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Chapter Eighty: A Bite of Karma


Stormy Skies would rather be anywhere but there, doing anything but this routine--though her paint was bright and cheery, the grin plastered upon her face was obviously forced as she juggled pies while riding a unicycle around Terra Cotta, who stood upright upon her hind hooves.  The small filly was wearing on her front hooves gloves with five fingers on each one.  She wavered before appearing to notice them for the first time.  Looking shocked, she attempted to remove them--only to be nailed in the face with a pie by her elder sibling.

The audience laughed uproariously as the pie hit Terra Cotta in the face, though there were certain individuals who weren’t laughing.

“Isn’t that the kid from before?” asked Rainbow Dash, squinting as to get a better view of the small filly.

The other five mares narrowed their eyelids as they pinpointed their attention to the filly, before Fluttershy gasped with recognition as Stormy Skies sprayed Terra Cotta in the face with a bouquet of trick roses.

“It… it IS!”

The mares’ eyes sprang open wide, staring at the siblings intensely.  While their antics were amusing, it became fairly apparent after a while the smaller Terra Cotta seemed to be the victim of every prank, pratfall, and mean-spirited trick--at least, it seemed, whenever she and Stormy Skies shared the spotlight.

Fluttershy almost swore at during what ever skit’s the two of them were in together, the older sibling seemed to possess a genuinely gleeful--almost sadistic--expression on her countenance.

Even Chuckles had joined in pelting poor Terra Cotta with pies and any other tricks he performed.  Though, unlike Stormy Skies, he did not appear sadistic at all.  In fact, he appeared sympathetic at times--but, only allowed it to show for a split-second.

The mares watched in empathy, but Pinkie Pie was amused--up until she realized the little one was taking the brunt of all the physical jokes.  Her uproarious laughter and cheers gradually diminished and eventually ceased entirely.

“That’s just sick,” said Applejack after observing the balancing act involving the sisters, with the younger bumbling and messing up, landing on her head but rolling forward with her forelegs raised, as if she were okay, and proceeded to dance and stumble her way out of the spotlight.

“That fall looked quite nasty,” Rarity winced. “I certainly hope she’s not hurt!”

Chuckles, too, had winced as Terra Cotta fell and watched worriedly as she hobbled away, wondering the same thing.  As she left his vision, he snapped out of his concerned state and jumped right back into character.  Fluttershy whimpered, feeling bad for the young filly--then felt even worse as the pegasus in the spotlight found it to be far more amusing than anything she had done to her sister.

As the trapeze artists and acrobats replaced the clowns, the rosy-maned mare felt a brief surge of anxiety at their high-flying, almost daredevil, performance, and that anxiety only grew when she realized neither of them were pegasi and there was no net underneath them in which to catch them if they were to fall.  Despite the fact that there was nothing underneath them, the acrobatic equines were fully confident and felt their lives were safe.

Fluttershy emitted a short squeak as one pony narrowly came close to falling, thought it was revealed to be only an act--and it seemed apparent the acrobats were never in any real danger, despite the lack of a net.  As the miscellaneous tricks were performed, some of the animals were being brought out--the lion tamers directing the white lions and golden tigers onto the raised platforms, sticking their heads into gaping mouths and commanding them to jump through flaming rings.  Focusing on the rings of fire, the mare released an outraged cry, nearly fainting on the spot.

Pendulum’s specific instructions were to not use much fire and use only the largest hoops for his felines.  The stallion himself didn’t even know why he had smaller ones to begin with.  After all, he didn’t want his precious creatures getting singed.  Even so, the pristine white lions and graceful golden tigers leapt through the hoops cleanly without any hint of fear.  They were long used to it.

Fluttershy watched the big cats jump through the hoops, bravely and without hesitation.  Gasping, she grasped the railing in front of her in both pasterns in apprehension.  If these animals were out now… then, surely, it wouldn’t be long before… he came out…

Pendulum entered the center ring once again, whip in his magical grasp.  With a proud smile, he opened his mouth to address the audience.

“Fillies and gentlecoolts! I will noow present Equestria’s moost dangerous creature! The woorld’s oonly captive dragoon!”

With that, he stepped aside as a few brave, yet frightened stallions wheeled out the snarling and raging red-scaled dragon.  A mournful cry escaped Fluttershy.  Her eyes widening and her jaw dropping, she leaned partially over the railing, a hoof extended into the reptilian’s direction.  Twilight Sparkle furled her arms around her as Rarity, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, and Rainbow Dash all laid a hoof on her back in a comforting gesture.

There was a collective gasp from the audience as the beast roared and pulled hard against the chains binding him.  What the entire staff didn’t know was that the unbreakable spell applied to his restraints were slowly wearing off.  The pony responsible had completely forgotten to reapply his magic to Smokey’s shackles and chains.

“Smokey…” Fluttershy moaned out. “Smokey…!!”

Another sob emerging from her, she latched onto Twilight Sparkle, her remaining friends running their consoling hooves over her back.  The alicorn held her close in a comforting embrace as she watched the winged reptile lunge into the direction of the cage door.  Whimpering, sobbing, shaking, the pegasus sat there for several long minutes, before she let go of the lavender equine and rose to her hooves.

“Fluttershy?” Twilight Sparkle implored, resting her vision upon her friend.

“I can’t stand to watch him like this,” she replied. “I just can’t stand it!”

Patting the yellow-furred pony’s back, Rainbow Dash watched the dragon intently.  Spell finally wearing off, the chains’ strength gave away and one mighty pull severed the links.  Loose chains dangling from his body, Smokey threw his weight at the cage door, sending it flying off its hinges.

He was free…

There were gasps at first, then silence…

Then a scream.  Without warning, a massive surge of ponies panicked, a number of them attempting to swarm towards the exit in an amassed herd at once.  Fluttershy screamed out, leaping from her seat and almost fell over the railing--only catching herself in the air at the last second.

Roaring wrathfully, Smokey bent over, clawed hands gripping the bottom of his cage and tipping it over before leaping over it to tear apart the cages behind his.  Though the animals could leave their cages, they remained inside for their own personal safety.

“SMOKEY!!” Fluttershy cried, fluttering into his direction.

“Are you crazy?!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed as she zipped in front of her fellow pegasus to hold her back.

One member of the staff had informed the authorities with haste as a few of the unicorns attempted to use their magic to hold Smokey in place.  However, their fear prevented them from doing the job.

“SMOKEY!!” Fluttershy cried, practically tackled from behind by Twilight Sparkle. “SMOKEY!!!”

“Sugarcube, stop! He’s berserk!” Applejack shouted as she came up from behind the princess with the others at her heels.

“NO! I can get through to him! I know I can!!” Fluttershy hollered. “SMOKEEEEEEEY!!!”

“Fluttershy, stop! He’ll attack us!”

Rainbow Dash turned her head around to locate the exact position of the dragon.  Seeing that the yellow mare’s shouting had grasped Smokey’s attention, she went into protective mode.

Just as he was about to charge into their direction, a whip struck them in the back of the head then came back to coil around his neck.  Pendulum gritted his teeth, shifting his attention to the six mares.

“Get oout while ye still can!”

“NO!!!”

Fluttershy’s surge of mixed anger, frustration, fear, and selfless regard for her safety caused her to forcibly shove her friends off of her to fly straight to Smokey.  Whirling around to him, she threw her forelegs around his neck, pressing her muzzle against the side of his face.

“Smokey! PLEASE! Calm down!” she sobbed. “Smokey, it’s me! Fluttershy!! I know you’re in there! I know you can hear me!! PLEASE!!”

Snarling indignantly at having the pony attached to him, he swung his head back and forth to toss her off.  Fluttershy tried hanging, crying out to her beloved, but was shaken off and flung a short distance away.  Correcting herself in mid-air, she flared her wings and flipped around purely on instance--her emotional drive causing her to react in a way she normally would have never been able to.

It was shortly after then several heavily armed unicorns burst into the tent…

After the pegasus was dislodged, Smokey turned towards the Shetlandish stallion who still had the whip coiled around his neck.  Tilting his head to the side to grab part of the object between his teeth, he tugged it out of Pendulum’s magical grasp.

Throwing the whip aside, the draconic being dropped down on all fours and charged at the equine to bite him in the left foreleg.  As he growled hatefully, he sank his teeth deeper into his flesh.

Yelling in pain, Pendulum attempted to utilize his hoof to hit the dragon in the lower jaw in order to persuade him to let go.  This annoyed Smokey and he parted his jaws.  As the reptilian rose back up onto his hind legs and towered over the stallion threateningly, the pony began to experience flashbacks, his mind envisioning the imposing beast as his own father with a belt held between his teeth.  Whimpering and curling up into a ball, he called out to his deceased father not to beat him, that he promised to be a good boy.  This didn’t dissuade Smokey, and was about to take another bite out of him before he was surrounded by heavily armed unicorns.  Lowering their heads, the gaggle of stallions fired magic from their horns.

“SHOOT TO KILL! FIRE! FIRE!”

Many beams fired through the air, searing across the gap and slicing through the canvas at the far end of the big top, one partially cutting on of the tent supports.  One blast in particular came dangerously close to Smokey and hit the stands near Pendulum, where it exploded with a violent detonation.  Shrapnel went everywhere, though by some miraculous grace, he wasn’t hurt more than he already was.

“FOR FUDGE SAKES, JONES,” came the booming voice of the squad’s chief. “KILL THE DRAGON NOT THE CIVILIANS!!”

Another beam, not as powerful as the first, struck Smokey dead on, cutting through his scales and searing the skin underneath.  Roaring in agony, the reptile stepped away from Pendulum and doubled over.

“SMOKEY!!” Fluttershy cried, flying through several bolts and dodging a few that nearly sliced through her as well.  At his side again, she wrapped her forelegs around his neck.

“Hold your fire!” the chief ordered. “Miss, get out of the way!!”

“NO!” the mare defied. “I WON’T LET YOU HURT HIM!!”

“Miss, he’s a dangerous, wild animal! Get away from--”

“NO!!” she wailed again, tightening her hold on him and pressing her body against him. “I LOVE HIM!! I love him and I will NOT let you hurt him!!”

The officers were stunned at the mare’s revelation as they observed her embrace his neck.  Groaning on the ground, Smokey was in too much pain to throw her off.  Plus, the spell induced on him was beginning to wear off.
The Lion and the Lamb, Chapter 80
After following a baby griffon into a dangerous situation, Fluttershy finds herself rescued by a kind-hearted dragon and ends up befriending him. Ultimately, they both decide to raise the child together in a platonic relationship. As Fluttershy and her friends spend time with the lonely dragon, the more he learns about friendship and the more he reveals about his tragic past.

Co-authored by: :iconekardshadowreaver:

Chapter One: fav.me/d3j6xzq

FIMfiction.net: www.fimfiction.net/story/84383…
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Chapter Seventy-Nine: Stalemate


Shock pulsing through Twilight Sparkle, she attempted to magik the handkerchief out of the flames--but, as she did, it was already too late.  The cloth had already burned up; all that was left was naught but a useless pile of ash.

The rage was loud, and the response was immediate.  Applejack and Rainbow Dash were two inches away from Pendulum’s face and most certainly would have given him a double black eye had it not been for the alicorn’s aura holding them back.  Rarity was fuming, Pinkie Pie was complaining and wildly flailing her forelegs in the air, Fluttershy just stood shock still, and Applejack and Rainbow Dash--red in their faces, the latter hovering in the air, were throwing out very colorful phrases that would put any sailor to shame.

Pendulum exhumed a triumphant sigh, magically unscrewing the jar of baby food and levitating a spoon over to feed Chenoa.  Sure, he just destroyed evidence in front of a princess, with her friends as witnesses, but he cannot be condemned without physical evidence to actually PROVE anything.  Not when he had the best lawyers money could buy.  At least, that was his thinking.

“You cannot arrest me if you ‘ave noo evidence.”

“AH’M GOING TO HURT YOU AND HURT YOU AND HURT YOU!!” Applejack bellowed while Rainbow Dash spouted out more obscenities.

“Rainbow Dash, Applejack, calm down!” Twilight Sparkle shouted, reeling them both in with her magic.  Grunting, she cast a sharp glare at the stallion with an expression that if looks could kill he would’ve been stone dead before he could fall over. “You’re not going to get away with this!”

Pendulum didn’t respond at first, being occupied with spoon feeding the small griffon.  His smile returned as a thought crossed his mind.  The chick really did love the yellow-furred pegasus and it would be cruel to keep them apart.  Plus, he valued her knowledge of animals and she possibly could be more effective in controlling Smokey than him.  Twisting his neck to gaze back at the mares, he opened his mouth to speak.

“I will give back the baby under oone coonditioon.”

“A condition?!” the apple farmer snarled.

“What is it?” Fluttershy almost immediately questioned. “Please, I’ll do anything! Just give me my baby back!”

“You, Miss Fluttershy,” he addressed the pegasus. “Take my ‘oof in marriage and travel Equestria with me.”

“WHAT?!” Rainbow Dash exploded, her face scrunching up in outrage as she turned her full attention to her fellow pegasus. “Fluttershy! You can’t marry this creep!”

“Yeah!” Applejack and Pinkie Pie agreed.

“Marry?” Rarity sniffed, as if she had stepped in Diamond Dog dung.  Her anger at his suggestion for this was quite through the roof, and it was only now that she, like her farmer and rainbow-maned comrades, seemed ready to pound some literal sense into him.

“… Marry you…?” Fluttershy repeated, the shock clenching her heart. “But… that’s… that’s not fair!”

“Then I suppoose you’ll never see little Chenooa again after we leave. She’ll foorget you ever existed oover time,” he said as he fed the baby another spoonful of the mushy food, which she seemed to really enjoy.

“You wouldn’t dare,” Fluttershy hissed, whirling to Twilight Sparkle. “Twilight! Can’t you do something?! Can’t we go to the authorities and report a kidnapping?!”

“I’ve already goone to the authoorities and reported that this child was loose in the Everfree Foorest. They knoow she’s in prooper hooves noow,” the stallion cut in.

“We can,” Twilight Sparkle replied, choosing not to respond to Pendulum. “If you have the paperwork stating you’re the true, legitimate guardian of Chenoa.”

Silence was the reply the young princess received from her friend.

“… You… DID… fill out forms… didn’t you?”

“I…” Fluttershy began. “I… never submitted any forms. I never applied to actually--”

“Well, what’re we waiting for?” Applejack interrupted. “There’s gotta be an adoption center ‘round here! We can do that right now!”

“I hate to burst your bubble,” Rarity interjected. “But doesn’t an adoption process take at least six weeks?”

“I’ve already filled oout foorms,” said Pendulum, wiping a little bit of baby food off of Chenoa’s beak. “In that time, I’ll be her new guardian. Plus, the public woon’t take kindly to taking a child froom soomepoony who took ‘er in after finding ‘er oout in the wild and giving ‘er back to the mare who loost ‘er.”

“Why you…!” Rainbow Dash seethed, making an attempt to pounce at the stallion, only to be intercepted by the magic bubble of Twilight Sparkle.

“This is a travesty of justice,” the alicorn growled. “I will be looking into this and I will make sure I do what I can to stop this from--”

“I’ll do it,” came the voice of Fluttershy.

There was a pause as befuddlement descended upon the mares.

“… What did you say?” Rarity pressed.

“I’ll do it,” Fluttershy whispered, sounding defeated.  Suffering, enraged, but defeated nonetheless.  She glared at Pendulum with a deep, shaking anger--an expression that her friends could say that would actually be considered hateful was inscribed upon her visage. “But only on one condition, too.”

“And… what would that be?” Pendulum tentatively asked, surprised that she actually gave in.

“You let Smokey go free,” she said, tears in her eyes. “You go right down there this minute, you… you… snap him out of what spell you have him under, you get those chains off him and you let him walk free. It’s me or him, Pendulum. I won’t let you have both of us.”

The stallion hesitated.  Set him free?  Maybe he… No.  He shook his head.  He couldn’t do that.  He was the main draw of his circus.  Where would the future of his employees be when his rare animals died from old age and his fortune somehow was lost?  How would they survive?   Would they survive?  Dragons lived for many generations.  With him as a permanent attraction, he was certain they would be secure for many years to come.

“Noo cann do, darling. ‘e’s my main attractioon.” The stallion shook his head again. “Besides, you’re in noo poositioon to be making demands.”

Fluttershy trembled with barely suppressed rage.

“You’re… an evil… evil pony…” she breathed with contempt.

This struck Pendulum hard.  All acts that would be considered evil really began after he met Smokey.  At least his employees didn’t think of him in such a manner, he mentally reassured himself as he resumed feeding Chenoa.

“Oonce you get to knoow me, you’ll think ootherwise. After all, we’re getting married. You’ll ‘ave plenty oof time to get to knoow me.”

“This is ridiculous!” Twilight Sparkle exclaimed. “I’m getting SICK of your attitude, Pendulum! You’re seriously pushing my buttons here. Do you have ANY idea who you’re dealing with?!”

“Equestria’s newest princess and oour coountry’s herooes. Oof course I knoow,” he replied, not even looking back at them.

“Twilight, please!” Fluttershy spoke up, placing a hoof upon her shoulder. “Stop! Think about this! What would Princess Celestia say if she were here??”

Twilight Sparkle opened her mouth to argue with the stallion, but slowly closed it.  Without saying anything else, she merely turned around.

“Wait… Twilight, where--Are we givin’ up just like that?!” Applejack sputtered.

“No,” she responded, directing herself to the doorway. “Not by a long shot.”

“But where are you going?” Fluttershy queried.

“To the authorities to do what I do best. To do some research!” The mare spun back around, facing Pendulum. “You and your caravan are to remain here until I say otherwise, that’s a royal order!”

“You are oonly wasting your time, Princess Twilight. The poolice already knoow little Chenooa and Smookey are ‘ere. I repoorted them.”

‘And made a generoous doonatioon to the families oof the members oof their staff who ‘ad been wounded oor killed oon the joob,’ he mentally added.

Twilight Sparkle ignored him, hopped out of the car, and walked off with her friends at her heels.

“Twilight…” Fluttershy piped up. “Twilight, what are we going to do?”

“We’ll think of something,” she replied. “We’ll… Why… why don’t we go see this show, anyway? Maybe something will come to us there.”

Rainbow Dash pumped her wings faster to speed up enough to position herself above the princess, a devious glint in her eyes.

“Maybe we can spring Smokey later tonight.”

Coming to a cessation, Twilight Sparkle turned to the cyan pegasus, narrowing her eyes.

“Rainbow Dash, I’m shocked and appalled at you. What you’re suggesting is nothing short of criminalizing. It’s dastardly, it’s underhooved, and it’s absolutely petty.” There was a brief elapse. “I know you want to help… and, if circumstances were different, I’d be inclined to agree, but… we can’t risk this, without being possibly branded criminals ourselves.”

“But yer a princess, ain’tcha?” Applejack butted in. “Couldn’t ya just, Ah dunno, give Pendulum a royal order to surrender Smokey over to yer custody for the safety of Equestria?”

“And Chenoa?” Twilight Sparkle countered. “What about her?”

“Can’t you order him to give her up, too?” the sky blue pegasus pressed, even more distraught.

His paperwork is in order. And, well, Fluttershy… I’m sorry, I know you have an affinity with animals and you trust Angel completely… but leaving a defenseless child in the care of a bunny WAS a pretty boneheaded thing to do.”

Fluttershy felt, and looked, as if Twilight Sparkle had just punched her in the gut.  Her entire world was being torn into shreds…

“I very well could… but to do so would be rather… well, I’m afraid that would react fairly poorly, especially when viewed from a cut-and-dry perspective. He’s well within his rights. Legally, there’s really nothing I can do without arousing suspicion.”

“BUCK suspicion!!” Applejack snapped. “We’re doing what’s RIGHT!”

“No,” Fluttershy sighed. “… She’s… They’re right. I should’ve put in the forms sooner. And I should’ve waited for the Cakes to come home. Perhaps… perhaps I don’t deserve to have her, but I refuse to let that… that… evil excuse of a pony take my daughter away from me!”

“Darling, you seriously can’t be--” Rarity began, but was cut off.

“What would you have me do?!” the pegasus yelled, causing the alabaster unicorn to take a step back in astonishment. “Give up my BABY?! No, I don’t want to do that! I don’t WANT to marry Pendulum, but at LEAST this way I can make sure Chenoa still has me in her life AND I can still…” Her voice faltered, beginning to crack. “I can still… get to see Smokey…”

“But, Fluttershy!” Rainbow Dash interjected. “We can’t split up!”

Fluttershy heavily exhaled on a forlorn sigh.

“… Would… No, I don’t want to do that, either… I really don’t have a choice, girls. I… I’m sorry!”

“What if Equestria’s in trouble again? We can’t save Equestria without you!” the rainbow-haired equine attempted to reason.

“Then what WOULD you HAVE me DO, Rainbow Dash?!” Fluttershy raised her voice again. “I am NOT leaving my CHILD!”

“What’s more important? Chenoa or the fate of Equestria?”

Applejack let out a sigh.

“Sugarcube…”

“I agree with Fluttershy!” Pinkie Pie spoke up. “You don’t know what she feels like!”

“And you do?” Rarity scoffed.

“That baby is her life!” the pink mare protested. “She’s acting like Mr. and Mrs. Cake when Pound and Pumpkin got lost one time! I’d feel the same way about Chenoa, I feel the same way about them!” She then turned to Applejack. “YOU’D feel the same way about Apple Bloom!”

“Yeh,” Applejack confirmed. “But Apple Bloom’s not a baby!”

“And the Cakes aren’t YOUR foals,” Rarity reminded.

“They’re just as good as!” Pinkie Pie retorted, incensed.

“But they’re not--” Rarity attempted to protest again, only to be silenced by Pinkie Pie’s glare.  It was hard enough to argue with her under normal circumstances, and she wasn’t going to press her luck… especially if it involved getting physical.  That job belonged to Applejack and Rainbow Dash.

Twilight Sparkle rolled her eyes.

“Regardless of what Pinkie thinks, that still doesn’t solve our issue.”

“You can’t leave us,” Rainbow Dash said, growing even more agitated. “If Equestria falls into chaos again, think how safe it’ll be for Chenoa!”

A shudder coursed through Fluttershy, tears beginning to spear from her eyes.  Sighing, Rarity sidled up to the mare to slip a foreleg around her shoulders and draw her into a comforting embrace.

“Don’t cry, Fluttershy, we’ll think of something. Let’s… let’s go get something to eat,” the fashionista recommended.

“Let’s catch the show, too!” Pinkie Pie suggested. “We can eat popcorn and watch the acrobats and the trapeze artists--”

“I can see Smokey,” Fluttershy realized. “… Yes. Why don’t we?”

Applejack was not too certain about this idea.

“Ah… Ah’m… Ah’m not sure that’s such a good idea, darlin’… Maybe--”

“I want to see Smokey,” the pale yellow mare said firmly, voice breaking. “I don’t care what Pendulum did to him, I…”

“Shhh, darling,” Rarity crooned, nuzzling the side of Fluttershy’s head. “Don’t you worry, we’ll go see the show.”

“Yeah! You look like you seriously need some cheering up!” Pinkie Pie commented, earning her a disapproving stare from Rarity for her bluntness.

Rainbow Dash sighed, her vexation dying down as she fluttered over to the tent to peer underneath it, observing that the stands reserved for the audience were filling up.

“We better get our seats fast. It looks like they can’t fit many more ponies.”

“All right, let’s go then,” Twilight Sparkle said, leading the group around the big top and over towards the main entrance.  Issuing the ticket master standing at the front her warmest, friendliest smile, she levitated a coin purse from her saddlebag. “Six tickets, please.”

As she hovered the coin purse before her to pay, a question burned within her mind.  While she could flex her royal authority, she didn’t want to overstep her boundaries.  She wondered, vaguely, what Pendulum would request if she were to offer to compensate him for his animals…

“You got it!” the ticket master cheerfully chirped, wearing a jovial grin of his own as he retrieved the tickets. “Say… aren’t you Princess Twilight Sparkle?”

“Why, yes, I certainly am!” She offered a quick polite bow. “Pleased to make your acquaintance.”

“The pleasure’s all mine! Please, enjoy the show!” he said as he handed over the tickets.

“We certainly will.”

Enveloping the tickets in her aura of magic, she bestowed each one to her friends as they made their way inside.  Each mare giving the head stallion their ticket respectively, they were allowed inside.  Twilight Sparkle took point and led them to empty spaces a few rows away from the front in the middle stands.  Fluttershy sat next to the alicorn, with Rainbow Dash to her other side.  Applejack seated herself behind her with Rarity to her left, behind Fluttershy, while Pinkie Pie was positioned behind Twilight Sparkle.

The show began with Pendulum in the spotlight, dead center to greet his guests and introduce the performers as they filed in, starting with the clowns.

Putting out his cigarette, the lead clown dubbed Chuckles--though his expression appeared anything but happy until he forced a wide grin--led Stormy Skies and Terra Cotta into the ring to begin their routine.
The Lion and the Lamb, Chapter 79
After following a baby griffon into a dangerous situation, Fluttershy finds herself rescued by a kind-hearted dragon and ends up befriending him. Ultimately, they both decide to raise the child together in a platonic relationship. As Fluttershy and her friends spend time with the lonely dragon, the more he learns about friendship and the more he reveals about his tragic past.

Co-authored by: :iconekardshadowreaver:

Chapter One: fav.me/d3j6xzq

FIMfiction.net: www.fimfiction.net/story/84383…
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Chapter Sixteen: The Third Date


As evening arose, Jackson just finished feeding Swablu and had set her down in her makeshift next, a wooden box stuffed with shredded newspaper with a heat lamp fixated onto it--the actual bulb positioned high enough not to cause any hazards or overheating--that provided UV rays to ensure she didn’t develop organ failure.  Carrying it to the coffee table, he gently set it down in order to keep an eye on her, and so the chick felt secure with him frequently in her vision.

He possessed an array of drinks and snacks--even Fraxure had baked a casserole containing noodles blended with cream cheese sitting on top of a mixture of diced tomatoes and assorted vegetables and topped with a layer of Gogoat cheese.

The clock striking five, Valerie knocked at the door, dressed in a pair of leggings, a short skirt, a shirt that exposed part of her midriff, and a light open jacket.  She had her hair styled back with a flair and twin tails in a braid.  The young woman smiled as she waited to be greeted, folding her hands together in front of her.

Setting plates down on the counter, Jackson ran off to the door to pull it open, his face aglow at the sight before him.

“Valerie… hi,” he said, his voice sounding as if he just awoke from a dream.

Unlocking her fingers, the woman brought up a hand to draw her fingers along her neck as she averted her gaze for a couple of seconds.

“Hello, Jackson.”

“Uh… Heh… I… Erm…” Shutting himself up, the embarrassed man stood aside to allow her access into his home. “… Uh… c-come in.”

Stepping inside, the young woman delivered a quick wink as she passed Jackson.

“How is the baby?”

Blush tinging his cheeks at the gesture, Jackson closed the door and locked it as he struggled to find his voice.

“… Sh-she’s… in her nest… s-staying warm… Absorbing… UV rays…” Drawing away from the door, he followed her.  As he caught up, he slowed to walk beside her, directing her into the living room. “Um… I… hope you’re hungry… Fraxure made a casserole.”

Fraxure, garbed his apron and chef’s hat, ran over to the humans to welcome the woman with a wide grin.  It was only a matter of moments before he was followed by Dratini, Goomy, and Aron--Shelgon stationed near the coffee table where the chick was.  In response, her face lit up at the sight of them, and she bent over to stroke each of their heads.  Reaching up for her hand, Fraxure took it and urged her to come with him.

“He wants to show you the casserole he made,” Jackson clarified with a short chuckle.

Amusement playing at her smile, Valerie allowed Fraxure to lead her into the kitchen.  Stopping at the stove where the casserole was sitting atop of one of the burners, the dragon let go of the woman’s hand and slipped on an oven mitt to remove the hot glass lid to reveal a layer of melted cheese, the rest of the dish showing the rest of the contents.

“We usually have meat in that, but… that was left out,” Jackson said, the tantalizing smell of food aggravating his empty stomach. “W… would you like some?”

The woman’s eyes surveyed the dish’s contents through its glass wall, the sight of it appealing to her gustatory senses.  A welling of gratification began to brew upon hearing that they remembered her preferences.

“I would love some. Thank you.”

Picking up one of the plates, he scooped a portion for her and stuck a fork into it before handing it to her and serving himself afterwards.

“Thanks again, Fraxure.”

Smiling and nodding, the Pokemon spun around and headed off.  Once he nabbed himself a fork, Jackson led Valerie back into the living room and gestured for her to take a seat on the couch.

“What… sort of movies do you like?” he queried.

“I am not picky. So long as it’s nothing excessively violent,” the Fairy-type Gym Leader responded as she seated herself on one end of the couch.

Satisfied with that answer, Jackson set the plate down on the coffee table and turned a quick gaze to Swablu.

“I have plenty of movies without any of that.”

Traversing to the nearest bookshelf, he went through the DVDs, setting aside the movies that did involve violence in a stack that wouldn’t be meant for viewing.  As he pulled out a few, his eyes shifted to a series of new additions still bound in plastic.  He stared at it for a few moments, looking forward to seeing them.

Sitting back against the back support, she tossed an affectionate gaze over to the young man.

“What all do you have over there?”

He immediately snapped to attention the instant Valerie’s voice reached him.

“Oh, I got some picked out, but I… was looking at a series that recently came in. I don’t think… you would like the first few episodes… They’re very violent.”

“Well, I don’t mind violence. Just not truly gratuitous.”

“The violence is excessive, but only for a few episodes,” Jackson stated. “There’s a lab-created Pokemon being transported by ship. He escapes, kills a lot of the people on board and the ship wrecks on an island. A group of people survived, but one of the scientists gets lost and bumps into the Pokemon. There’s a lot of mistrust between them, but as they rely on each other to survive, they start to become friends.”

Never losing her smile, the young woman’s face adopted a look of intrigue.  While she was not at all fond of violence, she possessed a tremendous soft spot for stories that involved friendship between people and Pokemon.

“Oh? What’s the name of the series? I might be interested in watching it.”

“Anchateddo Shoto no Pokemon,” he answered. “The animation is really stunning and the music is very nice.”

“Anchateddo Shoto…?” she parroted. “I’ve never heard of it. Is that from the far east?”

“It is. I have a LOT of stuff from there,” he affirmed, his eyes skimming over to the myriad of anime he kept.

“Why don’t you go ahead and pop it in?” Valerie insisted, sinking further against the couch.

At this suggestion, Jackson’s eyes lit up and a wide berth was formed upon his visage.

“Yeah?”

Receiving a nod, he set down what he had in his hands and grabbed the set of DVDs.  Tearing off the plastic wrap, he popped in the first disc and plopped onto the couch right next to Valerie.

Taking the first bites of their food, Valerie and Jackson watched the opening sequence, the first episode opening up in the interior of a ship’s mostly dim cargo room where a furry Pokemon was being held in a containment chamber.  The creature appeared to be a cross between a wolf and a reptilian along with the humanoid build.  It was around seven feet tall with a muscular frame, long arms and legs, a long fluffy tail that almost resembled an Arcanine’s.  Its coat was black with golden brown stripes and bright turquoise eyes.

Like Jackson said, the animation was smooth, paying much attention to detail; the colors were vibrant, and the music was fitting.  As more light was shed upon the creature, more of its body was revealed, showing reptilian-like hands and feet with claws, some sharp teeth jutting out from its jaws.  A few men in lab coats emerged from the surrounding darkness and tapped on the glass of the beast’s containment chamber to agitate him for their amusement.

The men ignored the German-accented woman’s request to leave the creature alone.  Reaching to a boiling point, the beast snapped, eyes glowing with a violet aura that indicated it had psychic powers.  Summoning his inner mana, he utilized his powers to kill the men in a manner that would satisfy the most hardcore gore hounds.

Valerie gasped, her eyes snapping wide open at what they beheld, and quickly turned to press her face against Jackson’s neck and shoulder.  The man, himself, winced a bit, sliding an arm around her as he set the plate down on his lap.

“I… forgot HOW detailed this sequence was…”

Back on the television screen, the beast eyed the woman from within his confines.  Telepathically reaching out to her, he transferred his thoughts to her, ordering her to release him.  She did not comply, but instead ran off.  Using his power, he broke out himself and dashed out, killing anyone who tried to stop him.  He did not make any humans suffer needlessly, choosing to end them quickly.  He made his way around the ship, eventually offing the crew that ran the vessel, which threw it off course.

The program then cut away to another scene with the ship stuck in the middle of massive rocks jutting out from the water in front of an island.

“Okay… it’s over,” Jackson sighed, feeling particularly guilty that he didn’t remember the extent of the violence in the first act.

Valerie exhumed a sigh, lifting her head and returning her vision to the screen.  Relieved that there were no longer any signs of violence, leaned in to press her lips to the man’s cheek and resumed her meal.  Jackson blushed deeply from the kiss.  Giving her a squeeze, he withdrew his arm and stared ahead at the television.

The survivors made their way to the island and salvaged what supplies they could collect.  In need of shelter, some set out to gather building materials while others went on an exploration in hopes of finding other people.  The German woman, who had wandered off on her own, didn’t find others.  What she DID find was the escaped lap Pokemon and he did NOT look happy.

This put Valerie on edge a little bit, expecting there to be more bloodshed… until she remembered the summary of the series Jackson had given her.  Just as the Pokemon let out a roar, the episode ended on a cliffhanger.

The next one opened up with the theme song and picked up where it left off.  The beastly Pokemon closed his jaws, attention swaying as another show-created Pokemon appeared, roaring a challenge.  Accepting, they lunged at each other while the scientist watched, petrified.

Both creatures sustained injuries during the battle.  The woman observed intently, studying the lab Pokemon’s fighting style.  It seemed to be lacking in stamina more than anything else.  It’s style seemed to be to hit hard and defeat the enemy as quickly as possible, though this bout was dragging out.  By the time he tore up his foe, he was thoroughly exhausted.

It was then she was able to find movement in her body, and she ran off as swiftly as she could.

Valerie bit her lip.

“Goodness. That poor creature…” She paused to shake her head once. “It’s inhumane, but considering what could have been done to it…”

Jackson nodded.

“He has a lot of pent-up rage.”

Having lost track of where she came from, the scientist on screen only managed to lose herself in the dense jungle.  She was unable to find her way back to the others, and therefore, had to locate her own food, which was plentiful in fruit.  The show then cut back to the Pokemon, staring down at his fallen enemy, his thoughts audible to the audience.  He proceeded to contemplate why he was alive, what he was supposed to do now, and that he had several instincts buzzing around within him and was uncertain of which ones to obey, rendering him into a bundle of confusion.

A deeper frown tipped Valerie’s lips, sympathy for the beast brimming within her, even though it was only animation.

“Poor thing. It’s just lost and confused,” she stated and exhaled a soft sigh.

“This is why I don’t mind putting up with the gore in the series. It actually has a story and characters to feel for. And it’s well-made.” He went quiet again as the episode ended off with a close-up shot of the Pokemon’s eye, focusing on the tear forming in it, then faded to the credits. “Want more casserole?”

The Fairy-type trainer sighed, heavy emotion impressed on her from the show lingering, and nodded.

“Yes. I’ll take another half-plate,” she responded, putting on an affectionate smile.

The man non-verbally returned the affection with an expression, his cheeks flushing pink.  Taking her plate along with his, he went into the kitchen to scoop himself a full plate and Valerie the amount she requested before returning to the couch.

“H-here you are,” he said as he presented her with her second helping.

“Thank you, Jackson. You’re such a sweetheart.”

Picking up her fork, she ate slowly, savoring it.  Her compliment only managed to make Jackson blush even harder.

“Th-thanks. Other guys… not treat you this way or something?”

She shook her head.

“Well, not really. It’s not that they don’t treat me with respect, it’s just that most people don’t see me for… well… me. They just see the Gym Leader.”

His smile faded.

“Oh… That… must be hard. I mean… I wouldn’t like being known as just the guy who dresses up in a Spinda costume.” He gave pause for a moment. “… Okay, some of the neighbors already do.”

Valerie smiled, reaching over to rest her hand upon his as she rested her plate upon her lap.

“You’re not just a guy who dresses up in a Spinda costume. You’re a wonderful man with a strong love for Pokemon, who gave me a wonderful time yesterday.”

A gently smile pulled at the corners of the man’s mouth.

“And you’re… not just a Gym Leader… You’re a very kind and fun woman. I… um… always look forward… to seeing you.”

The young man’s words caused Valerie’s smile to widen a little bit.  She already knew they were true, but still felt relieved to hear them.

“Thank you, dear. You’re a doll.”

“… Y… you’re welcome. Um… I guess we should… watch the next episode then…” he suggested, his blush darkening into a deeper shade of pink as his heart beat faster.

“All right then.”

Sitting back comfortably and picking up her plate, she pulled up her legs onto the couch and shifted her attention back to the television.  Starting the next episode, Jackson turned his gaze to the sleeping Swablu.  In another hour, it would be time to feed her again.  Scooting closer to the woman, he took another bite of his food.
Chapter Seventy-Eight: Crimes Against a Mother


Slipping underneath the tent, Fluttershy exhumed a forlorn sigh.  Closing her eyes, she made a move to begin her hunt for Pendulum when…

“Wait.” She paused in mid-step, her attention shifting to the filly at her side. “I said if we found any sign of Smokey to contact the others…”

She cast a cursory glance at her surroundings, wondering where the others had gone to search.  The mare wasn’t even sure of what to even use as a signal--and instead decided to head back to where they agreed to meet up in an hour’s time.

***

Having swept through the vicinity of their chosen spots, Twilight Sparkle, Rarity, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, and Rainbow Dash were congregated at their designated meeting place.

“I looked back there ten times, but I didn’t find him!” Rainbow Dash complained, crossing her forelegs over her chest as she sulked.

“I looked through all the concessions and I didn’t find him either!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed and gobbled down a bag of popcorn in a single gulp.

“Ah didn’t see ‘im by the freak show,” Applejack followed. “And Ah could’ve sworn he would’ve been there.”

“I tried taking a gander around the employees’ section, but I didn’t find anything,” Rarity contributed with a distained sigh.

“I checked the big top again,” Twilight Sparkle spoke up. “I would’ve thought he’d have been the center of attention right away!”

“… I did find him,” Fluttershy barely uttered.

“Whaaa?” Rainbow Dash, Applejack, and Rarity said in unison as they, and the remaining mares fixated their attention upon the yellow mare.

“You did?! Where is he?” the lavender alicorn ventured.

“Over with the animals. The ‘dangerous’ ones,” the demure pegasus replied, motioning her wing to the space at her side. “I was helped by this little girl.”

“What little girl?” Applejack queried, arching a brow in confusion.

Matching the farmer’s befuddlement, Fluttershy dropped her gaze to where she expected Terra Cotta to be--only to find that she wasn’t there.  Turning her vision behind her, she found the filly slightly poking her head out from underneath the tent.  Giving a sigh and a soft smile, she patted the earth next to her with a hoof.

“There, there… It’s all right. These are my friends!”

Terra Cotta emerged… however, she was now carrying what appeared to be a sketch pad that Fluttershy hadn’t seen her carrying before.  The mares watched intently as the child came closer, each wondering what she had with her.

“What’s that?” the prism-maned equine inquired.

The filly, gazing up at Rainbow Dash, tossed the sketchbook to the ground and began flipping through the pages--passing over most of the pictures she had drawn and stopped at the ones featuring Smokey.  She showed them the first drawing of the dragon looking incredibly upset, bound tightly in chains.  Though they were mere drawings, Fluttershy found herself imagining that was truly him--the real Smokey--captured in crayon on the bound parchment, imprisoned, heart rent in twain by grief.

Terra Cotta flipped a page ahead to show a drawing of Pendulum hypnotizing Smokey, the reptilian falling under his mind-altering power.  Twilight Sparkle and Rarity found their breaths taken as the dragon’s eyes, once shimmering with life and a bright inner light went dull and glassy.  The horror of the brainwashing left the group speechless, but the next drawing emitted a gasp from the lavender-pelted princess.

“Is… Oh my. Oh, stars above…” Twilight Sparkle moaned.

Fluttershy scanned the picture, and, upon acknowledging what was on it, found her own grief doubling tenfold and she doubled over as if she were about to lose her lunch.  The picture of Pendulum striking… whipping Smokey was too much for her to bear.  Pinkie Pie and Rarity were aghast.  Twilight Sparkle appeared to be in a state of disbelief.

Applejack and Rainbow Dash, however, were beside themselves in sheer outrage.

“Why that dirty, double-crossing, low-down SNAKE IN THE GRASS!!!” Applejack hollered, throwing her hat to the earth. “Oooh, when Ah git mah hooves oh him Ah’m gonna BUCK HIS KEISTER UP!! Ooooooh, Ah’m just so spittin’--ARGH!!”

To emphasize her anger, she reared back to smash a nearby crate into splinters, ultimately causing Terra Cotta to cry out in terror and duck behind Fluttershy.  Gritting her teeth, the orange-coated mare turned to the filly.

“Where is he?!” she all but shouted. “Where is that yellow-bellied, lying, cheating, cowardly, no-good son of a bi--”

“Applejack, APPLEJACK!” Twilight cried. “Calm down!”

“C’mon, kid! Show us where he is so we can rough him up!” the rainbow-maned equine snorted, grinding her front hooves together as her bright magenta eyes burned with rage.

Terra Cotta shivered, her eyes wide and filled with fear.  Whirling around, she galloped away--wanting to get far away from the raging mares.

“Hey, wait!” Rainbow Dash extended a hoof into the child’s direction, but dropped it once she was out of view. “Dang! We gotta go after her if we’re gonna find Pendulum!”

“Ah agree!” Applejack said and proceeded to pursue, but paused at a tug on her tail.  Turning her gaze over he shoulder, she cocked a brow in surprise to see Fluttershy holding the end of her tail in her mouth.

“Wait!” Fluttershy said, dropping the blonde farmer’s tail. “Didn’t you see you scared her?? Let me go after her.”

“I’ll come with you, darling!” Rarity volunteered. “The poor dear looked positively terrified!”

“Oooh! Let me come, too! I’m great with kids!” Pinkie Pie squealed, bouncing after the two mares.

As the three of them pursued Terra Cotta, Applejack transferred her attention to Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash.

“Now what?”

“I guess we wait,” replied Rainbow Dash, pushing out a heavy sigh.

The pegasus, unicorn, and earth pony chased the child across the grounds towards one of the other tents.  There were various artists and entertainers--mainly the trapeze duo, the acrobats, and a burly, bearded equine who appeared to be preparing and warming up for feats of strength and skill.  Terra Cotta, sobbing, made a direct line for the closest pony--who just happened to be the muscular strong-pony.  Coming to a stoppage, Fluttershy, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie surveyed the individual, processing the fact that he was even larger than the elder brothers of Applejack and Twilight Sparkle.

“Oh! Um. Excuse us, sir…” the pegasus meekly addressed the bulky pony.

Eyes narrowing in an offended glare, the muscular pony huffed directly at the yellow pony.

“I’m a mare,” she gruffed in a deep, rough, and masculine voice that sounded unfitting for a female.

The sudden shock and bewilderment at this revelation caused all three jaws to drop in unison.  Recovering swiftly, Rarity swooped in front of the other two.

“Oh, forgive us, madam! Truly we’re very sorry! We didn’t mean to offend. We’re looking for a young filly who came in here. You haven’t seen her, have you?”

“I thought we were looking for Pendulum,” Pinkie Pie interjected with a confused note in her voice.

The still offended mare stepped aside to reveal Terra Cotta curled up into a ball.  Glancing down at her, then to the three mares, she arched her brow in curiosity.

“What did ya need her for?”

“Well, um… we were hoping… she could lead us to Mr. Pendulum,” Fluttershy timidly explained.

“But since you obviously work here as well,” Rarity cut in, “There’s no real reason to bother the poor sweetheart, is there? We wanted to… talk to Mr. Pendulum, you see. You wouldn’t happen to know where he is?”

“All right, c’mon,” she instructed as she trotted towards the exit.  As soon as Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash came into view, she glanced back at the strangers at her heels. “Friends of yours?”

“Yes,” Fluttershy affirmed.

“Whoa, nelly,” Applejack spoke up. “Yew look familiar. Is… ain’t that th’ strong-pony?”

“Yup, yup, yup! She’s gonna take us to Pendulum!” Pinkie Pie informed with a wide berth.

Applejack blinked in befuddlement at a certain word the pink mare uttered, staring at the larger pony’s hulky build and the rather luxurious beard.

“… She?”

Rainbow Dash, too, was stunned that this largely-built equine was female, but chose to say nothing.

“Yeah, ‘she’,” the muscular pony snorted. “I ain’t the only mare who has facial hair. It’s a hormonal imbalance.”

“Well, erm, it’s not so much the facial hair…” Applejack started--though, was silenced by a kick to her hindquarters by Rarity, who followed it up with a sharp leer.

“Very well. Thank you for your assistance, miss,” Twilight Sparkle said graciously, accompanied with a warm smile. “Please, if you wouldn’t mind escorting us--we just have some questions for him.”

“Hmph… Make it fast, we got a show starting soon,” she said, as the other three mares fell into step.  Nodding to a few other ponies they passed, acknowledged them with a small smile.  Before long, they came to a separate car and the mare ceased several feet from it. “That’s where Mr. Pendulum is.”

“Thank you, miss.” Twilight Sparkle issued a smile as the bearded mare left them.  Once she was out of view, she addressed her five friends as she mentally prepared herself to the imminent confrontation. “All right. Now all we need to do is knock politely and--”

“PENDULUM!!” Applejack roared. “GIT OUT HERE, YEW TWISTED, BAMBOOZLING SACK OF MANURE!!”

“Or we could just do that…” sighed the lavender alicorn.

“YEAH!! GET YOUR TAIL OUT HERE SO WE CAN KICK IT!!” Rainbow Dash contributed, blowing harshly out of her nostrils.

Seconds later, the door to the car slowly opened to reveal Pendulum holding a familiar baby griffon in a single foreleg.

“May I ‘elp you?”

Fluttershy stepped forth.

“Excuse us, but we wanted--” She paused, her eyes fixating themselves upon the child as recognition fell upon her. “… Chenoa? What in Equestria is SHE doing HERE??”

“Oone oof my emplooyees foound ‘er in the Everfree Foorest,” the stallion answered, gazing down at the calm chick with a warm smile.

“Give her back!” the cyan pegasus demanded.

“Why? You loost ‘er. She was ‘elplessly wandering in the wild where she could ‘ave easily found ‘erself in danger.”

Flutteshy grit her teeth.  Her eyes narrowed, a frighteningly familiar surge of anger she hadn’t felt in a long while began to build up in her core.  It was one thing to kidnap her friend, it was another thing to beat him, but knowing that he also had her daughter in his slimy hold…

Without fully realizing what she was doing, her anger briefly occluding her judgment, she turned the full power of her Stare directly at him.

“Give. Me. My. Baby,” she ordered him.

A wave of discomfiture crashed over Pendulum as he stared into those rage-laden eyes.  The fact that such a seemingly demure pony could even possess such inner strength was pushing him closer to caving in and handing over the baby.  Before he could, he ripped his vision from her and directed himself further into his car towards a table where a jar of expensive-looking baby food sat.

“I doon’t think soo,” he waveringly said, trying ever so hard to mask just how much he had been perturbed. “If you’ll excuse me… I was aboout to feed the wee oone.”

Chenoa was absolutely quiet in Pendulum’s foreleg, unafraid of the pony holding her.  In fact, she seemed content.  This surprised Fluttershy--alarmed, actually.

“You hypnotized her…” she murmured, almost under her breath. “Just like you hypnotized Smokey…”

The stallion was shocked that Fluttershy found out that he cast a spell upon the dragon.  However, she was wrong about Chenoa.  He had done nothing to her but feed her, change her diapers, play with her, and show her off to his audiences since she seemed to love the attention.

He chuckled as he turned around to face the mares.

“I ‘aven’t doone anything to ‘er but care foor ‘er.”

Grinning at the yellow pegasus, the white chick squealed.

“Mama!”

“Chenoa! Sweetie!” Without warning, the pegasus darted into the car, her forelegs stretched out as if to take her. “Come to Mommy, honey!”

Pendulum cocked a brow, half-turning to retain some distance between Fluttershy and Chenoa.

“You call yourself a moom after letting this child get away?”

“And you dare to think you’re any better?” Rarity challenged. “At least Fluttershy left Chenoa in the care of a professional babysitter! It wasn’t her fault he or she didn’t do their job properly!”

This struck Fluttershy hard, causing the rosy-maned mare to shrink back.  As the unicorn shifted her attention to her friend, she took notice of this.

“… You… DID… leave Chenoa in the proper care of somepony responsible… didn’t you, darling?”

“I… had left her with Angel. She was sleeping when we left… He assured me he had everything handled until the Cakes got there!” Fluttershy defensively replied.

“Well, I fed ‘er, gave ‘er a place to sleep, changed ‘er diapers myself, kept my eye on ‘er,” he stated as he turned back to the table.

Fluttershy sniffled with a hard stare, mentally berating and questioning herself why she didn’t wait for the Cakes…  She had been so worried about losing Smokey, that she was certain Chenoa would be fine with Angel until they eventually DID return home and find her note…  That, and the rabbit had been showing that he was growing more and more capable, and was convinced that nothing would go wrong.

“He’s right… I should have waited for the Cakes. Or brought her with us, or--”

“Don’t beat yourself up about it, sugarcube,” Applejack cut in. “He’s just lying through his teeth! Ah bet he kidnapped yer baby while yew were out and is just playin’ ya like a harp!”

“Yeah, you big meanie mean-pants! Give Chenoa back right now!” Pinkie Pie hissed.

“I am noot lying. Just ask any oone oof my employees. They’ll tell you the same thing,” he assured, setting Chenoa down on the table and reaching for the baby food.

“Grrr…” the farmer growled. “This yellowbellied snake’s smarmy attitude is really getting on my nerves. Twilight, can’t you do anything about this?!”

Twilight Sparkle snorted, pushing past her friends.

“Regardless of how you got Chenoa into your… temporary custody, we want some answers.” Levitating the sketchbook, she opened it in front of Pendulum. “What is all this about?! I demand an explanation at once!”

Pendulum’s eyes snapped open wide at the drawing of Smokey, his stomach clenching and his breast brimming with remorse.  With every second he remained silent, he realized he was digging himself in deeper.  Clearing his throat, he put on his best composed visage.

“Soometimes you ‘ave to resoort to… moore roough treatment to tame a wild creature," he replied, masking his shock and regret as he scanned the remaining drawings.  He knew they wouldn’t buy it, but it was the best he could think of, and likely would be thinking of better explanations he could have used later.

Like Pendulum had predicted, the mares weren’t convinced.

“Horse apples,” Twilight Sparkle said.  Magiking out the handkerchief that had been tested, she also threw it before the stallion. “We had this tested and found the blood on this is from a fish. You were never bitten at all!”

She narrowed her eyes.

“You convinced a docile, completely innocent citizen of biting you, proceeded to imprison him, brainwashed him, and physically abused him! Pendulum, you have better give me one good reason why I shouldn’t arrest you right here and now.”

A panic shot through Pendulum, but kept his facial expression the same as if he wasn’t in the least bit fazed.  Without even thinking, he picked up the cloth with his magic… and tossed it right into the built-in fireplace where the hungry flames proceeded to burn it.

“… Y… you ‘ave noothing against me.”
The Lion and the Lamb, Chapter 78
After following a baby griffon into a dangerous situation, Fluttershy finds herself rescued by a kind-hearted dragon and ends up befriending him. Ultimately, they both decide to raise the child together in a platonic relationship. As Fluttershy and her friends spend time with the lonely dragon, the more he learns about friendship and the more he reveals about his tragic past.

Co-authored by: :iconekardshadowreaver:

Chapter One: fav.me/d3j6xzq

FIMfiction.net: www.fimfiction.net/story/84383…
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Chapter Seventy-Seven: Arrival


A couple of days later saw the mares and troupe of stallions rolling up towards the outskirts of their destination.

“Well… here we are,” said Twilight Sparkle, eyes pinned to the sign that read ‘LAS PEGASUS CITY LIMITS: ONE MILE’ before it was passed.  Transferring her attention to the pair of stallions drawing the cart, she called out. “All right, you can stop and drop us off here!

“Thank you all for bringing us all the way here. That was awful nice of you.”

“Yeh, outside’a tryin’ to rob us, y’all ain’t too bad fer pony folk,” stated Applejack with a chuckle.  Though she had long since forgiven them, she couldn’t help but tease them about it anyway, as if it were some sort of crude joke she would never let them live down.

Starshooter cast his gaze over to the collected buildings that made up the city in the distance.

“No problem, ladies. I just hope you find your friend.”

“Yeah, and we’ll be waitin’ for you to come back someday and show us how to farm,” added one of the pintos as the mares hopped off the carriage.

“We shouldn’t be very long. Once we get our friend we’ll be heading right back to Ponyville,” Twilight Sparkle relayed, much to Pinkie Pie’s disappointed bewilderment.

“What? But, Las Pega--”

“Right. Back. To Ponyville,” the alicorn emphasized, without even looking at the pink mare.  The curly-maned mare pouted a bit, joined closely by Rarity, who also appeared to be strangely irked by this snub.  Giving both Sharpshooter and Starshooter a quick hug, the princess turned to her friends to nod to them once before cantering off towards town--Fluttershy immediately positioning herself at her heels.

“So, how long do you think we might be lookin’ fer Smokey?” Applejack inquired. “Two days? Three?”

“However long it takes,” Rainbow Dash answered, flapping her wings to hover above her friends. “If they’ve packed up, we’ll follow them.”

“Hopefully, it shouldn’t take too long,” Fluttershy said, her eyes ground-ward.

“I think it’ll take us an hour!” Pinkie Pie spoke up.

“An hour?” the farmer mare mirrored, her and the others fixating their attention to her. “Pinkie, now why in the hoo-ha would you say that?”

“Because of that!” Pinkie Pie replied, pointing a hoof above the treeline, to where the upper arch of a big top could clearly be seen approximately a mile away.

“Well, Ah’ll be. Do y’think--”

“It’s them!” Fluttershy squeaked with surprising volume. It’s got to be!”

Without even waiting for the others, she began to gallop headlong directly towards it, weaving through trees and bushes as she headed from the path to cut through the section of flora to where the traveling circus set up camp.

“Fluttershy, wait up!” Rainbow Dash called after her, but most likely fell upon deaf ears.  In a split-second, she was in pursuit of the yellow pegasus with the others following.

They did not stop until they were a few dozen yards away from the big top, Applejack being the first on ground to reach Fluttershy with Pinkie Pie skidding into a close second (with an odd screeching of tires emanating from her hooves as she did so).

“Wowee!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed. “Is it just me, or did the big top get even bigger since last time??”

“Who cares? We need to find Smokey!” said Rainbow Dash as she touched ground and approached the tent to slide her head underneath it to peek inside.  She saw several stands for the audience to sit with a clearing in the middle that was surrounded near the back by exotic animals, but saw no signs of the sought dragon.

Fluttershy positioned herself at Rainbow Dash’s side, slipping her head underneath the tent as well.  Eyes sliding from side to side, she withdrew her head as Pinkie Pie shoved her head under as well.

“Oooh! What are we looking at?” Pinkie Pie bubbly inquired.

“He’s not here,” Fluttershy replied, turning to the others. “Let’s split up and search the grounds. Give a signal if you find anything, and we’ll meet back here in an hour!”

There was a pause, with Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie Pie staring at her in mild bewilderment.

“… Um… that is, if that’s… okay with you?”

“Er, that’s fine, darling, but, are you feeling all right?” Rarity asked, looking a little more relieved after Fluttershy reverted to her meeker demeanor.

“Yeh, Ah usually expect Twilight to say stuff like that.” Applejack gave a tilt of her head. “Not you!”

A short distance off, a particular filly’s ears twitched as she heard unfamiliar voices gathered outside of the car she was staying in.  Standing on her cot on her hind legs and just barely peering over the rim of the window, she blinked when she thought she recognized the six mares from the photo album Smokey showed her.  Gasping and falling aback onto the bed, she turned to jump off and run out the door.  Dashing down the small steps, she galloped around the side of the tent to obscure herself from their perspective.

“I’ll look over here!” Rainbow Dash volunteered.  Sliding underneath the tent, the prism-maned mare careened to the left and near the back where a few cages were set up.  Some were behind others and it was impossible to distinguish what was confined in the back.

Pinkie Pie bounced off into the opposite direction, as Fluttershy appeared a little mortified of Twilight Sparkle.

“I-I-I’m sorry, Twilight,” Fluttershy apologized. “I-I…”

“It’s all right, Fluttershy,” Twilight Sparkle said in a disarming intonation, coming forth to hug her.  As she drew back, she put on a grin. “I’m proud that you’re actually stepping up and showing some courage!”

“It’s a marked improvement!” Rarity beamed. “I don’t think I’ve seen you so… bold and confident before! Well, except with that minotaur--but this is a good change! Not like… what HE taught you.”

Smile tipping her lips, the yellow pegasus sighed.

“Well, leader?” The alicorn chuckled. “We meet here in an hour, right?”

“Um… yes. That is, if you don’t mind--”

“Aye-aye, ma’am!”

The princess issued a salute, spreading her wings.  With that, she turned off to follow Pinkie Pie.  Rarity and Applejack departed into the direction of Rainbow Dash then branched off.

Emitting another sigh, Fluttershy spun around to meet the face of Terra Cotta, who just sat there, staring up at her.

“Oh! Well, hello, there.” She had almost jumped at the sudden appearance of the filly, and was quickly calming as she wondered where the child came from. “Where did you come from? Are you lost?”

Without answering, the child whirled around to run off, turning her gaze over her shoulder as if to non-verbally request the mare to follow her.  Confused, the older equine did just that.

Behind the tent, behind rows of cages and tucked underneath the overgrown branches of a tree was Smokey, pulling at his chains and snarling.  Once he saw Terra Cotta with Fluttershy in tow, that only aggravated him even further.  Lips curled up with fangs bared, he roared and hissed ferociously at the two ponies as they approached.

He didn’t even recognize them.

Terra Cotta gazed mournfully up at Fluttershy as she led her past the rows of animals.  Once they were in view of the dragon’s cage, the pink-haired mare gasped in horror as Smokey fought against his restraints.  Tears coming to her eyes, she stepped forward.

“Oh… my… goodness…”

The filly squeaked, jumping onto Fluttershy’s back and shaking her head vigorously as if to tell her “no”, though the pegasus paused only a couple of steps away from the bars.  Tears streaming down the mare’s face, she raised a hoof to slide it gently down one of the bars.

“Smokey…” she half-whispered, half-sobbed. “… What has he DONE to you…?”

Crazed eyes focusing on the pegasus leaning against his cage, the winged beast lunged forth with wide open jaws, only for his attack to be cut short by the chains binding him.  His teeth snapped several times in the mare’s direction, determined to tear into flesh.

Fluttershy bit her lip, her hoof still on the bar.  She was just far away enough that if she were to reach her foreleg between bars she would be able to stroke her hoof across his muzzle… if she wasn’t at mortal risk of having said foreleg violently ripped off.

Stepping back, she closed her eyes, before turning to the filly as she slid off her back.

“Do… do you live here? Work… here? With the… other performers?” she asked.

Terra Cotta nodded.

“Do you know Pendulum?” Again, Fluttershy received an affirming nod. “Good. Please. Take me to him.”

Even as Terra Cotta led Fluttershy away, the draconic being continued to roar and snarl while tugging at his restraints.  If a non-breakable spell hadn’t been applied to them, he would have broken them the first time he attempted to free himself.  The mare pinned her ears as her cherished companion’s rage burrowed into head.  It tore at her heart seeing the once gentle and kind dragon in such a state.  She internally made a vow that she would not leave until she saved him.
The Lion and the Lamb, Chapter 77
After following a baby griffon into a dangerous situation, Fluttershy finds herself rescued by a kind-hearted dragon and ends up befriending him. Ultimately, they both decide to raise the child together in a platonic relationship. As Fluttershy and her friends spend time with the lonely dragon, the more he learns about friendship and the more he reveals about his tragic past.

Co-authored by: :iconekardshadowreaver:

Chapter One: fav.me/d3j6xzq

FIMfiction.net: www.fimfiction.net/story/84383…
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Merry Christmas, everyone! Hope you all have a good one, whether or not you get awesome gifts! <3
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CrazyRabidPony
Jessica
United States
Current Residence: Rocking back and forth in a corner...
Favourite genre of music: Country/Western
Favourite photographer: Bob Langrish
Favourite style of art: Hmmmm... that's a tough one
Operating System: What does this button do?
MP3 player of choice: Mine is called Pearl
Shell of choice: Tortoise Shell!
Wallpaper of choice: Bunnies!
Skin of choice: My own skin! O_O;
Favourite cartoon character: I have many
Personal Quote: "Someday... us short people shall rule the world!"
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:iconflippedoutkyrii:
flippedoutkyrii Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow, I was looking through some older fanfics and I remembered your Lion and the Lamb work, I must say, I can't believe it's reached 80 chapters! ^^

Keep up the superb work!
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:iconcrazyrabidpony:
Tanku very much! ^_^

There are actually 84, but I've been lazy with uploading them on here. x3
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:iconkanyiko:
kanyiko Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Plenty of thanks for the llama badge!! :hug:
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:iconmmdfantage:
MMDFantage Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
*WALKS THROUGH MUD*

HEY WHATS YOUR---

*falls over*


whatS YOUr SIGn
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:iconcrazyrabidpony:
CrazyRabidPony Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2015
HEY THAR!! 8D
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:iconmmdfantage:
MMDFantage Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
HOW'RE YOU!?
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:iconcrazyrabidpony:
CrazyRabidPony Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2015
I AM GOOD! HOW ABOUT CHU?!
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(1 Reply)
:iconhorsesnhurricanes:
Horsesnhurricanes Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2015
boop
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:iconcrazyrabidpony:
CrazyRabidPony Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2015
*explodes*
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:iconquintanillac:
quintanillac Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
Thanks for the llama badge :D
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