Learning Something New

by Erin Salvatore

Disclaimer: I don't own MLP. I'm just borrowing. The only thing I own is the story.

Note: Yeah, I came up with this little gem recently. It takes place after the events of "Molt Down," and it's from Twilight's POV. No other spoilers.

I shuffled through the papers on my desk. Spike had left for Carousel Boutique a few minutes ago to model a new dress Rarity had been working on. Not that I didn't want him here, but this was one meeting I wanted to do myself. I sent for Smolder, the first (and at moment, only) dragon student here at the School of Friendship, because I wanted to get her insight on something I learned from Spike following the fight with the roc in the Everfree Forest. Since ponies have limited knowledge on dragon life, I thought getting some information from Smolder would be the best course of action.

I was still going through my papers when a knock at my office door brought me back to earth. "Come in."

Sand Bar, one of the pony students, popped his head in. "I found Smolder, Headmare Twilight."

I smiled. "Very good, send her in."

Sand Bar nodded and stepped back so that Smolder could make her way into my office. Once she was inside, I thanked Sand Bar for bringing her and she approached my desk, nervously meeting my gaze. I kind of empathized with her at that moment, since I always felt nervous whenever I had to meet with Princess Celestia face to face during my days as her personal student.

"Come on in, Smolder," I said.

"Am I in trouble, Headmare Twilight?"

"No, you're not in trouble," I said. "I just wanted to talk to you."

Smolder didn't seem too convinced, but decided to do as she was told and took her seat across from my desk. I saw she was still nervous, even though I had assured her she wasn't in trouble. I decided to cut right to the chase.

"The reason I called you here was because I thought you could give me some insight," I said. "I understand Spike had spoken with you today."

"Uh, yeah, we did have a chat," said Smolder. "I found him in the maintenance closet after he fled from the study hall. He was upset about the stone scales and told me the last time he grew up, he turned into a monster. I told him what he was experiencing was the Molt, which was different from greed-induced bigness, and a natural part of growing up dragon. I even explained the Molt Effect to him."

I nodded. "Can you explain it to me?"

"Didn't Spike tell you what it was?"

"He did give me a snippet," I said. "But I'm curious about it, since ponies know very little about dragon culture. Since you're from the Dragon Lands, maybe you could explain it in a little more detail."

Smolder raised an eyebrow at me, but decided not to keep me in suspense. "Okay, in the Dragon Lands, when a dragon goes through what Spike was going through, it's called the Molt Effect. When that occurs, he or she is sent away. The symptoms include itchy stone scales, volume control issues, fire burps, and even a strong smell."

I nodded. "Spike mentioned a smell. And he was having all of the symptoms you mentioned." My expression changed to the one I had given Spike in the forest. "And as far as being sent away is concerned, I would never do that to Spike. I made a promise to him in the Crystal Empire that I would never send him away. He may be growing up, but I see him as more than an ordinary dragon."

Smolder was confused. "You do?"

"Yes," I said. "I have known Spike for a long time, Smolder. When I was a filly and taking my entrance exam for Princess Celestia's school, I hatched him from an egg with my magic. You could say we grew up together. During the time we've known each other, Spike has been more than just my #1 Assistant. He's also my friend and LBBFF."

"Your what?"

"Little Brother Best Friend Forever," I said. "It's a variation of the title I gave to my brother, Shining Armor. Anyway, that's not important. What is important is that Spike confided in you about something he was going through and I want to thank you for being there for him."

Smolder's confused look changed to a smile. "No problem. I saw that he needed someone to talk to, even if he pretended he didn't."

"It's still good you were there for him, Smolder," I said. "Having lived with ponies his whole life, Spike doesn't really know any dragons. Other than Dragon Lord Ember, that is."

Smolder smiled again. "All part of being a good friend." Her smile faded. "Is that all you needed from me, Headmare Twilight, or did you need something else?"

I shook my head. "No, I think I got all I need for now. You can go back to your friends now, Smolder. I'm sure they're waiting for you."

"Okay," said Smolder. "If you need anything else, you know where to find me."

That being said, she hopped down from the chair and before she could leave, I remembered something. "Wait, Smolder, there is one more thing I need to ask you."

"What?"

"In case you didn't see it earlier, Spike has grown wings," I said. "Is that part of the Molt Effect?"

Smolder's eyes widened. "He did? Wow, awesome! And yeah, growing wings is part of the Molt Effect. Once the stone scales fade, a stone cocoon grows around the affected dragon and after about an hour or so, it breaks off and the dragon grows wings."

I nodded. I had a feeling Smolder would know about it, since I didn't see what had happened because I was too busy fighting the roc to rescue Rarity and Zecora. I only saw the aftermath when Spike was flying alongside me.

"Was that it?"

Smolder's question broke the silence and I nodded. "Yes, that was what I needed to know. Thank you, Smolder."

Smolder smiled and left the office. Once she was gone, I sighed and sat back in my chair. I now had a new appreciation for my relationship with Spike. Not that I didn't appreciate it before, but I had an even deeper appreciation for it. I had a feeling Rainbow Dash was going to challenge him to a race to test how fast he was, having never been one to turn down a chance to race a new opponent.

Knowing Rainbow as I do, that's sure to be one interesting race to watch. I only hope Spike doesn't overexert himself. Those wings are new and he'll need time to adjust to them, just like I did when I got mine.

Note: I hope you bear with me, because this is my first MLP story. I hope I did the characters justice.