My internet has been out for way over a week now, and it's come back for a small window today. I'm hoping to load a couple things I've been working on in the meantime.
I sure hope everyone enjoys it!I am not offended if you don't read the story and just want to look at the picture
"Oh, this simply won't do." Rarity murmured as she looked over the sack of gems, a hoof raised worriedly to her pouting lips. "I was expecting a much better yield. This location has always produced good results in the past. Perhaps I've over harvested..."
The lovely pale unicorn continued to appraise their findings in disappointment, pawing the dainty tip of her hoof through the glittering stones with a lilting sigh. Spike, the little lavender dragon who was dragging the bag in question, scratched at one of the ovular green scales on his head in confusion. He couldn't understand Rarities distress. The last search they'd done just days ago had produced a similarly sized bag, and she'd been very pleased with it, even rewarding him for his help with a few large rubies, his personal favorite.
"Do you need more of a certain kind?" Spike asked, working through the problem aloud, "I guess this client of yours must have been pretty specific on what he was looking for, huh?"
Rarity smiled, waving her hoof dismissively. "Something like that." She took the lead in a new direction, slowly making her way to a much more rocky terrain. "In any case, I don't believe we're going to find what I'm looking for here. Let's move on, shall we!"
Spike hoisted the bag over his shoulder, and hurried after her with a big smile. Digging up the diamonds, rubies, and emeralds that she needed for her designs was hard work, but for Rarity, he'd do it until his small hands blistered and his little dragon body couldn't stand anymore. From the moment he saw her, he had been hopelessly infatuated. Of course she was gorgeous, classy and talented, and if that all there was to her, he probably would have gotten over his crush on her quickly enough, but as it turned out, she was a lot more than a pretty face. Her heart was just as beautiful. It was in the way she demurred under praise, how she used her talents for her friends, and how infallibly generous she was! He watched her walking ahead, her horn glimmering to show she was casting her gem finding spell. She was casually concentrating, the pastel blue lids of her eyes drawn partially over her gentle gaze. That pristine white coat, her multi faceted blue/violet mane bouncing in perfect curls around her face, even the feather light gait of her trot sent his heart spiraling skyward in a frenzy of fluttering beats!
"Oh Spike, here! Hurry!!" Her voice interrupted his thoughts, and he looked up from watching his footfalls to see her delightedly prancing in place! She obviously had just found something exciting!
Hurrying over to her and abandoning his bag, he skidded to a stop beside her. He readied his tail, and using the arrowed tip, shoveled the earth away to reveal a beautiful clear stone with a glinting pink tint! Spike recognized the rare find immediately, and picked it up reverently!
"Oh wow Rarity, it's serendibite! This is really scarce stuff!!" He stroked his claws over the smooth shining surface, bringing it under his nose to inhale the aroma deeply. His tummy rumbled. It smelled delicious!
"I must admit I've never found it before! I believe this was just the special thing I was looking fo-" She stopped abruptly, her dazzling sapphire eyes widening slowly under it's veil of curly lashes. Her head rose in the direction of a tall stony crag that sat aside a tall daunting mountain. On it's ledge, there appeared to be a small opening. The filly's eyes were drawn to it.
"Rarity?" Spike said, raising a brow cluelessly.
"My horn itches..." She murmured, a distant look in her eyes as she remained quite fascinated on that distant rock carapace.
It was a statement that Spike didn't find particularly helpful. "Uh...what?"
"One moment, please." She close her eyes, terse concentration on her face for a moment. Her horn threw a few sparks and she squeaked, hopping back in surprise. Spike did so as well. "Oh-my Goodness!! I haven't felt such a rich concentration of jewels since I first discovered my talent and got my cutie mark! Oh it's the motherload Spike! We must investigate!"
The unicorn was already en route. Spike obediently tossed the gem they'd uncovered into the bag with the others and shouldered it again. It was admittedly kind of disappointing that she hadn't had much of a reaction to him unearthing such a rare stone for her, but he supposed he'd be distracted too if he could sense such a large assortment of gemstones so suddenly. To be honest, his stomach was gurgling hungrily just thinking about it! 'Alright Spike, off to aid the lady you love!'
It was only a short jaunt to the foot of the mountain. This whole area they did their search and find missions in remained pretty barren and rocky, devoid of much grass or foliage. There were some stubborn bushes, the occasional resilient pine, but it wasn't nearly so lush and green as it was in Ponyville. Of course, that made it the perfect place for mining the tasty rocks Rarity had a gift for finding!
It made him wonder though how she had managed to unearth them in the past without help. Rarity's coat was sterling white and the slightest dirt on it tended to stick out like an orange in a bushel of Sweet Apple Acres finest granny smiths! All things considered, he really could understand that she hated getting grimy more the the average pony, but didn't that mean making use of her powers had been challenging at one point as she would have had to do the digging herself? He decided to ask.
"You know, I was just thinking," He began, grunting as he repositioned the sack on his back, "If you don't like digging in the dirt so much, when you used your unicorn magic before I came to Ponyville, how did you get them up?"
Rarity was restlessly cantering along the first ledge they'd have to get to, obviously looking for the best place to try and jump. When he spoke, she paused, looking at him with erect ears and thoughtful eyes. Her reply came slowly and well measured. "I thought you knew?" She smiled coyly, flicking her tail once as she looked back up at the rock and reared, resting her front hooves to the cracked granite to test it's reliability. "Dr. Whooves was kind enough to accompany me. He was charming and quite the ladies man. He was of a more scientific nature, but he didn't mind doing some digging for me!"
Spikes tail drooped sadly. He should have known it was something like that. How could he compete with a stallion? His legs were huge and he could probably dig deeper and longer than he ever could.
"Oh Spike, please, you look pitiful like that!" Rarity teased lightheartedly. "Had it occurred to you, dear, if I felt he was the right man for the job I would continue to ask him for his company?" She readied herself and pranced up onto the first ledge elegantly. "My Spikey-Wikey is much better company and your enthusiasm is contagious! Trust me, the trade off is worth it!"
Spike wasn't sure if it was his imagination or not, but he could have sworn Rarity had coyly glanced back and batted her lashes at him! There was no time to think about it though. He was levitated into the air with her magic and settled on the ledge beside her. It was only the first step, and it was still along ways up.
"Come now, night will fall in two hours and I want to get up there and back down so we don't have to carry it all back in the dark. You have more bags right?"
The dragons upper body disappeared into the bag of gems, a few tiny emeralds scattering out as he rummaged to the bottom before popping back out with a victorious grin! He held up the spare empty sacks. "Right here!"
"Ooooh good!" She chimed! Not bothering to ask him to, she used her levitation spell to put the bags back into the mostly full one herself, and then, surrounding it with a clear blue glow, and moved it it high above to the opening far above them. That cave had Raritys attention, and Spike could tell if they couldn't get up there, they'd have new a place to gather up gems for her fashions! "Alright, lets go!"
To say the climb was hard would be an understatement. There were very few outcroppings to get ones footing on and many of them crumbled as soon as weight was applied. A few random shrubs jutted out of what Spike was ultimately considering to be a cliff face, and he was sitting on one for a rest as Rarity, with one of it's branches in her mouth, was trying desperately to pull herself up onto it. When she at last was able to get herself situated on the main limb, Spike scooted over for her. He was really getting tired, and the sun was starting to slip down the horizon, and soon, the sky would be cast in a rainbow of color. They were running out of daylight.
His yawn drew Rarities attention, a little fang peaking out of his mouth as his back arched in a stretch. It'd been a long day.
"Oh, you're not getting tired on me, are you?"
Spike smacked his lips once and rubbed one sleepy eye. "Well, we could go home, get Twilights help for tomorrow and her use her magic to make it easier to get up here. Or maybe Rainbow dash could help us fly up and-"
"Oh no no no no no
!"She said quickly, shaking her head brusquely in the negative. It made the bouncing curls of her mane dance around her porcelain face. He noted that her mane was no longer perfectly in place like it always was, and she hardly seemed to notice. This really meant a lot to her if she wasn't going to fuss over the condition of her hair. Even her hooves were brown and dusty. "Spike, my schedule tomorrow is too full and this particular crop of gems is very
important to gather today
! We can't turn back now! We're almost there! Look!" She up turned her face towards the ledge above. They were half way there, and this last bit did look like it would be a little easier than what was behind them! She looked down at the little dragon, shrugging her shoulder with a cant of her head. "Pleeaaaase? Spikey-Wikey? I can't do this without you!"
She sounded pretty fixated, and Spike couldn't stand to disappoint her. He sighed, taking another moment to catch his breath before he nodded. "Okay. Let's go."
"That's the spirit!" Rarity got her rear hooves positioned on the trunk, and placed her front ones on the next step.
Spike followed suit, but he was wobbling. He was hungry too...having a nice hot dinner with Twilight and curling up in his warm basket was sounding heavenly about now! He was so distracted by the appealing day dream that his next step was careless. He slipped, and suddenly the wind rushed up to embrace him as he plummeted back down towards the hard ground! He cried out, grabbing at anything he reach but unable to get a hold until something started slowing his descent. Relieved, recognizing the familiar crystalline glow around him, he gently floated back up where Rarity stood, concern in her watering eyes.
"Are you alright?" She asked in a rush! "Oh of course you're not!! Here!" She concentrated harder, a bead of perspiration slipping down her face as she raised him up to the mouth of the cave ahead of her. He was set beside their bag of findings and she called, "Eat something Spike! Get some energy up, we're almost done! I promise!!"
As Rarity clamored up the remaining distance, Spike sat, listening to the pumping of blood in his ears as his heart struggled to calm. He could have died, he could have been squashed he could have...but wait! He'd fallen from similar heights back at the library trying to fetch books for Twilight. At least this time Rarity had been paying enough attention to him to use her magic and pull him to safety. Still, she was being so stubborn! Why couldn't they just do this another time? He'd already fallen once! He grumped a bit and shoved his hand into the bag, pulled out a large square shaped emerald and began to chomp on it like a granola bar. He couldn't even enjoy the rare flavor of finally being able to munch on gems! Did she care so little for him that she'd push him past his limits just to get some stupid jewels?
A moment later, Rarity finally made it up, panting tiredly herself as she made one last heave of her front legs and got herself to flat stable ground.
"Oooh, There must be an easier way to climb this!! Just look at me, I'm such a mess." She looked down at herself, dirty, and her hair loose and out of place. She looked tired herself.
Spike, in spite of his sour mood, couldn't help but smile. "Aw Rarity, you look beautiful. A little dirt doesn't change that." And it was true.
The unicorn lifted her head from agonizing over her disheveled state, and after a moments reflection, her concern softened into sincere appreciation.
"Spike...that's, well..." She blushed, taking the complement with the kind of grace Spike had come to expect. "Thank you. I needed that."
He'd known that on occasion Rarity had a tendency to be quite vain, but that had been tempered a great deal after the whole ordeal in Cloudsdale when her vanity over her temporary wings had made Rainbow Dash doubt her own flying skills and had almost had her plunge to her death. Rarity for all her good points had many flaws to her personality. At least she learned from her mistakes right? He groaned. He was still agitated at her,but he couldn't stay mad. Best forget it move on.
She nosed his cheek sweetly and faced the cave, transferring her blush to him. Yup, definitely best to move on! Oh his cheek was tingling!!
"My horns burning now. Ready to see what's inside?" She looked down at him affectionately.
Spike took the lip of the bag and began to drag it towards the dark entrance of the cave. "I'm ready to go to bed. Lets see whats here and get back home!"
Rarity giggled and nodded. "Very well then! After you!"
The sun sank a bit further down on the horizon as the two began to walk inside. Mere minutes away from sunset, the sky was still blue, and there was enough time to get home for dinner after all! The day had been full and eventful, and they both were looking forward to some well earned rest, but there was one last thing to do.
Shards of sunlight moved past them and entered the cave, slowly expanding and filtering light into the cove. At first, there was only a glint of shine on the floor before them, but as the light connected with a large pink overhanging gem, the prism of which sending illumination in all directions, the entire cave exploded in a dazzling rainbow of color!
Rarity gasped, eyes growing wide, and Spike stomach roared loudly!
Their expedition had led them to a pocket cave simply overflowing with rare stones! Emeralds peaked shyly out from the floor, ruby encrusted the walls, diamonds mixed in with the gravel on the floor, and large sprouts of a mysterious glowing blue rocks littered every corner!
Rarity was seeing a glorious array of jewels for her fashions, enough to last her years.
Spike was seeing an all you can eat buffet!
Clearing his throat, Spike laughed nervously. "We need a bigger bag!"
Rarity had not yet recovered from her shock. There was so much here! Some of them simply too large to carry or remove! A part of her began imagining ways to make use of the pallet before her. the other part of her reminded her why she had come here in the first place. Her 'client'.
"Well, my lady Rarity!" Spike began with a bravado that, considering his small size, was more humorous than gallant, "Allow me to gather some of these gems in hopes that you may make something worthy of your talents!!"
Rarity shook her head calmly, smiling as she looked over her brave little companion. He was tired, sleepy, and obviously fighting a bad mood now. She was dirty, she was unkempt, and heaven help her she wanted a bubble bath! Yet it had been more than worth it. "Spike, the purpose of finding this cave wasn't to create some ensemble." She revealed at last.
Spike scratched his head, looking perplexed. "Huh? I thought you said you had an important client to impress."
"That is quite true!" she admitted with a little nod. "My client was you, Spike."
His slitted green eyes grew large in amazement. "What? You mean...all day today? All this work and...this palace
wasn't for your designs but to find me a present? But it's not my birthday or...or anything!! Why Rarity?"
Tiredly, Rarity tried to find a clean place to rest her rear, and she plopped down with a relieved hum of contentment. "Who said friends need a reason to do things for each other? You take time out of your day, no matter what you're doing, to help me don't you?" Her baby blue eyes regarded him with the kind of classy poise he had come to expect of her, even in a 'less than perfect' state. She was stunning. "Spike, you're always going out of your way for me. Today, I wanted to go out of my way for you." She looked at her dirty white coat once again, and laughed nervously. "I admit, I didn't expect to get so carried away but..." She gestured to the cavern around them. "This is for you. Dragons do like to have a place to retreat to once in a while right? And you do
like..." She cringed at what she said next, "eating
these don't you?"
Spike couldn't believe what he was hearing! How selfless! She could think of a million uses for what this cave held, couldn't she?! And she was handing it over to him without a second thought? It was angelic, it was gracious, it was....just so generous
That evening, after a ride back to Ponyville on Raritys back, he took a moment before bed to write to Princess Celestia. With his body clean and tummy bloated on his favorite food, rubies, he realized just how much had had learned today about friendship. The ink tipped quill sat in his claws as he contemplated his words. He looked at the fat bag of treasure that Rarity had helped him bring home today. His heart swelled adoringly!
He put the quill to the paper, and began.Dear Princess Celestia,
Today I doubted my own feelings for somepony I care very much for, because I felt they were pushing me too hard and not thinking of my well being. It turned out, my friend had been thinking of me all along, and was intending on surprising me with a very special and very hard to retrieve gift! It made me learn two important things.
The first, was that we should never doubt the people we care about. Even if we think they've lost focus and don't care about us the way we care about them, we should give them time and stick by them, and in time, a true friend will always prove to have our best interests at heart!
I also learned that sometimes it's important to randomly show the people you care about just how much you appreciate them. You don't need a reason like a birthday or a holiday to be a good friend and sometimes, those surprise moments of generosity can make us remember why our friends mean so much to us in the first place. An important part of friendships is showing you're a good friend whenever your heart compels you to, not just when the time of year calls for it.
Your Faithful Servant,
Spike the Dragon