• Published 16th Feb 2017
  • 3,956 Views, 126 Comments

Power Struggle - Regis-Th3-Lesser

Can Queen Ember bring her kindgom back from Anarchal Collapse?

  • ...

2. The Harsh Reality

The air was thin and stale as they entered the palace. Smog stayed in town assisting with the cleanup and helping anyone who was injured. They were shaken to their cores. No one spoke. No one felt that any words could explain nor dumb down the situation. Applejack collapsed with a heavy sigh. “I can't believe that happened…” She broke the silence, stating what was on everyone's mind. Rarity paced around pinching the bridge of her nose. She was in full view when Twilight was struck by that horrible brute. The sound of the impact tormented her tugging on her emotions as tears broke through.

Ember looked upon the distraught group with mixed emotions. Yes on one hand they defended the village but they appeared here scared and shivering wondering what other horrors await them in this hellish land. “Everyone I-”

“No! Don't you say a word!” Rainbow Dash spat with venom. “Did you know about those guys…” Ember stood frozen. “Did you know about those dragons!”

“Rainbow save your righteous rage for another time.” Rarity spoke up, her voice precise and fierce. “There's no way she could have known anything like this would happen.”

“Oh don't act like you’re above it Rarity! You saw everything and now look Fluttershy is playing surgeon and Spike just went crazy! She lives here! She must have known something like this would happe-”

“Do not let my calm composure FOOL YOUR ANGER!” Everyone looked at Rarity frightened at how she commanded the room. “We all need to take some time to process this. Now you can keep acting like a brat or you can grow up and grasp the situation at hand…” Rainbow grumbled something under her breath that would have gotten her a mouthful of soap.

“Please stop fighting…” Pinkie pleaded. Rainbow yielded seeing tears forming in Pinkie's eyes as she lay curled up on the floor. “We need a smile… Or something cheerful,” she said with a forced smile. Just then Fluttershy came into the room as pale as a ghost and shaking.

“I-I-I did it…” Her voice was soft and drenched in terror. Rainbow took hold of her gently stroking her mane as they collapsed to the ground.

“This is too much… What in tartarus are we doing here?” Applejack shook her head. Rarity and Ember both gave her curious looks. “Look at us. We’re the elements of harmony, the protectors of Equestria… We can't do nothing here…”

“No… No no no; that isn't true.” Ember tried to reassure her. “You drove them away. You won!”

“But at what cost?” Ember looked at the defeated group once again. She didn't want to be wrong but deep down she knew that bringing them here may not have been the best course of action. Perhaps she had delusions of grandeur of a world without violence and lawlessness. And in doing so she risked the lives of these innocent and gentle creatures. “When Twilight gets better. We're going home…”

“What?” Ember and Rarity asked in unison.

“Ya heard me. We are going home,” Applejack sternly stated.

“Applejack we can't leave with this anarchy running amok,” Rarity protested.

“Didn't you just hear me? There’s nothing we can do! We’re down two and we don't know how many are gonna come back after that killing spree.” Rarity had a well rounded retort but given the situation she held her breath. “You know me. I never turn my back on those in need, but we’re just six ponies… What can we do?”

“We can try…” Rarity sighed. She left the room to go check in on Twilight. She needed some peace and quiet.

“I agree with Rarity…” Rainbow said while holding Fluttershy. “You said it AJ; were Equestria’s heroes. If you want to leave I won't blame you, but mark my words I'll make every single one of those Rader scum pay for what they did to Twilight!” Fluttershy jumped at the sudden spike in Rainbow’s voice. Applejack shook her head and walked off, not certain on where she was headed. Ember felt more than guilty; she could feel their worry for Twilight. She could see how a raid would profoundly affect them. She didn't want to be seen by anyone right now.

“Ember?” Pinkie asked.

“I need to… I need to find Spike…” She wasn't lying for the most part. Wandering around here is a good way to turn up dead or missing. In truth she wanted to leave them to their business. They didn't need her standing around while they process what really goes on in the world.

Spike sat on a hill that overlooked a small lake. In the distance he could see the torches that began to light up several settlements that surrounded Ignis Terrestris. The sky was growing darker and thunder rumbled across the land. He didn't know where he was not did he really care. He wanted to somehow find himself awake at home or at least passed out after drinking too much cider.

The way he went berserk played over and over again like a broken tape. They weren't exactly good dragons, but still taking a life is not to be done lightly. They could have been good people if they were taught that cooperating for the common good is better than being a detriment to those who have no choice to earn an honest living

This was reality though. The more he thought about it the more he realized how sheltered life back in Equestria was. Then again every major conflict that happened he was either told to stay away or he wasn't there. Did the others ever have to kill? Did they ever kill a changeling or any other creature used to Equestria? He never knew. He was too young at the time to ask. Every time they defeated some ancient or world breaking enemy he was just glad that he could sleep soundly that night.

He looked at his hands noticing that his left forearm was swollen and turning a sickening purple. The moment he touched it throbbing pain shot through his arm. Then his entire body began to radiate with pain. He had been so lost in existentialism that he shrugged off the several welts and bruises on his body. At least his scales were strong enough for some protection; even if everything was in pain. “Spike…”

Spike jumped as was ready to pounce.

“Ember?” She stood behind where he was sitting with an apologetic frown. “You scared the scales off me!” he said with a heavy sigh.

“I didn't want to bother you…”

“How did you find me?” he stood up and dusted himself off.

“You're only a mile away from the town. And the only thing wearing a bright green sweater.” Spike looked at his torn clothes. “How are you feeling?”

“I… I don't know…” Ember didn't know whether or not to hug him or just listen to what he had to say. It wasn't every day that she had to counsel someone. “I mean… This all happened so fast. Our second day here and-” he choked, feeling his anger rise again as thoughts of Twilight rushed in.

“Gangs like those have been running amok for centuries… Ever since my father passed on his title they’ve only gotten worse. I never thought they would attack the capital.” Spike sighed and turned away from her.

“How is everyone else?” Spike asked with a cold growl.

“They…” She placed her hand on his shoulder causing him to flinch some. “They’re just as confused and conflicted as you are… I shouldn’t have asked you to come here…”

“What? No!” He took hold of her and and looked her directly in her eyes. “I mean…”

“None of you should have had witness that or be involved in it.”

“You called for our help. So that’s what we are going to do.” Spike tried to reassure her but one thing Applejack said stuck to her; ”At what cost?” “It’s a lot to digest but if you really feel that we can change this place for the better then we’ll try.” He gave her a smile that was all too contagious. She tried to hide it but his keen eyes caught her red handed.

“Well, your friends are divided. Some say that you should stay and others say that you should go,” Ember sighed.

“What about Twilight? Is she okay?” Spike’s reassuring tone switched to a worried and anxious one.

“Fluttershy was able to tend to her wounds but beyond that; I haven’t the slightest…” A tsunami of relief washed away the guilt he felt for leaving without making sure she was okay. Or however well ‘okay’ was. “We should get back… I know the other’s are wondering where I am. So are you gonna carry me or…?

“Oh no! You’ve gotten way too big to carry. Unless you have a faster way?” Then a crazy idea popped into his head.

“Well, I’ve only ever tried this on myself a few times.”

“Tried what?” he pulled her by her waist and held her as close as he could. He took in a big gulp of air and breathed a green fire that slowly enveloped them from the bottom up. As it did it began to swirl like a cyclone. Ember felt a tingling around her feet, then her legs and before she realized it the bottom half of her body was turning into magical smoke. She dared not move. Soon all she felt was her head slowly being dematerialized before everything cut to black.

Rainbow Dash sat on the palace steps playing with her feathers. Fluttershy finally came out of her petrified state and decided that she needed some rest. Pinkie was in the kitchen making something to eat even though Rainbow knew food was the last thing on anyone’s mind. Rarity and Applejack decided to keep an eye on Twilight leaving her to sit out here with nothing to do but think and watch the sun blaze across the sky. “Did you catch all of that Celestia?” She mocked the sun. Nobody was ready for today and even though she wasn’t the one to turn her back on anyone, she wished she was at home laying in her bed.

Down below she saw some black smoke approaching fast. She readied herself for another fight, but then it stopped just short of her. It hung in the air for half a second before green fire dripped from the smoke slowly constructing two sets of legs then two torsos. In one magical poof Spike and Ember stood before her with dumbfounded looks. “Spike!” Rainbow leapt down the stairs, colliding with him. Spike groaned at her squeezing all of his bruises and cuts, but he still welcomed the hug. Ember inspected every inch of her being; her feet, legs, arms, wings, tail, everything. Luckily nothing seemed to be out of place, except for this mare throwing herself at Spike. “Thank Celestia! Where have you been!” Rainbow punched his shoulder with all her might.

“I needed to clear my head…” Spike whined while rubbing his bruised shoulder.

“I’m glad you found yourself out there,” Rainbow hissed.

“Hey!” Ember was ready to defend him at all costs but Spike waved her away.

“I know and given what happened it was very selfish of me…”

“Better you say it than me… Still, I’m glad you didn't try to chase after those guys.”

“How is everyone else?”

“Bad…” Spike walked by her with a determined frown. He needed to stop feeling sorry for himself.

Rarity and Applejack sat on opposite sides of the bed where Twilight lay. She had been fidgeting for the last hour but she eventually settled down. Applejack had a full view of the cast covering her right arm. She had never broken a bone a say in her life. Imagining the pain sent shivers through her. The more she looked the more frequently the even played in her mind. The way she flew; it was like a foal hitting a ragdoll with a baseball bat. She shook her head as if it would shut off the memory. She looked up at Rarity.

She sat proper and with her legs crossed and her back straight, but she watched Twilight like a hawk. Mainly she was going through her memories of medical spells. Granted Fluttershy obviously knew what she was doing but something like this needed some serious professional help. She sighed and got up from her seat. “Where are you goin?” Applejack asked with no true interest.

“I need some air… I can’t stand to see her like this.” Applejack nodded and Rarity left the room. “Wish I could trade places with ya Twi…” Applejack sighed. Moments of silence passed before she could hear Rarity shouting ‘Spike’ from down the hallway. Twilight began to squirm and fidget again. She couldn’t hear their conversation but they were growing nearer until Spike stood in the doorway wide eyed and slack jawed. He stood for a moment, looking at Twilight as if he were looking at her corpse.

“H-How is she?”

“She’s asleep, but from what I can tell she’s alright.” Applejack replied, trying to keep a lid on her emotions even though she was more than happy to see that he was alive and seemingly well.

“You look terrible…” Applejack chuckled. Spike looked at his clothes with a sheepish grin.

“I just got back, heh. I haven’t had a chance to clean up yet.” He stood by Twilight’s bedside. She looked a little pale but she was peaceful. Ember stood there watching unsure of what to do. Applejack looked at her and Spike then got up from her seat. “Come on,” she placed her hand on Ember’s shoulder. “Let’s give him a moment.” Ember wanted to protest but she knew Applejack was right. She kept her eyes locked on Spike as she was lead away.

This all felt so real yet synthetic. Twilight was in her foalhood room reading one of her favorite books; On the Origins of magic. It was believed that magic was born with all creatures who walked the Earth; Ponies, Gryphons, all of them have some innate magical acuity None more than the dragon and the unicorn. The magic within them seems to be at it’s most potent. Every time she read that opening phrase she would look at her adorable baby dragon sleeping in his basket beside her bed. Nothing else in her life drew more curiosity than the drake that she would watch sleep every night.

Even through to present day, Spike was what she always thought about. According to the few records that exist including the ones that she put together didn’t shed a sliver of light on what he was. Spike… what a curious case. Then, she began to stir the pain from her injuries crescendoing. Her eyes fluttered open and were met with a dusty red ceiling. Her head and arm throbbed furiously. She turned her stiff neck trying to get a bearing on where she was. From what she could tell she was back in Ember’s palace. She looked to her right and was met with a mess of spiky green hair.

Spike was slumped over the bed, sleeping soundly. Twilight tried to sit up but the pressure on her arm made her cry out in pain. Spike instantly shot up and looked around for whatever made that noise. He looked down at Twilight who was cringing while holding her broken arm. “Twilight!” Spike looked around in a panic. He searched for anything that would numb the pain.

“I-I’m fine…” Twilight groaned.

“Are you sure?” Spike continued to panic.

“Yeah… I think so,” she winced as the pain subsided. Even moving her fingers sent pangs of sharp pain rippling through her arm. She didn’t remember much; just the impact then she was out. “How long was I out?” she rasped. Her throat was dry and her stomach empty.

“I’m not sure. I’ve been back here with you since I got back…”

Twilight looked at his bruises and torn clothes and smiled at how selfless he was. “Always my faithful assistant,” Twilight weakly chuckled. “Can you help me up?”

“I don’t know. You’re still pretty busted up.”

“I’m all stiff… And I have to go…” Spike sighed worried that moving her would only cause more pain. Still she’s been here for a long time, and in addition to having to relieve herself she could be hungry. She looked at him with wide begging eyes. “Okay…” he walked around to her left side and leaned down to where she could put her arm around his neck. Spike slid his hand underneath her and felt something he didn’t expect. “Uh, Twilight? Are you wearing any clothes….?” Twilight shifted around some feeling her bare thigh on Spike’s claw; her fur getting caught on his scales.

“Apparently yes… Look, you can cover me with the blanket.” Spike took a deep breath and lifted her carefully. Twilight winced as her entire body throbbed in pain and discomfort. She didn’t know if it was from being bedridden or injured. Once Spike lifted her out of bed, they both noticed a bright white cast on her left leg. “I guess walking isn’t an option…” Twilight sighed. Spike squatted, carefully grabbing the blanket as best as he could with two fingers. “I’ll get it.” Twilight used her magic and covered as much of herself as she could.

“Right I forgot that your horn does the magic thing…” Spike held her tighter as they exited the room. “So where to fist?” he asked in the empty hallway. There was a tantalizing smell coming from the kitchen which made her stomach growl furiously, but her bladder was screaming at her. Plus she was beginning to enjoy Spike holding her in the buff a little too much so clothes might be a good idea. “Bathroom, I can’t hold it anymore!” Spike walked as fast as he could without tripping over his feet. Running with her may not be the best idea.

“Stop!” Spike listened and stood at the door. “I think I can make it on my own…” Spike set her down carefully on her good leg and watched as she hobbled into the room. He waited outside patiently while she did what she had to do. Soon he heard footsteps coming from behind him. Fluttershy was walking with Pinkie. She had obviously just woken up while Pinkie walked with a cheery hop.

“Heya Spike!” Pinkie waved as they grew nearer. “You woke up just in time for din-din,” she smiled sending a warm glow through him. It was good to see her smile wasn't affected.

“Why are you standing next to the bathroom door?” Fluttershy asked with a yawn.

“Twilight had to pee,” Spike simply said.

“She’s awake?!” Pinkie gasped with glee before she bone rushed the door scaring the stuffing out of Twilight. “You’re up, you’re up, you’re up!!”

“OWW PINKIE!!” Twilight cried out from inside.

“How long has she been awake?” Fluttershy asked again with a stutter.

“Sorry,” Pinkie giggled.

“Only a few minutes,” Spike replied while staring at the door.

“She walked down here?” Fluttershy gasped.

“No… She asked me to carry her.”

“That's good…” Fluttershy sighed with her hand to her chest. Moments later the door opened showing a visibly annoyed and in pain Twilight leaning against Pinkie.

“Okay Spike. I’d like to get some clothes on....” she grumbled

“Wait why are you naked?” Pinkie asked.

“When I was working on her I had to get her clothes off… I guess I forgot to change them,” Fluttershy shuddered at the memory of trending to Twilight’s wounds.

“Yes and I'd much rather be clothed so come on Spike…” She tightened her blanket taking extra care that Spike’s hands not make contact with her backside again. He lifted her bridal style and carried her off. Pinkie and Fluttershy followed closely behind. Soon they ran into Rainbow Rarity and Applejack who were on their way to get something to eat.

“Twilight? You're up and about… Well sort of,” Rarity said with joyous surprise. “Why is Spike holding you?”

“I'll explain later. I just really want to get dressed…” Twilight struggled to rid her tone of impatience and annoyance.

“Why are you-” Rainbow was about to ask but Rarity covered her mouth with magic.

“Take your time darling. We’ll be waiting in the kitchen.” She opened the door for Spike and with Twilight’s command they entered their room and shut the door.

“Thank Celestia…” Twilight sighed as she hopped out of Spike’s arms. She would have collapsed if she hadn't caught herself with magic; she’d have to thank Starlight for those self levitation lessons.

Spike stood with his back to her in silence. She rummaged through her suitcase looking for something to throw on real quick. Every so often she’d look back at Spike partly making sure he wasn't peeking and hopelessly trying to come up with a topic to relieve the awkward atmosphere. “Spike?”

“Yeah?” he didn't move.

“What happened after I got hurt…?”

“We drove them out of town.” At least he told some of the truth. “What happened to you?” Spike realized that he hadn't changed since the incident. His favorite sweater was nothing more than a torn dishrag now.

“I helped out…” He continued to be vague much to Twilight’s annoyance.

“Spike…” she said in a motherly tone. She struggled some but she got her pajama bottoms on. “I know you're lying.”

“I don't want to talk about it…” His voice was low.

“Spike look at me,” Twilight demanded softly. He peeked over his shoulder to make sure she was dressed before turning in full. “I won't judge you or make you feel bad or anything. I need to know.”

“Why?” Spike whined. “It happened, it's over, and you're safe.” He tried to look away but he could feel her sympathetic gaze comforting him. He grew to hate that look but he knew that it meant that Twilight was going make him feel better no matter what the situation was. “I got mad… R-Really mad…” he sat next to her. “After what happened I snapped. I ki-” He felt a sickening bulge in his throat. “I killed the dragon that tried to kill you,” he spoke through several voice cracks.

“Oh Spike…”

“It didn't stop there… I was so angry at what happened I went crazy and…” He looked down at his claws imagining them still covered in the blood he spilled. “Smog and I drove them off… But in the end I killed so many…” Twilight was understandably shocked. She tried to imagine what he did or rather what he had to do but she was fortunate that she didn't have to witness him going savage. She didn't say a word as she wrapped both her good and bad arms around him.

“I know that was a lot to handle Spike… Even though I was hurt, I'm still here. If you hadn't stopped that dragon there'd be one less princess in Equestria,” she said with a forced chuckle.

“I know that but l it’s still terrifying… It was like I was in control of everything, but It wasn't me I was controlling you know?” Twilight nodded.

“I know it sounds strange or even cliché, but I knew this day would come…” Spike gave her an inquirious raise of his eyebrow. “Spike you're not a pony. We can teach you to act like us, talk like us, dress like us all of that; but you aren't a pony. You're a dragon. I knew that someday you’d be exposed to what it really means to be a dragon… I didn't account for this though.” She looked at her casted leg. “I know in Equestria killing of any kind is frowned upon no matter what side you're on. But here. Everything is different, and in a way I'm proud of you.”

“You're proud? Wha- why?” Spike stuttered.

“Because you protected your own. I've heard that males would fight to their last breathe to protect what they love.” Somehow that put a smile on Spike’s sour face. “I'm starving! Can you help me up?”

“No problem… Can you walk?”

“Let's see…” she enveloped her cast in magic and took a step moments before pain shot like lightning up her leg. She buckled immediately but Spike caught her before she could hit the ground. “Carry me! Carry me!” she seethed.

Author's Note:

See she's okay even though she's gonna be crippled for a while. Now the way her injuries are set up are; the dragon hit her right arm instantly breaking it in two areas, and the impact with the hut broke her left leg since the attacker sent her flying to the left. I was thinking of making her use her wings to get around but after rewatching a few episodes I noticed that even with her wings Twilight prefers to walk. So I hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it:twilightsmile: