Randomus Draconicus

by Raugos

First published

In another world, everything went right for Princess Spike during the Friendship Summit. Except for Twilight's disapproval.

The Friendship Summit preparations have gone on without a hitch, thanks to ‘Princess’ Spike’s initiative and resourcefulness. He still has to deal with Twilight’s disapproval, though.

Chapter 1

View Online

Twilight yawned, savouring the tingle that ran down her spine as she stretched luxuriantly in bed. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d slept so well. The last time probably went as far back as her filly days. Between the cool air and delightfully warm sheets, she did not particularly feel inclined to get up immediately, so she simply lay there in the silence and darkness, enjoying the—

Wait a minute…

“The summit!” She sat bolt upright and leapt out of bed, flinging off the bedcovers in a whirlwind as she conjured some light.

“No-no-no-no-no, how could I have overslept!” she squeaked in rapid sequence as she bumbled around the room like a drunken, half-awake madmare in her search for the window. Upon finding the thick curtains, she almost ripped them apart and yelped when yellow-orange light flooded in to singe her eyes.

She threw up a hoof to protect herself and simply stood in place, blinking away the flashing dots in her vision. Slowly, though, her heart rate dropped when she realised that night hadn’t come yet. She still had plenty of time to get ready before the welcome reception began. At the same time, she noted that her hearing was significantly poorer on the left side, and soon found the cause – a pair of earmuffs that had gone slightly askew in her panicked pin-balling around the room.

“Okay, not the end of the world. Silly me.” She sighed and chuckled to herself.

A more leisurely glance outside the window reassured her further that everything had gone according to plan: the gardeners had pruned the overgrown trees around the courtyard, and Bolt Bit had apparently finished dealing with the leaking main. Perfect.

She spent a few minutes grooming herself and then made her way out.

“Good evening, Princess Twilight,” said one of the two royal guards stationed just outside the double doors. “Slept well?”

“Uh, yes.” She blinked and raised an eyebrow. “But what are you two doing outside my room? I don’t—wait, has there been a security breach? What’s—”

“Nothing of the sort, Your Highness,” said the other guard. “Spike just called us for backup when he got mobbed by your petitioners. We’ve been sending them his way ever since, though the crowd’s mostly thinned out by now.”

“Oh. Umm, all right.”

Twilight couldn’t think of anything else to say. Another pleasant surprise to add to the list, she supposed. A smile tugged at her lips as she thought of how much Spike must’ve done for her on such short notice in the hours since she’d fallen asleep. He probably deserved a whole—

“Wait. What are those?” she asked when she spotted a pair of empty tankards by the wall, just behind one of the guards.

The two armoured stallions looked at her, then turned to exchange confused looks with one another.

Her frown deepened when she noticed the remnants of froth on the lips of the tankards. “Aren’t you guys prohibited from eating or drinking while at your posts?”

Their ears flattened.

“Uh, if you recall, Your Highness,” one of them said with a sheepish grin, “did you not make an exception on account of this special Friendship Summit?”

“I was asleep,” she deadpanned. “How could I have done that?”

“But… Spike said you’d left written instructions…”

Twilight advanced until their snouts almost touched. Close enough to see him sweating beneath his armour.


“Are you trying to blame Spike for this?” she growled.

“It’s true, Princess,” the other protested. “We didn’t want to at first, but Spike was very happy about the event’s progress and wanted everypony to celebrate. He did insist. You can ask him if you wish; he was in the main reception, last we heard.”

Twilight scowled at the two guards before turning her back to them. “I think I’ll do that. But if you’re bluffing, I’m going to have a really long talk with your commanding officer.” So saying, she leaped over the railings and rode a thermal straight towards the palace’s eastern annex.

Shining would never have let this happen on his watch…

Well, she still had a couple of hours before she needed to get to her post. A minor diversion of her resources wouldn’t hurt too much. She needed to thank Spike, anyway.

* * * * *

She found no sign of him at the reception area, though she did find Cadance. She mentioned last seeing him heading towards the royal bathhouse, so Twilight quickly thanked her and went on her way. Unfortunately, Spike wasn’t at the bathhouse, either, and the ponies present led her on another merry chase around the palace from the gardens to the kitchens and auditoriums. The things they told her though… they helped to catalyse the formation of a rock in her belly. According to nearly everypony she spoke to, Spike had been helping himself to a whole lot of extremely fine and costly services, ranging from catering to body care, all under her authority. The expenses alone wouldn’t have troubled her so much, if it weren’t for the fact that practically everything that she called for during the summit would come from state funds. If word of that got out, the scandal would probably eclipse that of the Book Fort incident from twelve years ago.

Please, Spike. Let this all be a huge misunderstanding…

Eventually, one delegate mentioned seeing him ‘hanging out’ with a royal guard in the mess hall. She scratched her head at that, but decided not to press for details in case she missed him again.

The echoes of Spike’s voice reached her ears as she entered the nearly-empty mess hall. Practically all of the guards had been stationed at one point or another throughout Canterlot for the summit, so it struck her as rather odd to see one of them sitting at a table with him, playing cards, of all things. She strained her ears and approached as silently as possible.

“—and so I told him not to worry about his colts. Cadance’s friends are seriously the best foalsitters in Canterlot. Nothing’s going to go wrong with them on watch,” Spike said as he inspected his cards.

The grey, armoured unicorn opposite him grunted and slapped a card on the table. “Uh huh. Spoiled kids. Back in my day, our parents just let us wander, play and fight until everypony went home in tears or as friends. Worked out pretty well for us.”

Spike nodded and took a swig from a mug. Twilight sniffed the air and felt a pang of relief when she didn’t detect any pungent scent.

“Oh, and have I mentioned the part where I helped the delegate from Vanhoover with his bent cane? Heated it up with my breath just right to bend it back in shape!”

The stallion nodded and dumped another card. “Yup. Only heard it about three times, now.”

Spike deflated a bit. “Eh, heh heh… But that was pretty cool, huh? What about—”

By then, Twilight had gotten close enough to identify everything on the table, so she filtered out Spike’s narration of his exploits to focus on mental cataloguing. She noted a dozen empty plates with plenty of smudges and crumbs, some of which looked like gem dust, an equal number of mugs, a whole pile of apple cores, shreds of lettuce, thirteen bits, five loose feathers, two notebooks, a fresh apple with a wad of hay rammed into where the stalk usually goes and a candle with one end bitten off.

“What’s going on here?” she asked as she trotted into their line of sight.

The guard stood up and saluted, saying, “Evening, Princess.”

Spike’s greeting followed soon after, without missing a beat. “Hi, Twilight. Had a good nap?” He grinned and gestured at the cards on the table. “We were just having some fun after a hard days’ work. Gotta let off some stress before the big stuff after sundown, right?”

Twilight frowned at the guard. “I thought everypony had been assigned to their posts. Who’re you?”

“Private Stun Lock, at your service.” He bowed his head respectfully before continuing, “My shift doesn’t begin for another hour, but Spike saw fit to assign me and my peers to various duties until then. As per your orders, Princess.”

“My orders, huh?” She turned to Spike. “It looks like you’ve been throwing a party in here. What have you done?

Stun Lock got the gist immediately, considering how much he paled and almost visibly shrank on the spot. To his credit, at least he didn’t tremble. Spike, on the other hoof, didn’t seem to lose any of his cheer. His smile remained, and he continued to stand firm and confident on his seat as he shrugged and simply gave everything a dismissive wave of his hand.

“Don’t worry about it, Twilight. Your Number One Assistant’s got everything under control! Been right on top of things since you fell asleep,” he said.

She shook her head. “No. I can’t not worry about this. Everypony’s told me about everything you’ve been asking for under my authority. Mostly for personal use.” She shook her head again. “That—that’s a complete breach of integrity while on duty. It’s corruption!”

He lifted a claw. “But—”

No, Spike. That’s not okay, no matter how anypony spins it. Remember that last time everypony started giving you—”

“I remember!” he snapped.

Twilight took a step backward, stunned by his sudden change. His laid-back posture had shifted forward into something a little… predatory. His eyes had narrowed, and his spinal ridge stood erect as he frowned at her.

“Everything’s gone pretty swell. I took care of everything – half of them are silly stuff like you wouldn’t believe – and kept everypony from disturbing you all day. Cadance even said she was surprised I held up for so long.” He threw both hands up in the air. “Is it so bad that I wanted to get a little treat here and there for a job well done? It’s not like I ate up the crystal statue or anything!”

She opened her mouth, but only a strangled noise came out. On her second attempt, she said, “Spike, what’s gotten into you? Why are you so defensive?”

“Well, why are you so upset?” he retorted.

“Because you’re stealing from Canterlot!” she half-yelled. When he flinched, she took the opportunity to bull forward. “All expenses made in my name during this summit will be paid for by the state unless specified otherwise. I’m supposed to be calling for services for everypony, not myself. Or you. But you’ve done exactly that. That’s not right!”

At the corner of her eye, she noticed Stun Lock just standing there, growing more sweaty and uncomfortable by the second. But she couldn’t spare him any more attention because Spike had opened up with another verbal barrage.

“Hey, I did share some of the goodies with the guards and random ponies.”

“They’re not exactly the public, Spike. I spoke to them; they’re mostly from Canterlot, and from the palace district. That can still be spun as cronyism, which is still a form of corruption. On top of that, you’ve misused somepony else’s authority. Even if you had done that to help everypony equally, it’s still a breach of trust and conduct.” She rubbed her forehead and sighed. “This is… this could be a disaster.”

He lowered his eyes. “Spike can’t do anything right, huh?”

She blinked. “What? I didn’t say that. But you can’t claim that what you did was okay.”

He growled something incomprehensible and slammed a fist on the table.

“Spike, look at me.”

He refused.

She tried softening her voice, but a little stiffness still crept in. “Can you honestly look me in the eye and say that what you did was okay?”

Spike trembled for a moment before meeting her gaze, and she immediately wished he hadn’t. His eyes had filled with smouldering anger, and though she couldn’t tell whether fully directed at her, some deep part of her wanted to flee in panic from him. She stared, frozen, until he snarled like a dragon thrice his size and dashed past her, leaving a trail of wispy smoke.

It took her almost a full minute to regain control of her faculties. At which point, she glanced at Stun Lock and said, “You are dismissed.”

He nodded gratefully. “Affirmative. Farewell, Your Highness.”

When his hoofsteps had faded away, she let out a long sigh and collapsed onto her haunches. She could feel tears welling up already.

That’s what I get for starting an argument so soon after waking up.

She spent nearly five minutes just sitting there performing breathing exercises to calm her shattered nerves. All the while she continued racking her brain for ways to smooth things over with everypony, until guilt stabbed her in the gut with how much she must’ve hurt Spike. It jabbed her again when she realised that she’d first considered dealing with his actions instead of helping him like she should have from the start.

Oh no…

She got up and sped back outside as fast as her legs and wings could take her.

* * * * *

With some directions from a series of puzzled witnesses, she managed to track Spike down to the royal garden. More specifically, the waterfall.

She found him curled up under a rocky outcrop just above water-level, sheltered from the worst of the cascading water but still shrouded in spray and mist. If she hadn’t resorted to some thermal detection magic, she probably would have missed him entirely.

Twilight edged in gradually to avoid startling him, but soon realised that he had grown too dejected to care much about her presence. He simply lifted his head and gazed at her as she fought and sputtered her way through the curtain of water. Once safely under the outcropping, she took a moment to conjure some light and a sound barrier that filtered out the roar of the waterfall, then lay down in the dampness beside him and whispered, “Hi.”

“Hey,” he murmured.

All of her plans and recited words suddenly fell apart. Though condensation had formed all over his scales, she could clearly distinguish the tears streaming down his cheeks.

She gulped. “I’m sorry for blowing up at you. With all the stress—no, wait. That’s not fair. I should’ve known better. I just—I know you meant well, Spike. But some things just aren’t okay even if you meant no harm. Still… I guess I should’ve waited until we were all more clearheaded before saying anything.”

He sniffled and wiped his eyes. “Yeah, I’m sorry, too. You were right; I knew I shouldn’t have, but I did all those things anyway.”

“Can I ask why?”

Almost a minute passed before he murmured, “Randomus Draconicus.”


“That’s me. Just some random dragon.”

She leaned closer. “What gave you that idea?”

“One of the delegates from Cloudsdale. Had a friendship problem. Only wanted to listen to you even when I was right there telling him how to fix it.”

“Was it really complicated?”

A puff of smoke blew from his nostrils when he snorted. “His buddy had taken his seat at the hall.”

Twilight waited for a couple of seconds to hear the rest of the story, but Spike’s silence continued until she realised that he’d already given her everything.

“His friend,” she deadpanned.


“Had taken his seat.”

“Uh huh.”

“Hadn’t he already tried asking nicely?”


Twilight groaned and hid her face with a wing. When she looked back at Spike, she found a ghost of a smile on his face.

“Yup. Said that he didn’t want some random dragon’s opinion. He wanted yours. Princess Twilight.” He shook his head and looked away. “It didn’t get to me at first. Since he wouldn’t listen, I pretended to ask you and told him the same thing. Worked like a charm. Same for everypony else. Just chuck in ‘because Princess Twilight said so’ and everypony hopped on board.”


He nodded. “That’s right. Nopony wanted to listen to Spike the Random Dragon; he’s not smart enough to do anything. He couldn’t possibly know anything about friendship even when he lives with the Princess of Friendship. He can’t organise anything, either. He’s just—ick!” Spike choked and teared up for a moment, pushed her foreleg away when she tried to comfort him, and then carried on with a scowl. “Ugh. I just made me feel… I don’t know. It hurt. It hurt even more when I saw you could get almost anything done just because you were Princess Twilight. Same with Cadance, I saw. And when ponies still treated me worse than an egg for trying to help…”

He formed fists as he growled in the general direction of the palace, trembling, and Twilight felt heat radiating from him like a furnace.

“I got mad. Not sure why. I just did,” he said through clenched teeth.

Steam rose from his scales as smoke streamed out of his nostrils as he let loose another blood-curdling growl. Her worry grew as the ambient temperature rose to uncomfortable levels, but just as she considered casting a thermal shield, Spike sighed and wilted, allowing the chill of the waterfall to enshroud them once more.

He then wiped his eyes again and sniffled. “So I just kept going at it. See how much I could push everypony until they stopped giving ‘Princess Twilight’ what she wanted.” He looked up at her and shook his head. “Never happened. You’ve got no idea how crazy everypony is about you; they’ll do anything if you say so. Me, I’m stuck as some random dragon who couldn’t even get one pony to listen today. Heh. Some dragon I am. Bet they’ve never stopped laughing at me back at the volcano.”

Twilight stared at him.

Beware, ye who would dare to scorn a dragon. She remembered reading that in a novel, once. Maybe the author had stumbled upon a grain of truth in that. Or a whole boulder.

“Oh, Spike…” She draped a wing over him. This time, he didn’t resist, and she tentatively pulled him into a tender hug. “You are not some random dragon. You are my brother, friend and Number One Assistant. You are Shiny’s little brother. You are Cadance’s favourite hatchling. You are the Hero of the Crystal Empire, and so many other things. If somepony calls you some random dragon, you don’t have to believe them. And if others refuse to learn, well, it’s not your job to educate them. No scales off your back if they don’t want to get to know you after you’ve extended the courtesy.”

He remained silent.

“We shouldn’t measure our worth by the number of ponies who know our names, anyway,” she continued, patting him on the back.

“Love and friendship comes first, huh?” he said. “Show it even if they don’t give it back.”


He sighed. “Doesn’t stop it from hurting.”

“I… I guess not. But it gives us something else to hold on to while we sort ourselves out, I think.”

They stayed close, sharing their warmth as the light filtering through the fall’s mist and spray gradually dimmed. At any other time, she might have fancied just cuddling up with him and sleeping right there, just like they used to when they were younger. Too bad that they both had responsibilities waiting.

Eventually, when she estimated that they had less than half an hour left before the proceedings, Spike extricated himself from her embrace and shifted to sit by her side.

“Okay, I think I’m over it. I feel better now,” he said. “How’re we going to fix things?”

“Well, I’ll first have to do my duties at the evening ceremony. After that, I’ll shift the expenses to come from my account. Then we apologise to everypony we’ve troubled.”

He nodded. “Right.”

“And then I’ll see about getting some topaz ice cream.”

“Wait, what?” Spike blinked and stared at her.

She grinned when she saw some of his moodiness evaporate. The twinkle in his eyes gave it away. “Well, almost everypony told me that you did a good job managing things in my absence. I think that’s earned you a treat.”

At long last, the corners of his mouth curled up in a smile. “Aww, thanks, Twi.”

“And after that, you can help me update the classification system in Canterlot’s old library. They’re really behind time, there.” When his jaw dropped, she chuckled and added, “Well, you still did lie all over the place and commit a major abuse of authority. I think that’s earned you some extra time with chores whilst I pay for everything.”

“I…” he’d lifted a claw in protest, but relented almost immediately and sighed. “Guess I can’t argue with that.”

Twilight placed a hoof on his shoulder and smiled at him. “Hey, at least we get to do it together, right?” She glanced at the cascading water, beyond which lay a night’s worth of work for both of them. She then crouched beside him. “Hop on. You ready for Round Two?”

Spike took a deep, fortifying breath and cracked his knuckles. “Yeah, let’s go.”

They burst out of the mist together, and a Canterlot illuminated with thousands of glowing lanterns greeted them. The sun had set, and the stars had come out. Though the wind felt cold on her wet hide, Spike’s warmth more than compensated for that as he clung to her. For a moment, she could almost pretend that the day had gone perfectly. A second later, she smiled, shook her head and revised her assessment.

All things considered, she probably had every reason to be grateful for how everything had turned out.