• Published 20th Mar 2022
  • 1,492 Views, 32 Comments

A Burning Flame In My Soul - Rated Ponystar



After twenty years of being together, Spike is prepared to propose to Ember, but its delayed as rival power is seeking a legendary dragon sword to overthrow Ember and all she holds dear

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Chapter 5

Spike may have lived for twenty years in the dragon lands and six years in Ponyville, but Canterlot would always be considered his true home. It was where Spike had been born and spent his entire childhood living with the Sparkle Family and, later on, at Princess Celestia's palace. So much of the city had not changed as various streets, locations, stores, and restaurants were all familiar to the dragon whose families he knew by heart.

However, the city had changed in terms of population. Much like Manehatten, Las Pegasus, Van Hoover, and Baltimare, more non-ponies lived in Canterlot than ever before. You had griffins that set up their unique brand of cooking and clothing stores. Some dragons had started security and mining businesses. A large population of yaks offered exotic jewelry or demolition services. And changelings could be seen as doctors or actors, which was far from their role as invaders years ago. There was even a kirin funeral home that offered cheap cremation services. It was quite a testament to how much not only Canterlot but Equestria had changed after adopting a more cosmopolitan centerfold.

Flying beside Ember, Blitz, Aquafire, and Rainbow Dash, Spike's party passed over the various levels of the capital city while surrounded by two dozen Scale Guards led by Smolder. Creatures below all looked up in awe, including the young ones, as a few waved or shouted something. Spike couldn't help but smile and wave at the citizens below, wondering if they knew who was above them or if they were just in awe of the formation and armor the guards had.

Outside of the citizens and the city's landscape, one could already see the decorations for the big anniversary despite it being two days away. Almost every street was covered in flags of the various nations, balloons, banners, and streamers from lamppost to lamppost. Hotels were crowded with guests and visitors everywhere, while restaurants and shops promoted discounts and special deals. Specific sectors of the city that catered to certain races also had their ways of celebrating based on their culture. The yak districts were putting up totems of their heroes and icons. The hippogriffs were practicing with their various instruments for the festival. And one could hear the kirin choirs singing as, now that they could speak, they were some of the most beautiful singers you would ever hear

Spike already saw a welcoming party of the Royal Guards ready to greet them with salutes when they arrived near the castle. Smolder issued commands to the Scale Guards to land first and prepare a defense position before allowing the rest of them to land. Once Ember and her group had landed, the Scale Guards bowed before rising as Smolder waited for the Captain of the Royal Guards to meet her to welcome them formally. Marching proudly with his wings flared out, Captain Gallus stood before them with his fellow guards standing proud beside him.

Spike didn't know the whole story of why Gallus decided to join the Royal Guard after graduation, but he was determined to become the first non-pony to do so. Naturally, he faced many challenging hardships, from those who felt he wasn't up to stuff to traditionalists who didn't like the idea of a griffin joining them. However, with the support of his friends and Twilight, Gallus managed to not only graduate but become the top of his class.

However, this still didn't earn him full-on respect from his fellow guards until an incident two years after graduating. He was part of a large team of guards sent to look into why convoys were disappearing near the southern borders until they were under attack by an entire colony of tatzlwurms. Their squad leader fled like a coward and left her team to die while flying for Canterlot. When they arrived, she lied at headquarters that his team was all dead save for her. Spike remembered attending Gallus's funeral with the others, but Gallus and the other guards crashed it just as they were about to finish the ceremony.

They were injured, dirty, and tired, but all of them were alive. Gallus took control and helped the team survive through two weeks of avoiding the giant worms until they managed to make it back to the safety without taking one casualty. Everycreature called Gallus a hero, and everypony in the guard finally accepted him as one of them. He even replaced their cowardly team leader, who had not only been kicked out but arrested for her lies and actions. Gallus only became a star of the guard's forces going foward, with everypony respecting and loving him for his various deeds and tactics. It wasn't a surprise that he became Captain of the Guard once the previous one retired ten years ago.

Captains Gallus and Smolder grinned and saluted each other. "Captain Smolder. Welcome back to Canterlot. On behalf of Princess Twilight, I'm here to assure you that you are welcomed and protected within these walls."

Smolder nodded. "As Captain of the Scale Guards. I thank you, Captain Gallus." She then grinned and held out her wing. "Now give me feathers, Blue Boy."

Gallus slapped wings before hugging his old friend and nodding to his second in command to take control. Gallus walked over to the others and nodded to them all. "Dragon Lord Ember. Spike. Professor Rainbow Dash. And guests."

"You don't have to call me professor anymore, Gallus," Rainbow Dash said, rolling her eyes with a smirk. "Seriously, it makes me sound old."

"And the graying mane isn't proof enough?" Gallus joked while earning a raspberry from the rainbow pegasus. "Hope the flight wasn't that long."

"The wind was in our favor. That's why we're a day early," Ember replied as everycreature started making their way towards the grand double doors of the castle's entrance. "Are the other leaders here yet?"

"King Thorax and Queen Skystar arrived before you guys with their families. The Crystal Empire's Royal Family and Minister Sunburst should arrive later today," Gallus answered as he nodded to the entrance guards who soon opened the doors. The Grand Entrance Hallway of Canterlot Castle was open to them, and Spike found himself drifting into memory lane when he first arrived here all those years ago as a child. He raised his head so high to see the ceiling he fell off Twilight's back and nearly hit his head if not for Princess Celestia catching him with her magic. "Everyone else should be arriving tomorrow except for Prince Rutherford because of what happened in Yakyakistan."

He then turned to Smolder. "By the way, I thought I should let you know that Sandbar, Yona, and their kids can't make it this year. After what happened, they thought it would be best to see Yona's family and do what they can to help out."

"Ocellus is still coming, right?" Smolder asked as they turned left to the main hall.

"She'll be here tomorrow with Starlight and Trixie from the Academy," Gallus answered before smirking.

"No need to ask about Silverstream, right?" Spike said with a soft smile as Gallus smiled warmly and nodded. "How's Garrus?"

"He's doing well," Gallus answered as he turned to Spike and smiled. "He's with Silverstream's family, but he really wants to see his favorite uncle dragon again."

The others grinned as Spike rubbed the back of his neck. He hadn't expected to become Silverstream and Gallus's favorite "uncle" over time. Spike had been in Canterlot at the time when the little hippogriff was about five years old, and his parents asked if the dragon could babysit him while they went out for a night into the city together. Spike had agreed, having babysat kids before, but he didn't expect Garrus to be so different from his parents. Silverstream was practically the most exciting creature in the world next to Pinkie Pie, to the point that it was hard to keep her from being happy about anything. Gallus might have been quiet at times, but he knew how to party and have fun. Garrus? He was such a shy bird that you would have mistaken him for being Fluttershy's child.

He had been so scared about Spike at first, but over the night, the two had fun and enjoyed each other's company. Garrus wasn't into roughhousing as he was into reading, writing, and, deep down, singing. He had an angelic voice that would win a lot of hearts when he got older, so Spike also sang with him. The two had a wonderful time, and the smile that Garrus had on his face made Spike's heart melt. Out of all the children that his friends had, Garrus was the purest of them all. And this was coming from the son of a father who pranked the entire school by putting skunk smell bombs in everyone's pillows one night. Ever since that night, Garrus always wanted to be by his favorite "dragon uncle" whenever he was in the city. He was even Garrus's second godfather should anything happen to Sandbar, who was first.

"I take it that things have been busy in the meantime?" Aquafire asked as she noticed a large group of servants carrying tons of baking equipment on their backs and looking ready to keel over. "It couldn't have been easy to plan all this on such short notice."

"Believe me, I thought we were screwed," Gallus said as he shook his head. "But we pulled out our secret weapon, and everything's been going great save for the messes that have the entire janitor department on a full alert status that we haven't put down since we started."

"Pinkie Pie and her family?" Everyone asked.

"Pinkie Pie and her family," Gallus answered, chuckling.

"How bad?" Ember asked, knowing the family's reputation for going all out at making parties.

"I've had two divisions alone covered in cake batter, party poppers, confetti, eels, chocolate pudding, party streamers, raisins, oatmeal, dried bananas, water, milk, juice, coffee, tea, soda, wine, sarsaparilla, candy corn, pumpkin bits, apple skins, cream cheese, melted cheese, snails, and some green and yellow stuff that I don't want to know," Gallus answered. He then paused and turned around to the others with a serious expression. "Also, the west wing on the third floor is out of bounds until the contamination team deems it safe after what the kids did yesterday."

"...Do we want to know?" Rainbow Dash asked, eyebrow raised.

"No," Gallus answered, shaking his head. "And this is orders from Princess Twilight herself."

"Speak of the devil," Rainbow Dash said as two ponies approached them from down the corridor. One close to adulthood and the other the tallest pony in the room, with only the dragons being a few inches taller than her.

Luster Dawn, Princess Twilight's apprentice, happily looked at the others while nodding to them, but Princess Twilight had all the attention. Arguably the most famous mare in recent memory, Twilight stood before them with a regal and joyful smile that shined brighter than any of the glass-tilted windows in the castle. For many, she was a ruler, savior, teacher, and leader who had brought a better age for not just Equestria but for all nations under the Alliance. But to Spike, who hugged her immediately upon seeing her, she was his big sister first and foremost, even if he was technically now older than her.

"It's good to see you again, Spike!" Twilight joyfully cried out as she hugged her brother. The two looked at each other and warmly smiled as they took a moment to appreciate this. The sad part of growing up was responsibility. This was double when you were a princess and ambassador. There were times when Spike secretly wished he was back with Twilight in their tree home, writing her latest experiments and letters to Princess Celestia while waiting to hang out with her friends or go on another adventure to learn about Friendship. But time marches on, and those days are gone. Yet, the two always took whatever moments they had together to make the most of it.

"Hey, don't forget about us!" Rainbow Dash said as she flew over and slapped Twilight on the shoulder. If it was anypony else, everypony in the castle would scold them, but seeing as it was Rainbow Dash, everycreature let it slide. "I know you and I see each other more often, but I could use a little love here to."

"Of course, Dash," Twilight said as she hugged her friend and beamed at her. "Wouldn't forget you even if I tried."

"Yeah, she has a habit of standing out, even when it's not wanted," a voice said, making everyone turn to the right as a familiar farmer, with an apple theme shall and senton hat walked over. Rainbow Dash grinned and zoomed over to her wife before planting a kiss on her lips.

"Yeah, but it got me you, didn't it, AJ?" Rainbow Dash asked as Applejack chuckled and kissed her back.

"As mah brother would say? Eeyup."

Twilight giggled at the two love birds before turning to Dragon Lord Ember and her friends before bowing. "It's an honor to see you again, Dragon Lord Ember. And you as well, Blitz and Aquafire." She then gazed over to Smolder and winked. "And you too, Captain Smolder. Gallus here was telling me the guards are looking forward to another rematch between your Scale Guards and his best troops in another war games fight soon."

"Oh?" Smolder grinned at an equally competitive-looking Gallus. "Well, I suppose we can arrange for something after the festival. If you want to get your butts kicked again that badly."

"Please, this year, we'll be sending you back to the Dragon Lands with your tails so down between your legs, you'll be walking awkwardly for a year," Gallus claimed back.

SMASH!

Everycreature but Gallus, Twilight, and Luster Dawn jumped when one of the windows broke as a pinkish creature zipped right through the window and nearly made for the wall until Twilight calmly caught them with her magic. The pink creature turned out to be a dark pink mare around ten years old with a fuzzy brown mane and pink eyes, while her cutie mark showed a trampoline with a pony silhouette jumping on it. While being levitated down, the pony looked at the newcomers and smiled before waving her hoof enthusiastically. "Hi, Ember! Hi, Blitz! Hi, Aquafire! Hi, Spike! Hi, Smolder! Hi, all the other dragons whose names I don't know but are happy to see anyway!"

"Hi, Bouncy Betty," Spike replied. He took her into her arms and let her climb on top of his head while bouncing slightly. "Are you and your siblings doing okay?"

"Yup!" Bouncy cried out while nodding her head rapidly. "And guess what?! I'm going to have another sibling soon!"

"She's pregnant again?!" Ember screamed before facepalming. "Jeeze, do Pinkie and Cheese want to create an entire army of their bloodline or something?! This is their eighth foal, for crying out loud!"

"Eighth and ninth!" Bouncy said happily but this only made Ember groan again. "We're having another set of Twins like Peanut Butter and Jelly Jam!"

"I still can't believe Pinkie and Cheese picked those names for the twins," Spike muttered before Bouncy was lifted into the air by Twilight, who smiled at her.

"Bouncy? Could you tell your mother that since Spike and Rainbow Dash are here, I'd like us to have our get-together session in an hour? We're going to be too busy tomorrow and the next day to have it, so I would like to do it today," Twilight then turned to Rainbow, Applejack, and Spike and asked, "If you three don't mind."

"I'm parched from all the flying, so count me in," Rainbow Dash answered with Applejack nodding in return.

"Sure, I'd be happy to," Spike replied before turning to Ember and rubbing the back of his neck. "You don't mind, do you?"

"Of course not," Ember said before kissing Spike. "It's your thing. Go ahead. I'll check to see what's going on in the city. Maybe get the dragons living here to see their Dragon Lord for a bit."

"I'll show you to your rooms," Gallus said as he led the rest of the party to follow him.

"I will tell Mom to meet you at the usual place, Auntie Twilight!" Bouncy said as she jumped in midair, breaking the magical hold on her, and started bouncing down the hallway while singing "la la la la la" to herself.

"I'll go with her to make sure she doesn't bounce into anything too much," Luster Dawn said before walking after the little filly. "I'll also let Fluttershy and Rarity know where to meet you as well!"

"Thank you, Luster," Twilight said before sighing in relief. "I could use the break badly, and so can Pinkie. Ever since we had to change the celebrations to Canterlot, I've been working non-stop for days."

"You are taking care of yourself, right, sugarcube?" Applejack asked, concerned. "Because we know what you are like when you don't get enough sleep."

"That was before I got an updated alicorn biology, Applejack," Twilight replied with a proud puff of her chest. "I'm much better now than I was before. I got it all under control."

"...So I don't need to get you my triple lava roasted flavored coffee that I brought for this visit?" Spike asked with a grin, but a desperate-looking Twilight was holding him by the shoulder a second later.

"You give that to me, or so help me, I will put you right next to the terrible trio as a statue!" Twilight shouted with her eyes wide open.

Yeah, under control my scaled butt, Spike thought to himself.

***

Meanwhile, in a shadier part of the city, a trio of dark pink scaled dragons with white underbelly scales talked before a fourth one arrived with their drinks. Placing them on the table, the lead one whispered, "The others just confirmed it. Dragon Lord Ember is here in the city."

"She's early," Another one said, narrowing his eyes. "Why?"

"Good wind," he answered before taking a drink. "This works out for us better. We can strike tonight."

"Are you sure we should be doing this?" One of the other ones muttered. "I know our clan leader told us to do this, but Tyranus didn't give this order."

"Hey, if our clan is going to rise through the ranks in Tyranus's army, then this is the best way to do it," The leader of the four replied. "We got a large enough group to perform this, we got a pony on the inside who is willing to help, and we have the schematics for the palace, so we don't get lost. We need to be silent and careful to find Ember's bed, slit her throat, and get out there."

"What about her lover? Spike?" Another pointed out. "He's in there too."

"Then we slit his throat too. Who cares," The leader said as he raised his bug. "Tonight, boys, Clan Fortuna rises to the top with the greatest assassination ever planned."

***

He had arrived at last. Canterlot. Capital of the Equestrian Kingdom.

A young cloaked deer looked at the city from the viewport with awe as the sheer wonder of its beauty couldn't be defined accurately in all the books he had read. He had always wanted to come here, but if only it were under better circumstances.

Nevertheless, he had an important job to do. Looking at the city and its history could wait. He had to warn Princess Twilight and the other leaders before it was too late. The airship he was on soon landed, and the cloaked deer hurried to get off as fast as possible.

He just hoped he could get them to listen to him in time.

Author's Note:

There is a lot of character history I have to explain for a lot of characters since its been 20 years since the last fic. But I find it enjoyable to write these. Also, I still think Garrus is the perfect name for any child of Gallus.

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