• Published 2nd May 2012
  • 11,855 Views, 785 Comments

Family Secrets: The Reveal - Schrodinger's Pony



The Mane Six are keeping secrets from each other. All of their secrets are uncovered.

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The Dragon in Pony's Skin

Lady Babbage was griffon-watching.

She was an avid bird watcher, and griffons were the most fascinating birds. She pressed herself closer to her giant binoculars, as she watched them circle through the air.

Lady Babbage was not a beautiful dragon, but she was what passed for ‘cute’. She was on the small side, with oversized forefangs poking through her beak’s lips. The moajority of her scales were a glistening violet, but the scales on her underside were as gold as the sun. Her wings were large enough to be unwieldy in flight, but she could wrap them around her, to give her the appearance of wearing a cape, or resting in a cozy blanket. Her tail was practically non-existent.

It was a good thing then, that she’d had the fortune to mate Lord Stockholm. Lord Stockholm was the leader of her pack, which meant she was an honorary member of the Great Pack. He was a strong dragon, a decade older then her. He didn’t have a beak, but she preferred him with his strong jaw. His tail was long, oh so long, and his wings were short but powerful. His scales were mostly a daring red, with his underside scales a calming ocean blue. He’d often go into the Sunlands, just for the adventure of being in a place filled with monsters, and they’d met while she was bird-watching.

She was lucky to have him. Oh, so lucky. They were on their first anniversary, and they hoped that this time they would find an elusive phoenix to add to their collection.

“My falcon.” She started, as he approached her from behind.

“Oh! Stockholm, you gave me a start. I thought that…” She froze, as he presented her and apple tree.

“I’m sorry I’m late my beautiful Falcon, but I saw one of your favorite trees, and I decided to treat you.” He held out an apple tree, like it was a bouquet of flowers.

“Oh, my wonderful Eagle, you shouldn’t have!” She accepted the tree, and gracefully roasted it. She at the delicious top off of the roasted apple tree, and since he was watching, she made sure to chew very, slowly.

“That was delicious my Eagle.” She stroked his chest with her beak.

“Only the best for you, the apple of my eye.” He pulled her close, and wrapped his tail around her, in a way that made her inner schooldragon ‘squee’.

But before their romance could progress further, the unthinkable happened. A small cry rang out through the grove of trees.

“What was that?” The pair of them looked around. Queen Babbage saw it first in her binoculars. “Oh, look Stockholm!”

The two of them crept forward cautiously. The carriage was turned over on its side, griffon marks scratched all over it. There were some bloodstains and a loud crying sound.

“Be careful.” Lord Stockholm whispered. “This is a pony carriage. It might be a trap.”

Lady Babbage shook the thought that if the ponies used one of their own babies in a dragon trap then they really were as monstrous as the legends claimed. She pushed one of the curtain aside, and found herself staring into the most beautiful eyes she’d ever seen. They were the same shade of blue as Stockholm’s, so clear and pure, framed by a face that, even though it belonged to a pony, she had to admit she found adorable.

The baby with a golden coat and a pink mane looked up in the dragon’s eyes, and sniffed, wondering whether to cry, or laugh, or maybe perhaps try to hide. In the end it settled for; “Gphtrrrrrrrrrgle.”

“Aaaaaaaw.” Lady Babbage reached into the carriage and pulled out the pony.

“Careful my love!” Lord Stockholm whispered. “You know the legends! They eat dragons eggs before they hatch, and they can tear a dragon apart with their bare teeth!”

“This one doesn’t even have teeth yet.” A hundred years of fear for ponies were lost in this creature's wonderful blue eyes. Lady Babbage cooed at the Pegasus filly. “Oh my love, can we please keep it? I so want to keep it! It’s so adorable! It even has your eyes!”

“I don’t know.” Lord Stockholm still looked warily at the pony. “It’s a pony after all. It may be cute now, but some day it will be eating dragon eggs and turning our skeletons into a house.”

“Not if we raise it to be on our side.” Lady Babbge looked at her mate with pleading eyes. “We can’t leave it out here. We just can’t.”

Lord Stockholm sighed. “Fine. But if it so much as looks at me like I’m a piece of meat, I’m putting it down.”

~0o0~

The baby was crying. They didn’t know why. It was in their nicest cage, with a drinking tube filled with crystal spring water, the bottom of the cage filled with comfortable straw.

And still it cried.

“Maybe it’s hungry?” Lady Babbage asked.

“Well that’s great.” Lord Stockholm growled. “But we don’t have any dragon eggs to spare.”

“Maybe…” Lady Babbage looked up at her mate meekly. “Maybe this is a bad idea… but don’t legends say that… ponies also eat the flesh of freshly dead dragons? Maybe we… need…” She stopped at the look she was getting.

“I’m not that attached to it yet.” Lord Stockholm said. He stroked his chin in thought. “Wait… it’s a mammal, right?”

“Right…”

He snapped his claws. “So, mammal hatchlings don’t eat solid food right away! They eat milk and… and mushed up food! Maybe pony mothers eat the dragon eggs first, then regurgitate them to their young, like birds?”

Lady Babbage felt vaguely ill. “I think we’ll stick to milk for now. Maybe ruby milk, like what we use to feed dragon hatchlings?”

“Okay, we’ll try that.” Ruby milk wasn’t literally ‘milk’. Dragons didn’t have milk. Ruby milk was rubies powdered so finely, that they turned into a paste instead of a powder. A quick trip to their family hoard, and Lord Stockholm filled a saucer with Ruby Milk and watered it down with some water from her drinking tube.

She was still crying.

“Oh, there, there, sweetie.” Lady Babbage opened the cage door.

“Careful dear.” Her mate warned her, but she simply nudged the baby towards the bowl, and put her mouth to it. The baby was surprised, but experimentally began licking, and then began to gobble it up with a fervor.

“Phew.” Lord Stockholm whipped the sweat off his brow, as his mate withdrew her claw from the cage and shut the door.

“Well, that’s better than feeding it dragons eggs.” Lady Babbage said with a grin.

“We don’t have very many rubies.” Lord Stockholm said. “Maybe we could scavenge some shells from already hatched eggs, and see if it will eat those?”

“Maybe…” Lady Babbage became lost in thought as she looked into those deep blue eyes. “Oh Stockholm, isn’t she adorable?”

The baby sat up and burped loudly.

“The cutest little killer I’ve ever seen.” He wrapped his arms around her. “Don’t get too attached to it my falcon, we still don’t know anything about it. In fact… maybe I should talk to some of the Great Pack about it. ”

~0o0~

The roar coming from The Great Volcano was deafening. Plumes of fire shot out from the rim, and Lady Babbage huddled in the shelter of a nearby cave, clutching the Pegasus foal to her chest. Two strong dragons stood guard outside of the cave, and a sickly green dragon waited inside the cave with her. The sickly green dragon had been her Mirror-Match for a while now, but she didn’t want him to comfort her as she waited for the outcome of the fight. The fight had been going on for two days now. Between her beloved mate Lord Stockholm, and Smaug, the dragon king.

“You know…” Lord Krastos hissed, in a voice that was deep, yet serpentine. “Thisss could end at any time. Your mate hasss been fighting Sssmaug for two daysss now. Impressssive, but he won’t lassst for much longer. All it would take, isss for one of you to kill thisss mossster.”

“He hasn’t asked me to kill her yet.” Lady Babbage fought back the tears that threatened to creep into her vision. “That must mean he still thinks he can win.”

“Or that Sssmaug hasss torn out hisss throat.” Krastos sneered. “There are other poniesss. If you want to raissse a weapon to dethrone Sssmaug, I can help with the next one. I’ll be able to help you keep it our little sssecret.”

“It’s not a weapon.” Lady Babbage snarled. “And why would you help me anyway?”

“Becaussse…” Krastos looked over Lady Babbage. “I am in need of a mate. And any mate with the audacity to raissse thisss foul abomination isss wasssted on Lord Ssstockholm.”

Suddenly, with a final deathly roar, and a plume of fire that reached the perpetual veil of smoke above them, the sounds of battle stopped.

There was a moment where both dragons waited in baited breath.

And then with a roar, the vice-drake yelled; “Smaug is dead! Long live Smaug!”

“Your ‘concern’ is all that is wasted here.” Lady Babbage grinned at the shocked Krastos as roars of victory rang out among the mountains. “Don’t let me catch you calling your new princess a foul abomination again.”

She left the glaring Krastos to his devices, as she flew off with a hopeful heart to the Great Volcano where her mate lay victorious.

She flew to his side, as the doctor dragons tended to him. His breathing was labored, and his right wing was torn, but he summoned the strength to reach up and hold her claw. “How long… were we fighting?” Lord Stockholm – that is, Smaug – asked her.

“Two days.” Lady Babbage – that is, Queen Babbage – replied, stroking his claw. “You were strong as the mountains, and fierce as the winds.” She gave him the highest compliment a dragon could receive after battle. “How on earth did you manage it?”

“He was a monstrous fighter all right.” Smaug coughed. “But he lacked intelligence. I was able to hold him off… play cat and mouse with him… until I finally figure out ‘the Stare’.”

She gasped. “You found the secret? The secret to the perfect glare, that will send all but the strongest of will running?”

“He had a strong will.” Smaug grinned. “But my predecessor put all of his will… towards not running, and that… gave me the final opening. Do you think it was worth it?”

“Dadda!”

Both dragons looked down, as the smiling foal in Queen Babbage’s claw gurgled happily and waved her hooves at them. “Dadda! Dadda!”

“I… don’t think we can keep calling her ‘it’ after you’ve done all this to protect her.” Queen Babbage let the tears she’d been holding back flow freely, for there was no shame in them now.

“No indeed.” Smaug smiled. “What should we call her? The others of the Great Pack believe I’m raising her as a weapon. They’re sure to want to hurt or rule her. We should name her something fierce, something to ensure they’ll be too scared to touch her… perhaps Vesuvius, or Jormungard, or Tarzan?”

Queen Babbage bit her lip. “Actually… I was thinking… I’d like to name her after my mother… if that’s alright with you…”

Smaug frowned. “Lady Fluttershy? Fluttershy is not a mighty name for a dragon princess.”

Queen Babbage hung her head.

“But…” Smaug considered. “It is a very fine name… for our daughter.”

“Dadda!” The happy Pegasus filly giggled.

~0o0~

A small green dragon slid down the inside of the crater. When it came to almost the bottom, he found a small rock jutting out and steered his slide towards it. His sliding fall turned into a glide, as he spread his wings. He soared through the air, looking triumphant, and let out a small roar throughout the volcano pit.

All of the other dragons ‘ooo’ed and ‘aaaah’ed.

He folded his wings in, and landed. “Alright you babies!” He yelled, in a voice that was thin and childish, but he convinced himself was manly. “My name is Hotshot! My daddy just arrive in the West Wind Pack, so I’m stuck with you lot instead of my old pack! I was a pack leader there, and I’ll be a pack leader here! Now, tell me who your pack leader is so I can beat him in fair combat!”

To his surprise, they all flinched back when they heard his demand. One of them, a green dragon with twelve legs and weird eyes, scurried forward.

“Are you insane?” She whispered. “If you challenge her, she could kill you!”

“Her?” Hotshot scoffed. “You mean you’re all letting yourselves be bossed around by a namby pamby girl? Let me at her, I’ll show you how a real pack leader does things!”

“I tried to warn you.” The green dragon slipped back into the group, and the pack parted.

Hotshot gasped. The dragon who walked forward was an inch taller then the other dragons his age, born up by long legs (on which she walked on all fours). She had hair, which some dragons did, but not this much! It fell over her face; a face without fangs, without snout, without scales. He legs didn’t end in claws or feet; they ended in evil looking stubs.

Hotshot took a step back. “You’re a… a… a…”

This was a pony.

“Hello!” She said, puffing up her chest. “I’m Fluttershy! If you want a piece of me, name your challenges! The only thing I won’t do is lava diving! But if you feel like yielding now that you know I’m a pony, go ahead!”

Hotshot trembled, but stood his ground. “No!” He said. “Before this day is up, you will either yield to me, or be my Mirror-Match! My challenges are; Belching, Trash Talking, and Wrassling!”

“Crackle!” Fluttershy called, and the green dragon stepped up again. “You be the judge!”

The green dragon stood between Hotshot and Fluttershy. “Biggest belch you can manage, on three. One…”

Their eyes met.

“Two…”

Their stomachs rumbled.

“Three!”

The two of them belched, and Hotshot paled when he realized his biggest ball of fire went out before Fluttershy’s miniature sun.

“Fluttershy wins!” Crackled called. “She gets to start the next round! Trash Talking! The first dragon to get a rise out of the other, gets to start the next round! One sentence insults only!”

Crackle leaned in close to Hotshot. “Throw the match.”

“What?”

“I’m serious. You really want to throw this match. Don’t even try to get her angry.”

“I’m not gonna throw the match!”

“Your funeral.” Crackle leaned back, and the two opponents stared each other down.

“Fluttershy… go!”

Fluttershy took a deep breath. “You… did a very nice glide back then.”

Hotshot blinked. “Wait, is that it?” His eyes wrinkled in confusion. “Is that really the insult you’re going with?”

“Hotshot! Go!”

“Your insults stink worse than my dad’s socks after he takes a lava bath!”

Fluttershy didn’t seem upset by this at all.

“Fluttershy! Go!”

“Well, I could almost imagine being hurt by your insults, they’re phrased very cruelly.”

Again, Hotshot was befuddled. “Thank… thank you? I’m sorry, is this a joke? Did you just pay me a compliment? Twice?”

Fluttershy frowned. “Oh no, it wasn’t a compliment, you really were pretty mean just then.”

“Hotshot! Go!”

“You’re brain’s so small, you should be called Flutterwhy?”

It wasn’t his best work, but still, it should have had some effect on her. “Get it? It took your name and…”

The crowd was murmuring, and Crackle whispered. “You’re hitting too close to home. Don’t go there. Fluttershy! Go!”

Fluttershy smiled. “For a dragon, you really should know better trying to out-do a pony.”

Hotshot grimaced. “Is this funny to you? Am I not a serious enough threat against your title as pack leader? Well then, you leave me no other choice.”

The crowd’s eyes widened, and Crackle weakly muttered; “Hotshot… go.”

“You’re mommy’s so lame, that she –”

Suddenly, Fluttershy was upon him. “WHAT DID YOU SAY ABOUT MY MOTHER!?”

“Hotshot wins!” Crackle said hurriedly. “Next round; fighting! First dragon to yield loses!”

Hotshot laughed. “I’ve got this in the bag.”

Crackled hurried over to him. “She’s angry now. Your best bet is to yield quickly.”

“What? I’m on a roll! Besides, what’s she going to do? She doesn’t have claws or fangs or even scales!”

“She’s also a pony!” Crackled glared at him. “Don’t you know who you’re dealing with? She’s Princess Fluttershy! Fluttershy the Laughing Doom! Fluttershy the Unblinking! Fluttershy the Monster!”

Hotshot’s eyes widened. “You mean… that’s Smaug’s daughter? And… she already has three honorifics?”

Crackle nodded. “You can try to hold out. But you won’t. Your best bet is to yield quickly.”

She left, and Hotshot quieted the trembling in his claws. This was a pony. A beast of legend. But he would not yield. He’d pull out every trick in the book to fight her.

Hotshot and Fluttershy stood at opposing ends of the crater. Crackle was in the middle. “And…” She gulped. “GO!”
Fluttershy and Hotshot raced toward the middle. Hotshot lowered his head, hoping to plow right through her with his spiked head.

Suddenly, he stopped, right in the middle of the arena. He tried to push forward, but he just wasn’t moving. He looked up, and he saw the most terrifying thing he’d ever seen.

Fluttershy was standing over him, glaring at him, a single hoof rested on his forehead keeping him at arms length.

“I just want you to know, that what’s about to happen wouldn’t have happened if you’d been a little nicer.” She said. Then she shoved him to the side, and as he fell she pounced on him.

He would have been ready for punches, kicks, or a fireball to the face. He was not ready for what came next.

Fluttershy pressed two of her strong hooftips against his scales, and started rubbing them back and forth.

During the early days of Fluttershy’s life among the dragons, she’d been involved in several scuffles. During one of these scuffles, she’d accidentally learned how to ‘tickle’. She didn’t know it was called ‘tickling’. Dragons, possessing claws that can tear through mountains like tissue paper, never really learned this art. So when Fluttershy, a pony, started doing it by accident, every dragon learned to fear ‘the laughing doom’.

Hotshot’s breathing began to be erractic as she rubbed his side, them moved down to his stomach, and finally he burst out laughing. “Wha-hahahahaha-what is ha-hahahahahaha-happeniii-heeheeheeheehee-hahahahahaha!!!”

Tears ran down his cheeks and he began to panic. It hurt! It hurt so bad that he had to laugh! Why couldn’t he stop laughing! He was scared. He was so scared that he would never stop laughing – that he would laugh himself to death! Was that what this pony was doing? Was she eating his laughter? Would she throw away his dried husk when she was done, like some sort of laughter eating changeling?

He tried to yield. He honestly tried. But he couldn’t speak through the laughter. He found he was barely able to breath. With a shaking claw, he did the only thing he could do. He reached over to the ground next to him, dug a claw into the dirt, and wrote ‘I yield’ in the shakiest claw-writing he’d ever seen.

Miraculously, Fluttershy seemed to understand his scribbling, and released him. He didn’t get up. He just lay there, laughter swiftly turning into hyperventilating, tears streaming down his cheeks.

“He yields to me!” Fluttershy roared, and the rest of the dragon let out a whispered ‘yay’.

“Initiate him!” She roared.

This was the part Hotshot was the most apprehensive about, before he had to fight a pony. Most packs had their own initiation rituals, and while some of them were just passing through rows of dragons and getting a noogie from the pack leader, others could be cruel.

His suspicions were confirmed when he was blindfolded.

“You did very well.” He heard Crackle whisper nearby. “I didn’t think to write anything on the ground when she fought me. Most of us have heard of how great she is at fights, and don’t even challenge her.”

Hotshot gulped. “She really is a monster, isn’t she?”

“Oh yes. But don’t worry, she’s our monster. Are you ready to be initiated?”

His mind far afield with imagining what horror the pony had thought up for initiation was. He could only nod as he waited for his poor fate. Maybe they’d dunk his head under lava until he couldn’t breath. Maybe they’d tell him to walk forward, and not tell him he’d be walking on dragon teeth. Maybe they’d…

A clawful of gems was shoved into his mouth.

He reluctantly chewed and swallowed him, and then they took his blindfold off.

“That’s it.” Crackle said.

“…That’s it?” Hotshot asked. “Really?”

“I told you. She may be a monster, but she’s our monster.” Crackle beamed.

He felt a hoof slap him on the back. “Welcome to the West Wind’s Junior Pack!” Fluttershy said. “As long as you don’t insult mommy again, I think we’re going to get along just fine.”

Hotshot considered it a lesson learned.

~0o0~

Fluttershy went up into the mountains. One or two of the elder dragons watching the junior dragons lifted their heads at the curiosity, but soon went back to rest.

Fluttershy sighed, and stretched out on a large rock, away from her pack. Mother said that basking would give her scales a luxurious sheen…

She scolded herself. Her mane would get a luxurious sheen. She sighed again. Sometimes it could be so difficult… objectively, she knew she was a pony. But she felt so much like a dragon. And it hurt her when the other dragons called her a monster, and trembled at her approach. It hurt her far worse than any of the other challenges. Except maybe lava diving, but she’d never tried lava diving, because it might kill her.

She spread her wings. They hurt slightly when she moved them. Underneath the wings were two bottles. One was filled with rainbows, for when she got thirsty. It was a bit spicy, but it always managed to quench her thirst, and it helped her breath fire, something she understood ponies didn’t do. The other bottle was filled with ruby milk. She was embarrassed to still be drinking milk, so she kept the bottles well hidden under her wings in front of the other young dragons. Unfortunately, she couldn’t eat gems. They hurt her teeth when she tried to chew. The only solids she could eat were apples (which were her favorite, but few and far between) and eggs. Goodness, not dragon eggs, her parents would never start her down the path to evil like that. No, she just had eggs from the pair of chickens mother kept in her aviary. They weren’t very special birds, except that they laid eggs without needing them fertilized, so she could have something filling without worrying about killing a helpless baby bird.

Fluttershy tucked her mane over her face. The few dragons who had hair let it fall over their faces, which was a bonus for her because it meant the elder dragons wouldn’t see her with a baby bottle and start judging her. Growing up a pony among dragons, she was more than aware the every dragon thought she was a monster. This made her more than a bit of a scaredy cat. Fear was her constant pack-mate.

So it was a relief when the one dragon she felt completely safe with descended to her.

“Guess what I found today?” Queen Babbage said in an excited voice. She held up a cage for her to examine. “A buzzing buzzard! I was looking for a phoenix, you know, but I found a buzzard instead and it really buzzed! How amazing is that!?”

“That’s wonderful.” Fluttershy said, in her quiet voice.

“It’s in the aviary back home.” Queen Babbage gushed. “I just can’t wait for you to see it! It’s so cool, isn’t it just the best Vulcas?”

Vulcas, Fluttershy’s baby brother, looked up from where he was resting. Like all baby dragons, he rested on his mother’s neck. He had mostly purple scales, with a head of golden hair, very rare for a dragon, falling over his eyes. “We were looking for a phoenix.” He said.

“Yes, we were, but we’ve never seen one. This is cool too.”

“Yeah, pretty cool.” He shrugged and went back to resting.

Lady Babbage caught her daughter’s eye. “Fluttershy? I something wrong? You’re usually as excited as I am about birdlife?”

“It’s… everything’s fine.” Fluttershy said, hiding herself and drinking her milk.

Babbage hugged her. “Fluttershy, you know you can tell me anything.”

“Yeah.” Vulcas gave her a funny look. “What’s the matter, did a shadow scare you again?”

“Shadows are where monsters live.” Fluttershy squirmed, and wriggled next to her mother. The heat coming from her scales comforted her.

“I’m a pony.” She said.

“Yes.”

“But I feel so much like a dragon. I’m the leader of a pack, I breath fire… I even made the mistake of thinking I could dig with my tail once or twice.”

“Fluttershy, you know you’ll always be a dragon to me.”

“And… it feels like something’s missing.” Fluttershy said. “It feels like there’s something just out of my reach that I can’t have. And it’s not that I can’t fly yet.” She winced as her sore wings moved. “It’s something else that I don’t know. I feel like… I feel like I have the biggest pack a dragon my age can have, but I’m still lonely.”

Queen Babbage frowned, and hugged her daughter as tightly as she was able. “Oh my Fluttershy.” She whispered. “You’ll never be alone when I’m here.”

The bell rang in the crater, and Fluttershy got up from her mother’s embrace. “I’d better go. That’s the bell for King Of The Hoard.”

Queen Babbage nodded her understanding, and watched her precious daughter go play with the other dragons. “Mom, aren’t we going?” Vulcas asked. But she just sat there, watching her daughter play with the pack. And watching the fear in every dragon’s eyes.

~0o0~

Fluttershy had to stop herself from visibly trembling. She’d been called to the Great Volcano. That never happened to a baby dragon. Ever.

She sighed, and reminded herself that she trusted her dad, and walked into the crater. Steam emerged from every crack, and a small pool of lave was in the center of the crater. Around the pool were thrones, and in the center of the pool was a larger platform and Dias.

She stood in the center of the Dias and kneeled. “O Smaug, may you live forever, a humble member of your great pack kneels before you.” She whispered.

“Arise, Princess Fluttershy, The Unblinking, The Laughing Doom, The Monster.” The traditional greetings out of the way, Fluttershy smiled shyly at her dad, and he smiled back.

“You have been called before the Great Pack, on a manner of grave importance.” Smaug began. “The ponies have long been monsters of legend. Yet, with you here, a dragon in pony’s skin, we have the chance to open diplomatic channels. Therefore, I am sending you to a ‘Flight Camp’ in the pony city Cloudsdale, where you will observe typical pony behavior, and determine what is fact, what is mere myth, and whether diplomatic channels could, or should, be opened.”

Fluttershy’s eyes went wide. Her voice was barely a squeak as she said… “Thy will be done…”

Smaug nodded, and the rest of the Great Pack flew off. Smaug trumbled past Fluttershy, picking her up with his tail and placing her gently on his neck as he walked.

“Fluttershy, are you all right?”

She trembled. “Did I do something wrong? Is this… some sort of punishment because I can’t fly yet?”

Smaug stared at her, uncomprehending. “What? Why would you think this is a punishment?”

“Because you’re sending me to live with m-m-m-m-monsters.” Fluttershy struggled to hold back her tears.

Smaug smiled kindly at her. “Fluttershy… my brilliant little phoenix… I told you this was a diplomatic mission in front of the Great Pack, but do you know why I really decided to send you to this flight camp?”

She shook her head.

“Your mother said you were lonely.” Smaug nuzzled her. “If the ponies do turn out to be monsters, then I’ll wade through every one of them to bring you home. But raising you… even if you are mostly dragon… I just can’t imagine that all ponies are horrible egg-eating creatures like we’ve thought for years. I want to give you the chance to make a pack that won’t… call you a monster.” Smaug sniffed disdainfully. “I never thought you earned that honorific myself.”

Fluttershy’s face twisted into a look between confused and happy. She finally settled on loving, and hugged her dad so tight that he felt it, even through his battle hardened scales. “You mean… you’re doing this for me?”

Smaug reach up and stroked Fluttershy’s pink mane. “Of course I am Fluttershy. You think that I’d do anything to you that I didn’t believe was in your best interests? I am Smaug. And you are family.”

They shared an embrace, and then the ground shook and Queen Babbage rounded the corner. “Fluttershy!” She cried. “You’ve heard the news?”

“Yes.” She sighed. “I’m going to live with the –” She couldn't hold back a shudder. “-ponies.”

Queen Babbage nodded excitedly, and held up some suitcases. “I’ve packed your favorite clothes, and a book about raising chickens, and binoculars so you can watch them from a distance, and several glasses of Ruby milk since they probably won’t have any there, and I’ve packed your favorite teddy bears, and… and…” She began crying despite her exited voice. “And some birds so you can write to us… and… and you have to promise me you’ll be okay!”

Fluttershy was moved to tears. She scurried off her dad’s back, and into her mother’s almost crushing embrace. “I promise.” She said. “I promise I’ll be okay Mom.”

~0o0~

Fluttershy had been taken as near to a pony town as her parents had dared to accompany her, given her half of the family hoard to keep her well supplied, and sent her off, watching in the distance. In the end, she didn’t even talk to a pony, instead opting to hire a less threatening cow to give her a balloon ride to Cloudsdale. She’d rented an apartment, with a note from her parents, and moved her hoard into her room, and then she’d left for flight camp.

Flight camp was… terrifying. Fluttershy was a frightened dragon by nature – no, she had to start thinking of herself as a pony now – she was scared by nature, but she was still terrified of being surrounded by hundreds of miniature monsters. Naturally, she was a little bit delirious with fear.

“Okay Fluttershy.” She whispered to herself. “You can do this. Remember, you’re a monster too. You just have to find some way to assert your dominance. Yes, that’s it. A pre-emptive strike. Challenge them before they challenge you.”

Suddenly, the bell ringed. She smiled madly. “Of course! King of the Hoard!”

She ran as fast as she could, easily outpacing the younger and not-raised-by-dragons ponies. She made it to the top of the cloud-steps and rounded on her classmates. “QUEEN OF THE HOARD!” She yelled, and she began to pummel them.
She was too scared to realize they weren’t fighting back, and too scared to realize that this wasn’t a hoard, these were steps, and there was a door right behind hat that they could probably be heading towards.

And then something rainbow colored plowed into her. “Hey! What’s your problem?”

A blue Pegasus with a rainbow colored mane had actually managed to knock her over!

Fluttershy swiped at her with a forehoof, but the smaller filly dodged. She jabbed, and the smaller filly bucked her forehoof, actually blocking the blow!

Fluttershy winced. Ponies were as terrifying as she thought. She began to launch a flurry of blows, and if any of them connected they didn’t seem to be leaving any lasting mark on the filly.

She tried to see some sort of angle she could win this fight from, and she realized she had longer legs! She reached out, and held the filly away at arms length. But the filly pressed on, her wings propelling her forward with vigor. Grooves were worn into the clouds at Fluttershy’s feet as she was forced backwards.

She realized she had to do something, or this monster would end her! She looked into the fillies eyes, and initiated ‘The Stare’. “Give up.”

The filly looked directly into her stare, and she saw the determination in those magenta circles. “Never!” The filly cried. A small stream of blood ran from her mouth, despite Fluttershy fighting at full strength, and knowing from personal experience that ponies weren’t as tough as even the baby dragons she fought.

The filly reapplied herself to her task, and Fluttershy felt her mane get dragged into the draft created by her powerful wings. With an ‘eep!’ her hair got tangled in the fillie’s wings, and the pair of the tumbled to the ground, in a tangled mess.

They pulled themselves apart, and Fluttershy lunged. “You’ve left me no choice!” She cried, and she used her special ‘laughing doom’ move.

The rainbow maned filly laughed, and the struck back, using the same technique only on the insides of Fluttershy’s wings.

The two of them fell apart laughing, and got up at the same time. They stared at each other, the blue filly with amusement, and the golden filly with fear.

“Ahem.” The blue filly’s face turned to fear as well, and Fluttershy turned around to see the biggest, scariest Pegasus stallion she’d ever seen. “Are you three having a good time? Chuckling it up?”

Three?

The two fillies turned to see a griffon with them. For some reason, a youn colt had come to camp wearing a shirt, and she’d picked him up by it, and was just finished giving him a black eye.

“Eh, fun while it lasted.” The griffon tossed the colt on the pile of groaning foals the three of them were sitting on.

Fluttershy was vaguely aware that she might have done something wrong.

~0o0~

The three of them sat in the chairs outside of the principle’s office, so they could ‘think about what they’ve done’. Fluttershy shuddered. She was sitting next to a pony who was, in a way, her mirror-match. And a griffon, which she didn’t really know much about.

“So.” The griffon started. “Name’s Gilda. Toughest Griffon you’ll ever meet. Coolest too. You two had some pretty cool moves. What’re your names?”

“Rainbow Crash.” The rainbow-maned filly said, head hung low.

Gilda looked at her strangely. “Any relation to Thunder Crash the ex-Wonderbolt?”

Rainbow’s head shot up. “No! I mean, I didn’t mean to say that! I mean, this is supposed to be a new beginning for me! I mean, I’m Rainbow Dash. Yeah, Dash. You probably misheard me. No relations to Thunder Crash. None whatsoever.”

And then Fluttershy realized, that the pony was alike to her in more ways than just being a good fighter. Apparently, she was also judged for something that she couldn’t control. She also came here looking for a new beginning.

She stood up (even though the big principle Pegasus had told her to sit!) and bowed to Rainbow Crash. “You were as strong as the mountains, and fierce as the winds.” She said.

The two looked at her. “Uh… what?”

Fluttershy continued on. “I hope we may have many more fights, and may the fire in your heart –”

“What was that about having many more fights?”

Fluttershy ‘eeped’ and got back in her seat as the principal glared at her. She’d only been traditionally accepting Rainbow Crash as her mirror-match. But she had a feeling the principal wouldn’t approve.

“Now, can you tell me why you three were putting as many foals as you could in the nurse’s office?” The Principal asked.

“It looked like fun.” Gilda shrugged.

“This is so bogus.” Rainbow Crash folded her arms in a huff.

“Um… I was trying to make sure nopony would attack me by attacking them first.” Fluttershy said.

“All inexcusable answers.” The Principal harrumphed. “I’m going to be in touch with each of your parents about this, you mark my words.”

Fluttershy gasped. Her parents! Who knew what this monster would do to them if he found out they weren’t ponies!

Without hesitation, she turned on ‘The Stare’.

The Principal yelped and fell backwards, and Fluttershy loomed over him. “You will not contact our parents.” She said. “There will be no repercussions at all for this fight. In fact, you will forget this fight ever happened. Are we clear?”

The Principle was so terrified that he complied and subconsciously wiped his memory. The last thing he remembered was getting a coffee, and now suddenly there were only two, all encompassing eyes, right in front of him. “Who are you?” He squeaked.

Against her will, ‘The Stare’ faltered. She couldn’t really control it like her father could. She thought she was still in control though, so she pressed on. “My name is not important. Only that –”

“Now look here little missy.” She retreated as the principal loomed over her once again. “You will tell me your name.”

“Fluttershy.” Fluttershy squeaked.

“Well Fluttershy, I think you should be getting ready for class instead of sneaking into my office and… staring at me.” He wiped his brow at the mere thought of that stare. “Now… Smoking Celestia, is it that time already!? Take your friends and go to class now Fluttershy!”

He hurried into his office, leaving three bewildered little girls behind him.

“What just happened?” Rainbow Crash asked.

Dear Daddy

Today, I met a pony who is my Mirror-match! I mean, we didn’t fight for a day, like normal mirror-matches, but I know we could’ve if we weren’t interrupted.

Apparently, Ponies don’t work with a social system of challenges, with aggressive and submissive personalities in regards to the outcome. They assume you’re mirror-matches until proven otherwise. Or they assume you’re ‘friends’ until proven otherwise. Mirror-match is the closest word I can find to ‘friends’.

I’ll soon discover what ‘friendship’ means. In the meantime, acting submissive seems to be the best option for interacting with ponies.

Love, Fluttershy.

~0o0~

The next day, Fluttershy sat down at the cafeteria with Rainbow Crash and Gilda. “Hello Rainbow Dash, hello Gilda.”

“Yo.” Rainbow nodded. Gilda stayed quiet.

“Um… what’s this green stuff?” She asked.

The two stared at her.

“Are you joking?” Rainbow asked.

“Are you really that dumb?” Gilda asked.

Fluttershy blushed.

“That’s Barley Oats.” Said Rainbow. “It’s the primary provider for wing nutrients! I eat them, like, every meal! How can you not know about them?”

Gilda reach over, and pulled Fluttershy’s wings out. “Your wings are all… weak. And shrivelly.” Gilda looked at Fluttershy. “What kind of parents wouldn’t feed you Barley Oats.”

At the thought that they might find out about her parents, Fluttershy panicked. “You’ll never make me talk!” She screamed, hitting Gilda in her face, and running from the cafeteria.

“What the –!” Gilda sat up, and rubbed her black eye. “Why you little–!”

She leaped off of the table, but Rainbow intercepted her, tackling her out of the air. “No Gilda!” She said. “Let her go.” The both leveled a glare at the retreating Pegasus. “That filly obviously has some serious issues.”

Dear Daddy.

Today I learned that ponies do not eat dragon’s eggs or flesh. In fact, very few even eat chickens eggs. They eat grass! And weeds! And other strange plants they call vegetables! Apparantly, the reason I can’t fly very well, is because of some obscure sort of ‘wing nutrients’. Nothing that I’ve ever eaten beofore has given me wing nutrients, so now I have to eat extra grass to catch up!

The camp nurses are talking about ‘malnutrition’ and stuff, but don’t worry, I’ll make sure they’ll never find out about you!

Love, Fluttershy.

~0o0~

Gilda was holding up two of the pegasi by their manes. Rainbow Crash was glaring at them, trying and failing to unlock Fluttershy’s ‘stare’.

“Now, you two know better than to tease Fluttershy, right?”

“Whatever.” One of them scoffed. “You won’t always be around to protect her.”

She sighed, and face-hoofed. “Did you guys not see the can of kick-flank she opened up on the first day of school?”

“Oh, we saw.” The other one growled. “Hoop saw so well, that she gave him a black eye.”

“So you guys know that bullying Fluttershy is like… it’s like bullying a dragon!” She paused and thought about it. “Actually, I’d like the chance to go up against a dragon. That sounds kind of awesome. But with Fluttershy, it’s like all the danger of a dragon, wrapped up in a cuddly pink mane, which takes away all of the awesome and replaces it with puppy kicking.”

“So?” The first scoffed. “Sure, she could beat us up – I mean, she could try, we weren’t ready the first time, we could totally take her any day of the week – but she won’t even. She’s a total pushover!”

“Except for that day when she wasn’t.” Gilda hissed into their ears.

“Stay away from Fluttershy.” Rainbow Crash stomped her hoof. “Nopony gets to pick on her but me and Gilda. If you don’t, I’ll knock you out of the sky with another Rainboom.”

“Nopony believes you did that. It was just a fluke of the weather. Thunder Crash’s filly could never –”

“My name’s Dash not Crash!” Rainbow was about to put these two in their place, when she heard a soft crying sound from behind her.

“Ha!” The two colts dragged themselves out of Gilda’s grip. “Fluttershy, Fluttershy, Fluttershy can hardly fly!” They ran off laughing.

Rainbow and Gilda ran off to Fluttershy, who was rising behind them in a balloon with a cow.

“Thanks Ms. Bessie.” She said quietly as she disembarked.

“Oh, no problem at all you sweet little thing.”

“Fluttershy!” Rainbow’s eyes were wide. “What happened? Why are you crying!?”

“I-I-I-” She looked at Rainbow’s flank, her eyes widened and she burst into tears. “Oh no! You’ve caught it too!”

“Caught what!?” Rainbow Crash shook her friend. “Fluttershy what are you talking about!?”

“When you started the race, I fell off of the clouds!” Fluttershy cried. “I was having such a good time on the ground with the birds, and the animals, and the… the…” She sniffed. “But then… I saw this!!” She spun around and showed Rainbow her cutie mark. “I… I think it might be some sort of disease… and you’ve caught it too!” She hugged Rainbow tightly when she saw the filly shaking. “I’m sorry! You should never have hung out with me! Now we’re both infected and… and…”

Rainbow’s shaking wasn’t crying; it was laughter. Gilda was laughing too.

“Why… why are you laughing!?”

“Because you’re such a ditz!” Gilda pointed at her and leered through the laughter. “Even I know what a Cutie Mark is!”

“Holy cow Fluttershy, you’re so random!” Rainbow laughed. “No offence Bessie.”

“None taken dearies.” The cow said, as she floated back to earth on her balloon.

Dear Daddy.

Today, I learned that a pony’s social status is not determined by fighting other ponies for the top position, but by strange markings on our flank. I’ve received my marking today, and my place is caring for animals. It’s wonderful, being told that the thing you love most is the thing ponies will let you do for the rest of your life.

Why didn’t you tell me the Daylands had more wonderful creatures than just birds?

Love, Princess Fluttershy.

~0o0~

Dear daddy.

Today I have discovered CHOCOLATE! It is the best thing ever!!! I am totally bringing you some the next time I come home!

Love, Princess Fluttershy.

Fluttershy, no longer a foal, walked into the Great Volcano, a package on her back the size of a large boulder. It was heavy to lift, even for her.

She walked into the middle of the Great Pack, and shifted the package off of her back. “O Smaug, may you live forever, a humble member of your pack kneels before you.” She bowed.

Smaug smiled warmly. “Rise Princess Fluttershy, The Unblinking, The Laughing Doom, Tenderclaw, Monster. I’m glad to see you back safe from your mission to the Daylands. What is in the package?”

Fluttershy flew up to the top of the package. She was still dizzy, and her wings cracked and protested, but she made it to the top. “It’s the best thing ever in the history of the world.” She undid the ribbon, and yelled “Chocolate!”

The foil opened, and a messy brown lump of goo oozed out.

Every dragon stared at it.

“Is it trying to poison us?” She heard Lord Krastos whisper.

She landed on the floor of the volcano and tried not to cry. Of course the chocolate had melted on her way here! The Great Pack met inside the Great Volcano! And now instead of her dad enjoying a delicious treat, he’d be repulsed, and have to excuse his daughter in front of the pack for her faux pas, and that would be a sign of weakness so they’d start challenging him for the throne even more…

Smaug got up, and walked towards the pile of wet chocolate. He dipped a claw in it, and took a cautious lick. His broad smile returned to his face. “THISISTHEBESTHINGEVERANDIMUSTHAVEMORE!” He cried, and with that he shoved a whole handful of chocolate in his mouth.

Fluttershy beamed.

~0o0~

Fluttershy was a teenager now, and she was celebrating her birthday with her pack. He mother sat next to her. “Are you sure you don’t want to stay this time?”

“Actually… it’s been nice living with ponies.” Fluttershy said. “I mean, it’s terrifying, but for the most part it’s alright. Mom… I think I’ll stay one more year. There are so many animals to see, and I may even make a pack yet. I already have a house, just outside of a small town. Just one more year, and I’ll be back on my twentieth birthday and never leave again if I’m still not happy.”

“Alright Fluttershy dear.” Queen Babbage nuzzled her. “As long as you’re sure. We’ll see you at the dragon migrations.”

“I can introduce you to my pet bunny, angel.” Fluttershy beamed.

~0o0~

Dear Daddy.

I’ve found a pack! The pack leader is Twilight Sparkle, one of the strongest ponies around, if not the strongest magically. My mirror-match Rainbow Dash is also a member of the pack, along with three more strange but wonderful ponies.

I’ve earned two more honorifics with this pack – Element of Kindness, and Nightmare-Vanquisher. The others have many honorifics too, but like most ponies they barely use them.

I don’t feel alone any more. I think this is what ‘friendship’ means.

Love, Fluttershy.