• 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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IV – Nightmares of the Moon

~IV~
NIGHTMARES OF THE MOON

The sky had gone dark.

Though the transition went unnoticed by the dragon, as he looked in the direction in which Big Mac had left. He stood up with a sigh, threw his claws behind his head, and walked back to the barn.

Finding the knob to the barn door proved difficult, with moonlight being the only light. But the claws scratching against the wood finally found their prize, allowing Spike entrance. He ambled to the stacks of hay that were bunched together, and promptly threw himself onto the makeshift bed.

Upon turning over and laying on his back, the drake was struck with the view of the night sky from the shutter overhead.

He chuckled, as the stars danced in the sky. A claw reached out to take hold of at least one of the lights, but it fell back with no reward. Though if he truly desired something, then he could go for the water and blanket left for him on the other side of the barn.

But that would’ve required him to get up – and that just wouldn’t do. So he fell asleep, albeit a little cold.


How about warm? Yes. To have something warm, around the body; but yet, for the body to not feel cold. The same is also true for the body to feel warm, even though the world around it is cold.

But what is correct? The being saying that it is warm; or cold water around it?

Spike’s eyes fluttered open, as something smooth washed along his scales. A same effect possessed the houses and the trees, though not pony walked streets, as Spike floated with ease.

A breath resulted in water rushing to the lungs, which caused Spike to gag and gasp for air. His body began to sink to the bottom of ocean, making Spike fling his arms about until he began to ascend.

His heart banged against the confines of his chest, in an attempt to escape; his lungs being set aflame for every second it took to reach the surface.

On breaking the wall, water poured out from Spike’s mouth in a coughing fit, who afterwards, tired to drink as much air as possible. His body bobbed in the water, with his eyes adjusting to the surface; which was filled with the roofs of houses, and the branches of trees.

It wasn’t that small section had been flooded, but the wherever Spike looked, water persisted. The entire town seemed to be filled with water, which is why Spike dived back under.

Inside the houses, there was a chance a foal could be crying, while the water leaked in by the windows. Or that a rock had sunk onto a poor pegasus wing, and they were sucking in water instead of air.

But all Spike had seen were dry interior of houses, and no ponies sitting on a park bench. The area looked barren of any life, so Spike resurfaced. Though his back cried out in pain, while his lungs demanded a minute so they could relax.

But the rooftops were too thin to support his frame, and the tree branches too weak to support his weight. Though there was one far-out tree, with a stone tab floating in front of it, that looked to do nicely.

So he swam over, with every stroke resulting in a jolt of pain, and every breath, filled with a poisonous steam. His entire body felt like it were on fire, with the water just making things worse for the burn marks.

His body would cry out and sink, if he didn’t get out of the water soon. But he did, as he reached the tree and threw a claw on the stone tab.

A giant breath of relief came next.

“Hello,” said a voice, “my number one assistant.”

Spike looked up to witness Twilight Sparkle, standing on the tab with both wings missing from her body. While this brought a smile to his lips, it did nothing to hers.

Our next lesson is starting… why don’t you come inside?”

She offered a hoof, one that Spike galdy took that pulled him out of the water. And at the touch of her fur, it forced the pain to leave Spike alone.

Twilight smelt nice and fresh, almost like lavender.

Spike shook himself, but not a droplet of water came. Upon examining himself, he found that his scales were try and purple, as an aura faded from his body. Smiling, he went to thank the marre, but had to look up to do so.

She finally smiled as she looked down at him. The green coated armor that had been protecting his secret, was washed away. Spike stood as Spike. And not as the green dragon with no name.

Something within him wanted to scream, but his mouth would allow no such action. So instead, he hugged her leg as tight as possible, to the point he almost wanted to hump it. “I missed you, Twilight.”

Twilight wrapped slimey hoof around him. “I know.”

Her leg slipped out of his grasp, as she inched her head to the tree: a wall of black fog serving as the entrance. “Come on, Spike. The next lesson is beginning soon, and you don’t want to be late.”

Twilight entered the fog, and Spike was just about do the same. Though was something shining underwater, at the base of the tree. It almost looked like another entrance.

Spike shrugged his shoulders and entered the tree.


The room in which they entered, was of that of their own library – back in the days where they both maintained it; where both their laughs carried throughout the halls.

Twilight walked over to a tile on the floor. And upon elevating it, revealed a passage underneath, with a ladder serving as means to get down.

“C’mon Spike,” Twilight said with a smile. She jumped down the hole, and Spike had no choice, but to do the same.

The hidden part of the library wasn’t small, though its height caused Twilight to duck. It length is what surprised Spike, with the room longer than the tree itself. Water was soaking through the walls, though Twilight didn’t care as she went to the front of the room.

There was cube in the wall, allowing someone to ponder if they wished.

Spike wasn’t the only kid in to room, as colts and fillies sat in lines before the chalk the chalk board.

All eyes felt like they were on Spike, even though they were more concerned with Twilight. Spike was standing out, with his body feeling isolated and his mind weak. He should sit with the other kids and conform, so that he won’t be out of place. Yet back was glued to the wall.

So Spike watched the lesson from afar, with his shoulder trembling from the upcoming fear.

Twilight wore a grin that reached both of her ears, with her right eye doubling in size. A stream of giggles erupted from her throat, but not her mouth; though her head did tremble.

“You’ve all placed such a great trust in me, to follow me into that hole. I may even seem like Princess to you, wanting nothing more than help ponies.

Twilight stalked across the room. “But I would like to say, that all that trust has been misplaced.

She gave everyone in the room a small smile. “Each and everyone of you, will enhance my research, and I doubt! You’ll make it past the testing.” Twilight waved her hooves like she didn’t care. “Oh well!”

The foals shared the same expression: a blank stare that watched their teacher’s every move.

Spike – on the other claw – peed himself a little.

Twilight approached the first colt. And in aiming her horn at him, struck a blast of magic. His gray fur turned red, with him closing his eyes, as body expelled a wave of heat.

And in the next second, he was gone.

Twilight moved to the next filly.

A wooden table caught Spike’s glance, with a wooden box resting on top. He rushed over to open, with two knives lying in it laying – both sheathed.

“T-Twilight,” Spike called out, “I-I challenge you to a duel.”

The mare turned with a raised brow.

“W-Well, we’ll fight with the sheaths on first,” added in the drake, “just so we can get a feel for it.”

Twilight chuckled as she used her to whisk away one of the knives. Spike picked up his, and it filled his hollowed out body. Walking to the mare in a stride, all his fear began to decay. None of students turned to watch the battle. Instead, they focused on chalkboard.


Bink! Bink! The knives clashed in the air. Bonk! Bonk! The knives fought under there.

Up. Up. Down. Down. Left. Right. Left. Right. Sometimes the brothers met one another, and sometimes they missed. Though more often than not, did the sheath make contact with a furry cheek, than a scaley one.

Twilight stepped back as Spike progressed forward.

The knives went to meet, but did so in such a way, that both sheaths slid off: revealing the blades underneath.

Spike’s eyes flew open, his claw trembling. Held within Twilight’s magic, was a real knife: something that could dig into his scales and take away his life. Blood would flow out his body, and his mind would wonder about what came after he closed his eyes.

Spike began to pant, as he tried to block all of Twilight’s strikes.

Spike stepped back as Twilight progressed forward.

And with a resound cling! Spike’s knife went flying, leaving his claws pinned to the wall.

“Before…” Twilight stood before him. “You fought without a care about death: like you were hero that was going to save this room. But, when the risk of death came to your realization: you cowered in fear. You weren’t as heroic as you thought, and because of that, you lost the duel.”

Twilight lowered herself so that they were leveled. “You overvalue yourself, up in your head, that you think you wouldn’t mind dying. But upon realizing who you really are, and what death means, you cowered in fear.”

She pointed the knife at his belly. “You’re not as brave as you think; you’ve never tested yourself. Always wondering what you are, when you already know!” She brought her lips to his ear. “That you are truly, useless

Twilight struck the blade into the wall and returned to her experiments

Spike gained the ability to breathe one she left, and quickly started looking for anything that could help him. And thus, another wooden table caught his gaze, as he begun to crawl towards it.

Another box sat on the table. Opening it revealed two rings.

“Wait,” Spike said. “These are to stop the flow of magic in a unicorn’s horn…”

He looked to Twilight – who glanced back at him. Spike dropped the box and crawled back to the wall. Twilight begun to walk over, but was stopped on her path by certain filly. “Twilight, I challenge you to a duel.”

With a chest raising high and sinking low, Spike reached out his claw.

“Sweetie Belle…”

The filly turned her head back to look at him. “If only you had said something before, then I would’ve know to come help you.”

Sweetie looked back at Twilight, and met her at the wooden table; where both parties took a seat and put on a ring.

The students this time around watched the game, all with the same blank faces. Except for Spike, who clutched his tail to his tummy.

“Ready?” Twilight asked.

Sweetie nodded.

Sweetie fired: nothing.

Twilight fired: nothing.

Sweetie fired: nothing.

Twilight fired: the ring rusted.

Sweetie fired: the ring cracked.

Twilight fired: rust covered the ring.

Sweetie fired: the whole ring cracked.

Sweetie charged her horn again and went to fire, though she was struck from a blast and her existence was ripped from the dream.

Twilight smashed the ring in her hoof. Upon standing up from her seat, she continued her experiments on the rows of kids; zapped away without a sound.

And then there were none.

Two hooves filled the floor, in which, Spike was staring down at. He raised his head to witness the charging of the horn, and closed his eyes and awaited the endless darkness with a smile...

A darkness that never came.

Just what was Twilight waiting for? For him to open his eyes, so he could be present for his death. Though that would make her victory that much more sweet.

Though regardless of the reason, if Spike didn’t open his eyes now, then he would suffer a heart attack. And at the crack of his sight, the drake found himself looking at the Princess of the Night.


“Welcome!” Luna said, “the most important dragon in the world.”

The Princess and the dragon stood at the same eye-level.

The white void around them, contained a flow of colours, that seemed to like to dance.

Spike infused his claw with a green liquid, which he then pressed against his chest: his purple being painted over.

“I advise you don’t do that,” Luna said, “as I do believe, purple scales, suits you best.”

The green retracted from the scales and returned to the claw, with the green aura ceasing around his claw. “Do I know you?”

“You should,” Luna raised her voice, “as I have known your existence since you were but a baby dragon.”

“I don’t recall meeting a Princess in my lifetime.”

Luna closed the distance between them. “Spike, tis I know that you are not a fool. You can’t escape the knowledge of a Princess.”

“Really?” Spike played, “because I made Twilight believe my story, who just so happens, to be a Princess – and by the way? I just found that out.”

Luna sighed. “What I mean to say, is that you cannot fool an actual, Princess!”

“Oh oh oh!” Spike inched his head back, “so there is some unchecked feelings going on here.”

“That is besides that matter, Spike the dragon.”

Spike watched the wave of colours race beyond Luna’s head. “So Celestia told you I was still alive, huh?” He chuckled a dead laugh. “Thanks, mom.”

“She did no such thing!” Luna shouted. “I pressed the matter of your disappearance to Celestia very much, but she wouldn’t speak a lick of it.

“She even told me not to go searching for you in the world of dreams.”

Spike looked back at the Princess. “So you're disobeying your sister now then?”

“My sister has little control over my actions,” Luna barked, her breath picking up the pace. “I may listen to her guidance, but the decision is that of my own.”

“I guess that is a good thing then, as you saved me from that nightmare.” Spike bowed in a faux respect. “But if you don’t mind, I’ll be waking up now.”

He walked away in search of the door; though in a flash, Luna blocked his way. “I’m afraid you’re departure from this world has been put on a halt.

“Can’t you say: you won’t be waking up just yet?” Spike groaned. “I mean, why be so vague? I’d get your message easier if you—”

“Will thou shut up!?”

Spike nodded his head with absent eyes. “Oookay. So I guess you’re going to give me some kind of speech? A lecture, maybe? If the latter, please don’t tell me you got your advice from Twilight...”

Spike gasped, with both claws on his chest. “Or maybe, you’re going to pour all your sympathies out to me!”

“You’re going to receive a flank kicking in a second,” Luna barked, stepping closer to Spike.

“I’ve had worse from the timber wolves.”

“Oh! And that is just the thing, Spike.” Luna placed her mouth next to his ear. “They are beast, whilst I know what I’m doing.” She smiled. “If you think that nightmarish Twilight was scary, then I’m about to show you what a nightmare really is.”

The dragon looked away.

“Good.” Luna exhaled.

A glass tabled formed from the nothingness of the whiteness. Luna took a seat, as did Spike on the opposite side.

“So… how has Ponyville been treating you?”

“Alright.” Spike leaned his chin on his palm.

“Well, I see that this question segment will prove to be redundant.” Luna dropped her head. “But I suppose I didn’t care for the answers anyway, as your feelings are moot to me.”

“Ohh.” Spike rolled his eyes. “Now tell me what you really feel?”

“I didn’t always have a distaste for you,” Luna remarked, “but when you declined our help, and kept on the path of the same mistakes – tell me, what point is in caring for you?”

“I guess none.”

Exactly.” Luna twirled her head around. “Tis a disappointment you came out to be.”

“Hey,” Spike growled.

Luna waved, playfully rolling her eyes. “You desired what I really felt, and I have fulfilled your request!” She poked him on the snout; he displayed his fangs. “But this meeting isn’t about you, no! It’s about those who suffer from the nightmares.”

The flow of color, swirled next to the the table. The lines drew themselves into pictures of Ponville. “Your appearance in this town, Spike, has caused many to fear going to sleep, for what they may dream.”

“Nightmares and memories are two different things,” Spike remarked, “for, if we’re talking them, then they caused their own nightmares.”

Luna’s eyes fell as her head shook, a wave of disappointments reaching Spike. “Still blaming them, are you?”

“They’re the ones who broke my trust and forced me out.”

Luina erected from the table. “It was your choice to run away!”

Spike jumped from his seat. “They’re the ones who gave me that choice!”

The table turned back into lines of colors, joining the flow back in the void. Only two stayed behind; black and green.

A paint stroke of black began to wrap itself along hind legs. “You could’ve asked for help.”

“From who?” Spike fired back from his mouth like a canon.

A thin green line slithered to a pair of feet, and begun to wrap itself around like a wire. “Because I didn’t see you or Celestia. But yet! When a filly has a nightmare, you’re there!”

“I would’ve been there sooner for you,” Luna said as her chest trembled, “if I could of.”

“And why couldn’t you?”

“Because I couldn’t interfere with your scenario!”

Spike stepped forward – their faces meeting. “And why is that?”

“Because I owe those six too much to risk what I would’ve done!”

A breath caught his throat, by a trap that barred him from breathing. His brows coming together, as they remembered an old joke. The line in the throat was removed, the next action being a single chuckle. Soon… those chuckles grew into laughter. The laughs booming, that the streams of colors shook; lines shooting up and down like a heart rate. Laughs that rung out through the void! The lines so sharp, that they might tear through the whiteness of the void, and enter into reality.

“It was because of what you owed, that you didn’t come...” Spike laughed. “Yet, whenever Twilight so much as whimpers, I bet you're there, right at her side!”

The string of green wrapped around his knee.. “You weren’t allowed to care about me…” Spike turned back with a delightful grin, “Yet I pushed you away before you're betrayal could have an effect!”

Spike paused his laughter. He licked his claw and tapped his head. “No, that wasn’t the reason why I had forgotten about you.” He brushed away a tear of laughter. “Tis cause you were so forgettable!”

“How dare you say such a thing!” Luna pushed him back, as lines of her mane fell before her eyes.

“Ohh?” Spike regained his balance and rubbed his claws together. “I guess that wasn’t the proper way to say it.

“No! No no no. It isn’t that your forgettable, Luna.” He drew a breath to hide his laughter. “Just, when compared to your Sister, who so easily did your job, along with hers…” Spike shut his mouth to hide the giggles, though his lips couldn’t refuse to smile.

“Well, in Celestia’s light, it’s just so hard to find you in her shadow. I mean, isn’t that why we focus all our attention on her?”

Luna lifted the drake by his throat, and he didn’t hesitate to do the same.

“You wanna play, sunshine?” Spike coughed, yet with a smile. “Because we’ve got all night.”

The way the steam escaped her nostrils, like that of a train! You could just tell that nightmarish fight was the only thing on her mind. But such disappointment Luna proved to be, that the two returned to the ground of the void. Boy, Luna just wasn’t any fun at all.

Ah well!

“Listen,” Luna empathized her every letter. “What I do now. Is not for you, but for everypony else. You took the cheap way out of your situation – but I won’t rant on that. I am here only to deliver my message.”

“C’mon then, delivery mare.” Spike coughed out. “What’s the scoop?”

“I do not want to see you repeat my mistakes.”

“What?” Spike asked with a shit eating grin. “Not being good enough for someone else?”

“To travel down a horrendous road, so that you may become good enough for others, and for yourself.”

“A road to to make myself better, eh?” The drake admired his claw.

The Princess stood erect, with a head held high. “When the thoughts of others become overbearing; when you can’t prove your qualities to yourself – you shall descended on the path to power, regardless of the price.”

“Power?” Spike at both ends of the void. “Say, where was that path again?”

“There isn’t a point in telling you, as you have already taken the first step on it.”

“Oh have I now?” Spike said. “Tell me, are you afraid that I’m going to destroy the town again?”

Luna spit on the void. “I’m more concerned of you turning into something so dangerous, that it will take a great effort to stop you; I fear for what may come to this nation and you and your sanity.”

Spike crossed his arms and looked away. “Don’t give me so much credit; I don’t have a desire for power.”

“But there exist the possibility,” Luna said. “When the feeling of helpless becomes too much, I fear you may give in to the voice of your insanity.”

“Can’t say I’m not close,” Spike muttered, “it sure likes to describe things weirdly.”

Spike pointed a claw at the Princess. “But what makes you think that you and I are the same?”

“Because we’ve already transformed into our nightmares.”

“Huh?”

The soothing eyes of Luna, the ones you could trust to watch over you as you slept, now filled with a tint mist. Her pupils had sharpened to that of a reptile. So heated in that passion of the argument, that Spike had failed to see the she somehow adorned.

Her coat infused with darkness, with her cutiemark radiating the light of the moon. Even during the heated argument, Luna kept cool and composed. Now she was a goddess who truly looked alive; that twisted smile, in which she had no control, looked adorable.

“Nightmare Moon…” Spike’s head fell and the sight of his body encumbered his eyes.

“The villain of my soul is black,” Nightmare stated. “And yours is—”

“Green…”

The flowing colors continued to fly around. Sometime painting things into the void, before racing back to catch up with the other colors. The swarm soon constructed themselves into a mirror, one that both the villain and the destined looked into.

Princess Luna saw the darkness that allowed her to be free from the shadows. Though she wore a frown.

Spike the Dragon saw the same disguise he wore into Ponyville that allowed him to hide his identity. And he couldn’t help but smile.

No overbearing thoughts were on Spike’s mind. When he looked over at Luna, he didn’t cower and think himself unequal in her presence. The void around him wasn’t hopeless; it was something to be endlessly explored.

“You may think yourself a hero one day,” Nightmare Moon said, “but you are so close to becoming the opposite. You may feel great now, but only because you’ve escaped the insecurities you hold deep.”

Luna’s face captured all was the only thing Spike could, with her nose almost touching his. He inched forward, lips ready for an unknown cause. But the drake stopped himself, he hadn’t known why.

The Princess tilted her head and smiled, and tapped her horn on his forehead.

“Now you see, this is the only reason why I’ve come.”

Spike’s left claw remained green and curled; something burned within it.

Spike’s right claw was purple and open, so much, that his fingers danced in the freedom.

Nightmare Moon nudged his left claw into the palm of his right. “Spike, I want you to be honest with: what is your reason for staying in Ponyville?”

He looked up from his claws and into the eyes of Nightmare Moon. “To get… uh.”

The Princess was split into two: half Nightmare, half Luna. And Spike wasn’t sure which he admired more.

One had casted enteral night and harmed his once-friend, but she looked looked so vibrant and alive. The other half looked away, almost like it was ready to cry.

Both were just as lovely, but one spoke of a greater happiness to him.

Spike coughed. “I came back because I had no choice. But if I’m really being honest, it's because I missed this town, and I was wondering… how everyone moved with their lives. Now that I know everything is fine dandy without me; my only goal is to get enough bits, so that I may leave. ”

“Good,” the Princess said. “Promise me that will be it.”

“I… I promise.”

A hoof dabbled against his cheek, bringing in warmth Spike had long forgotten. He leaned into the hoof, before it was taken away.

Spike looked to the Princess, who offered him a smile, before walking off into the void. “You may leave.”

Spike watched her leave, admiring the last blow of her hair. A stream of colors wrapped around her being, and in a second, she was gone.

Spike sighed and turned around, and with a step, he left his nightmare.


Golden rays flickered into the darkness, creating a pair of dancing lines. Eyes shuttered open, being both blinded by the sun.

The drake stretched out four limbs, until they pleasurably popped. He sat up on the bundle of hay and allowed his tail shoot out as far as it could. Once it popped, it fell to the floor in ecstasy.

“Talk about a weird dream,” Spike said as he scratched his head. “And an even weirder mare to meet.”

Spike stood up from his bed and made his way outdoors; the morning breeze tickling his cheeks. The sky faired orange, with the scent of apples, fresh with every breath. The grass tried to fly along the breeze, but it could only lean in its direction.

The drake stretched out his back, moaning as it popped. A claw found itself on the wound located on Spike’s hip, where not a pain surged. Spike experimentally twisted his body, and not a cry came.

Chuckling, Spike placed his claws on his hips. “So, what’s in store for us today?”

He began to walk on the farmland. “We could go to into town, but… I’m feeling antisocial. Maybe we can find a nice tree to hunker down at, and, read some of that book.”

At the mention of a tree, the memory spent with Big Mac underneath one came to mind.

Big Mac… there’s possibility he knows. But Applejack didn’t come in the barn and start blabbering my name, so I can assume for the meantime: I’m safe. But I wonder if he would be okay for another chat?

“Where is Big Mac right now?” Spike chuckled to himself. “Probably working. Harvesting some crops, kicking some trees.” Spike laughed – and didn’t know why. “Kinda like this!”

Spike kicked a tree, which made his thigh spasm in pain. Clutching his knee to his abdomen, his profit for the pain was a few fallen apples. “Oh… come on.”

He exhaled and let the foot fall to the grass. “I know you can do better than that.”

He kicked his other foot-sideways at the tree, with the sharp pain only pinching his thigh this time. More apples fell, but not enough to nearly match that of the Apple family.

“Bah!” Spike once again clutch his leg, opting to kick with his other foot.

Kicked.

“Bah!”

Kicked little harder.

“Fu–Back!

Kicked even – no. The foot paused before the tree, retracting back to the ground. “You know what.” Spike curled his claws and rose them up. “Let’s give these a little try.”

Spike gave the one-two to the one tree; a combo breaker on the next tree. Sliding over to the third tree, he charged his claw and uppercutted the bark, causing it to the lean back back. While in the air he kicked off that tree, and used the bonus momentum from that launch to lay a final, legendary kick on the fourth tree..

The tree leaned back and surrendered its apples, as Spike landed in the grass in front of it. He rose up and smiled, before his mouth cried out in pain. “WHY WOULD I DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT?! THE COOLNESS WASN’T WORTH IT!”

The drake shed a tear, as his right eye bore into the tree behind him. “I’ll make you pay for this!” He struck his claw into the tree, a crack coming from within his arm. “That did not work!”

He held his arm close and waited for the horrible pain to pass. His mind couldn’t wander to what Big Mac was doing; the pain became part of his mind.

Pain.

Pain.

Pain!

“Pain!”

“You are sure a smart one.”

Spike whipped his head to the presence of Applejack, who had a smirk on her muzzle. “You saw?”

“Saw?” Applejack said with a chuckle. “I watched, and it was an entertaining show.”

“And there goes my self-confidence.” Spike couldn’t help but chuckle at himself. Oh well! He tried something new, and even had a little fun with it. Besides, so what if Applejack was going to judge him for it.

Though things got weird when Applejack started touching his leg. “May I?”

“S-Sureee?”

A hoof stroked along the thigh, stopping at places to press, which resulted in a groan from the drake.

“Sore?” she asked.

“Kinda,” Spike replied. “My wounds don’t hurt as much, but I shouldn’t have put pressure on them right away. Though I’m a cramp more than anything.”

“You’ve been kicking wrong,” Applejack stated with a frown.

Spike tilted his head. “I’ll have you know, that this kick is responsible for saving my scales, numerous times out in the forest.”

“And as impressive as that may be,” Applejack said with a smile, “it is still the wrong approach when considering trees. Now, while I may not know much about dragons, I think it’s safe to assume you have the same amount of strength an earth pony does.”

“And I’d like to agree,” Spike said with raised brow.

“So then, why do you think our kicks, are better than your kicks?”

“I’m going to sound like and idiot here, but isn’t because of how much you ponies practise, and your knowledge of where to kick?”

“Close,” Applejack giggled, “but not quite. Ya see, the answer isn’t where we kick, but how we kick.”

Spike leaned forward. “Huh?”

“Tell me, when you kick someone, what happens?”

“F-For me? They fly back.”

“Exactly.” Applejack nodded her head. “When you kick, you expect to move someone. But try as you might, your kicks can’t move a tree. What you want is for is the tree to lean and shake, so that it’ll drop its apples.”

Spike’s shoulder slumped. “I’m starting to think it’s easier to just shake the tree.”

“Certainly the easiest thing to do, but not the most intelligent, especially since it's coming from you.”

“Hey…”

“But if we look at this matter from business perspective, then shaking every tree would take far too long for us to make a profit.” She pushed on a tree, which barely inched backwards. “But see, Spik– er, dragon: that we need to find a way to shake these trees fast.”

Spike rubbed his neck, as his heart pumped at twice the speed.

“So that’s why when we kick, we do so to shake the trees from within; not to kick it back.”

“What do you mean by that?” Spike asked.

Applejack giggled, as she put her hoof on the dragon’s belly, causing him to stumble back.

“Relax!” Applejack exclaimed. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

The drake stepped forward with shaky feet, and gulped as a hoof hovered an inch away from his belly. The hoof thrusted forward…

Which caused Spike to whine. “You said it wasn’t going to hurt!”

“Quick! Where does it hurt?”

“In my stomach of course!”

“Where in your stomach?”

“In–in the middle?”

Applejack exhaled and wrapped a hoof around his side. “Thank you for being a test subject, partner.”

“How do you say?”

“I wasn’t aiming to hurt your belly, I was aiming to hurt your stomach: so I punch past it.”

“You punched past it?”

Applejack giggled. “Your belly doesn’t hurt now, but past it – your stomach – does. It’s because when I hit you there, I didn’t direct the force onto your scales, but rather, focused the energy on what was past it.

“I visualized where I wanted to force to go, and that’s where it went. You don’t always strike where you hit.”

“That doesn’t make any sense,” Spike said. “But unfortunately, I can feel the lesson. Oh, and thanks for making my injuries worse, by the way.”

Applejack stared up at him with an open mouth, looking to apologize… when she noticed the smirk along the drake’s lips. “Don’t goof me like that, Sugarcube. Though I do apologize”

Spike chuckled as he looked to the trees, with Applejack approaching just one.

“Take this tree for example – I’m not aiming to kick him back, but for my force to reach its heart, and unleashes its energy there – that energy shaking it about from within.” Applejack reared her legs up, and snapped it down unto the tree.

The world slowed.

Spike sat on along the fence of Sweet Apple Acres, watching Applejack buck yet another tree. He struck a claw to the sky to commence her victory, but didn’t say a peep, as to disturb her work.

Spike was a kid again, and felt just as happy as one.

Then world resumed to its natural flow, with two orange hooves colliding with the bark – a line shot past its surface and into the interior of the tree, where it then shot out and stirred everything from within.

The tree shook and dropped its apples; one falling on top of Spike’s head. He caught it before it fell to the ground.

“I think I discovered something new,” Spike said.

“Gravity?”

“No!” Spike tossed the apple in the air and caught it when it fell. “Hehe, but something just as amazing though – that the forces of our movements can be manipulated.” He laughed. “And I here I thought, I knew most things about a good ol’ brawl. I guess just mindlessly fighting doesn’t teach you everything.”

“It also doesn’t teach you if you’re fighting for the right reason,” Applejack said with a melancholic smile, “but I wouldn’t too much on what you don’t know; just learn as you go.”

“Yeah,” Spike whispered. A faint smile forming as he looked to the sky. “Right.”

Applejack watched the drake as he stood fixated on the sky.

“So, Aj…”

“Hmm?”

“What’s your plan for today?”

“Well.” Applejack bounced her head left and right. “I don’t have anything set in stone, but I reckon I’ll be catching up on some neglected chores.”

Neglected? Since when does Applejack neglect something, unless to help someone else… oh.

“Don’t worry: it’s got nothing to do with you.” She added in a giggle, which relaxed the dragon’s shoulders. “But how about you, Sugarcube; what do you have planned?”

“Nothing really,” Spike said. “I got a book from that Princess, Twilight; but I’m not really in the mood to read. If anything, that little warm up back there, got my heart racing.“

Spike crouched down so that he was at eye level with Applejack. “Say, since you saved me and all, how about I help you with a few of your chores?”

“Uh…”

“Come on!” Spike exclaimed. “I’ll do it for free if that’s your concern.”

“I couldn't care about that,” Applejack groaned. “I’m just worried about putting you putting too much pressure on your injuries.”

“Ahh, come on!” Spike playfully fought back, “I’ll won’t go too hard myself. And besides! It might even get me outta this funk I’m in.”

Applejack didn’t say as she looked away. She hadn’t outright decline him, so it must mean she at least considering it. Maybe if he got a good look at her face, he could see what his luck was. But when he tried to inch himself into her view, she pulled down her hat and hid expression underneath it.

Neither party had said anything. Spike continued to look at the mare for lengthy amount of time, until it felt uncomfortable, even stalkerish to do it any longer. “Well?

“Fine!” she groaned. “I’ll let you help on two conditions–”

“Yes!”

Applejack stared at him and sighed. “You have to listen to every word I say–”

“And the other?!”

Applejack rolled her eyes. “And for you to act like no hero!”

The cavern of Spike’s throat became dry, with all the fun within being caught in the dust.

“You came to this farm, almost ready to kick the bucket – and I don’t want to be the reason you do, because you kicked a tree a little too hard and opened something up.” Applejack inhaled deeply as her eyes soften. “So play it safe, and do what you can. There’s no need to impress me.”

The urge to suck on his tail was present to Spike, as even though he was the one looking down at her; it felt like the other way around. “I understand.”

Applejack smiled and patted the dragon on the back. The action made him shake, though once he caught his breath, a smile formed on his lips. “Thank you for listening, Sugarcube.”

Spike stood back up to his normal height. And he didn’t shy one step away from the mare, as he felt himself an equal next to her. They were going attack the farm together, like proper workers on the same level.

A hero – not a sidekick – standing next to another hero.

“So,” Spike begun, “what’s the gameplan?”

“Well, I can’t exactly have planting seeds or harvesting the crops just yet…”

Okay. So maybe he’s a lesser hero, standing next to another hero.

“And bucking apples may be too much for you...”

“Ah, come on!” Spike whined. “I already promised that I won’t overdo it. And besides, you can’t show a blood-thirsty dragon”– he playfully rolled his eyes –“a new way to fight, and not let him test it out.”

The soft smiling face of Applejack’s had been caught in a mild shock, before all of her features dimmed. “Blood-thirsty, huh,” she whispered to herself, though just loud enough for Spike to hear.

The happiness too washed away from his face. The vile words slithered naturally from his tongue, and what was worse, is that enjoyed speaking about himself in such a way. The story of the green dragon was building quite nicely, but was it really just a story now?

The stetson covered her eyes, but her faint smile was on display. “Well, if you’re looking to just, blow off some steam: then be my guest!” She lightly laughed, keeping her head turned away. “Just... try not to kill any trees that aren’t due yet – or suck the juice from any of the apples”

She took a deep breath before raising the stetson past her eyes. “I already have bat-pony to worry about, so I don’t need a dragon to think about too.”

“So you think about me now?” Spike did his best to joke the tense air away.

Applejack laughed, with small blush occupying her cheeks.

Spike blinked at the effect he had.

“Easy there, Casanova. I don’t like you that.”

The two shared round of laughter.


The beautiful orange sky, treated to only those who woke up early enough to witness it, had faded into blue. The blue sky, while adorned with numerous clouds, was ordinary to behold. All the ponies in town could look up at the sky, if they wished to do so.

The the orange sky. Only a select few, wake up early enough, to witness its presence. And that’s what made it magical; that this sky was a rarity to behold.

Spike and Applejack stopped before a wooden station. Multiple carts rested alongs its sides, with the door of place open an inch, showcasing the bags a fertilizer. Applejack walked to the door and pushed it open, before looking back.

“Take any cart you want ,and start wherever you like.” she said. “But try to tackle the trees in a line, so that the boys coming in in afternoon can start where you finish.”

Spike saluted. “Aye aye.”

Applejack laughed and disappeared past the door. Leaving Spike to approach the carts, pick up their harnesses, only to detach them and plop them to the side. Grabbing the handles of the two carts, Spike dashed to the trees. “As long as I don’t let Applejack catch me working hard, than I should be fine.”

Spike chuckled to himself. “Just you watch, I’ll show you girls that I can be just as great.”

The endorphins rushed to Spike’s head. After being protected by Applejack, to making Pinkie sad, and almost having made a connection with Twilight – Luna’s words of him walking the path of mistakes had rung throughout his head; stirring a guilt that washed over his conscious thoughts.

Even if the act of harvesting apples is a simple one, the knowledge that you’re doing it right; that you finally did something in your life, that you knew was right, was liberating for Spike’s soul.

Be it a curse or a joy, his thoughts were no longer processed by his mind, but rather his mouth. Though like his previous words, his mind had failed to catch those words, and remind the drake of his insecurity.

While his spirit felt free. If the smiling mare standing in the doorway were to hear those words, then that hidden spirit might of been known.

But those fears are a waste of time, when you're on the job.


Wheels rolled from the messy dirt that smothers the wheels with its presence, and unto the soft grass that acted as a cushion and a cleanser. The change made the carts shook.

Rolling for a little more, the carts came to a halt on either side of a tree. Their owner, paused before the tree, and cracked his neck while a smile tugged at his lips.

“To strike not on the surface,” Spike whispered to himself, readying his stance. “But for target to be past it.”

Spike’s leg rose up and struck forward, striking the bark and made it tremble, which allowed for a few to fall into the carts.

“Now that I won’t do,” Spike said as he retracted his foot. “Remember, allow the force to travel to the center, before dispersing.”

Once again, Spike rose his leg, readying it in the air.

My wounds haven’t cried out yet, today, but I don’t want to risk opening one back up. Spike drew a breath. Now, just picture you kicking the middle of the tree. The middle, like the force of your foot is traveling past the bark.

Spike kicked the tree, the force traveling past the surface, and exploding from within. The tree danced left and right, which made the carts profited greatly in apples, allowing their temporary owner to smile.

“Not bad.” Spike waved a talon. “But I can do better.”

Spike took the handles of the carts and thrust them forward – they rolled forward and placed themselves at the next tree. The dragon dashed forward and twirled in the air; his kick striking into the wood and revealing the tree of its apples: the weight brining the carts to a complete stop.

Rushing to the carts, the dragon took hold and dashed to the next tree. Letting go a few steps before the tree, they rolled past the the drake who readied his kick, and stopped underneath the tree: the falling apples weighing them down.

“Now that’s better!” Spike cried out, once again rushing over the next tree and repeating the process. With every next tree, he experiment with the different ways how his leg could move; how many apples fell with each different strike, or how much it hurt to be flashy.

“Call me crazy, but I feel like I’m on top of the world!” Spike shouted as he struck a claw to the sky, to display all of the energy that surged within him. Coughing, he leaped up in the air, and struck another tree with all he had: all the apples fell.

And when it came to the dragon to land, his right leg slid along the grass, while his supposed his frame. Bring three talons before his eyes, Spike stuck a pose, as the carts were filled.

“Heh.” He twirled around and stuck a talon at the tree-filled landscape before him. “Just you watch… I’ll be king of the apples in no time!”

Spike raced to bring the apple-filled carts back to the station. As he neared, he slid his feet along the dirt, and caused the carts to drift. Letting go, they rolled wooden station and tapped against the structure.

Talk about easy parking.

Sliding into past two carts, he grabbed hold of their handles, and with a strong push on his legs, returned to the field of trees.


The town’s chatter was only a fluctuating sound, when heard from a distance. The sun in the sky emitted a high pitch squeal, serving as a warning to the oncoming wave of heat. And the leaning trees created their own breeze, with the ponies putting their hind legs to good work.

“Bah!”

Spike kicked a tree, though that rush, did not come. “With all these ponies around, watching me at work; I can’t fool around and any fun.” He sighed a long breath. “So much for the dramatics.”

He tapped his forehead against the tree.

And to think, I was having fun there. No worries about what I was going to do next, or dealing with my overflowing feelings – it was just me, hard at work. Heck, I even felt fulfilled! I mean, this is what Applejack and Big Mac must feel, right?

The warm wind danced along the back of his head, as Spike pulled away from the tree. Grabbing the handles of the two carts, Spike turned around was greeted with the sight of Big Mac.

“Oh crap!” Spike shouted as his eyes flew open. He dropped the handles and looked across at both sides of the farm. “I men, hey!”

Big Mac continued to stand there, blankly looking at him.

“I didn’t… see you there. Heh, how… long! Have you been there?”

Big Mac didn’t answer, instead raising his head above Spike’s shoulder. He too looked behind him, to see all the tree he had bucked – with some of them missing their branches.

Finally, Big Mac said something. “Did ya do all this?”

Spike punched his own spirit, while making his head hang in shame. “Yeah, that was me. Did I do a good job, or… did I botch everything up like usual?”

Big Mac blinked. “Er, no”– he scratched his head. – “Well, ya did some good, and ya did some bad – but mostly good!”

Big Mac chuckled to himself, before looking directly at Spike. “Ya haven’t been trained, and yet, you met the same expectations we have for everyone else.”

Spike rose his head back, as he took a breath of relief. “Aren’t I glad to hear that! I was worried that I did more more harm than good, like I usually do.”

Big Mac shrugged his shoulders. “Can’t blame you for wanting to help out.”

“Thanks,” Spike said with a smile the soon faded. He cleared out the joy from his throat. “Say, yesterday: you said I hadn’t changed.” The wind blew in-between them, carrying a few leaves along within its current.

“What did you mean by that phrase?”

The stallion narrowed his eyes, but his body stood still. Not a tremble in his leg, nor a shatter in his mask. Unlike Spike, whose heart nearly leapt out from its cage. And his arm, which refused to keep still.

Spike stood tall, yet his spirit trembled.

But looking at Big Mac. How he composed himself, his eyes never looking away; while Spike’s jumped at the first chance to avert his gaze. It felt like Big Mac held the cards: that he knew of all the secrets, and could do as he wished with them.

Big Mac took a breath and smiled, before turning around. “It could mean whatever you like.”

“How so?” Spike stepped forward.

“It could mean that you haven’t changed since you wound up dead on our farm, spouting little things in your sleep.” He took another breath. “Or it could mean you haven’t changed since you first left this town.”

Salvai traveled down Spike’s throat, as his foot hovered over the grass. It stayed there for quite some time, as the grass below danced to the winds musical. The foot did not join in on the dance, and returned back.

“It’s up to you what relationship you want,” Big Mac said, turning his head to the dragon. “Just know–” he began to smile “–I’m here for ya, regardless of your choice.”

The tension swirling in the chest, left the body in the gust of a breath. The grass danced underfoot, but the strands didn’t move an inch, once the wind took its music and went home.

Looking up at the sky, watching the clouds inch their way along the blue horizon. The green scaled beast felt his inner-being turn purple. “So I still talk in my sleep, eh?”

Spike exhaled and brought his attention back down to Big Mac. “Tell me, did I say anything... revealing?”

“I’d say embarrassing better suits it,” Big Mac said. “But I wouldn’t worry your head – you didn’t admit anything that would have ponies thinking twice about you.”

“Oh boy,” Spike laughed. “So, when it comes to my identity, the only pony I have to worry about is you then?”

Big Mac kept quiet for a second, before a smirk came across. “Eeyp. I could go around town, screaming you name. Maybe even get a magic pony to cast a spell to clear your scaly butt of all the green.”

A chill caressed Spike’s spine. “You would really do that!?”

Big Mac laughed as his head fell forward. “I’m only joking.”

Spike dropped his head with a sigh. A hoof took hold of his shoulder, and gave his body a shake. He looked up to have his vision filled with that of Big Mac’s face. “I wouldn’t do that to you; we’re friends, aren’t we?”

A chuckle escaped Spike. Which soon became a stream of chuckles, which then grew into laughter. Big Mac looked confused, but join in on the laughs.

The butterflies crashing around in Spike, had finally escaped in those streams of laughter. Once free of anything plaguing him within, Spike didn't hesitate to speak.

“Of course.”


The dragon and stallion had decided to go for a stroll along the farm. They didn’t really chat, but rather, just walked together. They didn’t set a destination; one of them wasn’t leading the other.

The two simply walked.

And walked they did, until their adventure took them to a barn. That’s where they journey ended, and where the pair stopped walking.

“Well,” Spike said, turning to his friend. “I guess this is where we part ways.”

“Eeyup.”

“Well, goodbye!” Spike stepped towards the barn.

“Er, wait!”

Spike turned around.

“Can ya, uh, do me one favor? Somthin small so that I can sure with myself.”

Come on, Spike. He listened to you when you were down, and kept safe your secret.

“Can’t argue about that,” Spike whispered to himself, before looking back at Big Mac. “What can I do?”

Big Mac looked around them, causing Spike to do the same. Only trees and the grass were the only things around. The two looked back at each other.

“Your face,” Big Mac said with a heavy breath, “may I see it?”

Spike swallowed and looked at the barn doors.

“Just for one last time?”

A pebble clogged itself in Spike’s throat, as a claw went to caress that spot. His eyes darted around to once again only see trees, but that did not stop his claw from trembling. So he closed his eyes, as his claws glowed green.

An arua formed around his eyes, and after a few seconds, the eyes opened back up.

There’s no one near…

The dragon’s chest raised and fell “Okay.”

Spike held out his left claw, staring into it with a longing in his heart. A aura formed along the claw’s features. Drawing a heavy breath, Spike brought the claw before his face, as the sight of his palm over took his vision.

Closing his eyes. A liquid stirred along his scales surface, before washing out from his body, and into his claw; forming a green ball.

The dragon slowly retracted his claw back, watching as his palm shrank in the distance. He held at the orb of green liquid at his hip level, as he raised his head to look back at Big Mac.

“Long time… no see… Mr. Big Mac.”

Big Mac turned his head and blinked his eyes, as if to keep something back. With a heavy breath, he put on a smile. “You look like a child.”

“A child wearing an adult mask.” Spike chuckled, looking away. “This mask doesn't feel like the type a hero would wear. Yet, it’s the mask I wear, in order to protect my secret.”

Spike’s eyes flashed open, as Spike the Dragon, was standing on Sweet Apple Acres! The sight causing the green ord to ripple. “So I’m finally back, eh? It feels like it's been for forever.”

“Spike?”

Spike turned around. “Right, I guess I don’t want the whole farm seeing, that their dead Spike has returned!.” He lifted the orb before his face, but hesitated to put the mask. “To think, that little baby dragon, with so much potential, would find himself in a state like this.”

“Are… are you okay?” Big Mac asked as he stepped towards Spike.

“I’m fine – just pensive is all.” He laughed at himself, and didn’t feel bad for doing so. “I mean, you’d think for a dragon like me, would end up in a better place. A mother a Princess; me being a dragon, you’d think it impossible for me to sink so low.”

A smirked tugged along his lips. “Heck, I’m starting to wish I became a villain, that way I would’ve had a more interesting story.” Spike looked back at Big Mac. “I mean, at least the villain is part of the story, am I right? They get some sort of adventure in there, while I’m stuck in one place.”

Big Mac stopped trying to get closer to the dragon, and instead started to take a few steps back.

“Tell me, Big Mac, you aren’t scared of me, are you?” Spike winded his head up. “Ohh, how pleasurable that would be! For me too be on top of the hill! And for you to be on the bottom.”

Spike laughed.

Big Mac gulped.

“Now!” Spike raised his voice. “You’ve seen what’s become of that baby dragon. Now it’s time for that dragon without a name TO make ITS return.”

Big Mac stepped back as the green orb collided with Spike’s face. His claw trembled as the liquid circulated, but didn’t hesitate to place his claw onto his face; covering his eyes, as his scales were imputed with the liquid. It traversed the dragon, like that of a symbnaite.

And just like that, Spike the dragon was once again dead! And this new dragon, the two point oh of Spike’s potential, reawoken to this dull world.

“Don’t be silly!” The dragon said to himself. “Even if the world is gray, all we gotta do is get a paint brush and paint a rainbow.”

The dragon placed a claw on his lip and physically moved it into a smirk. “There’s a lot of fun to be had out there. We might of failed the first time around, but if our plan works out here, than the world better be ready for a second attempt.”

The dragon turned around to witness the shocked face of Big Mac, who already had his hind legs slid back. “Oh, you're still here?”

Big Mac could only reply by the blink of his eyes.

“You have to forgive me, as sometimes I like to go on these rants whenever I get the slightest bit of adrline. I assure you, I haven’t lost all my marbles just yet.”

“Doo…”” Big Mac coughed into his hoof and swallowed back the dryness in his throat. “Do ya need some water? I-I think the sun is playing games on your head.”

The dragon looked up at the said sun. “Your right. It could just be the sun playing games with me…”

The sun making fun of me in its light, and the moon harreses me in the night. Aren’t you two just the greatest family members?

So the dragon decided to play along with the rules for now, so that his plans for the future may be fruitful. To make enough bits so that he may leave this place.

The world flew back to Spike as his lungs emptied of all contents. Hunching forward, he sucked in as much air as possible, while looking over to Big Mac. “Yes,” Spike said, “I think I could use some water.”

“So much for you tryna take it easy,” a voice which was not Big Mac’s said, causing both parties to turn to the mare before them.

“Apple...Jack…” Spike rose up after catching his breath, resting his claws on his hips. “When did you get here?”

“Just now,” she said, “but I’ve been looking around for you everywhere! Just where have you been?”

“Um…” Spike scratched the back of his head, while the mind within raced to find an excuse.

Big Mac cleared his throat, resulting in all parties looking his way. “Sis.”

By the way that Applejack acknowledge Big Mac’s existence, it’s like the entire situation made sense to her. “Ah,” she turned to the dragon, “now why didn’t you just say that Big Mac caught you on the farm, and wanted to have a quick chat?”

“You… shocked me?” Spike offered with the shrug of the shoulders.

Applejack giggled. “Y’all sure are a scaredy cat for being a dragon.”

“Tell me about it,” Spike groaned.

“Anyway,” Applejack went, “Applebloom left you some treats in your barn, along with something to eat for lunch. When your done that, feel free to come in the farm house to shower up.”

“Huh? You don’t want me to keep on working on the trees?” Spike asked.

“Honey, you did far more than your fair share.”

“To be honest, “Spike started, “I don’t feel like I did that great of a job; maybe when I’m feeling a little better, I’ll be able to tackle more of them.”

Spike yelped when something patted his back. He darted his head down at Applejack, who only had a smile to offer.

“If what you did today wasn’t your best, then I’m sure scared to see what you consider your best to be. You already kept up with the quota for the average farm pony, without any training or breaks. Heck, I’m not sure if I want you helping out anymore; you might replace Big Macintosh and me.”

Spike chuckled, a little weight lifted off his shoulders, as they rose up in happiness. “Heh, thanks for the words of encouragement. But if you don’t mind, I’m going to take you up on your offer of food and washing up.”

“Of course,” Applejack said, walking over to her brother’s side. “I’ve already let the whole barn know that you're a guest, so don’t be shy entering the house. Though if you don’t feel like talking, I recommend you take the back door.”

“Thanks, Applejack,” Spike chuckled. “But you’re sure there’s nothing else you need help with?”

“Not at all. So go and get your rest. Besides, Me and Big Macintosh need to discuss some business matters anyway.”

“Ah, okay. Well, bye then.”

The dragon returned to the barn, as the green liquid stuck to his scales.