• Published 31st Mar 2014
  • 4,245 Views, 67 Comments

Rites of Ascension: Fireside Tales - CvBrony

A collection of small, self-contained, often single-chapter mini-stories set in the Rites of Ascension universe.

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Celestia's Son

“Hey Spike,” Rainbow said, arching her back to pop one of the vertebra. “Ow. Ugh. How are you holding up?”

Spike leaned back in his chair, stretching into a yawn and speaking up over the din of the Royal Guard ponies gathered for a late dinner. “Well enough, I guess. I’m not really hurt from the fighting, but man am I just straight-up sore from being up for twenty hours straight.”

Rainbow grabbed the chair across from him and sat herself down with a plop. “Eh, it’s not that bad. At least, not for me. Boot camp was worse for keeping me up. What sucks about this is the non-stop action, and yes, I’m aware of how odd that sounds coming out of my mouth.”

Spike just grinned. “I have to admit, I never thought I’d hear Rainbow ‘Danger’ Dash say that.”

Rainbow shook her head. “Well, combat wears you down if you don’t get a break. Every single soldier in this room knows it. Doesn’t matter how tough you are. Well, maybe unless you’re an alicorn. I have no idea where Luna learned to fight like that. I mean, did you see her kick our flanks after Twi got all cocky?”

“See her?” Spike rubbed his head. “Rainbow, I was there!”

Rainbow facehooved. “Oh. Right. Sorry, I think she hit my head a little hard there. I get that Luna wanted to teach Twilight not to get cocky about pulling off a little trick, but did she really have to swoop down and mop the floor with all of us?”

“Beats me. Literally.” Spike reached into his armor’s pocket and pulled out a deck of cards.

Rainbow smiled. “Oh ho, what’s this? Does the dragon dare challenge the master of poker to a round?”

“Pfft. Yeah right. After all those nights of you cleaning us out? I’m doing something different.” He took two cards out, and carefully leaned them against each other on the table. When he removed his hands, they stayed perfectly aligned.

Rainbow tilted her head. “Whoa. How’d you do that without magic?”

Spike wiggled his claws. “Fingers and opposable thumbs. Might not be as good as a horn, but they’re pretty awesome.” He took out two more cards, and did the same right next to the others. “I figure, if I can do this well enough right now, then I’m okay. If I’m shaking too much, there’s a problem.”

“I suppose.” Rainbow looked around the room. “Still have no idea how you can have that much focus in here.”

“What do you mean?”

She lifted an eyebrow. “You mean you don’t see all the stares you’re getting?”

He shrugged, placing another pair of cards. “I do. I just tune it out. Happens all the time for me. Dragon, you know?”

Rainbow shook her head. “That’s not all it is. This is a soldier’s mess hall. You aren’t a soldier, no matter what Twilight or that armor you’re wearing says. You haven’t gone through the routine like all the others. I was honestly surprised they hadn’t tried to kick you out already.”

Spike added yet another pair. “Nah, they’d never lay a hoof on me. I’m untouchable.”

Rainbow sat up straight, quickly eyeing all the ponies around her to see if anyone heard that. A few glanced over, but said nothing. “Dude, not smart. You really want to challenge these guys? I mean, sure, some of them are regular army, but most of these are Royal Guard!”

He rolled his eyes, placing a card horizontally. “No, you don’t get it. There is no way under Celestia’s sun that they’re going to hurt me, kick me out, or whatever. I lived here, remember?”

“Doesn’t matter! Soldiers have this thing, a kind of camaraderie, but also a tight knit clique thing. You’re cutting into it, and I don’t think they’re going to appreciate it.”

“Look,” he said with a slight glare. “See these guys? I grew up around most of them. Hell, some of them changed my diapers! I’m on a first-name basis with them! But let’s assume what you’re saying is true, just to really get this nailed down. Let’s say they all think I’m overstepping my bounds, even the ones that would put a stop to anything because they know me and are friends with me. They still wouldn’t do anything to me.”

Rainbow held up her hooves. “Point taken about living here. But now you have me curious. Why wouldn’t they do anything?”

Spike added another card. “You remember how Twilight said that she was the one who hatched me? It’s true. But remember, I came out of that egg a newborn. She had only just gotten her cutie mark, and raising a baby dragon operating only on instinct isn’t exactly the safest thing for a filly. We tend to burp fire. Twilight didn’t start helping to raise me until I could talk to her, and even then, up until we went to Ponyville, it was Celestia who really raised me. She’s my mother. That’s why Twilight is my sister.”

He leaned forward over his cards, digging into the wooden table a little with his claws. “Do you think any soldier, especially any Royal Guard, is going to hassle Princess Celestia’s son? Or Twilight, for that matter?”

Rainbow’s eyes were wide in realization. “Whoa. I hadn’t thought of it like that.”

Spike sat back down in his seat and continued building the card house. “And that’s why I’m completely safe here. But still, let me tell you, I know for a fact that they aren’t thinking I don’t deserve to be here.”

One of the soldiers walked up to the table. “Hey, Spike! You okay? Is she harassing you?”

The dragon smiled. “They’re making sure that this new mare who just came and sat down next to me is safe for their ’little Spike.’” He turned to the pegasus soldier who, judging by his armor, was now a Lieutenant in the Guard. “It’s cool, Cloud Burner. That’s Rainbow Dash. We’re both in Twilight’s new Guard. Pretty sweet, huh?” He tapped his armor.

Burner smiled. “Well, I had heard a rumor about that. Guess it’s true. Be careful out there, okay? And listen to Princess Luna. She’s crazy, but she knows what she’s doing. Kicked all our flanks in a demonstration once. Made it look easy. I don’t have a single clue as to how in the hell she does what she does.”

“Same here, brother,” Spike said. “Same here.”