..I'm going to have quite a bit of work on my hooves with this new book!" said Twilight Sparkle, as I ran to catch up with her.
"I'm trying my best, Twilight; I can't move as fast as you with theses dinky little legs and pulling this big book," I replied, pulling a red wagon behind me, the axles squeaking under the weight of the huge book within. Is it my fault dragons grow slowly? I grumbled to myself as I finally caught up with her. One of these days I'm gonna finally start growing up, hopefully leg first. I sure hope it's soon; I'm tired of not being able to keep up with the others.
Twilight smiled back at me. "I'm sorry, Spike, but I've been waiting ages for this..."
"...and you wanna get it back to the library so you can read and catalog it," I finished. "I know, I know. I dunno why you couldn't just have it delivered; the post office is pretty far away from the library and this thing isn't exactly light.."
"You know I would if I could, Spike, but the local mail-pegasus is somewhat...dense. Don't get me wrong, she's sweet and all, but she tends to take instructions a bit too literally: 'Drop off a book at the library, Derpy' does not mean exactly that! She should have landed first - it took hours for that book to dry! And some of these are literally one-of-a-kind."
I snickered, remembering that. Derpy isn't the most clever pony I'd ever met - cheerful, pleasant and friendly, sure, but not the brightest candle in the room. I wasn't gonna hold that against her, though; the odd mistake or no, she's a hard worker. Anyway, she did apologize. Frankly I'm surprised Twilight still won't let her deliver anything but standard mail - the 'drop-off' incident happened about four months ago - but then she takes her books really seriously.
Twilight's eyes narrowed and I stopped snickering and began whistling innocently while staring up at the clouds. She snorted, shook her head in mock exasperation and continued onwards. "After I'm done at the library, there's a couple of scrolls I need you to D-mail to the Princess, and then you can do whatever you want for the rest of the day."
She continued: "The library's pretty tidy; that new filing system you came up with is working wonders with the piles."
I beamed with pleasure at the compliment. My day's always a bit brighter when I get one.
Twilight and I arrived at her library and we entered the huge tree-like building, my wagon continuing to complain about the weight on it's back as I pulled it through the front door. I rolled it over to the nearest table and lifted the large book out.
"Why do these books have to be so darn heavy?" I gasped, as I slowly and laboriously fought the book onto the table, where is settled with an impressive thump.
"Well, that's the weight of knowledge for you, Spike," laughed Twilight.
"Hey, one of these days I'm gonna pull something and then where will you be?" I shot back, smiling. Twilight may keep me kinda busy, but I can't say I don't enjoy it. Except for the heavy lifting, of course. Fortunately, that's a fairly rare case.
"I could have levitated it, Spike, but you insisted that you wanted to do it yourself," replied Twilight. "If you want to do the job yourself, you can't really blame anypony but yourself."
"I know, I know," I sighed. "I just wish the things didn't have to weigh so much!" I stretched my arms and let out a small contented sound as the elbows cracked. I headed over to Twilight's writing desk, waving the kinks from my arms as I approached. She finished writing a scroll, tied it closed and levitated it over to me along with three others.
"Four? Wow. You don't usually have me send that many at once," I commented as I prepared myself to send the scrolls to the Princess. I can breathe two kinds of fire: the typical type or my 'sending' fire. When I use my sending fire, the scroll gets burnt up and the ashes float off to Canterlot and reappear in front of the Princess as a scroll again. It takes me a second or two to switch from one to the other, otherwise I won't have anything but a burnt scroll. Twilight and I have taken to calling the process 'D-mail' - short for Dragon-Mail' - as sort of an inside joke between us.
"Well, I've been quite busy here in the library," replied Twilight as I sent the scrolls on their way to Canterlot, the ashes drifting away on the breeze through an open window. "You know how it's been. Even given your new system the place seems to require tidying by the day." I sighed; wasn't that the truth! It seems every time I find a way to simplify matters, something picks up and suddenly my quick fix isn't so quick anymore...
Twilight continued. "And just look at that book we brought today; that's the third this week, and we had to get the last two personally. I've been quite busy for the last while so there's somewhat of a backlog. The Princess understands entirely; it's not as though she expects me to give her a constant account as it is."
"Oh please don't remind me about the books again!" I moaned, rolling my eyes dramatically. Twilight giggled.
Twilight's horn glowed and the book opened. "Okay, Spike, I think I'll start on this right away. I'm going to be hours with this, and there's nothing that needs sorting. You go enjoy yourself, okay?"
"Cool. Call me if you need me, Twilight," I said, but she was already busy reading. Once she gets started on a new book, I thought, she almost doesn't come up for air. I waved, knowing she wouldn't see me, and headed out, making sure to close the door quietly. I liked having days off. It's not that I'm lazy or anything, but it never hurts to get out for a bit, you know?
It was a typically nice summer day in Ponyville; we generally get a day or two's warning from the rain patrol before the weather's gonna go bad. Ponies greeted me or nodded as they passed and I waved back.
Pretty much all of my friends were out of town; Rainbow Dash was on cloud duty, which meant she was snoozing somewhere, Fluttershy was in her cottage taking care of a group of sick animals who had all come down with the flu, l knew where Twilight was, Applejack was working on her farm as usual and Pinkie was somewhere being Pinkie. I just hoped nobody got hurt.
That just left Rarity. Just thinkingabout her makes me sigh. I headed to the Carousel Boutique for my daily dose of her and entered to the sound of Rarity humming happily. "What's up, Rarity?" I asked. "New fashion magazine arrive?" She's always happy when a new issue arrives; a lot of her pattern ideas come from them.
"Oh no, Spike," she sighed, beaming. "Something even better. Take a look."
She sent a picture over to me. It was of a unicorn with light blue fur with a yellow mane and tale. Even I had to admit was quite handsome. He held his head in profile to the camera and was smiling slightly.
"His name is Summersday and he's a baron. A baron! Isn't he just to die for?" she gushed.
"I guess, Rarity," I replied. "What's up? Who is this guy?"
She blushed. "Well, we've been mailing each other for some time and I think he's rather taken with me. In fact, he says he wants to meet me!" she squealed with joy. "After the fiasco with that boor Blueblood, I think I may have found the stallion of my dreams! This could be love!"
I felt my heart go numb. I'd always known Rarity was looking for Mister Right, but I had hoped that someday, maybe, it'd be me. Unfortunately, every time I think to say anything to her about it, I either get tongue-tied, embarrassed, or she simply fails to notice me. It's not that we weren't friends, sorta, it's just that we're only friends.
"So, when're you goin'?" I asked, trying to seem nonchalant about the whole thing.
"The day after tomorrow. He's sending a pegasus chariot and everything; the sort of thing a true gentlestallion would do!" she replied, with another sigh of joy.
"Well, I hope that goes well for you, Rarity," I said as politely as possible. "Good luck." Rarity, still enchanted with the photo, didn't notice at all as I left.
I just wish I had just the guts to ask her, I thought. But I couldn't do it. I just couldn't work up the nerve. Besides, I'm a dragon and she's a high-class filly; we couldn't be any more different. One of these days I'd do it, if this Summersday guy didn't sweep her off her hooves.
Later, I was absent-mindedly kicking a stone down the street, grumbling to myself. I heard a voice behind me: "Afternoon, sugarcube. Whatzamatter? You look lower'n a diamond dog's tunnel."
I turned to see Applejack, who gave me a smile and a wink. I was so annoyed with myself that she'd caught up with me without my even noticing. "Aw, it's nothin', Applejack. I'm just..."
"It aint nothin' and you 'ain't just' anything", The orange-furred filly interrupted my reply with a shake of her blonde-maned head. "I done heard 'bout Rarity finding herself a new colt, an' I know how you think 'bout her."
I blushed. It was common knowledge that I was in love with Rarity - though Rarity herself seemed unaware - but I didn't like being reminded about that by others. "But it's Rarity. She's so beautiful and sophisticated, it'd be a waste of time to even..."
Applejack's green eyes narrowed under her stetson. "Don't. You. Dare. Don't you dare say what I think yer gonna. It ain't never a waste of time to try. Give it yer best shot."
"But I'm just so afraid to try!" I wailed.
"Well now, that I can understand, sugarcube. My big brother Macintosh's got his eye set on a filly, but every time he even thinks 'bout her, he turns into a stuttering weak-kneed colt. Big strong fella like that. S'funniest thing I ever saw!" Applejack laughed.
She continued: "But we ain't the type to let a little fear stop us, an' neither should you. He'll work up the guts to ask her out, an' I sure as buckin' know you can, too. G'wan; tell her how ya feel. Get that weight off yer back."
She was right. What could it hurt to ask Rarity? I had to try sometime, and that may as well be right now, I thought to myself. What's the the worst that'd happen? She'd says no, and we'd still be friends.
"You're absolutely right, Applejack!" I replied. "First thing tomorrow, I'm gonna ask Rarity. Thanks, AJ; I think all I needed was a good solid push, and you just gave it to me. I'm not gonna just stand around anymore!"
"Attaboy! Take the buffalo by the horns, but don't fret none if she says no; Macintosh wouldn't let somethin' like that bother him an' neither should you. You better believe I'll be rootin' for ya, though!" She gently rubbed her muzzle against my snout and trotted onwards.
Soon as I get up tomorrow, I thought, I'll pay her a visit and tell her how I feel about her. After I confess my love for her, I betcha she won't even bother with Summersday. Why would she travel all the way there when she'd have a boyfriend right here? Now, I just had to get her something fancy. Flowers and chocolates. I think that's how it's done.
They didn't really have a chocolate shop in Ponyville, so I went to the next best place, Sugarcube Corner, and ordered a tray of chocolate cupcakes for tomorrow. Mr. Cake swore to me he'd keep them away from Pinkie and her incredible appetite for snacks, and I headed on to the florist. Once I'd explained to him that I was looking for flowers to give to a girl - and not as a snack - he suggested roses.
I asked about the price and he named quite a high figure. I had a fair number of bits saved up, but I didn't think I had that much. Seeing how worried I looked, he mentioned that a single rose is often considered a classy thing to give on a first date, so I bought one. I brought the rose back to the library, put it in a vase of water - taking pains to ensure it was hidden so Twilight didn't see it; I didn't want her teasing me - and waited for tomorrow to come.
I was so anxious, I almost couldn't sleep. I spent the time looking through the shelves of books to see if any of then needed filing until I finally couldn't keep my eyes open any more. I slept, thinking happy thoughts.
I awoke the next day, as nervous as I'd ever been in my life, but certain I was gonna go through with this. Twilight was out of the library, so I was able to get the rose without being seen. I headed to Sugarcube Corner and Mrs. Cake handed me a box of cupcakes, looking around to ensure Pinkie wasn't hiding behind me.
I sauntered off to to Rarity's Boutique with a spring in my step, happier than I'd been in my life. This was the day, I said to myself. I don't care if she turns me down; at least I can say I gave it my best shot. I arrived at the Carousel Boutique, set the box of cupcakes on the ground carefully and rapped on the door.
There was no answer.
I knocked again, a bit harder.
There was no answer.
As I was about to try a third time, a passing pony stopped. "You lookin' for Miss Rarity?" he asked. "Shoot, she left 'bout half an hour ago. Looked tickled pink, too." I left my hand up about to knock, stunned. Rarity? Gone? Already? Oh great. Oh great. I'd tried my hardest and I've already lost. And she wasn't even supposed to have left yet!
The wind totally out of my sails, I sat down hard on the box of cupcakes. I didn't even notice.
I don't know how long I sat there feeling miserable. I stood up and reduced the rose to ashes with a small burst of fire, which I blew upon the wind. Sighing, I retrieved the crushed box of cupcakes and headed to the library, eating the ones I could salvage. As I walked through Ponyville, completely lost, Pinkie Pie showed up seemingly out of nowhere.
"Hey Spike, howyadoin'? Howyadoin'?!"
"Now's not a good time, Pinkie," I replied, sadly.
"C'mon, Spike, you can tell me. Now's always a good time to tell someone howyerdoin.' Ooh, are those cupcakes?!"
"Now's not a good time, Pinkie," I said, sniffing.
"Aw, you're in a bad mood. You know whatcha need right now?"
"PLEASE LEAVE ME ALONE, PINKIE!!!" I wailed at the top of my lungs.
Pinkie stopped; absolutely shell-shocked. She blinked and then smiled. "Oh you definitely need a 'cheer-up a friend who's very sad' party! I've never seen a friend this badly off, even after that time that mean ol' Gilda was here and she scared Fluttershy like that!" She was about to trot off, no doubt to set up her party when I stopped her.
"I'm sorry, Pinkie. I know you're trying to help, but I don't think I could handle a party right now. I just wanna be alone for a bit. I didn't mean to shout at you."
"This is about Rarity and her new boyfriend, isn't it?" she asked. I nodded sadly.
"Aw don't worry, Spike! I'm sure it'll work out in the end, or my name's not Pinkie. And it is!"
I handed her the remains of the box of cupcakes; I no longer had an appetite and she'd been subconsciously eyeing them the whole time. She held the box in her mouth by a string and bounced back up the road, humming to herself. I shook my head and sighed. I was smiling slightly though. It's hard stay upset around her, even if you're determined to be miserable.
I moped around Ponyville for a while. When I returned to the library I actually felt a bit better; a visit from Pinkie can do that. Twilight looked over to me from her desk and her eyes closed sadly. "Oh Spike, I'm so sorry; Applejack told me about your plan..."
I raised a hand. "S'okay, Twilight. If it's all the same to you, though, I'd rather be by myself."
"Of course. I'll leave you alone for now. But just remember that I'm here for you. We're all here for you."
Twilight left me a particularly fancy bowl of jewels for dinner and I called it an early night. When I woke the next day, my pillow was slightly wet.
I tried to go to work, but Twilight refused to let me. She gave me the day off and wouldn't take no for an answer. As I exited the library, Applejack trotted into town from the path leading to Sweet Apple acres. She bowed her head sadly when she passed me and whispered "I'm sorry, little guy." When Applejack had talked me into finally taking the plunge, Rarity had still been here.
"That's all right, Applejack," I replied sadly. "I didn't know she'd left so early, either. I should've said something to her sooner. This is my fault."
"Ain't yer fault; ain't nobody's fault. I still feel bad fer ya, bein' as I talked you into confessin' yerelf to her. Y'all take care of yourself, Spike, an' if there's anythin' I can do..."
"Thanks, Applejack," and my vision wavered slightly, "That's nice of you. Don't let it get you down, too; it's just one of those things. I'll get over it."
Applejack sighed, gave me a gentle nuzzle as she had when she'd given her 'pep talk' and trotted onwards.
Even Pinkie felt bad for me and began sobbing uncontrollably when she saw me, having since learned of Rarity's early departure and the source of my despondence from the previous day. With the exception of Twilight and her, I hadn't seen any of my other friends since yesterday and when I'd last seen Pinkie, she was unaware that Rarity had left.
"Oh come on, Pinkie..." I rolled my eyes. "I don't even feel that sad and it happened to me."
Pinkie sniffled. "Are...are you sure, Spike?"
I patted her bright pink mane. "I'm absolutely sure. I'm feeling better by the minute. Honest. Rarity deserves to be happy. I'll just have to find someone else. We dragons live a long time, so I'll have plenty of chances."
"Well, if you're certain you're absolutely sure..." she replied, uncertain.
"Positive", I replied. "Maybe I'll take you up on that party offer someday. A party makes everything better. Isn't that what you usually say?" Pinkie grinned and almost immediately returned to her cheerful self.
"That's right! And I'll give you a hum-dinger of one, too. Just ask me!" With a cry of "See you later, Spike!" she shot off. I smiled and a bit more of my sadness dissipated. I really was feeling better by the minute.
It took me a couple of days to get back to my normal self. The first day after Rarity's departure, I was still somewhat miserable, but improving. My friends had definitely helped cheer me up. I was proud to have them; they'd gone out of their way to help me.
By the second day I was practically myself again. There was still some sadness, of course, but I was feeling much better than I had during the days before. I went back to working in the library and told Twilight not to worry; I'd gotten over the worst of it.
I had actually started working harder than usual, as though I wanted to show that everything was okay. Twilight was still a bit concerned, but she could see the work was helping, so she left me to it.
The next day, I walked past the Boutique. I didn't know what made me go there; there had certainly been no reason to. My legs must have just reflexively taken me there for my daily visit. While passing, I heard something coming from it; a low moaning.
I crept closer and noticed the door was partly open. I knew Rarity wasn't here, and none of the ponies would have broken in. Ponyville didn't have a problem with thieves; the town was basically one big family. That could only leave one possibility. Some sort of monster or something had snuck in.
I was the only one in the area; all the other ponies knew Rarity was away, so it was up to me to check it out. I considered making run for it, but I was really more curious that afraid. I'd never heard of a monster sneaking into the town, and I wanted to be sure of what it was before I went hollering for help. That sort of thing could get me into trouble.
I moved in closer still. The moaning got louder. I carefully pushed the door open, ready to run if I had to, and the moans became loud sobs. I entered the Boutique. The sobs were wracking and heartbroken and seemed to be coming from the back room. Rarity's room. I rushed in. There, lying on the bed, was Rarity herself!
I was shocked to see her; she was in quite a state. Her mane and tail were dishevelled and she'd been crying for what appeared to be quite some time. Her makeup was streaked all over her mattress and pillows and there were torn fragments of Summersday's photograph spread all over the room. The frame of her bed was a half-ruined mass of wood.
"Rarity?" I asked.
Nothing; she continued crying.
"Rarity?!" I tried again.
If anything, she became louder.
"Rarity?!" I shouted over her crying.
She finally seemed to realize there was someone in the room with her. Her crying abated to wet sobbing. "S-Spike? Is that you?"
"Yes, Rarity. It's Spike. What happened to you, Rarity? I've never seen you this upset before! What was it? Does it have something to do with this Summersday guy?" I asked in concern.
"SUMMERSDAY!", she spat. "I never want to hear that name again! 'Come visit me at my mansion for a few days and we can get acquainted with each other; get to know each other better'. Ha! Unfortunately for him, I learned on the third day he'd said the same thing to at least two other mares! I was...was nothing more than some sort of harem-filly to him!" She wailed hysterically.
Absolutely furious, she continued. "He was even worse than Blueblood; at least he was only conceited! I was so embarrassed, I didn't even have the chariot bring me all the way back to town! I snuck into town to here and then...and then..." She broke off as her crying renewed.
Yes! I thought. With Summersday out of the way, I could finally have my chance to woo Rarity!
A moment later, I felt terrible for that thought; Rarity was practically falling apart in front of me, and all I could think about was how this worked to my advantage! I turned to leave the Boutique, ashamed of myself. I was halfway out of Rarity's room when I heard her call out between sniffs:
"P...please stay with me, Spike. I think right now what I need is a friend; a shoulder to cry on, even if it is small and purple. Stay. Please?"
I turned to look back at Rarity, who was trying her best to smile at me, under the circumstances. I decided that I couldn't possibly leave her in the state she was in, so I climbed up onto her bed and scooted over to her. She rolled towards me, laid her head on my chest and began to weep softly.
I had no real experience with calming people when they're crying like this, so I stuck with simply making calming sounds and gently stroking her neck and mane. It appeared to be the right thing to do; she eventually cried herself to sleep. As she snored gently, I carefully crept out from under her, off of the bed and to the front door of the Boutique. With a sad look behind me, I closed the door and headed back to the library.
It was later than I'd expected; it seemed I was in there calming Rarity for quite a while. The sun had just gone down, and the stars were slowly coming out. When I opened the library's door, Twilight was standing there with a concerned look on her face.
"Spike! Nobody's seen you all day! Are you okay? Where have you been all this time?"
"Helping a friend," was my only reply, as I went to bed early. My thoughts were of Rarity and my eyes filled with tears.
The next day, I told my friends about what had happened to Rarity. Fluttershy, who had returned from her cottage was deeply dejected by the news, Pinkie looked ready to bawl her eyes out, Twilight was appalled, but was proud of me for staying with Rarity in her time of need and Applejack was muttering under her breath, no doubt something nasty about Summersday.
Rainbow Dash was still out of town, which is just as well; she'd probably have flown to Summersday's mansion and made a carpet out of him. Everyone agreed not to tell her for that exact reason, and, when she glided into town later that day, we simply told her that Rarity was sick and needed to be left alone.
We spent the next few days taking turns visiting Rarity and she definitely appreciated the company, just as I had. She had finally cried herself out, but was even more despondent than I was, and rightly so. Over the next week, and with our help, her normal personality returned. I decided to test this and asked her about Summersday.
"Summersday? That cad?" she responded with a glare. "Don't ever speak about him again!" I grinned; she was definitely better. There wasn't a single tear, just anger toward Summersday, which he deserved. She finally opened the Boutique again; everyone took this as an excellent sign.
Even Dash had paid her a visit and told Rarity she was glad she was feeling better. Dash was unaware that Rarity wasn't actually sick, and Rarity did nothing to make Dash believe otherwise. She was as aware as we were what Dash would probably do if she learned the truth.
I visited Pinkie and asked her about that party she'd promised, but that I wanted it to be for Rarity instead. She agreed without a moment's hesitation; she didn't usually need an excuse at the best of times, but she knew Rarity would appreciate the gesture. I told the others about the party plans and they thought it was an excellent idea as well.
Early that evening, I dressed in my tuxedo, tucked a scroll under my arm and headed out. I rapped gently on Rarity's door. She opened it, and noticed my fancy outfit. Her eyes widened sightly and she invited me in. I cleared my throat and opened the scroll. There was nothing actually written on it, it was just for show.
"Miss Rarity", I began, "I have come to..." Tell you I love you, said an inner voice. Ask you to go out with me, said another. I shook my head gently to send the voices away. I wouldn't dare ask her something like that now. It was far too soon, and maybe always would be. I cleared my throat again.
"Miss Rarity, I have come to formally invite you to a party at Sugarcube Corner in your honor. I will be your escort."
Rarity looked charmed. "Yes, Spike. I would be delighted. A party is just what I need right now. But before that, there's something I have to do." She leaned down and kissed the top of my head. I blushed.
"That's for being there when I most needed somepony, my knight in scaled armor. I have a warm place in my heart for all of my friends, but a particularly warm place there for you." I blushed even harder and she laughed lightly.
"Now, you mentioned a party? Let's be off, then!" She trotted alongside me as I led her to the party, which continued long into the night. Ever since then, Rarity always had a warm smile whenever she saw me, and seemed particularly pleased when I paid her a visit.
It wasn't the love I had been originally hoping for, but it was love nonetheless.
That was good enough for me.