• Published 26th Feb 2015
  • 7,371 Views, 351 Comments

[Archived] Scales and Carapaces - ProjectZerro

During Spike's travels throughout Equestria, he comes across a certain starving changling queen. Against his better judgement he decides to help her, this one act of kindness will put in motion a tale of loss and gain.

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Chapter 12: Memories Part 2

Spike felt his scales constrict on his body as he stared at the drake in front of him. Their hood was down and Spike could see all of his features. His dark red scales, fin-like spine and a big overbite. The piercing dot like purple eyes attached to the slightly taller figure before him.

He tried to breathe but Spike fell short and nearly fell backwards. He finally found his voice and stood up straight. “G-Garble?”

“…hello again Spike…” Garble lifted his hood and walked past him without looking at him again.

Altos looked at Spike and then at Garble as he walked through the doors. “What in blazes…you were the- But how was ah not…” Altos shook his head and looked at the bewildered Fawn.

She was just as shocked as to what happened. “I knew he had been punished but…I never read the record on who it was…it was a private hearing so he wouldn’t me made a public marker…by the God Wyrms…Spike I am so sorry!” Fawn reached out to Spike and he looked at her.

“Punishment? What punishment?”

“Was that when you found out?” Silver questioned Spike. She herself hadn’t heard the full story after all, just bits and pieces.

“Yeah…they told me what happened and man did I freak out.” Spike smiled peacefully.

“What did you do?” Silk asked while trying to imagine how shock Spike must have been.

“I’m getting there.” Spike smiled.

Garble walked down the halls of the great castle when echoing footsteps came from behind him. He sighed and turned, “Mother I’m…you…”

Spike was standing before Garble out of breathe and a look of fear in his eyes. Garble began to turn when he heard something hit the floor. He turned back and quickly jumped back as he looked down. Spike was on his hands and knees with his head firmly on the ground. His wings were open and his tail laid behind him. Garble knew full well what this posture meant. “Get up! Stop this! Do you have even the faintest idea-!”

“THAT’S WHY I’M DOING IT!” Spike shouted fiercely and cut Garble off. He held his head down still in his bowing position. “This posture is one of true shame, it means giving up who you are and becoming a meaningless being. A dragon’s honor and pride rule all, but I don’t give a damn about dragon pride or honor!” He looked up at Garble forcing Garble and the guards who were watched to gasp in horror.

To look at the one you bow to was a taboo. It meant challenging the one who had bested you in some way. Spike knew this and did not care.

“I never wanted you harmed! You teased me a bit and that was all! Sure I was a little scared of dragons after that but I was young and stupid! I didn’t know anything then. But now I do! And I refuse to bear any honor when your wings were stripped because of me!” His head slammed back into the ground and cracked the marble flooring a bit.

Garble shivered in fright. All these years he simmered in hatred of Spike. All this time he wanted to harm him the same way he was. His pride as a dragon was gone. But now? Spike had just given up his honor, dignity and pride as a dragon…to say he was sorry.

“Rise Spike Dragul Solaris.” A mighty voice boomed over them. Spike looked up slightly at the owner of the voice and quickly stood up. He put his hand over his heart and bowed in respect. The dragon before him was covered in golden and black scales. Four large powerful wings along his back. He was at least twice as large as Altos and easily towered over Spike and Garble. He was dressed in royal draconic attire which was all Spike needed to know the dragon before him was one of the high council.

“Why have you shamed your name?” A voice came from the large dragon and Spike dared not look up. This was an act of disrespect unless he was asked to do so.

“Garble was punished for what he did to me years ago. But I had no knowledge of this. Upon learning his wings were stripped from his body for what he had done to me I had to give my apologies, but words would not suffice. So I put my dignity, pride and honor forward and asked forgiveness.”

“Why do you do this? Do you not know you are twice royalty? Both as Celestia Solaris’s son and my grandson?” Spike wanted to look up in shock but stood still. He knew what to except if he broke tradition.

“I don’t care. It is unforgiveable what’s happened to him! He did not deserve this! If I had been in the know I was have asked a pardon! Striping an airborn of their wings is too much!” Spike shouted with confidence even as he felt like he about to wet him.

“What has been done cannot be undone.”

“…I know…”

“Stand Spike Dragul Solaris.” Spike stood up straight and looked in the kind emerald eyes that bore down on him. He truly was this dragon’s grandson. “You have given up all that a dragon stands for…to apologize. I could not be prouder and more worried.”

Spike wryly smiled a bit as the dragon before him looked to Garble. “Garble Enferall, stand.”

Garble stood straight up and looked at Spike. The two of their eyes met and Garble could only look at Spike with an unknown feeling of pride in being anyway related to him.

“Do you forgive Spike for what has happened to you? Or will you take his honor and force him under your service?” The older dragon spoke softly to both of them. Garble looked up and the large dragon and down at Spike. There was no fear, no wavering, and no second thoughts behind Spike’s gaze. He resolved to bear Garble’s decision.

“I…I…um…I…I…” Garble shuddered and shook uncontrollably. He knew what he should say, it was all there, Spike wasn’t at fault, and he even said he would’ve just let it all pass if he had known. But in the place where he had pent up all of the hatred and malice for Spike, he wanted to make Spike crawl before him for what happened. Then something clicked. “I want to give him a chance to win his honor back.”

“…interesting…so a bout is it?” Garble looked at Spike and nodded. “Spike he wishes to give you a chance to retain you honor and earn your forgiveness. Do you accept?”

Spike took a second and nodded. “I accept.”

“He wanted to fight you? Why? Because he still wanted to hurt you back?” Silver questioned. Spike and Garble talk about how they felt after a long time of knowing one another so Spike knew most of what was on Garble’s mind.

“Yeah.” Spike sighed. “Because in a bout, no matter how badly I was hurt it would be my own fault.”

Garble and Spike were placed in rooms away from one another until the next day came and their match began. Spike got a last minute prep talk from Altos and was led to their arena by his aunt. The place of their fight was in the guard barracks, a training area made of durable stone. It was clearly used well, scorch and claw marks were everywhere. Spike caught sight of Garble’s father before he was led to the room he would be waiting in. He looked exactly like Garble, expect instead of a thin build like his son, this dragon was bulky, not as bulky as Altos, but close. He also look incredibly angry.

Spike was given a pair of training pants and chest plate armor to protect him. He chose a pair of half arm gauntlets instead of an actual weapon. The dragon guard that was assigned to him looked at Spike with some sort of pity, as if he was destined to lose. Spike put it together in his head that Garble had some sort of training in battle. He hoped his 2 years of training with Altos and Shining would keep him safe.

He was soon led out of the room and to the large platform that had risen from the flat ground. Spike stepped up onto the platform and saw a magic barrier form a dome over the ‘ring’.

“It’s to keep the bystanders safe…I know you wouldn’t try and run…” Garble stood across from him on the opposite side of the large circle. He was wearing the same set of armor but had a sword attached to his side. He drew it and pointed it at Spike. “I’ll be honest…I want to forgive and forget…but I need to get this off my conscious first…I won’t hurt you much…just enough to satisfy me. So don’t hold back.”

Spike nodded and took a deep breath. He released it slowly and let his right foot come out a bit in front of him and put both his arms up in front of him. His hands were open and he created a box-like figure with his arms. Garble and all of the guards watching look confused. Altos, Fawn and Garble’s father just watched quietly. “I wasn’t planning on it. But I’ll be honest though…I’ve been wanting to pound your face in your years…”

Garble chuckled and put up a stance with the sword out in front of him in his right hand. He smiled and had a slight internal smirk. He had been trained harshly since he came back to the city. Mostly on his own request, he needed to learn how to live like a terran now anyway.

Everything got really quiet as the referee raised her hand. The dragoness looked at Spike and then at Garble. “Begin!”

Garble dashed forward and quickly began to come up with a battle plan. He’d come in and slash at Spike as feint and beat into him with his free hand. He didn’t know what kind of stance Spike had but it wasn’t anything to worry about. After all he was unarmed.

The world went white for a moment and Garble took a few steps back and blocked a kick that made him skid back. Garble’s eyes finally caught up with the world and saw that not only was his sword chipped but his nose was bleeding. He looked at Spike and he still had the same stance as before. But now he was bouncing slightly.

“You used that against those Diamond Dogs right? Boxing was it?” Silk tried to remember.

“Yeah, Shining scooped me up one day along with Altos. Took me back to the Crystal Empire and trained my tail off for a few months so I could watch Twilight’s back.” Spike shivered at the memories of his training.

“Well what happened next?” Silver seem impatient.

"Well if you let me I'll tell you..."

Garble tried to attack Spike but all that came of it was heavy and swift blows to his own body. Gifts from Spike. Spike was fast and strong, much stronger than he gave him credit. But he was no slacker either.

Garble had caught Spike’s exposed arms twice each but took four body shots per cut. His armor was a mass of dents now. He looked at Spike and panted heavily. Spike had barely broken a sweat. He’d never underestimate him again. Garble straightened up and slowly side stepped around Spike. Spike followed him with the bouncing motion he had kept doing.

Garble could see when Spike would be open for attacks, but Spike gave little mind to if he would be damaged or not. He went in risking his life. Garble wondered what kind of events could take place that Spike would be so ready to face death and beat it down.

His pondering would be left for later. He rushed in and used his weight to carry his momentum into Spike. He noticed that if Spike’s balance was disturbed he’d back away and readjust. He needed that window of time to attack.

He swung quickly at Spike and avoid four of his seven punches. He was starting to get used to Spike’s pattern of punches. Body, body, face, body, face, face repeat. That much was easy. He hit Spike in the arm with the sword and used his weight to push against Spike and disrupted his balance. Spike backed off and began to readjust. Garble took the window of opportunity. He lunged at Spike and swung down at him with a heavy force…

Garble shot up from the bed he occupied and blinked hard. He looked around and saw his mother and father, he saw a nurse and a guard. His mother watched as his father walked over and sat in a chair beside the infirmary bed. “…what happened?”

Garble’s father looked at his son and shook his head. “You did your best against his technique…but he had been baiting you the whole time. When you thought you dodged his punches you instead were exhausting yourself for nothing. He was throwing hits that would miss your head and used the wind pressure of his punches to dull your field of depth…you swung at air when you thought you had him off balance and he ended the match with a single upper cut…”

Garble gawked at his father. Not only had he been read…but he had been read by someone he underestimated. He thought that his training as soldier would trump Spike’s…namby pamby lifestyle… Even after his punishment, years after being scolded and begging for his father’s forgiveness, he still thought the same. Garble grabbed the blanket covering him and bore into it with his claws. “I thought…I was different. That I was a better dragon now, not some mindless brute…”

“You are different.” Spike’s voice suddenly echoed in his head. Garble looked over to see Spike leaned against the wall with both his arms covered in bandages. “You looked me straight in the eyes when we fought. You didn’t look down on me and the way I live. You have changed Garble.” Spike walked over and stuck out his much more bandaged right hand. “You also have one hard ass jaw…”

Garble looked at Spike’s right hand and put two and two together. Despite himself Garble chuckled and grabbed Spike’s hand. “And you throw a mean right apparently.”

Spike smiled but took on a serious face. “Neither of us are satisfied with how the fight ended…” Garble sighed and mirrored Spike’s expression. “So when you recover…lets fight again. I want to truly earn it, when you aren’t in shock and don’t know what I can do.”

Garble nodded. “I’ll look at you Spike. Not at the dragon that lives with ponies. But at Spike.” He smiled at Spike with a semi-toothy grin.

Spike returned the favor with his own smile. “And I’ll look at you Garble. Not at the bully who I was scared of. But at Garble.”

Spike’s aunt and Garble father smiled at each other. “Son? Nephew?” Garble’s father call out.

Spike and Garble looked at him and released each other’s hand. The older red dragon stood up and walked over to Spike and patted his shoulder. “My name is Tremor, Spike, and I could not be more proud to call you family. And I have never been so sorry Garble.” Tremor looked at his son. “I am sorry because I expected you to win against a younger foe, despite who trained him. I say that my expectations have been hard on you and I want you to know…I am proud of you my son.”

Garble blinked and smiled. “Its fine father…I still have a long way to go…but Spike, what technique was that? I’ve never seen it before.” He looked up at Spike.

Spike smiled and put his hands behind his head. “It’s a little something I picked up from my pony sister’s brother. He taught me lots of the basic stuff of what is called boxing and some other martial arts.” Spike leaned in to Garble and whispered. “And he’s way stronger than you’d think. I thought my scale were tough but it felt like he punched through them.”

Garble shuddered at the thought. “Sounds tough…think he’ll teach me?” He whispered back and the two shared a laugh.

“Aw that’s so sweet! Boyish but sweet.” Silver giggled as Spike scratched the side of his face.

“Yeah, anyway after a few days Garble and I fought again. Way different results. He almost won.”

“Almost?” Silk questioned as she finished the meal she had been ignoring.

“I won thanks to a little trick I showed him. Altos taught it to me really early in to me learning to fight.” Spike closed his mouth for a moment and opened it slowly. A blue light crackled in his mouth and was quickly put out. “Altos called it ‘Fist of Qo’, its basic building up magic in your mouth like we do for fire. But turning it into lightning instead. It’s damn hard though.”

“You punched Garble with lightning?” Silver looked about ready to strangle him.

“No! No! I didn't use it on him. I used it to break the sword he had. You see he didn't have to actually hit me to win, but if he got to sword to my neck it’d be a done fight. So I used it to break his sword and turn the tables. He’s really amazing at sword play but fighting claw-to-claw? Not so much.” Spike flexed his fist a bit.

“What happened after that fight?” Silk looked at Spike hand and remembered the powerful punch that he used to stop the bandit before they came to Ponyville.

“Well I won and was ‘returned’ my dignity and honor, not sure how you’d do that. We started trading letters back and forth, then one day he asks to come to Ponyville. I found out later my uncle, his dad, wanted him to train alongside me. Said Garble was adamant about seeing how I trained. He tried his hand though at it and chose the sword.” Spike chuckled remembering Garble curse to the skies as he tried to do a fifth of Spike’s normal training all in one go.

Silver Spoon stood up and stretched. “I feel soooo much better!” She spun on her hooves and faced Spike. “Thanks Spike, you too Silk. I probably would've stayed inside for a week crying to myself…” She smiled at them as they stood. “But now it’s late and I need to go to sleep. Go on git!” She shooed Spike and Silk out of her front door happily. “And when you see Garby, tell him to drop by so I can give him a big ol hug.”

“Will do!” Spike smiled and walked home with Silk. He looked down over at her and smiled. “So? You know how I met Garble now, any thoughts?”

“On what? You did what you thought you needed to and proved you could back your words up with actions. I knew you could do that a while ago.” She wrapped her arms around Spike’s arm and smiled at him.

Spike blushed and smiled. “Huh? Well I’m glad you understand me so much. So what do you wanna do? Head home or go catch a movie or something?”

“There’s this movie I heard was okay. I thinks it’s called Half-light or something.” Silk put a finger to her chin in a deliberate attempt to look cute.

Spike cringed, “But its chick flick. I don’t want to…stop looking at me.” Spike glared at Silk as she gave him her best puppy dog eyes. “No. I’m not going… I’m not…dammit.”

Silk smiled and pulled Spike in the directions of the movie theater. They ran past Twilight and Rainbow as they talk to a few weather ponies. She caught them in the corner of her eye and stared at them as they ran by smiling. Twilight gripped the notepad in her hands and put her attention back on Rainbow Dash.

To be continued...

Author's Note:

I liked making this chapter. I may not have gone into too much detail but I wanted to cement how Garble and Spike became friends. Not sure what to do for the next chapter though, any ideas?