• Published 20th Jun 2013
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Spike's Temporary Stay - B_25



Spike inadvertently returns home while disguised as another dragon, avoiding six friends whom he longs to see.

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III – Of Fallen Drakes and Arisen Princesses

~III~
OF FALLEN DRAGONS AND ARISEN PRINCESSESS

Spike’s claw hung in the air, pointing to the things that should not exist. Those wings weren’t really there, no! Spike’s vision still must impaired. Yeah, that’s it. Because… because what’s happening right now can’t really be happening.

Things don’t change in Ponyville. Everything, is supposed, to be, the same. Small things like birthdays and, saving the world are of course going to happen. But the fundamentals of this town? They’re supposed to stay the same.

So… how could Twilight do this? How could she dare change herself once he left? This wasn’t fair at all! Twilight and everyone else were supposed to remain the same. Just like how Spike never changed while he was gone…

Okay. Maybe Spike’s a little bigger, and, has a different scale color. But he’s still the same dragon on the inside.

So why does Twilight get to change? Spike thought, before bending a knee and bowing his head. “Princess.”

His head rose an inch, as his eyes pierced through her violet ones.

Dash looked to Twilight, who in turn, looked to Dash. Dash then shrugged her shoulders, causing Twilight to look to the drake. “Please. Uh, Twilight is just fine.”

Spike rose to his feet, nodded his head, and made his way to the door.

“W-Wait!” Twilight called, stopping the drake. He turned around and blankly stared back at her.

“We haven’t been introduced yet!" she said.

Spike casted his eyes over Rainbow. It’s because of you that I’m in this mess.

Dash cleared her throat. “Let me introduce, to you, Twilight: the dragon with no name!” She celebrated her hooves with a dead expression. “He’s anti-social.”

Dash tapped a hoof against her head. “Well, I guess most dragons are like that.”

Twilight looked away. “Oh.”

Spike rolled his eyes, leaving their view to go check out the library's books. Maybe, something would catch his eye; a book that could whisk him away from reality for a bit. That’s what I need: to leave this world for a little bit.

Yet the dust on the shelf offered him no peace. It was a disgrace to see how far the state of the library had fallen. All those days spent cleaning and organizing, only for the library to look worn-down.

Honestly, since you’re a princess now, why don’t you just hire a new assistant–

Spike’s shoulders dropped; a heavy breath escaped his lips. With his left claw, he wiped the dust.

“Say, Twilight?” the voice of Rainbow Dash said. “I have a favor from Fluttershy, though I suppose I’m a few days late on acting on it. Heh, she wanted to know if you had any books on dragons. Now I wonder why she would be looking for that!”

“...”

“Twilight?”

“Hmm?”

“I just asked if you had any books on dragons.”

“O-Oh, Y-Yeah! Most books I have pertaining to dragons are in my personal library, upstairs. Say… why don’t you go get them?”

“... Twilight. You know I can’t do that.”

“P-Please, Rainbow?”

“Eh… Fine. But I won’t be long.”

“Thank you.”

One pony went up the stairs, while the other went down it. It didn’t take long until Spike had a companion by his side.

“S-So–” Twilight cleared her throat, probably to help eliminate that annoying stutter of hers “–is there anything I can help you with?”

“Not really,” Spike replied.

Then a thought struck. “Actually, why is your library in such a mess?”

“A mess?” Twilight repeated, looking around the room. “But, everything looks decent to me.”

“That’s the thing: everything just looks decent,” Spike said, as his claws swayed to better articulate his thoughts. “There doesn't seem to be any magic here; like the desire for knowledge has been dusted over. All this library feels like, is a place filled with books, nothing more.”

“Isn’t that what a library is?” Twilight asked, her tone slightly defensive.

“Well, yeah.” Spike shrugged his shoulders. His eyes scanned for something that could prove his point, if only by a bit.. “But, coming to a place like this, there’s supposed to be some kind of feeling, no?” Spike fumbled with his words. His heart longed for an answer, yet his head didn’t know the question.

Twilight’s face painted her confusion well. The eyes of Spike found themselves staring at the mare, asking the dragon’s soul if they should be seeing her in a heavenly light, or obscured in a darkness. His soul had no answer, so the eyes viewed Twilight as she were.

“I guess you’re right in that sense–” Spike snapped out his trance, as Twilight began to speak “– that a place like this should evoke the feeling of creativity, of endless possibilites. It’s not so much the books we should be stressing, but the ideas behind the books.”

Spike blinked. I guess that was the case, though I’m not to sure. Meh, I’ll nod my head anyway.

“Though as thankful as I am to that discovery – I have another one which surprises me more.”

Spike found himself yawning. “Oh?”

Twilight recoiled her head and squinted her eyes. “Hmm.”

The yawn came to an end, and Spike blinked back at the mare.

Twilight, with her mouth slightly agape, shook her head, and proceeded to sigh. “What surprised me even more, was a dragon able to read!” Her tone was rather annoyed, but you could tell she was doing her best to keep her irritation at bay.

“Are you stereotyping me?”

Twilight groaned. “It’s not a stereotype if it’s been proven true multiple times!”

Spike stared blankly back at her, fighting off the urge to yawn again. And as for Twilight, after a few deep breaths, she replaced her frown with a barely stable smile. “Er, ah, sorry about going off on your there.”

“You should be more careful with your words, princess. Not all members of a race are tied to their stereotypes."

And to think, Celestia entrusted a nation to you

Twilight looked down at her hoof, as she used it to take a step closer to the drake. She rose her head, looking slightly concerned. “But from what I’ve read and heard, dragons are incapable of reading after passing through adolescence. And since education isn’t mandatory in those type of lands, most dragons are unable to read.”

Twilight rose her body a little higher. “Am I wrong in this assumption?”

Spike chuckled before shaking his head. “Most dragons can’t tell the difference between a word, and a scribbled line; so you're not wrong in that respect."

“So my previous point about you being able to read is then remarkable, no?” Twilight asked. Spike knew full well what was going on that head of her’s – she had caught the whiff of a logical problem, the type that fully stimulate the mind when followed.

“Sorta. But you gotta keep in mind, my deciding to read doesn’t make me better than other dragons; actually, it makes me weaker.”

“Are you saying that by reading, you’ve stunt your growth?” Twilight’s face grew closer, causing Spike to take a step back.

“Again, sorta. But I rather not get into it.”

Twilight body lowered. “Oh.”

Spike sighed, head sinking a bit. “I suppose if I stay in this town long enough, you’ll be able to pick out the differences between me and other dragons; mainly strength and what it takes to make us happy.”

Spike paused for a moment, as he looked up at the library's ceiling. “Though, I am the one who get’s to hear some pretty good tales, so I guess it all balances out in the end.” He looked back down to see if Twilight was even paying attention, and while her ears were perked up, her eyes were scanning his body.

“Say,” Twilight said, looking back at him, “you’re still recovering over at Applejack’s, right?” Spike nodded his head. “So why not rent out a book while you patch up? It’ll make the time go by faster–” Twilight giggled “–trust me on that one.”

Spike yawned again. He wasn’t doing it to be rude it – although it did feel rather nice to act like a prick – but rather, everything about this scenario was tiring him. He covered his mouth, and soon the yawn passed.

“That actually sounds like a good idea,” he found himself saying.

Twilight smiled, as the two turned to the shelves next to them.

A claw tapped itself on a scaly lip, as the eyes above passed every booked binding, taking only a second to read the title. Was there a book in this library, capable of whisking Spike away from reality. Maybe an adventure book would do: one that could make him feel like a hero, and take him out to distant lands.

Or maybe, a good ol’ romance would do; the kind that let you hide away in your own idealized heart.

Some horror books jumped out at him, but the drake was already living the nightmare, so no need to worsen it. “Besides, I don’t want to wake up in sweat, thinking that Applejack may be my number one fan.”

The words came out as a pant, as Spike finished his lap around the library. Without realizing it, he had absorbed all the titles of the books, and got a little run in while doing so.

Spike sighed, as he looked back up the shelves. Eyes jumping to different books.

“I’ve already had friends sell me out, and I’ve been in the keg a few times, so no need for that.” Spike brought his claw against the spines of the books, running it across as he moved. “I don’t feel like going out to sea and being brainwashed, and I’m not diggin’ war at the moment.”

Twilight watched the dragon from afar. Spike couldn’t tell what expression she had. No, he was too focused on the books to care! He went from tired to wide awake when the prospect of taking a book home was announced, the energy streaming from nowhere.

But Spike didn’t care! He was to escape this world through the means of words; all he had to do was find the right words to escape with. “I’d never thought this would be so hard, choosing one book. Heck, I have at least a book from each genre I want— I could go for.”

Twilight paused for a moment, then a giggle came. “You can borrow more than one book, you know.”

Spike shook his head, turning around to face the mare. He placed his claws on his hips. “No can do, or else I’ll violate the Magical Code.”

“Violate the what-now?”

Spike nodded. “It’s almost like a curse, almost. But if you pick up more than two books, you’re doomed to only read one, and disregard the second.”

“That’s preposterous!” Twilight exclaimed, taking a step forward. “Just read both books, or if push comes to shove, you stay up all night to read them all!”

Spike shook his head. He knew the powers of Twilight’s book consumption, but she doesn’t know about the diet he’s place himself on. “Not in my case. You see, once I finish a book, I have an urge to go get another. And since the second book has been in my possession for so long, the magic of it wears off. Unless it’s a really good book, or even when it is one: the magic’s gone, and the desire to read it has vanished.”

“The previous desire is overwritten with another: the desire to go to the library, to select another book to read. It’s a fun experience: one I love to do. Hence my argument on how a library should have a special something to it—” Spike gripped his head, almost screaming. “I still need to pick a book!”

Twilight lost her breath, tilting her head without any say in the matter. Then laughter came from those lips of hers.

The claws replaced their grip from Spike’s head to his hip, where a new pain surged. The laughter ceased from Twilight, who came next to the dragon’s side. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” Spike muttered, his breath coming as pants. “I still have internal bruising, so I gotta pace my movements. But with all these books, I just kinda lost myself in the moment.”

“As you’re supposed to,” Twilight replied, giggling afterwards. “Though, not many ponies see books the same way I do, so to find a dragon that does is quite surprising.”

“Guess I’m different from both dragons and ponies.” He turned around back to the books, a claw wrapped around his side. “Now, what to read?”

As his claws danced along the book covers, he made sure not to stretch his body. Twilight stood dangerously close to him, taking a step right after he would. You could say she was doing it for his health, or maybe, she was just interested in what book a dragon would choose.

Spike had a different theory. That’s clever, Twilight. Even though I can’t see it, I know you channeling magic through that horn of yours. The only thing I can assume you’re doing, is jotting down all the books that are of an interest to me. And with that list, you’ll use it to compare to what Spike the dragon used to read.

But that’s not going to happen. While it’s fun to re-read books to find hidden meaning, this time around, I want to go… on a new… adventure…

Spike claw stopped on book and refused to move. His eyes stuck to the title; body crying in pain if he attempted to move. His heart raced; his mouth going dry. Spike had stumbled upon the book of his childhood.

A little book, about swords and heroes.

Spike gulped as he pulled out the book. And just like that, images and vague feelings emerged from deep with Spike’s subconscious. The nights spent late, a flashlight under the blanket to illuminate the words. Even when the drake fell asleep, in his dreams, Spike was the hero of the book.

Spike felt the presence of staring eyes, as his scales began to sweat. The drake closed his eyes, and with a deep breath, disregarded all the feelings from within. Once empty, he opened his eyes, and looked to the mare with the same look he came to this town with.

This book… Twilight would never let me read it. It was too bloody and mature for me to read at my age, but luckily, Twilight was never good at hiding things. So the old Spike never read the this book, meaning no suspicion should come the drake currently holding this book.

He held up the book. “Any good?”

“Well…” Twilight tilted her head slightly, before bouncing it left and right. “If you like a bit of everything, and don’t mind the gore, then I suppose it’s an alright book.”

Spike brought the book down to his side. “You don’t sound too enthusiastic about it.”

“ It’s just not my type of tea.” she said. “I’ve only given it one read through, in which, it was an alright experience. But nothing jumped out at me, and more importantly, I couldn’t understand what the author was trying to say. The plot was decent, a bit cliche, but enjoyable. It’s just, the ending ruined it for me.”

Spike looked down on the book. “Oh.”

Twilight tapped herself on her hoof. “But never mind what I say about it! The book grabbed your attention for a reason, so it couldn’t hurt to give it a shot.”

Spike still held the book at a distance, an eye barely looking over it.

“Besides, you shouldn’t do something because others told you it was bad!” Twilight shouted, which, by the looks of it, she didn’t mean to. A blush arose on her cheeks, causing her to nervously giggle. “I mean, you know what they say: be a wolf, not a sheep!”

Twilight stuck out her chest, and doing her best to keep a straight face. But once the moment had ended, both parties couldn’t help but break into laughter. Twilight streamlined with giggles, as a few chuckles crept up the drake.

But all too soon did the laughter died down, and the dragon inspected the book more closely. And with a shrug of the shoulders, he looked to the mare.

“I suppose you’re right.”

He held out the book, a smile on his face. “Well, I guess I’ll take this guy home then.”

Twilight smiled as she took the book with her magic. Opening the back, she stamped the last page, and levitated it back to the drake

The two didn’t have anything to say after that. A silence overtook the room, banning the two parties from looking at each other. So they settled with looking around the room.

Should I bring up a topic? Wait, why would I purposely bring up something to talk about with Twilight Sparkle?

Steps came from stairs, putting a smile on both the dragon and pony’s faces.

“Hey, I got the books,” Rainbow said as she reached the last step. “I hope you don’t mind, but I borrowed your satchel.” She gave the said item a little shake.

“Yeah, sure.”

Dash looked to Spike, which caused her to cough and look back to Twilight. “Hey… do you need to see them, or can I just bring em’ back like usual?”

Twilight opened her mouth, but when she looked at Rainbow, something on her face caused her to reconsider her words. Spike peered his head over to see, but all he saw was Dash smiling eagerly at him.

Finally, some words came from Twilight’s open mouth. “Of course, Rainbow." Twilight tighten her tone. "please be sure to have Applejack return them on time this time.”

Rainbow giggled at the word play, and Spike couldn’t help but chuckle. Yet it was Twilight who rolled her eyes. “Funny. So, I’ll be seeing you two around?”

“Fo sure from me,” Rainbow said, who then looked to the dragon, “but I’m not sure about him.”

Spike looked at the two mares, curling his lips inward. “No promises from me, but…” Spike held up his book. “I do have to return this once I’m done with it. So you can bank on that, I guess.”

Twilight smiled. “Alrighty then. Well, I suppose I’ll be seeing you.”

Dash and Spike went to take their leave.

“Wait!” Twilight called, causing both creatures to turn around. “I forgot something.”

“Hmm?”

Twilight looked to the drake, and bowed her head. “Thank you for cleaning up Dash’s mess.”

She then snapped her head to Dash. “And you’re in trouble for making a mess.”

Dash gulped as she looked to the broken window. “H-Hey! Look at the bright side – the library is just that!”

Twilight did not find that funny.

“Well,” Dash started. Instead of speaking more words, she took hold of the dragon’s claw, and busted out of the library before Twilight could cast her magic

They also created a new exit by smashing yet another window.


“AUGH!” Spike almost fell to the floor, gripping his side so tight that his claw’s threaten to pierce through the surface. Yet the pain felt like a phantom, more pain resonating from out of the hip.

The giggling Dash stopped flapping her wings upon hearing the groan, she turned her head and gasped. “Oh hay… I forgot about your wound.” She flew down next to him, pressing her body next to his. “I’m so sorry about that – I just got caught up in the moment... seeing how running from Twilight is always a laugh… Er.” Dash awkwardly laughed, as a hoof rubbed the side of her head.

The same hoof was used to smack herself across the face. “Look… Sorry for draggin you around like that, I-I should’ve known better.” She brought her face closer to his. “Are you alright?”

Spike held in his cry of pain, as he felt something tearing from within. He looked to Dash, whose eyes looked of concern, as her frown convoyed her guilt.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Spike groaned, managing to rise to one foot “Just wasn’t expecting a sharp pain is all.”

Dash didn’t say anything, as she leaned fully into him. Every inch of movement Spike made, he would exhale a great deal, and move another inch. Spike could already hear the few complaints brewing inside of Dash’s head, but was thankful that she kept her mouth shut.

Finally, Spike was able to stand up. The pain diminished, but still present enough to make him wince.

“Here”– Dash slipped her head underneath his arm, allowing him to lean more onto her –“This should making walking a little easier for you.”

The drake didn’t have any words to express, so the two continued down the Ponyville. Not a word was spoken, and the only sound, was the occasional grunt that came from Spike.

“Did… Did you want me to go get help?” Dash asked, careful with her words.

“No thank you,” Spike said, “I’ll suffer now, and, take it easy when we get to the barn.”

“Are you sure you’ll be fine?”

Spike nodded.

Dash looked straight ahead. “Alright~” she sang out.

Spike’s head bobbed as he walked, allowing him the occasional glance at what was up ahead. Though his eyes lay dormant on the figure of Rainbow Dash.

Heh, if this was late at night, everyone would just assume I’m drunk, and Rainbow Dash taking me home. Hehe.

A smile – even if it were a quick one – washed over Spike’s face. Though as his eyes wandered over Rainbow, did a curiosity wash over him. Rainbow Dash had something, or, was doing something that jumped out at him.

What exactly was it, that she had going on?

Spike wasn’t sure. Maybe… Does Dash look different at this moment, than how she looked before? No… that couldn’t be the case: while some of the girls were taller than before, they all looked the same. Dash was still as cocky as ever, still wearing that grin with pride.

So, what could it be? Spike sighed, as the question zapped him of his energy. Like with most questions he had nowadays, it just made him want to sleep more. So he let his eyes drift for a moment, yet the question would not die. So, upon opening his eyes, did Spike find the answer to his question.

It was the way Dash walked. Even while she supported Spike, she took the same care to hold herself up. She didn’t look around, to see all the surprised and weirded out reactions of the town’s folk. But rather, she paid her attention to what was coming next. As if her only concern, was to get the dragon back home.

And because of this concern, did Spike want to strike down at her in this instant. To unleash his claws upon her, slashing across her face. He wanted her dead and gone, and he would walk his path alone. He couldn’t find a reason for his arisen anger, but by Celestia, was he doing his best to hold it back.

Back in his days, wandering out in the forest, Spike was able to meet some kind pony folk. But none were ever so kind for his sake.

So then, why is it, that when Rainbow Dash’s sole focus, is on helping him, does he want to tear her throat out? Like he needed her help to walk. Like he needed her to find his way home. Like he needed her!

Spike pushed Dash away, standing up on his own two feet.

Dash shot her head up. “What was that for?!”

“I can walk on my own,” Spike replied.

Dash looked up to him, her eyes questioning his authority. She muttered something under her breath, and looked away. “Fine, have it your way.”

Spike carried on forward, not daring to even look behind him. There was no point in doing so. It was of no concern of his if Dash was angry or sad, walking along with him or decided to go another way. There was no reason for him to look back.

Yet there was an urge to do so. To know whenever she was following him or not. Spike pushed her away, so, why did he want her to follow him?

“Yo, Drathagon bthoy!” Came a muffled voice from behind. Upon turning his head, Spike saw Dash with a familiar book in her mouth. A small smirk came across his lips, as he extended out a claw.

Dash spat out the book, looking back up at him with a smile. “You dropped this few feet back, heh, I just noticed it now.”

Once free, Dash spoke. “You dropped it a while back, just noticed it now.”

Spike’s smirked died, as he closed his eyes.

“I guess I owe you a thank you,” he mumbled.

“I’m sorry,” Dash pressed an ear forward, “I didn’t quite hear that.”

Spike sighed, and pulled together what dignity he had. “Thank you, for picking up my dropped book.” Spike groaned out. Any energy he spent conversing with her, felt like it was taxed.

“Heh, It’s no biggie,” she said, throwing her hooves over her head. “Though, we should get you back to the barn. Y’know, before the town start’s getting the pitchforks out.”

I just physically pushed her away, Spike thought, why is she acting like nothing happened? I know Dash is one for not caring, but she also never steps down when aggravated. So why so calm when around me?

Dash kept looking at him, as if expecting something.

“R-Right,” Spike said, as he began to limp forward. As he began to pick up his pace, the mare walked a few steps to the left of him. Her head never looked to him, but he caught her eyes wandering over from time to time.

And she was quiet. So no problems with that.

“So, draggy-boy.”

So much for that thought.

“What’s up with that book?

Spike rose the said book in her direction. “Romantic suffering?”

Dash looked ready to gag, but did her best to hold back the expression. “Is that really the title of it? Didn’t know you were into lovey-dovey stuff.”

“It’s not what you think,” Spike said, not so much as in a defending tone, but rather, lost in the true meaning of the title. “It’s a bit of everything, I suppose. It’s not so much a character who falls in love with someone else and falls into despair, but rather, someone who loves the feeling of suffering, so much, that they takes on unnecessary suffering just to feel good about himself.”

Dash stopped walking and darted her head towards the drake. “Wait. Wait wait!. You’re telling me someone likes to suffer?”

“Yes.”

“Do you mean like pain? Because I can understand someone enjoying the pain that comes with working out; it makes you feel good and changes you for the better.”

“Ehh,” Spike bounced his head left and right, “sorta – but not quite. It’s... more of a mental thing, I suppose.”

“Wanna tell me more?” Dash urged, as she started to walk again.

Spike followed. “It’s like taking on more than you can chew, so that you can help others. Purposely getting shitted on, so that you can improve the lives of others, at a great cost of your own. And, in the end, the other pony doesn't really care about what you did, because they became used to your actions – to the point of where it’s expected of you.”

“That sounds like a lot of bullshit,” Dash said, swaying her mane. The words came off as harsh, with a flame burning at the end of each letter. “How could someone ever fall so low, and allow themselves to be treated like that?”

“Someone who's desperate, I suppose,” Spike said. The pain at his side began to lessen, to the point where it only stung. But, compared to the flood of hurt nerves, this was a breeze – so much, that Spike was able to put his claws at his sides, and walk at a normal pace.

“Desperate for what?” she asked.

Spike was silent, the only movement from his face were his blinking eyes. “I’m not sure, and I don’t think they’re sure either. They’re searching for something: that’s we know.”

He sighed, hoping the words that came to him were the right words to describe his feelings. “It’s like they’re searching for an answer that they’ve forgotten the question to.”

Dash dared take a step closer to the drake, as his hostile attitude seemed to dissipate. “Are we still on the book, or are we starting to learn a bit about you?”

No anger came from Spike from the intrusive comment, but rather, a pensive state flushed over him. He couldn’t get angry if he wanted to, or feel any other emotion. He entered a peace state of mind, one where he could lose something and yet not lose himself.

“A bit of both, I believe. I mean, isn’t that a point to the book? Where it resonates so deep within you, makes you question what you and the world are about. Books are great things, as they make feel–”

“Easy there, my drag,” Dash interrupted, eliciting a suppressed groan from the drake. “I don’t need a speech, I was just wondering who your thoughts were directed to.”

“Oh…” The energy which had been building up, waiting to reach the climax that would let all that had been bottled up free. But, instead, that building collapsed – it being built for no reason. Spike was empty, the excitement of life gone in a second.

“My thoughts are purely to the book.”

Dash smiled. “There you go!” She went to give him a pat on the back, but his expression warned her against such an action. “Er, see! Just keep things simple, and ponies will be able to understand ya’ better.

“I take it that’s how you like to live your life?” Spike muttered.

“You know it!” Dash exclaimed, striking up a hoof. “I like to keep things nice and plain. Not like boring plain, like everyday ponies like to live their life, but awesome plain, which is how I live my life. Keep things entertaining, keep bettering yourself. But I feel you shouldn’t think so much, or else you’ll just make yourself unhappy.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well,” Dash started, stretching out the word, “You hear stories about ponies going on these life long journey to go find themselves – searching far and wide for a purpose to live. I’ve had few teacher from Cloudsdale do this; fed up with their lives and searching for something more.”

“But, when I go back to campus for ol times sake, those same teachers are always there. Still miserably, a lot poorer, if that’s even a word. And they didn’t find anything out there, which they couldn’t of found here. Heck, what most of them say, is that by them thinking so much on who they are, they found themselves even more lost.”

“Wow,” Spike said, his eyebrows raising just a bit. “That’s quite a lot coming from you.”

“Heh, I had to get my point across.”

“And, what was that point again?”

“That thinking all the answer lay out there, is stupid. And that thinking too deeply, just makes you more hissy!”

“Thinking too much lot….” Spike took a breath, as he placed a claw on his hip. “Hmm, I think I may be guilty of that one.” He aimed his eyes at Rainbow Dash. “But what else can a dragon like me do?”

“Well…” Dash trailed off, looking away. “It’s not really my place to say how you should say your life: I don’t even know your real name.”

“Please, I could the advice.”

Dash looked back at the dragon, stretching out her shoulders. “Well… see, we have this farm pony – the brother to Applejack – called Big Mac. Most ponies just past him by, as used to do. But one day, while I was drifting away on my cloud of mine, I happen to see Big Mac at work.”

“I didn’t think anything much of it at first; I was too lazy to go rent a book, yet I didn’t just want to lay in my cloud. So, my nearest entertainment was Big Mac at work. You wouldn’t expect anything from the guy; he just works, doesn’t complain. He doesn’t rush anywhere either, he just… enjoying life, I guess.”

“A typical farm pony enjoying life,” Spike stated. “But what’s that got to do with anything?”

“The guy doesn’t expect anything!” Rainbow cried out. “It’s like one of those things you know, but you don’t actually know. You know what I mean?”

Spike responded with a raised brow.

“Like, Big Mac expects nothing. He doesn’t get mad when it rains, or excited when a new gig comes into town. Whatever happens, happens! To him, everyday is like a fine day… dah! I’m not getting my point across at all!”

“No, no.” Spike went silent for a moment. “It’s like we always expecting something… always wanting something. Things to be different, things to stay the same. With, with that lifestyle, you’re just kinda content with everything.”

“Huh,” Spike rose his right claw. “You’re right. That is quite an amazing way to live your life.”

“A hard way too,” Dash said, “for a pony like me.”

Spike couldn’t help but nod his head.

The houses on the sides of the duo began to shrink in number, till they became an oddity to see. Trees soon replaced the houses, with fences at their defense. Just before the farm, hung a sign reading Sweet Apple Acres.

“Not too much longer now,” Dash said.

Leaves danced from their tree-branches, floating down until they met the ground. Only for the wind to pick them up, and drift them to the wind’s desire. The blow of the wind wasn’t hot, merely warm enough to fight off the chill the came with the fall weather.

Dash had been silent on their walk. For someone who disliked thinking, she sure was heavily in thought. As they ascended the hill to the farm, Rainbow began to talk. “That’s weird.”

Spike turned his head. “What is?”

“Here I am, giving you a bad rep for giving me a long answer. And there I go, and give you a speech about what I feel.”

Spike looked down at her with no particular expression. “Do you feel as what you said earlier was wrong?”

“Hmm.” Dash titled her head, so that her eyes aimed up to the sky. “I’m not so sure now. I feel like I had something going there, but now that I think about it, it feels like something's missing. I like my life, and who I am, but sometimes, you just… wonder.”

Dash trailed off, with that grin she always wore fading away into a frown.

Whenever something didn’t go Dash way, she would frown and complain. Anything trivial was annoyance to her, those frowns never a product of sadness.

And when it came to saving the world; when it came to something that affect Dash on a personal level – you could bet you’d see a determined grin on her face. Even if it was something impossible, Dash was never one to submit her will so easily.

So why now, with a conversation not too deep, was Dash frowning?

But, more importantly, Spike thought, why am I concerned that she is frowning?

Emotions spurred from within Spike, like a jolt of remembrance. Any attention placed on these emotions caused them to dissipate, and their departure awoken certain feelings; ones that Spike wasn’t sure he had.

His left claw wanted rise high, so that it could strike Rainbow Dash down to the dirt, allowing Spike his revenge. His hatred finally quenched, for all those times she laughed at him. How funny, was it, that Spike almost drowned in that lake! OR, how Spike said something stupid – let us laugh at his stupidity. Girls, look! Spike fell to the ground… he’s even more below us! Bwahaha!

Spike’s left claw curled into a fist.

While his right claw wanted nothing more than to reach out to Rainbow Dash. So that he could take hold of her, and save her from her sadness. To talk one another, as deeply as she liked. To become something more… his right claw longed for something that Rainbow Dash had.

But what?

Spike broke the mare at from her thoughts.

“I think you’re right about thinking too much; you might find yourself in a trap, one that you’re unable to escape. But if you don’t think, then you may end up living a life you don’t like.

Dash blinked her eyes, stopping at the base of the hill to look up at the drake. “Whoa… that’s kinda deep, dude.”

Spike only shrugged his shoulders.

Dash rubbed the side of her head, smiling sheepishly. “Heh, I guess I should’ve used fancier words to express myself – I kinda came off as a dutz, didn’t I?”

“Meh,” Spike replied, “it’s alright. Besides, I’m cool with how you act now.”

“Wait,” Dash said, “we’re actually cool?”

“Well, yea–er, may… I… Hmm.” Without Spike even knowing it, a claw already placed itself against his upper-lip. “I’m… cool with you – still not a fan of pony kind, and I feel like you and Applejack are planning something.”

“But, with that said, I guess it isn’t torture staying here.”

“That’s…” Dash opened her mouth, playing her tongue along her teeth. “A good thing?”

“It’s a good deal for me,” the dragon replied, “but not for you. And that’s why I’m suspicious around you ponies.”

Dash’s face flared up. “And what do you mean by that!?”

“Who the heck sticks around to a dragon,” Spike articulated the word, “who has been nothing but rude to them. Last I check, dragons aren’t welcome folks around these parts.” Those words took more breath out of Spike than he expected them to. “I understand I may be a bit interesting, but not enough to want to keep me around.”

Rainbow didn’t have a response.

“So, Rainbow,” Spike started, “is there some bigger-picture I should be worried about?”

While Dash stood tall, her stature began to fall apart beginning with her head, which fell and hung low. “Is it really so hard to believe that we’d put your attitude behind us, because of the state you came to us in, from the world you faced?”

“A lit–” Spike stopped himself, as white-lies had been leaving mouth so easily as of late. “Yes, the concept is hard to swallow. Now, am I wrong to have such feelings?”

“No… I guess you’re not totally wrong,” she whispered before shaking her head, and staring up at the drake. “But you’re not right either. While there may something else affecting us. I do know that Fluttershy, the mare that helped you, did so out of kindness!”

“And Applejack saved your caboose, because she knew it was the right thing to do!”

Spike hissed. “Always doing the right thing may hurt Applejack in the end.”

“The guilt would kill her first.”

Spike’s eyes jumped wide open, as he took a step back.

“You’re…” Spike stopped to take a breath. “You’re right: it was wrong of me to say that.”

Dash smiled.

“But still leaves your motives in the mist.”

“There isn’t much to say,” Dash said, while taking a step back, “you’re cool drake, and I wanted to learn a bit about you. Nothing really more than that.”

Spike stared down at Dash, causing her eyes to quiver. He took a deep breathe. “So you're wanting to know me; it wouldn’t have anything to do with the dragon that used to live here, would it?”

Spike could hear the sound of Dash’s breaths, as he did her best hide her shaking.

“I… mmm… I’m not sure.” Dash’s eyes broke away from Spike’s stare, and with her newfound freedom, she used it to control her breathing. “I’m not gonna lie: it may have been part of the reason. Don’t take this the wrong way, but you give off the same feel as that dragon… as Spike.”

Spike turned his back on Dash, choosing instead to stare at farmhouse on top of the hill. “So that was his name, huh.” He put his claws on his hips, took a breath, and twirled around. “It sounds like a good name.”

Dash giggled. “I found it silly.”

Spike chuckled. “As did I, but I didn’t want to say anything. Still, if the name is given to the right guy, then maybe it’ll come of as cool.”

Dash once again giggled.

“So. Tell me! Was this Spike cool?”

Now that caused Dash to laugh, and even the drake himself couldn’t help but smile.

“He was cool in his own way,” Dash said, as she began up the hill, “one that you don’t quite notice at first.”

Spike began to walk alongside the mare.

“But with ponies and dragons with that kinda cool,” Dash being, her tone turning somber, “I think it’s important to let them know just how cool they are. Y’know, just in case they don’t know it themselves.”

The leaves followed Spike as he walked along the fence, racing on ahead to where the wind lead. The scent of the farm caused Spike to inhale deeply, which allowed his mind to relax. “I’d rather not hear the sad story of this Spike character. But, from the sounds of it, something small escalated into something big.”

The butterflies in Spike’s stomach began to tie his intestines together, as his entire being began to falter. His face held the same distant expression, but his mental state was at the mercy of whatever Dash said next.

“It was the opposite: it was something big, that we thought of as small. And once it became a small deal for him, it then became a big deal for us.” Dash sighed. “We were a little late in realizing what was wrong.”

Spike exhaled, as he gained the right to once again breathe. The oncoming breaths helped inflate the deflated dragon; his strength returning.

No one said anything after that. This talk was already too meta for Spike, and any more talk may reveal things he’d rather not know. Yet the desire to chat with Rainbow was still there!

There’s something seriously wrong with me, Spike thought. Maybe it’s the years spent out in the forest, or the trauma of returning to this town: but something is definitely wrong with me.

The barn grew larger and larger, till the dragon and pony stood before it. The drake had his mouth agape, as his eyes stared at the structure.

Rainbow took a step towards the drake. “You alright?”

“Feels like a cage.”

Dash blinked. “What?”

Spike snapped himself out of his trance. “Ah-sorry, lost myself for a moment there.” He cleared his throat. “I suppose I owe you a thanks for walking me out this far.”

Dash flared her wings up, as she rested her back on the open air. “It’s no biggie. Besides, I enjoyed chatting with you, ya’ unsocial dragon.”

Right,” Spike faked a smirk, giving a roll of the eyes. “I guess this is farewell for now.”

“Pfff,” Rainbow flapped her lips, “no need to sound so morbid. A simple goodbye is enough, and a hello tomorrow morning works just as well.”

Spike smiled.

Dash landed back on the ground, and began to walk away. Though after a few steps, she twirled around. “Say, if you’re a dragon with no name: what do I call you?”

Spike shrugged his shoulders. “Call me whatever you like.”

“Ooff” Dash sounded. “You want to be careful with the ponies you trust making you a name.”

“Then know you have that tiniest bit of trust from me then.”

Dash stepped backwards, a hoof raising to her chest. She looked to the drake looking surprised, before quickly shaking her head and giggling. “I think I’ll call you Drag, because you’re a drag to have around!”

The dragon’s only response was a frown.

“New name?”

The dragon only shrugged.

“Drag it is, then,” Dash said, with a smile stretching on her lips afterwards. With a wave of the hoof, she bidded the dragon farewell, and walked back the way whence they came.

Spike turned to the barn, pressing a claw against its door. Yet, try as he might, none of his muscles dared to move the door. He chuckled

I wanted nothing more than to spend all of today locked away in here. And now that I’m finally back, I can’t even force myself to open the door.

The claw fell back to Spike’s side, as the other claw left his book on a barrel next to the door. He then took a gander at what was around him.

The Apple family house was just up ahead, with a candle lit by the window.

There’s a chance that Applejack is home, but, I doubt she’s told her family about me yet. Heh, actually: there’s a chance the CMC started spreading rumors about a dragon.

His feet began to move on their own. Meh, it would be too awkward if I walked in there, and Granny Smith had to clue who I am. Big Mac would probably run off to go get the whip.

Spike began to walk in the opposite direction of the house, his claws throwing themselves to the back of his head. “And once again, it feels like I’m making another excuse.”

Eh, why do I even want to see the Apple family anyway? Spike pursed his lips as he walked. Actually, I would like to see Big Mac again – he was cool. We never talked much, but on those days I felt like I had no one else to go to, I’d wind up going to him.

Heh, now I kinda feel bad, as I would do was stress out all my problems to him. I would rant for hours, and he would sit there and listen.

Then, we would just… relax. There wasn’t an urge to say something, or the feeling that things were awkward. Things just alright when I around Big Mac.

Spike slowed his walk. I had forgotten all about Big Mac! And now, I miss the guy. Heck, I think he’s the only one I miss from this town.

The drake paused before the forest, one akin to the one he washed up on. “I have absolutely no clue what I’m supposed to do next with my life.”

So he kept following the trees, trying to not walk so fast, but to pace himself and look around. With Big Mac on his mind, along with the endorsement from Rainbow Dash, Spike tried to take life at a slow pace.

A breeze danced by, rustling the leaves. Spike watched the effect, just seeing how nature rolled when he wasn’t paying attention. The grass, when careful with one step, would tickle the foot. It felt good, but once the process was repeated, the sensation lost its effect.

The world claimed the heart of Spike, but doubts still lingered on his mind. The questions left unanswered about himself, as well as the future. As long as they remained, then Spike would find no peace in this world.

Spike’s foot was caught on a branch hidden along the grass, as he tripped and twirled; his back slamming into a tree. His claws dug into the bark, to help him keep standing.

“Just what is the process of figuring everything out?”

He sighed.

He looked right.

And saw Big Mac.

“Oh, hey,” Spike said.

Big Mac nodded his head.

Spike looked back down again.

Then realized he wasn’t alone.

Spike shot his head towards Big Mac. “Big Mac!”

He raised a brow. “Eyup.”

Spike coughed into his claw, averting his gaze. “I-I wasn’t aware you were here.”

“Nnope.” You do know I work on this farm, right? Came the voice of Big Mac, from within Spike’s head.

“Yeah,” Spike said, “I should’ve known better.”

Big Mac blinked his eyes.

You do know the bigger question is: why is there a dragon intruding on my farm?

“You’re probably wondering: why is there a dragon loose on your farm?”

Big Mac shrugged his shoulders.

Spike coughed, unsure of what action should come next. “Applejack was around when I was in bad shape…” He opened his mouth, tongue searching for his next words. “Long story short – she saved my life, and allowed me to recover in your family’s barn.” He bowed forward. “So thank you for that.”

Big Mac raised a brow, while his lips remained neutral. Like I care about that fact. If this story really added up, then Aj would’ve told me. And, if she did, you must be lying, because you’re walking around just fine and freely on my farm.

Spike gulped. “I know, I should be in a worse state, and I should’ve gotten permission to wonder on your field, but it all just kinda happened spontaneously. Er! I mean– it just kinda happened!”

Big Mac spoke no response. Instead settling to slide his back down a tree adjacent to Spike. You’re boring me, Spike. Entertain me with a few lousy jokes, to make this situation not awkward.

“But it’s kinda funny though, no?” Spike said while rubbing the back of his head. “A dragon needing to get permission to do something?” He added in a sheepish smile.

But Big Mac continued to stare. You’ve fallen pretty far, haven’t you, Spike?

“I know, I’ve fallen pretty far as a dragon.” Spike sled his back down the tree, releasing a large sigh upon hitting the bottom. “That fall makes me feel really useless. I’ve always hated that word: useless. I think the word itself is useless.”

Spike’s head slumped forward. “Regardless, if you wanna see the living definition of the word, then here I am.” He exhaled. “I mean, if you compare me to ponies, then of course I have the better physique. But if I were to face a dragon– oh boy! Am I toast.”

Big Mac brows perked up, as he slightly tilted his head.

“I don’t do much to improve myself. All the things I do now, is because I’ve always had those skills. And, because of those factors, I give ponies the impression that I’m… filled with boundless potential!” Spike spoke like he was re-telling an old joke.”

“So, some ponies like to gawk at me; others hate me, and I have others that urge me to become something more.” Spike chuckled. “Honestly, I feel like a scam artist on the inside.”

Big Mac blinked.

“Because the impression I give is a fake. I’ve tried to better myself, but I feel like I can’t do that, until I find out who I am. But… even when I went out into the world, and fought for my own survival. With all the situations I’ve been in, where I had to rely only on myself, I still couldn’t find any ground within me.”

Big Mac continued to sit, not speaking nor moving.

“I know coming to this town was a mistake, as I tend not to mix well with pony kind. But with the state I was in, I know that I had no other choice. And that I should be grateful to Applejack, but even still, I don’t feel any gratitude for her.”

No anger or even a frown came from Big Mac, as he continued to watch the drake.

“I know I should be thankful to her, and part of me is. But I’m unable to make myself feel grateful to her; to truly want to repay her.” Spike sighed. “It’s hard to explain. I don’t even understand it, myself.”

A surprised chuckle came from Spike.

“Heh, I kept all these thoughts– er, feelings to myself; thinking that made me strong. But as soon as I come across to a stranger willing to lesson,, I blabber out everything.” Spike sighed once more; an act that was becoming a habit. “Sorry if I annoyed you; made ya mad, and... wasted your time.”

Big Mac twirled the sprig of wheat in his mouth, as his eyes watched the bending grass. “Nnope.”

“Really?” Spike asked. “It sounded like for a moment you wanted to ah, beat me up.”

Big Mac’s head recoiled an inch. “Nnope.”

“Huh,” Spike pressed the back of his head against the tree. “I guess that little voice of mine is trying to get the better of me. Heh, I thought if things got quiet: you’d go away.”

Big Mac shook his head.

“Yeeaah, I should really stop spilling my emotions out. I must be coming off as really weird to ya’, eh?”

Big Mac shook his head. “Just ta regular weird.”

Spike chuckled, almost bursting out into laughter. “That’s a pretty good one, mate.”

Big Mac exhaled through his nostrils, smiling.

“I tell you what,” Spike stretched his arms up, before letting them fall behind his head, “I was so worried about what I was going to do next. But, by just talking to you, I feel so… calm.”

Big Mac looked over to Spike. “Ya’ sound broken.”

Spike coughed. A claw gripping at his chest as his body trembled.

He looked back at Big Mac. “I certainly wasn’t expecting that.” Once the shock ceased, Spike let the claw on his chest fall.

“But… I think you’re right.”

Big Mac turned his gaze over forward, to where the sun began to fall.

“Though I also think you’re wrong. I mean, what makes someone complete? The dragon I am now, isn’t that the natural me? There’s nothing wrong with having feelings, but should you change your reactions to these feelings? Because then, aren’t you changing yourself? Because the motto right now, is to be yourself?”

“Bah!” Spike cried. “What’s the right way to live your life?”

Big Mac swirled the wheat to the other side of his mouth. “Ta’ think too much.”

“And you might not think enough.”

Big Mac back looked over at Spike, missing the setting of the sun.

“Ta find yourself trapped inside the cave, because ya’ thought the answer laid within. Yet ya’ left the question alone, outside.”

Spike eye’s lit up. “Were you eavesdropping earlier?”

“Nnope.”

“Oh.”

Big Mac had been able to figure out Spike’s current situation without him even speaking of it. Just by the way Spike had been acting.

I like to try and seem smart, yet Big Mac, the farm pony, was able to figure me out by just by meeting me.

“I’m sorry,” Spike said. “That comment about you not thinking a lot was wrong… and rude.”

Big Mac shrugged his shoulder. “Sorta’ true.”

That served to make Spike feel more insecure. Big Mac seemed smarter than him, was also in a better state of mind. Yet he was comfortable in sharing his weakness, even though he understood reality more than Spike. Which made him even stronger in Spike’s mind!

“Ah, boy.” Spike stretched out his limbs, just as a nice breeze struck. “I feel useless! But at least the weather's nice.”

“Distractions.”

“What?”

“Nothin’.”

The stallion and dragon kept quiet after that, as all their attention was placed on the sun dipping past the land.

“Say,” Spike said, “do you ever wish you were... someone else?”

Big Mac pushed his lips left. “Sometime’s I’d like to be Applejack, seeing how she’s important to the world. But then I wouldn’t be me, so nah.”

“But wouldn't it be better to be someone better?”

“Ya’ just be a duplication: never thinkin’ for ya’ self. Sure, you might enjoy it at first, but... ya would begin to feel empty afterwards, ah’ think.”

“Huh,” Spike looked down. “That kinda makes sense. Though, I’m at a point, where I don’t think I’d be losing much if I made the change.”

“Ya can only regret it, once it’s done.”

“That’s true.” Spike sighed. “So I guess I just gotta go with the norm of finding yourself, and improving yourself?”

Big Mac shrugged his shoulders, as he rose up from the ground. “Let me know how that works, as I’m still lookin’ for an answer myself.”

Spike reached out to him. “You mean you haven’t found it?” He brought back his arm. “I thought you said too not enter the cave.”

Big Mac shook his head. “Look for ta’ treasure inside the cave, but know when to leave, because tha holy grail ain’t there.”

Spike held his mouth open, and a moment later, he began to laugh. “I guess I don’t know how to quit sometimes – and that ain’t a good thing.”

Big Mac chuckled as he turned around, walking back towards the farmhouse.

“Ya’ haven’t changed one bit.”

A chill froze up Spike’s body. His throat being choked. He reached out his right claw to the far out Big Mac, as his own eyes were as large as saucers.

“Just’a remember,” Big Mac shouted back, “ya’ don’t always hafta follow what’s normal.”

And with that, Big Mac made his departure. Spike’s claw return to his side, bearing with it another question. It didn’t have to do with Spike’s exposed identity, but rather, a different question altogether.

“But how do you know, when it’s time to leave the cave?”