“It’s here, it’s finally here,” cheered Spike the short, little, purple dragon with green eyes and spikes running down from the top of his head to the base of his tail that ended in a spade-shaped tip. He was energetically gathering up anything and everything he could carry from his room and stuffed it into an already overloaded blue backpack. “I finally get to go to the Festival of Dragon Lords.”
“It’s not that big of a deal,” Smoulder told him. She was a blue-eyed, orange dragon with pink spikes running from the stop of her head to the back of it. Compared to Spike, she was almost twice his height though with a more slender build. “The festival is just about remembering how great the Dragon Lords are.”
“And about all their contributions to dragon kind,” finished Spike as he scratched his head while he pondered what else to grab from his room. “It was first started by Dragon Lord Scintilla and has been continued every year since then. That’s one thing Ember talked about when she was a guest speaker for History of Creature Kind 101.”
“Then you also know that it’s just a long, boring day of listening to the Dragon Lord talk about their past and future plans for their rule along with any former Dragon Lords taking the chance to regale us with their own stories to once more bask in their former glory or for their surviving descendants to do so in their stead,” she sighed. “It’s basically a day long lecture that no dragon would bother to attend if not for the Dragon Lord commanding us to participate.”
“I thought you were excited to go because Ember was extending the festival for a few days and adding in a lot more fun stuff to do,” reminded Spike as he grabbed a pillow from his bed and attempted to force it into his backpack, though it there was less than no space left for it now. “A lot of snack vendors, and games, oh, and the sky burning performance after the opening ceremony tonight. I can’t wait to see that.”
“Yeah,” admitted Smoulder with a smile. “That’s always fun to see.”
“Just one thing,” he added, a bit embarrassed to admit. “What’s a sky burning?”
“You’ll see,” she chuckled. “I’d hate to ruin the surprise. I have to say, it does sound like this year’s festival will be a blast, but I’m not so sure if all dragons will think the same way like we do. Ponifying a dragon festival doesn’t seem like a good idea, even if Ember is the current Dragon Lord.”
“It’s what Ember wants her legacy to be,” stated Spike as he managed to force half his pillow into his bag and then with all his speed and might attempted to pull the flap down enough so he could snap the two ends of the buckle together to secure it. He groaned and grumbled as he spoke, using all his strength to make them meet. “To unite… the dragons… to...ge...the-ARGH!”
Spike’s hands slipped and like an erupting volcano, everything in his backpack burst out, landing all over his room. Everything he had packed, comic books, bags of gems, some clothes, an extremely lengthy roll of scroll paper that looked like it could extend from the Castle of Friendship to Sweet Apple Acres, along with several quills and pots of ink, and three large pillows were now all around him while his backpack was flat and empty again.
“I can see you want to go to the festival badly,” commented Smoulder as she looked at the mess Spike’s packing had caused. “But you might want to think a bit more like a dragon and try packing only what is absolutely necessary.”
“But all of this stuff is necessary,” explained the purple dragon as he started to gather up his belongings once again.
“Do you really need to take all your Power Pony comic books or so many different bags of gems?” she questioned as she picked a few up.
“Well, I never know what issue I might be in the mood to read and some of the gems I’m bringing are for a snack and others are for buying things.”
“How about this blank scroll, quills, and ink?” she asked.
“That’s for Twilight,” he answered as Smoulder seemed bewildered at how long the scroll paper was as she attempted to roll it up with no sign of the end in sight. “She asked me to take notes on the festival.”
“And three pillows?” she asked. “I can understand one, but why three?”
“Well, one to sleep on, one as a backup in case there’s something wrong with the first pillow, and a third as a backup to my backup,” he answered. “No offense to the Dragonlands, but I don’t think I could get used to sleeping on rocks.”
“So long as you don’t take offense to getting eaten alive,” she warned him with a rather devious smirk on her face. “I don’t think I have to remind you, but dragons won’t hesitate to take advantage of smaller, weaker creatures and all those pillows would probably be a big target on your back.”
Hearing that remark, Spike gulped and quickly considered what he could do without for a few days. “Well, maybe, I could limit myself to just two or three comics, and only take half the length of scroll paper,” he conceded with a bit of intimidation in his voice. “I wouldn’t need as many quills and pots of ink as well then too. And I probably don’t need snack gems if there will be food vendors I can grab a bite to eat at.”
“And the pillows?” she questioned him.
“I’ll just take the medium one,” he sighed as she gathered what he decided upon and found it all fit in his backpack with no trouble at all. Closing it was effortless now and after connecting both ends of the buckle he was all set to go.
“That’s better,” she smiled and gave him a hard slap in the back. “I can’t imagine you flying all the way to the Dragonlands lugging around a backpack three times your size. Now we’re all set.”
“Ow!” wondered Spike as he rubbed his back. “Ugh, we are? Where’s your bag?”
“Right here,” she answered holding up a green backpack that was completely empty, save for the school of friendship yearbook she had in it.
“Isn’t that packing a bit too light?” questioned Spike.
“I came to the school with nothing so it’s not like I have a lot to bring back with me, especially for a short visit,” she pointed out. “Anything I need I’ll be able to get when I get back to my cave and meet up with the ole gang.”
“The gang?” questioned Spike. “Who’s that?”
“Just a few dragons I hung out with in the Dragonlands,” she explained. “Been ages since I last saw them.”
“You must be eager to catch up with them,” smiled Spike.
“I guess,” she sighed. “Though, I’m a bit nervous too, if I’m gonna be perfectly honest.”
“What’s there to be nervous about?” asked Spike as they took a seat on his bed.
“Well, I’m hardly the same dragon I was when I first came to the school,” she pointed out. “I know that’s a good thing cause I’ve learned a lot and made friends with Sandbar, Gallus, and everyone else, but I’m a bit worried that I might not fit in anymore.”
“There’s no way of knowing that till you try,” Spike assured her. “And if they were your friends before then that doesn’t mean you won’t still be able to be friends now.
I’m sure Twilight and the others would say the same thing too.”
“You really think so?” she asked with a bit of a smile.
“Of course!” answered Spike, giving her a hard slap on her back to return the one she had given him, though she didn’t even flinch.
“Awe,” whispered Twilight with teary eyes as she watched Spike and Smoulder sneakily from his slightly ajar door. Twilight was a purple pony with a violet mane and tail and along with a pink streak running down them both. On her flank was her Cuties mark, a six-pointed pink start surrounded by five smaller white stars. She was also an alicorn, a pony possessing both the horn of a unicorn and the wings of a pegasus. “I’m so proud of him.”
“Eavesdropping, I see,” spoke the unicorn Starlight. She was a pink pony with a purple mane that was similar to Twilight’s save the streak in her hair was light blue and she let her mane come down over only one side of her horn instead of being split by it. Her Cutie Mark was of a purple diamond with with points jutting out from its sides. Above it were some magical bluish green swirls.
“Shh!” shushed Twilight quietly. “I wasn’t doing that.”
“Relax, Twilight,” smirked Starlight. “I’m all for a bit of mischief every now and again. Besides, you’re just really anxious because Spike’s gonna be gone from home for a little while.”
“How do you know?” Twilight questioned her.
“Gee, I don’t know,” she replied sarcastically, tapping her hoof to her chin. It’s almost like I’m some sort of guidance counselor or something.”
“Oh… right,” blushed Twilight with embarrassment. “I guess I am feeling a bit nervous. This isn’t the first time Spike’s been away from me for more than a day, but usually he’s in Canterlot with Princess Celestia or in the Crystal Empire with Shining Armor and Cadence.”
“And he’ll be in the Dragonlands, this time, with Ember and Smoulder,” Starlight reminded her.
“I know, but I can’t help worrying that something bad will happen like he’ll slip and fall into a pool of lava,” she commented, her pulse racing as she finished her sentence and it reflected in the level of freakout in her voice.
“Well, if he does, he’ll be fine,” Starlight pointed out. “He is a dragon after all. And more important than that, he was raised by you and if I know you as well as I think I do then you’ve made certain that he’s ready for this.”
“You really think so?” hoped Twilight.
“You already know the answer to that,” she replied.
Taking a breath to relax herself, Twilight answered, “Yes, he is.”
“He is what?” asked Spike as he opened the door to see the Twilight and Starlight in mid conversation.
“I was just telling Starlight, as we were just passing by your room, that I think he, uh, you are just about done packing,” answered Twilight with a nervous chuckle. “And it looks like you are.”
“Yup, all done,” nodded Spike turning to show his backpack off as he and Smoulder came out of his room.
“I hope you’ll have a wonderful trip,” Twilight told Spike as she hugged him with one of her wings. “And know that I’m very proud of you.”
“Awe, you don’t have to make this into an emotional thing,” Spike told her. “It’s not like I’m gonna be gone for long or anything. I’ll be back before you even have time to miss me.”
“I promised myself I’d give you a proper send off before you go,” Twilight reminded him.
“You also promised not to make a big deal about this,” he added.
“Of course,” she nodded, as the four of them made their way through the castle. As they proceeded down the hall, Twilight stopped in front of the map room. “Oh, there’s something I need to get in here. Mind if we take a little detour?”
“A detour?” asked a confused Spike. Looking at Smoulder, she just shrugged her shoulders while Starlight looked away, feigning ignorance.
Twilight’s horn glowed with a purple aura and a similar light appeared on the door as it opened. Looking inside, they all course see a large, chocolate cake with gemstones baked in atop the map table. Along with it, there was a festive-looking banner hung across the room covered in glitter, that read, “Have a fun time Spike and Smoulder!!!”
Before the two dragons could process all this, all their friends, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Fluttershy, Yona, Ocellus, Silverstream, Gallus, Sandbar jumped out to shout, “SURPRISE!!!” before pulling out party horns to blow or confetti to toss up in the air.
“Well, so much for not making a big fuss out of all this,” commented Smoulder, not looking disappointed at all by this.
All four entered the map room to join in the festivities. “Sorry, but we couldn’t resist, or, rather, Pinkie Pie couldn’t,” admitted Twilight.
“I could never miss out on a chance to wish my two bestest dragon pals the best on their way to the Dragonlands,” Pinkie Pie giggled enthusiastically. She was a pony that was the color of her name from the color of her coat to her incredibly curl-filled tail and mane. Her Cutie Mark reflected her love of all things party, three balloons.
“And we sure as pie wouldn’t wanna be left out of it either,” added Applejack in her southern drawl. “We hope you don’t mind.” Applejack was an orange pony with a blond mane that was almost always topped by her ten gallon hat. Her Cutie Mark was of three red apples as one would expect of one with as large an apple heritage as her.
“We did plan on getting an early start on the flight over,” commented Smoulder as she approached the cake and couldn’t deny how mouthwateringly delicious it appeared, enough to make her salivate. “But, then again, it’s not like we actually had an agreed upon time that we’d arrive.”
“Then maybe we can play some party games too,” cheered Silverstream, the light pink haired Hippogriff. She had magenta hued claws on her front legs and the same colored hooves in the back. She had a long mane and tail in pale blue and periwinkle. Around her neck was a shard of a magical pearl that enabled her and anyone else she wanted to use it on to transform into an different type of creature, in her case, usually back and forth between a seapony and a hippogriff. “How about a game of turn the hippogriff into a seapony?”
“Uh, what kind of game is that?” wondered Ocellus a light blue Changeling with a red shell covering over her wings.
“It’s a lot of fun,” the hippogriff explained energetically. “We take turns wearing a blindfold and tried to pin this tail onto a picture of a hippogriff on the wall. Whoever does it closest is the winner.”
“Oh, that’s just like game we ponies play,” commented Sandbar, a yellow pony a short cut bluish green mane on his head and a Cutie Mark of a turtle on his flank. “We call it, ‘pin the tail on the donkey.’”
“Whatever the game is, it doesn’t really sound all that fun,” Smoulder replied.
“Come on, just give it a chance,” encouraged Silverstream as she put a blindfold on Smoulder so she couldn’t see and then handed her the cutout of a sea pony’s tail end.
“Don’t forget we gotta spin her too” added Gallus with a smirk on his face. He was a blue griffin, a creature with a front half like an eagle and the lower half of a lion.
“Yona help,” the small, but no less mighty yak said. Out of the student six, she was easily the largest, with a thick hide covered in brown fur, hazel eyes and a small set of horns on the sides of her head. Approaching Smolder, she got her to to grab onto one of her braided hair loops and started to run around her, forcing the teen dragon to turn round and round in circles till her sense of direction was skewed as was her balance.
“Ugh,” she groaned after losing track of how many times she was spun around and even when Yona finally came to a stop, Smoulder could still feel the room running circles around her. “I bet you guys are really enjoying this.”
“Maybe a little,” admitted Gallus.
“So, I’m blindfolded and dizzy,” the orange dragon informed them. “How am I even supposed to find the hippogriff or donkey or whatever it is I’m supposed to pin this thing to?”
“We’ll help lead you in the right direction,” Silverstream assisted along with Sandbar. Carefully, they helped lead the off kilter dragon forward. Each step she took forward, almost had her stumble to the ground, but they were alert to prevent that and she trusted them enough not to do anything save for what they promised to do.
“Heheh,” she chuckled, unable to deny that despite how convoluted the game was to play, she was actually enjoying herself. “This is actually kind of fun.”
“And you’re almost there,” Sandbar informed her. “Hold the pin out in front of you and do your best to pin the tail on the hippogriff. You can use your other hand to help you feel around.”
“Here goes nothing,” Smoulder announced as she felt a thick piece or foam board on the wall in front of her. At the very least, she was able to determine that was what she was going to puncture with the pin, but as for where exactly on it was the correct spot, she had nothing else to go on. With her best guestimation, she pushed the pin in and let go. “Well, how’d I do?”
“Well, heh, uh…” Sandbar spoke as he failed trying not to laugh. “You managed to get it on the hippogriff.”
“Just not on the right end,” laughed Silverstream. Lifting up her blindfold, Smoulder had to take a look for herself and saw that he missed the flank and hind legs of the hippogriff and got pinned the tail to its head instead. Just seeing the ridiculous oddity she made was more than enough to get the dragon cracking up too.
“Seems this game is worth a few good laughs after all,” commented Gallus as he saw Smoulder laugh and snort so hard that smoke started leaking out of her nose.
“Careful now,” she warned them. “If I laugh too hard I’ll get the hiccups.”
“And we should be careful cause?” wondered Gallus.
“It isn’t as bad as sneezing, but a hiccuping dragon can still- HIC!”
A small burst of flame shot out from her maw and onto the foam board, quickly torching the it black and turning the picture of the hippogriff to ash. The seapony tail managed avoid the same fate as it fell onto the ground.
“At least seapony head managed to avoid getting burnt,” joked Yona. Hearing that, all the rest of the student six were in stitches with laughter.
“Looks like they’re having fun,” smiled Spike as he helped himself to a nice slice of the chocolate gem cake. “They sure have gotten really close since they first arrived at the school.”
“Just like all of us,” stated Rainbow Dash a blue pony with a rainbow mane and tail and a Cutie Mark of cloud with a lightning bolt. “But it’s a small wonder since we were their teachers after all.
“Yeah, I wonder what Smoulder’s dragon friends are like,” added Spike as he got a fork and took his first bite of the delicious treat, his eyes lighting up from how delicious it was.
“Smoulder never mentioned about her other friends,” commented Fluttershy, a yellow pony with a long pink mane and tail and butterflies for her Cutie Mark.
“I just learned about them a few minutes ago myself,” he continued. “She’s a bit worried that she might not connect with them as well after being gone for so long.”
“It can be hard to reconnect with old friends,” admitted Starlight. “After being apart from Sunburst for so long, I struggled to find something we still had in common.” After hearing her say that, Spike looked back over to Smoulder with a concerned look. “Oh, but we were apart for a so many moons. Smoulder has only been away from the Dragonlands for barely more than a year. I doubt there would be much disconnect from just being away that long.”
“You know,” chimed in Twilight. “When I sent a letter to Ember about having her enroll a student into the school, she did mention she had a few dragons she was considering while making her decison. Maybe she was referring to Smolder’s friends. If that’s the case and she thought they had just as much promise to learn about friendship as she did, then I doubt they’ll have any trouble.”
“I’m sure you’re both right,” agreed Spike, as he turned away just as Smoulder unleashed another hiccup that torched Gallus’s tail. Quickly, he started to panic and fly around while the others hurried to help put it out. Smoulder covered her mouth with her claws as she attempted to keep from hiccuping any more flames elsewhere.
“Oh, Smoulder, do you have a minute?” asked Rarity, a white pony with a fabulously elegant and regal purple mane and tail. Her eyes were blue while she had quite engaging eyelashes, though, in reality they were false ones. She had three diamonds upon her flank for a Cutie Mark.
“Uh, probably not,” she answered when she felt certain her hiccups were gone. Turning to look at her friends, she saw them douse Gallus with a fire extinguisher to put out his tail fire, covering him completely in the foam spray in the process. Just seeing him a foamy mess of soapy suds made them burst out with more laughter once more and as soon as the griffon saw his reflection in the crystal wall he snickered into full on laughter too. “I should probably go see if Gallus is okay.”
“If you say so, but I thought you would be interested to know that I have it finished for you. I just wanted to see if you wanted to sneak away for a minute to check it out,” she whispered in her ear.
“You don’t mean,” gasped Smoulder quietly, but no less ecstatic. Rarity gave a subtle nod to confirm it. “Gallus looks fine. So, let’s go!”
Hurrying out of the map room, Rarity led Smoulder into an adjacent room for them to talk privately. Quickly, Smolder made sure to lock the door behind them so nobody could come in and see what was about to transpire. Meanwhile, Rarity used her magic to levitate over a white box with a blue ribbon on it. Seeing it approach, Smoulder’s excitement only increased, barely able to restrain herself as it fell into her claws.
“I must admit, I was incredibly excited when you asked me to make this for you,” commented Rarity. “The only clothes I’ve ever made for dragons before this were for Spike. This is the first time I’ve ever been able to make a dress for a dragon. Oh, I can’t wait to see you try it on.”
“I can’t wait to either,” blushed Smoulder as she removed the lid and dropped it to the floor. Inside the box was a gorgeous, sparkling, blue dress that matched her eyes. It also had a white frilly trim on it and a ribbon around the waist. Along with the dress, there was a silver tiara included with a pink heart-shaped gemstone in the center. With it in claws, Smoulder was cautious to even breathe too hard on it, on the off chance some flames snuck out of her maw to possibly scorch it by mistake.
“I hope it came out right,” spoke Rarity, not sure if her words got through to the young dragon as she just stared in complete admiration for what she had been given. The fashionista pony did not need feedback for how her client felt about the dress. The look of complete joy said more than words ever could.
“It came out wonderful,” answered Smoulder. “Better than I could have hoped.”
“It’s my greatest joy to hear my client say such praises for my work,” she told her. “But some credit should go to the Tree of Harmony for creating the dress you described that inspired this one. I merely added a few personal touches here and there.”
“And I love it so much,” Smoulder told her again, practically crying tears of joy.
“Well, don’t keep me waiting,” continued Rarity. “Try it on.”
“Oh, uh, you mean right now?” Smoulder said not sounding so thrilled.
“Yeah, I wanna make sure it fits you properly,” she explained. “I occasionally need to add a nip here and a tuck there to to ensure everything fits properly. Besides, the fitting is the moment of truth, when dress and pony or, this case, dragon become one.
“Ok,” she nodded, placing the box down and carefully lifting up the dress, making sure her claws didn’t accidentally cut through the delicate fabric. Gazing upon it, a nervous look appeared on her face. “I’m just a bit embarrassed to wear it, is all.”
“Whatever for?” wondered Rarity. “Any pony would be envious of you for having such a lovely dress. I mean, it’s not like I’m making you wear one of Applejack’s faux paus made out of faux paus. I wouldn’t wish such a fashion disaster upon my worst enemy.”
“It’s not like that,” she explained. “There is nothing wrong with the dress. It’s me that feels wrong. Dragons have never been one to get all dressed up to look nice. The closest thing most dragons have to an outfit is body armor and none of that is cute or silly.” Smoulder let out a sigh. “I guess what I’m saying is that dragons don’t wear things like this.”
“If that were true then you certainly wouldn’t have asked me to make this,” Rarity pointed out. “And there is nothing wrong with embracing this part of you, dragon or pony, or whatever creature you might be.”
“I know all that and I’m happy I was able to experience this side of me,” she explained. “But going back to the Dragonlands now to meet with my friends, I’m afraid of how they’ll react, laughing and making fun of me.”
“Why do you think they would do such cruel things to you?” cried Rarity.
“Because it’s what I’d probably do if it was one of them in the dress instead of me,” she admitted. “Before I came here and realized all this about myself.”
“Such is the burden of a trailblazer,” spoke Rarity. “Those who try to stand at the forefront of trends often must risk ridicule, but to me, there is nobody braver than those willing to stand in the spotlight first. Few are given such a rare opportunity and, Smoulder, this could be yours, to be the first dragon to stand in front of so many and announce to them all, ‘LOOK AT ME! I AM PRETTY AND I LIKE IT!!!’”
“I’ll, uh, think about that part, but for now, I think I’ll just try to get used to being in a dress without some magical friendship lesson attached.”
“Yes, of course,” giggled Rarity. “Baby steps.”
“Urp,” belched Spike, letting some green flames slip out of his maw He had just finished eating his third slice of cake and as he rubbed his gut, he couldn’t delay their trip to the Dragonlands any longer. “As much fun as this party was, Smoulder and I really have to get going.”
“Yeah,” smiled Twilight. “Sorry we made such a fuss about you going away for only a few short days.”
“Eh, you know I love the attention,” he admitted with a smile of his own.
“So, are you sure you got everything you need?” she asked.
“No, but Smoulder convinced me to pack light,” he explained. “But I do have plenty of paper and quills for the notes you want me to take.”
“And when you are taking notes, here are a few things I want you to find out in particular,” she told him. Looking at Spike, she paused from speaking for a moment. “Uh, you might wanna write these down.”
“Oh, right,” replied Spike as he scrambled for some scroll paper and a quill. “All set now.”
“First questioned,” dictated Twilight. “Who was the first Dragon Lord and what did he do?” Twilight waited for Spike to write all that down. “Second question, who was the second Dragon Lord and what did he do?” The pony princess waited for her number one assistance to write and then continued once more. “Third question, who was the third-”
“The third Dragon Lord and what did he do?” figured Spike as he saw the pattern.
“I have more diverse questions than that,” Twilight assured him.
“And they are?” he asked.
“Uh, give me a moment,” she told him and rubbed a hoof on her head as she tried to think. Spike sighed and let out a little smile, happy for this little feeling of normalcy before his trip.
“All aboard the Ponyville Express,” called the conductor as he gave the final call for the train. “We will be leaving for Appaloosa momentarily. This is the final call.”
“We’re coming! We’re coming!” called out Spike as he and Smoulder descended onto the platform, winded from flying over to the station at full speed from the Castle of Friendship.
“Do you have tickets?” the conductor asked and Spike promptly pounded on his gut and belched out some green flames. When they faded, a pair of red tickets appeared and Spike handed them over to the conductor who looked them over before taking his hole punch to approve them. Handing the tickets back to the two dragons, he stepped aside. “Welcome aboard and I hope you enjoy the ride.”
“We will,” Spike nodded and the two boarded the train and searched for some empty seats, fortunate enough to find a train car completely empty save for a few ponies that were spread out all over it. Picking some seats, Spike sat by the window with Smoulder sitting beside him. They gazed out the window as the train’s whistle sounded followed by the screeching of the wheels as they started to slowly move and bit by bit pick up speed. The whistle sounded again once they got to the end of the platform and the train was starting to pick up speed as it hurried to it’s next destination.
“We’ve got an hour till we reach Appaloosa,” commented Spike as he watched the familiar scenes of Ponyville fly by as the train made its way through the center of town towards its southern end and headed towards Ghastly Gorge. After that we just need to fly the rest of the way to the Dragonlands.”
“I know,” yawned Smoulder. “Pretty much the reverse I took to get to Ponyville. Just wake me when we get to Appaloosa. I’m gonna get a little shuteye till then.”
With another yawn, Smoulder was fast asleep with some slight snoring. As she snoozed, Spike grabbed the comics he had taken with him and his pillow to make himself comfortable as he did his best to pass the time.
“It’s been quite a while since I’ve been back in the Dragonlands,” he thought as he licked his claw before turning the page in his comic. “I wonder what what will be awaiting me there this time.”
, my little pony
2 months, 1 week ago
08 May 2019 17:27 CEST
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