• Published 22nd Mar 2017
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Dragon King: Homecoming - Sipioc



A terrible Dragon is brought back to life as a pony. Twenty-two years later he is still paying for it.

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Home Bound

Chapter 1

Home Bound

The night air under my mighty wings felt crisp and cool as I soared through the dark skies. Every so often I roared, simply because I could. Giving voice to the power that resides in my body in a fierce crescendo that sent those creatures below that dared venture out of their burrows at this hour scattering for cover.


This, was my domain. My mountain, the skies above, and all the lands below it, for as far as my eyes could see. And see far they could. This was my kingdom, and I its rightful ruler for over a hundred years. And that is not a claim I make lightly. For I am, Xedranon. And I am King of all Dragons.


A rumble in my stomach reminded me that even kings need to eat. I threw myself into a spiral dive as I searched for a worthy meal. Small packs of goats scurry for cover as my shadow passes over them. Fierce mountain lions run in terror at the sight of me. But I am not interested in them. They are but morsels. And I seek a meal. It has been well over a month since last I feasted, and my mighty frame demands sustenance.


As I zoomed across the rocky landscape at great speeds, my golden eyes easily piercing the gloom, I picked up a distinct shape in the distance. There in the snow covered valley below strode a mighty mammoth. Easily half my size, this one would be a worthy prey for me, and could sustain me for some time to come. They have become rare of late, these mighty eight ton beasts. I would relish this kill.


As I soared closer I could make out the individual details of my prey. A male, with long, battle worn tusks. Judging by his size and coat he is his prime.

I felt a surge of adrenaline race through me as I anticipated the kill. I roared my challenge to the beast, and it turned to face me, pawing at the ground in challenge. Most would run at the sight of me, but this beast is clearly made of sterner stuff. Good… I will relish this all the more.


With a mighty wingbeat I hurled myself at it like a bolt of lightning. It trumpets and charges me head on. A vicious grin split my face. Yes, come brave beast. Come and meet your maker at my claws!
We connected with a clap like thunder. One of the beast's tusks shattered against my armored hide. And though it failed to pierce me and deliver a mortal wound, it still knocks the wind out of me. My claws tore at its hide, seeking purchase. My head shot forward as I opened my mouth wide, while my armored third eyelid slides down to protect my eyes. Teeth that can shatter diamonds made short work of the beasts thick leathery hide as I bit down on the left side of its neck.


Instead of the expected howl of pain, I am instead greeted by a feminine giggle. Confused, I took a chance and opened my eyes to find that the once sullen and muddy brown mammoth is now sporting a smile and a head of the most garishly pink curls.
“Hee-hee, that tickles, Flint.” It chirped before giggling once more.


----------------


All I can do is blink.


My eyes are narrowed on the current source of my ire, who looks back at me with a wide smile. She flutters her blue eyes at me before laughing a bit more like the lunatic she is.


The taste of cherry blossom shampoo from her mane fills my mouth, and I realise I'm chewing on it. I noisily spit out the pink fro before I address the pony who is spooning against me.
“....Miss Pie.” I say flatly, not changing my sullen expression nor taking my eyes off her.


“Mornin!” She spouts happily bouncing a bit on my bed so she can face me. Now before you can say ‘Really? You and HER?’. Let's be clear: Not. EVER!


We both stare each other down for a while, her barely contained mania, my barely contained lividness. After another moment I break the silence.


“Alright, how did you get in today?” I remark impassively.
Her smile grows impossibly wide as she points a hoof to the ceiling. “You left your skylight open.”
“How silly of me to keep it open those few inches.” I say dryly, already feeling a migraine coming on.
“Yeah, you’ll let mosquitoes in.”


“Among other pests.” I grumble before rolling out of bed onto my three hooves.


What remains of my fourth limb lowers as well on instinct, however everything below the radius bone has been gone for a little more than ten years now. Even so I still feel phantom sensations from it on occasion.

After popping a few joints, I catch my reflection in the full length mirror in the corner. At first I see the dragon I was; ancient, powerful, above all the trivial matters of a common life. I blink hard and clear my head. I let out a deep breath and look to the mirror again. In the place of a drake is now a blue stallion of the earth tribe, his mane is a ginger orange, the mark of a dragon and shield adorn his upper thigh. What remains the same is the eyes, they still retain that golden glow from before. When he was the fierce king he once was. What I once was.

“Take a picture.” looking over I glare at the pink interloper who just looks at me thoughtfully. “No seriously, this place needs something. Like a plant.”

“It's fine the way it is.” Stretching my back.

“If you say so, but there is not much here to look at when I come over for a visit.” She says rolling to her back and kicking her legs playfully in front of her to amuse her short attention span.

“Speaking of your visits,” I say coming to the edge of the bed, “don't you think that sneaking in here and jumping in bed with me might be a bit...I don't know, suggestive of something?”


“Why? Is something gonna happen?” She asks innocently before fluttering her eyelashes and smirking up at me.


“No.” I answer flatly.


“Then nope!” She says before devolving into giggles again. This is brought to an abrupt end with a quick yank of the sheet that sends her tumbling off the bed with a squeak and a satisfying thunk.


Not even caring to check on her, I move to my bathroom and shut the door; before opening it again and ushering her out, my scrub brush in her hooves and a shower cap I don't own on her head.
She pouts a bit before I close the door again. I would lock it but...what’s the point?

------


Stepping into the cascading water I allow the shower to drown out the ceaseless questions Ms Pie keeps bombarding me with through the door. None of which I will answer, but then again, it doesn’t seem like she’s really expecting any answers, the way she rambles on at full steam.


The plumbing spurts a bit due to the suboptimal water pressure in my makeshift accommodations. This loft had been something of an afterthought by the leaseholders. A project for another day. Still it suited my purposes. Having just been eager to set up a hasty residence here nearly a week ago.
‘A week ago.’ The water had long since turned to icy, but my thoughts were elsewhere.


I had had it so good. I was out in the world, on the road, traveling about for almost two years. Never staying in one place for more than a day. Taking an odd job here and there that called for the handling of one beastie or another.


It seems my old life has given a knack for dealing with any unruly monster with a bad attitude and a penchant for pony meat.


‘Hypocrisy’ says you? ‘No doubt’ says I, considering how many countless lives I’ve claimed with tooth, claw and fire. But that…. that was a lifetime ago. My eyes trail down to the stump where my left foreleg used to be. The price of my epiphany. It was that moment I made a choice, and I’ve stuck with it since, be it begrudgingly at times.


But my willingness to accept this choice was now being tested, and it all started when I came home for the first time in nearly two dozen Moons.

-------

The Everfree Forest was a place that was full of creatures both mundane and exotic. From the simple wolf and bear to the more exocitc Cragodile and, if you went deep enough, Chimera and Hydra. While this bothered many ponies, for me this was like home. I didn't fear the monsters here because, despite what I may appear now, I was one once.

That didn't mean I was foolish enough to believe I was invincible. I had been bit,, stung, scratched, and otherwise tussled by everything in here at one point or another. Difference was I knew what to do when the time came for it. A sharp buck to the eyes, throat, or a well placed arrow, be it pointed or alchemic could convince even the most curious of beasts that this pony was not to be trifled with. Timber wolves though? They were a bit more tricky.

The sun was shining more clearer now through the canopy as I stepped steadily through the brush. The bottom of my traveling cloak had seen better days, every thorn and thistle I crossed taking a piece as if demanding tribute for my passing. My calloused hooves and fetlocks fair a bit better but we're still feeling considerably raw from the hike.

I silently break the treeline and get into the open air. The weight of the forest leaves me as I get to more open ground. There is malice in those woods, let there be no mistake about that. In the distance I can see the spires of town hall and the thatched roofs of the surrounding homes. This was not the place I was (re)born in, but if one has to have a hometown, this wouldn't be an unwelcome sight. Shaking off my momentary lapse into nostalgia I step out toward the main road.

“Hi there!”

Two years of travel kick in, as in an instant I have my bow out, an arrow notched and gripped in my teeth, pointed into the muzzle of a very pink pony,

“WHOA! Easy there Trigger!” She quips but shows no sign of true fear.

“Where did you come from? How did you sneak up on me?” I hiss at her..

“I came from Ponyville! Well- not originally, see I grew up on a rock farm just a ways from here. A stone's throw away. Hahahah-snort- that's a little joke we say out our way. Any who, I grew up there with my my mom and dad and my three sisters; Marble, Limestone, and Maud. I came to Ponyville to stay a year or so ago. I think it was June. Yep definitely June, because it was right after the Juniper Berry Festival, ‘cause that was where I met Mister and Mrs Cake. We hit it off from the get go and they offered me the room upstairs in exchange for working at the shop. Have you ever been to Sugarcube corner? D’oh silly me, you just got here. -GASP- You know what we should do we should go to Sugarcube Corner!”

After that tirade of gum flapping my own jaw was getting tired but I wasn't altogether sure I shouldn't keep this mare at arrow point. After a moment though I relent and bring my foreleg back down. Releasing the nock, I return the arrow it to the quiver at my side. Three arrows remaining, best not waste it on this nut.

“Thanks for not shooting me.” She says in a ho-hum sort of way that doesn't reflect that of a pony who was about to get a third nostril.

“Whatever.” I grumble as I resume my trip toward town.

“I'm Pinkie Pie, by the way.” She is now hopping along side me, chipper as a chipmunk; toothy little rats that they are.

“I’m sure you are.” I say disinterestedly as I attempt to put more distance between us.

“Whatcha doin’ in Ponyville?” She queries.

“None of your business.” I retort cooly.

“In town for the Summer Sun Celebration?”

“No.”

“Do you like parties?”

“No.”

“Have plans for tonight?”

“No.”

“Am I bugging you?”

“Yes.”

“Should I stop?”

“I would.”

“And you are?”

“Getting seriously annoyed.”

“So I should stop?”

“Again, yes.”

“Geeosh Flint you really are a stick in the mud.” She says with a puff moving curly strand of her mane out of her face.

My mounting irritation nearly makes me miss it, but when I do pick it up, I stop walking and turn to face her again.

“How did you-”

“-know your name?” She replies aloofly.

“Yes.”

“I dunno.” She shrugs looking uninterested.

“Are you purposely trying to egg me on or do-”

“-I think this is a game?”

“Actually, I was gonna say: do I need to get the arrow out again?”

“You wouldn't hurt lil’ ol me, would ya?” She says pouting her lips and giving a pair of puppy dog eyes.

I bite the inside of my cheek, part me really would, but all of me would just like this conversation to be done and over with.

“...probably not.” I say with a grumble.

“Course not, you seem like a nice guy. A bit grumpy, but nice.”

I do my best to ignore my chatty pink shadow as I cross the bridge into town.
--------

Miss Pie is not at all as dumb as she appears. Her relentless chatter was only brought to a halt provided I agreed to go to that party at the Library that night.

The Icy water finally manages to grab my attention as a shiver runs down my spine. Having had enough I turn off the faucet and step out of the shower, only to be handed a towel.

--------

With the pink pain in my flank having literally bounced out the door I headed down the steps to the kitchen. The clinking of dishes made me hesitate on proceeding down.

A rustle of a newspaper, the pouring of juice into a glass, and the rhythmic tapping of a hoof on a plate. Yup all three of them were up. For a moment I considered just walking out the door, but the aroma of grounds percolating gave me pause. I had spent many a month out on the road and if there was one thing I couldn't resist it was a hot cup of the vice known as coffee. I could function without it but if there was one consolation about being in civilization, it was that.

Making a decision, I mustered my reserves and made contact with the main floor. The light clacking of my metal prosthetic hoof made a heavy thud on the hardwood, even with the suspension in it, it still felt awkward at times.

Immediately, I could tell the atmosphere had tensed in the kitchen. As the usual noises fell silent. Rounding the corner I confirmed my suspicions from the stairs. I couldn't ignore the irony, I had been a king once, now I shared a crude domicile with three peasants.

“Good Morning, Flint.” Spoke the unicorn. His name is Written Script. He has a job at town hall doing...something. I simply mumble in response.

Opening the cabinet door I pulled a mug down and soon had carefully poured it full, steam rising to my nostrils offering a brief moment of serenity.

“Woke up with your bed buddy again?” And just like that, serenity was shattered. I simply glare at the Pegasus. “She may be a bit... odd, but she's probably a beast between the sheets, eh eh?" he said with a lewd wink in my direction. I suppressed the urge to smash the coffeecup into his stupid face, not because he doesn't deserve it, but because I hate to waste a good brew.

"Drop dead Thunderlane." I growl as I sip my morning joe. I hate my life right now.

“Whoa, hostile.” Says the final member to this jamboree. This one goes by Caramel, which means he runs slow and is overly sweet.

“Now that we are all here,” Script says, changing the subject, “it's time to go over the chore list for the week.” Somehow he finds excitement in this as he pulls out a pad and marker and lays it on the table.

Amazing, I actually hate my life more right now.

Author's Note:

A special thanks to Aprion, whose coaching and great ideas got this off the ground.

This story though is for me guys. If you like it? Great let's see where it goes! Hate it? I get it.