Silence filled the library broken only by the occasional rustling of a page and the muttering of a small voice. Elusive sat at one of the reading tables next to his dragon girlfriend Spines and across from the stoic figure of Prince Dusk Shine. Spines had made a discovery that shocked them both. A way to induce a growth spurt in a dragon without the risk of widespread mayhem and destruction. However, it did not come without some cost. While Spines kept her nose buried in the same research manual she made the discovery in, Elusive and Dusk exchanged worried glances. “Are you sure about this?” asked Dusk Shine. “Maybe you should think about this more and not rush into a life changing decision.”
“Now, now, we shouldn't treat her like a child,” said Elusive as he started rubbing Spines' back. Whatever she decided, he would try to support her decision.
Spines put down the book, slamming it shut. “Dusk, I'm fifteen but everypony acts like I'm still ten. If I stay small, I'm always going to be treated like a little kid. I haven't seen anything in here about hibernation induced growth being dangerous, so there's no need to worry. I'll sleep for a year, get around pony size, and then wake up.” She groaned and crossed her arms. “It's safer than trying to find the right sized treasure hoard.”
“Spines, the book also says that it can be hard for young dragons to control how long they hibernate for. Just because you plan to only sleep for a year doesn't mean that's going to be how long it will last.” Dusk sighed in frustration, the debate having gone back and forth for the last few hours, with the argument never leaving the same few points. “I'm just worried, alright? This is a big step to take.” Dusk Shine rubbed his temple. “Spines,” he said, dropping the argumentative tone, “can you at least tell me you aren't doing this just for Elusive?”
Elusive tsked. “Spines, you know you don't need to change for me.” He nuzzled her. “I think you are perfect the way you are.”
Spines tapped her claws on the table. “That's a lie,” she said calmly. Both Dusk and Elusive were taken aback. Spines turned and looked up at Elusive, “We both know that's a lie. I do need to change if you and I are going to work.”
“Don't,” said Spines. She shut her eyes and turned around. “Elusive, everything is about appearance with you. You're a fashion designer, appearances are your life. As long as I look like a kid, you will always treat me like one, regardless of my actual age.” She spun around and stared into his eyes. “I'm not saying that's a bad thing. If it was, I wouldn't love you as much as I do. I just... I just want a fair shot of us actually working. That's not too much to ask for, is it?.” Elusive didn’t respond. She was right that it was hard to remember sometimes that she wasn't the same starry eyed little girl he met when Dusk first came to Ponyville.
Dusk Shine tried to interject, “You shouldn't-”
“Dusk, I wasn't finished.” She leaned against the table and her face scrunched up trying to think of the right words. “I'll always be your assistant. I'll always be your little sister. But I need to grow up eventually and I need you to support me on this. Please?” Spines clasped her claws together begging for him to give in.
“I... but...” Dusk's ears and wings drooped. “I'm just worried that you're rushing things, but if you're this dead set on it, alright. I will support you on this. What does the book say you have to do?”
“It just says I have to really concentrate on how long I want to hibernate before going to sleep. According to this pony's notes, a year should make me the same size as a standard stallion, maybe a bit bigger.” Spines stretched up her little arms and yawned. “I just need you to make sure I don’t wake up until I wake up naturally. I really don't want to have to do this again. Oh!” She perked up and licked her fangs. “I could use all the gems we have. You’re supposed to eat a lot before you hibernate.”
Dusk scoffed and rolled his eyes. “I should've known. I’ll go put them in your room right away.” Dusk stood up and walked out of the library, leaving only Spines and Elusive.
Elusive pulled Spines into a hug from behind. “...Spines?”
Spines patted his hoof and leaned back against him. “Hey, you aren't upset about what I said, are you?”
“No.” Elusive shook his head. “I just wanted to say that, when you wake up, I promise to do a better job of not treating you like your a child. There may be an age gap between us but that's no excuse for a gentlecolt to treat his princess that way.” He kissed the back of her head. “Oh, and I just realized something; I'll need to make you a dress for when we attend formal events. One that's properly resistant to the tears your claws cause. This could really inspire some new designs, and a dragon model would get everypony's attention.” He would have gone on and on about the potential had Spines not started to laugh.
“Elusive, promise me you won't be different when I wake up.”
“I shall even make sure I have the same mane style as I do now for when we are joined together once more.” As they hugged, he heard another pony enter the library, Dusk Shine had returned.
“Alright, everything should be set up. I'll try to make sure the area around your room is quiet while you're hibernating. Are you ready?”
Spines and Elusive tightly hugged one another and then she nodded. “As I'll ever be.”
The year had passed as most do in Ponyville: celebrations, lessons learned, and monster attacks. It was hard passing the time without Spines nearby. The days never seemed to pass fast enough, the last few in particular were some of the longest he had ever felt.
Mere hours after the time for Spines to awaken had passed, Elusive walked into the castle, refusing to wait a moment longer. “Dusk Shine? Spines?” he called out. Perhaps I came a touch a too early. Oh well, I have the chance to be with her when she awakens, if that's the case.
“In the kitchen,” Dusk Shine responded from out of sight.
He navigated his way through the throne room and down a hall off to the side. The prince was chewing on buttered toast as he sat beside the stairway that connected the kitchen to Spine's room. “Is she awake?”
Dusk nodded and swallowed. “You're right on time. She woke up an hour ago.”
“That's wonderful!” Elusive rushed to the stairs, but Dusk Shine blocked his path. “D-Dusk Shine?”
“There was a miscalculation. The pony who wrote that manual got some facts wrong.”
Elusive gasped, covering his mouth with his hoof. “Is she alright? Oh, no! Please don’t tell me she didn't get her growth spurt! The poor dear would be devastated if she didn't grow!”
“Yes, she got her growth spurt and physically, she's fine as far as I can tell.”
“Phew. You had me worried there for a moment. You really should work on how you deliver news, you are a prince after all.”
Dusk grunted, “Yes well, there is still a problem. She grew larger than expected. Just, when you see her, do your best not to overreact. Please?”
“Me? Overreact? I would never do that.” Elusive humphed
“Of course not,” replied Dusk with a deadpan stare before he moved out of the way.
Don't worry Spines, I'm coming. Elusive marched up the stairs and turned to the right at the top, stopping right in front of her door. Slowly he raised his hoof, then made contact with the door, knocking three times.
“Dusk, I don't want to talk about it right now!” yelled a voice from the other side.
“Are you willing to talk to me?” asked Elusive. Silence was his response. “Spines, dear, please let me in.”
“...fine.” The voice was not the one Elusive remembered. The pitch was lower and each word seemed to come with a growl. Elusive hoped that last part was just because she was upset.
Elusive forced a neutral expression and was determined to keep it that way as he opened the door. Inside was the same, sparsely decorated room that he remembered. A few power pony posters hung from the wall, a bed with fresh cuts across its top was pushed against the wall, and some comics and books were strewn about on the floor. The only major difference came from the dragon currently sitting in its center.
Her arms were crossed and she glared at the floor in front of her. “Stupid researcher got everything wrong.”
Elusive paused for a moment, composing himself. “It's not too bad. On the bright side, nopony will ever treat you like a child again, that I can assure you,” said Elusive, doing his utmost sound positive. I can see why Dusk Shine warned me first. Elusive had thought she'd end up the size of a large farm stallion at best. However, the dragon that sat before him was nearly the size of Prince Solaris, easily towering over Elusive as she sat there. She looked to be twice his height. Where once she used to be rounded, now her body was sleek, and showed powerful muscles that certainly weren't there before. It held an feminine allure that her old body never showed. Perhaps the most shocking of all the changes, a pair of large wings had sprouted from her back.
“Where is that book?! I swear I'm gonna burn it!” Small wisps of flame flared from her nostrils as she huffed.
Elusive leaned back and held up his hoof. “S-Spines, dear, let's just calm down and take a deep breath.”
Spines stared at him, blinking a few times before stepping back. “Are you afraid of me?” All the bluster and boom that was in her voice had vanished. What came out barely had the force to make it across the room.
“Well, you um... you are a little intimidating right now,” replied Elusive.
“I... I...” Tears streamed down her scaley face as she openly cried. “Now you’re scared of me!”
“Wait, I swear I'm not!”
Spines fell forward, down on all fours, her muzzle nearly touching his. He looked into her tear filled, slitted eyes as she whimpered and saw something he never expected: fear. Despite her newfound size, despite the fact that she was starting to look like the fearsome adult dragons, she was still a young drake who just wanted him close by. “B-but...”
Elusive leaned closer and kissed the top of her muzzle. “I swear, I'm not afraid of you, Spines.” He scratched her chin, and gave his best, confident smile. “I will just need a little time to adjust to your new size, as I'm sure you will too.” She nodded in response. “So, take a deep breath and count to ten.”
“Okay, okay.” She breathed deeply a few times. “I think... I think I'm a little better now.”
Elusive moved down her body and started rubbing her back, doing what he could to try to keep her calm. Her scales really stand out now. With some scrubbing, I could get them to shine like the gems she eats. Now that would be a sight. She would be positively ravishing. “Now, my beautiful princess, this day is yours to do with as you please. Whatever you desire, I'll try my best to fulfill. So, what do you wish to do today?”
She let out murmurs of contentment and leaned into his hoof. “Well... I'd start off with getting a whole chest full of gems.”
Elusive chuckled. “I suppose you have earned a big breakfast after sleeping for a year. In fact, I already have a chest full of them back at the boutique. They're all yours.”
“Mmm, you're the best Elusive.”
“Though I am quite certain that there is more you'd like to do than just eat my jewels.” He moved up her back and started rubbing her neck, getting a low growl from her – likely the closest a dragon could come to purring.
“I think I need to go re-meet everypony. Gotta be all happy and smiling so they don't freak out at the big dragon in town. Maybe I shouldn't smile too much... wouldn't want to show off my sharp teeth.”
“After breakfast I can talk to Bubble Berry and let him gather up every pony in town in one place. He can get them in a happy mood for your big debut.”
“I really don't deserve a boyfriend as great as you...” she said idly, before continuing her best first day awake list, “and a whole container of ice cream after that. Dusk Shine can't say it's too much at once for me anymore.”
“Really? More eating?”
She pawed at the floor. “It's my perfect day and I want a little more than normal. I'm starving after hibernating that long.”
Elusive kissed the smooth scales along her neck. “Since it is a special day, I am sure we could talk Dusk into letting you binge a little. Though we shouldn't make a habit of it.”
“And you know what would be really nice, before I go and start talking to everypony? A good massage.”
“Funny, you've never really been the type to like spa trips before. I thought the few you did attend were only for my sake.”
“After sleeping for a year your muscles get really stiff.” She stretched out two of her limbs, using the other two to balance on, and then reversed it, giving a long groan all the while.
“Well, the twins are willing to make house calls for select, repeat customers. If I ask, they will certainly be willing to send over one of their best to the castle. We shall have your muscles loose and relaxed in no time.” Elusive moved in front of Spines, letting the drake rest her head along his back as he nuzzled against her neck. They enjoyed the intimate moment in silence, listening and feeling each other’s breath. “Don't worry, princess. I promise everything will go smoothly. You shall knock them dead.” Elusive kissed her cheek. “I am going to go get your gems and set everything up. Will you be alright on your own?” Spines grunted and nodded. “Good. I shall try to be as quick as possible.” They embraced one another. Afterward Elusive left the room, heading back down into the kitchen below.
“How is she?” asked Dusk, still sitting in the same spot.
“She's... better. I think she'll be alright once she gets into the swing of things. However, for that to happen, I need to go make a few arrangements. If you'll excuse me.” Elusive turned and started to walk out, only to notice that his hooves weren't touching the ground anymore. He flailed for a moment in the air. “D-Dusk Shine?!” The room spun and he was back to facing the prince. “Is there something you wish to, um, discuss?” He was lowered back down, with a little click as his hooves touched the floor.
“Elusive, do you remember the agreement we made when you and Spines started dating?” he asked.
Elusive raised an eyebrow. “Of course I do. A gentlecolt would never forget an agreement he has made.”
“Good. So, with that in mind, I would just like to reiterate, you may not consummate your relationship with her. Not for another year, at least.”
“Dusk Shine! Do you have no faith in me at all?” Elusive huffed, and struck a dramatic pose. “I am insulted.”
Dusk's face softened into a small smile, and he shook his head. “Elusive, I fully trust you. If I didn't, I wouldn't be allowing this at all. I just thought that a reminder was in order, given the context. She's large now, but she's still young. Just, please keep that in mind, alright?”
Elusive held up his hoof as he swore, “You have my word. I shall not do anything inappropriate with her until she's older.”
“That's good enough for me. You may leave now. I'll keep her company until you get back.”