• Published 22nd Feb 2015
  • 10,213 Views, 192 Comments

Dying Flame - Kaptein

After sending reports to Celestia, Spike falls into a coma. Fearing it's her own fault, Twilight goes to the Princesses and eventually ends up before an Elder dragon and realises she may have failed as a caretaker, a friend and as an older siste

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Love Brings No Warmth

Reports flew left, right, and center, magic running rampant as Twilight Sparkle vigorously organised the day’s filing.

Part of being a new Princess in Equestria was to take court hearings. Princess Celestia had sent her a crash-course on the whole thing, but she felt wildly unqualified to make many of the decisions asked of her. Was Carrot Top justified in building a fence past her property line? Was she correct in denying Harp Fisher financial aid in his growing business? Was enforcing a separation order fully justified in dealing with Box Builder’s consistent harassment of Mrs. Cake?

Even with a full grasp of the guidebook, she felt uneasy taking any concrete stance.

Instead, she simply decided to send duplicates of her activities to Princess Celestia at the end of each day. A few corrections were sent back to Twilight, but overall Celestia had sent almost nothing but praise and thanks for her role.

Cataloguing and organizing the various reports for Celestia had proven arduous, but ultimately she and Spike had managed the task with an efficiency Twilight was well accustomed to.

Spike had worked overtime, he had spent the better part of the morning sending the various reports from the previous day to Princess Celestia. They had closed court for today to re-organise everything and develop on a better work-flow for the Friendship Court.

The baby dragon held up a sealed scroll, puffing up his chest before exhaling a plume of green fire. The scroll disappeared into the nether as it swiftly sped towards its destination.

“There!” he proudly declared. “That’s the last of them. Phew, that really took it out of me!” he stated, a cloud of thick soot puffing from his mouth emphasizing the fact.

“Thank you, Spike,” Twilight said, going through the ledger open in front of her. “Hmm...yup - everything seems to be order.”

She snapped it shut with her magic before walking up next to the dragon. Tiny beads of sweat shone on Spike’s face and head from all the work and dragon-fire sending. She pulled the baby dragon into a light hug. “I wouldn’t be able to run this place without you, you know.”

“Aww shucks, Twilight,” he said sheepishly, gripping at his shoulders and suppressing a shiver. “It was nothing.”

Twilight let go of her adoptive baby brother, giving him a closer look. “You seem a bit tired out. Tell you what, let’s go for some ice cream!”

Spike’s eyes lit up at the prospect of the sugary delight, but he just gave another shiver before the enthusiasm faded from his face. “Actually, Twilight, I’m feeling a little cold. I think I’ll pass.” He gave the alicorn a hug before continuing. “Thanks for the offer anyways.”

Twilight gave him a confused look. This was the first time he had ever refused ice cream; it was his favourite treat right next to fire rubies and emeralds. She chalked it up to exhaustion after the long day. Doing a quick sum in her head, she calculated Spike had done enough dragonfire sending over the past few days to last - on average - almost five months of friendship reports.

She shrugged, turning back to triple-check her ledgers and reports.

“Hey, Twilight?” Spike began. “I’m going to go take a hot shower... I’m feeling really cold all of a sudden.”

Twilight frowned, turning to watch the dragon head into the deeper parts of the tree-castle. She looked out the window. The sun shone brightly through, providing most of the illumination in the room itself. “That’s strange,” she muttered to herself. “It’s the middle of summer…”

*** ***

The next day was just as beautiful as the previous one. Twilight had a good feeling about this one. Sitting upright in her bed, she stretched the few kinks and cramps left over from last night’s sleep.

Sliding out of the bed, she trotted over briskly to the mirror, grasping her manebrush in her magic. A quick few tugs and it was neatly aligned to her liking. With renewed confidence, Twilight stretched her wings out and gave them a few good flaps to ensure they were ready for anything the day presented to her.

Spike was dutifully in the kitchen area, cooking up breakfast. It was an old habit of his by now - and no matter how many times she tried asking, Spike would always dutifully do his best to look after the alicorn, whether that involved cooking food, cleaning the place or just overall being as supportive as he could be. It warmed Twilight’s heart and made her feel a little embarrassed about herself just thinking about it.

As she made her way closer into the kitchen, Twilight made a mental note of the thick scarf wrapped around his neck and shoulders. It was a bit odd, considering the hot weather outside, but there wasn’t time to dwell on it. The day was fresh with much to be done.

*** ***

It had been a few days and Spike was steadily getting worse, busy piling on more clothing (Most likelihood borrowed from Rarity, judging by the stylish designs), but overall their schedule never changed.

She took a step out of her bedroom and immediately noticed something odd. Her nose wrinkled at the odd sense of...nothing. No delicious smells of breakfast wafted through the halls, nor did the sound of food cooking reach her ears.

Twilight made her way through the tree-castle towards Spike’s room. “Spike! Spike?” she called out, knocking on the door.

A wheezing cough followed by a sniffle responded from behind the door. A pang of worry shot into Twilight as she pushed open the door.

“Spike?” she asked, walking up to the bed. “Are you alright?”

The baby dragon had wrapped himself thickly in several blankets, a slight blue tinge across his cheeks. “H - hey Twilight,” he mumbled before giving a large sniff. “I think I caught a cold…”

An instant pang of sympathy rose up in Twilight as she came closer to comfort her baby brother. She moved in to hug him but almost recoiled at the cold, pasty feel of his scales.

“Spike!” Twilight exclaimed. “You’re ice-cold!”

The dragon sniffled again. “Yeah, I said I thought I caught a cold…”

Twilight frowned, but chose to brush over Spike’s irritated reply. Using her magic, she summoned a hot-water bottle and instantly heated it up for the baby dragon. He held it close to his chest, almost snuggling it a little. The sight elicited a small smile from Twilight who almost squee’d at the scene.

“Thanks, Twilight…” he said, still holding the bottle tightly. “Dunno why I’m so cold, though…”

“Well, one of the general symptoms of the common cold is a slight fever,” Twilight began, holding a hoof against Spike’s forehead. “Which...you don’t have at all. You have the exact opposite of a fever.”

Spike shrugged, not saying anything else. He rolled over into the bed and pulled the blankets snugly around him. “It’s too cold,” he eventually mumbled. “I think I’m going to try sleep this one out.”

Twilight frowned. “Spike...it’s a beautiful day outside - and it’s the middle of Summer!” She nudged the curled-up form with her muzzle. “Why not go outside and soak up some sun?”

“Nah - I’ll just sit here, I reckon. Think you could wrangle me up some breakfast?”

Twilight chuckled. “Oh, grow-up Spike.” She turned to leave her little brother to sleep. A little flutter of worry flared up in her chest but she quelled it. Spike was a hardy little dragon, she was sure he’d be fine.

She left, heading to the kitchen to make an attempt at breakfast.

*** ***

The halls of Canterlot Castle were always usually quiet. Even in the late afternoon just after the Day-Court had ended, petitioners made their way back to either the guest rooms or hotel rooms. Everything was simmering down for the day.

Which was why the growing surge of ambient magic permeating the air had sent the Royal Guard into high-alert.

Princess Luna had woken up early for the Night-Court. The marching and gathering of the Royal Guards in the castle’s halls was quite something to see. It had been over a thousand years since she had seen such discipline. Even her own personal guard flanked her sides, ready for whatever threat was approaching.

It was quite a surprise when the magic culminated in a single point in the middle of the hallway, a loud popping noise ringing through the halls. A single purple alicorn stood in a scorch mark. She held a baby green dragon in her hooves, tears streaming down her cheeks.

The guards visibly relaxed after seeing who it was, but still held an air of alert about them.

Twilight was distraught beyond belief. Her bloodshot eyes darted around, before locking onto Princess Luna. In an instant she had flown over. “Pr - Princess!” she cried out, almost pleadingly.

“Please, Luna is fine, Twilight,” Luna replied. Her eyes trailed down to see the baby Spike sleeping soundly, a thick blanket wrapped around him.

“Please help!” Twilight begged again. “I can’t wake Spike up! He’s getting cold and nothing I do can warm him up!”

Luna’s eyes went wide. Twilight didn’t know how much the Lunar Princess knew of her baby brother, but the pleading look in Twilight’s eyes were more than enough to steel her resolve. “What is wrong with young Spike, Twilight?”

“I - I don’t know,” she sobbed in reply, pulling the dragon closer. Twilight had fed a constant stream of a Dragon’s Warmth spell to the dragon but the magic just seemed to roll off of him ineffectually. Even a basic teleportation spell had all but drained her mana reserves in an effort to get Spike to the castle. She initially wanted to find Celestia but there was no time left.

“He looks like he is but asleep,” Luna said, reaching forward to touch Spike. Her hoof recoiled slightly, her mouth agape. “Alas! He is cold as ice!”

“I know!” Twilight said, starting to prance on the spot. “He won’t wake up - I’ve tried everything I know!” The unicorn was starting to work up into a state of hysteria. How could she not? Spike was dying!

The tips of blue feathers reached and and rested on Twilight’s shoulder, snapping her out of her hysteria. “Calm, Twilight. You are overworking thyself with thought.”

Twilight took a few deeps breaths, counting to ten. Her eyes still held that pleading look but the panic inside them had subsided for now. “Luna...I - I was going to try and find Princess Celestia but -, “

A blue hoof silenced her. “Princess Twilight, we remind you to stay calm.” Luna bent down to examine the sleeping dragon, the tip of her horn lighting up slightly. Her eyes closed, Twilight could feel the spell probing deep into the baby dragon to find the source of his ailment.

“Princess…” Twilight breathed, the panic slowly starting to build up again.

Luna’s spell ended, her head coming back up. “Follow us, Twilight.”

She simply nodded, following the blue alicorn down the halls towards the South side of the castle.

“We have heard of this condition once before, of a dragon who grows cold and sleeps,” Luna said, her stride long and purposeful. Twilight struggled to keep up, limping along on three legs as the fourth held Spike. “We know much of dragon culture and history, but were never taught on the intricacies of dragon anatomy.”

Her curiosity piqued, Twilight couldn’t help but ask, “How?”

“Before...before our time as a Nightmare, I befriended a young adult dragon. Al’Mal’Gorath. He taught us many things about his kind and the nature of dragons and magic.” Luna turned and offered a small smile. “Dragons are naturally resistant to magic, especially when their body is in threat.”

“Does that mean - ,” Twilight began, trying to put together the precious few pieces she had. There was a great puzzle in her mind but far too many pieces were missing and it worried the alicorn deeply. “That his body thinks he is in danger?”

“Indeed - it is why your magic does not work.” Luna’s own magic pushed open a set of doors leading to a large balcony. “Mal’Gorath, as he prefered, taught us of Dragon Magic. An ancient art only the wisest and oldest of his kind could master. Even after a thousand years away, he lives still.”

Twilight felt a glimmer of hope in her chest, her eyes lighting up. “Could he help us?” she asked, the hope spreading to her voice. “Can he help Spike?”

“Perhaps…” Luna gazed into the distance. A deep sadness overcame her expression, the alicorn eventually bowing her head. “Our friendship was all but destroyed by my time as a Nightmare. He disapproved of what we used his teachings for and sought to end our attempt at rule.”

The alicorn of friendship hesitated. The sadness rung deep in Luna’s voice, a powerful twang of regret marring her words. She reached and touched Luna’s shoulder in an effort to comfort her. “I’m...I’m sure he has forgiven you.”

“Perhaps not, Twilight. But he is the only creature we know of that could help little Spike.”

“Where is he?”

Luna gave a sad chuckle, looking back into the distance. Twilight followed suit, the two alicorns staring South. “Al’Mal’Gorath lives deep within the badlands, south of here.”

“What?” Twilight sputtered, the panic flaring up in her stomach again. “B - but how are we supposed to get to him?! It would take us weeks of travelling!”

“Relax, young Twilight,” Luna said, giving her a knowing look. “I know of how Dragon Magic works - we can teleport the three of us there with little effort.”

Twilight looked up hopefully at Luna, a broken smile forming before she leant forward and buried her muzzle into Luna’s neck. “Please, Princess…” she started sobbing, “I’d do anything to save Spike…”

A hoof lifted Twilight’s chin up, Luna giving a warm smile. “We cannot promise his verdict, but Mal’Gorath is as wise as he is old. We will bring you to him and you can seek a counsel. But...we cannot promise.”

Twilight nodded, wiping away the tears on her cheeks before feeling Luna’s magic build up and teleport the three.

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