• Published 5th Jul 2014
  • 2,133 Views, 63 Comments

Her Father's Daughter - Daemon of Decay

A stallion finds an egg. A dragon egg. It will change his life – whether he wants it to or not.

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Chapter 1 - A Wild Night

Breezy Beach groaned as he shuffled out of the bar’s back door and into the late night air, the sound of breaking glass and a wild brawl escaping past the stallion’s broad frame. The leg of a chair and used mug smashed harmlessly against the alley’s far wall before he managed to shut the fire-door behind him with a heavy thump.

“Why do they even call it Happy Hour?” Breezy asked the night as he gingerly stepped over some of the detritus that filled the alleyway. He chuckled at his own joke before wincing, holding a hoof to the side of his head and fighting back on the urge to release the contents of his stomach over the rain-slicked stones. The alcohol clung to his mind like an amorous octopus, causing his vision to waver as he stubbornly tried to remember which path lead home.

One of the brown stallion’s hooves found a patch of rainwater and, with a high-pitched yelp, he was sent tumbling forwards. “Crap crap crap craaaap!” he cried out before he slammed into a nearby pile of garbage face-first, apple cores and old cans flying up into the air around him. Lifting his head out of the refuse, Breezy spat out an empty milk carton. “This… might just be the worst night I’ve had in a while,” he declared.

With a sigh, he slowly rose up to his hooves, shaking off the wet garbage like a dog shook off water. His nose scrunched up in protest as he brushed a banana peel off his shoulder, the rotten fruit leaving just one of numerous new stains on his favorite shirt. It had been a gift when he had last visited the tropics, a memento from a mare he had met while writing up a review for one of the hotels along the beachfront. Her name, like the hotel’s, eluded him in his drunken stupor, but he could still remember how they had sat together, watching the sunset drop down over the water while talking about nothing important. He could almost smell the sea as he pictured looking into her green – no, blue. Purple? – eyes, but like the rest of the memory it soon slipped out of his grasp, leaving Breezy staring down at himself as he stood hoof-deep in grime and mildew.

Shaking his head to clear out the booze-fueled melancholy that threatened to overtake him, Breezy focused on the more important task ahead of him: finding his way home. He still had a deadline to meet, and as a consummate professional, he wasn’t going to let a little drinking keep him from his work. Tired, intoxicated, and covered in rubbish he may be, but he still had his pride.

With a confident snort that sounded more like a sneeze, Breezy chose one end of the alley at random and took a strong, bold step forward – right onto a plank that had been supporting a precariously stacked pile of empty boxes. The entire structure collapsed into the alleyway with a resounding crash that launched the neighborhood dogs into a chorus of barking. From above him a perturbed stallion shouted, “Shut up out there! You damn drunk. Some of us have work in the morning!” before slamming a window closed.

Breezy glared up at the window for a few moments. “Oh yeah? Well… you shut up!” he finally managed to shout back, but there was no response. Embarrassed and insulted in equal measure, Breezy spun around on unsteady hooves and bucked the large pile of refuse with as much force as his drunken limbs could produce. A few bags shifted position under the feeble and uncoordinated assault, his repeated kicks causing a single wooden box to fall to the cobblestones beside with a sharp crack. Focused on venting his rage on the garbage, Breezy didn’t notice the large white oval roll out of the box until it bumped against his hoof, causing him to jump in alarm and retreat a few steps for fear of being bitten by some rabid animal of the night.

Spinning around to confront his attacker, legs at the ready, Breezy was confronted by a large ivory orb sitting inert in the middle of the alley, a single crack running up its side. An… egg? He blinked a few times. A big egg. A really, really big egg.

Breezy cautiously reached out to poke at the side of the egg, causing it to teeter back and forth a few times. When the feared attack failed to materialize, Breezy let out a relieved chuckle, his cheeks burning scarlet as he thanked his lucky stars nopony had seen him panicked by a rotten egg, as big as it might be. It can’t even be an egg, really, he told himself. It looks more like a white stone. He thumped it with his hoof again, just for good measure, before picking it up. He tossed it from hoof to hoof, a faintly victorious smirk on his face. Yeah. It’s too heavy to be an egg. It feels like a rock.

The rock chirped.

Breezy froze. Rocks don’t chirp.

When the egg-rock-thing trembled and chirped again, Breezy dropped it like it had grown fangs. It hit the cobblestones with the sound of breaking porcelain, causing the crack along the side to yawn wider. Stunned into stillness by intoxicated confusion, he stared down at the thing as it twitched from side to side. By the time his brain processed that being alone in a dark alley at night while something hatched from a mysterious egg was probably the plot of half the horror books he’d read and he should probably start running for safety before he was devoured, he could already see a pair of tiny claws pushing through the crack in the shell.

The repeated refrain of ‘It’s going to eat you. It’s going to eat you. It’s got CLAWS and it’s going to EAT YOUR FACE!’ that thundered in Breezy’s head sent a surge of adrenaline racing through his blood, but just as his brain and body finally got their act together and he remembered how to move his limbs, the egg burst apart in a small shower of egg fragments.

Laying in the midst of what had been it’s eggy prison was a small, yellow, reptilian... thing. Its long, thin tail swept the little bits of shell back and forth as it sat there in a shallow puddle of dirty rainwater, looking as stunned as Breezy felt. It wrinkled its nose and wipe its tiny claws across its muzzle. It blinked several times, squinting as it took in its new world. In the beginning its vision was engulfed in darkness. As its vision adjusted, it looked up at the large, dark shadow that towered above it, eyes widening as the pony swam into focus.

“Dddddd…. Ddddddd…” It stumbled over its tongue, words not quite forming. It stood, little legs shaking, but before long it was standing on its own. Then, as if it had always known how, it was running at the tree-trunk of a leg before it, wrapping tiny little arms as best it could around the fuzzy appendage.

Breezy shrieked like a frightened foal and began flailing his leg about wildly, abandoning the last of his pride. “Ahhhhhh! Help! It’s trying to eat me! It’s trying to eat me!” He spun around on three legs as he shook his leg in an increasingly desperate attempt to dislodge the monster, all the while screaming for for help. Drunk and panicked, it didn’t take long for Breezy to exhaust himself. Gasping for air, he collapsed against a nearby wall.

The reptile glanced up at Breezy as he gasped for air. He winced as it bared its teeth, prepared for the sharp pain as it tore into his delicious, tender flesh. “Dddadda!” it chirped.

“D-dada?” Breezy wheezed back almost automatically. When the word finally penetrated the heavy fog of alcohol and blind panic that shrouded his mind, his racing heart skipped a beat. “Wait, what? No! Nononono!” he cried out, lifting his leg and vigorously shaking it from side to side once again. “I am not your daddy!”

The little creature held fast as it swung back and forth, its loud giggles echoing off the brick walls. Again, Breezy danced about as he tried to dislodge the little laughing limpet. He growled. “C’mon! Get off, you little lizard!”

Then, one of his hooves found another discarded banana peel, and the whole world rotated around him. He landed on his back, the impact knocking the wind from his lungs and filling his vision with nothing but stars.

A moment later, the grasping bundle of horrors landed atop his stomach, clapping its little hands together. Breezy just let out a pathetic whimper.

Eventually the reptile stood up and waddled forward, swaying on the unsteady footing, planting itself down on the stallion’s chest. Its little tail wagged back and forth as the stars cleared from Breezy’s vision. Sitting only inches from the end of the muzzle and unable to move much more than his eyes, Breezy got his first real glimpse at the little beast. Out of the pain and alcohol-fueled malaise that gripped his mind came the identity of his attacker.

It was a dragon. A tiny, ugly, pony-eating dragon. With fangs. Sharp fangs. And claws. Sharp, sharp claws. And beady, slitted eyes that were staring right at him, sizing him up as a rabbit would a carrot.

Letting out something between a whimper and a moan, Breezy’s eyes rolled up into his head as he finally blacked out.

Something was pulling on Breezy’s shirt. Lounging in the comforting arms of unconsciousness, he did his best to ignore it, but the tugging grew more insistent, and was soon accompanied by little stinging pinpricks along his chest.

With great reluctance, consciousness pulled Breezy back into reality and – as his eyes fluttered open – he found himself staring down at the fanged devil as it nuzzled its golden scales against his coat. Moonlight glistened off its claws as it made a cross between a hiss and a purr, but it seemed content to simply brush up against him instead of eviscerating him for dinner.

At the back of his mind, Breezy knew he should still be panicking. He had a predator sitting atop him; panic was a fully respectable and justified response. Yet he remained calm, as much to his surprise as anyone’s. It could have been the adorable noises it was making, the fact that it was small enough to fit in a cereal bowl, or the concussion, but he didn’t find the little dragon frightening anymore. Despite the claws and scales and oh so sharp fangs, it was still just a baby.

“Dada!” it chirped as he lifted his head a few inches off the ground.

Okay, maybe it’s the booze talking, but it is kinda adorable… in a fanged monstrosity from hell sort of way, he thought, fighting down the urge to flinch when it flexed it’s claws. Instead of attacking it simply rubbed them together, suddenly engrossed in its own hands. There was something endearing about his former tormentor, something fragile and delicate, like an injured bird. He felt his heart melt when the dragon scrunched up its face, looking like it were about to sneeze in the most adorable manner possible.

And then it did sneeze, and a gout of orange flame engulfed his chest.

“GAAAAAH!” Breezy shrieked like a schoolfilly noticing a peeping tom. He beat his hooves against his burning shirt, sending a shower of sparks up into the sky. In desperation, he rolled himself over into a mud puddle, sending the dragon sailing off his body.

It landed in a squishy pile of trash with a wet thump, knocking some garbage loose and causing a banana peel to drop onto its head. It chirped in confusion, clawing at the air, unsure at how to combat its smelly opponent. After a moment it flopped over, defeated, and began crying out in fear.

The stallion lifted himself out of the grimey puddly just as the hatchling began bawling its eyes out, the sound of the infant’s wails driving an instinctive bolt of concern straight into his sodden chest. “Don’t cry!” Breezy said as he stumbled towards the garbage can and lifted the dragon free, the peel falling free from its golden head. “Come on now, don’t cry. Please? I mean, I’ll, uh, buy you… ice cream?”

The small bundle in his arms continued to wail, little fists balled and eyes squeezed shut. Breezy’s eyes flitted between the creature and the alleyway, tempted to simply escape, and afraid of what would happen if a passerby were to notice a drunk stallion standing alone with a crying child in his arms. “Seriously kid, please stop crying. I really, really don’t need this right now.”

Small plumes of smoke began to leak out of the creature’s nostrils as it noticeably grew a few degrees warmer. The knowledge that he was holding an upset living flamethrower in an alley filled with flammable garbage caused Breezy’s voice to jump a few octaves. “Look, I promise, if you stop crying, I’ll take you home and, and give you anything you want! Just please, stop!”

To his shock, the wailing lump of golden scales in his hooves grew quiet, its face a mask of utter seriousness. It leaned forward, placing its little claws on either side of his muzzle. “Dada.”

Breezy froze. “What?”

The dragon’s green eyes sparkled. “Dada,” it repeated.

Breezy’s jaw dropped. “No. No! I already told you, I am not your dada!” he protested, shaking his head vigorously. “That ain’t happening.”

“Dada!” the little dragon said in a happy little shriek, giggling as Breezy spun around looking for assistance.

“Oh, come on! I’m far too young, single, and good looking to be a father to a reptile!” he moaned. “What sort of stupid nightmare is this?”

The creature giggled, clapping its claws excitedly. It looked up at the stallion’s face in wonder as its temperature normalized. The tail swung back and forth lazily as it attempted to mimic the distraught visage of the pony.

Letting out a long sigh, Breezy planted his rear on the damp cobblestones. “Thank Celestia,” he mumbled, still cradling the squirming dragon in his forelegs. He could feel the dragon’s small hands grasping at his goatee, its weak claws barely able to hold onto the mud-slickened hairs before sliding away. He chuckled. “Okay, I admit it. You are kind of adorable. But we’re not done talking, you and I. Tomorrow, once I’ve sobered up, we’re gonna have a discussion about this.”

The little dragon stared back blankly as its forked tongue flicked out into the air.

Breezy rolled his eyes. “Yeah, right. Gonna have a discussion with the newborn.”

With a resigned sigh he hefted the little dragon up and placed it over one of his shoulders. It wrapped its arms around his neck and began to thrum, its entire body vibrating at it made that sibilant purr again. He smiled. “What are you, a cat?”

The sudden burst of liquid warmth down the front of his chest sent his back ramrod straight. His nostrils flared as the acrid odor filled the alleyway. He hooked a hoof under each of the lizard’s armpits and held it out as far as possible from his body. The dragon met his stare, and Breezy could swear it was smirking as it continued to urinate on the stones beneath them.

“So, you’re a girl then. That's one mystery solved.”