• Published 19th Jun 2019
  • 2,400 Views, 823 Comments

Bind on Pickup - David Silver

What do Spike, Garble, and Smolder have in common, besides being dragons? They've been summoned to another world at the behest of a needy adventurer who thinks her fortunes are turning with their arrival. No one involved is ready for what comes next.

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Power Trio

She wrung her hands over one another, fingers enmeshed for one desperate moment before they lost their grip and her hands resumed circling one another, her eyes locked on the bright and swirling colors that danced before her.

Clashing flashes of violent magical energies danced above and around the altar, another, older, woman stood nearby with a kind smile, watching it all happen with a placid expression as if this was all something she'd seen many times before. "Just a little longer," she advised, her eyes on the riotous event with an easy patience.

With the sound of forming stone, great structures of granite formed as if the energy were filling the shapes, rapidly taking the shape of two great decagons, ten sided polygons of uneven sides that spun wildly, throwing shades across the room with a swirling noise that began to pick up in volume and intensity.

The younger one clasped her hands as if in prayer, her eyes stuck on the strange shapes as they wobbled and spun. Her breath caught as they fell, smashing into the altar with a great weight, but they did not stop, rolling and rattling around, bouncing off a field that had been invisible a moment before and sent back towards the center. The smaller sides were almost comically small, as if the dice would have to defy reality itself to land on them, and each time it hit one of the heavier sides, the dice lost momentum, as if it would be so easy to stop there.

They struck one another with a great sound of stone on stone, and stopped. They were leaning against one another, both on the smallest side. A great 0 0 appeared, one over each die. A single one appeared just to the left of them and the younger squealed, faltering back a step. "What does it mean?!"

"It means," counseled the older. "--that you have won the right to the next possibility. Greater things are now in store." She waved at the shapes and they lifted, tumbling and shaking. The sounds become more subtle, each shape glimmering as if sparkling instead of throwing out random lights. Rattling sounded from within them and they tumbled wildly, testing the whims of fate once more. "Very lucky. The gods smile on you."

The shapes bounced and shook as if something alive were inside them, forcing them to jitter and shake in unnatural ways. "What's going on?!" stammered out the younger, bewildered at the possessed movements of the judging stones.

"Unusual…" It was the first time the elder looked interested, leaning forward a little as she considered. "Fortunately for you, the guild fee does not increase with better results. You are… blessed, perhaps."

One die jumped as the other rolled, and the first landed on the second, and both became still.

0 0 0 0 displayed over the two, then a single 1 appeared before it. The colors turned a gold before they began to scramble, the letters cascading through all ten digits wildly a moment before 9 9 9 9 9 settled. A great yawning gulf of energy appeared from the top of the column, wiping it all away and filling the room with blinding light.

The older woman smiled and clapped her hands. "You've done it. Perhaps your fortune as an adventurer turns today."

"Eeee!" squeaked the younger, about as articulate as she could manage in the moment, energy waving through her hair and throwing her clothing as if she stood in a brisk wind.

It all gusted past them, revealing three forms on the pedestal, all the glowing fading away. Faint wisps of smoke rose from them and one coughed softly. "Very funny, Garble, but that doesn't count as a win." He spoke with the voice of a young male, but he was not a human.

"Yeah, not cool." Another, female, older than the first, but not by a large degree, tapped her foot. "First back up to the… top…" She was just noticing where they were. There were no lava flows to race.

Towering over the other two was a large, broad figure, who came into view first, covered in red scales, clearly muscular with pointy teeth, taller than most men. The younger girl squeaked in glee. This looked like a dragon, and he looked really powerful.

He looked around angrily, though, and said, “Wait, where the heck are we?”

The younger purple-scaled male that was half the height of the others rubbed behind his head, looking equally confused, if less angry about it. "Uh…"

"Not at the lava flows," finished the orange-scaled female with purple fins, crossing her arms impatiently. "Hey, you, whatever you are." She was looking directly at the girl that was gaping at them with open wonder. "Where are we, who are you, what are you, why are you, I'll throw in for good measure."

The girl, however, looked to the older woman. “They can talk? Can they usually talk?”

The older woman looked at her book, as if referencing it. “It’s not unheard of, summon’s talking. What is unheard of is three separate creatures...” She started leafing through her book. “What to do, what to do…”

“Hey!” The red dragon shouted, and took a step forward. “My sister asked you a question.”

The younger girl looked at him, like noticing he was there, and looked back to the older woman with uncertainty. The elder didn’t even look up from her book, but said, “it is your responsibility to manage the temperament of your summon, Sandra. Even if there are more than one.”

“Oh, right right.” Sandra tried to comport herself, dusting her clothes as if any lingering dust hadn't been blown away in the great rush of wind created by the summon. "My summons, I welcome you as your summoner. I am Sandra Kite, and I accept this responsibility."

“Oh,” the orange dragon female said. She put a hand to her chest, smiling amicably. “Okay. I’m Smolder-” She gestured up to the large dragon “-this is Garble-” and she gestured down to the small purple dragon “-and this is Spike.”

“Oh! Hi!” Sandra said, waving, the billowing sleeves from her robe flapping around with her hand.

“Now where are we and why are we here?!” Smolder shouted.

"Noted." The older of the two humans was making a note on a floating pane of words that vanished with a puff of magic, collapsing into an ornate bracelet she wore on her right arm. "Good luck in your adventures." She turned to leave, not sparing another glance back at the four she left behind.

Spike glanced towards the departing woman, his eyes darting to the younger of the two. "Hey, you're a human, right?" He had seen plenty of those, past the mirror. "But I'm not a dog…"

"This is all so much," sighed out Sandra. "Alright, you are all in the guild." She pointed at Spike. "You are a dragon, not a dog." She looked a bit confused that she had to specify that. "And you're here because I summoned you. I found a summon in the grassy fields. Do you have any idea how low the odds of that are?" She clapped her hands, excitement rapidly building.

The three dragons just watched as the girl looked back at them with anticipation. “... No,” Smolder said. “We literally have no idea what any of this is.”

“Right right right,” Sandra said. “Newly summoned, you probably don’t know anything at all. So! I am-” she flashed a bangle wrapped around her arm with an ornate setting on it, and inside that ornate setting was a dull grey orb, and she tapped it, summoning a flat image floating up. It said on it “Sandra Kite, slate rank Elemancer.” There were also some bars with writing too small to read. “An adventurer in the adventurer’s guild! We go get hired--"

Garble held up a hand, cutting her off. "--you go get yourself hired, great. Send us back, now."

Spike pointed off in the direction the other human had wandered off in. "Do we need her back for that? She seemed to know what was going on."

Smolder glanced towards Spike. "What makes you say that? They all look about the same to me."

"Really? That one was older and this one, Sandra, looks kinda nervous." He shrugged towards their summoner, examining her without certainty.

“I-I am not nervous!” Sandra stomped the ground. “I am your summoner, and I that makes me in charge! You have to do what I say, so that I can become more than a slate rank adventurer!”

Garble snorted smoke. “The heck you are! I’ll show you who's in charge!” He tried to stomp over to her, and she flinched away, but as he tried to go down to grab her, he felt himself freeze. He was unable to move any further.

She opened her eyes, seeing him looming over her, and breathed a sigh of relief.

“Wh-what’s going on?” Garble tried to push forward, and it was like his body was unable to move. Not forward, anyway. He breathed in, and readied himself to breathe out a big flame… only to find he couldn’t do anything but hold his breath.

“B-bad summon!” Sandra shouted, pointing at Garble. “Don’t attack your summoner!”

Garble started to turn blue as he was unable to breathe, his lungs filled with magic ready to become fire.

“Oh, but while you’re here,” Sandra said, touching the slate on her shoulder, and fiddling with the flat image she had. The words “register summon” showed up on it, and she popped the slate orb and briefly touched it to Garble, letting go of it and it floated back to her bangle automatically, the words “summon registered” showed up.

She stepped away, and, as soon as she was far enough away the flames wouldn’t spill out and scorch her, Garble finally was able to breathe out, a dramatic puff of flames coming out of his breath, but Sandra was busy looking at her menu, making little squeaks. “Look at those stats! Lotsa toughness and strength!” She walked over to the other two dragons. Spike perked as she approached.

"So, uh, my stats are pretty good, right?" He struck a confident pose, full of the heroism he envisioned himself having when not dealing with trouble he couldn't handle. "Give it to me straight."

Smolder rolled her eyes. "That's cool and all, but what part of this gets us back home? We have a school to get to." She hiked a thumb at Garble. "And Gar Gar has things to get to too, right?"

With an unresisting subject, Sandra was easily able to register Spike as her summon and began looking over his stats curiously. "Oh, a very young dragon, cute!" She suddenly threw an arm around him, hugging his smaller pudgier form. "I will take such good care of you, promise."

Spike went red in the cheeks, but didn't try to attack the human. "Uh, thanks, but I'm not a kid. I've saved the world before."

"It's true, he has," dryly noted Smolder with a little smirk on her face. "Better tell him what his stats are before he loses it."

“Um… I mean…” Sandra looked at Spike’s bars, that Spike could already see were not particularly tall. “You have… decent… mental stats? Your stats are like a human’s, with a few above average, but nothing super special. Except your toughness is still pretty high, which must be a dragon thing.” She walked over to Smolder. “Now for you.” She touched the stone to Smolder’s shoulder, another list of bars. “Well, it’s not like the big guy’s, but you still have higher fighting stats than the little guy.”

Smolder shrugged expansively. "He's a nice guy, but he's more pony than dragon, so, you know, less fighting. No offense." She shot a thumbs up towards Spike. "So can we focus on the 'how to get the dragons home before they get ticked off?'"

Sandra looked at Smolder like she had an extra head. “Why would I do that?”

“Because you don’t want to get us ticked off?” Garble asked.

“Because it’s a bad idea to keep friends who aren’t really your friends?” Smolder asked.

“Because it’s the right thing to do?” Spike asked.

“What… no!” Sandra protested, but she composed herself and pointed directly out. “You three are the end of my bad luck streak and the beginning of my rise to the top (or at least not the bottom) of adventuring! So come on!” She began to march out, before stopping, and turning back to them. “Besides, there’s nowhere to send you back to. Summoning creates monsters from magic itself, it doesn't pluck a creature from somewhere real.”

She snorted a little to herself. “Can you imagine how awful it would be if we just stole creatures from their normal homes and forced them to fight for us?”

Author's Note:

And so it begins! Welcome to this Isekai version of a MLP story. Will friendship win out, or is it time to grind some levels and unleash a few master moves on a raid boss as dramatic music plays?

... why not both?

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