At first, I promised myself that despite how much of a craze it had become, I'd never watch an MLP episode. Then I promised myself I'd never watch it past half a dozen episodes. After the infection had corrupted my mind, with a last grasp of sanity, I solemnly vowed never to write anything MLP related.
So much for willpower.
The Dog and Pony show was THE main inspiration for this episode and the fact that Badass!Spike seems to be woefully underappreciated here. After seeing John Joseco's "Spike the Destroyer" work(johnjoseco deviantart com/art/Spike-The-Destroyer-201411350), it was settled.
The universe has suffered long enough under random plots and uncontrolled monster invasions. All kind of beast scour the land to feast upon innocent ponies, but no longer. There must always be one, who stands up for justice and does what is right. There must always be a hero, an icon people can look up to and say "HE KICKS SHIT AND SAVES LIVES". What Equstria needs are not Element users, nor some petty force such as magic.
It needs a FIST! A fist to be put through the faces of evil, a scaly purple fist to bash their teeth and save maidens, a scaly purple fist OF JUSTICE to show them what they have to face, the moment they step out of line and join the ranks of foul evil. Prepare yourself, for these next pages will mark the beginning of a journey that when finished, will make you grow scales, breathe fire and imbue you with the will and force to transcend your weak and pathetic human flesh and become truly and utterly BADASS!
(Reviews appreciated, please enjoy! 8D)
Legends say there had once been a youngling of the Draic Kin, blessed by the Immortal Sun Empress herself, destined to bring harmony and a reign of peace to the lands of Equestria. This hero had proven himself in countless battles and as the tales of bards, hearts of pony maidens and lines of admiring -and sometimes alleged- children remember his legacy as a true warrior beyond all, a fable of his achievements was born. Few know however, that the one who had grown to govern our beloved kingdom and rid the world of all things foul, had started in conditions less than spectacular indeed.
Before his many deeds of heroism and bravery, his semi-divine humble self began as a simple knight of Celestia, freshly graduated from Her Majesty's School for those Gifted with Awesome and had taken up residence in one of Canterlot's most famous libraries. What strange folly for someone who's life has always been tied to combat, you may wonder.
You see, Sir Spike was in no ways a scholar, except for reading the bounties off whatever evildoer he had managed to vanquish at the time. However, he also had a trusty squire, who benefited greatly from the knowledge stored there and in his unending generosity and saintly nature, de Draco allowed this young, inexperienced, but very talented pony to absorb as much as she possibly wanted from these old tomes of wisdom.
And on one of these simple, yet in itself undeniably magnificent and awe-inspiring days, does our story truly begin...
"Sir! I've found something!"
Spike de Draco slowly turned around, not even flinching as his young squire, a unicorn by the name of Twilight Sparkle dragged over a rather huge book to him, effortlessly balancing an entire stack of them on his shoulders in the meantime.
While standing on the tip of his tail.
On another book.
Normally, this would have been a highly odd sign, but she had grown quite used to this by now. Showing off unbelievable feats of strength and power were almost as synonymous with her knight as breathing. She knew he was still just in the middle of warming up yet, as his main exercise of the day usually involved at least five different kind of weapons in each hand.
"What is it, Twilight?" he asked, his strong, manly voice making the young pony shiver with delight just to hear it. "Has my squire found a quest fitting for a knight?"
"Indeed I have, Sir Spike!" the unicorn ventured, her voice trembling with excitement. 'Squire', the word always filled her with joy and appreciation for the knight who had chosen her, of all the little fillies to be his shieldmaiden and general trusted everypony. When Princess Celestia sanctioned it, nopony could be happier than she had been.
"I've discovered a pretty startling correlation between several ancient stories." she explained. "A while ago, I've found a particularly old legend, that speaks of a mythical 'Mare in the Moon', a powerful pony who once governed over the night, as a parallel to Princess Celestia. However, feeling unappreciated and undeservedly feared, she gave into her darkest feelings and became a frightening monster, known only as Nightmare Moon."
"Sounds unbelievable. Continue." he mused. The drake pondered for a moment, before grabbing the lavender unicorn and tossing her straight up into the air, only for her to land on top of the books he was now balancing upon the ridges on his head. Even his slightest motion made the whole tower wobble, much to his squire's fright.
"Whoaah—oh Celestia..." Twilight whimpered, holding onto dear life, despite his expert balancing skills. One could put a whole bookcase on one shoulder and he'd still carry it around without any trouble what-so-ever. "I-it s-says that when the longest d-d-day of her thousandth year o-o-of imprisonment is at ha-ha-hand, she'll escape h-her prison and singleho-ho-hoofedly plunge Equestria into a night that w-will last forever!" she stammered, trying not to further unbalance this already deadly tower. She did like to assist in his exercises every now and then, but not like this!
"Well, we can't have that now, can we?" the knight mused, using his tail as a spring to hop off the book.
The tower he'd constructed had collapsed as well, dozens of books hurtling towards the ground with a screaming Twilight in tow. He smiled and extended both of his hands, catching the unicorn in one and the dusty tome she'd been studying in the other. His tail swished about rapidly in the meantime, smacking the falling books straight back to where they belonged, in alphabetical order no less.
"Twilight, take a note for me." he added, once the lavender unicorn didn't feel the need to cling to his hand anymore.
She flinched and hopped off, her horn glowing brightly as she summoned her magic to assist her in the task. A parchment, a quill and a vial of ink gathered from several parts of the library, having been cast aside each time her attention had been diverted. She was not only his squire, but his official scribe as well, a title that normally other ponies, as squires usually tended to weaponry, above all else.
However, unlike most knights, who downright reveled in collecting as many assistants and minions as they possibly could, Spike had never shown even the slightest indication that he was about to follow that trend. He was quite satisfied with how she handled everything and had long since told her, that unless she asked for someone personally, he'd keep her as his only squire. She was happy for it, as it gave her even more opportunities to be of use to him and make him proud.
Seeing she was ready, Spike de Draco calmly strutted over to the chest that contained his most important tools and possessions, preparing to suit up for the upcoming task. Sure, the threat might have not been immediate, but a knight was never complete without his armor. He nonchalantly tossed aside several uninteresting artifacts, such as strands of glowing fur from an Ursa Major, various dragon fangs an hydra scales and even a coat that had rather obviously been a Diamond Dog's hide at some point.
"Hey there, sexy!" he began narrating the letter in the meantime.
Twilight didn't even flinch, adeptly changing his words into a much more formal 'Dear Princess Celestia'. While Spike was a drake of many talents, he often forgot that although up and close the Princess would more than tolerate his words, it was a tad bit more risque to address her in such a way through mail, even if the transfer procedure was magical. One could never know how many people were trying in vain to pry into Celestia's private life.
"While I know you must be busy prettying yourself for the party, my squire has found something I'm sure you'll find interesting: a legend about some punk called Nightmare Moon you've supposedly banished a millenia ago. Now, I'm sure she probably did something major to piss you off that much, as all I ever got for my pranks had been a kindly slap."
Her squire raised a brow and corrected the tone a tiny bit, all the while smiling to herself. Sure enough he was right, though she also reminded herself that Celestia favored Sir Spike greatly for a number of reasons, including many nightly...serenades. She would have been hard-pressed to banish a trustful and loyal knight, such as the venerable de Draco. Trying to rid yourself of someone with too much knowledge was never a sound plan.
"As such, I'd be more than delighted to take care of this little legendary problem for you, for a couple of favors in return, of course. Slaying mythical beasts has always been a forte of mine, if I may say so." he kept dictating to Twilight, tossing aside an album full of dried and pinned parasprites.
Normally, most knights didn't dare hit a tone that would make them sound like common mercenaries, much less when offering their services to the ruler of Equestria. The only way he could be even more favored though, was if he had been given a place on her throne even, something he knew Celestia would never do. Kind and benevolent Sun Princess or not, she very much liked her rank and wouldn't have parted with it for the world.
"I think it's better if we settle this quickly, before Equestria is pushed to the br-bri-...uh...edge of disaster." he took a moment to throw the lightest of glares towards Twilight, who was giggling from his slight flub. "Sure, it would be exciting to fight under the threat of annihilation and eternal darkness, but I know how much you hate to look through damage reports." he continued, finally getting every bit of equipment he needed out of the chest. "In any case, I'll see you after the party for a one-on-one discussion. Signed, your sizzling fire-breather."
"PS, will you be wearing that dress again tonight? The one we've talked about last time?" he added quickly, taking note of Twilight's blush as she simply couldn't rewrite that addendum into anything less obvious. "It's diplomacy, dear squire. Not every knight gets pushed forwards by a royal hoof." he mused, giving her an especially well-refined not-quite-innocent wink.
"...yes, Sir Spike. The letter is ready." she groaned, shaking her head lightly as she levitated the scroll over to him. He sent it with the tiniest whiff of magical green flames, while the unicorn watched him with a look that gradually changed from disapproving, to a stupid grin.
Watching him don his armor was always something she especially enjoyed watching. It was like a jigsaw puzzle that got shinier with every piece, or a book that got...thicker with every word. The young dragon methodically suited up as always, making sure to the last armlet that they were properly placed and secured to his scaly body.
Twilight flinched and remembered her duty, just about galloping over to the chest. The magic aura around her horn flared up again as she carefully summoned the last article from it, perhaps the most important piece of armor for a knight. His red cape flowed freely and triumphantly in the completely sealed off and windless library room, the golden draic symbol almost glinting in the sunlight. She carefully placed it over his shoulders and made sure it was properly adjusted and secured, before taking a few steps back, her work done.
"Thank you, Twilight." he gave her an appreciative smile, making the unicorn giggle with glee. She could never get tired of receiving praise from her idolized master.
He raised a brow soon after, a familiar sensation coursing through his body. He paused for a moment or two, before opening his mouth for what seemed like a scream. Twilight's delighted daze was shattered a moment later as the dragon let out an earth-shattering burp, even the huge bookshelves trembling to the tremendous belch he had unleashed. Some would have found it disgusting, but others quickly realized that event this seemingly horrible noise actually had a beautiful melody to it, which only true connoisseurs of music could pick up.
"Ah, a few more days and I'll be able to go another octave lower." he remarked, passing down the scroll to her scribe-squire-hybrid.
"Without a doubt." she mused, unrolling the parchment with her magic. She face moved into considerably darker colors as she had begun to run through the princess' message. She glanced up at Spike's face for a moment, before she swallowed and cleared her throat.
"To my hunk of a fire-starter." she stopped for a brief moment, noticing Spike smirking already to the title. "I'd love to explain about that legend over a bottle of fine apple cider, but regal duties come first, despite your best efforts at convincing me otherwise."
"As of right now though, I have a much more important task for you. It is one which requires skill, bravery and possibly even the mighty flames of a heroic dragon." the unicorn continued, making the aforementioned knight grin more and more. Twilight on the other hand, already several lines lower, started heading out of the library for some reason.
A few minutes later they were both riding a chariot, heading for a place Spike had hardly even heard of, its insignificance rivaling only his disappointment for the current development of events.
"This year, the celebrations will be held in the nearby town of Ponyville. As much trusted knight, I need you to make sure to bring word that the great Celestia really doesn't appreciate anyone messing things up on her bi sunrise and have them act accordingly." his squire kept on going, while he groaned in boredom already.
"I have no place in such a backwater slum, as this Ponyville." he grumbled, the sound of metal screeching making the chariot-carriers cringe as he crossed his armored arms. "There's nothing to beat, slay or so much as...get acquainted with, outside Canterlot."
"I'm sure the princess had a good reason for sending you here, sir. Not to mention that getting familiar with someone who doesn't live in Canterlot has never been a problem for you." Twilight took a momentary break from reading to console her knight in slightly dull, but very sturdy armor. He mumbled something under his nose, waiting on her to continue.
"Be a dear and remind them of possible repercussions, so they may make all the right decisions. Once the Sun is up and all the ponies go on to party hard, we may retreat for some private lessons in dueling, if you're so inclined." Twilight felt the irresistible urge to cough at this point, her face flaring up as if she'd been sitting in the midst his flame breath again. "Take care, my dearest and most devoted knight.
"P.S.: If Twilight's blushing, be sure to hook her up with someone, will you? She's a sweet little bookworm and should really go out more." the unicorn gasped and shook her head wildly to the idea. "I do NOT! The princess can be so quick to jump to conclusions sometimes!" she protested loudly, glaring at the pair of snickering Canterlot guard-ponies transporting them.
"Still, that leaves me with quite a few hours of boredom." the dragon sighed, still not feeling quite as super as he should have been right now. The universe itself seemed like a bleaker place already, all colors dimming and the sky darkening as well, lamenting the knight's situation.
"Aww, please don't be like this. Who knows what unknown evil may lurk here? What foul beast may be waiting in the wilderness to be turned into a shoe ornament by the fierce de Draco?" she boasted, trying to pique is attention, with varying degrees of success.
"And...I'll be accompanying you as well, that counts too, right?" she winked, shaking her head in an awkward manner as she tried to imitate the way Celestia showed off her magnificent wavy mane, even though her's was multitudes shorter. "You can also look for the Elements of Harmony, while we're there!"
"The what now?" Sir Spike asked, green brow rising. His voice grew stronger as Twilight filled him in about these mythical artifacts and their possible purpose in defeating Nightmare Moon, should she truly be as unwary to show her face. "Unknown location of hugely powerful artifacts and a menacing evil's return looming above our heads? I believe this is EXACTLY the kind of task the Princess would wish her trusted knight to partake in!"
His voice teemed with unrestrained manly confidence once again, reinvigorated by the promise of some grade A adventuring in the immediate future. Twilight grew giddy of just seeing him getting this worked up about it, only to hear a pair of metallic clangs. She glanced out of their chariot and saw a pair of ornate metal helmets lying on the ground, both suspiciously familiar.
Having reached their destination though, she didn't wish to examine this phenomenon any further and instead jumped out of the chariot, landing on a dirt road fit for galloping, thanks to probably a thousand hooves thumping it every day of the week. Spike back-flipped out of the chariot and landed right next to her, sending the lavender pony into the air for a moment, as his mighty legs made contact with the unsuspecting and unprepared earth.
"Thank you for bringing us here!" he commended both guard ponies, who seemed to have undergone a rapid growth-spurt of manes over the past few minutes, starting from the moment Spike had regained his spirit, up to the point where Twilight wasn't quite sure they could see through them at all. They seemed to have grown beards as well, which was a baffling leap in biology, to say the least.
"It was our pleasure." one of them replied respectfully, his voice deep and raspy, which the squire didn't recall him having either, before they had left. "Now if you'll excuse us, there's word of hydras over that mountain and I'm personally just dying for some Hydra Soup."
"Alright, both of you be strong!" the dragon knight lightly bumped fists with their hooves, the three letting out a short battlecry and took off again, downright galloping through the air however impossible that seemed.
"Now...where is the local tavern here? I could use some questing before sundown."