Twilight Sparkle paced back and forth; as she checked and rechecked to make sure everything was ready for the sleepover. With Celestia having called Spike back to Canterlot for royal business and Twilight having no desire to sleep alone, she had invited all of her friends over to have a pajama party slumber sleepover. She didn't realize all the work that went into preparing the house for so many guests. Spike wasn't around to help, so she had to do all the work by herself. Luckily, nopony had come to get a book from the library all day so there wasn't much to clean up. She was just putting away the feather duster and the broom, when there was a loud thud on the door. Twilight opened it up to find Rainbow Dash sitting on the ground rubbing her head. The rainbow pony stood up with her saddlebags hanging low on her flank, shook her head and brushed her mane back to reveal a smile on her face.
"Hi Twi! Sorry about crashing into your door, so am I the first one here?" said Rainbow Dash as she walked into the tree house.
"Rainbow, the party doesn't start for another two hours" said Twilight with a little annoyance in her voice, as she closed the door behind the pegasus.
"You know me Twi, I got everything I needed to be done in the sky done in ten seconds flat and there was no point in waiting around for something to happen, so when can we start?"
"After the rest of the girls get here, for now you can help me get ready" said Twilight.
Rainbow Dash looked around for a second "On second thought, there might be something else I need to do before the party" she said as she dashed towards to door.
Twilight just smiled and captured Rainbow Dash in a magic field. "Don't worry Rainbow, the sooner we get everything done, the sooner we can get on with the party. Most of the hard work is done so now all that is left is the small easy stuff."
Rainbow Dash sighed and landed. "Okay Twilight, what do you need me to do?"
"Well most of the meal has already been cooked or prepared, so I'll go down to the basement to get the spare bed out of storage, if you can put the pie in the oven so it can be cook for after dinner" said Twilight pointing to the kitchen.
Rainbow Dash saluted and zipped off into the kitchen. Twilight giggled and went down the stairs. After stepping on the cold, stained floor, Twilight cast an illumination spell so she could find the spare bed. Stacks of musty books and rolls of cracked parchments cast eerie shadows on the boxes of decorations and library supplies that were stored beneath the main floor. After making a note to have Spike come down and tidy up the place when he got back, Twilight found what she was looking for. Pressed up against a wall, leaning against a map of Fauht, was the wool stuffed mattress that she kept in case of visitors. After magically beating it a few times, to get rid of dust and any bugs the might be hiding in it, she levitated it up and walked up towards the library front room. After placing the mattress on the floor, she walked into the kitchen to check on Rainbow Dash. She found her pressed up against the oven window staring at the pie as it started to brown.
"Spike made that just before he left. He wouldn't even let me give it a taste test before he put it in the fridge, but I'm pretty sure it will be good. All the ingredients were freshly picked today and he hand ground the nutmeg right into the filling" sighed Twilight as the pie's aroma filled her nostrils.
Rainbow Dash and Twilight Sparkle reluctantly pulled themselves away from the kitchen and went back to the library front room. Rainbow Dash helped herself to one of the Daring Doo novels from Twilight's collection while Twilight Sparkle went upstairs to check her checklist to make sure she didn't miss anything the last time she checked her checklist. Once she was sure that everything was ready she pulled her copy of 'CSGU: a history' and reread page two hundred forty five. They were just getting to the good parts of their books, when they heard a knock on the door. Twilight walked down and opened it to see Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy standing at the door, both of them were carrying saddlebags that looked like they were about to burst. Pinkie Pie was hopping up and down with glee and making squeaky noises.
"THE BESTEST SLUMBER PARTY IS ABOUT TO BEGIN, THE IDEAL SLUMBER PARTY STARTS WHEN WE ALL COME IN. SO PARTY, PARTY, PARTY WE'RE PARTYING TODAY, AND THEN WE'LL ALL SLEEP WITH EACH OTHER WHOOPS THAT SOUNDED RISQUÉ!" sang Pinkie Pie as she hopped into the room and dropped her bags on the table.
Fluttershy smiled at Twilight and said "Hi Twilight, sorry am I here too early?"
"No, Fluttershy you came at just at the right time, come in so that we can set your stuff up" said Twilight moving aside so Fluttershy could get in.
After Twilight closed the door, she turned around to see Pinkie Pie pulling out an inflatable mattress from her saddlebag. After taking a deep breath, she inflated the entire thing with one breath. Twilight shook her head and turned to help Fluttershy assemble her bed, but all Fluttershy took about was a sleeping bag that was covered in flowers with pink butterflies. Twilight gave her a look of confusion but didn't say anything. Fluttershy smiled and rolled out her bedding then fluffed it up with her wings. Pinkie Pie laid a blanket with a balloon pattern on it on top of her inflatable bed. Seeing that everyone was almost ready Twilight slipped upstairs to change.
"Is everypony ready? Lets get this party started!" said Pinkie Pie as she jumped up on her bed and started to dance.
"We still have to wait for Rarity and Applejack, Pinkie" said Rainbow Dash as she put the book into her bags. Then she pulled out her outfit for the night, an old worn oversized Wonderbolts shirt with stains on the collar, sleeves and hemline.
As she was slipping it on, the door to the library opened up again "Hello everypony Rarity has arrived!" sang Rarity as she stepped into the building, her designer bags floating behind her with rolls of fabric sticking out of them "Has the party-Oh my stars! Rainbow Dash darling what are you wearing?"
"Twilight said this was going to be a pajama party so I brought my pajamas" said Rainbow with a shrug.
"But that outfit it so stretched out and worn. Do not worry, I can whip you up something marvellous" started Rarity as pieces of fabric and a pair of scissors began to float out of her bags.
"Thanks Rarity but I don't need it, this belonged to my father. He got it when he was my age at a Wonderbolts show when Firefly herself dropped it into the crowd during on of her stunts. It's one of my most precious things because it reminds me of him" said Rainbow as she stroked the shirt lovingly.
"Oh! I am sorry dear I did not know, if it ever gets ripped bring it to me and I will repair to good as new" said Rarity putting one of her hooves to her mouth.
"It's okay Rarity, I know you were just trying to be helpful" said Rainbow Dash putting her hooves around Rarity and giving her a hug.
While Rarity set up her bags for the night, Pinkie Pie took the opportunity to slip into her sleepwear as well. From her bag came a green striped nightshirt with a spotted nightcap to match. She slipped both of them on quickly and pulled out a plushie alligator that she gave a quick hug. Fluttershy also put on her pajamas, which turned out to be a white bunny suit onesie complete with ears, a pink belly, a fluffy tail and smaller rabbits on each hoof. Once Pinkie Pie saw what Fluttershy was wearing, she jumped right to her and gave her a big hug causing Fluttershy to gasp.
"I love your PJs Shy!" said Pinkie Pie.
"Thank you Pinkie Pie you look good in yours as well" said Fluttershy nervously.
Twilight came down stars to see Pinkie Pie was causing a commotion as usual. Twilight was wearing her comfortable purple polar fleece pajama shirt and pants with her cutie mark stitched into them for that personal touch. Her mother had given them to her and they always reminded her of home.
"Pinkie Pie, there will be time for hugging later" said Twilight as she descended.
There was a knock on the door, "Rarity can you get that?" said Twilight as she slipped into the kitchen.
Rarity opening to see Applejack with her saddlebags and something canvas strapped to her back.
"Why hello Applejack so glad that you arrived now we can start the party" said Rarity as Applejack walked in "What is that thing on your back?"
"Ah this old thing, Big Mac had it back when he was an Equestrian Scout, if it can handle the kind of stuff that he did to it, it sure can handle anything that might happen here" said Applejack pulling a strap so it dropped to the floor.
"Yes but what is it?" asked Rarity again.
"Ah right sorry, it's his old camp cot, very light but very strong and it sure as hay can give you a good nights sleep" said Applejack as she carefully unfolded the contraption. She pulled back on parts and pressed down on others and within minutes, it had become a firm bed big enough to support her.
Twilight came into the living room, "It looks…sturdy" said Twilight trying to find the right thing to say about it.
"He once dropped it down a gorge and it didn't even get scratched" said Applejack with a note of pride.
While Applejack finished setting up her camp bed, and Rarity began to prepare the spare bed for herself, Rainbow Dash quickly zipped out of the library. Before the door could even finished opening, she reappeared carrying a fluffy white cloud that she had made sure to leave in the sky when she was cloud clearing. Twilight smiled and carefully levitated her bed from upstairs so that it would fit on the lower floor. It took a little rearranging but soon all of the beds were comfortably arranged in a circle in the living room while still leaving enough space for the girls to interact in the center. Once all of the beds had been set up and prepared for the night, Rarity pulled out her kimono. It was red and very silky. She carefully slipped it on and flattened it out to make sure there were no wrinkles or creases. Applejack pulled out a frayed flannel shirt and shorts and slipped them on. You could see stains in the stitching and threads hanging off of it. Rarity was about to say something but after her misspeak with Rainbow Dash she paused to make sure her words were right.
"That looks very comfortable Applejack, where ever did you get it?"
"Ah it's just something ah had lying in the bottom of mah closet; ah don't remember where ah got it from" said Applejack with a laugh "It's nice and comfy so ah thought I'd wear it"
"How nice" said Rarity with a slightly forced smile.
"Okay, now that everypony is ready, how about we all go into the kitchen for dinner?" said Twilight with a smile and a clap.
Everypony cheered and rushed into the kitchen, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie leading the way. The table was set for six; each seat had an empty bowl in front of a plate of salad and a teacup. Sitting in the middle of the table was a pitcher of juice and an earthen pot with steam rising from it and a ladle sitting in it. When they sat down, they saw the pot held a hardy barley soup and the salad was a traditional daisy and daffodil mixture with lemongrass seasoning.
"This looks marvelous darling!" said Rarity before she ate a small fork full of the salad. "Delicious! How ever did you make this?"
"It was Spike actually" said Twilight as she ladle herself a helping of the soup. "He made it this afternoon while I was inviting you all for the sleepover"
"Where is Spike anyway?" asked Applejack.
"Oh, Princess Celestia had to call him away on urgent royal business a few hours ago, he should be back some time tomorrow morning" said Twilight.
Pinkie Pie took a sip from her teacup, "I haven't had this before, what kind of juice is it?"
"I think Spike said it was fennel although I can't be sure since I didn't see him make it" said Twilight a she took a sip as well.
Twilight and her friends kept eating the salad and soup until there was nothing left, and then Twilight served the warm pie to the delight of the mares.
"So this is why Spike wanted all those apples" said Applejack has finished off her slice "He did a good job."
The girls nodded and they finished their slices. Twilight began to clear the table only to be stopped by Rarity.
"Do not even think of it dear you set everything up for us, so let us clean up the dishes" said Rarity as she levitated all the dishes into the sink while Pinkie Pie and Applejack washed them. Fluttershy wiped down the table and Rainbow Dash swept the floor. Twilight gave a half shrug and slipped out into the living room to prepare for the next phase of the sleepover. She placed a few logs in the fireplace and with a quick zap a nice little fire was warming up the room. When the rest of the girls were finished cleaning, they entered the front room and saw that the floor was covered in mane styling tools.
"You have got to be kidding!" expressed Rainbow Dash.
"Sorry Rainbow but it is part of the sleepover experience. Don't worry we don't need to do anything fancy to you if you don't want it" said Twilight.
Rainbow Dash reluctantly landed next to her bed as the rest of the girls sat in front of theirs. Each mare set to work styling one of her friend's mane and tail. While they brushed, weaved and styled, they made small talk.
"This is such a fun party!" said Pinkie Pie "I wish we could do this every night."
"But if we did this all the time, it would not be special" said Rarity.
"I know but this has been so much fun already that we have to do this again" said Pinkie Pie.
"Yep" said Applejack.
"So Rarity how is your business in Canterlot doing?" asked Twilight with a smile.
"Oh it has been great dear, After Fancy Pants' party I did not think I would ever be able to work there again but I keep getting orders from ponies through the mail. I sometimes have to make trips there for deliveries but every time I do I get a little more advertizing done" said Rarity with a smile.
"So have you meet anypony special yet?" asked Rainbow Dash with a smirk "I bet with all those parties you go to some stallion must have caught your eye."
Rarity dropped Fluttershy's mane and looked down, she let out a little sigh "Not really, I do find myself sending a lot of time with Vance Van Vendington. He keeps commissioning orders for his auctions. He really is a kind, good stallion, and I do enjoy talking with him, but the spark just is not there" said Rarity in a low voice. Then she perked up and worked on Fluttershy's tail "But enough about me; what about you Rainbow? Have you met a stallion awesome enough to make your heart aflutter? I think I saw Thunderlane checking you out when you were preparing last week's storm with him."
Rainbow Dash let out a laugh "HAH! I am awesome, but I can't say I'm even looking for somepony right now. After I become a Wonderbolt then I will try out letting the some stallion having a crack at me. It might take a while to find a stallion who can keep up with me but I'm not worried when the time comes I will know. After all we can't all be Fluttershy."
Fluttershy let out a little squeak and tried to hide herself "I don't know what you are talking about Rainbow Dash."
"Oh come on, everypony knows you have a crush on Big Mac, except maybe him" said Rainbow Dash.
Fluttershy blushed "No, No that's not true."
Pinkie Pie nodded "Yes it is and Applejack told me that Big Mac likes you back he just doesn't know it yet."
Applejack nodded "It's true"
Fluttershy just shook her head which was rapidly turning has pink as her mane.
Knowing that Fluttershy was getting very embarrassed, Applejack smirked and turned to Twilight "So Twi, has Time Turner asked yah out yet?"
Twilight was confused "What do you mean?'
"Oh come on Twilight you don't know? That stallion has it bad for you. Why do you think he comes to the library so often?" said Rarity. Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash nodded vigorously.
"You girls don't know what you're talking about, he just likes the books." said Twilight with a tap of her hoof.
Rainbow Dash patted her head "It is so adorable that you think that."
"If some stallion liked me, I think I would know" said Twilight with a huff.
"Oh darling you would be the last to know" said Rarity.
Fluttershy looked up with a small smile "Don't worry Twilight, Applejack is blind to it too" she whispered.
Applejack's ears perked up "What does that mean?"
Fluttershy hid in her mane but Pinkie Pie let out a little laugh "Quite a lot of ponies in the town like you Applejack."
Applejack blushed and turned away "Nah."
Rainbow Dash floated beside her "Maybe if you looked up from the apple stand once in a while you would notice the stallions staring at you" she said with a merry voice.
Applejack just snorted and reached into her bags. She pulled out a mini cask and smirked "I brought this over for a snack but maybe now I should just keep sealed. Since you don't like apples" Applejack eyebrow moving up and down and a smirk crossing her face.
Rainbow Dash dropped to her hooves "No! Applejack I'm sorry I really like apples, they are the best!" she begged.
Applejack just laughed "Oh I was only fooling yah. Of course we can open it up" Applejack pulled to cork out from the top and the aroma of the Apple Family Famous Apple Cider filled the room. Twilight got up and went to the kitchen, coming back with six mugs floating behind her. With careful precision Applejack poured a serving of cider into each mug. Soon there were six mugs waiting to be served. They sets the mugs on top of the fireplace in order to warm them up, soon a rich vapor was filling the room. They each picked up their mug, knocked their mugs together in cheers and took a slow sip.
As they savoured the drink, there was a loud jingling outside followed by a knocking on the front door. Twilight looked around and shrugged before setting her mug down and going over to open the door. Standing on the porch was a pale coated mare with a blue mane. Her yellow eyes stared right into Twilight's with a look of wonder that Twilight was used to seeing in the mirror. Leaning against her side was a twisted walking stick with a tiny dragon figure hanging from it, and most curiously of all she was wearing a Star Swirl the Bearded costume, even if it was one that had some inaccuracies.
"Hi! Can I come in?" smiled the mare with a wave.
Twilight was stunned and confused at the weird mare's appearance and didn't know what to say but Pinkie Pie popped up behind her "Hi there. I'm Pinkie Pie! Why are you dressed up like a weirdo clown? It's not Nightmare Night."
"Weirdo clown? Never heard that one before" said the mare with a laugh.
"She's not dressed like a clown. She's wearing a Star Swirl the Bearded costume" said Twilight.
"No I'm not" said the mare.
"I know there are some flaws in it, but you have the beard and the bells and everything" said Twilight pointing at the mare.
"I just had this thing laundered and I meant that it isn't a costume" said the mare.
"You're dressed exactly like Star Swirl the Bearded." said Twilight.
"It would be very hard for me to not dress like Star Swirl since I am him" said Star Swirl with a smirk.
Twilight's eye bulged out and the rest of her friends turned there heads away from the cider to see what was going on.
Star Swirl leaned in "Hi everybody!"
Pinkie Pie waved back with a smile "Hi Star Swirl!"
"She's not Star Swirl!" shouted Twilight.
"Yes I am" said Star Swirl with a nod.
"Star Swirl was the most prolific conjurer in history, he created half the spells that are taught to students in schools and he lived over 5000 years ago!" said Twilight.
"All true and thank you for the compliment" said Star Swirl with a nod.
"You can't be Star Swirl" said Twilight as she closed the door.
Star Swirl stuck his hoof in front of the door "What would I have to do in order to convince you that I really am Star Swirl the Bearded?"
"You are not Star Swirl" said Twilight with a snort.
"How do you know?" asked Star Swirl.
"You just can't be him" exclaimed Twilight.
"But Twi how can you be sure?" asked Rainbow Dash her head tilted.
"If that was Star Swirl then she would be able to tell the spell formula for the amniomorphic spell" said Twilight with a huff.
"OH! Is that all, sure" said Star Swirl with a shrug before leaning in as whispering into Twilight's ear. When Star Swirl was done Twilight's pupils were the size of pinpricks and her mouth was hanging open. "I originally crafted that spell after a particular devastating case of Grey Death almost wiped out the female lung dragon population. A team of unicorns and myself were able to hatch the eggs and the species was saved. It's the reason I earned my title" said Star Swirl with a smile and a tug on his beard.
Twilight started to stutter "It's not possible, you can't really be him."
"I'm afraid I am Ms. Sparkle; now back to my first question. Can I come in?" asked Star Swirl.
Twilight stepped back slowly and Star Swirl let himself into the library "Oh I'm sorry I seem to have interrupted your sleepover. If this is inconvenient I came come back another time."
Twilight was still in shock but Pinkie Pie jumped up "No Mr. Bearded stay, once Twilight catches up with herself she is going to have a lot of questions for you, we can't ask you to leave."
The rest of the mares nodded and introduced themselves. Star Swirl smiled "While we wait do you mind telling me what the alluring aroma is?"
Applejack smiled "That's my family's apple cider, do you want a mug?"
"Don't mind if I do" said Star Swirl before handing Applejack a tankard that he had no been holding a moment ago.
In the time, it took Star Swirl to finish his drink Twilight got over her shock "Star Swirl the Bearded! I can't believe that you are here, I'm sorry I didn't believe you before."
"Think nothing of it child" said Star Swirl soothingly before vanishing the cup in his hoof "Most being a meet have a hard time believing that I am me."
"But I don't understand something Ms. Star Swirl, how come Twilight thought you were a stallion?" asked Rarity.
"I always thought Star Swirl the Bearded was a stallion" said Twilight "The books always said 'he did that' and 'he developed that.'"
Star Swirl smiled and asked "But did the books ever actually say that he was a stallion?"
Twilight was confused "What do you mean?"
"Well the reason why the books use male pronouns when addressing me goes back thousands of years; before I was Star Swirl the Bearded and was merely Star Swirl. Do you mind if I sit down? This could take a while" said Star Swirl.
Twilight shook her head "No! No! Sit anywhere you want" before jumping on her bed and pulling out a notebook. "I can't wait to hear about this, the history of Star Swirl from Star Swirl himself."
Star Swirl laughed a little and laid down on a spider grass mat the appeared at his feet. "It all started when I help found the Academy of Magics."
"You founded the Academy of Magics?" said Rarity and Twilight together before blushing.
"I helped found it, yes. Anyway, back then it was a place for unicorns to come and hone their craft. They would go to study all the magics in the world while trying to improve themselves. It was truly an amazing feat, I am glad I was able to help. I was never one to learn in a building so I let my colleagues handle the academy while I went into wandered constructing new magics. However, one day when I was returning to visit the academy, I heard an argument from the front gates. I peaked in and saw a unicorn stallion being barred entry in the academy. When he left I asked the guard why she didn't let the unicorn in and she told me that the school didn't allow stallion on the grounds, except those who were test subjects."
The mares in the room gasped at this and held their hooves to their mouths. Gender segregation had not happened in Equestria for thousands of years. Equestria was supposed to be accepting of all ponies.
"The Academy of Magics didn't allow stallions in?" asked Twilight with her eyes bulging out.
"It was before anti-segregation laws were put into effect, at the time the board of the academy believed that mares were better at the fine parts of magic while stallion were more suited to brute work."
"That's horrible" said Rainbow Dash.
"I agree, In my travels I rarely went to large cities, I liked the small villages and out of the way places, there I saw stallions and mares working together equally, I saw no reason why the academy should bar stallions from enter. But there was not much I could do, each founder had an equal say in how the academy was run and the rest of the board believed in segregation so I decided to do something much more subtle while at the same time making my position loud and clear" said Star Swirl with a smirk.
"What did you do?" asked Pinkie Pie.
Star Swirl laughed "I went and made the biggest, whitest, fakest beard I could find and dressed in the rich blues preferred by stallions at the time. Then when I came back to the academy, I insisted on them using male pronouns for me no matter what the case.
The mares laughed at that "What did they do?" asked Applejack through the tears.
They were very annoyed at my antics, but I was such a prolific and respected mage that they would never consider kicked in me out. They tried to get me to stop and tried ignore my antics but eventually they had no choice but to just wave it off as an eccentricity I had picked up."
"But what did all of this do?" asked Twilight.
"It forced them to start thinking about stallion as honorable magic users. Even in the back of their minds they heard, 'he did this' and 'he did that' and slowly, very slowly, their eyes and minds were opened. It took years but eventually the academy of desegregated" said Star Swirl.
"Wait why didn't the princess just order them to stop?" asked Twilight.
Star Swirl sighed "When the princesses signed the documents that allowed us to build our academy they made us separate from the state."
"Umm excuse me sir" said Fluttershy making "But did you say that you founded the Academy of Magics."
"Yes I did" said Star Swirl softly.
"I though the academy was founded before Equestria was even founded. So how come you are still alive?"
Twilight eyes shot up as she consider this "That right how could you have founded the academy and still be around today, the academy was founded almost 5000 years ago."
Star Swirl stretched out on him mat "After the desegregation, I started experimenting with the magic of time travel. I was hoping to find a way to enhance the healing process by either slowing down or speeding up time in a localized field, but there was a terrible accident and I whited out."
Twilight and Rarity gasped but the rest of the mares just looked confused "What does that mean?" asked Applejack.
"Whitening out refer occurs when a unicorn becomes enveloped in the spell they are casting" explained Twilight "It can have terrible consequences."
"Yes it can" agreed Star Swirl "When I awoke three weeks later I was in the palace with the one of the princesses looking down at me."
"Princess Celestia?" asked Twilight.
"Yes, she was upset with me from my attempt, but glad that I survived. It was then that I found out about the side effect the time magic had on me."
"What happened?" asked Pinkie Pie.
"It made it so I am no longer affected by time, I can't age, grow or get weaker" said Star Swirl.
"That sounds awesome!" said Rainbow Dash.
"Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. I can't get any stronger, I can't have children, if I were to fall into lava it would continue being burned until I got out and if I get buried I have to dig myself out" explained Star Swirl.
The other mares look stunned at Star Swirl's admission so Applejack changed the subject "So what have yah been doing all this time?"
"Well I occupationally take students like Clover, Kimono, Paradise and most recently Cadence but I spend most of my time traveling around the world."
Twilight eyes widened as she heard of Star Swirl students. "And what do you do when you travel?" asked Twilight.
"That is actually related to the reason I came over" said Star Swirl with a smile "After I finished my studies in theoretical magics, I changed to a focus on cultural anthropology with a speciality in ethnohistory."
Looks of confusion spread across the mares faces "Huh?" asked Rainbow Dash.
"I go around and investigate how other societies around the world, I looking into what they are doing and what their history is, then I share my discoveries with the world."
Seeing that there was still confusion Star Swirl explained further. "For instance, I once lived among the griffins and learned how they lived their lives. I talked to them, ate with them, hunted with them, learn along side them; I tried to find out what it is like to be a griffin. Then I looked into their history, where did they come from, I try to find out how was their culture developed from hunter gather tribes to the confederation they are today. I occupationally even discover things about their past that they have forgotten about" said Star Swirl with excitement in his voice.
There was a look of wonder in the ponies' eyes now "You lived among the griffins?" asked Rainbow Dash "I never knew that."
"Well that was several hundred years ago. In fact I was there when griffin and ponies signed the pact" said Star Swirl.
"Where else have you been?" asked Twilight her voice hungry form more.
"Aside from studying pony cultures, I have traveled in the great dragon migration, hunted gems with Diamond Dogs, visited a Changeling warren, eaten with The Hungry Ones, watched a Buffalo shamanic ritual and helped forge Welf plate armor" said Star Swirl with pride "Often times I am the first pony these species have ever seen."
The looks of wonder intensified on the ponies and they were silent for a moment until Twilight spoke up "So why are you here?"
"Well one of my old dragon friends told me of something she witnessed at the last dragon migration. She was watching three ponies dressed up to look like her apparently protecting a purple baby dragon. When I went to investigate, I found out that this dragon lived in Ponyville among ponies and considered them his friends. When I got here I asked around and they pointed me here" said Star Swirl.
"You're here to meet Spike?" asked Pinkie Pie.
"So that is his name Spike, it is fitting" said Star Swirl.
"Why? I thought you already studied dragons" asked Twilight.
"Well it never hurts to restudy after all cultures can change, and this is the first dragon outside of the horde since a diamond dog raised one about 1100 years ago" said Star Swirl with a shrug.
"Spike's not here right now, he's in Canterlot on royal business" said Twilight.
"Hmm, perhaps I should have sent a request to Tia before coming here" said Star Swirl.
"Tia?" asked Applejack "Shouldn't you show more respect?"
"It's hard to be respectful to somebody whose head you once pulled from a tree stump" said Star Swirl with a grin.
All the girls except Twilight laughed at that for a moment and then Star Swirl continued "Well if he isn't here right now do you mind if you direct me to a place to stay for the night? or at least until he comes back?"
"YoucanstayhereifyouwantMrStarSwirlsir!" shouted Twilight quickly.
"What?" asked Star Swirl with a look of confusion on his face.
Twilight took a deep breath. "You can stay here if you want Star Swirl" waving her hoof around the library.
Star Swirl booked around "None of you mind?"
No it's fine with me, your fun to talk to" said Pinkie Pie while the rest of the mares nodded.
"Okay then I guess I better dress that part" said Star Swirl before he started to glow and changed from his outfit into white loose fitting trousers and a placket front white loose jacket; he still had the beard though.
"I have to say I am excited I haven't had a real sleepover in over 800 years, and I haven't had one with ponies for 1500" said Star Swirl with excitement.
"How did you do that?" asked Twilight pointed to the change.
Star Swirl looked down "This is a little magic I learned when I was traveling on the Floating Continent. Since I have far too much stuff to carry on my travels and some of the things I find are too big or too fragile to carry in a bag, I open up a pocket dimension and store everything in there. I calling equiption magic" said Star Swirl allowing a potted cotton candy tree to appear before Twilight.
"Cool" said Pinkie Pie grabbing a bite before Star Swirl could put the tree back.
Once he was comfortable Star Swirl turned to the mares "Do you mind if I ask you what your relationship with Spike is?"
The girls paused a moment then looked at each other then smiled. Twilight cleared her throat "My relationship with Spike is so confusing, even I'm not sure exactly how to define it. Ever since I accidently hatched from his egg sixteen years ago, he has been and still is my closest friend. He's been with me at by best and at my worst, and we have shared smiles, tears, and so much laughter. But it is more then that I see him as the little brother I never got and sometimes when he is sick and needs me he is my little son" said Twilight hear eyes watering from the memories.
"You love him very much don't you?" asked Star Swirl.
"I think he is a good dragon, the way he walks around trying to help everypony and always with a smile on his face" said Applejack. "He is a little naïve and clumsy at times though."
"He is a good friend and fun to play pranks with and on" said Pinkie Pie with Rainbow Dash nodding behind her.
"When I first so him I thought he was Twilight's pet, but now I see he is more like Scootaloo. Always trying to help and loyal to the ponies he cares for" said Fluttershy with a blush.
Star Swirl nodded "Understandable Fluttershy" said Star Swirl.
Rarity sighed "Spikey is such a nice and helpful little dragon; he is always helping me in my boutique with a big smile on his face. It seems like I never even need to ask, whenever I need help he just turns out asked how he can serve me, and he never complain when I give him a hard job or have to rush away without thanking him."
"And he has a huge crush on her" laughed Rainbow Dash with a laugh.
"Rainbow!" chastised Twilight "Don't tell your friends secrets like that."
"That's impossible" said Star Swirl curtly.
Rarity sighed even deeper "No it is all true, Spikey Wikey has had a crush on me for as long as I've known him."
Star Swirl shook her head "I'm sorry Ms. Rarity but that is impossible."
"What do you mean?" asked Twilight. "Even I can see he has head over hooves for her."
"Dragons don't get crushes, the way their brain chemistry functions make it biologically impossible for crushes to occur" explained Star Swirl.
A look of total confusion spread across the mares faces so Star Swirl breathed in and out, rubbed his forehead and sighed a little.
"Tell me something ladies, when Spike is around Rarity, does he do everything in his power to help her? Does he seek to make her happy no matter how much it may hurt him? Does he seem to glow or float when he stares at her? Do they have the ability to calm each other when they are overly emotional? Does he worry about her, dream about her and think about her always?" Star Swirl asked with a noted seriousness in his voice.
The girls looked at each other and nodded "Yes it is all true, Rarity even once managed to get him to turn little and cute again when he was a big meany stealy pants" said Pinkie Pie.
"Then what Spike has is not a crush, it is what is known in dragon circles as a 'Gesolbo', the closest pony translation would be 'soul bond companion', or to put it simply, true love."
The mares laughed at that but when they looked up they saw Star Swirl just had a slightly sad look on his face.
"You're joking! Right?" asked Applejack hopefully.
"I really wish I was Applejack, but what I'm saying is very serious" said Star Swirl solemnly.
"Spike loves me?" asked Rarity with emotion in her voice before becoming still and staring off her ears flattening against hear head.
Star Swirl sighed "It is much more complex then that. Most dragons you see together don't actually love each other, they have simply found some dragon that they don't mind spending the rest of their lives with. However, it is known that each and every dragon has a partner some where in the world. It is with this being that they fall in love; it can only happen once and is immediate and unpredictable. Once a dragon spots their one true love, they will never love another being that same way for the rest of their lives. This has been for as long as dragons have walked this planet."
"But then how do dragon live when they don't find their soul mate?" asked Twilight with fear in her voice.
"Most just pick some dragon they are familiar with and live together, they can have kids together and even really care for each other, but if either one were to meet their soul love they would immediately abandon their former relationship and seek time with their new one."
Applejack look horrified "That's terrible, a dragon abandoning their mate and kids like that."
"Oh they would still take care of the kids, after all it's their kids and dragons are protective of those, but the spouse would not want their former partner to remain with them. How would you feel it you know that the stallion you were living with was miserable with you because you would not let them be happy with the one he loved? Being separated from your bond companion is a terrible feeling, akin to having your heart literally ripped out of your body. No dragon would wish that on even their worse enemy" said Star Swirl solemnly. "It's one of the reasons that deliberately killing a bond companion has such as harsh penalty in dragon society."
The girls were silent so Star Swirl continued "There is actually a simple way to know if a dragon partnership is a bond or not. You look at the hoards. Dragons that are bound will mix their hoards because in their eyes once bound they are really one being in two bodies, both want their partner to be happy no matter what, they could never drift apart. Unbound dragon partnerships will keep the hoards separate so that if they do meet a bound if will be easy to leave. In fact, bond couples can get so close that their abilities will cross over. Dragons that breathe fire and bond with a dragon that breathes ice will gain the ability to breathe ice and vise versa."
Spike can't love Rarity he is too young" said Twilight.
"The bond does not take age into account when it is formed, but soul compatibility. In addition, dragons don't age the same way ponies do, its kinds of a skipping style growth. They are babies for a while until one day, they fall asleep for a while and wake up as young adults, then later they sleep for a while again and wake up as adults. It's hard to tell when a dragon will enter the next age group. Spike could become a young adult tomorrow or in fifty years."
"But Rarity can't be Spike's bound thing, she's not even a dragon" said Rainbow Dash confused.
"The bonding does not care about something as unimportant as species when it occurs; it is all about the soul. Once a dragon looks into the eyes of their bond companion that is it, there is no way to control, slow down, force, alter, fake or invoke it in any way, and to my knowledge no soul bond has ever been wrong. To put it simply every bonding turns out to be perfect. In fact is occurrence is one of the reason dragons are renowned for being tolerant to other species."
"Last time I met some dragons they made fun of me and call me weak" said Rainbow Dash.
Star Swirl looked very shocked at that "I've heard of something like that before, every dragon I've heard off is quite kind to ponies. Perhaps you meet some drakes. They are tough to tell from dragons and they are known for being rather rude to anything that isn't a reptile."
"So why did they call us weak?" asked Twilight.
"Well to them you are weak, since you have little to no natural defenses, refrain from fighting, live in large egalitarian communities and preach love and kindness; you do nothing that they respect. Dragons, on the other hoof, are extremely progressive and tolerant. When it comes to mixed species marriages, dragons know that the soul bonding is outside of anybodies control. When dragons discover a mixed species marriage, both sides of the relationship are welcomed into dragon society, even if the two species are hated enemies, the love trumps it all in dragon eyes. In fact Spike might be one of the least tolerant dragons in the world because he was raised outside of that manner of thinking."
"What is that suppose to mean?" asked Applejack angrily.
"Like I said once a dragon meets their bond mate they are welcome anywhere dragon lives, there is no stigma or talking behind their backs about it. Even to creatures that are not bond, dragons rarely show signs of intolerance. They can get angry and even arrogant at other creatures at times, but this is no different then they would treat a fellow dragon. Ponies on the other hoof can be down right skittish at times, look me in the eye and tell me have you ever fearing a species without knowing them first? So afraid of them that you hide rather then go and talk to them?"
The mares looked down in shame as memories of Zecora returned to them.
"I thought so; don't feel too bad, it is programmed into our genes; but on to Spike. Since he was raised by ponies rather then dragons there is a strong chance that he grew up with their ideals: Love, friendship, loyalty, joy and so forth. But he might also picked up some of the less honorable traits ponies have."
"Like what?" asked Rainbow Dash.
"Such as the term 'anypony'; every other culture I have visited that is aware of other species uses the term 'anybody' as a form of inclusion, but ponies do not. Dragons also would not use a derogatory term like 'stubborn as a mule' to describe somebody."
"So let me get this straight" said Rarity coming out from her shock "Little Spike, who I met only a few years ago, loves me with every fiber of his being, and he will never love anybody again for the rest of his existence?"
"Well he can still feel love, like that to a family member or friend, but he will never feel romantic love for anybody except you for the rest of time" confirmed Star Swirl.
"Is Celestia aware that this could happen?" asked Twilight.
"I don't know if she knows, but she is aware that it is possible for dragons to bond" said Star Swirl "If I had to guess I would say that she never considered that his might be happening to Rarity since it doesn't happen outside of dragon society very often. The princess might be amazing and smart but even she is not perfect. She might just not have noticed that Spike was bonding to you."
"What happens when I die?" sighed Rarity "Dragons live a lot longer then ponies, so would not Spike be terrible lonely after I am gone?"
"Well since you share a soul, your life forces would strengthen each other. Spike might not gain much life from you, but your life would be expanded dramatically. You would remain healthy and hardy just like a dragon will. Not even the ravages of time will be able to harm you" said Star Swirl. "You would get to see your great great grandchildren live their lives and get married, no other pony gets to experience that."
"What do you mean great great grandchildren?" asked Rarity.
"Well if you and Spike choose to have children, you would get to watch several generations of your descendents grow up" said Star Swirl.
"Dragons and Ponies can't have children" said Twilight resolutely.
"Usually that is true, but when a bonding occurs a dragon gain the ability to have children with the creature they have bonded with" said Star Swirl.
"What would their children look like?" asked Rainbow Dash while Rarity blushed.
Star Swirl pulled his beard "Well that depends on the mother, supposing it was Rarity and Spike then you would likely have unicorn foals with strong purple colourization, with green and white accents, and perhaps some dragon like traits."
"Like what?" asked Fluttershy curiously.
"Hmm, their hooves might be harder and more pronounced, their eyes could be dragon like, unfortunately for Rarity their teeth could be harder and sharper, a more wilder magic could manifest, and perhaps even some scales under their coats" said Star Swirl.
"How can you be sure that Spike is really soul bonded to Rarity?" asked Twilight "What if he developed the ability to get a crush because he spent time with me?"
"I suppose it is theoretically possible that he overcame his genes and developed the ability to get a crush, I am a rather stanch supporter of nurture over nature, but what happened when he grew big confirmed it to me" said Star Swirl with a nod.
"What do you mean?" asked Rainbow Dash.
"It sounds to me like Spike under went something known as Rapid Onset Greed Growth. Dragons do become stronger and bigger as they add to their hordes, but if the parents don't teach the child how to deal with the energy that is generated, then a child dragon can sudden grow very large at the expense of their intelligence and appearance."
"That's what happened to Spike! We gave him gifts on his birthday and he went all crazy!" said Pinkie Pie.
"Yes and Rarity made him shrink back to normal size, that usually takes weeks of careful work from dragon mystics. In order for Rarity to be able to do that she would either have to secretly be an extremely powerful magic user practiced in dragon magic, or be the soul companion and talked the dragon back into sanity."
Rarity's eyes began to water before she collapsed and started to cry. "What does this all mean?" she said through the tears. Twilight and Fluttershy rushed over and tried to comfort her.
Star swirl sighed. "What it means Rarity, is that Spike will dedicate his life to making sure you are happy" said Star Swirl.
"What should I do?" cried Rarity.
"I don't know Rarity, all I can say is look into your heart and think about how you feel for Spike. Then act on those feelings" sighed Star Swirl.
"But what if I don't love him like he loves me? The bond will take away his free will!" gasped Rarity.
"I suppose you could say that the bond does take away a little of his free will, but believe me when I say that he will not see this as a bad thing. I know it is hard to understand, even I don't totally get it and I have studied dragons for centuries, the small loss of will is overwhelmed by the real pleasure Spike will receive from being around and helping you, and if you don't love him back that will be okay" said Star Swirl resting his hoof on Rarity neck.
"But won't he feel jealous if I married some other pony?" asked Rarity looking up her eyes smeared with mascara.
"Would that make you sad if he did?" asked Star Swirl gently.
"Yes" said Rarity quietly.
"Then you have nothing to worry about. He would never do that, for that would make you sad, and the last thing he wants is to make you sad. The bond works in such a way that Spike will never do anything that might hurt Rarity in any way, including making it so that he will not interfere if she falls in love with somebody else. If you do not feel for him the way he feels for you then he will stop trying to court you and will change to protecting you from all that would harm you. In addition, you will never have such a loyal and dedicated guardian. You, your spouse, your children, all of your blood relatives will be under the watchful eye of a dragon that lives to make sure that everything about you is happy. There are towns outside of Equestria that hope a dragon will decide to protect their city with that amount of vigor. Spike will protect your family with the same passion he would protect his hoard, for your happiness is his greatest treasure." said Star Swirl with conviction. "If you do love him and you really mean it in your hearts of hearts, then the bond will help facilitate that. If he is too young right now then you will merely be close friend until such a time that it will be appropriate for you to become something more."
This was too much more Rarity, she collapsed on to the floor and began to weep. All this time she had been so sure that Spike just had a crush on her. Something he would grow out of in time and then move on to find himself a nice lady dragon. The idea that Spike loved her so much that he would literally do anything to make her happy, was just too much for her to handle. The worst thing is that she had no idea what to do. There were so many things that she had to consider. On one level, it was so nice to have such a wonderful gentle drake in love with you. Spike acted exactly like the prince that she wanted to meet. He was charming young dragon who worked very hard to keep her happy. He clearly cared for her a great deal and valued her as a pony rather then a piece of flank that he wanted to have so he could show off to his pals. If she did have a relationship with him, she had no doubt that he would serve her as best he could. On the other hoof, he was still so very young and a little naive to the ways of the world. He did come off on times as a little needy and desperate. Rarity could not help but think about how this might affect her business in Ponyville and Canterlot. So was confident that her friends in Ponyville would be okay with the relationship even if it took a few weeks to get used to, but in Canterlot appearance is everything and competition is always looking for something to drive you away from the business. Having a relationship that was not considered normal would certainly give them something to use. However, the biggest trouble was she didn't know what kind of love she felt for Spike. She really did care for him a lot and she could certainly say that she felt love for him but she could not say if that love could become romantic.
Fluttershy patted her back "Are you okay Rarity?"
Rarity turned to Fluttershy and sobbed "NO! I don't know what to do. I don't want to hurt poor Spikey Wikey and I don't know if I can love him the way he loves me. I suppose I could see hoe somepony could find herself falling in love with him, he is just so sweet and kind, but it could ruin my business if I am seen with him. I just don't know what to do!"
"How can you worry about your business!" shouted Rainbow Dash "If those high nosed ponies in Canterlot don't like it they aren't worth your trouble!"
"Rainbow calm down" said Twilight "Rarity worked real hard to get her business to where it is. It is important to her. I've been to Canterlot several times and I can tell you that a lot of the ponies there are very narrow minded. It might not be fair but she does have to consider her future. And do you really think Spike would want Rarity to ruin herself for him?"
Rainbow Dash looked down "Sorry Rarity."
"It's okay dear, I know your only trying to help in your own way" said Rarity weakly.
"Well you should just go and tell Spike what you think, anyway. You already said you love him at least on some level so just say that" said Applejack firmly.
"Yah" said Rainbow Dash "Applejack is right, Spike is almost as awesome as I am. You would be lucky to have him as a very special somepony."
"But I don't know how I feel about him" sighed Rarity her face falling to the floor.
"Don't think about it just go and do it!" said Rainbow Dash with a hoof thrust.
"Rainbow Dash it is not that simple" said Twilight "If Rarity doesn't know for certain how she feel's about Spike then if the truth went out later things could be bad."
"But the bonding means that they already love each other" said Rainbow Dash.
"The bonding only means that Spike loves Rarity. When bonding occurs outside of the dragon, species it doesn't always end up with true love. The two can turn out to be friends, acquaintances, companions, like siblings, even parent and child. It all depends on what the other bond companion wants in the relationship" said Star Swirl.
"I think Rarity should just wait" said Fluttershy quietly "I don't want to see her or Spike get hurt. If that is okay with everypony."
Twilight nodded to that and was about to agree when Pinkie Pie popped up beside of her.
"I think you should just have Twilight cast a spell so you and Spike fuse and become a Qilin! That would look really cute. You'd look beautiful with the platinum skin and a line of purple fur going down the back. Little green claws and such an adorable expression as your little fangs stick out on your face" said Pinkie Pie with a smile and shiny eyes.
"What's a Qilin?" asked Applejack.
"The Qilin are a race of half dragon half equine hybrids that inhabit an island on the other side of the world. To my knowledge, none has ever left their sacred island before. How do you know about them Pinkie Pie?" said Star Swirl with a look of utter confusion on his face.
"I have no idea" said Pinkie Pie shaking her head slightly and smiling.
"Rriiigght" said Star Swirl staring at Pinkie Pie for a moment before turning to Rarity. "Rarity all I can do is tell you that none of us can really help you. You need to look deep into your heart and see what you really feel."
Rarity stood up and shook her mane away from her face "I've got to go and think about this, please don't follow me". Then she walked as briskly as she could out of the room before her friends could block her way.
Rainbow Dash got up to follow her up Star Swirl caught her in a magic field before she could start flying "Rainbow Dash, this is Rarity's problem and she needs to deal with it her way and right now she needs to be alone so she can sort through her thoughts. Now why don't you come back down and I'll tell you about the time I flew with Flutterbye."
The night in Ponyville wrapped around Rarity like a blanket. There was nopony around and the cold air was briskly brushed against her coat. As Rarity walked, she didn't really pay attention to where she was going she was too lost in thought. She loved her friends for trying to help her but right now, she needed to think about what kind of future she was going to have with Spike. If it is true that they were bond together by what ever it was that bond dragons to their partners then she could no longer put off her feelings for Spike. She loved the little dragon so much and she would never want him to get hurt.
As she walked, she found herself sitting in front of a tree overlooking the route to Canterlot. Somewhere in there was Spike, probably sleeping off a lot of hard work he had done with the princesses. Twilight had told her that before Spike became her assistant, the little dragon spent his time with Princess Celestia so maybe he was sleeping in her room. Rarity wondered for a moment what it was like to sleep with the princesses but her thoughts were brought right back to Spike. Again, the tears fell like rain on her face. She didn't doubt that by now her mane and coat were raw and mated from all the tears and her makeup was probably just one big smear. She collapsed on to the dirt but for once, she didn't care, she had more important things to think about then being dirty. Rarity cried and cried but it never seemed to be enough. She closed her eyes, raised her hooves to her horn and began to weep through her entire body. She allowed the sorrow to flow out of her body and into the ground.
Then she felt something brush against her mane and wipe the tears from her eyes, she paused for a moment and felt her mane being gently stroked. It was so comforting, so loving that she didn't want to care who it was she just let the peacefulness flow into her for a moment before opening her eyes and turning. There sitting right next to her was Spike, as cute as ever. His green eyes just stared into hers shining slightly in the moonlight and looking like pools. He had a small smile on his face, as if he was happy just being able to comfort Rarity at this moment. He spoke not a word, just smiled and continued to comfort her.
Rarity turned away "Spike don't look at me, I must look hideous after all this crying" said Rarity through her sobs trying to wipe away her makeup and brush her mane back.
Spike just gently grasped her muzzle and turned her so he could look in her eyes "Rarity you look positively radiant underneath the moonlight, and lovely as the day I met you."
"Don't lie to me Spike, I'm hideous!" shouted Rarity.
"Rarity, you couldn't be hideous if you tried, you have too much love in your heart to ever be ugly. Look how you take care of Sweetie Belle and all the help ponies whenever you can. When you are making dresses you look so happy you just glow with beauty. Every step you take, every word that you say it just goes to show how much of a wonderful and loving pony you are."
"But look at me, my mane is a mess, I don't know here my eyelashes are…"
Spike put a claw to her lips "Rarity those are just physical things, they change and shift more often then the tides, what is really important is what is one the inside because that stays with you forever."
Rarity couldn't speak either she just slid her face into his tiny chest and wept until all of her tears were gone. Spike never stopped comforting her, never tried to figure out why she was crying he just waited until she was ready to talk. Despite her sorrow resting her head on Spike's chest was comforting. It almost seemed like her mind was beginning to clear with every passing moment. It was a warming feeling this filled her from the tip of her horn down to her tail. Neither knew how long they stayed there, Rarity crying and Spike comforting back. The moon was notably in a different position when Rarity managed to sob out a simple question "How was Canterlot Spike?"
Spike just patted her head gently and smiled "It was wonderful Rarity. I really do enjoy living here in Ponyville, the locals are so colourful and friendly but it's nice to visit Canterlot and my old friends. Going into the castle without Twilight lets be walk at my own pace. I can talk to each of the guards, you be surprised how friendly they are when they aren't watching the princess. A lot of the shopkeepers know me as well. I got to visit Pony Joe again and reconnect with Book Burner, so many friends I have lost contact with since I moved her to Ponyville with Twilight."
"What do you do when the princess calls you in anyway?" asked Rarity softly.
Spike paused for a moment "You have to promise you won't tell anypony"
Rarity slowly nodded.
"Most of the time Celestia and I just talk; I'm one of the few beings she knows that is completely comfortable being around her. We reminisce about when I was young and I accidently light her mane on fire when I got the hiccups, we talk about her hopes and dreams and the stress of running the kingdom. I'm afraid I can't go into extensive detail about everything we talk about since that is a private matter between me and the princess, but I know that she really does enjoy being able to take off the princess crown and just be plain old Celestia with me. I guess you could say I'm a kind of stress relief for her. Things have been better and worse since Princess Luna came, I can tell. She has someone around she can talk to about things and she has her sister is back. But Tia still feels guilty about what she was forced to do."
Rarity was a little shocked with Spike's admission. His royal business was just to be there for the princess, he travels all that distance, away from his friends, just because Celestia needed someone to talk too. Rarity realized something right then, this was the kind of dedication and love that she as going to be getting now that she has been bonded. It was as if a gust of wind entered her mind. She knew what she as going to do; she just hoped that it was the right choice.
Rarity stood up slowly and wiped her face again then she leaned over a place a little kiss right on Spike's head. Spike blushed and smiled, which amused Rarity "Come on Spikey, we have spent enough time sitting under this silly old tree. I don't know how you got here but I am glad that you were able to come. Let's go back to the library, I am sure that the rest of our friends will be delighted to see you, and we even have a nice surprise waiting there."
Rarity levitated Spike on to her back and the two slowly walked back to the tree house. When they were crossing the town bridge Rarity turned to look into Spike's eyes.
"Spike before we get back there is something we have to talk about" said Rarity softly.
Spike looked worried "What do you mean Rarity? What's wrong?"
"I know you love me Spike" said Rarity sweetly.
Spike began to sputter and blushed even harder which Rarity found adorable.
"It's just a little crush" said Spike looking down.
Rarity stood on the bridge and Spike hopped off the stand next to her. "Spike I'm afraid you are wrong."
"What do you mean?" asked Spike.
Rarity wrapped her hoof around him "Spike, dragons do not get crushes. What you are feeling for me is actually true love manifesting itself through your dragon heritage."
Spike looked confused "What do you mean?"
"From what I have learned, when a dragon sets eyes on their true love, they become bonded for life. Sometimes they get married, sometimes they act like relatives and sometimes they are best friends."
Spike looked shocked at this admission. "And you are saying we are bonded like that?"
Rarity nodded "It appears to be so."
"What are we going to do?" asked Spike.
"I have been thinking about that since I found out how you feel really feel for me and what this means and I have come to some conclusions. I am sorry but I cannot date you right now" said Rarity putting her hoof on his shoulder.
Spike face shifted to sorrow and his eyes began to water.
"You are just too young for me, it wouldn't be right or legal but that doesn't mean I'm saying that I just want to be friends."
Spike perked up and turned his face to Raritys.
"Give it a year maybe two, until you get a little older and a little more mature and the laws won't persecute us. Then I will be willing to try being your very special somepony. I do not know for certain how it will turn out but I am willing to find out. How do you feel about that?" asked Rarity.
Spike began to smile and wrapped his arms around Rarity giving her a firm hug "Really Rarity you'll do that?"
"Yes dear but for right now, how about we just be very close friends?" said Rarity smiling at him again.
Spike nodded his head and smiled. Then Rarity started to walk again with Spike following her. When they arrived at the door, Rarity gently smiled at Spike and knocked on the door. It swung open to show Twilight with a look of shock on her face.
"Hello dear, I am a little better now, and look who I found" said Rarity moving into the house with Spike following closely behind her.
The ponies in the room were surprised and Twilight looked a little angry "Spike what are you doing her, your supposed to be in Canterlot on royal business."
Spike just smiled "I was performing my royal duties when I felt this powerful feeling in my stomach. I didn't know why but I knew that I need to be some place else at the moment, so I asked the Princesses if they could teleport me to the old tree in the park."
"And the princesses just let you go?" asked Rainbow Dash.
"They were a little shocked, but the feeling was so powerful I just couldn't ignore it, so they let me off early and sent me."
"What happened?" asked Pinkie Pie.
Spike opened his mouth but Rarity cut in "The gentle drake found me by the tree and we had a little talk before coming back her to warm up."
"Who is that?" asked Spike pointing to Star Swirl.
Star Swirl smiled "Hello Spike, you can call me Star Swirl. I'm a researcher and I was hoping we could talk about dragons."
Spike's eyes shot up "Really you know about dragons?"
"I've been researching them for a long time, but when I heard about a dragon that was raised by ponies I had to come and talk to you."
While Spike and Star Swirl got involved in a conversation the girls walked up the Rarity and Rainbow Dash whispered "So what did you decide Rares?"
Rarity smiled "He is a really loving dragon and I can see myself falling in love with him, but he is a little too young for me right now, so together we decided to wait a year or two and see how things turn about."
"Did you tell him about the bond?" asked Twilight.
"Yes I did and he was really shocked about it, but at the same time happy."
The girls turned to see Spike and Star Swirl laughing a little. Rarity just walked up beside him and snuggled close planting a little kiss on his nose. If she was going to be the partner to a dragon one day it was important that she learned as much about them as possible.