• Published 23rd Sep 2012
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Love's a Drag-on - The Lord Thunder



Trouble arises for Twilight when Spike meets a cute young dragoness.

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Chapter 2

Rainbow Dash cruised through the skies of Ponyville after her morning weather patrol. Apart from kicking a few clouds it was same-old same-old and she looked everywhere for some excitement. After a long ten seconds, her eyes latched onto something strange.

“Hey, where’s Spike going?”

It was unusual for him to leave Ponyville alone, and he seemed in such high spirits. As much as she hated flying slow, Rainbow Dash couldn’t fight her curiosity and trailed Spike from behind a low cloud bank, careful not to alert him to her presence. It hardly seemed ethical to spy on the little dragon, but Rainbow reasoned that if he got into danger, he could use her help. She was the embodiment of loyalty, after all. Yeah, that was it. She was following him to protect him, not to spy on him.

Although it had only been ten minutes, it seemed she'd been following Spike around the countryside forever. How much longer was he planning on torturing her? This espionage stuff was a lot more boring than Rainbow had thought. She'd just begun to consider heading back for Ponyville when they arrived at a small, sparsely-treed meadow where Spike finally stopped.

Maybe I'd better stick around after all. Rainbow Dash darted behind the thick branches of a nearby tree to stay out of Spike’s view. What was he doing way out there?

More interested than ever, Rainbow Dash’s eyes locked onto Spike as he wandered about the meadow, as if searching for something. Rainbow descended until her hooves pressed against the soft grass surrounding her tree.

***

The Dragon Pepper bush where Spike had met Sapphire came into view, forcing him to smile. She’d been on his mind ever since he left yesterday. As he got closer, the smile turned to a frown. The meadow was empty. Where was Sapphire?

A familiar giggle snapped Spike to attention. “Sapphire?” He turned in a full circle one more time to be sure he hadn’t overlooked her.

A light breeze swept through the meadow, rattling the leaves in the trees, but no other motion could be seen.

“Sapphire?” Spike yelled now. Another giggle answered him. “Sapphire!”

“Over here, Spike!” the dragoness’ sweet voice rang across the meadow.

“Where is 'over here?’” Spike shouted.

“I can’t tell you,” she teased. “That would spoil the fun! Come and find me!”

“I don’t see you!” Spike yelled again as he neared a patch of trees separate from the one where Dash had been hiding.

“You’re getting warmer!”

The little purple dragon walked into the center of the trees, shouting one more time. “How about now?”

“Okay. Stay right there!”

***

Something among the trees made Rainbow Dash hold her head high in amazement. Using her claws to climb down the trunk of the tree to Spike’s back was a small female dragon with icy blue scales. On all fours she crawled across the ground like a cat stalking its prey. She paused, twitching her tail in anticipation as she checked her alignment, then pounced on Spike from the rear. She and Spike disappeared underneath the tall grass, followed by the sounds of both dragons giggling.

Rainbow Dash had been about to fly to Spike’s aid at the sign of an attack, but now she clamped her hoof to her mouth in an attempt to cram the growing giggle back down. Little Spike had found himself a girlfriend! How cute was that?

“Rainbow Dash?” a soft whisper came from behind her.

Startled, Rainbow buckled her knees, but she held her ground and wheeled in a half-circle, where she found a pink-haired pegasus standing behind her.

“Fluttershy? What are you doing way out here?” Rainbow Dash asked.

Fluttershy turned her head away from Rainbow, winding her hoof in her hair with embarrassment. “Um, I was curious where Spike was headed. If I’m intruding, I’ll just go back to Ponyville.”

“Not at all, Fluttershy!” Rainbow Dash wrapped a foreleg around Fluttershy’s neck to reassure her. “Come take a look at this!”

“O-okay…”

Rainbow guided Fluttershy to the edge of the tree and pointed her hoof to the pair of romping baby dragons. “Get a load of that!”

Fluttershy gasped and drew her head back, her normally gentle eyes wide with shock and excitement. “I don’t believe it! ANOTHER BABY DRA-” Fluttershy’s rare exclamation was cut short by Rainbow Dash putting her hoof over her friend's mouth.

“Shh! I don’t want Spike to know I was spying on—” She paused for a few seconds to think of a viable excuse. “I mean, following him. To make sure he didn’t get into any danger.”

“But I’ve never seen a baby dragon in Equestria besides Spike. Where did she come from?”

“Beats me.” Rainbow's shoulders rose in a shrug.

Fluttershy smiled widely at the giggling, romping dragons. “That is so cuuuute!”

Rainbow Dash turned away from the meadow and waved a hoof, beckoning Fluttershy to follow. “Come on, let’s go tell Twilight! She’d love to hear about this!”

Fluttershy, however, held her ground. “Um, Rainbow? Maybe Spike should be the one to tell her.”

This suggestion left Rainbow staring at Fluttershy with a raised eyebrow. The look made Fluttershy lower herself in submission and turn her head to avoid direct eye contact. “But if you want to tell her, I can’t stop you…”

Rainbow Dash sighed and drooped. “No, you’re right. Spike will tell Twilight when he’s ready.” She glanced over her shoulder to get one last peek at the laughing, playing dragonlings, then turned back to Fluttershy. “Look, we should get out of here before they see us.”


Saying nothing, Fluttershy followed behind her colorful companion back to Ponyville.

***

“Come back here!” Spike shouted as he attempted to snatch Sapphire’s tail in his paw. She only giggled and ran faster, leaving Spike to grab at empty air. “Where are you going?”

“Follow me, Spike! Keep up if you can!”

Spike chased that ribbon-clad tail across a sandy trail that cut through a thick blanket of pine trees, which finally led back into an open meadow several hundred yards away from the pepper bush.

“How much farther?” Spike panted. Judging from the way the trees were starting to thin out, they’d been running for almost half a mile.

“Almost there!”

As the trees vanished, Spike noticed the water of a distant pond sparkling in the sunlight with Sapphire running straight for it.

“Thirsty?” she yelled.

“You bet!”

It wasn't long before Spike and Sapphire reached the edge of the pond and both went to all fours to get a drink. Sapphire gasped, causing Spike to look up at her.

“What is it?”

Sapphire narrowed her eyes, staring hard at the water. “There’s something strange down there.”

“Strange?”

“Yeah. Come take a look.”

Spike stood up and moved closer to Sapphire in order to peer into the pond at whatever it was she’d seen. Before he had a chance to move out of the way, he saw Sapphire’s reflection come up behind his own and shove him into the water. Sapphire fell over on her back in a fit of laughter.

“Tricked ya, Spike!” She continued to giggle for a few more seconds, but her laughter faded as she realized Spike had not yet come back up for air. “Oh no!” she shouted out loud to herself. “He didn’t tell me if he could swim or not!”

Sapphire moved closer to the water’s edge, alert for any signs of Spike so she she’d know where to dive in and rescue him. As she scanned the water, a purple hand shot above the surface, grabbed her by the arm and yanked her off her feet into the water. For a few seconds she felt weightless, unable to breathe, unsure of what had just happened. By the time she got her head above water, Spike was already on the bank, having his turn to laugh.

“Hey!” Sapphire shouted as she wiped the water from her face.

Eyes locked onto the bobbing blue head, Spike held both arms into the air in triumph. “Spike’s revenge!”

“Oh yeah?” Sapphire asked with a sly grin. She drew her arm back and splashed a handful of water at Spike.

“Hey, come on, no fair!” he yelled as he leaped backwards to avoid getting splashed. Sapphire only laughed harder, swam closer and splashed with even more force.

“Alright, you asked for it!” Spike shouted in a loud, Tarzan-like voice as he made a beeline for the water, and jumped ten times his own body height (a physics-defying feat he’d learned from Pinkie Pie.) Whilst in midair, the dragon curled himself up and transitioned into a front flip with a shout of “Dragonball!”

Sapphire had been too amazed with Spike’s feat to realize what his intentions were and now it was too late to swim away. All she could do was shield her face with her arm as the splash consumed her like a tidal wave. Spike’s green finned head popped up from the water in time for Sapphire to give it another splash.

“You’re gonna get it now!” she taunted as Spike shook the water from his face.

Spike narrowed his eyes and gave off a playful smirk. “We’ll see about that!”

A giggle was Sapphire’s answer as she drew back from Spike, daring him to give chase. As soon as he started after her, Sapphire turned away, using her tail as an oar to propel herself through the pond while Spike did the same, chasing her for two full laps through the pond before she climbed up onto the soft sand of the bank. Sapphire brushed her hair from her eye, then turned to see Spike climbing up out of the water as well. With a sly smile, she placed her palm on Spike’s chest and shoved him back in.

Spike’s purple head emerged from the surface a few seconds later, watching Sapphire laugh at his misfortune. “Okay, this is getting old.”

“I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it!” Sapphire said in a tone that let Spike know her apology was sincere. “Here, let me help you up out of there.”

For a few seconds, Spike stared at the blue paw outstretched towards him. Probably another trick. Even so, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hold hands with Sapphire a second time. He grasped Sapphire’s paw and felt himself being pulled up to the bank by her surprising strength. It felt good to be on solid ground again, but felt even better when he realized Sapphire hadn’t let go of his paw. He looked at their clenched paws for a few moments, then back up at Sapphire. She smiled at him, averted her eyes from his gaze and turned away, seemingly pondering the possibilities of the moment.

“Come on, Spike,” she finally answered as she looked back up at Spike, “I’ll walk you back to the meadow.”

Her hand guided him back towards the path of trees from where they came. Was it okay for him to keep hold of her paw? She didn’t seem to object. Still, in an act of politeness, Spike released his grip, only to find his paw once again warmed by Sapphire’s own soft, warm palm.

“I didn’t say you had to let go,” Sapphire said. There was a hint of coy embarrassment in her voice.

Spike's cheeks tingled like dozens of warm pricks. Was this really happening? Did she like him? LIKE like him? As he opened his mouth to ask, his own embarrassment held the words in. At the very least, he could enjoy the moment in silence. In those moments as they strolled through the wooded path, paw in paw, a startling feeling Spike had never experienced before began to swell within him. It was a pleasant, warm, fuzzy feeling that not even Rarity ever gave him.

Spike shook the thought from his head. He’d only known Sapphire for a couple days, and things like the L word don’t happen that fast. Do they? Maybe Twilight would know. But how could he ask without giving away any hints about his new friend?

“Spike, are you okay?” Sapphire’s voice snapped Spike out of his concentration.

“Who, me? Sure! Why, do I look sick?”

“Well, you seemed kind of nervous and distracted.”

“Maybe a little,” Spike answered, his voice shaky. Sapphire did make him nervous, but a good kind of nervous.

Sapphire pulled herself closer to Spike, so close their sides were nearly touching. “Why are you nervous?”

“Well…” Spike tried to think of an excuse. But he wouldn’t lie to Sapphire. He couldn’t. “Being with you kinda… make me nervous.”

“Awww!” Sapphire said. For a few seconds she rested her head on Spike’s shoulder, then quickly pulled it away. “To be honest, being with you kinda… makes me nervous, too.”

“Does that mean we like each other?” Spike hadn’t even thought about the words before he said them.

Sapphire giggled. “I don’t know. Maybe it does!”

***

Twilight Sparkle let out an annoyed growl. Of all the days to give Spike a free day, she had to pick today. Her entire afternoon consisted of searching for books on plants, only a few of which had any useful information about Dragon Peppers, other than the fact they got their name from a myth that they were hot enough to make a pony breathe fire. There was a stack of books piled on the floor next to the book case, Dragon Pepper flesh and seeds all over her table, and no one to help her clean it all up. For a second she considered leaving the cleanup for Spike tomorrow, but it wouldn’t be fair. She shook her head. Maybe she could use a little fresh air and a milkshake from Sugarcube Corner.

Twilight stepped outside into the late afternoon air. It was mild and pleasant—maybe a walk would do her some good. As she started for Sugarcube Corner, a streak of colors in the air stopped her in mid-step.

“Rainbow Dash. Am I glad I ran in to you!”

Rainbow stopped in midair, staring wide-eyed at Twilight Sparkle. “Uh, sure! Did you need some help, Twilight?”

“Actually, I could use a hoof with cleaning up the library. I hate to bother you with this, but I sort of gave Spike the day off and there’s nopony else around to help.”

Rainbow Dash closed her eyes and put her hoof on her chest in pride. “Don’t you worry about a thing, pal! I’ll help you get cleaned up in ten seconds flat or my Element isn’t loyalty!”

“Great! I knew I could count on a good friend like you.” Twilight’s head followed Rainbow as she became a blur of colors that zipped through the library door.

“Just be—” A loud crash came from inside the house, followed by the sound of something ceramic shattering. Twilight winced and cringed and raised her forehoof. “Careful.”

Twilight wasn’t sure she wanted to find out what had been broken, but she galloped back inside the library nonetheless. In a far corner of the room, Rainbow had fallen flat on her back, laying among the ruins of what was once an intact statue of a stallion that had worn a large, frilly collar around his neck. As Twilight observed the pile, she let out a startled gasp. The face of the statue was still in one piece, looking up at her from the floor.

“Hey, Twilight." Rainbow said, a hint of pain in her voice, "I think I ran into your statue of this stallion with the egg-shaped head.”

“Oh no. My one of a kind bust of Wilhelm Shakesfoale!”

Rainbow picked herself back up to her hooves and dusted herself off. Her eyes were averted to the floor as she scratched the back of her neck in what Twilight could tell was genuine regret. “Sorry, Twilight.”

“Well,” Twilight said as she observed what remained of Shakesfoale. She then shot a glare at the fallen Rainbow Dash. “It's not okay! That was a gift from Princess Celestia! It was worth more money than every book in this room put together!”

“Yikes, no kidding? Who was he, anyway?”

Twilight groaned and did a facehoof. What pony never heard of Wilhelm Shakesfoale? “He was only one of the most prominent playwright ponies from Equestria’s Palladian Period!”

Rainbow Dash cocked her head at the mess she’d made. What was some special about some egg-headed stallion who hadn't even existed for more than seven hundred years? Angry eyes fell upon Rainbow, who wilted under the weight of the glare and gave Twilight an apologetic look. “Oh boy. I really screwed up this time, didn’t I?”

“I know it wasn’t on purpose, but… YES!”

A nervous chuckle sounded from Rainbow Dash’s muzzle as she looked at her right shank as if checking a non-existent watch. “Oh, silly me, look at the time. Gotta dash!”

As Rainbow Dash made a break for the door, Twilight vanished in a shower of magic sparks and materialized in front of the exit to halt Dash's retreat. “Not so fast, Rainbow. You’re gonna owe me for this one.”

Rainbow Dash groaned and looked around at the thousands of books on all the shelves. “Worth more than every book here put together? I figure I’ll be able to come up with that money sometime between now and the end of next century. Are you sure you don’t want me to just do some chores or something?”

Twilight narrowed her eyes. “I think you’ve done enough.”