Chapter 4: Flight of the Dragonbond

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Dragonbond now starts to learn how to fly in the open sky with his dragon father there to guide him. Dragonbond may still have long to go to fly like the rest of them, but he will learn all he can in the time given to him.

The seasons would come and go as naturally as the order of nature intended. The snow would come in parts of the land and melt away, bringing the birth of new beginnings everywhere on the island with the coming of spring. Life here was so full of surprises even to the dragons that dwelled in the land with so many things to do and yet so little time to do them despite them staying awake for three weeks at a time. Even in minor to harsh storms, everything was an eventful adventure for the dragons of this land. So far from everywhere else and very well protected and hidden, most of the world hardly knew that it even exists. More because it was crafted and created by the dragons of this land many millennia ago.

 

They had traveled the world to gather pieces of land to mold their own land to their design. It took many centuries to make it work. To create a new ecosystem, to have new plants thrive in a new environment, and to make sure the laws of nature could run smoothly every season. Wildlife and vegetation that grew here were naturally wild, large, and healthy. Long since this land was ruled by the laws of the natural order. The land changed by the weather of nature’s design with the passing of seasons. Magic had no control over how the land worked and everything thrived as it had from the beginning. Now it was a haven and paradise for the clan of dragons. They also created the fog gates to keep out most intruders and making it near impossible to navigate through it. To add another measure of security, they bordered their land with an elevated volcanic shore. Volcanoes used to block any intruders from entering their land and alerted the dragons if there was a threat to their homeland. All except one gap that would funnel an attacking force in a contained area to take down if a large invading army would try to steal the land for themselves.

 

The native dragons also played a role to make sure the land was kept green and overflowing with life as they let nature run its course. They would only use their fire breath for practice firing in rocky regions or the volcanic shores. They also made sure not to eat too many animals on the island to keep each population steady and balanced. If they had to eat more, they would fish deep in the ocean where fish were plenty. They could eat things from schools of fish to large whales depending on the size of the dragon. Also, depending on the type of dragon, they could only swim at a certain depth or distance. Drakes and Lindwrums were more land dragons than anything else. They stayed closer to the shore or fished in rivers. Wyrms could swim out a far distance with their snake like bodies, but they couldn’t swim as deep as the other dragons. As far as the Dragons and Wyverns, they could swim out and deep using their wings and limbs to swim down with, but it was the Amphiptere that could swim the deepest. With its serpent body and wings to use like large fins, it was the fastest swimmer and could dive deeper than any other type of dragon.

 

It had been two years later and Dragonbond was now ready to fly in the sky. He had been flying since he was three and a half, but only in the safety of the cave. He only flew around in circles at a slow pace and only a couple of feet off the ground. He would mostly fly around Scalefang wanting to play with him. Ever since the near-death experience, Dragonbond stayed close by his dragon father knowing it was the safest area to play around. Dragonbond still practiced fighting Scalefang's talons as a game. He wanted to keep up his ferocity at the same level of a dragon.

 

Dragonbond had realized he was adopted, but that hardly mattered to him. He loved his new home, his new dragon father, and his new life. There was nothing he wanted more than to learn to be like a dragon as he continued to grow up despite being a pony. He never questioned his past on how he came to be adopted. He hardly ever thought about it. He couldn’t even imagine what living like a pony was like. All he could think about was running around and living in the wild with his dragon father. Getting dirty was all fun and games to him and taking baths were just as fun. Domestic living was alien to him. He ate his food like a wild carnivore, he wiped his face on anything or licked his mouth to get every bit of his food, playing around in the dirt, mud, or streams, and when nature calls, he would defecate or urinate anywhere as if it were normal. He would always dig a hole before he did any of those things. Scalefang taught him always to hide the scent of his presence by burying it. A survival skill he would need when he became an adult.

 

 Scalefang had been teaching him everything he could about dangers everywhere and how to deal with them. Most normal parents of ponies would tell their young to fear the dangers and stay away from them, but dragons informed their young of the dangers and how to overcome and face them. Dragonbond was not going to be treated different from any other young dragon. Scalefang wished his son to be able to handle himself. Scalefang knew he wouldn’t always be around to look after Dragonbond everywhere he went. It was best he would teach him everything he knew now to be ready in the future. But today was a special day when Scalefang would take Dragonbond to fly in open sky.

 

Dragonbond was now speaking in full and complete sentences. He still had that toddler tone of voice; except he could be understood better than a normal toddler foal would. He understood others as well when they would speak to him. At the age of five, he spoke like a ten-year-old. He was learning faster than any had expected since he was a pony from a foreign land where they matured slower than a dragon would.

 

From their home cave they were leaving to start their flying lessons. Scalefang hadn’t told him before that they were starting today, so he was confused about where they were going. “Father, where are we going?” Dragonbond asked as they were walking outside from the cave. It was mid-day and there was a light breeze in the air. A perfect day for Dragonbond to practice flying. Dragonbond had to lightly run to keep up with his dragon father’s large steps. Running like this was used just as much effort as walking to Dragonbond. He would run everywhere he went. Even just inside his home cave. His growth in stamina was also different than that of a pony his age. It was when he would continually jump and sprint that would tire him out. However, that also would take time to wear him out as he was used to it every day. Looking back up to his father, he waited for the answer to his question.

 

“It is time that you start learning how to fly out in the open sky.” Scalefang said. Dragonbond became excited with much enthusiasm as he had always dreamed of this moment. “There is a light breeze, so you won’t have much trouble flying.” Dragonbond started galloping in front of Scalefang in circles in excitement as they headed to an open field of grass. If Dragonbond should fall during flight, he would have the dense long grass to cushion his fall.

 

Dragonbond knew he wasn’t an experienced flyer since he would always fly in a cave, but he was determined to do his best. “Don’t worry father, I’ll make you proud.” He said confidently as his head started bobbing up and down in the long grass of the fields when he would hop around with joy of his first day of actual flight. Scalefang would only see his head mostly with his red and black mane. The rest of his green body blended in with the green grass and his tail was too low under the grass to see.

 

Scalefang just nodded silently as he knew his son had made him proud already, but he never admitted it until Dragonbond completes one of his lessons. This was so Dragonbond would never become too overconfident of something he wasn’t sure he was ready for. Scalefang didn’t mind if Dragonbond was overconfident and cocky over something he was sure he could do and he had done before. This type of attitude, Scalefang allowed Dragonbond to have.

 

“Let us begin then.” Scalefang said before taking off into the air. He leapt from the ground with a great beat of his enormous wings to take off and made the grass and trees blow back from the flapping of his wings. Dragonbond marveled at this and wished one day he could fly like his dragon father with strength and power. Dragonbond started to flap up after Scalefang as much as his wings would allow him.

 

Now, at this point in his life, Dragonbond had lost all the magic that was born inside of him. Magic made it easier for pegasi to fly with ease. That was why some foals were able to fly all over the place with little control in Equestria. It had been known that without magic, pony kind would be unable to fly, use magical talents, or even have the strength to do what they have always done to keep their land from dying off. Dragonbond had to grow out his wings a lot bigger and stronger to carry the weight of his body and had to strengthen his legs to run normally. Also, his cutie mark became nothing more than a birthmark that was forever printed on him. His mark, nor his body carried any kind of magical properties so he could no longer stand on clouds, but instead he would pass right through them like any other creature.

 

At first, when his inner magic started to fade, Dragonbond became ill. There was no way to treat his illness and was made to ride it out until it was finished. Dragonbond had to sleep on a pile of long grass that had herbs and flowers to help him with his sickness and sleep. They had to be replaced with new and fresh ones when they would dry up.

 

Scalefang made sure to have dragons bring him some more because of his threats if they didn’t help at all. At first, dragons were reluctant to help, but caved in when they saw the elder dragon help instead. This mad them feel dishonored to have the elder dragon do something that they should be doing. They took turns when Scalefang needed something as a compromise to help him.

 

This had been one of Scalefang’s most frightening moments in his life to see his son sick with no treatment to make him better. He had felt completely helpless to restore his son back to health. All he could do was keep him warm and keep his fever down. Scalefang would stay by his side to let his son know he was always watching. Dragonbond would always attempt to reach out to his dragon father when he would wake up from his sleep. His eyes were always halfway open as he took deep heavy breaths and his voice was weak and quiet as a whisper, but it was enough for Scalefang when he called out “fa-bah.” Scalefang would always reply so that he knew he was there for him and that everything was going to be okay. Dragonbond would always attempt to smile and make a short laugh despite his violent coughing before falling back to sleep. That was when his smile vanished as he slept and coughed from time to time. Even when he was asleep or awake, his ears always were tilted back as a sign that he was still suffering from the illness.

 

Scalefang had gone without a full meal for weeks as he gave most of the healthy fruit and herbs to help with Dragonbond’s sickness to keep him from feeling any more ill than he already was. Nothing else mattered except for his son to recover. This made Scalefang curse magic even more for placing his son in this kind of situation. Magic that weakens one from their true strength and makes one suffer when it is taken away. He would be glad when this disease would be completely gone from his son. Scalefang even hoped Dragonbond would even become immune to it as every other dragon of Draco was immune to all kinds of magic.

 

Dragonbond still felt a little weak, but in time, he regained his strength and was walking normally again and was as active as he used to be. His cutie mark had remained as a permanent mark on his body, but instead of calling it a cutie mark, his dragon father told him it was a mark of destiny. His destiny to be part of a dragon’s life and to bond with and would he bond with even more dragons someday. How further the meaning of his mark would go, only time would tell. Dragonbond was now anxious to see if it were true, but he would have to wait later in the future to find out.

 

Dragonbond was on his way up to Scalefang in the sky where his dragon father waited. Dragonbond was having a bit of trouble with navigating to the everchanging current of wind and cross breezes. He struggled to fly straight and even attempted to run as he flew as if it helped him climb in the air. It didn’t help much as it was more of a desperate attempt to fly better. He may have wobbled around, but he managed to make it up into the air space Scalefang was in as he waited for his son to fly into place. Scalefang was flew in place as he waited for Dragonbond to do the same in front of him.

 

“First we will go over the basics again. I know you are already familiar with them, but now we are in different conditions and you need to adapt them to a new environment if you are to handle the open sky.” Scalefang said. Dragonbond nodded as Scalefang allowed him to try flying around on his own to get used to the open air. Dragonbond tried to stay steady with the wind blowing through the feathers of his wings, but he found himself dropping or steering to the side every now and then as the wind changed directions. “Don’t fight the air currents, use them.”

 

Dragonbond tried to do what he was told. It wasn’t easy, but slowly he was getting the hang of it. After that, Dragonbond was beginning to fly a lot better. He still needed to improve his flying technique. That was something Scalefang would work on next with him. “Now watch me fly.” Scalefang told his son.

 

Dragonbond watched as his dragon father started to fly around. He noticed how Scalefang’s arms and legs were positioned. His arms were tuck tight to his chest and his legs were stretched back along with his tail. The only times he moved his arms and legs around was when he made sharp turns or complex maneuvers. His tail also helped him with his movements like a rudder for a boat. Dragonbond was astounded from seeing how his dragon father flew. It amazed and inspired him to see how Scalefang flew with ease and grace with a sense of strength and pride. Scalefang then flew back to Dragonbond nearly blowing him away when he halted in front of him. “Did you see how I flew?” Scalefang asked his son, hoping he learned something from watching him fly.

 

“You kept your arms and legs close to your body and swung them when you needed to make sharp turns and tricky moves.” Dragonbond answered. He very much wanted to fly like that now.

 

“You have a long way to go when training yourself until you can fly anyway you want, but first you need to learn to fly in different conditions.” Scalefang instructed his son.

 

“Yes, father.” Dragonbond said respectfully. He may have been eager to get on with his training, but he would always show respect and honor towards his dragon father.

 

This is where Dragonbond’s real training began. His first lessons were the laws of flight. The angles of his wings and wind currents that would enable him to make complex maneuvers for when the time came when he was ready for those kinds of advanced lessons. He would also be taught about the different uses of gravity and aerodynamics to make him fly fast and cut through the air more effectively. Next would be the use of his own weight to shift when he needs to add to his turns without losing too much his momentum of speed. There were more things he needed to learn about what to use when flying as a way of attack, but that would be for another time when Dragonbond was ready for that kind of combat training. Since Dragonbond had grown up more, his need to sleep was needed a lot less now that he could stay awake for more than a few days. This meant he could train longer and not worry about sleep and not have to worry about eating as he could now go for a day without growing hungry. This gave him the opportunity to learn faster now that he could devote more of his time into his training in something he was very interested in. Just as he was when he was an infant, Dragonbond was a fast learner. He caught on quickly to Scalefang’s lessons as he watched and observed everything Scalefang did. Dragonbond would then carefully apply it to himself and execute it with quick results. As Scalefang did before, he didn’t give any praise yet so Dragonbond wouldn’t grow too overconfident in his training. This made Dragonbond take his lessons more seriously. The days passed and Dragonbond would sleep after every few days of training and eat at the end of each day to make more time to train. Later in the days ahead, Dragonbond was flying more professionally. He still was a bit slow in flight compared to other dragons, but as far as flying, he had advanced quickly as he was now able to fly through small spaces and through thick forests.

 

When Dragonbond was able, Scalefang would take him higher and higher in the sky as he progressed in his flight. It took days of non-stop training with the occasional rest and meal. But it all paid off for Dragonbond. His wings became stronger to fly higher against the strong air currents. Dragonbond would fly all around, but at a close distance from his dragon father. He had never been this high on his own before and it was breath taking for him flying in the everlasting landscape of clouds. He didn’t mind being unable to fly fast as along as he was given a lot of time to view every moment in the sky. He would even flap in place to pretend he could stand and walk on clouds. But that was only for short periods of time to play around and then he would return to his father’s lessons.

 

Flying in high altitudes was difficult, but Dragonbond persisted with Scalefang pushing him on to improve his son’s flying skills. His reason for having him fly so high in dangerous wind currents was to prepare him for sky dives. The only way for Dragonbond to get the feeling of high speeds and the control of flying in those speeds was to make him dive down at a high speed. Also, at this height Dragonbond would have to build his lung endurance as the air was much thinner than the air closer to the surface. Another reason Scalefang would remain close by if Dragonbond should pass out. Dragonbond’s skin must have been adapting in some way they Scalefang hadn’t figured out yet. At this height, it would be cold, but Dragonbond was enduring it. He took it for what it was. This gave more opportunity for flying lessons.

 

Time that passed enough for Dragonbond to begin his diving lessons to experience speed. Dragonbond was afraid at first as he stood on Scalefang’s back looking down. “It is time for you to experience what it is like to fly fast. I want you to drop down and flap your wings as you descend. Do not pull up until I tell you.” Scalefang told him.

 

Dragonbond looked down and gulped. He had never known what it felt like to fly fast or fly down straight. “W-what if I can’t fly up?” Dragonbond asked afraid.

“I will be watching over you. Trust my word.” Scalefang said in a stern tone.

 

Dragonbond could take his word by the sound of his voice that he would watch over him. Dragonbond took a deep breath as he looked over the side of his dragon father. He then stood on his hind legs and leaned forward to drop off his dragon father’s back. The wind began to blow in his face as he fell through the air down towards the earth. Scalefang then followed after him. Dragonbond squinted as he wasn’t used to the wind blowing up in his face like this. He then started to flap his wings facing downwards as he started to increase in speed. He had to keep his wings steady and his direction straight from the blasting wind he fell through. Naturally, one doesn’t get it on their first try. Dragonbond had begun to lose control from the drop. But as Scalefang had promised, he was there to catch him from behind only to take him back up into the sky to try it again. Dragonbond was a bit shaken up, but he was willing to try again. If Scalefang taught him anything, it was to keep trying even if he failed over and over again. Dragonbond shook his shaken nerves off. He continued to try over and over again falling through the air. Days for this passed as he slowly improved his skill. Scalefang had him do it over again for as many times as he needed for perfection. Dragonbond needed as much as he could to improve in the future.

 

After completing his speed training in flight, they returned back to their home cave. It had been a long period of training, but it was all worth it. Scalefang felt his son’s future was much brighter to be more like the other dragons. As they came in the cave, Scalefang when to his stone sleeping area. He would use his fire to heat it up and rest down on it. Dragonbond went for his stone toys. They were more like exercise tools in his dragon father’s eyes. Tools to improve his dexterity, endurance, aggressiveness, determination, and focus. He wanted Dragonbond to keep thinking of it as a time to play. Just simple small stones made into pillars, balls, and rods. Pillars to balance on, balls to stand and move around on, and rods to toss around at targets. He was given thick logs to gnaw, chew, and bite. This would strengthen his jaw strength and grip and improve his aggressive nature. The wood the logs were made of would keep Dragonbond’s teeth strong and healthy.

 

Dragonbond then noticed Scalefang’s tail. How it curved and would flop a bit trying to get comfortable. Dragonbond looked to his own tail making it only flop like a fish out of water. Dragonbond then walked over to Scalefang’s belly side. “Father? Will my tail ever grow up to be like yours?” Dragonbond knew his tail wasn’t going to grow any longer like a dragon’s tail. There was going to be no scales, no spikes, no bone clubs on his tail. It was only a year ago where Scalefang discovered his son’s tail was growing faster than a normal pony. It was growing longer too. The hair became denser and thicker. It wasn’t the hair that was growing long, it was the tail’s flesh under the hair. Dragonbond just wanted to know what use his tail was to him. He wanted his tail to be used more like a dragon’s.

 

Scalefang paused for a moment to respond. “Your tail is yours to discover what it will be used for. A simple mind would only use it for a weapon, but I didn’t raise you to have a simple mind. Creatures and animals use their tails for different reasons other than to fend others off or balance. Discover what your tail can do by observing this world. Discovering the world yields answers about ourselves than any creature could imagine. Those answers come at great prices to discover, but the greater the risk the greater the results. Learn everything you can to meet those risks and survive. Start by learning what you can do with your tail on your own.” Scalefang said before resting his head down to drift to sleep.

 

Dragonbond remained by his side awake thinking about what his dragon father said. He turned to his tail seeing it swing and flop. He began to wonder what he could do with his tail. Tomorrow, he would begin to train his tail. He would plan out his training before doing anything. He had to plan this out smart.

 

All day every day, Dragonbond would practice using his tail. It was taking weeks, but Dragonbond kept to his tail exercises none-the-less. He would start by moving his tail waving it up and down, then side to side before curling and twisting it. That way he would build more control in every part of his tail to be nimbler to move however he wanted. He would also lift his tail up and keeping it horizontal as another form of exercise. Dragonbond didn’t stop unless it was to sleep or eat. He wanted to start trying to lift things with his tail and soon able to lift himself up by doing tail pull-ups and push-ups. After a month, his tail felt stronger and nimbler. He knew he was ready to start lifting things, but what he wanted to try out was still to be decided. He wanted something heavy like a stone, but something to test his grip with something slippery. Something like …  a fish. A huge fish. He wondered how he would get a fish like that. He wouldn’t be able to pull out a fish that big from the water. The fish would drag him under and slip out of his grip. But then he heard a noise in the distance.

 

Dragonbond followed the noise until he saw a dragon by the large river fishing for a meal. He had a pile already and some of the fish were great sizes. He knew the customs of dragons were to fight for something you wanted for yourself, but he only wanted to borrow it for a while. Knowing a dragon’s sense of smell, he had to be crafty about how to get the fish without being caught. Then he got an idea.

 

Later, as the dragon focused on his fishing, Dragonbond would sneak out of the bushes under the covered of a thick layer of mud covered in pine tree branches to contain and hide his scent. He found his cover was working as the dragon didn’t turn to look at him. Dragonbond slowly crawled low over to the pile and grabbed a fish that was about his size. He bit on its tailfin and pulled it away quietly while keeping an eye on the dragon until he escaped unnoticed.

 

He dragged the fish over to a secluded area and then wiped the mud off him as he was excited to get started with this fish. He first had to wrap his tail around part of the fish that he could completely wrap his tail around. The tailfin became the best choice since it had a narrowed end at the tailfin for his tail to wrap around. He began to try and lift it up, but it slipped out a few times. He needed to find a good strong hold and keep his tail's grip from slipping. After several tries, he finally had found a good hold that was tight to lift the fish. It was now the lifting that was difficult to him.

 

He needed to be on something high enough to lift the fish completely off the ground, but he wasn’t tall enough and neither was his tail to lift the fish all the way off the ground. He looked around and found a pile of large boulders. He dragged the fish to a boulder and climbed one of them that made it possible for him to reach down to the fish’s tailfin with his tail. He stood on top and then sat down near the edge to lower his tail down to wrap around the fish’s tailfin end and try to start lifting.

 

He was lifting the fish only because it was mostly his body doing the lifting. He was trying his hardest using his tail to lift, but it was proving very difficult. He kept at it, determined to raise the fish with his tail. He now thought he should have used a smaller fish, but he was one to try and take the harder route sometimes as a challenge to himself. When he started pulling it up, it was going up an inch at a time. It wasn’t much progress, but it was better than nothing. Knowing he could lift things up with his tail, he was going to satisfy with how little he raised such a heavy fish. He didn’t want to spend all day trying to lift the fish completely off the ground knowing he had to return the fish. He could now return the fish and hoped the dragon wouldn’t have noticed it missing. That was until the troubles of life began.

 

Dragonbond froze as he heard the screech of an eagle. He looked back to see it flying towards him. Dragonbond panicked thinking he was today’s menu for the eagle, but instead of being its prey, it was the fish that the eagle had its eyes on. It swooped in to take the fish, but it did not expect Dragonbond’s tail to be still holding onto the fish as well. Dragonbond ended up being dragged across the ground as the eagle tried to fly off with the fish. Dragonbond dug his hooves into the ground and flapped his wings to try and stop from being dragged across the dirt. He then saw a small growing tree and bit down on it to stop the eagle from dragging him off. He had to get the fish back if he didn’t want to get into more trouble than he already was. He began a game of tug-a-war with the eagle for the fish.

 

The eagle had stronger and powerful wings compared to Dragonbond’s and made it difficult for him to keep pulling. At least Dragonbond had the weight of his body and the fish on his side to keep the eagle from taking them both. That still didn’t keep him from having his hind legs kicking in the air when the eagle would try to lift-up the fish with Dragonbond. Dragonbond had to kick down to place his hooves on the ground to give himself some support to pull on the fish.

 

Dragonbond tried to think of what to do to get the fish back. He looked around thinking of what he could do. He then spotted a rock nearby. It wasn’t much, but he could work with it. He struggled to pull himself over to the rock to at least reach over to it. If he could just pull himself enough over, he could reach it with the tip of his hoof. He was only inches away and just needed one good stretch across to reach it. Finally, the eagle had lost some momentum for a bit for Dragonbond to scoop the rock under his hoof and swing it back right at the back of the eagle. Dragonbond was relieved when the eagle let go of the tore up fish, but then he had another problem when the eagle turned its fury on him. Getting a better grip on the fish with his tail, Dragonbond made a dash for it as the eagle started to chase after him instead. Dragonbond couldn’t fly well enough to flee from the eagle with a heavy fish, instead he used his wings to give him more of a speed boost as he ran as fast as he could back to the stream. He had never tried running while flapping his wings before. He was out of sync, but he still had a good speed going for him. He also ran through bushes to make it hard for the eagle to swoop in on him with so much cover in the way.

 

The dragon at the stream was continuing to pile more fish to his feast, but then heard something small running in his direction followed by the sound of an eagle’s screech. He turned to see Dragonbond run out of the bushes with a torn-up fish. Dragonbond raced for the dragon for safety as he was followed by a large eagle that was clearly after him. Making a quick decision, the dragon roared at the eagle making it falter in its chase to quickly turn and fly away in fear of the colossal dragon. Dragonbond then hid behind the dragon’s curled tail and peeked his head over a bit to see the eagle fly away screeching in fear of the dragon.

 

The dragon looked down at Dragonbond hiding behind his tail. The dragons didn’t normally care for Dragonbond since he was a pony, but they would have to answer to Scalefang if they let harm come to the colt without lifting a talon to help. As Draco commanded, the colt was to be treated as one of them with the same protection they would give to any young dragon.

 

The dragon then saw the fish he had that looked just like the one he had caught earlier, but with claw marks from the eagle. Assessing the situation, he came to the dragon trying to return the fish the eagle tried to steal from his fish pile. “Hmph, I guess you have my gratitude for retrieving my fish from that fowl.” The dragon said in as much gratitude as he could give Dragonbond, even though it didn’t sound like much.

 

But Dragonbond knew this was not as it appeared. His dragon father told him never to lie and to always live up to honoring himself and the code of the dragon. He would be dishonoring his father if he accepted this deed he did not accomplish. Ears bent down in shame and fear, Dragonbond picked the fish up in his mouth to carry it to the dragon and placed it in front of him. Dragonbond looked up afraid of what would happen. He knew he must have looked like an ant in comparison with the dragon and that made him even more afraid to face the dragon. This took the dragon off guard when Dragonbond showed this kind of expression after being given praise.

 

Dragonbond tried to speak as clear as he could. “The eagle… the eagle didn’t try to steal the fish from you. I… I borrowed it to try and lift it with my tail and… and then the eagle tried to take it from me. I wasn’t trying to steal it, I just wanted to practice training with my tail. I… I was going to give it back, honest. I’m… I’m sorry.” He apologized trying not to have his voice break from the fear welling up inside of him.

 

The dragon may have been a bit surprised that Dragonbond didn’t take the credit and get away with this act. By the code of the dragons in this land, if one was to cause an act of dishonor towards another dragon, in this case, by taking something from another without fighting for it or trading it for something of equal worth. The punishment of such shame is to have the guilty dragon marked with a talon by the victimized dragon. Dragonbond would have a mark of shame placed on his face to show others of his shame. Not even Scalefang could do anything to retaliate before or after it was done. This was dragon law and could not be broken by any type of vengeance. “Come forward pony.” Commanded the dragon.

 

Dragonbond did as he was told and walked with ears down and tail low to receive his punishment. He didn’t try to stall or plead to be spared from his punishment. He knew he had shamed his dragon father for violating the dragon code and knew the only way for retribution was to go through with his punishment with honor and courage. Dragonbond was still afraid to do it, but none-the-less, he needed to do it for his dragon father’s honor. Dragonbond then sat himself sitting up straight facing the dragon. “I’m ready.” He said before shutting his eyes and facing up to the dragon to receive his mark.

 

The dragon took a talon and placed it near Dragonbond’s face. He stopped just inches away from his cheek. It was normal to see a youngling showing courage and honor even if a few would resist a bit. But here was a feeble young pony. His skin was not as tough as a dragon’s and just as sensitive as any other lesser creature. He should be pleading or cowering from about to receive a scar by the talon of a dragon. This was not a law that was required of his kind and the dragon expected Dragonbond to try and sneak his way out of it, but instead, he was respecting it. “Are you not afraid pony?” the dragon asked intrigued with Dragonbond’s behavior.

 

Dragonbond looked up at the dragon. His eyes held fear from what had to be done, but they also held courage like many young dragons that the dragon had seen before. “T-terrified, but it was my fault this happened to your fish and my father taught me to take responsibility for my mistakes.” He replied.

 

The dragon saw no lie in his eyes. Dragonbond then closed his eyes again as the dragon placed the talon on the colt’s cheek. He winced a bit but remained still. He could feel the tears threatening to shed, but he kept his composure for the honor of his dragon father and for himself. Just as soon as he felt the talon press against his cheek, it was removed. Dragonbond quickly opened his eyes in shock. He felt his cheek checking if it went so fast that he didn’t feel it, but there was no trace of blood to show any evidence that the talon made its mark. Dragonbond looked over to see the dragon return to the stream. He seemed to return to fishing again with his back turned to Dragonbond. “Return to your father.” The dragon said.

 

Dragonbond was in disbelief about what happened. “But... but what about my punishment? The... the code?” Dragonbond asked in confusion. “Are... aren’t you supposed to give me my mark of shame?”

 

The dragon sighed. “Do you want your mark of shame that bad?” the dragon asked turning halfway to look back at Dragonbond.

 

Dragonbond shrunk back a bit. “N-no, but the code demands that it has to happen.” Dragonbond said. Even though he would have wanted more than anything not to get it, he still respected the code and the consequences that came with violating them.

 

This was why the dragon felt no need to give shame to a pony that would willingly and persist on following a law that wasn’t supposed to be his own to follow. The dragon turned back to his fishing. “You technically didn’t intend to steal the fish, but the eagle did, and you retrieved it back. There is no need for a punishment for a crime you didn’t commit. Now run along pony.” The dragon said. Although his true reason was because of the courage and honor Dragonbond had shown as a pony and the respect and honor he had for dragons and the dragon code. The dragon couldn’t bring himself to harm Dragonbond, but he didn’t want to show that he cared either when he was starting to.

 

As he was readying one hand to fish, he felt something touch his other he used to stand on the ground. He looked down to see Dragonbond hugging his hand… crying. But they were tears of joy instead of fear. Dragonbond nuzzled against the dragon’s hand. “Thank you, sir.” He sobbed happily.

 

The dragon couldn’t help but bring his other hand down and gently pet Dragonbond’s back. Grumbling silently to himself, the dragon felt a bit exasperated about reacting like this to a pony. “Run along back to your father, Dragonbond.” He said calling him by his real name instead of just pony. With one last squeezing hug, Dragonbond took off running for a while before flying off home. The dragon watched him fly off with a bit of concern to see if he could leave on his own safely. It surprised him that he even felt that kind of concern about the Pegasus. “Dragonbond… the name suits him.” He said to himself.

 

Dragonbond would never forget this moment. He would also never forget the lesson he learned to ask for things first before even borrowing something. He was fortunate that the dragon spared him his punishment, but that didn’t mean he would dishonor himself thinking he would get away with it again. From this moment on, he would try harder to live up to the dragon code. When he would come back home, he would tell his dragon father about what happened and what he learned from his mistake. Scalefang was a bit disappointed that he did that, but he was proud that Dragonbond did the right thing in the end and learned from it. Dragonbond only received recognition from it and nothing else, but he was fine with that.

 

Apart from all that, Scalefang was also pleased to hear that Dragonbond was able to gain more control over his tail to lift a large fish. He would then continue to help his son fly while using his tail. It wasn’t much, but he would improve more in the future. Then Dragonbond’s real training would begin, but this training would take him outside the safety of his homeland and into a more dangerous world he needed to adapt to.