• Published 27th Dec 2014
  • 2,825 Views, 87 Comments

Antaboga. - Reptilicus



Spike struggles to adjust to a new home and a new life.

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In a garden full of angels.

"And then miss Twilight and Spike both got blown into little bits like confetti!"

"Wow, really?"

"Yep! They say sometimes at night you can see the ghost of miss Twilight floating through the library, haunting this very spot for eternity because she wasn't buried properly or something, and if you offer her a book the ghost of Spike the dragon appears in a big ball of green fire!"

Pipsqueak's jaw dropped in wonder at the tale he had just heard from his buddy, Rumble. There were so many spooky stories surrounding the destruction of the old Golden Oaks Library. Stories that, for most adults would have seemed ridiculous, but for the small colts standing outside the fence surrounding the old library, were more like the stuff of legend.

"That story is so mad, Rumble. Spooked me proper, it did! Bloody heck, I won't sleep a wink tonight!" Pipsqueak turned to the even tinier pale colt that stood next to him, who was busy staring through a gap in the fence. "Oy, Feathers, you ought to be writing all this rubbish down. Take some pics, too. Should make a good beat for the school paper, I bet!"

Featherweight drew back from the fence on his skinny legs, nearly tumbling over the analogue camera he often brought with him, which was nearly larger than he was. He scrunched up his snout, examining the device to make sure he hadn't harmed it somehow, before turning to the small grounded pinto and pegasus standing nearby. He crouched and fanned out his own small wings, ready to take to the air.

"If you want, Rumble, I can hop this fence, fly up a bit and take a few aerial photos. I'd be back in a jiff."

"Don't do that!" Rumble shouted in terror, quickly putting his hooves on Featherweight's back to stop his friend from flying off. "You'll anger the ghosts of Twilight and Spike!"

All three of their heads turned as they heard an annoyed shout come from a few meters away.

"You guys know that story is a bunch of baloney right?" Spike stood with his arms crossed, tapping his foot impatiently.

"How would you know, eh mate?" Pip shot back.

"Uh, because I'm standing right here." Spike rolled his eyes.

"Maybe you're a ghost and don't realize it yet?" Rumble offered, shivering in fear at the dragon who was smaller than he was.

"Oh for the love of..." Spike put his face in his hands, shaking his head in disbelief at the superstitious colts. "First off, I'm not dead and if I was I would not have eaten an egg breakfast a couple hours ago. Second ghosts only happen if a pony's soul is ripped from their body with unnatural means, which would never happen in Ponyville and hasn't happened in like...a bajillion years."

"Well there goes our bleedin' story, chaps." Pip kicked a rock angrily as he began to storm off, followed by the other two.

Spike shook his head again at them as they toddled off, turning his attention back to the library. With the flat end of his tail and his small claws, Spike managed to quickly dig a small hole under the fence, just big enough for his small round body to squeeze through. As he dusted himself off on the other side of the fence he heard a rustling behind him, noticing Scootaloo was back, and squeezing through the hole as well, having a much easier time of it then Spike. Behind her she dragged a burlap sack that clattered as it heaved through the hole.

"What's in that?" Spike asked.

"Excavation equipment! If you're plannin' on going into dangerous territory requiring lots of cutting and digging you gotta be prepared, Spike. Rainbow taught me that!" Scootaloo proudly puffed out her scruffy chest as she gave the bag a kick. "I'm always prepared!"

The bag opened and a bunch of beach toys tumbled out. Small brightly colored plastic buckets, a plastic shovel that was shorter and blunter than most spades, a sieve, a tiny rake, a plastic axe that would scarcely be able to cut butter, and a rubbery toy octopus wearing a top hat. Spike sighed, looking at the toys, and was about to tell Scootaloo that it was far too dangerous for her to join him on his adventure, but the filly looked so excited with the shovel in her mouth Spike couldn't find the heart to say no.

"Alright." the purple dragon mumbled dejectedly, with the filly in tow. "You're in charge of digging up stuff outside. Dig up any lumps in the dirt or things under rocks. We're looking for stuff that's still like...whole. No pieces of stuff. Give me a shout if you see anything you think Twilight might like."

Scootaloo saluted and started to race off before turning to Spike. "Wait if I'm doing stuff outside...are you going inside?"

"Yep." Spike took a deep breath to calm his nerves. "I gotta know."

A feeling of sickness grew as Spike approached what had once been the door to the house. Being a creature born with an innate bit of magical power, it was easy to sense something was wrong with the place. Something deadly hung in the air, almost visible to the eye, like an intense mist of black on the outskirts of wherever one focused their vision. It was silent, Spike noticed. Being this close to the house and all the noise from around had seemingly been muted. He could see Scootaloo digging in the dirt only a few yards away, and could not hear a thing. Only the sound of his own breathing. If Scootaloo yelled to Spike that she had found something, would he even hear it? He thought about turning back, and was in the process of doing so when there was a loud crash. The door, buckling seemingly under its own rot and decay, collapsed at Spike's feet. A cloud of ash quickly rising into the air and consuming the dragon. He coughed and wheezed and covered his snout with his hands, stumbling through the open doorway into foyer. He felt dirty, the ground up blackened particles of what had been his home getting trapped beneath his scales, hurting him, filling him with the urge to scratch. Scratch til he bled and the feeling went away. He coughed again, noting the spit in his mouth was now grey. He stood hunched, one of his hands on his scaly knees, and the other over his mouth as he tried to catch his breath, turning his head up to look around.

The silence never really came back. It had been replaced by a hum, a vibration that made its way across the floor and up Spike's body. The entire room seemed to vibrate, everything quietly dancing to some infernal rhythm. Every time Spike took a step, the ash in the air grew thicker, blocking the bright sunlight that was being cast through the massive gap that once had been the canopy of the tree, bathing every flat surface in white blinding light. Spike took a step forward and the ash rose to meet him again, this time taking precaution to guard his nostrils with his arm, and squint his eyes. Sound began to slowly make its way in. And as Spike cautiously tiptoed his way deeper into the room, the sound became clearer and clearer, and he felt the quills on the back of his neck stand up in fright.

The sounds were voices. But not just any voices. They were his own. And Twilight's, and her friends. Celestia, Luna, Applejack, he could hear them all. Echoing, reverberating, as if from far away. He could hear their calls, talking all at once. It was gibberish almost, the voices slowly growing louder as the ash began to swirl in the wind making visions of things that seemed almost familiar. Memories from the tree, it's dying breath becoming a rancid play with actors made of soot. Some Spike had been present for, and others he had not been. And within the blackened stump, Spike was truly afraid. Was this black magic at work? Some remnant of Tirek's power? The ash began to form recognizable shapes as the voices spoke, with some bits he was able to decipher.

"Oh yeah? Well I dare Rarity to lighten up!"

"I want to learn how to become a Cutie Mark Crusader!"

"I prefer to read my own poetry."

"For the last time, Spike! You were given to me as an egg!"

"Dear Princess Celestia, friendship is a wondrous and powerful thing..."

"I knew the book was good but...I didn't know it could drive a pony to petty theft!"

"Now I realize that who I am is not the same as what I am."

"Hey Twilight! What's soaking wet and clueless?"

"A really big, juicy, perfect for a cake topper, jewel!"

"A fresh pressed hankie if I sneeze!"

Spike cowered on the floor as images and sounds swirled around him, growing in frequency as they collided into each other, the ash becoming thicker and thicker. He briefly opened an eye to stare up at the sky, wondering if he could maybe jump out of the tree and flee the enchantments within. The ash had swirled into a hurricane of black soot, filling the tree and blocking out the sun. There was a cry of dismay as Spike opened his mouth to scream for help, his mouth immediately becoming full of filth. The wind inside the tree picked up, growing hotter as the temperature climbed. It burned like fire and Spike could swear he heard the crackling of embers and the roar of thunder. Being a dragon, Spike was immune to fire, but the black lightning that was now darting through the room was much more dangerous. He attempted to curl up near a piece of furniture, only to feel the scalding heat as it suddenly burst into flames. The room was a smattering moving vortex of black ash and yellow fire, materializing into a vague shape that Spike recognized, shaking in terror from his spot on the floor.

The licks of flame formed a body, the ash becoming the coat of long hair on it's glowing flesh. Brawny shoulders, and a torso like that of an ogre or an elf. A gaunt face of an old bull with a long jowl, a permanent frown and coal black eyes to match its beard. An ashen body with the hindquarters of an immense horse, holding the torso high in the air as it gazed down at Spike. Though he had only met this creature briefly, Spike knew it by name. It was this creature that had taken his home away from him. It was this creature that absorbed all the magic in Equestria. It was this creature that had defeated the royal family and nearly killed Twilight. Tirek the Centaur, exile from the lands far beyond memory. Spike closed his eyes shut, dearly wishing he'd never set foot in the remains of the Golden Oaks Library.

"ENOUGH."

A deep elderly voice boomed through the cacophony of fire and sound, feeling cool on Spike's back as it pierced the heat. There was a loud crack that shook the floor, as if two enormous fingers had snapped, and it was over. Instantly the sound and fury stopped and the peaceful sound of nature was in the air. Tentatively, Spike opened his bleary eyes, to see the ash had stopped swirling as the wind had vanished. It settled to the ground in little piles, like black sand. The heat was gone, but the fire had been evident. The furniture piece Spike had hid near was the old round table that had once held Twilight's globe of the world. It was still crackling and glowing from the fire, but it produced no smoke nor heat, causing Spike to feel frightened yet again as he backed away.

"It's magical flame, Spike. Much like your own. But I've stopped it I believe. You may thank me another time."

The frightened baby dragon glanced up to see a familiar, though not entirely friendly face peering down at him. Along the wall lay a long serpent, its body covered in thick brown feathers like a turkey. Its tail end, bare of feathers, and covered in red glimmering scales like a dragon or a fish. Paws like a lion and claws like an eagle. And atop all this a long and crooked neck like a spotless giraffe ending in a face that was much like a very old pony or goat, with great bushy white eyebrows above clever beady yellow eyes, complete with stag antlers sticking out the top of it's head. Discord the Lord of Chaos himself had blessed Spike with his presence, but he wore a warm inviting expression as opposed to the usual mischievous grin that usually adorned his malevolent features. Yet despite being in the presence of a god, Spike felt relaxed.

"Oh.... h-hi Discord." Spike mumbled, trying to brush some of the ash out of his dirty scales. "What are you doing here?"

"I was watching you and your little friend from afar. I had a good feeling some of Tirek's magic was still left in this old hunk of toothpicks that was once your library. Just needed someone to enter and 'flip the switch' I suppose. How are you feeling?"

"Itchy I guess." Spike scratched his scales, ash still covering them. "But I'm not hurt."

"Of course you aren't, you are a dragon after all. SO, let's cut to the chase, boy. Why.... oh why oh why would a smart lad such as yourself come wandering into as horrible of a spot as this, hmmm?" Discords eyes glinted with glee, his bushy eyebrows wiggling as if he had caught someone doing something bad.

"I wanted to see if I could find some of Twilight's stuff in all the rubble."

"And instead you found Tirek's curse. What a fantastic gift that would be for Mother's Day! Here mother, I have brought you the memories of an old dying tree mixed with the fragments of hate from an old centaur! I even put a pink bow on it!"

"Heh, yeah." Spike squinted at Discord with suspicion. "How did you know I was looking for a Mother's Day present?"

Discord laughed merrily and peeled himself off the wall, coiling up and landing in a pile at the center of the room, using the white fins on the end of his tail to sweep some of the ash away as he used one of his lion paws to pick his nose.

"I know everything, my dear boy! Well, bits. I even knew that today someone, most likely you, would come strolling in here. That is the power of my chaotic omniscience. I know little bits of everything! And I already found what you want, too!"

With a snap of his eagle claws, Discord had conjured a small merchants cart in front of himself, a green apron and beret suddenly materializing on his body in a small cloud of sparkles. A white name tag dangled on the apron with the slogan 'Welcome to Discords' proudly gleaming across the plastic. A cash register appeared out of thin air as well, landing with a loud KA-CHING on the shelf of the cart. Discord began to happily press buttons on the register as it emitted various animal noises.

"Now let's see here. Hmm yes. Saving your life.... and.... removing Tirek's curse... oh and putting this tree out of its misery finally... and lets see here... OH.... finding some precious memories and belongings." Discord mumbled to himself, adjusting his glasses as the receipt paper from the register grew longer and longer, snaking onto the floor, before he tore it out and gave it one last crucial look, then turned to Spike. "That will be 150 bits, mister dragon. We also accept Mareican Express."

"I uhhh, I don't have any money." Spike stated, being slightly stunned at everything taking place in front of him.

"SOLD!" Discord snapped his fingers again and all his props vanished, the receipt in his open hand instead being replaced with a very old book, a cloud of dust appearing in the air around it, filtering the beams of sunlight now filtering into the tree stump.

For the first time in hours, a smile grew on Spike's face. This was exactly what he needed, for the book in Discord's open claw was the Journal of the Two Sisters. An ancient grimoire that served as a personal diary for Celestia and Luna, goddesses of the sun and moon. It was full of strange tales, secrets, and even served has a handy guide to some of the weirder beasts that roamed the land of Equestria. But beyond that, upon its discovery when trying to clean the sister's ancient castle, Twilight and her friends had decided to adopt the book for their own needs, filling it with new entries based on personal experiences and lessons learned about friendship and social etiquette. Even Spike himself had been honored to write a couple of entries into its old pages. He had thought it lost in the destruction of Tirek, but now here it was, floating in Discord's hand, burnt but still looking relatively whole.

"It used to look quite a bit worse than this." Discord mumbled, seeming to read Spike's mind. "I thought, perhaps if I could save it, maybe some of my guilt would flit away, like a seagull chasing a hoagie."

"Guilt?" Spike asked, reaching his short arms into the air to try and make a grab for the book.

With a quick motion Discord pulled it out of his reach. "Yes, my dear boy, GUILT. Perhaps the most unpleasant emotion I've gotten to experience these last two years of knowing you ponies. Fluttershy claims she has forgiven me. Twilight and Celestia as well. But I can sense that they are lying. They don't want to tell me that they no longer trust me, and that hurts most of all."

Discord snapped his fingers, causing the book to vanish.

"But...but wait!!!" Spike screeched in agony. "I need that book!"

"And you have it." Discord nodded with a smile. "It's back at your crystal fortress of friendship or whatever Twilight is calling it. I have stowed it in your room, underneath the mattress where nobody but you can find it."

"But why can't I just have it now?" Spike asked, frustration bubbling up inside him as he stared down the old serpent.

"Because you're about to pass out from inhaling all this ash, oh and Twilight is here."

Little bits of everything, that is what Discord claimed he knew, and as events unfolded who could really deny it. With a snap of his fingers and a cloud of grey sparkles he was gone. Spike fell to his knees, suddenly feeling very weak, wheezing and coughing as he held his chest which burned from fires that were not of his own lungs. As his vision blurred he heard a blast behind him, and saw the shapes of splinters of wood hurling through the air.

"Spike? Spike!?" that was Twilight's voice.

"He's over here near the table!" and that was Scootaloo's voice.

And then everything went dark.

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"That came out of YOU, Spike! All of that!" Twilight shouted, pointing a trembling hoof at a rather impressive pile of ash and mucus she had pulled from the dragon's lungs with a medical spell. "You could have suffocated, Spike! You could have died! You could have gotten Scootaloo hurt! And you broke the law, Spike! Me and the Mayor put that sign there for a reason and you chose to ignore it! And why? Just so you could explore our old house? It's gone, Spike! There's nothing left for us there! You're lucky Scootaloo let me know... that.... WOULD YOU STOP SCRATCHING YOURSELF?!? IN FRONT OF OUR GUESTS!?!"

Spike pulled his paw off his tummy for a second, lifting his watery eyes to glance into Twilight's angry face. She looked so angry and frightened, her dark purple mane sticking out in every direction like a mad mare.

"But my skin itches." he mumbled.

"Then go and take a bath. And after that go STRAIGHT to your room!"

"But I don't like my room!"

"That's an ORDER, Spike!" Twilight shouted, a bit louder than she had meant to, her voice cracking audibly.

Spike got down on all fours, slinking off in a way he rarely felt bad enough to do, making his way across the crystal floor to the den that led to the hallway.

"This is so embarrassing. I'm so sorry you had to see all this." Twilight spluttered as she turned to address the two crystal ponies who had been standing a few feet away, awkwardly trying to ignore the conflict. "He's normally so very well behaved I don't know what's gotten into him, lately."

"It's alright, Princess, Spike helped save our city, we don't mind that he flubbed the Cloudsdale Anthem so hard. Even if it was in front of thousands. We all had a chuckle at it later. He's still a hero in my eyes." one of the crystal ponies said, nodding his head cheerfully.

"Should uh... should we clean that too, Princess?" the other crystal pony asked, pointing her hoof at the filth from Spike's lungs that sat on a towel near a first aid kit.

"No I'll do it. And please just call me Twilight." Twilight said with a smile, though her voice sounded exasperated. "Please just try to treat my home as your home, at least for a while until I sort some things out. I know you both probably don't want to be in Ponyville any longer than you need to be, so try and take it easy. Enjoy yourselves."

"About the dragon... Pri... uh... missus Twilight. The little one. Spike." the mare began, turning her head to look at the reptile who was slinking away. "Does he outrank us? What's the nature of his stay with you? Is he... your uh.... ?"

Spike slowed his walk from the room as he heard the question asked. He turned his head slightly to look at Twilight. She looked flustered, her eyes wide. Spike felt his heart beating hard in his chest. Never had anyone so openly asked what Spike meant to Twilight. And Spike had never been brave enough to ask himself, afraid of the answer he might hear.

"Say that I'm yours, Twi. That I belong to you." he thought to himself urgently, silently begging Twilight to say the one thing he wanted to hear right now, the hurt in his heart growing as Twilight stood silently. "Say I'm your son. Your kid. Your little brother. Your friend. Your pet. Anything, Twi."

Twilight took a deep breath, taking a moment to straighten her hair with one of her cloven hooves, swishing her tail awkwardly on the crystal floor. Her jaw worked, no words emitted as she struggled to find the answer that she sought. Then after a few agonizing seconds, looked up at the two crystal ponies, and gave them a professional nod and wave of the hoof.

"He's my assistant."

A hollow feeling pervaded Spike. Emptiness mixed with anger, drenching his thoughts until he ceased to think. He didn't even realize he had wandered into his room until he bumped his snout into the bedpost. He collapsed onto the ground. He knew somewhere in his bed was that book. The book he had spent all day, and nearly given his life for, just so he could give it to Twilight as a gift. And as Spike lay there on the cold floor, lacking the energy to climb into bed, he realized he no longer even wanted the book. All he really wanted was to feel clean again. Clean and less empty.