The light of the day pierced Twilight’s eyelids, waking her from her slumber. She rolled in her bed, trying to think of an excuse not to get up – and an even better one not to have to face her number one assistant. Urgh! Why did Spike have to like Rarity? He will hate me! I don’t even think he’ll forgive me, why bother explaining? But I can’t keep this from him. It’s best that he knows the truth before he finds out by himself and gets hurt even more.
The lilac unicorn stared dully at the walls of her room, feeling very apprehensive. But she knew that stalling was of no use, since she would have to deal with her dragon assistant sooner or later. Best to get it over with… Pulling herself out from under the sheets, she took a look at the purple dragon lying in his basket. Oh, Spike…
Twilight trotted down the stairs, thinking through her plan of action. She decided that she should make breakfast and tell Spike the news afterwards. Her heart lurched as the thought of breakfast brought back memories of the exquisite meal that Rarity had prepared for her the previous day.
The lavender pony went to her cupboards and dug out some cupcakes that Pinkie had dropped off for her when she was at the Boutique. Placing them on the table along with two glasses of juice, she heard muffled sounds coming from her room that indicated her assistant was getting up.
"Good… morning, Twilight,” mumbled Spike groggily, trudging down the steps. “Wow… you prepared breakfast?” he asked, rubbing his eyes and stretching. “What’s the occasion?”
"Good morning, Spike!” the scholarly mare gestured to the chair on the opposite side of the table with a wide grin. “I thought that you could take a day off and everything, since… you’ve been such a great assistant!” she pursed her lips, hoping her expression didn’t look too fake due to the sudden anxiety she was feeling.
Spike hauled himself onto the chair, stuffing down the cupcakes and downing the juice in big gulps. Setting down the glass, he said, “Pinkie Pie’s cupcakes are always great! So, does that mean I get to take a rest today?”
“Yeah, you should take the day off! But before that… um… actually, Spike, I have something I have to… talk to you… about.” Twilight heard her voice becoming smaller and smaller as she said this, involuntarily cringing in unease.
“What is it, Twilight?” the baby dragon recognized the tone of the unicorn’s voice, which usually meant that something majorly bad was about to happen.
“Mmmmf.” The librarian was sure that her throat just had an emergency shut-down. She tried opening her mouth to speak again, but only succeeded in making another strange grunt.
“I, um, uh,” Twilight wanted to facehoof. Hard. She made a guttural sound when she made another attempt to speak coherently.
“Twilight? Are you choking?” the baby dragon tottered to the lavender mare’s side and patted her.
The unicorn took a deep breath to steady herself and placed both hooves on the table. “Spike, I need to tell you something.”
“Yeah, I know! You told me that already.” The number one assistant couldn’t help grinning. Twilight was obviously freaking out again… but wait. What if it really was something serious? What could put so much stress on the unicorn? “So, what is it? Are we – are we going back to Canterlot?” That was the only thing serious enough that the dragon could think of.
“No. It’s not that.” Twilight Sparkle, you had better do this before you chicken out! “Spike… I-I’m dating… Rarity.”
The assistant’s jaw dropped in a comical look of disbelief. Then he burst out in laughter. “What?! Come on, be serious! Just tell me already!”
Twilight’s expression remained as somber as before.
“Come on! You’re kidding me, right?” Then he noticed his best friend’s look. Her eyes were sad and pleading – they told the truth. The dragon abruptly stopped laughing. “Twilight?”
The mare brought herself to look the tiny dragon in the eye. “Yes, Spike. I… am dating… Rarity.”
“D-dating…? Like… kissing?”said Spike, very slowly. His brow knotted into a hurt and confused expression when the unicorn nodded in response. “But-but… what? But… huh?” Now it was he that was struck speechless.
His mouth agape, he started stumbling backwards, muttering under his breath. “Twilight… Rarity… impossible… why… why?” He blinked several times in succession as something seemed to click in his head.
Then he turned his back on Twilight and scrambled out the door. “NOOOOO!”
Spike kicked at a rock. He had kept himself hidden behind bushes or in the shadows so far while making his way to the Boutique. Twilight had yet to call him back, so far; that was good, because he was running away, never to return. He just had to see the mare he adored so much one last time.
Screened by the foliage near Rarity’s boutique, the baby dragon strove to peer into its windows. It was still quite early in the morning, so the Boutique was probably not yet open for business; this was confirmed when Spike saw that the lights were dimmed and there was no sight of his crush inside.
He grew a bit desperate, knowing that there would never be another chance for him to lay his eyes on the beauty again. He searched for a tree that would allow him view to the upper floors of the home of the elegant unicorn, and found one. Placing his claws on the trunk, he tried to get a purchase on it.
After many increasingly-embarrassing failed attempts, he gave up. He remembered his fantasies of being the heroic knight that would save his lady. Now he just felt useless and inept. He had even nearly become a peeping tom! And he was pining for a pony that was already taken – by the mare he had grown up with.
Feeling betrayed and wronged, he slowly started walking away. Self-exile was the only choice now.
One hour. Twilight sighed as she looked at the clock. She had wanted to stop Spike when he had run out the library, but had decided to give the dragon some time alone. She was unsure if anything she could have said at that point would have comforted the assistant, and was even more certain that she would have made it worse.
But an hour was a bit too long… she had tried to get some work done on the life cycle of bees report, but was too distracted. The scrolls in front of her bore a few crossed-out sentences, nothing more.
Clearing her writing stand, the studious mare let herself out of the library... but then stepped back inside again, trotting to the resident owl’s perch. “Owloysius…? I know this is your resting time, but I have a feeling that I’ll need your help finding Spike… please?” she asked.
“Who?” the owl spread his wings in confirmation, then soared past Twilight out of the door.
“Spike?... Spike?” called Twilight, walking through the streets of Ponyville. A feeling of déjà vu was creeping on her: a memory of once before searching like this, only for Owlowiscious and her to find the purple assistant being assaulted by a fully grown dragon in the Everfree Forest…
The lilac mare shook her head. She had thought Spike would know better than to run away into the hostile forest again, but it seemed she was wrong. By then the growing worry was starting to make her regret not searching for her trusty helper sooner.
If I don’t find him before long, I might have to ask the girls to help me… wait! I have to let Rarity know about this! Twilight galloped to the Boutique while she silently berated herself for not thinking of it earlier.
“Rarity!” the anxious bookworm used her magic on the front door, and to her relief it swung open. She trotted in and immediately glimpsed the fashionista tidying up in the back of the room.
“Darling! Ah, you surprised me!” the fair unicorn was glad she had removed her glasses before Twilight stepped in. “Whatever is the matter? You seem so stressed!” She closed the distance between the two of them and put a hoof to Twilight’s face.
“Rarity…” the lavender mare felt tears streaming down her face and buried herself in Rarity’s embrace. “I just… told Spike about us, and… he ran away.”
“Wha-?” the fashionista couldn’t comprehend at first the connection between Twilight’s distress and her statement... then it dawned on her that the dragon – “Oh, Twilight, you didn’t have to do it alone!”
“I wanted… to apologize for… hurting his feelings…” choked the distraught mare, grateful for a shoulder to cry on. “But… he’s mad at me now!”
The indigo-maned unicorn nuzzled the mare in her hooves gently, cuddling her and trying to soothe her. “Darling… don’t cry… we’ll find him and talk it over, and then everything will work out…I’m sure of it.”
Twilight nodded weakly. “Thanks… I’m really glad I met you, you know. Ponyville wouldn’t have been the same without you…” She closed her eyes, breathing in deeply the rose blossom and skin musk fragrance of Rarity’s coat. She slowly calmed down with the comforting feeling of the hooves holding her close and the body heat from their chests pressing together.
“Twilight, dear, I’ll do anything I can to help you find him,” assured the designer, helping the librarian to her hooves. “I know he will be… in despair, and we have to be there for him.”
The lilac mare chuckled feebly. “And I was the one who made him feel so bad in the first place…”
Rarity held her and stroked her mane until her sobs slowly ceased, then levitated a hoofkerchief to the lavender mare. Twilight wiped the moisture from her cheeks, smiled tremulously at her love, and together the pair set out together to find their heartbroken friend.
Spike treaded wearily over the rocky terrain before him. It was where he and Rarity had encountered the Diamond Dogs... a lifetime ago, or so it felt. If only Rarity were here to show me where the gems are… His tears were blurring his sight and dripping down his face, but he kept stumbling around anyway. All the rubies and gems in the world, none would matter any more – because the most beautiful mare in his life with the three most perfect of diamonds as a cutie mark would not be his.
Finally collapsing into a sitting position in grief, the baby dragon drew a claw along the dust, making the letter R, but then wiped it out angrily. Thinking of the unicorn only made him want to curl up and die. Arrrrgh! Twilight. Kissed. Her! Another bout of sobs escaped the little assistant.
The forest was alive. Faint buzzes and hums surrounded two ponies as they cautiously made their way through the undergrowth. Even the plants themselves seemed to be breathing and murmuring words of warning. Mist hung in the air, humid and heavy.
“I’m scared, Twilight…” Rarity huddled close to the lavender mare as another mysterious shriek rang out through the dense foliage of the Everfree Forest.
The Element of Magic nuzzled the fair unicorn’s neck, running her muzzle through the sleek coat. “Don’t worry,” she assured, feeling more confident than she normally would have been, because of their mission and her responsibility. “I’ll never let anything happen to you… or Spike. We’ll find him. And Owloysius is circling around Ponyville as we speak.”
The fashionista pressed her cheek lightly on Twilight’s in response. “I’m sure you’ll keep us safe… Captain Sparkle.”
The scholarly mare lost herself in the stunning eyes of the gorgeous pale unicorn. Scarlet, lilac and emerald undergrowth brushed their flanks as they went deeper into the forest, but neither of them noticed a brilliant azure plant as they passed by…
Almost three hours had passed since Spike had run out the library and two since the pair of unicorns had entered the Everfree to search for him; so far they had found no sign of the baby dragon. Twilight glanced worriedly at Rarity, who was walking gingerly – it was an indication of fatigue rather than pettiness – and came to a stop.
“Darling?” asked the fashionista, not sure of the reason for the halt. “Have you found something?”
“No… it’s just, I think we need to take a rest… you’re tired. You don’t need to force yourself.” The lavender mare raised a hoof to brush off some grime and twigs that had caught on Rarity’s coat.
“Twilight, I am quite alright,” protested the fashion designer, but her haggard breathing told the truth.
“Let’s just stop for a while, please?” Twilight felt guilty for dragging the fair unicorn along, and she was starting to doubt her assumption that her assistant had come to the Forest when she did not find him in Ponyville.
They settled themselves on what seemed like a clean patch of grass, and the bookworm put a foreleg over the withers of the stylish mare. “Rarity, I’m sorry… I think I’m wrong, Spike probably didn’t come here at all.” She signed apologetically. “I shouldn’t have asked you to come.”
“You couldn’t possibly have known where Spike was, darling,” replied the alabaster unicorn sternly. “And what kind of marefriend would I be, if I had let you go into the Everfree alone?” she said in her usual sophisticated air.
Twilight rubbed Rarity’s shoulder with the hoof that was wrapped around the fashionista. “Kind of a bad one, I think…” she joked.
The indigo-maned unicorn rested her head on the shoulder of the studious mare. “Twilight…?” she asked, hesitantly bringing up something that had been preying on her mind for some time.
“I was wondering… ah, Spike… liked me, did he not?” It was not really a question, but more of a statement. She felt Twilight squirm a little.
“I’m sorry, Rarity… but I… can’t talk about it.” The librarian knew that her response was a confirmation in itself, making her feel even more ill at ease and causing her to release her hoof from around Rarity’s withers. I am such a bad pony! I never consider other’s feelings until it’s too late. I should have at least told Spike before I started dating Rarity… uh… Her thoughts trailed off to a dead end.
Rarity had been alarmed when the lilac unicorn had abruptly let go of her, and she carefully observed her marefriend’s features – Twilight’s expression was one of complete self-blame. “Twilight, darling… you are not to blame for anything-”
“It’s all my fault! I should have thought more carefully about-about everything!” The lavender mare started thumping herself on the side of her head.
Thump, thump, thump.
“Twilight!” The fashionista jumped to her hooves. “I thought you would know better than to take every single responsibility into your hooves. We are together, are we not? Did you not think that I would be with you every step of the way? If you made a mistake, then I am at fault as well. This is not a problem you have to solve; it is something we are going to work out, together!” She finally paused, taking a measured breath and inclining her head regally. “Well, darling, I think I have rested enough…”
Twilight had been utterly shocked by Rarity’s speech. Then, she smiled sheepishly. “Yeah.”