• Published 8th Mar 2012
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Little Dragon in a Strange New World - Zeryurijin

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Lending A Paw

Early afternoon light streamed down over Sweet Apple Acres Farm. Twilight made her goodbyes to Applejack and Fluttershy, both whom agreed to help tend Spyro and keep him hidden during his stay in Equestria. The unicorn would make a point to stop by Carousel Boutique to make arrangements with Rarity to stop by sometime tomorrow. She hoped the fashionista could go about making an enchanted cloak to conceal the visitor, should Twilight feel he be moved from one location to the next. Applejack agreed to take the first few days of dragon watching, giving Fluttershy the time needed to prep her cottage for housing Spyro and Sparx when the time came.

Spyro for the most part, remained in the barn sitting in the center by his bed with Sparx resting atop his head. Both were pondering how they were going to live and what they should do as a means to pass the time. Sitting around twiddling one's claws would eventually drive them both with a bad case of cabin fever. Or in this case barn fever. Course they could not exactly wander whenever they felt like it. So they were in a sort of stalemate. He did take the time to look around and note it was very large and airy. Hay bales were stacked in the far corners while equipment suited for plowing and seeding were lined against the walls. There were a couple of stalls perhaps for livestock, some full with hay just piling up in the vacant space. The rafters above were clear, save for a few stray strings dangling carelessly in the light breeze, remnants of banners hung for parties celebrated before hand.

The dragon's examination of the establishment was interrupted by small voices bantering with one another, the sounds of smaller hooves trotting on the firm, yet dusty ground. Spyro looked to Sparx, both unsure of whether to say put or find a spot to hid. The urge to hide was greater as he remembered Twilight for warning he stay out of sight of any other ponies. Darting to the nearest stall, he burrowed under the hay mound, while Sparx took to hiding in the rafters, giving himself a good vantage point at who was coming in. A set of pale purple eyes watched these three little ponies while they were lost in conversation.

A small tanned pegasus with magenta mane and little wings tucked at her sides was the first to speak.

"So did you hear about what happened at the weather factory today? All the pegasus parents were talking about it as they were picking up their foals."

A small faded cream pony with fiery red mane and a rather large bow attached nodded.

"Ah heard they found a dragon passed out in there! An when it woke up, it started attackin every pony!"

The last of the trio was pure white, with a two tone color of faded pink and purple mane with a little horn, shook her head.

"That's not what I heard completely. There was talk of the dragon high tailing it out of the factory. One of the workers knocked it into those rainbow vats too. Course it got away before any of the Royal guards arrived. They said its still on the loose and maybe lurking somewhere around here."

"You sure about that, Sweetie Belle? They said it wasn't a very big dragon to begin with. No bigger then an average sized pony anyway."

"Ah think it don't matter. Once sis gets wind of this, she's gonna send us up inside the house as quick as Soarin eatin one of her apple pies."

"Well girls you know what this means? This is another opportunity for...."

The trio slapped hooves together and shouted:

CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS!

Sparx glanced down to where Spyro was hiding then back at the trio of small ponies,"Cutie Mark Crusaders? Some sort of kiddie club or cult?" the dragonfly asked himself.

"Uuuh, Applebloom? Why is there a cloud bed in the middle of the barn? With a blanket, a bucket with a wash cloth, sitting atop a couple of hay bales? And whats with the large apple tub half full of water too? Some relative of yours staying the night we need to know about?"

The small pony with the bow approached the bed, idly prodding it with one hoof. She turned to the others then shook her head.

"These wern't here this mornin, Scootaloo. Think we should ask sis bout this?"

The pegasus just shrugged,"I don't know, figured it was normal for you."

A few straws of hay started to irritate Spyro's snout. He winced, shuddered and held his breath, as his nose was mercilessly tickled. It wasn't working. He could feel his throat start to compress as air was building up. As a last minute effort, he wriggled his forepaws around front and covered his muzzle. The itch started to fade slowly. He phewed a soft sigh of relief.

ACHOO!

Crud.

The dragon froze as all three heads turned towards the stall where he hid under the hay pile. They started to approach, nervous but with determination. Eyes quickly glanced up to see Sparx still hiding, unsure of whether to intervene or have more ponies find out where his purple friend was and get into more trouble. Guess their luck just wasn't holding up for the pair as the little ponies drew closer.

"Did... did ya'll hear a sneeze come from over here just now?" Applebloom asked.

"Heard it? Think I saw some scraps of loose straw shift just now." Scootaloo added.

"W... whose in there? You better come out! Or we'll get Applejack in here and she'll buck you up good!" Sweetie Belle finished.

Spyro debated on two things. One wing, he could leap out and scare the little ponies silly just for a few laughs. Course that would have Applejack barreling down on him again and one tackle from that pony was enough. On the other wing, if he did reveal himself to this trio it could wind up being the cloud factory all over again. And Applejack would still probably deck him or something close. There was just a few possible out comes, so he chose the smarter of them.

"I already know about Applejack. She and her friends are the ones who bunked me here."

"Then why are ya hidin under that hay pile? You fraid yer not pretty lookin?" Applebloom asked while peeking at the two eyes.

"Umm, no. It's not that. It's a little...complicated. But rather then bore you all to sleep, I'll say this: I'm supposed to be laying low, to avoid trouble as a Twilight mentioned." the pale violet eyes replied.

"Horse apples! How do we know your not lying just to hide out in the barn and mooch off the Apple family?" the one they called Scootaloo accused.

*sigh* "Fine. I'm coming out. But! Before I do, promise me you three little ponies don't scream or panic or freak out." the eyes looked back at the trio.

They looked at each other then nodded and crossed over their little chests,"We Pinkie Pie Promise." they said in unison.

Okay, don't know what a Pinkie Pie Promise is, but its a promise and they agreed to it.

The three fillies started to back up as a scaled snout, muzzle and head with horns started to emerge with those eyes. They gawked as a purple dragon pulled himself from under the hay and slowly turned to see the three staring. He brushed off any strands of straw clinging to his body, then folded those wings of his. A soft buzzing drew their eyes up to the rafters and caught sight of a bug of some sort fly down and rest upon his head as they stared at the three. He sat down and brushed at his scaled chest plates then fidgeted for a moment before clearing his throat.

"Umm, hi." He murmured.

Three sets of wide eyes, complete with gaping maws were all that greeted him, none of the ponies uttered a word.

Great. Just great. Probably collect themselves, scream in a fit and bam! Orange pony with hat comes barging in, gives me a riot act and starts chewing me out on top of it. This day couldn't possibly get any worse.


CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS DRAGON CATCHER GO!

"Buh?" was all Spyro could say before three bodies hurtled themselves at him.

The little pegasus grabbed him around the neck, causing the dragon to squawk in surprise while the white one landed on his back, yanking on his wings which started to ache and complain once again. The last one, the one with the bow in her mane grabbed his leg and started shouting.

"I got em, I got em! Quick find somethin ta tie him down!"

"I can't I have him by his neck, won't stop squirming around like a slippery fellow."

"Well don't look at me! I have his wings so he don't try to fly off on us!"

Spyro grunted and dragged himself around the barn as three ponies struggled to keep him from moving. Sparx had bolted off his head the moment they tackled him and was at a loss to do. The dragon looked up.

"Sparx! Don't just fly there! Go get Applejack and tell her, three crazed ponies are trying to capture me!"

The dragonfly gave a quick nod and zipped out, leaving his friend to deal with the ponies. Normally this wouldn't be a problem for Spyro, he could easily brush them off. However due to the storm and the encounter with that Rainbow Dash, he was still worn out. Thus having three fillies pull him every which why while attempting to keep him down proved a bit of a hurdle for him. The sounds of hooves beating the ground out front was a good sign as Sparx returned with Applejack. Her eyes fell on her sister and her friends while they continued to give orders on who was going to tie him up. Rainbow Dash had also joined and instantly was on the floor, laughing a the sight.

"Girls! Git off him!" The orange mare shouted.

All three tumbled off and huddled up, Applebloom pointing,"But sis! It's the dragon that every pony was talkin about! Here in the barn!"

Applejack sighed, rubbing her muzzle with a hoof,"Ah know. He's stayin with us."

"W..what?!" the filly stammered, looking to her friends.

The mare approached the three,"Look, Twilight asked me and Fluttershy to watch over him. He's...not from around here so to say. An since that incident up at the cloud factory, we decided ta keep him under a low profile. Now, git your little flanks to the house an don even think bout tryin to sneak in here, attemptin to bother him...ah'll know."

The three fillies groaned, but obeyed as they sulked out, all casting one last look at the dragon as he was dusting himself off. Once they were gone Spyro sighed heavily and shook his head.

"Sparx, is there some target painted on my chest or back? Cause ever since I arrived here, I've been tackled, hurled and jumped by ponies left and right. Its like some sign is hanging around my neck that says,'Free shots!' "

Rainbow Dash snickered while casting a grin,"Some dragon. Gettin jumped by even fillies. Don't see how you were much of a threat to the pegasi at the cloud factory. I've seen thunder clouds with more bite then you."

Spyro shot her a glare which only had the cyan pegasus snerk and puff out her chest,"I can take you on any time, scaly. I whooped you last time easy, peasy."

Sparx would have shot off after her, were it not for the dragon plucking him back.

"Listen. . Rainbow Dash is it? Only reason you had the upper tail on me was because I was worn out from my little...trip. If I was at full strength, I can promise you, that I would be more then enough of a challenge to keep you on your pretty little feathered wings."

Applejack groaned as her friend stomped over and stared him down,"Oh yeah? Says who? I'm the fastest here in Equestria, pal. I can fly circles around you so fast, your eyes would still be spinning in your skull."

Spyro just smiled,"Right...fast. Tell me then, speedy. If you were so fast, then how did I manage to freeze your wings while you were aiming to tackle me?"

The pegasus opened her mouth, but shut it as she rubbed her chin. Her eyes lit up and she glared,"You used magic of course! How else did you manage to slow me down? Sure Twilight could do the same thing if she tried."

The dragon just shook his head,"Its not so much magic but an ability. I can manipulate time. That surge you felt when you came at me, was its effects. It's how I easily avoided you and left you grounded. It's not something I brag about either...unlike some girl around here."

Applejack got between them before the mare could fire off a comeback,"Ah right that's enough ya two. Rainbow Dash ah think ya better head home. Spyro is retirin for the night."

Rainbow Dash grumbled but nodded. She turned and tried to stretch her wings, only to wince as the aching muscles filed numerous complaints against her,"I'm gonna have trouble getting home. That dragon's frost attack still left me hurting. I can barely unfurl them."

"Here let me help you." Sypro hopped on her back without so much of a warning, the cyan pony eeking! as a heavy beast grounded her,"Hey! get off me, you scaly punk!"

He grumbled and rubbed his forepaws together,"Stop squirming you whiner. Now hold still."

Rainbow flapped her wings uselessly while Applejack tried to pull Spyro off. Sparx buzzed around the orange pony, causing her to let go while he blew his fire into his palms, letting its warmth heat up the appendages. The pony beneath him, started to panic as she felt its heat, flailing as she called to Applejack,"He's gonna eat me!"

"Am not." Heated forepaws grabbed her wings, a loud eek! sounded before a deep, gratifying moan followed. Rainbow Dash was in heaven. It was like a nice hot soak in a spa bath after a long day, the heat seeping into her bones, muscle, skin and wings. The dragon just rolled his eyes while Applejack managed to chase Sparx away and approach him.

"What are ya doin to her?!"

"It's something I learned and it comes in handy. Look we dragons work pretty hard with our bodies as far as physical labor goes. As strong and sturdy as we are, our bodies still wind up being very sore. Hot springs and lakes don't do very much as the tough scales on our bodies absorb so little of the heat, given our natural resistance to such high temperatures. So we warm up our paws with our own fire breath and voila! Normally this would burn her, but I managed a mild burst. Its hot enough to ease the aches in her wings and give her flight once more. All she needs to do after, is simply take another good soak and she'll be fine come morning."

Spyro hopped off, allowing Rainbow Dash to rise and flex her wings. She looked at each one, amazed on how great they felt, given just a few minutes ago, she could barely open them. She turned and looked at him, the dragon saying nothing but sat there while his friend settled on his head once more.

"You know, you can say 'thank you.' for warming up my wings." Sparx pipped up.

"Sparx don't. Its up to her whether or not to thank me."

Rainbow Dash just looked down, pawing at the ground. She murmured a soft "thanks" before turning around and taking off. Both Spyro and Applejack watched as she took to the skies with ease, the orange pony whistling as the cyan pony slowly faded into a speck.

"That's some good heat therapy there, Spyro. Ahm impressed." He idly waved a paw,"It's nothing. Pretty much normal to me."

Applejack just softly grinned,"Say Spyro. Ya eatin anythin since ya got here?"

A growling stomach rumbled from the dragon's scales answered the question for her, earning her a soft blush from both Spyro and Sparx as the two nervously chuckled. The pony just laughed and promised to bring them back some dinner from her home as her Granny Smith probably would pass out if she invited the dragon inside.

A couple hours later, found Spyro and Sparx on their backs, bellies extended slightly as the pair groaned from being stuffed.

"Didn't know...so many dishes could be made from...just apples." Sparx uttered before belching. Spyro hiccuped and followed.

"Apple pie, apple fritters, apple cake, apple pastries, hot apple crisp, Apple pancakes and waffles, warm apple cider. Oooooooooh, I can't eat another bite. I'll explode into apple confetti."

The pair listened to the night life playing around them. The soft sounds of crickets chirped in the grassy regions surrounding the farm, a mild breeze of wind rustled against the barn doors, which creaked softly. The stars glimmered outside and the moon, full and pale bathed the lands in her soft light. Sparx was feeling sleepy as he settled beside Spyro on his cloud bed.

"You know. This wasn't too bad a day. Sure we got off to a rocky start in their world. But...ponies are not too bad. They work hard, can cook a mean meal and are generally pleasant."

Spyro cast a glance to his friend before his eyes returned to the sky,"I wonder of everyone in our world is okay. Or if they are worried about us. Cynder would be crushed if she realizes I haven't returned. And the elders. They'll think something bad has happened."

He settled in his bed with a soft sigh, his head resting on his forepaws. Sparx gently nudged his elbow.

"I'm sure they are looking for us. And even if we are not in Avalar, the elder dragons will be looking for that gate we passed through. Maybe they'll find a way to us, Spyro. Then we can go home."

Closing his eyes, Spyro could only hope that Sparx's words held truth. And that Twilight herself, would be aiding in finding a means along with this Princess she spoke of, of returning the two home.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The sounds of a cart creaking on wheels that needed oil, stirred Spyro and Sparx from their sleep. Eyes opened to find the pair had been moved from the center of the barn, into one of the vacant stalls. The hay there had also been transferred into another part, meaning Spyro had room to move around. How they manage to move him, was something having to do with this cloud bed, they called it. Which made his curiousity only the more piqued. Sleeping on a cloud. It's texture was like that of feathers, and yet was able to hold his weight. The dragon shook his head, thinking perhaps magical properties in this world extended beyond some of the inhabitants.

Back to the cart. His eyes fell on a rather big pony, red coated with blond mane and tail, with a yoke around his neck. A sprig of wheat hung from his muzzle as the pony unloaded bushels of apples from the cart, then hitched himself up once more and headed out. Faint thumps! could be heard across their land, something that was too tempting not to look into. Stretching his limbs and testing out the wings, there was some stiffness in them, but the horrid aches from yesterday were fading. A good night's rest and some food helped as they ventured out of the barn and found themselves standing before rows and rows of apple trees. Sparx whistled softly as the dragon took in the sights.

"No wonder they're good with apples. They live and work on an apple farm. Huh, I like the sound of that." Sparx said with some glee.

The thumps picked up again, coming from their left. Walking under the leafy canopy of the trees, the sounds grew louder and more paced then before. Coming over a small rise on a bend, the two spotted Applejack. They watched as she approached one tree, then twirled around and kicked with one hind leg. The strike was precise and with a thump! apples rained down into the tubs around her and the bags she carried. And she did all of this without damaging the bark too. Not one to just continue to sit around and watch, Spyro decided to perhaps find a means to make himself useful.

As Applejack was getting ready to buck another tree her eyes caught glance of something purple coming down the bend. She looked to see Spyro and his friend Sparx approaching, though she said nothing and hefted another kick to the tree before her.

"Mornin boys. Sleep well?"

Spyro answered with a sudden yawn, a yawn he quickly covered with a paw while Sparx gave a hearty nod,"Sleep very well last night, Applejack."

She smiled,"Feel up for some breakfast?"

Both shook their heads,"Oh, no,no. Thank you. We're still stuffed from last nights meal, Applejack. Think we're pretty fine till lunch or later."

They followed her to another tree and watched her kick a few more,"So what brings ya both out an about on the farm? Barn gettin to ya both?"

"Well that and was wondering if there was any way we could be of help to you. You've given me and Sparx shelter, a place to sleep and food. I was thinking perhaps I could assist or help around here somehow."

The orange pony gave another tree a good kick, the apples bouncing in the tubs, baskets and ground.

"Ahm obliged for yer tryin to help, Spyro. But ah don't think yer strong enough for applebuckin. It's an art we've perfected over the generations. Plus ah don't think yer feet would be much good ifn ya went and busted yerself on the trunk."

He sighed and sat down, his scaled tail curling around his feet. Sparx buzzed from his head and floated in front of Applejack's face,"Now look here, I don't think your being very fair of Spyro. My buddy is stronger then he looks. I'm sure he could be of some use to you harvesting, if you gave him a chance."

He clasped his small hands together and tried for the big pearly eyes,"Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeese?"

Applejack sighed and wiped her brow. And she thought the trio of fillies were this persistent,"Ah right. Ah think ah may have a job for ya after all. Follow me."

The mare turned and followed the path before them, Sparx grinning as he zipped back to Spyro,"You know, that puppy eye look was a little unnerving." The dragonfly just chuckled with a look of triumph as they pair followed

They came across a bare path of earth to the south. The column of apple trees paused at the edge, the soft earth stretching over a couple of acres, beneath a clear blue sky. Applejack was waiting for the two to join her, before she pointed with one foreleg to the center of the plots of land. Eyes adjusted on a dull, gray mass protruding from the ground, a deep trench surrounding the mass. Broken ropes, chains and even some cart axles, littered the ground around the object. Spyro glanced at the lifeless thing before looking to the pony with a puzzled expression.

"Rainbow Dash said ya had some sort of earthen magic, that ya caused it ta leap up at her and caused a hole on our farm. Normally, ah would have ya bury that hole, seein as ya don some damage to some of the trees, but ah think this is a better idea. We purchased these plots of land back in fall. After Winter Wrap-Up, the ground was soft enough to start sowin apple seeds. Things were looking up... till we hit that hunk of rock sittin right there. That boulder goes deep, real deep. An we tried everythin to budge that infernal thing. All we got to show for it is broken gear, sore backs, a few twisted hooves and even some short tempers. All that while that varmint continues ta sit pretty an taunt us."

Applejack turned to look over Spyro,"So...think ya can handle that big ol brute out there?"

Sparx zipped to her face again, hands flailing,"Whoa whoa, whoa. I said he was strong, I didn't say he could toss partly submerged rocks like they were pebbles."

She grinned and batted her eyes,"Yer the one who said he was strong and that he could help here. Doncha be tellin me that was a fib back there."

He opened his mouth to speak in protest, when Spyro plucked him from the air,"C'mon Sparx. We agreed to be of some help and we're going to do just that."

The pair headed out into the fields and started to circle the huge boulder. Applejack sat and watched, hearing the sounds of heavy hooves treading the ground. Big Mac joined her in silence, his eyes casting over to the odd lot in the middle of the acre. He looked back to his sister, whom merely tipped her hat.

"Ah know yer thinkin, its too big a job for that little guy. But after what Rainbow Dash said bout him, I'm interested to see just what this dragon is capable of. Ifn that mare's silly tales bout that dragon are true, ah reckon we have ourselves one interestin fellow. Ah want to see if its true with ma own eyes or if RD is just pullin our tails."

"Yer the Element of Honesty. Doncha think ifn yer pegasus friend was lyin, ya'd know it?" The red stallion asked.

Applejack gave a light shrugged as she continued to watch them,"Ah don't know. Ah can't say it was entirely true, but sum parts of it wasn't a lie either."

Sypro spent the last five minutes just looking at the boulder. Sparx was already getting second thoughts, that maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all. His friend ignored him for now, rather instead looked at the land around them. He gazed up at the sky, felt a light breeze shift against his wings. His claws dug into the earth, bringing up a few clumps to sniff the earthly scents it held. He crumbled it within his claws, feeling it slip back to the ground before him, then took one last look over at the edge, to where Applejack and that red pony now sat. His eyes closed, mentally picturing this obstruction and what to make of it. Nodding quietly he opened them once more and motioned to Sparx.

"Go ahead and sit with Applejack. I got this Sparx."

The dragonfly gave a somber nod and retreated. He didn't doubt Spyro's powers, just he wasn't exactly a huge dragon. Tackling a task like this was something an elder did or maybe even a couple elders at most. Still not one to judge him, he joined the two ponies at the edge and sat there. Alone Spyro closed his eyes and felt the currents within him. Breathing slowly he focused this into his core like many times before, giving it shape and focus. Once the dragon felt he had gathered enough, the eyes snapped open and he retreated a few steps back. Breathing slowly, he channeled his power up into his chest, taking a deeper breath then usual. Back at the edge, Applejack and Big Mac could feel suttle tremors beneath their hooves, the feeling of a gathering power converging out in the fields before them. Eyes widened, the orange mare followed this "trail" and found the source: Spyro.

He opened his mouth and a green orb was spat forth. The three spectators watched as it traveled in a soft arch and made contact with the huge boulder.

CRACK-KOOM!

Big Mac yelped and pulled his sister down for cover, the upper portion of the rock shattered into small gravel, pieces raining down like stone hail. Spyro didn't stop there. As the upper half was demolished, the lower half still needed to be uproot. Channeling his power once more, he buried his claws into the ground, sending a surge of earthen force to shove the remains up from the trenches that was dug around it. Once the lower half of the boulder was above ground level, Spyro "shifted" and the earth moved the last hunk over onto the side. Once settled, he withdrew his paws and the earth sunk back into the earthen void left by the huge rock, filling the gap. He spat another green orb, smaller then the first one and again, it contacted with the boulder. A sharp crack! sounded as the lower half splintered into slivers and more manageable pieces.

Breathing a little heavy from putting a little too much into it, Spyro heard the sounds of hooves approaching. Turning he saw Applejack and the red pony just gape at the work he had done in so little time. She worked her muzzle and the lips were moving, but was unable to compose any words. Finally after a few minutes, she managed to speak.

"Laaaaandsakes. That was...I mean...whoooooooweeeeeeeee! Dang Spyro, what they feed you back home? Thunder n Lightnin?"

He laughed softly and waved a dirtied paw,"Its was nothing."

"Ya call this nothing?! Ahm wonderin if its a good idea to ask ya what a big job would be like."

"Applejaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!!!!"

A dainty, yet aggravated voice drew everyone's attention to the edge. At the corner stood a snow white pony with stylish violet mane and tail, carrying bags on its back. Applejack knew who it was and dashed to meet the pony. When she drew closer, her eyes widened a little upon closer inspection: rock debris clung to her mane and dusted up her otherwise immaculate coat. Her eyes were narrowed and glaring at the country pony, while teeth grounded in frustration. The orange mare smiled meekly and addressed her words carefully, trying hard not to laugh at her messy appearance.

"Heya Rarity. What brings ya to the farm?"