiled sweetly, turning Spike around to face Shining again. "Why, of course. This is Twilight's older brother, Shining Armor. That makes him your older brother too. I expect you to behave better, Spike. We don't want to cause trouble for our family, do we?"

Spike shook his head, sniffling once more. "No Ma... princess," he said, seeming to recall something in mid-conversation. Celestia smiled, and placed him on Shining's back.

"I think you owe an apology to your big brother, too." She eyed Shining for a moment, who recovered from his shock quickly enough. He was already a big brother, and if Spike was one of Twilight's friends, he didn't mind adding another to that bond.

"S-Sorry, Big Bro..." Spike said, as he was placed down on the stallion's back. Shining grinned as he prepared to walk to the nursery again.

"No big deal, Little Bro. Let's get you back to the nursery before things get any more exciting, ok?"

"Actually, Spike stays with Twilight,” Celestia interrupted. “He is training to be her assistant. I'm surprised you haven't met him before."

Shining turned his gaze back towards Spike. A dragon assisting a pony? It was silly, and he couldn't imagine how it would possibly work. Still, Celestia was a wise and trusted ruler. He would never doubt her judgment, even when her judgment put a creature that could carve through solid stone in leg’s reach of his sister. "Oh, all right. I guess we'll go see Twiley, then. She'll probably scold me for being away so long."

Celestia smiled pleasantly. "Oh, I doubt that. She's been very busy herself. I dare say the interruption you bring will be very good for her. Please give her my regards, will you?"

Shining Armor bowed again. "Of course, Princess. Well, come on then, Spike. Let's go see our sister." He wasn't sure if he trusted this dragon enough to share his beloved little sister, but he seemed normal enough. He deserved a chance, at least.

It was a decent walk to Twilight's room, which was almost on the other end of the castle. He didn't have anywhere to be for a few hours still, so he could take the time. At the very least, this was more entertaining than sitting around the barracks. When he arrived at the large doors, he slid them open without even bothering to knock. Knowing Twilight, she'd have her nose in another book.

"Twiley, you in here?", he asked as he walked into the room. He heard the sounds of somepony moving instantly. Heh, same old Twilight.

"Shining Armor!", she exclaimed, cantering around the corner of the room and giving him an enthusiastic hug. The force knocked Spike from his perch, dropping him to the floor. Twilight noticed him as he hit the ground. "Spike?! Where have you been?"

Spike rose into a sitting position as Twilight looked down at him. He began to sweat, shying back from her gaze. Fortunately for him, Shining Armor jumped in to defend him.

"Oh, he just went to get a snack. I ran into him and Princess Celestia asked me to escort him back here. She sends her regards, by the way." As he said this, he raised a hoof and patted Spike’s spines.

Spike looked up at Shining with an odd expression. He'd told the truth but he'd left out a lot of the story. He silently thanked his lucky stars that he did so.

"Now Spike, you know snacking is bad for you. We don't want you to ruin your appetite!" Twilight moved over to Spike, picking him up with her magic and setting him on his feet. "Besides, I need your help to gather up the resources for class tomorrow," she said, moving a list before him.

Shining arched an eyebrow as he watched her. "Wow, Twiley. Are you his sister or are you his boss?" he asked with a chuckle. Spike grabbed the list and ran off to a ladder. Shining called after him. "Don't overwork yourself, Lil' Bro!"

Twilight turned back to her brother with confusion. "Did you just call him 'Little Bro'? I didn't think you even knew him."

"Oh, it was Princess Celestia's idea. She said you two were thick as thieves, but you sure are a strict one!", he added, ruffling her mane. She was at that nice, awkward age somewhere between being a filly and a full grown mare. "I figure, if my L.S.B.F.F. treats him like family, well that is good enough for me. ‘Sides, the kid has a good heart." He glanced at the door, aware of how long he'd been off on this errand. "I better get back to work before the Captain tans my hide. Don't work too hard, ok Twiley?"

Twilight nodded with a smile, giving her brother a nuzzle before backing off towards her books again. "You're always so busy lately, it seems that we never see each other anymore."

"You're one to talk. When was the last time you didn't have your nose buried in a book?" he asked, poking her nose with his hoof. "But hey, at least I got time off for Mom's birthday. So we'll make it a big get together. That goes double for you, Spike! I'm sure, er, Aunt Velvet, will be more than happy to have you with us."

The poor dragon nearly fell off the ladder he was climbing, causing both Twilight and Shining's horn to spark for a moment. When he regained his balance, they both stopped with a relieved sigh. "M-Me?" he choked out.

"Well of course. You are family now, right? I'll let Mom and Dad know so they won't be surprised, but you better believe my little bro and sis are gonna be there! Just do me a favor and make sure Twilight doesn't forget!"

Spike was already scribbling on the bottom of the list he held. "Buy... present... for ... ant... V... Vel..."

"V-E-L-V-E-T, Spike," Twilight said. Shining chuckled.

"Already with the checklists? Looks like we're gonna have another bookworm in the family."

Spike stuck out his tongue a bit. "Booooring!"

Twilight growled slightly. "All right, that is enough out of both of you! Spike, we have work to do. As for you," she rounded on her big brother, "don't work too hard yourself. Love you, B.B.B.F.F."

"You too, Twiley. See ya, Lil' Bro!" he said, before leaving the room. Neither Shining Armor or Twilight could see it, but Spike wore a smile the entire length of his face as he continued grabbing books from the shelf.

“Hey! Excuse me!”

The ponies in the crowded shop did not seem to notice the baby dragon trying to be heard. Spike couldn’t see over the counter, and he’d been cut in line three times so far. He jumped, waving his arms in an attempt to be seen over the sea of ponies.

His actions were noticed, but everypony was ignoring him. Maybe because he was a child, or maybe because he was a dragon. The bell above the door rang as yet another pony entered the crowded store.

“Spike? I didn’t expect to see you here.”

Spike stopped jumping and turned around. He saw Shining Armor had just walked into the store. Shining smiled at Spike, before noticing the frustration on his brother’s face. “Oh. Hi, Big Bro,” Spike said, not at all his usual self.

Shining Armor watched as another pony walked around Spike, paying him no mind. “How long have you been waiting in line, Spike?” he asked. Shining wasn’t sure he wanted to know the answer.

Spike looked at a clock on the wall, studying it. “I think...ten minutes?” he said, pointing to the clock. “The big one went from six to eight.”

The store was busy, but there was no way it would take that long. Shining Armor felt a surge of annoyance, and his horn glowed as he picked Spike up. Spike was used to being moved like this, and remained still until he was placed on Shining Armor’s back. Shining moved to the counter, stepping around the ponies in his way.

A blue-coated mare spoke as he passed her. “Excuse me, I was in line.”

She had not been one of the ponies to walk around Spike. She had seen it happen and said nothing. “Sorry, official guard business,” Shining said, placing a hoof on the counter with a sharp rap.

One of the clerks turned, and saw what was happening. “Good day, sir. Did you need something?”

“No, but he does,” Shining said, as Spike peaked over the counter. The clerk looked like he’d just swallowed a bug.

“Well...er...what do you need?”, the clerk asked without making eye contact. The atmosphere in the shop had changed. Shining Armor’s insistence had made the situation awkward for the other ponies.

They were fine being rude, but when someone makes them acknowledge him it is a problem?

Spike was oblivious to the change, as he read from a small scrap of parchment. “Umm… I want two ink bottles, six quills and three rolls of parchment.”

Shining was only half paying attention to Spike. His glare was going around the shop, disgusted with what he saw. He looked back to see Spike slowly counting out the bits. When he saw what Spike had purchased, he blinked in surprise.

“Did you buy that for Twilight?”

Spike nodded as the items were placed into a bag. He went to grab it, but Shining Armor grabbed it with magic first.

“Really now? That is pretty funny, she sent me to buy her the same thing.” Once Shining had the bag, he turned and left the shop with Spike. Shining relaxed once they moved into the busy Canterlot streets.

“Well… she doesn’t know I went out here. She was making the list this morning, saying we had to go after she got out of class,” Spike said. “But I knew where the store was, and where Twilight keeps the money for it.”

“Spike,” Shining Armor began, “you shouldn’t go out into the city alone. It can be dangerous out here.”

“But everypony is so nice!”

Nice, right.

“What if you got lost? Twilight would be very upset if she got back from class and didn’t know where you were. You’re lucky I ran into her in the castle. She asked me if I could pick that stuff up for her.” Shining grinned at Spike. “Though I was wondering why the money wasn’t where she said it was. You know how organized she is.”

Spike knew that he was going to be in trouble for this. “Oh no. I didn’t want to make Twilight upset, I just wanted to help.” Spike’s voice shook as he spoke.

Shining Armor grinned as he walked. “Well, I suppose I could tell Twiley that you went out with me. Remember, it is our secret. She won’t be too mad then. Now what do you say we get some lunch? I’m starved!”

Spike shouted out happily. “Yeah! Me and Twilight only go out once a week. Pony Joe is really nice to us.”

Shining recognized the name. “Pony Joe’s shop, eh? Me and Twilight used to go there all the time when she was younger. I haven’t seen him in a while,” Shining Armor said.

He remembered where the shop was. Within a few minutes, the pair were outside the familiar diner. The tan unicorn turned around when the door to his shop opened.

“Well well, this is a new pair! Shining Armor and Spike, it’s unusual to see either of you without little Twilight. Well, you used to swing around here with another mare back in the day, eh? How’s that going for you?” Pony Joe waved them over to the counter.

Shining Armor lifted Spike into a seat, before taking one himself. “All the mares in my life are up to their eyes in studying. How’ve things been here? You seem to be doing well.”

Pony Joe laughed. “You know, it seems I can’t go a month without somepony saying this place doesn’t belong here. It is an ‘uncultured eyesore’ they call it. Still, the best cup o’ joe and breakfast in the whole city keeps this place running fine. So what brings you two out here today?”

Spike looked up with pride. “We were running an errand for Twilight while she’s in class. Big Bro is buying me lunch too!”

Pony Joe smiled, gesturing to the back. “Hah, that’s a good kid. Tell ya what, Spike. Why don’t you go grab one of the special treats? Just one.” Pony Joe eyed Spike critically. Well behaved or not, he was still a child.

“Really? Awesome!” Spike shouted. He hopped off his stool, and ran behind the counter. Joe watched him go, before turning to Shining Armor. “So, what is bothering you?”

“Huh?” Shining looked up in surprise.

“Come on, I’ve been doing this for twenty years. I know when someone is upset.”

Shining Armor gave in. “I didn’t come out here with Spike, I ran into him in the writing store. They were just ignoring him, Joe, walking all over him. I want to tell him to stand up for himself, but I’m not sure that’s a good idea.”

“Why not?”

“Well, he’s a dragon. If he is seen as a threat, ponies could panic. I don’t want them scared of him. I just, well, I want them to treat him like they would treat another pony.”

Joe sighed, hearing the sound of Spike rummaging around in the back. “Well, you should take your own advice. Don’t worry about what you would tell a dragon. Tell him exactly what you would tell a pony.”

Spike returned back to the shop, holding a single jewel in his claws, a chipped sapphire. The damage to it made it almost worthless.

“I’ve got a jeweler friend. Since Spike and Twilight come by every week, I offered to buy a some of his damaged jewels for my best customers,” Joe explained. “Now then, you boys get comfortable. I’ll whip you up something nice.”

Joe went into the back, and Shining turned to Spike. His brother was still salivating over the jewel. “Hey Spike, why did you let all those ponies ignore you?”

Spike didn’t even think on his answer. “Twilight told me I shouldn’t get mad, even if other ponies are being rude.”

So, he did know what was happening.

“Well, yeah, but that doesn’t mean you should let them walk all over you.”

Spike cocked his head.

“It means you shouldn’t let them treat you badly. It isn’t wrong to stand up for yourself , Spike. When a pony is bullying you, then you stand up and tell them that you aren’t going to let them do it.”

“But what if they keep doing it?” Spike asked.

Shining smiled as he recalled the events from the shop. “Bullies are cowards, Spike. When I stood up for you in the shop, nopony bothered me. When you tell ponies you won’t let them bully you, they give up.” Shining Armor knew he was over simplifying it. Shining Armor also knew that ponies would not try to goad a dragon into fighting them. If Spike stood up for himself, they would give in.

“Thanks, Big Bro,” Spike said with a genuine smile.

“Hey, I am the big brother. It is my job to watch out for my little brother and sister.”

A large bell outside began to ring, causing Spike’s eyes to widen. “Oh! Twilight’s class will be getting out! I’ll never get back in time, she’ll be so worried!”

Shining Armor was going to say something to calm Spike, but before he could the dragon jumped into the bag of writing supplies. He rolled out a small bit of parchment onto the floor, dipping a quill in the fresh bottle of ink. Shining Armor watched as Spike began to write a letter.

’Dear Princess Celestia;
Hi, it’s Spike! Me and Shining Armor went out to lunch, but I didn’t tell Twilight. I don’t wanna make her upset. Could you tell her when you see her after class?
Thank you very much Princess;
-Spike’

Shining Armor was impressed with Spike’s writing. It was practiced, and a far cry neater than his own. He was confused as to why Spike wrote the letter. If they were trying to get the letter to Twilight, why address it to Celestia?

Spike rolled up the letter and held it into the air. With a breath, the green dragon fire engulfed the letter, turning it into a wisp of smoke. Shining Armor watched, transfixed, as the trail of smoke went towards the castle.

“Spike? What was that?” he asked.

“Princess Celestia taught me how to send letters to her with my fire.”

Spike has a direct line of contact to Princess Celestia? How? Why? “Well, I guess that solves one problem. But are you sure you should be bothering the Princess with such personal problems?”

Spike shook his head vigorously. “Princess Celestia said I should send her a letter if I thought it was important. I really don’t want Twilight to be worried.”

The innocence of that statement made Shining Armor smile. Making Twilight upset was a ‘big problem’ for Spike. An odd sound made Shining look back at Spike. “Huh? Spike are you ok?” Shining Armor asked. Spike looked like something he ate had not sat well with him.

A belch of green fire was accompanied by a small scroll. “She wrote back,” Spike explained, opening up the scroll. “She says we should have fun.”

Shining Armor couldn’t help but laugh. Spike certainly had a lot of secrets. “Ok, bro. What do you say we head to the park after we eat? It is a royal order to have fun today. I’m sure Twiley can let you have a day off to have some fun.”

“Yeah!” Spike exclaimed, jumping back onto his seat. “You’re the best, Big Bro!”

Sword fighting was something all guards were trained with. Magic was forbidden in the training classes, which made it one of the quieter forms of training. It was hard to talk with a training blade held in your teeth. Shining Armor was the best in his class, without question, but every now and again the Captain liked to jump into the ring to keep him humble.

Shining Armor's skill had always been towards defensive fighting, and the Captain was quite good at pushing that. He felt like he had been giving ground all match, just waiting for a slip up that wasn't coming. A strong side slash came his way, and Shining deflected it deftly with his own blade. The strength of the collision rattled him, but he didn't lose his focus. He finally saw a gap in his opponent's guard, and rushed in to take advantage of it.

It turned out to be a poor decision, as the weakness had been a feint. Shining felt the jerk of his neck as his blade was struck hard, causing it to fly from his grip. The Captain’s horn glowed as he pulled his sword from his mouth. "Not bad, Shining Armor, but you're too eager to jump on an opening. If your opponent is more skilled than you, you have to take into account that they might be trying to goad you. It is more about the mental game than most ponies realize."

Shining nodded, retrieving his practice sword from the corner of the ring. The instructor spoke as the Captain returned his blade and stepped out of the ring. "All right, that's enough for today. The lot of you need to practice more! The annual arms tournament is only a month away, and you're all competing! Don't make fools of yourselves."

Shining sighed. He'd been looking forward to the tournament for a while. It was where they identified new prospects for promotion from the rookies. There was no doubt that he'd need to step up his game.

As the captain and instructor left the room, they passed by a familiar purple drake. Spike made out a few lines of their conversation.

"Pretty soon I'm not going to be able to reliably beat him. Only get a student like that once a generation." They moved down the hall as Spike entered the training room.

"Hey, Big Bro! That was awesome!" Spike exclaimed from the sidelines.

Shining turned his head and smiled at Spike. "Heya, Spike. Yeah, the Captain is something else, isn't he?"

"Well, yeah. But he's the Captain of the Royal Guard. You did awesome! I never thought a you would push him like that!"

"Hah, I'm not that good, Spike. I am sure the Captain was just going easy on me. After all, what is the use of showing off against a student? We all know he’s good, but he’s trying to teach us to be better."

Spike looked over the practice blades while Shining went to get a small drink of water. "I wish I could sword fight. It makes you guys look so cool."

Shining Armor chuckled. "You think so? Well maybe you should train to be a knight, too!" he suggested.

Spike looked surprised. "No way! I mean, I'm not good like you or the others. Also... well, I’m different."

Shining bumped his hoof against Spike’s shoulder. “Yeah, you are different. You’re my brother, and that means you get personal training! Nopony is born good. If you want to learn, then pick up a blade and try." Shining drew his sword with a magical tug, swiping it through the air with a dramatic flourish as he held his head high. He noticed Spike reaching out to grab one of the swords meant for advanced training, namely the sharp ones. "Not those, Spike!"

Spike tried to stop moving, but his body didn't respond as he wished, making him crash into the rack. A single sword fell loose, plummeting towards Spike. In a fleet of panic, Shining Armor tried to grab the sword with his magic. The spell missed, causing his mind to race as the sword landed on Spike edge first.

I need to get him to the med wing, but would they even know how to treat a dragon?

His train of thought stopped suddenly when he saw Spike move. Spike stood up, pushing the sword to the floor, and had not a scratch on him.

"Oops! Sorry, bro," he said, reaching for the blade. Shining was slack jawed, but recovered quickly.

"Wait, hold on a moment, Spike," Shining Armor said, grasping the blade in his magic. He held it aloft and studied it. The blade looked normal, but was it? Turning, he swung it hard at a training dummy. The wood was cleaved cleanly in two, falling onto the floor with a clatter. Shining Armor looked back at Spike, who was unharmed. His look of confusion broke into a smile, along with a hearty laugh.

Spike looked a bit embarrassed. "Hey... I know I'm clumsy, but you don't have to laugh at me!"

Shining shook his head. "I'm not making fun of you Spike, but the situation is crazy! You've got claws that can cut through stone, your scales can block razor sharp blades without a challenge, and you're still just a kid. Why would you want to learn how to fight like us?" He pushed Spike softly. Spike moved a bit, being so light, but Shining was quite sure he barely felt it. "Give it a few years, and we won't be able to scratch you! You should practice with what you've got."

Spike shook his head. "Twilight makes me keep my claws short. She doesn't want me to hurt anypony. I used to just bite them, but she said that wasn't healthy, so she found a spell that lets her do it. Still, sometimes I do it myself with the grinding wheel."

Shining froze. "The grinding wheel? You mean what they use to keep the swords sharp?"

"Yeah. We tried using a file once, but it just broke in two. But I mean, claws aren't heroic. They just make me look like an animal."

Spike's reasoning made sense to Shining. His brother wanted to be a knight, not a dragon. Where that desire came from, Shining couldn’t say, but it wasn't a bad goal. "So, you want to learn how to use a sword, eh? Well first of all, take a practice sword, not a real one," he said, gesturing to the rack of blunted swords. Shining raised his blade in the magic field again, holding it steady.

Spike looked at the practice weapons closely. That was another one of Twilight's tendencies bleeding off on him. After a minute, he selected one and placed the handle in his mouth.

Shining laughed, shaking his head. "No, Spike. You don't have to hold it like we do. You're lucky I saw the Captain duel a Minotaur once, I actually do know how you would hold it. Take it in your claw, your right one."

For almost an hour, Shining ran Spike through the basics of sword play. Though Spike was still clumsy and inexperienced, he began learning the basics easily enough. Shining noted that is was much easier for Spike to perform sword maneuvers then is was for a pony. The weapons were made for someone like him, who stood on two legs and could grip them. Shining began thinking of all the advantages Spike had in sword fighting.

He can move it easier than other ponies. He doesn’t have to tilt his body to fight his opponent, he can just turn his claw.

Ponies may have adapted to use these weapons, but for Spike it was natural. Spike dropped his blade a few times, but each time he did, he grabbed it and jumped back into the technique he had been attempting.

If nothing else, he’s got determination. "Not bad, Spike! You've got the basics of the parry and thrust down, so let's try it out. Come and try to land a hit on me," Shining said, his sword floating in the magical hold.

"What? I'll never hit you. You're so much better than I could ever be."

Shining patted Spike’s shoulders with an encouraging smile. "Do you know what is most important for a knight, Spike? Never give up. You might be defending someone important to you one day, against an enemy you know you can never beat. If you give up, you lose, but every second you keep your opponent away from your charge is another moment for help to arrive. A knight doesn't always win, Spike. What a knight always will do, however, is endure."

Spike looked up at his instructor and big brother, nodding. He raised his blade like Shining had taught him, and held it steady in his claw. "Okay, I'll try." He lead with a strong jab towards Shining’s chest. The form was solid, and his other hand was held out to aid with his bad balance. His stance was wide, easily exploitable, but Shining decided to wait. He could trounce Spike easily, or he could try to guide him to improvement.

Shining parried the first few strikes with little effort. He was studying Spike's form, watching how he handled the inability to gain any ground. Spike was becoming frustrated, which in turn made him more aggressive. A novice mistake, but a common one.

"You are over extending," Shining remarked. "Your small arms gives you a longer range than most ponies, but not if they are using magic. If you push too hard, you’ll leave yourself open." With a deft strike, Shining illustrated his point and disarmed his student. Spike's sword sailed a few feet through the air, before clattering against the ground. Shining pulled his blade back, expecting Spike to go run and grab his.

He was quite surprised when Spike crashed into his front legs, causing the stallion to fall back onto his flank. Shining's spell failed from the shock, and his own sword clattered to the ground. He jumped up quickly, putting some distance between himself and Spike, out of reflex more than anything else. "Whoa, I meant with the sword! It's just practice."

Spike looked confused as he stood up. "But you said that a knight never gives up."

Shining was dumbfounded for a second, before letting a grin split his face. "So I did! You'll make a fine knight with that attitude, Lil' Bro." He gave Spike a rub on the head. "Now come on, let's go grab a bite before Twiley gets out of class. I'm sure she'll have plenty for you to do once that happens."

Spike stood next to Twilight Sparkle, Twilight Velvet, and Night Light in the large audience hall of Canterlot Castle. The last few years had been so busy that they just flew by. Shining Armor's training had intensified to an absurd degree, so he had little time to spare for his bro. On the other end of the spectrum, Twilight had finished her formal schooling. She had no more classes, and graduated to working directly under Celestia. Oftentimes, Celestia would ask her questions, returning for an answer at the end of the week. Twilight, in usual form, would have an answer by Monday evening. Of course, the rest of the week was spent perfecting and refining that answer.

Spike loved Twilight, and he wanted to help her any way he could. Helping her, however, left him with very little free time with how neurotic she could get about her studies. Spike relished the times when Celestia would sit down for a full lesson with Twilight. It actually kept the hyperactive mare calm. The shout of a guard pony snapped him out of his thoughts.

"Attention!" the pegasus called, as the massive double doors swung open. In the doorway stood Shining Armor, dressed out in his full Royal Guard uniform. Shining Armor stood with a level of confidence and pride, more so than some of the others. Spike remembered when Shining told them that he had been approved for the Royal Guard two years ago. Being promoted to Princess Celestia's personal guard was an honor beyond words. Shining Armor had been over the moon about it.

"Present - Arms!" In unison, the guard ponies lining the hall raised their lances onto their shoulders. The path it made down the aisle looked rather impressive to Spike. Shining Armor stood firm, face stoic while looking dead ahead. His walk was calm and composed, the very picture of determination and professionalism. At the end of his walk were two ponies: Princess Celestia, the much beloved ruler of Equestria on the left, and Captain Sentinel, the head of the Royal Guards on the right.

Princess Celestia spoke first, as Shining Armor reached the front of the room and lowered himself into a bow. "Lieutenant Shining Armor, do you swear to serve Equestria?"

"I do, your majesty."

"Do you swear to protect her ponies? Be they unicorn, pegasus or earth pony?"

"I will, your majesty."

"And do you swear to serve with honor, loyalty, and integrity to the crown?"

"All the days of my life."

"Then rise, Shining Armor, with the title of captain," she spoke. A pony not familiar with the ritual would think the ceremony over. Only one pony was ever allowed to hold the rank of captain in the Royal Guards.

Shining Armor stood, turning to the stallion beside him: an old and graying unicorn, face weathered and worn from many years of faithful service. His horn glowed a subtle blue as he pulled his sword from its sheath, holding it aloft between them.

"This blade has been the sign of the most noble and skilled stallions of the age for the last six hundred years. Its blade is kept sharp by the loyalty and devotion of the one who bears it. Do you swear to ne'er allow this blade to dull for as long as one Equestrian yet remains?"

"I do so swear," Shining said, and his own horn began to glow slowly. The familiar magenta hue began to run over the blue field already around the blade. "I relieve you, Captain Sentinel."

The blue aura slowly receded, until it was only Shining Armor's magic that held the blade aloft. He guided the blade into his empty sheath, and saluted the older unicorn.

"I stand relieved, Captain Armor," Sentinel replied, with a salute of his own. He turned back towards the door, and began moving down the aisle.

In unison, the lines of guard ponies raised a salute to the departing captain. As Celestia introduced the new Captain of the Royal Guards, the room broke into thunderous cheers. Everypony ran up to congratulate him as the ceremony ended. Twilight and her family, however, waited in the back. This was his day, and there would be time for family once all the excitement had died down.

When he finally made it to the back of the room, there was less of a ‘congratulations’ and more a collection of limbs that resembled a group hug. Nopony could wait their turn, so the unicorn family that adopted a dragon just shared their love together.

Spike was incredibly proud of his brother. The situation had a bittersweet taste, however. If Shining had little time to spend with him before, now he would have next to none. His work was really important now, making sure that Princess Celestia and all of Canterlot was safe. He knew that his brother could do it, but it would not be an easy task.

As Twilight and her parent's threw congratulations upon him, Spike just met eyes with his brother and showed his emotions in the best way brothers could. He held out his closed fist, and with a smile Shining Armor knocked his hoof into it.

"Congrats, Big Bro," Spike said.

“Thanks, Lil Bro,” Shining said. “Still a little nervous. It’s a lot of responsibility.”

Spike cocked his head. “What do you have to do now that you are the Captain?”

“Well,” Shining began, “I have to make sure all the guards are trained. I, personally, need to oversee all of our defenses. I need to know everything that is happening, all around the city. Sometimes I need to even know what is happening in other parts of Equestria.”

Spike’s expression didn’t change. “But you’ve been doing that for over a year. I’ve seen you on the r...ram… on the wall, checking on the guards. You’ve spent a lot of time studying timetables for big events too, like the guard patrols during the Grand Galloping Gala.”

Shining Armor nodded with a smile. “That’s right, Spike. Captain Sentinel was training me so I could take over for him. Now I have to stand on my own and do it without him. It’s exciting, but nerve wracking too.”

Spike shrugged. “I don’t get it. It sounds like more of the same to me.”

Shining Armor chuckled, rubbing Spike’s head. “Trust me, bro. You’ll understand when you’re older.”

Spike complained about the work load Twilight gave him, but he never really objected to it. He didn't like doing work, but his love for Twilight won out. He would do whatever he could to help her, and that she needed his help meant everything to him. He might have suggested that they get out and see something besides the castle now and again, but he'd never expected to have his wish granted in such a spectacular fashion.

Princess Celestia was sending them off to Ponyville to supervise the preparations for the Summer Sun Celebration. It was a big festival, and a pretty big responsibility to put Twilight in charge of. Spike, as her most faithful assistant, would go with her.

Nothing in Equestria would keep me behind!

Shining Armor, however, had no such luck. His responsibilities and duties here made it impossible to keep an eye on his little sister. Over the years, Spike had grown perceptive. He could see how much Shining Armor wanted to go with his sister. He wanted to make sure she was safe and taken care of. She'd proven long ago that she could take care of herself, but that big brother instinct never quite went away.

Their chariot had just arrived. Twilight was checking her list before she left, muttering to herself. Spike was checking through her saddlebags one last time, making sure she hadn't forgotten anything. Shining Armor considered joining her, but dismissed the thought with a sigh. There was only one real option.

“Hey, bro! Can I talk to you for a sec?" Shining Armor called. Spike looked up, before turning to ask Twilight. Shining could not hear what was being said between them. Twilight nodded, not taking her eyes off of her list.

No matter how old she gets, she never really changes.

Spike ran over, looking up at the stallion he had modeled most of his younger years after. He fancied himself a knight, but he knew that it was a foolish dream. He still tried to live his life by the lessons Shining Armor had taught him, 'never give up', being the most important one.

"Yeah, what is it, Big Bro?" he asked, running up to him. Shining Armor glanced over at Twilight before speaking quietly.

"I need you to do me a favor, Spike. Be her big brother for me. I can't look out for her while she's gone, so I need you to do it. You'll watch out for her, right?"

Spike looked up at the stallion he admired more than any other. He wanted to say something poetic, something awesome and cool. He wanted to have some dramatic speech, some really amazing proclamation. Instead, he settled for smaller words that had a much stronger meaning.

"I relieve you."

Shining Armor's eyes widened, watching Spike give his own salute to him. At first, Spike thought he had said something wrong, but the warm, happy smile forming on Shining's face told him otherwise. It was more heartfelt and genuine than the one he had when he was promoted.

"I stand relieved," Shining Armor replied, returning a professional salute to Spike. Shining Armor looked around, making sure they were alone. When he was sure nopony was paying them any mind, he drew his blade from its sheath with a magical tug. He held it aloft before the baby dragon that acted like a pony.

"Kneel then, Spike the Dragon," Shining ordered. Spike was confused, but did so without question. "Only Princess Celestia can knight somepony, but in times of need the Captain of the Guard has the authority to conscript civilians to specific tasks. By the power vested in me by the Princess of the Sun, I grant you the title of Knight Protector." He brought his sword down to tap Spike on the shoulders and head. "Now rise, and accept your duty to protect and serve Twilight Sparkle, personal protégé to the Princess of the Sun."

As Spike rose, his eyes glistened, tears of joy threatening to escape.

"Hey now! Your first act as a knight can't be to start bawling. Besides, Twiley might get suspicious," Shining Armor said, returning his sword to its sheath. "Not a word of this to anypony, by the way. It is our little secret." He extended his hoof.

"You got it, Big Br—I mean Captain!" Spike said, raising his claw to salute. He decided against it, curling his claw into a fist and bumping it with his brother's hoof.

"Spike, hurry up! It's time to go!" Twilight exclaimed from the balcony. Spike and Shining walked out together, sharing a grin. Spike skipped onto the chariot, while Shining Armor walked up to his sister and gave her a warm hug.

"You take care of yourself Twiley."

She giggled and rolled her eyes. "Oh come on! It's only to prepare for the celebration. It'll be a day, tops. You'll see me again before you know it!"

He smiled at her warmly. "I suppose I will. Love you Twiley. See you soon."

"I love you too, B.B.B.F.F." Twilight stepped onto the chariot and it took off into the sky. Shining Armor watched it vanish over the horizon. He had a terrible feeling in his gut, but he knew Spike would keep his word. Spike would never let Twilight come to harm, not as long as there was life in his body. He was a true knight, through and through.

"You know, I always liked the title 'Knight Protector'." Shining Armor jolted, turning around to see Princess Celestia walking towards him. "I think it serves to remind knights of what their true purpose is: to protect those they care about, and to fight so that others do not have to. It is a shame that the title died out over time."

Shining Armor's mouth fell open for a moment. He recovered his demeanor and replied, "Pardon my indiscretion, princess."

Celestia shook her head. "You have nothing to apologize for, Captain. You put your faith in a very trustworthy individual. For I have placed my faith in him some time ago. When the time comes, should his destiny lead him that way, perhaps we can return that title to active service after all?"

Shining Armor looked back over the balcony. "I don't think he needed it. The strength of a knight comes not from titles or rank, but from the strength and devotion of one's heart. If there is one thing my brother has, it is devotion."

Celestia stepped next to Shining Armor, watching the horizon with him. "And if there is one thing you have, Shining Armor, it is the biggest heart of anypony I have met," she paused, watching him blush. “I do worry about him. The world may not be as accepting of him as the rest of us are.”

Shining Armor recalled the memories of all the time he’d spent with Spike over the years. “He’s tough, Princess, both inside and out. He might just be a better knight than me, someday.

Celestia nodded her head softly. “It would seem that the coming years will be very exciting, then. I look forward to seeing where the future leads us.” She turned, and walked back into the castle.

Shining Armor was in charge of keeping Canterlot safe when the Princess went to Ponyville tomorrow. His duty was to protect all of the ponies of Equestria, not just his sister. He could not afford to be distracted. He was thankful that he’d met Spike all those years ago. Shining had always been the one looking out for Twilight. He knew he couldn’t do it forever, and the thought of her off on her own terrified him.

He wasn’t scared anymore. Twilight was in good claws.

Author's Note:

Man oh man, this was a fun story to write. Huge thanks to Draconian Soul for the help he gave me with this. This is probably one of my better stories, and I hope you enjoyed it too.

-Lumino

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Comments ( 81 )

doesn't having your editor as your enemy challenger sound a bit redundant?

3592780

Enemy is kind of silly. We're friends, we just both had an idea for a story with this pairing (independently, oddly enough) and helped each other out. We just made a 'contest' out of it for fun.

-Lumino

3592783
I know, I meant enemy in the contest...

It's about damn time we see a Shining/Spike bro fic. Good job, man.

3592846

Ah, thanks for reminding me. I have a few topics I need to shamelessly self promote in!

AWAY!

-Lumino

PS: Glad you enjoyed it.

Special Thanks: Pretty much the entire 'Twilight's Library' Skype Chat: Flint Sparks, cooopercrisp, Einhander, Figments, Frission, Mook Massacre, JustAnotherTimeLord, YipYapper and anyone else I may have forgotten!

...You left out the bastard who RUNS the damn thing.
Edit: You people. I'm JOKING.

~Skeeter The Lurker

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As I said in the last story Skeeter, I'm not your friend. :rainbowlaugh:

Sorry man, I guess I slipped up. Consider yourself too important to be listed with the names of all those other peons.

-Lumino

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And here I am, following you.

Jerk, hehe.

All in all, though, nice little story man. I like it a lot.

~Skeeter The Lurker

Bros? Bros.

Not many fics delve into the relationship between Shining and Spike, you did good with this

3593191

I'm glad you think so! I had a lot of fun writing this, and it is my first ever story to get featured. I'm quite proud of it.

-Lumino

3593198
You should be, Spike needs family and Shining has already shown himself to be an excellent brother

I liked this a lot, Lumi! :twilightsmile: Very immersive, I think. I found myself about 4 pages in before I even realized it. You captured the characters really well! :raritystarry:

Have a moustache! :moustache:

3593211

And here is one for you in return!

th03.deviantart.net/fs71/PRE/i/2013/226/6/3/button_mash__i_am____the_stache__by_lahirien-d6i3qnt.png

Glad you enjoyed it! Being immersive is probably one of the best compliments I can get.

-Lumino

That was magnificently done!

My heart...my aching heart.

Well done. All I can say.

It is... it is...
weknowgifs.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/fucking-awesome-gif.gif


No, i'm serious. I love that fanfic with a lots of introspection, characters IC and relationship. The style is good, it was well written, not hard but not naive... seriously, I don't know how praise more this work.

Very nice. Captures the flavor of big brotherhood in a very touching way.

3593540 Always happy to murder more fans from heart failure :twilightblush:

3593650, 3593882 I'm glad it meets all of those landmarks. And oddly enough, I am the youngest in my family, and I was never that close with my brother. Curious that this came out so natural.

Thanks for the reviews;
-Lumino

More like Twilight is Shining's protector.

Well done my friend. It's a wonder why it's taken so long to see a Shining Armorr/Spike bro fic. :eeyup:

24 hours later
images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20120705131561/mlp/images/thumb/e/ee/Twilight_identifies_Night_Mare_Moon_S1E1.png/640px-Twilight_identifies_Night_Mare_Moon_S1E1.png
Brave Sir Spike fainted dead away.:twilightblush:
Excellent story with believable interactions, but Spike has a long way to go before he's ready for that kind of responsibility.

3595120

Heh heh! He's still a kid. He can try to be strong (See: Dog and Pony Show when he was fighting the Diamond Dogs, not the daydream). But I don't blame Spike for fainting in the presence of an creature thought to be myth and folklore. :twilightsheepish:

Thanks for the review;
-Lumino

This was awesome. This was beautiful. I love this. Ideas are already swimming for me right now but all this... this was good. Nice job. Definitely deserved the featured part on the website.

3595120

Imagine a real life crusading knight coming face to face with Satan.

That is what meeting Nightmare Moon was like.

The 'knighting' ceremony made me cry, liquid pride!

As you bring up how poor a weapon a sword is for a pony to use... Why do they use them?

"I relieve you"

holy shit I fucking cried.
Amazing story man :moustache:

Very heartwarming, but if shining ever knew what spike is going to do to twilight (if that is what you are insinuating) he might not be too keen on letting him get so close to her.

I love the bond those two have made here, and I wish they would explore this more in the show. Maybe give shining more of a background other then just twilight's brother.
Also 'spike combat' needs to be a thing more often have the sword play come up, with a mix of using his claws, that he no longer flattens but sharpens to a fine point... yeah

3597060

Very heartwarming, but if shining ever knew what spike is going to do to twilight (if that is what you are insinuating) he might not be too keen on letting him get so close to her.

I'm not sure what you are seeing here. There was nothing implied, and if you are seeing SpiLight then you need to loosen the straps on your Shipping Goggles.

Never the less, thank you very much for your review. I am glad you enjoyed.
-Lumino

3597102 yeah they might be on too tight, but I don't think spike would use the word 'love' lightly unless he already knew.

3597292

Read definition one.

Twilight says in the ending of Canterlot Wedding 'Love you too, B.B.B.F.F'. By your logic is she confessing her romantic feelings to her brother? It would be kind of rude to accuse someone of incest if they told their sister/mother/father/brother that they loved them.

-Lumino

3597102 Who the F*CK disliked this?

3596455
3596720
3597276

That is awesome to hear! I really love it when I can invoke emotion in my readers. What other goal is there for a writer? :twilightblush:

3597524

I'm a bit... blunt? I speak my mind on many of the groups here, so it would not surprise me if I had a few haters. No matter to me, it is clear I did well with this story. :raritywink:

Thanks for the revies;
-Lumino

3597627 IMA come to you for editing a chapter in my story, I NEED THESE FEELS

3596720
Oh thank :trollestia:, I wasn't the only one!

3597292
You do know it's possible to love someone in a non-romantic way?
Like between siblings?
Right?

I'd have to say, of all the stories on here, this one is most worthy of "perfect."
I seriously doubt this could be any better.

3597693

Wow! High praise indeed, but I hope you are wrong! After all, if this is perfect than my writing is all down hill from here. :twilightsheepish:

Glad you enjoyed the story, and thanks for the review;
-Lumino

This is a beautiful story. Love the almost montage effect of the sequence of snippets. Very well done.

"I relieve you."

The way Spike said it it was wonderful and touching. I love this story very much and I thank you for writing this. :pinkiesmile:

3599003
3601977

Thanks very much! I'm really glad so many people enjoyed this, it means a lot. :twilightsheepish:

-Lumino

What a heartwarming and lovely read! I nearly let out a d'aww at the 'I relieve you' scene. But I saw a minor mistake, which could be very easily fixed.

"Brother?", they said simultaneously.

"Brother?" they said simultaneously.

I saw this in a couple of places throughout the stories. Where you added a comma after a question marks and exclamation points. That's the only flaw I saw though. The story had a very steady flow, and I enjoyed seeing Spike and Shining Armor interact with one another. Great job! Consider having a new follower!:scootangel:

Wow. love it. Spike/Twilight/Shining is my favorites sibling along with Celestia/Luna and Rarity/Sweetie. this was perfect.

Wow. love it. Spike/Twilight/Shining is my favorites sibling along with Celestia/Luna and Rarity/Sweetie. this was perfect.

Hmmmmm... hmmmmmmmm..... hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

... Well, we didn't actually see much time between the two just being brothers. It was either the first meeting, Shining teaching Spike, or him passing on the touch to being the protector... I mean, yeah, we have brotherly interactions, but the quickly went to something important. Not that its bad

The only other thing wrong with this is that it leaves me with a craving to see Spike becoming a knight story.

Sorry, constructive reviews aren't my forte...

3607464

The only other thing wrong with this is that it leaves me with a craving to see Spike becoming a knight story.

Well, I DO have a story planned for that, unfortunately it might be a long ways off. Rest assured that the story is in my mind, I just need to catch my universe up to the part where I can write it.

Thanks for your review;
-Lumino

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