• Published 12th Oct 2012
  • 16,545 Views, 450 Comments

Greenfire - True Blue Spark

Hunting for gemstones, Rarity discovers a massive hoard... and the dragon who collected it. Rarity and Greenfire quickly find themselves drawn to each other. But the question remains: How did he end up in the Everfree Forest alone?

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5. A Mare's Best Friend

The following week dragged terribly for Rarity. The prospect of an extremely profitable trip to the Rambling Rock Ridge—not to mention more time spent with the dragon who was rapidly becoming a good friend—left her tapping her hoof at work, anxiously awaiting her free day. None of her customers noticed her impatience, of course, thanks to her long-honed skill at putting on a professional face, but she felt it keenly. Until, at long last, the day arrived.

She looked over the contents of her saddlebags one last time. Library books (she wouldn’t dream of forgetting a promise). Three sets of spare bags (she’d never filled more than one before, but she had a good feeling about today). Her shovel (on the off chance Greenfire decided he’d like to use it instead of his claws). And two lunch bags (each containing a sandwich, hay fries, and some more of the Sugarcube Corner’s delicacies). “Everything seems to be in order,” she thought aloud. “Now onward!”

“Oooooh! Onward to where?”

As long as Rarity lived, she would never get used to the way Pinkie Pie just appeared out of nowhere. She was certain there had to be teleporting unicorns somewhere in the party pony’s lineage. Once her heart rate had calmed down, she finished locking up the door of the boutique and turned around. “Good morning, Pinkie. I’m just heading up to the ridge to replenish my store of gemstones.”

Pinkie nodded energetically (not that she ever did anything less than energetically) and opened her mouth to speak—but something suddenly arrested her attention, and she squinted at Rarity. “Waaaait a minute... So how come your bags are already full?”

Rarity felt herself begin to sweat. For all of her flightiness, Pinkie seemed to have a talent for getting really focused exactly when one didn’t want her to. “Well... I’m... packing a lunch! I’m making a day trip of it.”

“Ooh, sounds like fun! Are you gonna have a picnic up there?” Pinkie cheerfully bounced into the air, wiggling her legs until she touched down again. Some detached portion of Rarity’s mind noted that her hang time was quite impressive. “Can I come too?”

Rarity frowned. All of her instincts were telling her to recoil at the idea, but setting that aside, would it be so bad if she brought another pony along with her? Pinkie was one of the friendliest ponies in town, so there was no fear of her rejecting Greenfire for being a dragon. She’d treat him like anypony else, immediately putting together a huge welcoming party and inviting the entire town—

“No!” The cry came out unbidden, and Rarity scrambled to explain herself before the shock on Pinkie’s face could transition into hurt. “I-I’d love to have a picnic with you some time, darling, but today I’ll be digging so much that I simply won’t have time. I couldn’t ask you to help with such unpleasant work.”

“I don’t mind!” Pinkie’s response was instantaneous, and Rarity couldn’t help but smile at her eagerness. There was no such thing as “too much trouble” for her, if it made her friends happy.

But luckily that brought the perfect response to the unicorn’s mind. “That’s ever so kind of you, Pinkie Pie, but won’t the Cakes need you at the bakery?”

“Oh, that’s right.” Pinkie drooped briefly, but soon perked up again. “Well, have fun, Rarity! Hope you find a real gem of a gem!”

“Oh, I’m certain I will,” Rarity tittered. “Enjoy your day, dear!”

She made it out of town without further incident, and from there it was just a hop, skip, and a jump to the path. Rarity shook her head as she walked up toward Greenfire’s cave. They’d dodged a bullet there—Greenfire definitely wasn’t ready to meet Ponyville’s resident partier, much less find himself the center of one of her celebrations. Once he was more comfortable with Rarity, she’d see about helping him meet more ponies, but for now, he was best kept her little secret.

She giggled to herself as she realized what she’d just thought. “A secret rendezvous with a mysterious male...” she mused. “Why, if circumstances were different, this would be the perfect setting for a passionate romance!” But really, a pony and a dragon? What a crazy idea that was.

At the cave mouth, Rarity raised her voice. “Good morning, Greenfire! Are you ready?”

After several long moments, the dragon emerged from his cave. He rubbed his eyes and blinked blearily at her, as if she’d awoken him from a deep slumber. “Rarity? What are you doing up here?”

Rarity chuckled knowingly. “You didn’t forget that we’re digging for gems together, did you?”

That got the dragon to perk up a little, as she’d expected. “Oh, yeah! No, I just... I’m not usually up this early. But I’m ready if you are!”

“Excellent. But before we go...” Rarity opened up her saddlebags and began to levitate the contents out. “I wanted to drop off these books with you.”

Surprisingly, Greenfire seemed to be even more excited by the books than the gems. His eyes lit up and he grinned wide. “Oh, that’s right! Geez, you’re gonna spoil me.”

“Is that a complaint?” she teased.

“No way! So what’d you pick out?” He leaned forward, eager to see the books she’d brought.

She began with some rather hefty textbooks, hovering them over to his open claws. “To start with,” she proclaimed, “a few of my favorites on gemology! I’m certain you’ll find them just as fascinating as I did. And since the language in some of them is rather obtuse, I included a dictionary, just to be safe.”

“Sounds good!” Greenfire eyed the still-bulging saddlebag with a grin. “What else?”

One at a time, the books continued to float out, accompanied by Rarity’s lilting voice. “The rest are my more entertainment-oriented choices. The first and second books in the Daring Do adventure series—I haven’t read them myself, but they come highly recommended. One of my favorite romances, Fragrance of the Lily. And finally, an anthology of old Equestrian myths and legends. It’s written for foals, I’m afraid, but it is the most comprehensive collection I could find, so I hope you’ll still be able to enjoy it.”

The dragon carefully gathered all the books up, stacking them neatly just inside the cave entrance. “Yeah, I’m sure I will. Thanks. I-I mean it, really. It’s been ages since I had something new to read.” He ducked his head and glanced over at Rarity with a shy smile and a blush that almost looked out of place on his snout. But she was quickly growing accustomed to him, with his soft heart sheathed in tough scales.

“I’m glad to help!” she said happily. “But you must be very careful with these. The library will be expecting them back in two weeks, so I’ll pick them up again when I visit then.”

Greenfire sat up straight and saluted. “Got it! I’ll guard ‘em with my life!”

“Oh, you don’t have to go that far, darling. Just keep them away from, oh, say, any open flames that might appear in or around your cave?” She lifted an eyebrow teasingly.

“Gosh, I dunno how anything like that would happen...” he retorted. “Don’t worry, I’ll be careful. Promise.”

“That’s all I needed to hear.” Rarity briefly considered teaching him the Pinkie Promise, but quickly decided against it. “Now, are we ready to start our little expedition?”

His eyes lit up, and he leapt to his feet like a puppy ready for walkies. Oh, goodness, if he started wagging his tail, she would simply die. “You bet! Let’s go!”

Rarity chuckled and turned around to take the path back toward the ridge. She hadn’t trotted more than a few steps, though, before she heard his voice again. “Wait, where are you going?”

She met his confused expression with one of her own. “To the Rambling Rock Ridge, where else? Unless you know a better route?”

“Uh, yeah?” Greenfire gestured toward the rocky mountains that bordered the forest. “It’s right on the other side of this cliff.”

Rarity rolled her eyes. “Which may be an easy trip for you, but some of us were not blessed with the gift of claws.” And even if she had been capable of such a climb, the thought of clambering over those rocks and getting herself unnecessarily dirty was absolutely abhorrent. Just because she tolerated the mess of her gem-digging trips didn’t mean she enjoyed it.

Greenfire looked back at the mountains, as if seeing them for the first time. “Oh, yeah... Well, what if I just carried you over?”

“Wha—Really, now!” Rarity scoffed. “Of all the awkward, undignified suggestions! Can you imagine how absurd we would look?”

“Oh, who cares about that? There’s nopony here to see, and who would I tell?”

Rarity frowned. There was some truth to that, but he would still see. “Regardless of who sees and who does not see, to be carted about like—like a piece of luggage—”

“Luggage? What do you think I’m gonna do, sling you over my shoulder? Sheesh.” Greenfire crouched down until his stomach touched the dirt, beckoning to Rarity with one claw. “Just hop on my back and I’ll take you right over.”

“Oh, so like a backpack, then,” Rarity retorted. “Yes, I see, that’s quite an improvement.”

Now it was Greenfire’s turn to roll his eyes. “Do you wanna argue all day or do you wanna go dig? The sooner we get over there, the sooner we can start filling those bags up again, right?”

That got her to pause. It was, after all, a long walk down the path and around to the ridge. The footing was a touch precarious in places, to boot. Nothing she couldn’t handle, naturally, but the prospect of skipping it did appeal. “Well... I suppose it would be alright,” she finally conceded. “As long as nopony ever hears of it, you understand?”

“My lips are sealed,” he laughed. “Now come on already so we can go.”

Rarity stepped toward the crouching dragon, swallowing as she drew close. They were friends now, and she’d stopped being afraid of him two weeks ago, but getting close to him made her aware of just how imposing he was. He was a little larger than even Big Macintosh, the biggest pony in Ponyville, and he was all sharp claws and tough scales. Still, Rarity remembered the blush that had moments ago stained those scales red. She knew instinctively, the same way she knew her own name, that he would never harm her.

Tentatively she climbed up his side and onto his back, using his knee as a step to get herself up there. Green spines ran all the way from his head down to his tail, but to her surprise, they bent easily underneath her, yielding to her touch, more like the flexible fins on his cheeks than the rigid plates she had expected. She pushed them to one side, as delicately as she could, and laid down.

He was warm. Winter had been wrapped up over two months ago, but the weather still had its chilly moments, and Rarity was surprised at how lovely it felt to be draped over his back. And something else that felt lovely was the muscle that tensed under her as he shifted his weight, readying himself for the climb. She’d obviously already known that Greenfire was male, but the close contact was a sharp reminder.

He stood up straight, lifting her with imperceptible effort, and she shivered. No, not simply male. The word she was looking for was masculine.

Maybe it’s not such a crazy idea after all, hmm?

Heat instantly flooded Rarity’s face. She shook her head vigorously, as if to shake the involuntary thought out. “No, no, no, stop that right now,” she told herself.

“What’s that?” Greenfire asked from underneath her.

“Nothing! I’m ready when you are.”

She wrapped her forelegs around Greenfire’s neck as he nodded and began the climb. His movements were slow but sure, claws finding places to grip as if he knew them by heart. Which he probably did, come to think of it, if he’d lived in that cave as long as it seemed. He was as surefooted as a mountain goat on the rocky slope, making his way up foot by foot.

In a fit of foolish confidence, Rarity glanced behind them to see how far they’d come. She was rewarded with a lovely view of the thirty-or-more-foot drop back to the path. “Bad idea,” she muttered under her breath, jerking her head back and tightening her grip on the dragon’s neck.

Perhaps a minute later, Greenfire’s voice broke the silence. “Alright, here we are!” Rarity realized her eyes were clenched shut, and she pried them open. Sure enough, they’d crested the cliff, and the Rambling Rock Ridge was just ahead and below. This side was much less steep, so there was no longer any danger of falling more than a few feet at a time.

“Wonderful. Thank you, darling,” she said, climbing off his back with only a sliver of reluctance. “I... think I’d prefer to take the long way back, though. We’ll have a good deal of gems to carry, after all.”

Greenfire gave her a questioning look, and she felt herself blush again at the thought that he might see through her, but if he had, he played along. “Sure, that’s fine. So where do we start? You’re the gem detector.”

Rarity called upon her magic, allowing it to pull her down toward the center of the valley. In just a moment, she came upon a lovely-looking ruby, just a few inches below the surface. “Right here!” she chimed, levitating her shovel around to draw an X in the dirt.

The dragon padded over to the X, eyeing it thoughtfully. He cracked his knuckles, crouched down close, raised his claw... And two swipes was all it took. Rarity’s jaw dropped as he lifted the ruby out of the hole he’d so easily dug. “What do you think?” he said, holding it out as if for her approval.

What did she think? In two seconds he’d dug up a gemstone that would have taken her two minutes to retrieve! Not only was he giving her a break from the laborious part of the job, he was doing it far more efficiently. Why, if they kept this speed up until sunset...

“I think,” she announced happily, “that this is going to be a very good day.”


It was.

“I’ll trade you a moonstone for that garnet.”

“Hmm... Would you be willing to part with that peridot as well? I’ll throw in this lovely piece of amethyst to sweeten the deal!”

“I dunno, it’s pretty small... How about this? The moonstone and the peridot, for the garnet, amethyst, and that little bit of red beryl there.”

“Oh, very well. You do drive a hard bargain!”

At sunset, Greenfire and Rarity had finally returned to his cave. Four sets of saddlebags had been draped over their backs, each one full to bulging with gemstones of every variety. They had already agreed on an even split the week before, when Rarity had first had the idea, but that left the question of how to split their bounty. Some jewels, of course, were unsuitable for one or the other, but just as many were desirable to both. So they’d dumped the whole haul on his cave floor and split it impartially, and now they were going through their respective halves and making trades.

Greenfire’s sorting procedure was simple: three piles, for hoard, food, and trash. Rarity was doing something much more complicated with her gems, constantly shuffling them from one heap to the next. He couldn’t tell whether she was sorting by color, size, shape, quality, or some bizarre combination of the four and more factors besides. Best not to dig too deeply.

She beamed at him, peering through the facets of a hovering chunk of rose quartz. He dreaded to think how silly he looked through the pink lens. “I must say, it’s so refreshing to speak to someone who appreciates gemstones as much as I do. You have an eye for quality that rivals my own!”

He rubbed the back of his neck, feeling his spines gently give way before springing back up. “Uh, thanks, I guess. It’s not like I’ve got any formal schooling, obviously. I just know what I like.”

Rarity’s expression grew contemplative. “I wonder... Perhaps it’s draconic instinct?”

“Could be.” Greenfire picked up two shards of aquamarine and twirled them around in his claw. “Hey, didn’t you say you were doing a dress in blue this week?”

“I did! You’re so thoughtful, darling. Now, what to trade you for those...” The unicorn sifted through her collection, brow furrowed in a thoughtful expression that Greenfire found oddly cute. “Aha! This will be per—oh, drat.”

“Whoa, what’s the matter?”

Rarity held up the large ruby she’d found, cherry red with a burgundy streak through the center. “Just look at this flaw! It’s perfectly shaped and faceted, too. What a waste, don’t you think?”

Greenfire felt his mouth watering as she waved it around. “No, no! I’ll take it,” he said eagerly. Flaw or not, it looked incredibly appetizing.

Rarity pursed her lips as she levitated the ruby over to him, accepting the aquamarine in exchange. “Are you certain, dear? I mean, of course you’re welcome to it if you wish. But the flaw runs so deep. I really don’t think it’s suited to your hoard.”

Greenfire grinned and snatched it out of the air. “Oh, this one’s not going in my hoard. It’s going in my stomach.” He took a big bite out of the jewel, crunching it up like peanut brittle and letting the taste wash over him. It was all he could do not to let out an embarrassing moan or purr in front of his guest. Rubies were seriously too delicious to be allowed.

In the middle of chewing, he heard an appalled gasp. He pried one eye open to see Rarity staring at him in shock, as if he’d bitten the head off of a kitten right in front of her. “You—You—Y-Y-Y-Y-You...” she stuttered.

“What?” he said through half a mouthful of ruby shards. He swallowed and went on, “You said I could have it, right?” He tried to keep his face innocent, but he could feel another grin threatening to escape.

Rarity reared up dramatically and pointed at him with a hoof. “You eat gemstones?!”

The sheer horror in her voice, as if she could scarcely think of a worse fate for that poor, innocent ruby, utterly broke Greenfire’s already weak poker face. He threw back his head and laughed uproariously, shamelessly reveling in the sight of the dignified unicorn left dumbstruck. “You didn’t know?” he cackled.

“Of course I didn’t know!” she replied hotly. “It is hardly a common menu item in Ponyville restaurants!”

Greenfire shook his head, shoulders still shuddering with amusement. “Well, duh. You don’t exactly have the teeth for it. But if you could taste this,” he added, waving the half-eaten ruby at her, “you’d understand. Gemstones are like nothing else in Equestria.”

Rarity stared at the gem and its bite mark, looking like he’d told her two and two made seventeen. “Are they really that delicious?”

“They really are.” He took another bite to demonstrate. If anything, the flaw actually made it even better, adding a burst of taste in the center.

To her credit, she was recovering quickly. “I-I see. I suppose that explains why you hoard them, doesn’t it? In addition to their beauty, they are... almost like an emergency food stock.”

Funnily enough, he’d never thought of it that way, but now that she mentioned it... “I guess that makes sense. I don’t like to eat the gems in my hoard, though. There’s plenty of food out here.”


“Oh, yeah. The Everfree Forest’s full of food, and like I said the other day, there’s not much a dragon’s stomach can’t handle.”

“Ah.” Rarity cast her eyes down to the stone, faintly frowning. “You do eat well, though? You don’t ever... go hungry?”

He snorted and patted his belly. “Do I look like I go hungry? I guess the winters are a little annoying, but I just stock up on gems for eating in the fall. And I sleep a lot more.”

Her frown only intensified. “Isn’t that... a bit tedious for you?”

Tedious? “Yeah, I guess it is,” he admitted. “But that’s life, right?”

“...It doesn’t have to be.” Rarity looked up at him again, her jaw set. “May I visit you more often, come wintertime?”

Greenfire found himself leaning back a bit, just from the intensity in her eyes. “Huh? Well, yeah, sure, I guess, but... What do you get out of it?” He still didn’t understand her. Why did she keep going out of her way to do things just for him? Sure, she’d gotten a bunch of gems today, but even he could barely dig when the ground was frozen. So why would she bother when she couldn’t get anything out of it?

Rarity opened her mouth, then stopped, seemingly considering her words. “I get the pleasure of your company...” she finally said. “And the knowledge that my good friend will be a little less bored.” That was it?

Instead of arguing, Greenfire just chuckled and rested his head on his claw. “You know, I don’t think I could ever be bored with you around.”

She seemed happy to hear that, her cheeks turning a little pink. “As long as I stay away from the gossip, that is?” she asked with a wry smile.

The self-deprecation caught him off guard, and a bark of laughter escaped him. “Ha! The gossip’s fine, just don’t dump an hour of it on me all at once!”

“You know very well that was far less than an hour,” Rarity giggled.

After a few moments of shared amusement, the two returned to their gem sorting, not quite in unison. Unable to concentrate on the jewels, however, Greenfire found himself glancing over at Rarity instead. Her face lit up with joy as she beheld a particularly stunning geode, and he could feel an uncontrollable smile coming on as he watched her sapphire eyes sparkle in the torchlight.

She was smiling like that because he’d helped her dig up all these gemstones. She was happy because of him.

Huh. Maybe he was beginning to understand after all.