• Published 4th Jun 2016
  • 5,744 Views, 142 Comments

Love in a Time of Dragons - Orkus

Spike, having changed and matured greatly over the years, receives news from Dragon Lord Ember that a great gathering of dragons is to take place soon. Having held feelings for her for years, he attempts to win her heart over before its conclusion.

  • ...

Friendly Conversation

Spike began returning back to his friends' camp with a somewhat heavy heart in tow. He spent the whole day trying to find Ember, the one dragon he wanted to discover in the great crowd, and he came up with nothing and nobody to show for it. The sun had long since set and a bed of stars overtook the sky, each and every one twinkling with the allure of glittering gemstones along the roof of a deep cavern.

The wondrous sight did little to improve Spike's mood, and his head remained hanging low. Forlornly, he grew ever nearer to the plateau, jumbled thoughts set upon the near future rolling around within his weary cranium. The sound of familiar voices going out was what convinced him to raise it, and when he did, an utterly unexpected surprise befell his eyes.

He immediately saw the shapes of Rarity, Pinkie Pie and Twilight, the latter two of whom were working on the telescope set up earlier in the day. But there, right beside Rarity, was her. Ember stood there at one edge of the plateau, her golden, gem-encrusted crown once more over her head. Spike knew not why she chose to wear it again, given how her father was still acting as Dragon Lord till the end of the event, but that idea was one of the last things to circulate in his mind with what was going on. And oh, how it made her alluring visage glitter that much more.

From what Spike could more plainly see and hear as he slowly and silently flew closer, both she and Rarity were having themselves a happy little conversation. Putting a claw to his ear, he listened in and hoped neither would catch him in the act.

"...and that was how I was able to finally get that cantankerous old wyvern to stop pestering that drake." Ember finished her tale up, chuckling as she did so. Rarity couldn't help but laugh alongside her friend.

"Oh Ember, it seems as though you simply cannot find the time to catch a break with all the commotion that occurs here," the unicorn said as her laughter died down. "How do you do it all by your lone self? Surely it can't be because you're the Dragon Lord alone."

"Hey, I'm the daughter of Dragon Lord Torch," she shrugged. "The will and fortitude to lead and command runs in my blood."

"I'd could only ever assume so, given what I've seen you do in the past. But even still, this is... such a big event," continued the unicorn. "How, dare I ask, are you faring throughout it all?"

"Me? Well... it's going okay, I guess." Ember sighed aloud and lowered her head a little ways, a claw scratching at her left shoulder. "I just wish Spike decided to come and be a part of this. Truth be told, I kind of wanted to see how good he would do. He's a strong and smart drake. There are plenty of dragons I know of who would've taken an immense liking to him..."

Pinkie Pie, who had been listening in as she helped Twilight dismantle the last parts of her telescope for the night, tilted her head in confusion and she scratched her mane with a hoof. "But he is here!" she exclaimed. "We saw him go off to join the crowd of other dragons earlier, and Twilight's been watching his progress through this telescope-thingy."

"Wait a second, Spike did come? He's attending the gathering?" Ember asked, eyes widened in surprise. Her expression now devoid of any emotion, save for seriousness and a lowered jaw, she dashed over the the pink earth pony and grabbed her by her sides, hoisting her gleeful form into the air like a child and looking at the mare dead in her ever-mirthful eyes. "But I wasn't able to find him today! Where is he right now? Tell me! Tell me!"

"Right, um... here," Spike finally spoke up as he finally landed on the ground behind them all, lifting a claw. Instantly dropping Pinkie like a weight, Ember's horned head spun around and saw his shape standing before her. And as soon as she did, a wide, joyous grin overcame her face.

"Oh, h-hey, Spike!" she greeted in what Spike could only make out as an overly-buoyant tone. "You... came. You actually came, eh?"

"Um, yeah, I did," he confirmed with a happy, albeit nervous look of his own. Both slowly shedding their awkward visages, Spike decided it would be best to give a more proper greeting. "It's good to see you here, Ember."

"Good to see me?" she questioned with a playful, weak shove to his chest. "It's flipping great to see you, Spike! You actually came here! You want to be a part of this! Do you have any idea how much this means to me?"

Spike put a claw to his lip as he tried to imagine it. "I... don't think I do..." he eventually responded. "I had no idea you wanted me to come here so badly." Ember's exuberant expression dulled down after a few seconds passed by, and she cleared her throat before straightening herself out into a more regal disposition.

"Well... it does mean a lot. More than you know," she said, smiling again at her dear friend and in a way that made a twinge of warmth build up within his chest. "First off, how're you feeling? About this whole thing, I mean. I know you, of all dragons, must have had at least some trouble getting ready for it, right?"

"Well, I'm feeling extra confident right now," proudly said he, "and it's in part due to my friend's help in getting ready for it."

"Oh, stop it, you!" Pinkie Pie bashfully spoke up, dashing up to Spike and poking him in the side with her shoulder twice before dashing away again in the blink of an eye and leaving the two to continue their conversation. Ember kicked away a rock laying by her feet before speaking again.

"I tried finding you at the event today, but when I couldn't, I feared you decided not to come," she said to him in a voice a little quieter than the last one. "I'm just glad I found you now."

"No kidding!" Spike said back in a vexed tone, before letting out a good-natured laugh. "I spent the entire day looking for you, but there's so many other dragons here, I got lost in the crowd."

Infected by his happiness and chuckling with him, Ember only stopped when her eyes widened as a sense of comprehension took hold. "Wait, you were looking for me? Just me?"

"Yeah," he answered. "I wanted to tell you that I came. And... I wanted to spend a little time with you today."

It was then that Spike realized that all the ponies sharing this spot with him had stopped anything that they were doing and observed his and Ember's conversation, as though they were a delighted audience watching a show pan out. "Ember, do you think we can talk about this... elsewhere?" he asked her, motioning to the beaming ponies with a turn of his scaly head. Ember smirked and nodded.

"Of course. Follow me," she spoke, extending her wings. In a single motion of them she took off into the night sky far above, stopping only to wait for Spike to join her. Spike looked back to his friends and gave them a reassuring nod.

"I'll be back soon," was all he said. He didn't give any of them a chance to respond to his statement, as he took off from the ground and bolted toward the sky, pushing up a cloud of rock dust that covered the ground of the plateau with the effort he used. When the cloud dispersed a few seconds later, the ponies could see that he and Ember were flying off together.

Rarity approached Twilight after waving away the last of the dust with her hoof in order to properly see. "Twilight," she lightly spoke. "A thought just came to me. Do you think that Spike may perhaps... feel something for Ember?"

At first appearing skeptical of the theory, Twilight's eyes widened and then lowered in realization after hearing the unicorn's words. Putting a hoof to her mouth, she turned to Rarity and Pinkie. "Now that you mention it, when Ember visited us a month ago, he did seem a little bit... captivated by her. And how they were speaking just now bore more than a passing resemblance to what I previously saw then."

Pinkie, as usual, looked ecstatic. Her hooves clapped together loud enough to leave a small echo in their wake and she unleashed a cheer. "That's so cute! Spike likes Eeember! Ember likes Spiiike!" she sang out, bouncing on her hooves and doing cartwheels around her two friends. "This. Is. TERRIFIC! If they get together, I can throw them a party, and there'll be giant balloons, and I'll make a huge cake in the image of a dragon that will go perfectly with the colors of the confetti that'll come later, and..."

As she went on making a list of all things she would include in her hypothetical celebration, Twilight and Rarity traded looks nothing short of worried to one another. "Do you think that's really the case?" Twilight inquired in a whisper.

"Twilight, Spike said he spent most of the day looking for her. And Ember herself said the same thing," replied the unicorn. "They're good friends, Twilight. More than just good, in fact. They've known each other for a long time. They're of a similar age, and have interests that coincide. It wouldn't be too out of the ordinary if something... more were to blossom from that friendship." She paused for a second to look over a memory before going on. "When we're out looking gems together, Spike sometimes likes to inform me of the 'awesome' things he did with Ember in the past -- even things I was there to witness as well. I thought it was cute and all, but now that I'm really looking into it..."

"If that's really the case, then... Oh dear..." The princess turned her view up to the small shapes of the two dragons they were discussing who were now in the far distance. "Spike... Spike, be careful."

Spike and Ember found a tall ledge overlooking a steep cliffside to sit off of, from which the pair decided to spend their time. For a good long hour, they talked without any prying ears to listen in. As he paid close and unblinking attention to her, Ember gave to him a few tips on how to better make it through the coming events that would be hosted in the days that remained of the Time of the Heartscale. The biggest one she told him about was how tomorrow would function, in which all the drakes and dragonesses would showcase, flaunt, and compare their skills, power, and talents to one another.

"And remember," Ember went on with a tap on his shoulder, "don't go and overdo it. You and what dragons you seek to challenge are to spar only. If there's one dragon who's caught your fancy, do it in front of them; it'll serve to help impress them for what'll come in the days after."

"Noted," Spike agreed, shifting a glance her way before looking back over the expansive, rocky land they sat over. A silence came between them like an insidious mist, daring one of them to break it. The occasional dragon who had camped out somewhere in the distance could be heard emitting low bellows that echoed just loud enough to be heard from where they rested, but all it served to be was like that of a cricket's chirp. Twiddling his thumbclaws for a few seconds as he tried to find the right words to end the maddening quiet, Spike thought long and hard on them before choosing to speak. "Ember, do you think that maybe... we could spar together tomorrow? For a little bit, anyway."

"Us? Spar? Sure," she serenely agreed. Inflating her cheeks and puffing out a stale stream of purple smoke, Ember then realized a small issue with the idea. "Of course, first we'll have to find each other."

"That could be a bit tricky. What happened today is proof that it might not be too simple. But if there's anything I've learned in my time with my friends back at Ponyville, most tricks have solutions to them. Is there something we can do?" he asked.

"Something we can do? Hmm..." Ember's brow furrowed and she let out a long hum as she thought on his. Her claw tapped against her chin several times before Spike decided to speak again.

"It can just be a place where we'll be able to meet up," he suggested, hopefully. With that, Ember's face lit up like a light bulb. She looked out from the cliffside they sat at and stared out at some of the places of interest the area had to offer. After making her choice, she voiced her plan.

"I've got it. When you hear my father's roar signalling the start of the second day, meet me... there!" she closed one eye and pointed a claw out to distance, and Spike's head followed where it motioned to. It was a peculiar, unique formation adjacent to the one mountainous, inactive volcano that lied on the edge of the landscape, where a long bridge of rock formed over the ground, creating a noticeably tall, natural arch of sorts any dragon would find standing out immensely from its surroundings. "Meet me there, at Fafnir's Arch, right next to Mt. Conflagration. We can practice our fighting there and maybe... I don't know... talk, or something while we do it? Does that sound like a plan to you?"

"The best one," Spike agreed with a quick nod. He peered Ember's way, only to find himself staring directly into her lovely red eyes, highlighted into the likeness of the glimmering rubies adorning her tiara by the light of the stars shining down from above. Ember stared back up into his handsome green ones with a confident grin on her face, and for what seemed like the longest of whiles they remained like this, though in reality it was a scant few seconds.

It only, and finally ended when Ember blinked twice and then shook her horned head about, regaining focus as she remembered that this form of expression was not allowed at this current time. She knew what punishment would await them both if they were to violate the traditions. The last thing she would want was that.

Silently inhaling a deep breath as Spike was regaining his own wits, Ember cast a warm smile his way and readied herself to leave, as to get a good night's rest and prepare for the day to come. "I'll... see you then, Spike," she bid to him happily. "Goodnight."

Standing up from the ledge, she opened her wings up to their full length and abruptly leapt from it, flying away through the night sky and back in the direction of her own, current abode. Spike watched her leave, his heart beating away in his chest rapidly until it finally died down after a short time. He balanced his head upon his slacked knuckles as he leaned his body down a little and thought of what had happened.

"Tomorrow... at Fafnir's Arch..." he repeated to himself several times, his hope rekindled like a log rejuvenating a dying flame. "Meet her tomorrow at Fafnir's Arch..."