Spike’s ear frills twitched as the telltale sound of hooves clicked against the stone surface of his cavern home. He cracked open a single eye, his eyes adjusting to the dim light of the twilight.
He craned his neck up and looked at the creature that had so boldly walked into his shelter within the Talon Mountains. Both eyes focused on a dark, blue shape, and after a few seconds, he could make out the intruder’s identity.
“You…” he croaked, his voice not loud and strong, but weak and hoarse from eons of disuse. “You have a lot of nerve to show your face, Luna…” He snorted out a plume of smoke and looked away from the equine princess.
Luna, for her part, looked ashamed. Ever ounce of her being forced her to look up at the dragon, and meet him as a proud alicorn princess should.
Well…that is, she would have if she were still entitled to being a ruler. Her crown and regalia had been tossed into a river almost a year ago.
“Equestria’s fallen to ruin, Spike,” Luna began. “You…you were right.”
Spike’s neck spines rustled as he glanced at her. After a millennium of self-imposed exile, he had become as large as a fort. The last time she had seen him, he was no larger than a cottage.
Yet he had already gained the loyalty of the entire dragon race at the time… She thought to herself.
“I see. You’ll have to forgive me, I haven’t kept up with Equestria’s dealings since my citizens were slain by your sister.”
Though his voice was tired, his words stung as sharp as any blade. Luna winced, and looked down in shame. “Yes. Celestia…she…she abandoned her throne about two hundred years after Twilight’s death. For about three hundred years I managed to keep Equestria stable, but a civil war broke out between some of the nobles spread out across the land. Before I knew it, my country lay in shambles, and I had nothing left to rule.”
Spike actually looked up at that. “You let them just fight each other?”
“No, of course not,” she replied. “I…I tried to solve things diplomatically. It…it worked at first, but eventually the military became split. Some felt that Equestria needed to be reformed, but others felt that sticking to the traditional government was the best way. I would have settled for either way, but…the radicals grew so quickly in number, and suddenly fifty years later Canterlot is no more.”
“No more?” Spike repeated.
Luna nodded. “After you…destroyed Baltimare, war-magic began to develop at a rate never seen before by my sister and I. Even after the war with the dragons ended, advancements were being made. Unicorns managed to create a spell that could…” She paused, shaking her head. “I don’t even think Discord could have done the things I saw.”
Spike grunted. “So, you were left to tend to Equestria by yourself. Ironic, don’t you think? Celestia banishes you to the moon for one thousand years, then she goes and leaves you alone to tend to the kingdom on your own.”
Luna bit her tongue, forcing down the rebuke from escaping her lips. Spike had every right to be the way he was with her. His own kin had been robbed of their magic by her sister. He had managed to rediscover that magic, and learn that he was the sole heir of the supposed ‘God-Emperor’ of all dragonkind. He had sought to return what had once belonged to the dragons: Equestria. Diplomacy hadn’t worked, despite his best efforts. Eventually, war broke out, and the rest…well…
Luna walked closer to the old drake and sat down beside him. “I’m sorry.”
Spike looked at her with his emerald eyes. There was still a faint glimmer in them, she noted. It was faint, but it gave her some comfort. Not all the life had been sucked out of him by the war.
“I know…” Spike replied. “I think you could have done something to stop Celestia, though.”
“I could have…but I didn’t. I was…afraid, Spike.”
Luna shook her head. “No. I was afraid of what might happen if I spoke out against Celestia’s actions publically. I might create a rift in Equestria, a divide, politically and morally.” She sighed. “All I managed to do was prolong that from coming. Now Equestria is a bunch of little city-states, each isolated and distrustful of its neighbors.”
“What about Celestia?” Spike asked. “Have you tried to find her?”
“No,” Luna answered. “I’m sure someday we’ll run into each other. She is as immortal as I am, after all. The world is only so large, and when you’ve been around as long as I have, you find things tend to come to you with time.”
Spike studied Luna for several moments, then chuckled softly. “I see you lost the Traditional Royal Canterlot dialect.”
A smile crossed Luna’s lips. “I have. Just like I said, things tend to come to you with time.”
“I…is Ponyville still around?”
Luna nodded. “One of the few friendly towns, at least towards me. I like to think they’ve taken what Twilight and the others taught to heart more than anywhere else.” She leaned against Spike. “They built statues of all six of them in the plaza, you know.”
“Mm. I hope Rarity’s is made from alabaster stone.”
Luna laughed. “I’m afraid not. They’re all made from marble and granite. Beautiful, though.”
They were quiet for a long while after that, lost in their own thoughts. By the time Spike spoke, the moon was shining into the cave’s massive opening, and the stars were twinkling softly in the endless night sky.
“You’re welcome to stay as long as you want, Luna.”
“Thank you. I…I missed you, Spike.”
A muscular tail gently wrapped around her. “Me too, Luna.” He let out a deep breath. “If…if you want, I can help you look for Celestia.”
Luna gave him a gracious smile. “Perhaps I’ll take you up on that offer, but for now…” She nuzzled closer to him. “I only wish to stay like this.”
Spike nodded, content with that answer. For a dragon, a millennium was a long time, but he still had an even longer time before his eventual death. Being a demigod had that kind of effect.
He had all the time in the world, and if it was spent with Luna like this, he was fine with that.
This is a very bleak future that you’ve painted, here, and I really dig all the world building - the glimpses we see of events like the fall of Canterlot suggest that things are worse even than we might have gleaned from Luna and Celestia having put aside their crowns. I can’t help but wonder how Spike - and Celestia - felt when they faced each other as enemies. It’s a sad and intriguing thought. And it’s nice to see, in the end, that the old dragon still loves the sisters, deep down.