Curse of the Were-Pony
Chapter 4 "An Unexpected Gift"
By Steven Little
My Little Pony © Hasbro
"Let me go in first Rarity, just to see if he's okay?"
Rarity simply nodded and watched as Twilight quietly slipped through the door. Rarity knew that she should have just sat there and waited but she couldn't resist the temptation to press her ear against the door and listen in on Twilight's conversation with Spike. 'I'm sorry Twilight.' She said to herself.
"Hey Spike, how are you doing?" She said to the purple stallion sitting on her old bed.
"Oh, hi Twilight; I'm okay I guess, except for being stuck in here. Where's Rarity?" he asked. "Pinkie said you and her would come up together."
The purple unicorn smiled a bit when she heard the concern in his voice. "I'm glad to see you're not mad at her anymore." She said. "Rarity's waiting outside, I wanted to talk to you alone for a moment."
Spike saw his friend, the unicorn that raised him, fidgeting and looking anywhere but directly at him. "Twilight, what's wrong?"
"You remember two years ago when you asked me about your parents?" She asked.
"I wasn't really serious Twilight, you're all the family I need you know that."
"Yes, I know, but I looked anyway. Princess Cadance was working on a project in the Dragon Kingdom at the time and agreed to help me. She used her diplomatic influence and contacted every dragon dignitary she knew. Spike; we found your parents." Twilight was starting to tear up. "We started getting scattered reports but we weren't able to confirm anything until six months ago."
"You've known something for six months and you didn't tell me?" He asked, his voice getting louder.
"I'm sorry Spike, I didn't know what to tell you then and in a way a still don't but with everything that's been going on..."
"Where are my parents Twilight?" He asked coldly.
"I'm sorry Spike but they're gone. From what Cadance and I could find out, shortly after your egg was laid your parents were ambushed by a rival clan."
"So what, they're dead? If a rival clan killed my parents how did I survive? Why didn't they kill me too?"
"Emerald Swift-talon; your older sister, she took your egg and escaped to Equestria. Apparently she knew through your parents, that Princess Celestia was known to house several orphaned dragon eggs here at the palace. She left your egg here hoping you'd be okay."
"I have an older sister?" He asked, his voice more calm.
"Yes, you do. Other than you, she's the only member of your family and your clan to survive. She was going to come visit you on your next birthday. She and I were going to tell you everything then."
"Why did you wait so long Twilight? You should have told me as soon as you found out!" Spike shouted.
"I'm sorry Spike, I, I, I couldn't." Twilight stammered.
"Why? What was so important you thought you had to keep that from me?"
Twilight hugged him suddenly. "I didn't want you to leave me." She sobbed into his shoulder. "I was afraid that if I told you right away you'd want to leave and be with your real family. That's why I arranged things with your sister to visit us. If she was here then you wouldn't have to leave."
Spike was shocked for a moment then wrapped his hooves around Twilight and hugged her tightly. "I'd never leave Twilight, I'm curious about my relatives but Ponyville is my home, and you are my family. I've always thought of you as my big sister nothing would change that. I guess I just have two big sisters now."
"You really mean that?" She asked, wiping the tears from her eyes.
"I wonder what Shining Armor will say about having a dragon as a little brother, he's always wanted one; a little brother I mean." She said with a smile.
"Hey Twilight, I'm sorry I shouted earlier. I don't know why I’ve been getting so angry, so easily recently; I can't help it." Spike admitted.
That's part of the curse, you're emotions are exaggerated greatly. Please, even though things may make you mad or sad, try to take it easy okay?"
"Sure, big sis." Spike said, hugging Twilight tightly.
"Thanks Spike. Your sister is going to be here in time for your birthday so we can talk more about it then. Rarity is waiting outside and I want to give you two time to talk alone before it gets too late okay?"
"Uhm, sure." He said a bit hesitantly.
Twilight could see him start to sweat. "Hey, it's going to be okay. Just take it slow and try to keep calm; and smile. I'm going to go get her; little brother, just stay calm and don't jump to conclusions." Twilight walked out of the room to find Rarity sitting on the landing trying to look innocent.
Twilight shut the door behind her. "You were listening, weren't you?"
"Yes." She admitted shamefully. "I couldn't help it and wanted to know how he was doing."
Twilight smiled and shook her head. "You two are so made for each other."
"What do you mean by that Twilight?" Rarity asked her. The purple unicorn didn't respond she simply walked down the stairs, leaving her outside Spike's door.
Rarity cautiously walked into the room. "Good evening Spike how are you tonight?" She asked a little concerned.
"I'm tired Rarity." He said flatly.
"Oh, I'm sorry to have bothered you, I just wanted to say something and then I'll let you rest."
"That's not what I mean. I'm tired of everything, I'm tired of always being on the short end of the stick, and I'm tired of trying my best and having nothing to show for it. I'm tired of living a life full of far too much rain and not enough sun." He said, his head hanging down.
"Spike, please stop, don't speak that way." Rarity said. "You are appreciated, you are valued for who you are."
"Am I?" He asked. "Seems to me the only time you wanted me around was so you wouldn't have to break a sweat when chores had to be done." Spike said, his voice rising slightly towards the end.
Rarity searched herself for the words she knew had to be said. "Spike, I want to apologize for the hurtful things I said. It wasn't fair."
Spike looked up, staring at her with his penetrating green eyes. "Are you saying this because you really mean it? Are you apologizing to me because while I look like this I'm closer to your class of pony?" Had he been capable, Spike would have been breathing fire. "I mean, I wouldn't want you to have to be seen with some lovesick reptile following you around everywhere."
Having her own words thrown back in her face cut Rarity to the core. Softly at first, she began to cry. "I'm sorry Spike. My words were thoughtless and I now know how they hurt you. I don't know if I can ever make it up to you or if you can ever forgive me." Rarity's eyes were closed tight but the tears still poured down her face. " I understand if you don't want to see me ever again but I want you to know how truly sorry I am." Spike embraced her in a hug. Rarity's eye snapped open and she looked into Spikes eyes. Even though he was smiling, Rarity noticed the streak of tears that traced a line down his cheeks.
"I forgive you." Spike rubbed his cheek against hers. "It's okay Rarity. I talked a lot of this through with our friends and Princess Luna. The Princess assured me that what you said was not truly intended to hurt me and the girls told me things I did not know about you that put a lot of this in perspective. After everything, I guess I just needed to hear it from you."
"Thank you Spike, I promise, I'll find a way to make it up to you. I'm not going to rest until I've earned your trust back." Rarity thought for a moment when an idea crossed her mind. "Spike, how'd you like to get out of this room for a while, you've been cooped up in her for nearly two days?"
"Can you do that?" He asked.
"Darling, I am Rarity Filigree. I can do anything, especially if you're with me." She said blushing slightly.
The two ponies walked down the stairs but as Spike expected, the guard at the bottom of the stairs barred their progress. "I'm sorry but we are under orders not to let Spike out of the tower. He is to remain there until the Princesses deem it safe."
"Why of course, I wouldn't dream of preventing either of you from performing your duties. However, I must inform you that we are favored amongst their majesties and point of fact we are on our way to see them this very moment. Now we could stand about talking about this for the rest of the evening or, you could possibly escort us to the throne room so we may speak with them." Rarity said.
"I don't know, Gust, what do you think?" The unicorn stallion asked.
"Well, we were ordered to keep an eye on him, the sergeant didn't say where. I don't see the harm especially if they want to speak with the Princesses."
"In that case, walk between us, don't fall behind and don't trot ahead."
"Of course sir, lead on." Rarity said.
Outside the palace, a royal page quietly exited the palace grounds. The unicorn colt was white in color with a fiery red mane and tail, made his way to the back alley that ran behind Pony Joes Donut Shop. He jumped with fright as a voice sounded out from the dark shadows. "Were you followed?"
"No sir, I wasn't, I'm sure of it." The young stallion assured him.
"It's just as you said sir. The white unicorn is in the palace and I've heard the Princess talking about her and one other pony by the name of Spike but I didn't get a look at him. According to the other pages and scribes, it seems that Rarity and Spike are the only thing they've been talking about. Even Fancy Pants was called to the palace on this matter though I was not able to find out what they were talking about."
"That's fine, that's fine. I have the information I need. You did well Red. As per our bargain, I will ensure your appointment to the Royal Academy. You have a bright future ahead of you; I'd hate to think anything could jeopardize that rosy future. You know, such as the particulars of our bargain and our recent discussion slipping out."
"Sir, I would never." The royal page said.
"I know you wouldn't. You're a smart boy now run along back to the palace before you're missed."
"Yes sir." The page galloped off.
The tall white unicorn walked out of the shadows, his blue eyes sparkling in the light of the streetlamp, his blond mane and tail fluttering in the light breeze. "Before this night is over Rarity will be mine and I, Prince Blueblood will be elevated to where I belong."
Back at the palace, Rarity and Spike were talking with the Princesses alone. "Do you think there will be enough time?" Rarity asked Princess Luna.
"Yes but remember, you have till sunrise." Luna told her. "I do not think it would be wise to have him revert back to a dragon in public. We do not want to cause a panic."
"Spike, I want you to take it easy as well." Princess Celestia told him. "You've been changing back and forth for two days and I'm afraid it may have left you a little weak."
"I understand your majesty, we're just going for a walk but I promise, I will do my best not to over exert myself."
"Thank you Princess that will be more than enough time!" Rarity proclaimed. Grabbing Spike, she flew out the door with him, into the night air of Canterlot.
Walking through the roads of Canterlot, Rarity looked deep into Spikes eyes, blushing slightly. "Spike, you once offered to show all of us around Canterlot. Could you take me on that tour now maybe?" Spike smiled.
"Sure Rarity." Spike started by taking Rarity around to all the best dress shops showing her the fashions of the city, which included taking her to Hoity Toity's shop. At the moment, that particular shop was displaying several of Rarity dresses in all their glory. Spike couldn't help but smile at Rarity staring at her sparkling dresses lit up in lights. Rarity nuzzled close to Spike.
"Thank you Spike, I rarely get to see how my fashions are displayed once the clients pick them up."
"No problem Rarity. I know how important your work is to you."
"Well, well, well, what do we have here? Really Rarity I'm surprised you would allow yourself to be seen in public with such a substandard colt." Rarity and Spike looked in between two buildings. From out of the shadows came a white stallion unicorn with a wavy blond mane and tail, and glistening blue eyes. The two ponies felt anger surge through them.
"Prince Blueblood, what are you doing here?" She asked him, shocked by his sudden appearance.
"I happened to be in the neighborhood and noticed you walking around with this loser. Look at him; he doesn't even have a cutie mark yet. I can only assume this is a pity date or you lost a bet but I'm here now to take you way from all of this."
"Hey, what the heck do you mean by that, I'm no loser?" Spike shouted at him.
"Please child, adults are talking. Do be a good colt and take your blank flank elsewhere. Come Rarity, you and I have much to discuss."
"Why you pompous, overstuffed, pathetic excuse for a pony. What makes you think I have any intention of going anywhere with you?" Rarity said glaring at him.
Prince Blueblood smacked Rarity with the back of his hoof, knocking her to the ground. The white unicorn stallion shouted at her over her tears. "Who do you think you are to speak to me in such a manor!? I'm not the same Prince I was four years ago.” He growled at her. “I will not be spoken to like that by anypony!"
"Get away from her you son of a bitch!" Spike shouted. Blueblood had only enough time to swing his head around when Spike's shoulder connected with the right side of his chest, knocking him to the ground next to Rarity. Spike put a hoof under her and helped her to her hooves. "Come on Rarity, lets get out of here."
"You think this is over?" Blueblood said slowly regaining his posture. Spike quickly placed Rarity behind him to protect her from the arrogant Prince. "I've been trained by the finest hoofticuff trainers in Canterlot, what chance do you think you have?" Blueblood reared up and struck out with his hooves trying to kick Spike in the head, but the werepony had watched Applejack and her brother Big Macintosh spar more than a few times and knew what to do. Spike dodged to the side, reared up and used the momentum to bring up his right hoof, catching the Prince under the chin. Quickly dropping back down, he spun around and delivered a hard buck to the side of the unicorn stallion's chest, sending him flying across the narrow street. The only thing that stopped his flight was the brick wall of the shop he hit.
"I learned to fight at the Sweet Apple Acres sparing club." Spike snorted as a loud whistle sounded down the street. He and Rarity turned their heads in time to see two police ponies running toward them.
"Hold it right there, nopony move." The officer barked. He turned to an elderly red mare with a pink mane and tail that had been galloping with him. "Ma'am, which one was it?"
"You'll have to give me a moment dear; I'm not as young as I used to be." She said, gulping in air. When she was finally able to control her breathing, she answered the police pony. "It was that brute over there against the wall. I saw him come out of nowhere and strike this young lady. That's when I ran to get you officer."
"I'm sorry sir, I saw him hit my friend and I don't know what happened, I shoved him away from her and we got into a fight." Spike explained.
"That's all right sonny, you did the right thing protecting your lady friend there." The older mare said. "I wish there were more respectable stallions like you around these days instead of the likes of that one."
"Yes, well, under the circumstances I think we can let this slide, from what I can tell this is a clear cut case of self defense." The officer said. "We've had trouble with this one before."
The other police pony, a mare, took a good hard look at the couple. "Your names would happen to be Spike and Rarity would it?"
"Why yes, those are our names, is there something wrong?" Rarity asked.
"Not at all madam, we've been looking for you. Please wait here for a moment." The police mare galloped off around the corner but returned shortly with three other police ponies and a stately well-dressed unicorn stallion. The stallion was tall and white with a light blue main and tail as well as a well-trimmed mustache. He wore a monocle in one eye and had a cutie mark comprised of three crowns.
"Fancy Pants, what in Equestria are you doing here?" Rarity asked. "What's your part in all of this?"
"The Princesses asked to see me earlier and was wondering if I could do a favor for you. After everything you've done for myself, and many of the Canterlot elite, I was only too eager to help. I also came to inform them that a certain unicorn Prince had been asking questions concerning your recent visit to the castle. I had no idea he would try something like this." Fancy Pants noticed Blueblood starting to come around. "Constable please escort this miscreant to the hospital where his injuries can be seen to, then throw him in a cell. He can cool his hooves there for a while."
"Just a moment." Spike said as he walked over to his defeated foe. Blueblood recoiled at the site of anger and utter hatred radiating from Spike's green eyes. "You got off light tonight Blueblood but if you ever come near Rarity or hurt her again, I will track you down and I will end you. I don't care about jail and I'm not afraid of any connections you think you have, I will end you, and it won't be quick." Spike turned his back on the pony and walked away, refusing to look Rarity in the face.
Rarity could not believe what she had just heard. She gently brushed the back of her hoof down the left side of his neck. "Hey, are you all right?" She asked softly.
"I'll be fine, I just need to calm down." He said. Spikes stomach growled softly.
"Are you hungry Spike?" Rarity asked.
"A little, I haven't eaten anything since breakfast."
"Come, I know just the place." She said, gently nudging him.
"Miss Rarity, if you are going where I think you are please know that your tab will be picked up by Fleur and myself." Fancy Pants informed her.
"Oh, I couldn't possibly accept such a generous gift." Rarity argued.
"Nonsense, Fleur and I have been made aware of the situation. After all you did for us we would be ever so grateful to return the favor in this small way and pay for this evening’s meal for you and your friend." Fancy Pants smiled. "You know, she still goes on about the dress you made her for our wedding."
"In that case, we will graciously accept your offer." Rarity said. "However, should we share a meal again I insist that you allow me to pay."
"Indeed." He said smiling widely. "Now, off you go before it gets any later, we'll clean up here. Rarity and Spike both thanked him and the police ponies before trotting down the road, side by side.
Rarity led Spike several blocks from Hoity Toity's shop to a fairly high class looking restaurant called The Foin et Herbe. The red brick building had a hedged in eating area in front that was backed by plate glass windows. The large windows allowed Spike a clear view of the fancifully dressed ponies inside. Rarity led him into the restaurant and approached the greeter's stand.
"Ahh, Madam Rarity. So good to see you again."
"Good evening Pierre. I didn't expect the head waiter to be greeting." Pierre sighed.
"So hard to find good help these days.” He casually remarked. “Will you be wanting your usual table tonight?"
"Certainly," Rarity said looking at Spike. "I absolutely do not want to be disturbed tonight."
"Of course Madam, please follow me." As they walked behind Pierre, Spike leaned over to Rarity.
"How often do you eat here?" He asked, barely above a whisper.
"Every time I'm in Canterlot for a show or a special delivery for a client, I make it a point to stop here. Their food is simply divine." Rarity assured him. As they walked, Rarity noticed that all the conversation in the restaurant had all but ceased. Looking out over the dining room she couldn't help but notice that the eyes of all the mares were watching them, or more to the point, Spike. This did not sit well with their dates, which appeared quite upset. Rarity smiled. Gazing at Spike, she realized that he was oblivious to all the attention he was getting. Instead he seemed above it. Spike was walking quietly taking in the ambiance of the restaurant. The sights. The smells.
Pierre opened a door for the couple, allowing them entry into Rarity's private dining room. "When you are ready to order please ring the service bell and I will attend you."
"Thank you Pierre."
"Not at all madam Rarity." Pierre backed out of the room closing the door behind him. The private booth was in truth a small circular room with a table at its center. The walls were a light cream color with a painted ivy border around the top. A red velvet bench, topped with a planter box filled with violets, curved its way around the room with a space in front allowing for the entry and exit of guests and servers. The central table was nothing less than elegant. Two place settings sat atop of the shimmering white silk tablecloth with a silver candelabrum at the table's center. Spike and Rarity sat themselves at opposite sides of the table and began to look through their menus. Rarity already knew what she wanted and so did not look long. Instead her attention was drawn to the purple stallion sitting across from her. Even though Spike was looking down at the menu, she could still see his eyes.
'Oh, I could get lost in those perfect emerald pools.' She thought to herself. It was quite possible the only time her elbows were on the table with her head resting between her hooves. Rarity sighed softly. Spike looked up from the menu meeting Rarity's gaze. She turned her head quickly, averting her eyes. A deep blush appeared on her cheeks. 'What are you doing?' She mentally chastised herself. 'Imagine, being caught staring like some lovesick little filly.' That's when it hit her. 'Is this how Spike felt all the time? Oh how could I have been so blind, the poor dear.'
"You okay Rarity?" Spike sounded a little worried. Sniffing back a tear she looked back over to him, a slight blush still showing on her face.
"Yes, I'm fine. Did you find something you liked?"
"Well, there’s no gems on the menu and I can't understand what a lot of these dishes are."
"Darling, you must remember that you don't have dragon teeth anymore. If you tried to eat a gem now you'd most likely break a tooth." Rarity smiled, feeling sorry for him. "How about I order for both of us?"
"Whatever you think is best Rarity."
"Excellent!" Rarity reached behind her and pressed a button on the wall. In a quick moment, Pierre arrived in the booth.
"Have you made your selection?"
"Yes." Rarity said, hoofing the menus to the headwaiter. "We would both like the Herbe de blé et salade de fromage."
"Very good, would you like anything to drink tonight? Our wine list has recently changed to include some very flavorful selections."
Rarity looked over the list and saw one that appealed to her. "We'll have two glasses of the Högl Grüner Veltliner please."
"Excellent choice madam, I will return momentarily with your food." Pierre backed out the room once again.
"What did you order?" Spike asked her.
"Wheat-grass and cheese salad, It's quite good." Rarity reassured him. "Well, we have some time before our food comes I just want to take this opportunity to apologize again for my atrocious behavior the other day and thank you for your courageous actions this evening."
"You don't have to keep apologizing. I understand now why you said those things and I've forgiven you but I do have to ask you one thing."
"When are you going to tell Sweetie Belle that you're her mother and not her sister?" Spike asked.
"I was afraid this would come up. After thinking about it for a while, I wish Pinkie Pie had not told you. I understand she was trying to help but it complicates things."
"How?" He asked.
"It's just complicated." She lied. "I'm waiting for Sweetie to be old enough to understand why my parents kicked us out. Right now she's still just a little filly and I want her to be able to enjoy her childhood a little while longer."
"But she needs her mother." Spike said. "This is hurting you Rarity, I can tell."
"I promise, I will tell her soon, I just have to figure out how. Okay?" She asked.
"Okay. Just don't let it be too long."
"I won’t." She reassured him.
Two servers entered the room, placed the food down on the table, and left quietly. Spike took an experimental bite of the salad. "Wow Rarity! This is really good." Spike said.
Rarity smiled. "I'm glad you like it." She wanted to say more, she wanted to talk to him about the events between them but for some reason couldn't find the words. Rarity ate her food in her normal dainty manner all the time arguing with herself. 'Just talk to him.' She thought. 'But what can I say after treating him so badly for so long?' Rarity was getting angry with herself. 'He already forgave you! Just say something!' Rarity had been so focused on trying to work up the nerve to really talk to Spike that she failed to notice that the meal was finished.
"That was great Rarity, thank you."
"You are most welcome Spike." She said through a half-hearted smile.
"Shall we continue with your tour?" Spike inquired.
"Oh yes, do please lead on." She smiled wondering where Spike would be taking her.
The two ponies continued their tour around Canterlot. They walked past the many shops, some shuttering their windows for the night. Passing by a fountain park, they stopped for a moment and watched the foals prancing around in the water. Rarity watched one little filly chasing a colt around with the same lovesick face that Rarity was wearing earlier in the evening. The colt was doing his best to get away. Rarity couldn't help but remember back to how she treated Spike. 'What's wrong with me?' She thought. 'Why can't I just let it go? He said he forgave me, why can't I forgive myself?'
"Rarity, are you okay?" Spike asked, noticing the small tear rolling down her face.
"I'm fine Spike." She said wiping the tear from her eye. "A little water must have hit me in the eye. Shall we continue?" Spiked nodded and they continued walking through the city. At this hour, most of the stores and shops had closed but on the air Spike could hear the faint sound of music. Smiling, he led Rarity towards the sounds of ponies singing. As they entered one of Canterlot's many plazas, Spike led Rarity off to the side. "Is there a celebration today Spike?" Rarity inquired.
"Not really, this sort of thing happens all the time. In one part of the city or another, ponies have a reason to celebrate. Dances and parties are pretty common. The best thing is that anyone is welcome to join." Spike smiled at Rarity and offered his hoof to her. "May I have this dance Lady Rarity?" Rarity blushed and smiled back.
"But of course my gallant knight." Taking his hoof, they walked out onto the dance floor. The crowd seemed to part as they took the floor dancing round and round. They began to dance and Rarity could not control her thoughts.
'Why can't I seem to calm down? My heart is racing and my skin is flush. Could I really be falling in love with Spike?' Rarity looked into the emerald eyes of her dancing partner. 'Yes! And I don't care if anypony objects or what they think of me, I love him!' The two ponies danced for hours as close as possible to each other, never once looking anywhere but the others eyes. Spike’s head started to droop, the activity starting to wear on him.
"Spike darling, are you okay?” The unicorn asked.
Spike steadied himself. "Yeah, I'm okay. I just need to sit down for a minute." Rarity helped him over to a nearby bench. They sat there for a while, hooves entwined, watching the other ponies dancing and enjoying themselves. "This night is everything I thought it would be. I don't know how it could get any better."
"I could think of one thing." Rarity blushed. "You can take a picture with me." She said indicating the photo booth behind them. They slowly walked over to the booth and pushed the button as they sat inside. Rarity wrapped her arms around Spike as the first flash went off. Before the second flash could activate, Spike hugged her to him. The last picture showed Rarity giving a very surprised Spike a kiss on the cheek. Spike led Rarity through the streets and down the avenues until they reached the overlook; a secluded spot that was away from everything and everypony. The only light came from the moon shining above them. They lay down together on the grass, resting against a nearby tree.
"Rarity, I think I've made my decision."
Rarity nuzzled against him. "What have you decided?"
"I'm going to stay like this."
Rarity was shocked. "What? How can you say that? You heard what they said. If you stay like this you could die in ten years, maybe even sooner."
"But, all I care about is you Rarity. I don't care if all I live is another year as long as it could be with you." Spike confessed to her. Rarity was stunned. She didn't realize exactly how much Spike cared for her but she knew that she had to convince him to go back.
"Me? Spike, life is too precious a thing. I like you, a lot, but I can't let you sacrifice yourself just for me."
"If not for you, than who? A hundred years or a thousand years, it wouldn't matter to me. It's my life. Shouldn't I have the right to live it the way I want?"
"You say that you'd be doing this for me but think for a moment. How do you think I would feel if you stayed this way and you died? What do think that would do to me, knowing you died because of me? What about the girls: Applejack, Pinky, Fluttershy, and Dash? How would they feel? What about Twilight? She depends on you Spike. She's like a sister to you, I heard you say so yourself. I can't take that away from her, our friends or myself." Rarity sat down and was starting to cry. "I don't know what I'd do if I lost you Spike. I've come to realize just how much you mean to me. I don't think I could handle losing you." Spike walked over and hugged her tightly.
"I'm sorry Rarity. I guess I never really thought of it like that. If only to make you happy, I'll be a dragon again." Rarity nuzzled under Spikes chin.
"Thank you." She cried softly. Without really thinking about, Rarity moved her nose closer to Spike's and kissed him. The kiss was quick and light but sent a shudder down her spine. "I love you Spike, my gallant knight."
"I love you too Lady Rarity.”
Rarity kissed him again only this time she pressed her lips against his. "Spike," she said softly. "Be with me tonight." Spike blushed hard.
"Rarity, I've never, I mean." Rarity kissed him lightly on the lips again to silence him.
"It's okay, just let it happen." She whispered.
High above the couple, two alicorns turned their back on the scene below. "Let us give them another two hours Tia. I am sure between the two of us we can give them that much."
"You've become quite the romantic Lulu."
"I told you never to call me that!" She complained.
Celestia chuckled. "Well, in any event let’s get things set up. I'm sure they'll be along eventually."
Spike and Rarity walked back to the palace practically leaning against each other. Trotting into the palace they were greeted by their friends, most of them wearing a smile on their face. Luna approached them. "Have you decided?"
"Yes Princess. I'll become a dragon again." The girls set up a cheer that could be heard across the Palace.
"Very well Spike, follow us and we'll get ready." Spike followed Luna and Celestia to a special room below the main entrance of the palace. Along the way, the others were mobbing Rarity.
"Well, what happened?" Rainbow Dash pressed her.
Rarity held her head high. "A lady does not kiss and tell."
Applejack smiled. "So there was kissin’ involved?" Rarity blushed and the others giggled.
Entering the room, the first thing they noticed was how immense it was. Above them in the ceiling a, large panel was sliding open allowing a single shaft of the early morning sunlight into the room. Most of the stone chamber was too dark to make out clearly but on the floor was carved an ornate compass star, the column of light illuminating its center.
"What is this place?" Twilight asked. "I don't remember ever being down here."
"My dear student; long ago this is where the Summer Sun Celebration was held. It was fine at first but the population of Canterlot continued to grow and this room, as large as it is, could no longer contain the population. So, after some consideration, I decided to take the celebration out of the palace to a different town each year so that those who could not make it to Canterlot could still enjoy the holiday in the same manner." Princess Celestia explained. "Since then, the room has sat unused."
Spike stared at the solid column of sunlight that beamed into the chamber. "Go on Spike." Luna encouraged him.
"Will it hurt?" He asked nervously.
"I do not know young one. I have never done this before, I have only read about it." Luna told him.
The purple stallion backed away from the pillar of light before him. "This is feeling more and more like one of Twilight’s magic experiments."
Rarity nuzzled against him. "Spike, I know you're scared but this is the only way. Don't worry, I'll be here for you when it's finished."
"Okay. I trust you. If you say I'll be alright, then I'm sure I will." He said, giving her a kiss on the cheek. Spike slowly walked into the shaft of light. As soon as the light touched him, he collapsed to the ground unconscious. Rarity tried to run to his side but Princess Celestia blocked her path.
"What are you doing? He needs me." Rarity said trying to get past her.
"Hey look, he's shrinking." Rainbow Dash said.
"Rarity, please calm yourself." Celestia told her. "Spike is merely changing back to his normal self. If you want to help him, assume your position at the north point of the diagram."
The white unicorn slowly walked to her appointed position never once taking her eyes off the rapidly shrinking pony. Slowly, Spike’s body began to change. The ponies in the room watched as Spike's eyes snapped open and he howled in pain. His mane and tail vanished along with his coat only to be replaced with a layer of shiny scales. His hooves split apart and slowly changed back into hands and feet. His face appeared to sink into itself. The ponies around him could hear his bones and joints break, crunch, and pop back into their original configuration. Mercifully, the small dragon passed out before having to endure much more. Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash, did their best to comfort Rarity as she watched Spike return to his normal self.
"Don't you worry sugar cube. I know it's hard now but if Twilight and the Princesses say he's gonna’ be okay, then you can bet the farm on it." Applejack told her.
"Yeah Rarity, in no time at all we'll all be back in Ponyville like this never happened." Dash told her.
The white unicorn spun on the cyan blue flyer. "No Rainbow Dash. This did happen and as long as I live, I will never forget these past few days."
"Uhm, Rarity, I think what Rainbow is trying to say is, once this is over we can go home and everything will back to normal again." Fluttershy told her meekly.
"I know Fluttershy, but for me, it will never be like it was; not if I have anything to say about it."
"Okay everypony, now that Spike has reverted back to a dragon, we must seal him in this form." Luna explained. "Rarity, remain where you are, Celestia, Twilight take a position at the other two points and we'll begin." The two unicorns and two alicorns concentrated as hard as they could; focused on the goal of sealing Spike in the form of a dragon. The horns of the spell caster began to glow as magical energy was forced through them. The four ponies in the background could only stand there and helplessly watch as a blinding light enveloped their dragon friend. Spike's body slowly rose into the air, buoyed by the magic enveloping him.
The unicorns and the Princesses stood there casting the spell for what seemed like hours. "Princess Luna, is it supposed to take this long?" Twilight asked.
"No, it should have only taken moments, something has gone wrong." She said, continuing to pour energy into the spell. All of them were straining under the exertion of keeping it going for so long. Celestia and Luna were actually sweating from the effort. "Give me a moment." Luna reached out with her mind and examined the magic's affect on the young dragon and gasped at what she found.
"What is it sister?"
"Something has changed in Spike's makeup; something that is pushing against our efforts. We need more energy to push back and finalize the sealing.
"Twilight, if you're holding anything back, you need to let it out!" Celestia said.
"I'm giving it all I've got. There's nothing left!" She said.
"If we stop now, Spike will die! Somehow we have to finish this!" Luna shouted.
Rarity dared to open her eyes and saw her Spike floating there in the air. His face was no long twisted in pain but looked soft and contented. She looked at the strip of pictures she held under her hoof. 'I can't fail him.' She thought to herself. 'Somehow, someway I have to make this work.'
In the back of her mind she could hear a faint whispering. It was soft at first but gradually grew in volume until it blocked out all other sound. 'Rarity, are you there?'
'I'm here Spike, I'm here.'
'It's dark here, I'm scared.' He said in her mind.
'Hold on Spike, we're trying to save you; we're almost there! Please hold on!'
'I trust you Rarity. I love you, my lady…' His voice seemed to drift off into the void.
'Spike, no, Spike don't go! I love you! I love you! Please hold on, I'm coming!' A surge of immense power seemed to fill Rarity, something she had never felt before in her life. Carefully, using all of her strength, she focused the power and let it out through her horn. The room exploded in a dazzling display of azure tinted light. Rarity opened her eyes in time to see Spike falling. She rushed forward just in time to catch the young dragon before he struck the floor.
"The sealing is complete." Luna announced, out of breath. "I do not know where that last surge of magic came from but we could not have finished without it."
"I think I know." Twilight said pointing to a prone form of Rarity. She lay there quietly sobbing, clutching the young dragon in her hooves.
"Is he okay?" She asked.
"Yes Rarity." Celestia looked down on the unicorn and dragon with warmth and compassion. "Spike is safe, thanks to you." The Princess assured her.
Spike woke in the library, blinking the sunlight from his eyes. He rubbed his eyes and looked down at his hands. "Hey, I'm a dragon again! It worked!"
Twilight Sparkle rushed into the room. "Spike, you're awake. How do you feel?"
"A little woozy but I think I'm okay,” he said. "So, no more turning into a pony?"
"You've been sleeping for three days and not the slightest change." Spike looked a little dejected. "Oh, there's a gift for you. It's on the table beside you. I can't imagine who could have possibly left it." Twilight told him with a smile upon her face. Spike grabbed the box and tore into it. Inside the box was a heart shaped picture frame with a picture of Rarity and Spike as a pony. Along with the picture was a note. He could hear Rarity's voice as he read it.
"Spike, no matter what you look like, I will always love you." Spike sighed. As he lowered the frame he saw the white unicorn of his affection standing in the doorway. Dropping the framed picture on his bed, he rushed over and hugged the mare as tightly as his little arms would allow.
"And I meant every word of it." She said.