*****(Third Person POV)*****
(Blame Pinkie. Hey!)
Ben and Spike trotted back to Harmony Castle, saddle bag full of assorted groceries. It had been a nice trip to the market, the two sharing comedic stories about the girls in their lives. Right at that moment, the green stallion was laughing heartily as Spike regaled him with a filly Twilight tale.
“You’re kidding?!” Ben laughed out.
“Cross my scales,” Spike said, making an ‘x’ over his heart. “Kitchen staff still won’t let Twilight anywhere near the stoves.”
Ben wiped away a tear as he calmed down. “Hoo, that’s funny.” He chuckled a bit more before looking at the dragon on his back. “As funny as that was, you sure you should be making fun of your mom? I doubt she’d like it all that much.”
Spike looked at a Ben weirdly for a second before realization dawned on him. “Oh, she told you she sees me as her son, did she?” The drake slumped a little.
Ben tilted his head a little. “You okay, little dude?”
Spike sighed. “It’s just… that’s all anypony sees in me. That I’m just Twilight’s little baby dragon. Sure, I love Twilight, but ever since Nyx came in to the picture, she’s been treating me more and more like a kid.”
Ben gave Spike a sympathetic look. “So, you don’t like her babying ya?”
“Yeah,” Spike said with a nod.
“Well,” Ben started, “It’s been my experience that mothers treat even… how old are you?”
“Even a… fourteen? Wow.” Ben shook his head. “Anyway, it’s been my experience that mothers treat even their fourteen year olds as if they were still in diapers. When Twilight sees you, she sees that little… littler baby dragon she hatched all those years ago.”
Spike thought on the stallion’s words for a moment. “But why?” he asked finally.
“That’s a simple, yet complicated answer. She doesn’t want you to grow up.” He stopped the dragon from interrupting with his hoof. “Now, I know that sounds bad, but just hold on. It’s not that she doesn’t want you to get older, it’s more Twilight doesn’t want you to get so old you don’t need her anymore.” Ben looked at the stunned dragon for a moment. “Bringing Nyx into your family no doubt brought about Twilight’s maternal instincts, which applied to you as well.”
“So… Twilight wants me to grow up, but she doesn’t want me to outgrow her?” Spike asked, trying to comprehend Ben’s words.
He nodded. “You’ll always need your mother, Spike.” Ben sighed as he refocused on walking. “Always.”
Spike looked at the stallion solemnly, now understanding him fully. The two carried on in silence, the weight of Ben’s words hitting them both hard.
But we all knew that it wasn’t going to last long.
“Got ya!” the voice of a young southern belle rang out. Spike yelped as a yellow hlur tackled him off of Ben’s back. “Over here, girls! Ah got ‘im!”
Looking over, Ben saw that his buddy’s assailant was a small, bright yellow earth pony with a big pink bow in her red mane. He heard the patter of little hooves coming his way, turning to see. A little white unicorn with a swirled pink n’ purple hair style and an orange pegasus filly with straight-lined purple hair came running over. They both smiled at the filly who jumped Spike.
“Way to go, Apple Bloom!” the unicorn squeaked cheerfully.
“Thanks, Sweetie Belle,” Apple Bloom chimed, keeping Spike pinned to the ground by standing on his back. “See, Scootaloo? Ah told ya Ah’d get ‘im.”
“Eh,” the pegasus filly, whom Ben guessed was Scootaloo, shrugged. “Could have been about twenty percent cooler.”
Apple Bloom took offense to that. “It could not!”
“Could so!” Scootaloo fired back.
“Ugh, no this again,” Sweetie Belle groaned, putting a hoof to her aching head.
“Ahem!” Ben cleared his throat, getting the fillies’ attention. “As riveting as your argument is, mind telling me why you just attacked my buddy?”
“Oh, sorry ‘bout that, mister. We was jus’ lookin’ fer Spike so we could try ‘n get our cutie marks.”
Ben’s eyebrow rose at that. “Run that by me again? How’s a dragon gonna help with that?”
“Because we’re… Cutie Mark Crusaders Creature Catchers, YAY!!”
The pitch and loudness of the fillies’ cheer rang in Ben’s ear for several agonizing moments. Rubbing his sore ears with his hooves, he asked,
“That answers one question, barely, yet raises so many others.”
“Hey,” Apple Bloom spoke up. “Ah don’t think Ah know you, mister. Who are ya?”
“Maybe he’s new in town!” Sweetie piped up.
“But he’s with Spike,” Scootaloo pointed out. “Maybe he’s an old friend of Twilight’s? I haven’t heard of any welcome parties from Pinkie lately.”
“‘Welcome party’?” Ben parroted. “What welcome party?”
“Oh don’t you mind that, Streaky!” a bubbly voice came from behind Ben. He looked back and found Pinkie stretched out on his back. She smiled widely and waved.
Ben deadpanned. “Pinkie, why are you on my back?”
“Because~,” she sang out, moving to where her forelegs were on his head, making his deadpan deepen. “And don’t you go listening to the prattling of little fillies. Forgive them, they know not what they speak.”
“Did you just… nope, not going there. Just be careful with that kind of reference around me. Certain ears are listening.”
“Tell me about it,” Pinkie said with a roll of her eyes. “It’s about time we finally got a hiatus, it’s hard having to go on an adventure or learn a life lesson every week. This year is gonna be good for us.”
Now they were all staring at her. “Huh?”
Pinkie waved her hoof. “Don’t worry about it. Have fun, Streaky!” She pronked off, singing gibberish as she did.
The ponies and dragon watched her go with blank expressions.
“I will never understand that mare,” Ben said as he shook his head.
“No pony does,” Scootaloo added. “So, who are you again?”
“Oh, the name’s Emerald Streak. I’m a… close friend of the princesses and I’m going to be staying with Twilight for a while. Who are you three?”
“Ah’m Apple Bloom!” the yellow one piped up. “If y’all know Twilight then ya must know mah big sister Applejack, too.”
“Oh, you’re Applejack’s sister? Neat.”
“I’m Sweetie Belle!” the unicorn squeaked. “Rarity’s my big sister.”
“Noted,” Ben nodded. He looked at the pegasus. “And you?”
“I’m Scootaloo, the most awesome filly in Ponyville,” she boasted, getting an eye roll out of her friends.
“Oh, so does that mean you’re Rainbow’s little sister?”
“Uh… no. I wish, but she’s just a surrogate. She took me under her wing of awesomeness and has been teaching me how to fly!”
“Ah,” Ben nodded. He noticed that Apple Bloom was looking at his backside. “Any reason you’re looking at my butt, little girl?” He was silently hoping it wasn’t because they were going through puberty.
“Ah am not!” AB responded with a huff. “Ah’m lookin’ at yer cutie mark! Ah can’t tell what it is.” Sweetie and Scootaloo walked to his side and looked at his circle with a green hourglass cutie mark.
“It looks weird,” Scootaloo commented.
“What does it mean?” Sweetie asked.
Ben looked at them. “It means peace,” he said simply.
“Peace?” they asked.
“How does an hourglass mean peace?” asked Scootaloo.
“It’s the symbol of universal peace. It means that I bring peace wherever I go. I try to solve problems, not through violence or war, but by negotiations and talking things through.” He noticed Scootaloo beginning to get bored. “I know it’s not the most exciting thing, but it keeps everyone alive and safe.”
“Wow,” Sweetie awed. “So… you’re like an ambassador?”
Ben smiled and nodded. “I am actually. The princesses have tasked me to speak with several of our country's neighbors to keep things running smoothly. Some have been trade negotiations, others peace talks and treaty signings, and some have been aid talks in case that country is in need of something Equestria possesses.”
“So your special talent is helping others too!”
He pondered that for a moment, thinking it over. “I suppose you could say that. I do end up helping a lot of ponies.”
The three fillies shared a look, then gave Ben the most heart melting look in their arsenal. “Do you think you could help us?” they asked in tandem.
Ben’s eye began to twitch ever so slightly, the amount of cuteness beginning to overload his better judgement. Spike tried to warn his friend about the terror of those fillies, but Apple Bloom shoved a hoof in his mouth to keep him quiet.
“Uh… sure?” he answered hesitantly. Inside, Ben could tell something was up, but those puppy dog eyes of theirs was even stronger than what he referred to as “Wittle Wuna” that his younger sister used to use. “But help you with what?”
“Getting our cutie marks!” Apple Bloom answered as they cheered. “We’re tryin’ for a cutie mark in creature catchin’! Weren’t ya listenin’?”
“Creature catching? Wus that?”
“Duh, we’re looking for strange creatures and then we catch ‘em!” Scootaloo explained as if it were obvious. “But there’s not that many different creatures in Ponyville, so we’re gonna look in the Everfree forest.”
“But we can’t go in the forest without adult supervision. So we need an adult, like you!”
Despite Sweetie’s… poor choice of words, Ben felt a little honored that these fillies wanted him to watch over them. He wasn’t absolutely sure of letting little girls into a forest filled with deadly creatures, but then again, if didn’t go with them, they just might end up going in there anyway. Which was better: Ben with the fillies in a deadly forest or fillies all alone in a deadly forest?
Some would say they were both bad ideas.
Oi! I’m telling the story right now, Discord! Go back to… whatever it is you do.
Fiiiine, don’t listen to the chaos god. I’ve got some eggs to toss anyways.
...Moving on, the fillies led Ben off to the forest, Spike being dragged along as the first catch. Though Scootaloo was thinking they could use him as bait later, but they weren’t going to tell him that.
“Alright, girls and Spike,” Ben announced once they reached a clearing, “Nopony strays too far from my sight. For your own safety and mine because if anything happens to any of you, your respective guardians are gonna have my hide.” They giggled at his fearful shudder. “If you see anything, anything, dangerous, yell as loud as you can. S’aight?”
“S’aight!” they all responded, though Spike added in a military-like salute for good measure.
Ben sat on his hind-end, leaning back against a tree, as the girls began to search through the brushes and trees, looking for any kind of creatures. Apple Bloom seemed inclined to practically swimming through the brushes, staying fully in them and going in close. Sweetie was testing her levitation by picking up rock after rock, looking for a creepy crawly that lied underneath. Scootaloo, after climbing up, searched through the leaves of a tree. Spike just casually shuffled the bushes, but gave after a bit and decided to sit next to Ben and ended up falling asleep not too much later.
Thinking the dragon had the right idea, Ben began to nod off as well. Oh, he tried to fight it, but staying awake proved to be too much for him. Eventually, Ben’s head drooped as he fell into slumber.
Scootaloo popped her head down from the tree when she heard snoring and noticed the boys had fallen asleep. “Some help they were,” she commented, getting Bloom and Sweetie’s attention. The looked back at the tree and rolled their eyes.
“Boys,” the two said together, causing all three of them to giggle.
Scootaloo sighed as she climbed down out of the tree. “We’re never gonna be creature catchers at this rate. We need to find a monster and catch it!”
Sweetie gasped and smiled at her friends.
“Got an idea, Sweets?”
There was a pause.
“Ya gonna let us in on it?”
“Oh, right. Well, what if we set a trap?”
“A trap?” the two other fillies asked.
“Yeah! One of us goes off a bit into the forest, finds a creature, then lures it back here. While they do that, the two of us who stay set a trap to capture it!”
“Ya know, that could work. I see a few loose branches and some vines we could use to make somethin’. But who would go lookin’ fer trouble?”
“The most awesome one of course,” Scootaloo boasted. “I’ll find us a monster no problem!”
“Jus be safe, Scoots,” Bloom called as her friend trotted off into the brush. “Let’s get to work on that trap.”
Ben awoke about an hour later, stretching widely, yet being careful enough not to awaken the dragon next to him. He yawned and licked his lips, looking at his surroundings. But it wasn’t what he was expecting. Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle seemed to have turned the clearing into Fred Jones’ dream come true. Traps lined the clearing, going from the classic loop rope and leaves-covering-pit to even a Rube Goldberg inspired setup.
“Uh… girls? What’s going on? Trying to build a better mousetrap?” He desperately hoped that the traps weren’t for him.
“We’re gettin’ our traps ready for when Scoots chases a creature back here,” Bloom explained as she finished tying a knot up in a nearby tree.
Ben was silent, staring at the filly. “...come again?”
“Scootaloo went to go find us a creature to catch!” Sweetie summed up ever so nicely.
“Scootaloo went into the Everfree forest… to be live bait for one of it’s infamous creatures that are known to eat ponies?” Ben asked, trying to comprehend what the fillies were thinking.
“Yep!” they clarified, smiling slightly.
Ben stared at them in silence, his left eye twitching slightly. He took a deep, calming breath, letting it out slowly. “Okay, here is what is going to happen: you two are going to dismantle all of these traps while I go find Scootaloo before she gets eaten. Spike?” he said while nudging the dragon awake.
“Hmm, huh? Wassup?” he yawned as he sat up, rubbing his eyes.
“I’m leaving you in charge of these two troublemakers,” he told him, pointing at the fillies.
“I’m in charge?” Spike asked for clarification, instantly awake.
“Yes. Yes, you are. I’m going to go find the one who thought being live bait was a good idea.” Ben got up and walked into the forest, yelling back, “Make sure they clean up those traps. Don’t need Fluttershy or that Zebra that lives out here walking into one of them.”
“Sure thing! Good luck!” Spike called back, looking evilly at Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle. “Alright ladies, let’s get to work.”
This could only end badly or hilariously… or, as we all know, both.
Scootaloo had been wandering for a while now, bored of not coming across a single creature. She was tired from the constant walking, her wings were sore from being caught in a few vine bushes, and she was just overall fed-up with the forest.
“Why do Rainbow and her friends come to this dumb forest so often?” she asked the open air after pulling free of another bush. “This place is the pits!”
Suddenly, there was a rustling from her right. Terror and excitement ran through her at the same time as the little filly got into a ready stance. “Alright creature, just show yourself so I can get my cutie mark for catching you,” she whispered to herself.
Another rustle came from behind, causing her to jump and stance herself for that direction. “It’s moving. Trying to box me in.” More came from her left. “Come on out! I ain’t afraid o’ no creatures!”
There was more rustling in front of her as something moved out of the bush towards her. “Then maybe an authority figure will do you better to be afraid of,” Ben told her with an unamused expression on his muzzle.
“Streak!” Scootaloo said in surprise. “Wh-what are you doing out here?”
“Looking for you, ya foolish filly!” he scolded. “Going out into the Everfree forest? Are you insane?! You could have been hurt or worse and then become food for any of the monsters that lie in wait out here.”
Scootaloo’s ears folded back and she hung her head in shame. Ben sighed as he heard the little filly sniffle. “Okay, maybe that came out a bit harsh. Let’s just get out of this forest before something comes along that’s hungry. I’ll treat you and your friends to some sweets at Pinkie’s place. Sound good?”
Scootaloo instantly perked up, her wings buzzing. “Seriously?! Awesome! Free sweets! I’m gonna get a sundae with everything on it!”
Ben couldn’t help but chuckle at her actions.
Then something came back to Scootaloo. “Wait, if you came out of the bushes there,” pointing at where he walked in, “then what was making the other rustling?”
“What other rustling?”
As if on cue, the bushes all around them began to shudder and rustle restlessly.
“That rustling!” Scootaloo yelled.
Ben got into a protective stance over Scootaloo. Smart of him as several wolf-like creatures prowled out of the bushes, snarling and growling at the two pegasi. They circled them, their green saliva dripping from their wooden maws.
“Timberwolves,” Ben said under his breath, glaring down his foes. “Alright Scootaloo, I need you to do exactly as I say if we’re gonna get out of this. I want you to slowly grab my neck and hold tight. Don’t make any sudden moves.”
“O-okay,” she whispered, trembling slightly. She did as instructed, wrapping her forehooves around his neck slowly until she was holding him tightly.
Ben slowly spread out his wings as if preparing for flight. His hooves were only lightly pressed into the ground, ready to move when needed. “Just need the right moment,” he whispered more to himself, but it was somewhat comforting to Scootaloo. “And… NOW!”
Ben’s shout caused the wolves to pounce on the pair, but at that same moment, Ben’s flapped his wings, propelling him straight through a break in the wolves. As the wooden creatures collided into themselves, Ben kept his momentum as he hit the ground running, taking off as fast as he possibly could through the brush and muck.
Faster and faster he ran, Scootaloo hanging on to his neck for dear life as leaves, branches, and vines flew past them. Eventually, he came to a stop, the filly jumping off his neck and kissing the ground excessively.
“Oh ground, sweet, sweet ground,” she muttered.
Ben rolled his eyes with a smirk. “Oh stop being dramatic. That’s Rarity’s job. I think we got away from them, but knowing Timberwolves, they’ll be back with more.”
Scootaloo looked at Ben with awe in her eyes. “That. Was. AWESOME!! Oh my Celestia, that was the fastest I’ve ever seen anypony run in my entire life! You were all like ‘WHOOSH’ and then we were going so fast it was like ‘FWOOH’ and-and-and you! You weren’t even scared! We were surrounded by one of the most feared creatures in the Everfree and you weren’t even scared! You. Are. AWESOME!!”
Ben smiled as the filly bounced around happily, raving about how amazing he was. “Alright, alright, keep down or the wolves will find us even faster,” he half-laughed out.
“But it was just so cool! You’re amazingly cool! You’re...you’re… you’re Rainbow Dash cool!” Her eyes were shining with awe at him.
Ben just waved it off. “Oh come on, that’s pushing it. She’s your idol and sister, I can’t match that.”
“Beg to differ! When I tell Rainbow about this, she’s gonna flip over the awesomeness!”
Ben laughed a little, imagining the boastful pegasus flipping her lid. “Let’s just focus on getting--” He was cut off as a sudden spark ran through his head. His hoof immediately went to the surging headache, his eyes widening in pain and fear.
Scootaloo noticed the sudden change in his face and felt a little worried. “Streak? You alright, dude? You don’t look good.”
He gasped in pain for a moment before forcing a smile. “It’s… it’s just a headache, Scoots.” Another spike. “Gah!” Ben panted out from the pain, knowing that it would soon be too late.
A Voice was coming out.
Scootaloo looked back to where they had come and noticed that the bushes were rustling again. “Uh… Streak? I think the wolves are coming back. We better get gone.”
‘Streak’, however, was in no condition to get them anywhere. Frantically, he looked for some place safe. Ben found it in the form of a long dead tree. He scooped up Scootaloo and forced her inside the hollowed out oak.
“Hey! What’s the big idea?”
“I can’t get us out of here this time, Scoots,” he told her honestly. “Stay here, keep hidden, and don’t make a sound. I’m gonna keep you safe.”
“Are you crazy?! They’ll eat you alive!” Scootaloo tried to get out of the tree, but Ben forced her back down. “I can’t let you!”
“It’s not your choice, kiddo,” Ben said somberly. “Just keep hidden and I’ll protect you.”
“Don’t worry about me.” Ben smiled at her. “I’m gonna be fine. You’ll see, you and I will be having that milkshake and sundae at Sugarcube Corner before you know it.”
Scootaloo stared at the pegasus in front of her, her eyes starting to moisten against her wishes. “Please… please don’t die.”
He let out a big laugh, though it was more to cover the spike in his brain. “Me? Die? Come on, kiddo. Ain’t no wolf gonna take me down. I’ll be back soon and whatever you do, don’t look.”
Ben jumped away from the tree, Scootaloo lowering herself below the entrance hole, keeping out of sight. Ben groaned in pain as the wolves resurged from the bushes, slowly advancing into sight.
He growled harshly at them. “You think you can take me, ya dumb walking kindling?! Not gonna happen! No one is going near that filly as long as I’m around! Ya hear me?! No one!”
Scootaloo felt a surge of happiness and poked her head just above the hole, telling her conscience to get lost. She saw Ben standing up to them, though he was in obvious pain. “Please, please be okay,” she whispered, praying desperately.
Ben groaned again, his whole body shaking. “I feel sorry for you lot. Honest I do.” His necklace began to glow an ominous green. “I hope you don’t tick this one off, guys. He doesn’t like being upset.” He let out a howl of pain as his body was engulfed in the light.
As the blinding light faded away, Scootaloo’s jaw dropped as she now saw a large creature in Streak’s spot. It was very bulky, with what seemed like yellow armor plates lining its back all over, even on its arms and stubby legs.
“Cannonbolt!” it bellowed in a deep voice that was both terrifying and calming. It sat down, shaking the ground slightly. “Greetings wolves of timber, have you come to learn peace and tranquility?” His arms stretched out slightly and two claws on each hand touched as he began to chant slightly.
A timberwolf approached slowly, snarling and growling. It barked out to him constantly.
“Unfortunately young wolf, I am not capable of your language. I can only assume you are hungry by the sound of your tone. But I have nothing for you to consume.”
The wolf looked over his shoulder and snarled. Cannonbolt looked and saw Scootaloo peeping from the hole. She squeaked, dropping her head out of sight. The wolf barked some more.
“Oh, you wish for the young filly I have been tasked to protect. My apologies creature, but I cannot allow you to harm her. I ask you kindly to seek your food elsewhere.”
The wolf did not like that response, communicating with its brethren that began to advance on the alien.
“I urge you to not continue this path, fellow creatures of this fair planet. I cannot guarantee your safety.” Cannonbolt just sat there, his stubby legs close together in an attempt of crossing them.
They surged on Cannonbolt, their wooden teeth snapping at his skin. He moved his armored arms into defensive position in front of him, protecting him from their bite.
“It is futile to continue, wolves of timber. Please, dismiss this idea of carnivorism upon us and find your dinner elsewhere.”
The wolves ignored his pleas, two of them splitting off from the attack group and advanced towards the tree where Scootaloo hid. She poked her head out a little as one put its body against the bark and tried to snap at her. She screamed, pulling back in.
“Help! Help me! Somepony, for the love of Celestia, help me!!”
Cannonbolt gasped and saw the two wolves attacking the tree with the young filly within. “No! You will not harm the youngling!” He turned back to the ones eating at his arms and threw them off. “If you will not listen to proper reason, then I will keep the balance through force!” His body contorted into a large ball that instantly began to move about at high speeds.
It first went for the wolves that were getting up from being thrown off. Just as they stood, they were bowled over into pieces by the fast moving alien. Cannonbolt skidded into a u-turn and sped into the wolf that was attacking Scootaloo’s tree. The wolf only had a second to yelp as it was blasted into pieces.
Cannonbolt jumped out of his ball form behind the wolf that was against the dead tree, grabbing the ‘scruff’ of its neck with his claws and lifted it to his flat face. “I warned you, do not harm this filly. She is not meant for death, so I shall not allow you to upset the balance of this world by taking an innocent life. Now begone!” He chucked the wolf with all of his force, shattering against a far tree.
After a moment, the wolves had reassembled themselves, snarling at Cannonbolt. His eyes were neutral of any emotion as he stared back. His body contorted into his ball form again and he revved at high speeds in place, kicking up a lot of dust and debris. The sight and sound of it was enough to finally drive the wolves off, yipping like dogs as they ran.
Cannonbolt returned to normal sighing deeply. “I am sorry my nature friends, but innocent blood will not be spilled on this day.” He was surprised when he heard whimpering coming from the tree behind him. Carefully, Cannonbolt lifted Scootaloo out of her hiding spot.
“AAH!” she screamed, quivering in fear. “Please don’t eat me! I don’t taste good, I swear!”
“Eat you? I would never harm a creature needlessly, little filly,” Cannonbolt said with a slight bow as he set the filly down on the ground. “I apologize greatly if my appearance and actions frightened you. Twas not my intention to do so. Allow me to introduce myself, I am Cannonbolt, the Voice of Balance. I exist to keep balance between the rights and wrongs of existence, and to protect it at all costs. A fickle thing, it is.”
Scootaloo shook slightly as she looked up at the alien. “Uh… where… where’s Streak?”
“Streak? Oh, you mean my host’s pegasus form. He is in here,” he pointed to his chest. Seeing Scootaloo’s eyes widen in fear, he clarified. “As in he is me, in a sense. I am a part of him. I shall retreat soon enough and he will be returned to you. As I took over this body, he asked me to keep you safe and so I shall. Come,” he picked up Scootaloo and held her close to his chest. “I shall bring you home. Hold tight, this will be a bumpy ride.” He contorted again and rolled off through the forest, destined for Castle Harmony.
Spike grumbled to himself, silently cursing Ben’s name for leaving him there. “Next time I see him, he’s getting scorched.”
He looked over, seeing Sweetie Belle groaning as she held her head while upside down. “All the blood is rushing to my head and my horn. I don’t feel so good.”
“Speak fer yerself!” Apple Bloom called from the bottom of the pit. “I’m stuck down here! This just ain’t right!”
“Would both of you just shut it!” Spike shouted, banging his cub against the bars of his cage. Of course, the end of the girls’ most elaborate trap was just having a small cage fall on the trapee. Which ended up being the poor dragon known as Spike. “We’ll just wait for Streak to get back with Scootaloo.”
“But what if they don’t come back?” Sweetie asked while moaning.
“Then… then I’m gonna make sure he doesn’t get any fresh meals for a week.” Spike sat down on his butt with a huff. “Stupid humans. Stupid Crusaders.” He took one last look around the area, confirming nopony was around. “Why am I always the butt of the jokes around here?”