-Advanced Guide to Magical Creatures-
The reptilian species, draco agilitatus (more commonly known as ‘dragon of agility’) is most notably defined by it’s astonishingly small size compared to other dragons. An average draco agilitatus will only grow to approximately one and a half times the size of a large stallion. Apart from this radical difference, the agilitatus is anatomically identical to it’s closest relative, draco virtutem (more commonly known as ‘dragon of strength’) which can grow to over fifty metres tall. The agilitatus and virtutem are thought of as metaphorical ‘fraternal twins’ by most biologists due to evidence that suggests that the two branched off from the same evolutionary ‘parent’ and took on completely different strategies of survival. This theory would explain the remarkable similarity in both of their appearances.
The two different variants are on almost completely opposite ends of the personality spectrum. The virtutem is highly independent, aggressive and and protective of their property and territory almost to the point of paranoia. The agilitatus has developed a very different strategy. It has proven itself to have very social behaviour, lacking the aggression of the virtutem. It is not rare to find small communities of this dragon living and working together. The agilitatus does have a far shorter life span than the virtutem, lasting around 150-200 years, most likely because it leads a far more physically intensive life. Unlike most reptilian species, it does not ‘hibernate’ at any point in the year, unlike the virtutem which can spend more than three quarters of it’s life in a comatose state.
While it is unlikely a lone agilitatus will actively seek a community, it will not hesitate to join one should the opportunity present itself. In these communities-
The agilitatus, as the name suggests, is undoubtedly a dragon built for speed and agility. It has the most powerful wings of all dragons proportional to it’s size. It’s body is highly streamlined, allowing for almost frictionless movement through the atmosphere. It should be noted that the agilitatus has a body shape more closely resembling a distant serpent cousin, draco marus (‘dragon of the sea’), however obviously with added legs. In this regard, the agilitatus has a very slender build, however does have a greater muscle density as to compensate. This compensation does mean, however, that the agilitatus cannot float in water.
The agilitatus naturally walks on all four legs to allow for maximum muscle efficiency. Upon preliminary inspection, it could be deducted that this is the only method of movement they have apart from flying. However, there is a hinge at the tip of the spine, where it meets the base of the skull. This joint allows the agilitatus to crane it’s neck downwards at an almost 90 degree angle; making bipedal movement quite possible-
The agilitatus is completely monogamous, in that it chooses one mate for life. If it’s partner were to die, the agilitatus would likely not obtain another. There is no defined ‘mating season’ for this dragon, more that it passively seeks companionship constantly. When courting a female, the male agilitatus will-
A dull thud resounded as paper met paper, sealing off words that one might not want to hear.
Tiny fragments of dust drifted lazily through the air; only made visible by the saturated orange sunlight streaming through the window. The rays were being scattered by their reflective surfaces and contrasted heavily with the darkness behind them. There looked to be hundreds of them, drifting through their often short and uneventful lives. They were only a tiny sliver. Most of the light was halted by thick sheets of fabric designed for just such a purpose. A calm silence echoed throughout the room. Everything in the space was perfectly still, save for the dust particles and a steadily rising and falling bulge beneath a midnight blue blanket.
At least he wouldn’t become as large as the virtutem and have to leave his home. At least he wouldn’t have to watch as countless relationships faded and disappeared with age. At least he would not lose who he is, as obsession with belongings crept in on his psyche. At least he wouldn’t lose relationships as a result. At least he could lie on his back with his head tilted downwards, stare blankly at the ceiling and ponder all of these implications.
Relationships: exactly what Spike had hoped reading would take his mind off of, returned with all of their troublesome thoughts. Rarity, the subject of his infatuation for who-knows-how-long, had found a relationship of her own. It was unexpected, to say the least; a most unlikely pairing. Apparently she had completely fallen for a pony only new to the town. The newcomer’s name was Iron Ingot. As his name suggested, his trade was metal working. The strange thing was, Spike couldn’t help but respect the guy. He certainly couldn’t fault his taste in mares.
How did Rarity fall for someone so... different? What did she see in him? What did he see in her? How in love were they? Would Spike have ever even gotten together with Rarity had Iron not been there?
All of these questions could easily be dismissed as ‘the universe works in strange ways’ but one question still lingered; nigh unanswerable. Why was he not disappointed in the slightest?
Staring at Ponyville from incredible heights, little detail was revealed. The area seemed like nothing more than a series of random patterns and colours on a patchwork quilt. A soft sigh escaped Dash’s lips as she thought. The sky could be a lonely place, especially when you knew the joy of flying with someone.
A strange sense of pride ran through Spike as he went about his work. He had always needed a ladder to reach the higher shelves and put the books back to their original positions but with his recently added height, it wasn’t really necessary. With wings, it was completely redundant. He could simply glide around the room with a few wing beats. Sure, he could now do far more impressive things with his flight than simply hovering, but sometimes it is important to appreciate the small things.
Flying certainly made the work flow more quickly. Before, Spike had to categorise all the loose books into groups that had homes close to each other, position the ladder in the right spot, and do a careful balancing act with the books he had categorised while climbing it. He would then repeat the second and third steps over and over again. Now, a job that would have taken minutes took only seconds to complete.
As he flew another stack of books across the room, Spike spun through the air in a frivolous barrel roll.
Having seen the action out of the corner of her eye, Twilight Sparkle looked up from her studies and shook her head. “Now I just know you’re showing off, Spike.”
The dragon paused in mid flight and smiled deviously. “Are you okay Twilight? You’re looking a little green.”
Twilight answered calmly, “Oh, don’t worry, I’m not jealous. You can fly around and grasp things, but I can do this...” Immediately after saying this, the unicorn’s horn began to shimmer with a feint purple aura. An identical aura appeared, encompassing one of Spike’s ankles. He was violently yanked from the air by a heavy ball and chain. As logic dictated, the ball made contact with the floor first and shook the entire library with a resounding thud.
After his fifth attempt to break free of the ball’s unwavering grip, Spike narrowed his eyes and conceded, “Touche.” Both the ball and chain began to dematerialise and finally vanish as Twilight ceased to concentrate; her mind on other things.
“Speaking of flying, I take it there’s no longer any need for your lessons with Rainbow.”
“There isn’t, but we agreed for me to keep going, if only to be her training buddy.”
‘Something tells me you’re a little more than buddies.’ Twilight unintentionally verbalised one of her thoughts. “No surprise there,” she whispered to herself.
Her comment did not go unnoticed. Spike folded his arms and stared incredulously at her. “What is that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing,” she lied, “just that I was wondering if you ever thanked Rainbow for those lessons. She did it all out of generosity, after all.” The unlikely segue worked as Spike looked to the floor and scratched the back of his head.
“I... I’ve been thinking about it. I want it to be more than just words.”
“Oh? Do you have anything in mind?”
“Nope. I haven’t the slightest clue.”
Unknown to the old friends, far across town, through the bustling streets, in a building with what seemed to be a cake-themed decor, their conversation had indirectly triggered something. Someone's inexplicably accurate sixth sense tingled with activity. They quickly interpreted what the small muscle cramps and twitches were and gasped in surprise. Someone needed their help; whether they knew it or not. They then, quite literally and without exaggeration, sprang into action, having been given an idea from a poster advertising a competition. For this to work, she would have to ‘borrow’ a name.
Long fibres danced across the smooth surface, flicking up debris that had collected there for countless hours. As they swept across, they left behind a shining slab of polished oak. It was the impact upon another, somewhat less grand slab of timber that broke the concentration of the creatures busying themselves with various sundry tasks around the hollow tree.
The door remained unanswered for a long while before it was finally opened by one of the inhabitants of the building. Strangely enough, a straight and inquisitive gaze was met with only half of another. The other half was looking in an arbitrary direction.
“Oh. Hey Derpy, got mail for us?” Unlike most other ponies, the wall-eyed pegasus did not so much as flinch at the sight of the dragon towering over her.
“Yup.” She beamed. The mail-mare produced an envelope from her saddle bag and passed it to Spike.
Taking the letter, he asked out of curiosity, “Did you have any trouble finding the library this time?”
“Nope,” she answered happily, “I’ve been closing one eye. It makes it a lot easier. It doesn’t do good for my depth perception though.” She closed her saddle bag and turned away. “Either way, I’ve got letters to deliver, bye.”
“Bye.” He called. After waving Derpy off, Spike retreated back into the lirbrary. “Twilight, mail!” He looked to the addressee and frowned. “For me...” After using a claw to tear the opening, he lifted a slip of paper and skimmed his eyes across the message; searching for the point.
He involuntarily started whispering the words to himself. “Congratulations, Mr Spike, you have won...” His eyes widened. “...Your story, though unusual, pulled on our collective heartstrings and we wish you the best of luck in wooing that cyan pegasus mare of your eye.You will find the tickets and forms to fill, included with this note. Once again, congratulations on winning the competition.”
The envelope was torn asunder with frightening speed. They were all there, the forms and tickets. Spike scanned through every document; looking for the instructions to make a payment to a foreign bank account. No, all official, all he had to do fill out the legal and preference forms and nothing more. He already had the tickets. If it was a scam, it wasn’t very well thought out. It didn’t even ask for a signature.
Yup... It was legit... He won a competition without entering.
“So what are you going to do with them? Just let the tickets go to waste? The show premiers in a week. Opportunities like this don’t arise often.”
“But I didn’t even do anything to win them. Isn’t that wrong?”
“Something tells me whoever did write in wanted you to have these. They used your name and from what I can tell, your recent experiences.” In honesty, Twilight had an idea of who it might be. ‘
“I don’t know, I didn’t ask for this. I guess I’ll go.”
“Ahuh, and who are you going to take?”
“Well, from the letter -which I still find very suspicious- I think they expect me to take Rainbow Dash. So I might ask her?” Spike idly toyed with a globe, walking his fingers along the equator.
“Fair enough, I can’t think of anypony else whom I could describe as the cyan pegasus mare of your eye.” Twilight could get used to the stare that Spike shot across the room whenever she teased him. It was just priceless. “It’s also the perfect way to thank her. I’m pretty sure she’s the Wonderbolt’s biggest fan.” She continued while moving to the front of the building, “So are you going to go ask her or what?” She opened the door for him.
“There’s no time like the present. Besides, I highly, highly doubt she’ll turn you down.”
The dragon proceeded out the door much like an escaped convict might enter a police station while still wearing the orange jumpsuit.
‘Quit it, brain, I don’t even like that song.’ Regardless of his effort, Spike’s mind would drift back to the same song in every minute of mental silence. He couldn’t help but sing it softly to himself, despite his aversion to it.
“I've got two tickets to paradise,
Won't you pack your bags, we'll leave tonight,
I've got two tickets to paradise,
I've got two tickets to paradise.”
Shaking his head, he refocused on his task. It was midday and sunny with a cool yet comfortable breeze. That meant that Rainbow would be... napping on a cloud just on the outskirts of the town.
It wasn’t as much Spike knowing the mare well, as it was that he could see her. He swooped down and landed softly next to her, careful not to disturb her slumber. She looked so peaceful and content. Oh, well. As he extended a claw, making to shake her back to this world, he paused at a particular thought.
He withdrew his hand and placed himself above and behind Dash. Inhaling deeply, he prepared his best impression of an instructor from the Junior Speedsters Flight School. He never thought listening to Dash’s anecdotes about her time there would pay off in this way.
“Rise and shine, fillies!” He boomed. Dash shot up from her nap and looked around in confusion.
Spike didn’t wait, her daze would not take long to wear off. “Come on! Left right left right left right left right!” Her body stiffened as she started to trot on the spot. “Drop and give me twenty!” She complied unquestioningly and began the exercises.
The mare quietly counted to herself with each physical heave. The sight became too much for Spike as he fell to the floor of the cloud, writhing with laughter.
“Sir? Spike? What are you-” Dash slapped a hoof against her forehead in realisation. Her facial expression turned from one of annoyance to an embarrassed smile. “Heh, you got me,” She admitted.
Spike sat up and wiped a tear from his eye. “Did I ever! You should have seen the look on your face.” He was still barely able to contain his chortles.
“Yeah, yeah. So, you woke me up, what do you want?”
“Oh, yeah. Well you see...” His mind raced. Everything he had mentally prepared was lost in the jubilation of the past few seconds. “I just wanted to thank you for your flight lessons, so...”
A smile crossed her features as she leaned in closer to the dragon. “Sooo?”
“I don’t know how, but I won these in a competition,” he took out the golden slivers of plastic and held them up to Dash’s line of sight. “...and I thought you might want to go with me.” Realising the implications, he quickly added, “Just as a friend, I’m not... you know...”
Rainbow Dash took one of the tickets and began reading it. Her facial expression remained blank as she finished. She seemed to move in slow motion as she looked up at Spike. “This... This is for the next Wonderbolts performance. It’s one of their best yet.” The calm in her voice was almost eerie. “Tickets sold out in ten minutes.” She looked back to the ticket. “Oh look, this can get you into their after party... to meet them...” This was getting a little creepy, she was obviously building up to something.
Spike stumbled back at the impact to his chest. The shock was almost too much to hear the gratitude coming from the head and neck wrapped around his shoulder. It took him a few seconds to reciprocate the hug.
“Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!” She squealed. Spike silently thanked Celestia that he was a dragon and therefore cold blooded. If it wasn’t for that fact, the sides of his face would have turned bright red at the feeling of something warm and moist pressing against his jaw.
“Have a good night.”
“I will, see ya.”
“Oh, and Spike?”
“I don’t expect you to be home tonight. A night out is a night out.”
“What? Wouldn’t you worry about me?”
“You’re a big dragon now, Spike. You’ll be with Rainbow anyway. I know she wouldn’t let anything bad happen to you.”
What? That was certainly a curve ball. It wasn’t unwelcome though.
The hall was comparable to the style used at the Grand Galloping Gala, if a little less decorated. It contrasted somewhat, that despite the grandeur of the building itself, the items of furniture, while equally luxurious, were out of place. Truth be told, it was a far cry from a formal affair and the intense physical exertion from the display of flight skills would be tiring to say the least. It was not completely daft to assume the Wonderbolts would want a comfy couch or bean bag to lay upon at the ‘post-flight-party’.
To Spike’s relief, Rainbow Dash had remained nonchalant even when talking to her idols. The last thing they needed after a show was a babbling fan girl and a dragon trying to calm her down. He couldn’t help but notice knowing looks he was thrown every now and then. Although it completely baffled him why they were doing so. As if by natural progression, the males and females separated as the night wore on.
“So Spike,” Soarin’ began, lightly swirling his glass of punch, “how long have you and Dash been together?”
It wasn’t until Spike started coughing up the liquid that he had accidentally inhaled that Soarin’ realised his question was ill timed.
“What?” Spike spluttered. “Me and Dash? No!”
“Me and Spike? No! What gives you that idea?” How fortunate it was that Rainbow Dash had already finished her punch.
Spitfire laughed to herself at the severity of the reaction. “Don’t act so clueless. You’ve been smiling at each other most of the night, you both stand close when talking in a group to the point you’re leaning against his shoulder and I’ve seen your pupils dilate when you look at him. The last one at least proves that your mind likes what it sees.”
Dash made her best effort to close her mouth and quell the accusations. “Okay, even if Spike and I did have those sorts of feelings for each other -and we don’t- it wouldn’t work anyway. He’s a dragon, I’m a pony, we’re too different. It would be too weird.”
“Dash, I think I speak for all of us Wonderbolts when I say that, we’ve been all over the world performing. While I’ve never seen or heard of a dragon and pony getting into a relationship together, it wouldn’t be the strangest thing we’ve seen.”
“That’s great, but Spike and I are just friends anyway and that’s how it will stay.”
Spitfire shrugged; accepting the answer. “Fair enough, just remember what I said.”
It wasn't long until the group of 8 fliers weathered down, one by one as they took their leave. It had been a long day for all of them. Spike and Rainbow Dash moved to the balcony to say their final goodbyes before they returned to their respective homes. As he spread his wings, he felt something press against his side.
After taking a long look at the mass resting flush on his scales, he turned to Soarin', who was looking like he could do the same. "The punch was alcoholic, wasn't it?"
Soarin' stretched his legs; replying, "Yep, helps you wind down after a show." He leaned across and saw the reason for Spike's question. "Hmm, do you think you can take her home?"
Spike looked back to the mare currently using his stomach as a makeshift pillow. Dash was out cold. He almost grimaced at the thought of carrying her. Whisking books around the library was one thing, but carrying a fully grown pegasus? Oh well, it had to be done. He began hovering above her. She didn't even react when he picked her up and started cradling her. While he could support her weight, it took a lot of energy.
'Tonight's going to be a long night' With that final thought, the lone agilitatus set out on his arduous quest.
Meanwhile, Rainbow Dash's mind was elsewhere, reminiscing bittersweet memories that had until then, been almost forgotten.
I didn’t think it would turn out THIS long but hey, I ain’t complaining. User loliger_rofler (yes, you just got mentioned in the author’s note) asked for some additional information on Spike’s species, to which I say, “ASK AND YE SHALL RECEIVE”. Like how I did that? Anywho, I’m on the look out for any potential cover art for this. I could ask one of my friends, who draws like a boss but I don’t think she’s a pegasister, if you know what I’m getting at.
Edit: Okay, so a few of you were saying it ended abruptly, which is true (also, a mistake, which doesn't surprise me). So I extended it slightly, so it won't be so... awkward. Still, I need the final scene... I think. One final note, just to tease you, the next chapter will be titled, "The Origin Of Loyalty". *Tee Hee*
As always, thanks for reading,