Love in a Time of Dragons

by Orkus

The Letter

"Spike! Spike, get out here! Spike!" the sound of Princess Twilight Sparkle's voice went out through the empty halls of her castle. Hoisted over her shoulder and under her wing was a small, plain brown satchel bag, and the contents within was something the alicorn needed to show her dragon companion. She called out again, before realizing what was transpiring. "Spike, where in Celestia's mane are you? Out of all the times to be out of the castle... Rats!"

With haste in her stride, she made her way to the solid stairs that led to the bottom floor, and began trotting down them. As the chiming noise of hoof-on-crystal-steps went out with every motion of her feet, she soon noticed a new one commence through the air.

The sound, coming from somewhere on the lower level she was heading to, was of metal wheels screeching over the floor, echoing out in a most grinding manner that indicated that something heavy was placed over them. Thinking it to be her loyal assistant, she finished her descent, only to see a familiar, pink shape hauling a cart standing before her in the area that sat just outside of the throne room.

"Hello Twilight! How're ya doing?" Pinkie Pie greeted heartily, before motioning to the tower of chocolate and white frosting that laid on the cart before her. "I baked you a cake! But... huh. You look a bit... frustrated. Are you trying to find something?" She let out a gasp. "Did you lose a book?!"

"Oh, hey Pinkie. No, I didn't lose a book. I'm just looking for Spike," the alicorn greeted back in reply, taking her eyes off of the large pastry and turning them to her friend. "You wouldn't happen to have see him lately, have you?"

"As a matter of fact, I have," the pink mare answered. "He and Rarity went out looking for gems to dig up at Foal Mountain about an hour ago. I think Rarity told me it was about going on a hunt for fire rubies for one of her latest dress ideas. Why do you ask?"

"I just received a letter from Dragon Lord Ember," she said urgently, using her magic to lift the fold of paper she was keeping in her satchel. "Judging from what I saw was written, Spike needs to see it too."

"Wait, wait, waitwaitwaitwait... Dragon Lord Ember? The same Dragon Lord Ember that you, Rarity, and Spike met all those years ago? The same Dragon Lord Ember who's been sending you all those notes about dragon culture? That Ember?" the hyperactive pony sputtered, the cake she had been pushing around all but forgotten at this point. Twilight nodded her horned head.

"Yes. I got it by dragonfire a little while ago," she stated. "It's pretty urgent."

"Hmm... mind if I see it for a sec?" Pinkie inquired, curiously. With an unsure expression, Twilight let the letter float to her friend, and Pinkie Pie snatched it right from the air with a hoof. Unfolding it and reading speedily, her blue eyes didn't scan more than three lines of the letter before growing wide as saucers. A toothy smile crept onto her face and she stared back at her friend with an expression that conveyed nothing but unbridled excitement. "She's coming here? To Ponyville? TODAY?!" she screeched loud enough to cause Twilight's ears mild discomfort. "Oh. My. Gosh! I've gotta get a welcoming party ready! There'll be cake, and confetti, and dragon-shaped cookies, and small gems -- for the dragons of course -- and lots and lots of-"

Pinkie, calm down!" Twilight interrupted, placing her hooves over the mare in question's shoulders, stopping her rapid vibrating after a short few seconds. Taking in a deep breath that expanded her chest deeply, Pinkie Pie slowly exhaled and returned to as calm of a state as she could muster.

"Whoa. Sorry..." she apologized with a slightly embarrassed chuckle. "I just don't know how to handle a situation like this! Spike's the only dragon that's ever cared to live in Ponyville as far as I know, but the Dragon Lord herself is coming! I've gotta plan out something big for her! Something unforgettable!"

"Why don't you look at the rest of it?" the princess spoke again. Shrugging and lifting the now slightly-crumpled paper to her snout once more, Pinkie began reading. Once she had finished a few dozen seconds later, she quietly lowered it without, unusually enough, uttering a single word. The look she bore resembled one of confusion and deep thought. Puckering her lip and letting out an inquisitive hum, she slowly looked back at Twilight.

"She only wants to speak with you and Spike, and she said she's only visiting for a short time," she sighed, sadly. Like a deflated balloon, her normally jumpy, pink form drooped to the floor in a depressed way. "Aw, phooey. There go all my hard-baked plans..."

"You just made those plans, Pinkie," Twilight smirked, patting her frilly-maned head. "Don't worry, I'm sure she'll come by again someday."

"But it's been years since I've seen her in person, and she's never been to Ponyville in a long time! When will she actually come here for a while?"

"I'll find out," the princess comforted. "Tell you what: I'll see if I can ask her when she's available for a longer visit. We know each other well enough that I'm sure that both of us are pretty good friends by now. So don't fret about it."

"I hope you do," Pinkie pleaded with the puppy dog-eyed look she put on whenever she wanted to invoke a feeling of pity in another. Less than a second later, her entire demeanor switched back its typical cheery disposition in the blink of an eye, and she stood herself back up with a smile.

Twilight picked up the note from her friend's hoof and folded it up nicely, before placing it back into her bag. "I've got to go find Spike now," she said. "I guess I'm heading for Foal Mountain. See you later, Pinkie."

"Okey-dokey, Loki!" Pinkie waved, turning herself about and returning to the cart carrying her cake. "I'll just bring the cake to your freezer upstairs. See ya soon, Twi! Good luck! And don't forget to ask!"

Chuckling at her enthusiasm, Twilight opened the doors of her castle, large by pony standards, and managed to exit when they were ajar by just a crack. After watching the princess she knew so well and for so long leave, Pinkie looked to the towering dessert in front of her.

"Hmm..." she mumbled to it, placing a hoof over her chin as she looked at the stairs nearby. "How will I get you up there?"