• Published 3rd Oct 2015
  • 4,530 Views, 141 Comments

The Dragonfly Effect - Ichiro Sato



When Spike went to bed, he was a 162 year old dragon, war veteran, twice widower, and living on the outskirts of Ponyville. This morning, he wakes up to a voice he hadn't heard in decades on the eve of the 1000th Summer Sun Celebration.

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Chapter 2: Seeing Ghosts

“When war broke out, the races of the world were divided like never before. Some question why so many dragons chose to side with the Loyalist Coalition Armies. Some wondered if dragons learned the meaning of ‘friendship’ but the truth is a true dragon never bows.”
-First Lieutenant Fizzle of the 501st Legion

The flight over to Ponyville was a quiet one unlike last time. Both the chariot's occupants spent the trip brooding over very different subjects.

Twilight over her scorn pride and her pleas (to her knowledge) being dismissed. While Spike brooded over the potential ramifications of too many small changes to the timeline adding up into drastic ones, how to preserve the timeline, (his plan being trying to remember everything he did last time and follow through on that while praying Celestia's talks on destiny actually were not just the princess developing senility) and more importantly, how he got where (or when) he was.

He had not entirely ruled out some manner of enemy. "But it doesn't make sense? Why send me back if they wanted to manipulate history and not go back themselves? Never mind figuring out how they overcame The Starswirl Temporal Loop Trap time travel is supposed to suffer from..." Spike rambled in one corner of his brain while the other still tried to recall the hundred fifty year old memory of the flight conversation.

"Spike?" Twilight's voice broke her assistant from his thoughts. Spike turned and met her gaze filled with concern. It was a familiar expression he had seen her wear every time Flash (or anyone she loved) had gone off to battle, or the weight of the united nations seemed to grow heavier on her, or a million other burdens haunted her mind. It was a look that caused a dull pain in Spike's chest, wife or not, real or not it was enough for Spike to move over and give her a back rub. "Spike! What are doin-..." She began to protest but melted. "Oh, my... That's heavenly... Where did you learn that?" She asked all but kicking her leg like a happy dog.

"I read a book about it." Spike grinned as he threw back one of Twilight's stock answers into her face. "Now, why don't you tell me what's on your mind?"

“Huh? Oh, yeah. Do you think I’m crazy for worrying about this Mare In The Moon thing?” She asked.

Spike wanted to reassure her how right she was, that Celestia was taking swift and decisive action by sending her to Ponyville to make some friends, and tell her of the wondrous adventure she was (hopefully) destined to embark on.

Unfortunately, he had to keep in mind the practical aspect of it without his foresight. But to discourage her might cause worse in the future.

Then, brilliance struck him. “Oh, you’re definitely crazy, Twilight, but it’s not the Nightmare Moon thing that makes you insane.” He was rewarded with a wry smack to his face by Twilight’s tail, ending the back rub.

“Haha.” She said flatly.

“That said though, I believe you.” Spike answered earning a shocked look from Twilight. “And the way I see it, if we prepare for this and you’re wrong, we can laugh about it later. If you’re right and we are not prepared, we face the end of times.”

“Ugh, that’s not reassuring.” Twilight groaned. “We have to find a way to stop Nightmare Moon.”

“Well, my first advice: we look for help.” Spike said playing to his real objective. “We can use this whole errand Celestia sent us on to gather information on ponies around town and see if any are the reliable sort.”

“I’d rather have my brother and a contingent of guards. What honestly makes you think we’ll find any pony that could last a second against Nightmare Moon?” Twilight asked.

Spike grinned a little wider. “I read up on the demographics of Ponyville before we left and found out it had the highest concentration of ponies with psychoses, so we’ll either find help or have a fun and interesting time. Either way, your brother is stationed on border duty, we could contact him but it would take three days for him to reach us.”

“And about lasting a second against an ancient queen of darkness?”

“Hey, since Celestia won’t help, the guards won’t help, it’s us and whoever we find, or nothing.”

Twilight sighed and hung her head over the edge of the chariot again as they made their final descent towards the small town where everything would change. “I really don’t know if I like this new you or not, Spike. And I know for sure I’m not gonna like this whole inspection thing.”

“Look on the bright side, we’ll be staying at a library, once we check on the preparations for the celebrations and find some friend-...ly allies, we can go to the library and research more on the Nightmare Moon thing.”

Twilight smiled for the first time since they left with a glint in her eye. “Alright, I’ve decided, I like the new you, Spike.”

Spike just smiled and nodded as they touched ground and climbed out, all the while thinking “You had one job, Spike. One job that requires eidetic memory and muscle memory, and the ability to switch off giving a damn about Twilight’s less-than-healthy mental state.”

Aloud, he was saying “Besides, the people here should have something interesting to say. Like I said, this is the crazy capital of Equestria.” as a familiar face bounced towards them, each hop making a 'boing' she hooves hit earth, and Spike suddenly felt a cold chill.

If anyone would be able to ascertain his status as a time traveler, no doubt it was the approaching pink party mare. “Uh, How about we split up on meeting the preparation planners? Huh?” Spike said quickly and began to head towards Sweet Apple Acres only for Twilight to grab him.

“Oh, no you don’t! You’re the one who suggested we talk to people, so you talk to this one!” She said shoving him right into the face of Pinkie Pie.

There was a tense silence for what felt like an eternity, and in that eternity 's memories replayed the original version of this meeting, the party they came home to, her return with the other five having forged a world changing friendship. The parties for birthdays, holidays, victories, weddings, baby showers, even funerals for the fallen. Spike could not think of a single gathering he had been that lacked Pinkie's smile, whether bright and laughing or hopeful and consoling, she was at every one, quick with a joke or a story to celebrate a life passed on.

Until it had come her time, and from then onwards the world seemed a bit darker to Spike and his friends without the brightness of her smile.

Back in reality, Spike realized his ‘frozen eternity’ had simply been him staring bug eyed for ten long seconds at an equally bug eyed Pinkie Pie. Swallowing the lump in his throat and licking his lips, his voice cracked and he squeaked out a hesitant “Hi.” that would make Fluttershy proud.

And just like before, Pinkie leapt into the air, gasped like a free-diver breaking surface, and ran. All while still in the air.

“Wow!” Twilight said with a smirk. “You’re right, ponies in this town are crazy.”

“Y-Yeah…” Spike muttered, still shaking, both from his potential cover being blown and time being messed up further than it already had been, and the memories he had of the party pony from the old timeline.

“Well, time to get this over with.” Twilight moved on, noticing the discomfort of her assistant. “Where’s our first stop?”

Blindly, Spike produced the instructions left for him by Princess Celestia and read it off with a small rattle in his voice. “S-Summer Sun Celebration- Celebration Official Overseer’s Ch-Checklist.” These memories. Damn these memories, they were starting to overwhelm him.

Suddenly, a familiar pull of magic tugged on Spike, bringing him into the air and on Twilight’s back. “Spike, if you’re not feeling well, I can drop you off at home and finish this myself-”

“No!” The dragon accidentally shouted into her ear, making the unicorn wince. “I mean I’ll be fine. I must have had some bad Pikhanloy.” And the moment Twilight recovered, she gave him a stare.

“Spike, what on earth is a Pikhamkoi or whatever?”

A dish that would not exist for a hundred years when dragons began to develop their own cuisine. (Inspired mostly by Spike’s works, he would proudly note)

“It’s- Uhh…” Spike struggled, and then brilliance hit him. “Oh, what was it now? I read it in a book on… Saddle Arabian Cuisine! That’s it! I might have pronounced it all wrong though.”

Twilight’s inquisitive gaze turned piercing as her assistant nodded at his own duplicity. “And… When did you try making this?”

“You’re not the most terribly observant pony in the world Twilight. Not when you’re wrapped up in your studies or interrogating me instead of avoiding that fence post.”

Twilight stopped dead in her tracks and uncraned her neck from meeting Spike’s gaze to come face to face with a purple painted, pine, picket fence post. “Alright, I’ll capitulate this argument, but there’s something really really off with you today, and I intend to find out. Well, after dealing with this and Nightmare Moon.” the unicorn yielded. “So, that checklist?”

Nodding, Spike pointed them into the direction of Sweet Apple Acres, and journeyed in silence, Twilight mostly focusing on the road, but occasionally glancing back at her assistant at first seemed nervous, but gained a nostalgic look in his eyes as they came upon the first of the orchard trees.

How long had they been there and how long would they endure? It was a question Spike knew the answer to, and by his time, the last to know the answer. He smiled, amused as he thought of his own Applejack, the one was so stubborn she passed on only a year before the hundred thirty seven (at the time of her own death) Twilight. The mare who had not slowed down even a bit until the night of her passing.

And when he heard that familiar voice of vigor shouting “Yeehaw” followed by the resonating ‘thunk’ of hooves meeting tree bark, Spike smiled wider, seeing the orange farm pony, a familiar sight of hard work and constance no matter what came or went.

“Alright, let’s get this over with, because I’m not done with you.” Twilight said with a glance to her number one assistant. “Also, you’re crying.” She added with a superior ‘I got you’ smirk. She then approached the earth pony while Spike rubbed out his eyes, and with an air of official formality she had not grown into yet, she announced herself. “Good afternoon, my name is Twilight Sparkle.”

Then her whole body began to shake as Applejack vigorously greeted the student of Celestia with a casual hospitality. “Howdy do to you too, Twilight! A pleasure to meet’cha! Apples like myself are always happy an’ eager to meet new friends!”

“Do friends fight ancient mad princesses of myth on the precipice of their return?” Twilight deadpanned as her voice trembled and shook while Spike dropped an apple he had plucked from a basket and stared at Twilight.

Applejack stopped shaking Twilight’s hoof, smiled, and winked. “Wouldn’ be the first time I’ve made a friend by kickin’ flank along side ‘em beforehand.” And Spike’s jaw hit the floor. “Somethin’ wrong with your pet iguana?” She asked casting a concerned look.

“Firstly; he’s a dragon. Secondly; he’s an assistant, not a pet. And third; yes, but I can’t place what specifically or how.” Twilight dismissed. “Now, to get to business, we’re here to inspect the banquet being prepared for tomorrow’s Summer Sun Celebration. I take it there are no issues?”

“Nope!”

“Great! Now we’ll just-”

“Ya wanna try a sample?” Applejack offered, giving Spike some level of relief.

Twilight mulled over this and finally relented. “Okay, just as long as it’s quick. I am kind of hungry.”

The triangle was rung, and the farm mare let out the famous Apple Family call, and in a flash, Spike and Twilight were seated at a table. “Now how ‘bout I introduce ya’ll to the Apple family?” She offered, appearing right beside them and gesturing to the dozens of ponies around them.

Twilight opened her mouth to argue, but Applejack was quicker and listed off her family as they dropped assorted plates and dishes. “This here’s Apple Fritter, Red Delicious, Apple Bumpkin, Apple Crisp, Golden Delicious, Apple Tart, Apple Strudel, Apple Brioche, Baked Apple (don’ eat his brownies), Caramel Apple, Apple Cinnamon Crisp,” She paused here to take a deep breath. “And Big Macintosh, Applebloom, and Granny Smith! Wake up, Granny, we got ourselves some guests!”

The old mare roused from her place on the rocking chair and babbled a bit as she approached to join the rest of the party at a leisurely pace.

“Seems like you’re already part o’ the family there, Twi!” Applejack commented, getting a spit take out of the mare in question. (who didn’t even have anything in her mouth this time, curiously).

“Well! As I was saying, seems the food situation is handled, and if you want to get back to me on fighting a mythological mad demi-god, you can meet me at Golden Oaks at six.” Twilight dismissed and seemed ready to go when Applebloom stood before her with the biggest puppy dog eyes ever that had broken the will of many before, and would break more in the future.

“Won’cha stay wit’ us for brunch, Miss Twiligh’?” She asked.

“I’m… Sorry.” Twilight began to stammer out, proving her willpower above many others to say that much before ultimately folding like a house of cards.

As Spike and Twilight settled in with the Apples, Applejack provided most of the energy to the conversation, it was quite amazing how Applejack’s casual talk could put on at such ease and pry so much information out of one like Twilight at this stage in her life. Not that Twilight was terribly ironclad in her desire to keep secrets either, but Spike took note to be especially onguard.

“So ‘bout that whole ‘Ancient Mad Princess’ thing-a-ma-jig.” Applejack suddenly brought up, making Spike blink.

“I said I’ll give you the details later.” Twilight explained between mouthfuls of food ‘forced’ on her.

Applejack took it in stride and chuckled. “A good meal really shouldn’ be ruined with doomsayin’. Enjoyin’ the meal so far?”

“Itsh goof!” The unicorn answered with a mouthful of applepie she was coerced into stuffing into her mouth by the whole slice.

“Chew, Twilight, chew your food!” Spike teased, earning a glare from Twilight and a friendly smile from Applejack that made Spike mentally go ‘eep’.

“So how ‘bout you, partner? Ain’ never seen a dragon ‘fore, what’s your name and story?”

The dragon realized if he wanted things to stay as much the same as before, he was going to have to learn to hold his overly long tongue. “Well, I’m Spike, and, as Twilight said, I’m just her assistant. I help her get books, organize her workspace, keep her room tidy-”

“Sounds more like you’re her maid. An’ you sounds pretty young too.” Applejack commented with concern and an almost accusing glance at Twilight who was now wolfing down apple fritters

“No!” Spike protested suddenly then softened his voice. “I mean Twilight’s my friend.” Or would be. “She does care for me a lot.” In the future. “We both look out for one another.” He said remembering how during these days Twilight would forget to eat or sleep properly.

Applejack didn’t seem convinced, but relented a bit. “Well, just know if you ever need friends, we’re always lookin’ for ‘em here.” She said with an unusually measured tone to avoid offending Spike.

She didn’t, just because when Spike reflected on this period in his life, Twilight could be called negligent at best. But of course, it would seem that only added meaning to her transcendence into the Princess of Friendship itself.

Assuming he did not screw things up enough to turn her to the darkside of magic inadvertently.

“Thanks, Applejack, and if you ever need help you can count on me.” Spike answered and forced himself not to say more, but as lunch went on, Spike’s yearning grew.

He wanted to ask Applejack about her family and improvements she could make to the farm to help ease their burdens. He wanted to share with Twilight some of his engineering knowledge from the future and debate with her for hours. He wanted to work shoulder to shoulder with Macintosh, to ask Granny Smith about ‘how it used to be’, he wanted to even play with Applebloom just to watch the incredible journey she would start from the beginning all over again. All around as he looked at the ponies he would remember watching grow up, have children, grow old, and pass away. And he wanted to be there from the beginning this time, to see it all.

“Spike?” Twilight’s voice broke him from his reprieve and he snapped to attention.

He looked around and saw those same ponies now looking at him. “You okay there, partner? You’re tearin’ up somethin’ fierce.”

The dragon in question just looked up at a cloud and wiped his eyes. “Just a pegasus playing pranks on me.” He replied, knowing their next inspection would only be harder.

Author's Note:

Well, I was planning on doling these chapters out with a lot of backlog to them, but since you people seemed to like it so much, i'm throwing this one out.

If you notice any inconsistencies, that's a side effect of writing this thing out over the course of multiple months. On that note: I am looking for proofreaders who don't mind waiting long times.

Hope you enjoyed!