• Published 19th Feb 2013
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The Lion and the Lamb - CrazyChickenLady

After following a baby griffon into a dangerous situation, Fluttershy finds herself rescued by a kind-hearted dragon and ends up befriending him.

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Chapter Thirteen: On The Trail

Chapter Thirteen: On The Trail

“The grocery store?” Rarity blinked, tilting her head lightly. “… If it was hungry, then why didn’t it eat any of the animals…?”

She appeared positively baffled.

“Perhaps its civilized,” Twilight Sparkle ventured. Upon receiving blank, almost incredulous stares from her friends, she hastily corrected herself. “Perhaps it’s intelligent?”

“Or maybe it wants to eat Fluttershy and the other ponies!!” Pinkie Pie gasped, a look of horror on her face.

“Yes, or perhaps…” Twilight Sparkle smiled… then suddenly stared at Pinkie Pie. “… Say what now?”

“Well, think about it!” Pinkie Pie burbled. “This creature from outta nowhere comes up and foalnaps Fluttershy, and we follow its tracks here into town! We haven’t seen anypony else thus far, and it’s inside a grocery store?! It’s probably buying food so it can take it all home and cook her up and eat her!”

“Pinkie… that’s… that’s just silly,” said Twilight Sparkle.

Pinkie Pie, now incensed, threw her foreleg into the direction of the barren marketplace. “DO YOU SEE ANYPONY ELSE OUT HERE?!”

“Well, no, but why would the creature buy gro--”

“To heck with speculation!” Rainbow Dash cried. “I’ve heard enough! I’m going in!!”

“Ah hear you!” Applejack agreed. “On the count of three we bust the door down!”

“Got it!”

“Wait, girls!” Twilight Sparkle cried.

“THREE!” the two mares cried in unison, leaping together to knock the door straight out of its frame. Collapsing forward, they barged in. Twilight, Pinkie Pie, and Rarity immediately joined them. All five stood inside, ready to confront what had wandered in.

… Only to find absolutely nothing. Aside from the busted down door, the store was actually surprisingly peaceful. The shelves were still stocked, the lights were on, the potted plant in the corner wasn’t even disturbed. There didn’t seem to be any sign whatsoever of any disturbance… save for the three mares all sporting flower cutie marks huddled together in each other’s forelegs in one corner, and a couple of stallions shivering under a table or two. Confused, the Elements of Harmony looked at each other before returning their gazes to the frightened mares.

“What the… wasn’t there… some creature here?” Twilight Sparkle thought aloud.

“The horror! The horror!” one of the mares from nearby, one the five friends recognized as Roseluck, spoke out.

“It was awful!” Lily cried out.

“A disaster! A horrible, horrible disaster!” Daisy finished.

“What happened here?” Twilight Sparkle demanded.

“A huge, ferocious beast!” Roseluck sobbed.

“With long claws, and sharp teeth, and a long tail just stormed in here!” Daisy whimpered.

“It was frightening!”



Twilight Sparkle rolled her eyes. The three of them weren’t going to be of any help, what with the way they were going on about the situation. Sighing, she shook her head and turned to one of the others, intent on getting some more information, only to find that Rainbow Dash had already beaten her to the punch. The rainbow-hued equine was lifting one of the shop keeps--a pale brown earth pony stallion with white mane and tail and wearing a striped vest over a white shirt with a cash register cutie mark--up on his hind legs.

“It was a dragon, I tells ya,” he said. “Six feet tall, red an’ yeller! Just walked right on in, gave us all a scare!”

“What did he want?! Did he have Fluttershy with him?!”

“He was carrying nopony, and he just got some baby food, diapers, shampoo, and a brush!” The cashier gulped. “That was all, nothing more!”

“… What?” the cyan pegasus flatly asked.

Pinkie Pie and Rarity, who were closest to Rainbow Dash, stared at him, then at each other, and then over at Twilight Sparkle. Even Applejack, who was checking to see if anyone was hurt, was shocked.

“Where is he now? Is he still here?” Twilight Sparkle asked.

“No, Princess Twilight Sparkle!” the shopkeep answered, pointing a hoof at the door. “He jus’ went out ‘bout five minutes ‘fore y’all came in!”

“Dang!” Rainbow Dash shouted. “We missed him! We can’t let him get away!”

“Now hold up a second now!” Applejack interrupted. “He wanted some baby food an’ diapers? Why would he even…?”

“Uh, because he has a baby, DUH!” Pinkie Pie stated.

Twilight Sparkle was still reeling from the shock. Baby food and diapers? “Perhaps… he has a child?”

“WAIT!” Pinkie exclaimed. “What if he’s planning on fattening the baby up and eating it, too?!”

“Now, darling,” Rarity began. “Aren’t we overthinking this just a little bit?”

“What’s to overthink?" Pinkie Pie threw her hooves into the air. “It obviously can’t be his own baby! And he can’t be planning on feeding Fluttershy to it because why would he be buying baby food for the baby if it can’t eat solid food yet? He HAS to be planning on eating them both!”

“Wait, I still--” Twilight Sparkle started, unsure of everything now. None of this was making any sense!

“C’mon, girls, we haven’t a moment to lose!” Pinkie Pie turned into a random direction and rushed deeper into the store. “TO VICTORY!”

Twilight Sparkle and the rest just stood there, staring.

Pinkie Pie came running back, rushing past them and out the double doors. “VICTORY IS THIS WAY!” Applejack, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash weren’t too far behind her. Twilight Sparkle just continued to stand there, groaning with closed eyes, before dashing off after them.


Ignoring the terrified equines he past, Smokey hummed quietly to himself, blissfully scanning the frozen landscape and envisioning what Ponyville would look like after Winter Wrap-Up. The identity of the trees dotted along the path were obscured by their icy masks, rendering it impossible for the dragon to distinguish them. He didn’t know much about trees and flowers anyway. He always enjoyed learning about what grew where. Prematurely figuring nopony was bold enough to allow him to ask them questions about the wildlife, he didn’t.

‘Maybe Fluttershy knew,’ he thought… She did say she loves animals and taking care of them, and judging by the natural remedies he saw stocked in her home’s inventory, she must know a lot about plants too and other things too. When they finally settled down and the mare was feeling better, he would ask her what she knew.

An aching-burning soreness concentrated at his feet brought Smokey out of his mental musings. Stopping, he bent over a tad and brought up his left foot--he had to be careful as not to accidentally spill any of his goods clustered in the large brown paper bag restrained in his right arm. Every winter he somehow managed to forget that snow buildups between the toes meant sore feet later. Silvery breath exiting from his mouth on a light, disheartened sigh, the dragon took the time to pluck bits of ice from between his toes, unaware of any ponies coming up from behind him.

As the mares scrambled down the road, they kept an eye out for anything unusual or any signs of the dragon that had been supposedly terrorizing Ponyville. That part was actually easy. All they had to do was follow the tracks that were left behind. Twilight Sparkle, in particular, was still a bit cautious--it was a dragon… but the tracks weren’t all that big. They were significantly bigger than Spike’s, yes, by quite a margin--but nowhere near the size of the dragon prints she had seen when he’d been at his full greed-grown height.

Perhaps they were facing an adolescent dragon? Or perhaps just a young adult? Or maybe, a young--yet frighteningly large--child? That still didn’t make a lot of sense, but Twilight Sparkle was willing to hold back if it meant being safe and approach this from a more practical view.

As she and her friends rounded a bend, they paused, coming to a halt. Spotting the winged reptile, they gasped, and quickly took cover around the corner.

“There he his!” Rainbow Dash cried. “I’ll get him!”

She reared up and was about to fly off after him when she was suddenly halted by a magical force. Hanging in the air, she turned her head with an incredulous look at Twilight Sparkle.

“Wait!” she said. “Don’t! You have no idea what he’s capable of!”

“But he’s got Fluttershy!” Pinkie Pie protested.

“Yes, and if we confront him now we might not be able to rescue her, especially if he mops the floor with us!” Twilight Sparkle said. Taking a quick peek back around the corner to keep an eye on him, she continued. “I suggest we follow him discreetly, so he’ll lead us to Fluttershy.”

Rainbow Dash was about to object and remind the lavender alicorn when she gave a good kick to the dragon they once removed from the mountains towering beside Ponyville, but her words died in her mouth as she remembered how angry she made him. Flattening her ears and furrowing her brows, she went limp in Twilight Sparkle’s levitation spell with a defeated “Fine”.

The group hung back, wondering what the beast was doing as he pushed bits of ice from his toes. His back was turned to them and his wings were unfolded the slightest degree, so they could not see. Once he was finished, he continued on, snow crunching underneath his now clean soles and printing his marks behind him.

Twilight Sparkle released Rainbow Dash from her spell, giving her a slightly apologetic look.

“Look, I know you’re gung-ho about going after him, and if we knew Fluttershy was safe and wasn’t being held hostage I’d tell you to go for it. But, the fact remains she’s not with him, so we can only account for the possibility that she’s being held captive somewhere, and if we don’t know where she is…”

She turned back to the dragon, watching him get up and move on after having done what ever he was doing.

“It just makes more sense to follow him, so we can at least find out where his hideout is. Chances are, he’ll be keeping Fluttershy there.”

“And, we’ll be able at bust in an’ rescue her!” Applejack finished. “Ah wuz wonderin’ why you wuz holdin’ Rainbow back. He didn’t seem half as strong as that one back up in th’ mountains! We all could’ve probably taken ‘im easily!”

“And he just as probably could have mopped the floor with us. Physical size alone isn’t an accurate measure of physical strength, AJ,” Twilight Sparkle said as she began leading her friends off to follow the dragon--making sure to keep their distance but to keep him in sight. “Just because he’s less than half the size of the grown dragons we’ve seen doesn’t make him any less stronger.”

“And give him a kick in the face for foalnapping Fluttershy,” the cyan pegasus added, grinding her hoof into the frog of her other hoof. “That’ll teach him not to mess with ponies!”

The dragon traversed through his chosen path, new footprints covering up old ones that clearly indicated that he had used it before. It was also a much quicker route to and from his house in addition to the safest. The trip was a quiet one, an eerily quiet one, as was every trip to the Everfree. Ahead, nestled in a clearing that had been created by the removal of trees that were used for firewood, was a single story home constructed entirely out of stone. It was quite primitive in appearance, with a pair of chimneys jutting out of its solid, flat roof. There was a window for every room--the closest one, and the only one in sight from the path coming in, was located at the front by the door.

Smokey hurried to the entrance of the cozy abode, anxious to get back to his two charges and his animals.

The five mares hung back at a safe distance, never once letting the reptile out of their sight, but making sure to remain as hidden as possible if the situation called for it. Thankfully, it didn’t seem they had to dive for cover at any point, and they remained mostly silent as not to call attention to themselves.

Back inside, unbeknownst to them, slept Fluttershy. Her foreleg protectively curled around Chenoa, she slumbered peacefully, chest and sides rising and falling with each breath. As she slept, she dreamed about frolicking among the flowers and animals before shifting to laying on the grass in the sunlight with Chenoa and having a picnic with Smokey, and introducing them to her friends…

Her friends. What would they say if they could see her now, she dreamily wondered. The thought, however, was lost in the dream as it shifted once more to her teaching Chenoa how to sing.

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