Dragon Dilema Chapter 1
(Note, takes place around the end of season 2, before season 3)
Apple Bloom had been intent on trying out new ways to get her cutiemark, though she was a firm believer in trying to figure out how to find it with her two friends Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle, it wasn't always exactly efficient. Apple Bloom realized that when together, she and her friends often wasted a lot of time goofing around when they should have been trying harder to obtain their cutiemarks. Not to mention it also wasn't exactly in the schedule to be together all at the same time, between the three of them they could only manage to organize themselves on the weekends for the most part. These thoughts are what led Apple Bloom to rethink her potion making ability. Yes, potion making. A while back she had the, misfortune to concoct a brew that ended up giving her a horrible disease, the cutie pox. Now Apple Bloom had since learned from that day and had taken to showing up to help Zecora out as much as she could, it took a bit of coaxing, especially given the last incident, but eventually she convinced the Zebra to let her learn.
Of course Apple Bloom had been keeping this a secret, her sister wasn't exactly the most open minded when it came to Zecora, and after the whole cutie pox incident, it was unlikely Applejack would think it was a good idea for her sister to be messing around with concoctions again. So the filly kept it a secret, and thankfully Zecora wasn't telling any pony either, not because Apple Bloom convinced her, oh no. Zecora was still very much an outsider to most of Ponyville, and while ponies no longer feared the Zebra, none of them ever had a reason to speak with her, especially considering Zecora made her home inside of the Everfree Forest. So in relative peace, Apple Bloom took the time out of her days to try and learn from Zecora, while helping her out. This was one of these days.
Apple Bloom had been sorting ingredients as Zecora asked her, the Zebra herself was out gathering some particular plants. In her organization Apple Bloom accidentally knocked a few books onto the floor, picking them up she stopped when she came to the last one. It had been covered in layers of dust, but after the filly touched it, wiping some of its decades of dust off, the cover of the book was allowed to be seen, and it sparkled in brilliant colors. Reds, blues, greens, purples. A veritable rainbow every way she looked at it. Dusting the book off further led to the discover of it's title. 'Draconic Wonders' Picking up the book and placing it down on a counter, Apple Bloom opened it up, wondering what it was about. Reading through it for a few moments didn't really enlighten her either, it was obviously about dragons, but not about the dragons themselves, it stated within the first few lines that most of what it covered was merely speculation. Wondering why some pony would write a book about things they thought were true instead of one about the truth puzzled the filly who was then startled by a voice behind her.
"They say that reading may sharpen the mind, but snooping through books was not what I expected to find." Zecora said.
Apple Bloom turned around quickly, obviously startled by the Zebra.
"I uh, I knocked over some books and I was picking them up and I decided to read this one cause I already finished sorting out the ingredients and I didn't think it would be that big of a deal." Apple Bloom said rapidly.
Zecora surveyed the area, and it was indeed true, Apple Bloom had accomplished the task Zecora had set out for her to do initially.
"It seems you have completed your task, but why did you pick that book, may I ask?" Zecora asked her.
"Well, it just looked so pretty. I figured it might be interesting to read, but it's not really. It says it has a lot of, speculations, about dragons." Apple Bloom responded, slowing down to pronounce speculations correctly.
Zecora trotted over next to Apple Bloom, looking at the book 'Draconic Wonders'.
"This book tells of wonders that could be had, if it weren't for motives deemed selfish and bad. It talks of the parts of a dragons body, though the book in question is considered somewhat shoddy. Scales, claws, even blood, teeth and eyes. It could be helpful if it was truth and not lies. To gather such things, one would need a dragon willing. All things considered, it would just end in killing. Either the one gathering, or the dragon being gathered. But none of this has been tested, so it's not like it mattered." Zecora explained.
Most of what Zecora said sort of flew over Apple Bloom's head, apart from the killing that is. Zecora could tell the filly's mind was racing with thoughts about it all.
"We only know for certain that those things mentioned don't work, but this author claimed of a way around that quirk. He claimed if the components were fresh, about a few days at most, potions could be made their greatness he did boast. No one believed him, he never had any proof. Many regard the book only as lies and no truth. Before you ask why I have it here, it does good to keep such lessons so near. To remind us of why such things should be taken with heed, should you succumb to a fate worse than just greed." Zecora finished.
Apple Bloom was processing everything she just heard, trying to make heads and tails of everything Zecora said, which mainly involved wrapping her mind around the Zebra's rhyming. Noticing the fillies unease, the Zebra put an end to it.
"Put the book away, tis of no use to me. Then head on home, go now, you're free." the Zebra stated as she took herself and her saddle bags off to another section of the building.
Apple Bloom took the book and was putting it back onto a shelf, but the spine of the book glinted in such a way, she just had to take it with her. Zecora said she didn't need it right? So it probably wouldn't be bad for her to just borrow it for a bit. Her mind made up, the filly scampered away with the book, while Zecora busied herself with making something. It was the late afternoon as Apple Bloom made her way back home, trotting through the forest wasn't that big of a deal, especially since Zecora had shown her which ways to take to get through it quickly and avoid any hazards. Soon enough she emerged from the forest and headed for home. Making it back she immediately went and deposited the book in her room, under her bed for later. No doubt it would be time for dinner soon, as Apple Bloom left to go check on just that.
It was about two hours before Apple Bloom came back into her room, having had dinner with her family, talking with them about normal day to day things. Of course Apple Bloom had to lie to her sister about what she'd been doing most of the day, though simply telling her sister that her day had involved trying to get her cutie mark was enough to not warrant further discussion about it, for better or worse. It would be time to go to bed soon enough for the filly but that gave her just enough time to read. Lighting a lamp on her bedside table, Apple Bloom retrieved the book from under her bed. Bringing it up onto the bed so she could read it, she was treated to the radiance of the firelight dancing against the outer covering of the book, making the colors flicker and play like a rainbow caught in a waterfall. It wasn't long before she was flipping through the pages again, soaking up the so called information the book had. It described being able to make wondrous things, though some things were a bit too gruesome for her to focus on, though the longer she read, the more interested she became. Just as it was getting time to sleep, her eyelids beginning to droop, it hit her. She knew a dragon, if she could try out one of these potions and it worked, she'd get her cutie mark for sure! With that thought stuck in her mind she slid the book back under her bed, blew out her lamp, curled under the covers and went to sleep.
Apple Bloom awoke in the morning, no dreams, or at least, no recollection of any dreams. But that didn't matter. She still had one thought in her mind, Spike. She just had to see if he could give her a scale or a claw or something. Maybe he could just trim one of his claws for her? She'd worry about the how when she got there, first things first, getting ready for the day. That meant, bathroom, get clean, eat breakfast. Normally she'd be hanging out with her friends on this Saturday, but Scootaloo was busy doing something she couldn't quite remember, and well, Sweetie Belle said something about having to help Rarity? Regardless, it meant little to her as she jumped out of bed, ready to face the day. Though as she stood on the floor the urge to pee hit her like a freight train and the filly rushed off to take care of business. After a little while in the bathroom she made her way to breakfast, which was actually somewhat quiet, given Applejack and Big Macintosh were already up doing things, she just ate with her grandmother, who appeared to be napping? She could never quite tell.
Breakfast concluded, Apple Bloom scurried out of the house and into the world! Heading from the farm and getting to the library would be a bit of a walk, but it wouldn't be too long. She only had to go there and talk to Spike, surely it couldn't be that hard right. Trotting through Ponyville was always a delight, early in the morning you could smell baked goods fresh for the day, the various scents from the different vendors of the morning market. As much as she'd like to stop and look Apple Bloom had business to attend to, heading through town and making it to the library, where she stood outside the door. It was always somewhat perplexing going to the library, because Twilight lived there so she should knock right? But it was also a public library, so couldn't she just head in?
Apple Bloom ended the argument in her mind and simply opened up the door, coming into the library, shutting the door behind her. It took only mere moments for her to see who she was looking for. Spike was putting some books onto a shelf just across the room, her looked the same as always, a little dragon in a disposable diaper. Apple Bloom had wondered about that before, Twilight said it was because Dragons age differently and even though Spike is slightly older than her, he still wore diapers. Judging by the yellow discoloration of Spike's diaper the dragon had used it today too. Apple Bloom trotted up to him.
"Hey Spike." she greeted, for him to turn and face her.
"Oh, hey Apple Bloom, what brings you to the library? Need a book? Or are you getting Twilight for Applejack or something?" Spike asked, to which Apple Bloom shook her head.
"Actually, I need something from you Spike." Apple Bloom said.
"What?" the dragon responded.
"Well, I need ta know if I can have one of your scales, or a claw I suppose, whichever you can give me." she stated, to which Spike looked quite puzzled.
"Wait? Scale? Claw? Why do you need one of them?" he asked.
"Well I kind of need one for this thing I'm doing to get my cutiemark." she told, causing Spike to look as if he had no patience for this.
"Well. I can't give you a scale, cause their kind of attached. They can fall out, but that's only if their like, super ripped out or something. I guess I could give you a bit of my claw, I mean, it'd be kind of annoying having a broken claw, but I guess it wouldn't be the end of the world since they grow back, and I've been meaning to trim them lately anyways." Spike began rambling on.
Apple Bloom pretended to listen, she was already happy Spike was going to give her a claw bit, though she was also distracted by the pungent aroma of urine that had wafted from the dragon's wet waist.
"I'll just go and clip a bit off for you real quick." Spike said as he walked away, heading just a bit over next to another shelf, which he squatted down next to.
Apple Bloom thought Spike was looking for his claw clipper, eager to get things underway she trotted over to him, to help him find it.
"Here Spike, I'll help you find. Ew! Spike!" Apple Bloom had started to say, but as she got closer to the dragon, it became apparent he wasn't squatting down to look, he was squatting down because he was filling his diaper.
"Sorry! Just kind of happened." Spike said, blushing just a tad as the back of his disposable convulsed.
Apple Bloom put a hoof to her nose as she watched the dragon's diaper, it shuddered and moved slightly for a few moments, then stopped, the only signs of it's usage were that it had a rounded lump holding it down, and an unmistakable smell of a soiled diaper was flowing from it. Spike reached over and grabbed something, turning to Apple Bloom as a light snap was heard, then he deposited a fraction of his claw into her hoof, after she moved it from her nose of course.
"Well there you are Apple Bloom, I'm not sure what you need it for exactly, but I hope it helps." Spike said.
"Thanks Spike, I appreciate it." she said, giving Spike a quick hug despite the foul aroma surrounding him.
She began to leave immediately, waving goodbye as she exited the library. Though as soon as she stood outside with the door shut behind her, she heard the muffled sound of Twilight shouting.
"Spike, get up here now!"
Figuring the unicorn had just gotten a whiff of the little dragon herself, Apple Bloom took off, she had the claw, but she'd need some other stuff too! But she couldn't tell Zecora she was working on this, otherwise the Zebra would likely stop her. She'd have to go home and look at the book again, but she remembered there was a listing for some kind of potion involving the claw. Racing through town as fast as she could, making it back home in record time, Apple Bloom raced up to her room and pulled the book out as soon as possible. Flipping through the pages she came to what she saw before. 'Energy Unbound - When concocted this potion should give the one to drink it boundless energy, there will be no limit to what they can do.' Is what it read. It had a list of other ingerdients as well.
'Two sprigs of mint (ground)
Five leyla fern berries (crushed)
One dragon claw (ground)
One small gemstone (any color, whole)
One inch by one inch of snake skin (ground)
One tablespoon of alcohol (any kind, sixty proof)
Mix all ingredients into a container, make sure to add dragon claw second to last, followed by the gemstone. Stir three times clockwise, drink immediately.'
Apple Bloom was a bit put off by the fact that she'd apparently need to swallow a gemstone, and again by the alcohol, all these ingredients sounded kind of nasty, aside from the berries and mint anyway. Apple Bloom pulled a box out from under her bed, opening it up to reveal a small amount of tools, a mortar and pestle, some vials. Apple Bloom put the claw into the box and went off to find the other ingredients. Mint was easy, they had that in the cupboard. Leyla ferns were just weed like ferns that grew around all over the place, heading outside she spotted one next to the fence. Heading over she picked it over and pulled five berries from it. Taking the mint and berries back to her room, she thought about how to find the last three things. Gemstones weren't just lying around, neither was snake skin. She knew they had alcohol in the house, she'd get that last though.
Snake skin wasn't just lying around everywhere, she'd have to look for it. But she had an idea of where to start. She made her way to Fluttershy's cottage, if there was going to be a place to find a snake skin, it was around there. Perhaps she could just ask Fluttershy. Heading over to the door, Apple Bloom knocked it. In a few moments it opened, revealing Fluttershy.
"Oh, hello Apple Bloom, did Applejack need something?" Fluttershy asked, to which Apple Bloom shook her head.
"Actually, I need to find a snake skin, you wouldn't happen to have any would you?" Apple Bloom asked.
Fluttershy looked at Apple Bloom for a moment. Before saying.
"Well, I don't have any, but I can bring you to where the snakes stay, maybe you'll find one."
Fluttershy then led Apple Bloom behind her cottage, showing the filly to the little holes where most of the snakes stayed. A few of the serpents could be seen dozing on rocks, there were snake skins littering the ground all over the place.
"Thanks Fluttershy!" Apple Bloom exclaimed as she grabbed the nearest snake skin and then left.
This all happened so fast Fluttershy barely had time to even realize what had just gone on. One minute Apple Bloom was following behind her, the next moment the filly was a dot in the distance. Snake skin acquired, Apple Bloom returned it to her room, thinking of how to get a gemstone. Of course she immediately thought of Rarity, but Rarity was for sure going to ask what she wanted it for, not to mention she might not even get one. Also, she was supposed to be doing something with Sweetie Belle today, so Apple Bloom would prefer not to bother them if she could help it. This prompted some thinking, she didn't want to just take a gem from some pony. But she also needed one, where to look though? Where did Rarity go to find her gems, over by the flatlands, though there was diamond dogs over there. Steeling her resolve, Apple Bloom figured it wouldn't take more than a moment to find a little gem, so she ran her way to the flatlands.
It was a few hours before noon when she arrived, and true to it's name, it was flat, aside from some rocks or the occasional tree. She had no idea how to find a gem, her best bet was to start digging some holes, and holes she did dig. It took an hour or so, and a couple a dozen holes of varying size. Before she found a gem, but it wasn't small, in fact it was about half the size of her head. A big purple gem, but she needed a small one! The solution was obvious, make it small! Taking the gem, and a moderately sized rock, she threw it as hard as the could against the rock. No luck. Taking a smaller rock, she hit it against the gem repeatedly, eventually this did work, chipping off a small portion of it for her to use. Gem in hoof she made her way back home once again. Arriving back just after lunch time. Thankfully her siblings were preoccupied to the point if still being absent, which led her to gather the last ingredient. Putting the gem in her room she grabbed one of her vials, taking it to the kitchen. Apple Bloom didn't know what proof meant for alcohol, but she knew where to get some. Heading to the kitchen she began rooting around for what she had seen before. She found it after a while, it was a clear bottle with clear liquid inside, she knew it was alcohol because Applejack had always told her if she was caught with it her rear would be so red it would make a lobster look pink. Measuring out a tablespoon of it into a vial she then put the bottle back and took her vial back upstairs.
In her room Apple Bloom got to work making the potion, crushing and grinding the ingredients as it stated. It was only about fifth teen minutes when she got to the last steps. Adding in the ground dragon claw, then dropping a small shard of the purple gem in. Then for three stirs, one, two, three, all clockwise. The unappetizing looking paste with a gem in it suddenly began to glow as she turned. Looking at it, the sparkling glow it gave off reminded her of something recently, shaking the feeling off she took the mixture in hoof, and drank it all in one go, the thick mush sliding down her throat, the gem was barely noticeable inside it all, she was too focused on how putrid it tasted anyway. But she began to feel the effects immediately. The sensation began in her stomach, a tingling sensation that spread quickly. A warmth radiating from her stomach that seemed to stretch throughout her entire body, making her feel calm, yet energized, then the sensation suddenly turned to pain, the change was so instant and intense the filly crumpled there on the spot, her eyes seeing a blurry image of her room's ceiling before shutting as she passed out.