I swear, I rewrote this chapter 7 times over, and I still don't like it. Oh well. Everyone has those at one point. I definitely didn't want to give up on y'all, either, so I forged on ahead. I hope you guys enjoy it!
Also, on a related note: how have I done so far with keeping the ponies and dragon in character?
- - - - - - -
Spike hesitated as he opened the door of the treehouse. It creaked quietly and the young dragon slipped through the crack. He had no idea why he was listening to the dream dragon. Raiding the diamond dogs was more or less suicide. But the dream dragon turned out to be right. Rarity was in desperate need of help. Sapphire Shores had decided to hire Rarity out to make even more dresses, for her, her back up singers, and the dancers that would be on stage with her.
Fluttershy volunteered her services to Rarity, naturally, but the shy pegasus was wearing herself out trying to take care of her animals and assisting Rarity. Applejack and Spike had volunteered to help take care of the animals, but they simply weren't as good as Fluttershy. Likewise, Twilight had started spending what time she wasn't running the library helping Rarity and Fluttershy sew, having learned a little bit about it.She was little help to the two seamstresses, but every hoof counted. Spike was running himself ragged trying to be Fluttershy, Rarity, and Twilight's assistant. What little time he had free was spent sleeping and running into the mountains with a increasingly frazzled Rarity and Twilight to find gems.
On the bright side, the running back and forth through Ponyville was great cardio and all the digging he was doing was making him even stronger. The little dragon was actually pleased with himself. The next time something big, scary, and evil came knocking, he might actually be able to help his friends fight it instead of just burping out letters. This wasn't something he could fight though. All he could do was help. And according to his weird dreams, he'd have to steal from-
"Oh my Celestia. You actually took me seriously."
Spike blinked as he realized he was in the white void. He staggered back and tripped as the dream dragon appeared straight in his face.
"What do you mean, I took you seriously? Were you just messing with me?" Spike said, looking very angry at the green dragon.
The dream dragon responded with a very loud laugh that ended with him doubling over clutching his stomach.
"Oh jeez. You should see your face, Spike. Priceless, dude."
Spike glared at his dream companion.
"But you told me what was going to happen! Almost exactly!"
The other dragon shook his head, sucking on his teeth and sighing.
"Spike. I was just trying to prove a point to you. Do you really realize what you were about to do? You were going to get yourself killed. All for Rarity's sake. You were going to steal. You would get caught, and they would likely have turned you into a nice set of boots, Spike. You don't really have any kind of training, kid. You've just now begun to tap into your power. Do you not realize how gifted you are? You're a dragon raised by ponies. Not just any ponies, but you consider your mother to be the mare that raises the sun and Twilight Sparkle, who is the most powerful unicorn in recorded history. They raised you to use your brain instead of your brawn. You've seen what the result of becoming like every other dragon will do to you. Dragons are typically rude, idiotic, and sometimes plain out sadistically evil. Dragons are creatures that grow based on emotions, feelings, and desires. Most grow on fear and anger, desiring endless wealth to the point where it corrupts them. Almost every dragon has grown even the tiniest bit because of greedgrowth. YOU, on the other hand, have the potential to do something that hasn't been done. You can master your own growth. Use love instead of fear. Happiness instead of anger. Your desire, family and friends. If you haven't grasped this yet, I'm going to lay it out for you. Twilight Sparkle is the element of Magic, right? The elements of Harmony are powered by friendship. Friendship is kindness, laughter, honesty, loyalty, generosity. Friendship is MAGIC. Your friends will help you become something Equestria has never seen before. It's already begun. You have noticed that you're now a head shorter than your "teenage" form from your experience with greed growth, right? It's why Twilight's been running so many tests on you. She's terrified she's going to lose you to the monster inside."
The dream dragon paused for a second to let it sink in.
"And had you gone tonight, you would have had to tap into that monster to survive, and you would have not been able to come back this time. Rarity wouldn't have wanted you to die, or to give yourself up to help out her business. And what about Twilight or Fluttershy? Twilight loves you dearly. Fluttershy is quickly becoming very fond of you. And Peewee! You're Peewee's "mother", Spike. You're supposed to be there to protect him. You have a responibility unlike any other you've ever had before.And you need to act like it."
Spike looked down, dejected. He hadn't really thought through the consequences. Spike kind of always assumed that Twilight would always be there to talk sense into him, or Rarity or somepony else.
"I guess... I'm not as grown up as I've been pretending to be lately, huh?"
The dream dragon smiled warmly.
Spike and the dream dragon both laughed at the very good inmitation of Big Macintosh. A peaceful silence settled on the two for a while before the dream dragon sighed.
"Spike, I'm only trying to help you grow into the dragon you're destined to be. You understand why I lied to you, right?"
Spike scoffed, but nodded.
"Sure, I can understand the lesson that my own brain is trying to teach me. Or something. I'm still not sure what you are."
The dream smiled mysteriously.
"Spike, I've done told you that I don't matter. Just a figment of your thoughts, for all intents and purposes," the green dragon said, shaking his head.
Spike didn't let up though. He was determined to figure out these crazy-but-real hallucinations.
"You're real! You know things that I couldn't possibly know and-"
Spike suddenly found himself standing outside the tree house, and he growled in anger. He was about to go stomp off in a random direction when he heard a quiet rustling. With a sudden turn, he looked behind him see a still moving bush. A scent tickled his nose.
Hearing her name, Equestria's fastest flier poked her head out of the bush with an embarrassed grin.
"Uh. Hi Spike!"
"What are you doing here? It's kinda late and Twilight's asleep. And what are you wearing?"
Taking a closer look after his eyes adjusted to the night, he saw the blue pegasus's clothes. She was wearing a khaki colored leather jacket and a snapbrim fedora to match. He then noticed that her tail and mane were dyed a greyscale color, and he only could look at her expectantly.
The usually rainbow-maned pegasus was dressed as Daring Do.
"Oh. Haha. Um. Well, you see, I'm going to the midnight premiere for the new Daring Do book in Canterlot and I was going to see if Twilight wanted to come with me."
Spike shook his head.
"She's sleeping. She's been so busy lately that she's pretty much crashed. We're all tired. You've been in Cloudsdale all week, right? Well, Rarity got a really big dress order and she's been having financial problems so she's been having issues making sure she's got all the materials she needs. She hasn't had the business so she hasn't exactly got a lot of dress fabric stored up. Me and Twilight have been helping collect jewels, while I'll go and help Applejack with Fluttershy's animals and Fluttershy and I go and help Rarity with her dresses."
Dash's jaw dropped. She had been in Cloudsdale for a meeting, after all she was in charge of Ponyville's weather team. She had no idea everything had gone so crazy. The pegasus had been so busy getting ready for the meeting she had had no idea her friends had been in so much trouble. The last couple of weeks had been hectic for her, getting all of the paperwork checked, getting presentations ready... The trip to Canterlot with Pinkie had actually also been a trip for her to get some paperwork that had been accidently shipped to the Weather office in Canterlot.
She'd also not been around to notice Spike's changes.
Spike had gotten considerablly more awesome looking. Rainbow had never been the most eloquent of ponies, but Spike looked older for sure. It wasn't the same as the last time he had began to grow into the greed-dragon. There was something more natural about this transformation. He had gotten a good bit taller. He was about the same size as a pony height-wise. All the running around, his training, and his working had toned a lot of his babyfat down. It was dark, so she couldn't really see his exact features very well, but the pony was nonetheless impressed.
"Wow, you've gotten a lot bigger since I've seen you last. You... haven't been getting lots of gifts again, have you?"
Spike angled his head in confusion before it dawned on him what she was talking about.
"Oh, no, I just hit a growth spurt. I started helping Fluttershy so I could learn how to better take care of Peewee, and some timberwolves attacked me when I was by myself. I tapped into the same magic that made me grow up but without all the greedy stuff. It's helped a lot. I have a lot more energy than I usually do, so I can run around helping more. Don't worry, I won't be catching the Wonderbolts in a water tower again if I can avoid it."
The two laughed at that. Rainbow smiled at the dragon.
"So, what are you doing up Spike? You sneaking off to see a marefriend?" The blue pegasus winked and nudged the dragon who blushed.
"N-no. I... was apparently going to do something stupid. I had this crazy idea to steal gems from the diamond dogs in the mountains to give to Rarity so she could focus more on her work, but apparently that would be suicidal of me."
"Yeah, you'd have been turned into a nice pair of purple boots. I don't think you'd be fast enough to get in there an out without being seen or to escape. It's probably good you didn't," the Daring Do cosplayer said blowing a raspberry at the dragon.
Spike returned the raspberry but soon frowned, not feeling very good about this situation. Sure, he got to keep his hide and stealing would have been against his morals, but his friends needed his help. He couldn't exactly dig up gems by himself, he couldn't find any.
A breeze blew, and a scent tickled his nose. The scent of... rubies? Sapphires? He turned his head towards the smell. It was coming from Rarity's boutique.
He could smell gems.
Spike instantly began to salivate before he shook his head.
"Hey, Rainbow Dash? You should probably get going. It's getting pretty close to midnight. It was good talking to you!"
The pegasus smiled at the dragon and flew off, speeding into the night towards the capital of Equestria. Spike watched her fly off with a serious look in his eyes. He turned towards the mountain where the summit provided the most gems. Rarity usually dug there. The diamond dogs weren't a problem for her anymore, as most of them were terrified of the diva and her friends by association. They'd leave Spike alone, hopefully. Rarity only had a couple days left and she was still about 6 dresses away from being done.
He went behind the tree and hooked the gem cart to his body. Twilight had rigged a harness for him that he could wrap around his stomach, allowing him to pull it on all fours or while standing upright. They had taken advantage of his growing size and strength. He wasn't at Big Mac or even at Applejack levels of strength but he was definitely stronger than the dainty Rarity and the bookish Twilight Sparkle.
With a determined look, he began heading towards the dig site.
- - - - - -
First off, I'd liked to apologize that this chapter is both short and kinda late-ish.
Secondly: Fanboy rant incoming.
OMFG. DAT FINALE. OH. MY. GOD. I ALMOST lost inspiration for this story. BUT OHMYGOD. THE FINALE. I'M STILL EFFING FANGASMING. I got SOOOOO MANY ideas for where to take this fic now, and let me tell you, Adventures!Spike is going to be so much a bigger part of the wedding, as is Peewee. That's honestly my biggest peeve with the series. The CMC get so much character development and act like they're growing up, but Spike fluctuates and is left out of so much. It irks me. But anyways, I'll have scenes that explain all the pictures at the end, scenes that have Spike interacting with Cadence, and what we all wanted to see: Spike's Bachelor Party. GAAAAAAAAAAAAAH. SO MUCH WIN. Seriously. I don't even know if Advetures!Wedding will be half as awesome, but I will make a good try. I'll probably do a few more arcs first before I post it, so I have plenty of time to work on it and develop Spike and Peewee out to be awesome.
Shining Armor is best pony.
Stay awesome, my bronies.