by Drag Orion

First published

A dark dragon aquires a magical artifact and his conquest of Equestria begins.

Tiamat, the dark dragon has begun his takeover of Equestria, starting with the Changeling hive and its Queen. When he barters for her most powerful magical possession, he obtains a necklace known as the Lockheart, capable of filling others of the opposite gender with love and lust for the wearer. With such a power at his disposal, an even more enjoyable conquest awaits Tiamat.

Chapter 1

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The Changeling army returned to their hive after another devastating defeat. The drones were silent, save for the gentle buzzing of their wings, while their leader, Queen Chrysalis had been ranting and raving the entire way back. Landing, her Changelings showed the fatigue of their demoralizing defeat while she was full of adrenaline from her rage that was reflected in her emerald eyes.

Her slender black body was sore and bruised from numerous magical spells that hit her courtesy of the Princess of Friendship, especially that final explosion of rainbow-hued magic that had finally driven her and her swarm out of Ponyville. Looking herself over, she counted the holes in her body, horn, including the ones in her hair and wondered if she had gotten any new ones added in. Running her fingers through her green mane, she could feel how tattered and unkept it was, not to mention a bit burnt after narrowly avoiding getting scorched by the dragon minion of the princess.

Looking over her own minions, they had suffered even worse. While she had faced off with the Princess of Friendship and her dragon, her army faced off against her five friends. It seemed almost inconceivable that so many could be bested by so few, but the proof was right there before her as the ones here who managed to make it back home were the lucky ones. Most were battered and bruised by the Elements of Loyalty and Honesty and their formidable strength and speed. Many suffered from cannon fire that was fortunately only loaded with confetti or tons of confections via the Element of Laughter. While the ammo was hardly lethal it still packed a punch and left them all a mess. Others had been the victim of a hostile makeover given to them by the Element of Generosity. After returning to the hive, they ran somewhere to get cleaned off, too embarrassed to show their faces with all that makeup on. But most bizarre of all were the ones that had no injuries at all, but were in tears and in desperate need of a hug. From what anyone could understand from their blubbering, this was the Element of Kindness’s doing and they could only imagine what she could have done to them to turn battle-hardened creatures into whimpering balls of emotions.

“We were so close!” she shouted for the hundredth time as she looked at her poor excuse for an army. “All of Equestria would have been our love buffet, but those ponies, Twilight and her friends got the better of us again! How?!? Why?!?”

“She’s been asking that the entire way back,” one of her drones groaned, his face covered with cake frosting from when he went in to attack the Element of Laughter and a pie on his flank for when he retreated. He, along with all the others looked annoyed to hearing her repeat herself, but were just as fearful to turn her rage on them. “Are we supposed to answer?”

“She’s just ranting,” another replied covered in cupcakes that were ruined by tons of confetti. “Best let her blow off some steam.”

“Rargh!” she wailed and blasted a hole in the hive, adding one more the the multitude it already possessed.

“And it might be a good idea to steer clear of her for the time being,” a third spoke around his whimpering. “Like the other side of the hive far. And can I please get another hug?”

“Fine, but this is the last time,” the others told him.

The Changelings quickly took their leave to rest and tend to their injuries, both the physical and the emotional ones. Chrysalis watched and noticed that compared to how many she had attacked with. There was only a handful Changelings remaining and Chrysalis was well aware of this fact. “This loss is particularly troublesome,” she noted. “I’ve lost too many minions to be able to mount another attack so soon. I don’t even want to think what would happen if we were to be invaded now of all times.” She made her way through the hive to her throne room, passing by the Changeling guards who had remained in the hive during the attack. They bowed as she passed, hiding a look of worry as they did. With how obsessed she was over her current situation she didn’t noticed as she rambled on. They looked even more tense as she continued to her throne.

“Gentlemen,” spoke one of the guards. “it has been a pleasure serving with you before our queen bites our heads off for letting him through.”

“What choice did we have?” asked another. “He was too strong for us and we agreed it was better to let him through for the sake of living a little longer.”

“One hour longer,” cried a third with dread in his voice.

“I’ll have to focus on replenishing the swarm, meaning I’ll need to find a mate as soon as possible,” mumbled Chrysalis to herself. “Till then, Twilight Sparkle and her friends will have to wait on my revenge.”

“You know, the definition of insanity is to try the same thing over and over again and expect different results,” chuckled a large, black dragon that had the nerve to sit upon the Changeling Queen’s throne. He was large enough to sit on it and have his head rest against the top while his four silver horns stood above it. He had a large pair of wings he had folded up. His piercing red eyes and his body chiseled with flawless muscles and scales tough as diamonds gave him a very formidable appearance. He sat with his legs crossed and his long tail hanging over the side of the throne like he wanted to appear as smug as possible to agitate her. With her mood already so bitter it was way more than what was needed to get her to blow her top.

“How in Equestria did you even get in here past my guards?” she demanded to know.

“I just walked right in,” he answered. “Your guards were most obliging after I demonstrated a little of my power and explained I merely had a proposition for you.”

“I don’t know what was your greatest mistake,” she snapped at him. “Having the gall to sit upon my throne or to do so on a day when I’m already this furious. Guards! Come in here at once!”

“Oh, hi, your majesty,” one of the Changelings told her meekly as they scrambled in and could see the rage in her eyes, not entirely focused on her intruder. “I guess you’ve met your visitor.”

“If my forces weren’t already so depleted I’d obliterate you on the spot, you spineless worms,” she hissed at him and gave the same venomous look to the others whose only saving grace was that they had the guts to come in.

“If you wish to fight I’d be more than happy to wipe out what little remains of your empire,” the dragon chuckled. “It’d be little more than a workout at this point, but I’d say you are better off hearing what I have to say.”

“Guards… back to your posts,” she decided, not giving in to her rage. The drones took their leave, not wishing to give her a chance to change her mind. Once they were gone, Chrysalis groaned. “Good help is so hard to find. I was too impatient with the last mate I sought out and produced an inferior batch of drones. I’ll have to find someone much more suitable this time.”

“What a coincidence that you should bring that up,” the dragon grinned. “Because I am here to offer you just that, to be your mate for your next swarm of Changelings. I’m certain you never tried mating with a dragon before and you can tell by looking at me that any drones you produce will be of the highest quality.”

“I admit,” she replied. “You are an interesting specimen, physically strong, confident, and I can see a hunger for power that is not unlike my own. On top of that, you are rather attractive, for a dragon, that is. Tell me, what is your name?”

“Tiamat,” he told her.

“Indeed, Tiamat, you probably could allow me the spawn the strongest generation of Changelings yet, but I am no fool. What is it that you want in exchange for reviving my army?”

“A simple request and one that you can certainly agree to in your current situation,” he told her like the shiftiest of salesmen.

“Translation,” she replied seeing right through his words. “I am desperate and you are taking full advantage of that fact.”

“”Pretty much,” he answered shamelessly. “I want the most powerful magical artifact in your possession. Surely, you have something that would be worth at least one cup of dragon seed.”

“I do have a few things,” she admitted. “I suppose I could part with one if it’d allow me to obtain a suitable mate.”

“I don’t want one,” he corrected her as he stood up from her throne and loomed over her. “I want your most powerful one.”

“That is out of the question,” she hissed. “I would never hand over the Lockheart to anyone!”

“Just seeing your reaction makes me want it all the more,” he grinned. “Tell me, what does it do and I’ll decide if that’s what I want or not.”

“Very well,” she conceded, at least in telling him what he wanted to know. “I will reveal all I know about the Lockheart, if it’ll put your mind at ease that it is of no use to you.”

“I’m listening,” he answered, showing his gall some more by returning to her throne and placing his rock hard glutes upon it. Queen Chrysalis knew he was only trying to agitate her and it was working all too well. The fact that she didn’t attempt to strike him down with magic showed him how desperate she was to rebuild her army and he hid a grin behind a look of inquisition for what she was going to tell him.

“I found it quite some time ago,” she explained. “I believe it was around a thousand years ago, give or take a century and not too far from my hive either. It attracted me to it, giving off some delectable energy like a twisted kind of love energy. It was hardly enough to satisfy my endless hunger for the real thing, but the second I saw it, I knew I was destined to possess it. Wishing to see just what kind of power it possessed, I searched and found a couple of ponies, a mare and a stallion who had foolishly come too close to my land for their own good. They were on a camping trip, apparently a secret getaway to spend some time together romantically, if you get my drift. I watched from the shadows, enjoying the love they shared, hungry to devour some once I ascertained the power of the Lockheart. Moving in close, I unleashed the power of the Lockheart. The mare ran for her life. She didn’t get very far as I had my changelings waiting just out of sight. The last I remember of her was a shriek of absolute terror before they feasted upon her love. The stallion, on the other hand, remained and even approached me, a look of utter infatuation on his face just like for the mare he loved. Seeing this, I was even more impressed by its power. It made the stallion love me on its own. I did not even need to transform into his beloved. With great delight, I locked lips with him and drank up his love like it was the sweetest of nectars. Even as I did this, the infatuation he felt towards me didn’t fade. In fact, he grew hard underneath and yearned for sex. How could I pass up such an opportunity? In order to lay more eggs, I require the seed of another male. It does not matter the species, but I must be in my normal form for it to work, a requirement that has made mating much harder. It is not easy to maintain magical control over a pony while in the midst of sex. To be honest, it ruins the overall thrill of getting lost in the lust of the moment, but with this, I could fully enjoy it. With the stallion as my willing toy, I just laid back on his lover’s sleeping bag and let him fuck me all he wanted. I let him pound my pussy with his thick rod over and over. I did not care how sore I’d be by morning and even he seemed willing to keep on thrusting till his total exhaustion forced him to stop. Even with my magic I can hardly get a mate to be so eager to plow me with such unbridled enthusiasm and it wasn’t merely limited to fucking, but touching, feeling, and embracing over every inch of my body that he wanted however he desired it. Truly, it was the best night ever. I moaned with ecstasy and hugged his body close, forgetting myself for a while. Even after taking his seed, I couldn’t help doing more. I fondled his pack and sucked his cock and even let his do all manner of stuff he wanted to me from grope my breasts to tongue my vagina. By that point, it was no longer about feeding on his love or acquiring a mate to breed. All the drove me at that point was lust, an endless night’s worth to make up for all the time that I have been left horribly unsatisfied. I received the best sex I ever experienced and to be as long-lived I am sure you can imagine how badly I yearned for it. All through the night we went on with making out and more sex. There had never been a night that I had been more full of love. I was even too stuffed to return to the hive, so I spent the night and slept embracing that stallion under the stars. Oh, it was truly a magical night we shared, a night that was meant for him and his beloved, but I certainly had fun.”

“No question that you did with how aroused you seem to be getting just from retelling it. I know I am,” commented Tiamat as he stroked his cock. It was every bit as impressive as the rest of his monstrous body with a pair of balls that reflected how much of a prime specimen he was. Already, he was leaking pre and Chrysalis couldn’t keep from marveling at it, like it was the answer to all her problems. When she just kept staring at his dick and didn’t respond, he chuckled and asked her, “Like what you see?”

“Uh, uh,” she stuttered trying to regain her composure. “I’d appreciate it if you didn’t make a mess of my throne, but I can see that you are indeed a virile male.”

“How kind of you to notice,” he told her. “Now, if I might ask, what happened to the male the next day?”

“He was still in love with me, of course,” she answered sounding vain in her answer. “Despite looking much less the hunk he did the night before as he had shriveled up quite a bit from all that love I drained from him and even more as I wanted a little breakfast too. I then let my Changelings finish him off once I lost interest.”

“Then the Lockheart truly is dark magic at its finest,” Tiamat observed. “I am surprised that you do not use it more often.”

“If I did then I’d risk its existence being known,” she explained. “I save it only for when I need to mate. Besides, as I explained it doesn’t work on creatures of the same gender and unfortunately for me, practically all my greatest foes are female and it is too important to risk in the hands of one of my male drones.”

“How about in mine?” he asked, reaching his claws out. “Because, after hearing all that I know that’s what I want.”

“And I just told you why I cannot let you or anyone else have it,” she hissed at him. “It is needed in order for me to spawn more drones and I need it now more than ever.”

“On the contrary,” he told her. “From what I gathered you only need it to ensure the sex is good. But I’ve already agreed to mate with you, so you don’t have to worry in the least about that.”

“Mating once will hardly be enough to fill out our ranks again,” she countered. “I can lay a few dozen eggs per mating and even then, I need three months to rest before I can mate again. If I were to get your seed in exchange for the Lockheart, it’d hardly be a fair trade and I’d have no guarantee that you’d return to me again in three months.”

“What if I were to stay here then?” he asked. “And to mate with you whenever you’d like, not just for breeding, but whenever the desire hits you? It would eliminate your need to find a mate so you’d never have to worry about running out of drones again.”

“That is a tempting proposal,” she admitted. “But you have yet to tell me what you wish to do with the Lockheart. What is your ultimate goal?”

“The conquest of Equestria, of course,” he admitted like it was no big deal. “And if I am in your service than it’d be like you ruling Equestria too.”

“Your ambition does intrigue me,” she told him. “I would expect nothing less from one who wears darkness like a glove on a hand. Very well, out of the respect I have for you, I will agree to the deal.”

“I am delighted to hear that,” he told her and got up from her throne.

“Then follow me to my chambers,” she instructed. “I will give it to you there and then you can fulfill your half of the bargain.”

“Looking forward to it,” he said as he brandished his dragonhood.

“I’ll play your game for now,” decided Chrysalis in her head. “But only to use you up and toss you away. You were a fool to come here and waltz around like you own the place. I am the queen and you are just some lowly concubine to offer up your dick to me. I swear to you, you will regret thinking you could get the better of me.”

Chrysalis led Tiamat through a long, narrow passage in the hive. Tiamat was forced to crouch down a bit to avoid hitting his head on the ceiling and even then he could feel his horns scraping against it. Compared to all the other passages he had seen this one was void of even a single Changeling guard and had a large number of branching paths. “Quite a trek to get to your bedroom” commented the black dragon. “Literally making me go the extra mile to see how badly I want it.”

“I prefer my chambers to be as secure as possible,” she explained. “Only I know the way to it and any others foolish enough to try and pursue me would get hopelessly lost.”

“Then I take it even your own Changelings don’t know how to navigate this place,” Tiamat wondered as he discreetly scratched an ‘X’ into the wall every few meters they traveled as a precaution. When Chrysalis didn’t answer him back right away, he continued to speak. “Someone has trust issues. Are you fearful of being betrayed by one of your own wishing to usurp the throne?”

“Trust is a liability,” scoffed the Changeling Queen. “Changelings know that better than anyone. We feed on love from ponies who believe we are their loved ones. Till we finally reveal ourselves they foolishly give us all that precious love to feed on. Naturally, we’re wary of leaving ourselves vulnerable to anyone, no matter who they might be to us. Without the Lockheart I’d never feel safe to mate with another and sleeping with them would be out of the question.”

“But you are willing to trust me?” Tiamat asked.

“I am merely weighing my options and you don’t have anything to gain from my demise,” she told him. “And you might reek of dragon musk, but I don’t smell any blood on your claws. That at least tells me you aren’t the type to just kill for the fun of it.”

“Nah, I enjoy much more constructive activities,” he told her. “Sex, conquest, embroidery. Things of that nature. Now, are we almost there? My cock is going flaccid back here.”

“We’ve arrived,” answered Chrysalis as they reached a chamber that was a much more comfortable size to Tiamat than the passageway to it. In here, he could stand up and even spread his wings all the way out.

It was a decent-sized bedroom, plenty spacious with what one would expect to see in such a place, like a dresser with knick knacks on top some paintings on the wall, mostly of Chrysalis herself, and trunk that seemed more likely to contain her less magical treasures. Chrysalis also had a few other things that Tiamat took note of, like the dartboard with a few photos of ponies on it that were terribly punctured all over. Tiamat assumed they were some of the Changeling Queen’s favorite enemies, but save for Celestia and Luna, he didn’t recognize the others on there. On her dresser there was also a calendar that had a few things written on certain days. The only one that was of any particular interest was of today, in which it was circled in red and below it was written, “INVASION!!!” Just seeing it showed how much Chrysalis had been looking forward to this day and her anger reflected how unhappy she was with how it turned out.

In the middle of it was a large, round bed with pillows lined up around the outer ring and a plush white blanket neatly placed on it. The room was illuminated by torches of green fire that radiates less heat than normal flames, but provided just as much illumination. Curiously, there was a plushie in the bed of a ladybug. With the smile on its face and the big, blue, sparkling eyes it didn’t seem like the sort of thing that Chrysalis would like. Seeing it very conspicuous on her bed, Chrysalis quickly hid it under a pillow, hoping Tiamat didn’t notice. He pretended he hadn’t.

“Nice bedroom,” commented Tiamat as he climbed into bed and found the mattress wonderfully soft. Against his weight, he sank quite a bit down, but he felt certain that he was within the limits of how much the bed could hold. Smirking, he made himself comfortable in it. “Very nice. Sure beats the heck out of sleeping on rocks.”

“Somehow I imagined you lived less like a barbarian,” she replied. “But at least you can appreciate a quality bed.”

“Oh, yeah,” he nodded. “We are gonna have a fucking good time in here.” As he spoke, he was already getting hard again, the lust returning to his voice. “But first… I’d like you to fulfill your part of the deal. You did say that you kept the Lockheart here, right?”

“Very well,” she answered. “But just telling you now, for a trade like this, my expectations for the sex is going to be far too ridiculously high for you to ever expect to meet them.”

“Coming from someone who only has sex every other decade,” he countered. “I’d say those expectations are probably still very low.”

“I’m still deciding whether or not I like that snark of yours,” she told him with a little smile. She then approached a section of her wall that had a set of stalactites and stalagmites arranged to appear like series of sharp teeth. Chrysalis’s horn glowed green as she used her magic on them, making the stone teeth open wide and reveal a series of objects hidden within the maw. Tiamat gazed upon each one, seeing a few objects that looked like jewelry with gemstones embroidered into them. There was also some vials containing potions with likely terrible effects to whoever should come in contact with it. There were even some old, weathered books written in languages that even Tiamat was not familiar with. Finally, there was a small wooden box in there too and it was this that Chrysalis took out. She undid her magic, closing the maw of stone and held out the box for her dragon mate to see. Watching, he saw her open it and reveal a necklace of gold. The object attached to the chain was in the shape of a heart with a keyhole in the center of it made of a red stone. Compared to all the other things that she had kept, this appeared the least impressive looking.

“So, this is the Lockheart?” questioned Tiamat as he reached for it. “It certainly lives up to the name quite literally.” Before he could reach it, Chrysalis shut the box on him and placed it upon her dresser.

“It is yours, but, for now, let us leave it over here while we mate,” she instructed. “After all, there is no need for it right now.”

“Indeed,” he agreed, seeing through her and playing along. “Now, come on in here and see what it feels like to have a real man inside of you.”

“Coming,” she murred, sounding at ease while the box was out of Tiamat’s reach, Chrysalis climbed into bed and over to where Tiamat sat, legs spread and claws on his thighs. She crawled onto him and gently placed her hands on his shoulders, feeling his solid body for the first time in her slender, delicate fingers. His whole body was very warm to the touch, as one would expect of a dragon. Tiamat then lifted up his arms and wrapped them around Chrysalis’s back to pull her into a hug, pressing her body tightly against his. “Oh, you’re very warm,” she blushed as she hugged his neck, feeling the spikes running down his spine.

“Just luke warm right now,” he admitted. “Once we get started then you’ll know what hot is. Now, how’s about I help you out of this.” With very delicate claws, he undid the strap to her bra and pulled it away, exposing the orange-sized breasts they were covering over. He hugged her tighter, pressing her chest against his pecs, making her moan a little from the sensation. her face blush and it was clear to Tiamat how starved she was for sex. “Need to replenish her ranks, my ass,” he grinned and thought this silently. “That might be true, but you just really wanted to be fucked. Well, I am more than happy to pound a horny slut like you.” Moving his head forward, he locked eyes with Chrysalis who moved her head forward too. Opening their maws in unison, they locked lips and made out. While this happened, Tiamat leaned forward and carefully pinned Chrysalis to the bed without disturbing their kiss. Chrysalis felt up the dragon’s back, her fingers gliding down the spikes on his spine and then back up on is back, feeling how every bit of his body felt so strong, flawless and downright sexy. Eventually, her lust drove her to feel up more of his studliness, but at with how much he towered over her, he was too large for her to reach all the way to his ass and instead settled for his waist for the time being and slowly moved her hands back up his sides to his shoulders.

The black dragon felt up the Changelin’s body too. His claws were easily sharp enough to cut through flesh like a scissor slicing through paper, but his nails had been finely filed earlier so that as his fingers explored her back, they didn’t touch her. He felt up her back, moved down to her rear, pausing to give her cheeks a squeeze of delight. He only lingered there for a few seconds before working his way back up to her head and stroked her hair.

When they finally pulled their mouths apart to take a breath of air, their gaze was still unbroken. “That was very nice,” she admitted. She could feel his body temperature had risen just as he said, going from warm to hot, increasing her arousal to him even further. “Y-You’re a sexy dragon.” She moved her hands down his arms, seeing the white markings on them, admiring the intricate pattern that melded perfectly with his muscle. As she held onto his biceps, Tiamat flexed them, showing off his might and further enthralled her. “V-Very sexy.”

“Heheh,” he snickered. “I try to be and you aren’t so bad yourself, you know.” Sitting up a bit, he placed his claws onto her breasts and gave them a gentle squeeze. “Mmm, some sweet and supple breasts you got. I’ve been with plenty of dragonesses before and while they had some nice racks of their own, being covered in scales as always made groping them far less enjoyable. With you, their so perfectly soft and delicate. I could just sit here squeezing them for hours, but I’m sure you are eager to get to the best part too.”

“Oh, yes,” she answered with lust in her voice. “P-Please fuck me!”

“I will,” he whispered into her ear. “But, I gotta make sure you’re ready.” Getting up, Tiamat repositioned himself so his head was looking down at Chrysalis’s vagina, already wet and ready while she got a grand view of his balls and dick that were just as warmed up. Craning his neck down, Tiamat gave her pussy a slow, long lick across it, urging a moan of bliss out of her maw. Not letting up, his tongue licked over her lower lips again and again, taking as much time as he could to make the pleasure force out more cries of euphoria out. Her crotch become more moist with the mix of saliva and sex juices as he almost forced her to cum right there, but Tiamat carefully held back to avoid pushing her over the edge. He paused to let the moaning stop allowed her heavy panting to die down to slow breaths before he let his tongue venture within.

Chrysalis moaned with bliss once more as she felt that tongue slide into her pussy and taste her forbidden nectar. She was soaked in a layer of sweat from the heat Tiamat was giving off. It was enough to make Tiamat sweat too and allowed his draconic musk to fill the air around them and invade Chrysalis’s sinuses to amplify her desire to fuck. Almost in a trance, she lookd up, the wonderful view of his manhood, his monster of a dick as well as his package that contained quite a lot of heft to it. As Tiamat moved to tongue her pussy, the rest of his body rocked about and caused his dick to bob up and down gently as his testicles to sway mesmerically. She purred with delight, like a cat being tempted with something at the end of a string. Reaching up, she stroked his dragonhood with one hand while the other fondled his balls, feeling their weight and gave them a squeeze, succeeding in getting a murr out of Tiamat.

Grinning, he lowered his rear to be just over Chrysalis’s face and act that delighted her as she finally got her chance to experience the perfect glutes to go along with his perfect body. She didn’t hesitate to give it a squeeze, feeling how firm it was, but not unpleasantly hard. Snuggling her face into it, she continued to murr and inhale his scent deeply, all other reason lost to her beyond fulfilling her urges.

All other thought was impossible for the Changeling Queen and that was just what Tiamat wanted. All this arousing behavior wasn’t merely to get insatiably horny before sex, but rather a diversion as he worked his tail towards the Lockheart on her dresser. Though it was tricky to navigate while he had his face in her crotch and her pleasuring his tools and ass was as distracting for him as when he did it to her, Tiamat managed to feel his way to the table and carefully flipped open the lid on the chest. He then slipped his tail into the chain of the necklack and curled the end to ensure it didn’t slip out. Slowly, he brought it back over to the bed and into his awaiting clutches. He had to stifle a snicker knowing that he pulled off the perfect heist while Chrysalis while it felt like Chrysalis was making out with his ass. Pulling his tongue out of her pussy, he planted a kiss on her vagina with his lizard lips and snorted some smoke out his nostrils. Hearing this, Chrysalis too stopped what he saw doing.

“Am I all set now?” she asked sounding quite eager after getting to inspect his assets.

“Just about,” he grinned as he sat up and turned around. While he did this, he quickly got the necklace around his thick neck, finding it a tight fit, but the chain was too strong to come undone so easily.

When Chrysalis saw the Lockheart on him, she tried getting up in a panic. “You bastard!” she cried, her horn glowing as she prepared to blast him with magic. Tiamat was quick to pin her against the bed again and avoid the blast of magic as it flew over his shoulder. Chrysalis struggled against him, but as she looked into his eyes, she could feel the effects of the Lockheart influencing her. “I was a fool,” she spoke before the magic took full hold of her.

“And now you’re mine,” he cackled and licked his lips with delight.

“All yours,” she answered, hearts in her eyes as she was enslaved by her love for the dark dragon.

“Very good, my pet,” he teased and the two made out as he positioned his cock now to enter her pussy. “Ready for what I promised you?”

“Oh, yes, please!” she begged lustfully, picking up right where they left off. “Fuck me, Master Tiamat!”

“Damn this thing is wonderful,” he grinned and rubbed his fingers over the necklace. “I can tell I’m going to get a lot of mileage out of this.”

With his cock tip pressed against her pussy’s lips, he carefully pushed in, finding it a tight fit for his thick length that could barely take an inch before he had to pull out. Thrusting in again with a bit more force, he managed to shove it in slightly deeper and as he continued humping, he worked it in little by little, his efforts encouraged by Chrysalis’s moans of ecstasy.

“Yes! Yes!” she wailed with bliss as she held onto his arms and let him pound into her. “Fill me with your might! Help me breed the greatest generation of Changelings! Give me a mighty army!”

“Oh, I will,” he grunted, finally pushing most of his dick in and he was starting to throb as his climax was drawing near. “But it won’t be your army. It’ll be mine because I’m the one in charge now. I’m the king.”

“My king of the Changelings,” she murred with bliss.

“Cute, but I plan on ruling over more than just your little hive,” he bragged. “I will take all of Equestria and with this new toy I’ll have quite a lot of fun doing it.” He groped Chrysalis’s breasts tightly and grinned greedily. “I’ll take all I desire, fuck whomever I desire till it’s mine! All mine!”

“Oh, fuck yes!” she wailed out lustfully and he pounded once more into her puss with all his might and gushed seed into her, his mighty dragon cock delivering a huge load from his virile balls. He remained in her till the throbbing stopped and even a few seconds after, making sure it was properly received and then slowly slid out. Taking a seat on the edge of the bed, he caressed his softening member and turned to Chrysalis who was elated with the sex they just had.

“You did very well,” praised Tiamat. “You will be a welcome first addition to my harem, but one a harem hardly makes and I have only just begun to enjoy myself. Come now, back to your- my throne with me.”

“What would you have me do?” she asked getting up out of bed to follow him. She gently caressed her belly already longing for the next generation to be born.

“Call all the female Changelings over,” he told her. “I wish to add them to my harem as well.”

“I shall go get them,” she bowed to her master and they made their way back to her throne. From there, Chrysalis made her way through the hive, commanding all the female Changelings to head to her throne. All the Changelings who saw her were flabbergasted at the sight of their queen. Her previously bitter attitude was replaced with a refreshing, but unnerving cheerful one. On top of that, she was running around stark naked and reeked of sex and sweat. While all the females obeyed her command, the males merely whispered conjectures as to what in the world had happened to Chrysalis.

“Did that last battle put a hole in her head or something?” asked one scratching his head.

“I have no idea,” replied a second one. “I don’t think I’ve seen her this happy since… well, ever. And does she realize she’s butt naked and she stinks like a dragon’s butt.”

“How do you know what a dragon’s butt smells like?” he was questioned.

“I’d rather not talk about it,” he answered meekly.

“I heard she had an audience with a dragon,” commented another, returning the conversation back on topic. “Does this mean that they… did it?”

“I think it’s pretty obvious that they did,” he stated.

“I think I need another hug,” he whimpered.

“Fine, but this is your seventh and final one,” he groaned.

When the hive’s females arrived, they saw Tiamat sitting upon his new throne with even greater enjoyment now that he had taken over. With the power of the Lockheart, the moment they made contact with the dark dragon they instantly became his just as easily as their queen. With a simple wave of a claw, he called them over to have some fun. Instantly enamored with him, they stripped off whatever clothing they had on as they raced to be the first to receive his favor. The first to reach him, he plucked off the ground and placed upon his lap facing him, with his dick standing erect in the middle. As he played with her body, examining and groping her peach-sized breasts and fingering her pussy, he listened to the music of her moans with the accompaniment of the others turned on by the show as they watched.

“I don’t give shows for free,” he told them as he lifted up his feet and wiggled his toes some. “Show me how bad you want me and you might be lucky enough to be next, to be gifted with a fuck from your new master, King Tiamat.”

“Yes, my lord!” they quickly answered and gathered around his feet, scrambling for space on one to show him their devotion. Some were quick to grab at his sole and rub their bodies on it, letting him feel their supple teets and tender bodies as they attempted to massage them at the same time. Others showed off their sluttiness and licked over whatever foot they could get their serpent-like tongues on or suckled on any of this toes that weren’t already taken. Those that were unable to get at any foot had to settle for his legs, rubbing and massaging them and even boldly attempting to perform a pole dance on them.

Tiamat kept shifted his focus between the Changeling in his lap and the ones loving his feet and grinned. “Now this is what I call a harem.”

“Did I do good, my liege?” asked Chrysalis as she watched from a distance and eager to get her master’s approval.

“An excellent job,” he told her. “Come, you are a part of my harem too. See if you can find a place to worship me with the others.”

“Oh, thank you,” she answered with a delighted look on her face and searched for a spot to join in.

Returning to the Changeling on his lap, he grinned with delight seeing her pussy dripping wet and ready to be penetrated. Lifting her up, she was almost weightless against his incredible strength. He slid her onto his pussy and carefully thrust her up and down to work his shaft into her till he felt satisfied. “Time for a ride,” he told her. “This is your chance to earn some big points with me. Show me a fucking good time and you might just earn a spot as one of my favorites and I know you’d like that a lot, wouldn’t you.”

“Uh huh,” she nodded, drooling at delight at the irresistible, hot stud before her. Bucking her hips, she started riding his dick, giving him her all to fill him with the most pleasure she possible could. She could hear low murrs coming from his maw, though they paled in coparison to the noises erupting from her maw. This was heaven to her and she wished for it to last forever, but she had barely managed a minute of riding his cock before she felt her own climax cum along with a cry absolute bliss. Almost immediately, Tiamat plucked her up again and onto the floor. He then exchanged her for one of the Changelings rubbing her breasts against his sole and sat her on his lap to help warm her up for her ride too.

“Not bad, but could have been better,” he evaluated her. “You lasted a while, but ultimately couldn’t make me cum before yourself. Still, it was very fun and I’ll look forward to more of your work.”

“Thank you, master,” she moaned as she took a spot sucking on his toes as another Changeling moved to the new vacancy beneath his foot in the hopes to getting picked next.

“Now, let’s see what you are made of, sweetie,” he grinned as he squeezed her breasts and watched her moan the music of lust into his ears.

One after another, he gave the drones a chance to ride his cock. Most managed to last a minute or two before cumming and having their turn end without making their master cum in turn, but a few did manage to push him over the edge into a climax and were reward with a pussy full of seed of their own. He further congratulated them with a hug and a deep passionate kiss that left the others yearning for the same like it was a glass of water teased to someone who had just trudged through the desert.

“Long live the king!” the awarded Changeling would wail out with bliss as she could feel his seed still lukewarm inside her and gently, she caressed her belly and the live that would soon be created in it form the union the same as it would be for Chrysalis and all the other female drones who had proven themselves.

“Long live the king!” the other Changelings answered back. Those that failed did not feel envy to those that did. Such feelings did not exist while under the influence of the Lockheart. To them, the only one that truly mattered was their master, Tiamat and the lust they shared with him.

“Oh, it’s good to be the king,” stated Tiamat as he pointed a finger at the next girl to be initiate. As he placed the current drone in his lap down, he plucked up one of the remaining girls he had yet to fuck and started working on her.

“I’d say that was a very fine start to my conquest,” spoke Tiamat some hours later when he had his fill of sex and most of the Changelings in his harem had gone off to get some rest. The only one still currently with him was Chrysalis. She sat on the ground beside him with her head resting on his lap and hand gently stroking his cock, still as resilient as ever, even after all the sex he had. “The Changeling Hive might just be but a small piece of Equestria, but it will do as a suitable starting point for me to seize control over everything.”

“It is such an honor to serve you, my lord and master,” praised Chrysalis as devoted to him as ever.

“That’s a good pet,” he told her stroking her head with one hand and rubbing his chin as he contemplated. “I just need to surmise how I will most effectively be able to deal with any obstacles that will impede my progress. Naturally, the biggest threat are the Alicorn Princesses. The one ruling the Crystal Empire shouldn’t pose much of a threat as she is located far up north from the others. With a proper plan I can take control of that area before the others even realize what I’m up to. Then there is Celestia and Luna. To face both of them would be difficult if not impossible without a means to subdue them right away.” He looked down at the Lockheart and pondered. “They are gifted with very powerful magic, light might. I was able to determine that dark creatures, normally devoid of love, are easily controlled by the Lockheart and from your words ordinary ponies are equally influenced. I will have to determine the Lockheart’s effectiveness against beings protected by light magic and if it is not then what else will I need.”

“Don’t forget about Twilight and her friends,” spoke Chrysalis.

Hearing this, Tiamat nodded. “Indeed. I have heard the stories. They have been the ones who have thwarted every other would-be conqueror that has opposed them. When united they have power that cannot be easily combated. The Lockheart would be nothing but a cheap trinket in comparison. I would need something stronger, but what? If the Lockheart is the best you can offer me here I will have to extend my search elsewhere, but where to begin?”

“Oh, I have a suggestion,” continued Chrysalis with a dark grin. “If there is anyone in Equestria who would have the smarts to know of such dark magic, it would be the Princess of Friendship, Twilight Sparkle, herself.”

“You expect me to break into an Alicorn Princess’s castle and find out a means to defeat her with no guarantee that I will find such an answer?” questioned Tiamat. “I have no idea how well the Lockheart will work on her or how much time it will take to find what I’m looking for. The last thing I need is to allow myself to be revealed at such an early stage of my conquest. A mission like that is one that I should avoid at all cost. The risk just wouldn’t be worth it.” After saying this, a devious smirk appeared on his face and his dick stood more erect with as thought of such a scenario turned him on. “Sounds like a lot of fun.”

“Make sure you give Twilight a kiss for me,” smirked Chrysalis deviously.

“Oh, I can assure you,” he replied and gave her a kiss on her nose. “I’ll do a whole lot more than that.”

Chapter 2

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Celestia had long since lowered the sun while her sister, Luna, brought a full moon up in the sky to accompany the multitude of glittering stars in the heavens. The town of Ponyville was one such place shrouded in this majestic darkness of the night. All the ponies were comfortably in their homes, most sound asleep in their beds, others close to turning in for the night themselves. All of them felt quite peaceful, the thought of the Changeling invasion from only a few days ago barely a faint memory as the damage had been repaired and any remaining traces had been cleared away.

“So, this is the place where Chrysalis and her Changelings were defeated,” observed Tiamat as he stealthily flew through the sky. His onyx scales were a perfect match for the night sky and only his glowing red eyes were even the slightest bit noticeable. Scanning the ground below, he didn’t see anything remotely threatening to an army, not a patrol of guards, not a barrier, not even a confection-firing canon. “They couldn’t take over a place like this? From what I can see they’re practically begging to be attacked by anyone or anything that happens upon it. This only confirms Chrysalis’s claim that this small band of ponies is a threat if they can manage to keep a place like this protected.”

Tiamat continued to fly over the town, making his way towards the largest structure, one that greatly clashed with the humble town’s neutral color scheme. Made entirely of purple and indigo crystal and towering over any other building by a large margin was the castle of Alicorn Princess, Twilight Sparkle, the Castle of Friendship. With how it was structured, it appeared like a crystal castle that had been lifted and held up by a crystal tree. At the very top was a beautiful, golden, multi-pointed star. The moonlight that shined down reflected on the castle causing it to glow in the night wondrously.

“Not a single guard on patrol here either,” chuckled Tiamat as he landed on the balcony and was able to stroll inside effortlessly. Seeing a piece of crystal protruding from the wall, Tiamat broke it off and munched it down, licking is lips afterwards. “Mmm, not bad. Now to find the princess.”

Heading down the stairs to the main floor, Tiamat came to the first real obstacle in his espionage mission, long hallways with lots and lots of doors. Approaching the closest one, he pulled it open to find it was nothing more than a broom closet. Quietly, he shut it and proceeded to check the one next to it, finding a bathroom. The next room he came upon appeared to be another closet, this one filled with books, followed by several more rooms that were also filled with books. One room he entered had a table with a map magically engraved upon it. There with seven thrones stationed around the perimeter with emblems on them, likely Cutie Marks of who those who sat upon them. It didn’t offer him anything of interest so Tiamat left and continued to search, finding more rooms filled with books.

“Did I get the right castle?” Tiamat wondered. “Did I go to the Castle of Book Hoarding by mistake?”

Growing a bit weary of searching, Tiamat was almost ready to give up, but a light leaking out of one of the rooms ahead caught his eye and he crept over to it. He stilled his breathing to keep it quiet and moved as silently as a beast as large as he could manage. In his mind, Tiamat knew there was likely nothing in this town that could pose a threat to him, but his heart sped up with tension nonetheless.

Near the door, he could hear a male voice. It sounded quite upbeat and cheerful despite the time of night when he should have already been sawing logs in bed. Reaching the doorway, Tiamat peeked in and saw it was a kitchen and the voice belonged to a fellow dragon, a few years younger than him. He had purple scales over most of his body and pale green ones on his chest, belly, and chin. He had green smooth-tipped spikes from the top of his head running down his back to his arrow-shaped tail. He had a pair of wings folded up, no noticeable tears in them that Tiamat could notice. He had a pair of transparent green fin-like ears and big, green eyes. The dragon had a slight muscular build, nowhere near what Tiamat had managed to craft on his own body. He also had very prominent protrusion on his gut compared to Tiamat’s chiseled abs, a likely result of sneaking too many snacks like he appeared to be doing now.”

“A dragon living among ponies?” pondered Tiamat. “Not something I expected, but very intriguing.”

“Making a snack! Making a snack!” the dragon sang to himself as he placed a bunch of gems from a bowl into bread roll. “Sneaking some gems behind Twilight’s back. What she doesn’t know can’t hurt me! Time to put these gems into my belly!”

“Heheh, not bad,” clapped Tiamat as the dragon finished singing.

“Thank you,” the purple dragon bowed, holding his sandwich in one hand while his other he held across his chest. It was then that he questioned just who had praised him. Lifting his head up, he saw the black dragon standing there casually.

“Hey there,” Tiamat greeted him with a casual wave.

“Twi-” the dragon tried to scream, but Tiamat was quick to muzzle him with his claws.

“Shhhhhhhh,” hushed Tiamat. “No need to sound the alarm. I mean you no harm. I’d just like to talk with you. If I let you go, do you promise not to scream?”

Seeing no other option while the dark dragon had him in his clutches, he managed a slight shake of his head to nod. Carefully, Tiamat released his grip and watched the dragon take a seat in a chair to calm down and take a few deep breaths. Not seeing a seat big enough for himself, Tiamat instead took a seat on the countertop.

“S-So, who are you?” asked the smaller dragon nervously asked his new acquaintance.

“My name is Tiamat and you are?” the dark dragon answered.

“Sp-Sp-Spike,” he forced out of his maw.

“Relax,” chuckled Tiamat. “No need to be nervous, Spike. Take a few bites of your sandwich.”

Bringing his jewel-filled snack to his maw, Spike bit into it. His teeth broke the gems as easily as the bread they were inside. Munching down the chunk in his maw, he grounded up the gems into dust and swallowed. Spike took a few more bites, finishing his sandwich and patted his gut contently.

“Feeling better now, champ?” asked Tiamat his voice sounding quite soothing and friendly despite his scary appearance.

“Uh huh,” nodded Spike. “You look a bit scary, but you’re actually a nice dragoness.”

“See, there’s nothing to be afraid of,” he continued, but his tone quickly turned to an annoyed one. “I am not a dragoness. I’m a dude.”

“Huh?” questioned Spike as his eyes lowered to confirm Tiamat’s claim, only staying there long enough to verify his gender before going back up. “You are a guy. Funny, I always thought Tiamat was a lady dragon’s name. I never knew it was unisex.”

“It’s not,” sighed Tiamat a bit sadly. “My mom wanted girl who would make her proud by ruling this planet with an iron claw and bath in the blood of her enemies. Instead she got me… a boy.”

“Well, boy or girl doesn’t matter,” Spike replied. “You’re you and that’s what’s really import- uh, what was that part about ruling and bathing in blood?”

“Just my mom having unrealistic expectations of me,” he explained like it wasn’t such a big deal. “But I’m actually very happy to hear that from a fellow dragon.”

“About what?” asked Spike. “Your name?”

“I can’t tell you about all the teasing I endured because of it,” Tiamat reminisced. “All those broken bones and just because of my name and mom said names never hurt anyone.”

“So, you beat were beat up a lot?” worried Spike.

“What? Oh, no,” answered Tiamat as he clenched his claws and flexed his arm, the muscle bulging bigger than Spike’s head. “I beat them up. It was quite a chore, but it got them to shut up about it.”

“Couldn’t it have been easier to just change your name?” suggested Spike.

“A dragon’s name is as important to them as their pride is,” stated Tiamat. “I couldn’t just change it to something else.”

“Well, how about…” pondered Spike as he tried to think of a solution. His words trailed off for a moment before inspiration struck. “Oh! I know!” Grabbing a piece of paper, he quickly scribbled down Tiamat’s name. “Your name is Tiamat, right?” Tiamat nodded, not sure what Spike was getting at. “Now, if we just move the ‘i’ from here to there then your name becomes ‘Tamati.’” Spike wrote the new name below “Tiamat” and showed the black dragon. “What do ya think?”

“Hmm,” pondered Tiamat before a smile spread on his face. “Something to consider. Thank you, Spike. You’re quite a helpful dragon. Most dragons I know are rather selfish and self-serving.”

“I’m not like most dragons,” explained Spike. “I’ve been raised by Twilight since she hatched me and I’ve been by her side ever since.”

“Twilight, the Princess of Friendship, right?” asked Tiamat.

“Yup, that’s her,” he nodded.

“So, she’s kind of like your mom or something then?” wondered Tiamat scratching his head.

“I guess it was kind of like that when I was still a baby,” Spike explained. “When I got a bit older we had more of a brother and sister relationship. I went on a pilgrimage to the Dragon Lands to learn of my roots it has changed our relationship a bit, but I’m still her number one assistant. That’ll never change.”

“Very interesting,” commented Tiamat. “You’re a rare breed of dragon indeed. How’d you like to join me?”

“Join you?” asked Spike, now the one scratching his head. “With what?”

“Conquering Equestria, of course,” Tiamat smirked, his more villainous nature leaking out. “Subjugating the populace, enforcing our will unto others, bathing in the blood of our enemies.”

“But I thought that was just your mother’s unrealistic aspirations for you,” Spike recalled.

“Unrealistic, but still possible,” he amended. “And I intend to give it my all, through whatever means is necessary. I’m still short on allies and I believe you would be a valuable addition if you’d be willing to join me.”

“I-I’m not so sure that’s a good idea,” Spike chuckled nervously. “And I don’t think blood and bubble bath go together. So, thanks, but no thanks. I’m perfectly content as I am.”

“As a slave to these ponies?” he questioned the purple dragon with his usual convincing charisma.

“A slave?” repeated Spike confused. “I’m not a slave. I was just a lost, helpless egg till they found me and Twilight hatched me. If it wasn’t for the ponies who knows where I’d be right now.”

“Scrambled before you were ever born, eaten by some wild creature if you somehow managed to make it to hatching,” listed Tiamat. “Or, perhaps you’d be with real family right now and living in the dragon lands.”

“The first two, probably,” replied Spike. “But I was abandoned as an egg. There’s no way that last one could be true.”

“Is that what the ponies told you?” scoffed Tiamat. He reached into the bowl with gems in it and plucked a few out. Dropping them into his awaiting maw, the black-scaled dragon munched, tactfully creating a pause as he made Spike eager to hear what more he had to say.

After he swallowed, Spike asked him, “What is that supposed to mean?”

“Just that, how do you know that’s the truth?” he asked. “Perhaps you were abandoned, but maybe your parents were killed while attempting to torment a village for its gems. It could even be possible that they were the ones attacked by ponies for one reason or another. Perhaps you were just snatched away while your parents weren’t looking. Who knows, but none of those possibilities answers why you ended up where you did. Was it just by chance that you ended up as the slave- uh, I mean number one assistant of the Princess of Friendship or was it done as an experiment?”

“An experiment?” wondered Spike.

“To see if dragons could be domesticated as servants… maybe even as pets like other many other creatures have,” Tiamat answered. “It’s just a baseless theory, but what if you were merely a test subject to see how being raised by ponies would affect you. On your appearance alone, you appear rather scrawny and stunted from not living a life of being toughened up in the Dragon Lands. And as I mentioned before your attitude hardly the selfish, aggressive one that most dragons possess. I can’t say for certain that you’d be any different if raised under normal conditions, but let me ask you one more thing, have you ever considered going to live with the dragons rather than ponies?”

“Well, there were times I did try,” Spike told him. “My first few attempts didn’t go so well, but I did make some connections as I got older.”

“So, why not live with dragons instead of remaining with ponies?” he asked. “Or were you not allowed?”

“I was given the choice, but this is my home,” explained Spike. “What I am is not the same as who I am?”

“How true,” agreed Tiamat before continuing. “But what if that’s what all this was? To see if they could raise a dragon to grow accustomed to such a life under pony rule. You get food and a home for some work here and there. It seems like a fair arrangement, but without even realizing it, you cannot feel comfortable anywhere else. In fact, you’d probably fear the thought of losing your master and what they provide you.”

“W-Well, maybe when I was younger,” admitted Spike, his voice trembling and his body shaking. Tiamat saw his words were tugging at his fellow dragon’s emotions, showing him that he still dreaded the thought. “M-Maybe we can talk about something else now?”

“Sure,” agreed Tiamat reaching for the bowl of gems and offered them to Spike like they were his to give away. “Sorry if I upset you. I’m probably well off the mark with my assumptions. I’m sure you both live here as equals.”

“Uh, yeah,” chuckled Spike nervously as he looked at the bowl of gems and could hear Twilight’s words in his head. “You put on another five pounds this month and it’s all in your gut. I’m putting you on a diet. No more in between meal gems for you.” A look of agitation appeared on Spike’s face as he shoved his claws into the bowl and stuffed a clawful of gems into his maw. They tasted even better with a dash of defiance added to them.

“So, tell me, have you found a mate yet?” questioned Tiamat, almost making Spike choke on the gems in his mouth.

“A m-mate?” he gagged, caught off guard by the new topic. As he tried to answer, the virile male could tell immediately that he was talking to a virgin. “Uh, well, not yet, but there is someone I really like and I hope that one day we might be together.”

“Sounds like hopeless one-sided love to me by the way you talk about it,” Tiamat stated bluntly.

“It’s not,” argued Spike. “Rarity loves me just as much as I love her. Nobody is as helpful and attentive to her as I am.”

“Sounds more like she’s just leading you on to take advantage of you like your master is,” retorted Tiamat. “Tell me, have you even once actually gotten anywhere with her, physically I mean. And before you say anything, a kiss on the cheek or forehead doesn’t count.”

“Um, well, no,” sighed Spike lowering his head sadly. “Guess I must seem pretty pathetic to you. Practically all the dragons I’ve met just saw me as a runt and looking back now they were probably right.”

“Your problem is that these ponies see you as beneath them,” Tiamat explained. “You are helpful and while that’s not a bad thing you let them make a servant out of you. If you let yourself remain like this then you’ll never be free of your chains and you’ll never be able to find love while you let yourself remain as a submissive bottom.”

Spike looked down at his bowl of gems, seeing his sad expression reflected in them as tears started to form. “I guess part of me always felt this way, but I always ignored it,” he sighed. “One side of me always felt content so long as I had a home to live in and those around me who would give me some affection. Then there was my other side, frustrated to always seem to be the one given the grunt work to do or be the one who would always end up excluded. And I can’t tell you how many times they took group photos without me. I got into the habit of photobombing them to get into the shot and ruin it at the same time.”

“I’m more of a mustache doodler myself,” Tiamat laughed and got a snicker out of Spike with that comment.

Smiling a bit, the doubting dragon sighed and continued. “I’m just filled with so many conflicting emotions that I don’t know what to do. It’s so confusing.”

“It isn’t your fault,” Tiamat assured him. “You were raised by ponies and grew up as a dragon on the outside and a pony on the inside, but that doesn’t mean that they could completely suppress your inner dragon.” After saying this, a twisted smirk appeared on Tiamat’s face that was Spike feel both nervous and excited at the same time. “How about I help you bring that inner dragon to the surface and show you how a real dragon does things?”

“How would you do that?” asked Spike.

“Take me to Twilight and I’ll show you,” he answered.

“This is for your conquest of Equestria, isn’t it?” figured Spike. “That’s what all this has been about. You were just tugging at my heartstrings to help you out, weren’t you?”

“I could have also crushed your skull in and searched at my leisure when we first met,” he pointed out. “I do like you and hope you would consider joining me, but I can see that you still don’t fully trust me. Fair enough, you have only known more for several minutes compared to the lifetime you spend with the ponies. How about a little deal?”

“What kind of deal?” asked Spike, the simple fact that he didn’t outright refuse was enough to tell Tiamat he had won him over already even if Spike didn’t realize it himself.

“Just let me do what I came here for,” he explained. He then added, “I promise no harm will befall Twilight.” Tiamat help one of his arms up and raised three fingers. “Dragon scout’s honor. And if, at any time, you dislike what I do then just say the word and I will stop. Do we have a deal?”

Tiamat held out his hand to Spike to shake on the deal. Looking at the earnest smile he had on, Spike slowly got off his chair and reached to clasp his hand. Tiamat’s grip was firm, but careful to avoid crushing Spike’s. They shook and a smile appeared on Spike’s face too.

“Follow me and I’ll bring you right to Twilight,” Spike instructed as he made his way out of the kitchen.

“I was right in thinking this would be a lot of fun,” thought Tiamat, grinning deviously while Spike wasn’t looking.

With Spike’s guidance, Tiamat was led straight to Twilight’s room, a task that would have taken the dark dragon far longer than the time he invested in befriending Spike. She was fast asleep in her bed, a slight snore escaping her maw as she slumbered upon a large plush bed with a mattress as soft as a cloud.

Quietly creeping into the room, Tiamat found more towers of books piled up around a desk with a stack of scroll paper waiting to be used. Beside the scolls was a row of ink pots and feathers neatly arranged by size. On the other side of the room was Twilight’s dresser. Right above it was a mirror with pictures of other ponies on the edges. “Oh, isn’t this cute,” noted Tiamat quietly as he looked at all the pictures, his scaly mug reflected in the mirror in the middle of them.

“That’s Twilight’s friendship mirror,” Spike whispered to him. “It’s got pictures of all her friends on it.”

Looking the pictures over, Tiamat could see among the ponies there was other Alicorn Princess as well as a number of other ponies. Judging from the backgrounds, they were ponies not just from Ponyville, but at least a couple other locations in Equestria too. Looking back down on her dresser, Tiamat saw a framed picture of Twilight and five other ponies. Spike was also in it, though from a separate picture that was taped onto an empty spot. “Who are the five ponies in this frame?” asked Tiamat, already certain he knew from everything he had learned from Chrysalis.

“Those are all of Twilight’s closest friends,” Spike answered and pointed to each one as he named them. “Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Applejack, that’s Rarity, the one I was talking about earlier, and, finally, Rainbow Dash. Oh, and yours truly, of course.”

“Were you added in because you were the one taking the picture?” wondered Tiamat and could see from Spike’s expression that wasn’t the case. “Uh, nevermind. Just stay there and watch as I work my magic.”

Spike nodded and waited by the door, feeling a bit nervous about whatever Tiamat was about to do. He also couldn’t help glancing over at the framed picture after Tiamat’s comment about it. With a silent whimper, the doubt was slowly growing larger in his heart.

“Time for a real test of the Lockheart’s power,” thought Tiamat as he slowly climbed onto the bed, being careful not to disturb Twilight till he was gazing down on her. Compared to Chrysalis and her Changelings, Twilight was somewhere in the middle in terms of height. When he removed the book on her chest she had fallen asleep reading, he saw her breasts were a tad underwhelming when compared to the size of the Daring Do novel he took away. She was in a violet nightgown that was held up at the shoulder by two spaghetti strings. On her face were a pair of square-framed reading glasses that Tiamat removed and placed gently on her nightstand. The light purple pony had a violet mane with a pink stripe in it, along with a unicorn horn over her forehead. And just like all Alicorns, she also possessed a pair of feathered wings.

“She’s quite sexy-looking for a bookworm,” Tiamat admitted as he gently ran his claws through her hair. “I wonder how much fun she’ll be.” Gently, he nudged her shoulder to help stir her from her sleep. “Wake up… wake up…”

“Huh, wha?” mumbled Twilight as she opened her eyes. The princess’s vision attempted to come into focus at whoever it was that had awoken her. “Sp-Spike?” she yawned, seeing a draconic shape on top of her and instantly thinking of her number one assistant. “Is that you?”

“Not quite, my little pony,” Tiamat grinned as her vision cleared up and she saw the black dragon looming over her. Brandishing the Lockheart in his claws, Tiamat gazed deeply into Twilight’s eyes and watched as the power took hold of her before she could even put up a struggle. “There we go. How does that make you feel?”

“It makes me feel happy,” she answered as her cheeks turned pink with blush. Tiamat drank up her expression as she began to get filled with desire and suddenly wrapped her arms around Tiamat’s neck as she pressed lips to lips.

“Holy guacamole!” cried Spike seeing Twilight making out with Tiamat. He rushed over to her side, barely certain of what to say. “Wh- How- Why? What did you do to her?”

Spike had to wait for their locked lips to come apart for an answer, all the while he couldn’t stop staring, not that he disliked what he saw. It was undeniably hot and something the young dragon had yearned to do every since he had first developed his crush on Rarity. When their exchange of saliva ended, Tiamat smirked and said, “Now that’s a REAL kiss.”

“I can see that,” nodded Spike. “Now tell me, what have you done to her? And how is this supposed to help you conquer Equestria?”

“A little magic is all,” he explained while not referring to the Lockheart around his neck. “And. in this case, it doesn’t, but what’s the point of a plan if you don’t leave yourself some time to fuck around? Besides, you don’t seem opposed to it, otherwise you’d have stopped me by now, right?”

“I-I was just in shock is all,” Spike attempted to counter.

“Right,” grinned Tiamat. “And that’s not your dick poking out showing how turned on you are by what you see.”

“N-No it’s not!” cried Spike, covering over his crotch with his tail like that would make Tiamat forget his obvious stiffy.

“No need to be shy,” Tiamat assured Spike as he sat on the side of the bed while Twilight got out from under the covers and eagerly hugged his waist while her head leaned in towards his crotch and began licking at his slit, helping to urge the black dragon’s cock out. Seeing this, Spike couldn’t help gritting his teeth in frustration.

Murrs of bliss came from Tiamat’s maw as his cock emerged from its sheath, quickly putting Spike’s partially concealed length to shame before it was even fully erect. Tiamat then gripped Twilight’s nightgown and pulled it off of her, leaving her in nothing but a pair of frilly pink panties. Seeing her so bare, her assistant couldn’t keep from drooling and growing more and more envious of his new friend as Twilight moved to sit on Tiamat’s lap. Reaching towards his crotch Tiamat let her do as she desired, rubbing his balls while sucking on his dick. Meanwhile, the big dragon was now using his claws to grope Twilight’s breasts, doing so enough to make her moans vibrate on his dick and further stimulate the pleasure.

“F-Fuck!” cried Spike at the sight he was seeing and unable to keep himself from gripping his dick to fap himself off.

Hearing his outcry, Tiamat smirked. “Oh, Spike,” he told him. “That simply won’t do. If you are going to get off then you should have this mare’s mouth help you out with that. Trust me, she’s got more magic than in just that horn of hers.”

“B-But she’s doing you right now,” Spike pointed out.

“I still intend to get plenty out of her, but it looks like you need some emergency mouth-to-dick asap,” he told the timid dragon. “Trust me, it’s stuff like this that turns all draglins into real dragons.”

“I’m plenty a dragon,” Spike argued. “Got my wings and everything.”

“Twilight,” spoke Tiamat soothingly into her ear. “How about letting Spike here in on the wonderful gift that is your maw.”

“Anything you say, Master,” she told him after removing his dick from her maw. Turning to Spike, she looked at him with the same lustful gaze she wore whenever she saw a first edition book up for sale. A mystical purple glow radiated from her horn and then the same glow surrounded Spike as he was caught in her levitation spell and brought over towards her. Spike flailed about, unable to grab onto anything as he was brought closer to Twilight who was sliding her tongue across her lips to wet it for the task that had been presented to it. The Alicorn Princess was even able to move him forward, pelvis first and restrained his arms and tail from covering over it all at the same time. Sweating nervously, Spike was helpless to do anything beside watch as she continued to lick her lips with the eagerness to suck him off. Seeing this made Spike’s cock throb a bit in excitement while the rest of him was still attempting to process how he ended up in such a situation. Before he could come to grips with it, Twilight opened up for his member and let it slip in halfway before wrapping her lips upon it and began to suck him off. Tiamat watched with delight, groping Twilight’s breasts from behind as he enjoyed the rite of passage he was bestowing onto the timid, purple dragon.

The sensation of her lips clamp onto his dragonhood and her tongue slide across its underside, Spike whimpered for a moment, still tense at what was happening, but his worry quickly melted away as he started to feel the pleasure as the Alicorn Princess sucked on his length as she bobbed her head back and forth, managing to take his full length into her mouth with ease. “Feeling better, champ?” snickered Tiamat as he saw the drunken smile that appeared on Spike’s face as he just let Twilight do her thing and he placed his claws on her head to help lock himself in place. Looking up at his new friend, Spike nodded and moaned with bliss as Twilight didn’t let up. “Virgins look so adorable when they experience their first real taste of pleasure,” Tiamat joked. “Not that you’re the one doing the tasting, but I bet you are happy to finally get to experience lust being satisfied by something other than your own claws.”

“Oh, it’s much better,” nodded Spike as he rubbed Twilight’s head and ran his claws through her hair. She then gave his sac a grope and urged more moans of euphoria out of him. “Wish, I knew about this forever ago. How’d you even get her to do all this? Is it another dragon thing? You’ve gotta teach me.”

“I’m afraid that’s gotta remain a trade secret for now,” Tiamat replied. “But I’ll be happy to give you some pointers for how to fuck good. How’s that sound?”

“Better than the sex ed that Twilight was trying to teach me,” joked Spike at first, but then he shuddered, a tell that it was anything but an enjoyable experience. “I take it, your lessons are more… interactive?”

“No better way to learn about sex than to experience it,” smirked Tiamat as he patted Twilight’s head. “That’s enough sucking for now,” he told her. “You’re gonna help me by being my teaching aid.”

“Should I grab my flash cards?” asked Twilight as she removed Spike’s cock from her maw, a strand of pre hanging from her lip.

“No, that won’t be necessary,” Tiamat chuckled. “Just relax and let me teach. Ready you two?”

“Oh, yeah,” nodded Spike and Twilight also shook her head.

“Then first, take off those panties,” instructed Tiamat. “Do it nice and slowly to really enjoy it.”

“I know I’m going to,” drooled Spike as he gripped the frilly fabric and gently slid it down Twilight’s waist, exposing her pussy, already moist with desire.

“Looks like you’re an eager girl,” teased Tiamat as he rubbed a finger over Twilight’s pussy, getting it sticky with her juices and urging more murrs from her maw.

“Uh huh,” she nodded looking up at him. “I’m ready so fuck me please.”

“It’ll be your reward for helping with this lesson,” he promised her. “But you’ll be having fun all the way through. Now, Spike, she showed you what she can do with her tongue. Let’s see what you can do with yours.”

Holding onto Twilight’s thighs, Spike leaned his head towards her crotch and sniffed it, picking up the scent of her lust mixed with her regular fragrance for a strangely pleasing mix. It encouraged him to press his muzzle against it and breathe it in deeper before opening his maw to let his tongue out and glide across her pussy to lap up the fluids that had leaked out from it. His gentle tongue tickled her with pleasure and made more of her lust leak out for him to partake in. Both enjoying this lesson, Spike held tight to Twilight’s ass while she held his head down, neither wishing for him to stop. The mutual desires made Spike grow bolder to push his long tongue between those lower lips of hers. The feeling of being penetrated, made the Princess of Friendship moaned with bliss, showing how much she loved what her number one dragon was assisting her with.

“Oh, Spike,” she murred with delight. Seeing her so aroused, Tiamat couldn’t help join in by groping her breasts some more to make her wail louder. “Oh, my body… feels so… so goooood…”

“As you can see,” continued Tiamat not sure if either was listening while enjoying their hands on approach to sex ed. “Sex done right is such a wonderful thing that it can override even the most rational of minds and leave them as nothing more than a lusty slut.” He had barely finished saying this when Twilight had leaned over to Tiamat’s cock one more and resumed sucking it, the lust as overpowering as he claimed. “Mmm, if you’re trying to get extra credit from me, you’d best suck harder, slut.”

“Mmm,” Twilight moaned as she attempted to take his cock all in her maw at once, a task far harder to do than with Spike’s more manageable length. The overachiever had to practically force it down her throat, a noticeable bulge showing that she was able to do just that while being filled with pleasure on another front of this orgy. As Spike’s tongue worked it’s magic on her, she did the same for Tiamat bringing him to as much a desired climax as he opened his maw and let out from flames and he moaned with ecstacy while filling her maw with seed.

“Fucking good girl,” praised Tiamat as embers escaped his maw. He gently petted her head as she released his cock and gulped up his seed. “You get an ‘A+.’”

“An ‘A+!’” Twilight cheered.

“And now for one more lesson for Spike,” continued Tiamat. “Time to take your tongue out and put your dick in. Let me see you fuck her good.”

“O-Okay,” panted Spike as he got on top of Twilight and positioned his cock against her pussy. It twitched eagerly as his heart raced with excitement for what was to come. With a single thrust, he shoved his dragonhood into Twilight’s vagina, feeling the wet mixture of saliva and desire coat it.

“That’s right, champ,” encouraged Tiamat. “You’re in, but it’s what you do now that’s the real test. Now start humping her.”

“R-Right,” nodded Spike as he started to hump Twilight, slowly and gently pushing in and out of her, his heart racing over the wondrous, new sensation.

“Good, now faster and harder,” Tiamat instructed him. “Show her your lust. Give her all of it!” Obeying Tiamat, Spike held onto Twilight’s shoulders and began shoving his cock in more forceful, feeling his balls slap against her crotch as he did. “That’s it,” his sex coach encouraged Spike. “You’re embracing the lust just like a real dragon.”

“I-I am a real dragon!” roared Spike as green flames spewed out his maw, almost hitting Tiamat, but he was able to shield himself by holding his hand out in front of it.

“First time you convinced me you were,” thought Tiamat, a toothy grin on his face face as he admired his handiwork.

Humping as hard as ever, Spike’s cock pulsed as it neared its climax and Twilight’s pussy was too. The euphoric princess moaned with delight, barely able to concentrate to utter more than a few words at a time. “Oh, Spike,” she begged. “This feels so good! More! Harder! Faster!”

“She’s such a slavedriver, isn’t she,” joked Tiamat.

“But this time I don’t think I mind it,” grinned Spike as he moved his claws from Twilight’s shoulders to her breasts and gave them a squeeze as he pounded her with every ounce of strength he could muster. Twilight helped too, gripping onto Spike’s shoulders to help with the pounding. The bed groaned and cries of bliss rang out as they felt themselves on the verge of cumming. Then with one final thrust in, Spike roared out, spewing more flames as he climaxed into Twilight while Twilight could feel her own orgasm erupt forth. All those sex juices filled up Twilight and then overflowed onto their crotches and onto the bed, getting onto the blanket. After that, all the noise and action between the dragon and his princess came to a silent standstill, like a shocking moment in a play that would end with the music instantly stops at the same time the lights are extinguished.

“Bravo! Bravo,” applauded Tiamat as they finished and slowly pulled out, more seed oozing out onto the bed and onto their thighs as well. “What do you do for an encore?”

“An encore?” groaned Spike looking as limp as his cock was becoming. His body was soaked in sweat and his chest throbbed noticeably where his heart was pounding a mile a minute. “I’m all fucked out now. I can barely even lift a claw.”

“Guess that amount of sex is the best a first time man can muster, but pretty soon you’ll be able to go all night, sexing to your heart’s content. How’s that sound?” Spike didn’t answer. The ex-virgin was already curled up on the bed, trying to get some rest. Instead, Tiamat turned to Twilight. “How about you? Are you ready for your reward for being such a good helper?”

“Yes, please,” she nodded, looking at his rock hard dick and was already adjusting to slide her messy pussy onto it.

“Then let’s give you one more fucking for tonight and then… you can help me with a little something I need from you.”

“Anything you want,” she promised him as she felt his cock squeeze into her pussy, his endowment already getting her murring with lust.

“Everything I want,” corrected Tiamat with a greedy gaze as he pushed his length all the way into Twilight, giving her a mix of pain and pleasure to take such a huge thing inside of her. Then without hesitation he began to fuck her, the bed creaking and shaking even more violently than before form his power alone. Twilight moaned her loudest yet, forcing a half asleep Spike to cover his ears against it to no avail.

“This won’t take long, Spike” promised Tiamat as his climax was already fast approaching as was Twilight’s once more. “You gave me a great show and you have potential. I hope this all helped sweeten my offer to you.”

“It might,” he yawned as he tried to doze off, but another squeal of bliss from Twilight shocked him awake and made him fumble off the bed with a thud.

“Oh, sorry,” apologized Tiamat as he pulled out of Twilight with seed oozing off his dick post climax, adding another glob of mess onto the bed between the purple pony’s legs.

“I’m used to it,” groaned Spike getting up. He took a look at Twilight’s bed and could see the mess they made of the blanket with all their sex juices getting all over it. “We sure were busy.”

“Think you can clean the mess up?” asked Tiamat with an embarrassed smile. “And point me to the nearest bathroom. It’d be best to remove any trace that I was here.”

“Next door over,” answered Spike as he gestured to the door behind his back. All three hurried to go clean themselves up and then a half asleep Spike hurried back in and quickly pulled off Twilight’s blanket to replace it with an identical, clean one.

While Spike did this, Twilight led Tiamat to her private study. Unlike the other doors in the castle, this one had been altered and lacked even a doorknob. Pushing against it, Tiamat found it couldn’t be opened by pushing it and he could feel the tingling sensation of a magical barrier protecting it from being broken into with brute force.

“There must be something very important in here if you are keeping it so well protected,” smirked Tiamat with intrigue. “Open it.”

“Right away,” she nodded and used her magic, dispelling the barrier and undoing the locking mechanism on the door. After hearing a clicking noise, the door was unlocked. Trying to open it once more, Tiamat succeeded this time. As he expected, it was filled with tons upon tons of books. However, unlike the number of other books that he had seen stuffed into every nook and cranny in the castle, the books here appeared to be related to the darker side of magic. He read titles like, “Creatures of Darkness and the Shadows they Dwell,” “Black Magic Through the Ages of Equestria and Beyond,” and “The Compendium of Curses, Hexes, and Voodoo.”

It all appeared to have potential, but hardly something that Tiamat had time or interest to go through to find something he could use. But seeing how studious a pony Twilight appeared to be, the dark dragon was certain she’d be able to help him find just the thing he needed. He was about to ask her, but then he noticed something else that caught his eye. “What do we have here?” wondered Tiamat as he saw a chest beside a writing desk and could almost taste the secrets that were likely hidden within.

“It’s my secret research,” answered Twilight. “In here is where I’ve done studies that I haven’t shared with anyone else. I haven’t even uttered a word of it to Celestia.”

“Oh, it must be unbelievably important research if you have to be so secret about it,” commented Tiamat. He could hear the partially opened door behind them creak as Spike slipped in, likely a result of his own curiosity for what was in this otherwise locked room. “But surely, you let your number one assistant, Spike, come in here to help you out.”

“No,” she answered quite bluntly and in such a quiet room her voice sounded a lot harsher than she meant it to be. “The stuff I’ve been researching is too dangerous to let even him know about.”

“It’s not because he’s a dragon or anything like that, is it?” questioned Tiamat as he scratched his chin, determined the drive that wedge between them till their bond was severed.

“Just possessing this knowledge is dangerous,” she answered. “If he were to let even a little of my research slip out, it could have terrible consequences, but as for being a dragon, I do have my worries about that as well. Spike isn’t the baby dragon he once was. I can’t control him like I used to and over the more recent years he’s begun to explore what it means to be a dragon.”

“Oh?” wondered Tiamat as he could see Spike standing there in shock at what he was hearing. “Do go on.”

“When Celestia gave Spike to me, it was to see if dragons could be capable of living among ponies. It worked out fine while he was young. Back then, it was easy to manipulate him. I made him into my little helper and conditioned him to rely on me for survival, like a parent-child relationship. It was a pain a lot of the time when he got too clingy, but it was a project given to me by Princess Celestia and I’d do anything for her. The problem now is that Spike’s finally matured into a grown dragon and with that comes a desire for independence. I don’t know if I can keep a leash on him like I used to. If Spike chooses to fully embrace being a dragon then he might finally become too much for me to handle. I might be forced to send him away or worse if he proves to be a danger to ponies. I’d hate to disappoint Celestia, but she’ll understand and respect my choices and let me do what I must.”

“Such a shame,” commented Tiamat. “It’s like he’s a failure of an experiment.”

“No experiment is a failure so long as you learn something from it,” replied Twilight as Spike was curled up sobbing from what he had overheard. “It just means we need to make necessary adjustments to future attempts and see if we can achieve better results.”

“Right, well, about the research I was curious about,” Tiamat changed the subject, satisfied that Spike had been heard enough. “Is there truly something that can oppose the Elements of Harmony?”

“I believe so,” nodded Twilight as she opened the chest and pulled out a book with a number of pieces of paper sticking out of it as bookmarks. A title had been magically inscribed on the cover that read, “Elements of Discord.” “There are still variables to consider like the users and the current state of the Elements that can dictate which is stronger. Even outside factors like the state of Equestria might influence them, but more or less they should have power to rival one another, which makes sense since they are both two sides of the same bit. You see, when Starswirl the Bearded and the other Pillars planted the Tree of Harmony, they thought they were only creating hope for the future, but what they didn’t consider was that for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction. When they created light, a darkness was also born somewhere else.”

“The Elements of Discord,” figured Tiamat.

“Exactly,” she nodded. “I cannot say for certain where in the world they sprouted up or whether they were all brought into being in one spot or separate ones, but after a thousand years time one can only imagine where they all ended up or what forms they had taken. If they are anything like the Elements of Harmony, they likely grow and evolve over time as things around them influences their power.”

“Very interesting,” contemplated Tiamat as he rubbed the Lockheart in his claws. “I wonder how such things could influence this little trinket of mine.” Seeing great potential in these dark elements, Tiamat picked up her book to look it over. Flipping through each page, the amount of writing was enough tiny writing to make his head spin. Just trying to read it, he could barely make sense of some of the vocabulary she used and some pages were written in a language that he couldn’t even begin to understand. “Very confusing. I’m gonna need some help to decipher what you wrote in here.”

“Of course,” she answered before starting to groan and rub her head. “Ugh… my head… what… have I… been… doing?”

“Crap,” realized Tiamat as the power of the Lockheart was wearing off. “I thought it would have lasted longer than this.” He attempted to put her under his spell again, looking deeply into her eyes, but it wasn’t working and Twilight was slowly coming back to her senses. In a panic, Tiamat turned to run before Twilight could think straight. Grabbing Spike, still in a stupor, he hurried out and hid them both in the nearest room they could enter into, the kitchen he first met Spike in. “Damn that was close.”

“You were right,” sighed Spike. “I was just a pet project to Twilight.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, but to be fair,” admitted Tiamat. “I doubt she was fully in her normal mindset so it might not have all been true.”

“Maybe, but it’s something that I’ve always wondered,” replied Spike. “Why was I here? For a while I thought it was because when Twilight became a princess there would be a greater purpose in it for me too, but I remained the same. Then she got her own castle, but nothing changed for me… correction, I had about ten times as many rooms to clean than before. If I’m going to change then I have to take my future into my own claws.”

“Does that mean,” wondered Tiamat already certain he knew what Spike had decided.

“Yes,” nodded Spike confidently. “I’d be happy to aid you in your conquest of Equestria and if it’s half as fun as what we just did then I know I’m going to enjoy it. Sure beats the heck out of all the research Twilight has me doing. So, what’s my first assignment? Who do I have to fuck first?”

“Easy there, champ,” chuckled Tiamat. “It’ll take a hell of a lotta sex to dominate Equestria, but that alone won’t be enough. We’re going to need allies and lots of power. I’ve already started by taking over the Changeling Kingdom before recruiting you.”

“You got the Changelings?” gasped Spike and Tiamat smirked as he patted his crotch proudly. “Wow, you are good.”

“Heh, years of practice,” he bragged. “But we’ll need lots more as well as to find those Elements of Discord. Twilight has notes on them, but I doubt I’d be much good figuring out what any of it means.”

“So you want me to do research on Twilight’s research,” figured Spike. He gave a warm smile and nodded. “Sure. I can do that.”

“And if you can think of any ponies who could assist us in our endeavors,” he added. “But we’ll need an effective way to communicate such information. I suppose I could send a Changeling over here to give and take scrolls between us, but it’ll be terribly inefficient.”

“Well, we can just send mail with our fire breath,” explained Spike. “You just gotta think about who you wanna send it to before setting the scroll ablaze and it’ll be sent there in a stream of smoke and eventually materialize as a fiery belch.”

“Sounds like an entertaining way to keep in touch,” chuckled Tiamat. “Send me a letter tomorrow and I’ll try sending you one back.” He then handed Spike the book on the Elements of Discord. “And do your best to translate this into something I can understand. Other than that just keep acting like things are normal. I’ll give you the word when I need you for anything else. Also, keep on working on your sex. When the time comes to use the magic rod of yours, you’ll need to improve your endurance.”

“You got it, Tiamat,” smiled Spike as he looked down at his crotch, his cock back in its sheath and not likely to be ready for more action for a while longer.

“Please, call me, ‘Tamati,” he replied patting Spike on the head. “My second-in-command thought it up and it’ll be the name of the ruler of all of Equestria soon.”

“Spike?” called Twilight rather woozily. “Are you in here?”

“Uh, oh,” gapsed Spike. “It’s Twilight. You better…” Spike turned to Tamati, but he was already gone from sight. “...hide… He sure can move for such a big dragon.”

“Spike?” Twilight called again looking very frazzled. She let out a yawn and walked in rubbing her jaw. “What are you doing in the kitchen? You know you are supposed to be on a diet.”

“Uh, sorry,” apologized Spike, keeping the book hidden behind him as he kept Twilight’s attention at the bowl of gems beside him on the table. “I got hungry and a little snack every once in a while can’t hurt.”

“I’m not in the mood for this,” she groaned. “My jaw is sore and so is my… I’m just very sore and for some reason I was standing in my private study. I don’t even remember how I got in there.”

“Well, you’ve heard of sleepwalking,” suggested Spike. “Maybe you were sleep… researching… maybe?”

“Maybe,” she yawned again too tired to really care to think about it. She ran her fingers through her messy hair, pulling out a few tangles as she did. “Just put everything away in here and then go to bed. I’ll let your little fun slide tonight, but I don’t want it happening again, do we have an understanding?”

“Dragon scout’s honor,” promised Spike.

“Good,” yawned Twilight as she turned to leave for bed.

“I’ve discovered something much more enjoyable to do at night anyway,” Spike cackled deviously.

It was well past midnight as Chrysalis waited beside her king’s throne for his return. With every hour that passed she grew more and more concerned that something had gone wrong and her beloved master might never come back. Her head was filled with all sorts of horrific images of what may have befallen him.

“Oh, what if he got hurt,” she cried as she started to pace back and forth nervously. “What if there was a battle and he got injured, or maybe he got banished to limbo. Or worse… what if he took a cake to the ass!” Pausing for a moment, she blushed at this thought and drooled a little. “Actually, that sounds rather delicious.”

“Maybe for your birthday,” Tamati told her as he entered the throne room with a look of triumph on his face.

“Master!” cried Chrysalis with delight as she hurried over to greet him, hugging him tightly at his waist and rubbing her head against his chest. “I was worried.”

“Oh, ye of little faith,” he spoke to her kindly, being very gentle as he rubbed his claws through her hair. “There is not a force in this world or any other that will ever stop me or my ambition. Like my lust, it is without limit.”

“I know it is,” she murred, having started to fondle his package eagerly with one hand while the other continued to reach around him to grope at his ass. It was already getting him aroused and his dragonhood started poking out and prodding Chrysalis's chest.

“Heheh, I think you might have missed my cock most of all,” he chuckled.

“As one of your harem, Tiamat,” she told him. “It is the part I am in service to the most.”

“I can’t deny that,” he admitted as he reached down and lifted her up to be eye level with him. “And I bet your are eager to experience more of my lust aren’t you, my darling, lil, love bug.”

“Yes,” she nodded looking as hopelessly infatuated with him as ever, the Lockheart’s power on her still in effect despite being so far from her for several hours while Twilight had managed to come to her senses in barely any time at all in comparison.

“Well, for all the help you’ve given me, I must reward you,” he told her, his words only adding on to her excitement. “How about about I give it to you atop the hive. There’s a full moon out and I bet it’ll be very romantic up there.”

“I’d love to,” she nodded, wetting her lips as she leaned in for a kiss. Tamati met her halfway and accepted her lips, locking his to hers as they embraced with a passionate kiss. Chrysalis hugged around his neck tightly, like she was hoping that holding on could make this moment last forever. Unfortunately, like all good things it had to end, but she still knew there was plenty more fun to come.

“Oh, and a new ally of ours has given me a new name to go by,” he told her post kiss. “Tamati. Please, call me this and make sure all the Changelings in the hive know to call me that from now on.”

“I will, I promise, Tamati,” she replied. “But for now can’t we…”

“Just relax and let me carry you,” he answered without needing her to say anymore. The two then proceeded towards the nearest way out of the hive.

“Looks like we’ve already begun replenishing our numbers,” one Changeling said to his two friends.

“It’s because of that dragon that barged in here the other day,” one of the others replied. “He came in and had sex with every female here like he owns the place.”

“He’s sitting on the throne and even Chrysalis is bowing down before him,” whimpered the third. “Are we sure that he isn’t the one in charge?”

“I might be willing to grovel and fear our queen, but no way in Tartarus am I going to be licking those scaley feet of his.”

“That’s fine,” Tamati spoke approaching the Changelings as he carried Chrysalis. The trio turned nervously to look, getting distracted momentarily by the black dragon’s hard on, before managing to take their eyes away and look up at his face. He had on his usual smug grin as he continued to speak. “My feet are reserved for my harem anyway. But onto another topic, it seems my takeover has already become the latest gossip, and you don’t seem content by it. Do you not like your new step daddy?”

“Y-You are not our father or our king,” hissed the one Changeling attempting not to appear frightened, but Tamati could see through him as easily as looking through one of the many holes on his body.

“All hail King Tiamat,” the other two nervously chanted as they hoped to avoid whatever wrath their friend was likely bringing upon himself.

“He goes by Tamati, now,” Chrysalis informed them and they quickly amended their chanting.

“Admittedly, I did not bother spending any time with the males of this hive,” spoke Tamati as he sat down on the ground and crossed his legs.. “So, tell me, what are your names?”

“Biggs!” “Wedge!” the two more fearful Changelings answered right away. The one who identified himself as “Wedge” was hugging Biggs too tightly as the later was struggling to pry him off to no avail.

“Ok, let’s see,” said Tamati as he attempted to try and commit this information to memory. “Biggs is the one with the one with the green eyes and wings, also a tad skinny. Wedge has blue eyes and wings, noticeably overweight and has a bit of a hugging problem.”

“I’m not f-fat,” he argued. “I’ve just got an abnormally large thorax and I don’t have a problem hugging.” After saying that, Biggs managed to start wiggling free of his grip only to be stopped by Wedge’s teary eyes. “I need more hugs.”

“How badly did that yellow pony scar you?” Biggs questioned Wedge, sighing as he let Wedge hug him some more.

“She made me realize I don’t have to be afraid to express how I’m feeling,” he whimpered and blew his nose on a handkerchief.

“Can I express that I’m feeling very uncomfortable about all this?” Biggs replied trying once more to get free, but Wedge had managed to make his hug even tighter than before.

“Uh… okay, and what about you?” asked Tamati to the last Changeling still attempting to act like he wasn’t equally afraid of him.

“It’s Cid,” he answered very simply.

“So, Cid,” repeated Tamati. “Yellow eyes and wings, a bit more muscular than these two and if I’m not mistaken a small scar below your eye. Now, let me see if I got this down.” As he named them all, he pointed a claw at each of them. “Biggs, Wedge, and Cid.” After finishing, they gave him a little nod to confirm he got it right. “Now that we’re acquainted, I have a job for you three.”

“What is it?” asked Cid.

“I’ll need some able Changelings to remain stationed at the birthing room to keep an eye on those currently in labor while they are resting. If Changelings do give birth as quickly as I was told then I’ll need someone to be there and keep an eye on things and take care of the first batch of new Changelings once they hatch. I trust I can count on you three to handle this.”

“Very well,” agreed Cid after a moment of thinking it over. “Our duty is to the hive so we’ll do as you say, but not for your sake.”

“Is that so?” smiled Tamati bending down to boop Cid on the nose with a claw. “I must admit, I like your spunk. Keep up the good work.” Tamati then walked past them with Chrysalis still nuzzling against him in his arms, eager for the fun they were about to have.

“Guess we’re heading over to the nursery,” Cid told his two fellow Changelings.

“Sounds fine to me,” groaned Biggs. “Could you do something for me as well? Do you mind prying this guy off of me? He’s crushing my exoskeleton.”

“Come on,” Cid told Wedge, carefully prying his hands off of Biggs. With a bit of patience to know when to be gentle and when to pull, he managed to free Biggs, but after doing so, Wedge instantly latched onto him instead. “Seriously?”

“Maybe I have a little problem,” admitted Wedge to Cid’s chagrin.

“Care to give me a hand here, Biggs?” asked Cid, but he was already running on ahead to the nursery. “Freedom! I’m finally free!”

“Why do I get the feeling I’m going to be stuck with these two for a long time?” Cid groaned.

“It’s really beautiful out tonight,” admitted Chrysalis. “Normally, when I see such a brilliantly lit night I would think it a perfect time for a love raid, what with our dark bodies easily blending into the night while all those brightly colored ponies would stick out like a sore thumb.”

“You just finally have someone to share this moment with,” smiled Tamati as he gently stroked her cheeks and then glided his claws down her body, cupping her breasts in his hands and giving them a gentle squeeze. Chrysalis blushed and murred, loving how gentle he was when it was evident how rough he could have been. “Are you ready?”

“Uh, huh,” she nodded, removing her green dress and taking off her bra and panties to expose her body to the horny dragon once more. She sat a bit shyly, sitting with her knees blocking the view of her body just below her neck. “How do I look in the moonlight?”

“Your beauty is glowing brightly, my little firefly,” he answered and gently pulled her legs flat against the ground, making her lay her back down against it too. Looking in her big, green eyes, Tamati could see the moon reflected in them and smiled as he nuzzled his head against her breasts and licked at them. Chrysalis giggled, reveling in the pleasure of each lick that was given to her. He finished there by giving her breasts one smooch each and then proceeded down her chest stroking her body as he did.

“This is a very nice reward,” she murred, the feeling of his claws gently feeling over her body, making her body squirm from how wonderfully it tickled her. She reveled in the joys of the flesh and Tamati was happy to keep it up, filling her with a blissful pleasure she had never been able to experience before as she had always remained on guard even with the aid of the Lockheart. Now, in the presence of a creature many times more dangerous than any of the ponies she had mated with, she was at ease enough to let his sharp claws run across her soft flesh without a care in the world. The only thing she could think to say after a few minutes of his pleasurable tickling was, “You have magical claws.”

“Glad my technique pleasures you,” he spoke softly, as he gently pressed a claw just over her crotch. Looking down, he could see her pussy was eagerly awaiting it’s turn, already leaking desire like a jewel tempting Tamati to take it. “Only the best for my love bug.”

Overflowing with excitement, the former Changeling Queen spread her legs, more than ready to give herself to her beloved king again and as many times as he would want. Seeing the open invitation, Tamati dragged his claw to the hole and teasingly traced around it. The former queen murred and tried to help guide his claw into her pussy, but he kept it circling the edge playfully.

“Oh, you tease,” she laughed and he chuckled warmly too. “Never a dull moment with you, is it?”

“That’s what makes this so enjoyable,” he told her and decided to finger her for real now. Adding in a second claw, he slowly shoved them into her vagina as deep as he could get them and then carefully pulled out with the ease of her juices acting as a lubricant. He repeated this a few times, listening to her moan with bliss as he worked to find the sweet spot that filled her with the greatest of pleasures. Once he found it, he kept on striking that spot, flooding her with pleasure and showing off just how magical his claws were. Pre ooze out of her more rapidly as he quickly brought her to the brink, but the dragon was careful, making sure not to let her climax early.

When her crotch was soaked with lust and the slightest touch was enough to send her murring, the master of sex felt she was ready to be fucked. Tamati pulled his claws out slowly and looked at the juices they were soaked it. Bringing them to his maw, he licked his digits clean and smiled. “Such delicious nectar. Now, time to fuck.”

“Oh, yes, my king,” she moaned like he had already begun. It was at this time, a Changeling flew her way towards the hive. She had pink eyes and wings and while most life seemed to wither in the presence of Changelings, feeding off even the very life of the land around them, she had a daisy on her left ear that somehow managed to avoid such a fate. Reaching the top of the hive, she saw Tamati and even more shocking, she saw what was happening to her queen.

“Wh-What in the world is going on?!?” she cried, Tamati not too fixated on sex to not hear her. He turned to look with a grin on his face. The Changeling looked back and just like with all the others, the Lockheart instantly made her fall for the dark dragon.

“I don’t think I saw you the other day,” he spoke to her as he sat up and adjusted Chrysalis to go from laying on her back as he fucked her to sitting on his lap without taking his dick out of her. He then started lifting her up and down to keep filling her with pleasure, his draconic strength making the taste almost effortless on his part. The love bug didn’t seem to mind this and actually enjoyed the spontaneous change in positioning, especially since he hadn’t let an unexpected visitor pause their lovemaking for even an instant. “Tell me, who are you?”

“My name is Abby,” she answered as she watched Tamati pleasure her queen, watching her ride up and down on his pole, the sight of it making her horny for some action too. She rubbed own pussy, yearning a turn too. “During the retreat from Ponyville I was a straggler. My wing was injured from a flying muffin and I had to escape on hoof and lay low for a few days till I recovered. Once I did I was able to fly back the rest of the way and here I am. But if you don’t mind me asking, who are you?”

“Your new king and master,” he answered. “You may call me, Tamati. Once I am done rewarding your fellow member of my harem, I will initiate you as well.”

“As you wish, my master,” she bowed and let them resume their sex.

“How about a new position?” Tamati suggested to Chrysalis, already knowing she’d agreed with whatever he told her.

“Whatever position you like so long as my pussy gets filled with your lust,” she answered.

“You don’t know how much I love to hear such yearning for my cock,” he smirked and adjusted them, pulling her out momentarily so he could start humping her doggy style. He held onto her from behind as she shoved his dick back into her and groped her breasts. Plowing into her harder than ever while putting a fraction of his girth onto her, Tamati tested Chrysalis’s strength of body and will, seeing if should could remain on all fours while he filled her with ecstacy. Tamati made it even more difficult for her to resist as his claws firmly groped her breasts, and gave her all the love she could stomach. Her arms shook and her legs quivered as she felt her strength falter with each new burst of pleasure he pounded into her. The love bug’s lust oozed out every time he pulled his cock out, showing how close she was to cumming and resisted, knowing she’d collapse if the high hit her and bring all this to an end. “How is this? Does my love bug love this?”

“Yes!” she wailed as he slowly pushing in again, her body spasming a little from the overwhelming pleasuring that wanted to finally burst free, but she restrained it. “It’s wonderful! So fucking wonderful! I don’t want it to end.”

“Then let’s see how long you can last,” he cackled enjoying every minute of this as much as she was. He could feel his own climax was near, but he held it back too, planning to unleash it the second she reached her limit.

In and out he repeatedly went and each time, Chrysalis wailed with delight. Her body could barely remain standing and only was out of what little willpower that was still being chipped away with each thrust of his dragonhood. It was too overwhelming for Chrysalis to catch her breath before she exhaled another moan. But try as she might to make good on her claim to keep it going forever, her strength reached its limit and as he gave one her last good thrust, she climaxed. Following through with his plan, the humping dragon finally allowed himself to cum into her too, shooting his hot load into her before she collapsed to the ground, pulling off of him and getting a few more shots of his seed on her back.

“My king,” she said blissfully before slowly drifting off to sleep.

“Goodnight, love bug,” Tamati whispered to her and planted a kiss on her cheek. “I will return you to your chambers soon, but first, I must take care of… Abby was it?”

“Yes, my king,” she nodded looking eager for her turn after what she had seen.

“Time for your initiation,” he told her to her excitement. “And perhaps, you can help me test out the power of the Lockheart some more. I have seen some extent of its power, but I would like to hopefully learn a bit more. Think of it as being my guinea pig.” Saying this, Tamati chuckled at the thought of her turning into a guinea pig to be one in both the literal and figurative sense and then before his eyes, Abby actually did transform into one. “Uh, it was a figure of speech. I didn’t say you had to transform.”

“I, uh, didn’t do it intentionally,” she admitted. “It just sort of happened.”

“It did?” he asked actually taken surprise by this. “Then did I… do it?” As he contemplated this possibility, Tamati tried to think of something random for her to change into. He thought of a palm tree, didn’t utter a word about it and, sure enough, she turned into one just as he had imagined. His mouth was agape as his suspicions were getting confirmed and, quickly, he started to think of more things for her to transform into and watched as Abby turned into Chrysalis, Twilight, Spike, and then himself. “And you aren’t doing this at all?” he asked for confirmation.

“No,” she shook her head. Tamati couldn’t help chuckle as he had a conversation with himself. “I am not sure what is happening.”

“Heheh, it seems I don’t just have a hold of your heart,” he grinned as he approached his doppleganger, his cock getting hard from this new discovery. “I have control over the abilities of those in my harem and in the case of Changelings like yourself, I can even make you shapeshift to my will.”

He approached Abby with a lustful look in his eyes as his mind went to work. Still in his form, he gave his normally toned chest a lucious set of boobs, melons too large to even fit in the palms of his sizeable claws. He made his face more feminine with fuller lips and bigger eyelashes. Next to change were his hips, making them wider to go along with a more robust and gropable ass. It all went perfect with the final change he made, swapping out the dick to a pussy just the right size to fit his cock like a glove.

“So that’s what I’d look like as a female,” the erotic dragon salivated and walked around his creation, poking prodding and groping it to his heart’s content, barely able to keep from fucking his doppleganger without sniffing the musky roses first. “Heh, call me conceited, but damn I’m fucking hot.” He gave his look-alike’s rear a slap and squeezed her breasts, barely able to restrain himself.

The wondrous feelings of him touching her body along her magic being so forcefully and lustfully used radiated pleasure to the Changeling, her pussy dripping pre between her legs. “M-Master!” she moaned with bliss. “You are like a God of Pleasure!”

“Like is an understatement,” he bragged as he pinned himself to the ground and thrust his penis into his female self. I AM THE FUCKING GOD OF THIS WORLD!!!” he roared and plowed her with greedy delight. “No matter how powerful the magic I obtain or the size of the army I will raise, my greatest strength will always be my lust! It will dominate not just Equestria, but this whole world. I will make it mine even if I have to fuck every pussy in this world!”

“Ooooh,” murred Abbey unable to resist while he pounded her away without pause. “Oh, fuck!” She cried out as she finally came and Tamati could feel his own climax arrive so abruptly while his normal composure had to take a back seat to his greed. Quickly, he returned her to her normal form before he filled her with his baby juice, impregnating her like he had Chrysalis and a number of the other Changelings in the hive.

Once he pumped in a few globs of seed, Tamati pulled out and sat back, his dick softening after such a quick, but wonderful sex. Abbey was out like Chrysalis after receiving such a wonderful pounding and likely to be craving more by the time she’d awaken.

“What a productive night,” Tamati panted as he gazed up at the moon. “So much gained, so much sex had, but still so much to do. I hope Spike will deliver me some information on those Elements of Discord soon, but till then…” he paused to look at the two Changelings beside him and thought of the others in the hive. “I’ve got plenty to keep me busy in the meantime.”

Chapter 3

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“Hey there, Rarity,” spoke Spike outside the door to her boutique. His body was drenched with sweat despite it being a fair weathered day. It was due to his nerves as he practiced his lines for asking out the pony he loved. “As you can see I am no longer the little dragon that merely had a crush on you. I have become a man and I want you to see that. So… would you… pretty please go on a day with me?”

After saying all that, he dropped to his knees to catch his breath. He had been practicing such lines for over an hour.

“That was my best attempt you,” he panted and wiped his forehead. “I only hesitated a bit at the end and only sounded slightly desperate for a second. I think… I’m ready.” Looking at the door, Spike held his arm out of knock on it, but found his arm frozen in place. Try as he might, he couldn’t knock on it and in a panic, Spike ran away to hide at the park inside the gazebo.

“Damn it!” he cried, digging his claws into the wooden bench in frustration. “I almost had it, but I got cold feet.” Taking in a few breaths, Spike managed to slowly calm himself down. Looking down, he could faintly see the boner he had hidden beneath some clothes, a pair of green boxers and some pre torn jeans, along with a black sleeveless t-shirt with a fiery green flame design on it. It was all Rarity’s design, this one customized for him as it even had a holes made in them for his tail and wings to go through.

Ever since Spike met Tamati and he helped him lose his virginity, the inexperienced dragon couldn’t stop lusting for more sex, a yearning that his claws could not satisfy. While not busy with some task or chore, thoughts of pussies and breasts kept popping up in his head, especially whenever a mare would cross his path. Finally, last night was the final straw when he had a wet dream about the sex he had with Twilight. He needed to satisfy his hunger for lust and he couldn’t wait for Tamati to return to help him out. Spike had to handle this himself and thus he attempted to make a move on Rarity only to end up running scared with his tail between his legs.

“Maybe I need to start out with someone easier than Rarity,” thought Spike as he let go of the bench and turned to gaze out of the gazebo to admire the gentle beauty of the park. “But if not her, then who?”

“La! Lalala! La! Lalala!” came a melodic voice, not too far away. Like a siren’s song, the soothing sound eased Spike’s tension and got him on his feet to follow it to the source.

“That voice,” thought Spike as he could hear it becoming clearer with each step he took. “I know that voice.” The song lead Spike to the pond in the center of the park and that’s where he saw her. She was a white pony with a mane half pink and half purple and ended in curls. As a unicorn she possessed a magical, white horn that parted her mane between the two hues. Her eyes were a soft shade of green and her Cutie Mark was a shield with red on the left, pink in the middle and purple on the right. In the middle of it was a star with a musical note on it. Around her neck, she had a necklace of purple beads. She wore a pair of blue jeans and a yellow shirt that clung firmly to her body, showing off her fair-sized chest. Beside her was a pair of yellow sandals, taken off as she soaked her feet in the cool water.

“Sweetie Belle,” admired Spike, realizing it was Rarity’s younger sister before even seeing her. While she didn’t possess the same beauty as her elder sister that went hand-in-hand with appearing fabulous, she had a softer quality of appeal that was often experienced through ears before eyes. Spike couldn’t help smile as he continued to listen to her melodic tone as she had only been warming up her voice and hadn’t even started to sing yet.

“Sunny days!” she finally started singing. “Shining brightly! Shining warmly! Gentle breeze! Blowing swiftly! Blowing cooly! Crystal waters! Flowing… something… Flowing… something else…” Her song came to a rather quick end despite so wonderful a start. “Come on, inspiration. Where are you?”

“Working on a song?” asked Spike, deciding to make himself known before she could wonder why he was watching her from the bushes.

“Oh, hey, Spike,” she greeted him. “What are you doing here?”

“I was just out for the day and came to the park,” he explained. “Then I heard you singing and ended up over here. Guess you were admiring the scenery, hoping to find the words for your song?”

“I’ve been having artist’s block for days now,” she sighed. “It’s annoying, but fun at the same time, strange as that might sound. Whenever I want to get inspired I try doing all sorts of different things. Heh, it kind of makes me nostalgic for all the crazy things I did with Applebloom and Scootaloo to get our Cutie Marks.”

“Those days sure seem like forever ago now,” commented Spike as he took a seat beside her and dipped his scaley feet into the water too. “You’ve sure grown up a lot since then.”

“You have too,” she pointed out and gave one of his wings a tug. “I remember the pouty face Scoots made when you were suddenly flying.”

“Yeah,” breathed Spike. “Memories…” There was a bit of a silence as the two sat next to one another. Spike turned his head a little, checking out Sweetie’s body and liked what he saw. In terms of size, she wasn’t as tall as Twilight or as busty, but she looked wonderfully soft and enticing to embrace. The dragon just struggled to find the words to ask her. “Do you… like me?”

“Of course I do,” she answered, not quite focused on what he meant. She was still distracted, mulling over her song as she searched for the right words. “We’ve been friends pretty much since you first arrived in Ponyville.”

“Well, would you like to spend some time together, just the two of us?” he added.

“Like we are now?” she questioned him.

“I, um, guess we are, but maybe like a picnic or something,” he tried to explain to her, but couldn’t find the nerve to simply ask her out.

“A picnic would be fun,” she agreed. “But maybe some other time. I have to head over to the clubhouse. I have a meeting with the other crusaders and I’m gonna be late as is.” Pulling her feet out of the water, she then slipped her sandals on and ran off.

“But Sweetie Belle,” Spike attempted to say, but his voice didn’t carry on the wind like hers did.

“See ya!” she waved to him before rushing out of sight.

“I was asking you out on a date,” the enamored, purple dragon sighed and slumped onto his back in defeat. “I need some advice,” he realized and knew just the dragon to turn to.

Upon his throne, Tamati sat. A huge table was placed before him with plates of gold and silver, each with a different delicious delicacy upon them. There was also a wine glass of fine crystal that was dyed blood red from the drink poured in just short of touching the rim. As light shined through it, a crimson tint covered over the table.

“I hope it is to your liking, master,” spoke Chrysalis as she and the rest of his harem bowed before him, staying just far enough back that the table didn’t block his view of them. “And forgive us for taking so long to procure you proper dining arrangements.”

“No need to apologize,” he replied as he looked upon the spread before him. There was manticore steak glazed in pineapple juice, stuffed roc with cranberries, and even steam fried cragodile meat with sauteed vegetables. There was also a bushel of big, red, delicious apples in a straw basket along with another basket containing red grapes. Last, but certainly not least was a jar with a rainbow of different gems reserved for the end. To have such a feast set up just for him was more than the dark dragon could have hoped for and salivated with delight. “You have done well. All of you have.”

“Then feast to your contentment,” the former queen stated and watched with delight for him to take his first taste of the meal.

With fork and knife in claws, Tamati stabbed into the manticore steak and then lined up his knife to cut a piece off of it. The blade sliced through it almost effortlessly, showing how perfectly it had been cooked. Bringing a piece to his maw, the hungry dragon slipped it through his lips and savored the flavor on his tongue. The sides of his maw couldn’t help curve upward as the taste delighted him, the exotic fruit a perfect pairing with the even more unique cut of meat.

Tamati cut off a few more pieces to partake in before moving onto the roast roc, grabbing a drumstick and tearing it off. Bringing it up to his maw, he bit into it and tore a huge chunk off. “Heh, takes just like chicken,” he chuckled before reaching into the bird, pulling out a clawful of stuffing that had soaked in the bird’s juices as it had been cooked. He stuffed the entire handful into his maw, allowing the taste to sit there for a while before munching it up and swallowing. Around the side of the bird was tons of cranberries. The dark dragon stabbed his claws into four and brought them to his muzzle. With a flick of each finger, he flung them into his mouth to consume them too.

Next, he carefully sampled the wine, taking the glass in hand while extending his pinkie claw. Bringing it to his lips, he gently sipped it and then returned it back to the table. “I might not know the vintage, but I know what tastes good,” he commented, much to the enjoyment of his harem. He reached for the cragodile meat next, looking eager to see how this tasted. “I also must admit, I didn’t think I’d be able to get a meal like this here. No offense, but Changelings never did strike me as masters of the culinary arts.”

“You aren’t wrong,” Chrysalis admitted. “But we are masters at impersonation. Often when we feed we must not only replace other creatures, but also pose as them to obtain as much love as we can from everyone around them. There’s no telling how long a feeding could last and we never know what skills we might have to develop in order to keep up the charade. Honey here once posed as a chef in Manehatten for nearly a month.”

“Is that so,” grinned Tamati as he picked up the cragodile, peeling off it’s rough skin to get at the tender, white meat inside. He looked down at the Changeling in question. This one had yellow-tinted eyes and a white apron on. There was also a white, crumpled piece of cloth in her one hand that the dragon could tell was a chef’s hat.

“I didn’t realize the pony I replaced was a gourmet chef,” she told him. “It was a part of our attack on Manehatten. Several other Changelings and I were tasked with securing locations for the rest of the hive to hide out in and then attack the city en mass. In that time, I had to learn to cook as skillfully as the pony I was impersonating. It was a lot of hard work and the attack ended up getting canceled, but I am glad I finally was able to put these skills to good use for Master.”

“I am delighted too,” mumbled Tamati as he tore into the cragodile meat, quickly stripping it down to the bones with his teeth and then went back to the manticore meat and the roast roc. He devoured it all with some wine drunk throughout the meal. His harem took turns refilling his glass and once all the meat was gone they gathered up the apples, grapes, and gems to hand feed him. They did so as sexily as they could, with the hopes of gaining more of his favor for any fun to come post meal. Tamati happily accepted all the food, laying back and opening his maw just wide enough for them to push the food through and gently plant a tiny kiss upon their hands too. The girls giggled amused at his playful antics and quickly grabbed something else to feed him, quickly working through every juicy apple, plump grape, and crunchy gemstone till it was all deposited into the dragon’s taught gut. The harem then pushed aside the table to rub and soothe his belly to help him relax.

“If you liked this feast,” spoke Honey. “I know tons of other recipes that I’m sure you’ll love too.”

“I’ll be looking forward to it,” Tamati patted his gut contently. “I’m going to need plenty of food like this to keep up my strength for all the fucking I’m going to be doing.” He let out a chuckle at the thought only to be interrupted by a belch. Flames spewed forth from his maw and out of them appeared a scroll that dropped down onto the table like the check for the meal he had eaten.

“Seems Spike has some more news for me,” smirked Tamati as he plucked up the scroll and cut the seal by dragging his claw across it. Unrolling the scroll he started to read what his ally had sent him, the writing done very neatly, each letter perfectly proportioned and legible through years of experience.

Dear Tamati,

I’ll start this letter off with an update on my research on the Elements of Discord. I have discovered that Twilight’s notes are divided into three different levels of importance. The first is anything written in the common language. All of this information seems to be of little consequence or possibly intentionally incorrect information as a means to thwart anyone attempting to use her research for unsavory means. It’s very typical of her. She does uses a lot of misdirection in order to hide where she has her fan-fiction stories. A lot of juicy stuff in there, but that’d take us too far off topic.

The next section is written in old Ponish. It’s essentially a dead language that only a scholarly type like Twilight would go through the trouble to learning and as her assistant I had to become well versed in it too. The information here is a bit more useful, but mostly just theories and speculation. It isn’t solid enough to take at face value yet and I don’t want to say much on it in case it turns out to be just a waste of time. I’m also still working within the first twenty or so pages so there’s tons more to go through.

The final section is written in a sort of code that I’m guessing Twilight made up to keep the most important things she wrote from being read, even by me. It’ll take time to crack the code and from what I can see, each page of with any code on it uses a different key. She likely has a spell to instantly solve it, but I’m rather skilled at word puzzles. I’ve managed a couple so far and the info is looking good so far. We can only hope that once enough is revealed that we will know were an Element of Discord is hidden.

“Glad to see my researcher is making progress,” smiled Tamati as he continued to read. He grinned at what he saw, finding the second part of the letter more amusing.

As for how I’ve been doing. Well, after our night with Twilight I’ve wanted to have more sex. Today, I attempted to ask a pony out on a date, hoping to get some action afterwards, but to say I struck out would be an understatement cause I think I failed at even finding the plate. I was hoping you might be able to give me some advice.
Loyally yours,

“Nothing warms my heart more than guiding a hormonally needy youth to a life of blissful indulgence,” Tamati grinned and licked his chops with a lustful hunger this time. He turned to his harem with orders to them. “Clear the table and gather me up my scrolls and quills. I have some letters to write.”

Quickly, the Changelings in his harem took away the plates and everything else on the table adn then gathered what he requested, several blank scrolls, a few quills, recently plucked from the roc he had eaten, and a couple bottles of ink. With it all laid out before him, Tamati picked up the first quill and dipped it into the ink. He then began writing, his penmanship proving far less polished than Spike’s. His cursive was quite sloppy as his letters were very disproportioned and the lines of text were terribly crooked. Ink ended up bleeding out of his quill a number of times too, forcing him to have to rewrite parts over again. By the time he finished, his claws and arms were covered with blotches of ink that were hard to see against his naturally black scales. Still, despite his struggles he looked pleased with what he had written. “My best effort at writing a letter yet,” he spoke with lots of truth in his words as he recalled the failures of letters he had attempted in the days prior.

With the letter complete, Tamati rolled the scroll up and added the seal. “There, now I just focus on the recipient, Spike, take a deep breath, and…” While his maw was open and his lungs were filled with air, Tamati held up the scroll in front of his face. The black dragon then exhaled some black flames that quickly engulfed the flammable paper, reducing it to nothing but a puff of smoke that drifted across the room and vanished.

“Heh,” chuckled Tamait. “Quite a useful trick for quickly and discreetly communicating with others. Now, I just need to wait for Spike to reply.”

Spike sat at the desk in his room. He had the book on the Elements of Discord in front of him along with a scroll of paper he had copied one of the coded sections onto and had begun trying to decipher. He had managed to pick out which symbols stood for ‘t,’ ‘h,’ and ‘e’ due to their the same three symbols appearing so frequently in the same order, particularly at the start of the sentences. From there, he also had a couple more letters figured out and a few more he was narrowing down. But despite his efforts at solving it, he was mostly doing this just to pass the time till Tamati replied to his letter.

When a sudden case of gas hit his stomach, it rose up to his chest and then his throat. Spike turned, ready to unleash a belch of flames much like Tamati had done before. “Urp!” Flames of green spewed out of his maw. Out of the fire materialized the letter his new lord had written him with the response he had been waiting for. Without wasting a moment, Spike broke open the seal and began reading it to the best of his ability. With how poor the penmanship was along with all the blotches of ink, it took him a few minutes more than it normally would have.

Dear Spike,

It thrills me to no end that you are pursuing the finer things in life after the guidance I’ve given you. I will be more than happy to provide you with all my wisdom on the matter. For starters, let me see what I’ve got to work with. Send me over a few photos of yourself from multiple angles so I can give you a proper analysis.
Best regards,

“He needs some photos?” commented Spike after he finished reading. Opening up a drawer in his desk, Spike pulled out an Instant Camera. “Well, Twilight did say this camera was mainly for research purposes, after all.”

Spike set up the camera on his desk and peeked through the lense to get a sense of where he needed to stand to be properly in the shot. Once he was all set, Spike set the timer and hurried in front of the camera to be caught in the image as the flash went off. Walking back over as the first image developed, Spike picked up the photo as he came out of the device and shook it to help the image appear, showing a front view of him standing upright. Placing the picture on his desk, Spike continued to set the camera’s timer, take the picture and see the results of each one, getting several angles of himself.

“I think this should be enough,” figured Spike as he gathered the half a dozen photos and in a breath of fire, sent them to the dark dragon. Spike then sat down to wait and sooner than he expected, a response came back. “Wow, a reply already?” Opening the scroll, Spike read what he had written, just one messy line.

“Not bad, but this time no clothes.”

“Oh,” blushed Spike feeling a bit awkward now that his veil of ignorance over the pleasures of the flesh had been lifted. Just the act of pulling off his shirt sent a strange tingle through his body that only grew more euphoric as he slipped out of his pants. Already, his mind was focusing in on sex, quickly going hand-in-hand with the thought of undressing. His cock quickly became hard before his underwear was removed, pulling them down and off his legs.

It took Spike a couple minutes to find his courage to set the timer on the camera once more and get into position for the front shot. The light hitting his exposed body, cock and all, felt far more impactful than it ever had before and as he saw his first revealing nuddy he felt a guilty pleasure.

“Heh, with a little work I could probably get a job as a model in Play Pony,” joked Spike finding enjoyment out of this after getting over being camera shy. Getting the camera set up again, he took more photos, getting his sides and back next and then taking more than a dozen more in kinky poses, showcasing a closeup of his ass then his cock and balls and many other poses he felt were sexy.

“Think I got a little carried away,” laughed Spike taking nearly three times as long with this second batch of photos. Once more, he sent the photos off and awaited a response as he put his clothes back on. After several minutes of not receiving an immediate answer, Spike assumed he had given Tamati what he needed. Then a bit more waiting later and he felt another involuntary belch arrive with the response he had been waiting for.

Dear Spike,

Much better and while you didn’t have to go so above and beyond with all those extra ones it makes me proud to have such a sexually active second-in-command in my ranks. I know, without a doubt, that we’ll get along just fine.

Now, for my evaluation. You have a decent foundation from what I can see. Smooth, healthy scales, photogenic, comfort and confidence in your body, and with natural sex appeal. Those are the positives. We don’t need to worry about them. What we do have to deal with is your figure. You barely have one. From dragon standards, you don’t have much muscle mass to speak of and the most I can say you only possess a slight gut.

My advice to you is to start working out and building some muscle mass. I’m sure even a small town like the one you live in has to have some place you can do that. Give it your all and then, tonight, send me word on your progress and I’ll give you your next instructions for what to do. That is, if you take my advice. The choice is still all yours, but just remember who this advice is coming from.

“Working out, huh,” pondered Spike as the thought of himself with more muscles. “This might be fun.”

“You call that working out?!?” roared a Pegasus Pony with incredibly tiny wings that didn’t look capable of lifting the freakishly muscular pony they were attached to off the ground.

This white-furred pony was so overly buff that his veins were very bulging out all over his body and could be seen throbbing as blood flowed through them. He had a Cutie Mark of a dumbbell, the perfect symbol for this hulking behemoth who lived to build muscle mass and help others do the same. His blond mane was always kept at an even half an inch cut over his head and he wore golden rings earrings on his ears. His red eyes added more frightfulness to the intensity of his voice that only seemed to have a loud setting. A red speedo that sole thing he had on. It clung tightly to his waist, keeping the majority of his body bare so all his physique could be seen.

He looked down at the ponies taking his class, each doing push ups to the point they could barely keep from collapsing to the ground in exhaustion. “I wanna see you all sweat!”

“We are,” groaned the numerous ponies who were already soaked in perspiration, most to the point that even their clothes were soggy like they had fallen into a pool of water. They all had regretted signing up for his Beginner’s Course, a once a week exercise program, almost as soon as they saw what he considered a beginner to be able to handle. It was only their first day and already they felt they did more exercise in one hour than they did in all their lives.

“Then that means we’re warmed up,” he continued. “Time to-” The alarm on the gym’s clock buzzed as it marked the end of the first full hour of his workout routine. “Time for the first hour cooldown break,” he announced. “Everyone take ten minutes to cool down and then-” The muscular pony didn’t get to finish his sentence before all the ponies in his gym were dashing out the door driven to move only by their desire to escape. Opening the door, the bell attached rang once as all the ponies who took the class all went out together. Seeing them leave, the trainer just scoffed. “They’re not coming back.” Alone in his gym, the pony walked over to his weights and started lifting the 100 lb. ones with ease. “They never come back.”

He expected the rest of his day to be full of silence like his days usually were in his gym, but as the door opened again, the bell rang once more and caught his attention. “Hmm?” he pondered. “Did someone come back.”

“No,” answered Spike. “This is actually my first time here. Hey, Bulk Biceps.”

“Hey! Little Dragon!” he greeted Spike with his same gruff voice though the intensity was far less. Putting down his weights he went over to give him a hug him. Spike tried to back away from it, but he was caught and hugged tight in a bone-crushing hold.

“Actually, my name is Spike,” the dragon wheezed.

“Even better,” he replied like that made any sense, but he did let him go before he snapped his spine like a toothpick. “So, what brings you here?”

“I’m here to work out,” answered Spike. “Do you think you can help?”

“I try to help make ponies strong, but they always run away,” he told him. “They can’t handle the rip!”

“I’m sure I can handle it,” Spike replied not sounding too confident. “Dragons are made of tougher stuff.”

“Then let’s do this, Little Dragon!” cheered Bulk Biceps, instantly convinced at Spike’s claim. He lifted Spike up like he was weightless and carried him over to the barbell, sitting him on the bench and helped him carefully lay back without hitting his head on the thick, metal rod.

“My name is Spike,” the little dragon attempted to correct him, but didn’t pursue the matter after that in favor of getting started. Spike watched as his trainer adjusted the barbell, the pole itself weighing ten pounds and he added twenty pounds to each side of it.

“Start with this,” he instructed Spike, his voice getting more intense as he got excited to have someone to train again.

Gripping the barbell in his claws as Bulk Biceps gripped it too to spot him, Spike began lifting the weight over his chest and started to do reps, counting silently as he did. Lifting fifty pounds did prove a bit of a challenge for his draconic strength, getting harder with each attempt to move it either to his chest or away from it.

“Eight… nine… ten,” breathed Spike as he managed ten. “How’s that?”

“That’s a good start,” the muscular pony praised. “Now do ninety more!”

“N-Ninety?!?” cried Spike almost losing his grip on the barbell. “He had only done a tenth of that and his arms were already feeling sore. Hesitantly, Spike continued, managing the next ten still fairly easily and struggled some on the third set.

Gritting his teeth and groaning, Spike continued to do reps. His heart rate increased and he started to sweat as he felt the burn. After passing sixty he stopped counting, barely able to focus as his arms felt like jelly.

“Just a little more!” encouraged Bulk Biceps, still focused on spotting for Spike to ensure his safety so he could keep pushing his limits. Arms aching and body already covered in sweat, Spike kept at it till he felt the barbell lifted and placed back on its resting spot, a sign that Spike had succeeded. “One hundred reps. Well done!”

“Great,” Spike moaned as his arms were hanging down limply to the ground. “I told you dragons were tough.

“Time to move on to some leg workouts,” he instructed as he helped the weary dragon up to the Press Machine. He adjusted the weight on it to eighty pounds while Spike sat in the seat. “Let’s see you do three hundred of these.”

“This pony is trying to kill me,” worried Spike as he still couldn’t lift his arms. Still, in spite of his fears, Spike pressed his feet against the metal plate, causing the weights to be lifted up slowly. As he pulled his legs back, the weights slowly came back down for his first rep. He continued this over and over again, starting out strong like before, but after a while, he could feel the strain setting in as he his strength started to falter from fatigue and he still had a long way to go to meet his goal.

“First fifty done,” informed Bulk Biceps. “Once we are done here we can work on your abs, then your pecs, and lastly those glutes and tail of yours. Then you can get a cooldown and start over again.”

“And I thought this was going to be fun?” cried Spike internally as he perspired more as he could feel the burn in his legs now. The only thing keeping him going along with this workout was that this was the advice Tamati had given him to help out with his desire for sex, though such thoughts were in the back of his mind now.

Completing the leg press, Spike then moved onto the ab crunch machine and continued the circuit of exercise equipment till he had worked out every part of his body that Bulk Biceps had listed for him. After that was done, Spike dropped onto the mats for the cooldown, his body more exhausted than he ever imagined it could be. Bulk Biceps offered him some water and he gladly downed the entire bottleful to rehydrate. It was refreshing, but didn’t do anything to reinvigorate him. He barely had managed to recover even a little before the brief ten minutes passed and Spike found himself carried back to the barbell to give another one hundred reps. The exhausted dragon wanted to cry upon discovering the hell he had entered into.

“You were right, Little Dragon,” the happy trainer told Spike later in the day as they had finished up his workout. “You’re the first to make it through a full day of working out with me. Dragons sure are tough.”

“Yeah, tough,” moaned Spike sore over every inch of his aching body. “No trouble at all.”

“I look forward to seeing you back here tomorrow then,” he added much to Spike’s worries as he hobbled to the door and then had to drag himself all the way back to the Castle of Friendship.

“Oh, there you are, Spike,” greeted Twilight as he returned home. “I haven’t seen you all day. What have you been up to?”

“Working out at the gym,” he answered weakly.

“I’m very proud of you,” she told him. “You keep this up and you’ll love those five pounds in no time.”

“Yippee,” he mumbled as he dragged himself to his room and barely made it into bed before collapsing onto it and passing out.

Night had fallen by the time Spike awoke and unfortunately for him, his body only ached worse than ever. Rolling onto his back, he groaned, “Uh, how long have I been out cold?” he asked himself as he peeked out the window and saw the star lit sky. “All day, huh.”

With a bit more effort, Spike sat up in bed then trudged to his writing desk. Grabbing a quill and some scroll paper, he let out a yawn before writing. Despite just waking up, he still wrote in the same polished manner he always did. “Dear Tamati,” he spoke as he wrote. “I just awoke after exercising to exhaustion. I’m sore all over and my muscles are crying just from the thought of going back to the gym tomorrow. Tell me, is this really going to help me get some sex?”

Spike signed the bottom and then prepped the letter for sending. With his fire breath, he sent the letter out and then sat down to wait for a reply, not feeling up for much else at the moment. The purple dragon didn’t expect to get an immediate response, but, to his surprise, a belch erupted from him barely ten minutes later and with it a sloppily written letter from Tamati.

“A lot of soreness is to be expected after starting a rigorous workout, but as we dragons say, ‘fight through the pain,’” Spike read. “But seeing as you’ve had plenty of exercise, now’s as good a time as any to get something to eat. So, go grab yourself plenty of gems and sweets and anything else you want and just indulge yourself. Trust me, you’ve earned it and even if you didn’t, you’re a dragon and we do what we want when we want. Now go out there and show Twilight what you think of dieting and eating in moderation.”

“Heh,” chuckled Spike as he finished reading and found no end of amusement at the thought of defying Twilight and his diet. “A nice response, though he didn’t really answer my initial question whether or not all this exercise is worth it.” Shrugging his shoulders, Spike got to his feet and walked to his door. His body hurt from simply moving and even the simple act of walking made him ache. Despite all this, he took Tamati’s advice to fight through the pain and made his way towards the entrance of the castle. “But if he’s encouraging me to binge on all the food I want then I know of only one place in Ponyville that can help me with just that at this time of night.” With a grin that had drool dripping down to his chin, Spike ventured into the night. His stomach rumbled reminding him of how long he’s been without a meal and only added to his eagerness to go out and grab a bite to eat.

The otherwise silent night in Ponyville suddenly had eerie growls added to it as Spike’s stomach grumbled with hunger as he made his way forward. He passed by City Hall and Rarity’s Boutique as he approached his ultimate destination, Sugarcube Corner. Like all the other buildings in town all the lights were off and nobody appeared to be awake. That was how it appeared anyway, but Spike was one of the few privy to the store’s late night business. Sneaking around to the back, Spike knocked on the door three times, paused, knocked once, paused again, then knocked twice and waited.

A latch on the door opened so the pony on the other side of the door could peer out and looked down at Spike. Spike looked through it too, only able to see the pony’s baby blues. “What’ll it be?” she asked.

“Sunshine and smiles,” answered Spike. “With a side of cupcakes.”

She shut the latch and then the sound of a few locks being undone could be heard. The door then opened and Spike proceeded through into the pitch blackness of the bakery. As his eyes adjusted, he was able to see a table and he took a seat. Once he did, the table started to lower, bringing him to the secret underground facility in Sugarcube Corner. By day it was known as Pinkie Pie’s Party Cave, but over the years it had gained another name. As the table and chairs came to a stop, the lights in the cave lit up and all around Spike he could see tons upon tons of sugary confections just waiting to be eaten and in front of him, wearing a shimmering pink dress of sequins and glittery fabric was Pinkie Pie herself. Her curly pink mane and tail looked as big and fluffy as cotton candy. Her smile was also big and happy enough to brighten any room and right now was no exception either. She had a Cutie Mark of balloons, a perfect representation of her joy to throw parties and whether they are for everyone in town or simply a party of two.

“Been a while, Spikey,” she greeted him as she leaned on the table and looked over at him, her body very slim despite her incredible sweet tooth. If anything, all those calories seemed to end up mostly in her rack and the rest in her rear and thighs, leaving her svelte all over the rest of her body. “Welcome back to ‘The Cavity,’ Ponyville’s only late night snack shack. You’re actually my first late night customer in ages.”

“Sorry to hear that, but I’m here now,” he smiled at her.

“And I’m super happy you are,” she cheered, her bubbly personality made all the more adorable and even a bit sexy as her balloons bounced up and down with her excitement. “But what about Twilight? Didn’t she have you on a diet?”

“Oh, forget her and her diet,” scoffed the hungry dragon as he stomach grumbled. “I’m big enough to decide that kind of stuff for myself and right now I’m more interested in seeing just how many things I can stuff into my stomach in one night.”

“Well, let’s get started then,” Pinkie smirked and reached over to rub Spike’s gut, reaching under his shirt to feel the soft little layer of pudge that Twilight had been trying to make him lose. “It’d be such a shame to lose such a pudgy little tummy like this.”

“Then bring it on,” chuckled Spike as Pinkie got up and started to bring over a number of delicious confections from the vast quantity she had to pick from, starting with an apple pie she placed in front of him then a chocolate cake, a dozen lemon frosting cupcakes, and then went to gather up more.

“Come to hungry,” drooled Spike as he scooped up the first piece of pie from the tin it was in. Licking his chops, Spike shoved as much of it into his maw as he could and bit down, the bitter sweet taste of the apple filling was like heaven to the dragon who had been cut off from such tempting treats, not including what few things he had been able to sneak behind Twilight’s back. It was enough to bring a tear to his eye as he munched up the first mouthful and then quickly gobbled up the rest of the piece with a stuff smile on his face. He grabbed the second piece and did the same while Pinkie was filling up the table with brownies, cookies, plenty of gems, and more pie.

Greedily, Spike ate slice after slice of the piece till all six were crammed into his stomach and he patted it contently, his belly grumbles quieted down. “Oh, that hit the spot,” he sighed with bliss.

“I hope you haven’t filled yourself up yet,” spoke the pink pony as she rubbed his gut feeling the slight bump it now possessed.

“Not even close,” chuckled Spike no longer feeling the soreness of his body, at least it wasn’t nearly as bad as he had felt earlier. Grabbing a clawful of cookies, he shoved them into his maw and munched them up with delight.

“Milk?” she offered him a glass, and the gluttonous dragon chugged it to help wash down all those cookies. Next, Spike stuffed some gems into his maw and ground them into a fine dust. Grabbing at the cupcakes next, Spike peeled off the paper cups they were in and stuffed them into his maw one at a time as he happily savored the sour lemon frosting. After the first three, Spike downed the rest of his milk and Pinkie quickly refilled his glass before grabbing more sweets to fill up the space on the table he had already cleared away.

“This is a lot more fun than working out,” thought Spike as he switched over to brownies next, chomping on them with delight then trying some slices of cake and then back to pie.

“You sure were hungry,” giggled Pinkie Pie as she stood behind Spike’s back and felt up his gut some more. His gut bulged much bigger than before, feeling quite solid and only getting more taut as he stuffed more sweets into it. “Mmm, feeling much better too. I love seeing someone who knows how to put it away.”

“What can I say?” chuckled Spike. “When the food tastes this good, why would I ever want to stop? Besides, the night is still young and I might just be tempted to come back and indulge again tomorrow night.”

“And the night after that and the night after that?” hoped Pinkie Pie as she groped his gut while bursting with excitement.

“And possibly the night after that too,” he nodded with a mouthful of cookies. He swallowed them before he spoke some more. “Every night for as long as I want.”

“Then this calls for a celebration!” she cheered. “I’m bringing out the ice cream sundaes!”

“Sounds good to me,” smirked Spike still hungry and eager for more.’’

Spike awoke some time before noon the next day. His memory of the night before became a blur some time between his second cheesecake and a shoofly pie. How he managed to get back to the Castle of Friendship and into bed was a completely mystery to him, but not one he cared to worry about.

Yawning and stretching, he still felt a bit sore, but beyond that, he felt quite refreshed and full thanks to all the sleep and food he had. Getting out of bed, he rubbed eyes and waddled his way over to his full length mirror like he always did first thing in the morning and flexed his arms.

“I know it’s only been a day, but let’s see what that workout from Tartarus did to me,” yawned Spike as he opened his eyes to see if he had any new muscle. Whether he did or not was hard to tell, but what he quickly became aware of was the protruding gut he gained from his night of binging. Mouth agape, he pressed a claw at it and found it wasn’t tight from being filled to the brim with confections, but soft and doughy as a result of the pudge it gained after digesting all those empty calories. “Eyargh!” cried Spike at the sight of what his overindulgence had caused.

“Spike? Is everything okay?” called Twilight from outside his door.

“Uh, yeah, it’s fine,” he lied as he attempted to tuck his gut beneath his shirt, but it was still very obvious. “My body is still a bit sore from my workout yesterday and I just got out of bed in a really bad way.”

“Oh, well, maybe you should take the day off from exercise,” she suggested. “It’s only five pounds you’re trying to lose after all. Shouldn’t be any trouble a little diet and exercise can’t fix.”

“Yeah,” he chuckled nervously as he looked at what he assumed was at least another ten pounds of pudge added to his frame. “No trouble at all.”

“Princess Celestia has need of me in Canterlot for a summit meeting with all the City States in Equestria,” she told him. “I was going to see if you wanted to come along, but if you’re not up for it, you can stay here. I just hope you don’t mind being on your own for the rest of the week.”

“No, I’m more than capable of taking care of myself,” he stated in a calmer tone. “And I bet by the time you see me next I’ll be a whole new dragon.”

“Oh, Spike,” she chuckled. “You don’t have to change for me. I like you just the way you are. Well, I better get myself ready. Packing to do. Checklists to make and all that.”

She took her leave and to Spike’s relief, she didn’t open his door to peek in at the extra chub he put on. “I’m not trying to change for you,” he spoke under his breath despite her not being there to hear him. Spike took a seat at his desk and started to write another letter over to Tamati.

“What’s the deal?” he wrote rather harshly onto the scroll paper. “You told me to indulge and I ended up putting on more weight. I hate to say this, but you’re horrible at giving advice for getting into shape.” With a quick breath, the chubby dragon incinerated the letter to sent it off.

Minutes later, Spike belched up a response, the scent of apple filling and chocolate still fresh on his breath. Tearing off the seal on the scroll, Spike read the letter, hoping for a good explanation. “Sounds like you had quite an enjoyable feast. That’s good. Also, I guess a better explanation is in order. You see, maturing dragons develop big body types that are either very muscular, very fat, or some mix in between. I’m sure if you’ve been around the Dragon Lands you’ve seen what I’m talking about. Dragons aren’t known for being skinny string beans like you’ve been while under the care of ponies. It’s nothing to be ashamed of if you pack on more meat than muscle. Just let yourself indulge and grow into your proper shape. Trust me when I tell you that you won’t feel more comfortable in your scales till you embrace your draconic urges and don’t tell me that you didn’t enjoy eating yourself drunk last night. Continue to exercise and indulge for the rest of the week and then send me some photos of yourself again so I can see the after images. By then you should already understand what I mean. Till then, good luck, fatty. P.S. Don’t forget to continue to work on decoding the Elements of Discord for me.”

Grumbling, Spike crumpled up the paper, particularly pissed at being called a “fatty” at the end, but, after tossing the ball of paper into his trash bin, he looked down at his gut and rubbed it, recalling how Pinkie Pie had done some and a small smile appeared on his face.

“It does feel good having a bit of a gut,” he admitted. The curious, purple dragon then tried to flex his arm some, taking the time to examine it more closely. He did see some new muscle was there, albeit a little. “And I think I’m stronger from all that hellish training. Maybe this actually is working. I could at least give it the rest of the week like Tamati has said.” Standing up, Spike waddled over to his door and began his way once more to Bulk Bicep’s gym.

“Welcome back, Little Dragon!” greeted the buff, white horse. “I was starting to get a bit worried that you weren’t going to come back.”

“I told you,” Spike replied as he walked in. “Dragons are made of tough stuff and it’ll take more than a little exercise to scare me off. Also, it’s Spike.”

“Then let’s get back into this!” he exclaimed already sounding pumped up to help the dragon build up more muscle mass. They walked over to the bench with the barbell and Spike got into position as Bulk Biceps adjusted the weights of both sides to be the same as they had been the day before. He then lifted the bar up and helped it get into Spike’s claws.

Just from holding it, Spike could tell it felt lighter than it had the day before. He double-checked and saw the it was the same fifty pounds it had been set to yesterday. Smiling, Spike thought,” I think I actually am getting stronger.” Slowly, Spike brought the bar down to his chest and then, just as calmly, lifted it up as far as his arms could extend. He did this over and over again working his way up to the one hundred reps like he had done the day before. However, unlike how his arms grew tired and sore barely a third of the way through and he had to struggle the rest of the way, this time, he managed to get over halfway before he could feel the burn coming on and his arms started to become sore just near the end. Beyond that, he finished up with great ease and sat upright. He wiped the little sweat from his brow and flexed his arms a bit with great satisfaction.

“Yeah!” cheered Bulk as he flexed too. “Way to go! Ready for more?”

“Bring it on,” answered Spike as he got up and proceeded over to the next machine on his circuit. He took a seat and waited as Bulk put the same weights on as the day before. With confidence, Spike got to work and found this had gotten easier too. The same was true for the rest of the circuit that had gone from a grueling hell to a comfortable workout he could do while barely breaking into much of a sweat. At least, that was how his first rotation went. After he hydrated on his cooldown break, Spike and Bulk returned once more to the bench and the barbell. Spike reclined back and held his arms out to accept the weight once more, but Bulk Biceps had gone to grab two more weights. They were smaller ten pounders and he placed one on each side of the barbell. He then lifted it up, showing no change in difficulty for him to hold it, but as it came into Spike’s claws, the increase in weight was very noticeable. The purple dragon gripped it tightly and his arms flexed as he mustered a lot more strength right from the start.

“You did so great that we’re bumping you up a level on everything in your circuit,” Bulk Biceps told him. “Congrats!”

“Y-Yeah, great,” gulped Spike a bit less confident now that he was struggling even worse with the weights than he had the day before. As he began his reps, he didn’t even make it to twenty before he was starting to sweat. The burn flared up in his arms and all the soreness he had thought he had overcame was back with avengence. Gritting his teeth, reaching a full one hundred seemed much farther away as he paused several seconds before each rep to gather the energy he needed to perform the next one.

As Spike continued, he tried to keep his mind occupied as his arms starting to quiver and the feeling in them faded. He thought about Tamati’s words of encouragement, if they could be considered that. He thought about impressing Sweetie Belle with his new muscles and confidence, not to mention all the other ladies he’d show them off to as well. But mostly, he thought about his reward dessert tonight after he had put a hard day’s work in pumping iron.

“And that’s the last one,” spoke Spike’s trainer as he returned the barbell to its idle spot over the edge of the bench. “Time for your legs!”

“Woohoo…” a weary Spike uttered, already half soaked in sweat after hardly perspiring from the full circuit the first time around. Despite this, he got up and moved to the second machine again and like before, Bulk Biceps added more weight to up the difficulty. Pressing his feet against the metal plate, Spike could feel the difference and the amount of strength and energy needed to do lift the weights up. Just as before, he went through it without complaining and focused only on happy thoughts. That was the only thing to keep him going as he went through the circuit several grueling times till he was once more utterly exhausted and had to drag his aching body once more back to the Castle of Friendship and pass out till it was time once more for his late night snack run.

“Welcome back again, Spikey!” cheered Pinkie, her sweet voice as opposite Bulk Bicep’s as the reasons he went to the two of them. “I was expecting you tonight so I made sure to have a lot of goodies freshly made just for you.”

“Sounds delightful,” drooled Spike, starving after such an intense workout. He could smell the freshly baked treats and could barely keep from drooling or quiet his belly from rumbling. “I’m starved!”

“Oh, I can tell just listening to how your chubby wubby tummy sounds,” she teased as she rubbed and groped it. Spike couldn’t help but smile as she played with his belly pudge, the feeling of her fingers against his soft underbelly gave him a blissful enjoyment. To his dismay, she only did so for a moment, but only so she could start gathering some steaming hot confections and place them before him on the table. “Luckily, Dr. Pinkie has the cure right here!” She placed down some fresh baked apple pies, muffins, cookies, whole chocolate cakes, baskets of mixed gems, and lots more sugary and fat-inducing delights before the hungry, little dragon. “Now, eat up! Doctor’s orders.”

“I’m not one to question a doctor’s orders,” chuckled Spike as he carved himself out a nice piece of apple pie to start himself off like the day prior. “Especially when the medicine is so tasty. Just to be safe, you think I should eat all of it?”

“Oh, if you can that’d be great,” she encouraged him and looked very eager to see him try. She looked on as he brought the first gooey apple pie slice to his maw and took a big bite, smiling even more as he munched it up and swallowed.

“Mmm… shoo good,” he told her. “Even better freshly made.” Happily he gobbled up the rest of the slice and quickly took another, quickly devouring the pie even faster than he had managed yesterday and continued to glut and fulfill his goal to eat everything.

“Heheh, you eat more like a pig than a dragon if you ask me,” joked Pinkie Pie as she watched Spike practically dive head first into a chocolate cake once the pie was safely tucked away in his stomach.

“Don’t insult me,” retorted Spike. “Dragons are waaay bigger eaters than pigs. How do you think we get so big?”

“I don’t know,” she answered. “Wasn’t it greed or something?”

“Well, I certainly am greedy enough to eat all these sweets,” salivated Spike as he grabbed some cookies to munch up, followed by a clawful of gems.

“Guess we’ll find out once you’ve eaten more,” smiled Pinkie. “You did say you were going to be coming over every night, right?”

“I sure am,” nodded Spike as he gave his gut a pat, feeling it a bit taught, but not even feeling close to be full despite the amount of food he had already put into it. “Looks like my muscles aren’t the only thing getting bigger. My stomach is as well and all the better for me.” With a greedily gluttonous look in his eyes, Spike grabbed a nearby muffin and opened his maw to fit the whole thing in and continue his binge.

A few hours passed as the hungry dragon ate and ate and ate every sweet treat he could get his claws on and stuff into his ever expanding stomach. His gut bulged outward and to the sides as he forced more food into it than he ever imagined he’d be able to and while he might have been mostly joking about dragons eating more than pigs earlier, he could see his statement was truer than he imagined, consuming what felt like his bodyweight in food before reaching the limits of his appetite and forced to finally stop.

“Can’t eat another bite,” he groaned and belched, spewing some green embers from his maw. His gut looked so overly full that he had to lift up his shirt over his gut to keep it from putting any pressure on it.

“You’ve certainly ate a lot,” chuckled Pinkie as she gently rubbed his massive sphere of a gut. “I’ll bring the table back up to the main floor then you can go and rest. See ya tomorrow, hungry.”

“See ya,” waved Spike as the table he was at was lifted back up to the main floor.

Spike returned home, happy he managed to eat way more than the night before, but sadly failed to fit everything in his stomach like he had planned. Slowly waddling through Ponyville as the early morning sun was still at least a couple hours from rising over the horizon, he hefted his gut all the way back to the Castle once more to sleep till it was time to return to the gym. Climbing into bed, he rubbed his overly stuffed gut to ease it and then let out a yawn, eager to see what was to become of him when he’d awaken again.

Awakening next, Spike found his changes with more excited bliss this time compared to the day before. His chubby belly was even bigger, now clearly fat. He couldn’t even keep his shirt tucked in to hide it and he actually smiled as he rubbed it with his claws. His arms and legs had thickened too with meat, giving him a beefier look. Taking off his clothes to get a better overall look, he saw his rear was a significantly rounder and softer and even his tail looked thicker, particularly at the base. His chest had some softness to it too and he could see the early development of a pair of moobs too. Even the chubby cheeks on his face was looking chubbier and he was starting to develop a doughy chin too slightly drooping down his neck.

After getting an eyeful of that, he began to flex and see how his workout had changed him strength wise. Making muscles on his arms, he could see the muscle through the pudge they had gained and could feel they were definitely bigger than before. He gave them a test by attempting to lift up his bed and to his delight, he could managed to do it with only one hand. The shaping up dragon didn’t even feel any soreness from all the working out he had done, in fact, he felt like he was brimming with energy!

“Sweet Celestia, this is awesome!” cheered Spike as he admired his body some more in the mirror. “I love the muscles and while I wasn’t too thrilled about putting on all this extra plumpness at first, it does feel rather nice. I guess Tamati knew what he was talking about after all. Dragons indulge and that’s how they grow to fit their proper body type. Speaking of which…” With even more eagerness, Spike hurried over to the the wall where had had set up a height chart for himself. Just looking the lines for how he had grown month after month, his height had showed little to no increase even after reaching his teens. As he attempted to check his results now, however, he found himself a full half inch taller and found this to be the best result of his new diet and training regiment. “Hah! Seems Twilight doesn’t know a thing about dragons after all. Probably purposely keeping me on a diet to stunt my growth or something. Well, no more! Look out world! Spike is getting bigger and better than ever!” Rushing to his door, Spike ran his way over to Bulk Bicep’s gym ready to push his limits even further.

Day after day passed by as Spike kept on outdoing his previous day’s efforts. Before he realized it, he was handling weights that his old self wouldn’t have been able to budge even a little and, every time he saw Bulk Biceps have to add on more weight to give him a greater challenge, he smiled with prideful accomplishment that he was that much stronger now.

“Keep this up and you’ll be lifting as much as me, Spike,” praised the muscular horse who didn’t seem to overly jacked to Spike now that he could understand the amount of hard work and determination he had to have to reach such levels of raw strength. He was still far off from being even half as muscular as him and far even from how perfectly build Tamati was, but the purple dragon was more than satisfied with the results he obtained in just a short week.

“Thanks,” Spike answered happily. “I’m not sure if I’m more amazed at my new muscles, how effective your training has been or the fact that you didn’t call me, ‘Little Dragon’ for a change.”

“I don’t see any little dragons around here,” Bulk Biceps pointed out with a smile. “Do you?”

“Heheh, nope,” agreed Spike as he flexed one of his arms and attempted to use the hand on his other army to measure it. Doing so, he found it was too thick to even wrap his claws around. It felt very solid while he made a muscle, but as he relaxed it, he could feel his claws press up against the soft layer of arm flab.

Looking over the rest of his body, he admired the ample pudge all of Pinkie’s treats had provided him, giving him a large gut that managed to be doughy, but firm thanks to all the exercise he had to keep his body from getting too overly fat and providing him with a strong foundation for the pudge to form on. From the defined yet pecs on his chest to his strong, thickened thighs, to his plump, but shapely glutes to his improved tail that looked capable of felling an apple tree in only a few swings of it, and to everywhere else, Spike was pleased with the body he had developed.

So much so, in fact, he couldn’t help getting aroused by his own sexiness that added to his original horny urges. With his new, larger body, the lustful dragon soon found himself several sizes too big to fit into anything in his wardrobe four days into the training. Bulk Biceps offered him a speedo like the one he had on and Spike found it left nothing to the imagination. Needless to say, he liked it. Grinning at the obvious bulge he had, Spike gladly accepted it, his sense of shame gone along with his scrawny, weak self.

“Ready for the barbell again?” Bulk Biceps asked Spike.

“Always,” he nodded and got into position. As he was given the barbell, he started to do the reps as Bulk Biceps counted.

“1… 2… 3… 4…”

“58… 59… 60!” cheered Pinkie Pie as she watched Spike binging on a huge plate of sugar cookies. He had already eaten a dozen pies, five cakes, and a whole tray of muffins stacked in the shape of a pyramid and still he didn’t falter from consuming more. “Oh! You might finally do it today! You might finally finish everything!”

“Hard to do when you make even more than you did the day prior,” commented Spike as he paused from eating only to answer her and then went right back to scarfing up the last of the cookies on the plate. After that, he took a whole bowl of gems and poured them into his maw, crunching the expensive snack with his powerful teeth and then washing it down with some milk. He let out a quick belch and then grabbed a tub of ice cream to attack that next. All the while he did this, Pinkie was more than content to rub his gut, especially with how much more there was to rub after it had plumped up so much.

“You’re a real champ when it comes to eating,” she told him while squeezing his gut tight. “I could watch you glut for hours! Hehe, and I think I will,” she added as she helped push another cookie through his scaly lips and into his already stuffed mouth.

“Done,” announced Spike a while later into his late night snack, the sun just starting to peek over the horizon.

“You’re full?” she asked, great disappointment in her voice despite this being his longest binge yet.

“No, I can still eat, but there isn’t any food left,” he explained and belched out a stream of green fire that illuminated the darker parts of the room and showed that there was indeed not a single sweet left to be nibbled on.

“Oooh! You did it! You did it!” cheered Pinkie as she bounced around the room. “We should celebrate! I’ll go whip you up something else to eat!”

“That’s quite alright,” Spike told her, halting her from further baking. “I should be heading for home to get some rest. It’s a very important day for me, after all.”

“It is? What’s going on?” she asked him curiously.

“It’s the day to see if all this training will pay off,” he answered as patted his gut and then pressed his claws firmly against his belly scales to enjoy how deep they could sink into it.

“And that’s the last one,” said Spike after spending half an hour in his room snapping photos of his body to send to Tamati as he promised. With the week behind him, Spike could hardly believe the bod he now possessed. Flexing his mighty arms, he could marvel at the powerfully sculpted muscles he had developed. Even with all weight he put on they were still partly visible even while he didn’t flex. His gut had grown even large, becoming a rather hefty gut that dropped a bit below his waist. The moobs on his chest had developed some more and along with his entire torso made a rather comfy little bed someone could snuggle up in.

The rear of the dragon had gotten bigger still as well, developing into quite a lusciously pair if miniature bean bag chairs that boosted him up wherever he sat. As for his tail, it had gained more length as well as thickness. When he tried to wrap it around his body, he could just barely get it around his entire front half.

The length of his tail wasn’t the only growth he experienced. His height had continue to increase bit by bit, gained a full three inches that was scratched on his height chart quite vigorously with his nail from excitement.

Spike then waddled over to his desk and took a seat to write him a note on a scroll paper. Even with his thicker digits, his handwriting remained unchanged. “The week is up. Here’s the new me. What do you think?” With photos and scroll in hand, Spike set them ablaze and waited.

“Uuurap!” belched Spike as the response came back not ten minutes later. Opening up the scroll to read, Spike couldn’t help but laugh at the first few lines.

“Damn you got big!” wrote Tamati, his writing rather improved and lacking any blotches of ink anywhere. “Just seeing how much progress you made in a week should be proof enough that this is the build you were always meant to have. I’d say you have a seventy-thirty muscle-to-fat ratio. That’s really good especially with how well you carry it. I don’t have to ask you how it feels since that look on your face and that stiffy you got clearly means you’re loving it and ready to put it to use. Well, time to hook your pony. The trick to doing this is you’ve got to be a master baiter.” Reading that last part, Spike rolled his eyes before reading on. “Ok, terrible jokes aside, you have to attract the ones you like come to you. You got the perfect lure with that body of yours, so just dangle it in front of them till they bite and then reel them in. I doubt you’ll need any, but let me just wish you good luck anyway.”

Putting the scroll down on his desk, Spike sat up and took a deep breath. “Ok, Sweetie Belle. It’s time to give this another shot.”

Going into town, Spike began his search for Sweetie Belle. His increased size had been turning ponies heads since he started to bulk up and today was no different, especially with the speedo tightly clenched to his plumpened rear. As he walked by, Spike smiled seeing that all the ponies had to look up to meet his eyes, filling him with pride.

While most couldn’t decide what to make of Spike, there were a few mares that couldn’t help blush as he walked by. In response, Spike flexed his thick arm muscles to show them off and they were drooling with delight to see it become rock hard.

“I never noticed you were so strong, Spike,” one said.

“Maybe you’d like to come back to my place for a little fun,” another offered.

“Hehe, thanks, but I’ve got a bit of business to take care of today, but I’ll keep your offers in mind,” he smiled and continued through town with some added swagger in his step, but try as he might, he was unable to find Sweetie Belle anywhere. Scratching his head, a thought came to mind and, quickly, Spike ran to the park like he had done last week. Reaching the gazebo, he could hear the unmistakable dulcet tones of her voice and as he had hoped, found her by the lake.

“Hey, there,” he called out to her. “Still working on that song?”

“Yeah, I- Spike!?!” she gasped. “Is that really you? You’re so… big.”

“And buff,” he added as he flexed to show off his muscles. “Not bad, right?”

“Oh, yes,” she nodded as she felt his muscles, running her hands over his arms and then ran them down his chest and over his soft gut, pressing her palms into it. “I mean, I always liked you, but now, your body… it’s…”

“You like it?” smirked Spike as he ran his fingers through her hair.

“Uh huh,” she nodded and blushed, slowly resting her head against his chest as he rubbed her back. “Didn’t you want to have a picnic with me before?”

“Yeah,” he smiled. “I asked you last week, but you were busy.”

“I’m free now, but I’m not really hungry at the moment,” she spoke calmly to him.

“I’m not particularly hungry either,” he replied, but his stomach rumbled betrayed him. “Uh, well, I’m still happy just spending this time with you.”

“I’d love to,” she giggled as she looked at his blushing face. Lifting her head up, she looked deeply into Spike’s emerald eyes. He looked back into her own green beauties. Slowly their heads moved closer till at last they embraced in a kiss. The feeling of her tender lips against his scaley ones and her body hugging into his tightly was more wonderful than either could have hoped.

“I love you,” he whispered into her ear. “Will you be mine?”

“Be the crown jewel in a dragon’s treasure horde?” she smiled as she sat on his lap to be as close as she could to him. “How could I resist such a tempting offer from such a sexy dragon?”

“You really think I’m sexy?” he asked. “What part? The muscle or that fat?”

“Both,” she answered as she pressed her hands against his soft chest. “It’s a nice combination you got. So soft on top yet so well built underneath. How’d you even get like this so quickly? It’s only been a week since I last saw you.”

“Lots of exercise and muffins,” he chuckled and she giggled too. “Seems dragons are able to build up their bodies quite quick in both regards. I feel like a new dragon.”

“You seem like the old Spike to me,” Sweetie Belle told him. “But I know what you mean. So, do you… wanna do it?”

“You mean ‘do it’ do it?” blushed Spike as her fingers danced down to his crotch and tugged at his speedo making him become very anxious as his heart pounded in his chest. Tugging it down, his cock stood at attention and was already leaking pre.

“Mmhmm,” she nodded and gave his cock an eager lick. “Mmm, I’ve always been curious what it’s like to have sex with a dragon. From a first impression, I think this is going to be a lot of fun.”

“Murr, then let’s have fun,” smiled Spike as he panted hot air out his maw.

“Then what are you waiting for?” she teased. “These clothes aren’t going to take themselves off.”

Snorting smoke from his nostrils at what Sweetie Belle was offering him, Spike helped undress her, peeling off her shirt and then unbuttoning her jeans before gently tugging them off. As he did this, Sweetie Belle helped pulled his speedo down past his knees enabling Spike to wiggle them off the rest of the way off his feet. Moving onto her bra, Spike carefully undid the strap in the back and watched as his beloved cupped her breasts as she slowly took them off as she watched Spike stare in awe at her delicate chest.

Sweetie Belle gave him a few moments to admire her rack before raising a finger to refocus his attention and lowered it to her panties. Using that finger to tug are her last piece of clothing, she lifted up the front and let it snap back, enticing the entranced dragon to strip her of them as well. Gripping her panties in the front and tugging them down, Spike got his first look at her pussy and saw it was also wet and eager for sex just as much as his dick.

Looking passionately at one another, they didn’t need words. Slowly, Sweetie got into position, laying on top of Spike as he rested his back on the soft grass. She got her vagina aligned with his dick and, slowly, she pushed it inside her, a perfect fit like a hand in a glove. She let out a soft moan of bliss as Spike reached around to her rear and gave both cheeks a squeeze. Blushing as she felt Spike’s claws, she rested against his chest and sighed.

“I’m so warm in your embrace,” she said to him.

“Well, that’s to be expected from a fire breathing dragon,” chuckled Spike as he moved his hands to wrap around her back and did the same with his tail. Breathing deeply, he stoked the flames within him and raised his body temperature a few degrees higher. As she relaxed in his warm embrace, Spike sat up and continued to keep his darling lover wrapped tightly to him like she was a giant gemstone he wouldn’t ever let go of.

Maneuvering to cling onto Spike’s shoulders, Sweetie Belle began to lift herself up and down as she pleasured Spike’s cock and herself as well. Pressing her breasts against the top half of his gut and chest she placed her head against her cheek as pleasurable moans slipped out her maw. Even those sounds came out like music to Spike’s ear.

At the same time, Spike caressed her back tenderly as he enjoyed her company and the beautiful euphoria they shared. Turning his head slightly, he kissed her forehead and murred as he enjoyed their love making.

“Sunny days,” Sweetie Belle started to sing in tempo with their sex. “Shining brightly! Shining warmly! Gentle breeze! Blowing swiftly! Blowing cooly! Crystal Waters! Flowing in and out!”

“Did you finish your song?” asked Spike as he placed a hand on her cheek and tilted her head up to his.

“I was still working on the end, but I think I’ve just found the words,” she answered.

“Would you mind singing me the rest?” he asked as he reached down and planted a kiss on her nose. “I always loved hearing you sing.”

“I would love to sing to you,” she blushed and reached up to rub his cheek. “I can see the sunshine, hear the wind blow, feel the water’s cool embrace. It’s a day like no other. It’s a time we share together. It’s a moment of bliss. From the instance our eyes meet to the moment that we kiss. Arm in arm and hand in hand we embrace one another. As the sun shines. As the wind blows. As the waters ebb and flow. I want this time to last forever. Forgotten never. Living always in our hearts. Always in our hearts. Forever in our hearts.”

The song came to an end as Sweetie’s voice slowly quieted to a silence. It ended on cue as Spike felt his cock pulse and unload his seed into his beloved mate. The euphoria was wonderful, but it was a second thought to him as he found tears running down his face from the beautiful lyrics accompanying that angeling voice.

“What did you think of it?” she asked Spike as she waited for a response. Hefting her up to meet her at eye level, he remained silent as he tried to keep from sobbing long enough to speak clearly.

“I… I loved it,” he told her. “I love you, Sweetie Belle.”

“I love you too, Spike,” she cried as he pulled her in for another loving embrace as the two once more kissed and wished that moment could have truly lasted forever.

Puckering his lips, Tamati blew a thin black flame into the water of the tub he sat in. He kept it up till the water started to steam and then slowed his breath till the flame died out. Reclining back, the dark dragon submerge most of his body till only his head, hands, and knee stuck out of the water. All around him, his harem of female Changelings were watching with delight. Many had loofahs in their hands while others had brushes and the rest nail files.

“Okay, ladies,” he yawned as he allowed the water to soak through his scales and relax his body and soul. “The water’s just right. You can come on in.”

Not wasting a second, they all climbed in and swarmed over their master. The ones with loofahs and brushes got to work washing and scrubbing over his body while the ones with nail files focused on grooming his nails and horns to a fine, even edge. Two focused their cleaning on his hands that were the most dirty, stained with ink from his efforts to improve his penmanship. The dark dragon moaned with delight as he was pampered all over his body, his cock poking out of the water too before long. His harem quickly turned their attention to it, hoping to get their turn to fuck master as soon as possible. Knowing they had to gain his favor, they returned to their jobs to do it as best they could.

“I wonder how Spike is doing,” he thought as he snorted up some steam into his nostrils and then exhaled some embers from his maw. “Did he score or strike out?”

“If it was your advice then he certainly did score,” replied Chrysalis as she worked to clean one of his pecs as Abby worked on the other.

“He did look rather sexy in those photos he sent,” Abby added. “Master Tamati is still sexier, of course.”

“It prides me to see my cohort is doing so well,” he spoke before looking down at Chrysalis and rubbing her stomach that had a slight, but noticeable bulge to it while she was undressed for the bath. A lot of the other Changelings in the tub were also showing a slightly rounder belly. “How are you all doing my little preggies?”

“It’s still really early,” Honey stated as she paused from smoothing the nail on his right big toe. “But in a few weeks we should be due to lay our eggs.”

“Those of you currently pregnant, at least,” stated Tamati. “If memory serves, a few of you have yet to receive me seed. We’ll have to remedy that soon. As for those of you who currently are carrying my offspring, you’d best get used to this feeling. In order to conquer Equestria I’ll need hundreds, maybe even thousands under my wing to accomplish this. I trust that none of you have any issue with this.”

“None at all, my Master,” smiled Chrysalis as she spoke for the whole group. “We are yours. Our bodies are yours to do with as you please. It is our greatest pleasure to serve you.”

“A splendid answer,” he smirked as he dunked a hand beneath the water and lifted up a palm’s worth that he slowly poured it over his cock. Shall, we then?” He smirked as he saw the eager looks on their faces as they nodded in unison. “My number one, Chrysalis. You are up, first.”

“Thank you, Master,” she bowed before eagerly taking his cock, the rod a mighty peninsular rising out of the ocean that was the bathwater.

“And the rest of you can continue to clean me,” he added and they all quickly returned to work.

Chrysalis had barely begun when a sudden feeling of gas rose up from the dragon’s chest and into his throat. Before he could stop himself, he unleashed a blast of flames and a scroll materialized in midair.

“Ohoh,” he coughed up smoke as he hurried to snatch up the letter before it fell in the bath water and got ruined. “It seems that Spike has some big news for me. I think that letter gave me a little heartburn.”

Opening the letter, he began to read it as Chrysalis slipped his dick into her pussy. He murred feeling as she began to fuck him, but didn’t let it distract him from Spike’s message.

“Dear Tamati,” he read. “I did it! I met with Sweetie Belle and it was such a magical experience for the two of us. There are no words I can offer to tell you how much I appreciate all the help you’ve given in guiding me down this path. My harem might only be of one right now, but I’ll keep working at it. I’ve already know a few other mares in town that I’m sure this hot stud of a dragon will be able to romance into bed. Your pal, Spike.”

“Hehe,” Tamati chucked after reading. “He sure is an interesting dragon. I’ll give him that, but that’s what I like about him.”

“Oh! Oh! F...Fuck!” howled Chrysalis as she humped against his crotch with all her might till his throbbing cock finally peaked and filled her pussy once against with his seed. She panted heavily, slowly pulling out and rested against Tamati’s chest.

“Not to say I am without some passion as well,” he smirked as he lifted up the former queen and locked lips with her, exchanging saliva before placing her beside him in the bath. Then with a claw, he waved Honey over to take her turn with his dick. She started out by rubbing and licking his shaft, helping to harden his it before taking her turn to fill it with pleasure.

As she slid his dick into her, Tamati noticed a bit more to Spike’s letter and continued to read. “P.S. I have some other good news to tell you. I have managed to decode a few more sections of Twilight’s cryptograms and have determined the location of the first of the Elements of Discord.” Seeing those words, a look of excitement spread across the dark dragon’s face and he murred as he relished in both the pleasure he was getting from being fucked as well as in finally being able to take another big step forward in his conquest. “I will send the results in a separate letter, but essentially, it appears to be in an ancient temple in the southwestern corner of Equestria. I wish I could be more specific, but apparently the only pony with any knowledge of its exact location is Daring Do, a famous adventurer that most only believe is heroine in a series of adventure novels. I’m certain that if you were to meet with her you could convince her to help you. I’ll send the details about her in a separate letter as well. Till we speak again, I’ll continue my research.”

“Such excellent news,” smirked Tamati as he rolled up the letter and called over one of the male Changeling guards waiting at the entrance to the washing chamber. “Wedge! Come over here at once!”

“What is it you need, your highness?” he asked. Wedge flew up over the edge of the tub to see what he needed, but he couldn’t help eyeing all the female Changelings and their naked wet bodies as they worked to get the few hard to reach spots on the dragon’s front before starting to work on his back side.

“I don’t want this to get wet,” he instructed. “So bring this to my chambers and then return to your post.”

“As you wish,” he bowed.

“And how are the other males doing?” he asked. “Well, I assume.”

“We’re few in numbers, but the reports from the ones who have returned have reported they are doing their best to collect love as discreetly as possible.”

“Excellent,” he replied, his voice distorting a bit as he cumming once more and Honey relished in the moment of once more experiencing an orgasm with her master. “We’re in no shape to mount a large scale assault to obtain love so we’ll need to manage as best we can scavenging for it while not drawing too much attention. The future of this hive depends on ensuring my offspring are well taken care of.”

“You are quite a nice guy for being such a big, scary dragon,” he commented.

“I can still be fucking terrifying if angered,” Tamati spoke and his voice filled Wedge with such dread that it sent a piercing chill right through his exoskeleton. “You’d all best remember that.”

“W-We will,” he nodded and hurried away. “I’ll bring the letter to your throne room!”

“Hehe,” he chuckled feeling quite amused. He lifted up Honey to kiss her like he had Chrysalis and then looked over the rest of his harem. Let’s see now… who is next?”

“And that should do it,” said Spike as he finished the letter he promised to send Tamati with the specifics on the Element of Discord and on Daring Do. Placing his quill down, he rubbed his writing claws to sooth them.

As he was about to send it up in smoke, he turned towards his bed where Sweetie Belle was resting after their fun afternoon. He smiled warmly as she looked so content to be nestled in his bed.

Looking again at his letter, he ignited it with a very quiet flame and watched it dissolve into smoke between his claws. With that done, Spike walked over to his mirror and picked up a large dumbbell in hand and a chunk of crystal he had broken off the wall of the castle in the other. He began to do reps while taking big bites of the tasty. After twenty reps, he switched what each hand was holding and resumed exercising and eating his snack. Spike was happy with how much he built up his body, but greedy for more.

Chapter 4

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“Do you have everything you’ll need?” asked Chrysalis as she and the rest of the harem had gathered around the top of the hive with Tamati. He had a backpack on, heavily filled with a number of supplies and rations, but to him, it was hardly a burden to carry. “Perhaps we should pack you more stuff. Like me! What if you get horny alomg the way?”

“Heheh, I’m always horny,” he joked, though that didn’t make it any less true. “But I’ll be fine. I doubt this little excursion we’ll be taking will require more than a week at the most.”

“A week?” they cried and looked at their round bellies. The month since most of them had been impregnated was almost up and it was just a matter of time before their offspring would arrive. “But don’t you wanna be here to see the birth of your babies?”

“I’d love nothing more,” he nodded. “And I will be. It’ll be the motivation I need to get this job done faster.” He smiled and knelt down to look at his girls the best he could at eye level. “We’ll make a huge celebration out of it.”

“We can’t wait,” Abby told him.

“I’ll prepare a feast for your return too,” added Honey and soon the other girls were also attempting to talk over one another to tell him what they’d prepare for him.

“Heheh, seems you all have a lot of work ahead of you too, but please don’t concern yourselves with me when it is yourselves and our children that need the most care right now,” he told them. “I insist you all take it easy once I go. Now, let me speak to the males for a moment.” Turning around, he looked at the group of male Changelings. Most stood at attention, too frightened by him to budge an inch. Wedge hugged tightly to Biggs, too fearful to keep from shaking. The only one who wasn’t afraid was Cid.

“Don’t worry,” spoke Cid as he sooke for them all. “We’ll take good care of them for you… your highness.”

“Oh, I know you will,” he chuckled and brandished his claws in front of them. Just as you know what’ll happen if you let me down and none of you want that… right?”

“No! No way!” gulped the other Changelings. “You can count on us!”

“I’m so happy to hear that,” he smiled in earnest, the feeling of terror he was previously exuding vanished and all the males were able to let out a sigh of relief.

“Hey! Tamati!” called a voice that the dark dragon hadn’t heard in well over a week. Turning towards the sky where it was coming from, he saw Spike flying down to greet him. He came wearing a brown adventurer’s robe that was a perfect fit for him despite his increased girth.

“Ah, Spike,” he waved. “I’m happy you were able to join me on this little quest.”

“Are you kidding!” exclaimed Spike as he landed and approached his new friend. “I’m excited to go on an adventure.” After saying that, Spike rolled his eyes. “And right now, I’d take getting lost in the deep, unmapped jungles of Equestria over being back in the castle with Twilight.”

“Oh, did something happen?” Tamati wondered with a hidden grin. “Something with that pony princess of yours?”

“Um, well, I was lucky that Twilight was away for that week when I went to work out and eat, but when she got back you can just imagine how she reacted to seeing me… like this.” Spike removed his cloak and showed off his muscle gutted body. He appeared stronger and plumper than how he appeared in the pictures he sent over via dragon mail, albeit it was only a moderate increase.

“Hmm, very nice,” smirked Tamati, poke Spike’s gut, feeling the hard muscle beneath the plush flab. “I am pleased to see how well you’ve managed in so short a time, but, I take it, Twilight didn’t feel the same.”

“Well, easy to see why when I put on a hundred pounds instead of losing five,” he chuckled, not sounding ashamed at all about it. “I haven’t seen her freak out as much as she did, since she had the town battling to the death over her old Smarty Pants Doll.” Tamati looked at Spike and raised an eyebrow curiously. “I’ll tell you about that some other time, but, anyway,she started to lecture me on the importance of eating in moderation and some other stuff I just mmhmm’d through for about ten minutes. After that, she confined me to my room and put a barrier in front of the kitchen and the front door for further security.”

“See what happens when you tug at your leash,” explained Tamati. “Your master takes away more rope.”

“Fortunately, I had Sweetie Belle to help me out,” Spike continued. “Twilight just made the barrier to keep me confined so she could come and go as she pleased. She helped sneak me some snacks as well as helped give this prisoner his conjugal visits.”

“I’m sure that must’ve been kinky as hell,” commented Tamati and could see on Spike’s blushing face that was definitely the case.

“Uh, anyway, once I got the letter from you about this mission I had Sweetie take my measurements so she could get Rarity to make me this cloak for traveling and to help hide my identity if need be. Meanwhile, I spent my time eating-slash-digging a tunnel out of my room. Guess that’s one good thing about living in a castle made of crystal. I was lucky enough to break through in time to I gather some supplies and fly over. I even have copied some pages from the next section of the Elements of Discord so I can keep working on it.”

“And how’s that going?” wondered Tamati.

“I’ve started making progress on the cryptograms, but with Twilight constantly checking up on me and the time I needed to make my tunnel I wasn’t able to get quite as far as I would have liked. At least now that I’m essentially a fugitive I should have plenty of time to work on it.”

“I’m sorry to have put such a strain on your relationship with Twilight,” apologized the dark dragon. “I can only imagine how painful it must have been for you to go against her like this.”

“Maybe, but the more I think about it, the more I feel that I’d be better off with you,” explained Spike. “I still don’t know for certain if Twilight sees me as a friend or just some sort of experiment, but she certainly doesn’t know what I need right now. I would still be a stunted runt of a dragon if I just did what she said. I’m at the point where I am old enough to make my own decisions, even if they are bad ones.”

“You think joining me is a bad decision?” questioned Tamati.

“Dude, you’re literally planning to fuck up Equestria to take over,” pointed out Spike. “I can’t think of anything that is badder than that.”

“Oh,” cackled Tamati as he and Spike laughed together. “That is very true. Now how’s about I introduce you to all the Changelings here. First off, here’s Chrysalis.”

“I’m well aware of her,” Spike stated nervously. “She’s been quite a relentless villain. So, she’s on our side now?”

“She’s number one in my harem,” bragged Tamati. “In a little while she will be birthing my offspring. Isn’t that wonderful news?”

“And not the only one,” observed Spike as the other females appeared just as pregnant as their former queen. “Boy you’ve been busy.”

“And how about you?” wondered Tamati. “Will you be expecting the pitty patter or any children?”

“Will I?” Spike asked himself before thinking of Sweetie Bell. “Oh, crap! I did fuck her, but I didn’t even consider if something would happen and now I’m all the way out here! What am I supposed to do?!?”

“You can start by relaxing,” Tamati assured him with an amused tone. “If nothing comes of the sex than it’s nothing to worry about, but if there is you’ll be a man and take responsibility. Besides, she’s a part of your harem. We’ll bring her back here first chance we get and any others who join you too. Now, how about I introduce you to the others.”

“O-Okay,” nodded Spike as he was one-by-one introduced to the Changelings of the hive. There were quite a few, but in spite of their numbers, Tamati knew them all by name and correctly introduced each one quite impressively.

“It’s nice to meet you too, Thorax,” waved Spike as the last Changeling joined the other males in escorting the females back to the nursery wing to rest. “Okay, so are we all set to go?”

“I figured a little briefing would be in order first,” the black-scaled dragon told his purple buddy as he took a seat and gestured for Spike to sit in front of him. When he did, Tamati cleared his throat. “Let’s begin with what we know.”

“Well, first off, we know that an Element of Discord is possibly located within a temple in the southeastern part of the jungles of Equestria. Secondly, the only pony who knows precisely where that temple is located is A.K. Yearling, aka Daring Do. And… that’s pretty much it.”

“Come now, Spike,” smirked Tamati as he held out his arm in conversation. “We know a bit more than that, after all, her books are not just works of fiction, after all.”

“Yeah, but I don’t think we wanna wait six months for her to publish a book on her adventure there,” Spike stated.

“I wasn’t talking about a book she has yet to write, but about those she has written,” he explained. “Hmm… perhaps it’d be best to show you how I do things. Follow me.”

Opening his wing span, the dark dragon took to the sky and immediately after, his purple follower did the same. They circled around the Changeling hive a couple times before making their way south to their first destination.

“Well, we’re heading towards Daring Do’s place,” Spike assumed as he factored in what was in the direction they were going. “I bet you plan to seduce her like you did to Twilight.”

“That will come up soon enough,” smirked Tamati. “But we do have one more stop before that.”

“You’ve gotta teach me how you do that,” Spike told him as he flew beside his master. “I mean if I’m going to get a harem as big as yours it’ll be a lot of work, but you know how to get them dick-sucking lustful just by gazing into their eyes. If I could do that then I’d have every mare in Ponyville lined up for a turn to get fucked.” Hearing this, Tamati caught the wind in his wings to brake and then started to flap them to stay in place. Seeing this, Spike stopped too and turned back towards him. “Is something the matter?” asked Spike.

“While the power I possess over the fairer sex would indeed make it easier, it is for the express purpose of my conquest of Equestria and nothing more,” he stated quite seriously. “That I used it on the Changelings and on Twilight, it was to further my goal. In any other situation I would not even think to use that power nor should you covet it. It may be easy, but it is also a cheat that would only cheapen the pleasures and passion of love. Think about the sex you had with Twilight and then the sex you had with the first of your harem. I’m sure you must’ve noticed the difference.”

“Yeah,” nodded Spike seeing it after being told. “The sex was wonderful in both, but what I felt just being with Sweetie was just… it’s hard to put into words, but maybe magical might be the closest thing to what I felt. I doubt it would have been the same if she was influenced by whatever power you used. She wouldn’t have sung that song that brought tears of joy to my eyes.”

“That sounds very sweet,” smiled Tamati. “I would hope that at some point I could enjoy my harem without the use of it. Perhaps when they see all I can offer them then they will truly be loyal to me like you are.”

“I’m sure they will,” smiled Spike. “You’re a great guy and if your sparkling personality doesn’t get them then your dragonhood will.”

“Heheh, you got that right,” chuckled Tamati as noogied Spike’s spikes and then went back to flying. “Now back to the mission… oh, and thanks.”

“For what?” asked Spike.

“For listening,” he answered.

The duo flew for a while before they came upon a rather dingy-looking town. From what Spike could tell, they were not far from where Daring Do took up residence, but Tamati landed there to Spike’s surprise.

“What are you waiting for?” he called to the still airborne dragon. “We’ve reached stop number one.”

“I’m not sure how reading Daring Do’s book would make anyone think to come here,” commented Spike as he looked at a number of unsavory-looking ponies in the area, not to mention some other creatures that made the ponies seem as friendly as the ones from Ponyville. “And it looks kind of dangerous.”

“Dangerous?” questioned Tamati before he turned and made the most monstrous roar Spike or any of the townsfolk had ever heard. The black dragon then craned his neck up and unleashed a pillar of fire straight up to add to the terror. Embers rained down from the sky like snow, first glowing bright orange before fading the black ash all over everything. Screaming and panicking, everyone fled in whatever way they could to hide, leaving Tamati alone. “When it comes to danger, there is nothing more dangerous than a pissed off dragon.” Tamati than hacked and coughed a bit, spewing out some black smoke. “Ugh, but being scary sure does a number on the pipes.”

“Yeah, dangerous, unless you’re me,” admitted Spike as he touched down on the ground. He did his best to avoid shaking in fear, but even he had been intimidated by Tamati’s fierce display.

“We’ll work on that,” promised Tamati. “For now, let’s find the sleeziest dive this place has to offer. Odds are, that’s where we’ll find him.”

“Him?” wondered Spike, still not sure what his master had in mind. Despite this, Spike helped him looked around till a building caught his eye. He tapped Tamati’s back and spoke to him, “I think, maybe, that’s the place we’re looking for.” Spike pointed and Tamati followed his claw to a tavern called, “The Rogue Gallery.”

“Looks like that just might be it,” smirked Tamati as he flexed his muscles and cracked his neck, like he was preparing for a brawl. Spike gulped nervously and stretched too. He was certain he had ample strength to hold his own in a fight, but he hardly had the experience to actually use it effectively. Remaining several steps behind Tamati, Spike followed him inside.

The creatures awaiting in The Rogue Gallery were even more menacing-looking than the ones they saw earlier. There were even a number of dragons sitting down, tossing back drinks. Spike knew just from the strong, intoxicating odor in the air, that, whatever they were chugging, it had a much bigger kick than apple cider. Spike also saw minotaurs, griffins, and surprisingly enough, a very familiar looking bunny, though with the eyepatch.

“Is that Ang- nah, can’t be,” thought Spike as he turned away, but gave him another skeptical glance before continuing on with Tamati.

“Someone you know?” wondered the dark dragon.

“I don’t think so,” he replied. “Probably some other spawn of Satan. Anyway, do you see the guy you’re looking for?”

“No, not yet,” pondered Tamati as he scanned the room. He then noticed something slip into another room and he grinned. “But maybe over there.”

Hurrying through the room, Tamati didn’t hesitate to push everything in front of him out of his way to get across the room. At best, he slid tables over a few inches and at worse he ended up pushing someone onto the ground and was given a death threat in response.

“Sorry,” apologized Spike as he followed behind him nervously. “Sorry, please excuse us. Just trying to get through. Please don’t kill us.” Spike didn’t know how they did it, but they somehow reached the other side of the room without so much as a single scale out of place. Looking back, he could see that none of the creatures they angered were attempting to get even, though that didn’t mean they weren’t contemplating some gruesome payback first. “Wasn’t the point of coming here to make friends, not enemies?”

“It is, but not with them,” Tamati replied. “Our new friend should be right in here.”

Spike looked into the room, but it was pitch black and not at all welcoming. Still, Tamati entered it, blowing some small flames through a crack in his lips to light his way. Spike cautiously did the same as he entered, still unsure about any of this. “Mind telling me, who we’re making friends with?” the timid dragon asked, his fire breath blinking on and off as he opened and closed his mouth to speak.

“I saw it come in here,” Tamati mumbled. “Now where did you… oh, there!”

“Huh? What is it?” wondered Spike as he looked around and spotted a white cat a few feet in front of them. “A kitty? You had us come all this way here for this thing?” Looking over the feline curiously, it stared back at Spike and meowed before walking over to Spike and brushed up against his legs, ticking his body with its fur. Smiling a little, Spike petted the feline, running his claws gently from the top of its head down its back. After a few strokes, he picked it up to keep on petting it. “Is this the friend we came to meet?”

“Still don’t get it?” chuckled Tamati to Spike’s confusion. “Doesn’t this cat look familiar? Think back to the Daring Do books. Wasn’t there a cat like this in them?”

“A cat like this?” Spike contemplated as he scritched under the cat’s chin. His mind began to work through all his knowledge of the Daring Do series, recalling what he could of it and anything related to a white cat. It only took him a few seconds to finally recall it. “Oh, yeah. There was a cat. It belonged to… oh…”

“Finally figured it out,” smirked Tamati before turning towards the darkness. “Okay, Ahuizotl, I know you’re in here. How about showing yourself. We’ve got a proposition for you.”

“Is that so,” spoke a voice in the darkness. “How very amusing. And what could a couple of dragons want from me and more importantly, what could you have that I would want?”

“Turn the lights on and we’ll be happy to discuss it civilly.”

“Oh, forgive me for forgetting my manners,” he apologized, though his voice lacked any hint of an apologetic tone. As light began to illuminate the room, Spike and Tamati soon found the beast, Ahuizotl before them, not the mention his a tiger, cheetah, lynx, and black panther all around them, poised to strike.

Just as Daring Do’s books described, Ahuizotl had a long head with several sharp teeth jutting down even while his maw was closed. And while his head and hind legs were somewhat similar to that of a canine, his face, body, and tail were more monkey-like. He had blue skin and darker blue fur all over his body and wore goldened bands on his arms, near his shoulders, and a large, decorative one around his neck, along with one on the end of his tail which ended with another simian hand. There were red rings around his yellowish green eyes and above them were a pair of bushy eyebrows. There were a pair of golden stud earrings in his long ears as well as slicked back hair running down to his neck.

“We’re surrounded!” gulped Spike as the white cat in his arms jumped awat and blocked the door they came in, hissing as it showed off its fangs.

“Quite an adorable set of felines you have here,” chatted Tamati like there was no difference between the large predators and the domesticated house cat. “But it’ll be much easier to converse without them baring their fangs at us.”

“Since you asked so nicely,” decided the leader of the felines as he used his tail to bring a whistle in the shape of a cat to his lips. Blowing on it, his cats suddenly quieted down and stretched before getting in a comfortable position to rest. “You have five minutes before their break is over and they start to tear you limb from limb.”

“What if I could promise you Daring Do?” asked Tamati, cutting straight to the point.

“Like you are the first who has offered me that,” he scoffed. “Nobody has been able to deliver her to me before without her managing to turn the tables on us in the end. What makes you think you can do any better?”

“Because I guarantee that not only will I deliver you Daring Do, but she’ll fuck you as much as you want… in the good way, I mean.”

“She will… fuck me?” replied Ahuizotl, hearing such a thing took him by surprise and suddenly started him on a laughing fit as he pounded a fist on the ground. “Oh, wow, that’s the first time I was ever given a promise like that. If you could deliver that to me, I’d… well, I don’t even know what I’d do.”

“Then we have a deal?” asked Tamati and just like that, the laughter stopped.

“The joke was amusing, but you best know when to stop pulling my leg or I’ll strangle you with my tail.”

“I assure you that we are completely serious about this,” Tamati conversed. “Every word I said, we will make it happen.”

“And if I should give you the benefit of the doubt, what is it you wish from me?” he asked. “What is it that you desire?”

“Merely an artifact from the ruins Daring Do recently discovered east of here,” he explained.

“That seems more like something you would simply need Daring Do for,” Ahuizotl pointed out. “What do you need me for?”

“I merely saw this as a chance to make a new ally, is all,” the dark dragon answered. “I am aiming for nothing short of total domination of all of Equestria and for that I will need allies. With or without your help I’m sure I could achieve it, but I’m certain you can see the benefit of helping us and guaranteeing yourself a position in it. If I fail then you’d at least still having Daring Do and be no worse for wear. My offer is only good for right now and it expires in… how much time do I have left?”

“About fifteen seconds,” answered Ahuizotl.

“Ten seconds,” he spoke and turned to leave, Spike sticking close beside him. “Nine… eight… seven… si-”

“Wait, you have a deal,” he decided and blew his cat whistle like he was defusing a bomb about to go off. “If you can deliver me Daring Do then I will gladly join you.”

“Heh, we’ll do that right now, Ahuizotl,” grinned the black dragon as he extended his hand to shake and seal the deal. “By the way, the name’s Tamati and this here is my second in command, Spike.”

“Hiya,” waved Spike as the white fluffy cat brushed up against him once more eager to be petted with business concluded.

“Nice to meet the both of you,” grinned Ahuizotl. “I’m sure we’ll all be very good friends.”

With Ahuizotl unable to fly, Spike and Tamati accompanied him on the ground as they headed towards Daring Do’s dwelling. It was a rather bothersome trek for the dragons as the thick, jungle foliage was cumbersome for their large, bulky bodies to maneuver through without getting caught on vines or blocked by overgrowth that hid any trace of a path if there ever had been one there in the first place.

The best they could do to push ahead was machete their way forward with their claws. While using their flames to scorch a path forward did seem a much more viable option, the idea of accidentally setting the whole jungle ablaze with them in it made the two breathe with greater care.

Finally, after an hour of trekking through the humid, tropical terrain, they reached a clearing with a quaint home in the center of it. It had all the proper setup for one to remain in such an area comfortably. There was a mesh screen upon the porch that was kept in place with weights on the bottom of it to prevent the wind from blowing it around. Getting through was a simple matter of just lifting it up and going under, but it prevented pesky bugs like mosquitos from being able to get through. Along with the screen, some incense was left burning from cones placed on several spots on the railing of the porch as a secondary deterrent to bugs. Wisps of smoke swirled in the air from the cones, the trail it made completely at the mercy of the breeze.

On the porch there was a table and a lawn chair. There was a thick book on the table beside a half melted candle in a lantern. In front of the house was a vibrant and colorful cluster of flowers.

“So, this is Daring Do’s place,” commented Spike. “Say, if you know where Daring Do lives and you’re practically right next door to her, wouldn’t you be able to attack her at any time you wanted.”

“And how could I even get close with that stink in the air,” gagged Ahuizotl as he pinched his nose. “She knows I can’t stand that scent and makes her house reek of it.”

“I think it smells nice,” admitted Spike as he sniffed the incense as it reached all that way over to them. “I can’t imagine anyone being stopped by it.”

“Rather impressive if you ask me,” smirked Tamati. “She’s adapted quite well to this environment, even in the face of such a dangerous foe living close by. I’d say she’s every bit the hype her books make her out to be, but I’d say a face-to-face meeting would be the best way to know for sure.”

“Then you’re going in?” asked Spike as he looked at the large dragon. “Are you sure that’s a good idea, considering-”

“Don’t fret, Spike,” he told him confidently. “You’ll be my backup out here in the event she tries to flee. I doubt it’ll come to that so long as I can influence her, but it pays to have a backup plan.”

“But that’s not what I mean,” Spike attempted to say again only to be interrupted once more.

“I know you’re hesitant with the things we are doing, but you’ll get the hang of it soon enough,” he promised and placed a hand upon Spike’s shoulder. Spike didn’t know how else to respond, but smile and nod. Tamati then turned to Ahuizotl to talk to him. “Ahuizotl, once I have her you’ll be free to do as you please with her, but try not to be too rough. I still need her to guide me to that temple afterwards.”

“If necessary, I’ll carry her,” he joked as Tamati made his way towards the house.

Approaching the porch, the dark dragon lifted up the mesh screen and ducked under it. Stepping onto the first step of the porch, he quickly realized what Spike was trying to say as his weight broke cracked the wood and threatened to split it in half. “Maybe I should have let Spike handle this,” he thought as he found the house much smaller up close than he did from a distance.

“I can’t say this is the first time I have been ignored, but I think I’ll enjoy the show,” snickered Spike as he waved to Tamati who waved back as he tried to carefully get up the rest of the steps.

Standing on the porch, he could practically reach up to peek in on the second floor just by standing on his tiptoes, provided he didn’t fall through the floor in the process. As for getting through the front door, it only came up to his chest and wasn’t nearly wide enough for his bulky size. Just sizing it up, Spike’s current size was barely narrow enough to get through without getting wedged in the frame.

Despite not being a fit for this task, Tamati couldn’t back down without looking foolish. “Well, my pride won’t let me back down now,” he huffed as the tried thinking thin and small. Carefully getting onto his hands and knees to reduce his height, Tamati knocked on the front door and spoke casually. “Hello, does A.K. Yearing live here?” he called in and waited for a response.

“She does,” came a voice as a pony approached the door draped in a violet cloak and had a sun hat on with a white bow tied to it. She also wore a thick pair of red framed glasses. Just barely noticeable, as she walked, was her brown leather boots. It wasn’t something most would take notice of, but already prepared for this encounter, Tamati hid a slight grin. “She’s me.”

“Oh, it really is you,” Tamati feigned being starstruck. “I have read all your books. I’m such a huge fan.”

“I didn’t realize I had dragon fans,” she admitted. “Well, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mr… uh…”

“Tamati,” he introduced himself. “I’m sure you hate having fans show up at your house and asking you this, but I was wondering how your new book was coming along.”

“Definitely not the first nor will you be the last,” she nodded. “And I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I have yet to decide on the overall plot. I have the beginning and some of the middle, but nothing yet on how it’ll all turn out in the end. But not to worry, something always happens to help inspire my creative process.”

“Perhaps I can help you,” offered Tamati as he opened the screen door to her home and looked A.K. Yearling in her purple eyes.

“Um, thanks but no thanks,” she answered and backed away as she sensed the building tension in the air. “Having fan input into my stories is not something I often do.”

“That’s okay,” he told her with a grin. “I don’t have to help you as a fan. I can help you as a foe, Daring Do!” Quickly, Tamati thrust his arm forward, attempting to snatch up the pony, but as his claws clenched tight all he felt was her cloak and hat between his fingers. Looking up, he saw A.K. Yearling flying up above, her wings no longer hidden by her cloak. Removing her glasses, the author’s disguise was gone and she was revealed to truly be Daring Do. Her mane and tail, no longer covered up, were striped with black and several varying hues of gray. On her flank was her Cutie Mark, a compass rose. Beneath her sun hat was a pith helmet, a far more fitting piece of headgear for an adventurer. She also wore a jungle green collared shirt and a pair of khaki pants with a black belt and her leather boots.

“If you want to help me with my book,” she retorted. “Then why not try something a little less cliche. Do you know how many times my home has been attacked after I make a new discovery? Let me guess, Ahuizotl sent you.”

“Actually, I went to him,” admitted Tamati. “And trust me when I say that the book you will write from this experience will be far different than any you have written before, one that might not be age appropriate for all audiences.”

“I’m not entirely sure how to interpret that and honestly, I don’t think I want to,” she told him as Tamati slipped his way into her home, still trying to be careful, but his huge size still ended up breaking her door frame as he entered.

“You won’t have much of a choice,” he cackled. “You already looked into my eyes earlier. Right now, you should be feeling a powerful and controlling lust come over you. There’s no use resisting so come on over, my little pony.” Waving a claw over to Daring, she slowly fluttered over to him, a look of drunken bliss on her face. Grinning deviously, he watched her approach and felt a stirring in his loins at the euphoria of another victory. “That’s it, now let’s- ow!” Daring Do socked him square in the snout, the attack more irritating than painful. “What the hell?!?”

“Well, I can cross punching an evil dragon in the face off the ole bucket list,” she laughed as she flew back while Tamati rubbed his nose before he covered his mouth as he started to sneeze flames.

“Y-You aren’t under the influence of the Lockheart?” he questioned her. “But I looked directly in your eyes. How can you resist it?”

“Fun fact about my glasses,” she explained as she carefully folded and pocketed them up. “They are more than a handy disguise. The lenses are made of a special crystal that’s helpful in protecting against most mind control magics. It pays to be prepared, especially when talking to someone with ominous, red, glowing eyes.”

“Well, it just means I gotta catch you first,” he pointed out. “Hardly unplanned for and it’ll just make victory all the sweeter.”

“You can try, but you can barely even fit in my home, let alone stand without hunching over,” she reminded him. “How do you expect to catch me while so encumbered?”

“I prefer using finess rather than brute strength,” he explained. “There are a few exceptions like due to blind rage, for example, but you make a good point that it’d be far too much trouble to catch you while trying to keep your home intact. So… I won’t.”

“Won’t try to wha-” Daring Do started to say as the black dragon rose to his feet and pressed his palms up against the ceiling. Grunting a bit as he slowly applied more strength, his intention was quite clear and the wooden boards creaked in futile protest before snapping like toothpicks. “Oh, sweet Celestia!” Daring Do cried as Tamati managed to break through her ceiling to the second floor of her home and then grasp at the floor above and pull a chunk of it down. The house trembled after taking such a blow. But he didn’t stop there as he unleashed a blast of flame overhead, torching anything flammable his breath touched and it quickly spread, setting everything ablaze.

Trying to remain calm, Daring knew it was impossible to protect her home from being destroyed and instead opted to make a run for the front door. With a swing of his tail, he forced her to back away while managing to smash through a support beam as well. The house shook and creamed even more violently as the weakened floor above started to collapse now on its own. One weakened area led to another and it was clear that it wasn’t going to take much more for the whole place to come down.

“Damn it!” cried Daring Do finding it hard to remain composed. She risked a moment to watch her head for falling debris to face her attacker just in time to see him reach towards her. Moving out of the way, she avoided him only to see she wasn’t his target but the other support beam in the room. With a semi-trying shove, he broke it off, drastically cutting down the time the house had left to nearly nothing. Debris had already fallen against the front door and the doorway to the kitchen, blocking off any means of escape. Even flying to the second floor wasn’t an option as it was full of flames and smoke. “What the hell do you think this will accomplish?!?”

“I figure,” he answered. “The easiest way to catch you is to make you come to me.”

“What is going on in there?” worried Spike as he and Ahuizotl listened to the sounds of smashing and things collapsing. They only grew more concerned as they saw fire fill the second floor and then smoke billowed out the windows.

“I wanted Daring Do, but not extra crispy,” commented Ahuizotl as he didn’t know what to make of what he was witnessing. “Are you sure your friend knows what he is doing.”

“Of course he does,” spoke Spike nervously as he petted the cat in his arms for comfort. It helped till the house finally collapsed and into a pile of rubble with nobody in sight. “I think…”

Desperately, Spike rushed to the wreckage. Ahuizotl followed behind, the incense buried in the rubble, but the smell still lingered. Grabbing broken boards and anything else they could get their hands on, the two tried to find both Daring and Tamati. They barely managed much before the rubble started to shift and out of it rose the dragon, completely unscathced, though a bit dirty.

“Tamati,” Spike breathed a sigh of relief. “What were you thinking?”

“I was thinking of making the only safe place for Daring Do to move to to be within my embrace,” he answered as he showed her safely wrapped in his arms. The look she had on her face was one of infatuation, the power of the Lockheart had taken hold while he had her in his clutches. “And with this, you can have some fun with Daring Do before I make use of her services.”

“Gladly,” grinned Ahuizotl as he approached his nemesis turned sex slave. “A rather fitting way to win to take down her base of operations very much like she had done to all of mine in the past. Now, give her to me. I have an overly elaborate death trap with her name on it.”

“Don’t you mean you’re gonna fuck her?” asked Spike.

“Oh, yeah that,” he chuckled at his mistake. “Force of habit.”

“Next,” called Cid as he allowed another male Changeling into the Nursery. As he walked in, another stepped forward in line to await his turn.

“Do we have to do this health check every time we come back to the hive?” groaned the next Changeling in line. “Can’t we all just feed them some love so we can hurry and get some rest? It was a lot of work collecting love today and we have a lot of flying going to and from Appaloosa tomorrow.”

“I know it’s a lot of work and everyone appreciates all the effort you and the other gatherers have been putting in these last few weeks,” Cid told him as he turned to look into the nursery where the other Changeling just entered. He approached one of the pregnant females in bed who smiled at himas she caressed her belly gently. Opening her maw, a magical substance started to drain away from the male and flow into her. To the female Changeling, it tasted sweet like nectar and carried with it a soft warmth that filled up her body, very possibly the love belonging to a mother for her child. In comparison, it left the male feeling hollow and cold.

“Ugh,” shivered the Changeling by Cid as he watched too. “That feeling of having all the love sucked out of your body gives me chills just seeing it happen. It almost makes me feel sorry to the ponies we do it too… almost. I know the females need all that love since they need to eat for two, but we barely have any leftover for ourselves at the end of the day.”

“Things’ll get better once more of our forces get replenished with a few new generations of Changelings,” Cid promised. “As we are now, we hardly have the force to collect love and guard the hive. We’re taking even more of a chance while Tamati is out on his mission. Him coming in here and taking over was a pain, but the very least, he was a great deterrent from other threats.”

“I certainly wouldn’t want to mess with him,” he agreed. “So, am I all set to go in?”

“I don’t see any physical signs of illness on you,” observed Cid as he looked the Changeling over, inspecting his body from head to toe and even checked his mouth and eyes for the slightest hint of the start of an infection. “And you avoided any ponies that looked ill, right?”

“I fled at the first sign of a sneeze and washed up as per orders,” he added. “I’d say I’m germ free so I should be plenty safe to head inside.”

“Then you can go right ahead and offer up your collected love to the next female,” Cid instructed. “After that, you can rest till tomorrow.”

“Oh, rest, what I love hearing more than anything,” the Changeling yawned as he made his way over to Honey who was next up to get some love and practically salivated at the sight of him approaching.

“Soon, my little ones,” cooed Chrysalis as she rubbed her swollen gut, her unborn children so close to being ready to come out. Just feeling the lives she was nurturing brought tears to her eyes. “I can already tell you will be strong, just like your father.”

“How are you doing, my Queen?” bowed Cid as he walked away from the front of the line to check on how the female Changelings were currently faring. “Are your children alright?”

“I am doing just fine,” she spoke, her voice sounding far more gentle than it normally did, certainly a tone Cid never heard from his former queen before. “Well, a little nervous, actually. I feel it is time for the laying and after that it won’t be long till they hatch and well…”

“Tamati promised to be here for their birth,” he concluded. “I know he made quite a tough promise to keep with where he has set off for, but it is still very possible for him to make it back in time. As for you, there is no sense in you to attempt to restrain from laying your eggs like you can delay it. You’ll only cause harm to yourself and your children if you attempt that. Now, the moment you are ready, just give the word. I’ve assisted in laying many times in the past so I’m practically a natural at it.”

“Well, if you insist,” she moaned, her breathing suddenly turning short and rapid. “Now would be a good time to start.”

“It’s happening now?!?” he cried at her sudden change in demeanor. She held onto her gut more tightly the process a beautiful part of nature, but a painful one all the same. Taking in a few deep breaths, Cid got himself mentally ready. He positioned her legs, bending them back and spreading them so that with her hospital gown on it was like he could retrieve her eggs beneath the privacy of a tent.

“Ok, it’ll be over in about ten minutes. Just stay strong and everything will fine,” he coached her through it, but before he could even begin, the sounds of moans from practically all the other females filled the room and a look of dread spread across his face. “You have to be fucking kidding me! All at once?!?” Looking around, he hurried to the entrance of the Nursery and called out to his two cohorts. “Biggs! Wedge! In here immediately!”

“What’s wrong?” wondered Biggs as he made his way in with a loofah in one hand and soap in the other. Wedge was carrying a bucket of water that was spilling onto the floor as he ran till he lost nearly all of it.

“We were sterilizing everyone like you told us to,” commented Wedge.

“Put that on hold for now,” he told them. “They’re starting to lay their eggs!”

“Isn’t that supposed to be a good thing?” asked Wedge.

“It is, but not when I can only focus on one at a time,” he explained. “It’s a delicate process that is best to be aided by a laying coach to ensure neither the mother nor the eggs are harmed.”

“But we don’t know how to do any of that stuff,” Biggs pointed out.

“Can you cup your hands and count slowly to ten?” asked Cid.

“Hesitantly, I will answer ‘yes,’” replied Wedge, sensing he might have been better off lying.

“Then you have all the qualifications,” he informed them. “Just pick a Changeling and start counting and be ready to catch the eggs as they come out. If you think there is any problems tell me at once.”

“Well, that sounds easy, but shouldn’t we get some of the other males to help us?” suggested Biggs. “Considering even we can’t deliver this many eggs at once.”

“The three of us will be plenty,” he answered. “And I doubt I could divide my focus more than three ways. Just count to ten and catch and it’ll be fine.”

As they headed into the nursery, the wailing of expecting mothers was even worse. Cid hurried back over to Chrysalis to check on her and found she had already started, her first egg resting between her legs and a second part way through the lips of her pussy. The eggs were a grayish green color with intricate swirls of mossy green on them each very distinct in design.

Carefully, Cid spread Chrysalis’s vagina further apart and delicately pulled the second egg free before placing it and the other in a soft basket that was set aside for this moment. “Two done already,” he told her. “Time for the next one.”

“Uh huh,” Chrysalis sniffled, the experience as painful as all the times she had done so in the past. Her face was covered in sweat and her eyes puffy from tears. Looking around, all the others looked to be in a similar state of labor-induced agony.

“You know what to do already,” he coached her. “I count to ten as you steady your breathing. Once I reach ten you give a good push to lay the next egg and I’ll take care of the rest. Ready?”

“I am,” she sniffled and managed to calm herself. She listened as Cid counted, focusing on the numbers to distract herself from her egg laying.

“7… 8… 9… 10… push!” spoke Cid calmly before adding a little umph to the end, and following his instructions, Chrysalis worked her third egg out. She wailed out, the pain too much to ignore, but enough to endure as she could feel the egg make its way through her body and to her vagina. She felt him spread her legs further, seeming to know exactly what he needed to do just from experience alone and thanks to that, she was able to deliver her third egg quickly and smoothly. Clutching in it in his hands, he added it to her basket.

“So far so good,” he panted, the situation leaving him short on breath too. “How are you two doing?” He turned to check in on Biggs and Wedge, but they had not moved from where they stood since seeing all this taking place and looked very pale from the sight.

“Don’t just stand there like idiots! Help me!” he hissed.

“But it looks like you’re doing a great job,” Wedge nervously pointed out. “You don’t need us.”

“Let me put it to you another way,” he told them. “If anything goes wrong, even if something happens to one egg, I’m letting Tamati know you two were responsible.”

“Don’t hog the miracle of life all to yourself,” stated Biggs as they hurried to assist him.

“Yeah, we can count to ten too,” added Wedge as he positioned the legs of the Changeling he chose just as Cid had done for Chrysalis and started to count. He managed to count properly to ten on his first attempt, but the sight of seeing her push an egg out her baby maker, followed by him having to help pull it the rest of the way out and place it in the basket, left him quite discombobulated. When he started to count again, his numbers were all out of order. “2… 7… 4… Q…” But somehow, he still managed to get to ten at and deliver the next egg properly.

Biggs was managing well too. Though sweaty and nervous at first, he quickly adapted to the role of birthing partner, helping Abby with her eggs one after another. Watching them both, Cid saw the terror that came from one’s first few attempts at aiding in the miracle of childbirth all over their faces as they tried to keep it together, but, with each egg deposited into a basket, they grew more confident and the tension seemed to lessen in the room.

“8… 9… 10… push!” spoke Cid to Chrysalis as he managed to deliver egg number twelve. “Is that the last one?”

“I think so,” she nodded so exhausted she was barely able to utter those words. Gently feeling over the lower half of her gut, pressing into it slightly, he did a check to ensure she was done and then gave her a smile. “That was indeed the last one. Take some rest now. I’ve still got plenty more Changelings to help.”

“Th-Thank you,” spoke as she closed her eyes. “Tamati will be… very happy to see them when he returns…”

“He’ll be more than happy,” smiled Cid giving her his best bedside manner. “He’ll be elated to come back in time to witness the hatching of his progeny. Yep, he’ll be a proud papa.” Chrysalis smiled upon hearing those words before taking a well-deserved rest. Cid, however, didn’t have the luxury to take it easy. There was still lots of work he had to attend to.

“You’ll never get away with this, Ahuizotl,” grunted Daring Do as her arms and legs were bound by ropes staked into the ground, forcing her limbs to be fully outstretched without even a little leeway to be able to move them. “I’ll find a way out of this!”

“Try all you might, but it is hopeless!” he cackled. Atop the beast’s head, he wore Daring Do’s hat, leaving her monotone mane exposed to run his fingers through and mess it up. As he watched her struggle and resist, the villain could resist monologuing. “You cannot stop me as I enact my greatest plot to conquer the world! Ha! Hahahah!!!”

“Uh, they’re roleplaying, right?” asked Spike as he, Tamati, and the cats sat and watched Daring Do and Ahuizotl go through their typical spiel as enemies.

“With a bit of bondage thrown in,” added Tamati. “They got into this little sex play of theirs rather quickly, but I suppose that’s not a surprise after reading all of A.K. Yearling’s books.”

“And what exactly did you learn from reading her books?” wondered Spike.

“The obvious sexual tension between these two from butting heads so much,” the dark dragon spoke like it was so obvious. “The sheer amount of unnecessary death traps Ahuizotl has put her in clearly has to be due to some lustful desire of his to see Daring in such a vulnerable state. Also, that Daring has continually been captured, it could be she has a bondage fetish. Seeing the two of them now, I can confirm my suspicions. It actually reminds me of the kinky nights I spent with some lovely, strong and independent dragonesses. Those were some fucking good times and I learned that nothing wet their pussies better than to be taken out of their element and thrust into the role of the damsel in distress. The same thing probably gets Daring hot and horny too.”

“Wow, that was the most erotic analysis of a book I’ve ever heard,” commented Spike. “And one time Twilight did one on actual pornography.”

“Heh, is that so,” Tamati chuckled as they returned their focus back to Daring and Ahuizotl. They hadn’t missed much as the villainous monster had just been monologuing and grandstanding. By the look of the foot long, barbed boner, protruding from between his legs, it was very quite apparent that his own narcissism turned him on.

“Y-You won’t get away with this,” argued Daring Do, her eyes fixated on the length between his legs. “I’ll find a way out and when I do-”

“You’ll do nothing because you won’t escape,” hissed Ahuizotl as he leaned in close, pressing his nose against hers, their eyes locked and the trapped adventurer unable to keep from blushing or moaning, her helpless situations a clear turn on for herself as well.

“I-I will e-escape,” she murred as she looked passionately into his eyes.

“No you won’t,” he spoke to her softly before pressing his lips to hers to share a kiss. It only lasted a few seconds before he spoke once more, “you won’t…” and they made out again.

“You know it always bothered me,” she told her arch nemesis once her mouth was free to speak once more. “You always go through the trouble of tying me up all for the sake of leaving me in a room filling up with sand, a spiked wall slowing coming down on me, or surrounded by venomous snakes creeping ever so closer.”

“I would have hoped it’d do more than just bother you,” he admitted.

“Just that, if you were going to go through all that trouble to imprison me, you could have taken some time to smell the roses and had some fun with me first. You didn’t have to always go straight for the kill.”

“I’m afraid business has to come before pleasure,” he told her as he gently caressed her cheek. “But now… all we have is pleasure.”

“Well, what are you waiting for?” she murred. “My pussy is growing impatient with lust.”

“Is it now?” Ahuizotl grinned as he ran his hands down her body, making sure to cop a feel on her breasts as he did before reaching her crotch and feeling the warmth moistness underneath her khakis. “Oh, yes, it does feel like someone is horny. The only question is how badly.”

“Very badly,” she moaned.

“I don’t know,” he cackled. “You aren’t even begging for it.”

“Please,” she pleaded. “Please fuck me.”

“Hmm, could be a bit more desperate,” he grinned as he slowly unbuttoned her shirt to reveal the black bra tied around her back by spaghetti strand-thick strings. Carefully undoing them and removing her bra, he rubbed her exposed chest, unable to keep from snickering.

“What’s so funny?” she moaned as he felt him squeezing her oranges rather tightly as he demonstrated more dominance over her.

“Just a bit excited is all,” he told her as he loosened his grip on her breasts to pick up her bra and dangle it over her. “I’ve always been curious as to how big your cup size was. It was hard to tell with how you dressed, but I must say a C-Cup is more than I was expecting.”

“You fucking ass,” she laughed.

“No, I’m fucking pussy,” he taunted back at her. As he had been distracting her with undressing her front, the hand at the end of his tail had gotten to work undoing her belt and unzipping her pants. It had just now finished the later and slipped its way in and stealthily creeped beneath her pants to her crotch. By the time Daring Do even realized what he had done, his tail was already rubbing her vagina without mercy.

“Oh~” Daring murred and reflexed from the sudden surge of pleasure coursing through her. The ropes binding her squeezed her limbs as they held her in place, preventing her from doing anything but take all she was given. The best the adventurous pony could manage was to barely raise her chest off the ground and scream. “FFFUCK!” Her voice echoed through the otherwise quiet wilderness, birds from all the neighboring trees took flight to vacate the area.

“Hahahah!!!” laughed Ahuizotl as he gripped her cleavage once more and pinned her onto the ground. “How does it feel, Daring? Tell me, how does it feel to be bested, by your deadliest foe? To be helpless as your body, your sacred temple, is raided and pilfered for it’s most sacred treasure?” With his increasingly excited tone, his tail began to finger her pussy, being ever more forceful by the second.

“W-W-Wonderful,” she cried, her pants getting wet at the crotch as she oozed lust out.

“Oh my, so pent up too,” he added as he drooled with growing anticipation. “I suppose one such as yourself doesn’t get much action living out here all by your lonesome. Not THAT kind of action anyway. Mmm, and you’re tight too. What’s it been? A thousand years since anyone set foot in your temple? Two thousand?”

“Far too long,” she admitted. “But you might wanna be careful about going in. It’s cursed.”

“Pah!” he scoffed. “Who ever heard of a cursed pussy?” Removing his tail from her pants, he crawled back and attempted to pull her pants down to get at her forbidden no-man’s land, but quickly found it a tricky task with her legs spread apart. Cautiously, he looked at his nemesis’s face, too far into heat and enjoyment to try anything.

Very subtly, the villain untied her legs, so he could straighten them and allow him to easily pull her pants and panties down and off her legs. Seeing her pussy exposed, he drooled with his own lust at the sight of the glistening excavation sight, waiting to be plundered. He reached down to his cock, eager himself for some sexing. He could feel pre already covering over the head and he used it to lube up the rest of his barbed length.

“I should warn you now,” he cackled as he then used his seed-covered palm to rub her pussy and mix their juices together. “Once I go in, I can’t come out till I’m done.”

“I’m afraid you got it wrong,” countered Daring, her head looking up at the sky, but a clear smirk was on her face and her composure regained. “You can’t come out till I’m done! That’s my curse I place on you.”

“What?” he questioned her, not noticing as her freed legs grabbed him by the neck and shoved his head face first right into her pussy and held him tightly against it. Her hat he had on fell off and landed beside Daring’s head.

“Now, say it,” she ordered him. Ahuizotl answered with barely audible words that were only further muffled as he spoke into her pussy. “Say it right.”

“Curb boo, airing boo,” came out of his maw rather garbled.

“Better than that,” she ordered him.

“Curse you, Daring Do,” he spoke finally clear enough for him to be understood.

“Saying it like you do when I turn the tables on you,” she demanded. “Like right now for instance!”

“CURSE YOU DARING DO!!!” he roared, his voice loud enough to send vibrations into her pussy and fill her with euphoria.

“Ahh!!! Much better~” she murred lustfully and only became encouraged to squeeze his head into her vag even tighter. “Now start licking like you mean it and I might decide to lift the curse on you.”

Ahuizotl didn’t need any encouragement to do just that as his began to lick into her pussy, his tongue quite rough as it scraped against her insides and tasted her honey. Daring moaned as he kept it up, pressing deeper in as his tongue could greedily lapped up her juices and encourage her body to leak more as he brought her closer to an orgasm. While he did this, Daring turned her head and used her mouth to pull out a concealed knife in the hem of her pith helmet. Skillfully, she cut one of the ropes holding her arms and then used her freed hand to sever the rope on the other. Leaning forward, she held Ahuizotl’s head down with her arms and let her legs get a rest for a bit.

“I think your power wore off again,” commented Spike as he and Tamati sat with their legs crossed and their dicks erect. Their claws were wrapped around their dragonhoods as they fapped to the kinky show before them. Spike’s crotch was already covered over in one climax that even dripped off onto his legs while Tamati remained with just a constant flow of pre as he showed the hormonal control to pace himself. “Perhaps we should do something.”

“We are,” answered Tamati, pausing from fapping to tap his cockhead. “It’s called, ‘voyeurism.’ I tend to discourage fapping when one has already been spoiled on the fairer flesh, but to be given a show like this, it is alright. It is like viewing an artist’s gallery and giving your critique.”

“That’s a rather non-lewd way of putting it,” responded the purple dragon. “Unless the art is lewd, but seriously, shouldn’t we be helping Ahuizotl?”

“Not to worry,” assured the dark dragon. “She is still very much under my spell. It’s just how they’re playing and it seems Daring enjoys playing the aggressor as much as the damsel.”

“Oh! Sweet Celestia!” howled Daring as she finally felt herself reach nirvana and her juices gushed out into the awaiting muzzle of her horny foe. Lapping up every bit he could get, she gently lifted his head up and looked into his eyes, this time the one to start as she moved her head over to his and embraced him in a kiss. Slowly they rocked back and forth till Daring was on top of her beloved enemy and positioned her pussy with his dick, happy to return the favor.

Carefully, she pushed into him, being wary of his thorny dick. “Ok, Daring, you’ve maneuvered perilous traps before. Just take it slowly and use your head. Pushing in is easy…” As she slid in beyond the first set of barbs, she could feel herself stuck from moving forward right away. She started to pull back out, but winced as she felt the first set of barbs pinch her tender lower lips and stop her retreat. “Ugh… But pulling just runs me into a wall of spikes.” Taking a deep breath, she twisted her body carefully while not pushing in or pulling out from Ahuizotl. Then, like finding the right number on a combination lock, Daring stopped. She attempted to push in again and found she could go beyond his second row of barbs, but as expected, the third set got in her way.

“Heheh, seems you figured out the secret of my penis, but do you have the endurance to make it to the end?” he dared her. “The further you go, the more perilous it is to escape.”

“I’ve solved every puzzle and overcome every trap before,” she panted as she began turning the other way to find the next correct spot to push forward. Inch by inch she took in more of his dick, causing free movement to become more difficult as she had to keep herself properly level. The further she got to the base of his length the thicker his barbs became, making her pussy strain to fit it in and further encouraged her to hump and pull out. It took all her will to resist the urge and press forward to reach the end.

“Almost there,” she groaned, feeling his member deep inside her, the pony’s vag barely able to fit all his thickness into it, but with one final push, she proved it possible and as if she had hit some switch to deactivate a trap, his barbs suddenly retracted, allowing her to hump him freely. Daring Do didn’t waste a second loosening her stiffened muscles by going all out.

“Hahahah!” howled Ahuizotl with bliss as he finally got to feel the pleasures of the flesh without pause. “I should have known only my greatest foe could unravel the secrets of my junk!”

“Time to see if the payload was worth all the effort,” she breathed, pulling halfway out of his length and then shoving it all right back in. Each time his cock throbbed and leaked pre a sign he was drawing nearer to his orgasming. “Show me what my mortal enemy is packing!”

“With pleasure!” he murred as he felt her slap into his crotch every time she took him in entirely. Quickly grabbing her ass, as he felt the floodgates burst in his balls, he held her close to receive her reward for solving his cock.

With a monstrous wail, he gushed into her, filling her pussy with his hot semen. Crying out herself, as she felt the load flood her insides, Daring hugged her mate tightly, basking in the moment of pure infatuation they shared. The two then rested as the lust slowly faded and fatigue settled in. Moving his hands to Daring’s head, he ran his fingers through her mane as she nuzzled his soft underbelly.

“Looks like they’ll need a bit to recover,” commented the plump, muscular, purple dragon as he took some paper towels to clean up the seed from his previous orgasm along with his more recent one. “Guess we gotta wait while they nap before Daring can take us to the temple.”

“A perfect time for lunch,” figured the godly, black dragon, in the midst of cleaning up his own ejaculation. “My harem packed me plenty of food for the trip and I made sure they made enough for you as well. Can’t have my underling malnourished by that tyrannical pony princess after all.”

“Thanks,” smiled Spike as he watched Tamati take out two large boxed lunches and handed one to Spike. Opening it up, he drooled with delight to find it had several slots with something in each. One was full of a rainbow of gems, another had some tender and juicy-looking meat. He didn’t know what kind of beast it came from, but it smelled heavenly and stoked his carnivorous cravings. There was some rice glazed with gravy from the meat too, a jar containing some fine wine, and a couple cupcakes for a snack afterwards. Compared to what Spike normally had on one of his binges, it was hardly enough to make him feel full, but it was easily enough to sate him and far more than he knew Twilight would have given him. “This stuff looks great!”

“More than you could get from Twilight?” he wondered, though he was already certain of the answer.

“Take away everything save for the rice and wine and then change them to hay and water,” answered Spike as he curiously picked a few grains of rice, in his claws, to see if they tasted as great as they smelled. His eyes lit up when he realized it did and aggravated his hunger to start eating. “Maybe add an apple for at least one meal and that was what I had to eat. Pathetic, right? What does she take me for, a dieting pony?”

“Heh, probably,” Tamati chuckled and cut a piece of his meat to eat. “I wish I could offer you more, but we need to ration our food for our excursion. If we ever get the chance, I’ll have to have Honey cook for you. I’m sure she’d love a challenging appetite like the one I’m sure you have.”

“I’ll look forward to that,” salivated Spike as he took his utensils attached to the underside of the box’s lid and started to really dig in.

“How is everyone doing?” Cid asked all the female Changelings in the nursery as he came by for their afternoon checkup.

“I’m feeling just fine, today,” answered Abby never turning her gaze away from her clutch of eggs that were gently nestled in a basket and cushioned by a blanket. She held the basket snuggly against her body, using her own body heat to keep her offspring warm. The same was true for all the other females.

“That’s great to hear,” he replied as he gave her a closer inspection and checked over her eggs as well. He did the same for all the others as well, making certain there were no health concerns. “Looks like you all have fully recovered from the laying and all your eggs appear perfectly fine too. It shouldn’t be more than a few days till they are ready to hatch.”

“And what of Tamati?” asked Chrysalis. “Will he be back home in time like he promised?”

“Well, I did receive a letter last night,” he answered. “I’m guessing it was written by that other dragon since the penmanship was so nice, but anyway, it looks like they made it to the temple last night and were planning to venture into it first thing in the morning. They should already be inside by now and if all goes well, they should be heading home at some point today. With the hatching to happen any day now, he’ll be cutting it rather close, but he might just make it in time.”

“I know he’ll make it back,” Chrysalis stated with confidence. “He promised that he would and I have no reason to doubt him.”

“Wow, you are amazing,” praised Spike to Daring as they ventured through the temple. “How were you able to keep your cool to navigate the labyrinth while those spiked walls were closing in on us?”

“If years or adventuring have taught me anything,” she answered as she stopped to take a breather. “It’s how to keep my cool in tight, perilous situations. In a lot of way, it’s a lot like making love.”

“If you say so,” chuckled Spike as he peered as best he could, through the dark depths of the ancient structure as best he could, but could only see pitch blackness. “So, are we near the treasure room?”

“We must be close,” she calculated as she cautiously proceeded forward. “We’ve already conquered the trap room so the treasure should be close. I’m just curious to see if this temple belongs to who I think it does.”

“And who is that?” wondered Tamati as he along with Spike were illuminating their path forward with long exhales of flame.

“This place appears to have been a temple built by the Zeikah Tribe, a tribe of Zebra who were said to be able to see beyond the darkness to the truth. Legend has it, those of the tribe scoured the world for objects of darkness to seal them away from the light where they could do no harm. Those symbols all over the wall are their insignia and I doubt it’d be all over the place if that wasn’t the case.”

“Looks like a crying eye,” commented Spike as he peered at a nearby one. “Kind of creepy.”

“Whatever happened to them?” asked Tamati curiously as they proceeded into a vast and empty room of the temple. There was no way leading out of it and from the looks of it, there was nothing out of the ordinary as far as they could see. Finding a few torches on the walls, the two dragons lit them to allow themselves to take a breather. “Lost to the ravages of time?”

“Possibly,” she answered. “But it is a long debated subject. Many historians believe the tribe to be nothing more than myths that have been confused for truths as they was passed down through the ages. A few more fanatical researchers suspect that the Zeikah still exist to this day, hidden in the shadows. Very few took them seriously as they were the type to back absurd theories like Alicorns are actually aliens.”

“Aliens?” wondered Spike as he imagined such a thing and didn’t know whether to laugh or cringe.

“And what is your take on it all?” pondered Tamati.

“I never put much stock into their existence since any trace of their civilization was scrutinized as being a forgery or misinterpreted and actually the work of some other civilization,” she explained. “This, however, appears to be the first time indisputable proof has been revealed and since I discovered it personally, I can hardly doubt my own eyes. As you can imagine, this was the discovery of a lifetime, but not one I could just reveal to all of Equestria if it means the stories of the Zeikah are true as well. I had to be very careful with who I told and kept it to a very select few. Just Princess Celestia and the heads of the Archeology Department, and perhaps a couple others they felt should be privy to this information.”

“And I’m guessing that’s how Twilight learned of it,” commented Spike. “And this is why she believed an Element of Discord would be in here.”

“If the object could be a big enough threat to the world then the Zeikah would indeed have sought it out,” she explained. “At the very least, there might be other powerful artifacts here to suit your needs.”

“I have no interest in anything else,” the dark dragon stated. “Hopefully, the prize I seek is within.”

“I am certain it is,” sniffed Ahuizotl as he looked around the room. “I can sense a great dark power within. Definitely something I wouldn’t mind helping myself too.”

“I hope you aren’t planning a doublecross,” smiled Tamati as he flexed his claws. “I’d welcome a brawl, but I’d rather keep our partnership intact, wouldn’t you?”

“Uh heh, I was just thinking out loud,” he chuckled. “It’s all yours. I’ve already gotten more than enough thanks to you.”

“Glad we have an understanding,” he smirked. “Now, Daring, where do we go from here?”

“There shouldn’t be any more traps, but that doesn’t mean the treasure will be easy to find,” she answered as she looked around, stopping at a tile on the wall engraved with strange-looking letters. “This looks promising.”

“What kind of writing is this?” wondered Tamati as he and the others took a look.

“It’s not Old Ponish,” commented Spike as he looked it over. “I’ve never seen letters like this before.”

“It’s Zebrew,” answered Daring Do. “It’s the old language of the Zebras. Roughly, I believe this translates to, ‘While darkness reigns, the path is clear. While light holds sway, it shall disappear.’”

“And that means?” questioned Spike as he scratched his head in wonderment.

“It’s definitely a clue to where the treasure is hidden,” figured Tamati. “The first part talks about a path… Hmm, maybe a path to the treasure.”

“A clear path in the dark?” pondered Spike. “But we can’t even see anything at all in here while it’s dark.”

“But the second part says how it’ll disappear in the light,” noted Ahuizotl.

“That’s pretty clever,” stated Daring. “They give us a clue we can only read in the light, but to solve this puzzle we need it to be dark.”

“Then we just need to blow out the torches,” concluded Spike as they quickly extinguished them.

“Our flames too,” Tamati told Spike. “We probably can’t have any light at all. Heh, I probably have to keep my eyes closed too.”

Without their flames or Tamati’s glowing, red eyes, the four now found themselves in absolute darkness. “How can we tell if it worked?” wondered Ahuizotl. “It’s impossible to see now.”

“But I can hear something,” Tamati spoke quietly and the others could as well. It was the sound of a wall sliding up. Carefully making their way towards it, they discovered a new doorway that hadn’t been visible in the light. Navigating their way forward in the dark, they reached a new room. This one, they could all tell it was far from empty and with eagerness pumping through their bodies, Spike and Tamati gave them all some light once more and revealed a chamber filled with gold and jewels, far beyond what any of them could have hoped for.

“So much treasure!” cried Ahuizotl with delight.

“More than enough for all of us,” added Tamati as he dug his claw into a handful and admired the pieces of shiny, precious metals and the craftsmanship that went into carving a zebra shape in one side and the symbol of the Zeikah on the other. “It must be worth a fortune.”

“A lot more than that,” corrected Daring. “Such a find is priceless.”

“As priceless as me?” cackled Ahuizotl as he petted Daring on the head to make her blush.

“I could never put a price on you,” she murred and nuzzled up against her villainous mate. “After finishing up here and writing my last book, I’m thinking of retiring from all this to settle down with you.”

“Oh, I’d like that,” he grinned and kneeled down to share a kiss with his beloved enemy. “It’ll give us all the more time to have fun together.”

“As much as I hate to ruin the mood,” interrupted Tamati. “I’m in a bit of a hurry to get home. My kids are on the way and we’ve got a few days of traveling ahead of us.”

“Then we’d best start packing all this up,” stated Spike as he munched on a mawful of gems. “I’ll carry as many as I can in my belly, but what about the Element of Discord. Is it here?”

“I’m gonna find out,” the dark dragon replied as he searched the room and came upon a chest buried beneath a mound of gold and other treasures. Pushing it aside, he saw the eye symbol engraved onto the lid and grinned. “This appears quite promising.” Gripping the lid, he began to pry it off the chest. His muscles bulged as it proved heavy enough to force him to exert more might than he typically required. Muscle bulged and his feet cracked the ground beneath them as he rooted his stance.

“Having trouble?” asked Spike as he watched, keeping his distance as he could feel a bit of tension from the black dragon that sent a chill down his spine.

“Seems they really didn’t want anyone to get in here,” he groaned as he kept up the effort. Looking at the lid, it became more apparent why it was so hard to get it off as it didn’t merely cover over the chest, but was designed to also wedge itself inside as well to make removing it with brute strength incredibly difficult. “Ungh! It must mean there’s something really valuable in here!”

“There is probably a secret mechanism to unlock it,” suggested Daring Do. “There’s no need to overexert yourself when we could-”

“It’s fine,” groaned Tamati as his muscles bulged bigger as he drew upon still deeper reserves of strength. “I go this. It’s been a while since I had a chance to really flex my muscles. Just stand back.”

Tamati’s claws dug deep into the box as he kept on trying and managing to pull the lid off inch by inch. They could all hear whatever locking mechanism was used to secure the lid breaking and bending as the unrelenting dragon refused to give up. Even if he did change his mind, the others were already certain he had damaged the lock to the point that force was likely the only way it could be removed now.

As the the bottom of the lid within the chest became visible, a heartstopping silence filled the three as they watched Tamati, soaked in sweat and panting, prepare to remove it. With one final, powerful pull, the muscular beast managed to finally lift the lid over his head and, with a bit of vegeance over the trouble it caused him, tossed it straight into the wall with the intent of breaking it. It smashed into the wall, but failed to break it, only slighting disappointing him. However, in doing so he succeeded in breaking a hole in the wall instead. Light leaked in, helping to better illuminate the room, but even more than that, Tamati created a much needed shortcut for their departure from the temple.

“That’ll make things easier than having to go back the way we came,” noted Spike, as he recalled the dark labyrinth they had to trek through in the first place.

“And we can leave as soon as we’re all packed up here,” snickered Tamati with delight as he reached into the chest and navigated his claws around a multitude of magical artifacts that oozed evil and malice. He clutched his claws around a large, black, spherical stone and pulled it out. “This has to be it.”

“Are you sure?” asked Spike as he took a look into the chest and saw a number of different objects from bottles containing questionable liquids, gem encrusted objects that felt like they’d possess him if he gazed too long at them, and many other things Spike had no idea what they could be and doubted he wanted to know. “What makes you think that’s the Element of Discord? It could just be some other evil artifact. Come to think of it, we don’t even know what the Elements of Discord even look like.”

“Maybe not, but you did say originally the Elements of Harmony were in the form of gems hidden within stones like this, right?”

“Yeah,” nodded Spike. “You think it’s the same for them?”

“One way to find out,” the dark dragon grinned as he dug his claws into the stone, making it crack and crumble as darkness seemed to gush out of the cracks. Even while that was happening, Tamati continued to break it apart to reach the center where he unearthed a black gemstone in a hexagon cut. Clutching it tightly, he knew without a doubt it was what he had been searching for. In his grasp, he could feel it radiate a twisted kind of magic that reached his flesh beneath his thick plating of onyx scales.

“Is… Is that it?” asked Spike, able to feel the dark power from it too and timidly kept his distance.

“Heheheh hahahah,” laughed Tamati with the most villainous laugh he could manage. It grew even more intense by the moment, going into megalomaniac territory. “HAHAHAH!!! BWAHAHAHAHAH!!!”

“Um, are you done yet?” shivered Spike. “That laugh is all kinds of creepy.”

“Oh, s-sorry,” he apologized. “I was going for an ultimate evil-type of laugh, but I guess I still need some work.”

“Try reaching deeper in your diaphragm next time,” Spike suggested. “I think you need more bass and maybe stick with just one type of laugh. The bwahahas sounded the best, in my opinion.”

“Thanks, I’ll keep a mental note of that,” smiled Tamati as he gave Spike a pat on the head. “Well, I’m one step close to my conquest of Equestria with this.” Looking down at his palm, Tamati looked gleam at the gemstone, but found it was gone. “Huh? Where did it go?”

“The stone’s gone?” freaked Spike. “But we came all this way. Where could it- Oh, wait. There it is!” Spike pointed a claw at Tamati, at his neck. “It’s on that necklace of yours.”

“It’s where?” asked Tamati eagerly. “On my necklace?” Looking down, he checked and sure enough, the Element of Discord had found its way onto it, taking a place beside the Lockheart. “Heh, I guess the stone has chosen me as it’s master and taken its proper place. I look forward to seeing just what kind of power it will grant me. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find out soon, but for now, let’s pack up what we can and get a move on. I’ve got somewhere important to get back to.”

“You sure you don’t want to stick around here?” asked Tamati as he landed with Spike atop the Changeling Hive. Along with the Element of Discord, the two had brought back two heavy sacks filled with treasure from the temple. “I doubt Twilight will be happy you snuck out for so long and I wouldn’t want you to get punished.”

“It’s a tempting offer, but you still need me to continue my research,” he answered. “Plus Sweetie Belle is there and I have been yearning to spend some more time with her.”

“Mmm, I feel the same way about the Changelings in my harem, especially with how Ahuizotl was practically fucking Daring Do the whole way back. Part of me started to think he was doing it just to mess with us, but I’ll let it slide. He is our ally, after all.”

“I’m eager to see what other friends we make once I get more of Twilight’s notes decoded,” commented Spike as flew up off the ground once more, leaving his sack of treasure behind. “No telling who we might need to join us next.”

“Pretty soon everyone will be joining us,” smirked Tamati. “It is only a matter of time.”

“I wish I could take my share back with me,” sighed Spike as he wiped some saliva away from his muzzle from the thought of all the tasty gems he was leaving behind. “But that would make Twilight really curious as to where I’ve gone off to. I doubt I could come up with a convincing lie to satisfy her involving treasure. She’d just use a truth spell on me and then I’d end up spilling everything.”

“We can’t have that,” agreed Tamati, beaming with pride that his minion was so loyal to their conquest. “Just do what you have to do. In the meantime, I’ll keep it safe for you. Just take it easy for a bit. We both deserve a rest after all our hard work.”

“Can do,” nodded Spike as he circled the hive a few times before off heading straight back to Ponyville.

“And now, to see how everyone’s doing,” smiled Tamati as he headed into the hive just as Biggs and Wedge headed out.

“Oh, you’re back!” Wedge cried. “Hurry! It’s time!”

“The babies!” gasped Tamati. “Did they already-”

“Not yet, but Cid says it’ll be any minute now,” Biggs explained. “All the females are waiting for you.”

“Damn it, I gotta hurry!” the proud father-to-be cried as he hurried past them and stormed through to the nursery room. To everyone in the hive, it felt like they were experiencing an earthquake as he rushed with all his might.

“What’s that?” asked Chrysalis as she held her eggs close to her body to keep them safe. “An enemy attack? Here? Now?”

“If it was, we’d have been given the alert by now,” replied Cid. “It’s more like a natural disaster. Either way, we need to figure out what is happening if we’re to keep you all safe.” He hurried to the door, not sure if it was better to go out and investigate or remain to keep guard over the nursery. “Damn, Tamati. You should have made it back by now. You should have-”

“I’m back!” Tamati roared as he burst into the room after running the whole way. Bursting into the room, he put on the brakes to a stop in the center of it and dropped his butt onto the ground with a slight thud to complete his arrival. Looking all around him, his harem was in awe at first from shock which quickly turned to excitement. All the members of his harem were delighted at his return and cheered his name happily.

“Tamati! You made it!”

“Oh, beloved, we knew you’d return!”

“Just in time too!”

“Get your damn ass off of me!”

“Hmm?” spoke Tamati. “That last one didn’t make sense. You all love it when I sit my ass on you.”

“I’m not part of your harem,” hissed Cid. “Now, get off.”

“My bad,” apologized Tamati as he lifted a cheek to left him crawl out.

“I do all this work and still end up the butt of the joke,” he grumbled and retreated to a safe distance away.

“The eggs,” gasped Chrysalis. “Mine are hatching!”

“Mine too!” cheered Abby with delight as did all the others.

With a sigh of relief, the dark dragon watched the miracle of life unfold all around him. “Just in time,” he thought.

One after another, the eggs began to break from the top and peel like a banana as the newborn Changelings inside emerged head first. They were in a larvae-like form with a soft, white and black spotted shell on their backs. Their faces were already developed with a horn upon their head, along with their mouths and eyes. While blue was the most common eye color among Changelings, there were also a handful of variants. Opening their maws, they let out a hiss as their serpent-like tongues poked out of their maws.

“Heh, so that’s what newborn Changelings look like,” commented Tamati with a warm smile on his face. “So, very adorable.”

“Hello, mommy’s precious bundles of joy,” cooed Chrysalis. “Who is going to grow up and feast on the love of sappy ponies? You are! Yes, you are!”

“So, tell me, Cid,” Tamati called to him. “How long till they fully develop from this stage?”

“Typically it takes about two weeks for their bodies to fully develop. There are some variants based on the mate and the condition of the mother, but I’d say for you it wouldn’t take more than three weeks.”

“Then the first of the new generation of Changelings is well on its well,” he smirked with delight, already envisioning the army he was soon to possess. So much has been accomplished in this week, but this is by far the most rewarding moment of all. Soon, all of Equestria will be at my feet and nothing will be able to stop me! Bwa! Hahahahahah!!!” He laughed loudly, his voice booming throughout the room sounding so powerful and unnerving.

“Very nicely done on the evil laughter,” applauded Chrysalis.

“Oh, thanks,” he smiled. “I’ve been practicing.”


“There shouldn’t be any more traps, but that doesn’t mean the treasure will be easy to find,” she answered as she looked around, stopping at a tile on the wall engraved with strange-looking letters. “This looks promising.”

“What kind of writing is this?” wondered Tamati as he and the others took a look.

“It’s not Old Ponish,” commented Spike as he looked it over. “I’ve never seen letters like this before.”

“It’s Zebrew,” answered Daring Do. “It’s the old language of the Zebras. Roughly, I believe this translates to, ‘To those who wish to claim our treasure, they must never have experienced the fleshy pleasure.’”

“Did I misunderstand that or did it say that only a virgin could get to the treasure?” asked Spike scratching his head. Without needing to look around, he knew they didn’t have any. “Uh, what do we do now, Tamati?”

“First, we find a virgin to get the treasure,” he answered with a hint of anger in his voice the was quickly growing. “Then we find the troll who decided to put such a thing in my clopfic! Is nothing sacred!?!”

Chapter 5

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In the time after obtaining the first Element of Discord, Tamati spent it with his children, creatures born of the sperm of a dragon and the egg of a Changeling. While it wasn’t an impossible mix of genetics, it was certainly one that was rare, or, possibly, even something that had never happened before. To both sides of the gene pool, it was something they were all interested in seeing develop as the newborns matured in a week to finally molt out of their larva skin and develop into their child state.

As expected of the mix of DNA, they had obtained traits of both parent species. Taking the parts of their father included his long tail, claws, and spikes running down his down his back. From their mother they got their eyes, horns, fangs, and transparent, insect-type wings.

Their bodies remained midnight black (a trait common for both parents) and compared to the children of Changelings before, they lacked any trace of holes in their bodies. Such a thing had never happened before with newborn Changelings, and it wasn’t isolated to one clutch of eggs, but to that entire generation. After giving them all a checkup, Cid got together with Tamati, Chrysalis, and all the other mothers to discuss the occurrence.

“Please, tell us, Cid,” Chrysalis spoke to him. “What is the matter with our children?”

“Nothing at all,” he assured them. “They are all in perfect health, just more draconic than we are used to from our offspring.”

“What about their holes?” questioned Abby. “They don’t have any. I know there have been Changelings on occasion born without very few, but how come none of our children have even one?”

“The holes, or rather, the lack of them is nothing to be concerned with either,” he answered with a calm tone to ensure everyone else remained at ease. “They never have and I assume it is more a genetic trait that has been overridden thanks to their papa over here.”

“Don’t throw me under the roc now, buddy,” stated Tamati as all eyes suddenly went on the black dragon. For once, he appeared a bit intimidated to have all the members of his harem focused on him at once.

“Again, there is nothing bad about this,” the doctor added on to return focus on him. “I don’t recall any Changelings ever mating with a dragon before, but it is clear to see that dragons have a number of dominant traits that have allowed the newborns to develop significantly different than other Changelings before them. Typically, a pony, donkey, or even a griffin has been used for mating, all showing little to no alteration to how Changelings develop. How they will develop in terms physically, mentally, and, especially, magically is completely new grounds so far. Have any of you observed anything that you’d care to share with me about them?”

“Many of my children have started to learn to transform,” commented Honey.

“Mine too,” nodded another and all the others chimed in to attest to that fact.

“This is about the time they should learn how to shapeshift,” said Cid as he took a mental note of that. “Anything else? Have their slime membranes fully developed?”

“And they’ve been making a mess of their room ever since,” joked Abby, getting a chuckle from the others. “Seriously, that goo is for ensnaring victims to consume the love they hold within, not to see who can stick the the ceiling the longest.”

“Kids,” another snickered. “But we all enjoyed messing around like that too at our age.”

“My child breathes fire,” spoke one of the mothers, this one noticeably larger in bulk than the other females. Compared to Chrysalis she wasn’t as tall, but she was closest to her height among the others. Across her face, she had some aged scars across her cheek. Her eyes were a silvery gray that remained unflinching even after making such a statement.

“Breathe fire?” asked Tamati quite intrigued upon hearing this. “Just like their old man. Isn’t that great news.”

“Well, I think that might have been a more important issue to discuss than holes,” worried Cid. “Uh, you’re Elytra, right?” She responded with a nod. “Why didn’t you speak up about this sooner?”

“I prefer to remain in silence and let my actions do the talking for me,” Elytra explained. “But since none of the others were willing to say anything, it was left to me.”

“We were all worried about it,” explained Abby. “Either our children can spit slime like normal Changelings or breath fire like a dragon. We’re not as prepared to deal with the later and it is a bit worrying. If I recall, you only laid one egg, correct?”

“Yes,” Elytra nodded. “My one and only, my precious Sting. I can already tell he’ll grow to being a fine warrior someday, blessed with the flames of his father.”

“Those flames are a lot more dangerous than sticky slime,” stated Chrysalis. “It can be a useful asset, but as young as they are, it can be quite dangerous for themselves and the other children. Do we even know if their hides are resistant to flame like a dragon’s is?”

“Please, everyone,” interjected Tamati, sensing the tension growing in the room. “I can understand the concern about breathing fire. It will take some getting used to, but we will manage and you’ll see that this is a good thing. Cid, we’ll do another examination to check their resilience to fire to find out if they are or not. We’ll go over any other concerns you have as well. I’d just like to thank you all for voicing your concerns and thank you, Elytra, for bringing up about the fire breathing. Heh, I believe it’s the first time I’ve even heard you speak. I could barely even get a moan out of you during sex.”

“A warrior has to be focused,” she explained. “Even during the passions of the flesh, one must not lower their guard.”

“Elytra has been a proud warrior of the hive,” explained Chrysalis. “One on a long line of warriors. I believe this was even her first time giving birth too.”

“I was concerned my life would be snuffed out before I encountered a suitable mate, but, master, you have arrived and granted me the greatest of joys in my child. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

“And I thank you, all of you for birthing my children,” he smiled. “They are all very dear to my heart just as all of you are. They are my beloved, Draglings.”

“Uh, ‘Draglins?’” asked Cid upon hearing that.

“Changelings plus dragon equals Draglins,” he explained. “Dragonfly didn’t sound cool enough, Dragonhorse just sounded lame, and Kirin was already taken so I settled on that.”

“Uh, if you say so,” replied Cid, not seeing any point in arguing what they called the new generation. “You are the king after all.”

“Today’s the day,” smirked Tamati as he sat alone in his quarters. His heart pounded with excitement as he stared in a mirror, making sure not a single scale was out of place. “I have to look my best for the invasion. Mine is the first face the enemy will see and I want it to fill them with nothing less than absolute dread the moment they lay eyes upon me.”

After a few minutes, making sure he looked positively fierce, Tamati approached his desk and picked up the last scroll Spike had sent over to read it once again. It covered everything he deciphered from the second section of the Elements of Discord, including its whereabouts. There was also a section detailing the events of what was currently going on during his return to Twilight’s after their mission together.

“I’ve had quite a profound effect on him,”chuckled Tamati as he murred at the kinkier details Spike had included, as he obviously enjoyed bragging about it. “I’ve turned him into a real dragon and I couldn’t be prouder. I’ll have to pick him up something extra special from the upcoming attack as a reward. I’m sure I can find something or someone he’ll enjoy.”

Smirking deviously, Tamati adjusted the Lockheart and the the one Element of Discord in his possession on his neck and then proceeded out of his room. He headed towards the roof of the hive where his troops were already preparing to assemble, just as eager for the mission as much as Tamati was. They were his children after all and this was their chance to make their father proud.

“This is it, big guy,” Tamati spoke to himself as he walked one step ahead of the other. “Everything before has allowed me to remain fairly covert. This time, however, it’ll be all but impossible to prevent all of Equestria from knowing who you are. Might as well give them a perfect reason to fear you. Introducing them to my progeny should do that quite nicely.”

“I still wish I could convince you to stay here,” spoke Chrysalis as she pleaded with her eldest daughter who was still in the midst of preparing for the battle. Tamati stopped to peek in, unable to resist being a fly on the wall.

“Mother, I am not going to change my mind after all the work I put in to getting ready,” she argued. “Besides, when you were in charge you didn’t hesitate to put yourself in the middle of the battlefield. You were the one who impersonated Princess Cadence and then went one-on-one with Celestia and defeated her. I doubt there’s anything I could do that could possibly top that.”

“Not that it’ll stop you from trying, Zircon,” smiled Chrysalis as she took a comb and ran it through her emerald green hair to straighten it. The former queen then began to braid her daughter’s hair, doing so like it was second nature to her. As Tamati watched, he couldn’t help reminisce.

“Ugh! Ow!” cried Zircon one month prior. “Mom! That hurts!”

“You have to sit still,” Chrysalis told her as she tried to braid her hair, though it just looked like a tangled mess after a half an hour of trial and error. “I’ve never done this sort of thing before.”

“I am,” she groaned. “You’re just pulling my hair.”

“I said this is new to me,” she hissed. “You should just let your hair flow freely like mine.”

“I don’t want it to get in my way,” she explained. “Not when I’m in the middle of battle. I don’t want it to get into my face or anything.”

“Battle?” cried Chrysalis. “I’ve already told you a thousand times and your father has told you a thousands times too, you are not going to set foot on a battlefield, ever.”

“But all my brothers and sisters are in the army and you haven’t said one word against it,” stated Zircon angrily. “What makes them so special?”

“It is because you are my first born,” Chrysalis explained. “Should anything happen to your father and I, you would be the next in line to rule over the hive.”

“I’m only older by like twenty seconds and even then, why should that matter in the slightest? What kind of ruler has to listen to orders?” she questioned her mother. “Why can’t I do what I want and be a soldier?”

“So, you want to disobey your mother’s orders so you can follow orders as a soldier?” questioned Tamati as he stood by the doorway. “Not hard to see that you’re both cut from the same cloth.”

“Daddy,” pleaded Zircon. “Can’t I please join the army?”

“I’m sorry, dear, but everyone here has a role to play and this is yours,” he stated in a caring, fatherly tone. “It is just the role you are best suited for.”

“Then you don’t think I could make it in the army?” she posed a loaded question at Tamati.

“Never have I faced a more daunting opponent than my own flesh and blood,” thought Tamati as he scratched a nail against his temple, trying to navigate this minefield of a dilemma so as to avoid upsetting his daughter, Chrysalis of his harem, or himself in the process. He couldn’t come up with any magic words to which he could defuse the situation, but a more unique, albeit risky solution did. “If you believe you would make a good soldier, than as a supportive father, I should give you a chance-”

“You really mean it?” gasped Zircon with delight.

“You really mean it?” asked Chrysalis with a look that said he couldn’t expect to get any action from her for quite some time (Lockheart or not) if whatever he had in mind didn’t work out the way he wanted it to.

“I’ll give you a test, and if you can pass it then you can join your brothers and sisters when we will begin our attack on… well, we won’t know where the next Element of Discord is till Spike finishes his research, but rest assured that our wrath will be suffered by many.”

“I can’t wait to wrath at them,” giggled Zircon like it was a game they were playing. “So, daddy, what is the test you have in mind for me?”

“The test,” he explained with his usual smirk when he knew he had his opponent cornered. Even against his daughter, the desire to come out on top was just a part of his makeup and something he hoped he shared with his offspring. “The test is one you must come up with. It has to be something you can challenge another at. It can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be so long as the players on both sides have a chance to win. Then you will play this game against me and if you can win then you can join the army.”

“A challenge against you?” she asked surprised. “One where I can decide how we play? I don’t know. It feels strange. Doing it like this gives me the advantage to make it something I could easily defeat you at.”

“You could,” he agreed. “And as invaders we attack in ways to give ourselves the greatest advantage. So, you can see why the test will be this way. Just, don’t think I’m giving you an easy win. More often than not, the ponies have proven capable of fending off an invasion and I am hardly as soft and namby pamby as they are. You’d best take this seriously if you hope to pass.”

“Is that so,” she pondered, already considering what just what kind of challenge she wanted to propose. “In that case, how about a game of hide and seek?”

“Hide and seek, huh,” smiled Tamati. “I haven’t played a good game of hide and seek with you and all your brothers and sisters in… about two weeks. I assume you want to challenge me to find you?”

“That’s right,” she nodded, sounding quite sure of herself.

“Need I remind you that I’ve yet to lose at the game,” he said in a cocky bragging tone. “I can find you just by scent. Even when you transform you cannot change that. Are you certain that is the game you wish to play with me?”

“I understand I could be giving up my only chance to join my brothers and sisters, but I want to do it knowing that you believe I can too. That’s why I want to do this. I want to be the first to beat you. If I can do that then there’s nothing that I can’t accomplish.”

“A fine way to look at this,” smirked Tamati. “Very well, I accept your challenge. Take all the time you need prepare.”

“Give me an hour and meet me in the badlands,” she told him. “I’ll be all set by then.”

“Already got a plan,” he surmised. “Very well. I look forward to what you have up your sleeve.”

“I won’t disappoint,” she promised and ran off, quickly opening her wings and switching seamlessly to flight.

“You never do,” he answered quietly, not wanting to offer her praise when they were currently opponents.

“Daddy always has to be the fun one,” commented Chrysalis, as she walked around him sexally, tracing a finger from his right cheek around his waist and to his belly. She then rubbed her palms against his belly and chest before nuzzling against him. “But I trust that you know what you are doing, dear.”

“Just count on me,” he answered and leaned in to kiss her. “So, I still have an hour to kill before things get started.”

“There he comes,” observed Zircon as she sat upon a stone in the badlands awaiting Tamati. She waved to him as he flew down and then quickly jumped into his arms to hug him. “You’re ten minutes late,” she told him. “I said I only needed an hour.”

Calling the badlands “bad” didn’t do them justice with how decrepit they truly were. All plant life for as far as the eye could see was dry and dead, the magic, the very life of the earth had been gobbled up by the Changelings and now it stood as a reminder to the rest of Equestria what those winged, black bugs were capable of. They were a swarm only capable of consuming everything around them and now they were at the command of Tamati.

“Sorry, but your mother needed more time than that,” he replied, thinking that might be a bit much to tell to his daughter and quickly changed the subject. “Uh, but I take it you made all the preparations you needed?” He scanned the area, curious to see just what she had done, but as far as he could see, nothing appeared out of place or to stand out from the norm. Taking a look at his daughter, he could see she had been busy. She was sweating and her scent was quite strong. His powerful sense of smell was able to pick her up practically back from the hive and in a game of hide and seek, it’d be like he was watching her the entire time he was counting.

“I’m all set,” she nodded. “Just stand by that tree, close your eyes, and count to one hundred. Then you can go looking for me. You have a time limit of one half hour.”

“Thirty minutes?” questioned Tamati surprised. “Isn’t that a bit much? The badlands aren’t exactly known for having lots of hiding spots.”

“I know what I’m doing,” she assured him with a smirk and a boop to his nose. “You’ll be the one wishing you had more time. Oh, and here’s a pocketwatch you can use to keep track of time.” He reached into her pocket and handed the gadget to her father. Compared to his large hand, it seemed miniscule, as it rested on the center of his palm, but he could clearly see the time on it as it ticked. He watched it carefully, making sure it kept time properly, observing it for a full minute to ensure this wasn’t a trick. Once he felt satisfied, he carefully affixed it to the chain that the Lockheart and Element of Discord hung from for safe keeping.

“Well, if you’re ready to start then so am I,” smiled Tamati as he placed her down and turned to rest his head against a withered tree with his claws over his face. “1… 2… 3…” he counted, able to hear her run off in the direction his back was facing. He could hear he flee for quite a while and then the sound of quiet flapping could be heard as she took to the air to gain more speed and increase the distance between them while she still had time. Her flight soon became too quiet for his ears to track, but his nose could still clearly smell scent. He knew exactly where she was and despite being his daughter, he didn’t plan to go easy on her.

“98… 99… 100!” he announced at last. “The hunt is on!”

Turning around swiftly, Tamati took a few sniffs to pick up her scent and verify where the trail went. In his mind’s eye, he could already tell where she was and hurried over, charging like a stampede of one across the badlands. The ground shook in his haste and went silent as he stopped dead in his tracks before a rock. He then took a seat and patted the rock with a smirk on his face.

“It was a nice try, but I’m afraid that you made a very poor choice in the game you chose,” he spoke to the rough, gray stone. “I don’t know what you planned, but I’m afraid it was all wasted effort on your part. Now, I hope you will have no more qualms about remaining at home as your mother and I wish.”

Zircon didn’t answer. She just remained a rock.

“Are you planning to remain a rock till the time is up?” he asked. “That is clever, but even a Changeling cannot hold a transformation indefinitely. Even if you are Chrysalis’s daughter, I doubt you could even stay like this for half an hour.”

Tamati waited beside the rock, keeping it in his sight till she’d return to her true form, but after five minutes passed, his patience started to grow thin. While he was not one to act out in haste, Tamati did not do well with boredom and rocksitting was quickly becoming the most boring thing he could think of. He pondered how he could get Zircon to return to normal and snickered as he attempted to tickle her.

“Gootchie, gootchie, goo,” he chortled as he gently ran his claws over the rock, attempting to break his daughter’s focus and force her to return to her original form. A minute of that yielded nothing and so he attempted a more drastic approach. Taking the rock, he tossed it straight up into the air and watched it. “She’ll have to turn back now.” The rock reached its zenith and still remained a rock. It dropped to the ground and still didn’t change. In the nick of time, Tamati caught it and was trembling with fear.

“Does she intend to go this far just to win at hide and seek?” he worried, but quickly steeled his resolve. “Well, I’m not one to pull my punches either.”

Tossing the rock up even higher, he felt completely certain that she wouldn’t be able to stay transformed this time. As she plummeted back to the ground with the force of a meteorite, Tamati waited and watched for her to revert to her flight-capable self before she’d end up a pancake on the ground, yet still nothing.

“She isn’t turning back?” he wondered. “It’s almost as if-” He paused from speaking and sniffed the air. His eyes widened as a faint suspicion suddenly became confirmed. “So that’s what she did. My daughter is quite clever after all. Turning away, he let the rock hit the ground and shatter into pieces. He didn’t even look back at it. He was too busy glaring around at other rocks, dead trees, and bushes that all also had the scent of his daughter on them.

“Very clever indeed,” he praised her and peeked at the time to see how much he had left. “She knew my sense of smell would be the biggest obstacle to overcome so instead she used it against me and covered the area with her scent to confuse me. She even got close to me from the start so I wouldn’t pick up on this. It’ll be a lot harder to find her and I’ve already wasted almost ten minutes on one rock. Seems she was right about time not being on my side. I’d best hurry.”

With time ticking, Tamati took on a more hastened approach to finding his daughter. While her scent was everywhere, she couldn’t mask her own and so he went from one spot to another in his attempt to find her, tossing up rocks and knocking over trees to try to force her out of her transformation. He was worried he might be acting too rough, but after another five minutes of no luck his desire to win only grew stronger.

A number of Changelings and Draglings actually took notice of Tamati as he thrashed about the badlands seemingly aimlessly and couldn’t help chuckle at the sight. “I’ve never seen him so flustered like this,” Biggs commented. “He’s normally calm and composed, sometimes in a scary way, but it looks like he’s actually working up a sweat.”

“What’s he even doing?” asked Wedge as he hugged Biggs tightly with worry. “And where should we hide in case he doesn’t find whatever it is he’s looking for.”

“He’s playing hide and seek with Zircon, a rather chubby dragling explained. “She actually stopped to see me earlier. She wanted to make sure she was at her best for this.”

“You’re Media, right?” asked Biggs, looking at the yellow-eyed Dragon-Changeling hybrid. “Guess that makes sense. Anyone going against Tamati would want to be at their best if they are going to have any hope of winning. I’m just worried what Tamati might try to do to win. I can’t imagine he’s got much time left the way he’s racing around like that.”

“Only five minutes left,” sweated Tamati as looked all around him and could only see the vastness of the badlands and a million potential places Zircon could be hiding. With such little time left he couldn’t keep randomly searching for her. “Think, Tamati, think. There has to be something you can do. If you can’t find her… maybe you can get her to come to you. Yeah, like with Daring Do. There must be a way I can do that, but I don’t exactly have another house I can bring down on top of us. That wouldn’t work though. She’s half dragon so a little falling debris wouldn’t scare her.” After saying that, Tamati rubbed his chin and as an idea formed. “Half a dragon and half a bug horse. I think I might know what I need to do.”

Turning to the nearest tree, Tamati quickly exhaled a burst of flames upon it and easily set the dry, withered wood aflame. In no time at all, it became a bonfire with black smoke rising into the clear, blue sky. As it burned, Tamati made certain to contain the flame so it wouldn’t start spreading throughout the badlands.

“That was clever of him,” admitted Biggs as he averted his eyes from the fire. “Ugh, but that stupid flame.”

“That wonderful flame,” swooned Wedge as he and all the other Changelings around started to swarm towards it. The same was true for the Draglings, their insect instincts drawn towards the warm, bright light of it.

“Get back, all of you,” cried Biggs as he desperately flew in their way and tried to knock some sense into them. “Stop looking at the flame!”

“But it’s dancing so invitingly for me,” replied Wedge with a dreamy look on his face and the flame flickering in his eyes. “It would be rude of me to just ignore it.”

“Need I remind you of the time you made out with a candle and got third degree burns on your lips?” Biggs hissed.

That seemed to knock some sense into his chubby friend as he hugged onto Biggs tightly, his added weight almost enough to cause the two to plummet straight to the ground. “Oh, that’s right,” he whimpered sadly. “I remember! My lips were sore for practically a month! It was so painful and embarrassing. Everyone called me names like ‘hot lips’ and ‘sizzling smoocher.’ How can I ever thank you, Biggs?”

“Maybe by not making us plummet to our doom,” he suggested as he struggled to keep them both airborne.

“Oh, right,” realized Wedge as he started to fly once more.

“Good,” sighed Biggs with relief as he looked at a number of others still flying towards the massive flame. “Now let’s go save the others before we have a bug barbecue on our hands.”

While Biggs, Wedge, and a few of the other Changelings and Draglings who managed to also come back to their senses flew to rescue the others from a fiery fate, Tamati was searching around for Zircon as the time was ticking down on the last couple of minutes. He had his senses on full alert for her when the familiar noise of magical transformation caught his ear and he turned to see a nearby bush transformed back into his daughter.

“So… So pretty,” she gawked as she moved her hand towards the flame. The addition of dragon genetics into her makeup allowed her to be more flame proof than a typical regular Changeling, but Tamati remained cautious for his daughter and snatched her hand before it reached too close. Doing this helped snap her out of the flame’s enchantment.

“Gotcha,” he spoke in his typical tone he used when playing hide and seek.

“Huh? Wha?” she wondered as she came back to her senses and saw the situation around her. When the pocket watch reached the end of its time, it sounded and verified what she dreaded had happened. She was caught before time had run out. “I… I lost…”

“Still, it was a mighty fine game,” he praised her. “You had me fooled for a good while and had I not thought to attract you with a flame then I would have never stood a chance. There is no reason you should feel anything but proud of all the effort you put into this challenge.”

“Yeah,” she nodded and smiled as she hugged her father. “Maybe I’ll be able to defeat you before the next invasion. I hope I’ve at least earned another chance to prove myself to you.”

“I suppose if that’s what you want, but I’d say you more than earned the right to join,” he told her.

“I-I did,” she gasped looking up into her papa’s eyes.

“You have proven yourself quite resourceful and clever,” he explained. “I have no doubt that you would be perfect as an infiltrator and be able to sneak your way right into the heart of enemy territory. I’m sure you know the story of how your mother replaced a princess and once came an ‘I do’ away from conquering the capital of Equestria with the rest likely to follow it soon after. Do you think you could do better?”

“With all my might and the might of the rest of the swarm,” she nodded with determination in her eyes that faded as a smidge of concern entered it. “But what about mother? She was adamant against me joining.”

“And I can see I was wrong,” came a voice from another nearby rock. The two watched as it transformed and took on the shape of Chrysalis. “It has been many moons since the first time I was able to experience the thrill of an invasion. The sight of those pitiful ponies as fear filled their eyes before we drained away every ounce of love they possessed. Since then, I have experienced many defeats and I’m afraid that and the feeling of recent losses in our ranks have started to turn me soft like those pony princesses. Keeping you safe and hidden would only be a sign of fear and weakness on our part. As princess of the Draglings, you should be there among the invasion to etch out your own legacy and show them that they have something grander to fear than even I, your mother before you.” She gave her a little smile and added, “Still, I am your mother and that doesn’t mean I won’t stop worrying for your safety. What can I say, it comes with the territory.”

“That’s what I wanted to hear from you for so long,” sniffled Zircon with tears of happiness. She embraced her mother in a hug over. “I promise to make you proud.”

“I know you will, my little love bug,” she cooed to her. The former queen of the Changelings might have been a heartless monster, but, even if that was still true, she now also possessed the heart of a mother.

“All done,” smiled Chrysalis as she ran her fingers down the length of Zircon’s green hair wrapped in a very intricately weaved ponytail. “How is that?”

“You’ve gotten really good at this since I first asked you to braid my hair, mother,” she smiled and looked at it in the mirror. “I’m all set to go into battle.”

“Do you remember your role in the infiltration?” asked Chrysalis.

“Of course,” she nodded. “I have a target pony to find and take out. I’ve already memorized everything I need to from Uncle Spike’s reports. I’m ready for this.”

“I know you are, dear,” she agreed and gave her daughter a hug and kiss on her cheek.

“Nothing quite like the love of a mother and daughter bonding over the affairs of battle,” thought Tamati as he silently made his way onward, not wishing to spoil their moment. Further ahead, he reached the kitchen wing of the hive. Sniffing the air, he could smell the numerous succulent dishes that Honey was preparing for him and the rest of the army. Beside her was her daughter, Media, hard at work helping to make the meals and pack them into boxes that were then piled onto carts to be brought up the to roof where the majority of the invasion force was already waiting.

“Remember, Media,” Honey stated as she sampled a zesty sauce for taste and texture by dipping a finger into it and bringing it to her lips. Smiling, she poured it onto several thick steaks and with a brush gently glazed them while they were still sizzling on the stove. “An army marches on its stomach so proper, nutritious meals are essential.”

“And wonderfully tasting ones too,” Media added.

“Indeed,” smiled Honey, pleased beyond words how well her daughter embodied her philosophies of cooking.”

“Mmm, it’s almost maddening how good it always smells in here,” drool Tamati, his powerful sense of smell forcing him to embrace every iota of delicious aroma the room contained. It aggravated his hunger, making him reflexively rub his stomach before it let out an audible growl.

“That sounds like my pappy Tamtam’s tummy,” giggled Media as she turned and saw Tamati. “It is! It is!” Rushing over, she eagerly cuddled with her daddy, getting the stains from the pink apron she was wearing onto his black scales. It was a slight annoyance to him after all the time he spent getting ready to greet the troops, but not one that would take much effort to fix.

“What brings you here?” asked Honey, greeting her master while she continued to cook. “Got the munchies before the invasion?”

“I’m always hungry for your cooking,” he answered. “And I’m happy you get to cook with you daughter. It makes it all the more delicious.”

“Cooking was something I unintentionally grew fond of while in disguise,” she admitted. “Most Changelings have little interest in being anything other than a warrior. Most of our little Draglings were no different, wanting to conquer Equestria and bring back tons of ponies for the rest of the hive to feast upon their love. But my little Media preferred spatulas and whisks to swords and shields.”

“I remember,” chuckled Tamati. “And back then we thought that was a bad thing.”

“You call that running!” barked Commander Pincer as he blew on his whistle while all the Dragling recruits were being pushed to their limits to run laps around the training grounds in the lower depths of the hive. He was a battle-hardened veteran Changeling, long since retired due to the loss of one eye that he had covered over with an eye patch that blended perfectly with his black hue. Along with the countless scars all across his body from his lifetime service to the Changeling army and his chipped horn, he was frightfully intimidating even by Changeling standards. “I wanna see you all sweat! Ten more laps to go!”

“We are! We are!” cried the Draglings, the number of laps they’ve already run lost to them and likely the same was true for their drill sergeant barking the same orders he had been giving them over and over again for the last half hour and they had completed about three times that many laps in that time. Most of the new soldiers were so exhausted that they couldn’t find the strength to move anymore. They merely slowed to a stop and dropped to their hands and knees if they were lucky, otherwise they ended up face down on the ground slumped over.

Before long, less than a dozen of the Draglings managed to keep going, most among them struggling to move beyond a weary trudge, though, two did manage to lead the pack from the very start and retain their place even now. They were Abby’s son, Nat in second, trailing just short of Elytra’s son, Sting, by a slowly widening gap.

Nat was the smallest of all the Draglings, almost a full head shorter than others and quite slender that he’d have been considered sickly-looking if he was a full dragon instead of just half. The hue of his eyes was a much deeper blue than the typical shade that was a dominant trait among both the Changelings and Draglings. His wings also possessed this same vibrant blue that helped him stand out as well.

Sting, on the other hand, was easily the strongest built of all the Draglings, a head over the rest of the ground and practically towering over Nat in comparison. His eyes were fixated on the path ahead of him, their coloration, a bloody crimson that was very similar to the color of his father, Tamati’s, eyes. His wings shared the same color as his eyes, making him like a red blur as he zoomed by.

“I know this guy is supposed to be a legend,” wheezed Nat as the fatigue was starting to get to him. “But it’d be nice if he learned to count. Then he might know just how many ten is and we can finally stop running.”

“When we go into battle we may be forced to run without end,” replied Sting, his tone completely serious. “We must temper our endurance with this training to better ready ourselves.”

“Yeah, but if we’re being forced to run doesn’t that mean we’ve lost and this training wasn’t enough, after all?”

“Hmm, you make a good point,” stated Sting to Nat’s surprise. “We do this training in order to not use it. Commander Pincer’s years of wisdom are truly an amazing thing to behold.”

“I don’t think you actually understood what I was saying,” commented Nat. “And I don’t think that was the point of Commander Pincer’s training.”

“Thank you, Nat. You’ve helped motivate me to try even harder,” he said before dashing off with renewed vigor, leaving Nat behind in the dust.

“How did my discouraging words actually encourage him to run more?” pondered Nat as he watched the born warrior tear up the track like he hadn’t already ran himself to near exhaustion.

“How are things going?” Tamati asked Pincer as he entered the training grounds to see how the Draglings were doing. “How are my progeny doing?”

“I’m sure you are aware of the young soldier, Pharynx,” Pincer answered. “He was the top soldier in his brood and upon my request earned the rank of captain.”

“I know him,” nodded Tamati. “Purple eyes, red shell cover over his wings, and fiercely loyal to the hive. While most of the other Changelings had been out gathering love, he’s been taking charge of our defenses, essentially patrolling the grounds on his own around the clock.”

“That’s him,” nodded Pincer. “I had always thought that if we had more Changelings with the drive he possesses in our swarm we’d be an unstoppable force. Looking at this new generation I’m seeing many proving every bit as capable. Sting in particular is showing astounding results, but that is no surprise as his mother was the personal guard for the former queen as were the generations before them. Sting also possesses your blood within him so I can only imagine what he’ll be capable of as he matures as a soldier.”

“Then it sound like things are running smoothly,” smiled Tamati.

“Hardly,” scoffed Pincer. “Day after day it is a disaster. Every day I have to keep making them run laps till they collapse as disciplinary action.”

“But, I don’t understand,” stated Tamati. “What have they done wrong?”

“It is none of them,” he explained. “It is the one who has repeatedly shirked off her training time and again, Media.”

“Media?” asked the dark dragon. “I never pictured her as the type to play hookey.”

“She doesn’t do it intentionally,” he explained. “From what I’ve gathered, she merely, loses track of time while cooking.”

“Well, why do you punish the others if she is the problem?” he wondered.

“It is important for all of them to understand this as well,” he continued. “When one fails to do their part, we all suffer. One’s actions or, rather, inactions can be the difference between victory and defeat. I believe this concept has sunk in quite well with the others, but Media continues to disappoint.”

“I’m coming! I’m coming!” cried the unmistakable voice of the Dragling in question as she hurried into the training room to see she was far too late.

“Gotta keep… going,” groaned Sting, even his endurance was finally at an end, nearly lapping Nat as he attempted to claw his way forward to no avail.

“You just don’t know when to quit,” commented Nat as he managed to recover enough strength to sit up and watch watch with relative amusement at Sting’s stubborn refusal to stop moving. He turned to Pincer and called out to him. “Can we call it a day? I don’t think any of us are going to have the energy to move for a week after this.”

“I suppose I don’t have much of a choice,” he sighed upon seeing the Draglings too exhausted that most could not even budge an inch and many were out cold. “But, tell me, Media, do you see what you have done?”

“Yes,” she nodded meekly.

“I can hardly believe that with how I have asked you this question time and again and still you fail to show up for training,” he told her. “These laps they run could be them fleeing from battle because you failed to do your job. The enemy could be chasing them down till they are completely exhausted and helpless. As their strength finally fails them, they can only watch as their enemies finally move in to finish them off. Do you want that to happen?”

“N-No,” she sobbed.

“What he’s trying to say,” Tamati tried to explain more delicately. “Is that you have a responsibility to do and you can’t let yourself get distracted with cooking. You have to put that aside and focus on what we need you to do.”

“You are too soft on her,” argued Pincer. “Cooking was just something her mother picked up while in disguise. We Changelings have never needed more than love to sustain ourselves. All that is merely superficial to our needs. If she can’t give it up for the betterment of the hive then a dishonorable discharge is all I can do for her. I have half a mind to do so right now, but we’ve barely got the numbers for a decent strike force as is. Which is why I am willing to give her one final chance to change my opinion of her.”

“Which is?” wondered Tamati as he gently patted Media’s head to help comfort her. He doubted Pincer was happy to see him continue to coddle his daughter like that, but the father in him couldn’t help come to the aid of her while she was in distress.

“A survival trek in Froggy Bottom Bog,” he explained. “They’ll head into the swamplands and make up camp there in an attempt to survive with the limited supplied provided for them. They will have to live there for at least a week’s time and then return to the hive. At the very least it will keep Media out of the kitchen so she should be able to better focus on her real job.”

“That is a rather dangerous place to stay in for a week,” commented Tamati, fully away of the creatures like hydra’s that dwelled in such a place. “But if you are there to lead them then there shouldn’t be any problems.”

“I won’t be going on this exercise,” he explained. “It is vital for them to learn how to survive with their wits and unity,” Pincer explained. “But I’ll still need a proxy to give me an impartial report on their progress. Someone who won’t be of any real help to them in survival.”

“You don’t mean-”

“I can’t believe I get to lead the field trip,” cheered Wedge happily as he waved a flag and marched in place.

“Now, remember,” instructed Pincer to Wedge. “You take them into the swamp and wherever you place the flag is where the group will make up camp. After that, you will remain there till you are out of supplies and have to return to the hive. Do you understand?”

“Crystal, sir,” he answered and saluted, hitting his head with the flag. “Ow.”

“This… does not seem like the best idea,” commented Biggs. “Can we really trust Wedge to lead the Draglings?”

“I think the point is we needed someone who couldn’t lead to go with them,” Cid pointed out.

“Well, we’ll just have to focus on the positives for right now,” stated Biggs.

“Which are?”

“I don’t have to give him any hugs till he gets back,” Biggs smiled before getting a surprise hug from Wedge.

“Oh, I’m gonna miss you guys,” cried Wedge.

“Uh, yeah, me too,” replied Biggs, unable to deny he would miss not seeing his buddy around the hive.

Like a plague of locusts flying off from the hive, the Dragling swarm flew across the badlands. Led by Wedge, they headed straight for Froggy Bottom Bog for their survival training. Despite knowing the seriousness of the exercise, most of them couldn’t help feeling excited to finally go beyond the badlands and the territory of the Changeling Kingdom and see more of the world.

As they came upon the boundaries, they could see the edge of a forest, seeing the lush, green plant life that was a stark contrast to the shriveled up husks around where they lived. Along with that, they were able to spy a variety of wildlife like squirrels, birds, and rabbits below them. For many, it was the first time seeing these creatures.

Continuing further, they spotted a stream of water going through the forest along their path. They watched in amazement as it winded through the forest till it, at last, reached a large lake that sparkled in the sunlight. Seeing so many amazing sights, a lot of the Draglings were tempted to break off from the group to check it out, but there were enough still focused to keep them from going awol and after an hour in the air they reached their destination.

Compared to the forest or the badlands, Froggy Bottom Bog was a different creature altogether. The bog was swarming with overgrowth as the grass came up to their knees and the ground hidden beneath it was soft and muggy. A number of the Draglings quickly found their feet stuck in the mud and struggled to pull themselves free. There were a number of bodies of water in the area too, though compared to the pristine water from the lake that was a crystal blue, this water was a gross, brownish green that reeked from the microorganisms living within it. Worst of all, however, was the insects, particularly the mosquitos that saw their group as an all-you-can-eat blood buffet.

“We couldn’t have made up camp near that lake instead?” one Dragling asked. “It looked so nice and this place… it stinks.”

“Can I get a little help,” another called out. “I can’t get my feet out and I think I’m sinking.”

“Ugh! All these bugs!” snapped a third as he swatted at the pests that were as relentless as they were numerous. “Such annoying little bloodsuckers.”

“You know,” another pointed out. “Others might think the same about us.”


“Okay, everyone,” announced Wedge as he held the flag up. “It looks like we have some solid ground over here to make up camp. I am not supposed to offer you any support from this point on, so remember your training and refer to the guides that was provided for you in regards to this outing.”

“Like it was such a thrilling read the first time,” groaned Nat as he took out the half inch thick book that didn’t look like it had been opened more than once before. “I barely had the attention to skim through it.”

“You are taking this too lightly,” commented Sting as he was already quick at work setting up his tent while most of the others hadn’t managed to even put down their backpacks yet. “We are in a strange environment and we need to be ready for anything that might come our way.”

“If you are talking about the dangerous creatures that live around here,” replied Nat. “The only thing ranked five stars in terms of danger was a hydra and there don’t seem to be any around so I think we’re safe for now.”

“We need to survive out here for one week,” Wedge instructed the group. “From the moment I plant this flag in the ground. Starting… now!” With a swift downward thrust, he planted the flag into the ground and got a panicked squeak as a small creature with orange quills popped out of a hole that had been hidden in the grass in that very same spot. He squeaked angrily as he looked at Wedge.

“What is that?” asked Nat as everyone gathered around to look at the angry critter.

“Looks like a pukwudgie,” answered Sting. “You’d know that if you actually read the whole guide.”

“Let me see,” he grumbled flipping through the bestiary section, to the creature in question. “A pukwudgie, huh. It’s only one star. Hardly anything to worry about.”

“Keep reading,” Sting told him.

“While normally gentle creatures,” read Nat. “When angered, pukwudgies can be quite dangerous, upgrading them to a three-star ranking.”

“E-Easy there,” Wedge attempted to calm the snarling, hissing creature. “I didn’t mean you any harm.” That didn’t seem to work as it turned around and started firing quills from its back at the chubby Changeling.

“That is a little worrying,” Nat admitted. “But an overgrown pincushion is hardly a threat to us.” Upon saying that, the pukwudgie let out a cry and soon more emerged from the tall grass. In a matter of seconds, they outnumbered the Draglings two-to-one and the odds were quickly getting worse.

“Keep reading,” Sting told him, already at the ready for the battle about to take place.

“Pukwudgies are known to live in communities and should one be angered then they will all become enraged. When that happens their ranking goes all the way up to five, thus it is best to treat them like that in the first place should you encounter any at all.” Rolling his eyes, Nat snapped the book shut. “Two minutes here and we’re already screwed,” he sighed before some quills flew at him. Fortunately, he was able to defend himself with the guidebook.

“We just got here,” stated Sting as he tried to rally everyone. “We cannot be driven off so easily! Everyone, to arms! We fight!”

“Yeah!” his fellow Draglings cheered and grabbed whatever was in reach to defend themselves. After that, they stared down their enemies and saw the odds were looking to be four-to-one. It almost appeared like there was truly no end to the beasts as more kept popping their heads out of the tall grass, looking adorable before they let out their first snarl.

“Attack!” ordered Sting as he led the charge and all the Draglings followed behind him. In retaliation, the pukwudgies started to fire their quills at them, some sending them straight at the black scaled warriors while others sent them into the air so they could drop down like a rain of needles. It was impossible to avoid getting covered in the needles, but with their thick scales they were able to rush forward without hesitation.

Cries, snarls, and roars echoed through the bog for hours. The sun had already begun to set when things finally quieted down. The campsite that had yet to be set up and quills were scattered everywhere, many of which were hidden in the tall grass for anyone to step on. The supplies the Draglings had brought with them hadn’t fared much better. A lot of it had found its ways into the dirty bog and got ruined. More of the supplies found its way into the hands of pukwudgies who carried it off as they retreated once the Draglings proved the more powerful force. In the end, the Draglings won, but it came with the cost of exhaustion, hunger, and injury. They had yet to really begin surviving the bog and already they were faced with huge setbacks.

“How’s our numbers look?” asked Sting, a number of bandages on his body where the quills managed to pierce through his scales and flesh. Compared to most of the others, his wounds were light.

“About thirty-six, but I think I still have a few more quills in the hard to reach spots on my backside,” answered Nat. “Think you can give him a hand with them?”

“I meant with the food rations?” he specified as he helped pluck out a few remaining quills that Nat had and applied bandages where he was punctured bad enough.

“Well, considering we came here with a force of thirty,” he answered. “We only have enough for a day, maybe two if we don’t mind going hungry.”

“Then we’ll need to scavenge for more food,” Sting stated.

“With who?” asked Nat. “Two thirds of our group got so many quills stuck into them they could have passed for pukwudgies themselves. They can’t do much until they heal and the few still able to move have to defend the camp. As things are going, we might have to send someone back to the hive for help.”

“If we do that then we fail,” stated Sting.

“So what?” questioned Nat. “We didn’t even have a chance with those stupid porcupines causing trouble. I’d say that is cause for a do over.”

“When we’re really in battle we won’t get do overs,” Sting reminded him. “All we can do is try to make due by whatever means are available to us.”

“You know, I hate it when you’re right,” Nat grumbled as he looked at his guidebook. “We can use this to see what food we can eat around here, but we’re part Changeling too and we need love to survive. We’ve already burned up a lot of what we had in the fight. We need more now to help us recover from our injuries, but considering the warm welcome we got here I doubt we’ll find much around.”

“There were thirty of us when we set out, right?” asked Sting as he looked over everyone in the campsite and counted them.

“Yeah,” nodded Nat as he looked around and counted too, reaching thirty as he did. “And everyone is accounted for.”

“But you counted Wedge, didn’t you?” the red Dragling pointed out as he looked at the sole Changeling, still trying to dequill himself after being an overly fired upon target.

“That’s right,” realized Nat. “He’d be number thirty-one then. Meaning we’re missing someone.” Looking around as he scratched his head, he tried to figure out just who was missing. “Let’s see, who isn’t here. Who-”

“Media,” answered Sting.

“Huh? Media?” replied Nat as he turned back to Sting. “She’s missing? Was she captured by those spiny creatures?”

“Pukwudgies,” corrected Sting. “And no, she was gone before the battle even started.”

“How do you know that?” asked Nat in disbelief.

“When we encountered the first pukwudgie I had already counted everyone in our group and saw we were one short compared to when I counted us on our arrival. I didn’t have time to figure out who was missing at the time.”

“I can’t believe you were keeping track of each of us the entire time,” commented Nat still surprised. “You really are incredible.”

“I only do what is for the betterment of the group,” stated Sting. “And right now, we should find Media. She’ll have to be reprimanded for going awol, but we need all the help we can get to care for the others.”

“Just leave it to me,” Nat told him. “As you said, we’re short on able bodies as is and I doubt we’d be able to spare more than one for a search mission. And endurance tests aside, I’m the fastest in the group.”

“That was to be my suggestion,” nodded the red Dragling. “It is the logical thing to do in this situation.”

“Is there nothing you haven’t thought of?” grumbled the blue Dragling. “Why don’t you just chill till I get back?”

“An odd suggestion, but okay,” nodded Sting as he focused and his body became enveloped in a ring of green magic starting at his feet and rose up to his head. When it faded, Sting’s body was now transparent as he turned into ice, or at least appeared to be thanks to a very convincing transformation. “Is this what you meant?”

“Uh, sure,” he answered, trying not to laugh.

“Hmm, it does make me feel cooler,” he stated happily. “Thanks, I feel better now.”

“Heh, me too,” chuckled Nat as he flew off in search of Media.

Flying over the bog, it didn’t take Nat long to spot his fellow Dragling a short distance away. Fortunately for her, the pukwudgies hasn’t retreated in her direction and she didn’t seem to be in any trouble either, though she seemed preoccupied doing something by a lake. “There she is,” said Nat as he flew down to her. “Hey! Hey, Media!”

“Huh? Oh, Nat, what are you doing here?” she waved to him.

“I should be asking you the same thing,” he told her with his arms crossed. “You went awol again and then the pukwudgies attacked and now everything’s a big mess.”

“Oh, I had never imagined something like this would have happened if I left,” she cried.

“Well, that wasn’t your fault,” he told her. “You were lucky enough to avoid getting covered in quills, but now most of the others are injured and we’re low on supplies, including food and love. We need to focus now on doing what we can to recover from all this and that means you no longer doing… uh, what are you doing out here?”

“Since we’ve come a long way,” she explained. “I thought I’d try and prepare a meal for the group. I know I’m not supposed to be focused on doing that, but since this is a survival test we do need to keep up our strength.”

“Actually, that is what we need to focus on,” admitted Nat. “Did you find anything good?”

“Yeah,” she nodded. “I used the guidebook we were given to see what things around here were safe to eat. With some supplies I had with me and them, I started to make some soup.”

“Soup?” wondered Nat as he looked at the pot she had upon a makeshift campfire. “Where would you even get clear water from in a dirty bog like this?”

“There is a way to use the water here,” she explained. “So I heated the water to turn it to steam and separate it from the bogginess. That was in the book too.”

“I really should have read it,” he sighed. “Well, how did your soup turn out?”

“Have a taste yourself,” she smiled and offered him a spoonful. “I made it with plenty of love. Mom said that it is the most important ingredient and ponies apparently put it in all their dishes.”

“If that were the case,” chuckled Nat as he opened his maw for the spoonful of soup. “Then we’d have nothing to worry about.” As the broth his his tongue, a blissful smile spread across it. He savored the flavor before he swallowed and rubbed his belly. Then his eyes opened wide and his jaw dropped a bit.

“Nat?” asked Media unsure why he was making such a face. “Is there something wrong with the soup?”

“This.. This soup is…”

“Still not back,” worried Biggs as he paced back and forth at the top of the Changeling Hive, taking a look into the horizon every five minutes. “Ugh! Where are they already?”

“It’s only been nine days,” Cid commented. “Remember, they are supposed to stay out there for as long as they can before coming back here.”

“And they should have been back in seven,” cried Biggs. “That was the goal. They had no reason to stay out there any longer. Oh, we should go to look for them. Something must have happened.”

“I agree that I thought they’d be back by now too,” stated Cid. “But I never expected you to be so concerned that you’d out here almost every minute since they left to wait for them.”

“Why wouldn’t I?” he replied. “Wedge was traumatized by cake and whatever diabolical mind games that yellow pony did to him. “There’s no way he could survive anything involving survival.”

“I was referring to the whole group and not just Wedge,” Cid pointed out. “I guess you care about that huggy bug more than you care to admit.”

“I, uh,” blushed Biggs as he tried to wiggle out of his own words. “Well, it goes without say that they’ll all be coming back. Knowing Wedge, he’d probably end up setting up camp atop a hydra’s back or something ridiculous like that. But that begs the question of why they aren’t back yet!”

Unable to wait any longer, Biggs ran back into the hive and straight to Tamati’s chambers. Cid gave chase after him to try and quell his hastiness. “What do you think you’re doing?” he cried.

“I’m going to get Tamati so we can rescue Biggs… and everyone else from whatever danger he’s gotten them into,” he explained.

“But Tamati has ordered us not to disturb him while he has some one-on-one time with each member of his harem,” Cid reminded him.

“So, he’s been doing that since the second the group left,” he reminded Cid.

“Surely you’ll incur his wrath if you disturb him.”

“Burn me to cinders or gobble me up,” shouted Biggs as he burst through his chamber doors. “I don’t care! Tamati, we need to talk!”

Biggs was greeted by a monstrous roar unlike any he could have imagined any creature in his world or any other possessing. It brought Biggs to his knees and he couldn’t stop trembling. Cid hid on the other side of the door, the effects just as powerful over there.

“What in the world has happened to Tamati?” wondered Cid, unable to see anything by his feet at the end of his large bed, his toes curling on occasion and flames bursting forth from his maw as he bellowed beastly noises.

“He is in need of rest,” the harem member, Elytra answered as she stood atop his bed before fluttering down. “The master has exhausted his vitality for the time being and requires time to recover.”

“He’s asleep?” asked Biggs, unable to believe he could still be so scary while unconcious. Flying up to take a look, he did indeed see he was out cold, half covered in a blanket, his sex-reeking cock exposed and covered in warm, sticky mess. Slowly, it was softening up to its rarely seen limp state. Clutched in his arms was the largest plush teddy bear that Biggs had ever seen. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen him look so out of it.”

“He’s been really pushing himself these last few days,” commented Elytra. “Attempting to impregnate each of us once more with his draconic essence and bring forth the next generation of his conquering army. He’s even gone through the trouble to give us each his undivided attention at this time.”

“Uh, but if he only has to have sex with each of you once and he’s done that plenty of times,” noted Biggs. “Just how much sex has he been having this last week?”

“The lust of a God has no limits, but Tamati is still a creature of flesh and blood. Nonetheless, I’d say he is the creature of this realm the nearest to such a worthy goal,” she explained to give them a vague idea that it was a lot. “Look at him, he’s had so much sex he’s worked his dick down to the boner.”

“Heh, never thought you’d be one to crack a joke,” snickered Cid as he found his courage to enter.

“He asked me to tell it should anyone dare trespass in his domain,” she explained. “Now what is it you have come in here for?”

“Wedge, uh, that is to say, the group he’s taken to the bog still haven’t returned and I’m worried something bad might have happened to them,” he explained. “I think we should send out a search party to find them.”

“Do you lack faith in their abilities to survive?” she asked them with a look that could kill. “Do you believe master’s progeny to be weak?”

“O-Of course not,” he sweated. “But I was thinking they’ve been gone long enough, don’t you think? We have to do something.”

“Yeah,” yawned Tamati as he rose up and rubbed his eyes. “I think so too. We should…” He stretched and let out another big yawn. “We should get on it immediately.”

“Tamati, you’re awake,” gasped Biggs with surprise.

“Master, your recovery speed is quite amazing,” praised Elytra.

“Yeah,” he nodded and stretched. “Uh, now what was the question again? I kind of woke up in the middle of you saying something.”

“I was just saying that we should go to check on the group of Draglings we sent out,” he explained.

“But why?” asked Tamati as he turned to sit on the edge of his bed. “They’ve only been gone for… what’s it been, three days? Four?”

“It’s been nine,” corrected Biggs.

“Whoa,” replied the dark dragon in awe as he heard this and got up, almost collapsing to the ground as he did. “That explains why my body is so stiff. Heh, well, most of me is anyway.”

“Do you need some help with that, Master?” asked Elytra as she flew over to lock lips with him. All at once, Tamati’s joints cracked as he began to loosen up while his cock, on the other hand, started to stand erect once more, rising out of its sheath like a cannon about to open fire.

“Oh, yeah,” murred the horny again beast as he cracked his neck a bit to finish loosening that up and then flopped backward onto bed as he positioned his current mate to receive his dick once more. “I’m feeling much better now.”

“Uh, what about, checking on that group of Draglings?!?” shouted Biggs.

“Just give me five minutes to three hours and then we’ll go look,” answered Tamati before he felt the wonderful bliss of vagina slipping onto dick like an erotic one-fingered glove. “Actually, tomorrow will probably be best. Yes, let’s do tomorrow.”

Three days later…

“Don’t worry!” cried Biggs as he and the others finally made their way to Froggy Bottom Bog to check on the condition of their allies. After so much time, with no word from any of them, he couldn’t help fear the worst. Tamati, Cid, and the others, who went along with them, were admittedly worried too that almost two weeks had gone by and there was still no word from them.

As they neared the bog, thoughts of attacks by hydras, manticores and crazed ponies with confetti cannons filled their heads as they imagined everyone’s fate, but as they arrived they found something none of them expected, all the Draglings were completely fine. Even more than that, they appeared to be thriving as their camp was in order and they all appeared active and healthy.

“This is… unexpected,” admitted Biggs as they flew down to get a better look.

“Well, we did tell them not to return till they needed to,” pointed out Cid. “Guess this is why. They were kicking ass at survival.”

“What else can you expect from my offspring,” bragged Tamati. “Though I am curious where that awesome smell is coming from.”

“Now that you mention it,” agreed Cid. “Something does smell wonderful. Is someone cooking?”

“Cooking?” pondered Tamati. “Then that would mean, Media, right?”

“Soup’s up!” Media called and like a swarm of locusts, every Dragling, as well as Wedge, gathered around Media and her big black pot as she began doling out generous portions of soup into bowls. One-by-one each got their meal and then found a place to sit down and eat.

“Mmm, the mushrooms are my favorite,” one said as they munched one up.

“The soup stock is just so flavorful,” another stated after chugging some down. “How does she do it?”

“This meal is quite beneficial to us,” observed Sting. “It has great nutritional purposes allowing us to be at our best. I doubt we’d be as productive as we are without it.”

“Can’t you just say that this the best freaking thing you’ve ever eaten?” asked Nat.

“Isn’t that what I just said?” he asked.

“Well, what do we have here?” asked Tamati and he and the others waited for their turn in line to see what all the fuss was about.

“F-Father! Everyone,” she gasped. “What are all of you doing here?”

“Do any of you realize how long you’ve been out here?” he asked her.

“I think at least seven days,” she answered. “Sting was keeping track, but we were supposed to stay here as long as possible so the number didn’t doesn’t matter as much. That’s what he said anyway.”

“And you certainly blew expectations,” admitted Tamati. “But you’re cooking. I thought we agreed that you would take time off of cooking to focus on being a soldier.”

“I know, but I can’t help it,” she sighed. “Cooking is in my blood. It’s what I live for and everyone here really seems to like it.”

“It is really good,” admitted Biggs as he tried some. Cid did the same, his eyes opened wide as he marveled at how good it truly was.

“The best,” agreed Wedge patting his belly contently. “It’s so wonderfully delicious. Plus, it even saved this little camping trip of ours.”

“It did?” asked Cid curiously. “How?”

“It was horrible,” he cried as he thought back to that horrible first day. We were attacked by an army of pukwudgies!”

“Uh, pukwhaties?” asked Tamati before he was given a guide to see for himself. He read through the section, not reacting much beyond opening his eyes a bit wider in surprise. He then took a look around the campsite and noticed a number of quills gathered into bundles to keep them out of the way since there wasn’t any other means to dispose of them at the moment. “Ok, so that happened. But, how did cooking save you?”

“Most everyone was injured after the battle,” Media explained. “We were low on supplies too and it looked like things were over before we began, but I made this soup and it helped heal everyone’s injuries and get us back on track.”

“There is definitely something unique about this,” agreed Tamati as he took another taste. “It brings memories of my mama’s beef and gemstone stew she used to make me while I was growing up. Heh, she always used to say her secret ingredient that made it so delicious was-”

“Love,” finished Media. “That’s what mom always said the secret ingredient was when she cooked, though I never did see her put anything else in when she cooked. I didn’t realize what she truly meant, not till I was told I couldn’t cook anymore. Ever since then I realized how much I enjoyed doing it and making others happy with what I made. I think that was what my mom meant when she said she cooked with love. So, when I tried cooking one last time I suddenly found that when the others ate my food it helped them to recover as if they had suddenly just feasted upon the nourishing love of ponies.”

“That’s certainly new,” commented Cid. “I never knew something like that could feed us more than in our bellies.”

“I know, right,” agreed Wedge as he chuckled. “I ate so much I almost became sick from all the love.”

“I think that was more your stomach getting overly full, you dork,” sighed Biggs with a smile on his face.

“After that, I used my cooking to help everyone recover and we ended up being as prosperous as we are now,” she finished. “I’m sorry if I disobeyed, but this was all I could do to help us out.”

“And you most certainly did help,” agreed Wedge. “Now, mind if I help another helping?”

“Have all you want,” she nodded. “As this’ll be the last time I’ll be able to cook. I can’t allow it to distract me any more from my duties to our forces. I’m just glad it was able to help us, at least this once, but now I need to act like a soldier.”

“I’m afraid that will not do,” Tamati told her. “You were given specific orders not to cook and you did just that. As a result, you will not be allowed to join the others as a soldier.”

“I… understand,” she sighed. “Good intentions or not, orders are orders and I never had the right to defy them.”

“Instead, you will be in charge of the medical unit,” he continued. “I’m sure Cid can help teach you what he knows about tending to injuries, but your cooking skills will prove valuable too if they can help out our forces when they grow weary.”

“Pappy Tamtam, d-do you really mean that?” she asked with awe and delight.

“I do,” he nodded. “Now how about we get everything packed up here and head home. Your mother certainly does miss having you around in the kitchen and I’m hankering for some of those little dishes you always cooked for me.”

“Right away!” she cheered and gave her father a loving hug.

Walking on with a box of donuts now in his possession, Tamati made his way forward as he munched on one. “I’m certainly glad we never made her stop cooking,” he thought to himself as he delighted in the confection. He finished it in a few bites and then felt tempted to reach for another, but as he did, a quick, blue, blur flew by and snatched it from his mits. “Huh? Where’d they go?”

“Looking for these, pops?” asked Nat as he helped himself to a donut.

“Someone appears to be in high spirits today,” commented the dark dragon as he felt a headache coming on.

“I’m just itching to fly circles around all those ponies today,” bragged the smallest of the Draglings. “Just wait till we get going and I’ll show you what I’m made of. That is, if you can even see me.”

“We’ll see,” answered Tamati as he recalled this young one’s own challenges from a short while back.

“And the winner is, Mandible,” announced Instructor Pincer as he refereed the battle between the two Draglings, Nat and Mandible. The battle had only lasted a few minutes between them as they clashed swords, but almost immediately, it became clear that Mandible’s greater size and strength gave him the advantage. With a series of heavy attacks, he managed to knock Nat’s sword from his hands to disarm him and forced him to drop to his knees and submit. All around, the other Draglings cheered for Mandible as he stood looking quite proud of himself. “Now, shake hands you two,” Pincer continued as Nat got to his feet.

The two reached out to shake hands and right away, Mandible made a weird face as he felt something gross and slimy in his claws. Looking down, he saw Nat had covered his own hand in his goo while he was on the ground in defeat. “Hey, man,” Mandible cried trying to get that sticky stuff off his hand. As he did, Nat spat out a few more globs of goo on him, sticking his feet the the ground and making him fall on his butt. “What’s your problem?”

“You let your guard down,” he answered. “Just because Pincer said it was over doesn’t mean I was done.”

“Nat!” snapped Pincer. “These are sparring matches and nothing more. They end when I say they do and treachery like that won’t be tolerated.”

“Whatever,” he retorted and left. “I don’t see the point of any of this when we’re a part of the Changeling Hive. Isn’t deception how we’re supposed to win?”

“We’re also part dragon,” Sting reminded him. “Tamati wants us to learn to have pride in our strength and be a formidable force in as many ways as possible.”

“That seems like more work than we should have to bother with,” argued Nat. “We should just focus on what we’re best at.”

“We’re all plenty good at fighting like this,” commented Mandible. “Well, save for you.” His words got him another goo ball in the face as Nat took his leave.

“I did not dismiss you,” snapped Pincer looking extra irate at the insubordination. Nat didn’t reply and continued to walk off, leaving the training room.

“Are you okay?” Sting asked as he and a few of the others helped Mandible get free from the floor.

“I’m fine,” he answered. “That little bug just caught me off guard. Ruined my latest victory.”

“This makes three times in a row,” praised one of the Draglings watching. “Heh, not too shabby.”

“It’s to be expected,” another commented. “He was fighting Nat. Who could lose to him in a fight? He‘s the shrimpiest of us all.”

“Not to mention the brattiest,” added Mandible. “He can’t stand losing so he just causes us all trouble.”

“I doubt he likes being seen as small and shrimpy,” pointed out Sting. “I doubt he enjoys losing every time either.”

“You win some, you lose some,” Mandible pointed out. “Some just lose a lot more than others. He’s gotta learn to deal with that.”

“Then, I don’t suppose you wanna take me on?” wondered Sting.

“Um, maybe some other time,” Mandible replied sounding not very enthusiastic about the idea.

“It’s every day with him, now,” groaned Instructor Pincer as he talked to Tamati and Nat’s mother, Abby. “Every flipping day he’s causing trouble. Between him and Media I’m just beside myself. Oh, why do the younguns always have to give me such grief? Why can’t they act like seasoned soldiers?”

“Maybe because that’s your job to make them seasoned soldiers,” Tamati answered him. “Uh, but could you give us a few minutes? We were in the middle of sex when you barged in.”

“Don’t mind me,” he replied. “We’re all guys here, after all.”

“I’m not,” Abby reminded him.

“I mean we’re all Changelings here,” he tried to amend what he said, but came up with the same problem, this time with Tamati. “Nevermind. I’ll be back in five minutes.”

“We’re gonna need more time than that just to get back in the mood,” Tamati told him. “But I get the idea. Just leave it to me.”

Thank you, sir,” bowed Pincer. “Um, as you were.” Quickly, he left Tamati’s room to allow them their privacy once more.”

“Now, where were we?” murred Tamati as he attempted to put all but his dirtiest, kinkiest thoughts to the back of his mind in the hopes of bringing back his lust as quickly as possible. With a small smile on his lips, the large dragon gave Abby a couple kisses upon her neck and to make her purr like a kitten and then gave her one more on her lips. “There. Feeling horny already.”

“Tamati,” spoke Abby as she wore a look that was the most dreadful Tamati could imagine or even conceive. He didn’t want to believe it, but she then spoke the words he dreaded to hear most. “I’m not in the mood.”

“Seriously?” the large, muscular dragon groaned in almost a whining tone. “But we were about to have such wonderful sex.”

“I’m sorry, but hearing Instructor Pincer talk about Nat like that makes me worries me,” she told him. “He’s our child and we need to figure out what we’re going to do about him.”

“Well, the issue seems to be due to him doing poorly in combat training,” stated Tamati. He could see there was no way they were going to finish their love making and decided his time was now better spent talking to solve this problem. “It is hardly unheard of. The dragons with the most bark are typically the ones who lack the most strength. Typically, it is due to them being the youngest in the group, though, weren’t all the Draglings born at essentially the same time?”

“Actually,” Abby informed Tamati. “Nat was a late hatcher. A whole week passed and I almost gave up hope that he’d ever hatch. Since then, I’ve been worried if something might be wrong with him. He hasn’t developed like any of the others. Relatively speaking, he is smaller and lighter. Being born a week apart shouldn’t have caused this big of a gap. It should have shrank by now, not widened.”

“Then you think his growth might be stunted?” assumed Tamati, though Abby looked fearful to even consider that possibility. “Well, whatever it is, I’ll talk to Cid about it later. He might have some thoughts on the matter. Now, we should discuss another pressing issue.”

“What would that be?” questioned Abby.

“Don’t get me wrong,” the dark dragon made sure to say right from the start. “I love the kids, all of them, yours, Chrysalis’s, Honey’s, Elytra’s, everyone’s, but it seems to have become a constant that I cannot enjoy my time with you or any others in my harem without some problem coming up. I’m happy to help, but I can hardly focus on pumping out the next generation of Draglings because of it.”

“That is a problem,” she agreed, a bit miffed herself for losing her lust once Pincer barged in. “Any ideas?”

“Maybe sending a bunch of the kids off on a training exercise,” he pondered scratching at his chin. “Maybe a campout of some sort and while they’re away I’ll make up for some lost time with all the lovely members of my harem. How’s that sound?”

“Mmm, good enough to wet my pussy,” she murred, looking aroused once again. “So, how about we get back to where we left off?”

“My dick’s been dying to do just that,” he smirked as his junk began to stand at attention much to both of their delights.

“Hello? Tamati?” called Wedge as he waddled into his room to interrupt them once more. “Have you seen Biggs?”

“Can’t you see we’re in the middle of fucking?” spoke Tamati in a murderous tone.

“Oh, sorry,” he apologized, but didn’t leave. “Anyway, have you seen him? I need a hug.”

“No, I haven’t,” he answered glaring down at the chubby little Changeling, but he didn’t seem to reach “regret all the decisions in his life that led to this moment” levels of scared.

“Then I’ll go search elsewheres,” he replied and hurried off, not aware how terribly close he was to having his life come to an end very brutally.

“I have to do something about the Changelings too,” he added. “I don’t seem to strike fear into them like I did at first. They’ve grown too complacent around me, far too comfortable, like I’ve lost my edge.”

“Well, you have spent most of your time in bed rather than reminding them why you are in charge,” Abby pointed out.

“Yeah,” he agreed. “I’m afraid all this waiting is doing me no good. Living my days like slice of life episodes is making me appear… approachable. I need to do something more epic. Something extreme to remind them that I’m not someone you wish to cross even if your life depended on it.” Pondering this idea for a moment, Tamati decided to do the simplest thing he could think of. “I’ll just need to thrash something in the most ferocious I can think to do. That’ll stoke their fear of me once more. Hopefully I can seize the opportunity before I must head out on a mission once more. I’d like the remind everyone of the pecking order before then.”

“One can only hope,” agreed Abby as she wished to resume their sex, but saw, to her despair, Tamati emerged from the bed, no longer in the mood for love making.

“Sorry, but now I’ve lost the lust,” he sighed with a mix of frustration and disappointment in his voice. “I’ll take care of this matter with Nat now.”

“That’s right,” nodded Cid as he recalled the hatching of the Draglings. “I did a checkup on each of your spawn after they hatched to make sure they were alive and healthy.”

“And what of Nat?” asked Tamati. “Do you recall his examination?”

“Of course,” he nodded. “He was the last to hatch, a whole week after the others. Birth is a very complex bit of nature. So many variables and x-factors that you can hardly tell what’ll be the result. I certainly didn’t expect some of the Draglings to possess the ability to breath fire instead of the usual slime spewing capabilities Changelings have.”

“But what about his growth,” continued Tamati attempting to push the conversation towards the heart of the matter. “He isn’t developing as fast as the others.”

“Well, nothing is wrong with him physically from what I can tell,” Cid explained. “He’s simply the runt of the litter and to see that gap between him and the others is just too discouraging for him to try and overcome.”

“Then he acts out simply because he sees no point in trying,” concluded Tamati. “I can only imagine the frustration he must be feeling. Is there nothing we can do?”

“He needs a push in the right direction,” answered Cid. “No pity about what he might never be able to achieve or love of his parents that he’s perfect just the way he is. He needs a different outlook and I know just the Changeling who can help him with that.”

“Please tell me it’s not Wedge,” hoped Tamati.

“It’s not,” promised Cid.

“Why do I gotta go with you?” groaned Nat as he was led by the arm by Biggs through the hive to an area he had never been before.

“Because I was ordered to take you,” answered Biggs not looking all too eager. “I’ve already gotta deal with babysitting Wedge most of the time. Now, on top that I gotta take care of you, all the while helping out with maintaining the hive while most everyone else is going around collecting love. I’m barely left with any time for myself or my own projects.”

“Well, then don’t let me keep you,” suggested Nat as he tried to break free, but he couldn’t get away from the Changeling’s grip.

“Unfortunately, I’m not the type to just shirk the duties I’m given so I won’t just let you go,” he explained. “If you wanna get away then you’re just gonna have to overpower me.”

“Ugh, power,” grumbled Nat. “That’s all everyone cares about. Being the biggest, strongest whatever around. Well, I’m just a weak runt that can’t do anything. I’m not good so why even bother with me at this point?”

“Is that how you really feel?” asked Biggs as he stopped walking. “That you can’t do anything at all because you’re a runt?”

“Duh,” he answered.

“You dumbass!” shouted Biggs as he punched Nat right in the face with all his strength. “Don’t you call runts worthless. That pisses me off more than anything!”

“Ugh! Why do you care?” groaned Nat on the ground and rubbed his cheek.

“Cause I was a runt myself and trust me when I say you don’t got it half as bad as I had it,” he snapped.

“You, a runt?” questioned Nat as he looked Biggs over. True, he was skinnier than most Changelings, but he was hardly what one would consider a runt.

“Over time I did manage to finally start catching up,” he explained. “I’m still considered a runt, but I’ve managed to get past that and let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. You complain about wanting us to just give up on you, thinking that’d be for the best. That’s what I got growing up. The weakest of the weak. A lost cause that was better cut off before I dragged everyone else down. I didn’t have anyone to look out for me and it was a lonely as hell life, but I managed to find a place for myself.”

“How did you do that?” wondered Nat as he listened earnestly to Biggs who took a seat beside him on the ground.

“Well, my wings grew faster than the rest of me,” he began. “They were able to carry my small body quite swiftly through the air, faster than anybody else. I had speed on my side and I could win practically any race of flight against the others.”

“I’m pretty quick too,” admitted Nat. “I can beat anyone in a race, well, save for Sting, but he’s… well, Sting.”

“Yeah, his mother was quite a monster herself too,” snickered Biggs. “I could never beat her either, but neither could anyone else. Anyway, while that did make me feel a bit better, when it came to fighting, I wasn’t much good for being more than a meatshield. That’s at least what everyone thought, but then I found out something I was good at and could do to be strong. In fact, that became my new job.”

“Which is?” wondered Nat quickly growing curious by all this.

“If you wanna find out, then just come with me,” he offered and started to walk towards it. He barely made it three steps before Nat flew past him.

“Race ya!” shouted Nat as he zipped off.

“Hey! No fair!” cried Biggs as he opened his own wings and took off after him. “I’m not the runt I used to be!”

The two zoomed through the hive, taking quite a number of detours all over the place as they had fun just racing around and tiring themselves out before actually making it to the section of the hive they had set out for on the onset.

“I… won…” panted Biggs out of breath and about ready to collapse.

“Only cause… you knew… where we were supposed… to go,” wheezed Nat just as exhausted.

“You were the one… who wanted to race… without knowing… where the finish line was,” pointed out Biggs as he tried to muster the energy to walk forward with Nat doing the same.

Going inside, their exhaustion soon faded as they came upon a room filled with crossbows of all kinds. In awe, Nat found new energy as he went to check them out, finding them to be uniquely handcrafted marvels. Some were simple, made for close range spread shot while others appeared to be more suitable at a far greater distance, even coming equipped with a scope to help aim at a target. One thing in particular that Nat noticed about these crossbows was that there wasn’t any place to put arrows into it. Rather, it had more of a sling one would fit a stone or metal ball in, but the room didn’t have any sort of ammo in it.

“You make crossbows?” asked Nat with intrigue. “I thought Changelings only fought long distance with their slime.”

“We do,” answered Biggs as he picked up one of his crossbows and oozed a big gooey ball of slime into the sling. “It’s made with a nonstick material and can be used far more accurately than just hacking loogies. While arrows or some other, blunt projectiles might be more effective, as Changelings that need to feed on the love of others, we typically need to restrain ourselves to keep our enemies alive for as long as possible. A powerful, ranged weapon is typically not good for us since we can’t exactly guaranteed we might not hit a vital and there’s always the risk of friendly fire. So, for a long time, we stuck to deception till we could get in close enough for a swarm attack.”

“But you invented these so you could help fight at a distance?” figured Nat.

“I’d like to say, ‘yes,’” he replied. “But two things got in my way that prevented it,” he admitted. “The first was the slime we produce is hardly something we can create infinitely. By myself I’d hardly have been able to create a large enough stock and this stuff does solidify as it dries so I couldn’t stock up on it till we got into battle. The other thing was that when I finally started to grow and no longer could be seen as a runt there was no need for me to find a means to prove myself.”

“Then what was the point of all this?” asked Nat. “Why show me something useless?”

“You didn’t think it was useless when you first saw it and I never said it was,” he chuckled. “It’s still a passion of mine to get it to work and perhaps, together we can finally do just that. What do you say? Care to show everyone your strength as a warrior… no, better yet, your skill as a ranger?”

“Hmm?” pondered Nat as he revealed a devious smirk on his face.

“Anyone see Nat today?” wondered one of the Draglings as they were doing pushups under Instructor Pincer’s watch.

“No idea,” another replied. “He’s a pest, but he’s never been late before. Do you think he just finally decided to call it quits?”

“Nat is strong,” commented Sting. “He won’t give up so easily.”

“You serious?” they snickered. “In what way is Nat strong? He can’t beat any of us in a fight.” As they continued to laugh, their chortles came to a sudden stop as green slime suddenly struck the group.

“Ugh, what the? Slime?”

“Is this Nat’s doing?”

“I don’t see him?” one comment looking around. “Where did these even come from?”

“Based on trajectory of where he hit us,” commented Sting as he looked around. “It should have been from over there, but I don’t see him. He must have quickly moved before we could spot him.”

“A hit and run tactic,” grumbled the others looking around. “What does he think he’s doing?”

“Beating us with his own strength,” answered Sting as he cautiously looked around.

“What is going on?” questioned Pincer. “Why aren’t you doing pushups?”

“It’s Nat,” one of the Draglings explained. “He’s causing trouble again.”

“Well, where is he?” asked Pincer looking around, before another onslaught of slime hit him and most of the others, Sting was quick to spot the attack and narrowly get out of the way.

“Over there!” they cried, but looking, they saw nothing by the typical terrain of their training arena. “He’s using the cover to sneak up on us, but all he’s done is pissed us off. We’ll find him and put an end to his pranking once and for all.” At once, the small group of Draglings hurried over to find Nat, leaving Pincer and Sting behind.

“Aren’t you going with them?” asked Pincer to Sting as his expression didn’t say much either way how he felt about what was going on.”

“If Nat is challenging them to a fight then it is not my place to interfere,” he explained. “I don’t feel I need to participate either since I know he’s strong already even if his strengths vary from my own. What about you? He is disrupting training after all.”

“As you said, this is a fight between them,” Pincer stated. “It isn’t my place to interfere and the way I see it, this might be good training for them as well.”

Flying over to where they were certain Nat had been hiding, the Draglings couldn’t find him, but saw traces of slime, a clear indication that he had used this as his sniping spot. “He’s close. Let’s split up and find him. Keep an eye out for him and the goo he fires. If we can get in close we can put an end to this once and for all.”

Nodding, they all began to take different paths as they searched for the one little Dragling causing them trouble. From what they had already seen, they knew he couldn’t do more than fire small bit of slime that did little more than annoy them. It was an impressive feet to be able to do so from such a great distance, but hardly one he could pull off with them all so close. At least, that’s what they thought before they heard a wet SPLAT! along with one of them crying out.

“Ewe! This stuff is nasty!”

Quickly, the others hurried over to see just what had happened and they discovered the one who cried out was stuck, but good, to a wall by a massive wad of green Changeling slime. As much as he struggled to get free, he was unable to muster up the strength.

“How the heck did he fire this stuff?” one of them asked as he approached his trapped ally.

“Don’t touch it,” the stuck one warned, but it was too late. He got his claws in it and suddenly found it a messy struggle to get them out. In fact, the more he tried the more he accidentally worsened his situation.

“I can’t get out!” he cried and the others quickly backed away to avoid the same fate.

“Did Nat make that? I know he likes slime balls, but that is a bit much even for him.”

“He must be out of slime then,” they figured. “He used a few small ones to draw us in and then tried to get us out with a big one, but he only ended up getting two of us. Now he’ll be running scared!”

“Yeah!” the others shouted only to notice a shadow as another massive goo ball came down right on top of them and got another three.

“What in the?!?” the last one cried. “This one was even bigger?!? It’s even bigger than Nat! How’s that possible?”

“A curiosity, isn’t it?” chuckled Nat as he fluttered down before the last of the Draglings he was up against. “Truth be told, it was quite a head scratcher as I tried to figure out how I could solve create enough ammo with the limited amount of slime I had to work with. Obviously, if conventional methods couldn’t work, I’d have to think outside the box, so I took a page from our old man’s book and sunk my claws into some dark magic.”

“Dark magic?” he asked. “What do you-” He paused as he saw a relic attached onto the crossbow he was wielding. “What is that thing?”

“The Pendant of Sizemore,” he explained. “It is capable of increasing an object’s size by simply concentrating on it. The longer the concentration the bigger it can get.”

“Where did you get that?”

“It was a part of Chrysalis’s stash of dark artifacts?” Nat explained. “It was the one thing that could have allowed Biggs to have been a ranger, but it seems the former queen was not keen on letting others borrow her toys. Luckily, I have someone more willing to share.”

“Share, my ass,” spoke Zircon as she fluttered down beside him. “You better make good on your end of the deal. Backrubs and manicures for a month.”

“I remember,” he sighed knowing the cost of this victory was a high one indeed.

“So, you did all this just to beat us?” mocked the Dragling, Mandible. “You couldn’t beat us in a regular fight so you decided to cheat and do this?”

“Not so high and mighty when you are the one at a disadvantage,” commented Nat as he fired the current ball of goo in the crossbow at him. As it left the sling it started to grow, quickly doubling in size and then doubling again growing big enough to hit his arm and stick it but good to the wall. As he struggled to get it freed, Nat created another goo ball and dropped it into his sling to get it ready to attack again. “A few more shots and I win.”

“So, have you finished paying off your debt to Zircon, yet?” asked Tamati as he finished recalling things for the moment.

“She wants to wait till after our mission today is done with,” he answered. “Why bring up such a random thing, now, anyway?”

“No reason,” he chuckled. “Just thinking back to everyone’s training days.”

“Heheh, that was really a great day,” he chuckled and beamed proudly as he recalled it too. “I gooed half a dozen of the others to a wall and got praised for it. I even get to use that Sizemore pendant thing when I’m in battle. That thing’s awesome!”

“Just remember two things,” Tamati told him. “First, you’re fighting for real this time and not against your fellow Draglings.”

“I know that,” he scoffed. “You think I’d get trigger happy and just start firing at whoever I felt like? Well… maybe if I have any ammo left over once we’ve finished up.”

“Fair enough,” chuckled Tamati as he walked away as he munched on his donuts once more.

“Huh?” questioned Nat as he noticed the box of donuts was no longer in his possession. “When did? How did?”

“Your old man is still penty quick,” the dark dragon chuckled as he went on his way. “Oh, and the other thing is not to let your guard down. Never know who might take advantage of that.”

Continuing on, Tamati knew there was one more stop he had to make before reaching the top of the hive. He made his way over to Elytra and Sting’s home and peeked in, seeing the former helping the later prepare himself for the battle ahead.

“Does it burn?” Elytra ask as she rubbed Sting’s forehead on his right temple. He had a scar going from there down over his shut eye, the light robbed from it forever. The pained look in Elytra’s eyes showed how she struggled to decide if she should have been talking to Sting as a fellow warrior or as his mother.

“Only when I’m angry,” he answered and clenched his fists and teeth tightly. The rage he had in his eyes was one that Tamati imaginged must have rivaled how fierce his own could be. “So, it never stops burning.”

“Anger might be the greatest weapon a warrior has in battle,” reminded his mother. “But you must control it. If you let it control you then everything in your path will be indiscriminately destroyed, both friend and foe and even yourself in the end. You must keep this in mind more than anyone else. You are to lead the attack, after all.”

“The hive deserves better than me,” he sighed. “Because of me-”

“It wasn’t yours or anyone else’s fault,” his mother told him. “What happened happened and you only did what you believed to be the best. Now, you can choose to either wallow in self pity or continue on for his sake and your own.” As she said this, tears ran down her eyes. “We both have to.”

“Right,” he sighed and turned to an old set of Changeling armor that had countless scratches from ages of battle. “Are you sure it is okay for me to wear this?”

“He would want you to,” smiled Elytra as she helped him put it on piece by piece from the bottom up. “And we’ve already done a fitting and adjusted everything to your size. It’s your armor now and just as he took up the burden to lead, so must you now.”

“I understand,” nodded Sting as he worked with his mother to equip the armor.

First he slipped his feet into the steep boots and tightened the laces on them so they fit snugly on his feet. Next came the lower half of the body armor that was made up of two pieces with one end on each hinged together. After Sting’s mother adjusted it onto his waist, he held it still as she locked the latch into place to ensure it was securely on his body. Next was the upper half of the armor, a breastplate made out of black steel with chainmail where the sleeves would go. It slipped on like an ordinary shirt, save for the couple dozen more pounds of weight this possessed.

“Now for the gloves,” continued Elytra as she held out some leather, fingerless gloves for Sting to try on. They were the only thing that was brand new. The smooth yet rough material was perfect to help the wearer maintain a grip on a weapon. “And the helmet.” Kneeling down, with his head tilted, Sting remained still as his mother carefully slipped his helmet with a face shield that had two narrow slits for the wearer’s eyes and couple dozen tiny opening around the mouth for breathing and speaking. With it on, Elytra adjusted the head piece to ensure it did not get in the way of his already limited vision. Once they were both content with it’s positioning, Elytra tightened the chin strap to keep it in place and helped Sting stand up once more now that he was all set.

“How do you feel?” she asked him.

“Proud,” he answered. “Proud to be leading this mission. Proud to be the son of mighty warriors, my father Tamati and my mother Elytra. And I’m proud to have been recognized by my teacher who helped make me into the warrior I am today, may his soul watch out for all of us as we march on our enemies today. I just wish he could have been here with us today to see us off.”

Tamati silently wiped a tear from his eye, the events of the terrible incident only a few days old and still fresh in his mind. As he thought back, similar feelings of guilt that Sting was feeling, he felt as well. “If only I could have gotten there sooner,” he thought to himself.

“Excellent work,” praised Pincer as he did his rounds to see all the Draglings in pairs sparring with one another. His focus wasn’t on who was winning or losing, but purely on their skills that had been greatly honed since they first were placed under his tutelage and trained to become soldiers.

As he observed them, he took note of their battle stances and how they were quickly to change from an offense to defense and visa-versa as the tide of the battle shifted. After tons of practice, adjusting their bodies to those forms had become second nature to them and with how naturally they moved about, it was evident it had settled into muscle memory.

As they attacked, they slashed and stabbed with swiftly with their swords, slicing through the air with both speed and accuracy as they aimed for their opponent’s vulnerable areas without hesitation. When they were defending themselves, they were just as quick to intercept any attacks coming at them with either their sword in one hand or their shield in the other. Whether on offense or defense, there was no hesitation in their actions as they exchanged blows and filled the lower chambers with the noise of steel clashing against steel.

Another thing that Pincer observed was the limits of their endurance. He had been keeping track of the time that had passed since their sparring began an already, nearly two hours had gone by and even the weariest among them were still going strong and continued to fight with the same vigor they started with.

“I must say,” he announced to all of them as they completed two full hours of non-stop fighting and he felt they deserved a breather. “I have helped train a vast number of soldiers in this hive, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a group with as much potential as the ones standing before me today. In just this short time you’ve all exceeded the expectations I had for you. You all possess power and ability that has come from your parents and I have helped you all to hone it. But in the end, all that you possess is yours and yours alone. How well you end up using that is up to you as we move forward and prepare for the mission that is just on the horizon. As we finish up this training session today, you will all receive a break period to rest and recover and do whatever you like till then. It is your reward for all the hard work you’ve put in and you should all be proud of yourselves.”

Among the Draglings, there were some eager whispers of what they’d wanna do the second they got that break period. Others couldn’t help but smile at the praise for all the hard work they put into their training and for it to come from their instructor no less.

“As a final announcement,” he continued. “I needed to decide among all of you who would take up the role of Captain and lead you all into battle. While there are many among you who would be a great fit for the role, one among you has stood out and showed not only the exemplary strength and fortitude you all do, but an even greater conviction to the group as a whole. I am, of course, referring to Sting. Congratulations.”

All around him, Sting received a small applause from his fellow Draglings as he approached Pincer, remaining as calm as ever even in spite of this great achievement. “Thank you, sir, for choosing me,” he told him. “I promise that I will not let you down.”

“You’ve got a really bright future ahead of you,” smiled Pincer. “You all do and I-” The ground started to shake and tremble. Caught off guard, a few of the Draglings stumbled to the ground while others were quick to open their wings and and flutter in the air.

“An earthquake?” wondered Sting as he managed to keep his balance in spite of the tremors.

“No, this isn’t an earthquake,” replied PIncer as a dreaded look appeared on his face. The shaking only seemed to get worse. “It’s coming right towards us!”

“What is?” asked Sting as the ground nearby started to crack and a massive purple mole emerged with a large pair of buck teeth, long claws and a star-shaped nose. It let out a beastly roar and swung one of its arms, smashing through a chunk of the hive like a hammer against cardboard. “What is that thing?”

“A maulwurf,” answered Pincer as the creature spotted them and snarled viciously. “We had been fortunate enough to avoid an invasion from any dangerous creatures for quite some time. Pharanx has done a great job keeping watch, but this fellow must have tunneled the whole way here. I suppose our luck was bound to run out at some point, but for it manage to reach the lower depths of the hive is the absolute worse. If could take cause the whole place to collapse if nothing is done about it.”

“It’s just another training exercise for us,” stated Sting as he readied his sword. “Everyone, to arms!”

“No, you haven’t been trained to take on this sort of opponent,” warned Pincer, but his words were drowned out by the cheering of all the Draglins as they grabbed their weapons and flew into battle.

“Team One attack it’s legs,” instructed Sting, already ready with a plan and giving out orders. “Team Two with me as we attack it’s head.”

Flying at the huge monster, it was almost as large as their father was, but that was still far bigger than they were. As it swung it’s arms wildly, a few of the Draglings were swatted, caught off guard by both the speed and raw power it possessed, but the rest managed to get through to attack. With all the might each could muster, they hacked and slashed at its body, but their blades failed to pierce its thick hide. Their efforts only served to further aggravate it to lash out more, by belly flopping onto the unsuspecting warriors and flailing about.

“Everyone back away!” warned Sting as he tried to keep a cool head for the battle so the others could as well, but even he was feeling how tense the situation was. Those that were able to avoid the beast dropping down on them managed to put a safe distance from the maulwurf, as well as a few that narrowly avoided the full impact, but many ended up facing the full wrath of it’s wild flailing that caused the whole hive to shake.

“Darn it,” Sting gritted his teeth and tried to think. “There must be a way we can stop it. Nat, would you be able to trap it with a goo ball?”

“It’d take too long to grow a goo ball big enough to do that,” he figured. “And it looks too strong to be stalled for very long if I tried to just focus on an arm or leg.”

“Then what can we do?” sweated Sting. “We never had training against something like this, so what are we supposed to do?”

“Flee. Fighting it is too dangerous,” stated Pincer as he flew to Sting’s side. “Everyone is already tired from sparring and the maulwurf’s attacks could very well level the entire hive at this rate. We should have all escaped while we had the chance, but now we’ve got a number hurt or possibly worse.”

“I’m sorry,” apologized Sting. “I was just put in charge and made a wrong call.”

“Don’t blame yourself,” Pincer replied. “We never know if the decision to fight will be the correct one, but what’s important is how we react. So, listen up. Nat, you’re the fastest. Get Tamati down here as quickly as possible. I don’t care if he has to break through every floor from the roof to get here. He’s the only one who can stand up to this thing.”

“I’m already gone,” he nodded and zoomed out of sight in the blink of an eye.

“Good, now where’s Media?” asked Pincer looking around.

“Over here,” she announced nervously as the maulfurf was up once more and spotted the Draglins it hadn’t defeated yet. Hissing at them it made its way over.

“We’re going to need your special cooking asap,” he instructed her. “How much have you prepared?”

“There is a fair amount in the pantry,” she explained. “It was for the attack we were preparing for.”

“There won’t be an attack if we get wiped out now,” Pincer stated. “Bring a group and gather it up. Meanwhile, Sting, help carry as many wounded out of here as you can. Make sure nobody is left behind.”

“How can we do that while the maulwurf is still around?” he questioned Pincer’s orders.

“Don’t you worry about that grub gnawer,” he answered. “I’ll keep his distracted.”

“By yourself?” cried Sting. “Let me do it. I’m the commander of this group. I should be the one to do this.”

“And if you should become injured who will lead your troops then?” he retorted.

“But,” Sting started to say, but he knew his instructor was right and restrained himself from speaking out more. “Yes, sir.”

“Good,” he smiled. “Now, don’t start worrying about me. I might not be the spry Changeling I once was, but I’ve got more experience than the lot of you combined. I won’t be bested by some dumb mole so easily.”

Flying at the maulwurf, Pincer quickly flew circles around the brute. It did its best to follow him while swinging its claws, but Pincer proved he was still quite agile in spite of his age. He maneuvered around the beast, striking it with his sword just to draw its agro to him and lead it away from the Draglings out cold on the ground.

“Now’s our chance,” instructed Sting as he led the other Draglings to the wounded and helped carry them away. All the while, he couldn’t help turning back to Pincer as he fought to distract the maulwurf. So far, he managed to slip around its attacks, but only narrowly and each miss only served to anger the beast into lashing out more fiercely. Ignoring it as best he could, he kept his focus on his own job carried his fellow Draglings to safety.

After several trips, they managed to carry the last few to safety. Media and her group were ready with the food as well as some med kits. “Okay, we did what we could,” noted Sting. “How’s everyone look, Media?”

“They’re hurt, but the worst appears to be a few broken bones,” she answered. “If we didn’t have dragon genetics I don’t think know if any of them would have made it through that.”

“That’s a relief,” he breathed. “Now, if dad can get down here he should be able to take care of that maulwurf.” He took a peek over to where Pincer was still holding it off. It let out a another roar of anger. Just seeing it still on the rampage while he was unable to stop it made Sting’s muscles tighten with frustration. “Where is he already? Instructor Pincer can’t distract him forever.”

“Is that all you’ve got?” wheezed the veteran Changeling, his breathing heavy as he was running low on stamina. “I have a bigger workout just climbing out of bed in the morning!”

Spittle shot out of its maw as it snarled and lashed out once more. Dodging out of the way again, it was becoming more and more obvious that Pincer was moving slower as his wings ached just trying to keep him airborne. He flew out of the way of another swipe of its claws and attempted to put some more distance between them. Stealing a look over to see how all the Draglings were faring, he was relieved that they were all moved, lifting a great weight off his chest. “Good, they managed to get away.”

“Watch out!” cried Sting as that quick glance away from the beast left Pincer unprepared as the maulwurf struck again. Hearing, Sting, Pincer turned to see the claw come at him. He tried to dodge out of the way, but his left wing got hit and the monster’s claws shredded it apart. Letting out a pained cry, the instructor dropped out of the sky and crashed to the ground as the maulwurf howled like it was celebrating before moving in for the kill.

“No!” shouted Sting as he took off like a rocket to rescue Pincer. He flew forward with all his might, but even at full speed he couldn’t get there fast enough. All that served to do was to give him a better view as the maulwurf’s hand slammed down onto the wounded Changeling followed by a sickening crunching noise that shook Sting to the core and seemed to quiet everything else right after.

“This can’t be happening,” trembled Sting, his calm demeanor lost amidst all the chaos. As the hand rose up to uncover Pincer, Sting couldn’t bare to look, but at the same time he couldn’t turn away. He gazed upon his instructor’s broken body and, just as Media mentioned before, the damage inflicted on him was vastly more significant. His chest was crushed as his limbs were bent in directions they should never be in. And that was only what was observable from outside of his body. The damage beneath his skin was undoubtedly far more extensive. Yet, a low, pained groan still managed to escape his lips and gave Sting a faint hope that he could still pull through.

“He’s alive,” he gasped as the maulwurf was setting up to bring down his other hand and finish what he started. Close enough to do something, this time, Sting flew at the enemy like an angry hornet, his sword at the ready as combined all his speed and strength into the force of a stab. His sword succeeded in cutting through the mole’s thick skin, piercing it’s chest and causing it to howling in pain.

“Take that, you bastard,” swore the commander Dragling as he relished this small satisfaction of wounding the beast, but it was short lived as the overall impact did nothing to stop the beast. It only served to trap his weapon in the beast’s hide and turn its agro on him as it slammed its hand down on him and smacked him down beside Pincer. Sting also felt one of it’s claws glide across his head, going from his forehead and down across his cheek, cutting through his eye in between.

“Gah!” he cried as he hit his head upon getting slammed into the ground. The pain was terrible beyond anything he had ever experienced before. He kept his injured eye shut as half his face became soaked in his own blood. His other eye started to close too as he began to pass out, everything around him going dark.

The last thing he could see was the maulwurf looking down at him, but the last thing he heard was a primal roar that made the maulwurf’s cries sound like a rodent’s squeak in comparison. This demonic noise, however, didn’t scare Sting. Rather, it comforted him enough to smile while some slight consciousness still remained in him. “Dad…”

The maulwurf didn’t feel at ease upon hearing Tamati’s rage. Its whole demeanor changed as it acted meeker, even trembling now as it looked around in anticipation for whatever direction he would arrive by. Overhead, there was the booming sounds of pounding, accompanied by fragments of rock starting to rain down from above. The beast looked up to see a section of the ceiling was cracked and only got worse as the sounds of pounding continued before the entire chunk came crashing down a few yards away and along with it, the dark dragon himself.

“Who, did it?” he snarled, his black body concealed in the dust from all the rubble surrounding him, save for his glowing red eyes that seemed even brighter and deadly as he spoke with rage that was on the verge of exploding like a sun about to go supernova and swallow up half the solar system in the process. As the dust settled and his body came into view, the sight was even more terrifying to see the body that was connected to such hate-filled eyes. “WHO THE FUCK RAISED A CLAW TO MY FAMILY?!?!?!?!?”

Despite being unable to speak, the maulwurf squeaked something in response. It was impossibly to determine how it responded, but it didn’t matter in the least to Tamati who was already determined to brutalize the beast. Launching himself forward with his powerful leg muscles, he opened his wings to glide him forward and straight towards his foe, grappling the massive mole, claws locked against claw.

As they tangled, Tamati restrained himself, measuring the strength of the maulwurf against his own. Trying its hardest to overpower its dragon opponent, it impressed the dark dragon with its raw strength that managed to slowly push him back even with his claws digging into the ground.

“I can see why my children had trouble with you,” he told it. “As strong as they are, they still have quite a ways to go in their development. Till then, I will handle dangers such as yourself and sadly, for you, I have been looking for a means to remind everyone here what a terror I am.” Tamati began to draw upon more of his strength, tightening his grip on the maulwurf’s claws as he pushed back and managed to regain all the ground he lost and then some, like his enemy wasn’t even trying. As the mole attempted to struggle against Tamati with all its might and realized how outmatched it was, it struggled desperately to escape, but found its claws clenched too tightly to do so. Seeing it squirm in terror, the dark dragon grinned and slowly clenched his claws even tighter still, feeling the monster cry out in pain as its hands were crushed to the point the bones in them were starting to crack.

With one final attempt, it rammed the crown of its head into Tamati’s jaw, attempting to break free, but even this proved ineffective at making the dragon so much as flinch. He merely looked down at the creature who looked far from the monster it started out as. It trembled in fear and looked on the verge of tears. If it didn’t understand the concept of regretting one’s own actions before, it did now.

“If you are worried that your life is about to come to an end, don’t be,” Tamati informed it. “Death is too good for a piece of shit like you. But trust me when I say, you’ll be begging for that sweet release by the time I’m through with you.”

Still gripping the maulwurf’s claws, he clamped his arms around the mole’s sides and lifted it up off its feet. Then taking one step forward after another, Tamati began to walk forward, picking up speed with each step, like a locomotive leaving the station. As they moved faster, in a straight line, the mole couldn’t help already dreading his punishment to come as they were quickly nearling a chunk of the hive while approaching a running speed. Tamati wasn’t showing any sign of slowing down or changing direction and it was coming into close proximity.

There was nothing the maulwurf could do about it either, save wait as they came right at it and, as the monster feared, Tamati ran right into it, smashing right through the chunk of the hive with the maulwurf’s own body as a battering ram and still they kept going, purposefully headed towards something else to crash into. Again and again, Tamati smashed the maulwurf through everything in their path, its rough-skinned body strong, but far from invincible against such unmitigated might. Before long, its body was broken and consciousness had faded, but till his rage could finally be worked off, Tamati didn’t stop running till he finally smashed through a wall and slowed to a stop, dropping the crippled creature at his feet, still alive.

Glaring down at it, Tamati was tempted to keep brutalizing it till death, but with all his restraint, he held back, refusing to let it get off so easy. “Your punishment has only just begun,” he promised.

“Son… Hey, son, are you alright?” Sting heard the familiar words of his father and started to awaken.

“D-Dad?” he groaned as he opened his eyes and saw Tamati sitting beside him, with one hand cradling his head.

“How are you feeling?” he asked. “Are you alright?”

“A bit sore, but I’m fine,” he admitted though the fact that he was only able to see anything through just his one undamaged eye was something they both seemed aware of by the pained look his father couldn’t help making. Sitting up, he looked around and saw their training grounds had been demolished and all that remained was rubble. “That maulwurf made such an awful mess of things.”

“Actually, that was more me than it,” commented Tamati. “I got really angry and, well, by the time I realized what I had done, this had happened. But it’s fine. This hive is but another stepping stone in our conquest of Equestria.”

“What about Pincer?” worried Sting as he looked around. “What happened to him? Is he-”

“I’m sorry,” said Tamati solemnly, a pained look on his face. “After I had dealt with the maulwurf he was still alive, but his body was too broken for him to be saved. If only I was able to have gotten here a little faster.”

“It isn’t your fault,” cried Sting. “It’s mine. If I had been able to be a better leader or been able to be stronger, then I could have managed to save him or battle against the maulwurf in his stead. I should have been the one to be the distraction. There was no point in him doing so.”

“He thought there was a very good point to it,” stated Tamati. “He told me so with his dying words.”

“H-He did?” asked Sting, looking up at his father, his eyes showing not the usual focus of a soldier, but the teary eyes of a child full of sorrow. “What did he say?”

“I have done all I could to teach them how to be strong. But beyond that, there is more that cannot simply be taught, but experienced with their body and soul on the battlefield. One such thing is the pain of loss, to learn that it is not something that should cripple their ability to fight, but, rather motivate them to carry the will of the fallen with them as they move forward and add it to their strength. If my death can help any of them in even the slightest then I can leave this world without regrets, knowing that I have given my life to the hive even down to my last breath.”

“He really said all that?” sniffled Sting. “To get stronger from his death?”

“To carry on his will and fight for the hive and for all of us,” nodded Tamati. “We must never look at it like he just threw his life away, but that he did what he could for the hive, for each and every one of us, for you.”

“For me…” repeated Sting as he wiped his face dry. “Do you think it’ll be okay if, for the attack I could wear his armor? I know we were working to make new sets for our group, but if I could make one request, it would be that.”

“Consider it done,” smiled, Tamati. “I’m sure he would have wanted it that way. He practically raised you, taught you how to be a soldier to lead your forces.”

“And I’m grateful for that,” nodded Sting. “But if I could make another request… we have time before the attack, and while we have the time to rest, I would like it if I could use the time for more training. So, could you also teach me to fight like a dragon, like you?”

“Like me?” chuckled Tamati with a little smile.

“I thought I was strong, but clearly I have a long way to go,” he explained. “I need to push myself harder, so that the next time something like this happens I won’t just be a liability. Please, dad. Help me become stronger.”

“You got it, kiddo,” he nodded.

“You look quite well in his old armor,” smiled Elytra as she made a few minor adjustments to Sting’s armor as she made certain everything fit him comfortably. “You’ll be a monster on the battlefield, I just know it.”

“I’ll do my best,” he nodded. “I have to, being the Captain of the Draglings.”

“It’s your first mission,” she reminded him. “Fight hard, but know your limits. Overconfidence on the battlefield can be the greatest danger a soldier can face and has spelled doom for many a new soldier.”

“I know my limits,” he admitted. “I am far from unstoppable. I won’t ever delude myself into thinking such a thing. And mom, thanks, for everything.” He hugged his mother tightly and she embraced him back. As they let go, they knew it was time for him to be off and he hurried out, nearly bumping into Tamati as he did.

“D-Dad?” he replied a bit startled.

“Are you all set?” asked Tamati.

“Just about,” he breathed as he focused and flipped the switch in his mind. Looking into his eyes, Tamati could see the steely resolve of a soldier now reflected in them. “I am ready to go, my king.”

“Then let us be off, Captain,” nodded Tamati as they finished heading up to the roof of the hive. There, all the other Draglings were waiting, along with the Changelings, both the males and the expecting females who were eager to see them off for the battle ahead.

“I never thought we’d be able to lead another large-scale attack so soon after our humiliating defeat in Ponyville,” admitted Chrysalis. “But, are you certain we want to attack a place as big as the Crystal Empire with such a small force, powerful as they may be?”

“This is more than an invasion for love,” Tamati told her. “Another Element of Discord awaits me there and I need it for my collection. This will also be our chance to let the world witness out might. Best to deal a huge blow to our enemies while we do so.”

“Well, give them hell,” agreed Cid. “We’ll manage the homefront while you are all away.”

“Very good,” nodded Tamati. “Oh, and what of the maulwurf? How does that damn thing, fare?”

“Probably begging for death even now,” answered Biggs. “But we’ve restrained it so that won’t happen. I’m just cringing at the thought of what you and Sting have been doing to it all this time.”

“The beast is a good practice dummy,” he replied. “And using it to make us stronger should be just as much an honor as a punishment for the creature. So long as we are able to make use of it, we will force it to keep on living.”

“You are truly the most horrific monster to ever exist,” commented Cid.

“I won’t settle for being anything less,” chuckled the dark dragon, glad to see the Changelings once more had that look of intimidation in their eyes just from standing in his presence.

“Everyone is ready, my king,” Sting told his father. “On your word, we can depart for the Crystal Empire.”

“Then I shall,” Tamati started to say, but looking at Sting, then Nat, Zircon, Media, and all the other Draglings, he paused to think for a moment. “Actually, why don’t you lead the charge? I will follow along from the back.”

“But we are your troops and this is your big moment as you begin your conquest of Equestria,” Sting reminded Tamati.

“That is true, but, even more important than that, they are your soldiers to command,” Tamati told him. “And this should really be the time for the Draglings to shine rather than mine. I may have given you life to be my force and conquer this world, but you are all infinitely precious to me. Never forget that.”

“Thank you,” nodded Sting before he turned to all his dozens of brothers and sisters, all armed and ready for the fight ahead. “Today is our day. We fight for the hive! We fight for glory and love! We fight for our brothers in arms! We fight for ourselves! We are the Draglings! Let us show the world our might!”

The swarm erupted into a roar of cheers and followed Sting’s lead as he opened his wings and started to take off into the sky, doing a couple laps around the hive before making his way north. They all followed behind and Tamati took off behind them, eager to begin the next phase of world domination.


“This is for your own good,” lectured Twilight as she used her magic to affix a steel collar around Spike’s neck that was chained to the wall of his room. Along with that, he had chains cuffing his arms and legs. Even his tail was taken into account to ensure every appendage was restrained. “If you misbehave then you have to be punished. Do you understand?”

“Yes,” he nodded slightly, finding the limited movement of the chains very uncomfortable. As it was, he could barely do more than stand or sit. Whether or not he possessed the strength to break his bonds had to wait till he was alone to try. Until then, he had to endure conversing with his warden.

Looking around his room, he had been deprived of pretty much every comfort he possessed. His soft bed with a mattress, plush blanket, and downe-filled, fluffy pillow was switched with a pile of hay. It was too far to reach from where Spike was restrained from, but Twilight informed him that during bed time the chains would extend enough so he could sleep properly.

As bad as that change was, it was at least a downgrade. Meanwhile, all his comic books, toys, and practically anything else he had in his room to entertain himself was taken out. The only thing she hadn’t touched was his desk and the quills and parchment that were in it, in case he needed to get in touch with her during his grounding. It also contained all her research on the Elements of Discord, but to his great fortune, she hadn’t found where he had hidden it.

Taking his redecorated room in, it only further confirmed what Spike, now, truly believed about his relationship with Twilight. He really was nothing more than an experiment to her. While he was blindly loyal and behaved like a good underling he was given stuff to fool him into thinking he was her equal. Now that he was showing disobedience and acting on his own, he was getting the stick and being reminded of where he truly belonged in her eyes, in the eyes of these ponies. To them, he was just some dangerous beast that they were trying to make into a mindlessly loyal slave. Just seeing the situation he was in made his blood boil and anger rise, but he kept control, knowing his work for Tamati took priority over everything else.

“I was very worried when you just up and vanished on me, going to Celestia knows where and doing Celestia knows what,” she continued. “Now, if you can just be honest with me, then I’ll reduce your grounding to a week and decide how we’ll proceed from there. But… if you continue to keep such secrets from me, I’m afraid I will have to take more extreme measures.”

“Like what?” wondered Spike, not sure what could be more extreme than this.

“A tracking spell,” she answered. “I’ll know where you are at all times and what you are doing too. There won’t be any more secrets you can hide from me then.”

“But such spells are illegal,” stated Spike. “Celestia herself banned the use of them on anyone no matter the circumstances.”

“It’s illegal on ponies,” she corrected him. “You are not a pony, so there is no law protecting you from it. Now do you understand why all this has to stop? Can’t you see what is happening to you?”

“I’m maturing?” answered Spike, playing dumb about how drastically bigger he had grown in such a short amount of time.

“You are giving in to your draconic cravings,” she told him. He only listened, curious to see what kind of tale she would weave to try and convince him that everything he had done was wrong. “If you do that, then you’ll be no better than those big brutes of dragons in the Dragonlands. Remember how they bullied you and all the trouble they have caused in Equestria? You have been raised to be more intelligent and peaceful than them. After coming this far, you must understand why you were so much better as you were. I mean, have you looked in a mirror and seen what you look like now?”

“For hours,” chuckled Spike in his mind, loving his bulk far more than his old, shrimpy self, but he continued to say what he needed to in order to satisfy Twilight. “No, I didn’t. I guess I hadn’t realized what I had been doing.”

“Well, luckily, you seem to have come to your senses,” she smiled. “With a proper diet we should be able to help you lose some of that girth and I’m sure a reduction spell could help return you to proper size if need be. Just behave yourself and do as I say and everything will be able to go back to the way things were. But, remember, I still need the truth about where you were and what you did too. If not, then you will be given a tracker. Now, are you willing to tell me now?”

“I already told you, I was just wandering around because I didn’t want to be lectured by you,” he lied rather convincingly. “But I got homesick and came back, not thinking you’d be even more upset at me running away like that.”

Twilight just sighed and turned to leave. “Enjoy your stay, Spike,” she told him. “I’m afraid you are going to be lonely for a very long time.” She closed the door behind her and locked it magically.

“She suspects I’m up to something, but doesn’t know what,” figured Spike as he tugged at his chains to test them out. “So, at the very least, she isn’t aware of Tamati’s plans, but I’ll become a liability if she does put a tracking spell on me.” With all the might he gained from Bulk Biceps, Spike attempted to break the chains, but they remained unyielding to him. He attempted to heat them with fire, but they didn’t even get hot.

“Twilight made certain that I’d not be able to escape,” he groaned and felt his wrists and ankles ache after his attempt at getting free. He then took a peek at the hole he used to escape his room and saw it had been sealed up too, showing just how thorough Twilight had been to ensure he couldn’t get out or anyone else get in. As things looked, Spike was completely without options.

“I figured Twilight would seal my escape hole, but I didn’t think she’d chain me up to further hinder my movement,” he thought. “It’ll make things more difficult, but I can still mange, especially since I had the forethought to make a quick stop before coming back here.”

As if on cue, in the same place where Twilight had sealed the hole to Spike’s escape route, cracks began to appear until it was opened up once more and revealed Pinkie Pie on the other side. “I’m here!” she announced.

“Not so loud,” hushed Spike. “We don’t want Twilight to hear you.”

“Oh, right,” she spoke more quietly.

“Did you bring it?” he asked her as a rumble came from his stomach.

“Oh, I most certainly did,” she nodded and began bringing up tons of boxes with the Sugarcube Corner label on them. The smell of warm, fresh baked deliciousness seeped out of them and invaded Spike’s nostrils. It reminded him that it had been some time since he last had any of her baking fresh from the oven and it started to make him salivate with even more hunger. He moved forward, barely able to resist starting on them right away, but the chains, binding him, held fast and instinctively he let out a beast roar and snarl, spewing some flames as he did so.

“I’ve never seen you act this before,” commented Pinkie as Spike quickly returned to his senses.

“Well, I have been going through some changes lately,” he admitted. “Like the slumbering dragon within me is finally awakening and trying to break free. Twilight might thinking chaining me up will somehow restrain it, but treating me like a beast is only helping it grow stronger. Perhaps I should thank her… and you, if you’d care to help me out some more.”

“Oh, I’d love to,” she nodded and approached Spike, rubbing her hands on his thick beefy thigh, getting a murr to slip from his muzzle. She moved her hands to his gut, admiring his soft, scaly belly and then proceeded to its underside where his speedo was tightly clenched around his glutes and crotch. It didn’t leave anything to the imagination, so it was easy for Pinkie to see and admire his thick dragon cock bulging against the elastic with clear arousal. “And I know just how you can thank me, you big, stud muffin.”

“Sounds like something we’ll both enjoy,” he grinned. “These chains will loosen when it’s time for me to get into bed. It’ll be easier for me to show my gratitude then, but for now…”

“I feed the pour, hungry beast,” she finished as she opened a box of cookies as she took a seat on his lap. Grabbing handfuls, she started to stuff them into his awaiting maw, filling his face till his cheeks were crammed full. Pinkie then watched him eat while she nuzzled his soft gut, eager to help add more padding onto his figure.

“Gulp!” swallowed Spike as he downed his first mawful. It was a bit uncomfortable when it pressed against the restraint on his neck, but only for a second. With that first helping down, Spike’s hunger only rumbled louder, eager for more. “I won’t be able to get much exercise while I’m stuck like this, but at least I can still eat my fill.”

“And knowing Twilight, you will probably be stuck here for quite a while,” she added, though in a voice that sounded like it was a good thing. “But lucky for you, I can make sure you get all the goodies you could ever want.”

“Sounds delicious to me,” he agreed before opening his maw for the rest of the box of cookies as she fed him handful after handful then hurried to grab a box with a cake in it to feed him that next. After swallowing the cookies, he barely had time to breath before she forced every last crumb and bit of frosting through his lips. Before he could even swallow, she already had cupcakes in hand and pushed them in to his mouth too.

“Come on, Spikey,” she teased him. “Show me just how much of a dragon you really are.”

Her words of encouragement were responded to with a nod from Spike as he eased his consciousness back to allow instinct to take hold. Letting out a low growl deep in his throat, he proceeded to swallow this next mawful and opened up eager for the next. Pinkie was all set with some brownies and gems, stuffing his maw before watching him munch them up and swallow, all hesitation he had at the start already gone.

“More,” he ordered her, lifting his tail up some and slapping it against the ground, making the chains connected to it clatter.

“That’s more like it,” she told him as she rubbed her crotch, the scent of lust leaking from it as she was turned on by the beast before her. Spike could smell her pussy juices and they mixed together with all the scents of her confections. Hitting his sinuses together, it was as if they were all one and it sent a pulse of pleasure through his body and made his cock throb as it grew eager for a vagina to penetrate even when it was still a ways off from bed time. Luckily, he didn’t have to worry about his urges fading before then as there was still tons more to eat and the more she fed him, the hornier Pinkie seemed to become as the scent of her sex juices kept growing ever more pungent as she groped and fingered herself when she had a moment to spare.

“More!” demanded Spike every time he finished one box of treats and Pinkie was doing anything except getting the next cookie or cake pushed through his scaly lips.

“More for the greedy draggy,” she giggled, as she rubbed his gut, feeling how it slowly felt firmer the more it was filled it up. “I have to admit, I always imagined dragons more like this, big, greedy, ravenous, and sexy. Don’t get me wrong. The old you was cute, but you were more like a pony covered in scales. Now, you finally have the presence of a real dragon and, quite honestly, like this, you are a lot more fun.”

“I’m having a lot more fun this way too,” he agreed. “For the first time in my life, I am finally able to embrace being a real dragon and look at me. I’m far from the puny shrimp I was before. Finally, I can grow and be what I was truly meant to be.”

“Well, I can’t wait to see what you’ll look like then,” she cheered and stuffed more cake in his face. “Now, keep eating! You’ve got lots of growing to do.”

Smirking, Spike ate the cake and licked his lips before demanding, “More!”

“Uuurrraaap!” belched Spike a couple hours later as he packed away everything that Pinkie Pie had fed him. His gut was stuffed tighter than he ever imagined possible. At least an hour back he felt full, but in spite of that he kept eating, his dragon greed forcing him to push past his limits and take everything and to him, it felt wonderful to embrace this long neglected side of his. “Now that was a meal fit for a dragon,” he moaned with delight. “I’d eat like that every day if I could.”

“And I’ll make sure you do,” Pinkie told him. “It’s a Pinkie Promise!”

“Then I have nothing to worry about,” he smirked as he felt the chains binding him to the wall became loose and he was able to move around more freely. Getting up, he found himself able to walk a short distance before the chains grew tight again, but it was far preferable to what he had before. Taking the chance, he stretched his muscles and cracked his joints. Letting out a big yawn he followed it up by letting out a blast of fire into the air. “Damn, that’s a hell of a lot better. And, now that I can move about more easily~”

“Way ahead of you,” Pinkie told him as she was already undressed save for a blue and white bra and painties that Spike could tell right away weren’t made of fabric, but fruit-flavored candy.

“Looks like I didn’t eat all the snacks you bought for me, after all,” he chuckled.

“I thought you might like these,” she giggled as he knelt down and drooled.

“Oh, I do, very much,” he said as his long tongue licked over her breasts, making her murr. He then gently plucked the candy bra from her chest and swallowed it down into his already overstuffed belly.

“I invented these a while back, but Mr. and Mrs. Cake didn’t want something so lewd associated with their work. So, instead I sell them at night to anyone in need of them for a fun, kinky night.”

“Just like we’re having now,” chuckled Spike as he moved down to tear off her candy panties and ate them too. He could taste her lust that had leaked from her pussy onto them and proceeded to stick his tongue into her hole and get at her sweet nectar from the source.

“Ooooohoooh!” she moaned with bliss as she felt his long tongue reach deep into her and press against the sweet spot, forcing a wail of bliss to burst out of her. “Oh, fuck, yes!”

“Cakes and cookies are a nice treat,” Spike told her upon removing his tongue from her pussy and slipped it back into his maw. “But nothing can top the pure ecstacy of sex and I’m starved for some right now.”

“Then let’s both have our fill,” she begged and reclined onto his bed of straw with her legs wide open. Seeing her saliva-covered hole begging for more, Spike pulled down his speedo to reveal Spike Jr. throbbing hard and leaking pre as it was eager for some fun too. Gripping her arms with his claws, he restrained her as he pushed his thick meat log into her. At his current thickness he barely was able to get halfway in before he needed to slow hump her and stretch her insides to take his entire length.

“Oh! So big!” she cried as Spike humped her, a mix of pain and pleasure filling her.

“Like that?” smirked Spike as he kept going, increasing the force of his humps the deeper he penetrated her till he could fit his entire length in and was slamming his crotch into hers.

“More!” she told him, sounding just like he did while he was eating. “More!”

“Sounds like someone’s greedy for my cock,” he cackled and kept going. “Well, who am I to deny one who helped give me everything I wanted. I’ll fill you up as much as you can take and more!”

“Ugh, please do!” Pinkie moaned, clenching fistfuls of hay in her hand hands as she could feel all of Spike’s weight and strength forced upon her at one point. Finally, Spike felt a climax coming on and pulled out just before he blew his load, causing a geyser of seman to burst out and splatter them both and the area around them. The two then panted as Pinkie rubbed at her crotch while her own climax oozed out too.”

“Was it what you hoped it’d be?” he asked her.

“Even better,” she nodded. “I can’t wait to come back tomorrow for more.”

“Heheh, neither can I,” he nodded and the two proceeded to clean up the mess they made and ensure Twilight would be none the wiser. “And maybe you can bring Sweetie Belle with you then too and see if her friends would be interested as well. After all, a party is more fun with a big guest list and I’d like to start increasing the size of my horde.”

“A big Spike feeding frenzy sex party sounds like a great idea,” agreed Pinkie with her typical jubilant vigor. I’ll get right on it and by tomorrow you’ll have an even bigger feast of treats to enjoy.”

“I’ll need it if I’m gonna fuck each one of you,” he nodded before yawning. “Well, I’ve got a bit of work still to do before I hit the literal hay. So, for now, we’ll have to call it a night.”

“It’s a shame that we have to be so sneaky about all this,” she sighed. “If only Twilight could understand.”

“Someone does,” answered Spike as he retrieved the book on the Elements of Discord and got to work deciphering Twilight’s notes. He let out another yawn and rubbed his eyes before continuing to work. “Someone really awesome.”

“Oh, is he anyone I know?” wondered Pinkie Pie curiously.

“Not yet,” he told her as he scratched something down onto paper with a quill. “But, pretty soon, everyone will.”

Chapter 6

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The flight to the Crystal Empire was by far the furthest the Draglings had ever flown from the hive, not to mention, the longest flight they’ve ever taken as well. During their preparations for this invasion, they had all been of how they were to proceed, using an arrow-like formation to fly, with Sting at the front, leading the way. Splitting their focus between the sky in front of them and the ground below, they maintained their bearings by identifying a number of landmarks along the way, making slight adjustments as was needed on this journey far beyond the world they knew.

In the back, Tamati flew after his battle ready children, impressed at how disciplined they were to remain in formation, each flying steady alongside one another. “It’s still so hard to believe it is finally the day of the invasion,” he told himself, his heart pounding from a mix of nerves and excitement. “My swarm will finally get their chance to prove themselves in real combat. I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud, yet so frightened for them all the same.” Taking a deep breath, Tamati attempted to calm him nerves, but he couldn’t completely rid himself of his shakes, like an amateur gambler after barely pulling off a victory with a very meager prize attached to it. “I never thought I’d be so worried to send my minions into battle, but they are far more than that, to me. They are my children too.”

As they began to draw near their destination, the arctic’s northern winds began to blow against them, it pierced their scaley hides, making the force shiver, but not slow down in the least. Their warm breath became visible, as a faint mist that seeped from their maws and trailed behind them, quickly fading from sight. Getting even closer, they entered into a snowfall, the white powder speckling their black bodies like powdered sugar that ran off them as water once it absorbed some of their body heat and melted. The more north they went, the more intense the snow was coming down, soon nearing blizzard proportions.

Down below, the could faintly spy train tracks, along with a locomotive running along it traveling in the opposite direction they were going. “That’s the only railway to and from the Crystal Empire,” Tamati recalled. “If the train schedule we received is accurate, then that should be the last train going to or from the empire for some time. And this storm will ensure that the Crystal Empire will be completely cut off from the outside world during the invasion. Yes, this is unquestionably our most opportune time to attack. And with all the other info that Spike was able to provide us, our chance for success is quite high. Far from guaranteed, but without it we’d be dealing with slim to none odds.”

“I can see it,” Sting called out from the front of the forced. “The Crystal Empire is just up ahead.”

“We’re dealing with a real battle this time,” Tamati told him and all the others. “No more second chances or do-overs here. From now on, it’s do or die. I hope you are all ready for this.”

“Ready?” replied Sting, a song strangely stirring in his heart as they kept getting ever closer, the snow beating down on them, their scalie hides were almost completely covered in snow. Even Tamati was accumulating quite a bit of the icy flakes on his back. Despite this, they didn’t break formation or slow their approach. “It’s what we’ve been preparing for since the day we were born.”

“Any moment now, our time has come,” he sang. “Let’s go, no looking back. Finally time for our attack! We fight in force and as one. Against our might, you have no chance. Flee for your lives, as we advance. Resign your fate, your time is done.”

“Heheh, not bad,” commented Tamati, surprised by the set of pipes Sting had. “Did you just make that up on the spot?”

“I, uh…” he started to say, unsure himself. “I guess it just came to me outta nowhere.”

“Now it’s time to fly forth,” added Zircon, her voice as magnificently powerful as her mother’s own vocal range. “We refuse to retreat. And there is only one outcome that we seek. For our father, for our king, for the glory we will bring. And we are ready, all ready. Ready as we’ll ever be!”

“You too,” chuckled Tamati, rubbing his claws over his muscular arms. “It gives me goosebumps.”

“We’re so close and I’m so excited,” she admitted. “It just sort of slipped out and now I’m more eager than ever.”

“Now it’s time to be swift,” Nat took the baton in this musical. “And it’s time to be strong. Time to give all we’ve got. Clashing steel and burning rage, will echo loudly on this stage. Are we ready?”

Sting answered, “I’m ready!”

“We’re ready,” Zircon and Media sang in unison.

“We’re ready!” all the Dragling spoke in chorus.

“And who says ponies are the only ones to spontaneously break out into song?” Tamati thought with a smirk on his face as the Crystal Empire was now close enough to make out one crystal-carved buildings apart from one another and spy upon the castle resting in the heart of the city, the Crystal Plaza included. “We’re almost there.”

“There’s no turning back now,” sang Media, her singing voice soft, yet it still pierced through the gale force winds blowing through them, failing to steer even one of them off course. “Cause it’s time now to win, or it’s time now to fall. All our lives on the line, as we head for the fray. May our hearts be strong, never stray!”

“Now it’s time to take hold,” continued Tamati himself, finding the musical bug had bitten him as well. “Or it’s time to go home.”

“I’m ready,” serenaded Sting.

“I’m ready,” auriaed Zircon.

“I’m ready,” piped Nat.

“I’m ready,” caroled Media.

“Ready as we’ll ever be!” harmonized Tamati.

The army of Draglings flew through the barrier protecting the Crystal Empire from the frigid north and the felt a relaxing warm climate scare off the chill on their bodies. It was filled with a lush greenery and tons of vibrant crystals, a stark contrast to the pure white of the snow-filled area around it. Everything seemed perfectly calm and peaceful, their presence as of yet unknown to any of the ponies living there.

“Well, that was a thing,” admitted Nat.

“Did we catch some pony disease?” wondered Zircon. “My mom always did say ponies had a tendency to break out into song at random times.”

“It’s nothing to worry about,” Tamati told them. “You’re all just so excited to lay siege to these ponies that you had to sing about it. “I can’t think of a better way to psyche yourselves up.”

“Maybe we can start a glee club when we get back to the hive,” suggested Media eagerly.

“Let’s save the post battle celebration for once we’ve won,” spoke Sting. “We can choir about our triumph then.”

Meanwhile, clear across Equestria, in the humble town of Ponyville, Twilight Sparkle was meeting with her friends at Sugarcube Corner. “Girls, I’m really glad that we were able to meet on such short notice,” she told them. “I’ve been having some difficulties with Spike as of late and quite honestly, I’m just about at my wits end for what I should do.”

“Oh, my,” spoke Fluttershy in a calm, quiet voice. She was covered in pale yellow hair and had a long, pink mane that hung down against the side of her face. Her tail had the same hue and soft, sleek look that her mane did. She was a Pegasus, a Pony equipt with a pair of wings allowing her to fly. On her flank, she had three blue butterflies for her Cutie Mark. “That doesn’t sound like Spike. He’s always been so kind and helpful.”

“Yes, indeed,” agreed Rarity, a white Unicorn with a fabulous purple mane and tail with elegant curls in them. Her Cutie Mark was a trio of diamonds. “Our little Spikey Wikey always acts like a delightful gentleman. I cannot simply imagine him causing you so much trouble that it would require a meeting with all of us to discuss.”

“For your information, our little Spikey Wikey has gone from three feet tall and about eighty or so pounds to, now, seven feet tall and weighs close to three hundred pounds,” she told them, making the rest of the group slack jawed at such an unbelievably huge change in both size and weight. The only one who wasn’t shocked was the already in the know, Pinkie Pie. She, instead, had a worried on her face now that she knew this meeting was in regards to her big, sexy, dragon mate.

“That must have been one hell of a growth spurt,” commented Applejack, the first to finally find some words to go with whatever they imagined Spike must have looked from how Twilight described him. Applejack was an orange-haired pony with a long blond mane and tail and a ten gallon hat atop her head. Her Cutie Mark was of three red apples. “It makes me think back to that one Summer quite a few moons back when I went away to camp and came back to find my brother, Bic Mac big as a barn. Of course, if Spike is big as you say he is, then he’s even bigger than him now.”

“Big?” blurted out Rainbow Dash, a blue-haired pony with a mane and tail in a multitude of colors like her namesake. “At that big and heavy, sounds like he’s got a promising career as a sumo wrestler!”

“I’d love to see that ass of his in a mawashi,” murred Pinkie quietly. “Mmm… that butt…”

“Uh, what about a butt?” wondered Rarity, hearing a bit of what Pinkie had said.

“Um, I was just thinking this butterscotch is really yummy,” she answered with a nervous chuckle.

“But, those are caramels,” she pointed out.

“No wonder I was enjoying them so much… heheh,” she answered and hoped nobody would pry beyond that.

“Girls, we need to focus,” Twilight called them all back to her problem. “We need to figure out what to do about Spike. His size isn’t the only change he’s gone through, but he’s been acting differently too. He’s gotten so rebellious, stealing snacks and taking off for days without so much as a word about it. He’s even keeping secrets from me, of all ponies.”

“Oh, darling,” spoke Rarity. “It sounds to me like he’s just going through a phase. It happens to all teens at some point. Why, Sweetie Belle is going through one right now. She won’t tell me, but I just know she’s got a very special somepony. I don’t know exactly who, I wanna say, Button Mash, but she plays it off like there’s nothing going on at all. Of course, that only confirms that she’s hiding something.”

“But Sweetie Belle is a teenager,” stated Twilight. “Spike is still only a baby dragon. He shouldn’t be having growth spurts or sneaking off, or having secrets, or-”

“Um, Twilight,” Fluttershy chimed in while Twilight freaked out. “I don’t think it’s fair to still consider Spike a baby dragon.”

“But he is,” she retorted.

“Maybe when you and him first came to Ponyville, but it’s been quite a few years since then. Sweetie Belle and all her friends were fillies and colts back then too, but now they’re mares and stallions about the same age as we were back then.”

“Please don’t include us in this example,” commented Rarity a drop of bitterness in her voice. “Thinking about how much time has passed causes me to stress and that only invites wrinkles and gray hair. Oh, now I need an emergency spa treatment.”

“Going back to what Fluttershy was going on about,” continued Applejack. “Spike isn’t the little fella he was way back then. He’s matured a lot since then so he should at least be recognized as a teenager and treated like one by now.”

“Need I remind you that Spike isn’t a pony,” argued Twilight. “He’s a dragon and dragons age a lot slower than ponies. They can live to be hundreds, even thousands of years. For Spike, we can’t even call the number of years he’s been alive a drop in the bucket.”

“I don’t know much about dragons,” stated Rainbow Dash. “But I won’t deny that they can live super long. That being said, I don’t think it means that he’ll be a baby dragon till he’s three hundred.”

“Rainbow’s right,” agreed Applejack. “I haven’t thought of Spike as a baby dragon for quite some time, not with all the work and responsibilities he’s burdened with. Not to mention, he’s smart enough to understand all that magical stuff you prattle on about when I’m lucky enough to be able to figure out every other word.”

“And he’s molted and got his wings,” added Fluttershy. “It might not be the same as getting a Cutie Mark, but I bet that is a special time in a Dragon’s life, a sign reaching a new milestone in life.”

“All of that may be true, but, even so, none of you really know about dragons,” stated Twilight, not expecting them to take Spike’s side in this discussion. She had been hoping they would have sided with her, to make her feel like the punishment she had given him was warranted, not the overreaction of an overprotective parent full of self-doubt.

“Do you really know that much more about dragons than we do?” countered Rarity, shooting down her argument as easy as all the others she came up with.

“Well, no,” she admitted. “Most of my knowledge of dragons has been in studying Spike.”

“Then you shouldn’t try to interfere with him,” Applejack told her in a friendly, supportive tone. “It’s obvious he’s growing up and needs his space. Trust the voice of experience here. I acted like an overprotective worrywart when Applebloom was growing up and ended up treating her like she was a helpless newborn. Doing that only caused a rift to form between us. Luckly, she helped me come to my senses and we were able to make amends.”

“I don’t want anything like that to happen to us,” worried Twilight. “But, I’m afraid that might already be the case. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but a rift did form and I’m afraid everything I’ve done has just caused it to grow bigger. Heh, and I’m supposed to be the Princess of Friendship.”

“It just goes to show that even the best of us can make mistakes in from time to time,” said Rarity.

“But the best thing about mistakes is that they can be fixed,” assured Fluttershy. “You realized your problem and so you can fix your relationship between the two of you.”

“But I don’t know anything about dragons,” she sighed. “How can I fix the problem if I don’t know what to tell him?”

“I say, let Spike just do what he wants,” suggested Pinkie Pie, delighted at how this turned out. “We all had our own urges and desires while we were growing up, after all.”

“Pinkie’s right,” nodded Applejack. “Just give him the space he needs and it’ll all work out.”

“Thanks girls,” Twilight sighed, this time with relief. “This talk has really helped.”

“Excuse me,” announced the mailpony, Derpy as she approached the table with her bag of letters at her side. She was a gray-haired Pony with a pale blonde mane and bubbles for her Cutie Mark. Most notable about her, however was how her eyes were not properly aligned as one looked down while the other was focused upward. “Is one of you…” She paused to take a look at the name on the letter in her hand. “...Twilight Sparkle?”

“Uh, I am,” Twilight answered, raising her hand.

“I finally found you,” she smiled big at her accomplishment. “I’ve been asking ponies for hours.”

“Thanks, but shouldn’t you have just delivered this to my castle?” questioned Twilight.

“Priority mail,” she explained. “It has to be delivered to the recipient as quickly as possible.”

“But wouldn’t it have still been faster to-” Twilight began to say, but decided to just thank Derpy and see who the letter was from. “Oh, it’s from Princess Celestia.”

“A letter from the princess?” gasped Rarity. “But doesn’t she typically send letters to you via Spike?”

“Well, I sent her a letter through regular mail after Spike went awol,” Twilight told her friends. “She wouldn't know Spike is back yet.”

“What was the letter you sent her about?” asked Applejack.

“The same thing I was talking to you all about,” Twilight answered. “She probably is giving me all the same advice you all did.” Tearing the envelope open, Twilight began to read the letter. As she did, her expression began to change, from one with renewed hope to a more stern one. As she finished reading it, she took a deep breath.

“Is something wrong?” worried Fluttershy.

“Princess Celestia has provided me with instructions on how to proceed,” Twilight replied. “I’m to proceed as I have originally planned and to implant a tracking spell on Spike if he doesn’t confess what he’s been up to while not under my watch.”

“But that’ll only make things worse between you two,” Rarity reminded her.

“Anywho, a spell like that shouldn’t even be allowed, right?” added Applejack. “It’s a complete invasion of a Pony’s privacy.”

“And Spike is a Dragon so it’s perfectly fine,” Twilight told them. “Celestia says that if he’s going to act like a Dragon then I need to treat him like one and if he still won’t comply…”

“What?” cried Fluttershy growing more worried than when they started.

“I have to send him back to Celestia and she’ll take care of him,” Twilight said trying to steal her resolve while her heart was on the verge of breaking.

“That’s the biggest bunch of bull I’ve ever heard!” snapped Rainbow Dash. “Has the princess lost her mind? How can she even think you’d do that to your friend?”

“Because it was my job to make him able to fit in with Pony society and if he’s embracing his draconic nature that means I’ve failed him,” she sighed. “And, I have. Celestia clearly thinks so… and she’s right.”

“Then you are going to ignore our advice and just listen to what she said?” Rainbow argued.

“She knows better than anyone,” nodded Twilight. “Why would I question her decisions when they are obviously the right ones? It’s probably why I considered the same thing. My only mistake was allowing guilt to make me question myself, but I know better than to second guess Princess Celestia.”

“But Twilight,” cried Pinkie, barely able to restrain herself from giving away her own involvement with Spike. “Do you even realize what’ll happen to Spike if you do all that?”

“I do… and it’s for the best,” she spoke as she got up, not looking at her friends as she headed for the door. “Thanks for meeting with me.”

“Oh, this is horrible,” said Fluttershy to the others.

“Simply dreadful,” agreed Rarity.

“But what can we do?” asked Applejack.

“If Spike is in trouble we should help him,” answered Rainbow Dash.

“But if it’s an order from Princess Celestia then we could get into trouble for going against her orders,” Fluttershy reminded them.

“Who cares about that?” argued Rainbow. “She’s wrong, right Pinkie? ...Pinkie?”

The girls turned to look, but she wasn’t among them anymore. Looking around Sugarcube Corner, they didn’t see her anywhere in sight. “I wonder where she went,” pondered Applejack.

“This is bad, bad, BAD!!!” shrieked Pinkie as she made a mad dash towards Sweet Apple Acres. “Spike is in big trouble and if I don’t do something I might never see that sexy fat, stud of a Dragon again. And I’m not the only one who’ll miss him. Sweetie Belle and the rest of the Crusaders, they don’t want to lose him either. Together, I’m certain we can figure out how we can save him.”

When the Dragling army pierced the magical barrier of the Crystal Heart that kept out the frozen north, their appearance in the sky was like a dark storm cloud that had managed to get through. To the Crystal Ponies, most were still unaware of the attack many who had noticed something ominous in the empire’s sky were still debating over just what it was.

There was, however, one Crystal Pony who knew from one glance that it was trouble. He was a member of the Empire’s royal guard. His coat, mane, and tail were white as snow, with some gray around his muzzle. His eyes were piercing blue and reflected in them was a steely resolve to carry out his duty no matter what. His name was Lt. Maximus.

With apple in hand, he took big bites from it, savoring the rich, juicy flavor. It was his third one in the last hour, and likely the last one for quite some time while there was a threat looming over the land he vowed to protect with his life. Still, despite this, he hadn’t made a move to react or even warn another Pony of the danger. He simply watched, the black specs in the sky very closely.

“I have to be patient,” he coached himself as he watched them, eyes unblinking. “I need to know how they plan to attack. We will be able to better coordinate better countermeasures to repel them and reduce damage if we can comprehend their plan of attack, provided they are creatures capable of such things.” Taking a deep breath, he waited with anticipation for the instance they would descend to the ground. Each second he waited made his heart pound harder against his chest. “Now, what will you do? A random strike at a single spot in the kingdom? Disperse and cause as much chaos as possible? Perhaps your aim is to capture the Crystal Heart and you’ll attack the plaza? Well, what’s it gonna be?”

As if answering his query, the Draglings began to make their move, splitting up into six groups that each flew to a different area. Quickly switching his focus between the different groups, Maximus watched, mouth agape at the sight before him. The apple in his hand, still possessed enough for a single bite, but it never came as the fruit slipped from his grip as his fingers loosened.

“Impossible,” he uttered in disbelief, the strength in his eyes unchanged, but a twinge of worry was now present. “How did they know?”

“This place is amazing,” commented Media as the Draglings gazed down upon the vibrant and crystal-filled land. “This place reminds me of that snow globe my mother showed me.”

“A snow what?” asked Nat confused their first experience with snow from their trip to the Crystal Empire.

“A souvenir my mother picked up during one of the attacks she was involved in. Basically, it’s a ball with something pretty inside,” she explained. “And when you shake it up, it looks like it’s snowing. It’s just like that here, well, except it’s snowing on the outside. I wonder if I’ll be able to find another snow globe while I’m here.”

“Meh, I think I’d prefer a snowball,” stated Nat. “They’re a lot more fun to play with.”

“But you’ve never seen snow till we made it this far north,” pointed out Sting. “None of us have, for that matter. What even is a snowball and how do you know about them?”

“My mother told me about snow a bit before we left,” he explained. “On a few occasions when the badlands got a snowfall, they got the chance to play in it. Well, Chrysalis ordered them to clean off the hive so they wouldn’t freeze to death, but they were able to make a game of it while they did so.”

“I hope you two aren’t planning to goof off,” spoke Zircon. “We came to conquer this place and claim it as our own. Given my name, it must be destiny that I take my place as ruler of this land.”

“Seems we’re not the only ones a bit distracted,” pointed out Nat. “Or have you forgotten that if anyone would be ruling this place, it would be our father, Tamati.”

“Now, now,” spoke their beloved father. “We’ll all have plenty of time afterwards to enjoy ourselves, once we conquer this land and all the ponies living within it. When we have accomplished our objectives here then snow globes and snowballs for all.”

“And do I get to rule over the Empire?” asked Zircon noticeable eagerness in her voice.

“It all depends how well things go around here,” the dark dragon answered. “A big part of that, rests on you fulfilling your role as an infiltrator. But, it’ll be very risky. Do you remember what you are doing?”

“I sneak into the castle in disguise,” she answered. “I locate the POI or the Pony Of Interest and do my best to capture them.”

“That’s right,” nodded her father. “But, first things first, we have to deal with the first layer of security. Does everyone still remember?”

“Of course,” nodded Sting and the others nodded too. “Spike gave us all the intel we needed for this operation.”

“While infiltrating the Crystal Empire,” read Spike as he wrote down everything he knew about the place. “The biggest concern you’ll have to face will be the magical defenses they have to repel invaders.” On the bottom of the scroll, he had scratched out a general layout of the city, drawing a six-pointed star and then circled each of the points. The enlarged dragon then went back to writing. “If you look at the layout of the city I’ve provided you, at each of the points there is a guard tower containing a crystal generator designed to place a protective barrier to protect the area from attack. Essentially, it is used to prevent any attackers from being able to access other parts of the city while also hindering their movements. Before anything else, you must ensure these guard towers are captured all at once. This means, you’ll have to split up your forces between the six of them, but if the Draglings have been performing as well as I have read, then I don’t think this should be a problem for you to take care of.”

“Everyone knows which tower they are after,” Sting continued to say. “We have to make sure that the Ponies are unable to set up their barriers to box us in. Starting now, each group of six must have their guard tower captured within ten minutes. After that, we move on to the next phase of the attack.”

“For the glory of Tamati,” they all spoke and then separated for the attack. Sting led a small group including Media, Nat, Zircon, and a few others as they headed for the southern guard tower. With all the Draglings going where they were needed, Tamati was left alone in the sky, watching his invading army with pride. He then looked down at the puny Ponies still obliviously wondering what it was that had invaded their airspace.

It was then that one Pony caught his eye, the white stallion, Maximus as he ran straight for the palace with all the haste he could muster. Seeing this, Tamati couldn’t help but give an amused smirk. “Well, at least some seem to understand what is going on,” he commented. “This wouldn’t be much of a conquest if our opposition didn’t at least prove to be a little formidable.”

A few seconds later, the screams and cries of Ponies finally burst forth as the citizens knew for certain they were under attack. This was followed by the roars and hisses of the Draglings as they saw the guards on the towers ready their defenses to impede them. Arrows started to fly as the archers took aim at the strange black creatures approaching them. This was mainly isolated at the nearest guard tower, the southern one, but as the other Draglings neared their own towers, the screams of terror increased and before long fear and panic had spread all over the Crystal Empire.

As the arrows flew at them, the Draglings did their best to dodge out of the way. Any that managed to hit were not strong enough to pierced their scaly hides, let alone the armor they wore. However, any arrows that did manage to hit them started to freeze the area struck, even spreading inside the armor to their hides. A single hit from these ice arrows was far from enough to even slow them down, but too many could leave them too frozen to move and an unfortunate arrow to the wing would cause them to drop right out of the sky.

“It’s the moment of truth,” breathed Nat. “All our training has lead us to this moment.”

“You’re not scared of a few Ponies are you?” asked Zircon.

“Considering we’re outnumbered roughly thirty-to-one with the odds only to get worse later on,” he replied. “I’d say that does put things considerably against us.”

“It just means we can’t just brute force out way through this,” stated Sting as he flew ahead of the group, finding the gaps in the archers’ offensive to land down atop the guard tower first, right in front of one of the Ponies that had been attempting to shoot them down. As the Pony quickly dropped his bow to retrieve his sword, he never got the chance as Sting slipped up the face guard of his helmet and exhaled a blast of fire that knocked him off his feet and sent him flailing about as he tired to put out the flames burning his flesh and coat. The other archers managed to grab their swords to try and repel the invader, but without arrows to slow the other Draglings from advancing, they soon found themselves attacked from above and suddenly on the defensive.

“What was that about not brute forcing it?” asked Nat as he disarmed a Pony that had tried coming at Sting from his right side and then used his slime to stick him the ground.

“We’re also pressed for time on this first phase,” he added. “So, a little brute force is fine, when necessary.”

“Like right now?” he asked as more soldiers began to climb to the roof from the lower levels of the tower, quickly outnumbering the group. The sight of seeing so many enemies popping up from below reminded the Draglings of their encounter with the pukwudgies.

“Media, Zircon, get the generator and remove the crystal,” ordered Sting. “Everyone else give them cover. “We’ve got less than eight minutes.”

Without hesitating, the small band of Draglings charged at dozens of Ponies before them. The same was true at the other guard towers as the battles were in full swing. On the streets below, the civilian Ponies unsure of what was going on beyond a nightmarish invasion were unsure what to do. Some tried to hurry to their homes while others went in search of their friends and family while others were simply panicking, unsure of what to do beyond screaming. The guards stationed around the city did their best to keep the situation from spiral more out of control. They calmed all the Ponies they could and did their best to help evacuate them more orderly, leading them towards the Crystal Castle. Their quick action helped calm the Ponies still in a panic, finding comfort in seeing the calmed groups heading for safety and quickly joining in to be a part of it.

“We’re under attack!” some cried, their nerves still no completely settled.

“Is it Sombra? Is he back?” shouted others.

“Everything will be alright,” the soldiers announced, attempting to quell the panic and maintain order. “Whatever threat we are facing, it will be dealt with. For now, everyone will be safe in the castle till the enemies are dealt with.”

Despite their words, even the soldiers were anxious about this invasion. The sounds of a miniature war in their very city when just minutes ago all was at peace was unnerving. It was made even more terrifying as the enemy they were facing was still a huge unknown. Even from what some managed to see of them, they were unlike any creature they had witnessed before and despite their numbers only amounting to a meager force, they were attempting to take on the force of one of Equestria’s major cities. Such an act should have been a futile effort for so few, but none of them could unshake the unease they were feeling.

“What in Tartarus are these things?” cried one soldiers as he did his best to hold off Sting, but with each strike, the lead Dragling proved his superior might, forcing him back into a wall.

“We’re Draglings,” he spoke. “And your kingdom is now ours.”

“We’ve suffered under a terrible and traumatizing tyrant and were lost for a millenia,” another snapped as he overheard Sting speak. “We won’t be victimized again!”

This soldier lashed out at Sting, him proving to be somewhat stronger than the first who regained some heart. Together the two battled it out against the Dragling and a third joined them. “You’re strong for whatever Draglings are,” the first soldier stated. “But you guys didn’t think you could take on the protectors of a city as vast as this with such a tiny force, did you?”

“We’re eager for the challenge!” declared Sting as he drew on more of his draconic strength and knocked back all three Ponies at once. Looking around, he saw the other Draglings were also facing off against multiple foes as well, but the blood of their beast of a father was flowing in their veins as much as his own. Bit by bit, they managed to overtake their more numerous adversaries, disarming them and forcing them to flee or sticking them to the ground if they were a goo spitter.

In the middle of the battlefield, Media and Zircon succeeded in fighting their way to the middle of the tower where a stone structure was erected. It had two large prongs protruding out the top of it and a large, pale blue crystal inserted in between them. “We just gotta remove the crystal in this thing and they won’t be able to create barriers with this structure anymore,” stated Media.

“It’s the crystal that creates the barrier and this stone that amplifies the magic to allow it to have such a vast range,” explained Zircon as she tugged at the crystal.

“I don’t remember hearing about that from the briefing,” commented Media as she looked curiously at the generator.

“I’m mostly just guessing,” she explained. “I became a bit curious about magical artifacts when Nat asked if I could try to borrow one from my mother. She told me how crystals contain magic while stones typically augment or even nullify magic in some way. For instance, the throne our father sits on is made of a kind that nullifies most magics. So, it makes sense that this stone amplifies magic contained in the crystal.”

“Kind of like how you use seasons and sauces to improve the taste of food,” compared Media. “A nice, juicy rack of manticore ribs are good on their own, but with the right marinade their deliciousness is amplified several times over. Oh, I can hardly wait to get back home.” A delighted smiled was on the chubby Dragling’s face as the thought of such mouthwatering food filled her every thought.

“Let me guess,” figured Zircon. “That’s what your mother is making for our victory feast.”

“As the main course of her own epic cooking battle.” After saying that, she covered her maw with a worried look. “Oh, that was supposed to be a surprise. Promise you won’t tell anyone, especially Papa Tamtam.”

“Your secret’s safe,” her half sister nodded. “Just watch my back. This crystal is wedged into this stone really tightly.”

“Can’t you just shatter it?” suggested Media. “If the crystal contains the magic then wouldn’t breaking get rid of the magic too?”

“Yeah, but crystals of this size containing magic are extremely rare,” she stated, slowly inching it free of the stone surrounding it. If I can get it out fully intact then it could become a useful asset to us.”

“But we don’t have much time left,” Media reminded her as she fought back a Pony that had broken through the others Draglings’ circle defense. Despite their efforts, they lacked the numbers to not have any gaps that their quantity superior foes could slip through. “Three minutes about, I think.”

“If we drop below thirty seconds and I can’t get it out, I’ll just break it,” she promised.

“Maybe a little sooner,” hoped Media as more Ponies broke through, seeing that the Draglings’ objective was the barrier generator and their priority became to protect it. Already, another guard managed so slip through and three more soon after as the Ponies continued to put pressure on their foes. Each of the Draglings in the circle had their hands full, dealing with groups of three, four, or even five Ponies at once. They couldn’t leave their defensive positions, not without letting even more Ponies through to reach the shield generator.

Media was barely able to fight evenly against a single opponent, but when second was added in, she was struggling not to lose any ground. With three more on the way, she gulped in panic. “I’m not that best in combat, you know,” she reminded Zircon.

“I think I got it,” Zircon replied as she started to lift up the gem off the generator, the bottom having a corkscrew-like shape to it. “It seems I just gotta keep twisting it to pull it off.”

“Then, please, hurry,” pleaded Media, as she backed away from her foes now totaling five. Desperately, she undid her face guard to unleash a stream of fire in the hopes of keeping them back. This seemed to work, as she swept the area in front of her with flames to ensure they couldn’t approach. However, after several seconds of breathing, her lungs were emptying out and her flames were starting to die down.

With no choice, Media stopped to take a much needed inhalation. “Do you have it, yet?” she wheezed desperately to Zircon.

“I got it!” she called out, to Media’s delight.

“That’s a relief,” sighed Media with relief. While she had her guard down, she didn’t notice as the soldiers were finally able to make their way through her flames and to her.

“Quick!” one shouted. “We have to recover the crystal at once!”

No time to defend herself or to flee, Media shut her eyes and prepared herself for their strikes. Swords at the ready, the five guards attacked with all their might only for their swords to be repelled by the magical bubble barrier that had appeared over her. Opening an eye to peek at what had happened, the medic Dragling saw the barrier that had protected her. “W-Where did this come from.”

“Sorry,” apologized Zircon, holding the freed crystal in her hands. It glowed with a remarkable brilliance as she called upon its power to protect her half sister. “I didn’t mean to put you in such a dangerous situation like this. No matter how much good a crystal like this could be for us, I shouldn’t have risked your safety and just destroyed it.”

“But you saved me with it,” Media pointed out. “And that’s all that matters.”

“Yeah,” she nodded and looked at the rest of the Draglings still in the midst of battle. “Now, to see if this thing is as powerful as I think it is.” Closing her eyes to increase her concentration, Zircon started to increase the size of the barrier protecting Media.

As it grew, it soon reached Zircon and she passed through to the inside. The five guards that had attacked Media, however, did not and suddenly found themselves being pushed back by the rapidly growing barrier. Shortly after, it reached the ring of Draglings, giving them shelter in its magical protection while all the Ponies found themselves unable to break through to continue the battle. Forced the the edges of the tower, they saw their own protective barrier being used against them and knew they had lost.

“Looks like we’ve completed our job here,” stated Sting.

“It’s only our first objective,” panted Nat, able to take a breather now that they had reached a brief intermission in between battles. “And already I’m pretty tired. Looks like every else is too.”

“I know,” nodded Sting as he sat down to rest and recover some stamina. The others joined him on the ground, though they all kept a wary eye on the Pony soldiers just to be cautious. “Even with all the training we’ve had, it hardly compares to a true battle.”

“What should we do?” one soldier asked the lead Pony of their group. “They have taken the crystal and we don’t have a means to break through it.”

“For now, we’d best retreat to join the main force,” their commander answered.

“But, sir, that would mean to abandon our post.”

“It can’t be helped,” he conceded. “We’re ill equipped to deal with these creatures and they seem very well prepared if they knew to strike here first. While we have this chance, we should gather up our injured and retreat to the castle. Better to take small losses now and ready ourselves for the bigger battle to come.”

Obeying their leader, the Ponies helped out any of their troops who had gotten injured in the fight or got immobilized by one of the Dragling’s sticky goo. “Looks like they’re retreating,” stated Nat. “A shame we won’t be able to gobble up some of their love to recover, but this is our first victory and I’m quite content on that.”

“We will concede this battle to you,” the commanded admitted. “But this war you have started will end with our victory. We will make you all regret attacking us and show you the strength, we, the knights of the Crystal Empire possess.”

“We will look forward to seeing you display that power,” remarked Sting as he watched them file down the stairs and down the guard tower. “It’ll be all the more satisfying for us to crush.”

“So, we’re in a barrier, now, right?” asked Nat as he pressed a finger against it and saw he could effortlessly pass through.

“Yeah,” nodded Zircon, placing the crystal on her lap. “Quite a remarkable one at that. I don’t know precisely the spell that was infused within it, but I believe it was made so that only those considered allies of the user can pass through it. Anyone else will be unable to enter it’s protection.”

“So, while we’re in here,” surmised Nat. “We’re completely safe.”

“Provided they have no means to piercing the magic,” she answered. “And seeing as they chose to regroup instead of force us out, I’d say we are safe so long as I can focus to maintain the barrier.”

“Good,” yawned Nat. “Then we have time to rest.”

“For about a minute,” replied Sting peering out into the distance at the other guard towers. “Then we must all move onto the next phase of the operation, along with everyone else.” Though he couldn’t make much out, he did managed to see some black specks moving around, their fellow Draglings. “The others should be done or, at least finishing up by now. From here on out, the real battle begins.”

“Then everyone should take this time to recover their strength,” encouraged Media as she opened her backpack and pulled out some bars coated in chocolate. “Here, everyone, eat these.”

“Uh, thanks,” replied Nat as he and the rest of the group received their snack and all eyed it with the same curiosity as him. “But what are these things?”

“They are energy bars,” she explained. “We made plenty of food to help restore everyone’s strength during the battle ahead, but I wanted to try and ensure we’d have something to eat when we don’t have a lot of time. So, mom helped me make these bars. It’s essentially a lot of oats and grains tightly packed together with honey and then dipped into melted chocolate before being chilled to harden.”

“Chocolate?” wondered Zircon, sniffing at the bar, glad that it smelled good, but remained hesitant to try it. “What is chocolate?”

“Chocolate…” spoke Media a look of absolute joy appearing on her face that was rather frightening that anyone could appear so happy. “It’s love given physical form. I have no other words to describe the majesty of such a thing.”

“This is love?” questioned Nat. “What do you think, Sting? Sting?”

“Ooooooh,” he murred, a look of just as much bliss spread across his face as it had been on Media’s. In his hand, he had his bar with a bite’s worth broken off and slowly being munched up in his maw. “I thought love tasted good before, but this… this is so good I could die happy.”

“I think the chocolate broke Sting,” spoke Nat, not sure if he should be in stitches laughing or start to panic over the state of their leader.

“Just try it and see for yourselves,” Media insisted and munched on her own.

Seeing they had nothing to lose, the Draglings took that first big bite to see just what was so amazing about chocolate and, all at once, their eyes widened as the same euphoric smile appeared on them.

“Soooooo goooooood!” they all moaned with ecstacy, the treat they were given so delicious that as they began stuffing the rest into their maw they were already craving more. “Need more!”

“Actually, I only had one for each of us,” admitted Media. “I gave more to the other Draglings in the medic unit to hand out, so hopefully all the others will get to try one too.”

“But you can make more, right?” they asked her. “Like lots more?”

“It’s rather a complex thing to make and requires special ingredients,” she explained. “I’ll have to ask mom when we get back home.”

“Then we must complete our mission here as swiftly as possible!” declared Sting. “For chocolate!”

“And King Tamati, too?” snickered Nat.

“Oh, uh, right,” blushed Sting, quite flustered after having such an incredible taste sensation. “Him too. Let’s go!”

“Yeah!” the others cheered as they flew off to the Crystal Plaza where the Crystal Heart was located. The only two that didn’t rush out right away were Zircon and Media.

“Looks like I was able to help them recover a lot more stamina then I expected,” Media commented as she watched them zoom off.

“That’s a good thing,” Zircon stated finishing off her last piece of the bar and licked her lips. “They’ll probably kick twice as much ass. As for me, I’ve got my own mission to attend to.”

“And I’ve got to meet up with some of the medic unit to prepare the southern recovery tent. I just hope we aren’t biting off more than we can chew on this mission. Chocolate is tasty, but it can’t keep them safe from harm, not like that magical barrier of yours. Maybe, we should have let them take that to protect them while they fight.”

“It probably could help out a lot, but I doubt they’d want to use it,” Zircon replied. “We’ve been preparing to battle the Ponies head on. I don’t think anyone wants to shame themselves or each other by relying on something like this to win. I think that might be father’s pride within us too. However, they have that pride because they also possess his incredible strength so be it a hundred enemies they are up against, or a million, they will still prevail and we’ll do our jobs too.”

“Yeah,” smiled Media. “Let’s do our best too.” Zircon smiled and nodded, and then the two Draglings split up to take care of their own objectives for the mission.

“Everyone hurry up inside,” called Shining Armor, the prince of the Crystal Empire. He was a tall, well-built Unicorn stallion with a white coat and a semi-long mane of several streaks of different blues that handsomely ran down his neck. Standing by the entrance to the castle, he helped guide the citizens inside and towards safety. Gazing up, he could see the Draglings were on the move once more and making their way towards the castle now. “Make your ways towards the inner chambers. We’ll come and get you once we have this situation handled.”

“Shining,” called a pink Pony, an Alcorn with a long mane of pinks and purples. Her name was Cadence, the princess of the Crystal Empire and wife to Shining Armor. “How is everything going with the evacuation?”

“Looks like we’re almost done,” he told her as the last few ponies made their way inside. “Now that everyone is safe, we can focus our forces on fighting the intruders. Did you manage to put Flurry Heart somewhere safe?”

“I left her in the care of Sunburst while he’s researching a counter spell to use on the intruders,” she answered.

“Wasn’t there anyone else?” he asked. “If our soldiers can’t force those whatever they are to retreat, we’ll need that spell he’s working on to drive them out.”

“I didn’t have a choice,” she admitted. “Flurry Heart was getting upset with all the commotion and you know how that causes her to start casting magic haphazardly. I figured that if she’s at least with Sunburst she’ll be with a familiar face and in a quiet library. Plus, I’ve posted one of our best guards with them just in case.”

“Then we can put all our energy into fighting off these creatures,” replied Shining Armor. “I still can’t believe they attacked all six of our outer guards towers at once.”

“Believe it because I saw the whole thing with my own two eyes,” reported Maximus as he approached the two royals and bowed his head. “Princess Cadence… Shining Armor.”

“Maximus,” smiled Shining Armor. “The empire owes you a great debt for acting as quickly as you did in reporting this incident to us, otherwise we might still be in a disorganized panic.”

“We can save the parades and statue-building for after we’re safe,” he continued. “Right now, we’ve gotta consider just what kind of a crisis this is. As far as I can tell, the enemy’s number doesn’t even come close to a hundred and yet, they’ve still decided to attack us in such a bold manner.”

“Bold or not,” commented Cadence as she saw the swarm getting ever closer. “They didn’t just attack, they’ve been successful in taking out our primary defenses. Luckily, the Crystal Heart is still safe.”

“I’ve been spying on the creatures from afar,” continued Maximus. “From what I’ve observed, they appear to be a fair bit stronger than the average pony, but stronger or not, our sheer numbers should make any other force of such meager proportions never even consider an out in the open, direct attack like this. They’d be defeated once they’ve exhausted themselves and then it’d just be a matter of finishing them off.”

“Perhaps this is but the first wave,” considered Shining Armor. “A much larger force could be on its way once they see how we react to this small group.”

“I’ve already increased the barrier around the empire to prevent anyone from entering,” Cadence told them. “If they do have more forces, then there is no way they can get in now, no matter how powerful they might be.”

“That’s what has me concerned the most,” continued Maximus, sounding more worried than relieved. “We know they are well aware of our defenses, so they wouldn’t have made such a huge mistake in attacking with a small force and allow us to lock out the bulk of their army. No, they know exactly what we’re capable of.”

“But how?” wondered Cadence. “From a description of these creatures we’ve never been in contact with them. I don’t think any pony has. How could they know so much about our defenses? It’s impossible.”

“It should be, but there is no doubt that is the case and I am sad to say there is a way they could have. It could be they have an informant that leaked our intel,” he spoke, knowing what a grave accusation he was making. “It can’t be denied that there might be a traitor in our midst.”

“There are some who know about the Crystal Empire’s defenses beyond here as well,” commented Shining Armor. “But I’d hate to think that any of them would sell us out like this.”

“We can worry about that after they are dealt with,” spoke Cadence, steering the focus back to repelling the enemies. “Is everyone in place?”

“We have five hundred strong split between protecting both the Crystal Heart and the entrance to the castle. We have smaller groups stationed at any other entryways as an extra precaution as well.”

“Then we’ve done all we can,” Shining surmised. “All that’s left is to battle it out.”

“Actually, I was thinking of sending another squad into the city,” continued Maximus. “Considering their size and lack of numbers, I cannot think that they could be capable of enduring a battle against a force as large as ours. At best, I doubt they could manage more than an hour of continued fighting, perhaps a bit more, but that’d hardly be enough time to defeat us based on how long it took them to capture our six guard towers. No, they would need a means of recovering their strength and stamina, perhaps even healing their injuries so they can continue fighting longer.”

“And you think they will have a medical tent hidden in the empire to sneak off to so they can recover?” questioned Cadence.

“At least one,” he nodded. “But they would likely prepare more if they have this as well thought out as I fear.”

“Even if they do, could they really recover quickly enough?” wondered Shining.

“They could have some very potent curatives,” he answered. “Or, perhaps they possess some special means of self recovery. For example, Changelings can recover quite quickly if they feast on love. Of course, this is pure speculation, but I insist a thorough sweep of the city be taken to be sure. I’ll personally lead the search if need be.”

“Your instincts have helped us get this far,” Cadence praised him. “We’ll continue to trust them. So, do what you must and please protect the Crystal Empire.”

“With all my body and soul,” he bowed and took his leave.

“Then every precaution has been taken,” sighed Shining Armor as he peered into the distance and saw the Draglings on the verge of clashing with their forces. There only remained a few meager minutes of relief before the fighting would resume and, this time, in full force on both sides. “I know I technically became a prince after marrying you, but it’s so frustrating that I can’t be out there with all the other soldiers, fighting to protect everyone.”

“If it comes to it and you have to fight,” she told him sweetly. “I know you’ll be as amazing as ever.”

“If it reaches that point,” he pointed out. “That our forces as devastated enough to require me to join in, then we are probably already doomed at that point. Besides, between the two of us, you’d probably be the one kicking the most flank.”

“Kind of like back when we were first dating and you invited me to one of your Ogres and Oubliettes games,” she joked. “It was a lot of fun play acting as Dominazer the Obliterator with my +15 Thorn Whip and my Armor of Sinful Paradise. I had a laugh too… now, how did it go?”

“N-Now’s not the time to talk about that stuff,” sweated Shining Armor, shivering as long buried memories were resurfacing. “We have a battle to win, after all.”

“I guess you’re right,” she answered with a bit of a flirty smirk on her face. “Maybe tonight then.”

“M-Maybe,” he gulped. “Victory will be ours, it’s only a matter of time. Those this will probably run away with their tails between their legs the second they realize that they bit off more than they can chew when picking a fight with us.”

“That would be the most ideal situation,” stated Cadence. “Then neither side would suffer any more losses. But… even if we’re fully prepared… why can’t I shake this feeling of impending doom, like a dark shadow watching and waiting for the right time to swallow us all alive.”

“Men, look alive,” the commander of the Pony soldiers barked as they created several walls of defense in the Crystal Plaza to surround and protect the Crystal Heart. In the air above, the Draglings from all six towers were converging towards them, the small groups forming into one that was still terribly underwhelming in numbers compared to the Pony soldiers clad in armor hued in gold, silver, or crystal. With swords and bows at the ready, they prepared for the battle to come. “Give them no quarter and cut them down without hesitation! The Crystal Empire will not fall on this day!”

With a mighty chorus of cheers, the combined voices of all the Ponies were like a thunderous boom that further reminded the Draglings of the sheer numbers they were up against. “Everyone,” spoke Sting, using the moments they had before they engaged their enemies to inspire them with a few brief words. “The small skirmish we have all just experienced before was but an appetizer of the full course we are about to face. From the day we were born, we have trained for this and now it is our time to bring glory to our king and father. We are ready for this! Ready as we’ll ever be!”

With an uproar of cheers of their own, the Draglings sped up, flying full speed at the soldiers. Some had their swords drawn while others began to act preemptively by firing with arrows. Fearlessly, Sting led the charge forward, landing in the middle of a group of soldiers with all the power he could muster, his impact blasting them all back with tremendous force.

“I don’t know what you monsters are,” spoke one of the soldiers as he and a dozen others moved in to take over for the group Sting had knocked back. “But you think you can defeat us all? The only thing that will happen today is that we will wipe you all out. You might have gotten the drop on us, but surprises aside, you have no hope of winning this fight. It is folly for you all to even try. If you have any intelligence you should turn tail and run while you still have the chance.”

“Don’t talk down to us,” spoke Sting calmly, despite being surrounded by enemies while the others hadn’t yet caught up to his solo charge forward. He then closed his eyes and remained silent for a moment.

“That idiot,” groaned Nat, readying his crossbow as he surveyed high above the others. Even from several stories up, he could easily recognize Sting in his handed down armor. “He’s supposed to be our leader, but he charges in headfirst like a one man army.”

“Are you watching, Pincer?” thought Sting as his breathing became heavier, some embers escaping his maw as he exhaled. “See what your final sacrifice has brought about.”

The soldiers merely stood there, unsure why he suddenly become idle. “What’s wrong with you now? Is this your attempt at a surrender?”

“It’s much too late for that. You’ve already raised a weapon against us. Don’t expect any mercy now.”

“Did you not hear me earlier?” He spoke, the calmness in his voice gone and a growing intensity was riding on the words he spoke. Sting’s body then began to tremble as his temperature rose quickly, the soldiers closest to him able to feel it. Opening his eyes, he continued to speak “We might be few, but we are strong!” With all the power he could muster from his legs, Sting shot forwards with all his might, similar to Tamati’s own enraged charge against the maulwurf. The soldiers in his path had enough time to raise their shields to defend themselves, but this proved not as effective as they had anticipated as they all suddenly found themselves all hit with such monstrous intensity that their shields crumpled and their footing slipped, sending them all flying backwards, right into their fellow soldiers.

“One swing of his sword and he was able to strike at five soldiers with such unmitigated might? Just what the Tartarus are these monsters?”

Breathing heavily, Sting looked all around him, gazing at the countless Ponies in view of his one good eye. Closing it, he focused again, gathering his rage. “That’s it, just like father taught me. My anger is my greatest strength.”

The maulwurf snarled and spat as it struggled against the chains binding its body. In spite of its best efforts, it could not break them to escape. It’s body was still battered and bruised after it’s fight with Tamati and one of its hands had been crushed so hard that it couldn’t even lift it without risking the agony it would be in.

“Why must this damn thing be allowed to live?” questioned Sting as he stared at the beast with a look of absolute hatred in his good eye.”

“I am not one who enjoys torturing creatures,” admitted Tamati. “But for the harm it has caused, I think I can allow it to suffer so long as it is not meaningless. In this case, to help make you stronger.”

“And how will it?” asked Sting. “By fighting it or something?”

“Tell me? Does the image of it fill you with anger?”

“Intensely,” he nodded. “But I do not need to see it with my good eye. It might have blinded me, but the sight of it snuffing out Pincer’s life plays over and over again in the eye it stole the light from. When my good eye is shut, it’s all I can see and it makes my blood boil.”

“That is your dragon blood reacting to your emotions,” he explained. “Heated up, your blood gets pumped through your body at an accelerated rate, sending energy throughout your body at a greater rate than normal, unlocking strength beyond what we care normally capable of. Care for a demonstration?”

“Please,” nodded Sting. “I wasn’t awake to see you unleash your full fury on the maulwurf.”

“Well, that was about twenty percent my full rage,” admitted the black dragon. “Maybe thirty, but this isn’t an exact science. Let’s just say I was pissed off pretty damned bad percent.”

“Then you didn’t even need your full strength to defeat it?” asked Sting in awe at his father’s might.

“If I had there’d be nothing left of it but a blood smear on my fists,” he stated more seriously. “And I’d probably have demolished the hive before laying waste to a sizable chunk of Equestria. After that, I’d probably collapse from sheer exhaustion and fall into a rather deep sleep for a week give or take a decade, while I recover. That’s another thing to keep in mind when tapping into this extra strength. The more anger you unleash, the less control you have over it till you become a berserker, lashing out at everything and anything in your path be they friend or foe. Your stamina will also be depleted rapidly making this power risky to use when the battle is likely to be a drawn out one. Nevertheless, this is a power that all my children have inherited and in time they will have to learn to master it or risk it destroying them.”

“Then shouldn’t we have brought the others here to learn as well?” suggested Sting.

“I hadn’t planned to teach this to any of you so soon,” Tamati admitted. “You are all still too young and lack the experience to draw out such raw emotions, at least till this incident occurred and, looking at you, I can see it has scarred you in far more than a physical sense. It is my duty to help you not only use this anger, but to help you tame it before it can consume you. That is my job as your father.”

“And I am very grateful for this, father,” spoke Sting, trying to maintain his calm demeanor, but there was impatience and eagerness in his voice that only became more apparent as his good eye kept darting back to the snarling maulwurf. “Now, show me this power of rage.”

“Very well,” said Tamati as he moved away from both Sting and the maulwurf. With a claw, he scratched a crude-looking smiley face into the wall and then took ten steps back. Breathing deeply, Tamati then began to draw on his anger. Images of all things that triggered him flashed before his glowing red eyes, causing his breathing to hasten while his muscles tightened and he clenched his fits. Sweat soon began appearing on his body while the air around him began to bend as he emitted an intense heat.

“So, this is father angry,” commented Sting, intrigued, but not impressed yet.

“Not quite,” spoke Tamati through gritted teeth. “It takes a bit longer when I’m purposefully trying to get angry.” After saying that, his muscles started to bulge bigger. It started with his biceps, and then on the muscles in his legs. His abs were next and section after section, his body became even more fiercely toned than it had been before, making the macho dragon appear even larger than he normally was. “I’d put this at about as close to full strength as I can get without losing all sense of myself. Now, watch. This is the power of a dragon’s rage!”

With a monstrous roar, Tamati charged forward. His claws tore up the ground beneath his feet as he went from stationary to full speed in an instant. His wings let out a single flap to help with his instant burst of speed, sending a strong blast of wind at Sting. Though he didn’t blink, the Dragling was barely able to even see Tamati’s charge forward. It was like his father vanished and the pretend enemy Tamati had carved into the wall had been replaced with a large Dragon-shaped hole in it.

Braving a closer look, Sting peeked into the hole and saw Tamati has burst straight through the hive, smashing through every wall in his way. He kept going till he reached the outside, allowing Sting to barely make out the blue sky. Looking at the thickness of the walls he had gone through, even with all his might, the young Dragling knew he’d have had a difficult time breaking through them even with a blunt weapon to aid him.

“Such unbelievable power and speed,” observed Sting as he saw some of the walls crumble a bit more. “Nothing could defend itself against such incredible might.”

“One of the many reason why Dragons rock,” panted Tamati as he flew back in through the hole he made and then all walked back down. As he did, he gave quick apologies to any Changelings or Draglings that were in the rooms he burst through and nearly took out with his rage. They could only blink and accept his apology. Some were just in shock that they had so narrowly avoided getting caught up in his rage-fueled charge.

When he made it back and finished apologizing, Tamati was far from mad and instead had a face full of self pity now. “Damn, I’ve got quite a few walls to fix afterwards. I only meant to break the one, but, heh, got a little carried away. Still, I’d say this proves my point at how strong, but risky this power is.”

“I can see that,” he agreed as his father stared at the damage he caused and a look of dread spread on his face as more of the wall cracked off. Sting didn’t pay that any mind, but, instead, felt the intense heat his father’s body was still radiating. Pressing a hand on his side, he pulled it away immediately, almost getting burnt by his curiosity.

“Careful,” warned Tamati after the fact. “I’m still extremely hot. Heh, though that’s me 24/7. Just ask my harem.”

“TMI, father,” Sting told him.

“Oh, my bad…” he apologized for making things awkward. “So, uh, ready to give it a go?”

“I am,” Sting nodded. “What do I have to do?”

“Find your anger and let it stoke your inner fire,” instructed Tamati. “Let it burn in your chest, getting hotter and hotter, as it fills you with adrenaline. Then, when you are ready, unleash your wrath.”

“Unleash my wrath,” repeated Sting as he stared down the maulwurf, stirring up the memories of that horrible incident from the other day. It ached Sting to force himself to relive it all, but at the same time he was able to understand where Tamati drew his strength from, where he found that extra bit of power to pierce its hide. Muscles tightened as his body trembled and his temperature rose. “I think I am getting it,” Sting thought to himself as he felt his heart thump loudly in his chest.

Drawing his weapon, Sting took a breath as he stared down at the maulwurf. Seeing him poised to strike, the creature lashed out at him, the chains restraining it keeping its range limited, but left it enough of a threat to anyone who might get close to it. It was even using its injured arm as it struggled, determined to protect itself. Sting watched it, waiting for an opportunity to strike. When its arms recoiled after attempting to lung forward, that moment came.

Rushing forward, the red-winged Dragling flew between its arms and towards its chest. With a mighty slash, he cut into its hide, albeit only enough to create a shallow wound. The giant mole creature cried out in pain before swing an arm in retaliation. Sting blocked the attack with his sword, protecting himself, but the force was still enough to knock him back and out of range of the beast.

“Ugh!” he groaned as he quickly steadied himself. Breathing hard, he felt a great drop in his stamina now after his rush of rage fizzled out. Looking at the maulwurf, only agitated at his attack, Sting just let out a sigh.

“Not bad for a first try,” instructed Tamati. “But, as you can see, you have a lot of work ahead of you if you expect to make use of your full strength in a real battle.”

“I thought I had it,” he admitted, looking at the meager amount of blood his sword had on it. “I managed to cut it, but this is hardly a flesh wound.”

“You did at the start, but as soon as you took off I could see your mind calming, returning to a more level state,” explained Tamati. “That was how Pincer taught you to be in battle, correct?”

“And my mother,” he nodded. “A warrior must always keep a level head in battle and not let emotions cloud their judgement.”

“I would expect as much,” the big Dragon stated. “Changelings fight for the collective so the emotions and individualism are trained to be suppressed. They have that mentality so that individual desires don’t put the group at risk. It’s counter to Dragons who prefer to on their own and live to satisfy their own greed and do as they desire. It must feel like quite the contradiction to be a part of two so different species rolled up into one.”

“If that’s the case, then how can I make this work?” questioned Sting.

“You have already proven you can calm yourself and fight as a Changeling. It’ll probably be trickier to learn to fight as a Dragon with the former’s training already ingrained on you and harder still to be able to put them both into practice together. You possess two bloods, two heritages, and one body to share it all. Do you think you have what it takes to create harmony within yourself?”

“I do,” he nodded. “I know I can!”

“Then continue with your training,” smiled Tamati. “You’ve got no time to dawdle before the start of the invasion.”

“It’s still far from perfect,” breathed Sting as he stoked his anger for his next attack. “I can still only manage single strikes, but at least Ponies are not as tough as a maulwurf.” Looking back, he saw that the rest of the Draglings had reached the ground too and were engaging in battle too. Still, even with their support, they were just a small few against much vaster numbers.

Thoughts of what a disaster this battle could turn to started to fill Sting’s mind. The idea of his fellow Draglings battling and being overwhelmed by the enemy’s greater numbers added fuel to his rage, making it burn hotter. Staring down the soldiers moving towards him while he remained still, Sting found his strength and blocked their five swords with his own and his arm guards. With all their might, the Ponies started to strike at him, attempting to break through his guard.

“Do you think we’ll let you do that again?” they asked. “We’ll stop you here and now.”

“You can either take our attacks or try to retreat, but your group is already surrounded. There is no going back for any of you.”

“We came here with no intention of going back,” he answered. “The only path available to us is the way forward!” With a draconic roar, Sting pushed back the Ponies with brute strength alone and then knocked them all away with a swing from his sword. “And we’ll mow down everything in our way to reach whatever’s at the end. So, come at as five at once or ten or a hundred! We will never falter no matter the odds!”

Charging straight at the enemy now, Sting cleaved a path through them, moving quickly and striking just as fast to not give the Ponies a chance to counter. As he raged, he did his best to not get his fellow Draglings caught up in his sweeping attacks. That was a task made all the hard by the endless horde of enemies around him, blocking his view of everything but them.

“Grah!” he cried out after another big swing that sent more of Ponies back into one another like dominoes. However, after this strike, Sting dropped to his sword and fell to his knees, exhausted. Looking around, the dent he had made in the enemy’s forces of a few dozen was hardly noticeable when up against several hundred. “Father was right. This power burns through stamina a lot faster than I anticipated. I was too careless.”

“He’s down!” one Pony announced remaining wary and keeping his distance. “If we take this one out the rest will be easy.”

“I won’t let you-” groaned Sting, attempting to get up, but he couldn’t find the strength even to get angry. All he could do was watch as a number of Ponies gathered around him to finish him off without mercy. Refusing defeat, he tried to stand, but he couldn’t get up fast enough before he was knocked down.

“You have caused the Crystal Empire enough trouble,” one spoke. “Caused so much panic, but it’s all over now. We won’t let our home fall to the likes of you creatures.”

About to strike, the group hesitated as a large, dark shadow appeared over them. Looking up, they saw a massive glob of green goo plummet down onto the plaza. “What the hell?!? Where did something like that even come from?”

No time to react, the slime ball landed on the ground and a large chunk of the pony soldiers. Even a few unlucky Draglings were caught up in it. Some of the soldiers foolishly attempted to try and free their trapped allies only to get stuck themselves. Many of the soldiers just stood there either stunned or scanning the sky for any more to come. With eyes off him, Sting took this chance to get back on his feet and up into the sky.

“That was a close one, wasn’t it,” spoke Nat, high in the sky over the battlefield as Sting made his way over to him. “But it looks like I made it in time.”

“To save me, but we don’t have the element of surprise to trap them all in one go like we planned,” stated Sting. “And you just exposed yourself too. Now that they know that we have forces in the air, they’ll retaliate.”

“Speaking of,” said Nat as a group of Pegasus soldiers flew up to the sky and made their way right towards them. “Looks like the retaliation has started.”

“I’ll keep them off you while you-” Sting started to say.

“You’re already at your limit,” Nat reminded him. “You’re also injured or haven’t you noticed?”

“I am?” he replied surprised and saw he did have a few cuts in the gaps of his armor along with a number of sword slashes against his armor. During his rampage, he thought he had been completely untouchable, but now he realized that every Pony he didn’t fight was likely able to get an attack on him while he had been too focused on offense. Now that he saw his injuries, he realized how fortunate he was to have kept on moving about so quickly or he might have taken a more serious hit. It was another foolish blunder on his pride that hurt him more than the sting of his wounds. “It’s just some shallow cuts, but you’re right. If I don’t full recover I’ll just be a liability. I’ll go, but I’ll be back as soon as my strength has returned.”

“Let’s just hope our medical tents have not been discovered,” commented Nat. “The medical unit hasn’t trained as much for battle as the rest of us, but without them, we’ll just be struggling to delay our defeat.”

“Then we would fight and die with honor,” Sting spoke. “But we have far too much to live for to fade away and be vaguely remembered in footnotes of history as a failed attack. This is merely our introduction.”

“I did just leave a giant, green, sticky wad of goo in the center of their empire,” joked Nat. “Heh, I don’t think we could leave a better impression history than that.”

“Let’s make that our fallback plan, in the event our total conquest of Equestria doesn’t pan out,” suggested Sting in a tone that Nat wasn’t certain if he was kidding or not. Sting then flew away, purposefully taking a more out of the way route to one the medical tents. As he left, a dozen Pegasus were nearing Nat.

“That must be the one who launched that gooey glob down below,” one surmised.

“A single one of those things did that?” another asked. “I can’t see how that’s possible.” A regular-sized ball of goo hit him in the side of his helmet and some stuck to his wing on the same side, hindering his ability to fly some. “Nevermind it’s definitely him,” he spoke with agitation from getting gooed. “And I’m gonna FUCKING MURDER HIM FOR THIS!!!”

“Are you okay?” a third asked, well aware of his friend’s short temper.

“I’m fine,” he fumed. “But this stuff is trouble. If we take a direct hit to one of our wings we’ll probably drop like rocks. Also… I JUST GOT MY FUCKING WINGS WASHED BEFORE ALL THIS SHIT WENT DOWN!!!”

“I think I just pissed someone off big time,” noted Nat as he listened to the Pegasus rage. “Heh, guess that means I’m doing a good job.” The small, blue Dragling spoke loud enough for the short-fused Pony to hear him.

“FUCK YOU!!!” he roared at him only getting more pissed off.

“Easy now,” one of the other Pegasus tried to calm him down. “It won’t be a problem if it’s just one enemy. We’ll surround him and when he’s got nowhere to go you can beat the everloving shit out of him.”

“Good plan!” he agreed in a shouting voice. “I especially like the ‘beating the everloving shit out of him’ part.”

“Guess it’s time to play the last of our cards,” Nat gulped, not a fan at what he just heard. Whistling, a couple more Draglings emerged from behind some clouds. They were also armed with crossbows like Nat and grouped up with him as they took aim. “Not much of a card when we barely had any forces to spare on the ground, but like Sting says we’ll make do.”

“There’s a few more of them,” one of the Pagusi announced.

“Just a few more flies to swat,” one of the Pegasus stated as he took charge before that one Pegasus in need of some anger counseling did anything crazy. “It doesn’t change their situation at all. Men, present lances!” Following the lead Pegasus's orders, the group unsheathed long lances twice the length of their bodies and held them like they were flying darts that were aimed at the Draglings above them.

“They’re coming in fast!” cried one of the Draglings as the Pegasus flew at them with all the speed they could muster.

“If we get hit with them flying that fast,” the other stated. “They’ll go right through us!”

“We have to ground them,” instructed Nat to his fellow Draglings as he armed his crossbow with another ball of his goo.

The others did the same and together they fired in unison. Nat managed to get another solid hit while the other two were a little off target, though likely still hit one of the soldiers on the ground. However, just as the Draglings had flew unceasingly through the enemy’s barrage of arrows, the Pegasi were proving every bit as fearless in the face of danger and didn’t slow down at all.

“They’re too fast,” one of the Draglings cried. “Faster than the practice targets.”

“A little late for excuses,” Nat told them. “But I didn’t think they’d be this quick either. Break formation and prepare for aerial combat. At least it’s only twelve.”

“Another group of Pegasi are flying up to join them,” one of the Draglings pointed out, the number of foes suddenly doubled.

“So much for having the easy job,” Nat sighed before coughing up another ball of goo to arm his crossbow.

“Those creatures are clever,” commented Maximus as he traversed the deserted city with a small group of soldiers. “They sneak off from the battlefield, few at a time, in the midst of the confusion, in order to recover from injury and fatigue, however, they make a point not to head straight for wherever said medical tent is hidden. Guess they were being wary of the enemy noticing their strategy. Can’t say I blame them.”

“Is he talking to us?” one of the other soldiers asked the others as they followed Maximus’s lead. They watched as he lifted up his head and sniffed the air, like a dog trying to pick up a scent.

“Nah, he’s in whatever weird zone he gets into when the call to action arrives,” another explained. “But strange or not, he’s a very insightful and determined guy who has proven his metal time and time again. There’s no reason for us to doubt him.”

“Shh,” hushed Maximus as he peered around a corner where a Dragling landed and cautiously checked out his surroundings. Maximus made certain not to be noticed and when the Dragling looked satisfied that he was alone, he proceed to go on foot. “We must be close. Follow me as silently as possible.”

Giving a slight nod, his fellow soldiers moved with the utmost caution to keep their armor from clattering. They saw the Dragling turn a corner and swiftly peered around to keep an eye on him, but to their surprise, he was gone. Unsure what had happened, the soldiers walked out to take a look, but nothing seemed out of place.

“It’s like the thing just vanished into thin air,” one commented.

“Maybe these things can teleport,” another suggested. “Or have some other magical abilities we don’t know yet.”

“If they could teleport so easily they would not need to be so secretive about their medical tent’s location,” pointed out Maximus. “That creature is still here…” He looked around and stopped as he planted his muzzle close to the ground. He then started sniffing, picking up a scent and it led him straight to a nearby home. “And I think I’ve found it.”

Reluctantly, the others followed him as he approached the house and knocked on the door. “H-H-Hello?” asked a very timid voice as someone inside peeked through the peephole.

“Looks like a frightened civilian who decided to hold up in there home,” one of the soldiers figured. “Mam, we’re with the royal guard. Is everything alright in there?”

“I’m fine,” she answered. “Till this whole thing blows over I’m just gonna quietly hide in here.”

“It might be best if we escort you to the castle,” suggested one of the soldiers. “We spotted one of those creatures in the area and there could be more.”

“Oh, mercy me,” she worried. “What if the dreadful beasties attack us while I’m out there? It would be better if I just stay put.”

“She has a point,” one of the soldiers agreed. “And just getting her into the castle will put us too close to the main area of fighting.”

“Not an easy call, but if we find the monsters she’ll be safer and so will anyone else hiding in their homes,” another added.

“Come on, Lieutenant,” one of his men told him. “The creature isn’t here. We best hurry up and find it.”

Snorting, Maximus pounded on the door and quiet angrily shouted, “Just what the hell are you trying to pull?!?”

“Sir?” the others cried, unsure what had him suddenly so pissed.

“Such a brute,” cried the lady inside. “Go away! I’m not letting you into my home!”

“But this is my home!” he roared, leaving his men in a state of shock at this revelation.

“Your ho- but our plans indicated that this house was unoccupied,” she answered, only realizing her mistake after saying it. “Oops!”

“Heh, gotcha!” smirked Maximus. “Men, break this door down!”

“We’ve been found out!” cried the exposed Dragling turned back to normal and then jammed a nearby chair against the door to further reinforce it. However, the soldiers began ramming into the door, their combined strength breaking through at the hinges. The medical Dragling then hurried to Media and two other medics who were helping treat a couple of wounded Draglings with some of her special cooking. As they ate, the cuts and scrapes on their hides healed and vanished entirely while their strength and stamina recovered.

“We knew there was a strong possibility that we’d be found out at some point,” Media admitted. “Are there a lot?”

“Four of five of them, from what I could see,” the Dragling admitted. “But for all we know, there could be more nearby.”

“We’re only a medical team of four,” worried one of the Draglings. “We spent more time with medical tape than swords. We aren’t even armed.”

“We can fight,” stated the Dragling that had just arrived as he and the other tried getting up. While the other’s injuries were already healed, his had only just started to recover from eating Media’s cooking.

“You two are not at full strength yet,” Media warned them. “You aren’t in any condition to be fighting just yet.” Seeing their swords, Media handed them to two of her fellow medics. “You two, take these and… uh…” Heading into the kitchen, she searched for more to arm herself and the other medic with. “We have a kitchen knife and a frying pan. Pick your poison.”

“I’ll take the knife,” she answered as the soldiers finally succeeded in bursting through the door.

Walking in, they saw the two recovering creatures, taking note how fast they were healing. “Seems I was right on the money that they have been been deploying hit and run tactics against us,” spoke Maximus. “These two look like they could be battle ready again in no time. Even a small force like this could prove problematic if they can keep coming back into the battle. A few dozen could suddenly become several hundred this way and even things out number wise.”

“Then if we take this place out they are done for,” a soldier stated eagerly. “The Crystal Empire will be saved.”

“We won’t let you,” cried Media as she and the other medics approached, armed and ready to fight. “Our fellow Draglings are doing their part in this battle and our job is to be there for them, so if we have to fight to defend this place, then we will.”

“So, that’s what you creatures are called,” noted Maximus. “And you are capable of speech.”

“What about it?” asked Media defensively.

“Why don’t you tell us why you have decided to attack our home for no reason?” he questioned her. “Are you all just another bunch of parasites like the Changelings? You certainly share a few similarities with their biology from what my eyes can perceive.”

“W-We don’t have to answer to the likes of you,” she stuttered a bit. As Maximus approached her, she couldn’t help trembling. With what little training in battle she had, she never did practice in actual combat against anyone else. The others were fairly more experienced, but since they taken under Media’s wing to be taught how to cook, they didn’t have the proper mindset for fighting either.

“This bunch doesn’t seem as tough as the others,” one of the soldiers noticed. “This shouldn’t be difficult at all.”

“Don’t lower your guard because of that,” warned Maximus. “These Draglings have proven themselves mightier than the average pony. Take them alive if possible, but kill them if it is more convenient and leave Ms. Frying Pan to me.”

“You leave them alone,” hissed one of the Dragling soldiers as they tried to get up in spite of not being armed or at full strength. Without mercy, they were slashed by Maximus, his strength proving he possessed far greater than the average Pony soldier too, cutting through their armor and a bit into their scaly hides.

“The wounded have no place in battle,” he warned them. “Neither do the dead if you still wish to interfere.”

“Just stay down,” instructed Media, trembling even more as she saw Maximus’s strength and now had to face him. “We’ll handle this.”

Each soldier picked one of the other medics and started to battle them. The Draglings did their best to recall their training, muscle memory the first to come back as they reacted as they had been trained to do so. Metal hit metal as they tried to fight off their attackers, but it was clear the ponies were far more aggressive in this situation.

Already aware of Maximus’s might, Media retreated back into the kitchen with him proceeding after her. In all the midst of all this sudden chaos, none of them noticed as a figure loomed in the doorway, too fall to enter while standing, but managed to quietly slip inside without being heard. Spying on the battles going on in the main room of the house, the figure watched and waited for the right moment to strike.

Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Maximus moved in closer to Media, bringing her in range of his sword as he swung at her. Fearfully, Media blocked his attacks, the hard metal of the frying pan proving effective at repelling his blade, but the power behind his strikes were threatening to knock it out of her hands.

“I can tell you don’t want to fight, so just surrender,” he told her. “We’re not monsters. We can figure out something civilized to do with any of you that can understand what sort of situation you’re in. Now be smart and admit defeat.”

“I- I- I…” The offer was tempting and Media was frightened enough to almost accept.

“My mother says an army marches on its stomach,” commented Zircon as Media recalled a conversation she and the others had the night prior to the invasion. “But I think she had meant that more like they were going out to fill their bellies. In our case, we’re bringing our food with us.”

They were in the kitchen, a bit peckish for something to munch on. Fortunately, Media had already been in the process of cooking some macaroni and cheese and simply increased the amount of tube-shaped pieces of pasta when she found she had guests joining her. Once they had finished cooking in the bubbling pot, she poured the noodles into a strainer to get rid of the water and then into a bowl for each of them. She then poured in some fondu into each bowl for the Draglings to mix with the macaroni and complete their meal.

After doing that, they took their first bite of this simple, yet interesting new recipe of Media’s and instantly, all their eyes lit up as the tender noodles covered in a zesty and creamy cheese sauce filled them with a mouthwatering delight that was reflected in the blissful expressions on their faces.

“This is far more than a meal,” stated Sting before stuffing his maw with more. “It is the key to our victory. It is because of this that we can even consider doing such a bold invasion with only the first generation of Draglings.”

“Yeah,” agreed Nat as he. “After that whole pukwudgie fiasco, I think we all can see what a powerfully scrumptious asset this is to us. I’m kinda looking forward to getting a little beaten up if it means I get to have some of this tasty grub.”

“There will be plenty to eat for everyone,” Media told him. “But do be careful. Though this food is filled with love, it isn’t a cure all. It can heal wounds and reinvigorate the soul, but it can’t heal more critical injuries like Sting’s eye or any kind of lethal wounds. Relying on it too much will also be dangerous. It’ll encourage us to be careless and not care about getting injured if we can be patched up in a few minutes. I can only imagine how much strain our bodies would be under then. Oh, the more I think about it, the more I worry that using this as our trump card is just a huge mistake.”

“It’s nothing of the sort,” Tamati told her as he poked his head into the kitchen.

“Papa Tamtam, uh, I mean father,” gasped Media as she and the others didn’t expect to see him at such a late hour. “What are you doing here?”

“Oh, no need to be so formal during our down time. As for what I’m doing, I’m just getting a little late night snack,” he admitted as he searched the cupboards, but the noticed some of the macaronies in the strainer that had yet to be eaten.

Seeing how her father eyed the food, Media poured him the rest in a bowl and added the fondu to it before handing it off to him with a spoon. “Here you go, papa,” Media told him with a smile.

Happily, the large dragon started to stir the cheese with the around before he brought the first spoonful to his maw and smiled the most blissful smile he had ever made in ages. “Mmm, mac and cheese, just like mom used to make,” he commented. “Oh, and speaking about mothers, I love your moms as much as I always have, but I never imagined every single one of them would be lecturing me about watching my calorie intake at the same time. I mean, seriously, I have abs, not flab.” Hearing that, Nat, Media and Zircon couldn’t help chuckle. Even Sting smiled a bit more.

“I guess the honeymoon period is over, huh,” joked Nat.

“I guess so,” sighed Tamati. “Now, I gotta sneak snacks at night. Guess this must have been what Spike was going through with his own diet. I’ve become one part tyrant dragon out to conquer the world and one part fatherly figure being controlled by the ones who he charmed in the first place. There’s a lot of irony in all this.” He looked at his four kids, them unsure what to say and just blinked at him. “Uh, what were we first talking about?”

“Um, about my cooking for the upcoming invasion of the Crystal Empire,” Media answered.

“Right, right,” the big, black dragon nodded and spoke between nomming on some more mac and cheese. “It’s a vital role for the invasion. I hadn’t even considered such a tactic at first and thought I’d have to raise a swarm of a few hundred before we could even consider an attack. Now, we’re more than prepared and it’s all thanks to you, my lil cream puff.”

“Does he have nicknames for you guys as well?” wondered Nat.

“I’m his princess,” answered Zircon. “Well, that’s probably more a title considering my mother.”

“He called me, ‘slugger,’” answered Sting. “Though I prefer blades over my fists to fight.”

“Wonder,” grumbled Nat. “We’ve got cream puff, princess, and slugger. There there’s me. I’m ‘squirt.’ Anyone care to trade?”

“Oh, dad,” Media blushed. “My cooking, it’s good, but I don’t think it can be relied upon to help us achieve victory.”

“It isn’t your food that I am talking about,” he explained. “Not directly, anyway, but you yourself Media. You are providing us with far more than I ever imagined we’d be capable, the same is true for all of you. Sting, with your strength and force of will. Nat, with your speed and reflexes. Zircon, with your skill and cunning. And, Media, with your love and devotion. I am proud of all my children, but you four especially have shown great promise. That is why I know you’ll all give it your everything you have tomorrow.”

“Thanks, papa Tamtam,” smiled Media. “We’ll do our best.”

“We won’t let you down,” added Sting.

“We’ve all been waiting for this day as much as you have,” continued Zircon.

“...Seriously, nobody wants to trade names?” asked Nat again.

“We did promise,” she recalled as she looked at Maximus, waiting for her answer, though he didn’t look like his patience was going to last forever.

“Well?” he asked her. “Did you make a decision?”

“No,” answered Media, pointing her frying pan at him. “We will not yield our attack.”

“Then you do what you must do and I’ll do what I must,” he retorted and attacked her once more with his sword.

Dodging it quickly, Media swung her frying pan and conked the stallion in the head. For a moment, Media’s heart heart leapt, excited to have done so well, but with his helmet on, the hit was at best a minor annoyance to him. Grabbing it with his free hand, Maximus tugged it away, leaving Media defenseless.

Lifting his sword up, Maximus tried to bring it down on her, but suddenly couldn’t budge it. “Huh?” he pondered and looked up to her huge, father dragon Tamati looking down at him. He snorted some smoke from his nostrils, not happy in slightest. “Who are you?”

“Did you honestly think we wouldn’t be keeping our med tents safe from attack?” he hissed as he crushed is sword with his bare claws and then, with a hard twist, broke it in two. “I made certain we were well protected in that regard personally.”

“Men!” called Maximus, realizing just now how quiet the other room was.

“Already taken care of,” chuckled Tamati. “Care for a little demonstration?” Without waiting for an answer, Tamati wrapped his free hand over Maximus’s mouth. “First, I held them tightly, covering their maw so they can’t cry for help.” Slowly, he started to walk backwards towards the nearest dark corner of the room till they both vanished from sight. “Next, I back away into the shadows of the room till only my eyes are visible. I then close them so even that trace of me is gone. After that… well, nothing, you’re already out cold from your own terror-filled thoughts tangled up in your mind right now.” He released Maximus from his grasp and the stallion just collapsed to the ground like a ragdoll. “Heheh, fear takedown, works every time.”

“I’m sorry father,” Media told him. “We weren’t able to keep this place safe on our own.”

“There’s nothing to apologize for,” he told her. “You did your best and that’s all that matters. Now, I don’t think this bunch had any reinforcements nearby, but stay on guard.” He dragged Maximus out of the shadows and positioned him sitting with his arms behind his back. “The other medics are tying his fellow soldiers up and you’d best do the same with him.” He then handed Media back her frying pan and took off the Pony’s helmet. “And if he gives you any more trouble, bonk him again. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I best try and see if I can fix that front door. Recent… experiences have improved my carpentry skills.”

“That sure was a close one,” breathed Media with relief after her father had already slipped out of the kitchen.

“Uh, wha happen?” groaned Maximus as he started to come to, earlier than expected.

“Eep!” cried Media, removing Maximus’s helmet before she hit him over the head with her frying pan and knocked him out cold again.


“Greetings and welcome,” announced Media as she stood behind her kitchen island as a group of her fellow Draglings sat in chairs and watched with intrigue. “It’s time for another installment of ‘Fantastic Feasts and How to Prepare Them.’ With me today is your daddy and mine, Papa Tamtam.”

“Hey, everyone,” chuckled the large, black dragon as we walked into view and stood beside his Media. “Happy to be here. How’s my little cream puff doing today.”

“I’m fine, daddy,” she answered. “Now, today we’re going to be preparing a nice and healthy, but also tasty salad called, ‘the Grapes of Laugh.’”

“A healthy salad,” grumbled Tamati, more in the mood for something beefy and slathered with gravy. “Gee, I wonder who suggested we make a salad.”

“To start,” continued Media, ignoring her father’s griping. “We need about an ounce of grapes, peeled.” Reaching down, she brought up a bowl with that already prepared. “To go along with this, we’ll have cuts of carrots, celery, cucumbers. Daddy, did you gather the special ingredient I asked for?”

“I picked a whole bunch,” he nodded. “I’ll be right back with it.”

“Thanks,” she smiled and with a knife in hand, she started to peel the skin off a carrot, showing her experience as she did that and cut it into chunks in seconds. She started on a second as she kept on talking. “The special ingredient that our father, Tamati, went to get me is a most unusual one that not many would consider eating, considering its name. It’s called, ‘Poison Joke’ and contrary to the first part, it isn’t the least bit poisonous. It actually gets its name from the strange effects its pollen has on creatures that come in contact with it. The plant itself is actually harmless and quite nutritious. One just need be careful not to touch the plants without wearing protective gloves.”

“Uh… Media?” called Tamati. “I was supposed to be wearing gloves while I collected this stuff?”

“Daddy, you did listen to my instructions when I asked you to gather the plant, didn’t you?” she questioned him.

“I did… but a detail or two might have slipped my mind at some point,” he admitted.

“W-Well, if one doesn’t, they’ll end up with some randomly humorous symptoms a few hours later,” she continued. “But, don’t worry, it isn’t life threatening, just embarrassing at the least and inconvenient at the worst.”

“I think this is more than a little inconvenient,” cried Tamati.

“Oh, it can’t be that bad, daddy,” she assured him. “Come on out now, we’ve got a salad to finish.”

“F-Fine,” he grumbled and proceeded back out, however, he wasn’t the towering draconic, black beast with glowing red eyes he was moments ago. Now, he was a puny, fluffy, black kitty with glowing red eyes. For a moment, all the Draglings making up the audience could only stare in awe at their once mighty father.

“Anyone who laughs is grounded… forever,” he warned them, but his words had little effect while he appeared far less threatening. The entire audience burst into laughter, many falling out of their chairs as they held their sides, ready to bust a gut. With an irksome look on his face, Tamati walked on two legs as he carried the Poison Joke over to Media who was already done with the vegetable chopping and was ready for the plant, gloves on her claws. Leaping onto the table, he placed it down. “Here it is.”

“Thanks, Tamakitty,” she couldn’t help say and giggle.

“This better wear off soon,” he told as he sat, pouting.

“Don’t worry,” she promised him. “I’ll have a special bath prepared for you later to turn you back to normal. For now… you can take a cat nap.”

“Not funny,” he told her.

“Kitty!” cried Wedge as he ran over from the back of the audience to where Tamati was and picked him up.

“Gah!” cried the adorable fuzzball. “Unhand me, cretin. I am Tamakitty- I mean Tamati, not some mangy feline for you to cuddle like some plush toy!”

“So cute and fluffy!” he gushed as he relentlessly snuggled his leader in his less than threatening form.

Tamati struggled to get free, but as a kitten, he was helpless. “Stupid, weak body. This isn’t a joke,” he grumbled. “More like a nightmare.”

“This is my kitty,” sang Wedge. “This is his kitty fat.” Taking one of Tamati’s paws, he patted it against his soft belly. “Pat! Pat! Pat!”

“I will devour you, soul and all,” he hissed as he spoke very seriously. “And you will suffer being digested for all of eternity.”

“Don’t be a grumpy kitty, now,” Wedge told him as he scritched Tamati’s chin, causing him to enjoy it.

“Media!” cried Tamati in a worried tone now. “Hurry! The cure! I’m starting to enjoy this!”

“I’ll get to work on it… right after my show is finished,” she told him. “For now, just relax with a little nap, Papa Kitkat.”

“This is no way to treat your father,” Tamati cried, but some more pets from Wedge served to quell his anger and frustration despite his attempts to stay enraged. Before he knew it, he was curled up on the Changeling’s lap, fast asleep.

“So precious,” smiled Wedge. “Can we keep him like this?”

“I think you’ll live longer if you do,” Biggs told him.

Chapter 7

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“I can’t let that big hunk of a dragon get taken away from me,” worried Pinkie Pie as she dashed across Ponyville, running all the way from the middle of town to the orchards of Sweet Apple Acres. To every pony’s surprise as she sped by them, she didn’t even pause to greet them as she usually did and nearly ran over a few of them in her haste.

“What’s gotten into Pinkie?” one wondered. “She’s acting strange… even for her.”

“No kidding,” another agreed. “I’d hate to find out just what is terrible enough to get her worked up this badly.”

“Me too,” the others nodded in agreement and watched the pink blurr zip off.

“La la LAAA!” sang Sweetie Belle as she warmed up her voice. She was up in the Cutie Mark Crusaders’ clubhouse, along with her two friends, Applebloom and Scootaloo.

Applebloom was a yellow-haired pony with a red mane and tail, the former wrapped in a pink ribbon. She had a Cutie Mark of a shield just like Sweetie Belle, save hers had an apple emblazoned on it. She was dressed in blue overalls and a green t-shirt with a bright, red apple on the front. She had on work boots that were stained with mud on the leather and caked all over the soles too, as a testament from all her hard work on the farm.

Scootaloo was an orange pegasus with a purple mane and tail. Despite being well beyond the age she should have been capable of flying, she was suffering from stunted wings that couldn’t do more than help her flutter off the ground for short intervals. Her Cutie Mark was the same as her two friends, save for the feather her had rather than a music note or an apple. She was dressed in black shorts and a green with black flames soccer shirt. On the right side of her chest and done even bigger on the middle of her back was the number 21. She had some worn sneakers on and a pair of goggles dangling from her neck.

While they had normally spent their time helping their fellow ponies to either earn or reconnect with their special rear tattoos, their Cutie Marks, they had suddenly found a new passion that fill up that space in their schedule, their beloved, Spike. After Pinkie and Sweetie had introduced the two of them to the new and improved, no-longer small, purple dragon, they weren’t sure what to make of the hulking reptile, at first. However, as they got the chance to experience the bulky dragon’s newfound maturity, they soon became equally infatuated and the matter of how they’d share him became their next pressing matter.

“Sweetie Belle, do you think you can warm up your vocal chords elsewhere?” asked Scootaloo. “I need to concentrate on this erotic story for Spike, so he’ll take me first next time.”

“I have to stay here,” she replied. “If somepony were to suddenly hear me singing lewdly about what I’d do with a dragon cock they’re gonna start asking questions. Oh, why did Spike have to want you all to join in on our love making. I was marginally okay with sharing him with just Pinkie Pie.”

“He’s a dragon and they’re supposed to be greedy,” figured Applebloom, doing squats in the middle of the room to help tone up her leg muscles and build up her endurance. “Besides, he can take all of us and her and still have lust for more. Who knows how many more girls he’ll add to his harem before he’s satisfied. A dozen? Two dozen? Even more than that? It doesn’t really matter. What does matter is who he favors the most, because they get to be with him first.”

“Which is why he’ll pick me,” declared Sweetie as she sang the scales, her voice even more melodic than ever. “I’ll enchant him with my siren’s song and he’ll only ever have eyes for me.”

“Puh-lease,” scoffed Scoots. “Your singing is nice, but even if you try to add in more kinky lyrics you’re hardly going to turn him on. When I read him one of my erotic stories his cock will shoot seed out of his sac faster than…” Scootaloo paused and flipped through the pages of one of her writings. “‘Faster than the lava from an erupting volcano.’”

“Lame,” the two other girls in heat spoke in unison.

“It is more enjoyable when you read the whole thing,” she countered.

“Well, if your goal is to get him to climax as quickly as possible then you’re completely missing the point,” explained Applebloom. “You shouldn’t be trying to get him to cum as quickly as possible, you should be trying to keep him as lust high for as he can tolerate such pleasure, edging him, but not letting him cock of his unleash its load till that final, wonderful moment when the two become one. Something like that can only be done correctly with both proper technique and tons of endurance. Between the three of us, I have that in spades.”

“And the two became one,” mumbled Scootaloo, jotting some of what Applebloom said in her notes.

“Are you even listening to me?” cried Applebloom.

“Yeah, and some of that is pretty good stuff,” she added. “Just what I need to become the number one in Spike’s harem.”

“You aren’t number one, I am!” argued Applebloom.

“No way, it’s me!” Sweetie Belle told them.

“Girls! Girls!” cried Pinkie Pie as she barged in on them. “We’ve got a Spike Emergency!”

“Oh, right,” recalled Applebloom. “The fastest way to a dragon’s heart is through his stomach, at least in Spike’s case. How can any of us compete against that?”

“Against what?” asked Pinkie.

“Uh, nothing,” replied Scootaloo. “What’s the Spike Emergency?”

“Twilight isn’t happy with how Spike’s been behaving and is going to send him away,” she told them in a worried tone.

“What?!? Send him away!” cried Applebloom. “She can’t do that, can she?”

“I’m afraid she has the authority,” sighed Pinkie. “As a dragon he doesn’t technically have the same rights as we do. She was going on about adding a Tracking Spell to him and, if he still won’t get in line, she’ll send him back to Canterlot.”

“What will happen to him there?” worried Scootaloo.

“I don’t know, but I’m certain that it would far worse than anything they’d be allowed to do to ponies,” she continued somberly, but then picked her head up. “Which is precisely why we’re going to help him escape before Twilight can put that Tracking Spell on him. Then he can be free to go wherever he wants and we can go with him too, if possible.”

“I still can’t believe Twilight of all ponies would do that to him,” she commented. “I figured she’d probably be concerned after he went who knows where a little while ago, what with locking him in his room like a criminal, but to go to these lengths…”

“The rest of us tried to talk her out of it,” said Pinkie. “And it looked like we got her to lighten up on Spike’s punishment so he could be himself, but then she got a letter from Princess Celestia to go on and do what she originally intended. After that, there was no way we could convince her. Even being a princess herself, she bends over backwards to whatever Celestia says, never questioning her even when she knows she’s wrong.”

“Well, it just means that we’ll have to take matters into our own hands,” stated Scootaloo. “Now, let’s go bust our dragon out of the slammer!”

“Yeah!” they all cheered and hurried out of the clubhouse to get to Spike as quickly as possible.

“No… No… Maybe… I could probably use part of this… Oh, and that too,” mumbled Sunburst as he flipped through the pages of three books in the library of the crystal castle. He was an orange unicorn with white hair on his muzzle, hands and feet. He had on a pair of silver spectacles in front of blue eyes. His mane and tail were bright red as was his medium length beard on his chin all of which were even more unkempt and frazzled than they normally were. His Cutie Mark was of an orange sunrise. He had on his favorite, blue wizarding robe that was draped over most of his body. Around the perimeter of the cloak there was an outline of cyan and speckled all over the whole of it was light blue stars. A blue gemstone clasp kept both ends of the cloak together at his chest. Underneath that, he had on a blue, collared shirt and some taupe pants held up with a black belt. In his shirt pocket, he had a couple extra quills, along with a pocket protector. On his feet, he had on a pair of slippers that were curled at the front and had a similar pattern to his cloak.

“Any luck with that spell yet?” the guard pony asked as he peeked out the window at the continuing chaos of the battle going on outside. “Those creatures are putting up one heck of a fight, in spite of our superior numbers. As much as I don’t like to admit it, we might lose if you don’t get that spell prepared so we can repel them.”

“I’m working as fast as I can,” Sunburst replied doing his best to remain calm. “But we have no knowledge as to what these creatures are. If the spell I create isn’t right then it won’t be able to force them out of the city. Even if I can get it right, power is also a factor. If it is too strong then it could kill them like mosquitos in a bug zapper, only much, much messier.”

“I agree with you on the first point, but not so much on the second one,” the soldier told him. “If you can’t make it safe enough then you might as well go for overkill. There’s no kill like it and that’s my slogan.”

“That’s all well and good, but I, in good conscious, can’t just wipe out a species we know little to nothing about,” he explained.

“We know they are our enemies,” snapped the soldier, clenching his spear so tightly that it looked like he might snap it in two. “And every second you waste trying to find some way to politely get them to stop killing us, they are inching their way closer to the Crystal Heart and the castle. Pretty soon, you won’t need to bother with a spell because we will already be conquered!”

With a heavy sigh, Sunburst removed his glasses to rub the dust off of them. “You’re right,” he admitted. “I’ve already run out of time to research. I need to bring my notes on the counter spell to Shining Armor and Cadence so that they can protect the city and… eliminate these… things.”

“I’m glad you are listening to reason,” the guard sighed with relief. “As soon as you are all set, I’ll escort you to them immediately.”

“You don’t have to worry about that. I can take it from here.”

“Huh? Who goes there?” questioned the guard as he turned to see a pink unicorn with a purple mane and tail with a blue streak in them. Her Cutie Mark was of a star with a swirl coming off of it. She was dressed in a short-sleeved, buttoned, pink shirt and blue jeans purposefully torn at her knees. She had on a pair of crocs on her feet and some white fingerless gloves on her hands.

“Not the best way to greet someone you should be glad beyond belief to see,” she smirked as she entered the room and closed the door behind her. The guard continued to glare at her, weapon at the ready, but uncertain if she was friend or foe as she walked past him so casually and approached Sunburst.

“St-Starlight!” gasped Sunburst in disbelief.

“You know her?” asked the guard.

“Know her?” replied a relieved Sunburst. “She’s my best friend and I can’t think of a more powerful unicorn to want with us in the middle of a crisis.”

“Then, I’m happy that you’ve made it here to help us,” bowed the guard. “Your sudden arrival must be a sign that things are going to shift in our favor.”

“You bet, but we’re still gonna have to hurry,” she told them. “Now, get over here, Sunburst.”

“But… wait a minute. What in the world are you even doing here? I thought you were in Las Pegasus with Trixie? She should still be performing there for another two weeks, shouldn’t she?”

“Uh, well, Trixie’s performance wasn’t doing so hot so we decided to pack it up early and I figured I’d pop over to see you,” she explained.

“But that letter you sent me the other day,” he countered. “You said Trixie was a big hit and the two of you were probably gonna stay an extra week.”

“Oh, uh, the thing about that,” she struggled to find an answer to that contradiction.

“You aren’t Starlight!” accused Sunburst, prompting the guard to point his spear at her. “Who are you really?”

“So much for being flawlessly stealthy,” she sighed as Starlight’s body was engulfed in a green flame and was suddenly revealed to be Zircon. “Still, I had him going so my Starlight was pretty spot on.”

“You’re one of those monsters!” snapped the guard.

“They can transform just like Changelings,” gasped Sunburst. “Are you some sort of subspecies?”

“We’re so much more than that,” she answered as she approached Sunburst.

“You’re an invader is what you are,” argued the guard as he thrust his spear at her.

“The power of Changelings!” she told them as she parried the guard’s attack and countered by grabbing his arm and shoulder. “And the might of Dragons!” Using the guard’s own momentum against him, but displaying her own surprising strength as well, Zircon tossed the solder across the room, knocking him into a bookshelf, the force sending number of literature to drop down on and around him.

“Ugh… oh…” he moaned. “I was too careless.”

“A simple mistake,” Zircon spoke as she kneeled down beside him, wetting her lips. “But a fatal one, I’m afraid, for the Crystal Empire, at least.” She lowered her head towards his, a seductive look in her eyes. “Shapeshifting the whole way here was rather draining and I’ve eaten what Media provided me earlier. However, you’ll do nicely.”

“S-Sunburst,” groaned the guard, unable to move as Zircon’s lips neared his. “R-ru-”

“Mmmm,” murred the Dragling as she held the guard’s head still. While swapping saliva with him she extracted the love contained within his heart, pulling it from his body, up his throat, through his mouth and finally into hers to consume it. With every second to pass, the guard’s body became scrawnier and weaker while Zircon merely felt her energy return and her belly became sated. Finally, with a glassy stare now in his eyes, Zircon had finished with the guard and merely left him on the ground. She then turned to her true quarry who had been silently slinking his way to the door. As he reached for the it, Zircon spat a glob of slime on the handle as a makeshift padlock.

“Why are you doing this?” he freaked out and backed up into the wall.

“Do you mean me or my kind?” she asked rather seductively. “Well, we are here to conquer this place, and the rest of Equestria will follow soon after. We’re also here to find a very important item and we are almost certain it is somewhere in this castle. As for myself…” He took out a photo and tossed it on the ground at Sunburst’s feet. Looking at it, it was a photo of him circled with Starlight beside him, in the same outfit Zircon had used in her disguise. “It was my job to find the VIP and bring him over to our side and said pony happens to be you. Congratulations!”

“W-Why are you congratulating me?” he whimpered as she moved ever closer to him.

“Because you are my first,” she smirked. “Now, tell me. Would you rather it be me or…” In another burst of green flame, Zircon was disguised as Starlight once more. “The pony you care for the most. Someone that is more than simply your ‘best friend.’ The two of your are much more than that. I can tell just by how you look at me, I mean her, uh, or rather me-her. Ugh, just watch this. I know you’re gonna like what you see.”

“What are you going to… St-Starlight,” blushed Sunburst as he watched Zircon unbutton Starlight’s shirt and slide it off her arms so that her bra, holding back a pair of C’s, was revealed. Staring at the stallion with a seductive look, she smirked seeing how he couldn’t take her eyes off her melons. “Don’t do that. Not in her body!”

“But this is what you’ve always wanted, isn’t it?” cooed Zircon. “But you were always too timid to admit your true feelings and the same was true for her. But, now there is no need for you to fear intimacy. Just give in to it and become mine.”

“I have t-to fight this,” quivered Sunburst as he bit his lip. “I have to get away… away from this creature. If it is like a Changeling, I can’t allow it to seduce me.” Despite knowing and saying all that, Sunburst’s whole body was refused to move. He couldn’t even avert his eyes from the sight of the he loved with every fibre of his being, not while she was acting so sexy, even if it was an imposter in her form. As he gazed at her, his heart was pounding against his chest at a mile a minute and his dick was getting hard from how much this sexy temptress was arousing him.

“You know, you’re cute when you’re all nervous like that,” she giggled, removing his spectacles and tossing them aside. Looking into his eyes, she enchanted him with a bit of Changeling magic, his cornea’s turning green as the magic took effect on the shaken pony, causing him to calm down and cease his nervous twitching. Finally, to see if it worked, she brought her lips to his ear and whispered into it. “Tell me you’re mine and then I’ll be yours.”

“I-I-I… I’m yours,” the words slowly, but inevitably escaped the lips of the charmed pony.

“And I’m yours,” the phony Starlight replied as the two locked lips and made out. Zircon drank up some of the Sunburst’s love, unable to resist sampling some of that sweet nectar taken directly from one brimming with love and infatuation. “Mmm, mother was so right about this. The tastiest love comes from filling a target to the bursting with affection and then devouring it right afterwards. It’s a shame that we need him able bodied for our plan, so I can only feed on him a little. Still, it doesn’t mean I can’t have some fun first. I’m a bit ahead of schedule as is.”

Reaching down, Zircon felt around Sunburst’s crotch feeling the bulge beneath his pants. Smirking, she was able to get a good feel for the size and thickness of his eager erection just waiting to be unleashed. A few moans of lust escaped his lips easily at her gentle touch. His cheeks turned rosey as he blushed. “Starlight,” he spoke, trapped in his trance.

“Is this your magic wand or the real culmination of all your magical research?” the fake Starlight teased as she slowly undid his belt and then unbuttoned his pants to allow them to slide down his legs. “Either way, I can’t wait to give it a try and I’m sure you are curious to experience the pleasures of the flesh yourself.”

“Uh huh,” he nodded, as Zircon began to unbutton his shirt, top down and then helped him slip out of it. Helping out, Sunburst slipped out of his shoes and socks, but when he went to remove his wizard’s cloak, Zircon stopped him.

“Keep that on,” she told him before kneeling down to take off his boxers, a pair that were red and blue with a yellow elastic band, the same colors worn by the comic superhero Super Pony. It even had the ‘S’ in the shield that was on the front of the superhero’s costume on the center of his chest. “Oh, you precious, precious nerd you,” she told him with a smile as she gripped the elastic to pull them down and get her first gander at his dick that flicked forward once it was no longer restricted in his boxers. Gripping it in her hand, she felt the warmth radiating from it, the lust within him strong. With just a few casual rubs, pre began to leak from the tip.

“Oh, Starlight,” he murred. “Th-That feels so good.”

“Silly, I haven’t even started yet,” she giggled. “Now, tell me, have you saved yourself just for me?”

“Of course,” he nodded. “You’re the one I’ve always wanted to be with. Ever since we were kids, we’ve always had a special connection. It’s just, I’ve never… never been able to work up the courage to say anything. I never knew how you felt and was always too afraid to find out.”

Well, that’s all in the past,” she cooed and helped him onto the floor. She then transformed herself again, remaining as Starlight, but now completely bare naked. And, no longer needing her disguise to be so accurately proportioned to fool her already brainwashed target, Zircon took some sexy liberties to give herself larger breasts and a far more luscious ass to entice the mostly nude wizard even more. The way his lips quivered as his jaw dropped was evidence enough that it was working. “There is no longer any doubt to get in the way. All there is now, is us. Now, embrace what you’ve always wished to embrace. Love what you’ve always yearned to love.”

“Oh, sweet Celestia,” he gawked at the imposter of his beloved as she leaned over him, her bare chest like grapefruit on a low bearing tree. Reaching his hands up, he couldn’t resist such easily within reach treats. As his hands pressed against Starlight’s soft flesh, she giggled. When his fingers clenched them firmly, she moaned with lust. Slowly bringing her body down onto her beloved, she forced Sunburst to release his grip and feel her balloons get smooshed against his flat chest. However, his hands quickly found their way around to her backside and traveled soft to her rear and thighs, stroking and caressing her other improved assets. “This is much more enjoyable than reading bad clopfics.”

“I’d hope so,” she giggled and then pressed her lips to his once more, finding him making out along with her now as the mind control had firmly melded into his mind controlling him while not overwhelming and suppressing his personality. Their tongues shook hands and saliva was exchanged. His fingers kept exploring and feeling over her wonderfully soft rear while Zircon ran her fingers through his fiery orange mane. Against the lower side of her stomach, she felt a warm stickiness between them, where his dick oozed even more pre and twitched, a sign that the nerd of a stallion was more than ready to finally partake in the final frontier of lovemaking. “A shame I can’t just take my sweet time play with you, but I’d say we have enough to finish up, Sunburst.”

“Of course, Starlight,” he nodded. “But I’ll treasure every second of it forever. There is no pony else I would want as my first other than you.”

“I know,” she smirked and maneuvered her body a full one-eighty as she loomed over his dick, it slightly slick with seed, but in need of more lube if they were going to have it firing at full throttle from the get go.

Wrapping her lips around his length, she sucked on it, taking in as much of it as she could fit in her muzzle. Meanwhile, her tongue teased the head, sampling the saltiness of his pre. At the same time, Sunburst brought his muzzle up to Starlight’s pussy tasting her own sacred nectar as his tongue ventured deep inside her. Moans of ecstacy couldn’t be restrained, nor did they wish them to be as they became enthralled in their intimacy.

“Nothing that I’ve read about the pleasures of the flesh could have prepared me for this moment,” breathed the stallion as he removed his muzzle from Starlight’s crotch, a mix of her lust and saliva dripping from it.

“This truly was the best,” agreed Zircon sliding her maw off of his prepped cock, giving it one final, slow, long lick from the base to the tip as she turned around once more to look at him. Placing a hand on his cheek as she kissed him once deeply, drinking up some more of his love that felt even more abundant than it had from her prior sampling. “Love this deep and potent is truly unlike any I’ve ever tasted before. I’m awfully tempted to suck you dry till you’re nothing more than an empty husk, but orders are orders. Besides, I am just as eager to finish this as you are.”

“Then finish me, Starlight,” he begged her. “Never have I needed anyone like I need you right now.”

“With pleasure,” she smiled as she adjusted her crotch to be positioned with Sunburst’s cock, slipping his tip in, the lube in both making it glide right effortlessly for the two newbies of lovemaking. Once she got it in as far as she could fit it, she pulled out and then pushed back in, humping the stallion as she worked to break in her pussy and allow it to take his penis all the way to its base. Sunburn moaned louder, loving those tight lower lips wrapped tightly around his dick, the warm feeling of her insides combined with motion bringing him closer and closer to true nirvana.

“Harder… faster,” he begged her, as he attempted to wrap his arms around her, only for the imposter pony to pin his arms to the ground.

“I will,” promised Zircon as she reverted to her original form, looking deep into Sunburt’s eyes. They didn’t flinch at the sight of the creature looming over him. They remained the same lovesick gaze as before, her magic leaving him completely smitten with her. “So long as youl do as I say. There is a certain magical task I will need your help with, as well as a certain artifact I am certain you can help me locate. But, most of all, I want you to swear your eternal allegiance to Tamati and the Draglings. Become our wizard and you will know nothing but the endless bliss I have given you. What is your answer?”

“Yes,” he answered without hesitation. “Yes… Yes… A thousand times YES!!!” He cried out loudly, his voice loud enough for others to hear, but the sounds of battle were far too distracting for anyone to be concerned with.

“Good boy,” Zircon spoke as she resumed fucking him, barely much more effort needed after being brought so close to the edge already. She felt his orgasm erupt inside her as her own climax arrived. Their eyes rolled back inside their heads as they relished that sexual high. Immediately after, their strength gave out and Zircon collapsed onto the orange pony. Panting hard, as her lust-filled adrenaline faded, she realized how tired she was as her body was covered in a light layer or perspiration. The same was true for Sunburst taking in long, deep breaths.

“You can start fulfilling your promise to me,” she breathed. “In five minutes, once I catch my breath. Ten minutes tops.”

“Yes, my beloved,” he nodded. “Whatever you wish.”

“Oh, Pinkie Pie,” called Mrs. Cake as she saw the pink pony rush back into Sugarcube Corner. “I’m glad you’re back. I got worried when you ran off right during the lunch rush. We could really use your-”

“Hi, Mrs. Cake,” interrupted Pinkie Pie. “No time to chat. We have an emergency we’ve gotta deal with.” Without wasting time on anything more than that, she and the Cutie Mark Crusaders activated her secret party slide and slid down it to enter into her equally secret party cave.

“-help,” finished Mrs. Cake, barely able to react in Pinkie’s haste.

“Honey?” asked Mr. Cake. “Is Pinkie back?”

“It was either her or a pink blur I mistook for her,” she admitted, scratching her head. Unable to dwell on the matter with so many hungry ponies to feed, she got back to work with her husband.

In the party cave, they didn’t waste any time grabbing a basket full of snacks each and then hurried down the tunnel they made that led straight to Twilight’s castle, specifically to Spike’s room. It was a long trek through a narrow passage, lit by a few dozen lanterns, but they navigated it as quickly as they could. They then listened, attempting to make certain Twilight wasn’t paying their beloved an unexpected visit.

“Spike,” Pinkie then whispered to him. “Is it safe for us to come in?”

“Everything’s fine,” he answered and watched his four lovely ladies emerge one after another.

“I still find it hard to believe this is the same little Spikey Wikey we’ve known for years,” commented Scootaloo as she stared at the massive dragon that towered over them, even while he remained sitting down. He was still chained up and restrained as Twilight had left him prior, but other then growing bored and stiff, he didn’t seem much worse for wear.

“Yeah, he’s gone from a sapling to a great oak practically overnight,” agreed Applebloom as she approached him. Standing up, she couldn’t even reach up to his crotch now. “Actually, he’s practically a redwood now.”

“How big are you going to get?” wondered Sweetie Belle as she used her magic to levitate herself to be eye level with him. “Not that there’s anything wrong with more of you to love.”

“No idea,” he admitted. “I’ve gotten bigger than I expected, but I don’t think I’m quite as big as Tamati yet, or as strong. I’m definitely rounder though, with all the sweets you four wonderful ones have been so kind to provide me. It’s a bit of a shame that I haven’t been able to work out as much now, but I don’t think my muscles have really softened at all.”

“Well, this belly of yours has certainly is a thing to behold,” praised Pinkie as she hugged the big, doughy sphere cradled atop his legs and allowed her body to leave an impression like his scales were made of memory foam.

“Mmm,” murred Spike with delight. “It is nice to have you all visit me at once, but I can’t help being curious as to the reason. If my sense of time isn’t completely skewed, it should be, um, dinner time right?”

“Lunch time actually,” corrected Scootaloo. “But we’ve come here because we need to bust you outta this place, pronto.”

“Did something happen?” wondered Spike.

“Twilight is going to put a tracking spell on you,” answered Applebloom. “And, worse still-”

“She’ll send me away,” figured Spike as he rolled his eyes. “Yeah, I became well aware of her threats when she started my prison sentence.”

“Well, she’s going to go through with it now,” cried Pinkie. “The others and I tried to reason with her, but one note from Celestia and all our efforts were swept under the rug in favor of following her beloved princess’s orders.”

“No surprise there,” admitted Spike. “Twilight will do anything to kiss Princess Celestia’s ass, even do that literally. She probably has too.”

“Then all the more reason for us to get you outta here before any of that happens,” stated Sweetie Belle. “Because the second she puts that tracking spell on you. You’ll have to become a fugitive to escape whatever punishment they could have planned for you. Better to do it now, while you are still able to hide from them.”

“I could,” he nodded. “I probably should, but I can’t, not yet anyway.”

“But why not?” asked Pinkie Pie. “We can get you out of those chains so that you can make your escape. It’s not like there’s much else to get in your way from escaping.”

“About that,” replied Spike as tugged at the chains binding his arms and broke free of them with ease.

“You could have broken free whenever you wanted to?” questioned Apple Bloom.

“These muscles are for more than just show,” he bragged as he flexed some.

“Then why not escape the first chance you got once she imprisoned you?” wondered Sweetie Belle.

“I’ve got a bunch of reasons why I just can’t go,” he admitted, getting up to stretch now that he wasn’t so confined. “Some are complicated, like my relationship with Twilight. Yes, she’s constantly the overbearing authority figure who has run my life since the day she hatched me and while not everything she has done has been for my best interest, she’s still like family to me. Even after all this strain on our relationship, that bond won’t break so easily. So, while it might be better for me to leave while I still have my freedom, I can’t just leave and be the one to finally severe that connection we have.” He paused a moment as he looked at his desk where his research on the Elements of Discord were hidden. “There are more reasons I cannot leave, but it would be best for all of us if I kept those to myself, for now, at least.”

“I guess that’s true that you and Twilight do have a special bond in spite of what’s happened, but, if you wait for her to be the one to break it, who knows what horrible things might happen to you,” pointed out Pinkie Pie.

“I know, but, more than that, I want to spend what time I can, with you all, my harem,” he explained as he sat down and he wrapped all four of them together in a hug. “Call me a fool for wasting what time I should have to escape, but I’d rather spend it enjoying this time with all of you rather than fretting over Twilight.”

“You’re a fool,” joked Scootaloo. “But then we’re the fools who fell for a fool.”

“Sounds good to me,” giggled Sweetie Belle. “So, who do you wanna have fun with first, this time, beloved?”

“Why not let me try and see if I can’t take all of you at once,” he smirked. “It might take a little work, but I’m sure I’m enough dragon for four ponies.”

“I don’t know how all that math works, but I’m game if the rest of you are,” stated Apple Bloom. “Just tell us what to do.”

“Just get yourselves ready and let me do all the work,” he smiled and licked his lips with eagerness. His cock was already coming out, showing how exciting it was for this as well. Spike watched all his lovely ladies strip down nude for him, tossing their clothes and undergarments to the side so their supple, shapely bodies were on full display for him to admire.

“Do you like what you see, Spikey Wikey?” asked Pinkie as she and the other girls displayed themselves before him, breasts out and a seductive look in their eyes.

“Spike want,” he nodded and gently stroked his claws over the girls, tickling them as he felt over the softness of their skin, the fullness in their breasts, and the warmth of their bodies. Then, exploring lower, he teased a claw into two of their pussies, feeling them already lustful to get started and turned on more as her fingered them a few times as an appetizer before doing the same to the other two. “Spike really want.”

“Then come have some,” winked Sweetie Belle as she sat down with her legs spread apart for him. Needing no more encouragement than that, Spike gently held her by the waist and pulled her closer, slowly pushing his cock into her as he went. “Oh, yes,” she moaned as she felt the lips on her vagina open and accept this thick member insider of her. “Feels even bigger than last time too.”

“Heheh, well, I grew in more ways than one,” bragged Spike as he reclined back to let Sweet Belle lay atop his gut while he turned his focus to Apple Bloom and Scootaloo. “And now, to have some fun with the two of you.”

“Yes, please,” murred Scootaloo as they watched as Spike’s long tongue slipped out and penetrated deep into her pussy and then pull out and do the same to Apple Bloom.

“Oh, this is one apple that doesn’t mind getting invaded by a worm,” moaned Applebloom as she reveled in the feeling of how deep Spike was able to penetrate into her.

“Don’t forget about me now,” Pinkie Pie chimed in as she watched everything that was happening and wanted to get in on it too.

“Don’t worry,” assured Spike between making out with those two ponys’ pussies. “I’m on it. This is just the first time I tried something like this.”

“Try what?” she asked before noticing as his tail curled up her legs and the spaded tip tried to wiggle its way to her crotch. “Ohoh~ that. I’ve never used a toy like that before.” She sat down, with her soles pressed against Spike’s. Looking down at his tail, she watched thrust in and slide out of her. She blushed and moaned allowing it to work its way in, each spike on his tail like the notches on a belt to measure how much length and thickness of his tail she could take in. Three spikes had already easily invaded her body and a length on par with the dragon’s cock was within her, but still she take more in. “It’s a very good toy.”

“Mmmhmm,” Spike gave her a thumbs up while he had his face buried in a double-stack of pussy as Scootaloo sat on Applebloom’s lap to allow his tongue to work on both of them at once. At the same time, Spike was managing to buck his hips up and down to let Sweetie Belle ride his cock his a bucking bronco. She groped his gut tightly as she struggled against his strength and the pleasures of the flesh to stay on her ride.

“Wahoo!” she cried with delight as she felt his member squish and slide deeper into her, the ecstacy drawing her close to cumming. “My sis must be outta her mind to not have accepted any of your advances. If only she could see me now, she’d be kicking herself in the flank that she missed out.”

“Though, it isn’t like there isn’t room in my hoard for more,” commented Spike. “The more, the merrier, right ladies?”

“Seems to me your hands full with just us,” pointed out Apple Bloom. “And for the most part, you aren’t even using them.”

“I am still kinda new at this,” he admitted. “But I’m doing my best to please you all.”

“Actually, with a harem, it isn’t typically supposed to work this way,” pointed out Pinkie PIe. “Typically, the one with the horde gets taken care of by the many. So, why don’t you just lay back and relax, Spikey Wikey, and let your harem take care of you. It might be a strange concept for you, slaving away as Twilight’s servant for so long, but if you get the chance to be the one served, I think you’ll like this a whole lot more.”

“If you insist,” he blushed laying his back and watched as Apple Bloom and Scootaloo move to either side of him, their soft breasts caressing against his chest while they each began to plant kisses on his cheeks and even nibble his ears some. “Oh hoh, this is nice.”

“And we’re just getting started,” Pinkie added as she kept his tail inside her and began to rub and massage his feet, even bringing her nose close to whiff the sweaty odor between his toes. “You smell rather ripe. It’s rather nice, but I’m sure you’d like a bath, wouldn’t you?”

“Yeah,” he nodded. “I haven’t had a chance to get washed since Twilight locked me down here. I could really use one of my seven hour bubble baths.”

“Maybe next time,” offered Sweetie Belle as she pulled off of Spike’s cock and climbed over his gut to plant a kiss on his scaly lips. “If there will be a next time.”

“I hope they’ll be,” he kissed her back, running his claws through her mane. “How about a claw massage now. It’s been a while since I’ve had one of those too.”

“Leave that to us,” nodded Scootaloo as she and Sweetie Belle took his claws and began to rub and massage his digits and his palms. At the same time Apple Bloom took her turn with his dick. “How’s that?”

“Mmm, wonderful,” murred the big, purple dragon. “What more could I ask for?”

“How about some sweets?” offered Pinkie as she inched his tail out of her pussy one spike at a time and then with one quick tug to get the tip out freed herself. Rubbing her crotch as she entered their secret passage to his room, she pulled out a picnic basket and brought it over. “I brought this too, just in case you got hungry.”

“You know me,” replied Spike, licking his chops. “I’m always hungry.”

“Then eat up, big boy,” cheered Pinkie as she brought a cake made up of cupcakes, each topped with frosting and gemstones. Seeing his maw open for it, she stuffed them in one after another and rubbed his chin as he munched them up. “It’s our job to make you as happy and blissful as possible and we’re not gonna leave till we do.”

“Mmm,” he mumbled as he chewed up and swallowed the several cupcakes filling his mouth. “Well, keep at it. You’re all doing a great job so far.”

“Am I ready to go out again?” asked Sting as he fidgeted with impatience. He spoke in between bites of some of Media’s special cooking to help recover his strength and heal his wounds. Like all the others, who came in for healing, Sting was given a small lunch box barely bigger than his palm. Inside it was divided into four sections, one with a few slices of meat, another with some mixed vegetables glazed with honey, another with a roll filled with raspberry jam, and the last filled with some chocolate pudding. On the lid of the box were a fork and spoon taped to it. With all that, he was all set to quickly eat his meal and be fit to brawl again in the brief span of about five minutes. “I have to get back to the front lines as quickly as possible.”

“Just finish what you’re eating and you should be good to go,” he answered. “But taking a few extra minutes to catch your breath won’t kill you either. You’ve been pushing yourself hard enough already and this is the third time you’ve come here to recharge. From what I’ve heard, from the others, who have stopped by to heal, the enemy soldiers have been dwindling quite a lot in this last hour. At this rate, they’ll be forced to retreat into the castle and we’ll have control of the Crystal Plaza and the heart. Then, Tamati will be ready to claim victory. You could probably just wait here till it is all over.”

“I could,” admitted Sting. “But I’m the one who has led the charge. I can’t just sit back and wait for the end to come.” Finishing off the last bit of his pudding, unable to refrain a blissful smile as the familiar taste of sweet chocolate excited his taste buds, he got up and stretched. “Thanks again for the meal. For the glory of Tamati and the hive.”

“For the glory of us all,” the medic added and watched Sting leave the safe house. Zipping off into the air, as a red blur, he no longer appeared the least bit fatigued.

“Looks like the battle is indeed drawing to a climax,” noted Sting as the pony soldiers were on the retreat, rushing towards the castle, those that hadn’t been stuck to the ground or cornered by members of the Dragling army.

“It is simply wonderful to see a plan come together like this in the end,” spoke Tamati as he flew alongside his child, headed for the battle as well.

“It looks like our first battle was a huge success, father,” stated Sting as he saluted him in midair. “Thanks in no small part to all the trainer Pincer was able to provide us. I am grateful to you as well for teaching me how to fight as a dragon. Without it, I can only imagine the number of losses our side might have taken.”

“Do you have a count for the number that have fallen?” asked Tamati quietly.

“Not yet, but even one would be too many,” Sting admitted.

“I hope you do not blame yourself,” encouraged the dark dragon. “Such a thing is impossible even for the best of leaders. The best you can do is to ensure their efforts were not in vain and to continue to press on for those who still stand.”

“I will do my best to keep that in mind,” breathed Sting, taking his father’s words to heart.

“Good,” smiled Tamati. “Now, we’re almost arrived. Time to get what we’ve come here for. Everything.”

“This has to be some sort of nightmare,” sweated Shining Armor as pony soldiers poured into the castle one after another, wounded and on the verge of collapsing from exhaustion. Looking outside, the once overwhelming numbers they had no longer existed while the force of Draglings was still as vast as ever and gaining ground. “How can they keep on fighting like this?”

“Maximus did say they might have some method to quickly revitalize their forces,” commented Cadence. “If that’s the case, then it would make sense why they are still able to keep fighting while our own troops are tiring out.”

“But he went to stop it,” Shining reminded her. “And that was a while ago. Does that mean he failed and was even captured? Ugh, things cannot possibly get any worse.”

“I’m afraid they can,” she pointed out. “They’ve already got the Crystal Heart surrounded. Even if Sunburst is able to find us a spell to use against them, now we can’t combine it witht he heart to unleash it on all of them at once. At this point, we’ve got no other option but to hold up in the castle till help can reach us. I’ve already wrote up a letter to send out to Celestia. After that, all we can do is try to keep those creatures out.”

“Then best to get the remaining soldiers inside and seal the doors,” he sighed with defeat in his voice. “All that can get in.” Looking around the battlefield, there were a number of gooey blobs of slime stuck to the ground, trapping a number of their soldiers in it. With no other option, they could only be left behind to ensure the safety of those remaining. Shining bit down on one of his fingers, frustrated at all of this. “I’m sorry, all of you, but we promise, the Crystal Empire will not fall this day.”

“We can only pray,” Cadence said as she gave him a comforting smile. “It looks like the last few are about to get inside.”

“Begin to shut the doors,” instructed Shining Armor to the two soldiers standing by a set of cranks. They began to turn them, pulling chains connected to the door, slowly sliding them closed. Outside, seeing the doors starting to shut, the remaining soldiers hurried in as the Draglings chased after them. Some fumbled to the ground or got tripped up as they ran while others stood their ground, prepared to stay and fight to ensure the others were able to make it in safely. The rest just ran, refusing to turn back, fearing they might end up doing the same. As they made it inside, they were quick to toss their helmets aside, fall to their hands and knees, crying out in the frustration of it all. “I know it’s hard,” Shining Armor attempted to console them and himself, with rather dismal results. “But we’re doing all we can.”

“I’m going to send the letter now,” instructed Cadence. “All we can do after that is hope.” Her horn glowed a bright blue as a similar aura covered over her letter. Closing her eyes, she prepared to send it off to Celestia, but a beam of orange magic suddenly blasted a hole right through it, igniting the scroll till end turned into ashes. “What the?” Everyone looked around in shock and confusion of this. As their eyes all soon narrowed to the source, they were all gazing upon Sunburst.

“Sunburst?” cried Shining. “Why did you do that? And…” He paused seeing he was almost completely in the buff as he approached them. “Why are you wearing nothing but your cloak?”

“It was what my beloved asked me to do,” he answered and turned to Starlight who gave his cheek a kiss.

“Yes, that’s a good boy,” she smirked.

“Starlight?” questioned Cadence. “Why? Why did you tell Sunburst to do that? Why are you even here?”

“I’m here,” she answered. “Because I’m part of the invasion.” Stepping forward, she transformed back into her Dragling self. “And I’m ready to accept your unconditional surrender.”

“They can even shapeshift, like Changelings,” growled Shining Armor. “Meaning, more could have slipped in here.”

“No, probably just me,” she answered. “But that hardly matters, at this point. “We’ve already taken over. All that’s left is this castle and if you think some doors will keep us at bay, well, you certainly don’t know our father.”

“Father?” questioned Shining Armor before a monstrous roar rang throughout the empire, turning everyone’s attention to the outside. In the sky, in the distance, moving fast towards them, they could see the large, black dragon making his way straight towards them. A number of winged soldiers, still risking their lives to hold back the Draglings, saw him coming and broke off from their current opponents in an attempt to attack him. However, their efforts were no better than a bug smashing into a speeding truck’s windshield as they came up against the powerful beast. Flying forward, he didn’t even acknowledging their attempts to get in his way and either smashed into them unflinchingly or sent them tumbling through the air from the speed of his flight blasted them away with powerful air pressure.

“Oh, fuck!” sweated Shining, their terrible situation made way worse in that instant. “Get the doors closed, NOW!!!”

The soldiers began to turn the cranks with all their might. A second set of soldiers even rushed over to help. Even while there were still a few dozen soldiers outside still making their way over, they couldn’t afford to wait, not while Tamati was drawing nearer at an astounding rate. He flew down toward the center of the battlefield, cracking the ground where he landed and then charged towards the front of the castle. Anyone in his path of destruction, friend or foe quickly got out of his way as he stampeded for the doors.

“Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!” panicked Shining as the huge dragon reached the bottom of the steps and started to climb them three at a time with his stride. The crystal castle shook as if it was trembling in the face of his unstoppable might and could crumble to pieces at any moment. Swallowing hard, Shining Armor stood by the entrance, sword drawn and ready to attack if the doors were too slow to close. Sweat ran down his forehead and his heart pounded so hard in his chest that it thumped against his armor. He could see the fierceness in Tamati’s glowing red eyes as the steps started to end and the door was not closed enough to assure it could not be breached. As the door two halves of the door met, they connected with a sealing BOOM! After that, there was silence.

Dropping his sword, Shining Armor panted as a great relief washed over him. “The doors are shut,” he announced. “We are safe…”

Both the citizens and soldiers around him cheered with relief, accepting one small triumph in the wake of otherwise crushing defeat. It did serve to keep their hearts afloat, but only for a moment, for in the next, the two massive doors began to creak as they were being forced open from the other side.

“That’s not possible,” gasped Cadence. “He can’t possibly open the doors on his own like that.”

“We’ve already seen enough to throw impossible out the window,” pointed out Shining Armor as he grabbed one of the cranks and attempted to keep the doors from being opened. A number of other soldiers helped, grabbing the cranks to ensure the dragon couldn’t pry the doors open, holding it back with all their might. “For all you’re worth!” the prince ordered. “Do not let those doors open!”

“Good luck,” chuckled Zircon, watching this all with great amusement. “Make my father work for his victory.”

“C-Come on!” groaned Shining Armor. “Put your flanks into it. We cannot lose this battle!” As worried chatter soon filled the hall, everyone watched and waited to see just who would prevail in this battle of strength. For a while, the doors appeared to be opening bit by bit to show it was Tamati who was mightier, but it only served to make the soldiers redouble their efforts to prevent it from opening further. “That’s it! Show them that we ponies will not give in to them so easily.”

“Heheheh,” Zircon continued to chuckle with delight.

“What do you find so funny?” questioned Cadence. “If you hadn’t noticed, your army is not gonna get in and you are trapped in here with us.”

“I’m afraid you bunch are the ones who have yet to notice,” she explained. “So what if you lot can tie my father in strength in this game of tug-of-war? It doesn’t matter. After all, it’s our win should the rope be what gives out instead.”

“The rope?” questioned Cadence as she thought for a moment and then turned her attention to the chains connecting the crank to the door. Between both sides tugging with all their might, the chain links were bending. Cadence wanted to cry out in warning, but knew nothing she said was going to do any good. All she or anyone else could do was watched as the weakest links finally broke, detaching the door from the cranks. The soldiers still tugging with all their might flew backwards once they were no longer met with any resistance. At the same time, Tamati was no longer obstructed and the doors began to open with far greater ease. Once they were opened enough, he poked his head inside with a devilish smile across his face.

“I don’t mean to intrude, but that is part of invading isn’t it,” he chuckled as he pushed the double door open wider and entered inside. The ponies just stared in awe of the mighty dragon as he approached. Behind him, the Draglings proceeded inside too, with Nat and Sting leading them. They didn’t have their weapons drawn for battle. They knew and so did the ponies that, at this point, the battle was over. “What’s with the silence?” asked Tamti. “It’s a joke, a little something to lighten the mood.”

“Lighten the mood?” shouted Shining Armor, finding his courage again. “After being attacked for no reason?”

“Oh, we had a perfectly good reason for attacking you,” retorted Tamati.

“Well, we’re all listening,” he scowled.

“First off, we believe you have something we’re searching for,” he answered. “Secondly, we plan to conquer all of Equestria in the end, so it’d save time if we took care of you all now. This is a nice place you’ve got too, so who wouldn’t wanna take this place over. You should actually be flattered.”

“We’re not,” he snorted. “And we will stop you even if I have to take you on with my bare hands.”

Throwing caution to the wind, Shining Armor leapt at Tamati, but he quickly found himself stopped in midair and pulled back by Cadence and her magic. “Dear,” she pleaded. “Now is not the time to lose your cool. If any of us are to have a future then we must survive.”

“You’ll all have a future,” promised Tamati. “I’ve got great plans for all of you. For instance, I am always looking for new members to join my harem and, my dear princess, I’d say you’d fit in quite nicely.”

“No way in Hell!” she snapped and fired a blast of magic at the dark dragon’s face. In response, he held his arm up to block the blast, his scales glowing red as they burned like hot coals.

“Oh hoh, you’re quite fiery,” he grinned. “I can’t wait for you to submit to me.”

“You aren’t going to lay a damn claw on my wife!” snapped Shining Armor.

“And, the prince,” he added, turning his gaze to him. “I will add you as well, but some changes will need to be made first.”

“I don’t know what you have in mind, but it won’t matter,” he retorted. “We will stop you.”

“You can’t, not at this point,” Tamati reminded them. “Your army is defeated, your final means of protection is in our possession, and even your wizard has been harpied to our side. You have already been soundly defeated. Still, I haven’t had much of a chance to battle beyond giving a good scare to this one soldier that actually came very close to throwing a wrench into our battle plan.”

“You must be talking about Maximus,” replied Shining Armor with a pained look upon his face. “Then even he’s been defeated.”

“Leaving just you two as the last line of defense for your kingdom,” he told them. “If that’s not an indication that you’ve already been defeated then I don’t know what is. But, this could still be fun, so, how about a little wager?”

“A wager?” cried Shining Armor. “This isn’t some stupid game!”

“And here I thought I was being generous enough to give you one last chance to send us packing no worse for wear than how you are now,” the dark dragon informed them. “Oh, well. Time to end this.”

“Wait!” interrupted Cadence. “Whatever it is, we’ll do it.”

“Oh,” Tamati said with a big, toothy grin. “That’s the spirit. It’s nothing too difficult, just a final battle between you two and myself. Should you win, we leave and vow to never step foot in your kingdom again. If we win, this place is ours to take and use as we see fit.”

Cadence paused for a moment as she considered all this and then spoke again. “It’s a deal.”

“Cadence,” replied Shining. “We can’t agree to this. He wouldn’t do something like this when he’s already beaten us. Besides, even if we somehow managed to win, what’s to stop him from just going back on his deal?”

“He probably could and odds are he would,” she admitted.

“Hey, I’m a dragon of my word, I’ll have you know,” huffed Tamati. “That actually hurt my feelings a little.” He sniffled a bit. “Most damaging attack to me all day, actually.”

“Still, if we can take him down that might just might be what we need to turn things around.”

“Ok,” he agreed, looking at his wife and then at the black dragon that towered over everyone else in the room. “So, what’s our strategy?”

“Strategy?” she asked with a look like he had just asked her a really dumb question. “Our kingdom is in peril and so is the life of our daughter. “We don’t need a strategy to win.” She turned to face Tamati, and her horn started to glow as an intense amount of magical energy built up in it. “I just need to blow that fucking head off his shoulders and this’ll be over.”

“I’m glad you thought this through,” he replied, a bit frightened at the murderous look in her gaze.

“Heheh, give it your best shot,” encouraged Tamati. “Oh, and it might be a good idea for Shining Armor to put up his defensive barrier around us to ensure we can fight without anyone else getting harmed. Take all the time you need to get it ready. I won’t start fighting till you two say you are.”

“How do you know about that?” questioned Shining Armor. “How did you know about all our defenses to be able to overcome them so easily? Were you spying on us… or were we really betrayed by someone who told you all this intel?”

“Sorry, but you are in no position to be probing me for information,” he told them.

“Fine,” replied Shining Armor as his horn glowed and appeared like it was blowing a pink bubble as he cast his barrier spell. The bubble grew larger and larger, allowing the two ponies and dragon to pass into it freely. Once it was large enough to take up half the space in the hall, Shining finished the spell, but the barrier remained.

“Not bad,” admitted Tamati, rubbing a hand against the barrier and then scratching at it with his claws. “Quite strong. I’d actually have to really try to break through something like this. Well, we can start whenever.”

“Now is good,” answered Cadence as she unleashed all the built up magic in one mighty blast, straight at Tamati’s head. Reacting quickly, Tamati met it with a blast of his flames, but as powerful of a dragon as he was, the enraged Alicorn Princess proved her own ability as her magic gained ground in their clash.

“Father!” cried Nat. “Get out of the way!”

“There’s no need to worry,” Sting assured him and the others. “It’s our father after all.”

“Keep it up, dear,” encouraged Shining Armor as he focused his own magic on Tamati, using it to restrain his body from moving. “I’ll hold him still, now give him all you’ve got!”

“With pleasure,” she shouted as she added another surge of power into her magic and fully overpowered Tamati, the blast extinguishing his flames right up to the gateway to his maw. Even when it was clear that he was about to lose, Shining Armor’s efforts were enough to diminish any hope of escape.

“Are you sure?” worried Nat. “We all know our father’s tougher than anything, but even he won’t be able to get away unscathed from something like that.”

“But it seems you’ve forgotten he’s also devilishly clever,” Sting reminded him. “Since the start, he’s be riling them up, making it impossible for them not to glare at him and anything he is wearing.”

“Oh, you mean,” realized Nat as he looked upon his father and saw the Lockheart hanging from his neck.

Tamati’s flames erupted forth again no stronger than it was before. It was Cadence’s magic that was changing, getting weaker and thinner util it could no longer push back or even restrain Tamati’s fiery breath. Closing his maw, the dark dragon chuckled as the narrow beam of magic merely touched his chest with only a slight warmth that merely tickled him.

“What’s the matter, Cadence?” questioned Shining Armor as he watched Tamati move forward. His movements were slowed by the stallion’s magic, but the concentration and energy needed to keep such a large and powerful foe stationary was vast and Shining was already running low on both. “You can’t be out of strength already.”

“I think I’m in love,” she spoke with passion in her voice.

“What?” he replied confused. “Of course you’re in love. You’re the Princess of Love.”

“Not just love,” she amended taking a few steps forward, her cheeks rosy red while a timid smile was upon her face. “Total infatuation…” Sighing, she looked upon the dark dragon standing tall before her. Mere moments ago, she saw him as the enemy wishing to take over their home, but for the first time, she saw the build of his form in all its glory, from the toned muscles featured all over his ripped body to the monstrous orbs between his legs and the equally impressive dick that was hardening before her eyes. Shining saw his member poke out too and could only stare, mouth agape as his wife placed one hand upon the dragon’s thigh while the other reached up and caressed that great cock. All the other ponies stared at the sight before them with just as much shock and horror. “...with him.”

“That’s a good girl,” smiled Tamati warmly, kneeling down so his head was level with hers and the two pressed their lips together. “Welcome to my harem.”

“What the hell did you do to her, you bastard?!?” roared Shining Armor as he focused all his blind rage into horn and shot it at Tamati. He was too hasty to attack, however, managing to only hit the dragon on the side of his face, burning a thin line of his outer layer of scales. It was nothing more than a superficial injury that didn’t even serve to anger the dragon. Meanwhile, Shining Armor was wheezing, more of his strength used up and with barely anything to show for it.

“Don’t worry,” spoke Tamati, perfectly calm. “I did not forget you, Shiny.” Petting Cadence on the head, he rose up again. With one claw, he scratched off the burned scales on the side of his cheek, removing any sign of injury he sustained. “If you’ll excuse me for a moment, Caddy, this will be a lot more enjoyable once I made this into a threesome.”

“Please be quick, beloved,” she pleaded, slipping out of her crystal blue dress, leaving her in just her pink bra and panties dotted with small white hearts. The ponies seeing their princess act in such a way could only stare in fear (and some in arousal upon witnessing her smooth, tender body, as well as her impressive D’s).

The only pony that had a different expression on their face was Shining Armor. “What the hell have you done to her!?!” he roared furiously. Gritting his teeth, as he seethed with even greater rage. Ignoring his own fatigue, he scraped together what energy he could find within himself and fired another blast of magic at Tamati, but this one failed to even dent the scales it connected with.

“Heheh, that tickles,” chuckled Tamati as he tanked Shining Armor’s magic while he leisurely approached him.

“Just wait!” he snapped, blasting Tamati again and again, but his magic was exhausted to the point that his beams of magic were like a harmless laser pointer to anything it came into contact with. As Tamati loomed over the powerless pony, on his flank, panting and exhausted, Shining Armor stared up at him, too tired to even flee from him.

“Tuckered out?” smirked the black dragon as he pinned the pony to the ground with one hand and stared into the stallion’s blue eyes, seeing a bit of fear hidden by defiant resolve. “Hopefully not too much for the fun the three of us are going to have together.”

“What did you do to Cadence?” questioned Shining Armor. “Tell me!”

“Nothing special, really,” he admitted. “I just had her gaze into the Lockheart I have around my neck and it managed to fill her with endless lust for me. With this Element of Discord beside it, it should even have enough power to ensure she can’t break free of its magic.”

“So that’s it,” he grunted, attempted to wiggle out of his clutches, but Tamati’s strength was far too greater to be able to overcome by one mere pony. “That’s why she’s fallen for you.”

“And you will too,” he spoke seductively. “But, first, you need a bit of a makeover. You’re not a bad looker with your long, blue mane and bright white coat, but I’m not bringing guys into my harem and the Lockheart’s seduction power won’t work on those of the same gender as my own. Fortunately, this element has not only made it stronger than before, but it has added a new power to it, one that can easily fix that slight issue. Just stare deeply into the Lockheart, Shiny.”

“Fix it?” he asked unable to turn his gaze away from the artifact that Tamati was dangling in front of his face. “How are you going to- ugh oh, what’s going on?”

“Bringing out your more feminine side,” Tamati answered as he watched the stallion suddenly groan in pain. Releasing him, Tamati continued to gaze and watch as the pony squirmed on the ground. “Part of it involves a bit of bone reconstruction and I can imagine will be a tad uncomfortable. But don’t worry. I’ve tested this before, so I can honestly say that you’ll be just fine.”

“Well, excuse me if your words doesn’t mean much to me,” groaned Shining as he felt his body burning up all over, in particular his chest and around his waist. “And this doesn’t make me feel like I’m going to be fine.”

“The burning does tend to be the worst part, but it’ll be over with in a few minutes,” he explained. “Though, that armor can’t be very comfortable for you, especially around your chest. How about I peel you out of that tin can before your boobs develop. Actually, I’m eager to see how busty you become.”

“Boobs?” he repeated, suddenly feeling the sensation of his chest getting cramped against the plate protecting that section of his body. “What is happening to me?”

“I’m merely making a mare out of you,” he answered as he gripped the top of Shining Armor’s chest plate and, like his purple-hued suit was made of tin foil, he tore it off with ease, exposing his black t-shirt underneath and the pair of orbs that were rising up underneath it, like a couple of rising pieces of dough. Shining Armor saw them and couldn’t believe it, at least till Tamati gave them a squeeze and the truth was undeniable.

“Y-You’ve given me breasts?!?” he cried, those words hitting everyone’s ears and only filling them with more worry.

“I’ve done much more than that,” promised Tamati as he continued to pry off all of Shining Armor’s armor one piece after another, being careful not to harm him as he did so. Starting from the top up, he undid the chin strap and slipped off his helmet. Shoulder guards and arm braces were next, but none of these had very noticeable changes, though his arms did appear more slender and his hands not so rough and thick. When he got to Shining’s waist and removed the plates covering it, he saw it was now a fair bit wider and rounder than it had been before. Lastly, the leg guards were taken off, leaving Shining if just his t-shirt and blue jeans, but Tamati didn’t look like he was done having his fun yet.

“W-What are you doing now?” he asked as he saw Tamati’s hand moving towards his crotch.

“Heheh, the fear in your eyes tells me you are already well aware of what is there, or rather what is not,” he snickered. “But I am eager to see for myself, to witness my great power. Besides, what we’re about to do, pants are not allowed.”

Trembling a bit as he saw Tamati’s claws hover over his crotch, Shining Armor was already well aware of the most devastating change that accursed necklace had on him. He didn’t need that dark dragon rubbing salt in his wounds, but that didn’t keep Tamati from doing it for the sheer satisfaction alone. Pressing his palm to Shining’s crotch, he felt the fabric of his pants, but more importantly, the nuts and cock that should have created a decent-sized bulge there were conspicuously absent.

Licking his chops devilishly, Tamati dug his nails into Shining Armor’s pants and tore them to shreds over his crotch region. The fabric of his pants and underwear shredded as his blade-like nails slid across them. There were, however, especially careful, making certain not to him the pony in the process. “Heheh,” the dragon cackled, grinning with delight as he saw no cock befitting a nobel stallion guard, but the pussy of a mare, soft, supple and yet to be broken in. “Much better. The only penis needed for my harem is my own, but there’s always room for another vagina. Don’t you agree, Shiny?”

“I-I-I,” she stuttered, the former stallion barely able to recognize her voice. It sounded more effeminate, adding to the changes she had just gone through. Even more worrisome, her eyes were still glued to the Lockheart and it’s original power was beginning to have an affect her. Try as she did to resist it, her heart thumped against her chest and her face became flushed as she gazed upon her new master. He lowered his muzzle to hers, puckering his lips to press them against hers. Twisting her legs against her crotch, Shiny could feel her lust already leaking out as her new desires proved overpowering. “I agree,” she nodded. “Only yours is needed. Now, please, give it to me, Master.”

“Of course,” he breathed before pressing draconic lips to pony ones and the two made out as Tamati ran his claws through Shiny’s hair.

“Don’t forget about me,” yearned Cadence, rubbing two fingers to her pussy as lust soaked her panties to the point they couldn’t hold anymore and began to drip onto the floor between her feet.

“Of course,” he smirked with delight. “You two are now mine, and all you possess is mine as well, right? This kingdom, the ponies within, the Crystal Heart, and all other treasures you possess.”

“They’re all yours,” Shiny told him. “What more do we need while we’re in your loving embrace?”

“A very valid point,” he agreed, sitting up and hugging his two newest members to either side of his chest. The two gazed up at him and then at his cock, both using a hand to brandish the mighty rod. “But I can offer you both more than merely my arms wrapping you tightly to my hot, scaly body. How about I let you two enjoy this cock of mine you both can’t seem to keep your hands off of?”

“Please do,” begged Shiny she nuzzled her head against it and inhaled the dragon’s pungent musk.

“Never have I yearned to be fucked more than I do now,” added Cadence, doing the same as Shiny.

“Then let’s have some fun,” he smirked and slowly sat down, making a ring with his feet as he held his two lustful ladies close to his dragonhood. “First, keep inhaling my scent, let the pheromones exuding from it overpower your senses and drive your hormones to their limit.”

Hardly in need of such instructions by their new master, Shiny and Cadence continued to press their faces against his shaft, moving closer towards his crotch and balls to whiff its most overpowering areas. As they did, they could feel their arousal for the dark dragon growing ever more insatiable and their bodies reacted in kind as their breasts swelled plumper like balloons getting inflated while desire flowed even more freely down their legs as if their were being pushed to the edge of pleasure simly by the anticipation of the mighty dragon rod to be stuffed inside of them.

“What a lovely reaction,” murred Tamati as he gently rubbed a claw against their moist pussies, fingering them some as a preview of what was to come. “I don’t doubt that this is your first sexual experience with a dragon, but you two are in even more luck that you get to be fucked by a dragon with assets this impressive. Just one glance at my balls and you can tell how virile I am. And my overpowering presence and physique there is no doubt that in this pack I am the alpha. While much of this is the blessing of nature, the countless times I’ve fucked on a daily basis has given me near endless stamina and loads to unleash on all my lovely ladies. Your bodies can tell this and crave to experience my greatness. Don’t resist it, embrace your lust. Forget all else. Forget being a prince and princess and your empire. Renounce past attachments to each other and anyone else. You only need to love me. Do this and endless bliss will be in your future.”

Moaning and murring in ecstasy at hearing their master’s words and embracing his cock, the two horny ponies continued to rub, nuzzle, and even lick his cock, coaxing his dick to throb and leak pre down the head and onto his shaft. As it ran down, the two were quick to lap it up, reveling in the taste of their master’s seed and further entice them to pleasure him while his claws pacingly thrust in and out of their pussies causing their fluids to leak out onto his palms.

All around them, the Crystal Ponies could only stare in horror as their leaders became total sluts to the black dragon. Some ran up to Shining Armor’s barrier and called out to them, hoping to awaken them from Tamati’s control. However, even as they became hoarse from shouting, Cadence and Shiny didn’t respond beyond a momentary pause. Staring at the ponies, they were unable to recall anything about them and had no interest in anyone who would distract them from their beloved. Without any more acknowledgement than that, the two mares returned their full attention back to that massive dragon dick.

“Very good,” he praised them, caressing their cheeks and then offered his palms to let them lick them clean of their pussy juices. “Now, for what you two have been waiting for. I think I’ll start with Shiny since this will be her first fucking with a cock. I’m sure you’ve had at least a halfway decent amount, Cadence, since you did give birth to your daughter, Flurryheart.”

“Who?” asked Cadence, her mind void of anything not involving her master.

“Nobody you need concern yourself with any more,” he assured her. “Just one of a few things I plan to take back to my kingdom. Now, Shiny, lay back and get ready for the greatest moment of your life.”

“Don’t make me wait a moment longer,” she cried out in tearful delight as she spread her legs to invite Tamati’s cock into her.

“I don’t intend to,” promised the dark dragon as he got on his haunches and moved on top of Shiny pinning her down at her shoulders. Then with a little nudge to Cadence, she made her way towards his backside, slipping beneath his tail to rub and nuzzle his ass. Burying her face between his toned cheeks, she reveled in this sexy part of his body while Shiny got to enjoy the other. Prodding the white-haired mare’s pussy with his cockhead, it was clear that such a tight, new pussy was hardly capable of fitting such a monstrous length, but the knowledge of that only made the two all the more eager to try.

Rubbing and groping his firm buttocks, Cadence murred with bliss as she marveled at how even this part of him was rock hard. Tamati’s figure was just too amazing, almost as if it were kissed by an angel or spanked by a devil. Breathing deeply, she got herself drunk off the scent of his rear now too. With her two pointer fingers, she traced the outline of his two cheeks, drawing the shape of heart, after which she planted and deep kiss in the middle of it.

Giggling as he enjoyed Cadence playing with his ass, Tamati kept his main focus upon the stallion turned mare in front of him. Slowly inching his length forward, with the greatest of care, Tamati pushed his tip into Shiny. Little by little the dragon worked his cockhead in deeper, delighting in the feeling of getting to be the one to deflower her. Grinning, he admired the bulge his penis caused in the little pony’s body, growing eager to see how much of his length he could fit inside her at once.

“How does it feel, Shiny?” questioned Tamati as he managed another half an inch in.

“Oh!” she cried, a mix of pain and pleasure as her virgin hole attempted to contain that beast. “It hurts, but it feels so wonderful too. Strange, but I love it.”

“Just relax your body and keep reveling in that feeling of bliss,” he coached her. “When you feel pain, remember the pleasure. If it feels strange, remember how right this feels.” With a toothy grin, he added one last time. “Keep on doing that and the stallion you once were will be no more.”

“The stallion… I was?” she asked, her whole lifetime as a male already almost completely forgotten thanks to Tamati and the power of the Lockheart. Only tiny fragments of her old self remained creating some faint feelings of doubt and confusion in her mind. But, as she listened to Tamati’s words and continued to embrace the euphoria she was receiving those last, lingering bits faded into nothingness. “Don’t be silly, I was never a stallion.”

“Oh, my mistake,” he spoke casually as he pushed in a bit more forceful, managing to work in a bit more of his length into Shiny now, making her moan even louder. As he listened to such a beautiful cry, he couldn’t help but revel in all his success. “Augmented with just one Element of Discord, the Lockheart’s power has become this great,” he thought. “I can only imagine what I’ll be capable of once I’ve gained even greater power. Then there will be nothing that can stop me. Nothing I cannot possess. Nobody I cannot fuck!”

Growing excited at such a prospect, Tamati pushed hard into Shiny, making her let out her loudest wail of bliss yet. “Ohhhhohohoh~” she cried with a blissful smile across her face. The dragon silently breathed a sigh of relief that he hadn’t hurt her in all his excitement and that she was instead enthralled by it.

“It seems you’ve taken first gear like a champ,” commented the master of the harem only getting started. “Ready to shift into second?”

“Second, third, whatever gear you want,” she answered. “I just want you to slam that wonderful dick of yours into me as much as you want.”

“Oh hoh,” he grinned as he gripped Shiny’s legs tightly and started to really give her vagina a true test of its endurance. “I intend to. You just better be a quick healer cause no matter how sore you are after this, don’t expect to get much of a break before next time.”

“My pussy will always be at the ready,” she vowed as she endured the fucking of a lifetime, feeling the black dragon’s mighty member continue to renovate her insides to fit more and more of it within. The wondrous feeling meshed with the pain of it, bring both a smile and tears to her face. Her vision became blurred, but she didn’t need her sight to feel the pleasure of that giant cock sliding in and out of her pussy with greater ease each time or smell the combined scents of their lusts squishing together and overflowing her hole. Moaning lustfully, she did her best to restrain her orgasm, not wishing to be done till she proved herself and took his length to the base. It was a task easier said than done as her flesh felt so tender and sensitive after being fucked as much as it had. With her stamina depleted from the battle prior it was a struggle to hold on while she was constantly being pushed at the edge of nirvana.

“That’s good to hear,” Tamati told her. “You are quite a well built pony with some fairly impressive defensive magic. Without a doubt, you will bear me some wonderfully powerful offspring.”

“D-Do you really mean that?” Shiny replied, her heart strings being tugged by what he was implying, making her all the more eager to be filled with his glorious baby making fluids.

“Of course,” he murred pushing humping into the little pony practically effortlessly most of the way in. “I would never tease about such a thing, Shiny. Now, relax and accept this gift from me to you.”

“Oh, master!” she cried this time with tears of joy. “Give it to me! I want it!”

“Gladly,” he smirked, finishing up with a few more big humps and finally unleash a gusher of seed inside her. He remained still as he watched Shiny’s belly bulge from that the few loads that single climax granted her. Then, slowly sliding out, he watched as all the excess seman oozed from her pussy, but the majority remained within her. Gently slipping a hand underneath Shiny’s head, he gazed into her eyes, the cost of such wonderful sex quite a lot of additional fatigue for her. She looked absolutely spent as her sex high faded, but she didn’t look any less smitten with her loving master. The barrier around them started to weaken and fade away as she dozed off. “Rest well now,” he told her, pressing his lips to hers once more and then placed her head carefully on the ground.

“Is it finally my turn?” hoped Cadance as she removed her head from beneath Tamati’s kiss-covered cheeks. “I hope you have saved some lust for me as well.”

“It is and of course I have,” he answered her questions. “My lust is without limits and I will not stop till you are as satisfied as Shiny over there.”

“Then no more talk,” she pleaded, getting into position and spreading her legs apart. “Fuck me now!”

“Heheh, don’t need to tell me twice,” he chuckled leaning in to give her pussy a quick inspection first, rubbing the lips of it with a single claw as he inspected how sensitive it was. Just lightly tracing the perimeter was enough to get the princess to giggle and wiggle while her pussy already started to leak arousal. “Seems you are quite horny from all this anticipation.” With his claw, he penetrated her pussy and started to finger her, watching and listening as she moaned and leaked more. Pulling out quickly, before he made her cum prematurely, Tamati gave her nectar a lick and then got his still hard dick into position. “Looks like I won’t need to hold back much for you.”

“Don’t hold back at all,” she told him.

“Heheh, sure you don’t want to be the one doing the thrusting?” he laughed and closed his eyes, not noticing the smirk that spread across her face after he said that.

“If you are offering,” she smirked as her horn glowed and blasted the huge dragon off his feet so he came crashing down onto his back. The Crystal Ponies cheered, believing that their princess had broken free of his control to fight again. Flying up, they watched, expecting her to deliver the finishing blow, but, instead, flew down to his dick and gave the cum-smeared rod a tasting before slipping it into her pussy. Immediately, all the ponies who rose up with renewed hope crumbled to the ground in despair all over again. “Then I accept!”

“Wow, I almost forgot how powerful your magic is,” admitted the large dragon, a bit in shock as he watched her fucking him. “You’ll birth a powerful child for me as well.” As she continued to work hard to hump Tamati’s dick and fill herself with as much of its greatness as possible, Tamati turned to his children. “I shouldn’t be much longer over here. It’s time to finish up the rest of the plan. Sting, lead the troops and ensure our hold over the castle. Make certain all the guards are immobilized and none of the civilians try to ‘be a hero.’”

“Right away, father,” he replied and started to lead the majority of the troops while leaving a handful to guard the entrance.

“Zircon,” he continued, speaking in between murrs of bliss as Cadance worked on her squats as she took half his length inside her body with each one. “Take Sunburst to the Crystal Heart and have him cast that spell upon it.”

“I’m on it, father,” she answered him then turned to Sunburst, rubbing his cheek as she smooched his muzzle. “Come on, Sunny darling. There is something I need you to do for me.”

“Anything you desire, Starlight,” he blushed with as much infatuation as ever. They passed by the Draglings guarding the entrance and towards the plaza where a few others were securing that Crystal Empire’s more important treasure.

“Anything for me to do?” Nat chimed in.

“Oh, yes,” nodded Tamati, watching Cadance humping faster to bring about the big finale, lusting so hard to be filled with his burning hot seed. “Can you secure their daughter, Flurryheart? You’re good with babies, aren’t you?”

“Uh, I guess so,” he replied, not quite expecting to be given a babysitting job while they were still in the midst of their first big battle, albeit at the very end of it. “We’ve gone from newborns to young adults in the span of several weeks, so it’s not like I’ve had to be around babies when I wasn’t one, but I’ll give it a try.” After saying that, he started his search for the daughter of the former king and queen of the fallen Crystal Empire. “Now, where’s the lil stink bug?”

“What spell do you need me to cast?” asked Sunburst once they were before the Crystal Heart.

“It’s this one here,” she told him, handing Sunburst a scroll of paper for him to read.

“Oh, this is an… unusual spell,” he commented. “But this is Spike’s handwriting, isn’t it?”

“Uh, so it is, but that’s not important,” she told him, giving his dick a few rubs to distract his mind as she reinforced her control on him, making his length as hard as his horn. “Just do as your told and we’ll have plenty more fun when we get back home. Okay?”

“Y-Yeah,” he breathed, with a wrinkled smile on his face. His horn glowed as he cast the spell, and the normal aura it usually had was instead the Changeling green hue. As the magic encircled the Crystal Heart, it’s icy blue coloration started to become tainted, darkening it to a purplish black from the middle and slowly spreading outward. “It shouldn’t take me more than a few minutes to complete it.”

“Very good, Sunny,” Zircon praised him with some light strokes to his member.

“The castle is secure,” Sting told his father upon his return.

“Very good,” Tamati replied as he cradled his two new mates in his arms, both exhausted and full of his seed. “It seems everything has gone as well as we could have hoped for. Nat, do you have the baby princess yet?”

“I think she has me,” he groaned as she sat on his shoulders tugging at his ears. “Ow, that hurts. Sting, a little help?”

“You were the one who volunteered for an assignment,” he told him. “Now you must see it through to the end.”

“I know you aren’t the type to make jokes,” he groaned as the baby climbed atop his head then grabbed and tugged at his snout. “Ugh, but I get the feeling you are enjoying this.”

“What makes you say that?” he asked with a slight smile.

“The Crystal Heart is all set,” Zircon informed. “It’s full effects will take a little while to encompass the entire empire, but we should start to see the results in here very soon.”

“It looks like soon is now,” smirked Tamati as he got up and watched the ponies around them start to act strange. Rather than stare at the Draglings with fear in their faces they were now gazing upon one another with longing and lust. Soon after, they began to embrace one another passionately, kissing, hugging, and groping any pony nearby them regardless of who it was. Before long, they started to get more frisky, undressing one another to gaze upon their naked bodies before fondling boobs, shoving cocks into whatever hole was available, a vagina, mouth, or even a tailhole. Some holes were even filled with more than one peg, but, whatever the case, one-by-one every pony in the Crystal Empire was quick to find themselves taking part in the largest of orgies Equestria had ever been host to.

“Heheh, I can see now why the Crystal Empire is the Love Capital of Equestria,” chuckled Tamati as he couldn’t help get a rehardened stiffy from watching all this unfold.

“Simply scrumptious,” commented Sting as he and most of the other Draglings gulped up some of the lustful love the ponies were exuding, recovering any weariness they were feeling and then some. They stopped only once they felt too stuffed to drain away any more and yet they barely made a dent in the still building up amounts of nourishment the ponies were giving off.

“Urp!” belched Nat. “Looks like we’ll never have to be worried about running out of love again, now that we’ve built our own All-You-Can-Eat buffet.”

“And I’ve also had Sunny here adjust the barrier the Crystal Heart emits so that, with a few exceptions, only Draglings and Changelings will be able to come and go as they please. Now, this place is truly ours.”

“It is indeed,” nodded Tamati. “Now, there is but one last objection to be completed and then we can return home in absolute triumph. Zircon, can you see if Sunny knows there whereabouts of the Empire’s hidden treasures? It seems I had a bit too much fun with these two to be able to extract any info from them for a while. One in his position should be privy to the secrets of the Empire and this castle.”

“Of course,” she nodded and then cooed into the manipulated pony’s ear. “Do you know the location of this empire’s vault of powerful magical artifacts, beloved?”

“It is this way,” he answered. “Down a concealed stairway in the throne room.”

Tamati with Shiny, and Cadence in his arms, along with Zircon and Sunburst made their way over. Once there, Sunburst cast some dark magic of a crystal atop the former king and queen’s thrones. His eyes turned green as a purple aura flowed from them and his horn, blackening the crystal and redecorated the room in a much more malevolent tone. Doing this also revealed a spiral spiral staircase leading deep into the depths of the earth.

“King Sombra made this passage while he was in power,” explained Sunburst as they ventured downward. “He used it to hide the Crystal Heart, as well as his own collection of dark magical artifacts.”

“Kind of like mother has done,” noted Zircon. “I suppose darkness can’t help being attracted to darkness.”

“Part of the reason I fell for her in the first place,” commented Tamati. “The other part was-”

“Too much information!” Zircon chimed in before he could say any more.

“We’re here,” Sunburst announced once they finally made their way to the lowest level, unable to even see the top where they began. “Now, there’s just this one door between us and the treasure room.”

“Well, you can leave this door to me,” said Tamati as he placed the two ponies in his arms on the ground and then walked forward to simply kick it down.

“Uh, that’s not a good idea,” Sunburst attempted to warn him, but it was too late as the eye on the door opened and locked eyes with Tamati’s turning his red, glowing ones green.

“Huh? What the?” he asked confused. “Where am I? What is going on-” He looked down, and an expression of absolute terror appeared on his face. It was unlike any he had ever made before and left Zircon in shock as well that something could fill her normally unstoppable father with such dread. “N-No… It can’t be… NOOO!!!”

“Quick! Do something!” cried Zircon to Sunburst.

“I’m on it,” he replied, casting a spell on the eye to dispel the trap and return Tamati to his senses.

“Ugh,” panted Tamati as he dropped to his knees with enough force to crack the ground beneath them. He stared at his crotch with relief as he perspired over even inch of his body.

“That door makes you experience your greatest fear,” Sunburst informed him.

“I know!” shouted Tamati as he worked to calm himself down. “I know…”

“W-What did you see?” wondered Zircon.

“I-It was gone,” he sniffled. “It was all gone.”

“I suppose that would be your greatest fear,” she admitted going from relieved to stiffling a snicker. “Well, should we wait for you or go on ahead while you… embrace your beloved rod?”

“I’m okay,” he said, getting back to his feet. “It’ll take more than the fear of being smooth to deter me for very long.”

Entering into the treasure room, Tamati quickly regained his sinister smirk. “This is an even greater collection than what Crysalis had and all of it will be added to my collection now too.” As he glanced at the number dark crystals and other magical artifacts, he searched for the one in particular that he had come to obtain in the first place. “The Element of Discord should be here as well.”

Stopping in front of a small locked chest, Tamati cautiously picked it up, weary after his last brash action. When nothing bad happened, he easily broke the chest open with strength alone and gleamed at the contents inside.

“Did you find something?” asked Zircon.

“As a matter of fact,” he answered as he turned around and showed off the Lockheart, now surrounded by a magical stone on both sides of it. “I did. That’s two down and one large step closer to ruling this world. Oh, I can hardly contain my excitement. I am really going to enjoy my time with my harem tonight. When we get into bed tonight, I’m gonna-”

“Again, too much information,” she told Tamati as she went back to Sunburst to help him gather all the dark artifacts for them to take back to the Changeling Hive. With Tamati alone once more, he couldn’t help grinning from ear to ear at his success. Then, something else caught his eye. It was something very small, red and pointed at one end while the other showed evidence it was chipped off. At first glance, it seemed like it was merely a broken fang, but as he took a closer look, the dark dragon grinned especially toothy.

“Oh hoh, it seems I’ve found yet another interesting trinket to take back home,” he smirked and grasped it in his claws.

“Hello and welcome one and all to another episode of Cooking with Media,” announced the food-loving Dragling as she stood before her counter with a number of ingredients and pans at the ready. “Today, we’re going to be preparing one of my favorite, tasty snacks of all times. It’s a yummy, little confection that’s baked in a pan and cut into squares to eat, usually accompanied by a cool, refreshing glass of milk. I, of course, am referring to super deluxe, triple fudge brownies!”

“Aren’t those the creatures that ponies enchant with their cuteness and catchy, sireny songs to lure them over to our world to devour?” asked Wedge to Biggs.

“No, that’s Bronies,” he corrected his friend as he pointed over to the pony food pyramid on the wall that listed bronies as the topmost item with apples in the blow beneath that. On the next level was one block for all other fruits and another, beside it, for veggies. Then, at the bottom holding all that up was the block for all things sweet. “And the ponies consider us monsters.”

“And now,” continued Media after going through most of the steps for making the brownies. She had mixed eggs, oil, water, and a number of other ingredients into a bowl, creating a shiny, brown glop. “We add some chunks of chocolate into the mix, stir it a bit more, and finally pour it into the pan we greased up earlier. Once we do that, we place the pan into our preheated oven and wait for about forty to forty-five minutes to let them bake. Once that is done, we let them sit to cool.” She did this and then picked up a plate with a batch she had made ahead of time. “And when they are done, we’ll remove them from the pan, cut them up and viola, we have some warm, chocolatey brownies, ready for consumption.”

“A-And you make those with that yummy stuff, with… chocolate, right?” drooled the Draglings as they drew nearer, the thought of their first taste of the sweet confection still fresh on their minds.

“Yes,” she answered, a bit uncomfortable to have them all so close to her to her while they were drooling with hunger to try more. “I’ve said so quite a lot throughout my demonstration and when you all asked me beforehand. These little squares are about as purely concentrated chocolate as anything can get.”

Hearing all that, the Draglings couldn’t help salivate in hungry anticipation as they hummed, “Chocolate~ <3”

“Uh, would you all like to try so-”

“We’d love to!” some of them answered her, but most just reached for the flat, square treats, clenching them in their claws in their haste to gobble them up before the others could take it away from them. The room was filled with violent hissing and snapping teeth as they fought over the highly coveted confections. Media nervously backed away, while the Changelings that had also been watching remained seated and spectated.

“Oh, I never realized cooking could be so entertainingly violent,” commented a giddy Wedge.

“Uh, sure,” replied Biggs, not able to do anything to diffuse a militia of Draglings on a rampage and choosing not to worry his chubby compatriot that this was not some scripted tomfoolery, but a riot in the making.

After several minutes, the plate was empty of brownies and shattered on the floor, however, the Draglings were not yet satiated from their chocolate craze. Glaring at Media, their look of hunger had only intensified from that small bit that most had barely gotten a taste and some none at all. “More!” they demanded.

“M-More will be r-ready in about an hour,” she stuttered.

“More now!” they told her losing patience.

“I-I don’t have any more,” she tried to tell them. Pushing his way through the hoard, Sting made his way to the front of the pack. Media sighed with relief, certain if anyone could take control of the situation and make it better, it was him. “Oh, Sting, I’m so glad that you’re-”

“Where can we obtain me?” he spoke, sounding every bit as frightening as their father to their enemies.

“N-Not you too,” she cried certain all hope was lost.

“Where?!?” he asked again, snarling a little.

“Um, well,” she trembled and looked over to the Pony Food Pyramid. “Ponies! They have lots of chocolate sweets and all kinds of other sugary-filled treats too. If you are all sneaky you can-”

“To war for chocolate!” announced Sting.

“YEAH!!!” roared the others, quickly rushing out of the room in stampede fashion.

“So, till we get an update from Spike,” Tamati told Cid as they approached from the corridor connected to the room. “We’ve got a bit of downtime around here.”

“Any plans how you want to use that time?” asked Cid. Tamati raised a claw, about to answer, but Cid added, “Besides that thing you usually do with your cock.”

“Uh, I’ll have to think about it,” answered Tamati smiling a bit embarrassed by that all too true remark. “Maybe I’ll-”

“Chocolate!” cried the Draglings as they burst through the door and ran down the hall. Tamati was quick to react, grabbing Cid and pressing his back against the wall as his crazed offspring rushed by.

“Whoa! Where’s the fire?” wondered the mighty dragon as his children were soon all gone, save for Media who poked her head out the door, winded from that frightful display.

“This won’t end well,” she said with a worried look.

“What won’t?” asked Tamati.

“Seems they all like chocolate a bit too much,” she admitted. “And… well, I told them where to get more.”

“Heheh,” chuckled Tamati. “Reminds me of when me and a few of my old friends first tried deep-fried gems back when we were young and prone to yield to our most primal urges.”

“Used to?” questioned Cid, raising an eyebrow.

“Well, some I still do,” he admitted not sounding guilty about it at all. “But for ones like these, the best way to learn self control is from experience.”

“Experience?” questioned Cid only to get a toothy smirk from Tamati as a response.

Towns all across Equestria appeared vacant as nobody dared to leave their homes. All the citizens were frightened that the swarm of creatures might still around or return to devour any sweet confections that they might have somehow missed during their invasion. Whole bakeries were reduced to rubble and food stands were smashed to bits. Even homes that were emitting pleasant cooking odors were not spared by these ravenous creatures and their hunger for that processed sugar.

Despite the destruction, the ponies in those towns managed to survive. The only ones injured were those who were unfortunate enough to be standing in between the Draglings and their food or those that were too stubborn to toss the muffin in their mitts and flee. Lucky for them, the Draglings immediately lost interest in them once they had eaten what they were after and then went elsewhere to consume more.

When one town was empty, they just all flew off together in a single direction, stopping only once another town came into sight and repeated their havoc once more just as sugar-crazed as ever. This terror continued for three straight days and nights, with over a dozen towns and even a few cities hit. By the time any help was able to be organized to combat the Draglings they had already moved on and continued to be much too quick to keep up with. And then, at the end of the third day, they were gone, without a trace. The ponies were still paranoid that they might return and most were too afraid to touch a mixing bowl, let alone bake again for the foreseeable future.

This was a nightmarish event that most could only describe as if a sugar-crazed Pinkie Pie came into town, only there was an army of her. What little more description some of the less traumatized ponies were able to tell the royal guard as they came to investigate was collected in Canterlot for further analysis. When newsponies went to interview Princess Celestia, she told them, with rapier drawn, “They may devour every last crumb of cookie, every last glob of pie, and every single scoop of icecream, but they will never ever ever!!! TAKE MY CAKE!!!”

Meanwhile, back at the Changeling Hive, the Draglings were experiencing the fallout of the chocolate craze too. In the infirmary, every bed was filled with every Dragling, save for Media, who was, instead, helping Biggs, Wedge, and a number of other Changelings care for them and their aching bellies.

“Ugh,” moaned Nat as he rubbed his big, bulging gut. “My stomach… What the hell did we eat?”

“Twice our body weight in sweets,” answered Sting, attempting to be strong, but even he could barely move after all that. “It might not have been our best idea or our finest hour, but we were victorious nonetheless.”

“And victory makes me wanna hurl,” breathed Zircon.

“Well, the good news is that you’ll all be better with a few days of rest,” Media told them. “Maybe even sooner, with some of my special cooking.”

Uncomfortable moans sounded throughout the ward. “Please, no more chocolate they,” begged.

“Don’t worry,” she assured them. “It’ll be something light. I’m certain you won’t want to eat anything sweet again… at least for a week.”

“Try ever again,” Nat corrected Media.

“No, a week,” Media corrected Nat. “Personal experience. Trust me. You don’t just quit chocolate. It is like an all consuming beast that will not stop until you submit to it.”

“Doesn’t that sound like someone we know?” asked Wedge to which Biggs merely gave him a look.

“Achoo!” sneezed Tamati as he was in the midst of his entire harem wrapped around his body like a blanket.

“Coming down with a cold?” asked Chrysalis, nibbling on her master’s ear.

“I don’t think so,” he smirked. “And why should I when I’ve got all of you to keep me warm?”

Chapter 8

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Spike feverishly scratched the tip of a quill to scroll paper as he worked to decipher another section of Twilight’s notes. “Almost got it,” he mumbled to himself as his mind raced to figure out the last few letters he had to change around to be able to properly translate the texts. Swapping out all the ‘Es’ for ‘Gs’ he scanned across the messy page of texts and corrections. He still had to rewrite the solved message on a fresh sheet of paper and send it to Tamati, but by the sound of a pony’s approaching hoofsteps, he was already out of time. Hastily, he hid all his notes on his desk and hurried back to where he was supposed to be restrained, attempting to shackle his body back to where Twilight had left him. However, as the doorknob to his room jostled, he saw that he didn’t have time to do so.

“Spike,” Twilight said as she entered his room. “It’s ti-” She stopped mid sentence as she came in to see her prisoner of a dragon, laying in his pile of hay and jerking his thick dragonhood off, aimed straight at her. “What in Celestia’s name are you doing?!?”

“Masteurbating,” answered Spike. “Isn’t it obvious with my erect cock, claws gently, but firmly clenched around it, and the fact that I’m a mature dragon trapped in his room, with nothing better to do? Oh, and I’d move out of the splash zone, if I were you. Unless you’re into that sort of thing, then by all means stay there.”

“Spike!” snapped Twilight as she used her magic to remove his claws from his junk and lift him off the ground. “I can’t believe you are still acting this disrespectful. Don’t you realize that if you can’t behave they’ll separate us.”

“Aren’t you already planning on sending me back to Canterlot and Celestia?” asked Spike. “Locking me up in my room and keeping me isolated certainly hasn’t given me any chance to become reformed or act like a ‘good dragon’ or whatever however you wanna phrase it.”

“Well, maybe if you can try to behave just a little,” suggested Twilight. “Maybe Celestia will give you a second chance. After all, when your egg was found abandoned, it was her who protected you until the day you ended up in my care.”

“And yet, after all this time she never did elaborate more on that story,” pointed out Spike. “Was I really abandoned? Maybe my egg was stolen from the Dragonlands and that was just a convenient lie to make me feel indebted to you all and believe you all cared about me. In truth, I’m just an experiment to see if those big, strong, dumb lizards can be domesticated into creatures the ponies can take advantage of. That’s all I am, in the end, aren’t I?”

“O-Of course not,” Twilight tried to tell him, but as he looked into her eyes she could tell he wasn’t accepting such a simple dismissal of his accusation.

“And being groomed into a life of cleaning your home, writing letters for you, occasionally being a guinea pig when you practice magic, and cooking for you and your friends, among dozens of other chores doesn’t sound like being a servant?” he pointed out. “Sure, you sugar-coated the whole thing by giving me the title of ‘Number One Assistant,’ and gave me rewards and praise… like one would when attempting to domesticate a wild animal. And now, because I’m behaving defiantly, this is what my life has become. Is this what a parent does to their child when they reach a rebellious phase, lock them up and threaten to send them away forever? Hardly! Now, just try to look me in the eye and tell me this is all just a huge misunderstanding.”

“I-I don’t know,” admitted Twilight, looking down at her hooves. “Maybe… but I’m certain your time with me hasn’t been as bad as you might be recalling it to be. Look at all you’ve got because you are in my care.”

Spike looked around his mostly barren room and then down at Twilight. “Yeah, it was quite the fun adventure… till I matured beyond the point you could easily control me. Now I’ve got nothing and can’t even have the simple pleasure to jerk myself off in my own room or should I call this my cell?”

“Please, don’t let things turn out this way,” begged Twilight. “If you don’t, Celestia will have no choice but to wipe your memory. You’ll forget all about your time with me and our friends and everything. Then, you’ll be taken back to the Dragonlands, just another wild fire-breathing lizard like all the rest of them.”

“I might just be a ‘fire-breathing lizard,’” commented Spike as he made air quotes with his claws. “But I do know when you aren’t being completely honest with me. You can’t even bare to look at me, meaning you must be hiding something, so just tell me the whole truth for once in your life!”

“You wanna know what’s really going to happen to you?” she sniffled and wiped her eyes dry. “Fine! Celestia really did want to see if dragons can be brought into pony society by raising them from newborns. They might not have all the same rights as ponies, but it is a hell of a lot better than the alternative she’s been using for centuries.”

“What alternative?” asked Spike as he grew intrigued at this new revelation.

“Capturing dragons and wiping their memories, turning them into miners to forage for gems in the caverns beneath Canterlot. They toil tirelessly to dig out the gems that have made Canterlot the wealthiest city in all of Equestria and quite possibly the world. If you don’t show that you can be a good dragon, that will be your fate too. I don’t want that to happen to the dragon that I raised from a newborn, to have your body pushed to exhaustion day after day digging mindlessly, your body getting scratched, injured and scarred with only enough care given to you so that you can return to toiling away for centuries, till you’re too broken to dig anymore and then picked apart for parts for potion-brewing and Celestia knows what else?” Looking up at Spike, tears running down her eyes, he could tell this wasn’t just something she made up to scare him into straightening out. This was really going to be his fate.

“I want to save you from ending up like so many dragons before you,” she sniffled. “But, it’s probably foolish to have such wishful thinking. I failed to raise you properly so there is no going back. Sorry Spike, but it looks like you’re going to be toiling away as a mindless slave for the rest of your life now.”

“Wasn’t that all I was doing before anyway?” he retorted, remaining aloof to what awaited him even though it was more horrible than he anticipated would happen to him. “The only difference is that it won’t have any of the frills to make it seem like anything but that.”

“You must know I care greatly about you,” Twilight told him. “And don’t try and tell me that’s a lie.”

“I know that isn’t,” he admitted. “You’ve gone to plenty of lengths to care for me. You comforted me when I had nightmares and cared for me when I was sick. For the first few years of my life I didn’t even realize I wasn’t a pony until you told me and I thought you were my mother. All those were precious memories to both of us, but, apparently, that doesn’t nearly add up to how badly you want to kiss Celestia’s flank. If it did we wouldn’t be in this situation. So, let’s just get this over with. I’m sure you’ll find some other way to kiss her ass.”

“Fine!” snapped Twilight, growing frustrated that her efforts to convince Spike to return to being the dragon he once was failed. Glaring at him as her sorrow ran down her cheeks, she had only one recourse left to her. “If you wanna be like a real dragon, so be it!” Her horn glowed brightly as she built up her magic power. “Then I should show you just what kind of life you are in for! This is how they put their dragons into bed at night in the mines!” With a blast of magic, Twilight created metal cuffs at the end of chains, clasping onto Spike’s arms, legs, neck, and tail before yanking him to his knees then flat on the ground. “How do you feel now?”

“Mmph,” groaned Spike as he lifted his head up a bit. “I guess more dragony, but I can easily break out of these chains if this is the best you can do.”

“Oh, we’re not done,” she added. “I still haven’t tucked you in yet!” More chains appeared out of the ground on either side of Spike, and draped over his back and then clung to the ground on the other side of his body. A half dozen were more than enough to restrain Spike at his current strength, but there were even more than that pinning him to the floor that he couldn’t even lift himself up. “Out of snarky responses now?”

“I never knew you had this spell in your repertoire, Twilight,” commented Spike. “Were you keeping it from me in case you ever needed to restrain me like this or do you just have a bondage fetish that I’ve never known about?”

“Cute,” she retorted dryly before using a bit more magic to transport a huge boulder right over Spike, dropping the heavy thing right on his back.

“Gah!” cried Spike, some flames spewing out of his maw as the wind was knocked out of him. “Okay, I was definitely asking for that,” he admitted.

“Normally, they don’t give a plushie for the dragons to sleep with,” she commented. “But that’s my personal touch. Anything more to comment on or do you want more plushies?” Spike remained silent. “That’s better, dragon. Now, the guards will be here shortly to take you to Canterlot. I’ll be expected to prepare you for transport.” Her horn glowed once more and a large blast of magic washed over Spike. At first, it didn’t feel like it had done anything, but then Spike felt unusually cold to the point he started to shiver.

“Wh-what was that?” he asked as his teeth started to chatter and his body shook, attempting to warm up.

“I nullified your flames,” she explained. “Like all dragons in the mines, it would be far too dangerous to allow you to keep your flames so this spell is used to keep them out. You feel cold now, but your body will adjust to being fireless in time.”

“No flames,” thought Spike, not accounting that such a spell would be used. “I can’t transport my findings to Tamati now. The girls better start soon before things get any worse.”

“And no for those wings,” added Twilight, as she cast another spell upon the dragon’s wings that she was careful not to cover over with the chains. As the magic hit them, Spike lost any feeling in them. He couldn’t make them flap or anything.”

“M-My wings?!?” he cried, trying his best to move them, but they remained still.

“The dragons in the mine don’t need their wings any more than their flames,” explained Twilight. “All the ponies need from them is their brute strength to dig. Do you still believe that your life was not that different from the lives those dragons were forced to live? You were probably the most fortunate dragon in the world, living a life of luxury compared to those in the wild and especially those enslaved. If you had just stayed as my Number One Assistant you would have continued to live a peaceful life, one that paved the way for more of dragon kind to be given. Instead, you threw it all away. Now it’s too late for apologies or begging for forgiveness. Once I imprint you with the tracking spell, you will be all set to be shipped out. Then, your memory will be wiped and you’ll forget everything. About who you are, all our friends, and about me as well. Goodbye, Spike… No, goodbye, dragon.”

“Hurry up, hurry up,” thought Spike through gritted teeth as he watched Twilight preparing the last spell she needed to cast upon him.

The Crystal Express rolled down the train tracks. It was making its way from the Crystal Empire straight to Canterlot. Each cart was filled up with the entire population of children from the conquered city. Every last one of them had been rounded up in the post war aftermath and were charmed into a calming daze for the trip, though many were starting to return to their senses and realized they had somehow gone from hiding during a war with creatures unlike anything they or their parents had ever seen to riding a train clear across Equestria, barely able to move in the overcrowded train car.

“What’s going on?” a child would ask as soon as their grogginess faded and saw they were squished between a number of other kids.

“No idea,” someone else would answer. “But I think if we stay on this train a while longer we’ll be in Canterlot.”

“Canterlot?” they’d cry in shock. “Just what in the world is going on? Why are we on this train? What about our parents? What were those things that invaded our home?”

“Nothing good, no idea, you are too young to know, and no idea again,” his questions were answered in the order they were asked.

“That didn’t really tell me anything,” he sniffled, worried about what was going to happen to them and he was not alone with all the other kids who were crammed into that train car and all the others.

“That spell we had Sunburst put on all the kids as we were rounding them up is starting to wear off,” Nat informed Sting, Media, and Zircon as he peek out of the window from the train’s engine room. They were operating the locomotive to transport all the foals, phillies, and colts to the Equestrian capital. Besides just the four of them, Flurry Heart was also with them, cradled in a baby carrier on Nat’s front. It had the words “World’s Best Mommy” written on it. “A few of them are already fully conscious.”

“Sunburst did say that it was just a temporary spell and we had to cast it on each one of them separately,” replied Zircon. “With so many, it’s to be expected that some might start to awaken before we reached the drop off point.”

“And once we bring the train to a stop there,” reminded Sting. “We must quickly take our leave for the hive. Hopefully the Canterlot guards won’t gather too quickly to investigate this unscheduled train arrival.”

“You sure you don’t want to just take on the whole military force of Canterlot on your own?” asked Nat. “You are our fearless leader after all.”

“No thanks,” yawned Sting as he stretched and sat down. He stared up at the ceiling, his vision blurring a bit as he felt ready to doze off. “I don’t know about the rest of you, but after today I could use a week of rest in bed.”

“Best suggestion I’ve heard all day,” agreed Nat.

“Wah!” cried Flurry Heart as she suddenly awoke from her nap and started to bawl her eyes out.

“Oh, come on,” cried Nat as he covered his ears. Carefully, he took her out of her carrier to gently rock her. “There, there. Everything is okay. Come on, look at the silly face.” Nat started puffing up his cheeks and sticking his tongue out. “She? Shilly thace.” Giggling, Flurry Heart smiled, relieving her weary caretaker, at least till she grabbed his long, serpent-type tongue and pulled on it. “Ow, at’s my ung, ot a oy. Pease on’t- ow! A ittle elp ere?”

“You’ve got this,” teased Zircon. “You are the world’s greatest mommy after all.”

“Ha ha ery- ow! unny,” he scoffed. “Ut erously.”

“I got her,” Media said, carefully taking Flurry Heart into her arms and getting her to release Nat’s tongue. She barely had Flurry Heart in her arms for more than a few seconds before Flurry was squirming, wanting Nat to hold her again. “But Zircon is kinda right. You do seem to have a knack for taking care of babies.”

“I’m just doing what I remember my mom did for me,” he admitted. “Kinda a good thing we matured so quickly. I don’t think I’d be able to remember so much otherwise.”

“I know what you mean,” agreed Media. “My mother was always cooking while taking care of me. She was trying out a lot of recipes for different baby foods to see which ones I’d like the most.” She rubbed her chubby belly as she recalled all that. “Heh, I ate really well.”

“How about you, Sting?” wondered Nat as he was once more given Flurry Heart. Cradling her in his arms, he soothingly rocked her from side to side. “I bet she trained you to wield a sword before you learned to walk.”

“No,” he retorted, finding some strength to get up and show some of his fighting postures he knew through muscle memory. Despite being just as fatigued as them, the way he moved looked like he was still up for fighting another round or two of battle. “Learning to balance and walk is a fundamental foundation for a warrior. After that, she trained me in hand-to-hand combat and worked to hone my body’s muscles and focus my mind before she’d so much as let me touch a weapon. Those were the most intense three days of my life.”

“She started training you the day you were born?” Media asked in disbelief.

“Day after,” he answered. “She wanted to have at least one day to see what it was like to be a nurturing mother. I don’t really remember that day all too well, but I think I prefer my mother as normally she is.”

“How about your mother, Zircon?” asked Media. “She was the queen of the Changelings before our father took over.”

“She still is and that means I’m the princess of not just that Changelings, but the Draglings, including all of you. As for how she raised me, she said there were three things I needed to be a proper ruler.” She extended a finger for each one she listed. “Fear, blindly loyal minions, a taste for revenge that can never be quenched, and the will to carry through with everything you do, especially revenge.”

“That’s four things,” counted Nat.

“The last two are mainly for getting revenge in general,” she specified. “Other than that, she’s always treated me as her little princess, even when I may not have wanted to be. She didn’t want me to come to this battle today, but I didn’t want to be the only one left at home while everyone else was fighting.”

“And you performed an infiltration that your mother will undoubtedly be proud of,” commented Sting. “I bet all our mothers will be proud of us.”

“Which is why I wish we got to head home to celebrate and rest with all the others,” sighed Nat as he let Flurry Heart resume napping on his lap. Petting her head, he couldn’t help smiling. “All the others got to go home, but dad picked us to deliver all the Crystal Empire’s children to safety. Wasn’t the point of our invasion to obtain the Element of Discord and turn the whole place into a love smorgasbord for us to feed on?”

“It was and we did,” Media answered him. “Papa got what he was looking for and now we have an area of concentrated love so strong we’ll never go hungry again. That being said, papa was abundantly clear that he didn’t want the younger ponies to get involved with the magic cast on the Crystal Heart and he wanted to ensure they were not left where they might not have anyone to care for them while all the adults were under magical influence. How did he put it, again?”

“Children are born pure and innocent when they emerge in this world,” Nat spoke in the best impression of Tamati he could manage. He even attempted to puff up his chest and flex his arm to imitate his godly muscular build. “Despite how lewdly we might be to bring them into it.”

“Pfft! Hahahah!” laughed Zircon, tearing up at Nat’s imitation, as did Media. “That’s actually pretty good.”

“That is funny,” agreed Sting, chuckling a little, though that about as expressive as he could typically be. “I guess that makes you the funny one of the group.”

“Yeah, I guess it does,” blushed Nat. “Hey, wait! You mean I wasn’t before?” There was a pause as they all looked at Nat’s bewildered face before laughing anew.

“Hey, guys,” Media informed the others as she peeked out the window. “I hate to end things when we are just starting to have fun, but looks like we’re here.”

“We’ll have to be quick,” reminded Sting as he gripped the break of the train and carefully pulled it, helping to slow it to a screeching halt. As he did this, Media tossed water into the engine’s burning coals to cool them down and bring it to a stop. Nat returned Flurry Heart to her carrier and then aided Zircon in gathering all their things together before they would take off. They then took a last look at the kids in the train car behind them before looking ahead at the station’s platform. To their dismay, there were already a few guards there, awaiting as the train was coming in so unexpectedly.

“The second the train stops,” said Zircon. “We’ll take off as quickly as we can. It doesn’t look like there are any Pegasi among the guards so even if they do spot us, they won’t be able to pursue.”

“The train’s almost at a complete stop,” Sting informed them. “Time to get going.”

Opening a window, the four Draglings were quick to fly out of it, Sting taking the lead with Nat at the rear. A couple of the guards near the front of the train did notice them fly out, but remained focused on the train as it came to a stop and prioritized seeing what was on board.

As the doors opened and a flood of children poured out, they quickly became too distracted by all the refugees they were given to even pay the Draglings any more attention while they were peacefully making their escape. Some of the guards hurried to call for further assistance while the others did this best to calm the kids, nearly all of them back to their senses at this point.

It didn’t take long for the guards to learn about what became of the Crystal Empire and of the creatures behind the attack. It also didn’t take long for that news to travel all the way to the very top and be brought to Princess Celestia and Princess Luna’s attention.

“That such a thing could happen to a place like the Crystal Empire in but a day,” stated Luna. “How could it be possible?”

“I don’t know, but it just means that we must take equally bold action in response,” Celestia told her sister.

“Are you certain that it is a good idea to bring those two into the hive?” questioned Cid.

“You mean Shiny and Cadence?” replied Tamati as he addressed his loyal subordinate while sitting atop his throne. In his palm he held the Lockheart. Turning his attention away from the little Changeling, he gazed down at it like a child who had just received a new toy. Seeing the shiny, Element of Discord that had just been added to it, he could hardly wait to see what new power it granted him. But, for the time being, other matters took a higher priority. He looked back towards Cid, but suddenly found his train of thought lost. “Uh, what was the problem again?”

“Those two ponies you brought back with you!” cried Cid. “I don’t know if this was mentioned before, but a while back we had this whole take over Equestria plot. Chrysalis impersonated Cadence and attempted to use her marriage to Shining Armor as a means to invade Canterlot. Long story short, it didn’t end well for us and I doubt they will be on very friendly terms after all that, even if they are all now in your harem.”

“A valid concern,” admitted Tamati. “The Lockheart allows me to make any female I gaze at become infatuated with me. Early on, it seems to completely overwhelm their sense of self to the point they are just lusting after me. However, the really interesting thing about this is that the magic doesn’t wear off, but rather melds with the target, returning them to their senses, but still completely infatuated with me. It’s quite remarkable.”

“How long till that happens?” wondered Cid.

Scratching his chin to give his underling the best answer he could, Tamati responded with, “The time varies a bit, but probably after a few hours at least. Ponies as powerful as them should be quick to recover. By now, I’d say they have fully awakened and are preparing with the others.”

“Dare I inquire what exactly they are preparing for?” Cid asked, already getting a bunch of lewd images in his mind. Tamati smirked, looking quite amused at his facial expressions. “Actually, don’t tell me. Knowing you it’ll be something very kinky.”

“Are you disgusted, turned on, or jealous?” questioned Tamati, with a sly smirk.

“Yes,” Cid told him simply, causing the dragon to pound his palm on the arm of his throne and laugh heartily.

“Fair enough,” he admitted. “But this is to be more than to celebrate our victory and make me forget that horrible vision of my crotch made smooth.”

“What was that?” remarked Cid, hearing those words accidentally slip from his master’s lips.

“Nothing,” responded Tamati quickly as he averted his gaze. “But, as I was saying, this is important because I want to ensure my harem continues to get along. I’ve enjoyed their company all together and I’ve given them each personal time with me too. Now, I’m gonna try something a bit different to help them build a sisterhood amongst one another. As we speak, the members of my harem are preparing themselves for a larp.”

“I don’t think I’ve heard of that,” admitted Cid. “Is it what you did that one time with the ladder, the whipped cream, and the tuba?”

“No, and I’d prefer if we don’t bring up that little debacle ever again,” he retorted. “A larp as in live action role play. They’re all getting dressed to play and I can already imagine what they’re going to look like.”

“Chrysalis will be an icy hot beach babe,” he fantasized with a pervy grin on his face. In the image he created of her, she was dressed in an itsy bitsy teeny weeny, yellow polka dot bikini. Such little fabric was used it was more like she just had spaghetti strings on around her chest and waist. Her pussy was on full display, as was here rear with the bikini bottom stuck in the former’s lips and the latter's crack. Her breasts were almost as bare as the front of her melons were held in place by the skinny strands in a spiderweb design.

The most coverage Chrysalis had on her entire body was on the soles of her feet thanks to the matching sandals she had on. Her hair was bound in a ponytail and a pair of black sunglasses rested atop her head. Grasped in her fingers, she held the stick end of a long, red, cherry popsicle. Every so often she’d bring it to her maw, wrap her tongue around it to lick at it, and then take the entire thing into her mouth to slowly suck on it while sliding it back out.

“I’ll let you suck on my popsicle if you’ll let me have a taste of yours,” she spoke cooly and then ran her tongue hungrily across her lips.

“Heheh, my popsicle,” murred Tamati as he continued to imagine such a sexy Chrysalis.

“Uh, your popsicle is dripping,” commented Cid, seeing Tamati’s cock become fully erect while he let his mind wander and it was even starting to leak pre that dripped onto the ground below.

“Um,” blushed Tamati, a bit embarrassed to be so hard when he was merely fantasizing about his harem instead of being with them. “Well, it’s my throne room so I’m allowed to be horny in it if I want to be.”

“I won’t argue with you there,” replied Cid.

“Meanwhile, Cadence will come in as a seemingly prim and proper teacher,” Tamati murmured to himself as he continued to psyche himself for what was to come. “She’ll act like a no nonsense teacher, but that only belies one who lusts for bad boys.”

Cadence appeared in Tamati’s mind now, dressed in a violet suit and pants, buttoned up. Emblazoned on the chest pocket of her jacket was the Crystal Heart. Under that, she had on a white collared shirt with golden cuff buckles in the shape of hearts. She had on reddish brown shoes on her feet and golden rimmed spectacles rested upon the bridge of her nose. Her hair of pink, purple, and yellow hues was wrapped up on a bun, save for a stream of hair that ran down her head on both sides just in front of her ears.

Clasped in her one hand was a ruler. As she looked down at the misbehaving student, in Tamati’s fantasy, himself, she slapped the other end of the ruler on her palm in a slow, repetitive manner. She stared at him with cold eyes and an unreadable expression.

“So, you like being naughty,” she finally spoke. Her lips then curled up on one side into a smirk. “Very well, then. Let me show you what we do to bad boys in detention.”

Slapping the ruler down onto her table, she brought her hand up to the bun of hair on her head. Plucking the load bearing hairpin, she pulled it out and the whole do came undone. Her long hair unfurled all the way down to her waist in a ruffled, messy manner, a stark contrast to how prim and proper she appeared before.

Next, Cadence removed her glasses from her face and sat them down on the table. Following that, she unbuttoned her suit’s jacket, letting it slide down her shoulders and arms and fall to the ground behind her. Unbuttoning her collared shirt next, she more energetically tossed that away, letting it land atop the classroom’s world globe. Without those layers on her, Cadence only had on a black, frilly bra on her top half. She didn’t touch that and instead undid her violet pants, unbuttoning and unzippering them so they could easily slide down her slender legs and show the matching panties she had on.

Kicking off her shoes, she then stepped fully out of her pants and approached her student in detention, sitting seductively upon his deck with her breasts placed inches from his snout. “Time for my naughty student to get caught up on his lessons,” she cooed to him, gently caressing his face to further entice him. She then guided his claws to her breasts, encouraging him to fully expose her apples. “Do a good job and afterwards we can work on getting you some extra credit.” With a finger, she tugged on the elastic of her panties, hinting at what exactly that entailed.

“Uh, what are you doing?” questioned Cid, staring at Tamati as he reached out to grope the air.

“Um, catching up on my class assignments,” he admitted. “Uh, you don’t have to stay if you don’t want to. And by that, I mean, leave… now.”

“If you insist,” Cid replied as he turned to leave. He stifled a snicker, but a bit of it slipped out. Fortunately, Tamati had already begun to submerge himself into his next big fantasy.

“My dear Shiny is next,” thought Tamati as he struggled to keep from brandishing his dick, the thick member already throbbing with delight as much as the rest of the dragon was. “She will take on a more caring role, a nurse with such an adorable arousing bedside manner.”

The image of Cadence in a classroom was pushed aside as a hospital room took its place. Tamati was in a bed, his stiffy still there as massive as ever. Even under the cover of a blanket it stood at a slight arch, pitching a tent. Tamati paid it little mind as he saw his beloved former stallion coming forward for his checkup. “And how is my patient doing today?” she asked with a cheerful smile that was like a ray of sunshine.

“Doing well, now that you are here,” he blushed at how adorably cute she sounded as well as how she appeared in her outfit.

Cupping her breasts were a pair medical masks made into a makeshift bra, however, despite managing to hold back her girls, the strings didn’t look like they were going to hold out forever. Around Shiny’s neck was a stethoscope and crowning her head was a medical hat with the red cross symbol marked on it. Her delicate pair of sideways lips were covered and sealed by a single Hello Kitty bandaid.

“It’s time to take your temperature,” she said to him, her sweetness so intense Tamati could feel cavities coming to his teeth.

Tamati just beamed back at her, feeling better just being in her presence yet wished he could just remain ill to have her by his bedside forever. “Ok, I’m ready,” he told her. “Just remember, I’m a dragon so don’t be surprised that it’s so high.”

“I won’t forget,” she assured him with a smile that would have made real sunshine seem dim in comparison. She climbed atop his bed and carefully pulled his blanket down to his knees to expose his all to obvious erection.

“Uh, don’t you need a thermometer?” asked Tamati, his dick throbbing even more as her fingers gently held it in front of her.

“Oh, such a silly,” she giggled, petting his cockhead. “I’ve got it right here.” Reaching down, she peeled off the bandaid, allowing her to slowly slide his dick into her. Almost immediately she started to moan as it filling and stretched her insides a bit. “Oh~ so hot. You must really be running a fever!”

“But I feel fine,” he admitted. “Better than ever, in fact.”

“That’s a relief to hear,” she smiled before adding. “But, perhaps, I should study you more closely to make certain you are.”

“Please do,” he drooled with lust. “Please do.”

“Pfft!” came a faint snickering that slipped out of the otherwise silent room and freed Tamati from his latest fantasy. Remaining still, but ever so slightly adjusting his gaze, he saw a small group of Changelings staring up at him with their muzzles plugged to keep them quiet. However, Wedge had slipped up and Biggs was trying to hush him quiet.

“Shh!” whispered Biggs. “He’ll hear you.”

“I can’t help it,” Wedge whispered back. “This is hilarious.”

“I know,” Cid told him. “That’s why I went and got you all, but he’s gonna kill us if he knows we’re here.”

“Being dead is one thing none of you will have to worry about me doing to you,” snarled their embarrassed king. “Now you all best get out of my sight before I decide to delicately tear you apart piece by piece with a giant pair of tweezers!”

In a panic, at the thought of meeting such a gruesome fate, the Changelings quickly fled to escape Tamati’s wrath. Once they were all gone, the dark dragon snorted some soot out of his nostrils as he attempted to relax once more and let his mind fantasize freely again. “Hmm… who else now,” he pondered. “Uh, and Elyta… heh, knowing her she’s come in as a berserker warrior. Hardly different from how she normally is, but that can be damn sexy too.”

Slipping into his latest fantasy, Tamati envisioned the born warrior Changeling standing in the midst of a battlefield with the same relaxed demeanor one would have when going out on a simple picnic. The key difference was that rather than a basket full of snacks and food held in one hand and a blanket wrapped around the other, she was clasping a broadsword almost as long as she was tall in both. Even with all her strength, she had to let it drag behind her, only able to truly wield it for brief moments when she gathered every ounce of strength she could muster. However, when she did raise her sword to strike, it’s sheer weight was enough to mercilessly cleave through any opponents in its path like a hot knife into butter.

Elytra wore the pelt of a gray wolf on her back, It’s hide tanned and bound to her arms and legs with leather straps. Atop her head she wore the skull of the beast as a helmet while it’s teeth dangled from a string around her neck. The only thing covering her chest was some tape that was wrapped out her body to keep her breasts bound back and out of her way. Her waist was covered in a loincloth made of extra material from the wolf hide she had on.

The only other thing covering her body was the blood of her enemies adding a second color to her normally Changeling Black hue. None of it was her own nor did she spill any during the battle as any foes foolish enough to even attempt to get close to her were quickly fell by the sheer speed at which she revealed she could go from dragging her blade to instantly perform a three hundred sixty degree spin with it. When she did, all her muscles bulged huge revealing her full might while her eyes were so focused and cold even in the face of her enemy’s cries of anguish.

As the last of her foes were cut down, she released the handle of her sword and slipped off her helmet, letting it fall carelessly to the ground. She then approached Tamati, who after imagining all this couldn’t help feeling as much frightened as he was turned on by her now. Standing before her king, she looked at him just as fiercely as she had to all her enemies.

“Um, uh, very nicely done,” he managed to say to her, not sure how else to congratulate someone for single-handedly slaughtering an army. “How may I reward you for your valiant efforts?”

“I suppose you could let me sleep with you tonight,” she said as she turned her head away from him and blushed. “Baka.”

“Come to think of it,” admitted Tamati as he ended that fantasy of his. “That’s probably not all that much different than how she would normally be.” He chuckled a bit and rubbed his head. “Perhaps I should hold off on any more fantasizing, at least till they actually get here.” Tamati’s ears perked up as the sound of footsteps approaching caught his attention. Immediately, his heart leapt with excitement. “And it seems my wait is finally over.”

Watching the entrance to his throne room, the dark dragon witness as a figure in a black robe appeared. Smirking, he already felt intrigued at what was to come. However, that smile was quick to fade as they spoke. “I am the one who guides the pieces of your fate,” spoke a voice that was clearly male. “Cast your die and try to survive my warriors, traps, and beasts born from the lowest pits of Tartarus. Can our brave heroes conquer the maze and fulfill their destiny or will the world fated to be forever enveloped in darkness and despair. This can only be answered once we start playing.” Grabbing his cloak, he pulled it off to reveal that it was Sunburst, dressed in his wizard’s cloak and a matching wizard’s hat that was almost twice the size of his head. The pointed tip drooped a bit due to a trio of bells weighing it down. There were more bells around the hats rim that constantly and annoying jingled at the slightest movement Sunburst made. Covering up his orange beard he had a much larger gray one that covered over most of his face and almost touched the floor. Aside from all this, he was still not wearing anything underneath his cloak. In his hand, he held a staff looked like a magical artifact with an eye-like gemstone on the top, clenched in a hand, but Tamati could tell it was merely a prop made to appear like an old, magical artifact. “This is Ogres and Oubliettes: Quest for the Dragon Balls.”

“Sunburst,” groaned Tamati, looking at his dick, turning soft and spongy with disappointment. “You’re killing my boner.”

“Oh, s-sorry your majesty,” he apologized in his normal voice.

“And why are you still mostly naked?” he asked, not wishing to fantasize him in the buff let alone see him like this in reality either.

“Starlight hasn’t returned my clothes to me since we arrived,” he explained, a bit embarrassed. He was still under Zircon’s magical bewitchment from the Crystal Empire.

“We’ll try and find you some pants later,” sighed Tamati. “Now, get out of here. I’m about to have some role play fun with my harem and you are ruining the mood.”

“No, I’m setting the mood,” he explained. “When I heard you were planning to do this, well, I couldn’t pass up a chance to be part of a larp. I know I’m not in your harem, but I have led dozens of campaigns in my time, so I can confidently assure you I’ve got the experience.”

Tamati was silent as he considered either going full rage mode at this annoying twist to his expectations or to just go along with it. “Are the girls all ready?” he finally spoke.

“Uh huh,” he nodded. “And eager to be introduced. I know you had certain expectations for this LARP, but there’s nothing you need to worry about. I’ve got it covered.”

“...Send them in,” instructed Tamati.

“If this doesn’t work out, I can always rage out later,” thought Tamati.

Trapped by both his big mouth and the chains and boulder that Twilight used to pin him to the ground, Spike was helpless to do anything as Twilight charged up her magic once more to implant the tracking spell onto him. Her magic crackled with a mixture of both her sorrow and anger at the dragon before her for pushing the situation to this point. Clenching her teeth and shutting her eyes to let the tears leak out, she looked just about ready to cast the spell.

“Hurry up,” sweated Spike as he could only see a life of servitude in his future if that spell hit him. “If you girls are gonna do something, it has to be now.”

There was a lifesaving knock at Spike’s door. It was quiet, but with how tense the room was at that moment it startled Twilight, causing her to misfire her spell. The trajectory of the spell was off making it miss hitting Spike and instead blasted away a chunk of the ground. Seeing the damage that spell caused, Spike swallowed hard. “And that was the tracking spell?”

“I’ve gotta use a lot of power to get it deep in that overgrown body of yours,” explained Twilight. “I’m sure that magic blast would do no more than sting your hide anyway, dragon.”

Swatting away the magical smoke from her horn, Twilight made her way to the door of Spike’s room. The pony on the other side knocked again, but Twilight waited till her horn was completely cooled down before opening the door just enough to stick her head out of it.

“Hello?” she said looking out of the room before seeing it was Sweetie Belle. “Oh, hello, Sweetie Belle. Uh, what are you doing here?”

“I was just wondering if you had any time on your hands to give me another magic lesson,” she inquired.

“A magic lesson, right now?” she replied, trying to look back at Spike, but couldn’t see him while she kept her head sticking through that narrow opening in the door and she couldn’t budge and risk Sweetie Belle finding out what she was doing to him. If word got out then there was a very real chance that it’d lead right to Celestia’s dragon mining conspiracy. Twilight sweated, imagining what a disaster it would be if she was the one who leaked such a deep, dark secret to all of Equestria. “I’m kinda a little busy at the moment.”

“Oh, shoot,” she sighed, acting innocent and oblivious to what Twilight was hiding in the room behind her. Knowing that her beloved Spike was being treated like some mindless and dangerous beast was upsetting her fiercely. Her fist was clenched in anger and it was all she could stand having a friendly conversation with this mare that was about to send him away forever. As she looked at Twilight she couldn’t help thinking of simply attacking her to protect her beloved and then romantically fly off into the sunset with him and they’d live happily ever after. That was what she wished she could do, but Spike gave her and the others very specific instructions to avoid doing anything that would reveal them as his accomplices. Sweetie Belle kept her promise, loving Spike’s hot and sexy bod more than she hated Twilight’s guts.

“Well, I guess I’ll have to come back later,” she continued. She started to turn away, to Twilight’s delight, but then turned back to her. “Oh, out of curiosity, what are you doing in there? Isn’t that Spike’s room?”

“Spike’s room?” Twilight replied nervously. This was not where she wanted the conversation to turn to. She quickly considered the pros and cons of lying versus telling the truth and what follow up questions Sweetie might follow up with to either response. Twilight also considered the possibility of Spike suddenly calling out for help being the nail in both her and Celestia’s coffins. “Y-Yes, this is Spike’s room,” she finally answered her.

“Well, how is Spike?” she wondered. “I’ve heard he was missing for a while. Is he back?”

“He… is,” answered Twilight, keeping her answers short and doing her best to sound like she wasn’t Twilighting.

“Well, what was that explosion I just heard?” she asked, attempting to look inside, but Twilight refused to let her in.

“Just a small mishap,” she lied. “He was helping me practice some more advanced spells and, well, that last one still needs some work.”

“Then I guess that wasn’t meant to be a spell to blow stuff up,” she assumed.

“Well, we’ve got a bit of cleaning up to do, so why don’t you run along for now,” Twilight told her.

“I guess I could come back tomorrow,” she started to say, failing to get Twilight to leave the room in a discreet manner. Turning her head, she was prepared to simply blast Twilight with a spell that was meant to blow stuff up. Her horn glowed pale green as she built up some magic. Compared to the Alicorn she was far weaker in ability, but while her guard was down she felt confident she could take her down with one strike, consequences be damned. Taking a calming breath, Sweetie Belle was ready to turn and send a blast of magic right into Twilight’s lying face.

Before that could happen, Spike let out a few noisy coughs, to get both of their attention. Twilight’s worry increased at this worst case scenario occurring. Seeing that panic on her face, Sweetie Belle saw the opening her beloved dragon had provided her. “Are you sure Spike’s okay?” she questioned Twilight, pretending to make an effort to peek inside the room.

Clenching the side of the door tightly with her fingers, Twilight continued to play defense and keep her from getting through. “Oh, Spike is fine,” she assured her. “You know how dragons are exhaling fire and smoke. I’m more surprised he doesn’t have coughing fits all the time.”

“I don’t recall him ever having them,” she commented. “Maybe we should check to make sure he’s feeling okay.”

“No!” cried Twilight perspiring as she attempted to find some way to convince Sweetie Belle not to come in. “Which is why there’s no need to worry,” Twilight tried to explain and hope that Spike didn’t make any more noise. Perking her ears up, she could hear Spike subtly clearing his throat. Sweetie didn’t hear this sound, but the Princess of Friendship was certain another series of loud coughs were on their way. With no other choice, Twilight had to tempt the young adult Unicorn away quickly.

“Actually, why don’t we head over to my library,” Twilight suggested. “I think I have just the magical compendium that would be just the thing you’d need to help you practice your magic and even teach you a few new spells.”

“Uh, well,” Sweetie acted, pretending to be choosing between checking on Spike and going to get the book. “That sounds like just the thing I could use. Thanks, Twilight.”

“Any time,” the Alicorn smiled as she slipped out of the room and closed the door. “I’ll help you find the book and then, if you wouldn’t mind, could you please be on your way. I’m still quite a bit busy around here.”

“Sure thing, Twilight,” smiled Sweetie Belle giving her best deceptive look of joy she could manage.

“Hahah!” the two both though as they made their way down the hall to Twilight’s library. “She took the bait, hook, line, and sinker.”

“That was too close,” sighed Spike with relief. “But we’re not out of danger yet.” Spike turned his neck as best as he could manage to the hidden tunnel and called to it. “Pinkie, Applebloom, Scootaloo, are you three ready? This is our chance.”

“We’re all set,” Applebloom said as they quickly entered Spike’s room. “Sorry it took so long. This potion was a might tougher to brew than we thought and then we ran into a problem concerning the serving size.”

“I’m sure you all did the best you could, but let’s save the debriefing for later and just get me out of here,” he told her. “Twilight’s arranged her library so that she can find books a full five seconds faster and, for the first time in my life, I’m starting to see what a difference that can make.”

“Then drink up!” Pinkie told Spike, pulling the cork off a potion bottle and putting it to his lips so that he could chug it all down. As the weird mix of ingredients hit Spike’s tongue, it tasted as terrible as any other potion he ever had the displeasure to ingest. However, for the sake of his escape, he chugged the whole contents of the bottle down as quickly as he could and waited.

“How long is this gonna take?” he asked as he turned to his door. “Twilight won’t need much time to find the book and I doubt Sweetie will be able to keep her distracted much longer either.”

“Zecora said it should start acting almost immediately,” answered Scootaloo before she noticed a change in Spike. It was faint at first, but she was able to tell that he was reducing in size. “There you go, Spike. You’re shrinking.”

“Not want I wanted to do, after finally getting so big,” he admitted. “But it’ll just be temporary for my escape from here.”

More and more Spike’s size dwindled away, quickly reverting him more towards his original size before Tamati had taken him under his wing. Spike still retained a lot of the gut he had put on, along with his muscle mass, but most had become temporarily lost with the effects of the potion. However, it was also making it possible for Spike to slipped out of the chains and also fit into the hidden tunnel so that he could covertly escape right under Twilight’s nose.

Once Spike’s size reduced by half, he was able to slip his limbs out of the chains binding his arms and legs so that he could quietly remove the boulder off his back. By the time he had shrunk a bit more, he had gotten the rest of the way out of his bindings and placed an ear on his door to listen for any sign of Twilight’s return.

“It’s still quiet,” he told his rescuers. “But I doubt it will stay that way for long.”

“Then we should make like a tree and leaf,” suggested Applebloom. “Aren’t you small enough yet?”

“Let me check,” he replied as he hurried to the hole and tried to fit himself in. “Mmph! Just a little bit more or rather less of me and then I should be good. You three go on in for now and I’ll be right behind you. “I’ve gotta grab a few things to take with me.”

“Okay, but be quick,” Scootaloo told him. “We don’t want our large, sexy dragon to get into any trouble.”

“Even though he’s more like a medium, sexy dragon now on his way to a small,” joked Pinkie.

“So long as I’m sexy,” chuckled Spike giving the three of them the biggest hug his shrinking body could offer them. “Note to self, I owe Sweetie one hug.”

As Pinkie and two thirds of the CMC escaped through the tunnel, Spike gathered up his notes on the Elements of Discord and Twilight’s book he had been decrypting. Exhaling a big breath, Spike tried to breathe fire and found he was still unable to. He attempted to open his wings up afterwards and saw they were also still disabled. With both of those still rendered useless to him, Spike stuffed his research materials into his backpack before giving the door one final check.

“Twilight sure made things a lot harder for me,” he admitted as he listened at the door once more and could hear the sound of several footsteps approaching. Several sounded metallic as they walked across the crystal floors. “Sounds like the guards are here to take me away. Hopefully too little too late.”

Returning to his hidden escape route, Spike attempted to fit his body through it once more. It was still a tight fight, but one he could manage, taking his backpack of research materials along with him. Before making his prison break, Spike looked back at his room, realizing this was the final time he would ever set foot into it. Spike felt a tear come to his eye and run down his cheek. Stealing his resolve, he wiped it away and then proceeded to slip into the tunnel. He made certain it was covered up before squirming his way through the passage not certain how long it would take Twilight to uncover it, but he hoped just long enough that he’d be long gone before then.

“I wonder what’s taking Spike so long,” worried Applebloom as they waited halfway through the tunnel for their draconic master to reach them. “He should be small enough to easily fit in here by now.”

“Maybe the potion didn’t work as well as we had hoped,” considered Scootaloo. “Or it wore off too soon and he’s stuck now.”

“I’m sure he would have called to us if he was having trouble fitting,” Applebloom responded.

“He wouldn’t be able to if he was caught,” Pinkie Pie whimpered at the thought. “If Twilight returned before he could leave then that would be the end for him.”

“Maybe we should go back to see if he needs help,” Scootaloo suggested, wanting so badly to go back for their purple-scaled dragon. The others were equally anxious to do so as well.

“As much as I’d love to, the last thing Spike would want is for us to end up in danger too,” Pinkie Pie reminded them. “Remember, he doesn’t want us getting into trouble for helping him. He might not be able to forgive himself if something were to happen to any of us.” Looking at Pinkie and then lowering their heads, Applebloom and Scootaloo knew she was right. As much as they would have liked to go back for their master, they could only wait for him.

“Hello?” they suddenly heard their beloved’s voice a bit back in the tunnel. “Pinkie Pie? Applebloom? Scootaloo?” they heard him call to them. “Uh, can I get some help? Also, I need to ask you something.”

“Works for me,” stated Scootaloo before they all crawled with all haste back towards Spike. His backpack soon came into view and they crowded around it, certain Spike was close by, but what they found upon getting to it was a Spike that was even smaller than when he first arrived in Ponyville so many moons ago.

“Oh, uh, hey, Spike,” Applebloom greeted him with a nervous smile. “Um, looks like the potion really did the trick.

“Yeah, a bit too well,” he agreed, his size still diminishing. “For a while it was fine. I was able to move through the tunnel quickly, but then I kept on getting smaller till my backpack got too heavy for me and it seems the potion hasn’t stopped yet.”

“About that,” Applebloom attempted to explain the situation to him. “Remember how I was trying to talk to you about the serving size for the potion?”

“Yeah,” he nodded, having to look up higher the more his size left him. He was getting close to how big he was when he first hatched, though only in terms of overall mass. Spike hoped his size wouldn’t get reduced much more, but seeing the world around him only feeling larger made him doubt he was finished shrinking just yet.

“Well, the original formula was for shrinking a Pony,” Applebloom continued to explain. “So we tried to figure out how much we needed to shrink a Pony of your size to fit in the tunnel and then we tried to calibrate the recipe for a dragon. That was at least the idea, but we had no idea how much more we needed to add so we gave it our best guestimation. Heh, looks like we gave you a little too much.”

“A lot too much,” stated Spike. “So, on top of Twilight sealing my abilities, I’m gonna be tiny for who knows how long.”

“Twilight sealed away your abilities?” questioned Scootaloo as she took over carrying Spike’s backpack to lighten his load. “So you can’t breathe fire now?”

“Or send scrolls,” he added. “She cast a spell on my wings too so I can’t fly either.”

“I know how rough that can be,” Scootaloo sighed. “To be unable to do something you should be naturally able to.”

“Just who does Twilight think she is doing that to you?” snapped Applebloom angrily. “You and Twilight were supposed to be thick as thieves and she goes and does this to you just cause you are maturing into a mighty sexy dragon.”

“I’m afraid this is just the start of it all,” he admitted, averting his eyes. “I’ll spare you all the details, but right now I’ve gotta get out of town fast. I don’t have the luxury to wait for this magic to wear off on me. The second Twilight realizes I’m gone she’ll have the whole town sealed off just to find me.” Spike stopped to look back down the cave, unable to tell if it had been discovered yet, but felt fairly confident it hadn’t yet. “What are we gonna do about this tunnel? It’s going to lead right back to your party cave, isn’t it?”

“Don’t worry about that,” Pinkie Pie assured him. “I’ve taken some time to add in a few extra routes a bit further up. Some don’t lead anywhere and others lead to a few other hidden exits. We’ll collapse a few as we go to keep Twilight guessing which way you could have escaped by. That should throw suspicion off of us as well.”

“That’s pretty clever,” admitted Spike. “Now, I just gotta find a way to travel really far, really fast without being seen. If we can figure that out then I should be golden.”

“Well, when I’d get too tired from hauling apples, back on the farm, when I was younger,” commented Applebloom. “Big Mac or Applejack would carry me. Maybe all we gotta do is get somepony to carry you to where you need to go.”

“Without them knowing they are doing it?” questioned Spike. “And this place isn’t somewhere ponies tend to even travel to very often. I’m talking all the way to Griffinstone. That’s not exactly within walking distance and just how could I stay hidden with all my things too?”

“Why do you need all this stuff for anyway?” wondered Scootaloo, taking a peek in, but didn’t really try and figure out what all of his decoding notes even meant before closing it back up. “What is it?”

“Some research for a friend,” Spike answered. “One that I’d like you all to meet some day, but for right now, it’ll have to wait. I wish I could just get to them, but that would be even more impossible now. The least I figure I could do is give them a hand with their work and meet up with them later once I’m able to. It’s a pity I can’t just use my flame breath to send all this stuff to them.”

“It sure is,” agreed Scootaloo. “But that actually gives me an idea of just how we can get you to Griffinstone without anyone even realizing they are taking you.”

“Oh, what is it?” wondered Applebloom.

“I’ll tell you once we get back together with Sweetie Belle,” she said. “So let’s hurry up.”

“Actually,” Spike called to them once more. “I might need a bit more help with travel.”

“Uh, where to?” asked Pinkie, turning to see Spike’s size was now comparable to a mouse’s.

“Traveling the rest of the way through this tunnel,” he answered. “It’ll take me hours moving at this size and even longer if I get even smaller.”

“Don’t worry,” giggled Pinkie, picking up the little lizard and slipping him between her big, soft breasts. “Just ride in here and we’ll get you to your destination in no time.”

“Actually, you can take your time,” he blushed, getting comfy between those two oversized balloons of hers. “I don’t get the chance to travel in such luxury very often.”

“Will do,” smiled Pinkie as she offered Spike a cookie, the single confection huge at his current size. “Cookie?”

“Yes, please,” he salivated with hunger. Grabbing it and biting into the sweet, he enjoyed himself as he was carried off. Gently bouncing between Pinkie’s breasts, Spike was starting to see some advantages to his diminutive stature.”

“Welcome one and all,” announced Sunburst as he spoke in a spooky voice. The lights in the room had been dimmed and the only illumination available was the flashlight shining upon the stallion’s hooded face. “Welcome to a world of magic and wonder, a world filled with brave warriors, wicked beasts, divine Gods and sinister demons.”

“And one dragon growing increasingly more impatient for this thing to get started,” interrupted Tamati as he sat on his throne and waited for things to get sexy.

“As the Dungeon Master it is an important part of my role to set the mood for all the players, so that they can become immersed in the game,” Sunburst explained.

“Well, hurry up or I might decide to immerse you in some gravy and eat you,” threatened the dark dragon, his red glowing eyes piercing through the darkness.

“Uh, it is a land of heroes, villains and all those in between,” continued Sunburst, as he suddenly realized just how long this intro he had memorized was. He could hear Tamati tapping a claw on his arm rest as his patience continued to wane and he had to get things moving fast. “A world of, uh lots of other stuff too. This is the world of Ryutopia! Now, may our players four step forward into this world and introduce yourselves.”

Sunburst went silent and shined the light over at the entrance to the room. Tamati turned to look over there, but there was nothing for him to see save for quiet emptiness. After a minute passed, Sunburst started to worry that something had gone wrong. Approaching the passage too and from the throne room, he whispered through it. “Hey, that’s your cue to start coming in.”

“Oh, uh, sorry,” apologized Cadence. “We’ll be right out.”

Tamati and Sunburst continued to wait, hearing as the four girls were heading on over, but didn’t get very far before some arguing began. “Hey, where do you think you’re going?” hissed Chrysalis.

“Uh, to introduce myself like Sunburst said to,” answered Cadence in a hushed voice.

“Before me?” scoffed Chrysalis. “How absurd! I’m the leader of this team and as such I should be the one to go first.”

“Who said you were the leader?” questioned Cadence. “My character would make a much better lead than yours.”

“Yours is all flash and no substance,” mocked Chrysalis. “Mine is far deeper and a billion times sexier than yours in every way possible.”

“Come on now, you two,” Shiny told them, trying to mediate the bickering. “You are both plenty sexy and both your characters are great. I’m sure we can quickly and peacefully resolve this issue.”

“Keep out of this!” snapped the two ladies before they butted heads with one another.

“Old hag!” insulted Cadence. “It’s obvious that Tamati is far more attracted to me than you. He only made you a part of his harem as a jumping off point to get to me!”

“Don’t make me laugh,” Chrysalis retorted. “The only thing he saw in you was an enormous buffet of gemstones and love to feed himself and his army. You are no more than the door prize one receives just for showing up.”

“Wrinkled, old prune!”

“Fat cow!”

“This is becoming a disaster before we even started,” worried Shiny as she turned Elytra. “I don’t suppose you have any diplomatic experience mediating warring factions, do you?”

“No, but I think I have an idea for how to resolve this quickly anyway,” she answered and approached Cadence and Chrysalis throwing insult after insult at once another. They stopped when Elytra stood before them, neither happy to have their bickering disturbed again.

“What do you want?” they asked.

“I’ve come to help you settle this matter in the easiest way I know how,” she answered quite coldly as she wielding an oversized axe. “I’ll chop off both of your legs and the two of you can crawl your way to Tamati. Whoever gets there first can then introduce themselves first. How does that sound?”

From being angry at one another, Cadence and Chrysalis were now hugging one another out of fear for Elytra’s suggestion and were plenty sure she’d go through with it.. “Uh, age before beauty,” Cadence conceded to the bug queen who then made her way towards Tamati.

“Uh, that was a bit extreme,” commented Shiny as he went to comfort Cadence.

“In battle there is no time for bickering amongst ourselves,” she spoke. “Better to quickly settle things than to allow them to drag on and lead your entire militia to suffer.”

“Sure…” said Shiny a bit frightened after hearing all that. “And you are sure you want to roleplay as that during the game?”

“Yes,” she nodded. “Sunburst said it would help balance out our team as a whole and I desire nothing greater than the success of my party.”

Shiny gave her a nod back then turned to Cadence who was still shaking a bit. “Are you okay?” he asked her.

“Just a bit shaken up by that,” she admitted. “You can go ahead of me. I just need a minute to get into character.”

“Alright,” Shiny agreed. “I better get ready then while Chrysalis takes her turn.”

Finally stepping into the throne room and into the spotlight, Chrysalis revealed herself. Tamati leaned in closer as he saw what she was wearing and grinned with returning lust. Around her waist, she had on a black miniskirt with white trim on it. Her feet were clothes in long, black stockings shimmering with glitter in a spider web pattern. The bra she had on matched her stockings with a glittery spider web on both cups. Her long green mane draped down behind her while a pointed black witch’s hat topped her head. In her one hand she clutched a wooden staff with bat wings carved into the top and a ruby inserted in between them. Lifting up her staff, Chrysalis pounded it on the ground a couple of times to announce her presence and then she began to speak.

“Gaze upon me, Chrissy of the Coven of Witches,” she spoke boldly. “Born and raised on Black Moon Isle, I was taught the cursed arts of black magic by my witch sisters, meant to fool and tempt lesser mortals to unwittingly carry out my bidding. My favorite hobby to do with such gullible creatures was always to enchant them with a love hex, enjoy a one night fling with them and watch them twist in the wind as I walked out of their lives and leave them a begging mess as they plead for my return.”

“That was how I spent many a day in my youth,” Chrissy went on. “However, such grand times were not meant to last. During the New Moon while our powers are dulled, a fact that has always been a carefully concealed secret, our home was attacked by the Order of the Holy Light, determined to wipe out all they deem to be blasphemous in the land. In that single night, nearly all members of the coven were slain. I happened to be away at the time and returned to see the final breaths of my home and my people. Now I travel the world to find a means to revive the Coven of Witches and to get my vengeance on the Order of the Holy Light and whoever it was who revealed to them when we would be most vulnerable to attack.”

“And so Chrissy the Witch has taken part in this quest,” stated Sunburst.

“Rather interesting,” admitted Tamati as he rubbed at his crotch and admired her sexy outfit. “This might be an enjoyable game after all. So, who is next?”

“I am,” announced Shiny as she emerged into the room next. The first thing Tamati took notice of as the former stallion emerged was the bunny ears he had on the top of his head. Gazing at her more, he saw Shiny’s tail had been curled up to be more like a bunny’s tail. She was draped in very thin and light strips of colored fabric that did very little to cover up her body. As she moved forward gracefully, the fabric fluttered behind her. In her hands, she wielded a pair of fans that appeared mostly for show, but looking closer, they were bladed on their ends. On her wrists and ankles were bells that jingled with every step that she took, making her movements appear musically magical. Shiny then began to twirl around as she began to perform a dance of sorts. Smiling, Tamati watched his new harem member’s performance as she moved around with grace and found her alluring. Tamati even attempting to catch those brief moments the dancer’s bare body was fully exposed, rubbing at his crotch as he did so. As her dance came to an end, Shiny got onto her hands and knees, resting in a bowing position.

“Heheh very nicely done,” murred Tamati as he applauded her performance. “So, what’s your story?”

“Salutations,” Shiny spoke as she got to her feet again. “My name is Sparkle. I was part of a wandering troupe of entertainers traversing the land, giving such performances as that in every town we visited. It was a humble and simple life. We earned enough coin to get by, but, more often than not, we had to scrimp and struggle to make ends meet. Still, good times or bad, we always found a reason to smile and look forward to each day with hope and wonder, but I guess that’s to be expected from how close a family we were…”

Her voice sounded very perky and cheerful as she went over her origin, but as it went on, sorrow moved in and her eyes began to water. “We were…” Sparkle continued, her voice breaking a bit as her emotions flared up. “Until the day we arrived in the capital city of Silver Vale. We were greeted with a rather warm reception by the townsfolk. We had barely started to draw a crowd when some guards approached us with a special request, from the king himself to have us perform before him, promising a small fortune in return. Generous offer or not, we could hardly refuse an invitation from the king. That night we all put on the greatest performance of our lives as we did all we could to gain the king’s favor, a task proven very simply as he was overjoyed by us from the very start. That whole night was filled with lots of music, dancing and laughter that went on till the sun started to rise. By then, we had worked ourselves to exhaustion and started collapsing one after another, to enjoy a much earned rest. When next I awoke, the dream of the night we all had had transformed into a nightmare as my fellow performers, my family, were being slaughtered by members of the Order of the Holy Light. They shouted and spat at the dead and dying bodies of those dearest to me in the world, calling them ‘heretics’ and our performances ‘dark magic.’”

“I take it this Order of the Holy Light are gonna be the bad guys in this game,” commented Tamati, feeling more and more invested in it. Just looking at that expression of sadness upon Shiny’s or, as she was in her role, Sparkle’s, face, Tamati felt a strong urge to hold her close to protect her. The feeling only grew stronger as she continued her sad tale.

“In a panic,” she spoke on, tears running down her eyes, treating every word she spoke as if it were the truth instead of an origin story to give her character more depth and motivation. “I begged the king to stop them, to save my family. Sadly, I learned that he was nothing more than a puppet to the order and this whole thing had been a trap to ensnare us. I had no idea that we were even being pursued or if there was any proof that we had done anything wrong. I didn’t even know why I was the only one seeming to be spared, but was soon answered for me, by the king. He had taken a liking to me and my dancing, so he bartered for my life, aiming to make me another of his wives. Angry and disgusted at the offer to live as the wife of my family’s killer, I refused, spitting in his face. claiming death would be preferable to such a louse. Dissatisfied that I spurned his advances, he refused to allow me to die so easily and threw me into his dungeon to suffer rot away for the rest of my days, at least that was what he and I thought, but then a miracle happened.”

“Yes,” spoke Cadence as she moved in to begin her turn. Compared to Sparkle’s petit, soothing tones, her voice was a lot gruffer and far less restrained. “I mother fucking happened!”

“Marf?” sounded Tamati, not expecting something like that to come out of the mouth of his former Princess of Love. He was even more shocked to see just how she was dressed. She had on black leather gloves, black leather boots. She also had on a black leather bra and panties, but neither did anything to conceal her privates. The panties merely a half inch band that went around her waist and another that was even thinner and fit in the gap of her cheeks and the lips of her pussy. Her bra wasn’t any better, wrapping around her back and cradling her breasts on the underside. Other than that, they were fully exposed. Around her neck she had on a spiked choker and her hair was braided into a ponytail. Clutched in her hands was a rolled up whip.

“Like what you see?” she asked the black dragon as she approached him. The ravenously horny intent she was exuding was so intense it even made Tamati’s skin crawl beneath layer of scales. He gulped and started to wonder if this was really the same pony he had enchanted into his harem just a short while ago.

With a mix of fear and excitement, Tamati nodded his head. “Very much so,” he told her, his cock already throbbing with euphoria at what a kinky creature she was.

“Then you best get ready,” she told him before cracking her whip, making it snap. “I’m gonna make you suffer more wonderfully than anything you could possibly imagine, make you my bitch, and then the real fun can begin. How does that sound to you?”

“Like something I know I’ll regret, but I still really, really want to do,” he admitted, feeling his dick oozing pre while his heart pounded hard in his chest.

“Uh, Cadence,” Sunburst interrupted.

“There is no Cadence,” the black leather-clad Pony retorted harshly. “There is only I, Dominazer the Obliterator!”

“Uh, right,” he trembled and smiled nervously a mix of terror and arousal flowing through him just as it was in Tamati. “We’re in the middle of the Larp and you are supposed to be giving your introduction now.”

“Well, if you must know my story,” she replied as she approached Sunburst and shoved him to the ground and sat right on his face as naturally as if it were a stool. She then continued to talk as if she was having a typical conversation. “I was abandoned by my parents as a baby. Who they were and where they are now; don’t know, don’t care. I ended up being adopted by the head jailer of Silver Vale. He’s a nice guy who enjoys his work of jailing and torturing prisoners. He just couldn’t find the right woman to settle down and start a family with. I can’t imagine why, but in the end he chose to adopt. As a result, I ended up being raised in the castle dungeon. The soothing lullabies I listened to were the screams and cries of the inmates as they were tortured for one reason or another. When I was five, I started to take an interest in the family business and started to take part in punishing the prisoners. I learned all the best ways to make someone suffer while keeping them stabally alive. It was all really fascinating stuff to me and after a while all the inmates became like my toys. I even think they came to fear me more than any of the other jailers, just from hearing my pure, innocent laughter, as I made them suffer. A mere giggle out of me became completely unnerving to them. Some even trembled and cried out if I so much as turned my attention to them.”

“And Ponies consider me a monster?” questioned Chrysalis. “If only they knew what their Princess of Love was into behind closed doors.”

“As I grew older and my body developed,” Dominazer went on. “I realized how much I enjoyed having this absolute power over others. It became my fetish, turning me on as I made them beg for mercy. Once they were broken I then fucked them to my heart’s content before moving onto the next prisoner, eager to see if they could hold out longer than my last victim. Thanks to my efforts, I was soon made the new head jailer and ruled those catacombs with nothing more than my whip and an insatiable lust for sadism. That’s how it went for years… and then they day came that a new prisoner was brought in, a young woman around my age. It was darling Sparkle here, just after her family had been slain. The king, furious to be rejected by her, ordered me to take extra special good care of her. Naturally, that was what I intended to do, orders or not, after all, it was a fresh, new inmate for me to enjoy breaking in. That was what I thought at first, but upon seeing her, something in me resonated with her.”

Getting up, Dominazer proceeded over to Sparkle. With his face no longer covered, Sunburst was able to finally gasp for air, a look of heavenly bliss on his face after experiencing such a dark paradise. Tamati snorted out some smoke, feeling a bit envious of that stallion.

“Oh, uh,” blushed Sparkle as Dominazer got up close and locked lips with her fellow mare, kissing her deeply. Sparkle only blushed more as she did and became weak in the knees. When the kiss ended Sparkle dropped to the ground staring up at the dominatrix with a mix of emotions running through her. “Oh, my!”

“She had seen some real, terrible shit before being sent to me,” explained Dominazer. “I knew there was nothing I could do to her that could be more painful than what she had just gone through. Looking into her eyes, she had nothing more she could lose. She didn’t fear anything, not even death. She stirred a new desire in me that I never knew I had. In that instant, I chose to relinquish my role as head jailer without a second thought to help her to flee the dungeon. We made it out of the castle just in time to see the city was being engulfed in flames.”

“By yours truly,” stated Chrissy proudly, a smug grin on her face. “It just so happened that upon the night these two attempted to flee the city, the moon was full and my powers were at their peak. After much preparation I used my magic to set the city ablaze, watching in delight as I went to fulfill my glorious vengeance. The Order of the Holy Light attempted to stop me, but this time I had the advantage and the small fries of their order were merely bugs I stepped as they came at me with sword and spear. Thanks to my unintended diversion, those two were able to flee the castle while everyone else was busy with me. However, with the town ablaze, the only path out of the city not neck-high in flames was through me and the two had no choice but to go through me.”

“Today was certainly my lucky day,” smirked Dominazer as she licked her lips and eyed Chrissy. “First I found Shiny who I had become smitten with and now I had come across a real witch. I never had the chance to break one of them before and I was chomping at the bit to give it a try. With whip in hand I fought against her and her magic. She proved every bit as formidable as I expected her to be and then some as she was able to conjure up fire, ice, lightning, and more with but a wave of her staff. We fought one another with all our might, but we soon found ourselves evenly matched.”

“Maybe you thought it was, but I was still just having fun,” Chrissy added in.

“It was truly a sight unlike any I have ever seen as they clashed,” Shiny chimed in before the two of them started to bicker again due to Chrissy’s remark. “I was short of breath just watching them, but while they fought, a member of the order arrived to enter the fray.”

“That was me,” answered Elytra as she came into view. She was dressed in a white and red robe that was a couple sizes too small as her shins and feet were fully exposed. Also, her incredibly toned body made the robe too tight on her figure, allowing her chiseled muscles to be very visible against the fabric. The sleeves on it were in shreds against her beefy biceps. Strapped to her back was an axe as big as her body. “Elly the Cleric.”

“Pfft! Hahahahahahah!!!” Tamati cracked up as he saw the musclebound healer of the group. Out of all four of them, she was clearly the strongest physically. That combined with the battle hardened look on her face, she seemed completely of her element in the role of a caring medic that was expected to be gentle, and comforting to her patients.

“I really didn’t expect anything like this from you, Elytra, uh, I mean Elly,” admitted Tamati. “Is there any reason you chose this to be your role?”

“With the roles of the others already chosen,” she answered. “We were sorely lacking a support character as the backbone of the team. So, I took up the mantle of the group’s healer. Also, I felt this would be a good opportunity for myself to gain valuable first hand experience of participating in battles from the back lines.”

“And is there any reason you have an axe instead of something like a staff or spell book?” Tamati asked curiously.

“This is but a medical tool I have at my disposal,” she explained. “If need be, I can sever limbs quickly, before an infection can spread to the rest of the body. Also, a delicate flower like I must be able to protect myself.”

“About as delicate as a cactus,” thought Tamati, causing him to chuckle again. “Uh, anyway, you went in to battle again Chrissy and Dominazer, even though you are a Cleric?”

“Yes, but despite devoting my soul to studying the arts of healing, I also dedicated my body to building both muscle and endurance,” she explained. “I spent years trying to evenly build both body and spirit. Unfortunately, I found that I had far more aptitude for lifting dumbells than studying magic. And so, a Cleric with low magical ability and incredible raw power was born.”

“That’s certainly something,” chuckled Tamati. “I can only hazard a guess as to what happened in the midst of that battle.”

“With Chrissy and Dominzer already tired from fighting off one another,” Elly explained. “I was able to overwhelm them both with my full power. Before they knew what hit them, they were both on the ground and at my mercy. I was on the verge of finishing them off when this one stood before me and begged me to spare their lives.”

Sparkle stood before Elly with her arms held out as a shield. “After so many terrible things have happened,” the dancer pleaded. “I didn’t want any more bloodshed. I got on my hands and knees and begged for her to stop. There was nothing more I could do than that.”

“I was at a loss in that moment,” admitted Elly. “I remembered this was supposed to be one of the heretics who had been jailed and yet the head jailer had chosen to free her. Then there was this witch, a heretic that must have come for revenge and had been attacking everyone and everything in sight, including the two of them. While I was focused on eliminating these two, she could have taken the opportunity to flee and save herself, but instead she got in my way to save both the one who saved her and one who had just been an enemy.”

Elly sat down and scratched her head in confusion. “I didn’t know what to make of this,” she continued. “This was not the act of an evil heretic, but of one with great compassion. Seeing this, I couldn’t help but to question everything the Order of the Holy Light had been doing. How much evil did we really extinguish and how much evil did we commit. I was at an impasse for what to do, but as reinforcements arrived, I had to make a decision. Grabbing both Chrissy and Dominazer, I fled the city alongside Sparkle.” She demonstrated this by lifting up both Chrissy and Dominazer like they were a pair of logs she had hoisted onto her shoulders. “This act of treason made me a fugitive as well and since then the four of us have become traveling companions.”

“Companions is a rather strong word,” scoffed Chrissy, still being held up by Elly. “After I recovered my strength I was all set to go on my way. I was even feeling generous enough not to kill any of them for getting in my way, but they followed me like a shadow.”

“Hardly,” argued Dominzer. “You were free to go, but then you started to brag on and on about how that attack was just a warmup and you were off to procure a treasure of great power to annihilate the order once and for all.”

“Yes,” agreed Chrissy. “That’s exactly what I intended.”

“More like you realized even at your full strength you were still not powerful enough,” she countered. “And while I doubt you were lying about this treasure, you clearly weren’t strong enough on your own to get it either, so you were attempting to lure us in to help you.”

“I did nothing of the sort,” she refuted. “I don’t need any help, though a few vassals to do any heavy lifting wouldn’t be unwelcome. That’s why I allowed you all, begging on your hands and knees, to accompany me.”

“What did you say you, little witch!” snapped Dominazer with venom on her tongue as she squirmed in Elly’s arm to get at Chrissy in the other.

“Please, you two, no fighting,” pleaded Sparkle.

“No,” Elly remarked, letting them both go and drop to the ground so that she could pat a heavy arm onto Sparkle’s shoulder. “Let them get their bitchiness out of their system and if they are weak and injured after the fact…” She lifted up her mighty axe over her head with one arm, a feat no other in the room, save for Tamati, could have done. “I will take care of them.”

“Uh, teammates?” sweated Dominazer as she fearfully shook Chrissy’s hand.

“Fine, but I’m the leader since I know where we’re going,” Chrissy added in.

“Whatever,” agreed Dominazer, not caring at the moment, so long as it got Elly to put away her axe.

“And what was this great treasure you might be asking?” narrated Sunburst as he turned on his flashlight once more. “It was the Legendary Treasure of infinite power and pleasure known throughout the land as the Dragonballs, the Jewels of Phallic Tower.”

“Heh, wonder where they pulled such an idea out of,” chuckled Tamati as he rubbed his cock and cradled his balls. “From their pussies. Heh, probably.”

“But, the journey would not be an easy one,” continued the Dungeon Master. “To reach such great power, there were many obstacles this ragtag group was going to have to overcome, from treacherous terrain to bands of thieves and other ne'er do wells, not to mention the Order of Holy Light determined to find and capture this small band of four. However, the danger to obtain this great power was even more dangerous than that.”

“Hmm?” pondered the giant dragon as he felt things crawling all over his body. Looking down, the rest of his harem had managed to sneak up on him and acting like horny, feral beasts, growling and hissing while also rubbing and licking all over the dragon’s body, mostly around his crotch. “Murr~ I was wondering when we’d get to this part.”

“Dark forces that coveted this unfathomable power were determined to thwart any who would dare make an attempt on their treasure,” Sunburst spoke in a foreboding tone. “These four strong warriors had no idea what they were setting in motion that would shake this very world to its core.”

“A war with the winner claiming my treasures,” chuckled Tamati with some delight in his voice. “That actually does sound entertaining.” Looking down at his harem still going to town on his dick and lapping up his pre as they pleasured his dragonhood into releasing more, his smirk widened. “Very entertaining indeed.”

“Come on!” panted Spike as the bite-sized dragon ran laps atop the table in Pinkie Pie’s party cave. Looking at it, brought back memories to all the sweet confections he enjoyed in there while he had been going through his growth spurt. Now that he was back, he was small enough to use the table as a track to get some much missed exercise that his confinement in his room prevented. “Come on, feel the burn!”

“I really don’t think sweating will help you work the shrinking potion out of your system any more than you can for those spells that Twilight put on you,” Applebloom told him. “All you can do is wait for the magic to wear off.”

“I guess not,” wheezed Spike as he took a seat on a donut. Digging his claws into a piece of the chocolate-covered confection, he pried a chunk off to munch it up. “At least I can finally get a proper workout now that I’m free and being small does have certain advantages like being able to ride comfortably between a nice pair of breasts and all confections are gigantic. Pulling out another piece to gobble up, he then gave his gut a pat. “Still, I need to get back to normal as soon as possible. Any idea how long that’ll be?”

“Sorry,” apologized Applebloom. “The regular potion said about an hour, but you drank a larger, more potent version. You are smaller than the normal potion should have made you and it’s already been an hour since you’ve been like this with no sign that the effects are undoing themselves. Still it has to wear off at some point.”

“Yeah, but in the meantime, Twilight will discover I’ve escaped and put the whole town on lockdown to find me. Then, it’ll just be a matter of time before I’m found. After that, I’m going to be spending the rest of my life mining gemstones in the caves beneath Canterlot and I’m sure you’ll all be punished for harboring me.”

“And that’s a risk we’re willing to take,” Applebloom promised him. “But that’s not gonna be necessary because we’re gonna figure a way to get you outta here safely.”

“I’ve got Sweetie Belle,” announced Scootaloo as she made her way down the slide to the secret party cave with her fellow Cutie Mark Crusader right behind her.

“I stalled Twilight as long as I could, but she’s met with some guards from Canterlot as I was leaving, not doubt to go and get you, Spike,” Sweetie Belle informed him as she approached her draconic master. Seeing him so precious and small, she couldn’t help but blush, finding this version of him attractive too. “Awe, he’s so cute and sexy. Like a pocket boyfriend or something.” Picking Spike up, she planted a big kiss onto his entire head.

“Heheh, careful now,” chuckled Spike, wiping away some of her lipstick off his face. “You might get me tempted to try taking all three of you together at this size. It would certainly be an interesting experience, to say the least, but, sadly, time is very limited for me as is.”

“Well, what do you plan to do to get out of here?” Sweetie Belle asked as she looked around the room. “And where’s Pinkie Pie?”

“Getting some stuff for my brilliant plan to sneak Spike out of here and get him to Griffonstone at the same time,” Scootaloo bragged.

“Which you still haven’t told us yet what it is,” pointed out Applebloom.

“Once Pinkie gets back-” she started to say before said pony came sliding down with cardboard box.

“I’m back!” called Pinkie as she placed the box on the table. “And I got what you asked for.”

“A box?” questioned Spike as he hopped from Sweetie Belle’s arms onto the table and then climbed up the box to look inside. “A box with nothing in it.”

“A box with nothing in it yet,” corrected Scootalo before she picked Spike up and placed him into the box, along with his still normal-sized backpack. “You need to get out of town and all the way to Griffonstone, right? So, why don’t we mail you there.”

“Hey, that’s not a bad idea,” complimented Applebloom. “Kinda like thinking outside the box while Spike is in it.”

“Yeah,” Scootaloo nodded and went on explaining things. “And the way I figure it, by the time the shrinking potion wears off, he’ll probably be at Griffinstone. Nobody will be looking for you there so you can do whatever you have to do and then be free to go wherever you want in Equestria. Well, anywhere save for Ponyville and Canterlot. Oh, and probably the Crystal Empire too.”

“I highly doubt the last one would be a problem to visit,” thought Spike, recalling the battle report he had received from Tamati.

“It’ll be fine,” Spike told them. “I’ll be able to manage from Griffinstone. The potion should wear off on me after a little while longer and I’m sure Twilight’s spells on me will eventually wear off too. Once that happens, I'll be more than capable of taking care of myself and as soon as I’m able to, I’ll come back for all of you.”

“We know you will,” Pinkie replied and the others nodded in agreement. “Now let’s get this dragon packaged up. It’s a far way to Griffonstone and we don’t want him to be damaged goods.”

“So, where’s the packing peanuts and bubble wrap?” asked Scootaloo.

“The what?” asked Pinkie.

“That was some of the stuff I asked you to get along with the box and stamps,” she explained.

“Oh,” replied a nervous-looking Pinkie as she pulled out a book of stamps from her curly, pink hair. “I got the box and the stamps, but I guess I forgot all the rest.”

“Guess we better go and grab some quickly,” suggested Applebloom.

“Or maybe we can use some of the stuff around here,” suggested Sweetie Belle. “Something soft and cushiony to keep Spike safe while he travels.”

“Oh, I know!” exclaimed Pinkie as she grabbed a donut and put Spike in the whole.

“That’s a start,” said Sweetie Belle. “But it’s still too much empty space.” Looking around, she saw the cotton candy on a stick and grabbed some. “This will help.”

“And instead of packing peanuts, we can use jelly beans,” added Applebloom, pouring a jarful in.

“Can’t forget the sprinkles,” said Scootaloo, shaking a bunch of them out of their container to top the other three’s attempt at packaging their master dragon for special delivery.

“The sprinkles help how exactly?” wondered Sweetie Belle.

“Uh, cause sprinkles make everything better,” she answered.

“Works for me,” smiled Pinkie.

“Are you okay in their Spikey?” asked Applebloom.

“Fine, but kinda hard to breath under all this, uh, packaging material,” he answered. He wanted to say he wasn’t in that much of a rush that they could have gotten the proper materials, but he stayed his tongue on that, not wishing to upset their enthusiasm.

“Hang on,” Applebloom told him, grabbing a straw. “This should help.” Pushing it through the layers of coverage, it soon reached down to Spike who adjusted the bendy end to be lined up with his mouth. Inhaling through it, he was able to easily draw breath. “How’s that?”

“Much better,” he answered. “Just poke some air holes in the box and make sure they are small and hidden so nobody will notice them.”

“I’m on it,” answered Scootaloo as she found a skewer and carefully poked a hole in the four corners of the box. After that, they taped it up. “Is that enough air?”

“Maybe a few more,” answered Spike after a few minutes of trying it out. Scootaloo poked a few more tiny holes in the box then asked him again. “Yeah, that’s perfect,” he told her this time.

“I just need to put in an address now,” stated Pinkie as she hurried back up her slide and moments later returned with a book stained with frosting and cake batter. “Good thing Mr. and Mrs. Cake keep a record of all their special deliveries outside of town. There has to be one for Griffinstone in here.” Flipping the pages, she finally found one and wrote it on the box. “It doesn’t matter if it actually gets there, but this will at least let it be sent.”

“How many stamps do you think we’ll need to deliver a box of this size and weight?” asked Sweetie Belle. “Rarity usually usually has to use extra for added protection for her dresses.”

“We gotta use a ton for each crate of apples we send out,” commented Applebloom. “Of course this box isn’t nearly that large.”

“Let’s just go with four for now and we’ll add more if we need to,” suggested Scootaloo, peeling off four stamps and sticking them onto the box.

“Is everything all set?” asked Spike from inside his box. Being surrounded by so many confections was making him drool and tempting him to start eating, but he was able to stave off his desire to do so, at least for the moment.

“Looks like it,” answered Applebloom. “We’re gonna head over to the post office now. After that, your fate will be in the hooves of whatever Pony is going to take you to Griffinstone.”

“Good luck,” Sweetie Belle told him.

“Thanks,” smiled Spike. “I get the feeling I’m going to need it.”

All four girls quickly left the cave with the box containing Spike. They then made a straight run to the post office, being extra careful with their precious cargo. Along the way, they slowed down, acting as casual as a bunch of nervous Ponies with a big secret could look as they passed by Twilight and a few soldiers from Canterlot as they crossed paths. With how they walked a bit and turned their heads, it was obvious behavior in that they were in the midst of a search. As Twilight looked around, a worried and dread-filled look was on her face. She did see them, but not wanting her own secrets exposed, she did her best to avoid eye contact with them as well.

Arriving at the post office, they got in line and waited to drop off their package with the Pony in charge, Derpy Whooves. “Hello,” she greeted them when it was finally their turn. She had a smile on her face and an uneven gaze. “Mailing a box today?”

“Yup, that’s exactly what we’re doing!” answered Scootaloo with more energy in her tone than one would expect when doing such a mundane thing as this.

“Uh, okay,” Derpy replied picking up the box and looking it over to ensure it was completely sealed on all sides. The girls did their best to remain calm as she turned the box on it’s side and upside down in the process.

“Can you please be careful,” pleaded Applebloom. “There’s some very precious cargo inside.”

“Oh, sorry,” she apologized. “I’m just doing my job. Now, there isn’t anything dangerous or flammable in here, is there?”

“Nope,” answered Sweetie Belle, not lying while Spike’s flames were restrained by magic.

“Okay, I’ll send it out,” she said as she checked out the address. “And you’re in luck, the delivery griffin just arrived so she should be able to take it right now.”

“That’s great!” said Pinkie Pie happily. “Well, good luck on your journey.”

“Your wishing good luck to your package?” asked Derpy, a bit confused.

“She’s just a might nervous since it’s gotta go so far away,” Applebloom tried to play it off as nothing. Derpy just smiled and headed into the back room, letting the four of them let out a sigh of relief.

“I’ve got one more for you to take to Griffonstone,” Derpy said to the bluish gray griffin that was adjusting her delivery satchel before departing. Like all griffins, she had a bird-like front half and a feline back half. However, unlike most griffins that typically had an aloof or uncaring expression on their face, she seemed far more bubbly and energetic.

“Oh, that’s a big parcel!” she exclaimed with excitement as she was handed it. Taking a look at the address she gasped even more excited. “And it’s addressed to me! Oh, what are the odds, well, probably very good since most griffons don’t order a lot of things or have very many friends in or out of Griffinstone and I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m not like most griffons.”

“I don’t believe this,” worried Spike, not anticipating this happening, but not certain if it was a bad development for their plan or not.

“Wow, that’s amazing,” commented Derpy. “What did you get?”

“I actually don’t have a clue,” she admitted. “I didn’t order anything and I am not aware that anyone was sending me anything either. It must be a surprise. I can’t wait to open it.”

“Well, if it’s yours, you should be able to open it now,” said Derpy.

“This is way too soon to be unboxed,” sweated Spike, not sure if he should be prepared to make a run for it as soon as the box was opened or remain still and hope he wasn’t discovered. As he tried to at least get ready on the first option, he discovered he was too cramped under all that packaging to be able to move. “Uh oh.”

“I could,” admitted the griffin, placing a talon on the box. She was almost about to open it but stopped herself. “But I’ll be even more excited to see what it is by the time I get home. I think I’ll wait till then to open it.”

“Well, I hope it’s something really good,” said Derpy as she watched the griffin leave through the back door. She passed by Twilight and the soldiers still on their search, paying them no more mind than a passing glance. After that, she flew off for Griffinstone.

“And so our merry band of four retreated to a tavern to eat and rest before continuing their travels,” narrated Sunburst as he set the scene. “Chrissy, Sparkle, Dominazer, and Elly were all quite famished after their escape from the capital and didn’t waste any time ordering their fill of food and drink. Once it got to them, they chow down, the food the most delicious to them while their bellies were achingly empty.

“So, where are we to go next?” wondered Sparkle as she ate enough to sate her hunger. “We can’t just keep running from the Order of Holy Light forever.”

“We won’t have to,” Chrissy reminded her as she sipped some herbal tea. “Once I get my hands on those Dragonballs then I will possess unfathomable power, enough so that I will be able to reduce this whole world to ashes if I so choose.” The others stared at her, not very keen on her doing that. “That’s merely an example of what I’d be capable of. Anyway, I wouldn’t destroy the whole world, just the parts I despise, the Order of Holy Light, for example.”

“And what guarantee will we have that you won’t try to get rid of us once our usefulness has ended?” questioned Dominazer before bringing a pitcher of booze to her lips and chugged a generous amount of it down in a single breath. “Witches aren’t known for their honesty or for being trustworthy.”

“I’d say you don’t have any,” she admitted. “But you’ve already made yourself a fugitive so it isn’t like you’ve got anywhere else to go or anyone else you can trust at this point. Your best hope at survival is with the rest of us, so you might as well choose the option that ensures you’ll live as long as possible. That goes for the rest of you too.”

“And you,” added Elly, biting a chunk of meat from the massive turkey leg she had ordered and downed some water after it. “You are in the same situation as us. You’re probably even more wanted than we are at this point after that crazy stunt you pulled. The fact that a witch is even still alive after the cleansing doesn’t help either.”

“Their greatest mistake was missing me,” declared Chrissy. “And I vow to make them all suffer a billion times over for what they did to my sisters.”

“Uh, you all might want to keep it down, a bit,” warned Sparkle. “What if someone overhears us talking?”

“If they try anything,” Dominazer assured her. “It’ll be the last thing they ever do. Actually, they’ll do a lot of things after that, but none of it will likely be pleasant for them. I, on the other hand, will be having a blast.”

“Only if you get to them before I do,” remarked Chrissy. “I will probably turn them into something like a newt and keep them as pets to amuse me on our journey.”

“Those who oppose us should meet a quick and swift end,” commented Elly as she swung down her turkey let like an axe. “Fooling around too much is a luxury we cannot afford.”

“What fun is a journey if we aren’t able to do stuff just for shits and giggles?” countered Chrissy. “What is the point of being an all powerful witch if I can’t spread some chaos and discord wherever I go?”

“And how are you ladies doing this evening?” asked one of the tavern’s staff as he approached them.

“Fine,” answered Chrissy, trying to appear calm after her last outburst.

“The food was excellent,” added Dominazer quickly.

“Can I get you anything else to eat?” he offered.

“No, this meal has been filling enough,” answered Elly. “After a brief constitution and some rest we will be in optimal condition for our travels tomorrow.”

“Uh, very good,” he replied as he handed them a piece of paper. “You can pay that when you are ready.”

The four peeked over at the bill and their jaws dropped at the cost of their meals. “The food was good here, but these prices are ridiculous,” stated Dominazer. “The prisoners in our dungeons ate just as well and didn’t have to pay anything… monetarily at least.”

“It’s Chissy who chose to come here,” remarked Elly. “She should be the one to pay.”

“Like I could,” she retorted. “I don’t have a single silver piece to my name. I tend to blow any money I get as quickly as it came into my possession. Let’s just leave and take care of anyone who tries to stop us.”

“No, that’s okay,” Sparkle tried to say.

“We don’t need anymore undo attention,” argued Dominazer. “We should just pay and leave discreetly.”

“Then you can pay,” Chrissy told her.

“I don’t have any money on me,” she admitted. “I left with Sparkle in the spur of the moment and didn’t have any money on me.”

“You don’t have to worry,” Sparkle attempted to chime in again.

“What about you, muscles?” asked Chrissy, not noticing Sparkle speak.

“My guns are loaded,” she answered flexing her arms. “But my wallet is empty.”

“So, we’re all broke,” sighed Dominazer. “Then, we either have to work off what we owe in the kitchen or try to scrounge up money to pay.”

“I’m up for option B,” said Chrissy. But I only plan to pay enough for my own meal. You three best do the same.”

“Agreed,” nodded Dominazer and Elly.

“But that’s completely unnecessary…” Sparkle tried to say once more, only for her three companions to get up and get to work earning some coin for the bill.

Chapter 9

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“Oh, boy,” giggled the Griffin excitedly as she flew over a forest a long way away from Ponyville. Ahead of her was the large tree that housed the once great Kingdom of Griffinstone. Ever since King Grover lost the Idol of Boreas the Griffins had been without their symbol of unity and pride. As a result, the land had degraded into one full of selfishness and apathy. Even so, the female bird-cat stared ahead at her home with starry-eyed enthusiasm as she clutched her mysterious package in her claws. “Almost home! Almost home! Then I will finally get to see what I got from whoever sent me this. It’s an unknown, wrapped inside a mystery, and housed inside a cardboard box. What could be better?”

“Are we there yet?” groaned Spike quietly from inside the box as he cracked his eyes open after a short snooze. It had been hours since she had departed from Ponyville and her tiny stowaway didn’t know how much longer he could stand being cooped up in there. Already, he had eaten and dozed off at least twice. If he had done either more he had been in too much of a daze to recall. “I don’t know how much longer I can stand being stuck in here.”

“Almost home! Almost home!” the giddy Griffin cheered again as if to answer Spike’s question. “I’m so excited to be almost home!”

“Oh, thank Celestia,” breathed Spike, upon hearing that. “Or, uh, whatever deity-like figures dragons worship. I’ll be free of this box soon and be able to figure out my next move. Hopefully by then this shrink potion and Twilight’s magic will wear off of me. If I can at least get back to my regular size I should be able to move about much easier and carry my backpack, but getting back to Tamati or even sending him letters will be impossible without wings or my fire breath. At least I’m far away from Twilight and any ponies that would recognize me. If I can just get what I need from Griffinstone without being seen and then hideout till I’m back to normal that’ll be the best case scenario.”

“Ooh, an apricot tree!” she exclaimed as she abruptly stopped in midair, causing Spike to tumble forward in the box. “They look so ripe and juicy. Time for a pitstop!”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” groaned Spike, louder enough for his transportation to hear.

“What was that?” she wondered, looking around for who had spoken, but there was nobody in sight. Inside the box, Spike covered his mouth, sweating as he feared he might have blown his cover. “Maybe it was just my stomach,” she decided after a minute. She gave it a rub as he gurgled and ached for sustenance. “You are quite the chatterbox when you need to be fed.” Giggling, the Griffin swooped to the ground and carefully placed her package on a soft patch of grass before approaching the large, fruit-filled tree to climb it and partake in the fruit growing from its branches.

Carefully digging his way through the cotton candy, Spike used one of his air holes to spy into the outside world. He couldn’t see the Griffin, but as he saw an apricot fall to the ground, followed by some familiar giggling, “Oopsies. Butter claws,” he had a general idea of her location from his own.

“Even if I could sneak away, I can’t just leave my backpack behind,” he contemplated. “And it’d probably be a bad choice to venture out into a forest while I’m so small and vulnerable. Just about anything in here might see me as a tasty little horderve. I’ll just have to wait for her to finish her snack and-”

Spike suddenly paused as he felt a strange feeling course throughout his body. After that, he felt himself suddenly pulse as his body regained a tiny bit of size. Another pulse soon followed and he grew a smidge bigger again. It kept on repeating, soon totalling a return of almost half an inch of size before it stopped. Along with his size, his weight also started to return, causing him to start flattening the cotton candy he was sitting upon.

“I’m regaining my size now?” he panicked barely able to even see his own claws in front of his face in the dark of the box. A few seconds later, he felt that sensation again, adding a tiny bit more of his original mass back to him before stopping till his next growth spurt. “So much for being able to wait till I get to Griffinstone. I’m going to have to get ready to make my move now. I’ll just have to wait till I get big enough to carry my backpack and make a break for it as fast as I can.”

As Spike’s size continued to return to him, he kept a lookout to monitor the Griffin. She suddenly went quiet, worrying Spike as to what she was doing or if she had gone somewhere. That wonder didn’t last long, however, as she suddenly dropped to the ground, the force of her impact like a small tremor to Spike, at his current size. She reached down to pick up the apricot that she had dropped.

“Got you,” she smiled at it. “Now to give you a new home in my belly.”

Spike watched the bird-cat hybrid blissfully chomp on the fruit and lick some of the juice off her beak. Staring at her, Spike couldn’t help but blush at her beauty. Just from how she sounded, Spike already knew she had to look adorable and now that he was finally able to see her, she was even cuter than he had imagined. Looking closer, he saw that she was also very attractive.

In terms of her age, she was close to the ages of the Cutie Mark Crusaders, though, more likely a year or two older than them. She was covered in bluish gray feathers with her wings and the tuft of fluff at the end of her at her tail a few shades darker. She had gorgeous, turquoise eyes that glistened like gemstones. Compared to what Spike had seen in the grouchy gaze of other Griffins that were typically cold, uncaring, and stern, somehow all at once, hers were bright, cheery, warm, and kind. Her feathers were neatly preened and she even had a few made into a ponytail on the back of her head with the aid of a light blue scrunchie.

As Spike figured, of a postal worker, out delivering mail, she had a leather satchel around her neck that was stuffed with a few dozen letters and packages. Rather than a mail uniform on, however, she was dressed in a loose-fitting, blue track suit with a yellow smiley face where one would expect a number to be emblazoned on the chest and back. The pants were held up by a drawstring that was tightly drawn, allowing the curves of her hips and flank to be visible. The jacket was half zipped, revealing a light pink shirt underneath and a pair of b-cup breasts snuggly nested upon her chest. She had on a pair of blue, velcro running shoes upon her lion paw feet and a couple woven bracelets around her wrists. Lastly, clipped upon her jacket was a nametag with, “Gabby,” written on it and bordered with hearts, stars, and smiley faces that she drew on herself.

“So, her name’s Gabby,” figured Spike as he gazed at the Griffin, fawning over her the more he watched her rest on the grassy forest floor. “I knew she wasn’t like most Griffins, just from how she sounded, but I didn’t think anypony could have as much of an excitable and bubbly personality as Pinkie, especially if it’s anygriffin.”

Gabby opened her beak wide as she unleashed a long and weary yawn. She stretched her arms out and even her wings extended out as far as they could before folding up again. “Just a quick nap and then off to Griffinstone,” she decided to herself and removed her jacket to lay it across her like a blanket while she rested her head against her satchel. Staring up at the clouds in the sky, she let out a few more yawns as she started to gently drift off to sleep.

“She’s so carefree,” whispered Spike, blushing at how angelic she was in her sleep, at least till she started to snore very audibly. “And really nice and sweet and… and… and I wonder if she’s seeing anypony.”

As Spike continued to marvel at the enticing taloned cat, he couldn’t help feeling a stirring in his loins that lured his claws to rub at his crotch. All the while he yearned for that fine, feathered female. All the while, more of his size continued to return to him in one little spurt after another till his green spikes started to press up against the lid of the box. Looking up and then at himself, Spike said to himself, “So far so good in growing. If my guesstimation is correction, I should be about a third of my original size before I met Tamati and finally escaped being Twilight’s ‘baby dragon.’”

When his growing paused again, Spike spied out of the box once more to check on Gabby’s current state. “Good. She’s asleep,” he thought. “And I’m finally at a decent size to break out of this box and be able to protect myself till I’ve fully returned to normal.”

Making his way to the side of the box facing away from Gabby, the small, purple dragon dug his claws into the cardboard. With ease, he was able to puncture six holes in it and slide his nails downward to make several narrow strips in the box. Spike did this a couple more times till he weakened the cardboard wall in front of him enough to force his way through and escape its confines.

“Okay,” he figured as he started to scurry away, dragging his still larger-than-him backpack behind him. “I still have no idea how long Twilight’s magic will last, but, at least, I can still do something for Tamati.”

Just as Spike was about to slip away into the forest, another snore from Gabby caught his attention and he turned to look. Gabby continued to rest peacefully. She was still completely unaware of the stowaway dragon that she had carried with her clear across Equestria. “I could just sneak off,” he told himself. However, in spite of what he was saying, the shrunken scaley had turned around and began walking back towards Gabby, letting go of his backpack on the way as his focus narrowed to the female Griffin.

“She wouldn’t even know that she was carrying me,” he continued, passing by the box as a few squirrels had started to poke around it curiously as they sniffed and tasted the confections inside of it. Spike paid them little mind and kept on approaching Gabby. She’ll probably just assume some rodent made a hole her package and ate up some of the sweets inside.”

“Meanwhile, I’ll go about my way, sneaking around to do what I have to till I’d be able to meet up with Tamati again,” he finished as he stood a few feet from the resting Griffin, her size still towering over his, but just looking at her, he couldn’t feel at all intimidated. Taking in a breath through his nose, Spike could smell a sweet fragrance coming from her that only served to keep his mind at ease even more. “Yeah, that’s what I should do.”

Moving even closer to Gabby, he found his yearning for her far too much to resist. Curling up against her chest, Spike soaked in her warmth and comfort as he rested beside her. Closing his eyes, he was eager for when she would awaken and he could work his magic on her, just as he had done so with Pinkie and the Cutie Mark Crusaders. “Tamati would understand,” he yawned and snuggled against her chest. “My harem is still so small and this is one treasure that no dragon would dare pass up.”

Unable to find Spike, no matter how thoroughly she searched Ponyville, Twilight was left with no choice but to head off to Canterlot and report to Princess Celestia of Spike’s unexpected escape. The whole ride over, the purple Alicorn was doing her best to restrain the greatest freakout of her life, managing well for the most part, but the closer she got to her destination, the more anxious she felt. By the time she had arrived in her castle and awaited the Princess of the Sun, Twilight was just a bundle of nerves on the verge of falling apart.

Pacing back and forth in Princess Celestia and Princess Luna’s throne room, she had played through a dozen conversations she could have with the Princess of the Sun, in her mind. She tried all sorts of ways to break the bad news to her, hoping one approach would soften the blow of her failings to both her teacher and ruler. However, no matter what she tried, it always ended the same way, with Princess Celestia horribly disappointed in her and a terrible punishment awaiting her for her failure that only got more ludicrously overblown with every retake she attempted.

“And she won’t just banish me to the moon for my incompetence,” she muttered to herself as she wiped her sweaty forehead. “She’ll even revoke my library card and hang it on the wall of shame for everyone to jeer at. I know there isn’t a wall of shame in the library, but what I’ve done is so bad she’ll make one just so she can put my library card on it! She’ll even dedicate the wall to me and as one of Equestria’s greatest disappointments of all time.”

“Excuse me, your highness,” one of the castle guards called to Twilight from the doorway.

“Y-Y-Yes,” she stuttered, turning to him. All her worrying had left her a disheveled mess with her mane terribly frazzled and her right eye twitching. She tried to hide her tension with a smile, but that mile wide grin just made her look downright psychotic.

“Uh,” he replied, distracted by her unhinged look, but a tap on his shoulder from someone behind him returned his focus. “Oh, right. Ahem, Twilight Sparkle, Princess of Friendship, the Princess of the Sun, Celesti has arrived.”

“G-G-Great,” she answered, still smiling big that, but a slap to her own face helped her snap back to a better mindset and appear far less crazed from anxiety. Pressing a hand to her chest, she took a deep breath and slowly exhaled to calm herself as much as possible. After that, she spoke far more clearly. “I mean, thank you. I am ready to meet with her.”

“Thank you for announcing me,” Celestia spoke to the guard.

“The pleasure is all mine,” he bowed to her as he stood aside to let her enter the throne room.

Celestia was dressed in a long flowing white dress with a golden trim. She had on open toe high heels and wore golden bracelets on her arms with her sun symbol engraved onto them. She had on earrings to match them and wrapped around her forehead was a shining tiara that was encrusted with a number of precious jewels.

Celestia’s mane and tail were a mix of pinks, greens, and blues that were long enough to reach halfway down her body, but floated and danced upon the air despite the lack of an actual breeze. Celestia’s eyes were pink and her Cutie Mark was of a sun, as one would expect of the princess to that big star in the sky. Like Twilight, she was an Alicorn and, as such, had both wings and a horn. Compared to Twilight’s own set, Princess Celestia’s were much larger than hers or anypony else’s in Equestria. Her height was also staggering, with only a few Ponies able to look at her without being forced to stand back several feet or crane their neck way back to make eye contact with her.

Princess Celestia walked through the large doors to her throne room, elegant and unflappably regal as always. In Twilight’s eyes, Celestia’s flawless appearance was far more akin to the perfection of a God, rather than a simple princess. Compared to her own flaw-filled presence, Celestia’s greatness seemed to shine even brighter against her drab and messy backdrop.

“Please ensure that, for the time being, nobody comes to disturb us,” she instructed the guard before he closed the doors to the throne room. “This is a very personal matter and we wish for the utmost discretion.”

“I understand,” he bowed before her and then shut the door behind him. With a spear in hand, he guarded the door while Celestia approached Twilight to speak with her.

“Twilight Sparkle, my most faithful student,” spoke the ruler of all of Equestria to her fellow princess. Her warm and friendly tone did a lot to ease Twilight’s stress, but to be greeted in such a welcoming manner gave Twilight a feeling of guilt that she didn’t deserve such understanding and kindness after her blunder. “It is so good to see you.”

“It is great to see you too,” the small, purple Alicorn replied to the regal white one that towered over her and all other ponies by quite a large margin. “I just wish it could have been under far different circumstances.”

“As do I,” she nodded, placing her arm around Twilight to hug her. “It grieves me greatly that Spike has chosen to deviate from the path we had attempted to set for him. He could have been the bridge that would have connected dragons and ponies together in unity one day.”

“That wasn’t the way he saw it,” sighed Twilight, slumping onto the ground in depression. “He just saw himself as an experiment, a test to see if Dragons raised from birth could be tamed and controlled so that they could be used as servants for ponies. Now he probably resents all Ponykind and me especially. Not that I can blame him. Looking back, I can’t help but wonder, how much did I stifle his growth and take advantage of him. I called him my, ‘Number One Assistant,’ but was that nothing more than a flashy title for a servant. I thought I gave him what he wanted and what he needed to be happy, like love, care, and a home, but, in the end, I left him with chains and a cage. Just what kind of Pony am I to do that to the one who had been like family to me for as long as I can remember?”

“Twilight, we were not in the wrong for what you have done,” Celestia told her. “You gave him love, care, a home, and most importantly a purpose in life. Spike was brought up in a civilized world with the hope that it would be enough to suppress his primitive and savage instincts. For a while, yes, it did work, but it seems that deep down dragons, no matter how you try to dress them up will always be selfish and greedy monsters at the end of the day.”

“I still wish I knew what caused this change in Spike,” Twilight replied to the Princess of the Sun. “Even though this was an experiment to integrate Dragons into Pony society, I still became very close to him. I raised him practically since birth and tried to take care of him like a parent would. I’ll admit, raising a newborn at my age while possessing no former experience at childcare with Ponies, let alone a dragon, was one of the most difficult undertakings I’ve ever been given. I know I made a ton of mistakes, but, even so, we managed to make it work. I can still, very clearly recall when Spike spoke his first words and read his first book. I was so proud of him I didn’t think my tears of joy would ever stop flowing. Until just recently, I hadn’t even thought about how it was an experiment. The two of us were just living our lives happy as can be. Perhaps it was because I failed to take into account that, eventually, he would go through changes as he matured. Instead of being there for him in this stage of his life, I only got in his way. If anyone is to blame for this failure, it rests solely with me.”

“You did the best with what you had to work with,” Celestia assured her, magicking a handkerchief to Twilight so that she could dry her face. “For all your efforts, you should feel proud. Not many would have been so willing to care for such a creature and even fewer would have made it as far as you have. For now, you should just take some time to relax and clear your head. Go home to your castle and get get some sleep. Read a few of your favorite books too, if you are up for it.”

“You want me to… just go home? But what about Spike?” worried Twilight. “He’s still out there somewhere. I have to find him and make things right between us. Now is not the time to be burying my nose into a book.”

“Just leave finding Spike to me,” Celestia assured her fellow princess with a warm smile. “I will send word across Equestria to keep an eye out for him. We’ll cast a net across all of Equestria, if we have to. Then, as soon as we locate him, we’ll deploy some soldiers to capture him.”

“Capture,” repeated Twilight. “I don’t want him hurt and I don’t want to put Spike in a position where he could end up hurting others either. I can only imagine how scared he must be and, with the bod he’s now sporting, capturing him might not be as easy as you might think.”

“You have nothing to fear,” Celestia added, doing all she could to squash Twilight’s concerns. “I will do all I can to end this conflict without the need for violence. We will explain to Spike that so long as he cooperates with us, no harm will befall him and that he will not be punished for his disobedience. So, as you can see, there really is nothing to be concerned about.”

“But Princess,” Twilight retorted once more. “There is another problem. After restraining him, I told Spike the truth about what was to become of him.”

“You told him what?” questioned Celestia, her tone shifting. The warmth and comfort her voice normally offered those who listened to her was swapped out with one filled with concern. Celestia knelt down beside her student and looked directly into her eyes. “Twilight, tell me what you told him.”

“I told him about the gem caves and about the dragons being forced to work down there,” she said, starting to cry anew. “He knows about all that and how he was going to spend the rest of his life mining for gems as a slave. For all we know he could be out there telling the whole world about this terrible conspiracy. Even if he hasn’t, there’s no way he’ll trust us ever again, not when he knows where he could end up.”

There was a moment of silence between the two of them before Celestia stood back up and started to heartily laugh. “Ohohoh!” she chuckled like she had just heard the funniest joke of her life. “You told him that, did you?”

“Yes,” she admitted. “As much as I didn’t want to, I couldn’t fool him. I convinced myself that I was somehow protecting him if I didn’t tell him what cruel fate awaited him, but now I think I was just trying to protect myself. That if I convinced him he would simply be returned to the Dragon Lands to live amongst his own kind then I could convince myself that that was the truth. But that isn’t the truth. Spike won’t be somewhere happy and safe. He’ll be stuck toiling away in an old cave for the rest of a very long lifetime. That I would try to look away from such a fate and act like it isn’t real would be the most selfish and cowardly thing I’ve ever done. Also, no offense, princess, but it’s in bad taste to laugh at such a thing too.”

“I’m only laughing because it’s been years since I’ve last heard of that old bluff of mine,” she explained.

“Bluff?” questioned Twilight in confusion. “What do you mean it’s a bluff?”

“Well, it all started long ago when rare and valuable gemstones were discovered in the grounds beneath Canterlot,” she explained. “With such precious stones, we knew that Canterlot would be a thriving and prosperous city because of it. We also knew that dragons would be drawn to the stones too so we needed a means to keep them at bay. So, I came up with a simple manipulation, knowing that even the most savage of creatures possess a sense of self preservation. So, we made up a rumor to discourage any dragons foolish enough to trespass in Canterlot into thinking they would be captured and forced to work in our mines for the rest of their days. It proved very effective.”

“But wouldn’t such a story anger them to attack Canterlot and free their fellow Dragons?” questioned Twilight.

“Perhaps if they were Ponies or any creature that has some sense of camaraderie with one another, but Dragons are not one of them. They are greedy and selfish beasts. Should one of their own go missing their only concern would be to find their valuables to take for their own before another Dragon beats them to it. None of them would think twice about attempting a rescue, not that one would be needed since it was not true in the first place. We’d merely stop those that still attempted to raid our home, wipe their memory of the whole day and return them to the Dragonlands with as little worse for wear as possible, depending on how much of a fight they put up themselves.”

“That’s a relief, but then why did you tell me such a lie too?” asked Twilight, looking quite upset at that. “I was really worried about that happening to Spike and now he’s undoubtedly scared to death about being caught and having that happen to him too.”

“I can’t say I recall the reason why I told you that,” admitted Celestia. “Perhaps I simply said that out of habit since that was always my go to when dealing with Dragons in the past. All we will do is erase his memory of his time among Ponies so that he can better adjust to living as a Dragon. I promise you that no harm will befall him.”

“That is a relief,” sighed Twilight, looking a lot better as she spoke. “I’m glad Spike will be okay, but, if at all possible, could we try to give him another chance? He’s had his little rebellious phases in the past, but we always got through them. This one is just a bit bigger than those since, well, he’s a lot bigger now. So, when you find him, please don’t do anything till I can see him again. Maybe if I talk to him like I should have in the first place then he can come back as both the Spike I know he is and the Spike he wants to be. Any trouble he may cause, I’ll accept full responsibility.”

“I will see what I can do,” she promised Twilight, her kind, caring tone back in full force at this point, helping ease away all of the fear and worries in Twilight’s expression. “If he can be convinced to come along peacefully then I will give him that second chance. However, if he proves to be a danger then we will have no other choice but to do as I had originally intended, but if he truly still is your ‘Number One Assistant,’ then you should have no worries in that regard. I hope after hearing that all your worries have been put to rest.”

“They certainly have,” the Princess of Friendship nodded with a bright and cheerful smile as she got up to hug Celestia. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she let all her sorrow leak out of her body and allow this new hope to take its place. “I knew I shouldn’t have doubted how kind and caring a Pony you truly are, not even for a moment. Can you ever forgive me?”

“There is nothing to forgive,” the Princess of the Sun assured her, gently stroking Twilight’s hair. Now, I’ve got some meetings I have to attend to so we’ll have to end things here. A princess’s work is never done, after all. You just leave Spike to me and he’ll be properly taken care of.”

“Okay, I leave his well-being to you,” smiled Twilight. “And, if I don’t get another chance to see him, can you at least tell him how sorry I am and that even if he should forget me that I’ll always remember him.”

“I wouldn’t expect anything less from you, Twilight,” promised Celestia. “I will pass your message on to him.”

With another bow, Twilight thanked Celestia for her time and then quickly left to return to Canterlot. Celestia remained in her throne room, smiling and waving to Twilight till she left and was out of sight. When she was gone, the kind and caring look on Celestia’s face vanished and one of agitation and displeasure replaced it. Rubbing her temple, she tried to soothe a pounding headache that had emerged partway through their talk. A few minutes later, she took a deep breath and then made her way out of her throne room too.

As she walked by the guard standing by the door, she stopped and turned to him, the divine and sunny face she typically had on restored to it. “Would you be a dear and have Raven move all my meetings for today and find a way to squeeze them into the rest of the week?” she asked him. “Oh, and if anyone comes looking for me today, tell them that I’m in the middle of a meeting and can’t be disturbed?”

“But you’re moving your meetings so why-” he started to say, but she quickly cut him off.

“Unfortunately, too many urgent matters have popped up today and they will require my full attention,” she informed him. “And it would be too much of a hassle to go into details with the nobles, dignitaries, and anypony else I’m supposed to meet why I cannot see them today.”

“Something else has happened now?” he asked her with concern in his voice. “Something on top of the Crystal Express arriving full of children from the Crystal Empire? What is the world coming too?”

“I don’t know,” she admitted, making her way down the castle corridors and towards the armory. “And I don’t like it. Not one little bit.”

Inside the armory, soldiers were scrambling to get armored up and prepared for battle. Luna was there too, garbed in armor of black silver with a rapier holstered at her side. Her long, flowing hair sparkled like stars against the night sky hung down to her waist. Printed on her right shoulder was a crescent moon against a black blotch of the night, the same as the Cutie Mark hidden beneath her covered up flank.

“Everyone,” announced Luna as she called out to everyone in her Royal Canterlot voice, the volume loud enough to fill the room and extend halfway across the castle as well. “Remember, we are on full alert as of now. We need every inch of the kingdom secured as quickly as possible. This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill.”

“Your royal voice is sounding a little monotone,” commented Celestia with a chuckle as she greeted her sister.

“I’ve been telling the soldiers this same message every half an hour for the last three hours,” she signed. “It’s just a relief that this is the last unit we need to deploy around the city’s perimeter. After that, I can finally get out of this silly armor.” Reaching the breast plate, she gave it a tug. “I think I’ve gone up at least half a size since I last put this on. I’ll have to see to it that I get fitted for a new one soon.”

“At this rate you might catch up to me,” Celestia teased her sibling. Looking around, she could see a number of the soldiers had paused and stared blushingly at the royal siblings, unable to help but become invested at a conversation regarding Luna’s cleavage. “But, let’s leave such a conversation for when we aren’t on high alert. For now, I need to speak with you in regards to this matter and another. Can you come speak with me in private?”

“Once these last few finish up,” she nodded before seeing a few of the stallion soldiers hadn’t returned their focus to getting ready. Her horn glowed a bluish purple as she worked her magic, though there didn’t appear to be a matching aura anywhere in the room corresponding to what her magic was affecting. However, it was very apparent to the stallions, who had been slacking, what was the target of her mystical might. Their bodies trembled as their eyes bugged out. They looked terrified, as if they were in, or, at the very least, on the verge of feeling, intense agony. Immediately, they hurried to finish getting themselves prepared, pale-faced and sweating as their hearts pounded rapidly. None of them dared even risk a second glance at Luna after that. The soldiers that avoided that fate didn’t snicker at what just happened, but shuddered and gave their crotches a comforting pat before finishing up too, all the while keeping their gaze as far from Luna as possible. “Shouldn’t take more than a moment.”

“And ponies wonder why you’re still single,” snickered Celestia.

“You know that’s not the reason,” she retorted. “And I wouldn’t be talking. You’re the older of us and there was that whole thousand moons I was banished for. What progress have you made in finding your special somepony?”

“I said we can discuss such things later,” Celestia scoffed. “Now, hurry up. I’m serious about all this.”

A few minutes passed as the Princess of the Moon assigned the remaining soldiers to where they were to be stationed. Keeping their eyes focused solely on hers when she stood before them, they were quick to listen and even quicker to salute her and hurry out of the armory and get out of range of her magic. Once they had all finished fleeing to where they were assigned, only Luna remained along with Celestia who had been sitting and patiently waiting for some privacy with her sister.

“That’s the last of them,” Luna informed Celestia. “Now, we can finally talk. So, tell me, sister, besides this trouble with the Crystal Empire what else in Equestria is going on?”

“You remember how I tasked Twilight with caring for a baby dragon?” she asked.

“Yes,” nodded Luna, taking a seat across from her as they conversed. “That was Spike. You did it to see if being raised by Ponies would domesticate them and remove their fangs and claws, so to speak.”

Precisely,” she nodded. “Raising creatures to grow into big, strong beasts of burden, loyal and even protective of the Ponies around them has been my ultimate goal for the brutes.”

“So, that was your intention in letting Twilight care for Spike?” Luna figured.

“That was mainly a test to see how well a Dragon would adjust to being raised as a Pony in a Pony environment,” she explained. “If things had gone differently then we would have found more proper caretakers to train and teach the Dragons only what we would need from them.”

“I thought your view on Dragons might have changed during my banishment,” Luna commented. “That, perhaps Spike may have been the first step in atoning for what you have done to Dragonkind, but, in truth, you were attempting something even more depraved than the Dragon Mine under Canterlot.” Luna beamed angrily at Celestia as if her stare was daggers that would pierce through the Alicorn’s pure white coat.

“Call it depraved if you want,” Celestia responded, not even flinching at her sister’s stare of disapproval. “I did what I believed was best for our kind, the Ponies, and I did so by taking advantage of the Dragons own greedy nature. They came to rob and steal from us, not caring what they had to do to or who they had to kill just to satisfy their lust for gemstones. I felt it was only right that they be given a fitting punishment for their cruelty, a lifetime sentence of mining for the gems they spilled so much blood for. Now, are you going to tell me that I was wrong to do that?”

“I can’t say if that is right or wrong,” Luna admitted, trying to remain objective to this whole matter. “But have all the Dragons truly done as many wrongs as you claim or has it just become such a fruitful endeavor to help line the pockets of the nobles and yourself that you snatch up more and more residents of the Dragonlands to work their claws to the bone, out of a greed that could easily put their own to shame?”

Celestia paused with a heavy sigh before asking her sister. “Do you intend to get in my way? I’m sure you know just what I’m capable of, if you intend to interfere with your elder sister’s affairs.”

“Banishment, of course,” replied Luna. “And no, I’d rather avoid going through that again.” There was silence as Luna considered where to take the conversation from there. Leaning forward, she decided to pull things back to an earlier point of interest to inquire about. “You said, ‘If things had gone differently.’ Does that mean that something has happened lately with Spike that hasn’t worked out?”

“Yes,” admitted Celestia. “It seems that Twilight lost all control of him once his body started to mature into adulthood. From what Twilight told me, Spike has grown both in size and strength and became too difficult for her to handle. Even so, it is not so much a setback as it is a learning experience for when we attempt the project again.”

“And what of Spike?” asked Luna. “Has he been taken to the Dragon Mines now, too?”

“No,” Celestia shook her head. “This is the matter I needed to address with you. Shortly before he was to be branded and transported here he managed to somehow escape. Not only that, but Twilight blabbed to him that he’d be joining his fellow Dragons in digging out gemstones. Now he’s not only on the loose and who knows where, but he’s also armed with the unspoken truth about the source of Canterlot’s wealth. If he divulges such confidential information to the right Ponies then we will be stuck dealing with the country-splintering fallout such a scandal would bring about. Every equal rights protester will come out of the woodwork and surround the castle. Plenty of other Ponies will likely come, wanting us to share our hoarded wealth with the rest of Equestria. And, if word leaks out to the other creatures, they’ll see this discord as the perfect opportunity to jump in and add more fuel to the fire.”

“And all of Equestria could be engulfed in a world war as a result of this,” concluded Luna, the tension in her tone showing she was well aware of how serious a danger this was. “And what of Twilight? With her history with Spike, I can’t imagine she’d be able to remain quiet about the mines if she knew Spike was to be taken there, even if it meant putting your head on the chopping block as a result.”

“Fortunately,” Celestia added. “I was able to convince Twilight that the Dragon Mines were merely a bluff to discourage Dragon invasions, so she should remain quiet about them, but, she isn’t the one we need to be concerned with right now. It’s Spike and, currently I have no idea where he might be or how he plans to use such info, if at all.”

“This is quite the problem,” agreed Luna, sensing the distress Celestia was feeling as she confessed all this. “Spike could be going around revealing this secret to every city in Equestria even as we speak. The scandal alone would be a disaster to our image and it could very well be a trigger to divide our country apart.”

“I am well aware of that scenario,” sighed Celestia, lowering her head for a moment before an even more stern expression appeared on her face. “Then, there is the possibility that Spike could choose to defect to the Dragon Lands and attempt to unite them against us. Dragons may seldom work together, but with enough riches to satisfy an army of them and all the knowledge he has at his disposal of our land, he could very well lead an invasion right through our defenses. And, considering this matter with the Crystal Empire, we have neither the time nor the resources to deal with two simultaneous threats.”

“Then rather than raising a Dragon for the benefits of Ponykind,” remarked Luna. “Spike has actually been a time bomb just waiting to blow. Who knows how much time is left till he goes off. He may very well have done so already.”

“I do not believe that to be the case, just yet,” Celestia explained. “Though Twilight failed to place a tracking spell on him, she did nullify his flight and flames. Thanks to that, he should be laying low till those spells wear off. For now, we should focus on recapturing him before then.”

“And how do you plan to find him?”
wondered Luna. “Equestria is a big place. Even if you order a high alert for his capture you can’t guarantee he will be found.”

“Which is why I need your help to find him,” Celestia answered. “He may be difficult to find in the real world, but that is hardly the case within dreams.”

“Just because I can visit creatures in their sleep does not mean I can locate their slumbering body in the real world,” Luna explained. “He could be hiding out in a shabby motel while he dreams of sailing the high seas as a pirate or something of the sort.”

“You act like I’m not already aware of that,” stated Celestia. “It doesn’t matter what he’s dreaming, you just need to pry the information from his psyche. From there, cornering him will be a simple matter.”

“Invading one’s privacy to obtain information,” listed Luna in a displeased tone. “Turning my back on my vow to only use my powers to ensure all Ponies can sleep peacefully, and to dirty my hands by helping to cover up this conspiracy of yours. It disgusts me just to have you ask such things of me.”

“You are mistaken in believing I am asking this of you,” Celestia remarked. “You have no choice if you wish to ensure the security of Equestria. If the price for that is one Dragon and to dirty your hands with said Dragon then I’d say it is quite a cheap one. However, the longer we wait then the cost could be raised dramatically to the point it becomes far more than we can hope to afford.”

“I suppose your integrity must be dirt cheap then if you can so easily do this to one who formerly saw you as much a dear friend as he did Twilight,” stated Luna. “Not to mention pull me into the situation so that I can be dragged down along with you should things escalate.”

Hearing such comments from her sister, Celestia let out a very unladylike snort. She then rose up and glared down at her sister as she continued. “Look at it however you want,” she stated bluntly. “I don’t have the will and we don’t have the time to bicker about this. Now, will you agree to help me sweep this problem under the rug as swiftly and discreetly as possible or will I have to handle it myself and risk the situation getting far worse than either of us can bear? Can you sleep well at night knowing what a delay in capturing that Dragon could do to our beloved kingdom? You put it perfectly by calling him a time bomb. Will I be able to defuse him before his timer reaches zero without your help, sister?”

“Fine!” snapped Luna. “You’ve made your point! I… I will find him in his dreams.”

“I knew you would listen to reason,” smiled the Princess of the Sun. “How long do you think it’ll take to locate him?”

“It depends when he goes to sleep,” the Princess of the Moon answered. “It’s late noon now, so I doubt I’ll be able to do much until night time.”

“Then, for now, we’ll consider this matter settled,” said Celestia. “Are there any new updates regarding the Crystal Empire?”

“Not much, I’m afraid,” replied Luna, using her horn to display a simple diagram of the Crystal Empire and the magical barrier surrounding it. She also created images of Ponies attempting to pass through the barrier, only for them to bounce off. “We sent scouts to investigate as soon as we learned about the invasion in the Crystal Empire, but they have not been able to pass through the protective barrier of the Crystal Heart. As of right now, nopony can enter.”

“And the Unicorns in our magical R&D department have yet to come up with any solutions on how we can get in?” the white Alicorn asked.

“Nothing beyond that they are still working on it,” the midnight blue Alicorn responded. “As we were already well aware, the Crystal Heart is a relic of tremendous power. It has been infused with power for so many countless moons that overcoming it with sheer force is virtually impossible. It is even more difficult for us to do anything, especially if we are unable to do anything with it directly. On top of that, the barrier spell that was used upon the heart was very well made. It doesn’t appear to possess any weaknesses we can exploit meaning our only options are either to develop a new spell that can penetrate the barrier or hope that somepony on the inside can do something to let us in. Sadly, we have yet to make contact with anyone inside and, from what the children have reported, it sounds like all the adults are too preoccupied to offer any support on their end.”

“We will have to handle this situation as swiftly and quietly as possible,” stated Celestia. “We were able to gather up the children before their sudden arrival caused too much commotion, but if word of the Crystal Empire’s fall was to get out, Ponies would start to panic.”

“Unfortunately, swiftly might not be possible,” admitted Luna. “Even with our best Unicorns on the job, fast probably won’t be an option. From what I heard while speaking with them, the magical energy needed to have a significant impact on the Crystal Empire will take, at most, a week to gather. On top of that, devising the right spell will likely take even longer than that. If we had Sunburst helping us, his expertise on the heart could have potentially saved us days of time, but, unfortunately, he was also in the Crystal Empire when it was conquered and we have been unable to contact him.”

“That is a problem,” agreed Celestia. “But even if we cannot rescue the Crystal Empire, at the present, we can, instead, turn Equestria’s focus on those responsible for conquering it. What have you been able to learn from the children in regards to that?”

“From the description they provided us,” answered Luna, using her magic to now display an image of a Dragling based on what the colts and fillies had described them to be like. “They look like this, covered in black and insect-like.”

“Then the Crystal Empire was assaulted by the Changelings,” figured Celestia, barely needing more than a moment to consider this. “It makes sense. They feed on love and few places have it as abundantly as over there. Chrysalis has also vowed revenge on a lot of Ponies and Shining Armor and Cadence are high on her list.”

“I can’t argue with you there,” agreed Luna. “But what worries me is that while at first these creatures appear to be Changelings, they have been described as having a number of features more commonly associated with Dragons.”

“Dragons again?” groaned Celestia as she rolled her eyes. “We’ve had little to no trouble with those overgrown lizards for quite some time and now we’ve got two huge incidents involving them.” She took a moment to take a deep breath. “Whatever the case, let’s just focus on the Changelings for now. If they have chosen to attack us, then we shall return the favor in kind and with interest.”

“Interest?” asked Luna, not liking the look in Celestia’s eye as she said that.

“We have been far too lenient with those monsters for far too long,” explained Celestia. “Treating them like pests to only swat away when they provoke us, but now we see where that leniency has led us. Well, no more. We will take the fight to them and exterminate them, every last one.”

“Even if they are the most likely suspects behind this attack, we don’t have anything concrete that ties them to the attack,” pointed out Luna. “These new creatures could have something to do with the Changelings, but then again, it could be some new species that have migrated to Equestria as of late. We could be attacking the Changelings under false pretenses for all we know.”

“And besides the Changelings, who would really care if we did?” remarked Celestia. “They are nothing but a blight to Ponykind and the same is true for Hippogriffs. The Griffin territories are like a barren desert when it comes to love so they rarely have to deal with Changelings. They don’t do any sort of business with them either so they won’t care about them from an economic standpoint either. If there are Dragons involved with this then we will take them out too. Just as with the Changelings, no other creature will care if they are gone. Even their fellow Dragons will not even bat an eye. And, as for Yaks, their first reaction to everything is to smash it, so I’m quite confident they’d even support us in the effort if we needed it.”

“Then you’re dead set on doing this?” asked Luna. “You plan to wipe out the Changelings, just like that?”

“They serve no purpose other than to bring the rest of the world down,” countered Celestia. “We are better off without such parasites. Our only fault is in waiting this long to actually do something about them. Well, no more dragging our feet around. In a week’s time we will ready our troops and wipe out their entire hive till not a single one remains. I trust you have no problems with that, do you?”

“No,” Luna shook her head. “None at all.”

“Then inform the magical R & D department to put all of their efforts into readying us for our battle against the Changelings. I want us ready within a week’s time.”

“But what about finding a way into the Crystal Empire?” she asked.

“As you said, it will take some time to find a way in, so I think it can wait a little longer,” stated Celestia. “And if the Changelings are behind all this then all the better for us to kill them all. It might even be the solution we need. This will also serve as a perfect warning to all other creatures as to what they can expect if they foolishly think they can stand against Ponykind.” With one final deep breath, Celestia started her way out of the armory. “Now, if there is nothing else, I am in desperate need of some cake. All of this plotting has left a terribly bitter taste in my mouth. I need something sweet to fix that.”

“I think that is all for now,” replied Luna. “You go on ahead and eat your cake.” Luna watched Celestia take her leave. When she was certain she could speak freely, she added, “When things are supposed to taste bitter, I prefer not to sugarcoat them.”

“Home sweet home,” sighed Media as she, Sting, Nat, and Zircon finally finished the long flight from Canterlot all the way back to the Changeling Hive. “Finally, we can unwind with all the others.”

“I can’t wait to tell my mother how well my mission went,” smirked the daughter of Chrysalis. “How I posed as a pony to infiltrate the castle and manipulate Sunburst. Now the Crystal Empire is ours and all that overflowing love from it too.”

“She’s probably well aware of all that by now,” commented Nat, carefully carrying Flurryheart in his arms as he flew. “And knowing our old man and his harem, they’ll probably be busy in their quarters for a while, making us some more siblings.”

“Thanks a lot for putting that image in my head,” shuddered Zircon.

“But you just had sex yourself, a few hours ago,” Media pointed out.

“Not that,” she replied, grimacing as she continued. “Getting more siblings. Don’t get me wrong, but even as the eldest of my brood, I still have to share time with my mother with my siblings. That time is already limited since she is often busy with our father, filling her with his baby-making goo. If she has any more offspring there won’t be enough hours in the day to spend any time with her at all.”

“If you want,” offered Media. “You can join my mom and I in some cooking. My full siblings have never been into cooking as much as I have and it’d be nice to have my half-sister there too. She even said she was going to teach me her recipe for Devil’s Dark Chocolate Cake.”

“You had me at chocolate,” smirked Zircon, looking eager for more of that sweet stuff.

“If food’s involved then you can count me in, as a taste tester,” Nat chimed in. “I just have to find someone to take Princess Grabbyhands off my claws. Ow!” Flurryheart giggled as she tugged at his ear. “Hey, little missy. You better cut that out or no cakey for you.”

“Sounds like you’re starting to like her, mommy,” snickered Zircon.

“It just goes to show what a good mommy he is,” joked Media.

“I am not a mommy!” snapped Nat, his outburst upsetting Flurryheart, causing her to burst into tears and wail. “Oh, now look what you’ve made me do.”

“Waaah!” sobbed the baby Alicorn, her voice so loud that Media and Zircon had to cover their ears to tolerate it. Even Sting was forced to defend his hearing holes against such an attack.

“It’s going to be alright,” cooed Nat as he made silly faces like he had on the train, using a few he recalled she liked seeing and tried out a few new ones too. In no time at all, she was having a fit of giggles rather than one of tears.

“Wow, you really are a good mommy,” marveled Zircon, more genuinely, as Nat continued with some baby talk and nuzzled her with a smile too blissful to be a false one.

“Well, good or not,” he said with a heavy sigh. “I could do with a little rest from parenthood.” With a smile on her face, Flurryheart planted a kiss on Nat’s cheek. His face quivered after receiving that peck of affection and he looked ready to tear up.

“You were saying?” asked Media. “You wanted some time away from parenthood?”

Hugging Flurryheart closer to his body, he told them, “Shut up,” and looked away.

“You’ve been pretty quiet this whole flight back,” commented Media to Sting once they had their fun teasing Nat. “What’s on your mind?”

“Nothing,” he replied. “I’m just enjoying the peace of the moment. After a battle as intense as the one we just endured, everything else just feels so tranquil.”

“Now that you mention it, it is rather nice,” noted Media. “The coolness of the gentle wind blowing, the warmth of the sun shining down on us from above, and the sound of the birds chirping.”

“I guess it’s alright,” remarked Zircon. “My mother said she preferred the cries of anguish of her victims to soothe her soul after a conquest, but since we don’t really have any I’ll just make do with all this, for the time being.”

“Looks like not for that much longer,” stated Media as she observed the forest they were flying over had begun to thin out and the badlands surrounding the towering Changeling hive took their place. “We’re back in our territory again.”

“And home is in sight,” added Zircon as they saw the tall structure come into view and they flew towards the top. On the summit, they spotted a number of their fellow Draglings curled up and fast asleep. From how they were positioned they had started to make their way inside only to drop from exhaustion and began their rest right there. A few of the Changeling soon emerged to lift a few of them up and carry them inside. “Looks like all the others needed a rest just as bad as we did.”

“How many does this make so far?” groaned Wedge as he and Biggs carefully lifted up another Dragling together and started to walk him into the building.

“Fifteen… maybe twenty,” Biggs answered. “I wasn’t really keeping track. Not that it matters. We’ve got to get them all inside to look them over and put them to bed.”

“This wouldn’t be so bad if they weren’t so heavy,” groaned Wedge. “A few more and I think I’m gonna need someone to carry me as well.”

“If you want to complain then take it up with Tamati,” Cid told Wedge. “But he’s in the middle of some weird role playing thing and while I don’t really understand exactly what they’re doing, he’s got most of his harem swarmed around his cock and balls, the damn, lucky bastard. I severely doubt he’d be happy getting disturbed, right now.”

“If I had my harem all over me like that,” commented Wedge with a horny smile on his face. “I sure wouldn’t want to be disturbed either.”

“You don’t have a harem,” Biggs reminded him.

“It doesn’t mean I won’t get one,” he argued as they started to carry the Dragling they were holding into the hive.

“Never gonna happen,” stated Biggs, causing his chubby Changeling friend to pout. “I’m just saying, having a harem is a lofty goal, especially when you haven’t even been in a relationship before.” Wedge just pouted more.

“I have no idea what I’m going to do with those two,” sighed Cid.

“Pit them against one another in a battle to the death,” suggested Zircon as she and the others landed. They all looked at her, not certain how serious she was. “What? Knowing those two it probably wouldn’t go beyond a lot of slapstick comedy.”

“If that’s all then I’d sure love to see that,” snickered Nat.

“Seems like you bunch aren’t much worse for wear,” noticed Cid as he watched them land and move around with ease. “Nearly everyone else couldn’t even make it inside before they fainted. Was the battle really that rough?”

“Intensely,” stated Sting. “We were outnumbered more than ten times over and the Pony forces were a lot tougher than we imagined. That they made it all the way back here before collapsing, after such a brutal fight, is nothing short of a miracle. We were exhausted, but at least we were able to rest while on the train. Still, we’ll all need a day or two to recover before any of us can even think of resuming our training or launching an attack anywhere else.”

“I could go for more than a couple days,” yawned Media, feeling some fatigue kick in now that they were safely home.

“At least a week for me,” Zircon said next, catching Media’s yawn.

“Think I’ll start with a moon and see how I’m feeling from there,” Nat stated, rubbing his eye with the arm that wasn’t carrying his little bundle of joy. “Come on, Flurflur, let’s go find a place to have a nappy.”

“Well, go catch your Z’s,” Cid smiled, watching the brave warriors retreat for their well-earned reprieve. “You’ve all more than earned it.”

“At least the beds aren’t too far from here,” Media yawned again. “I’m not sure if I’ll even be able to pull the blanket over me before I pass out.”

“That makes two of us,” nodded Zircon as they went from the central stairwell to the sleeping quarters of the hive. They all made their way in and towards the nearest available beds, all save for Sting who proceeded further down the stairs. “Sting, where are you going? The beds are right here.”

“I’ll join you soon,” the red Dragling breathed heavily and shook his head to keep himself up. “There’s some place I want to stop by first.”

“You want to stop by and see Pincer, don’t you?” figured Media.

“I want to let him know how our first battle went,” he explained. “And to thank him for everything he’s done for us.”

“Do what you’ve gotta do and then get some rest,” yawned Nat as he tucked Flurryheart into a bed. He then pushed the bed beside it next to her bed and climbed in. “As for me I’m- Zzzzzz…”

“That didn’t take long,” commented Media as she curled up in her blanket. “He fell asleep.. in two… seconds flat. Zzzzzz…”

“That’s one thing… even Sting couldn’t beat him at,” joked Zircon. “Zzzzzz…”

All three Draglings had fallen asleep. Flurryheart, still plenty awake, wiggled free of her covers and cuddled with Nat. Sting watched his fellow Draglings slumber while they snored loudly. With a slight smile, he turned to continue his way downward to visit Pincer’s grave, eager to get some much desired rest once he was done.

Yawning and stretch, Gabby started to awaken from her light snooze. “Mmm,” she hummed and gazed skyward, seeing the leaves in the trees and some fluffy clouds in the sky. “I just meant to rest my eyes, but I guess I must’ve dozed off.”

“It was just a little beauty sleep,” Spike told her, cuddling up against her chest, a bit more of his size regained in the time he waited for her to awaken. Now Spike was about the size of a squirrel, still smaller than he had been just prior to meeting Tamati for the first time and a far cry from his matured size before being shrunk, but he was content that his growth was picking up speed as more time went by. “Not that you need any, gorgeous.”

“Oh, thank you,” blushed Gabby as she craned her neck down to see the purple lizard cuddling with her. “You seem like a nice, purple, uh, gecko?”

“Actually, I’m a Dragon and I’m having a bit of a size issue at the moment, but I’m recovering. Then I’ll be back to my big, hunky self. But, for now, I think I can work with what I’ve currently got available.”

“And what’s that supposed to mean?” she asked him.

“First, let me introduce myself,” Spike continued to say as he got up and took a few steps away from Gabby so he could extend his claws to her. “The Dragon, Spike the Dragon. I’m sure it’ll be a pleasure getting to know you.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Spike,” Gabby smiled brightly as she brought a single talon to his hand to shake it. “My name is Gabby Griffin, official mail carrier of Griffinstone.”

“I know,” he admitted. “I was actually in that package you were taking back home with you.”

“You were?” she questioned him as she approached the package to inspect it and discovered the hole in the side of it. “Why would someone mail me a geck- uh, Dragon? Or, did you mail yourself to me? Is that even legal?”

“It’s actually a long story,” Spike explained. “But, the short version is that I need to get to Griffinstone to find something important for a friend and I could really use your help.”

“Sure thing, Spike,” she answered him in a chipper tone.

“Please,” he begged her, getting down on his knees. “I have nobody else to turn to now and I- uh, did you just say you’d do it?”

“I sure did,” Gabby assured him.

“I could tell you were a lot different than most Griffins, but to agree to help me just like that, without asking any questions or wanting anything in return, I’m surprised,” he admitted.

“That’s probably because I’m not like most Griffins,” she explained. “Griffins can be rude, selfish, and only care to do anything if there are Bits involved and they wouldn’t even try to deny it, but that’s never been me. I’ve already been cheerful, kind, and always eager to lend a claw to those who need it. I don’t know how I got this way, but it’s who I am.”

“That reminds me a lot of myself,” commented Spike. “I’ve always been different from other Dragons, though that’s probably because I was raised by Ponies my whole life. So while Dragons are commonly known for being huge, vicious, greedy monsters, I’ve always just been seen as an adorable, little, kid eager to do anything for the approval of others.” Upon saying that, Spike felt his insides get twisted up, remembering how all of that was gone now.

“Oh, wow! It sounds like we’ve got a lot in common then,” gasped Gabby, excited to find a kindred spirit in Spike.

“Maybe, but I was born into a culture that was never mine to begin with,” the purple Dragon added with a sigh. “I have no idea how my life might have turned out if I had been brought up in the Dragon Lands and, now, I can never go back to the only home I’ve ever known.”

“You can’t go back home?” cried Gabby as she picked Spike up to smother him with affection.

“T-Too tight!” he managed to wheeze out before his body became too constricted to speak.

“Oh, sorry,” she apologized and loosened her hold on him. “But, why can’t you go back home?”

“Because I’m maturing,” he answered. “And Twilight is worried that I’m turning into something she can’t control. I don’t know if that means I’m becoming more draconic, but I also know I’m not the same baby Dragon clinging to her because I’d have nothing without her. I’m just me and while I’m on this journey to help a friend out, this might also be my chance to learn just who I am and who I want to be.”

“Wow, that sounds so amazing!” exclaimed Gabby excitedly. “Like something out of an adventure novel. If it actually was one I’d definitely read it cause I’d really love to know how things turn out for you.”

“Well, it’s still far from over,” Spike said, delighted to see Gabby so invested in him after such a brief conversation. “But, if you really want to find out how it ends, you could always join my harem.”

“I’d love to!” she answered immediately.

“I know that’s a very unexpected thing for me to offer to you out of the blue, but-” Spike went on saying, but stopped in his tracks when Gabby yet again surpassed his expectations. “Did you just agree to join my harem… just like that?”

“Uh huh,” she nodded. “Why shouldn’t I want to join? You seem like a really great guy. Also,” she added, gazing seductively at him. “I have a pretty strong hunch that when you return to your full size you’ll be as sexy as you are currently cute.”

“Well, even at this size I’d say I’m still plenty sexy,” he bragged, running his claws over the spikes on his head. “If the rest of my harem was around I’m sure they’d vouch for me, but seeing as I had to make a quick exit from Ponyville, I wasn’t able to take them with me.” Pausing for a moment, Spike gave the female Griffin’s body another lookover, admiring the curves on her chest and waist. Bringing his gaze higher, he was able to spot the twinkle of lust in her eyes that he learned to spot after seeing it so often in swooning looks of Sweetie Belle and all the other members of his harem. “But, I’m sure you’d much rather experience it for yourself. Besides, a one-on-one session is how I like to initiate new members into my entourage.”

“If that’s what we gotta do then okay,” she giggled and blushed, never expecting that a mysterious gift would lead her to a situation like this, but she wasn’t against it in the least. A few low murrs actually indicated she was eager for it and those sounds of lust were turning on Spike to the kittyhawk even more than he already was. “But, will you be able to? I mean, can we really do it while you’re so shrunken?”

“It’s just my size that’s been reduced,” he explained. “Nothing more. And while it might mean I’m not as big as I normally am down there, my cock and balls are every bit as functional. I’ll just jot this time as both a challenge and an experience to see what it’s like to be with a partner much larger than myself for a change. Later on, when I’m the one towering over you, I’ll be certain to put the horseshoe on the other hoof and given you a full serving of Dragon cock.”

“Oh, that sounds like a real good time,” she smiled before she got up to undress, slipping out of her shirt first to expose her breast-stuffed bra. After that she undid her pants, wiggling her hips to let them slide down to her ankles. Stepping out of them, she strutted around the pint-sized Dragon feeling very naughty to be doing a strip tease out in the middle of the forest, making this all the more exciting for her too. “I just hope I can measure up to the other members of your harem.”

“You don’t have anything to worry about,” Spike told her, already liking what he was seeing, his dragonhood throbbing and dripping with approval too. “I treat all the members of my harem equally. Plus, from where I’m standing, all I can see is one big, beautiful woman.”

“Awe, you’re so sweet,” she blushed upon hearing such praise. Reaching behind her back, Gabby attempted to undo the clip keeping it tied to her chest. However, when she succeeded, the elastic unstretch quickly and slipped free or her claw. Gabby’s bra flung a short distant forward and landed right on top of Spike’s face, covering over his eyes and half his body. “Oopsies,” she apologized, cupping her chest that she could barely grasp in her claws. “Sorry, Spike. I’ve been going through a bit of a growth spurt in my chest and I haven’t had a chance to get any better-fitting bras.”

“That’s quite alright. More than alright, actually,” he assured her, his face red after that sexy wardrobe malfunction. “Like I said before, ‘you’ve got nothing to worry about.’” Taking the bra off his face, the first thing Spike saw with them off was Gabby now squatting down as she was slipping herself out of her panties. This gave Spike a close up view of both her huge breasts and her pussy all at once and he felt he could have lost a load prematurely if he had remained as ignorant and inexperienced to the pleasures of the flesh like he once had. “Nothing at all.”

“Oh, that’s a relief,” she replied as she carefully dropped onto her rump and lifted her legs to remove her pants from both her feet at the same time. “Now, how should we go about this?”

“Just lay back and let me do the work,” he instructed her. With a nod, she reclined onto her back, bending her legs before spreading them to allow her pussy to be fully exposed for whatever he had in mind. Smirking at such willingness, Spike couldn’t help but drool with anticipation like he was staring at a table full of sweets from one of his outings to Pinkie Pie’s underground confectionary.

Gabby giggled, eager for Spike to get to work on her. Her lion’s tail twitched and curled about as it slid to and fro on the ground. Slowly approaching Gabby, Spike got swatted by the griffin’s swaying appendage a few times, but even in his shrunken state it did nothing to slow him down as he walked in between her arched legs. “This is going to be really sweet,” thought Spike as he gripped at Gabby’s inner thighs and leaned forward to plant his snout against her vagina. Taking in a big breath, he inhaled her lust, finding the it both familiar to the scent given off by the mares had made love with, but at the same time unique for the species it belonged to. Either way, the aroma only made him that much more eager to begin.

Opening his maw, he brought his tongue down upon the Griffin’s pussy, licking it up then down and then all around before repeating. “Oh… Ah… OHHH!!!” she murred with bliss as his tongue work showed no hesitation and his pace and roughness showed his desire to enjoy the journey rather than rush his way to the finish line.

“Y-You’re r-really good at this,” Gabby moaned, blissfully, as she squeezed her chest to add to the bliss she was experiencing. “A-Are all Dragons this g-good?”

“I’ve only really known one other Dragon,” he admitted as he stopped his licking to gaze down at her crotch, soaked mostly with saliva, but some of her lust had begun to leak out too. “And, in a way, he was my sex ed teacher. So, while I can’t say we’re all great at this kinda thing, with long, dextrous tongs, slender and delicate claws, and tails that put dildos to shame, it sure feels like we were built for it.”

Taking a deep breath, Spike exhaled the warmest breath he could muster while his flames were still disabled. To his delight, he could feel the fires inside of him had started to return, allowing him to blow some heated air against Gabby’s pussy and further stimulate her arousal as he readied her for the main event. “Looks like my pilot light is lit again, but still not quite able to make flames yet,” he observed. While the idea of Twilight’s magic was starting to fade, he also attempted to open his wingspan up, managing to manipulate them, but their sluggish response proved their recovery wasn’t complete either. “Twilight’s magic is wearing off, but looks like I’ll need to wait a little while longer before I’m completely back to normal.”

“You weren’t kidding,” panted Gabby, feeling that heat stoke her desire to fuck even more. Her feline toes stretched and curled as she struggled to simply enjoy the pleasure and not leap up to take control. “Dragons really are- OH!!!”

“Heheh,” snickered Spike as he plunged his tongue deep into her pussy to taste around her insides and really start to show her the perks of lovemaking with a Dragon. “What did you say? I didn’t quite catch that.”

“Oh, fuck me~” she begged, fully convinced to leave the pleasuring to the harem master she was more overjoyed than ever to be a part of.

“With pleasure,” he smirked, plunging his tongue further inside her, exploring her innards much to Gabby’s delight. Instinctively, her tail maneuvered, curling around his body one as if to hug him and never let him go. The soft, furry appendage tickled him as he continued to work on his new mate and he took it as more evidence of what an amazing sex master he had become. Finally, when Gabby’s loins exuded an even stronger lust while her crotch was soaked in equal parts dragon spit and her own sweet nectar, Spike reeled his tongue back into his maw to bring on the best part yet.

Hefting his body up onto her waist, Spike adjusted himself to aim his cock at Gabby’s prepped pussy. Though it was diminished like the rest of his scaley hide, Spike’s hardon still retained enough of its length and thickness to satisfy anyone he wielded it on. The Griffin watched Spike as he got ready to plunge down into her. Gazing at his plump, and gentle, yet also sexy visage, Gabby found herself completely smitten with this dragon who had taken her in as one of the treasures in his hoard. Spike gazed his emerald greens into the griffin’s baby blues as he ran his tongue across his lips, the flavor of her pussy still stuck on it. Grinning lustfully, he had become equally infatuated with her too.

Plunging down, Spike penetrated Gabby, feeling the familiar warm and moist sensation of a pussy housing his peg. Moaning with ecstasy, Gabby reflexively clenched around Spike’s cock, wanting more… needing more. Being the generous reptile he was, Spike gave her all she wanted, slowly pulling out of her save for his tip before ramming back in. Gabby gripped the ground with her talons, bracing for each thrust of pleasure so that she could embrace it as his dragon balls slapped against her crotch.

It was all so wonderful. Too much in fact. Gabby soon found herself resisting the bliss of it all just as much as she wanted to chug it all down, now wanting to be pushed over the edge too soon and lose the high such lust filled her with. It was a task that only grew more difficult as Spike picked up speed and refused to relent, his own lust already tempered to take in far more pleasure before he even came close to a climax of his own.

“More! More! More!” begged Gabby in her head as she reveled in all this pleasure. She wanted to verbally say so too, but she could barely utter anything without moans filling her muzzle. “Keep going!”

As she could feel the powerful pulsing from Spike’s penis, she knew he was on the verge of his own climax as well. Gabby readied herself to feel that final, greatest hit of euphoria once he blew his draconic load right into her and filled her with his hot seed. However, before she could tighten around his cock as she reached her climax, Spike pulled himself out of her pussy. Aiming his cock towards the grass, he let his eruptions of spunk shoot away from them.

With their climaxes complete, fatigue then set in and both took in some much needed air their moans of bliss prevented. Carefully, Spike rested back upon the grass beside his new mate, locking claws with talons as they reflected on their first time making love to one another.

“Sorry,” Spike apologized. “I got a little too into it and almost forgot to pull out in time. I’m not sure if you’re ready for kids or not, but till I can truly settle down, I want to hold off, for the time being.”

“It’s fine,” panted Gabby. “I think I’m too young for children too, but when I am, I really hope they’ll be ours.”

“I do too,” smiled Spike. “Lots and lots of children so we’ll be one big happy… family.” As Spike said all that, he started to sniffle and a few tears ran down his face and his heart started to ache.

“Spike?” asked Gabby, seeing as his tears run down the sides of his face. “You’re crying.”

“I am?” he replied, rubbing his face to see that he was. “Oh, I guess thinking about family got me recalling the one I had in Ponyville. In spite of what happened, I do miss them, including Twilight, even after all she put me through. It might be wishful thinking right now, but I hope that, some day, I’ll be able to return there. For now, however, I won’t and can’t let sentimentality keep me from looking forward.” Wiping his tears away with his arm, he turned to Gabby with a bold smile and a determined look upon his face. She smiled back at him, as they tightened the grip on their claws before she hefted his body on top of hers to hug him tight. Relishing the warmth of her soft-furred body, Spike nuzzled against his chest. He then maneuvered his pointed tail back to Gabby’s still moist pussy, merely prodding the hole teasingly at first.

“Oh, what are you up to now?” blushed Gabby, getting excited for what fun he had in mind next.
“I don’t recall either of us saying we had enough yet,” he explained resting his chin on her boobs. He had the spade-shaped tip of his tail sliding in and out of her body, slowly rekindling her horniness anew. “So, how about I give you a good tailfucking this time around? It’s much longer and thicker than my cock currently is and I wonder how many spikes you can take.”

“How many spikes?” she started to say, not sure what he meant, but soon realized as she felt the first green point at the end of his tail slip inside her. Slowly, Spike pushed more of his tail in till the next spike reached her hole. He paused for a moment, listening to see if Gabby had any discomfort before pushing that spike in too, along with more of his tail that was getting thicker with each of Spike’s spikes she took in. Gabby was quickly back to murring as she reveled in the sensation of his tail sliding deeper into her one spike after another, the pleasure only growing with each one and making her yearn to take in every wonderful scale on it. “Oh, I don’t know,” she murred with delight that didn’t sound like she had reached a climax mere minutes ago. “But I’ll take in as many as I can.”

“I wouldn’t expect anything less from a member of my harem,” he smirked as he kept pushing in deeper, fully intending to fill her pussy up to the thick base of his tail.

“Oh, this is the life,” sighed Tamati as he reclined on his throne with his harem all around his body snuggling him. Save for a few lapping up seed upon his length from one of his many climaxes, the rest were either asleep or dozing off after another wonderful sex session. Even the big Dragon stud himself was low on stamina after their role play combined with his attack on the Crystal Empire. Opening his maw as wide as it could go, he unleashed a mighty exhale.

“What is?” yawned Chrysalis, nuzzling against her beloved’s chest in between Shiny and Cadence who were out cold from the busy day they had as well.

“All that I have,” he told her. “Having this great, big family. I’ve got my harem that adores every inch of me. Heheh, some parts more than others. I’ve got the greatest kids in the world too and plenty of invaluable followers too from the male Changelings in this hive to Spike and I’m sure I’ll get more of all of the above as we continue our conquest of Equestria. But, for right now, I just want to relax and appreciate all the hard work everyone has done to get us as far as we have gotten. We have acquired three of the elements so far and only a few more remain. Once we have collected them all then Equestria will finally be under my control.”

“Zzzzz,” snoozed Chrysalis, sound asleep partway through that monologue of Tamati’s. The large dragon just chuckled a little before letting out another big yawn and felt himself fading from the waking world due to the Sandman’s restful embrace.

“It would be nice if we could just stay like this for a while longer,” yawned Tamati as his eyes grew heavy and he drifted off to sleep.

Celestia entered the barracks where her soldiers were training hard, preparing for the battle that was drawing ever closer with every passing minute. She was no longer dressed in her formal princess attire, but clad in her own custom made suit that was designed for her tall, slender physique and busty figure. It was gold plated and emblazoned with the symbol of the sun on the breastplate. Her flowing mane and tail were restrained with a set of ponytails to keep them from getting in her way.

With spears, swords, and axes in hands, the Canterlot soldiers hacked and slashed at stuffed mannequins designed to look like Changelings, but were really crudely made to begin with and only looked worse from the wear and tear they received from being hacked apart and sewn back together dozens of times over. The ponys clad in gold and silver fiercely hacked, slashed, and stabbed at the stand ins, helping mentally ready themselves for when they would have to do the same to the real mccoy.

A number of the unicorn soldiers were busy training their magic, aiming at the bull's eyes in a target range. As they expelled beams of magic from their horns, it blasted apart any pieces of the targets they hit with explosive force. After several seconds, the targets magically repaired themselves to allow them to take shots over and over again to perfect their aim and work to increase the power of their magic-based artillery.

“Someone sure is itching for a fight,” commented Luna as she entered the barracks to see Celestia already suited up for battle. “You do know we aren’t going to be ready for this attack for a little while longer. There’s no need for you to be suited up yourself.”

“I know,” admitted Celestia as she turned to her sister. “But it’s been some time since I wore this and I wanted to try it on to make certain it still fits. Honestly, it feels a bit snug around my chest. I’ll have to see if I can have it loosened some before the battle.”

“Probably from too much cake,” Luna jabbed at her. “You might wanna get it loosened up around that flank of yours as well.”

“Are you implying something?” questioned Celestia, a far less than amused expression on her face. “Something that might be banishment worthy.”

“I’m just saying you might have grown an inch or two since you last tried it on,” explained Luna casually. “But, certainly it isn’t all those late night kitchen raids of cake putting a dent in that perfect figure of yours.”

“Of course not,” agreed Celestia, the tension growing thick between the two, enough to get all the soldiers to stop what they were doing and silently watch the royal siblings passive aggressively chatter with one another. The two then stopped conversing and gave the soldiers a stern glare, telling them not to pry on their sisterly spat. In response to this, the soldiers cleared the room to give them privacy to speak, thankful they only had to face an army of Changelings and not the royal Pony sisters in battle. “But, how exactly do you know I sneak down to the kitchen, at night? Aren’t you supposed to be monitoring the dream world, rather than me?”

“I do,” nodded Luna. “And what kind of a sister would I be if I didn’t keep an eye on you to make certain you sleep soundly? Of course, there are times when you go to sleep unusually late and when you are asleep and dreaming… well, it is very telling what’s on your mind at the time.”

“Is that so?” replied Celestia, narrowing her eyes a little. “Can I assume you’ll show the same dedication when searching for Spike’s whereabouts?”

“I’ll be right on it,” Luna nodded to her sister. “As soon as it gets dark. Since I don’t monitor dragon dreams, I’m fairly familiar with his sleeping pattern. When he’s not out on his own late night snacking he’s in bed around 9:30. Considering he’s on the run, he might be up a bit longer, but he has no reason to believe we’ll be searching for him this way, so when he thinks he’s found a safe place to hunker down for the night, I’ll pry his whereabouts right from his subconscious.”

“And then we can tie up that loose end and concentrate on the issues with the Crystal Empire,” added Celestia as she sighed. “While I do enjoy a bit of chaos to help break up the monotony of ruling, this is more irritating than listening to the constant squabbles and bickering of the nobles in this city. At least we get the chance to see some battle for a change. This could truly even be our chance to rid ourselves of the Changelings one and for all. That is, provided, of course, we make sure none of them escape, especially Chrysalis.”

“Must we really go so far as to wipe out the entire Changeling race?” questioned Luna.

“We’ve already been over this,” sighed Celestia. “Equestria will be a much better place without Changelings to cause us trouble. At best we’d be celebrated by the other creatures and at worse they’d be apathetic to the whole thing. From my perspective, there is no downside in ridding ourselves of them for good.”

“I know, but I’m not sure if I can live with the burden of taking part in genocide,” the Alicorn on the night confessed. “And, they are only truly a threat under Queen Chrysalis’s command. If we were to remove her from power, maybe we could broker a peace treaty with the rest of the swarm so that we can live in harmony.”

“Sure, we could try that,” the Alicorn of the Sun retorted sarcastically. “And we can even send them a few love-filled Ponies every day to ensure they won’t have to worry about where their next meal will be coming from. Oh, wait. We don’t need to do that because they already captured the Crystal Empire and have probably turned it into a love buffet for themselves.”

“I know it will be difficult to create harmony with the Changelings when the love of others is essential to their survival,” she conceded. “But surely there must be something that can be done.”

“There very well could be,” admitted Celestia. “But the Changelings have never made an effort to change their ways, so we have no guarantee that anything we try could make them change either. In the end, they are just another savage race we have been forced to contend with in our daily lives. If we cannot make use of such a nuisance species, then we will be better off without them. That is my last word on the matter and it will be the final word, do I make myself clear?”

“Yes, Celestia,” sighed Luna, well aware that as much as she didn’t like what Celestia had said, she also couldn’t deny that her sister made some very strong points against attempting to forge peace with those dark, holey insects. “We will do what needs to be done.”

“I’m pleased to hear that,” Celestia smiled, running her fingers gently through her sister’s hair. “Then there will be no more quarrels between us. We will invade the Changeling hive and wipe out every last one of them. And that will be the end of that.”


“With a tavern bill to pay or a night of dishes ahead of them, Chrissy, Dominazer and the others did what they could in order to pay off their tabs,” spoke Sunburst as he narrated the D&D campaign. “Deciding that each should pay their own way, the group split up to cover their expenses how they best saw fit to do it.”

“But if you would all just listen to me,” pleaded Shiny, attempting to call the rest of the team back to her, however they ignored her to focus on themselves. She then reached into her pocket, pulling out a twenty-sided blue die with white numbers on it. “Shouldn’t I be rolling to see if they will listen to me?”

“It wouldn’t do you any good to bother trying,” explained the cloaked Dungeon Master. Even if your Charisma stat was higher,you wouldn’t succeed, Nat 20 or not. Currently the rest of your party has inflicted itself with the Mule stat. Now they are far too stubborn to listen to what anyone else has to say, including you.”

“Well, I did try,” she sighed, putting away her many-sided game piece. Sitting back down, she waited to see how the rest of the team would deal with paying their tab.

“The first to make their move on this matter was Chrissy,” narrated Sunburst, as he approached the dark witch. Without anything on beneath his robe, parts of Sunburst’s nudity were briefly revealed every time he took a step forward. “How will she handle paying the bill for her meal?”

“Very easily,” she bragged with a smug smirk on her face. “I’m just going to leave without paying and if they have a problem with that then I’ll just use my magic to remind them that life, in particular, their own, is worth far more than a few pieces of silver and gold.”

Laughing heartily, Chrissy swaggered her way to the tavern’s front doors. She didn’t even attempt to subtly sneak out when nobody was looking. In fact, with the greeter standing right at the door, she headed right for him. He was an elderly pony with a ring of gray hair around his otherwise bald head and a pair of thick spectacles covering his wrinkly eyes. His small, shriveled-looking figure was hunched over on a chair by the door. He sat there and with a gentle smile on his face he waved hello and goodbye to the tavern’s customers as they came and went.

“Hello. Hi there. Glad to see you again,” he’d say to those coming in.

“So long. Farewell. Hope you come back soon,” is what he’d say to those making their way back outside.

“Thanks for the free grub, bub,” Chrissy told him, downright admitting she didn’t pay and her cocky attitude emphasized she had no intention to.

“Sorry, young lass,” he apologized as he poked a finger in his ear to clean it. “My hearing ain’t as good as it once was. Did you just say your free meal?”

“That’s right!” she bragged boisterously. “I’m dine and dashing. What are you going to do about it?”

“Well, nothing,” he admitted, taking a handkerchief out to wipe his forehead. “My job is simply to greet our guests. Security handles problems like dine and dashers.”

“Oh, really?” she scoffed. “Well, where is this security?”

“Here he comes right now,” he told Chrissy as she could feel heavy footsteps approaching her. Turning to look, the witch stared in awe, mouth dropping to the floor at the sight of the large, green dragon that towered over her and everyone else there. With all the scars covering his body including one over his right eye, it was very clear that he had been in a number of skirmishes before this one and looked plenty eager to brawl some more.

He had a beer belly on him and the strong scent of booze on his breath, though he didn’t appear the least bit wasted from how swiftly he walked his way over to where Chrissy was. The muscles in his arms bulged, revealing that aside from a semi soft gut he wasn’t someone you wanted to mess with if you could avoid it. Snorting flames out his nostrils, even Chrissy couldn’t help but swallow hard as he approached her location. Everyone else in the tavern became quiet as they watched what was about to go down. “Looks like he heard you.”

“That’s a ton or two more security than I thought this place was going to have around here,” sweated Chrissy as she stared up at the towering dragon, dressed only in a pair of suspenders with one of the straps broken. He stared down at the witch, snorting an intoxicating amount of smoke in her face. Coughing, she fanned it away with her hand.

“Did I hear you say that you were a dine and dasher?” he spoke in a gruff, gravely voice.

“Yes you did, soot for brains,” she taunted him. “And what are you going to do about it?”

“Give you one of three choices,” he told her. “One; give you one last chance to pay. Two; escort you to the kitchen for a couple hours of labor to pay your meal off. Three;” he cracked his knuckles as he said this last one. “Convert your bill to pain.”

“That third option does sound good,” she smirked, hands glowing as she readied to unleash all hell over a poultry food bill. “If I’m the one causing pain to you.”

“Chrissy was poised to attack,” narrated Sunburst, standing in the middle of the scene though he wasn’t actually a part of it. “Unfortunately for her, she didn’t realize until that moment that a special sealing circle had been drawn around the tavern that nullified all uses of dark magic, including hers.”

“What?!?” she cried, looking at her hands to see the magical glow fade and found herself depowered. “What the fuck kind of convoluted, just-made-up nonsense is this? You can’t just add this stuff out of nowhere.”

“Actually,” Sunburst actuallyed her. “That was in the schematic for the tavern when you all first arrived. I gave each of you a chance to read it before going in, but you just wanted to get things started.”

“It’s true,” nodded Tamati, sitting on his throne and flipping through a number of papers. “Oh, here it is. Yeah, you went to Tavern #4 and it says right here that it is protected by a sealing circle to limit damage during bar fights.”

“Let me see that,” Chrissy demanded. Sunburst used his magic to float the paper over and read through it. “Mmhmm… Mmhmm… ugh, damnit!” Gripping the paper she almost crumpled it up, but stopped and sighed. “So, what if I were to still choose to fight him?”

“You’d have to do a dice roll to see if you win,” explained Sunburst.

“Just roll the die to see if I win?” she repeated as she took out her black with green numbers twenty-sided die. “And what do I need to roll?”

“Well,” answered Sunburst as he compared her stats to the dragon security personnel. “It looks like without magic and your physical strength leaving a lot to be desired, a Nat 20.”

“And if I fail to get that?” she asked, looking up at the dragon still snorting smoke in her face. “Can you cut it with the smoke for a bit, Honey?”

“S-Sorry about that,” apologized the Changeling, her voice and mannerisms changing to make her draconic transformation appear far less intimidating. “I was just getting into character.”

“If you fail then you’ll be considered out of commission for a while,” answered Sunburst. “Think full body cast at least till the next town. But whether you take that route is completely up to you. Anyway, back to the larp.”

“Graaaah!” roared Honey right at Chrissy, once more returning to her character. She added a little “Too much? Sorry,” after that before going on. “So, what’s it going to be?”

“Uh,” considered Chrissy for a moment. She then pocketed her die and opted for a less risky option. “So, which way is the kitchen?”

“This way,” the dragon answered, waving her to follow.

“And thus, Chrissy was sentenced to a couple hours of dishwashing duty,” announced Sunburst.

“Just remember,” Chrysalis threatened Sunburst. “When this is done you will feel my wrath for this disgrace and there won’t be any magic sealing circle around to save you.”

“Uh, heh,” he chuckled nervously. “Um, will Elly and Dominzer have better luck dealing with their own debt. Only one way to find out.”

Chapter 10

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“Lots to do… Lots to do…” mumbled Tamati as he hurried around his throne room, looking through one set of notes after another. “So little time… Not nearly enough time at all.” Cid, Biggs, Wedge, and Sunburst watched the big, buff, black-scaled dragon run around them in such a complete frenzy. None of them had ever seen him so panic stricken and to see him like this now, they couldn’t help but be concerned by whatever was at the root of all this.

“Uh, does he normally freak out so much when he’s going through documents?” asked Sunburst. “I mean, I find doing that very therapeutic, but I know others who can’t stand it. Still, this is the first time I’ve seen anyone look as worried as Tamati does right now.”

“This is a first for us too,” Cid shook his head. “A first to see him this frantic as well as a first to see him so absorbed into paperwork that doesn’t involve the Elements of Discord in any way.”

“But why’s he even bothering with…” Wedge started to say, pausing to look through some of what Tamati had been reading. “The inventories of our warehouses? He’s been looking at the inventory count for all our tools, weapons, armor, and, well, everything we have here. Why would he be sweating over something like this?”

“No doubt, many of my mates will be well along with their second clutch of eggs by then so that’s fewer hands to carry with and will encourage that we act sooner rather than later.”

“Isn’t it obvious what he’s doing?” questioned Biggs as he looked at his fellow Changelings and Sunburst, but they all stared at him, totally clueless. “Okay, maybe it’s not so obvious.”

“Well, if one desires knowledge,” commented Sunburst. “Then one simply needs to seek it out.”

“What?” asked Wedge, tilting his head, not sure what Sunburst had said.

“He means we should just ask Tamati about it,” translated Cid, but none of them were quick to be the one to interrupt their leader’s concentration.

“I want this all done in one go,” muttered Tamati as he placed the papers down and put a claw to his chin. “Perhaps now I should decide the best means to go about this. A warning ahead of time might make things easier, but it could backfire and make things worse. Going unannounced would allow us to avoid any problems till we arrive and I know things will get very ugly. I could send someone ahead to announce our arrival, but the odds of them facing a fate worse than death is, without a doubt, guaranteed.”

The contemplating dragon paused from talking to himself to draw in a big breath through his nostrils. He then let out a blast of smoky air out through puckered lips. “Then there’s always the option of me being the one to go ahead to announce us.” Immediately after saying that, a pained look appeared on his face. “Hell, if I’m going to throw myself into the proverbial lion’s den. “I should just figure out who’s the most expendable in the hive.”

Upon hearing all that, Cid and the others broke out in a cold sweat. “Just what could be so terrible that it has even a dragon this ungodly powerful so frightened?” wondered Cid.

“Sounds like he’s planning another big battle like with the Crystal Empire,” noted Biggs. “But I don’t get why we’d need to announce ourselves when going by surprise would be more advantageous to us.”

“He makes it sound like going unannounced could be worse,” contemplated Sunburst. “And does it have to do with all our inventory… all our belongings… and everybody here.” As Sunburst said all of this, he attempted to connect the dots in a way that made sense and, as he did, his fearful complexion only grew paler. “N-No way. He couldn’t mean to… I mean, it is possible, considering what we’ve already done, but does he have…”

“Whatever you’re going on about,” Biggs chimed in. “Care to share it with the rest of the class?”

“It’s just a hypothesis,” he admitted. “I can’t say for certain till we hear it from the dragon’s mouth, but if he’s anything like me, I’m sure he’d rather face down a hundred Ursa Majors than do what I think he is planning on doing. But if he is considering this, then for what reason? My guess to that would be in response to our conquest of the Crystal Empire.”

“And what could be worse than having to fight a hundred Ursa Majors?” asked Cid, prompting Sunburst to wave them into a huddle to whisper what he dared not speak aloud. When he finished, Cid just cocked an eyebrow. “Seriously? That’s what you think has him so panicked?”

“From how the Changeling Society functions, it is easy to see why you wouldn’t understand this, but as a Pony who has to deal with such an issue two or three times a year, yeah, this can be pure Hell, especially if the duration is going to be long, maybe even indefinite, if my theory is correct.”

“But if it’s something he has to do then why drag the rest of us into this mess?” questioned Biggs. “I mean, his kids and wives, sure, but we’re just his minions, unless he wants to bring his entire kingdom to show them off.”

“He could, but that hardly seems necessary,” added Sunburst. “This just adds water to my theory that he had intended to do this for some time. Possibly even before the invasion of the Crystal Empire.”

“Well, why not just ask Tamati to find out for sure?” suggested Wedge. “How else are we going to know if Sunburst is right or just spewing more crazy ideas like he was doing during all that make believe stuff?”

“Someone say my name?” asked the dragon, turning to his four minions. To their relief, he actually looked happy to be derailed from his current train of thought.

“Well, sir,” Sunburst said, taking a few cautious steps forward. “We were just wondering what all this was for. You had us bring in all these papers and then you’ve been pacing about and mumbling to yourself for the last twenty minutes. Maybe you should take a break and spend a little time with some members of your harem to unwind.”

“Sorry, but I’m not currently in the mood for that,” he responded, getting a flabbergasted gasp from each of them. “Oh, come on. It’s not like all I do is fuck around with my ladies at every given moment. Besides, I had plenty of fun with our O & O game a little while earlier and I got a decent amount of rest earlier. Now I have to work and get us ready for our next move.”

“Which is?” questioned Cid, trying to get more info past their leader’s scaly lips.

“Some place I hoped I’d never have to see,” he sighed. “At least not for another half a century at least. Unfortunately, from the day I first arrived here, to begin my conquest of this world, I already knew we would eventually have to venture forth to that great, stone castle.”

“A stone castle?” pondered Sunburst. “I know of many great castles made of stone. Which one are you referring to?”

“None that would likely be in any of the books you have read,” he admitted. “And it’s not all that great, if memory serves, but it will do fine for our needs and, right now, we need it.”

“But why don’t you seem at all eager to go?” noticed Wedge.

“Nobody would want to go through what we will have to endure if there was another option, any other option at all,” Tamati sighed. “But I… we will get through it.”

“Mind telling us what ‘it’ is,” stated Biggs. “Sunburst seems to think you’re frightened of your-”

“Hush!” shushed Sunburst, cutting him off. “Don’t even say it out loud. Those words can be like a curse to invoke their worst wrath.”

“I get the feeling this terror is one we share,” commented Tamati, smiling down at Sunburst, glad another knew of his anguish.

“Well, care to share with the rest of the class?” asked Cid, getting annoyed to be left in the dark about this. “Was Sunburst right about you being afraid to go-” A sharp glare from both Sunburst and Tamati made him pause mid sentence. From Sunburst, Cid took little stock in such an outlandish warning, but that Tamati appeared equally adamant about saying anything aloud, he felt he’d be in better health to err on the side of caution. “To do that thing Sunburst won’t let us say aloud for some reason. I mean, I don’t really see what the big deal is, do you guys?” Turning the Biggs and Wedge, they shook their heads unable to understand what had Tamati and Sunburst so stressed out.

“Given how Changeling society functions, such a fear probably doesn’t even exist,” explained Sunburst. “And trust me, you are much better off not knowing what it can be like.”

“Guess we’ll have to take your word on it,” replied Biggs.

“Regardless,” Sunburst continued. “We should do all we can to ensure both Tamati and all of us can meet this challenge head on. So, for starters, what preparations have you figured out so far, your Excellency?”

“Mostly just the inventory, so far,” he told him. “From the way things look, we’ll have to prioritize the essentials first and foremost and then decide what else we want to take with us. I’d like to get this done before the next clutch of Draglings are born too or else we could be delayed further. Needless to say, we’ll need all hands for this.”

“You’ve had us on your side since you took over,” Wedge reminded him. “So I don’t see why we wouldn’t help you out. Heck, I don’t think we’ve been this successful since we infiltrated that Pegasus castle in a giant wooden pony. I still can’t believe it worked.”

“So, what else needs to be done to get ready?” asked Cid. “What can we do to help?”

“For starters, we’ll have to inform the whole hive about this operation,” he explained. “If you all could spread the word, that’d be a big help. Then they’ll be less explaining needed for when we actually head out. Oh, but please leave out that part about my… you know what.”

“They are going to find out about… that, eventually,” Biggs pointed out. “Is it really that big of a deal if they find out sooner rather than later?”

“Ohohoh, you have no idea,” replied Sunburst. “The last time I dealt with this kind of an issue, I was with Starlight and that only made things twice as worse. To be confined to Tartarus for eternity would have been preferable.”

“No kidding,” agreed Tamati, chuckling a bit. “If that’s taken care of, then I suppose now would be a good time to take a break. Other than beginning packing preparations, all that’s left is to inform Spike of the situation so that he understands what’s going on too.”

“Isn’t that merely just writing him a note and burning it?” questioned Cid.

“Yes, but we’ve had to be cautious about doing so,” he went on. “He’s upset Twilight Sparkle with his lengthy absences and refusal to explain what he’s been up to. Since then, he’s had to send letters to me first so I know when he is free to communicate. Normally, he’d send me notifications like that on a regular basis, but lately he hasn’t sent me anything.”

“You think something might have happened to him?” suggested Biggs.

“It is possible,” nodded Tamati. “Either his lack of obedience has forced a harsher punishment on him or they could have discovered what he has been up to.”

“Could he have confessed and betrayed us?” Cid considered.

“Even that possibility exists, but I doubt that,” answered Tamati. “He’s well aware of where he sits in Pony society now. He’d be lucky if they even allowed him a trial for show before they locked him up and threw away the key.”

“Then what will we do about Spike?” wondered Cid. “If he is in trouble then no doubt they’ll pry any information they can from him and that’ll lead them right to us.”

“For now, we can only focus on this operation,” sighed Tamati, frustrated by not knowing what was going on with his scaly, purple ally. “I can’t risk contacting him while the Ponies are likely on high alert over our conquest of the Crystal Empire. If need be, I’ll have to send a unit out to find him. So, unless he gets in touch with us, he’s on his own. All we can do is hope and pray for the best.”

“Wow, you really weren’t kidding about being big,” commented Gabby as she marveled at Spike’s size as the effects of the shrink potion had almost completely dissipated from his system. “Now I really can’t wait to see you in action.”

“I’m afraid that’ll have to wait for now,” apologized Spike as he peered through some trees to see the entrance to Griffinstone. After enjoying their lustful endeavors in the forest, the two had walked the rest of the way to the once great kingdom of the Griffins. “Did you find anything I could wear to conceal myself?”

“There wasn’t much,” she confessed as she reached into her mail pouch and removed what appeared to be a very large sheet of burlap fabric. “Griffins don’t get nearly that big. Luckily, I was able to have this Yak-sized cloak made. I didn’t want to say Dragon-sized, just to be on the safe side, but I think it should still fit you.” Reaching into her bag again, she pulled out a stick-on mustache as well. “Oh, I also got you this.”

“A fake mustache?” replied Spike as he took the faux facial hair in his claws and looked at it for a moment. A smile then spread across his face as he attached it over his lip. “This probably won’t do anything to disguise me, but I bet this makes me look even sexier.”

“I’ll say,” agreed Gabby cheerfully. “Now, try the cloak on. I just hope it fits.”

“One way to find out,” said Spike as he started to slip into it. He was able to cover over his torso and most of his body, but his hands, feet, and tail still stuck out.

“Oh, it’s too small,” groaned Gabby sadly. “I can still tell that you’re a Dragon.”

“That’d probably be the case no matter what, if I stood up like normal,” commented Spike as he crouched down to shorten his height a bit and help cover up his limbs. All the extra bulk he had put on recently proved particularly helpful here as it gave his covered body a large appearance. He then maneuvered his tail, wrapping it around his waist like a belt to ensure it remained hidden. “And now if I just open my wings to manipulate my shape a bit, that should complete the illusion. Do I look more Yak-like now?”

“Sort of… I think,” she considered as she looked over Spike’s disguise. “You have a big, bulky shape like a Yak, but you do look bizarrely lumpy. Fortunately, I doubt most Griffins would care enough to take notice of you, so long as you don’t do anything to draw too much attention to yourself.”

“Then let’s go,” Spike told Gabby in a gruffer-sounding voice. “Yak ready to go to Griffinstone.”

“Wow, that was a pretty good Yak impression,” praised Gabby. “We can go right now, but how long do you think you can keep up this disguise? Keeping your wings opened like that has got to get tiring after a while, not to mention remembering to speak like that.”

“No worries,” Spike assured her, taking a few steps forward. “Spike can walk like this all day and talking like Yak is actually pretty fun.” Despite how confident he tried to pretend he was, the disguised Dragon didn’t know how long he could remain in character. Regardless, he had no choice if he was going to search for another Element of Discord. “Now, let’s go!”

Making their way towards the kingdom, the walk took a while due to the hunched over way Spike had to move, but eventually they did reach the entrance where a couple guards were stationed to inspect anybody coming into the city. Under different circumstances this would have been the end of the line for Spike attempting to go incognito, but that was hardly the case here. The two guards were lazily lounging about, their helmets off and their spears leaning on a nearby wall. In their hands, they had magazines that their eyes were glued too. One was reading an issue of Nest Fancy while the other was lewdly smirking as he gazed upon the images of the magazine, Naughty Birb. When Spike and Gabby approached them, they merely glanced over at them for all of half a second before they went back to their reading material.

“Well, that’s Griffinstone’s finest in action,” chuckled Gabby. “Now we can go over the gate.”

“Over the gate?” asked Spike as he looked at the broken wall before them and then down at a rusted metal that was once the gate. “Oh, that gate.”

“Yeah, we have to get that fixed some day,” commented Gabby as they headed into the kingdom. Looking around, she let out a sad sigh before adding. “That and a lot of other things too.”

“Hey, wanna trade yet?” asked the Griffin guard reaching Nest Fancy.

“Give me five more minutes,” the other one said as he licked his finger to help him turn the page.

“We’ve made it in the city,” Gabby told Spike, speaking to him discreetly as they walked down the central road up the big tree Griffinstone was built upon. “So, what’s the plan from here?”

“We find the Element and get out of here as quickly as possible,” answered Spike as he looked around the city, being cautious to keep his head hidden. All the Griffins they passed had the same uncaring look about them. Even with how much Spike’s disguise made him stand out, the most he received was an apathetic gaze before they went on their way without so much as a second look. Still, despite their seeming lack of interest, Spike didn’t want to illusion himself into thinking that meant he was safe.

Turning his attention away from the grumpy populace, Spike instead focused on the kingdom itself. Just like the poorly maintained gate at the front, the rest of the city was in equally decrepit condition. Most of the buildings were falling apart. The stone walls were covered with cracks and missing chunks in several places while the straw roofs had numerous gaps in them and pieces of the house-covering were littered the ground all over the place. There were signs of patchwork jobs done to ensure the buildings were maintained enough to keep them stable enough to live in, but the places that were vacant had been left to decay into complete ruins.

While Griffinstone was a far cry from the size of Canterlot, it was still a much vaster place than Ponyville was, even with the condition it had been neglected into becoming. From what Spike could recall from helping Twilight research kingdoms through the ages, Griffinstone had been established well before the reign of Princess Celestia and her sister Luna. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, their kingdom was quick to decay over the years. During the rule of King Grover, the Griffins managed to rekindle their pride and a sense of unity. As a result, Griffinstone had managed to recover and regain its former luster for a time. However, circumstances once more interfered and the kingdom fell right back into ruin. Looking at the place now, it didn’t seem likely that much of anything could breathe new life into it for a third time. Save for the fact that Griffins still lived here, the place seemed just like any other long forgotten ruins waiting for time to erase it completely.

“So, you really live here, Gabby?” Spike asked her quietly. “Uh, not that there’s anything wrong with-”

“Don’t worry,” she assured him with a smile on her beak and a pat on his back. “I know this place is more of a landfill than our actual dump. It’s hardly a secret. But, I suppose you’re wondering why anybody bothers to still live here even when Equestria has so many cities and towns that would be a million times better than this. Well, the truth is, most Griffins would jump at the chance to live some place better than Griffinstone, but for a Griffin to take up permanent residence in a pony-controlled city, there is an exorbitant immigration fee that very few can afford for themselves, let alone those in their family as well. That is partially why Griffins are so eager to make a quick bit here and there, just so they can save up enough to finally ditch this dead tree and have a better life for themselves.”

“Is that why you’re a postal worker?” commented Spike. “To save up enough to leave here?”

“No,” she shook her head. “I do that because I love to travel and meet all sorts of creatures wherever I go. The job pays enough to leave me well off, but it’s nowhere near the kind of scratch one would require to move out of here. Anyway, Griffinstone is my home and I wouldn’t feel right about abandoning it.”

“Hey! Watch where you’re going!” snapped a large, auburn-hued Griffin as he rudely shoved his way past Gabby.

“Sorry,” apologized Gabby. “My bad.”

“Are you blind or just stupid?” he kept up the demeaning insults. “Don’t you have enough sense to get outta my way?”

“Sorry,” Gabby apologized again.

“No offense, but I’d hardly consider a place like this a home,” growled Spike, his muscles tightening as he felt ready to unleash his wrath upon that rude Griffin for his transgressions.

“Don’t worry about him,” Gabby said, trying to calm Spike down. “He’s just another grumpy Griffin is all. It’s something you get used to while living here. So, don’t worry about him.”

“It’s not him I’m worried about,” he told her. “I’m worried about y-y-ACHOO!!!” Spike let out a very peculiar-sounding sneeze that unleashed a quick blast of green flames as well that happened to fly right at that auburn Griffin’s backside and set it ablaze. Immediately, he squawked like a turkey and started to run with the pants he was wearing blazing upon his rear. The sight of him freaking out managed to bring the first crowd of smiling Griffins Spike had ever seen and the first chorus of laughter by the kittyhawks that the Dragon had ever heard as well.

“Sorry. My bad,” the sniffling Dragon apologized as he rubbed his nose. “I sneezed. Well, at least I know my flames are back.”

“That wasn’t necessary,” Gabby told Spike, seeing through his veiled attempt to defend her honor. “But, I appreciate that you did it for me.”

“You deserve better than all this,” Spike told her. “And since you are a part of my harem now, I will make sure you will. I promise that I’ll take you to some place better than this. We just need to take care of our business here first.”

“Oh, Spike,” gushed Gabby as hushed as possible. “You’re such a sweetie. Your heart is as big as your ass. Mmm~ and what an ass that is.”

“It certainly is,” blushed Spike as he felt the Griffin give one of his cheeks a squeeze.

“So, Gabby,” asked Spike, trying to return their focus to their search now that they continued to venture to the zenith of the ancient tree the kingdom rested upon. “Where are the cursed, dark, and, most importantly, powerful magical artifacts hidden? They’re in the castle, right? Or is there a vault or something where they are kept locked up safe and sound?”

“They’re in the castle,” she replied as she led Spike towards the largest and oldest structure in all of Griffinstone that rested upon the tree’s summit. Like the rest of the place, it had fallen on hard times with the statues covered in overgrowth and cracked. More of the steps leading to the entrance were broken rather than not and the archway leading to where a pair of large wooden doors once were was on the ground in pieces. archway. The walls of the castle were covered all over in a tapestry of graffiti and not just on the outside of the building either. Even the walls inside weren’t spared and the Griffins on supposed patrols didn’t look the least bit interested or caring about actually doing their job of protecting the castle.

“However,” Grabby continued as they proceeded down the hall of the castle. “When you see where the treasures are, it probably won’t be what you expect.”

“Just from looking at this,” replied Spike as the inside looked almost as bad as the outside. The dimly lit corridors did help conceal a majority of the damage. “I’d imagine this place was stripped of everything of value that wasn’t bolted to the floor. If the Element of Discord was here, then it’s probably long gone by now.”

“That might be the case, but it wouldn’t hurt to browse around for it,” suggested Gabby as they reached an archway with a tarp in front of it. On the other side, they could hear a noisy commotion.

“Browse for it?” asked Spike as he pushed aside the curtain and saw what appeared to be the Griffinstone equivalent to Canterlot Castle’s banquet hall, a vast room meant for large gatherings like dances, festivals, and other huge celebrations. It was still a dirty, dingy mess, but it was filled with the most lively bunch of Griffins other than Gabby that Spike had ever seen. They were busy trying to get the attention of other Griffins as well as a number of other creatures like Ponies, Hippogriffs, Dragons, and even Yaks, like Spike was pretending to be, as they tried to push the goods on the tables all around them.

One section sold fruits and vegetables with varying degrees of freshness. Some stands even had ones that had already rotted and had flies buzzing around, though their price remained the unchanged. Another section sold real jewelry and antiques, at least that’s what the Griffin peddlers claimed and wrote on their signs. Though Spike was far from an expert to judge the age and authenticity of such items, as a lover of gemstones, he did have an eye for which ones were truly high quality, which were not, and which were glass imitations. From what he could see, most appeared to be worthless pieces of junk, though a few did appear to be the real deal.

“You were right,” Spike told Gabby as he went to take a closer look at some of the jewels being sold to see if one of them might be the Element of Discord he was searching for. “I certainly didn’t imagine something like this when we came in here. It certainly is an interesting development, different from how the other two were obtained.”

“Oh, how did you get those ones?” she inquired curiously.

“Well, one was found in a far off ruins deep in a jungle,” he told her. “And the second one was…” Spike cut himself off part way through telling Gabby, realizing that admitting he was instrumental in the downfall of the Crystal Empire was not something he should admit to in such a casual conversation. He also knew it was even worse to do so with so many ears around that could easily overhear him. Just thinking of the trouble he’d invoke if he hadn’t restrained his big mouth when he did left Spike sweating bullets.

“And where was it?” asked Gabby, returning Spike’s attention back to her. “The second element. Where was it found?”

“I’ll… tell you later,” Spike told her. “For now, let’s just find the element, if it’s even here. Of course, if even the ancient, dark artifacts were just being sold as if they were any other overpriced trinkets, they were probably all sold long ago.”

“Ancient and dark artifacts for sale!” announced one of the Griffins, close enough to have overheard Spike’s conversation with Gabby, making the Dragon even more relieved that he hadn’t blabbed about his part in helping a swarm of half-Changeling half-Dragons conquer one of the most important and populous places in all of Equestria and turn it into their personal love buffet. “If you want the power to rule Equestria with an iron hoof or claw or whatever’s attached to your limbs, then step right up. Our prices are fair and negotiable. So, don’t be shy and start bending the wills of a nation to your every whim today.”

After hearing all that, Spike and Gabby couldn’t help but turn to look at both the Griffin and the stand he was tending to. He was a Griffin with blue feathers for his bird half and blue hair for his feline half with some cream colored fur and feathers upon his muzzle, chest and belly. Some of the feathers on his head had a yellow gradient at their tips and stood up like they were callicks. He had deep blue eyes, and a cobalt hue on the feathers of his wings and on the tuft of fur at the end of his long tail. At his size, he appeared to be around the same age as Gabby. He was also very slender, though just seeing how bony his body was this was more a result of him being underweight. He was dressed in a pair of blue jeans and a plaid red shirt, both of which were covered over in a number of tears and a few poorly done patch jobs. Despite his appearance, he kept up an energetic and charismatic sales pitch as he attempted to lure in Gabby and her cloaked friend for a sale.

“You sir,” he pointed at Spike to urge him closer. “I can only imagine what kind of mighty, villainous evildoer is hidden beneath that wrap. Well, if you are in the market for artifacts most powerful and forbidden then you need look no further than Gallus’s Bargain Bin, the place for all your world-conquering needs.”

“Other than you, I didn’t think Griffin’s could act that peppy,” admitted Spike.

“If bits are on the line,” explained Gabby. “A Griffin would charm a fish to walk on land. So, should we go take a look at what he’s got?”

“It wouldn’t hurt to at least take a look,” replied Spike. “We’re going to have to go through this whole place with a fine-toothed comb anyway to make certain if it’s here or not.”

“What does this element thingy look like?” inquired Gabby as she scanned from one end of the table to another.

“Well, I only saw the first one, but it was a dark gemstone filled with a great power that could send chills to your core just from touching it. I’m sure that probably doesn’t narrow it down when it comes to such chaotic and dark magic, but that’s about the best I do to describe it. Just tell me if you see anything that might be it.”

“Like this?” asked Gabby as she picked up a glass case that was housing a black gemstone inside of it.

“Yeah, just like that,” nodded Spike as he leaned in closer to take a look. “Then I’ll take a look at it and say- Holy guacamole! That’s it!”

“Oh, wow!” she laughed at his outburst that caught the attention of everyone else at the bazaar. “Okay, now just leave it to me,” she said, rolling up her sleeves in preparation to search. “I’ll find you that element in no time.”

“You certainly did,” Spike told her, shaking a bit under his disguise from how surprised he was. “This is it. You found it. You found the Element of Discord.”

“I did?!?” she gasped happily. “Heheh, wow that was easy!”

“Y-Yeah,” sweated Spike as he saw the glint in Gallus’s eye. He had a front row seat to their reaction of finding exactly what they came in search for and could tell just how badly they needed it and how much they were not at his mercy. “But I have a feeling the hard part has yet to come.”

“Uh, are you sure it’s a good idea to use twittermites like this?” asked a worried Zircon as she eyed the glass bottle containing a small swarm of tiny, blue insects. They resembled fireflies with how the lower section of their body glowed bright enough to shine in the dark, however, that small illumination was accompanied by a painful-looking jolt of electricity. Anybody who knew just how much it hurt to get zapped by a lone twittermite was not foolish enough to obtain the insect’s ire especially when the rest of the swarm was close by and willing to join in on the zap. “They are quite dangerous insects,” she added. “And this is coming from a bug that’s half Changeling and half Dragon, so that’s saying something.”

“Don’t worry,” Media assured her confidently. “I’ve done this with mom before and she’s done this countless times before then too. So long as we keep them properly insulated they are harmless and actually very useful.”

“Yeah,” nodded Honey as she mixed some batter in a very large bowl a few more times to make sure to make sure it was a proper smooth consistency before proceeding to use the bugs for what she needed them to do. “The Pony who realized these bugs could be seen as more than mere pests was truly a genius. These bugs then became a power source that doesn’t rely on possessing either Unicorn magic or costly and rare magic-infused gemstones. None of Equestria’s biggest cities would even be possible without the harnessed power of such tiny creatures.”

“I still don’t like them,” admitted Zircon as she looked down at one that seemed to be staring back at her. The princess Dragling slowly leaned in closer with curiosity, only for that bug to buzz with electricity and startle her into stumbling backwards and onto her keister. “Ugh… Correction. I hate them and declare I shall seek vengeance on all their kind!”

“Trying to sound like your mother?” asked Media upon hearing that declaration of revenge.

“What do you think?” she asked. “Was that Chrysalis levels of revenge ranting?”

“Not enough wrath in your tone and venom on your words,” critiqued Honey. “But not too shabby. By the time we find someone you truly wish to suffer a fate worse than death for whatever reason they cross you, you will undoubtedly be seen as an utterly vile monster worthy of being the spawn of your mother.”

Hearing Honey say that, the three girls couldn’t help laughing at the silly conversation they had. After a minute of snickering and giggling, Media spoke up to return their focus to the task at hand. “So, is the batter ready?”

“It should be,” answered her mother as she stirred it a couple more times to make certain. “There. Now the donut batter is ready to be cooked. Time to get the frier ready.”

Honey attached a plug into the glass container where two narrow slits were. They were too small and narrow for the twittermites to escape from, but when they saw something metal that they could send their voltage through, the insects swarmed around it and began to discharge electricity. As they did this, the electricity went through an insulated cord attached to the plug that led to a 4-by-4 square, fryer. It contained about an inch and a half depth of oil that started to quickly go from warm to hot as the electricity was converted into heat upon the metal cooking device.

“Careful,” warned Honey as she handed the two girls a donut dipper, a cooking tool that had a donut shaped mold at one end and a handle on the other connected by a long, angled rod. “The oil is very hot and will start to bubble a lot once we start cooking the donuts. I know high temperatures don’t harm your scales, but, regardless of what can and can’t harm you, the number one rule in the kitchen is always safety first. Got it?”

“You know I do,” smiled Media, speaking with confidence from all her past experience.

“I’ll be careful,” promised Zircon. “Mother did mention one of her favorite revenge tortures was boiling her foes in oil. Trust me, it’s not a pretty picture I care to recreate.”

“Then let’s begin,” announced Honey as she took a ladle and started to carefully pour the donut batter into Zircon’s donut mold before doing the same for Media and then finally herself. Then, lifting up their holders, they carefully dipped them in the oil and watched the liquid start to bubble wildly.

“So, how long do we keep them in for?” asked Zircon.

“And flip,” instructed Honey a few seconds later and she and Media lifted their donut molds out of the oil and squeezed a trigger on their handles to make their donuts smoothly do a one-eighty before they dipped them back into the oil. Zircon then did the same, her movements a little shaky, but she still managed.

“Maybe a little more warning next time,” the princess bug said. “I didn’t know-”

“And done,” said Honey as she and Media took their donuts out of the oil, and carefully released them so that they fell onto a cooling rack. Theirs were a perfect shade of golden brown that were radiating deliciousness as excess oil dripped onto a tray through the gaps in the rack.

“I didn’t know they cook this fast,” Zircon said quickly to avoid getting cut off again. She followed their lead and placed her freshly made donut on the rack beside theirs. Hers was slightly darker from being left to cook a few extra seconds too long, but it still looked just as good as the other two with their warm, fresh scent that was incredibly mouth watering at first sniff. “But, I have to admit, they sure do smell delicious.”

“Wait till you see how they taste,” giggled Media as she looked eager to gobble up all three donuts herself.

“Hold on, dear,” her mother told her, seeing her intention and stopping her before she could give in to her hunger. “We didn’t make all this batter just for you, now. It’s for the whole swarm to celebrate your first great victory. Now, let’s finish these three up and then we can work on making the rest.”

“I know,” she replied, trying to hide a disappointing sigh of how badly she wanted to horde all those baked goods for herself.

“So, what do we do next?” asked Zircon, being proactive in learning what they needed to do to avoid fumbling about like she had while they were cooking the donuts in oil.

“Next, we just add the chocolate and the glaze on top,” explained Media as they demonstrated. Taking a spatula, Honey and Media scooped up some of the melted chocolate from a second bowl and spread it around the top of their donuts. After that, they moved onto a third bowl filled with a pearly white gloopy glaze. Once the melted chocolate started to harden on the donuts, they took ladles of the glaze and drizzled it all over their donuts, letting it cover over as much of it as they could and then carefully turned their donuts around so that they could coat the underside next.

“And done,” announced Honey once she and Media were satisfied with their donuts. The Changeling’s donut looked picture perfect with how it was made from baking to being glazed. Media’s was really nicely done too, though there was a lot of extra chocolate on hers that was clumped all over, though that lip-smacking look of joy on the Dragling’s face showed that was intentional on her part.

“How are you doing?” Media asked Zircon to see how she was faring. Just one look and she had to stifle a snicker. Zircon was still trying to spread the chocolate onto the top of her donut. While Media and Honey succeeded without getting chocolate on anything beside theirs, Zircon had chocolate on her fingers and even some on her muzzle and right cheek, when she scratched at an itch. She brought her fingers to her forehead to scratch at another one and added another smear of the melted goodness up there.

“I’m doing fine… kinda,” she answered as she placed her donut back down, the chocolate on it very uneven and even more clumpy than it was with Media’s donuts. Hers also had a few bald spots on it too. However, even if it was far from perfect, Zircon looked at her first ever donut with pride as she started to drizzle the glaze on it and started to make a mess of the donut, her workstation, and herself as she tried to properly coat it.

“Let me give you a bit of help,” Honey offered Zircon before she wasted too much of the glaze and didn’t leave enough for all the others they had to make.

“Thanks,” smiled Zircon as she helped guide her hands and allow her to get a feel for how it was done and soon had a nicely glazed donut completed as well.

“This was pretty fun,” commented Zircon as she gazed at her confection. “And a donut is like the perfect pastry for Changelings since Changelings are full of holes and a donut has a hole too.”

“I never actually thought of it like that, but you do make a good point,” giggled Honey. “Well, that’s three donuts down and several dozen more to go. We’d best get back to work.”

“I’m not sure this is that much fun,” admitted Zircon, figuring with the time it took them to make one donut each, they’d be making donuts for well over an hour to simply make one for everyone in the hive. “Isn’t there a faster way to make donuts?”

“There is,” answered Honey. “But it requires a donut-making machine that we unfortunately don’t have. It’s a shame, but one of those is simply much too big to carry all the way to the hive, not to mention there’s no way we could fit it through the doors here. So, we have to use the tools available to us.”

“That’s a shame,” sighed Zircon, trying to stay positive. “Well, let’s get baking. We’ve got lots more to make.”

It took some time, but Zircon and the others managed to make all the donuts they needed, not only for all the Draglings, but for all the Changelings too and the few others that also resided in the hive now too. “And now we just need to clean up,” Honey said, taking a deep, long breath after all the hard work the three of them put into baking. She then turned to Zircon who had only ended up an even bigger mess with every donut she helped make. “Zircon, why don’t you focus on getting yourself cleaned up.”

“Sounds like a tasty idea to me,” she replied, sucking the chocolate off her fingers.

“Something sure smells good in here,” stated Nat as he entered Honey’s kitchen with Flurryheart riding on his shoulders. “Can I take it that the baking is coming along nicely?”

“It’s all done,” answered Media. “We’re just cleaning up now.”

“No thanks to you,” added Zircon.

“I never volunteered to help,” he reminded her. “Besides, somebody had to watch Lil Flurry here.”

“Lil Flurry?” asked Zircon with a raised eyebrow.

“This lil sweet pea over here,” answered Nat as he rubbed Flurryheart’s head, causing her to giggle happily.

“I’m surprised she’s as carefree as she is,” commented Media. “I would think she’d be in tears from being in such a scary place as the Changeling Hive and to be separated from her parents too.”

“She definitely would, if this was the old hive,” agreed Honey. “But ever since Tamati took over around here, the whole place has felt quite different. Normally, most of the time, we’d be spending our days either patrolling the grounds outside the hive or doing so inside, at least till we were giving an assignment for collecting love.”

“I never got that sort of impression,” stated Media. “Yeah, we had lots of training to do, but we’ve always had time to have fun and cook like we did now.”

“I rarely got the chance to cook in the hive,” continued Honey. “Chrysalis didn’t want us to be distracted with useless and frivolous Pony things, but now, we can be as frivolous as we want to be so long as we complete our work.”

“Well, if being frivolous is anything like being allowed to goof off,” commented Nat. “Then I’m happy to be as frivolous as I can be. Now, if we can just have our donut thingies, I’m gonna see if I can bring Lil Flurry here to see her mom and her, uh, dad mom. I’m sure she’d love to see them and they are probably worried about her too.”

“Here ya go,” Honey said as she offered him a pair of donuts, still freshly warm from the fryer. “But only one for each of you. We still have to give one to everyone else too.”

“That’s fine,” replied Nat before taking a bite of the baked good, causing his eyes to widen. “Uh, but if anyone doesn’t want theirs…”

“Sorry, but to qualify to get any not wants you have to actually help with making them,” Media told him before trying one herself and Zircon did the same.

“But let’s be honest,” added the princess Dragling after getting a taste of hers and a look of pure bliss spread across her face. “Nobody would be crazy enough to turn something this heavenly down.”

“Guess I can’t argue with you there,” admitted Nat as he brought Flurry’s donut to her muzzle. Happily, she took as big a bite as she could manage and happily nommed upon the chocolate and glaze-covered pastry. “Awe,” gushed Nat as he watched her eat. “Like your yummy lil donut, my pretty lil ali princess?” With some maw-filled babbling, she answered him in a happy tone. “Heheh. I’ll take that as a yes. Come on now, let’s go see your mommies. They probably aren’t too tired from, uh… their business meeting with my old man.”

“Well, that’s two down and several dozen more donuts left to pass out,” commented Zircon after Nat left the room.

“Four actually,” corrected Media as she finished her donut. “We also got you and me.”

“Don’t forget your mother,” smiled Honey as she took a donut to eat as well. “Mmm~ We really did a great job making these. They’re the perfect treat after a successful conquest.”

“Indeed,” nodded Media as she took one donut and wrapped it up to keep it warm as she started to leave.

“I hope you aren’t planning on taking the donuts to everyone one at a time,” commented Zircon as she finished her own up.

“Actually, can you two go hand out the donuts without me?” Media requested. “I want to go take Sting his donut.”

“Oh, yeah,” recalled Zircon. “He never did come to bed after he parted ways to visit Pincer’s grave, did he?”

“Yeah, and I’m worried about him,” she admitted. “I mean, he tries to act like he’s fine, but… I don’t know. Being our leader can’t be easy, especially after a battle like the one we just went through and while a donut might be tasty, I think Sting might need something more than that.”

“Well, I don’t know if there’s much I can do to help, but if you need me, I’ll be going through the hive from top to bottom giving out the donuts,” Zircon told her.

“Thanks,” smiled Media as she started to leave. “I’m not sure what I can do to help him either, but hopefully I’ll have some sort of idea once I find him. Hopefully, he got plenty of rest to help put him at ease, but knowing him, he’s probably off doing some training to prepare for wherever father needs us to go next.”

“If he’s training,” commented Zircon while Media was still within earshot. “Then there’s only one place he could be right now.”

“I know,” answered Media as she ventured lower in the hive, discontent in her voice.

Making her way to the lower floors of the hive, the all too familiar snarls of the maulwurf echoed through the cavernous structure. It cried out in a mixture of rage and pain that scared the appetite right out of the food-loving Dragling before she even caught sight of it. “Looks like we were right as to where Sting was,” worried Media as she peeked her head into the room where the maulwurf was chained up enough to restrain its movements, however, the length of the chains had been increased to allow it move freedom to roam about from the wall and even be able to attack freely. There, she also saw the red Dragling, Sting, sword in hand and a fierce gaze in his eyes. “Though I wish we weren’t.”

“Is that the best you can do?” barked Sting as he taunted the beast. He stood before the overgrown mole, dressed in a simple pair of jeans and a t-shirt. He had a tear over his left sleeve that also went from his shoulder down to his elbow. Brandishing his sword, trails of blood were running down from the blade to the hilt. “Before you were more than our entire swarm could handle and now I can face you on my own? What happened to that terrifying monster that killed Pincer? Where did it go?!?”

Snarling at Sting, the maulwurf appeared even more frightful than it had been when Media first laid eyes upon it. After spending days jailed in the lower catacombs of the Changeling hive it was a lot worse for wear. It’s hide was scrawnier and its fur a mangled mess. Its body was also covered over in scars, thick ones from the claws of their father Tamati and narrow ones from the blades of swords. There were also a number of fresh cuts on its arm and torso that were trickling blood onto the ground.

“Yeah,” breathed Sting, squeezing the grip of his sword tightly. “Come at me with all that savage fury so that I can cut right through it!”

Raising its arms up fast, the maulwurf then brought them down even faster in an attempt to squash Sting under them. Reacting to the attack, Sting leapt up and took flight. Moving quickly, he avoided the mole’s arms by going right in between them. Following this up, Sting sliced his sword into the maulwurf’s torso, attempting to give it another cut, but the blade merely slid across its hide without piercing its flesh.

“Ugh, no good,” grumbled Sting as he put distance between him and his foe as the mole retaliated with its sharp nails. When another opening in its defenses became visible, Sting flew in to strike again with more strength and hate behind his strike. This time, he managed a shallow cut into its flesh that made the beast reel back in pain. “That was better, but still not good enough!”

“Oh, Sting,” worried Media as she watched him continue to battle the maulwurf. Again and again Sting continued to fight against the huge monster mole, the brawl exhausting even from a spectator’s point of view. With how heavy Sting was breathing, he looked well beyond the point he should have been able to effectively fight, but he charged in again like a man possessed. The maulwurf, more sluggishly raised its arms to ready itself for Sting’s next attack, the beast doing all it could to defend itself while it was being mercilessly assaulted. “You definitely need much more than what a donut can fix.”

“Sooo…” began the blue-feathered Griffin as he looked at Gabby and the disguised Spike. “I take it that you’ve got your eye on this little trinket over here.”

“Uh, yes. I would like to-” Spike started to say, but recalled how he was attempting to give the impression that he was a Yak and quickly corrected himself, faking a cough to start over, this time deepening the sound of his voice and adjusting his speech patterns. “Um, Yak mean, yes. Yak want shiny stone. Think make good paper weight to… uh, weigh papers with. Yak give ten bits for it.”

“First off,” Gallus retorted with a look that could cut right through any bullshitting. “This is not a paper weight. It’s apparently supposed to be some ancient and dark artifact that apparently can’t do anything from as far as I can tell and everyone else here for that matter. It’s been unsold in this bazaar for so long it’s kinda become a tradition to give the worthless piece of junk to the newest Griffin opening up shop here and happens to currently be me.”

“Oh, well, congratulations blue birdy,” Spike replied, sensing that he was losing negotiations for the Element as Gallus clearly wasn’t considering his lowball offer. “Looks like tradition ends with you cause Yak want to buy useless artifact of evil. Yak still think make for good paper weight. How does twenty- no, thirty bits sound?”

“Secondly,” Gallus went on. “Just because this stone doesn’t seem to be able to do much of anything, doesn’t mean it’s worth nothing or those pathetic excuses you call offers to try to get me enticed enough to sell it. No. That just tells me that you are someone who does know what this is and how to use it, meaning it's worth a hell of a lot more bits than a lousy thirty.”

“Then make Yak an offer!” snapped Spike, annoyed to be at the complete mercy of this salesgriffin.

“Give me ten thousand bits and I’ll even gift wrap it for you, no charge,” he told Spike bluntly. “And I’ll even throw in a little something extra, just to be nice.”

“T-Ten thousand bits!” cried Spike, his outburst of such a huge amount causing everyone in the bazaar to turn their eyes and ears back to them for a second time. Now that there was a very intriguing price on what he wanted to purchase, they all were investing in seeing just how the exchange would end. Turning to look at all that unwanted attention on them, Spike found an even greater urgency in getting out of there as quickly as possible.

“Yup, that’s the price,” confirmed Gallus, remaining calm and composed, acting like Spike’s outburst was merely him confirming that he had heard the Griffin correctly and not that he was freaking out at the insane cost of the gemstone.

“Uh, can you give us a minute while we talk it over?” asked Spike, forgetting to act like a Yak while he was distracted by everything else.

“Take all the time you need,” Gallus nodded and reclined back, not certain if he could make a sale, but was at least finding some entertainment from Spike’s haggling.

Turning around and huddling close, Spike and Gabby started to discuss and plan just what their next move was in this sale. “Do you even have that much?” Gabby asked Spike in a hushed voice. “I don’t think I’ve even seen half that much money in my life.”

“Me neither,” admitted Spike. “Nobody in Ponyville carries that kind of coin around with them regularly. That’s more akin to their life savings. Meanwhile, I brought mine with me, a lackluster 136 bits.”

“That’s all you’ve got?” questioned Gabby.

“It was basically my allowance,” he explained. “And before my life took an unexpected turn I didn’t put much thought into saving up. By the time I had to take my leave from Ponyville, it was already much too late to worry about funds, not that I even knew we’d end up in a situation like this.”

“Then, what are you going to do?” wondered Gabby, pausing for a minute before an idea came to mind. “Steal it?”

“Can’t deny I’m not tempted to do that,” Spike admitted. “That Griffin is playing this sale like he’s got my nuts squished in a vice.”

“Ouch,” commented Gabby, not enjoying such a mental image. Meanwhile, countless miles away, Tamati paused from the middle of his inventory count. He shuddered like a chill had gotten through his thick layers to scales to chill him to his core. He reached down to rub as his sac and let out a relieved sigh before getting back to work.

“My thoughts exactly,” sighed Spike. “There’s no two ways about it. We need the Element, however, I am not going to steal it. Dragons already have a bad rep for stealing treasure, princesses, and the last piece of pie someone was saving for a post study session snack.”

“Dragons steal pie under those circumstances?” asked Gabby.

“Well, I have… many times before,” he admitted. “But only because pie is so good and Twilight saying I can’t have any only makes me want it more. Anyway, back on topic, not only do I not want to give Dragons a bad name, but stealing the Element would only make things worse. I’m already on the run and not only would a theft with all these witnesses reveal where I am, those pursuing me would also find out that I was an Element of Discord and that’d just make things worse for those I’m working with too. No. We have to get the Element while causing as little commotion as possible.” Peeking around his shoulder, Spike saw everyone was still staring at them. “Which we are failing at, miserably, so far.”

“That means we have to pay Gallus ten thousand bits,” commented Gabby, the weight or rather the lack of weight on her wallets suddenly very apparent to her. “But nobody could afford that unless they were filthy rich.”

“I don’t even think he carries that much around with him,” replied Spike. “That amount is more akin to Canterlot nobels level of wealth than Ponyville business tycoon levels.”

“Hey, mind if I say one more thing that might help move this business transaction along,” Gallus chimed in.

“Are you lowering the price knowing you’ll never move that gemstone with a crazy asking price like that?” asked Spike, doubting that was why he invaded their discussion huddle from the confident look on his face.

“No, but I did want to tell you the third thing about this sale that I wanted to make clear to you, mister…” Gallus paused as he spoke to sniff the air around them. “Mr. Dragon I take it?”

“D-Dragon?” stuttered Spike, sensing his cover was blown. “But me Yak.”

“Yeah, you’re not fooling anyone with that terrible impression and cloak. The fake mustache is a nice touch, but it doesn’t really help with your disguise either,” the blue business Griffin pointed out. “Also, you stink of lizard perspiration too.”

“Is it that bad?” worried Spike as he lifted an arm to sniff his pit.

“Yeah, but honestly,” confessed Gallus. “I don’t really know if there is even a difference between one creature’s sweat and the next. It all just reeks awful to me. I just wanted to see how you’d react. With your size and faking being a Yak, I figured you had to be a Dragon. This just proves I’m right.”

“Okay, so I’m a Dragon,” admitted Spike, wishing he had been on the front lines with Tamati in the Crystal Empire rather than dealing with this annoyingly tricky kittyhawk. “What of it?”

“The question now is ‘why the facade?’” continued Gallus. “If you want to hide who you are then there has to be a reason. You clearly don’t want your identity revealed so you have to be fairly well known. Maybe not here, but Equestria is a big place and if there’s a bit reward involved with finding you then all the more reason to not let anyone know who you are.”

“That’s not why I disguised myself at all,” lied Spike. “I just don’t like to cause a fuss whenever I go into a town is all.”

“To buy potentially dangerous, dark artifacts,” added Gallus, causing Spike to perspire even more as he was further backed into a corner. “Hmm… Dragon sweat has more of a plain, wet smell,” noted Gallus curious to find out the difference after using it to bluff. “Probably because it doesn’t get soaked into any hair, fur, or feathers to cause that mildewy effect.”

“So, do you plan to turn me in?” sighed Spike, sensing he might have to steal the Element and run like Hell in the next sixty seconds.

“Remember that bonus I promised to throw in with that ‘paperweight’ you wanted so badly?” asked Gallus, getting a nod from Spike. “That’s my silence. I don’t give a flipping feather if you plan to plunge this whole world into darkness. I just want to get enough bits to finally get out of this dump and if it means I have to crush a Dragon’s balls in my talons to make it happen then give them here.”

“Ugh!” shivered Tamati again as he looked around the room. “Is there a draft in here or something?”

“So Spike has to buy the Element or you’re gonna turn him in,” worried Gabby. “That’s some ruthless business you’re running.”

“Hey, I was practically born an orphan,” Gallus lamented with a pitable look in his eyes. “I lived in an orphanage till I was five and went through foster homes till I learned to fly. After that, I was on my own with only the clothes on my back and bills of rent I had to pay off from everywhere I had lived at. If I didn’t learn to become a cutthroat salesbird, I’d be dead in some gutter somewhere, probably with all my down plucked off to be used as pillow stuffing. If you want to help me avoid such an awful fate, I am accepting donations.” As Gallus said that last part, he shook a tin can that clattered with a bunch of bits inside it.

“Let’s focus on this purchase before we consider just giving you money, okay?” retorted Spike as he placed a hand on Gabby’s talons. Her eyes were watering after listening to his sob story and she was about to open her heart and wallet to her fellow Griffin. “Now, let’s be real. Nobody carries ten thousand bits with them.”

“I know, but if you’re a Dragon then you are bound to have a horde of treasure somewhere,” Gallus concluded. “Even a Dragon of your proportions must have one worth a measly ten g’s hidden somewhere.”

“About that,” replied Spike, certain Gallus was not going to be happy about what he was about to tell him. “I don’t have a horde of any kind, not unless you count my collection of comic books.” A glazed, uncaring look appeared upon Gallus’s face said that he didn’t and that he was that much closer to turning the penniless Dragon in for a possible reward. “You see, I was born an orphan too and raised by Ponies that were grooming me to be a servant to them. Now, because I am growing up and want to be more independent, they plan to send me away to become a slave in a gem cave for the rest of my life like some beast of burden. That’s why I am on the run, to avoid a fate far worse than death. So, as you can see, we’ve both had tough lives.”

“Oh, wow,” said Gallus, the uncaring look gone after Spike confided all that with him. “I never would have guessed.” Spike breathed a sigh of relief. “I thought you might have just been a garden variety pillaging and plundering Dragon, but it sounds like you’re a lot more valuable than that, aren’t you?” That relief flew right back into Spike’s big mouth. “Oh, the bounty on your head is probably huge!” So overly excited at what a find he made, Gallus took a big, content whiff. “Now you just smell like money to me.”

Looking at one another, both Gabby and Spike were well beyond worried with a touch of creeped out added in. “So, we grab the Element and get the heck out of here?” Gabby whispered into Spike’s ear.

“You read my mind,” Spike silently answered back. “Just follow my lead. I have a plan.”

Bringing Gallus back into the conversation, Spike returned to their negotiations. “So, you won’t turn me in if I buy that ‘paperweight,’” asked Spike, wanting to be certain that part of the deal didn’t change.

“Assuming you can cough up twenty thousand bits for it,” nodded Gallus.

“Twenty?!?” cried Spike. “What happened to ten?”

“Hey, don’t blame me,” he remarked cockily. “Blame the Princess of Economics.”

“Leaving Princess Pretty Penny aside, for now,” continued Spike. “How do I know that even is really what I’m looking for?”

“What do you mean?” questioned Gallus as he raised a skeptical brow.

“I could have been mistaken or it might have been a fake,” he explained. “Let me take another look at it… just to make certain.”

“...Fine,” Gallus slowly replied, a suspicious squint on his face now. The three got up and returned to their original positions at Gallus’s stand. The crowd was still watching, totally absorbed into their business transaction, even though they had no idea what was discussed in their huddle.

“It’s right there,” Gallus told Spike, permitting him to pick up the Element despite sensing foul play in the air.

“This will just take a second,” promised Spike as he picked up the Element and took a calming breath.

“NOW WE RUN!!!” shouted Spike as he turned to flee. He didn’t even care that his body was exposed as he did so, focused entirely on getting out of Griffinstone without delay. However, after three heavy footsteps, Spike felt something tug at his tail. Turning to look, it was a rope that was tied to a pillar. With it holding him back, his next step slipped and he came crashing to the ground.

“When did…” his mind raced, but the answer was obvious before he even started to ask himself. “Gallus…” Unable to do anything, Spike collided with the ground with such force it shook the castle and scattered all the dust on the ground into the air around him.

“Where did that rope come from?” questioned Gabby as she looked down at her downed Dragon master.

“I set that up before I joined your little huddle,” admitted Gallus. “And it looks like I was right to do so. Now, even the laziest of guards here won’t be able to ignore a quake like that. Your Dragon friend will be captured and I just have to wait to use all the info he so kindly provided me with for my profit.”

“Oh, Spike,” worried Gabby, not sure how they could get out of this mess.

“Ugh, when I get my claws on that Griffin,” grumbed Spike as he got himself back onto his knees after his fall. “I’m going to- to-” With all that dust swirling around him, Spike couldn’t help but inhale some unintentionally right up his snout and now found a powerful sneeze coming on. “Ah! Ahhh!!! AAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!” Desperately, the Dragon attempted to resist the urge to let it out, well aware a blast of flames would burst free from his maw. With Gabby nearby, he didn’t want to risk harming her or anyone else for that matter when he was already certain he was in enough trouble as is.

Unfortunately for Spike, he couldn’t seem to shake that sneeze as it kept on trying to come out. When he felt on the verge of unleashing it, Spike did the only thing he could think to do. Facing the ground, he covered his muzzle with his claws and aimed to contain his flames with his own body. When he felt ready, he just relaxed his body and let the sneeze out. “ACHOOOOO!!!” Green flames erupted from his throat and burst through his claws like a dam bursting and as a flood of water forced its way through.

“Spike?” worried Gabby as she approached him, only to back off as his whole body got covered in his own emerald flames. Everyone stared in awe, not sure what had just happened and only grew more surprised as the cloaked figure arose from the fires of his own creation in his cloak that was also a flame before it was reduced to ashes, along with his now burning stache. Shortly after, the materials were put out as they were reduced to ashes, leaving Spike standing before everyone completely in the buff. The only exception was his flameproof backpack that remained unscorched.

“It’s just like my recurring nightmare,” whimpered Spike in complete embarrassment. Slipping his backpack off, he used it to cover his crotch. “Except I’m not taking a math test that I didn’t study for.”

“Spike, are you okay?” asked Gabby as she cautiously approached him. “You aren’t hurt are you?”

“I’m fine,” he assured her with a smile and gestured to her that he was safe to approach. “Fire, even a Dragon’s own flames won’t harm them. Twilight also enchanted my backpack to be fire resistant too. Sadly, the same can’t be said for my cloak. Sorry, Gabby, but it’s ashes now.”

“That’s okay,” she smiled big for him. “So long as you are okay. Also, you are much more handsome when all of you is out on display.”

“Awe,” he blushed at such praise. “I’m not all that hunky.”

“Not all that hunky?” argued Gallus as he got a look at Spike’s full body for the first time. “Look at you. All those muscles all over your body along with a good amount of pudge to curve your figure in all the right places. Just… wow! And those arms of yours… and that chest… it’s simply whizz boom bang and don’t even get me started on that rock hard, scaley rear of yours. You’re a damn beefcake!”

“Uh, thank you for noticing, I guess,” replied Spike to Gallus, not sure what to make of this Griffin when he was prepared to turn him in for money mere moments ago. “Unfortunately, you’re not my type.”

“You’re not mine either,” Gallus admitted as he looked past Spike and focused his gaze at all the Griffins and other creatures sizing Spike up with their eyes like he was a tall drink that they wanted to quench their thirst with. “But it looks like you’re theirs.”

“He is one big, strong, sexy Dragon,” Gabby chimed in, hugging one of Spike’s arms and nuzzling against his bicep.

“Not to mention, profitable,” added Gallus with a grin on his beak.

“Uh, do I even want to know what you mean by that?” asked a worried Spike, already getting an idea of just what he had in mind.

Approaching Spike, he gestured for him to come lower so that he could whisper what he had to say without anyone else overhearing. Gabby put her ear close so that she could hear what he said too. “Not unless you want me to turn you in right now,” he blackmailed him. “But, if you do a little job for me and earn a poultry thirty thousand bits for me, I’ll let you go without doing a thing to hinder you.”

“You just added another ten-” Gabby started to complain, but Spike raised a hand to cut her off. The look he gave her was sad at first knowing that they had no choice but to play by his rules. He then curled his scaly lips into a small smile to reassure her that it wasn’t going to be a problem.

“Does this mean we have a deal?” Gallus asked the big, hulking, purple, lizard.

Just then, a half dozen Griffin soldiers made their way into the room. About five minutes had passed between Spike falling to the ground and them arriving. It was a downright terrible response time for the defenders of the kingdom to reach a section of the castle when they were stationed only a short walk away.

“Is there something going on in here?” asked one of a half dozen Griffin guards as they entered the bazaar. She spoke in a dull uncaring voice as she looked around to see what had forced them off their duffs to do their jobs. When her eyes came to see Spike, huge, muscular, and completely nude. Spike watched her walk over to him, an entranced look on her face that showed that she too really liked what she saw.

“Hey, sexy,” she spoke to Spike in a flirty manner. “I must say, I like what I see, but nudity in a public place is a violation. I’m afraid you are going to have to come with me for a little chat. After that, I’m still gonna have to file an official report over this incident, but it probably won’t be any big deal so long as you keep your pants on a little more often.”

“We do send out reports to the other kingdoms,” Gallus mentioned to Spike. “To see if we have any of their most wanted in our custody. As she said, it’s not a big deal… unless you’re trying not to be found.”

“We have a deal,” nodded Spike, already ready to agree before this untimely interruption. “And let’s get this in writing before you raise that price again.”

“Took you long enough to show some business sense,” he chuckled before approaching the female guard to fix this issue for Spike.

“I’m terribly sorry, mam,” Gallus apologized to her. “My client here took a little fumble when he was advertising.”

“Advertising?” she questioned Gallus, raising an eyebrow. “What was he advertising?”

“Himself,” he continued, lying through his beak without any stutters or even a glint of falsehood in his expression. “He ended up slipping, sneezing, and burning off his cloak just before you all arrived in such a timely fashion and, for that, we apologize. We’ll pay off the indecent exposure fee, of course, but we truly didn’t mean you any harm.”

“I don’t know,” she pondered, staring skeptically at Gallus before turning to Spike and gazing dreamily at the muscular hunk. “What exactly was he advertising himself for?”

“For the Roost,” Gallus told her, getting her eyes to widen and beak to drop. She was even blushing while her heart pounded and she looked at Spike more eagerly now. “He’s going to be there?”

“Tonight only for a special show!” announced Gallus, loudly so everyone could hear. “The great and sexy, uh, Dragdonis is going to appear there on center stage. If you don’t want to miss a once in a lifetime event, you better be there!”

“Oh, well, we’re sorry for jumping to conclusions,” the female guard apologized along with the other guards who were nodding in agreement as they kept eyeing Spike all over. “J-Just get some pants on right away and we’ll drop the whole thing. Is that okay?”

“Uh, that’s fair,” Spike agreed, glad that Gallus took care of the trouble he was in, but as he watched everyone leaving the bazaar as they chatted amongst themselves and stole glances back at his physique, the Dragon had a feeling he was only getting into even hotter water as a result.

“Then carry one,” she said as she and the other guards hurried away too. “Oh, and we’ll look forward to seeing you tonight, Dragdonis.” She licked her beak eagerly as she hurried out. “I gotta go find something to wear tonight.”

“Dragdonis? The Roost?” asked Spike Gallus once only the three of them were left in the bazaar. “What was that all about?”

“Well, that’s gonna be your stage name,” Gallus answered him, feeling up the muscles on his arm as he continued to look him over. “And the Roost, that’s the hottest club in Griffinstone. It’s about the only building in this whole crappy kingdom that’s well-maintained and tonight you’re gonna be a star there.”

“I am?” questioned Spike. “Wasn’t that all just a bluff to get them to leave me alone?”

“No,” he shook his head. “If you want this Element, you are going to do it. I just used those guards running in here to help spread the word. Now, the Roost is going to be jam packed to see two hundred pounds of Dragon beefcake tonight.”

“But you just made that up so how am I supposed to appear there?” wondered Spike, though the confidence in Gallus’s expression convinced him he already had everything figured that out too. “Just leave all that to me. You two just go relax for the rest of the day somewhere you won’t attract any attention. Also, let me see the money you’ve got on claw right now, Dragdonis.”

“My name’s Spike,” Spike reminded him as he reached into his backpack to retrieve his pouch of bits.

“I know, but you’re in hiding right?” he remarked as he swiped the pouch and proceeded down the empty tables at the bazaar, making his way to the stands selling clothes. He found a secondhand pair of torn black jeans that he picked up while dropping a few of Spike’s bits in their place. “So we can’t use your real name if word starts to spread.” Moving onto another table, he got Spike some underwear too that looked his size and then returned to the Dragon. “Here, put these on.”

“Uh, thanks for buying me clothes with my own money,” replied Spike hesitantly, though slipping them on he found they were a decent-sized fit. Spike then reached to take back his money pouch, but Gallus was quick to swing it out of reach.

“Consider this your downpayment for me getting you set up at the Roost as well as to get you everything you’ll need for the show,” he told Spike as he took his leave, making sure to snatch of the Element of Discord as he went and pocketed it for safekeeping. “Anyway, see you tonight.”

“What have I just got myself into?” sighed Spike as he watched Gallus depart, leaving him and Gabby alone.

“Well, if it’s any consolation,” giggled Gabby. “I can’t wait to see you in action.”

“Great, but exactly what kind of action am I supposed to be taking?” asked Spike as they started to leave too. Gabby giggled some more, further worrying Spike at what was to come.

“Tamati better appreciate what I’m doing for him,” thought Spike.

“Ha! Yeargh! Ta!” cried Sting as he fought fiercely against the maulwurf, hacking and slashing its body with his blade. Media was holding her breath as she watched him recklessly fight, throwing caution to the wind as he risked getting swatted by the mole’s large, powerful arms. The red Dragling, in spite of exhaustion, continued to be nimble enough to avoid most of the beast’s attacks, but some did manage to connect and he got swatted to the ground.

“Gah!” he coughed upon impact before he quickly reorientated himself to where he was compared to the maulwurf. Getting it back in his sight, Sting saw that now that he was on the ground again, it was now attempting to crush him underfoot. Acting even quicker than his adversary, Sting rolled away as the maulwurf snarled fiercely as it stomped down with a resounding THUD! that left no doubt in his mind that taking an attack like that would have truly crushed him like a bug.

Instead of that brutal fate, Sting found the beast wide open for another attack. With his blade out, he stabbed it into the side of the mole, unleashing a fierce battle cry as he did. Following through with his attack then, the Dragling proceeded to drag his sword upward and sliced across the mole’s body all the way up to its neck. The maulwurf cried out in pain as it stammered backwards and retreated into the corner to lick at its wounds.

“Had enough already?” wheezed Sting, aching and exhausted himself. He was barely able to remain on his feet, defying fatigue with willpower. Swinging his sword, let droplets of the mole’s blood fling off of it. “Too bad. You only stop when I say you can.”

“Oh, Sting,” cried Media, not willing to see this go on anymore and now she finally saw her chance to talk some sense into him before he started at the beast again. As he lumbered forward, she rushed to his side to hold him back. “Please stop! That’s enough.”

Feeling someone hug him from behind while he was still so tense, Sting reflexively pushed Media off him and to the ground. Turning around, he held his sword high, ready to swing it down on her. Fortunately, he held his hand long enough to see who he was about to attack. Gazing at Media, fear and tears in her eyes, he froze in place and let his sword slip free of his grip and clang onto the ground behind him.

“M-Media,” he stuttered as his ability to remain on his feet left with his will to fight. “I didn’t mean to- When did you get here?”

“A little earlier,” she confessed, being quick to catch him, though with how heavy he was, they both ended up on the ground. “I saw you were… what were you even doing in here?”

“I was… training,” he panted, only able to sit upright while Media supported him.

“I can see that,” she replied. “But why? We were given this time to rest and recover, but you… you didn’t even rest after visiting Pincer’s grave, did you?”

“I did get some sleep,” he replied to Media who didn’t look convinced as she gazed at the bags under his eyes. “And as I slept all I could see was everyone getting slaughtered because I wasn’t strong enough. We lost a few of us during our siege of the Crystal Empire and we lost Pincer against this beast.”

“Should we tell papa that the burden of being our leader is too much of an unfair burden for you to take on?” she suggested.

“No,” he shook his head. “I would only feel worse to pass this job onto another. I just need to get stronger.”

“You’re the strongest of us all,” she reminded him. “I heard what a terror you were to the Pony soldiers as you plowed right through them. And now, you were taking on this beast all on your own after we needed papa to save us. You are truly incredible as a warrior, but what you need cannot be found on the battlefield.”

“Like what?” he asked, lowering his head sadly.

“This might not help much,” said Media as she offered him the donut she brought him. “But I’m sure you must be starved.”

Bringing a hand to his stomach, it growled with emptiness. Seeing the donut, he couldn’t help but feel his mouth water at the sight of the treat. Reaching for it, he suddenly winced and clenched his left arm by his shoulder. Gritting with teeth, Media could see him seething in pain now that his adrenaline was wearing off.

“Oh, you’re really hurt,” she realized, looking his body over and saw just how many cuts and bruises he had on him. “You need medical attention.” Taking his donut, she helped him to eat it, hoping the love it was infused with would help with all the numerous injuries he had. “You’ll need more than this and some first aid too.” Carefully she placed him onto his back. “Just wait here. I’ll get you some more food and help. And then, we’ll figure out some way to help you heal what food or medicine can’t. We’ll… we’ll get you a counselor.”

“A what?” asked Sting. “What’s a counselor?”

“Someone who helps others deal with mental and emotional problems,” Media explained. “My mother told me about them while she was disguised as a Pony chef in Manehatten. Despite how happy and cheerful Ponies are supposed to be, celebrating something every other day and breaking into song at random, plenty of them need therapy to deal with their issues. Apparently, it works really well.”

“That’s great and all, but we don’t have a therapist in the hive,” Sting reminded Media.

“All that means is we just need to find one and bring them here,” she told Sting. “I’m sure there’s one out there that can help you. We just need to find out where.”

“I’m here!” announced Starlight Glimmer as she appeared in the Castle of Friendship in a flash of magic. This time, it was the real one and not Zircon in disguise. Frantically, she raced through the castle in search of Twilight. “I heard the news about what happened at the Crystal Empire! What’s the plan? How are we going to save it?” Despite all her shouting, she didn’t hear any response. “Twilight!?! Where are you?”

“Huh?” mumbled the Princess of Friendship as she pulled her face from her copy of Daring Do and the Curse of the Sapphire Statue. “Starlight? Is that you?” Getting up off her comfy chair, Twilight made her way out into the hall to meet with her friend.

“Twilight!” she shouted again, the anxiety in her voice not waning.

“I’m over here,” Twilight told her, getting Starlight to turn and hurry over to her. “I was reading in my library.”

“Oh, I should have known you were in there,” panted Starlight, catching her breath once she had finally reached her fellow purple Pony. “No doubt, you are already deep into research to find a way to get in.”

“Find a way to get into where?” questioned Twilight. “What are you talking about?”

“You mean you don’t know?” she gasped. “But if anyone should be aware of this catastrophe, it should be you. You and your friends are typically the ones who deal with end of Equestria level dangers after all.”

“End of Equestria?!?” cried Twilight. “What in Tartarus has happened?”

“The Crystal Empire was attacked by Changelings,” she told her.

“Changelings?” repeated Twilight. “But Chrysalis tried to attack Ponyville with her swarm not too long ago and we repelled them. Sure, it wasn’t easy, but with the force she had at her disposal there’s no way they should have been even a remote threat for the Crystal Empire.”

“Apparently there was something different about the swarm that attacked. From what little info could be obtained, it was like they were part Changeling and part Dragon as well.”

“That sounds like a terrifying combination,” remarked Twilight, the mention of Dragons bringing her thoughts back to Spike on the run.

“It is,” she nodded. “The Empire was captured and the barrier protecting the city has somehow been reversed to ensure nobody can get in.”

“Then all the Ponies in there are trapped,” worried Twilight. “That includes Cadance, my big brother, little Flurryheart, and Sunburst.”

“Apparently all the children from the Empire were put to sleep and transported by a train to Canterlot and by some of the creatures from attack, if you can believe it.”

“I can’t believe it,” Twilight shook her head, all of this news was so surreal to her. Adding this on top of her trouble with Spike and she desperately wanted to pinch herself with the hope that it might wake her from this nightmare.

“I can’t believe that you were completely unaware of this,” commented Starlight. “From what I heard, Celestria and Luna are preparing to mount an assault on the Changeling Hive.”

“I was actually speaking with Princess Celestia not too long ago,” Twilight told Starlight. “But she didn’t mention anything about it. But, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. After my royal screwup she probably thinks I’ll just get in the way. That’s why she told me that she’d handle finding Spike.”

“Finding Spike?” questioned Starlight, now the one out of the loop. “What happened to Spike?”

Twilight went over everything Starlight had missed while she was out in Los Pegasus with Trixie, starting from Spike’s sudden spurt of maturity to his disappearances and defiant behavior to him managing to escape when she was supposed to take him back to Canterlot. Starlight’s mouth slowly dropped further to the floor with every statement topping the prior one in shock value. “And that’s all that happened,” finished Twilight.

“And Trixie promised me the world wasn’t going to end while I was away,” she joked. “I knew her promises can be flimsy at times, but this just takes the cake.”

“Starlight,” cried Twilight. “This is serious!”

“I know it is,” she assured Twilight. “And that is why you can’t waste time feeling bad about what happened. You’ve got to buck up and find Spike.”

“But Celestia said,” Twilight started to say.

“Forget Celestia,” Starlight told her. “Her decision to take Spike away was wrong and you were wrong to listen to Mrs. Sunbutt when you should have listened to your friends.”

“Starlight, do you know what you’re saying?” whispered Twilight in a hushed voice, wanting Starlight to not say such things so loudly despite the fact the two of them were all alone.

“Yes, I do,” she countered. “You and Spike have been through far too much together to let some growing pains and that blind admiration to Celestia of yours ruin all that. You need to find Spike and make things right, before Celestia finds him and erases his memory. If that happens, then you’ll regret this for the rest of your life.”

“Thanks, Starlight,” sniffled Twilight as she wiped some tears from her eyes. “I’m really glad you came back early. Sorry it’s not under more pleasant circumstances.”

“That’s what I’m here for,” she said, patting Twilight on the back. “Now, we can put saving the Crystal Empire on hold for the moment. Compared to searching every corner of Equestria for one, small, chubby dragon, Celestia will put the vast majority of her efforts into finding a way to rescue the Ponies trapped inside.”

“Technically, chubby and little don’t really describe Spike anymore,” Twilight corrected her. “Since you last saw him he’s gotten taller than Big Mac and probably even more muscular too. Also, he’s piled on a bunch of girth too to add some thickness to his figure. And, you’ll love this the most, the only thing he’s taken to wearing regularly now is a tiny, red speedo that leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination.”

Starlight was silent after hearing this updated description of Spike. Her cheeks turned a bright shade of red that only became rosier the more she thought about it. Then, under her breath, she muttered, “Damn it, Trixie,” before returning to the point she had been trying to make. “Anyway, with a far bigger crisis on her hands, that should give us plenty more time to figure out where to look for Spike. So, any ideas where he would go?”

“Considering that I told him he’d be enslaved to dig gems from the Canterlot mines if he was captured,” pondered Twilight. “I doubt he’d go anywhere I’d think to look for him and he’d stay as far away from Canterlot as possible.”

“He’d be cautious of any town really,” added Starlight. “Since it would be easy to identify him from a wanted poster, especially if he’s as much of a stud muffin as you make him out to be. However, with his love of bubble baths, comfy pillows, and sweets, I can’t imagine him being capable of living away from civilization for too long. In which case, he’ll likely head to or, at the very least, camp out near a town where Celestia’s influence wouldn’t be as powerful. Maybe one of the towns on the border.”

“By now, the magic on his wings should have worn off so flying to such a place would be very possible for him,” stated Twilight. “In which case, it could take weeks to find him.”

“Only if you go at it alone,” Starlight said. “You’ve got your other friends to help you search. If you all split up in six different directions then you’d have a lot better chance at finding him.”

“That is true,” Twilight considered. “But, what about you? Aren’t you going to help look too?”

“Someone should stay behind,” she continued. “In the event Spike is still close by. If he overhears that you aren’t here, then he might even be tempted to return to the castle and that could give me the chance to, uh…” Starlight’s thoughts trailed off for a bit as she started to imagine Spike’s sexy bod once more, only now while he was embracing her undressed self in a passionate kiss before the real fun would begin. “To reason with him.”

“Thanks, Starlight,” Twilight replied with a smile and a hug for her. “I’m feeling a whole lot better now. I’ll go get the girls and together we’ll search every corner of Equestria and beyond to find and bring our Spike back to us. I just hope he hasn’t gotten himself in any trouble in the meantime.”

“In the situation he’s in right now,” Starlight reminded Twilight. “Where he’s keeping a low profile and doing everything possible to not stand out, what trouble could he possibly get into?”

It was late in the evening in Griffinstone. Backstage of the Roost, Spike was getting ready for the show he had found himself taking part in. On the other side of a scarlet red curtain, he could hear the murmurs of countless creatures chatting amongst themselves. Looking at some nearby couches, Spike saw a number of scantily-dressed, big-bosomed and even bigger boobed Griffins the Dragon had ever laid eyes on, taking a seat on them after they made their way offstage upon finishing their performance. They were slouched over in their seats, panting and exhausted. In their claws they were clutching fistfulls of bits and hand plenty more in their bras and panties, enough that the additional weight was making them sag and nearly fall off their bodies.

A stage hand then approached the Griffin girls with a hefty sack full of bits and placed it down beside them. “Here’s the rest,” he told them. “Looks like you three got quite a haul today.”

“It’s easy when it’s a packed house,” one of them commented. “I’d like to say they came here for us, but it looks like we’ve got that tall glass of water to thank.” She gave Spike a wink to which he blushed awkwardly and tried to play it cool and act like he hadn’t noticed. The blush on his cheeks said otherwise, however, and seeing the awkward expression on his face made their giggle at him in a flirty tone.

“Yeah, he’s certainly causing a stir,” the stage hand agreed. “I never heard of him till today and now he’s all everyone’s been going on about.”

“It’s easy to see why,” another stated, wiggling her claws at him in a greeting gesture. “He’s eye candy just standing there. I can’t wait to see him when he gets going.”

“Me too,” the third agreed. “But just looking at him I wonder if he can do anything. Having a money-maker like that is one thing, but knowing how to shake it is another thing entirely.”

“Looks like it’s almost time to see if he’s worth all the hype,” The stage hand stated as he approached Spike. “Excuse me, Mr. Dragdonis.”

“Who?” asked Spike, forgetting his stage name.

“That’s you,” Gallus reminded him.

“Oh, right,” the purple Dragon nodded. “Yes?”

“You’re on in five minutes,” he informed him. “So, finish any final preparations and we’ll signal you to head out.” After saying that, he headed to the corner of the curtain to peek out into the audience.

“I seriously can’t believe I’m doing this,” sweated Spike as he pulled a green speedo up his legs and around his waist. Compared to the red one he always wore, this one was even tighter on his figure. It also had a hole lined with a golden ring in the front to let his cock poke out of. Taking a big breath to calm his nerves, Spike slipped his dick through the hole and then adjusted the rubber underpants to make them as comfortable as possible. Looking at his front, his big balls weren’t even half covered by the elastic and looked like they’d slip out with too much movement. Using a mirror to check out his rear, barely more than his butt crack was covered and it only made his rear appear bigger by comparison. Spike’s efforts to adjust it more only caused more of it to slip into his butt crack and leave his figure even more exposed, if that was even possible.

“Oh, you’re doing this if you want that Element,” Gallus reminded Spike as he shook a spray bottle a few times and aimed it at the dragon’s chest. “Now, hold still. This’ll be a bit cold and it might tickle some too.”

“I feel ridiculous,” blushed Spike, looking down at his dick as it hardened to attention from how kinky he felt as he dressed up for his debut performance. As Gallus pressed down on the nozzle of the spray can, an icy mist hit Spike’s chest, also urging a few snickers that he managed to stifle. When Gallus finished coating his chest, Spike looked down to see his scales had some extra sparkle with glitter now covering them.

“But you’re looking great,” Gallus encouraged Spike as he sprayed more glitter all over the dragon’s body including his arms, legs, rear, tail, and naturally, his crotch. “Okay, not put these on.” He handed Spike a couple of black armbands with spikes going around them. He also gave Spike a matching choker while the Griffin took a few more to put onto Spike’s legs and tail himself.

“Is that everything?” asked Spike as he gazed at the spiked bands on his arm and smiled a little, actually liking those accessories.

“Depends,” replied Gallus as he held up a small, golden ring. “How about a piercing?”

“You put a hole in my ear and I will roast you alive and eat you,” threatened Spike, even surprising himself at how serious he was being when he said that.

“I never said this was for your ear,” Gallus pointed out, though hearing that only caused Spike to snort some smoke and tighten the muscles in his arm. Gallus remained calm as he saw the line Spike had drawn. “Yeah, you’re right. Leave them wanting more next time.”

“This is a one time thing,” Spike stated adamantly. “Once I get the thirty thousand bits for the Element of Discord I am never doing this again and we shall never speak of this ever again either.”

“Yeah, yeah,” mumbled Gallus. “It’s all in the contract we signed. Now, go out there and shake your money maker. Even if it’s a packed house, earning thirty thousand bits is going to take quite a lot of effort on your part.”

“I know. I know,” grumbled Spike as he walked up to the curtain. Turning to the stage hand, he peeked out into the crowd once more then gave Spike a count to three and then signaled him to go out. Taking a deep breath, Spike pushed through the curtain and onto the stage.

The first thing that caught Spike’s attention was the bright spotlight that was shining down right on his face. Squinting and shielding his eyes with his arm, he stepped forward onto the stage, almost walking right into the metal pole in the center of it that went straight up into the ceiling. Some laughter erupted from the audience at his little klutzy act, drawing Spike’s attention to the countless Griffins, Ponies, and many other creatures that had come to the Roost for a good time, in particular, Spike’s performance.

“And now!” announced Gallus from the loudspeakers, as he gave Spike his introduction. “Time for the main event. We have a very special guest with us tonight. He’s a Dragon of Legend, whose flames burn hotter than the Sun. He wrestles chimeras, bugbears, and even hydras with only his bare claws, just for fun, and, when he’s feeling hot, he’ll jump into the blazing pits of Tartarus for a refreshing dip. With a grip strong enough to crush coal into diamonds and an ass and dick that not only never quit, but also work overtime, he’s the alpha and the omega of all your greatest sexual fantasies. Now he’s here, tonight, to make them all come true! Let’s hear it for the indomitable, Dragdonis!!!”

Immediately, the crowd burst into applause as the excitement was overflowing to see what Spike was made of. “Dragdonis! Dragdonis!” everyone chanted so loud that it consumed all other noises in the area.

“I’m dancing in a strip club to obtain an ancient artifact of unimaginable power,” sweated Spike as he worked up the courage to start moving and grooving about in as sexy a manner as he could. “I feel like I’m in one of Twilight’s erotic fanfictions that she wouldn’t let me read but I did anyway.” Sighing, Spike cracked his knuckles as he prepared himself.

“Good luck, Dragdonis,” cheered Gabby, holding onto the edge of the stage as she gazed up at her master, even more eager than everyone else to see him strut his stuff.

Smiling at her, Spike stepped forward. “Well,” he thought. “Here goes nothing.”


“It doesn’t look like Chrissy’s attempt worked well, at all,” commented Shiny as she, Dominazer, and Elly watched her get dragged to the kitchen by the Changeling, Honey, in the form of a scary, hulking dragon. “Does anyone want to listen to me now?”

“So much for that high and mighty witch,” cackled Dominazer, still ignoring Shiny’s words. “Serves her right for thinking she could simply waltz out of here without paying. Doesn’t she know this place is protected by a magical sealing circle?”

“I do now!” she snapped as she was taken to wash dishes.

“So, if you’ll lend me your ear for a minute,” Shiny continued, but Dominazer and Elly got up to tackle this dilemma in their own ways.

“I see someone at the bar with a nice sack of gold,” smirked Dominazer as she made her way over. “I’m sure I could convince him to part with a few of them.”

“But that’s not necess-” Shiny attempted to say, but Dominazer walked on, still unable to hear her while she was still suffering under the Mule status.

“Mega Steak Challenge?” questioned Elly as she read a sign posted on the wall. “Complete this challenge and your meal is free.” As a waiter passed by her to deliver food to a nearby table, the healer class character used one of her beefy arms to pluck him off the ground.

“Uh, can I help you miss?” he asked, nervously while his feet didn’t touch the ground.

“Tell me about this Mega Steak challenge,” she said to him in an unintentionally demanding tone. “What do I have to do to win a free meal?”

“I-It’s a special promotion we’re doing to drum up business,” he answered, nervously. “You have thirty minutes to eat a twenty pound steak. Honestly, it’s an impossible challenge for most. I mean, unless you’re a large creature like a dragon or an ogre you wouldn’t be able to manage to stomach so much meat in one sitting.”

“Are you calling me weak or something?” she questioned him sternly as her grip on the collar of his shirt tightened.

“N-No, he wheezed as she was starting to unintentionally choke him. “I’m sure you could do it if you wanted, but didn’t you already eat a large meal already?”

“I want to do that challenge,” she demanded, her grip getting tighter, making the waiter’s face turn red as oxygen was getting scarce in his lungs. “Bring me the meat, now!”

“C-Coming right up,” he managed to squeeze out of his throat. “Now, please let go of me.”

Loosening her grip, Elly let the waiter drop to the ground. “Thank you,” she told him as she returned to her seat. “Bring it to me as soon as you can. Medium-rare, please.”

“Uh, excellent choice, mam,” he panted. “It will just be a moment.”

“You know you don’t have to eat all that to pay your bill,” Shiny attempted with Elly once more. “If you’d just-”

“If I cannot even pay my bar bill then what good am I on this quest of ours?” Elly stated coolly. “I will take on this challenge and I will succeed.”

“Why do I even bother?” she sighed and turned to watch Dominazer as she flirted with the guy at the bar.

“Heheheh,” snorted the smelly, fat pig-faced man that the dominatrix was sitting beside. With a perverted and intoxicated look on his greasy visage, he was ogling at Dominazer’s scantily dressed figure. “So, what brings a sexy broad like yourself over here? Looking for a man? If you are, you came to the right place.”

“Maybe,” she giggled, acting all bubbly and flirty with him as she rubbed his chins, making the booze-reeking bore blush and grunt hoggishly. “But I want more than a big, strong, sexy man like yourself to take care of me.”

“Oh?” he asked her, wrapping his arm around her. The man was utterly repulsive and, under normal circumstances, Dominazer would have made him her bitch in the process of breaking several of his bones, but, due to her need of coin and taking a hint from Chrissy’s failings, she didn’t want to make a scene and gain the aggro of the bouncer. Instead, she was opting to be more sneaky and subtle with her actions. “Well, what more does a lovely lady like yourself need?”

“A little fun and excitement,” she whispered into his ear seductively. “Perhaps for starters we could have a little drink.”

“Oh, okay,” he nodded in agreement. “Hey, barkeep, bring the lady over here a drink and keep ‘em coming.”

“Such a gentleman too,” she praised him. “You seem like you’re almost the full package.”

“Almost?” he asked her, taking the bait she was laying out like a rat being lured into a trap. “What else am I missing?”

“I like a risk taker,” she told him. “Someone with the balls to take on a challenge no matter how high the stakes.”

“Yeah, that’s me,” he grunted and patted his crotch. “I’ve got plenty of balls, three in fact. So, if there’s a challenge with a good enough prize then I’ll go all in for it.”

“Oh, well, how does this sound?” she asked, placing the final bit of cheese right on the trap’s trigger. “We have a little drinking game. We keep taking shots till one of us passes out and then the other person wins. If I win, I get what’s in that sack.”

“Heheheh, he snickered dirtily at her. “Okay.”

“I mean the one on the table you silly billy,” she replied, trying to keep up her cute act, but she was getting sorely tempted to kick him in the nuts, once for each of them.

“And, uh, what if I win?” he asked. “What’s in it for me?”

“If you win,” she answered him, striking a sexy pose to tug on his primal urges. “You get me. Full access to whatever you want~”

“Fuck yeah!” he snorted. “Let’s do this!”

“Yay!” she cheered in a bubbly tone externally while internally she imagined his neck getting broken as the trap snapped down on his head.

“Well, it looks like Dominazer’s plan is going well, I think,” noted Shiny as she watched her work on the unsuspecting lug as they both downed their first shot glasses. Dominazer handled hers with incredible ease while the boar, already beyond buzzed, looked already halfway beaten before their game even began. “I haven’t known her very long, but I get the feeling Dominazer can probably hold her liquor better than that big lug can, even if he wasn’t half wasted. Still, I’m not sure if her plan will actually work.”

Shiny then saw three waiters make their way over to the table hse had been sitting at with her group, and was now the one Elly was patiently waiting for her big meat challenge. She watched them carefully bring the massive twenty pound steak down on the table, taking up half the area of it. Even with how large Elly was, for her to eat something that large in one sitting really did seem impossible, even if she hadn’t finished a meal mere minutes earlier.

“Time to eat!” Elly declared as she grabbed her axe, raised it up, and brought it down to cut the meat in one swing. She succeeded, but also managed to cut the table in half too, and even break through the wooden floor below.
Everyone just stared at her, complete shock and disbelief at what she had done. Shiny just lowered her head, shaking it in disbelief. “Why can’t they just listen to me?” grumbled Shiny, pinching the bridge of her nose.

Chapter 11

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“Any luck?” asked Celestia, entering Luna's room. She was dressed in her evening gown, a soft, pale pink dress that reached down to her ankles and was comfortably fastened at her waist. On her feet were a pair of slippers that looked like evening clouds turned pink by the light of the setting sun. Her mane had a calmer flow to it as it rested against her back, appearing a step ahead of the rest of the princess’s body in turning in for the night.

Watching her sister, Celestia observed her sitting cross-legged on a plush cushion with a crescent moon hand stitched upon it. She was dressed in a comfortable pair of stretchy, black pants with a matching brazier. She had her hair in a ponytail that was draped around over her right shoulder and held in the palms of her hands as she idly fiddled with it. Her breathing was calm and slow and her eyes closed while her horn glowed a deep midnight blue, at least, till Celestia spoke and broke her concentration and caused her magic to fade.

“Not yet,” she shook her head. “I still have yet to find Spike’s dream door or any clues as to where he might currently be.”

“Twilight’s reports on Spike did say he was most likely to be asleep by now,” recalled Celestia. “It’s still too early for Twilight to retire for the night too, so the odds of him being up to sneak a late night snack aren’t likely either.”

“If he was still living happily in Twilight’s care in all likelihood he would be,” Luna pointed out. “As we discussed, Spike is hardly in a situation where he’ll be able to relax and rest easily. With all the stress he’s likely experiencing right now, there’s no telling when he’ll finally drop his guard and allow himself to fall asleep. I, of all ponies, should know this better than anyone.”

“Strange, I’ve never pictured you as the type to stress out so much that you cannot sleep,” commented Celestia.

“No, not me,” she clarified. “But you’d be surprised how erratic the sleep patterns of mares and stallions alike get during tax season.”

“With all the holidays we celebrate, how else are we supposed to budget for them all if they don’t help pay for them?” Celestia argued. “Fun isn’t free. Uh, anyway, keep on looking. No matter how stressed and cautious that dragon might be about his current situation, he, like all creatures, cannot avoid falling asleep forever. In time, he will tire and you will find him. Surely, a task like this won’t require the Princess of Dreams more than a single night to accomplish.”

“I know the realm of dreams as well as I do the back of my hand,” Luna assured Celestia, leering at her as her abilities were challenged. “The second he puts his head to a pillow and the door to his dreams appears, I’ll pry his location from those scaly lips of his by any means necessary.”

“Very good then,” Celestia answered simply and turned to leave her younger sister’s room. “Then once more, I’ll leave you to your vigilance.”

“Before you go,” interrupted Luna, making Celestia turn back to her.

“Yes?” asked Celestia. “Was there something else?”

“I was just wondering what you were going to be up to while I did this,” Luna elaborated.

“What I always do once I have lowered the Sun, sleep, of course,” Celestia answered like it should have been totally obvious without the need for an explanation. “I’m the Princess of the Sun after all. It won’t rise without me and how can I rise if I don’t go to bed for my eight hours of beauty rest?”

“Fair point,” Luna agreed. “I’m just a little surprised you can sleep with all the stress that you must be feeling, what with the attack on the Changeling hive but a week away on top of Spike on the run and armed with the knowledge about your gem mines. Oh, and we cannot forget about the current state of the Crystal Empire either. Being the pony standing at the top of all of Equestria, I am impressed that you can so easily sleep with all that weighing down on you at once.”

“Of course it is,” confessed Celestia, remaining stoic as she said all this. “But I do not let such things get the better of me. I simply do all I can and take it all one step at a time. Knowing I did that, I can sleep soundly knowing I did my very best and that worrying will only cloud my judgement when I require it clear as a recently cloud-busted sky.”

“As inspiring as ever, sister,” stated Luna, not sounding as impressed as her words would have indicated. “Well, if stress won’t keep you awake, don’t let me be to blame for any bags you might get under your eyes. I’ll even make sure you have wonderful dreams once you turn in.”

“No need to bother,” Celestia retorted. “My sleep is always filled with wonderful dreams. Just remain focused on your task at hand.”

“If you say so, sister,” replied Luna as she returned to her crossed legged sitting position and closed her eyes to concentrate. “Take care.”

“You too, sister,” replied Celestia as she took her leave, closing the door behind her. Then, no sooner had she done that, she began to walk away, not towards her own sleeping quarters but towards the barracks where many of Canterlot’s finest were slipping on armor and sharpening blades despite the late hours. As Celestia power walked her way over, her horn glowed, causing a ring of light to start at her feet and rise up, stripping her of her nightgown on the way up and then replacing it with her full body plate mail armor, all while she didn’t so much as slow her pace.

Along the way, she passed by a couple of guards who were standing watch at the hall. They had witnessed this seamless exchange of wears, noticing in particular the brief moment when she was stripped of her nightgown and completely naked. Celestia didn’t even seem to notice she had an audience as she had done her wardrobe. She just kept on walking with a constant and quick gait, her eyes locked on looking straight ahead of her.

The two guards didn’t say anything or even bat an eye at such a sight, but they did blush a bit and their calm, attentive looks did gain a slight smirk from their curling lips. “And they say guarding the castle’s halls is boring and thankless work,” one of them said once he felt Celestia was far enough away not to hear him speak. “Well, it is, but a moment like this makes it all worth it.”

“Not really,” the other replied with a sigh. “Not for three seconds in one of many eight hour shifts of standing around with nothing to do but count the ceiling tiles over and over again.”

“Guess so,” he sighed before letting out a chuckle. “Heh. Can you imagine if there was a world where everyone just walked around totally naked all the time because they didn’t wear clothes?”

“Getting to see the princesses butt naked at all times would be sweet, but would we even care as much if that was the norm?”

“Maybe not as much, but still definitely quite a lot,” he stated, thinking very lewd thoughts from their little chat.

Making her way into the barracks, Celestia saw that preparations were coming along as nicely as she could have hoped. Nearly all the soldiers were suited up, with only a few left working to get their arm and leg guards strapped on or to take their turn at sharpening their blades at the sharpening wheel. After briefly looking everything over, she headed for the private quarters of the commanding officer.

Without even knocking, she opened the door to find a red furred Mare with a short cut, black mane and tail finishing up some last minute paperwork and reports at her desk. Her eyes were hazel and engraved on the crest of her armor was her Cutie Mark of a sword and an olive branch in a cross shape. Seeing Celestia walk in, she barely turned her gaze up before returning to her work at hand.

“It appears like all our preparations are complete for the attack,” noted Celestia. “Wonderful work, Commander Blitzkrieg. Our crusade against the Changelings will be a swift and complete victory the way I see it.”

“If it wasn’t, I’d have to change my name,” she retorted as she continued to focus on the paperwork in front of her. Despite the heavy, clunky armor she had on, she didn’t have any trouble at all writing with a quill on paper or at reaching for a goblet filled with a murky, green liquid inside that had a horribly bitter scent to it, but she took several gulps of the drink without even reflexively scrunching her face. The sight of her doing this, however, was even enough to make Celestia’s normally iron fortitude crack with a grimace.

“It’ll probably take me longer to finish writing all this than it would to complete our assault,” Blitzkrieg continued to say. “Especially considering just what our attack plan entails. Honestly, I’ve known you long enough to realize just what kind of a pony you really are, but even then, I’m surprised that you would even consider doing something like this, be they enemies or not. You’re a lot darker than your sister is and I’m counting her time as Nightmare Moon.”

“I just do what I must for the betterment of all my subjects in Equestria and myself, of course,” stated the Princess of the Sun. “And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that sometimes doing what is for the best requires rather… unsavory methods. In those cases, it is far better that the populace remains unaware so they can live as carefree as ever. As their princess, I’ll gladly dirty my hands to keep theirs clean. All I desire is that as they continue to look on at me, that they continue to admire me as the bright sun casting light down upon their world.”

“I suppose ignorance is bliss,” Blitz chuckled. “Though I hope they don’t stare too long or they might end up blind… like that one student of yours.”

“Yes, well, and what of you?” Celestia questioned Blitzkrieg. “You know of my goals and intentions yet you choose to follow my orders just as loyally as young Twilight does.”

“When your ruler is an unbeatable demon,” she answered, not choosing to word her response with any delicacy despite who she was talking to. “Is it not better to be their right hand man than the fool who dares challenge them? Of course, I am merely speaking metaphorically.”

“Of course,” nodded Celestia. “So, are you all done with the paperwork? If so, I would like for us to begin our departure for the Badlands.”

“All done,” she nodded, picking up the sheets of papers to straighten them up into a neat pile before placing them back down on her desk and then started to recite the general information on it from memory. “I wrote it all down just as you wanted me to. Tonight we head out on a diplomatic mission of peace, giving the Changelings a chance to release the Crystal Empire and its citizens in exchange for no harm to befall them for their actions. We generously provide them till the end of the week to surrender, however, they spit on our offer and retaliate, declaring they will do the same to Canterlot next. With no other choice we are forced to defend ourselves and fight. They come at us like ravenous beasts, leaving us with no choice but to wipe them all out before they can, to us.”

“And once the fighting ends, we are the ones still standing, with Queen Chrysalis and her drones crushed,” finished Celestia. “And the world will see it merely as us swatting some bugs that had this coming for far too long.”

“And since they are such undesirables, nobody would pry too deep into the matter or, even, at all,” added Blitzkrieg. “To try and determine if not everything we tell the world is the absolute truth about our ‘negotiations’ tonight.”

“Which is why I know I can trust you to keep silent about what will happen at daybreak,” Celestia stated, running her fingers over her ponytailed mane. “And to ensure none of your soldiers will divulge such sensitive information either.”

“I’ve never let you down before,” Blitz reminded her.

“And see to it you never do,” smiled Celestia as she then rubbed at the side of Blitz’s cheek, making her blush a little. “You are my precious, little answer. I’d hate for you to become my problem.”

“N-Never, my princess,” she stuttered with butterflies in her stomach as she gazed at Celestia lovingly. Seeing this, Celestia then offered her hand to Blitz and watched her take it in hand to plant a soft kiss upon it. “It is the purpose of my life to serve you, after all.”

“Good,” stated Celestia, turning to leave her office. “Take a minute to recompose yourself and then we shall be off.”

“R-Right,” she nodded before taking a few calming breaths. “It won’t take me more than a minute.”

The night was still young as the matured drake continued to dance about for all the griffins and other creatures clustered in front of his stage. Huffing and puffing, the drake was panting for it. His body felt aflame from moving about for so long with barely a moment to rest. Sweat seeped from his scales as he pushed himself to the limit to entertain his adoring public that was cheering and chanting his stage name over and over.

“Dragdonis! Dragdonis! Dragdonis!”

As happy as he was to hear so many admirers calling out to him, the effort to acquire such fame was not worth it to him. Spike had never worked so hard before in his life, at least not in such a manner while he was under Twilight’s care. In his exhaustion, Spike couldn’t help but reminisce about the simpler times when he merely saw himself as the Alicorn’s number one assistant and longed for those simpler times. It all seemed far less stressful than forcing himself to dance about in any kinky manner he could come up with. Currently, he found himself doing squats and shaking his thick dragon ass and thighs for the crowd to gawk at and get mesmerized by how they bounced and wobbled about while shiny from the light reflecting off those sweaty, purple and pale green scales.

While he continuously busted a move, Spike remained cautious about how his tail swayed about, keeping it raised up and away from where the audience stood. He didn’t do this so much to avoid smacking anyone in the head with it. It was mostly to avoid allowing it to be grabbed so his many admirers could pull him down into the crowd and leave him at the mercy of everyone horny beast to ravage all his sexiness and satisfy their cravings. Earlier on, he had nearly allowed that to happen, but he was able to win the tug of war with them at the time due to still retaining the bulk of his stamina.

Now that he wasn’t feeling so fresh and had begun to reek of perspiration from every nook and cranny on his figure, the dragon kept a wary eye on his audience and their raised arms. With so much fatigue setting in as he panted heavily, he was far from confident that he could win another struggle like that. His slowed movements and heavy breathing informed his fans of just that much and kept them attentive and waiting for the next chance they’d have at him.

There was an occasional clattering of metal coins as the patrons tossed handfuls of bits onto the stage. With how long Spike had been dancing, the coins were really piling all around him. With a few gemstones tossed in too, it was like Spike was surrounded by his treasure horde. However, for the dragon, he found little joy in how much he was earning, not when it all had to go to the greedy, blue griffin who was watching every moment of the show just off stage.

“Is this enough yet?” asked a wiped out Spike, turning his head to meet Gallus’s gaze.

“Still not enough. Keep going,” he signaled back, twirling a finger to silently communicate with him. Letting out a heavy sigh, Spike turned back to his adoring public, gripped his crotch with one set of his claws and placed the other on the floor along with his tail for added balance as he kicked his legs out real quick before returning to a crouching stand. He did this several times, attempting this move to see how well it impressed the crowd. As more pieces of shiny metal rained down around him, he saw it as another successful move to add to the repertoire of his dancing career (one he really hoped would end soon, along with this night).

“What a haul,” thought Gallus, picking up some of the coins that had ended up near his end of the stage. He counted them and then dropped them into a sack that was already full of a great sum of Spike’s earnings. “If that dragon was a pony he’d be earning his Cutie Mark right now.”

“As a sexy dancer?” asked the griffin manager coming over with an even bigger sack of money in his feathery hands.

“As someone making me a fortune,” he explained with a laugh. “It’d be something like a big gold coin with my face on it.” Gallus blushed and smiled at such an image permanently imprinted on Spike’s glutes. “Oh, now there is an ass I could stare at all day long.”

“Owning this place, I’m hardly one to say something about the weird things others enjoy doing,” he admitted with a chuckle. “Anyway, Dragdonis here is every bit the crowd pleaser you promised. We’ve at least breached the maximum capacity limit of the hall twice over now to fit everyone in. To be honest, it’s almost a miracle we’ve gotten away with it.”

“Well, the fire marshall is here too,” commented Gallus as he peeked out again to where he last saw her.

“Come on now!” she called out, one of many screaming voices in the crowd. “Slap that shiny, scaly ass of yours!”

“Yeah, but this place hasn’t been so overly packed in ages,” the manager went on. “Not since those three sirens were in town to put on a show. Of course that was to use their magic on us to make us fight so they could feed off the conflict. Heh, too bad they didn’t know we are all pretty much like that anyway and they didn’t even need to do anything. They still made themselves a pretty penny and myself as well.”

“Speaking of making money,” stated Gallus, eyeing the sack of money in the other griffin’s hands. “Is that my cut of tonight’s profits?”

“Yeah,” he nodded, handing it over. When Gallus gripped it and the other griffin let go, the weight nearly made him drop it, but he drew more strength into his arm to prevent that. “Ten thousand bits. Quite the haul for bringing in this many patrons in just one night. I guess that means you just need another 20K from the crowd and he’s all paid up for whatever he owes you for.”

“Well, this is the money I get for bringing you in that crowd,” explained Gallus. “So, I don’t see why it should count towards the whole thirty thousand.” Looking back out on stage, he saw more bits raining down as Spike gripped the pole on the stage and hung on it upside down with his legs split as far as he could make them go. “Besides, I’d say he’s making more than enough in tips to cover his costs.”

“You’re one damn greedy birdie, ya know,” the manager commented as he made his way back to his office. “Even the most miserly creatures would seem charitable by contrast.”

“Gee, that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me,” said Gallus as he patted the heavy sack of money and sniffed the greasy metal scent of oodles of cash like it was a bouquet of roses.

“Is that enough yet?” wheezed Spike, wiping the sweat from his forehead. The lights overhead had been on him for over two hours now and even his flameproof self was feeling the heat from it. Looking at all his admirers, they didn’t seem nearly as weary after so much time had passed. They didn’t seem broke yet either by the coins in their hands that were shining in the light. Just seeing their fistfuls of bits was enough encouragement to Spike to keep it up. He had no choice if he was going to get the Element of Discord for Tamati.

“Maybe,” he guessed, nearly losing his grip on the pole he was hanging from and ended up sliding downward. In the nick of time, Spike clenched his fists harder on the pole, stopping himself from hitting the floor with his head and accidentally leaving an imprint of his claws behind.

The end of Dragdonis’s tail did, however, hit the stage with a heavy slap, drawing everyone’s attention to it. From there, their eyes followed it all the way up to the drake’s exposed rear with the spaghetti strand wedged between his cheeks. The sight of this sent more bits flying his way, many clanging against other coins that had been thrown prior.

“I might have enough,” panted Spike, thinking as cautiously let go of the pole while avoiding hitting his head. “But I can hardly stop to count them during my show and I sure as Tartarus don’t want to have to do another show if I’m short.”

Carefully getting himself upright, Spike was once more on his feet, but his legs shook and buckled, dropping him to his claws and knees. Falling down also caused all the air in his body to try and escape from his maw. Spike was too tired to try and hold back an accidental burst of fire down on his adoring fans. His muscles tensed in fright, however, instead of what should have been a breath of flames and embers that would have set the audience into a fiery panic instead came out as a light smoke that spewed out over the stage. Rather than screams and shrieks, the audience cried out in further excitement, everyone mistaking it as an intentional stunt by their beloved, sexy, dragon dancer.

“That was close,” panted Spike, glad that he didn’t cause a fire in the middle of such a packed room. “But, damn, I’m so exhausted that I can’t even stoke my furnace. I really can’t keep this up much longer.” Taking a few more deep breaths, Spike tried to stand again. His legs were still shaky, but he was able to maintain his balance better this time. As for performing any more, that was another matter entirely.

“It’s times like these I really wish I had been able to train some more with Bulk,” thought Spike looking down at his fattened frame. “I wasn’t very diligent in exercising alone, when Twilight had me under house arrest.”

“Dragdonis! Dragdonis!” chanted the crowd, waiting for him to show off more of his sexy body. “Dragdonis! Dragdonis!”

“And it looks like this crowd still hasn’t had enough of me yet,” grumbled Spike. “Why must I be so damn attractive?” Mustering what little strength his body still had, Spike opened up his wingspan. “Guess I’ve got no choice. I’ll fly overhead around the room once and let them get a gander at my sexy, flying body like that. Heheh. If that’s not a satisfying finale, then I don’t know what would be.”

Seeing his arms out, the crowd’s screams of excitement grew louder. They cheered his stage name some more, eager to see him soar. Taking a few more breaths to prepare himself, Spike took several big steps forward and leapt up in an attempt to glide around the room. That was his aim, but he overestimated himself with what he was able to do in his fatigued state. Dragdonis soared as gracefully as a rock, plummeting off the stage and onto his audience.

Closing his eyes, Spike readied himself to crush a number of his admirers under his thick girth, a fate that was debatable worth dying over, however, despite falling, Spike once more was spared a collision with the ground. All the people in the audience around him managed to catch the large dragon and hold him up over their heads like he was a rockstar who had just done a stage dive.

“Well, that could have ended badly!” Spike said to himself calmly before he was suddenly pulled down into the audience and could feel countless hands reaching and grabbing all over his body to grope and rub wherever they could reach. In his weary state, Spike lacked the strength to resist them touching, prodding, groping, and fondling every scaly inch of him. Spike also found that he even lacked room to move his body at all. The only thing the immobile drake could do, at this point, was go along for the ride.

The helpless draconic dancer could feel his arms and legs tugged to keep them all fully extended. His hands and feet were then played around with, as some of the lewder audience proceeded to lick at them or suckle his digits. It was truly a weird sensation for Spike, however, all that was very minor compared to what was happening with the rest of his body.

Some of those with an even lewder nature approached his body lustful desire before moving in to get their money’s worth for the show.

Right away, Spike’s tail was lifted up out of the way and hugged by a number of his rear-loving admirers who couldn’t quite reach his cheeks. He couldn’t look back to see those playing around with that appendage, but he could clearly see the ones admiring and rubbing up against his chest that was still well toned despite all the weight he had put on. Some also gave him a few belly rubs and gave his scaly hide some gropes wherever he was pudgy enough to grab at.

Hardly a surprise was all the attention that his ass and crotch got during all this as those spots were the first to be grabbed at. The speedo he had been wearing just moments ago had gotten tugged off his body with ease, though with all the commotion going on and how it did nothing to clothe him in the first place Spike was completely unaware of its absence.

More than a few digits and faces managed to work their way right up to Spike’s ass, cock, and balls. He could feel tons of eagerly firm gropes to his ass and even a few gentle fingers running down the base of his tail to the hole between his cheeks. None of them managed to venture further than that as Spike reflexively clenched it shut. Even with their access denied, the hands still hovered close by like onlookers peeking through the window of an exclusive club and pondering how they could earn VIP passes to get inside.

On the purple dragon’s front end, it was receiving just as much attention as his backside. Unlike his tailhole, Spike was not able to do anything to keep his member from poking out and allowing his fans to play around with it. Just from wearing such a tight, slim speedo and entertaining everyone with all the kinkiest dance moves he could come up with, left Spike hard and all the fondling of his body was only serving to keep him stuck at full mast to allow everyone around to get their first sighting at the mighty obelisk a mature dragon possessed. Hands grasped at chunks of his impressive length while palms cupped his equally girthy nuts. Murmurs of those around him commented on both his tools, saying things like, “I knew dragons were big, but a length like that could split me in two,” “damn these things are big as apples,” and “where have you been all my life.” As exhausted as Spike was, even he couldn’t help chuckle at such comments and feel his ego inflate a bit from the praise.

After a while, in his pool of his admirers, Spike grew used to all the attention his body was receiving. “I wonder if this is just a typical day for Tamati and his harem?” he pondered with a small smirk. “His harem is massive compared to mine. I can only imagine the limitless endurance he must have to satisfy them all day after day.” Spike noticed the seemingly crazed crowd was actually more organized than one would expect as those nearest to him took the time to love over him for a few minutes before slipping away to let others have a turn with his big, buff, and chunky figure. Once more of them got a turn in, the room started to finally calm down as the show finally seemed to be coming to an end. “I’ve still got a long way to go to be up to his level, but tonight proves I’m at least making progress towards that goal.”

“Looks like this night is finally over,” yawned Spike, the bit of adrenaline he got from everyone ravaging his body already gone and fatigue had started to set in on him once more. “Not sure if I can make it to bed before I collapse.”

“Don’t worry, I gotcha,” Gabby assured Spike, managing to make it to him easily once the crowd became light enough. Reaching up, she placed her hands on his head to lower him down a bit. The two locked lips with one another, sharing a passionate kiss for all those around them to see and applaud. They let out one more cheer for Dragdonis that went on for about another minute before the party was officially over and the crowd finally dispersed leaving just Gabby and Spike alone in the audience area, the latter leaning on the former to remain on his feet.

“I must say,” commented Gallus, sweeping up all the coins on the stage into a dustpan. “This was quite a haul you made tonight. You should really consider making this your full time career and I wouldn’t be opposed to being your manager… for a modest percentage of your earnings, of course.”

“Sorry my fowl, feathery friend, but I’m officially retired from this line of work, now and forever,” Spike informed him. “However, you’re welcome to cover yourself in glitter and shake your ass to funky music for bits if you want.”

“No thanks,” Gallus replied casually as he nonchalantly poured all the tips Spike earned into his money sack. As for the other one that contained Gallus’s own earnings, he had already safely tucked that away and kept it out of sight from the two of them. “As a savvy business bird, one must know what work they should do and what work they should let their flunkies handle, places like this being a very obvious example of the latter.”

“Well, since this ‘flunkie’ is all done here, how about you give me what I worked so hard to earn and we’ll be on our way,” yawned Spike, giving his eye a rub as he felt another wave of fatigue wash over him.

“Not just yet,” Gallus replied as he finished collecting all the bits he could find, his sharp eagle eyes being thorough enough to not even miss one. “I have to make sure all thirty thousand bits are here. I am not one to allow myself to get burned by a deal.

“I’ll burn you,” grumbled Spike under his breath as he snorted some smoke out of his nostrils, finding he was still much too tired to unleash any flames even with the blue bird angering him.

“Hang on a little longer, Spike,” smiled Gabby, being a pillar of support for her harem master. Despite being such a dainty avian creature, she proved herself to be surprisingly strong in helping keep Spike on his feet. Even so, she knew if Spike ran out of strength to help support himself, she didn't doubt they’d both instantly drop to the ground. Turning back to Gallus, she tried to plead to him for Spike’s sake. “You already jacked the price up on us to an insane amount. The bits on the floor here have to be way more than enough to satisfy even you. Can’t you just let Spike have that jewel so we can finally get some shuteye?”

“It’s not a good business practice to complete an exchange without counting the money first,” he pointed out. “But, if you two want to go off to sleep, I won’t stop you. Just find me tomorrow and I’ll give you the trinket then… provided all thirty thousand bits are here.”

“N-No, that’s okay,” replied Spike, sinking his fangs down onto his lips, using the pain to fight off the sleepies. “I’m not that tired. Count away. I’ll stick around till you’re done. It’s not that I don’t trust you or anything, but it’s bad business manners to leave before a deal is completed, right?”

“Very true,” nodded Gallus, smirking a bit. He saw he wasn’t going to be able to pull another fast one on Spike and he could respect that. “Well, here I go then.” Reaching into the sack full of coins, Gallus pulled out as many as he could and counted a stack of ten before putting the tower of golden coins down. “Ten.” He then counted another ten. “Twenty.” He continued to count.

Spike’s vision blurred as he started to drift off, but with pure strength of will he stayed awake. “Guess this night is still not over yet,” he yawned. “But I can’t get to sleep just yet.”

“No buts,” argued Media, standing at Sting’s bedside with a stubborn look on her face while her hands were on her hips. “You need to sleep and you’re gonna get some right now.”

“I know that, but isn’t this a bit much?” the warrior Dragling asked, his body bandaged where he was wounded. He was also tightly strapped down to his bed by his arms, legs, and abdomen. Even with his impressive strength he couldn’t escape his confines, not in the condition he was in without overexerting his body further. Sting, normally so composed and stoic was actually pouting, not pleased to be tied down like this. “Do you really not trust me enough to believe I’ll remain in bed on my own?”

“Nope,” she answered him simply. “At best, I’d say you’d stay till morning and then sneak out to train.” Sting didn’t say anything, but Media could see in his eyes that her assumption was spot on. “You should stay in bed for at least a week to recover, but, if you promise not to do anything too strenuous, you can at least get out of bed in three or four days so long as you continue to take it easy. Can you accept that?”

“Like I have a choice?” he sighed, turning his head away from her and closing his eyes. Media just smiled, rubbing the back of his head a few times.

“Think he’ll actually stay in bed for that long?” asked Zircon, sitting beside Nat as Media put Sting to bed.

“Not a chance,” chuckled Nat as he shook his head. “If it was anyone else, they’d be more than happy lazing about as a bed bug. If I was in his place, I’d take the full week and stay even longer, at least till I was forced out of it, one way or another.”

“You and Sting are like night and day,” commented Zircon. “One is a tough, stoic warrior ready to tackle any foe no matter the odds… the other is the world’s best mommy.”

“I am not a mommy,” argued Nat, his outburst causing Flurryheart, snoozing in his arms to start to stir. Quickly, he rocked her, helping her to stay asleep. “There there~ It’s alright, lil one. Just rest a lil longer and I’m gonna let you see your real mommy and your… uh, other real mommy soon. I know they’ll be overjoyed to see you.”

“Provided they are all done with their time with dad,” commented Media, turning away from Sting once she felt certain that he was asleep or at least been faking long enough that he might start to doze off for real before long. “If they are, please see if any of them might have an answer to helping Sting. He really needs help that we just don’t have here in the hive.”

“Those two and Sunburst are our best hope at finding some pony that can give Sting the therapy he needs. Surely one of them has to have some ideas,” Zircon assured Media. “If not, then we’ll just have to go look around ourselves till we find one.”

“Thanks and good luck you two,” Media smiled happily at them. Then, without looking at Sting, who was sneakily attempting to loosen the straps holding him down in bed she warned him, “Now, don’t make me glue you to the bed.”

As Sting sighed, unable to overcome the foe that was Media’s bedside manner, Zircon took her leave with Nat who continued to carefully cradle Flurryheart in his arms. The two made their way from the medical ward to the throne room, the most likely place to find the ponies they sought.

“Uh, so, you think they are, you know,” commented Nat very vaguely while using an awkward tone.

“Are what?” asked Zircon, looking at Nat wondering what he was trying to say.

“You know,” he tried to explain better. “Still doing it… together… with dad.”

“Uh, well, I suppose that’s possible,” answered the Dragling Princess, not considering the possibility that Tamati and his harem was still in the midst of a heated session of amour. Now she looked just as awkward as him. “But it has been a while since our attack on the Crystal Empire. Surely, they must be done celebrating by now… though, this is dad we’re talking about and he’d have never fathered all of us if he didn’t have balls for days.”

“So then the odds of us walking in on them still in the middle of… doing it, is very high right now,” figured Nat, shuddering a little.

“Yeah, but let’s not forget that we just finished our conquest of the Crystal Empire. It’s not like that didn’t tire him out any. He went claw to hoof with both the prince and princess of the empire. Surely even he needed some rest after all that.”

“Probably,” nodded Nat. “But, just in case, you go in first to make sure they’re not still preoccupied.”

“Why do I have to go in first?” she argued.

“Well, because you’re his favorite,” replied Nat, saying whatever he could to win this debate. “Anyway, you already did it with Sunburst, right? It’s not like this stuff should be new to you now.”

“That was one time,” she argued back at Nat. “And dad’s on a whole other level when it comes to this kind of thing. He probably has moves we can’t even imagine when he’s with his harem.”

“So then it’s a good opportunity for you to learn some more moves,” suggested Nat.

“That is not something I need taught to me,” snapped Zircon. “Anyway, I’m the princess here. You should go to spare my eyes from seeing anything potentially unsightly.”

“Well, I have been charged with taking care of Flurryheart,” he reminded her. “There’s no way I can expose her, another princess to such crassness. You’ll have to go.”

“Just leave her in my care,” argued Zircon, the two arguing like any other siblings, neither wanting to risk walking in on their parents getting it on. “Your princess commands you to do it.”

“I follow the orders of no princess,” asserted Nat, as the baby alicorn started to yawn and stretch, finally done with her nap. Looking down at the precious bundle of fur and feathers in his arms, Nat couldn’t help but smile and hug her. “You’re an exception, of course, my lil princess of cuddles.”

“This is getting us nowhere,” sighed Zircon, rubbing her temple as she felt a headache coming on. They were at the door to the throne room and couldn’t proceed without looking inside to see what was going on. However, before their bickering could resume, Cid came up behind them holding a few rolled up scrolls.

“Excuse me,” he said to them. “If you aren’t going in, could you step aside? “I need to bring Tamati these inventory figures for the lower floors.”

“Wait, so father isn’t busy in there?” asked Zircon as the two draglings stepped to the side to allow him to walk past. “Busy with his harem, we mean?”

“He had a session with them after returning, but it was only a short one,” he explained. “Now he’s handling lots of preparations for this big move we’re going to make within a week’s time.”

“A big move?” pondered the dragling princess. “So soon after taking the Crystal Empire?”

“It’s the big boss’s decision and since we’ve been making very steady progress in our conquest of Equestria under his rule I have no reason to argue with him,” replied Cid as he went inside and the two draglings followed him in. There they saw Tamati was busily pacing back and forth as he looked through a bunch of scrolls he already had in claw.

“This place has a lot more store rooms than I expected it to have,” admitted Tamati, scratching at his scaly head. “But it looks like it won’t be too hard to limit ourselves to the most essential items first and then take what else we want. Yes, we’ll be more than ready within a week.”

“Sir, I’ve finished jotting down the information for the lower floors like you wanted,” Cid reported. “Is there anything else you’ll need?”

“No, this should be fine,” he replied, rolling up the scrolls in claw and set them down before he planted his rear upon his throne and raised up his feet, flexing and curling his toes as he let out a weary yawn. “I think now’s as good a time as any to take a little break. I’ve already sent Biggs, Wedge, and Sunburst to do the same and you should join them. We can pick this up in the morning.”

“Sounds good to me,” yawned Cid. “A little snack and then I think I’ll head to bed.”

“Mmm, think I’ll do the same in a little bit,” said Tamati, nodding and smiling. “We can get back to work first thing in the morning.” Reaching down, Tamati proceeded to rub at his crotch, a crack of a smile spreading on his face as a low murr vibrated on his lips. “Actually, let’s push that back to the second thing we do.”

“In other words, first thing in the afternoon,” joked Cid as he took his leave of the throne room. Tamati chuckled, not doubting the accuracy of his statement.

“Uh, dad, do you have a minute before you start playing with your unicorn horn,” commented Zircon, chiming in before he got himself hard. Nat snorted a snicker at that comment while Tamati fumbled about, not aware they had been in the room at all.

“Oh, uh, um, Zircon and Nat,” he mumbled. “Kids, how long have you two been here?”

“We came in with Cid,” she explained. “So, what’s this big move you are preparing for?” She looked around at all the scroll paper he had been going through. Picking up a few to check them out, all she found was inventory lists for the hive and nothing that provided information about anything else. “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that you’ve already got your sights on our next operation, even after we just took down the Crystal Empire. So, where are we planning to invade next?”

“Invade?” asked Tamati, carefully crossing his legs as he removed his claws from his nethers. “Well, I suppose you could call this an invasion and one that’ll make the Crystal Empire mission seem like a cakewalk in comparison.”

Hearing this, Nat and Zircon swallowed hard. The battle was still fresh in their minds and while it had been an overwhelming success to them, even with all the preparations, intel, and element of surprise on their hands, it still took everything they had to pull off. They grimaced at the thought of another battle so soon that would make what they and all the other Draglings just experienced be deemed as “easy.”

“And this is taking place in a week?” asked Nat, recalling what he heard from Tamati’s conversation with Cid. “So, where are we heading off to next? Canterlot to take the capital? I can’t imagine many other places that would be more heavily fortified than the Crystal Empire was.”

“Canterlot,” repeated Tamati with a sigh. “I wish it were that, but no. We’re not going there yet. I plan to complete the Lockheart before going there.”

“Then where are we going to hit?” wondered Zircon.

“I’ll reveal that when necessary,” he answered. “But, for now, could you two please not speak of this to anyone else? I’d rather allow the rest of the hive to take this time to relax and unwind after the battle. The thought of more fighting would only make them stress out.” Hearing this, Zircon and Nat looked at one another as Sting immediately came to mind.

“Very well,” agreed Zircon. “We promise not to tell. Now, could you do us a favor and tell us where those three ponies we brought from the Crystal Empire are.”

“You mean Sunburst, Shining Armor, and Cadence?” he inquired, leaning closer to his offspring. He then pointed a claw towards the passageway to Chrysalis’s private chambers. They are down there along with Chrysalis. I want to ensure they are kept safe here at all times. Two of them are a part of my harem, after all, and, more importantly, they are key figures in Equestria and are considered very valuable to a number of the ponies who will be our opposition in the near future. Having them to tip the scales in our favor could be the difference between victory and defeat and I prefer to stack the deck in my favor whenever possible.”

“Thank you,” curtseyed Zircon to her father. “Mother has shown me the path to her quarters so I know the safe route there.”

“Care to tell me your interest in those three?” asked Tamati as he pondered the reason and took note of Flurryheart. “Oh, is it to let the parents see their little bundle of joy?”

“Well, that is another reason we want to go,” explained Nat. “I wanted to take her to see them earlier, but then there was a little incident with Sting and now we’re hoping they can help us help him.”

“There’s something wrong with Sting?” questioned Tamati, the concern in his voice increasing. “He seemed fine at the end of the battle. What happened?”

“Maybe he was, but, I think as he started to calm down the guilt started to come in for those who we lost in the fight,” Zircon explained. “I feel hurt too that not all of us made it through, but he was leading us and he probably sees it as his failure for not doing enough.”

“I can’t imagine him doing more than he had,” added Nat. “He charged in first and was like an absolute beast with how many soldiers he mowed down with sheer force alone. I could hardly believe how strong he was.”

“I can,” chuckled Tamati recalling his one-on-one training with Sting against the maulwurf. “He trained all he could for the battle. I doubt anything more could have been done and I have no doubt that our casualties were as low as they were by his determination as much as all our other preparations for the battle.”

“Still, that wasn’t enough in Sting’s opinion,” continued Zircon. “Even after we got back to rest and recoup, he jumped right back into training, fighting against that overgrown mole. Sting was still exhausted, barely able to stand and yet he kept on fighting. Media said that he was going berserk and nearly attacked her in his rage.”

“Oh, dear,” replied Tamati, increasing worry in his voice upon hearing that. “This is all my fault. You had all matured so quickly I thought you would be more than ready to fight. Dragons, we’re trained to be fighters as soon as our nails get sharp enough to rend flesh and our fangs are capable of crunching rocks like carrots. Typically, that takes several years after we’re born. After that, we go through daily training till our molt when we get our wings and are then recognized as full fledged warriors in our own rights. With your Changeling genetics, you all grew and matured almost overnight. I didn’t expect it and was so excited to be able to expedite my plans this much, but in the end, I was just too hasty.”

“I don’t doubt any amount of time would have fully prepared us to fight,” Nat said to comfort his father. “But regardless, Sting needs help and the rest of us might need it too. That’s why we must find someone who can strengthen our souls while you do so for our bodies and seeing as there isn’t a Changeling here who can handle that job, we’ll have to find a pony instead.”

“Then I’ll leave it to the two of you and wish you both the best,” he told them. “Just remember, our big move will be in a week’s time. If you can’t find them by then it might have to be delayed for a while.”

“Can’t you postpone the move?” wondered Zircon. “After all, you just said you were being too hasty.”

“I would if I could, but we’ve already declared war on all of Equestria by invading the Crystal Empire. I even had you two as well as Sting and Media deliver the children to Canterlot, not just as an act of mercy, but to force them to act and us to react in turn. As of right now, they are no doubt readying their forces to attack us and we must be ready for them if we don’t want to end up crushed,” Tamati explained, grabbing a pile of the nearby scrolls, he crushed them in his claws to demonstrate his point. Only after he did it did he realize he had just crumpled a portion of his work. “Oops. Uh, my point is, we gotta move forward with the next phase of my plan, but trust me when I say nobody is going to dread this more than me.”

“Well, we don’t have any time to waste in finding help for Sting,” said Nat as he and Zircon proceeded down to Chrysalis’s private quarters. When they were out of earshot of Tamati, the blue Dragling murmured, “What the hell could we be doing next that even our dad is dreading?”

“No idea, but I don’t think I wanna find out,” Zircon whispered back as they vanished down the tunnel.

“Whoever they find to help Sting,” sighed Tamati, craning his head back in his throne. “I might need a session after him.”

The duo made their way down the twists and turns to Chrysalis's bed chambers. Zircon led the way, taking the correct tunnels that led them safely to her hidden quarters. Finally, when the tunnel widened up, they emerged within the cozy abode where the ex queens and ex king were resting. The scent of lust and perspiration was still present and strong on them all and the lack of ventilation didn’t help. Sunburst was there too, busily looking through the dark artifacts that were in Chrysalis’s hidden cabinet.

“Oh, is this what I think it is?” he nerded over a hand mirror that was in a golden fitting and encrusted with diamonds.

“The Mirror of Alterio?” scoffed Chrysalis. “I picked that worthless thing up, oh, I don’t know how many moons ago. I heard that it can act as a window of sorts to gaze at other versions of oneself from different dimensions. With it, I figured I could observe some alternate realities of myself finally conquering all of Equestria and gorging on the love of all my most hated enemies. My original intention was that it’d clue me in on how to conquer Equestria myself, or, at the very least, provide me something enjoyable to watch.”

“I, uh, take it that things didn’t work out well with what you saw on the other end,” Sunburst assumed.

“That’s putting it mildly,” she grumbled and gagged. “True, there were some that I did win in, but plenty I lost, either by one group of ponies or another. Sometimes I even lost to some other villain in a reality in which they won against the Ponies before I could and suddenly we became their target.”

“I guess I never considered just how many villains try to conquer Equestria,” commented Sunburst. “What is it? About two or three a season or something like that?”

“I suppose that’s right,” replied Chrysalis. “And those sickening Ponies deserve every last attempt to strip them of their freedom, happiness, and magic, even if it all ends with the villain’s defeat. Still, it’d be nice if one of them could actually succeed at that in our dimension. But even with more failures than I will ever admit, the reality we live in is still far more tolerable than some other worlds I’ve gazed at. There was even one in which I was betrayed by my own hive and they, ugh, transformed into some grotesque colorful, holeless, beetle things. They sided with the Ponies and I was forced to flee from my kingdom. I even went a little nuts from loneliness, needing to draw minions to have someone to yell at.”

“That’s awful,” Sunburst told her. “Did you at least get your revenge at some point?”

“I never went back to the mirror to check,” she added. “Not after I saw a far more nightmarish image.” Sunburst, along with Shining and Cadence turned their attention to Chrysalis, curious to hear what could have been worse than the loss of her entire kingdom. “In this one demented dimension I saw me, but I wasn’t anything like the me standing before you. I was some sickeningly sweet, namby pamby butterfly abomination that spread love and happiness across Equestria. I was so mortified by what I saw I could have been that I shrieked loud enough that the whole hive could hear me. After that, I didn’t dare so much as take a peek, afraid to see an even more horrifying image.”

“W-Well, mind if I give it a try?” asked Sunburst with a pleading smile on his face.

Lacking the empathy to be moved by such a face, Chrysalis just snorted to blow her mane out of her face. Fortunately for Sunburst, however, she didn’t really care one way or another if he used it. “Knock yourself out.”

“I’m gonna assume you don’t mean that literally,” he chuckled nervously. “Now, if I recall what I read about this thing, I just turn this little knob here to tune it to the dimension I want to view and then give the mirror a little shake and…”

Doing all this, the orange pony then watched as the mirror showed his reflected image but more like it was on disturbed water than on flat glass. As the water started to settle, the mirror returned to normal, but it wasn’t reflecting Sunburst anymore, at least not the one holding it. Instead, he saw himself from another dimension. This one, however, was far different in appearance. Wearing a cape as black as night, with red trim on it, he stood upon high looking down at all the different creatures of Equestria, chained and enslaved by him. An evil green and purple haze radiated from his eyes and a wicked grin was upon his clean-shaven face.

Clasping a dark tome in one hand and a skull adorned scepter in the other, he raised the latter up, causing hurricane force winds to roar and thunder to boom merely due to a whim of his. As the wind blew against him, it caused his cape to flutter behind him, revealing he was shirtless, allowing him to show off a very toned body complete with a six-pack and hulking biceps. On his equally impressive back was a large set of batwings, a proper fit for a dark ruler such as he.

Turning around, he gazed at a set of statues of both the greatest heroes and villains of Equestria. Each was adorned with a look of horror on their faces, the final expression they were able to make before he mercilessly petrified them to be trophies of his conquest over Equestria and undoubtedly, soon the world.

“Looks like in this world I’m some sort of great and terrible wizard who has single-handedly defeated every other powerful being and now rules over all of Equestria with an iron fist. Also, it looks like I’ve been hitting the gym in this dimension too.”

“Sounds like the perfect life,” sighed Chrysalis.

“I don’t know about perfect,” commented Sunburst. “I mean, where’s his, uh, my, uh, our beard?”

“You must be joking,” Chrysalis stated bluntly. “You’re the most powerful being in that universe and you are griping over facial hair?”

“Now I know what you mean about not liking other versions of yourself,” replied Sunburst, putting the mirror back where he found it. “Just because we can see what our lives might have been like, that doesn’t mean we should.”

“I hope we’re not interrupting anything,” Zircon said as she and Nat entered the room.

“Just resting after our time with your father,” Chrysalis replied.

“I hope you two aren’t too tired from… relations,” Nat chimed in, hesitating with his words when he had to think about a delicate way to put it. “Especially with this bundle of love here to see his mommy and… uh, other mommy.” Lifting the baby Alicorn up, he showed off the happy, giggling baby to Cadence and Shiny.

“Oh, is that our Flurryheart?” asked an excited Shiny as she and Cadence got up and hurried over to their little, infant girl. Taking her from Nat, they cuddled and kissed all over her cheeks, making the toddler giggle excitedly. “We missed you so much, our little princess.”

Flurry was ecstatic to once more get embraced by her affectionate parents and though Shiny was not the same papa she knew him as, she didn’t appear to notice anything out of place. As the loving family continued to embrace a bit longer, Chrysalis, feeling slightly peckish, couldn’t resist opening her maw to drain away a portion of their strong and deep affection for one another to sate herself for the time being.

“We’re sorry that we’ve been busy… uh, getting to know Master Tamati better, but, from now on, whenever our great dragon king doesn’t have any need for us, we’ll hurry right back to you.”

“Well, knowing dad,” commented Nat. “He’ll probably keep you busy quite constantly and that means finding someone to take care of her in your stead.”

“Hmm,” Cadence pondered this. “Back in the Crystal Empire, we had Sunburst to watch her, not to mention a year’s worth of volunteer babysitters lined up for the job.”

“If I recall correctly, even you were there to offer a helping hand and to take care of our lil FlurrFlurr,” added Shiny to Chrysalis, rubbing her belly after an almost too sweet meal of parental love.

“I was only there to kidnap your baby, consume all the love she was filled with, and use her for some diabolic revenge scheme,” the former queen reminded them with a venomous hiss at the end. “And I would have succeeded too if you didn’t add singing to part of the job description.”

“But you have such a wonderful voice, mother,” Zircon assured her. “How could you not pass on account of that?”

“Singing songs about revenge, my evil plans, and conquering all the Ponies in this realm and feasting on their love is what I prefer to sing about. Not about love and togetherness and, yuck, sunshine and rainbows. I practically gagged on the first verse of this smile song they wanted me to sing. In the end, I decided it wasn’t worth it, undid my disguise and flew off back here.”

“Well, I know I love hearing you sing, ‘How I’ll Get Revenge on All the Ponies Who Have Crossed Me,’” Zircon told her. “The title’s a bit of a mouthful, but your aria is so amazing I feel it right down to my core. It certainly is far more enjoyable to hear that than those namby pamby Pony musicals.”

“I suppose I could stretch out my vocal chords if you care to hear it again,” smiled Chrysalis to her daughter.

“Anyway,” Cadence resumed the original point of her conversation with Nat. “We had more babysitters than we knew what to do with in the Crystal Empire, but, here, we only have Sunburst to count on to help us and he might be busy at times helping our master with his research. Also, considering all the female Changelings will be busy pleasuring our master along with us, we can’t count on them either.”

“In other words,” continued Shiny, holding his baby and taking notice of how she babbled happily while reaching for Nat to hold her again. “We’ll need someone else to look after our dear Flurry and seeing how fond she is of you, maybe you’d like to be our goto babysitter.”

“Your goto babysitter,” Nat repeated, trying to be nonchalant about the whole thing, when he was more than happy to love and care for Flurryheart whenever he was given the chance. “Well, I’m a busy Dragling, after all, one of the greatest in the swarm. I’d have to see if I have the time once we start preparing for our next attack.”

“Sorry,” Cadence apologized. “It was presumptuous of us to ask you such a thing when you’ve already done more than we could have asked for. We’ll find someone else to help us out.”

“No!” cried Nat, immediately dropping his cool guy act. “I really don’t mind it one bit. I’ll watch her every chance I get.”

“Well, so long as it’s not a bother,” Shiny said, holding Flurryheart for Nat who happily cuddled her once more, much to her giggly delight.

“Hear that, lil Flurrflurr. I’ll be able to take care of you lots from now on.”

“Ugh,” gagged Chrysalis, sickened by such a sweet display of affection from a creature that was composed of both Changeling and Dragon genealogy. “It’s such sweet love, but such a sappy display of affection. Makes me sick to my stomach.”

“If you can tolerate it for a little longer,” joked Zircon. “There is one other reason we came down here. We’re actually trying to find a counselor for Sting and we don’t have any in the hive.”

“We never had a need for such things,” explained Chrysalis. “We just considered any troubles we had as the fault of our enemies and sought vengeance upon them, fueled by that conviction. That’s what I’ve always done and look how I turned out.”

“Didn’t an alternate version of yourself lose all her Changelings and go mad from loneliness when she didn’t even have them to yell at?” Sunburst reminded her.

“I was only a little nuts,” she hissed. “But, perhaps, a counselor couldn’t hurt. Still, where do you plan on acquiring one?”

“We were hoping our new pony friends might know of a good one,” explained Zircon.

“So, do you three know anyone good?” asked Nat, cradling Flurryheart.

The three didn’t need much time to think before Cadance had an answer. “Shiny’s sister would be a great choice. She cares deeply about others and does all she can to help them when they’re in some sort of dilemma.”

“Naturally,” giggled Shiny. “She is the Princess of Friendship, after all. If Sting is having trouble, then she’s the one who can help.”

“If you drag that one in here you’re inviting our doom as well,” scoffed Chrysalis. “She and her friends have always spoiled my plans and it’s not like she’d just willingly help us, especially not after all we’ve just done.”

“Couldn’t we just seduce her like Zircon did with Sunburst or with how dad got those two to join us?” asked Nat.

“An Alicorn has too much magic to be manipulated for very long if the magic isn’t strong enough,” explained Chrysalis. “From what I’ve heard from Tamati, his attempt on Twilight with the Lockheart wore off a short while later. He has used the Elements of Discord to power it up and its effects haven’t yet faded from Cadence, though I’m keeping an eye on her just in case she breaks free. I’m sure Master Tamati will reapply the magic of the Lockheart on her from time to time as well to ensure his hold on her doesn’t loosen.”

“Father is too busy with his work to help us right now,” figured Zircon. “And there’s no way in Tartarus we’d be allowed to borrow the Lockheart ourselves, so Twilight is off the table. Isn’t there anyone else who would be almost as good as her?”

“Why not try her student,” scoffed Chrysalis before a devious smirk spread across her face. “Actually, yes, that is a great idea. She’d do nicely and I could even consider it as revenge therapy for myself.”

“She’s definitely a great choice,” agreed Sunburst. “And I’d love to see her again.”

“And I’m sure she’d love to see you too, Sunburst,” nodded Zircon as she proceeded over to the orange pony, pulling Nat to follow her. “And you could be just the pony to help us get her.”

“So we’re all leaving tomorrow to go look for him,” Pinkie explained to the Cutie Mark Crusaders. All four of them were having a meeting in the CMC’s clubhouse immediately after Twilight made the decision to search for Spike. After hearing all Pinkie Pie had to say on the matter, a look of frantic concern filled the expressions of the three young adult ponies.

“After all the hard work we went to sneak Spike out of Ponyville, we can’t let them find him,” cried Scootaloo.

“But we sent him all the way to Griffinstone,” Sweetie Belle reminded the others. “That’s clear across Equestria. Without any leads they’d never imagine he’d go there of all places.”

“But what if something went wrong,” worried Applebloom. “Like the potion I brewed wore off too soon or the package fell into a lake with him trapped inside or… or… or something else terrible happened and we will never get to see our sexy stud of a dragon master ever again!!!”

“I’m sure he’s doing fine,” Pinkie Pie told them to keep them positive, though her own concerns made it hard to keep the worst case scenarios from her mind as well. “I made sure that I’d get to check to the eastern part of Equestria so I’ll be the one covering Griffinstone.”

“Then we can go with you an