• Published 4th Jan 2018
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The Adventures of Test Subject SP-1K3 - Dedion

Test Subject SP-1K3 and friends begin a journey across Equestria to escape their life of being nothing more than lab rats.

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Chapter 10: The City of Diamond Dogs: The Day Market

Medicine always tasted despicable. It didn't matter what anybody said about the added flavor to make it go down smoother. The result was the same unpleasant taste in Spike's mouth. To make matters worse, Fizzle had somehow made it apple flavored seeing as to how the young purple dragon loved apples during their time in the facility. However, times have changed. Every apple on the face of the world could be tossed into the deepest pits of oblivion and Spike would have celebrated the demise of the red fruit for a whole year.

The medicine's effect started to kick almost immediately as Spike felt the pain in his chest start to fade away. He could feel something. There was something about his inner fire that changed as well as the medicine coursed through his veins. The flames were growing stronger with each second that passed. At that moment, Spike felt as if he was worth a million diamonds.

However, that feeling soon faded as Spike's muscles relaxed and he found himself slowly drifting off to sleep. Whatever conversations were going on around him were nothing but muffled noise. The massive cave blurred into darkness. Spike placed his head on the cool stone table. It was relaxing, to say the least.

Not long after Spike's head rested on the table top, he was lifted by someone and carried away. Who he was being carried by was of no concern to him at the moment. There was a silence in his head that, while a bit unnerving, was something of a rare oddity that Spike enjoyed. The voices that had plagued his sleep were not there. Another peaceful night of slumber was just what Spike needed. Sadly, the night would not last much longer for Spike. His sleep was cut short by a sudden cut of his air supply.

He thrashed awake, eyes the size of tiny dots. He coughed a bit before looking around for the one who dared to try and suffocate him. All around him stood the pups from last night. Each of them held a certain glow in their eyes. The one that was closest to him, and the one he had suspected with cutting his supply of air off, still had her arm outstretched as her curious eyes didn't dare to blink. Before the silence could settle in, Spike found himself drowning in a sea of questions. Voices continued to overlap each other and their tones varied greatly. While some were curious and eager to have the dragon answer their questions, others were the exact opposite.

The constant assault of voices began to stir up memories that Spike would rather leave behind. As he tried to block out the pups' questioning, his arm began to glow in an unnerving purple light. Most pups soon stopped their interrogation and grew tense. They were the ones who had remembered what had happened last night. Even if it seemed like a dream, the light bruises on their bodies were enough evidence to say otherwise. Soon the rest of them fell silent as well. The silence was a relief that Spike was thankful for.

The purple light soon faded and Spike's darkened scales returned to normal. He took a few deep breaths before looking at the crowd of diamond dog pups that surrounded him. "What... time is it?" Spike asked grudgingly. Spike still didn't understand why waking up from sleeping made him more tired than when he went to sleep.

"I-it's almost half-passed sunrise..." answered one of the pups hiding behind one of their siblings.

"Is anyone else up yet?" Spike asked as he struggled to stand up. Some of the pups began to back away from the dragon. The pup that was closest to Spike answered his question while trying to support him.

"No," she said. Spike was certain it was a female. The voice just sounded too delightful to be a male. "Only us for now. Very little did we see you before mother came. We wanted answers about outside."

"What do you mean outside?" retorted Spike. Before the young she-pup could have answered another one of her siblings did it for her.

"Big place, outside caverns. Outside mountain!" They exclaimed, "Tell us about the outside!" Spike's eyes widened a bit as a light ignited in his dead emerald eyes. He looked around and saw the signs of their curiosity and wanderlust of the pups leaking through their scared expressions. The young purple dragon found him almost envious of the pups and how they reminded him of before the war. Spike sighed a bit before replying.

"How much of the... outside do you know about already?" he asked. The replies were numerous. A few pups named off the species that inhabited the world. A few others named of the types of minerals found in other regions. A couple of them let loose some of the cooking knowledge from other nations that Freed had been teaching them. Spike turned his attention towards the she-pup that had helped him up. She cleared her throat before speaking.

"Rosemary was taught ways of old dragons." The she-pup spoke in echoing hisses and long forgotten words. Spike didn't know he had stopped blinking and that his eyes were the size of watermelons until his eyes started to burn. It took him a moment to fully realize that he just heard the long unused language of his kind escape the mouth of a diamond dog pup.

"... I'll admit. You've really surprised me, Rosemary." Spike responded, "I did not expect to hear ancient draconian anytime soon. Especially not from someone who doesn't even have the proper tongue for it."

While Rosemary wore a cheerful expression, her siblings were another story. With their skin beginning to crawl as they listened to the two converse in hisses and weird words that none of them understood, They finally asked for the two to stop talking. Spike and Rosemary chuckled to themselves for a bit.

The sound of approaching footsteps began to be heard from the other side of the door. The pups' ears flicked collectively and remained still for a brief moment. After a moment of silence, the pups quickly rushed towards a closet door near the back of the room. They opened it and each pup equipped themselves with a small backpack. Most of them were nearly worn out and the colors on them seem to have nearly faded away. From the patches of new material sewed on to some of them, Spike could see that the backpacks had been through a lot of trauma.

Once the pups had their backpacks in order, they lined up in a single file a few inches in front of the door. A couple seconds later, Remance entered the room. Her eyes scanned over her children, taking in every last detail of them. They, in turn, kept their gaze on her as if waiting for a signal of some sort. Once Remance's eyes left the last of her pups, she gave a smile. "Remance's pups will do good on their first day," she said. The pups broke their formation as Remance used her large arms to pull them all into a giant hug. "Eat hearty this morning and report to workstation for assignments. Remance will be there shortly."

The pups nodded their heads in excitement before rushing out of the room, leaving Spike and Remance alone. Remance looked out the doorway and listened as the rapid footsteps of her children faded into the distance. "Remance remembers her first work day. Couldn't sleep at all. Feel asleep during guard training and was stuck on washing duty for entire month." She said with a deep laugh.

"Hey, what job's are they going to be assigned anyway?" Spike asked.

Remance looked down at the young dragon and gave another laugh. She gestured for him to follow her as she left the room. The two got a few steps towards their destination before Remance spoke. "With way things have been going, pups may mostly be assigned mining duty or perhaps guard position. Not much need for merchants with war happening. Trade come to near stand still." she said.

"Why?" asked Spike. Remance put a claw to her muzzle as she thought.

"Many reasons, Remance thinks. But most important one is that dragons no longer wise to trade here," she answered.

"Because you're in pony terratory?"

"That one reason." Remance's voice seemed to grow cold, "The other reason is that we choose not to take a side in the war between dragons and ponies."

"That is a thing I'm also curious about," started Spike, "Why not take sides with the dragons? I mean from what my father used to tell me about dragon history, Diamond Dogs and dragons are kinda the same. It seems like you guys would have picked the dragon side when the war first started."

Remance was silent for a moment. "It hard to pick side you want to be on when the princesses of the land could burn or freeze you to death in a brief moment. We Diamond Dogs, while share past with dragon kind, do not have luxury of magic proof scales."

"With how ponies go about their testing, I'd say dragons don't have that luxury either," Spike said, his blank stare turned furious for a moment before settling back into its natural state. His hand subconsciously rubbed his neck as if he was trying to feel for something that was no longer there. Remance was frozen in place for a moment. Her mind seemed to have been trying to figure something out and Spike had just given her the last piece of the puzzle she needed. Spike stopped a few feet ahead of Remance and gave the giant Diamond Dog a confused look. Remance soon came out of her trance and quickly caught up with Spike

"Maybe we change topic? In wise words of Mother: picking at wounds, whether fresh or old, is not good for healing or self-improvement." Remance said. She gave Spike a soft smile in an effort to cheer him up a bit. Which, Spike had to admit, was effective to some extent.

The two entered the same cave that Spike was in last night. However, there was a noticeable difference this time. The cave was nearly filled with Diamond Dogs of all sizes and builds. Spike could barely tell most of them apart, but Remance seemed to have no problem finding the difference amongst the sea of canines. However, through all the fur, Spike managed to find a refreshing sight. All his friends were sitting together. Most of them seemed to still be waking up. Jet was the worst of them all as he was asleep where he was sitting. His face nesting in a bowl of what looked like to be porridge.

Spike took the moment to sit next to Little Fang who was the most lively of the group. "You all got here pretty quick." Spike said, "Barely half-passed sunrise and you guys up and at 'em."

"Years of being in a facility have led to some undesirable instincts I suppose," Fizzle commented.

"Doesn't help that barely half-passed sunrise is 'late' for these guys," Fang chimed in, "I kid you not, the moment I wake up I hear, 'Guys, wake up! The sun's over the horizon! We're late!' I swear I want to go back to sleep so much right now."

"You could just go to sleep now, I'm sure we have some time," Spike suggested.

"Nah, the first-morning wave is almost over. We'll be leaving soon. Oh, that reminds me. You want the rest of this? My stomach's not really awake at the moment." Fang said as she slid a half-finished bowl of porridge with a strip of bacon on top. Spike's eyes widened as his hand reacted before he could think. He grabbed the bowl and finished off the bowl of food in the blink of an eye. Fang watched in amazement as Spike licked the bowl clean of any remaining food. "Dude, I can never see how you're able to eat food like that so greedy like. Its like you've never seen any food before and only read about it in books."

"Well, that's not entirely true," Spike said, "I know we don't want to think about it now, but what section were you in before we transferred to Twilight's district?" Little Fang took a long moment to answer.

"Section S2B, why are you asking that?" Little Fang replied

"Huh, figures. I was from Section S1C," Spike said. He looked over and saw that surprised looked on Fang's face. "I take it you heard the rumors about us then?"

"I-I thought those were only rumors! I didn't think that... that they actually did it." Fang protest, "Long testing times with barely any stopping, barely any sleeping or eating, punishments for passing out in the middle of an experiment.... how did you survive that?"

"If I had to guess? It would have to be pity or the ponies took a liking to me and wanted to keep me around. Either way, I got given a sort of 'Special Treatment'. It wasn't too much, though. A small meal here or there to keep me going. Don't even get me started on those 'Food Pill' they made me test." Spike answered. Fang took a moment to respond again.

"You know, you've gotten a lot more talkative lately," Fang admitted.

"Really? Huh, neat." As the first-morning wave began to clear out and Jet managing to wipe off the porridge from his face, Spike found himself following the now fully awake Fizzle. He had asked where it was that they were heading, to which Fizzle replied that they were going to the day market. Spike was confused for a bit as to why there was a market in the first place seeing as to how the war was still going on. Fizzle was quick to correct Spike misunderstanding. The young dragon was thinking of the trading center, where species of different races could come trade their wares. The market was for buying and selling items. It was where all Diamond Dogs went to buy things they needed. It was also where they were going to go to buy supplies for the rest of their trip.

After cashing in the scales they had collected from everyone, the group was sitting at about five hundred bits. That was enough for each of them to buy the things they needed and still have some left over. Fizzle then tried to give everyone a goal to achieve. He was going to buy food and water while Jet went to get a map and traveling supplies. Garble would see if he could get some weapons. That left the two youngest of the group to gather any information about the closest towns. They would return to the dining hall they were in a few minutes earlier after they were done. With objectives to complete, the five dragons set off.

Gathering information was a lot easier that Spike had originally thought it would be. They had insight into the nearest towns and what to watch out for such as checkpoints, watchtowers, and large settlements. From what some Diamond Dog miners were arguing about, Equestria has been requesting more and more metals from them. "Listen here, ain't no good coming from them ponies wantin' so much metal. Either they build somethin' huge or they making a fleet." said one grey canine.

"A fleet of what? Carriages?" asked a gold-colored Diamond Dog.

"I reckon its cannons." suggested a droopy-eared female dog, "Heard from a friend that they making cannons to fight of sky attacks. Knock a fully grown dragon clean out the sky is what it suppose to do." Hearing these things made Spike's stomach seem to tie itself in a knot. Fang was faring no better. Together the two of them rested outside a shop and let their stomaches untie themselves.

It was during these moments of relaxation that Spike noticed something. It was a slight tug in the back of his mind. It was like something was reaching out to him. As he stood up and turned to face the shop, the tug became stronger. Fang asked him if anything was wrong, but it seemed like her words fell on deaf ears. Spike continued into the shop, a bell rung and signal the owner of the shop to the arrival of some new customers. An old black and white Diamond Dog stood behind the counter. Her elderly female voice greeted the two young dragons, "Greetings." Spike seemed to ignore her as his eyes scanned the shelves of books that sat before him. The tugging in his mind pulling him closer to an unseen destination.

"Sorry, my friend is a little... out of it right now." Fang apologized. The elderly canine behind the front desk seemed to nod in understanding. Spike continued his short journey of being pulled by an invisible force. As he continued to get closer to what over was having an effect on him, the voices in his head returned and grew louder the closer he got.

HeRE? Why? DoN'T CaRe. NEEEed!

Soon, Spike's journey came to an end as he found what had been tugging at his mind. A dark red book sat on a shelf just a few shelves out of his reach. The tugging seemed to be the strongest when he faced it. He stood on the tips of his toes and reached out to try and grab the book, but found that it was just too high for him to reach it. Just as he was about to give up, the voices shouted in his head.


His right arm began to glow in its usual purple glow before being completely engulfed in darkness. Spike's arm was covered in pitch black aura as his arm stretched far past the limit of what it should be able to. His hand grabbed the red book and pulled it from the shelf. Once his arm was back to its original length, the dark aura that had engulfed his arm vanished. This left Spike with a look of both confusion and fear at the discovery of his new ability.

He soon walked out of the row of shelves and made his way up to the front desk, book in hand. "Mmmmhmmm, Just as I thought." the elderly canine said. Spike looked even more confused at the Diamond Dog's words. "You've got a quite a keen sense for magic, dear. That there is a magic tome. The last time I saw someone with that kind of stare coming into my bookstore was before the war. I had got a couple of magic tomes from the trading center and..." Spike had stopped paying attention at this point. This 'magic tome' was just screaming for Spike to open it. He wasn't sure how much longer he could stop himself from just opening the book and reading its contents until Fang nugged him in the side. He looked at her with confusion.

"So, you gonna pay or what?" she asked. Her eyes gesturing to the elderly Diamond Dog patiently waiting for Spike to pay for the book.

"Oh, sorry, I spaced out for a minute. How much is it for the book?" Spike asked.

"Twenty bits," answered the canine. After the book was paid for, Spike and Fang left the shop. The moment Spike left the door of the shop, he opened the book to its first page and read aloud.

"Pyromancy for Beginners. Chapter 1: Your First Fireball..."

Outside the mountain the housed the Diamond Dog capital, a group of four armor clad ponies appeared in a flash of light. There were two unicorns. One had a light red coat and the other possessed a light blue one. A light grey pegasus stood behind them as well as a cream-colored earth pony. Each member of the group carried with them a weapon of some sort and an iron collar with enchantments engraved onto them. "Alright girls, you know the plan." Started the light red unicorn, "We go in, inspect the area for any signs of dragons. If any are found, they are to be detained as non-violently as possible. I'm looking at you Storm Rider."

"Ah, come on!" protested the pegasus, "It was my first assignment and I panicked! These are dragons we're dealing with here!"

"Yes, and we have weapons that can cut through their scales as if they were paper. We don't need or want to explain to Commander Dash or Princess Celesta that we killed another dragon when it could have been captured, do we?"

"No, Squad Leader Diamond Storm." Responded the rest of the group.

"Good, now... Let's hurry and get this job done." Diamond Storm finished her instructions and started to lead the group into an entrance to the Diamond Dog Capital.