• Published 3rd Oct 2015
  • 4,531 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 3: Some Things Always Change

“I’ve watched Equestria grow and change around me, and I knew the biggest changes had yet to come. But who would have thought a dragon like me would have brought plenty of those big changes myself.”
-CEO of Orochi Inc. Spike on the personal computer.

This time around, Twilight’s eating had been much more moderate, even so, she was still groaning from having eaten too much.

“Should have eaten dinner last night and breakfast this morning then.” Spike commented with a smile, relatively sure he has said something along those lines.

“Ugh, just read the list, Spike…” Twilight moaned, whether from the food or dealing with her assistant’s odd behavior would remain to be seen.

Taking a breath, Spike read the list. “Weather, there should be a pegasus named Rainbow Dash who's in charge of it. Supposed to have cleared the clouds.”

“Well, given your little incident with the ‘rain’ earlier, she must not be very good at her job.”

A sudden blur of color flashed by them, followed by a rush of wind that almost bowled them over. Skidding to a halt closeby, a blue pegasus with a trademark rainbow mane, wild and fiery as the mare it grew from, turned to them and smirked. “Who’s not very good at her job?”

Spike’s mind began to resume its drive memory lane, he still remembered seeing that same pegasus in her Wonderbolts uniform for the first in a show, he could see her in her wedding dress, the heated arguments, the the even more heated evenings, and all the things that followed until that morning Spitfire flew into camp, carrying a charred uniform and a few burnt, blue feathers.

“Uh, hey, something wrong with your pet iguana?” The pegasus’ voice snapped the dragon to attention. “Oh! There he goes, man, he looked like the Cloud Ionizer last week.” Rainbow Dash laughed off. “I mean I’m used to people staring when they see something this awesome, but I was afraid I mighta broke him for a second there.” She struck a pose that made Twilight roll her eyes while Spike was reminded all too well of that sleek body he used to

“Mind out of the gutter, Spike.” The dragon mentally chided and shook his head, just in time to catch the tail end of his ex-wife. “Sorry about that, so how ‘bout this weather, huh?” Spike said aloud to deflect the conversation.

“Yes, how about this weather?” The unicorn echoed while her eyes narrowed. “You’re supposed to have cleared the sky of clouds for the Summer Sun Celebration.”

The accusations though washed off from the pegasus like the rain. “Pfft! I can clear the sky in like, eight seconds, eleven if I fall asleep halfway through the job. Besides, I’m still using these clouds to practice.”


“The Wonderbolts!” Rainbow Dash said proudly. “They’ll be at celebration, and I gotta show’em my best moves and for that, I need clouds to practice on.”

In his head, Spike was biting back the urge to comment on Dash’s form, her need for team formation practice, and other things. But he withheld, watching history repeat before him, giving him some small comfort that there were constants in the universe after all.

“Really? Well they’re not going to be very impressed if you just slack off on your duties.” Twilight goaded with a knowing smile as Spike could feel Twilight’s analytical mind now psychologically profiling Rainbow Dash.

Rainbow Dash locked eyes with the Canterlot scholar and narrowed her gaze while flaring her nostrils. “Alright then.” Spike felt a delightful chill down his spine seeing an all-too-familiar grin on her lips. “Name your challenge, whoever you are.”

Twilight smiled in kind sending a another pleasant shiver down the dragon’s back. “Twilight Sparkle, and as overseer of the preparations for the festival, I want you to put your money where your mouth is: clear the sky in ten seconds.”

“Or else? Not a bet if nothing’s on the line.” Rainbow Dash lazily spun in the air.

Twilight tapped her hoof to her chin. “If you win, I have contacts in Canterlot to the Wonderbolts I can-”

“Time me.” Were Rainbow Dash’s only two words before pinballing between every cloud over and around Ponyville. To Twilight, it was a seemingly impossible feat of speed, to see Rainbow Dash zipping through the sky like that for the first time.

For her temporally displaced, draconic assistant, it was reliving the first moment he knew Ponyville really was a special place with special ponies, it was seeing his fallen friend moving with the full vigor he remembered.

But like all things only watched that involved Rainbow Dash, it was over all too soon, and she was back on the ground to face a stunned Twilight. But this time, she breathed heavily, having pushed herself harder than before.

“How’d… How’d I do?” She asked with sweat rolling down her muzzle and a wheeze in her breath.

Twilight just silently held up a stopwatch that was flashing six point seventy one second.

The pegasus seemed to regain all her energy and did a loop in the air. “Yes! I beat my old record!” Suddenly, she scooped up both Twilight and Spike into her forelegs for a hug. “Couldn’t have done it without the support a such a loving audience!”

“Ack! If you want to thank us!” Twilight choked. “Let us breath!”

“Oh, sorry.” Dash said and let them both go, dropping them into the mud.

“Heheh, sorry, lemme fix that.” Rainbow Dash apologized and then looked around. “Whoa, double sorry, no clouds to wring for a bath.”

“I’ll live somehow…” Twilight huffed bemused while Spike continued to savor the moment. “Say, you seem pretty skilled.”

“Well I am the fastest flyer in Equestria.” Rainbow Dash said proudly, puffing her chest.

“I could use an ally like you.” That caught both Spike and Rainbow Dash’s attentions, Dash was curious, but Spike seemed mortified.

Flailing his arms and spreading mud everywhere, the dragon stammered out: “Twi-Twilight! Maybe this isn’t the best time? There are other things to do, aren’t there?”

The unicorn scholar was less than amused. “Spike, it was your idea to begin with.” She turned her attention back to the still curious but thoroughly confused pegasus. “See, I have reason to believe that the old legend of Nightmare Moon is real, and not only real, but will return on the coming of this very Summer Sun Celebration. Without any help from the guard or Princess Celestia, I have taken it on myself to gather allies to find a means to combat this-”

“You had me at ‘combating an ancient evil’!” A starry eyed Rainbow Dash said shaking Twilight’s hoof. “So who else is coming? Should I bring my friend Fluttershy? No, wait, that’s a terrible idea. Well maybe we can talk to the Wonderbolts?”

“Wait, you actually believe her?” The dragon asked, somewhat incredulous with how nonchalant two ponies had been about the idea of going along with Twilight..

Twilight responded in kind. “Don’t you, Spike?” Her eyes narrowed. “Or have you just been patronizing me this whole time?” There was a very sharp tone of accusation, suspicion, and genuine hurt in her tone.

“Way more than I should…” The dragon thought but just shook his head. “No, it’s just… This is something you should probably approach delicately. I mean doesn’t ‘I read a book that prophesied the return of an ancient goddess of evil’ sound a little far fetched to you?”

“Actually, it sounds outright crazy if you ask me, but more because it’s coming from her than the story itself.” Rainbow Dash said with a shrug. “But I figure if we do it right, if Twilight’s just crazy we can laugh about it later. But if she’s right, then it’ll be totally awesome and I can say I beat up a god!”

“Strange minds think alike, it seems.” Twilight commented with a smile to Spike who was blinking in disbelief.

The dragon let out a bittersweet laugh, barely holding back tears as a thousand memories played through his mind once again. “Seems so.”

Surprisingly, the unicorn scholar displayed unusual empathy for this point in her life and nodded to Rainbow Dash. “Well, meet with me at the Golden Oaks Library at six, and we can discuss this further. In the meantime, Spike and I have to check in on others.”

“Gathering the whole party before you venture forth?” The pegasus asked with a cocky smirk.

“Something like that.” Twilight waved off and set Spike on her back. “Come on moodswinger.”

Moving at a brisk pace towards Town Hall, Spike reigned his emotions under control in a few quick breaths.

“Feeling better?” Twilight asked over her shoulder. “And are you ready to talk about what’s been up with you all day?”

The purple dragon took another breath, rolling his tongue ten times in his mouth before he chose his next words. “Honestly? I’ve been ready to talk to you about it all morning. But I can’t, that’s why I’ve been struggling so much.”

That gave the unicorn pause. “Does it have to do with Nightmare Moon? Princess Celestia? This trip to Ponyville?”

“Yes.” He replied and hopped off to continue their trek to meet Rarity. The lavender scholar suddenly jumped to keep up.

“Hey, wait, does Celestia believe me then afterall? Did she tell you something about Nightmare Moon?” She seemed to grow in excitement.

“Yes.” He answered honestly again, though remained vague.

“So what did she tell you?”

“‘Yes.’” He answered with his back still facing away from the unicorn to hide the small smile coming back on, only to hear Twilight stop again midstep with a stomp of her hooves and growled in frustration.

Suddenly, Twilight was in front of him, eyes narrowed. “Look, mister, if you want to gamble that’s your business, but with Equestria on the line, I need to know the truth. No more games, tell me, now, or I lock your tail in a geas so constricting you will need my permission to breathe!”

The dragon blinked, realizing he had pushed Twilight too far in his attempts to regain homeostasis, and now answers would only sate her, and she raised a valid point without knowing it.

How many times had she and her friends come out on top only through chance and whim, a proverbial roll of the dice. When he thought back on the countless brushes with death that were so easy to laugh off nearly a moment later and how, even if he followed his original actions (which he was having trouble remembering for the life of him) a narrow success or even an outstanding victory shift out of their favor. And that set his mind on the million, billions, decillion, centillion variables that altered reality. From the step of a behemoth through the forests, arbitrarily dictating the lives of those crushed underfoot… Or the sperm which would vie for the ova within Mrs. Cake, if they did at all. He thought of this and his scales visibly faded in vibrance and the internal fires within him went to embers.

“Oh, no! You’re not getting out of this that easily!” Twilight snapped. “Why are you being so damned difficult-”

“Alright, I’ll say this much: Celestia does know about Nightmare Moon’s return. She did not ignore you. But there is a reason you’re here, it’s in the letter.” He answered quickly after having been brought back to reality but still riding a pendulum which swung across a myriad of mental spectrums.

Twilight’s anger evaporated quickly. “Uh oh…” She looked over the checklist page. “Uh… The page with the actual letter… I threw it out on the way over here in frustration. I might have set it on fire too.” She smiled sheepishly.

That managed to pulled the pendulum over to the comfort of familiarity for the dragon. “Well, Celestia’s most faithful and best student will then have to apply her memory. In the meantime, we have decorations to check up on.” He said and lead her on to the town hall.

And amidst a delicate phantasmagoria of scintillating gosmer, elegant tides of velvet, and embracings of silk, all filigreed with embroidery there was a white unicorn mare, her mane immaculately coiffed as her coat was pure, and for all her earnest effort into her task, she was the centerpiece of it all. Her figure was perfectly smooth and curved fluidly, the perfect ratios of softness and firmness, leading tempted eyes from head to hooves to tail. But only Spike could see the beauty she would become that would be even greater.

The memory’s vision was blurred a bit by held back tears, but he still remembered standing at the far aisle, watching her be offered by her father at the altar. The rings on the pillow he carried feeling leaden while the groom spoke his vows.

But equal to the sorrow he had felt, he remembered how she smiled. How happy she was.

That was what got him through the wedding.

“See something beautiful?” Twilight teased him with an ignorant echo of what had once been his words as she drew the line between his verdant gaze to alabaster mare,

Pulling the corners of his scaly lips, he turned things around without Twilight knowing by taking her own words too. “Yes, the decorations are coming along nicely.” He said and checked it off the list.

The look in her eyes told him Twilight was wise to some double meaning even if she had no true grasp of the situation. Damn that beautiful, breakneck, and brilliant mind. “Well, this should be quick then. Then it’s to the library to prepare, speak with Rainbow Dash and Applejack, save the world, and prove I’m not crazy.”

“That vessel sailed along with your father’s gamete.” The time traveler muttered.

Before Twilight could admit to having heard that (and he could tell she had by the tale-tell twitch of her eyes), Rarity’s voice interrupted as she seized and discarded ribbon after ribbon as her fashionista’s obsessive compulsive order skimmed just beneath the surface. “No. No. No” She said in mantra, broken only when a particularly offensive piece of textile elicited a “Goodness, no!”

“Maybe you should talk to her?” The lavender bookworm suggested tentatively with a nudge. “This might even let me head to the library early and focus on preparing to face Nightmare Moon.”

Spike would have none of that. “I don’t know, Twilight, aren’t you still looking for ponies to recruit? And with how weird I’ve been acting all day, I might just tear this whole place apart, break the seamstresses heart, and-”

“What’s this I hear about someone tearing down my hard work?” The white unicorn suddenly interjected into their conversation.

Perhaps he had spoken too loudly?

Twilight took it in stride and rolled her eyes. “My number two assistant is just trying to get out or work by pleading insanity.” She sighed, stressing her title for him when Rarity loosed an all-too-familiar, shrill vox tribus that would memetically be known as ‘wahaha’.

“Sun, moon, and stars. Whatever happened to your… Everything?!” Rarity trailed briefly as Twilight and Spike remembered both of them were not simply still covered in mud from Rainbow Dash’s odd display of affection (though Spike did find it impressive she beat her original ‘10 seconds flat’), but it had caked on and in Twilight’s case made her look like she was petrifying into one of Prince Qilin’s terracotta warriors.

“That? Long story short, Spike and I were dropped in a mud puddle. We’re just here to check on the decorations, find ponies willing to face a banished princess,” and there was that quick sale that had stopped becoming alarming to Spike and became amusing. (If Rarity jumped on board, he was going to eat his next shedding) “And then we’ll be out of your hair!”

“My hair? What about your hair?” Rarity said and immediately pulled began pulling Twilight off to her boutique to the latter’s protests.

“She’s thirty kilograms soaking wet, Twilight!” Spike suggested taking plenty of amusement this time around.

“I don’t know what those are but I’m probably even less than that!” Twilight shouted as the dark legions of fabulous pulled the unicorn to her makeover while her assistant remembered the Centigrade Metric System wouldn’t exist for another ninety seven years.

In a time far shorter than Spike had expected, Twilight had been cleaned up, and strongarmed into no less than a dozen and a half dresses, each one failing to meet Rarity’s standards of ‘perfect’ for Twilight for reasons ranging from ‘too green’, to ‘too poofy’, to ‘not poofy enough’. It was somewhere around dress plus minor makeover number nineteen that Rarity finally found something on Twilight that gave her pause to admire.

The unicorn’s assistant just smiled how Rarity thought Twilight needed any of her trappings to be beautiful.

“Now, do go on. You had been saying something about…” Rarity trailed off and her eyebrows slipped asymmetric. “A fallen princess? Where did you hear about such a thing?” while she began to tug the bejeweled corset in earnest.

Spike now attempted to review his recipes for something that would go with his scales.

Twilight winced once then sucked in a breath to keep Rarity from crushing the wind from her. “The Canterlot Library, actually.”

“‘Canterlot’?! You’re from Canterlot!” The fashionista magi marveled with a gasp. “Oh, I am so envious! The splendor! The sophistication! I’ve always dreamed of living in Canterlot! I simply cannot wait to hear all about it! Oh, we are going to be the best of friends, you and I!” She finished nuzzling her neck to the increasingly uncomfortable introvert. “Emeralds!” Rarity suddenly gasped in shock and distaste. “No, no, no! That will not do, what was I thinking? Wait right here and I’ll get you some nice rubies for that!”

The second she was out of the room, Twilight pulled the saddle off her back, put Spike on in, and made a dash for the door. “Quick, before she decides ‘lavender is so last year’!”

Once a safe distance away, Twilight relaxed enough to remember her task at hand (or hoof as per-the-period). “Alright, what’s next on the list?” She wheezed, her lack of activity showing in this moment.

Pulling out the parchment and straightening a pair of glasses Spike would not own until a century later (and even then mostly for body language), his eyes fell down to the last item written by Celestia. “Music, and it’s the last item on the list.”

As if on cue the air chimed and shimmered with the beautiful music of an avian choire. Different breeds and species of bird, singing in concert a chirping song. A feat of cooperation only possible by the gentlest of beast mistresses.

Butter yellow and soft waving pink mane, wings and body so much dantier than the average, pegasus. But Spike knew there was a steel beneath the silk inside, a strength that didn’t yield to eight months of hard torture and parted from her captors with a backhanded insult in all her humble politeness.

He sighed fondly watching taking in the scene, watching and listening as the blue jay fell out of synch and Fluttershy delicately corrected him.

He had been so entranced in the moment and memories, he actually jumped with Fluttershy when Twilight suddenly greeted her, sending him tumbling to the dirt.

“I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to frighten you and your birds! I’m Twilight Sparkle, the overseer for the Celebration festivities and wanted to check on the music. I must say, it’s really beautiful and you are doing a fantastic job!” Twilight quickly prattled off, both to get out as much of her apology for the unintentionally faux pas as she could and to fill in the increasingly awkward silence.

While Fluttershy felt increasingly bashful, Twilight awkward, Spike, watching all this, was feeling very amused.

Seconds passed and even Twilight was starting to avoid eye contact. “Soo… What’s that name of our musical savant?”

And a voice too quiet to hear, Fluttershy answered.. Maybe. Even Spike wasn’t sure. He was sure her lips moved.

“Um, pardon?” The Canterlot Unicorn asked.

Fluttershy retreated further, now Spike wasn’t even sure her lips moved.

“Didn’t quite catch that.”

Feeling sorry for the pegasus mare (and for Twilight), Spike approached his future exwife and put a hand on her side. “Alright, Twilight, I think Fluttershy’s got it handled.”

Twilight’s eyes widened briefly and Spike realized he has made a slip. He was already preparing to explain ‘dragons have better hearing than ponies and he heard her the first time’ but the animal aficionado unknowingly saved the day with her timing.

“A baby dragon?!” She exclaimed in sudden wonder and rushed over, nearly bowling Twilight over and while past Spike adored this sudden attention, future Spike was feeling awkward with the mild invasion of personal space (though actually being future Spike certainly didn’t help) and wondering how Fluttershy held such an incredible phobia of dragons when she was initially so enamored by him. “I’ve never seen a baby dragon before! He’s sooo cute!”

And the baby talk.

For all of Twilight’s callousness, Spike was grateful it meant he didn’t have to put up with the baby talk. “Uhhh, I’m Spike. Nice to meet you.” He offered a clawed hand to shake.

Fluttershy, bless her, treated it like a pet doing a trick. “Oh! My, he talks, he shakes! What else can he do?” She said acknowledging Twilight who had been stunned into silence by all this.

“Um, well… ‘He’ would be happy to tell you all his responsibilities, but perhaps we can do it along the way back to the library.” Spike suggested, trying to remember if Fluttershy had been this patronizing previously or if something about his ‘grown up’ demeanor in this childish body made him look not unlike a diaper dependant monkey in a business suit.

The analogy made him reconsider what he used to think of as entertainment as he could now see himself as the monkey after the show and pressing a gonne to his temple from dealing with such treatment all day.

“That’s a wonderful suggestion!” Twilight perked up and pulled Spike back onto her back while Fluttershy followed behind with her gossmar-delicate wings holding her at eye level with Spike.

“Oh! Oh, and my name is Fluttershy! I’m so excited to meet a talking dragon! That’s just- I mean, normally, I’m very afraid of dragons but you’re just so approachable!”

Spike chuckled. “I heard you the first time” he lied but wanted Twilight to hear. “And, yes, I was taught to be a sociable sort of dragon. We’re not a terribly common breed though.” The dragon laughed, both thinking of his experiences from around this time and what dragons would later become. “The kind happy to listen to other’s problems, troubleshoot for them, be a general companion. Hint hint.” He said looking at Twilight who rolled her eyes.

“So what else can you tell me about yourself, Spike?” Fluttershy asked.

He remembered by this point he should have been telling her his life’s story. That didn’t feel like such a safe conversation topic though, so Spike opted to stay the course of a more professional conversation line.

“Well, my day usually starts a bit late…” He said dredging up his memories of his rather sloven work schedule at the time.

Perhaps it was his older mentality, but Spike enjoyed this conversation much more than the one-sided exposition on his life during the last time. This time, he had kept both Twilight and Fluttershy engaged at all points, whether it was Twilight correcting him (blessedly assuming he was trying to make himself sound better than he was) and adding her own commentary and refutations or, when his memory failed him, to instead ask Fluttershy about herself.

“Huh? Sun’s setting and we’re here.” Spike blinked, looking at the Golden Oaks library and nearly bursting into tears and wanting to get some fireproofing resin to coat the whole damn place with.

He loved his own room in the crystal tree castle thing, he liked the extra space it afforded him later as he grew up, and that the thing proved itself siege proof and self-defending when the forces of Grogar sieged Ponyville. But the Golden Oaks library had a beautiful heart to it.

“Um, is your dragon alright?” Spike heard Fluttershy asked. “Is it normal for him to nuzzle against tree roots?”

“Yeah, he’s been doing a lot of inexplicable behavior lately. I’ll tell you what, you’re good with animals, if he’s not better by morning, I’ll bring him down.” Offered the lavender unicorn diplomatically.

“Oh, would you consider bringing him anyway? I could watch him for you!” Fluttershy brightened.

“We’ll see, Twilight and I also have some preparations of our own to make for the Summer Sun Celebration. But I’ll definitely see you at the Celebration itself.” Spike grinned and winked at Twilight who brightened herself and winked in kind.

“Yep, and we better get to it! Good night!” She agreed, ushering them both quickly into the darkened library and shutting the door. “Alright, we were out a bit later than I thought, can you help me send a letter to Rainbow Dash and Applejack to get them over here? Oh, also, ask Celestia if she has a copy of her letter from earlier, I know she normally does these things in duplicate format. Oh, but first, find the darn light, you can see in the dark, can’t you?”

Once again, as if on cue, the lights came on, and Twilight and Spike found themselves in a room filled with confetti, streamers, and lots and lots of ponies shouting ‘surprise’.

“Well, if its any consolation, I’m sure most of these ponies are here for the food and drinks-” Spike tried to console when Pinkie rushed in and absently knocked him into the punch bowl, rattling off her greeting to Twilight while the dragon looked at the crowd of ponies staring. “What? My name’s Spike, of course she was going to put me in the punchbowl.” He played off and earned a laugh from several of the familiar faces.

When he blinked, he saw them decades later, the fillies now with fillies of their own, the parents now wrinkling grey, others already gone. Claimed by the war. He blinked again, and he was returned to the past, a reminder this jaunt into history was proving itself to be either a second chance to bear witness again. Or a permanent affliction of insanity.

“Spike, you and Twilight are here in Ponyville too?” The familiar voice of Lyra spoke up (just how fast did she move here?) while her golden corona of magic lifted Spike from the bowl. “What even brings you guys here?”

The questions then started to come in, more than Fluttershy recognizing the curious novelty of a dragon amongst ponies, and Spike looked around, taking in the intoxicating jubilee he had not felt since the very last Pinkie Pie party. His eyes fell on Twilight, trying to talk to Applejack and Rainbow Dash while Rarity, Fluttershy, and Pinkie kept leaning in, stressed and frustrated about the omens of tomorrow.

He considered himself, all day since this morning, crying over what was, torn between getting closer or keeping his old distance, worn and weary from a long past.

He then looked up to Lyra and the new friends she made, moved himself behind the drinks table and decided to put those bartending classes he took after Twilight’s death to good use. “Well, pull up a stool, everyone, tell me what you want to drink, and I’ll tell you the long story.”

As the dragon embraced the night, he remembered a saying once from Celestia; yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift.

Author's Note:

After a long time, here is chapter 3 (well, 4, counting the prologue) of Dragonfly effect.

Sorry to keep you waiting!

Also: if anyone is interested in pre-reading stuff to catch my problems with grammar and spelling, lemme know.