• Published 7th Aug 2020
  • 2,118 Views, 87 Comments

Spike's Family Chronicles - frenettek314

*A sequel to "Spike's Family Journey"* Follow the many zany slice-of-life adventures of Spike the dragon and his family of ponies and other creatures across Ponyville and beyond!

  • ...

"The Return of Sludge"


What was once perhaps the scariest word in the dictionary according to Spike - quickly became one of his favorites. It was ironic in a way - this seemingly impossible goal the dragon had yearned for years all the sudden became his reality. Years of heartache and questioning turned into the concrete answers he so desperately searched for.

And all he had to do was ask.

On reflection, Spike realized that his fears were all nothing but a vex cursed into his own mind. He made a very likely occurrence into this improbable fantasy - a nightmare that continued to haunt him until he opened his eyes and braved out into the unknown.

He tried, he fought, he achieved. He completed his dreams. He had all he could ever want. He had a family.

These ponies who he had thought wanted nothing to do with him, they had become his biggest believers and his strongest supporters. All he had to do was approach them - to close the gaps that his own mind had opened. It was a rough road at points, but he had shared his heart with them and they in turn kindly shared theirs.

Ever since that fateful quest to discover his family, Spike considered himself the luckiest dragon in the world. 7 very special ponies and a whole onslaught of other family members had carved their way into his life - an experience he would never trade.

Of course, the dragon knew that everyday with his very large family would be a string of adventures in and of their own. There would be happy moments and sad moments, bouts of laughter and bouts of tears, there would be acceptances and arguments; but he knew that no matter what crazy routes he and his family traveled, they would be together forever.

Family isn't always easy, but the stories that they would go through every day would be worth it.

And one story such story begins now - with an anxious dragon pacing back and forth in the castle map room.

Its been roughly a week since Spike had finally returned home from his long voyage across Ponyville (and Cloudsdale). The drake was finally free from his past burdens, thankful to finally be able to simply enjoy the pleasures that came with his new extended family. With so many ponies involved in his life, there was always someone to see or something to do.

And this would especially hold true today.

The dragon was currently pacing back and forth between the cold, hard tiles of the map room while 6 ponies each sat rather anxiously in their own personalized thrones that circled around the room; Starlight Glimmer herself just stood rather awkwardly as she too was waiting while also glancing worriedly at the mobile creature in front of her.

It had all started yesterday. A letter sent from Dragon Lord Ember asking for an audience with all the Elements, as well as Spike specifically. Not much was stated in the letter besides the fact that it was 'an issue of upmost importance'. The letter in and of itself was already highly unusual - the rather gruff and sometimes brash dragon lord never took the time to visit Equestria unless it was either a major crisis or some form of cross-nation delegation event. Simply put, when everyone found out Ember was visiting, they knew it would be a matter worth attending.

The drake continued to walk back and forth anxiously waiting for the guest's arrival.

"I wonder what Ember wants with all of us. Is there some sort of emergency friendship mission? Is there a dragon who needs pony help? Or what if the nations of Equestria and the Dragonland Empire are entering a war?!?!" he rambled on.

Starlight stopped his gradual panic with a hoof to his body, blocking him from his entranced pacing.

"Spike. I highly doubt there's going to be a war. We have dragons at the School of Friendship and they're doing really well both socially and academically. Our nations are no doubt better allies than they probably ever were."

"Indeed," spoke up Rarity who seemed to rub a hoof to her chin, "Though Ember's visit still has me concerned..."

All the other mares and dragon collectively nodded their heads in agreement before a rather relaxed alicorn voiced her own statement.

"We'll find out soon enough. I'm sure she'll be here any minute now." declared Twilight.

On top of her magical abilities, the princess was now apparently a psychic as no sooner as she had finished her sentence did the doors to the room open up, revealing not only Ember but the young dragon student Smolder as well oddly enough.

"Hey guys. Sorry we're late. I wanted to bring Smolder along for this." explained Ember as she suddenly found a weight latch onto her lower frame - a green and purple weight with a smile on his face as his claws wrapped themselves around her torso.

Ember blushed awkwardly as she tapped the small dragon on the head, still not used to the whole 'affection' thing.

"Hey there, Spike. Heh, heh. Still a hugger I see..." she trailed off embarrassingly. Smolder, standing right beside her, instantly smirked at the cute, yet comedic display while almost every pony in the room held hoofs over their lips as they were politely trying to stifle any giggles.

"You get used to it." quipped Rainbow Dash, finding solace in the fact that she wasn't the only one to feel uncomfortable with mushy feelings sometimes.

"So, what brings you guys here?" Twilight asked curiously as Spike released himself from the hug, allowing the three dragons to stand in front of the group, Spike taking a few steps back to stand besides Twilight and Starlight.

Upon the seemingly normal question, both Smolder and Ember developed frowns on their faces, the latter of the two rubbing a claw behind her head trying to find the right words to convey.

"Well, y'see... Smolder here recently sent me a letter, detailing me about some... recent events... involving a certain dragon that stayed in your castle."

Everyone in the room immediately felt themselves tense up with hardened frowns on their faces. They quickly knew what Ember was referring to.

Spike himself felt his eyes widen in shock, not expecting a certain series of events to be relived so soon. A certain name that sent a chill down his spine.


Smolder sighed as she felt the need to elaborate further.

"After Sludge left, I knew I had to tell Ember what happened. I wanted to wait it out for a bit in case he suddenly returned..."

Smolder then focused her sympathetic gaze towards Spike.

"...then I recently heard about your 'journey' and... after hearing what you went through, how you felt... I knew Sludge must've contributed to part of that. I felt bad that I didn't send the letter before you left, so as soon as I heard about your mission and your return, I knew I had to tell Ember right then and there."

All the ponies remained speechless, still processing Smolder's speech, while Spike wordlessly walked over to the orange dragon, giving her a quick hug.

"Hey. It's ok. It's not your fault. I needed to go on this journey regardless..."

Smolder waited patiently, allowing for Spike to continue.

"I've felt like I've been missing a family ever since I was just a hatchling. They were feelings I thought I'd live with throughout my whole life. But, thanks to that journey, I found a family to call my own - a family that I love to pieces. I finally resolved something that's been bothering me forever, and to have that weight gone... I wouldn't trade my mission or them for anything in the world." he concluded as he motioned to the ponies behind him.

All the ponies and Smolder smiled warmly at him and his heartfelt speech - Rarity, Pinkie, and Fluttershy each began developing soft tears in their eyes.

Ember allowed herself an inward smile for a moment, before steeling her resolve.

"Regardless of that Spike, despite the typically known culture and attitude of dragons, one thing dragons hate in particular are those who abandon or mistreat their children - real or not. As such, once I discovered this was going on, there were... certain measures I knew I needed to oblige by before I punish someone for a very long time." she ended pointedly with a slight snarl.

Spike and the others looked at each other in confusion while Smolder glanced at their confused expressions with a slight wince, knowing full well what would be coming next.

"What do you mean by that...?" Spike haphazardly asked.

Ember sighed, realizing that the ponies in this room would probably be furious with her for doing this; but she felt like she needed him to see the error of his ways, whether he realized them or not.

"Guards... bring him in." she muttered.

After a moment, two dragon guards walked into the room, one on each side as the ponies saw a very familiar and rage-provoking face handcuffed in between them. With large drawn out gasps, everyone eyed this newcomer with shock and fury laced in their voices.


"Hey there... how's it going?" the new dragon nervously chuckled amidst the 7 rather hostile glares the equines were burning into his soul. While not the smartest creature in the world by any means ( the chains around his wrists making him regret the decision to go back to the Dragonlands after fleeing from this 'Pony Town'), he knew that if looks could be lethal, he would've been killed on the spot half a dozen times by now. He was very lucky there were other witnesses in this room, otherwise he wasn't sure what these normally cute ponies would've done to him.

Applejack was the first one to speak as she roared at Ember with a hoof banging on the map.

"What in tarnation is he doin' here?!" the cowpony practically spat as her victim had to take a step back.

While not normally afraid of anything.... or at the very least admit she wasn't afraid of anything (especially ponies), she could feel the hate and disgust radiating off the room once Sludge made his entrance. The glares, the stiffness in their postures, and now the way their voices laced with venom - and some of it was being directed at her.

"In hindsight I should've really seen this coming..." she internally mused before steeling herself for a response.

"Our guards found and captured him after I read Smolder's letter. And before he goes to jail for a long time..." she added for emphasis (whether for Sludge or for her own protection was up to debate), "...we have a tradition in the Dragonlands where we make prisoners appear in front of their victims and issue an honorable apology."

"An honorable apology?" Spike vocally repeated, as his eyes shifted nervously between Ember and Sludge.

"Think of it like a noble dragon code." clarified Smolder, "Though it's really only used for serious offenses."

Sludge finally seemed to forget the tension that was directed at him as he openly sneered in disgust.

"And what 'offense' would that be?"

Thankfully, Ember was more than happy to accommodate his pointed question as she marched right over to him and silenced him with a glare.

"Let's see - there's taking advantage of another noble's hospitality, there's placing a pretended offspring in danger by making him serve you and abandoning him in a cold environment by making him sleep outside, and on top of that, you took advantage of another ruler's child - you've basically committed treason against your own country and potentially caused an international war!" she roared as she finished, making her target and even the guards wince.

Now, if Sludge were smart, he would've accepted his grievances and wisely remain quiet for the duration of his visit.

Sludge wasn't smart.

"Oh, come on! Aren't you overreacting?!" he whined as several horrified gasps echoed throughout the room.

Sludge definitely wasn't smart.

"Overreacting?! We nursed you back to health when we thought you were injured and how do you repay us? By taking someone we see as our own, get their hopes up that he's found his birth parents, and then proceed to metaphorically and literally have him wipe your putrid feet just so you can steal his life?! We are underreacting here, darling!" Rarity hissed.

"After years of wondering, you came in and made him think he finally figured out who he was, only to stomp all over his hopes! You are the worst creature I've ever met!" angrily spat Pinkie Pie.

Sludge decided he had received enough verbal lashing as he glared back at the furious ponies in defiance.

"Hey, hey! Don't give me that! Like I said before, I did what any dragon would've done!"

Before anyone could allegedly object, a voice spoke up that halted any potential arguments.

"Funny you say that when there's multiple counters to your claim."

"What?" Sludge asked a little taken aback by the rebuttal before he addressed the new voice that had taken the spotlight.

Smolder leisurely made her way over to where Sludge and the guards stood as Spike followed closely behind - his gaze narrowed, yet confused at the same time.

"You say that any dragon would've done what you did... well, Ember wouldn't have done that, I wouldn't have done that, Spike wouldn't have done that, there's a lot of dragons who wouldn't even think of doing what you did!" she growled.

Smolder stopped just a few feet in front of Sludge, a now captivated Spike right beside her as he gazed up at her with a twinkle in his eye.

"So when you say any dragon, what could you possibly mean?!"

Sludge found himself unable to move or speak for a moment as he took in what she said, his eyes wavering back and forth between the circle of ponies and the dragons right beside him.

Unfortunately, that silent moment didn't last as Sludge gave a rather sinister chuckle as he glared at the dragons in front of him.

"Jeez, you kids sure are stupid aren't ya?" he sneered, eliciting several narrow looks of bewilderment.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Smolder roared back confrontationally as Spike merely glared.

Another sinister chuckle.

"You'll never figure it out. You want to change the culture that dragons have built for a millennia, just to 'make friends' and spend your time with these namby, pamby ponies."

He closed his eyes as he smiled.

"You're not real dragons, you're just a bunch of fakes."

Spike finally found his courage as he stepped in front of Smolder before almost finding himself muzzle to muzzle with his 'father'. A burning desire in his eyes that he swore he never felt before.

"Finally some payback."

"Hey! I lived with ponies all my life and I've made friends with all sorts of creatures in this wide, wide world of ours! I've seen old traditions dismantled in place of newer and better ones. A world where all creatures can come together and learn from one another, make friends with one another, be happy with one another! You may think that those different from you aren't worth anything, but I've seen beings and entire empires happier than ever before!"

He took another step closer as he pointed his claw at the opposing creature.

"I used to think I had to be who I was born as to be complete, but I was wrong! I have the life that I've always wanted, thanks to these ponies right here!" he yelled, gesturing to the jaw-dropped ponies behind him. "They showed me the power in being yourself, to accept and to live alongside others! They gave me a family when no dragon ever would! I'm finally something because of them! I'm finally real because of them! So don't you say that others who don't fit your mold aren't right, because they're the ones who have changed the world for the better!

"I'm me and I'm happy!" he shrieked defiantly as he burned with conviction and passion.

Unfortunately, the older dragon was clearly not moved by the sentimental speech as he suddenly lowered himself with a smirk before latching onto the baby dragon's shoulder with a claw.

"You're wrong kid. You're too easy - as long as you hang out with these ponies..." he paused as he grinned wickedly at the shocked youngling's form.

"You. Are. Worthless."

Before the older dragon could give himself a metaphorical celebratory pat on the back however, a quickly appearing flash of yellow and pink clouded his vision as two fiery spheres of turquoise lurched deep into his soul. The being that had separated the distance between dragons was now giving Sludge a look that immediately made him start seeing his own grave.

Except he wouldn't be the one digging it.

"YOU MONSTER!" Fluttershy roared as she screamed in the face of the now frightened dragon - the normally timid pegasus showcasing a fury no creature, not even her friends had ever seen before. This wasn't bold Fluttershy, this was deadly Fluttershy.


Rainbow and Applejack never thought they'd see the day where they physically had to restrain the usually kind pegasus, but here they were as they struggled to keep her from going after a retreating Sludge, Ember forcing herself in the way between them.

"Fluttershy, calm down! He's not worth it!" Rainbow plead, but she fell onto deaf ears as Applejack grit her teeth on the rope she lassoed her in.

No one thought the boiling pony was able to be tamed at this point, until a warm and gentle smiling Spike slowly approached her.

"Mom?" he issued softly. "It's ok. Forget about him, I'm not upset." he commented genuinely as a soft smile embraced his lips, showing the pegasus what Sludge said hadn't bothered him in the slightest.

Like a light switch had flipped off, Fluttershy's erupting demeanor had vanished as that glimmer of nurturing and kindness returned full force in her eyes. Her body dropped like a ton of bricks as she visibly relaxed before she swooped up the dragon with a free hoof as she coddled him.

"I'm... I'm so sorry... I didn't know what came over me... He just..." she stammered, before a tangling of rope released itself from her body and replaced itself with the tender touch of an orange hoof.

"It's alright, sugarcube, I don't blame ya. If someone had said somethin' like that to Apple Bloom, I'd have reacted the same way." assured Applejack.

"Nothing's scarier than a mother's wrath." Smolder sagely agreed with a wink as Fluttershy blushed a little bit before seeing the the rest of her friends slowly approach Ember and more importantly Sludge in an eerily threatening manner.

No one was scarier than Twilight though.

"Lord Ember," she breathed as she grinded her teeth with a look of pure hate as her focus traveled through the blue dragon and onto a slightly sweating one. "Please kindly remove that from my presence before I do something I might regret as a princess." she hollowly stated as a sudden spark of magic shot through her horn with a deadly soul-piercing glaze.

"Guards, take him back to the Dragonlands. Send him to a nice, dark chamber." Ember muttered with a slight wicked smile on her face as the guards carried a now thankful prisoner away, slowly learning to appreciate his jail sentence.

After a moment or two for the tense atmosphere in the room to simmer, everyone began to look at the back-turned form of Spike, immediately fearing he was going to re-enter another depressive episode.

"He's been doing so well too. After his journey, he was great..." Twilight nervously thought.

Slowly, the alicorn made her way over to the isolated creature as everyone else (Ember included) stared at him with apologetic and worried expressions.

"Spike, I'm so sorry. To see him again, to have him say that to you..." but she was cut off by a series of strange sounds emitting from the dragon.

All the others in the room glanced at each other with hesitation.

These didn't sound like any tears or sobs they've heard before... they sounded like...

Spike then proceeded to turn around as he wiped a tear from his eye with a loopy smile on his face.


"Ha ha!" he choked out as he calmed down. "Woo, I'm sorry about that. Sludge really is an idiot, huh?"

Everyone proceeded to look at the creature like he grew a second head.

"Wait, so...you're not upset?" haphazardly questioned Smolder.

"And you're not just pretending to be fine to try and 'spare our feelings' right?" Rainbow rose a worried eyebrow at the drake.

Spike proceeded to finish off a few more chuckles before he ultimately relaxed with a thoughtful look.

"I will admit a few weeks ago that probably would've hurt... a lot actually."

Spike paused for a moment to reflect on a previous iteration of himself. Indeed, he could very well see himself moping around in an almost catatonic state from being called 'worthless'.

But that was then, this is now.

"But, now knowing that I have all you guys here for me, why should I worry about what one foolish dragon thinks?"

The stares in the room altered drastically in mere seconds. What was once a room filled with trepidation and heartache for the young dragon was now proud, beaming smiles mixed in with a few teary-eyed quivering smiles - all overjoyed to see that their dragon was alright and amazed at how much he's already improved.

"Heck, yeah! That's my cousin!" Rainbow chirped as she rubbed her hoof on his scales.

The others quickly rushed in to envelop him in a group hug, smiles all around.

After a moment or two though, they heard a fake cough as Ember hastily walked over to Spike with a look of regret.

"Spike, I'm so sorry I brought Sludge here. I wanted him to see what he's done and maybe even offer an apology before he went to a jail cell, but I should've realized something... that not everyone can change." she hung her head in shame.

However, her head was quickly brought back up by a tiptoeing Spike as he motioned with a claw to look firmly at him.

"You're right. Not everyone can or will change." he bitterly replied with a lopsided smile.

Ember internally winced.

"But look at how many others have changed." he motioned with his claw.

"You, me, Smolder, practically everyone at the school. We've all grown and improved ourselves for the better. And as times are changing, more and more creatures are changing as well. More creatures are seeing the powers of diversity and friendship and are opening themselves up, and while not everyone will, there's so many out there who are or can." he concluded.

The ponies and Smolder behind him were all touched by his words as many of them felt their eyes water.

Twilight in particular was nothing short of proud at seeing how far her little baby has come. From his days in Canterlot as a mere toddler to this very moment where she saw a strong, kind-hearted being.

"Spike..." she tearfully muttered as she dabbed an eye with her hoof.

Even Ember was touched as she gave a fond, cheerful smile.

"Smolder, come here and join Spike for a sec."

Smolder happily obliged as she joined Spike side-by-side as they both peered up at the Dragon Lord.

"I know I'm not good with the whole 'words' and 'feelings' thing, but let me be the one to tell you... you two are the truest dragons I've ever met. Both of you have shown our lands and those throughout what a true role model is all about. You've stood up for what's right, you've helped those around you and you've shown all of us what it means to be heroes."

"You two and those who follow you - you're going to make the future a better place."

Spike and Smolder both smiled fondly at the elder... well, elder for them at least... as they let a few stray sniffles escape.

"Thank you." they both uttered before they were quickly attacked from behind for another group hug.

Ember and the others laughed at this before she noticed how long she kept her guards waiting.

"Sorry to end things so soon, but I've got to send someone to prison. And trust me when I say, many of the dragons agree that he should be locked up for a long while. I don't think you'll have to worry about him again."

Spike gave a slight smirk at that.

"Think I'm worried?"

Ember gave a smirk of her own right back.

"I know you're not."

Smolder decided to walk up to Ember as she joined her for the exit.

"And I forgot I have a study session with Ocellus." she explained.

Starlight gave an odd grin at this.

"This 'study session' wouldn't happen to involve a teaset and some pastries, would it?"

The orange dragon quickly felt a blush forming at her cheeks as Ember gave a slight chuckle at her misfortune.

"...maybe." she quietly admitted.

The two dragons gave one last wave goodbye before exiting the map room, a group of ponies and one dragon smiling fondly at the descending pair.

"So we met Sludge again, huh?" Starlight questioned as the gang found themselves seated in a neat array of thrones (plus an extra chair or two) around the center of the room once more.

"Yeah. It's hard to imagine we didn't knock him into next week." Rainbow commented.

"She stole mah threat." Applejack bitterly thought.

"Fluttershy almost did." added Pinkie Pie, much to the pegasus's chagrin.

Fluttershy sighed.

"I would say I wouldn't do it again, but I feel like that would be a lie." she added with a wry grin as the room erupted into bursts of laughter.

"Darling, I was about to go 'hydra' on him." admitted Rarity with no reluctance in her posh voice whatsoever.

"Please, I've still got a bathtub somewhere with his name on it." spoke Starlight as the room descended into hilarity once again.

As the chortles subsided, Twilight decided to turn her attention to the wheezing dragon sitting by her side.

"So, now that my thoughts on using dark magic on him are gone..."

"Wait, what?!" was the collective response from the room.

The alicorn grinned sheepishly.

"So now that we know Sludge will probably never return, it looks like all of your important quest matters are truly over. What's going to be your next step?" she asked curiously.

Spike simply chuckled as he gave a knowing look to his oldest friend.

"When you're with your family, everyday is an adventure." he commented.

The group wore bright, knowing smiles at that. Family was a never-ending journey, but it's perhaps the greatest journey of all. When you're with those you care about, life becomes full of surprises, drama, comedy, and all the other fantastical elements that make it all worthwhile.

And everyone of these creatures wouldn't have it any other way.

"To us!" Spike cheered.

"To us!"

Author's Note:

*This chapter was dedicated to those of you who wanted to see Sludge get confronted by Ember in the prequel. I wanted to see it too and now its happened. You're welcome.*

Hello everyone and welcome to my brand new story!

Now some of you may be curious as to why I specifically made this story an anthology one. Well, in all honesty, I wanted this story to be open as much as possible because pretty soon (life and education) I don't know how much time I'll have to update this story in the future or even how many chapters this could be.

It could be 3 chapters, it could be 50. But I want to leave this open and free for whenever I can update. Maybe this will be left as an incomplete relic forever, who knows? But, I don't want you to think about that, I want you to have a good time with this story no matter what it gives you.

Anyways, the way I'm seeing future chapters work- I definitely want this to have more "comedy" in it than "Spike's Family Journey" but I also want to include plenty of those heartwarming moments and fuzzy slice-of-life bits that I (and hopefully you) enjoy. There probably won't be too much of an over-arching narrative at this point (we'll see how and where this goes), but the main focus is Spike's life in Ponyville (and sometimes traveling beyond) with his family.

So, I hope you stick around for more! Again, I'm sorry if this story doesn't end up giving you everything you want in the future as I know my writing time will definitely be cut off drastically in the near future, but I'll try to give you all as much as I can.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments and I'll see you next time!