• 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 8

Ember had to admit that there was something mystical about seeing the moon rising from the magical horn of an alicorn. It was not just a sight of beauty in and of itself, but it was a reminder of how powerful one had to be to lift one of the heavenly bodies of the world into the air. Long before anyone can really remember, there was a time when either the sun or the moon needed assistance to rise and fall so that the world could continue onward without fail. Whether such a means could happen again was anyone's guess, but she imagined that it would change the dynamics of the world's power structure very quickly.

One of the reasons why Equestria had been so influential in the last one thousand years was their connection to the sun and moon. Being the ones that made it rise and fall, they were vital to seeing the world's day and night cycle continue onward. Something that every creature needed to survive. Sure, some believed the secret could be learned or gained through various means. Some had even temporarily succeeded in the case of the Storm King.

The moon's power could cause tidal waves, deny the fauna to grow, and freeze armies in their place. With the sun's power, they could dry up lakes, burn fields of crops, and beat the heat down upon anyone. Save for the incident with Nightmare Moon, the ponies had never once used such power to rule the world with an iron hoof. But what made Equestria trustworthy of such a responsibility was that they never used it to rule over the other nations or force them to bow down to them.

Ember didn't want to admit it, but she knew that if the dragons had this power, they would do such a thing with it. Even if she had made reforms and changes, the way of her people would always be power and strength.

"Sorry for the interruption," Princess Twilight said as she sat on the seat across from Ember on the table Twilight had on the balcony outside her room. "Duty calls and all."

"It's fine," Ember said, sipping her black tea. It was just the two of them at the moment, with the others either already heading to bed or her lover, Smolder, and Gallus doing some late-night drinking. "I know what it's like to get interrupted by something you need to do because of your royal duties."

"Yeah, but I still wouldn't trade this for anything," Twilight admitted with a sheepish smile. "I've gotten so used to the job that its part of who I am. To think, I was so afraid of becoming Princess Celestia and Luna's successor that I had a panic attack at my coordination ceremony."

"That was still one of the wildest events ever," Ember chuckled as she remembered how chaotic it was that day. "All I did was get a bunch of dragons to vow their loyalty to me, and then we ate a bunch of gemstones when I became Dragon Lord. Simple, but I liked it nonetheless."

"So, you wanted to ask me something?" Twilight asked with a big smile.

"Yeah, I was hoping you could help me with something," Ember asked, rubbing the back of her neck. She had thought long and hard about this and figured Twilight was best to ask.

"What's that?" Twilight asked as she sipped her tea.

"I want to ask Spike to marry me."

"PHHHHTTTT!" Twilight spat the tea out of her mouth and onto the floor as a concerned Dragon Lord thumped her back to help. She gagged a few times before shaking her head and looking at Ember in shock. "W-What?!"

"Y-Yeah, I know," Ember replied, blushing with a shrug. "Normally, the guy is the one who asks the girl, right? Well, I kinda feel like we're ready and-"

"N-No, I mean...well, Spike is also...I mean, he...wait, marry him?" Twilight paused and raised an eyebrow. "Don't you dragons do that God's Blessing thing for a life mate?"

"Oh, I have one already in the works," Ember said, waving her hand. "That's not the problem. I had to get it done outside our city so that nobody could get wind of it."

"Oh...I see," Twilight replied, still in shock.

"But I also want to do it the pony way, you know?" Ember sighed as she leaned on her chair with a smile. "Spike might be a dragon and knows our ways better than he did when I first met him, but he still was born in Equestria and was raised by ponies his entire life. Some dragons might see that as bad, but I don't. His being raised like a pony is what made him so special. It made him fall in love with him because he wasn't like all the other dragons. He's...amazing."

"So amazing that you want to spend your entire life with him," Twilight finished with a warm smile. "Well, I think he feels the same way. And I can't imagine anyone else with Spike beside you, Ember. He really loves you."

"I know, which is why I need this to be perfect," Ember said as she leaned forward intently. "I need your help finding a ring big enough for a dragon or getting it custom-made. I plan on proposing to him at the anniversary party, and I'm short on time. Think you can help me out?"

Giggling, Twilight nodded her head. "Ember, trust me. I'll find you the best ring in all of Canterlot before the opening ceremony. There are perks to being a Princess, after all."

"Thanks," Ember sighed in relief as she looked over the balcony to stare at the city's lit-up structure below. "I was hoping you could help, Twilight."

"Why did you decide to propose now?" Twilight asked, putting her hooves close to her chin. "I mean, you dragons do live for a long time. You technically are even still young at your age. Why now?" She then gasped in surprise. "Wait, are you pregnant?!"

"What?! No!" Ember shouted, blushing up a storm. "Nothing like that! I just...well..."

Ember whispered, sighing, "A while ago, I went to have a date with Spike at the place my dad and I used to watch the stars together. Something nice just for the two of us. After we...um...made love..." She nervously grinned as Twilight winced and twitched upon hearing this like any sibling would. "I thought back to the time my dad talked to my mom. He said he wished he had made her his life partner before she left to see the world."

Closing her eyes, Ember smiled warmly. "I thought to myself: Here I am with this amazing dragon I love daily, and I can't think of spending a moment without him. He's everything I've ever wanted, and I care so deeply for him that I'd give up anything to just be with him forever. That's when I decided I didn't want to risk having that same regret my dad had with my mom. I decided I wanted to be Spike's mate for life and his wife."

Twilight slowly got up and walked over to Ember before hugging her. "Well, I think you and Spike will have a long, happy life together. And I'd be happy to have you as my sister-in-law."

"Thanks," Ember said as she slowly got up and yawned. "I'm going to hit the bed. Goodnight, Twilight."

"Night, Ember," Twilight replied as she waved her friend goodnight, waiting for her to leave through the door. Once she was gone, Twilight couldn't help but let out a laugh before shaking her head. "Both of them are planning to propose to each other. Ha ha ha!"

If this wasn't proof that the two were made for each other, Twilight didn't know what else was.

***

Any Royal Guard would tell you that despite what the advertisements told you about the job, ninety percent of the time, your main objective was to either patrol around or stand in attention for any sort of danger around the premises of the palace. While Royal Guards were trained to handle most threats, boredom was the number one thing you had to fight off. It wasn't that the guards didn't love their job, but you were not fending off thieves or assassination attempts every day. Most of the time, you were just walking from one place to the other on the same route for hours until you could go home and rest your hooves.

Of course, like every location, there were some areas that guards hated to patrol. One of those was the Canterlot Palace dungeon. Because they were rarely used, only a few ponies, including the janitors, went below. Which meant that they always had a rotten scent to them.

"Ugh, I feel like I'm in a sewer," a male unicorn Royal Guard with light brown coating and gray mane muttered. He shined his horn to the left, where a small rat quickly fled in fear. "Then again, considering how underground we are, I wouldn't be surprised if we were near them."

"Eh, it is not that bad," Another unicorn Royal Guard, red-coated with a lighter shade of red for a mane, had said before stepping in something sticky. Wincing, he shook a web cob off and said, "The place could use a wash, though."

"How did we get picked for this again?" The first unicorn guard asked.

"Because you suck at drawing lots."

"Bite me, Linebreaker," The grey-maned unicorn grumbled.

His partner didn't disagree before leading them further into the dungeon hall. There was nothing to indicate anything wrong in the area except for the occasional spiders skittering on the walls or a leaky faucet drip. The two guards did their jobs, checking every corner they could to make sure they were cleared of danger or threats. Everything seemed normal.

"Sooooo?" Linebreaker asked with a grin. "You still didn't answer the question, Greyhoof."

"Oh, brother. Not this again," Greyhoof grumbled as she shook his head in disbelief. "You are such a perv."

"Dude, it's perfectly normal to think of the Princess as hot," Linebreaker chuckled. "It's just the two of us. Nopony around. So would you tap that purple alicorn flank or not?"

"I have a marefiend, Linebreaker," Greyhoof snorted.

"And I'm just asking hypotheticals," Linebreaker said as he put his hoof out to pause the lightning-shining unicorn. "Come on. It's just the two of us. Would you totally do her?"

"...No," Greyhoof sighed. "Honestly? I can't see myself bucking a girl taller than me."

"Dude, seriously?!" Linebreaker laughed. "You can only buck mares shorter than you? Weak."

"Well, let me guess? You would totally be all over her?" Greyhoof asked, rolling his eyes.

"Nah, I'd do Princess Cadence instead," Linebreaker pointed out. "She's a mare with more experience as the Princess of Love, if you know what I mean."

"Yeah, and her husband would show you why he was one of the youngest Royal Guard Captains in history," Greyhoof pointed out as they checked another of the cells. "Is there anyone you wouldn't sleep with, you horndog?"

"Well, I wouldn't-huh? A dragon?!"

"Dragon?" Greyhoof asked as he turned around. "What's wrong with dra-"

Greyhoof didn't get a chance to finish as a bolt from a crossbow went right into the center of his skull. The unicorn was dead instantly and fell to the ground next to Linebreaker, who had two arrows in his heart. He gasped for breath before a cloaked purple dragon walked over and stabbed him in the neck with a sword, ending his life. A few other cloaked dragons grabbed their corpses and dragged them into a dark corner in one of the cells before closing the door.

"You got spotted," One of the Cloaked Dragons said to another. Removing his hood, he revealed himself to be a light crimson dragon around a young adult size with two spikes on his nose and a near crown of them on his forehead. He also had a cross-shaped scar on his left cheek and a silver chain with a dagger symbol as a medallion. "You're lucky we're in an area where there are few guards present, or else I'd take your head for nearly ruining everything."

"Sorry, Captain Zerth," the dragon bowed apologetically. "It won't happen again."

"See to it that it doesn't," Captain Zerth replied before turning to another cloaked dragon. "Are the summoning circles in place?"

"Yes, we just finished the last one."

"Good, let's hope there are no more interruptions," Captain Zerth replied before he walked further into the dungeons until they were in a large area made initially for prisoners' transfer but was now abandoned as a big empty room. A perfect setting for their plot to assassinate the Dragon Lord.

Despite being trained assassins, a dragon would stick out in a palace designed for ponies. They were good, but not that good, but a good killer was always finding ways to kill their targets besides the usual method of getting close and cutting their throat out. While magic was different for every creature, some magics were universally used among all cultures. One of them was summoning monsters from the various realms of existence in the greater dimensional planes.

A ritual summoning had to be perfect, however. No messed up movements, wrong runes, or interruptions during the spell casting. A single mistake and the whole thing blew up in your face with a quick, explosive death at best or summoning something ten times worse than you intended and losing your soul in the process. There was a reason why most cultures forbid most summoning techniques, especially demonic summoning, which was always considered the last-ditch fool's effort for someone who had nothing to lose.

Thankfully, the creatures they were summoning were not demons, even if they were demonic looking. Instead, they came from a plane known as the Shadowlands. A realm of pure darkness where there was no light save from the stars and various moons in the world that changed color every so often. The different creatures that lived in the Shadowlands were just as beautiful as they were dangerous, but the ones the dragons were bringing were only the latter.

Whispering their arcane words, the dragons gathered around the circles chanted in unionism without missing a beat or syllable. They had practiced this multiple times for this moment, and it showed as the runes before they started to light up one by one. At first a blue color, then yellow, and finally red. Lines of pure magic lined up from rune to rune, making a unique star design that seemed otherworldly due to its different sides before erupting into a bright, clear red light. One that shined through multiple hallways of the grand dungeon.

When the lights faded, standing in front of the circles were mere figures of shadows on four canine legs before they slowly stood up. Hunched over, walking on two pawed legs, long claws of wispy black flames, and red eyes of pure hellfire. Their long maws opened, revealing a set of teeth and giant mouths that were like unending purple voids. They were known as Shadow Hounds. Hunters of the night with an endless hunger for fresh meat.

Knowing they had been summoned, they knelt before their masters and awaited the call to begin their hunt.

"A blue female dragon is living in his palace," Captain Zerth spoke with authority, yet there was a sense of pleasure in doing so. "Find her and kill her. Stay out of sight if you can. If you can't? Kill whoever stands in your way. Now go."

The Shadow Hounds made no noise or sign of acknowledgment. They just ran into the shadows and were gone without a trace.

***

Spike slowly opened his eyes and moaned at the fact that his bladder was calling for relievement. He wished he didn't get into a drinking contest with Smolder, Gallus, and Ember earlier, but his desire for the sweet taste of hard cider had overtaken him. Looking over at Ember, who was fast asleep with her arms wrapped around him, Spike slowly got out to prevent the Dragon Lord from waking. However, she muttered to him with his eyes closed, "Where are you off to?"

"Bathroom," Spike answered before leaning over and kissing her forehead. "Go back to sleep."

"Sure," She whispered before turning to the other side.

Smirking, Spike made his way to their bathroom and soon relieved himself before returning to bed. Ember then said, "Mind getting me some water?"

Pausing his attempt to get to bed, he glared at her, "Were you planning on getting some yourself and just decided to use me when you learned I was getting up?"

"Maybe," Ember teased as she chuckled.

"Jerk," Spike grumbled with a light shove but didn't mean it. He was having problems falling asleep anyway and decided a short walk would do him some good.

Walking to the door, Spike opened it and decided it was alright to leave it open since he would be back shortly anyway. However, a figure slowly entered the room from the ceiling. Latching onto the titles above with its paws, one of the Shadow Hounds entered without a single sound. Its red eyes gazed down upon the figure in the bed.

A blue dragon.

The target its summoner had requested.

The Shadow Hound slowly grinned at the thought of being the one to catch their prey. The praise his brothers of the pack would give him upon presenting the head of the soon-to-be dead target made his tail wag. He, however, refused to let his excitement get the better of him and continued crawling on the ceiling to get closer until he was right over the bed of the slumbering target. It slowly began to savor the moment when its jaws would sink deep into the neck of the dragon and drain the life out of it. His teeth were sharp, and his claws were like the reaper's blades. Not even the scales of a dragon could prevent blood from being drawn.

And blood it would have.

It slowly prepared to pounce, jaws at the ready.

However, so focused on its target that the Shadow Hound didn't see Spike walking back in with a glass of water. He yawned but froze upon seeing something lingering above the ceiling. The red eyes, shadow body, and sharp fangs glittering from the moonlight in the windows made him freeze for one second.

Then the Shadow Hound struck.

"EMBER! LOOK OUT!"

Years of trained instincts kicked in as Ember's eyes widened upon hearing her lover's voice, and she rolled out of bed just as her pillow fell victim to the Shadow Hound's fangs. The beast cursed its lousy luck and quickly tried to turn around to launch itself at the awakened dragon, only to miss again when she jumped out of the way.

Ember, realizing she was in danger, roared with fury before striking down at her attack with her wings when it tried to attack her again. It was knocked back, hitting the wall just before Ember was upon it with her claws. The Shadow Hound raised its claws to counter, and both snarled and struck with equal force and speed. However, Ember had one advantage that the Shadow Hound didn't have. She wasn't alone.

"Spike!" Ember cried out as she grabbed the Shadow Hound's arms, pulled back, and landed on her back while placing one of her feet on its stomach. The Hound was confused by this sudden change of pace when its own strength was used against it and pushed back into the air Ember's kick.

Spike wasted no time flying forward at top speed with his fist already reared back. When the Hound looked up and gasped, the purple-scaled fist was already impacting his face and sending him back flying into the wall. Despite the shadowy form, it was still a solid-formed creature, and it howled in pain when its back nearly snapped upon impacting the wall.

However, neither dragon was going to stop until the thing before it was dead and done. So together, they took a deep breath and unleashed their flames. The Shadow Hound roared and shrieked in terror as the fire consumed their body; its last thought before disintegration was for its brothers to avenge his death. When the creature stopped howling and started melting into whisps, Ember and Spike took a deep breath and called down.

"What the hay was that thing?!" Spike asked as he looked at Ember with concern. "Are you okay?!"

"Yeah, I'm fine," Ember replied before suddenly there was a bright light of purple.

Teleporting in without her regalia, Twilight Sparkle arrived, looking concerned as she looked around. "Spike! Ember! What's going on! I heard you scream, and...is that part of the room on fire?!"

"Twilight!" Spike shouted, getting her attention with worry on his face. "There was a thing...dog or wolf or whatever it was about to attack Ember and-"

Suddenly, a series of blood-chilling howls echoed everywhere in the castle as all three froze up.

"...and I think it has friends."

Author's Note:

I'm really sorry for leaving this unattended. There really is no excuse other then I caught up with other things and holidays and stuff. Sorry.

I promise updates will be more frequent going forward.