The city of Canterlot looms over the kingdom of Equestria. On most days, the very regal capital with be alive with the joyous day to day shuffle of workers, tourists, and ambassadors that would fill up it's streets. But this day was different, drastically. A morose curtain of sorrow and despair hung over the entire city, today Canterlot was a city of mourning instead of jubilation.
It was today that an armed assassin snuck into the courts of the Canterlot palace and put two bullets into the skull of Shining Armour, Captain of the Royal Guard, killing him.
From the first hour of the assassination there was nothing but panic filling the streets. Rumors spilt out from the newsstands and spread through word of mouth. At first it was thought that a terrorist attack had somehow struck Canterlot Castle, killing all of those inside, then the list of victims were narrowed down to just Princess Celestia and Luna, and finally real reports of Shining Armour's murder came in, quelling any other beliefs before it.
After the terrible news was confirmed it was as if all life inside Canterlot had stopped. Everyone withdrew back to their respective houses; some because they were shocked to do anything else, others because they were in mourning for the late Shining Armor, and even more just selfishly praying that there would be only one casualty today. The only thing that had been remotely active inside the city was Canterlot Hospital one of the few places that would remain open regardless of the conditions outside.
Inside the Hostpital sat the Element of Magic, staring blankly at an empty cot along with her number one assistant who was now sobbing quietly into her chest. Twilight was a mess, her eyes were bloodshot, her mane fizzled and matted down with tears. She had already let out so much pain, but there still was so many other emotions bottled up inside her. Anger and hatred for the one who had just ended her brother's life. Self loathing for not being their to protect him from harm. But above all the most prevalent emotion that was thrashing inside her was sadness. Shinning Armour, her first real friend, the man who would always love her and be there for her no matter what may happen, her Big Brother Best Friend Forever was sead. And nothing would ever change that.
Tears resumed running freely down her cheek.
"You promised that you were always going to be there for me." She managed to choke out while staring longingly at the empty cot.
Her grip tightened around Spike as she began sobbing freely with him. Both of the were mourning a beloved family member, a great friend, and amazing brother.
The door to what was once Shining's room opened, the sound being ignored the still grieving siblings.They knew it would be one of Twilights friends desperately trying to find ways to take on some of the extra-ordinary burden of Shining's death.
Both Twilight and Spike look up, acknowledging that voice that most definitely did not belong to any of their friends. It was Princess Celestia, she looked at both of them with a refine combination of both pain and pity making both Twilight and Spike want to break out into a fresh wave of sobs.
"Yes" Twilight finally spoke.
"Could I speak with you for a moment." She replied.
Twilight was almost torn, she slowly exchanged a glance between the empty cot and Celtestia before finally dragging her body towards the princess while Spike followed suit. Outside each of Twilight and Spike's friends stood, looking as haggard as Twilight and as somber as ever. Both Rarity and Fluttershy had been crying silently together while Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie Pie stared blankly off into the distance. Soon Twilight and Spike rejoined the group and suddenly all eyes were on them. Both resisted the urge to pull all of them into a comforting hug and opted to just stand near the door. Celestia had take her spot in form of the six mares and dragon.
'These are dangerous and painful times we live in." Everyone nodded at her words which were slow and resonated with power.
"I do not fancy myself a medium or fortune teller of any sort. But I feel we are heading down a dangerous road, a road that will lead all of us into darkness if undeterred."
Suddenly Celestia's horn began to glow fiercely as she summons a golden chest that resided inside the palace.
"As I've mentioned before, I have no means of confirming or denying the feelings that are prevalent with-in me, but..." She pauses momentarily as she opens the chest revealing seven of the most beautiful gems in the world. Each of them matching the color of it's destined recipient and cut perfectly into an oval.
"As leader of Equestria it is my duty to keep my country safe to the best of my abilities. These stones contain powerful magics with-in, they also contain your greatest strengths and virtues. They embody the very best of what you can be. These stones will guide you through life and help you accomplish almost any thing that you set your mind too. I have given you these extraordinary means and in return I ask for one thing. Please use whatever motivations that will drive you to succeed in life, but always have this one goal in mind: 'To Make Equestria a Better Place."
Each of the seven nodded their heads solemnly as the gems began forming it's bond to each owner. The power of the magic stored inside the gems become self-evident as it allows for pegasi and earth ponies to levitate them with out the help of any other spell.
"These are indeed dark and dangerous times." Celestia continues while everyone else is focused entirely on the new found gems that they now possess. "But I have great faith in all of you. Time and time again you have each proven to not only me but the entire nation of Equestria your capacity for good. I am fully confident that, if the time ever comes. you will be there as protectors. You will set an example that we can all follow so that we can all work towards making Equestria a better place."
And with that, the ruler of Equestria teleported back to her Palace, leaving everyone else dumbstruck.
Obnoxiously loud techno music swept through out the ball-room that was now home to Spike's "Post-Wedding Bachelor Party", which was now in full swing. Every stallion seemed to be enjoying themselves, all except for the parties' organizer.
Outside the ballroom that was now housing the party was a balcony, a safe haven from all of the liquor, foolishness, and cheap party music, which is where Spike had spent the majority of the party. The view this particular awning was superb, capturing a decent portion of Canterlot. Unfortunately for Spike, being a baby dragon, the amazing view was some what distorted by the rather tall railing that surrounded the balcony. But Spike was a clever dragon, he squeezed his head through one of the diamond-shaped openings that are scattered throughout the railing. This offered him a slightly better, albeit incomplete, view of Canterlot.
The city, which was now hitch up in a beautiful light display, was very alluring this time at night. But as attractive as the city might have been, Spike couldn't help but be focused on his home. Ponyville was just off in the distance and despite the sharp eye sight that was handed down to him through years of draconic evolution, every building in Canterlot seemed determined to block his line of sight. His thoughts turned towards Twilight and his friends they would have probably arrived back in Ponyville around now, each of them probably looking for some time to recuperate from the disaster that was almost The Royal Wedding.
This wasn't the first time this night that his thoughts had returned back to his friends and every time he thought about them it was like a heavy weight took residence inside his stomach. He couldn't help but admire how much they all had sacrificed to protect Shining Armor and Cadence's happiness. They were all so good to everybody and he had no idea what he had done to deserve such amazing friends.
Spike recognized the voice immediately, he turned from his spot at the railing to face his brother.
"Hey, how's the bachelor party going?"
Shining Armour was quick to join up with Spike, flashing a grateful smile to Spike as he approached.
"Pretty good, I guess. But it would be a major improvement if you joined in with some of the partying."
"Well I here that I'm quite the party animal... Or dragon, if you wanted to be specific." Spike said while nudging Shining Armor jokingly.
Shining gave a good natured chuckle, "You also are quite the party planner."
"Yeah." Spike replied "It's what happens when you're best friends with Equestria's premiere party pony. You tend to learn a few things." He paused, fondly remembering some of Pinkie Pie's parties before being distracted by another thought. "By the way, you might want to get a few people to guard the doors."
A look of confusion spread across his face. "More guards? What do you mean."
"Well, I was walking around the party earlier and I saw these two girls who were obviously trying to crash the party." Spike said.
"Yeah, it was pretty obvious to. I mean one of them said that she was part of the royal guard and the other said she was a fire-mare, but I'm pretty sure that Royal Guards or Fire fighters do not dress like that."
A brief flash of sharp disappointment is betrayed across his Shining Armor's face before being place with a friendlier grin. "Well, thanks for telling me Spike, but that's not my main concern at the moment."
"What is it then?"
Shining Armor put a hoof atop of Spike's head, ruffling it. "It's why my younger brother is spending time lurking out here, rather than enjoying the party that he worked so hard to put together."
"Oh." Spike said sadly leaving a long and somber pause before he speaks again. "Shining, do you think I'm useless."
Shining's compassionate expression completely melts away, leaving his face hard and cruel. Through gritted teeth, he finally speaks, "Who said that?"
"No, no one said anything to me." Spike said quickly, trying to get rid of Shining Amor's expression. "It's just- What good have I really done?" He finally managed to say. "While this entire city was under attack, what did I do? Nothing! That's what!" Spike began breathing heavily, tears were now pooling in his eyes. "Everyone had a purpose! You and Cadence manage to stop all of the Changelings and save Canterlot. And even though Twilight, our friends, and Celstia failed, at least they tried! But me, I-" Spike stopped, releasing another ragged breath. His tears were now flowing freely. "I am worthless." Spike finally said before breaking down into sobs.
"Don't ever think that." Shining said sternly before wrapping Spike in a comforting hug. "No matter what happens or what ever anyone might say. Don't ever think that." Shining tilts Spike's head and uses his hoof to wipe the tears from his eyes. "I know that you're finding what I'm saying hard to believe but everything you do, regardless of how small or insignificant the action is, will always carry some form of worth." Shining said softly, a purple sheen encased his horn as he floated a small black box into Spike's hand. "I wasn't sure when to give this to you, but now seems appropriate. You are struggling with a lot right now but, every now and then, I want you look at this and remember what I've told you. You matter and what you do matters, this is a symbol for everything you've done. Cherish it." Shining Amor gave Spike one more comforting hug before heading back towards the ballroom, "Oh" he said, his back still turned to Spike, "I'll give you some time to clear your head but it definitely looks like we will be needing a party animal... Or dragon, if you prefer, to liven things up."
For the first time since Spike broke down, he smiled as he watched his big brother walk back into the party. On the inside, there were an abundance of turbulent emotions that were trying their best to tear him a part and he was glad that he now had someone to anchor to. He was eternally grateful for his brother, even though Spike had a more close and personal relationship with his sister Twilight, Spike always approved of the way Shining took a very active role in building his relationship with him. Right now, Spike was the luckiest dragon in all of Equestria. Finally curiosity took hold and Spike open the gift he had just received from his brother. It was a blue shield with a small star embroidered on it. Shining Armor's cutie mark. One of the greatest gifts that Spike has ever gotten.
"Hey, Big Brother." Spike said softly, he was staring the small memorial that he had made for his late brother, which consisted of a portrait of both of them, a small, blue candle, and the green gem that Celestia had given him. "Today's the day. That I finally tell Rarity how I feel, I mean." Spike pauses hopelessly waiting for some sort of response that would never come. "I know what you're thinking: Spike you just might be too attractive for your own good." He said through a small fit of awkward chuckles, Spike made sure never to lose his sense of humor. Shining Amor would have wanted that.
"I still have your shield with me." Spike awkwardly throws out while displaying the shield in his hand. "It's not the same though."
Depression begins to take over him, "I really miss you bro" Spike chokes out "But not just me- Twi," He pauses "She's taking it really hard, hasn't been out in weeks. I wish you were here to talk some sense into her, you always could." Spike says fondly, he turns his head away from the picture and bows his head in silence. After the small moment of silence, he takes a breath to regain some of his composure before looking back up at the picture. "Wish me luck." he says softly as he pockets both the shield and the green gem and heads out of the library.
Ponyville was a very static town, after four years the only thing that changed about the town was the new sign adorning the quills and sofa store (Now selling Hair Care products!!). It was late in the afternoon Ponyville was now caught in the swarm of afternoon traffic. Fortunately for Spike, the throng of ponies moving throughout the streets made ample room for him.
Spike had definitely grown a lot these last four years, his hight just a few inches shorter than a full grown stallion. His facial features became elongated and more angular, he had even started grown tiny nubs on his back that would soon spawn into large and glorious wings. But these nubs were hidden, for the moment, under a very one and elegant suit jacket that he had purchased at some high end store in Canterlot. Today was special and that meant not pulling any punches.
It was only a few minutes before he was baring down on Rarity's Boutique, she would, with out a doubt, be inside right now preparing herself for their dinner together. He stopped in front of the door and made himself as elegant as possible before curtly tapping the frame with his smooth, scaly knuckles.
Eagerness gripped him fiercely, Rarity would come out - looking as beautiful as ever- and he would step into the boutique, take her hand and say... Oh no he thought, a cold sense of dread spread through him killing any form of eagerness that he had previously had bouncing around with in him. But Spike had no time to switch into panic mode as the door to boutique opened and Rarity stepped out.
Beautiful, stunning, breath-taking all of these word seem rather redundant, no, unfair to describe the mare that was right in from of him. Everything was perfect, from the subtle application of her make up to the way every last strand of her hair fell on her face. She was wearing a small, yet modest purple dress with yellow trimming that was positively shining with gems. It embodied everything that Rarity was, outside and in.
"Uh." Spike managed to let loose, still trying to find some sort grip on reality.
"My dear Spikey-Wikey, aren't we the pinnacle of eloquence this morning." Rarity chided while making her way out of the Boutique. Rarity's voice was just what Spike needed to snap him out of the dreamland that he had trapped himself in.
"After you." He said instinctively, with real insight on the situation as it was occurring.
"Spike," She began with a small, polite smirk "I'm already outside."
Spike's cheeks were wildfires of embarrassment, he mumbled out a very quite apology before taking a couple of quick, shy steps out of the Boutique. Rarity's horn was soon enveloped in a hypnotic, blue glow as she made the door slide gracefully to a close.
"Are you alright, dear?" Rarity asked, genuinely curious about the state of he friend. "You seem rather... distraught."
Spike took a deep breath, "No. I'm not nervous or, at least, not that I know of. It's just-" He paused, consciously making sure that his words would betray him by making him out to be a fool. "I really want this dinner to go well."
Rarity arched an eyebrow, "Of course darling. But why so worried? We are having an exquisite dinner together, as friends. What could possibly go wrong?"
As friends Spike mentally flinched, it was just a simple yet accurate phrasing of their relationship. But whenever Spike thought about them together, that phrase always bore resentment. Each of his friends had though that somehow misunderstood Spikes feelings for simple infatuation or a childhood crush, even Spike began to have doubts about the viability of his dreams. But that all changed when he lost his brother and, to a lesser extent, lost Twi. That was the day when realized the importances of his bond with each of his friends but, most importunely, that's he recognized that he shared a stronger bond with Rarity. They were meant to be together and, hopefully, Rarity would see that.
"I guess your right." He said, flashing her a toothy grin.
"Believe me dear, we will have a wonderful time together." Rarity replied. She began to make her way down the streets of Ponyville before a realization struck her. "Spike," She began, turning back at the dragon "Where exactly did you say we were eating?
"I didn't" Spike said quickly joining with Rarity. "You never gave me the chance." He reminded her.
Rarity gave a cute nod in response, "Well then, If you please..."
Spike's was positively beaming now as a strong sense of pride swelled through the entirety of his being. Trying to stay suave, Spike bent to down and whispered into Rarity's ear "Le Benardin." Her eyes shrunk noticeably.
"The new restaurant, that just opened up!?" Spike nodded in confirmation. "But the don't have any free tables until four months from now! How did you possibly get a reservation!?"
"Well," Spike began, trying to seem nonchalant about the entire situation "Let's just say that the owners are now fully aware of the power of the Royal Canerlot Voice."
She let out a small lady-like giggle. "Spike, you devil!"
"Actually, I'm pretty sure that I'm a dragon."
"How sure are you?"
"About ninety-four percent sure, give or take six percent for error."
That drew out a new round of chuckles from both parties. It was cut short, thought, when Rarity was hit with another thought. "Spike" She asked "Le Benardin is on the other side of Ponyville. How do you expect us to get there?"
"That's the easy part." He said suddenly, as if on cue, a rather long and elegant carriage pulled out in front of them.
"Wow." Rarity gushed, her eyes filled with amazement. "You planned this?"
"No" Spike admitted while opening the door and ushering Rarity in "I'm just an incredibly lucky dragon."
When Rarity stepped into the carriage Spike gently closed the door and made his way up to the driver, "Can you take us to Le Benardin? Please?"
"Yup." The driver said absently.
"And, if it's not to much trouble, could you make sure our ride is nice and smooth>?" Spike pleaded.
"Will do." The driver said, still not focused on anything in particular.
Content with the response he received from the driver he made his way back into the carriage and sat down.
"Hello Spike." The words were definitely not Rarity's, causing Spike quickly look up. Inside the cart that he mistakenly thought was empty sat tour guards, clearly resembling some sort of special forces unit. Each of them were armed to the teeth with various weapons, Spike had been eying one, in particular, who had a gun trained on a now captive Rarity.Their faces were hidden behind black ski masks, greatly hindering any chance Spike had of identifying his attackers. Finally, after allowing the intense pause to persist a little longer, one of the solders turned to Spike.
"So glad that you could join us."