• 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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6. Knight After Knight

It was a fine summer morning, and the Everfree Forest was silent. This was not the ordinary sort of silence, where the background noise of rustling animals could still be heard. No, this was the artificial silence of held breath, frozen limbs, and one creature in particular trying very hard not to be heard.

After several minutes passed, Greenfire allowed himself to peek out of the tree he’d hidden in. He looked right. He looked left.


Greenfire let out the breath he’d been holding and slowly climbed out of the branches. “Did I actually lose him? Ugh, thank heavens...” He stopped a foot off the ground and snorted at himself. He was spending so much time with Rarity these days that he was starting to sound like her—

“Rarity! Darn it, I gotta get moving!” Without further ado, he dropped to the dirt and set off at a run toward his cave. She had been visiting him for a couple months now, and so far neither of them had missed a single week. He certainly didn’t intend to do it first, annoyance or no annoyance.

A rustle behind him made him jump, and he sped up. “Please please please don’t be following me,” he growled under his breath. The last thing he needed was for the single high point of his week—his life—to be ruined.

Rarity was already standing at the cave mouth when he came up the path. “Oh, there you are, darling!” she said, turning to grace him with one of her radiant smiles.

Shame he was in too much of a rush to appreciate it. “Hi! C’mon, let’s get inside.” He shooed her toward the entrance, glancing over his shoulder.

The unicorn dodged away from his claws, twirling gracefully to face him. “Actually, I was wondering if we might dine outside today. It’s such a lovely morning, after all!”

Of course she wanted to eat outside today. “This is literally the worst possible time to suggest that,” Greenfire said flatly. “Later, maybe. We can talk about it in the cave, okay?”

He gestured inward again, but Rarity stood still, looking cutely baffled. “Oh, heavens, what is the rush?”

Why did she have to be so difficult? Greenfire dodged behind her, put his claws on her backside, and shoved. “The rush is why are you arguing with a dragon, just move.”

Still unwilling to budge, Rarity dug her hooves into the dirt and pushed back. “Really, Greenfire! There’s no call to be so rude—”

Greenfire spoke over her words, eyes darting over his shoulders again. “I’ll explain inside, I promise, so please—”

“—what is that has you in such—”

“—just hurry up and get in there before—”

“Stop right there, you foul beast!”

Silence reigned again, for an instant. And then a guttural groan of frustration and rage that was nigh untranscribable escaped Greenfire’s throat.

He turned toward the intruder, watching as the armor-clad knight pony he’d thought he’d escaped from clank his way toward them. Oh, damn, it was a unicorn, too. Oh, the unicorns were always the worst, with their magically levitated weapons and their obsessions with their noble codes.

“Release that beautiful maiden at once, monster!” the knight demanded, hefting a shield on one side and a lance on the other. “I will not allow you to so profane her fairest of coats!”

Greenfire glanced back—oh, for crying out loud, he still had one claw on Rarity’s flank. He yanked it away, hoping the heat in his cheeks didn’t look as obvious as it felt. “Right, okay, sorry, look. Can we do this some other time?” he asked, in what was probably a misguided and hopeless plea for sanity. “I’m kinda busy right now...”

The knight laughed derisively. “Ha! Justice waits for nopony! Stand and face your doom, foul one!”

“No, I’m serious,” Greenfire groaned. “I’m not saying I don’t love the whole dragon/knight thing—although I don’t—but can you just come back tomorrow? Or the day after? Or any time at all that’s not right now?”

“As if I would trot away and let you continue to threaten this innocent damsel in distress! Now, no more words!” The knight lowered his lance and pawed at the ground. “Face me, unless you’re as cowardly as you are hideous!”

Greenfire snarled, hackles rising. He’d let all this time with Rarity soften him up so much, he’d practically forgotten how to be threatening. But if this jerk of a pony wanted a terrifying dragon, he was about to get one. “Fine, then!” he snapped. “When your family finds you roasted in your own armor, don’t try and tell them I didn’t warn you first!”

“Just try it, monster!” With a mighty battle yell, the knight charged, and Greenfire breathed in, gathering up his flame. A nice fireball overhead would singe his horn and burn the feather in his helmet to dust, and if that didn’t scare him off—

“Excuse me? Pardon me?”

Without warning, Rarity stepped in between the two males, her back to Greenfire. He yelped and swallowed his flame, coughing up a cloud of smoke. In front of them both, the knight stumbled and skidded and yanked his lance down, burying the tip in the dirt, and finally brought his charge to a halt by tripping over his shield and landing face-first.

As if nothing out of the ordinary had happened, Rarity bowed her head to speak to him. “My good sir, I’m afraid this is all just a little misunderstanding. I can assure you that I am in no danger here.”

The knight pulled his snout out of the dirt, staring up at her in disbelief. “Don’t be silly, milady! Surely you’ve noticed the ravening beast of a dragon behind you!”

She tittered innocently, like she’d just been told a funny joke. “Dragon, yes. Ravening beast, certainly not! Why, Greenfire is better behaved than many ponies I know!”

“With some of the stories you’ve told me, I dunno how much of a compliment that is.” Greenfire couldn’t help himself; the quip just slipped out uncontrollably.

“Hush, now,” Rarity told him, amusement in her voice. She returned to addressing the knight without missing a beat. “You can see his sense of humor is a touch lacking—” She ignored the dragon’s indignant scoff. “—but I hardly think that is an offense worthy of assault, don’t you agree?”

Unsteadily, the knight got back onto his hooves, picking up his shield and lance again. He was still looking at Rarity as if she’d gone mad. “I don’t understand. Why in Equestria are you defending a monster?”

Rarity stood up a little straighter. Greenfire couldn’t see her face very well from behind, but craning his head around a little, he could tell that she was no longer smiling. “Greenfire is not a monster. That’s exactly the point I’m trying to make! Really, what has he ever done to you to deserve such mistreatment?”

“It’s a dragon!” the knight retorted. “It doesn’t have to do anything!”

Rarity went very still. “...I see.”

Involuntarily, Greenfire took a step backward. He’d never heard her voice sound so cold.

“Would you like to hear a story, sir knight?” Rarity stalked toward the knight, who backed up as she approached. “I have always been a devout proponent of chivalry, in all its forms. Ever since I was a child, I have dreamt of falling into the hooves of a brave hero. But this!” She leaned forward into his personal space, and he cringed away, hiding behind his shield. “This isn’t chivalry or bravery! This is cruelty! You’re not a hero, you’re just a bully, threatening an innocent young drake based on nothing more than outside appearances!”

The knight’s eyes were as wide as dinner plates. “B-B-B-But...” he stuttered, before regaining a little nerve. “How can it be innocent? It’s a dragon!”

“Yes, he is!” Rarity declared. “And he is also one of the best friends I have ever had the privilege of making! He is far more kind, far more caring, far more chivalrous than some heartless knight who barges in where he isn’t wanted and starts throwing around threats!”

Greenfire became dimly aware that his jaw was hanging open. But closing it might have taken his attention away from the amazing mare standing before him. He couldn’t take that chance.

Her voice dropped to a hiss. “So if you have any sense at all, you will leave right now and not bother Greenfire any further. Because I assure you, if you or anypony else dares to harm one scale on his head, I will make you regret it.”

The knight’s shield and lance clattered to the dirt, his concentration broken by Rarity’s tirade. With a strangled squawk of fear, he snatched them up in his forelegs and fled down the path as if a pack of hounds were chasing him.

“Well!” Rarity finally said, after the armored figure was out of sight. She cleared her throat awkwardly. “Good riddance.”

That broke the spell, and Greenfire found himself remembering how to think and speak again. “I think I’m in love. Rarity, that was fantastic!” He bounded over to the unicorn’s side, grinning uncontrollably at her. “You scared him off better than I ever could!”

Rarity blushed demurely, turning her head to one side. “I-I apologize for losing my temper. When I heard him talk about you like that, I’m afraid I saw red.”

“Hey, I’m not complaining! He had me spitting fire—literally!” Rarity rolled her eyes at the pun, but Greenfire caught her smiling despite her best efforts. “Kinda wish I could hire you to handle all the knights,” he said with a chuckle.

“Do they come by so often that you would need to?” she asked, looking horrified.

“Well, not really,” he admitted. “He’s the first one I’ve had since we met. It’s usually just one every few months.”

“Good.” Rarity’s voice was firm. “He was absolutely dreadful, and if they’re all so horrid, I don’t blame you a bit for being so suspicious when we first met.”

Greenfire curled his tail around himself and sat across from her. “They’re not all that bad, but they are all annoying.”

Rarity brought out a familiar tablecloth from her saddlebags, fussing with it and not looking at him. “Really, what upsets me the most... Before I met you, I’m ashamed to admit I would have agreed with him. I had no idea dragons could be like you.”

“Well... I had no idea ponies could be like you. So I guess we’re even.” When she met his eyes, Greenfire gave her his biggest smile. “I’m just glad he didn’t ruin our visit.”

“As am I.” That seemed to lift her spirits again, at least for a moment. She continued her unpacking, smiling faintly, but her gaze was still downcast.

Well, he knew one way to cheer her up more solidly. Greenfire girded his ears and settled in on the tablecloth. “So, any new Ponyville gossip to share?”

That did the trick. “Oh, if you insist...”


Rarity took a long sip of her tea, smiling contentedly. “Ready for dessert?”

After a filling meal and a long conversation, Greenfire had been looking a little sluggish, but those three words were all it took for him to perk up again. “You better believe it. Sugarcube Corner again?”

“Naturally! Those strawberry cupcakes you like so much. And I added something special today, just for you...” Rarity opened the box of cupcakes and levitated two of the specially-prepared ones over to him.

His eyes went wide with awe, just like they had when he’d first tasted Pinkie Pie’s wares, and she bit her lip to suppress her squeal of joy. “Are those ruby shavings on top?” he whispered reverently.

“Only the best is good enough for my friends,” Rarity said proudly. “Go on, try one!”

Greenfire picked one up, carefully peeling the wrapper off (much to her amusement). He popped it into his mouth and froze for a split second... and then—there was no other word for it—he moaned, eyes fluttering shut as he drooped ecstatically to the floor. “Oh, wow,” he rumbled, his voice rough and deep.

Rarity lifted a hoof in front of her face, under the pretense of fixing a stray curl in her mane, and waited patiently for her faint blush to recede. “I take it they meet with your approval?”

The dragon gulped down the cupcake and licked his lips. “Okay, I’m gonna have to ask you to bring these every visit from now on.”

“Now, Greenfire, if I did that, you’d quickly get sick of them.”

“Get sick of these? No way!” His tongue darted out to grab the second cupcake and pull it into his mouth. This one he savored, chin dropping onto his crossed forelegs as he lost himself in gastronomical bliss.

Rarity couldn’t help but giggle. “Honestly, for such a large dragon, you certainly can be childish at times!”

Greenfire glanced up at her, meeting her eyes. He opened his mouth slightly, looking as if he was just about to speak... And then he stuck his tongue out, eliciting a fresh burst of laughter from her.

“R-Really, now!” she tittered. “I told that knight you were well-behaved, and here you are making a liar out of me! Why, my little sister has more decorum than you do!”

Greenfire sat up again, brow furrowed, and swallowed the cupcake at last. “You have a sister?” he asked curiously.

“Oh, haven’t I told you about her? Her name is Sweetie Belle.” Rarity smiled fondly. “To call her a handful would be putting it lightly, but she is a darling little filly when she isn’t acting out.”

“Does she live with you at the boutique?”

Rarity shook her head. “No, Sweetie is still living with our parents. Goodness, I don’t think I’d be able to handle raising her on my own.”

“Your parents?” Greenfire sat up straighter. “What are they like?”

“Ah, well...” She ducked her head, feeling the awkwardness that always came on when she thought of her mother and father. How to explain them? “They’re very... boisterous. Father used to play hoofball in school, and Mother was a cheerleader. That’s how they met.” She smiled sheepishly. “They’re a bit embarrassing, to be honest. They really don’t understand my love of fashion... But they’ve always supported me, even so.”

Greenfire was completely still, taking in her every word with an unusual intensity. “Huh,” he finally said, once he seemed certain that she wasn’t going to continue. “That sounds nice.”

Rarity had just opened her mouth to agree when the change registered. She froze for an instant, not sure how to continue. “Yes, it is,” she allowed. “I... imagine it’s a bit different for dragons?”

He laughed, without any real humor in it. “Yeah, no kidding.”

Rarity wanted to kick herself. She’d managed to stumble into a conversational thorn bush, hadn’t she? “I’m sorry... Did I touch a nerve?”

“No, no, it... it’s nothing,” Greenfire replied. To say that he was unconvincing would have been an incredible understatement.

“Darling, please. Anything that so clearly distresses you cannot be ‘nothing’.” Rarity reached out to touch his shoulder. Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise. They’d never talked about his social situation before, but now that the subject had been broached...

“No, really, I’m fine,” he insisted. “I-I like hearing about your family.”

“I’m glad to hear that. But it’s bothering you at the same time, I’d have to be blind not to notice. Don’t think it’s escaped me that you’ve...” She hesitated one last time, then took the plunge. “You’ve never told me anything about yours.”

Greenfire took in a long breath, then let it all out. “Yeah, nothing gets by you.”

Rarity waited. “Well?” she finally demanded, once it seemed clear he wouldn’t go on without prompting.

“Well, what? There’s nothing to tell.” He frowned at the tablecloth, one claw on his neck. “I mean, you already figured it out, right? I was alone before I met you.”

“I have suspected that for some time. But what I don’t understand is why. Surely other dragons can appreciate your good qualities as much as I do?”

Greenfire snorted. “No, see, I don’t think you’re getting what I mean when I say ‘alone’. I don’t know what other dragons would think of me, ‘cause I’ve never met one.”

Rarity opened her mouth to respond, but nothing came out. She couldn’t have heard that right, could she? “You’ve never...” she managed, after several seconds.

“Met another dragon,” Greenfire finished for her. “I’m the only one in the forest.”

Rarity shook her head. “I—Surely I must be misunderstanding you. If there are no other dragons here, then who raised you?”

“I did, pretty much. Lucky for me, dragons can eat just about anything. My memory’s fuzzy, but I know it was a while before I found the ridge and all those gems.”

“But...” Rarity had prepared herself to hear the worst: his family had abandoned him, cast him out, rejected him. Something along those lines. But she hadn’t been prepared for this. He had never even known them? “But then how did you learn to talk? And read?”

“I’m not really sure. I can’t remember not knowing how.” The dragon scratched at his chin, glancing up at the sky as he thought. “I must’ve just picked it up from the ponies who came by. Before the rumors got around, they’d come through the ridge or around the edge of the forest delivering supplies from town to town. And, uh, sometimes a crate or two would fall off the back of their wagons...”

“Oh... That’s how you got your books, isn’t it?” Still attempting to absorb what she’d heard, that was the most coherent sentence Rarity could put together.

“You got it. One of them is actually about dragons. Well, magical creatures, mostly.” He flashed a smirk that was, once more, devoid of actual amusement. “Everything I know about being a dragon, I learned from a whole three pages out of that book. Pretty pathetic, huh?”

Pathetic wasn’t the word Rarity would have used. Horrible was much closer. It wasn’t unheard of for a foal to lose her parents, but there were extended families, orphanages... Even in the worst cases, not even the most rundown of towns would entirely abandon a child to her own devices. And here he’d had to learn about his own species from a book?! “So what you’re saying is...” she whispered. “Your family... Your parents...”

Greenfire shrugged. “Your guess is as good as mine. I figure they’re either dead, they lost me, or they didn’t want me in the first place. I kinda gave up wondering which one it was.”

The worst part was the matter-of-fact way he said it. As if he’d long ago resigned himself to having no one. And she knew he must have. How long had he lived alone in this empty cave, forced to fend for himself? Constantly dealing with those awful knights or treasure-seeking thieves, yet still perhaps looking forward to those rare breaks in the solitude. No one to talk to him, no one to care for him, and if she hadn’t finally come along and reached out to him, he would still be alone even now...

For a long while, Rarity just stared at the dragon, throat dry and eyes hot with unshed tears. Then she got to her hooves and walked toward him purposefully.

“Anyway, I guess I was just a little jealous that—What are you doing?”

She put her forelegs around his neck, hugging him as tight as she could and pressing her face against his scaly shoulder, and then she allowed herself to start crying.

“Wha—Rarity. What are you doing.

“I’m hugging you, you silly dragon,” she sobbed into him. “Oh, Greenfire, I’m so sorry...”

Greenfire leaned back, as if trying to pull away, but her grip on him was too strong. “G-Geez, calm down, okay? Even when we’re babies, dragons are tough. It didn’t take me long to figure things out. It’s no big deal.”

“Yes, it is!” she wailed. “No one should have to be alone like that!”

“Well... I’m not. Not any more, right?” He nudged her chin with his claw, pushing gently until she looked up again and met his eyes. And he grinned, that lopsided grin of his that she’d grown to adore. “I’ve got you.”

The tears flowed again, and she threw herself at him once more, clinging as if he were a life preserver, floating in the ocean of emotion that threatened to swallow her. “That’s right... You have me. Always.” The last word came out in a squeaky whisper.

“There you go,” he chuckled. “What more could I ask for?”

A watery giggle escaped her, and she hid her face against his shoulder again. His forelegs slipped around her to return the hug, and she sighed and melted against him.

“I do wish... you hadn’t had to go through that,” she said, once she felt a little calmer.

Perhaps unconsciously, Greenfire’s claws curled against her back, scratching gently. Goodness, that felt lovely. “Thanks, I guess. Seriously, it wasn’t that bad. I never knew what I was missing. Heck, I didn’t even know what families were until I started reading! Figured everyone just woke up alone in a forest.”

Rarity didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at that. She just shook her head and held him a little tighter. He was happy now, that was what mattered. And she would make sure his future was even happier. She hadn’t been this determined about anything since the day she opened her boutique.

A few moments passed; she wasn’t sure how many. Enough that it startled her just a bit when Greenfire spoke again. “So... Are we just gonna sit like this all day, or did you want to let go any time soon?”

No, actually, she didn’t. She didn’t ever want to let go. She wanted to stay there in Greenfire’s embrace forever. She wanted to bask in his warmth and the feel of his arms wrapped tight around her. She wanted to stare up into his gorgeous green eyes and pull his face closer to hers and...


Oh, no.

Oh, no, no, no, this could absolutely not be happening.

Rarity released Greenfire and all but threw herself backward, rattling her dishes as she landed. Her heart was pounding in her chest, and her stomach had begun an acrobatic act worthy of the greatest circus in all the land.

“Thanks,” Greenfire said, oblivious to her inner turmoil. “No offense or anything, that was nice and all, but my tail was starting to go numb.” He stood up and allowed it to lash back and forth behind him.

Rarity barely heard him. She put a hoof to her chest and tried to collect herself again. She couldn’t possibly be feeling what she thought she was. It was... The shock from hearing about his dreadful past had caused her to misinterpret her emotions, that was all.

Certainly Greenfire was a handsome dragon. She’d already come to terms with that attraction weeks ago, then set it aside as irrelevant to their friendship. Because it was irrelevant! Really, regardless of the species issue, he was absolutely nothing like her ideal stallion. He was brash, sarcastic, impolite, rough around the edges...

Greenfire leaned forward, reaching out with one claw. “Hey, you okay? You’re not gonna start bawling again, right?” Despite the insensitive phrasing, his concern was clear in his eyes.

And yet he was kind, caring, chivalrous, just as she’d told the knight before. And visiting him was the highlight of her every week. And suddenly she was realizing how impossible it had become to imagine her life without him.

“Oh, my goodness,” she whispered under her breath.

“Seriously, what’s the matter now?” Greenfire nudged her shoulder gently with the back of his claw.

Rarity jumped. “Oh! I’m so sorry, darling. I-I was merely lost in thought for a moment.”

Greenfire tilted his head at her. “Uh-huh. Anything you wanna share with the class?”

She shook her head. “I’m... not quite ready. It’s something I need to give just a little more thought to before sharing with anypony, that’s all.”

The dragon seemed to accept that, settling down again as Rarity gathered up the tablecloth. But she avoided his gaze as she cleaned up. She’d told him a little white lie.

A matter this dreadfully serious was going to take far more than a little thought.