Or I guess I should just call you Celestia from now on like you keep asking me since I’m a Princess now too. There are some things that have come to light, that have opened my eyes to things I’ve been blind to. You’re the first pony I could think of to talk to.
So here it goes A little filly that lives here, the one that recently was deemed an honorary sister to Rainbow Dash, was discovered to be living on the streets. Her name is Scootaloo, and I’m shocked that nopony, including myself, noticed. The mare who found her found out that Scootaloo had been taking money and materials for survival. She came up with money of her own to pay back what was stolen, but even without that ponies, here are so much more accepting than in bigger cities, and I was proven right during when Scootaloo came out and confessed.
It was quite the get together, lots of tears, but in the end, everypony forgave her. They were more upset that they hadn’t noticed Scootaloo’s plight. It made me think that if a sweet filly like Scootaloo could be alone for years, unnoticed, who knows how many others have slipped through the cracks? Is there anything we can do for them?
That brings up another subject. From what I’ve heard from plenty of ponies in their childhood, they either ran away from home to make their living, or wandered across Equestria without adult supervision before they got their cutie mark.
It made me wonder, in regards to Scootaloo, why is it so natural to ignore the young? Let them go places that even adults would consider horrifyingly dangerous, or situations that in other ways would be considered negligent, but not bat an eye? How many children get injured or die from adults not knowing or caring where their young are? I know that the adults of Equestria love their foals, and look after them if they’re in eyesight, but how did this culture of “out of sight, out of mind” come about?
On a separate, yet related note. I. Am. The. Worst. Mother EVER! I never really thought of where Spike fit into my life. I hatched him from an egg, sure, and when he was a little hatchling he followed me everywhere, clear indications of imprinting. Especially considering that he would go into hysterics when I wasn’t around for long stretches of time. I just chalked it up to a baby being a baby, but didn’t think much of it at the time. After all, I was just a filly.
Nopony has ever raised a dragon before, but even then, training him with tutors alongside me, and was held to the same high standard. Again, something I should’ve questioned, but at the time it was just so useful. Someone to be a soundboard to my lectures other than Smartypants and Mr. Wigglesworth; Someone that could make my life easier; But more importantly, since I didn’t see the need for social interaction, I never gave thought that he might need more than he got.
For so long, I never thought about it. Then a few days ago, the same social worker who helped Scootaloo looked into Spike. How come we never thought that working him like an adult was a bad thing? And the dog basket, I know that I used it when he was a hatchling because he loved sleeping surrounded by my scent and the basket let me keep him near in case I needed something.
But the worst of all is that, and I know she never meant to hurt him, that Rarity’s use of him as a mobile pin cushion has chipped and bored holes into his scales. He even mentioned that when he was in the lava pool with the dragons he felt itchy in there. That means that some of the lava was able to get deep enough to act as an irritant. He could’ve died, and nopony would’ve noticed the damage until it was too late! What kind of mother does that make me?
Anyway, I’m going to have Spike send this to you and have a proper freak out.
Your faithful student,
Dearest Twilight Sparkle,
You’re a co-ruler in our nation’s triumvirate. You are no longer my student, but my equal. A friend as well, I hope, but enough pleasant teasing. This note you sent me is quite the food for thought. It really does sadden me that anypony under my sun could spend years on the streets alone. Especially when that filly is one that has captured my sister’s heart. I hear quite a bit of that filly from Luna and their dream adventures.
If Scootaloo was a unicorn, I know my sister would jump at the chance to take her as a student. Even without that, knowing Scootaloo is in the care of a social worker is good. May I inquire as to who’s taking care of her? As for your other question, on the matter. Even when Luna and I were foals, hard to imagine, I know, but there was a time when Lulu and I were young. We weren’t just popped out full grown. But it was like that then as well.
It’s a cultural thing that ponies have never really grown out of. Of course back then it was a way to ‘cull the herd’ as it were. Ensuring the smartest and strongest survived, while those who foolishly risked themselves were no longer able to add their seed to the herd. Survival of the fittest as it were.
Of course nowadays it’s just something that happens. If a foal wants to run off to discover themselves, or doesn’t feel their cutie mark is suitable for their current living conditions, they move away, and ponies just let them be. Of course, knowing that same mentality is also something that fostered Scootaloo’s previous living conditions, it’s something we as princesses should address in our next summit.
As for Spike, I’ll be honest, Spike is the first dragon in pony civilization that has been monitored, raised by, and lived with ponies, not just reluctantly living alongside. With him, there have been many firsts. I’ll admit that I had him taught in an accelerated manner so that he could be of assistance to you, as well as for a few more selfish reasons.
The first being that I didn’t want him to suffer discrimination. I don’t have to tell you how cruel foals can be, and as the only dragon hatchling in civilization, I didn’t want him to suffer. Nor did I want him to be around those who would use him to get to you, and through you myself. That isn’t a life for any child. The other reason was that I wanted to study dragon magic myself. It’s how I was able to create the spell to send letters via dragon fire. Using a spell reverse engineered from what I taught Philomina when she was but a hatchling.
Unlike most beings, dragons don’t have a linear biological growth. As you’ve noticed, both when you hatched him, and during his birthday party in Ponyville, he’s hit full grown adulthood twice. Yet he has twice gone back to being a whelp. Then you have to take into consideration his mental development versus emotional development. While emotionally he’s around the age of a young colt, mentally he’s as developed as any stallion. And that growth will continue, even centuries from now as he grows into himself. How much of that is our teaching him at a level far higher than those normally taught, and how much is a dragon’s natural hyper intelligence, I do not know. And yes, I know from the few dragons that were civil enough to talk after the World Peace Convention of 832 CE, they are hyper intelligent but they as a species usually put those smarts into increasing their hoard as well as increasing their magical prowess.
But I can honestly say that you are not the worst mother ever. Yes, you have much to catch up on with Spike, but I’m sure that you can make him happy. If you ever need anything, don’t be afraid to ask. I’ll always be here for you.
You’re friend and confidante,
Twilight set the reply down on her mahogany desk, and leaned back, staring at the ceiling. She took a deep breath and collected her thoughts. There was a lot to think about. She had always called Spike her Number One Assistant, and a baby dragon. But thinking about it, she didn’t truly know whether he was a child of the Crusader’s age group, or an adult. In many ways, Celestia’s experiment was a success, that little dragon of hers was perfect for her, and did allow her to focus solely on whatever tasks she came across.
But she didn’t have to worry about discrimination, now that she thought about it. Spike had tons of friends. A shiver ran down her spine as she recalled that in five years, Spike had rarely seen or spoken to the friends he made in Canterlot while she was busy in her school work. Although some of them, like Amethyst Star and Lyra Heartstrings had moved to Ponyville, or commuted back and forth, he still had very little time to hangout with his old friends. Nonetheless, discrimination was rarely a problem. He had ponies to look out for him, but he would’ve had more to worry about from those who would try to use him. Thankfully, being around her and Celestia’s staff constantly prevented that when he was younger. But Twilight wasn’t sure if that was a good enough excuse.
As for the enhanced curriculum, now that it clicked that he was her son, she knew that was no way to raise a child who had no say in the matter. Worst still, she grew into being antisocial until she came into Ponyville. But he had been forced into a higher state of learning, and cut off from normal means of development, stunting the milestones most foals need to grow into well adjusted adults. Worst still, she set it up so that it was hard to put him into school as a student, since with his honorary masters degrees, something she needed to fix now that she saw the racism in that, any curriculum they did was going to be beneath him.
Sighing, Twilight looked around her room, taking stock of Spike’s few meager possessions. Her face set in a look of pure determination, she thought to herself, I’m going to be the best mother ever to Spike! I need to get the girls, we’ve got lots of work to do!
Rarity and Spike sat on Rarity’s fainting couch, a small dining tray resting between them. The pot was filled with Pachydermian Chai that Rarity recently discovered thanks to Fancy Pants. Sipping her cup daintily, Spike initiated the conversation. “So we said we’d wait until after Scootaloo’s little get together until we talked… So what now?”
Setting her cup down, she sighed. “Honestly Spikey-Wi -... no Spike, I don’t know. I admit that your feelings for me were the worst kept secret in all of Ponyville.”
“Thanks, Twi,” Spike mumbled sarcastically.
“Now Spike, don’t say that about Twilight, after all, even without that everypony knew,” Rarity replied.
“If you knew then why didn’t you say anything?” Spike asked, his eyes watering slightly.
“A few reasons actually, and I’m afraid none of them are what you’d like to hear.”
“I don’t mind, I just want to know.”
“Well honestly, you confuse me, Spike. On one hoof, you’re a baby dragon who looks no bigger than my sister. So in that respect, it’d be like reciprocating with a foal. And that’s illegal on so many levels. But on the other, I’ve seen you grow into adulthood, even if temporarily, and you have the intellect and responsibilities of an adult.
“Dare I say, in some areas you do more than most adults I know would ever dream of doing. And let’s not ignore the fact that you have moments when you act so young, emotionally, but other times you are so grown up. That is a source of so much confusion, Spike,” Rarity said, looking deep into her cup.
“I’m sorry,” Spike sighed.
“Pish-posh, there’s nothing to be sorry for. The other reason is that, well, I’m your first crush. First major one, anyway. And I was hoping that like all crushes it would fade over time and you’d fall for somepony more fitting for you. After all, even those rare ponies who do end up with their crushes, very few of those last any amount of time. And those usually end in heart break. Something that I’d like to spare you from.
“Lastly, simply put... You are a drake that I care deeply about as a friend, even as horrible of a friend I’ve been. And when those relationships between friends go from friendship to romance. When it falls through, it’s very hard to remain friends afterwards. And I’d hate it if that rift came between us. Even though I’m Twilight’s friend, hurting your heart would probably make her try to banish me to the center of the sun,” She drank the rest of her chai as Spike thought about his reply.
“Yeah, Twilight would probably try to do that, but I wouldn’t let her. To be fair, those are good reasons, but if I wanted to give us a chance, would you want to try? See if there could be an us?” Spike asked.
“I’m not saying no. But can you hold off a while longer? I need to get my feelings in order,” Rarity asked, trying to buy herself time.
“Alright, and Rares. No matter what you chose or what happens, I’ll always be your friend,” Spike replied, earning himself a hug from Rarity.