• Published 26th Dec 2016
  • 5,987 Views, 163 Comments

The Secrets We Keep - BlazzingInferno



Spike and Rarity each have their secrets. Sharing them might be the best decision they've ever made.

  • ...
11
 163
 5,987

Pony Diplomacy

Spike flipped the page in his book and glanced at the next paragraph. His eyes followed each line of text, absentmindedly scanning the words while he rolled the events of the morning over in his mind. He’d told Rarity how he felt. He’d told her everything. She’d done the same, and it hadn't been the emphatic “no” he'd always feared. She could still turn around and break his heart, but every passing moment where they continued on as they were now, seated together on the giant throne immersed in their own activities, was a moment where she hadn’t. He could panic later, once he’d finished basking in the glow of possibility.

In his mind, the oversized throne room vanished. Suddenly he was sitting on the divan in the boutique, thumbing through a favorite book while Rarity knitted next to him. Her back pressed against his, sharing space and body heat not unlike how they’d been doing a half hour ago, right up until he’d told her his secret. Not that his feelings were much of a secret, of course. Everypony knew, but saying it out loud to Rarity herself still held special meaning. He glanced up at the bloodstone scepter currently propped against the throne’s back, and winked. I owe it all to you.

“Are you enjoying your book, darling?” Rarity’s knitting continued uninterrupted, as if Spike had only imagined her speaking.

He tensed up and looked at her. Rarity had situated herself on the opposite side of the throne, surrounded by her knitting. At least she’d offered him the cushion. “M-my book? Uh… yeah. It’s okay, I guess. I’m almost done with it.”

“I trust you brought several, considering we have another day of throne-sitting before Ember returns?”

He set his bookmark in place and closed the book. “Yep. A couple that I haven’t read, a couple old favorites… and a bunch of comic books. Don’t tell Twilight that last part, okay? She’s been on me to read more nonfiction.”

Rarity smiled and spread the robe out with her hooves. Her knitting needles lay by her side, their work finished. “Twilight will be Twilight. I don’t suppose I could borrow some reading material? I did have a few other knitting projects in mind, but… how can I best put this—” she gestured toward the empty room “—this palace is far from what I’d call inspiring.”

Spike scuffed his foot against the throne, his claws sliding along the polished surface. “Stone chair, stone floor, stone walls… Maybe that’s why Torch stopped living here. Remember when Ember said this palace hasn’t been used for hundreds of moons?”

“Torch’s growing so big as to not fit through the front door didn’t help matters either, I’m sure.”

“Heh, yeah. Hey, maybe instead of sitting in here all day, we could have a picn—”

Light flooded the throne room as its huge double doors burst open. The guards stationed at either side barely had time to stand up straight before Ember glided by and landed on the throne, barely a foot away from Spike and Rarity. She leaned forward, hands on her knees, and panted. “Whew… Made it.”

Spike jumped up and retrieved the bloodstone scepter from where he’d left it to gather dust. He held it out to Ember with a very real smile all the same. “Hey Ember, welcome back! Did you finish your scouting mission early?”

Ember pushed the scepter away amid her panting. “You could… You could say that.”

“Are… uh… Are you okay?”

“I’m fine… I’m fine. Just give me a sec.”

Rarity trotted over with the completed robe in her magic grasp. “It looks like I finished knitting just in time. Please allow me to present you with this, Princess Ember: a gift from all your friends in Ponyville, and from the royalty of pony society.”

Ember raised an eyebrow as her breathing slowed. “My ‘friends?’ What is it?”

“Let me demonstrate.” Rarity unfurled the robe and set it on Ember’s shoulders. A brilliant pattern of reds, oranges, and blues, like the rising of a fiery sun, flowed down to Ember’s ankles. “I used only finest of materials, and I assure you it’s entirely fireproof. Our mutual friend Princess Twilight enchanted the yarn herself.”

Ember pulled at the cord fastened around her neck and ran the robe’s edge between her claws. After a moment’s silent contemplation, she looked at Rarity and nodded. “Thanks. It’s nice.”

Spike held out the scepter again. “So tell us about your trip! Did you see the far reaches of the dragon lands like you wanted?”

Ember’s eyebrows shot up. “Uh… Well… You know how it goes: first month as dragon lord, meeting lots of subjects, seeing lots of territory, inciting a war with Yakyakistan…”

Spike and Rarity shared a gasp.

“I-it’s no big deal! I’ll just tell them it was a misunderstanding… again. I mean, it’s not like they’re as stubborn as dragons, right? They’ll get that I didn’t mean to singe their prince’s beard.”

Rarity planted her hoof against her forehead. “I don’t suppose this offended yak happened to go by the name Prince Rutherford?”

Ember nodded. “Yes! Have you met him before? I can talk him down, right?”

Spike groaned. “Maybe after he’s done smashing up your palace, considering what his visit to Ponyville was like.”

Ember scraped her claws against her horns. “What?” She sank down until her face pressed against the stone. “There hasn’t been a dragon war in a thousand years! I can’t break that streak, not after I just finished telling hundreds of my subjects that being big and strong isn’t what being a dragon is all about!”

Spike ran forward and tugged on her hand. “Maybe we can talk to him with you. Rarity and I were in Ponyville when the yaks visited; he might remember us.”

“Indeed,” Rarity said, “Prince Rutherford may be prone to… outbursts, shall we say, but he isn’t completely beyond reason. A familiar face and some pleasantries might be just what’s needed to smooth things over.”

Ember lay still, her voice muffled by her face-down position. “You’ll really help?”

Spike held up the scepter. “Of course we’ll help, we’re your friends. Now let’s go talk to that ya—”

Ember rose to a sitting position and pulled Spike into scale-crushing hug. “Thanks, Spike. This is why I wanted you in charge while I was gone… I knew you’d know what to do.”

“S-sure… thing.” Spike managed with what little air he had left in him.

---

The view of the dragon lands from five hundred feet up was incredible, as was the windchill. Barren valleys, smoking volcanoes, and mountainside villages sailed by beneath Spike and Rarity, the sole passengers clinging to the back of one of the palace’s massive guards-turned-taxis. Ember led the airborne charge, her bloodstone scepter glinting in the sunlight and her new robe billowing in her wake.

Spike stole another glance at the distant scenery, forever thankful that he didn’t get this kind of a view of it very often. Flying with Twilight was scary enough, and at least with her he could clamp his arms and legs around her sides. The best he could do here was dig his claws into his ride’s grey scales and hope his shivering didn’t make him fall. If he did, would this big dragon even notice? Spike was an insect compared to him.

Two clawless forelegs tightened their already vice-like grip around Spike’s middle, reminding him how much better off an actual insect would be: a real insect wouldn’t have a pony clinging to them for dear life. He glanced back at Rarity, her hair flailing, her eyes watering, and her teeth chattering.

“Just hang on, we’ll be okay!” He had to shout to hear himself over the roaring wind.

Rarity scowled. “We’re clinging to a giant dragon flying pony-knows-where at a speed that could rival Rainbow Dash. This is the exact opposite of okay!”

“I-I know, I just mean… it’ll be okay?”

“When we’re firmly on the ground in Ponyville and having afternoon tea, then and only then will everything be okay!”

A shadow fell across them as their ride’s neck craned around. Two huge, bulbous eyes met Spike’s, and a mouth filled with harpoon-sized teeth opened. “My goin’ too fast for you?”

Spike gulped. “Uh… uh… just a little?”

“Yes!” Rarity screamed.

The eyes blinked and the mouth frowned. “Feh, you’re lucky Lord Ember is headin’ down.”

The roaring winds calmed as their ride’s rapid wingbeats became a nearly motionless glide. Dust clouds some distance ahead signaled the location of the yaks, no doubt stampeding their way back home.

“S-Spike?” Rarity stammered.

“Yeah?”

“Once you’re in a suitable position to write a letter, please let Twilight and the other princesses know that Ember absolutely did not need a hoofmade robe. What she needs is a chariot!”

“With seat belts?”

“Precisely!”

“And maybe velvet carpeting?”

“That would be lov—don’t you dare patronize me!”

Spike grinned. “I’m just trying to make you feel better. This isn’t so bad now that we’re not going so fast.”

“Hmpf. I for one am perfectly content to stay on the ground. I have yet to have an experience this far off of it without a near-tragic end.”

“Do you know what happened the first time Twilight and I flew from Canterlot to Ponyville? She was about to crash into the library, so she teleported herself inside.”

“Surely you mean she teleported both of you inside.”

“Nope.”

Rarity gasped. “Then… you—”

“Smacked right into the window.”

Her silence prompted him to elaborate. “B-but I was okay and everything. After I brushed off all the leaves and tree sap, I came in through the—”

Gentle laughter reverberated through him by way of her forelegs. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t laugh, considering it clearly wasn’t enjoyable for you.”

“It’s okay. That’s kind of why I told you.”

He glanced back, and she smiled at him. “Thank you for attempting to put me at ease. I suppose we’ll need to be calm if we’re going to avert a war.”

“Do you think we can?”

“I see no reason why not. If I can clothe the likes of Sapphire Shores, and if you can survive poor Twilight’s first attempts at flying, then why shouldn’t we be able to—”

Their ride’s claws slammed into the dirt, dislodging Spike and Rarity like apples bucked from a tree. After a brief scream-filled plunge, they found themselves safely on hard-packed dirt, coughing up dust and brushing off more of the same.

Spike’s attempts to wave away the dust clouds made little difference. “Rarity? Are you okay?”

Rarity coughed as she trotted over. “Yes, no thanks to that landing. How is my hair? Am I presentable?”

Her dirt-stained coat and windswept hair made him cringe. “Uh…”

“This isn't one of those infamous trick questions, Spike. We’re meeting with the prince of the yaks, and I for one would like to look as close to my best as the situation allows.”

“You… um… You’ve had better hair days… a lot of them.”

She gave her mane a vigorous shake, restoring some of its usual curl. “I’ll just have to make the most of it… Are you cowering?”

Spike opened one eye, unaware that he’d automatically crouched down and shielded his face. “I-I… I mean… Sorry. You’re still beautiful to me, Rarity!”

She patted his head. “As sweet as that may be, didn’t we spend the morning candidly sharing our secrets? You can be honest with me, and considering what we’re about to do, I certainly hope you can trust me.”

He nodded. “I know… and I was: your hair is a total mess, but the other part is true too. It always is.”

Her cheeks flushed red. “I… Thank you, Spikey-Wikey.”

Prince Rutherford’s voice shook the ground. “Yaks demand dragons release pony they steal! Yaks friends with ponies!”

Spike and Rarity followed his booming voice through the remains of the dust cloud. Lines of dragons and yaks materialized on either side of them, each group facing each other with teeth bared and hooves stomping. In the middle of the face-off stood Ember, waving her hands defensively in front of the still-bellowing Prince Rutherford.

“Yaks count to five! One! Two!”

Spike spoke first. “Prince Rutherford, wait! Remember me, Spike from Ponyville? This isn’t what it looks like! This is all a big mistake!”

Prince Rutherford’s front hooves crashed down. “Tiny dragon from Ponyville? If friends with ponies, why defend big dragons? Yaks confused, and when yaks confused, yaks smash!”

Rarity bowed until her horn touched the ground. “Prince Rutherford, how good to see you again. Surely you remember me, one of the ponies from your welcome party in Equestria where you declared yaks and ponies would be friends for a thousand moons?”

Prince Rutherford paused his stomping. “White pony familiar. Friends with tiny dragon?”

Rarity nodded. “Yes, Spike is my friend, as are all of these dragons who you apparently have a disagreement with.”

“Not disagreement, great insult! Yaks come to meet new Dragon Lord, offer traditional yak food, but Dragon Lord burn hair! Worst insult possible, so yaks declare war!”

Spike leaned forward and squinted until he spotted a few singed hairs on Prince Rutherford’s generous beard. “That’s the worst insult possible for yaks? But dragons breathe fire all the time! It’s what we do!”

“Worst insult possible! Dragon Lord not eat yak food, dragons and yaks not friends!” Prince Rutherford bellowed.

Ember turned her head and coughed. “Super-spicey food.”

Rarity took a step forward and forced a laugh. “Why this makes perfect sense now, my dear Prince. While fire-breathing might be an insult to you, it’s just the opposite for dragons. In fact, it’s a great compliment to have one’s hair lightly singed by a dragon. Isn’t that right, Spike?”

She stepped in front of Spike before he could answer, waving her tail from side to side in an almost hypnotic fashion. “Isn’t that right, Spike?”

Spike gulped; he couldn’t ask if she was sure, not now, and not after her little speech about trust. “R-right.” He coughed out a few sparks, just enough to set the tip of her tail alight and for its swaying to extinguish the flames. “That’s a… huge honor.”

Rarity turned and held up the freshly blackened tip of her tail. “You see? This is a sign of the deep, everlasting friendship Spike and I share.”

Spike ran to her side and nodded. “Yep! I’d do anything for her!”

“And I’d do the same for him.”

Prince Rutherford stared down at them, unmoving and unblinking. At last he turned to Ember. “This true? Yaks and dragons have culture clash?”

Ember gave a big nod. “Yes! I want us to be friends or whatever! I want our kingdoms to be at peace; we all do. Isn’t that right?” She glanced at her contingent of dragons, who all nodded in agreement.

Prince Rutherford tapped his chin. “Hmm. Then maybe we start over. Yaks come to dragon palace, have party, meet royalty.”

Ember gave a fluid bow. “It’d be an honor, Prince Rutherford. We’ll serve some traditional dragon delicacies, plus… we’ll find something yaks can digest. We’ll buy stuff from the ponies of Equestria if we have to.”

Prince Rutherford turned to his brethren with hooves raised. “Then it settled! Yaks arrive at sundown, party all night! This go well, peace with dragons for a thousand moons!”

The yaks cheered wildly while Ember shivered mid-bow. “All night?”

She turned to Rarity and Spike next. “You two have planned parties and junk, right? That’s… not really a dragon thing.”

Spike cocked an eyebrow. “Pfft, parties? I was trained by Pinkie Pie herself.”