Disclaimer: I doth nay own the brain child of Lauren Faust, nor the works of Madame J.K. Rowling.
Chapter 1: Spike's Royal Business
Small claw scrapes echoed in the grand halls of Canterlot Castle, a small, pudgy dragon approaching the large, gold-inlayed doors to the throne room, guarded by two of the Royal Guards Finest, ponies of strength, ponies of great discipline, ponies-
"Heya, Spike!" A unicorn guard called at the approaching dragon, waving like an idiot…
…Hey, they're still disciplined and all that…
…Don't look at me like that, soldier or not, can't a pony be happy to see a friendly face?
"Hey, guys," Spike greeted, "I believe she's expecting me."
"Right," the unicorn guard remembered, his horn glowing to open the door, "We're having the weekly poker game tonight if you're still here."
Spike smirked as he walked past, "Why, you guys in a rush to lose your paycheck again?"
"Ha-ha," The other guard, a pegasus, said, as the unicorn used his power to close the gigantic doors behind Spike, "Your luck as to run out sometime, Lizard Lips."
"Not when it's skill, it doesn't, feather-brain," Spike called back as the doors shut. Claws clacking as he walked, Spike stopped at the base of the platform holding the throne. The dragon bowed deeply to aurora-like mane of the, until recently, sole ruler of the land, "Your highness, I, Spike Dragul, ask what can I do as your most loyal subject."
There was sheer silence in the Royal hall, the dragon holding his bow and the Sun Princess holding her head high, almost looking down her nose at him. They held these positions for a full minute of silence before it was finally broken by a snort from the princess, soon echoed by Spike, before both broke down laughing, the princess staggering down the stairs as she finally got control of herself.
"Well, I suppose you win this round, Spike."
"It was close, mom," Spike chuckled, wiping away a tear, "But really, what did you need? I thought our next trip wasn't for another few months."
"Yes, well," The princess was suddenly uncomfortable. Both she and her son had come to cherish their outings, and the surprising antics that usually followed, which made this hard for her, "I'm afraid we must…cancel our 'Royal Canterlot Business' this year."
Spike's tail hit the ground with a *thump*, his expression suddenly a lot more serious, "Has something happened? Is it the Griffins?" Spike asked anxiously. The griffins were, for the most part, friendly, but some of them were very vocal of their feelings for what were naturally 'prey animals' like ponies. The problem was, some of those griffins were in the right places to makes waves.
"No, no, nothing like that," Celestia assured her son, "But while one would think my duties would be lessened, Luna's return has actually increased my workload. Until recently, she has been recovering physically from her ordeal. Now I must help her adjust to the modern era, that means changes in laws, magic discoveries, technologies, our relations with other nations, even her way of speech could be hard for modern ponies to understand and vice-versa. What free time I have is needed to help her back into her position and making sure the subjects don't go crazy and stampede with fear."
"Well, that stinks," Spike sighed, "But I get it, family first and everything. We've got to help her get used to things today and stuff."
"Actually," Celestia smirked, "I have a different job for you."
Princess Luna made her way through the halls of her castle, her head held high, ignoring the odd servant that would scurry away after seeing her coming. Their opinions mattered little to her at the moment.
Stopping at a door, Luna took a deep breath before knocking.
"Come in," a voice answered weakly.
Luna entered, finding her son in bed with a book, as he had been for a long time. The first couple of weeks of her return had been far more stressful, Star Bolt had been in a coma. Even having the Elements remove the evil taint that had nearly ended his life, he had been horribly weakened. It had been touch and go for the first few days, the stress aggravating Luna's own weakened condition, before the doctors announced he was going to be alright, and for the week after that she'd had to wait for him to awaken.
Thankfully, the only lasting problem he'd had was a need for corrective lenses, hence the round, black-rimmed glasses atop his snout as he read. While he had been recovering, he was mostly confined to bed-rest, filling his time working through the royal library, although many times the nurses had to stop him from practicing his studies and straining himself, making Star Bolt antsy. He was a studious pony, yes, but Luna knew he was also a stallion of action, one who learned through doing better than through research.
"Mother," Star Bolt greeted cheerfully, nuzzling the princess.
"Good evening, my son," Luna greeted softly, "How have your studies progressed this day?"
"Very well, Mother," Star Bolt lift the book, shaking a little, "I have been studying the alchemical advancements of the third century following your departure," the colt then quirked his head a little, "Is it time for dinner already, Mother?"
"Nearly so, however, the doctor has given us some good news, he believes you well enough to attend dinner with your aunt in the dining hall," Luna said cheerfully, "It will allow you to acquaint yourself with your aunt and cousins."
Star Bolt's smile lit up the room, even more than it usually did for his mother. She just hated having to add-
"But I fear it is still too soon to fly."
His smile dimmed a bit, but he was still happy at the prospect of finally being able to leave his bed. Setting his book on the nightstand, he carefully eased himself off of the bed, his legs shaking slightly as he stood. He was in far better shape than he had been, but he was still rather thin and somewhat underweight. Walking with a slow gait, she guided her son down the hallways.
"My son, we will be having dinner with my sister, but another member of our family shall be present as well. I feel the need to warn thee, he may not exactly be what one would expect."
"Who is it, mother?" Star bolt asked. Thus far, the only family member he had met was his aunt, Celestia. She had mentioned cousins, both of whom were busy with other matters, although she was somewhat vague on what this other business was.
"He is the son of my sister and part of an announcement we shall have, but we shall save that for after dinner." Luna explained as they approached the dining hall doors, which opened with the glow of Luna's horn.
Inside was a table much smaller than was usually there. Instead of the grand dining table that would spread the length of the room, it was a much smaller table, which already seated Celestia and…
"A dragonling?" Star Bolt queried aloud.
"Yes," Celestia answered in an official tone, "Star Bolt, Luna, this is my son, Spike Dragul of the house Solaris. Spike, this is your Aunt Luna and cousin Star Bolt of the house Nocturne."
Spike waved, "What's up?"
Both mother and son turned their attention to the ceiling, causing Spike's hand to inexplicably meet his face.
"Wow, mom, you weren't kidding," Spike chuckled.
"Luna, Star Bolt, that was just a greeting," Celestia explained, "it's a sort of modern slang way of asking how you've been."
"Oh," Luna blushed, her son doing the same, both approaching the table, "our apologies, Sister, Nephew."
"So," Star Bolt, began, "My cousin is a dragon?"
"Yes, it is an interesting story I may tell you someday, but Spike is my son," Celestia confirmed, raising an eyebrow, "Is that a problem?"
"Oh, no," Star Bolt shook his head, "It was just a surprise, Aunt Celestia."
The Sun Alicorn chuckled, "Don't worry, nephew, I'm just playing with you. Spike actually lives outside the castle, working as an assistant to a student of mine, among other things."
The alicorn colt quirked his head in confusion, "You work as somepony's assistant?"
"Well, partly," Spike shrugged, taking a bite of a beautifully colored opal, "I help Twilight with her research, but most of my job is managing the library's public services, managing finances, organizing books, which was a real pain in my tail when we moved to Ponyville a couple months ago. Apparently, the last librarian put everything in alphabetical order by title, instead of organizing by subject. They didn't even separate fiction and non-fiction." Sipping his drink, Spike added, "I'm thinking of offering my services as an accountant when tax season comes around, I'm pretty good at math and kept the books for the Academy Library while we lived there."
"Fascinating," Star Bolt said, "That is an impressive accomplishment for one so young."
"Actually," Luna said, after finishing her salad and moving to a soup, "Spike is roughly equal to you in age, my son."
"Really?" Star Bolt said, surprised.
"Yeah," Spike nodded, "Dragon growth can be kinda weird, apparently."
"I see," Star trailed off as he ate.
"Actually, my son," Luna began somewhat awkwardly, "That is what I wished to talk to you about."
"You see, Star Bolt," Celestia explained, "While your mother has done a splendid job raising and teaching you, she is still behind by roughly a thousand years."
"I am afraid my sister is correct," Luna sighed, "There is much for you and I to learn about modern society, as well as the many things that have changed over the past centuries that I would have been unable to teach you due to my own ignorance. However, while we both have much to learn, I have many other things to do as well, between reassuming my duties, establishing my place to the nobles, reestablishing and choosing my Night Guard, furnishing my tower as well as supervising the construction of a room for your use and numerous other things I have need to do. There is also the matter of your continuing recovery from your ordeal. So," Luna sighed and was silent for a moment, "So, upon consulting with my sister, we thought it would be best if you were to spend the next few months of your recovery in Ponyville with your cousin."
"Yeah," Spike said with a smile, "I can show you around, introduce you to everypony, and the fresh country air will be great for you."
Star Bolt tried to look happy and excited, but Luna could tell the old wounds of his previous caretakers had surfaced, wounds even time would be troubled to heal.
"Stop that thought, Star Bolt," Luna said sternly, surprising both young princes. Rising from her seat, she walked calmly to her son, touching her horn to his as a deep blue aura enveloped both, "Do not ever entertain the thought that I would abandon you for any reason, even for a moment." As she spoke, Celestia motioned to her own son, as they left the night royalty to their privacy.
"Star Bolt," Luna sighed, sitting down, "For centuries I was alone, left with nothing but to stew in my own anger and bitterness, towards my sister, towards my kingdom, towards the world as a whole. But after so very long, a blessing appeared to me, and that blessing was you, my son. At first, you brought a break in the monotony of my imprisonment, but as you grew and became more attached to me, even under the Nightmare's influence, I came to care for you, and to love you. With that, the Nightmare's hold was lessened, even slightly, and perhaps even she was changed and grew to love you. More than my royal status, more than my sister, more than my wings, my horn, even my life, you are the thing in this world I treasure above all else. To save you, I would sacrifice anything, even my own life and may you never doubt that."
"I," Star bolt hesitated, "I am sorry, mother. I should not have doubted you. You have given me so much, a home, a new family, and…" Trailing off for a moment, he continued, looking down in shame, "And love, you have raised me as your own, and I let the events of the past haunt me."
With a hoof, Luna lifted his chin, "There is nothing to apologize for, my son. And I promise you, should I be able to find them, those foul former caretakers of yours shall enjoy a nice, lengthy stay in the castle dungeons. But, that is another reason I wish for you to go with your cousin. Any interpersonal experience you've had was either with those…hateful creatures, or with me. With your cousin, you can learn to be as the youth are today, and you can make friends and interact with ponies your own age. And, in a few months we shall make our public debut at a Gala, and if you so wish at that time, you may move back into the castle."
The colt nodded, "Thank you, Mother."
Luna watched as the royal chariot flew away, led by the first light of dawn.
"He will be fine."
Luna looked back to find her sister approaching, "I understand that, sister, but-"
"It's difficult being away from him so long," Celestia finished.
"Yes," Luna nodded, "For so long, he has been my only company. I am ashamed to admit, associating with new ponies leaves me somewhat…wary."
"Don't worry, Luna, I'm sure you'll get back into the swing of things soon enough," Celestia assured her, before donning a devious grin, "And you know, I sent a couple of my most experienced guards to your chambers…to help you get started."
"Sister!" the moon princess gasped in a scandalized tone, blushing brightly.
"Oh, should I recall them?" Celestia asked, giggling as her sister, blushed deeper.
Even for an alicorn, a thousand years alone tends to build up certain…frustrations, she hadn't felt comfortable dealing with while her son was in the castle, but now…
Luna turned with a huff, walking towards her tower and trying to ignore her sister's giggles behind her.
"-And I can introduce you to some of the cool ponies I know, I think Vinyl will be thrilled to meet you," Spike ticked things off as the young princes sat in the chariot.
"Who is this Vinyl," Star Bolt asked, "And why would she be thrilled to meet me, Cousin Spike?"
The dragon sighed, "Look, could you just call me Spike? Nopony knows I'm a prince and I'd kinda like to keep it like that for a while."
The Night-Prince cocked his head, "Why would you hide your heritage? Are you ashamed?"
"I'm not exactly hiding it, okay, and I would never be ashamed of my mom, it's just," Spike struggled for a moment, "Look, some ponies already give me odd looks for being a dragon, even if they think I don't see it, and I just don't want anypony treating me even more differently than they already do just because I'm a prince. You'll see that there are some ponies who'll try and," Spike thought for a moment, trying to think of how to explain this to somepony who would probably get an entirely wrong impression from terms like 'ass kisser', 'suck up' and the like, "They'll treat you differently, try and inflate your ego, just so they can get you to do something that benefits them and only them.
"Ah, such things that can lead to political corruption," Star nodded, "Mother warned me of such things in my political studies lessons, devious ponies who would try and make others their puppets in positions of power."
"Yeah, kinda like that," Spike nodded, "But it's also, well, when ponies know you're royalty, they're a lot more guarded, they don't act like they normally would because they're afraid of getting into trouble or offending you, and it takes a lot longer to get them to act like the real them, good or bad, you know?"
Star nodded slowly, "I believe I understand. You wish to know our subjects as they truly are, rather than the façade they don out of respect, greed or fear."
The dragon sighed, "I guess that's one way of putting it, but I just want ponies to be my friends not because I'm a royal prince, but because I'm a cool guy," he explained, giving a thumbs up.
"Cool?" Star Bolt asked, getting close, "Is your flame low, cousin? Are you feeling unwell?"
Resisting the urge to smack himself again, Spike shook his head, "Alright, first lesson, cool doesn't always mean cool." Star Bolt's expression said all it needed to as Spike continued, "Cool can mean something is cold, but a lot of ponies use it to mean that something is," Spike struggled to think of a word, seriously, how do you define cool? "It means something is…excellent, you know?"
The colt blinked, "So, the word 'cool' is now also to mean something is of great quality?"
"Yeah, let's go with that. It could refer to ponies or objects or an activity, it's a context sort of thing."
"I see," He didn't, really. He understood the meaning, but he didn't understand why one would use a temperature reference for the quality of others.
"Don't worry too much; I'm sure you'll catch on after a while." Spike looked down to see the chariot was pulling up to the Golden Oaks Library, "Hey, we're here."
Leading his cousin off the chariot and waving the guards off as they left, Spike opened the door, calling out to Twilight-
Only to be silenced by a pillow to the face.
"Ah, sorry, Spike," A feminine drawl apologized from inside.
Letting the pillow slip off his face, revealing a deadpanned expression, Spike sighed, "We're home."
"We?" Twilight asked, before Star Bolt stepped in the door, bowing to the lavender unicorn.
"Good morn, Ms. Sparkle."
Preempting her question, Spike let loose a small belch, a letter materializing from the flame in front of her. Catching the scroll, she broke the seal and read aloud-
My trusted student, Twilight Sparkle,
I apologize for imposing, but I have an assignment for you of great importance.
The colt before you is Star Bolt, son of my sister Luna, who has only recently recovered from the curse you and your friends removed. He has proven to be a clever and studious young colt, but, as she has been away for so very long, both Luna, and through her Star Bolt, is a millennium behind in many subjects.
Although he has used much of his free time to study, he is still behind in a number of subjects, or is operating on outdated material.
I have begun to bring my sister up to date, so my task for you is to tutor him. You have free reign in how and in what subjects, so do as you feel is correct.
With that said, he is also still recovering his strength from his ordeal, and it was felt that the fresh country air would do well for him, but he is not to practice magic or flight for another week or two, I will trust your judgment on this.
However, this assignment is not only yours. As Star Bolt has spent his entire life in only the company of his mother in the solitude of the moon, I have tasked Spike with helping Star Bolt acclimate to social situations, and aid him in the same assignment I gave you upon your departure from Canterlot-
-To make friends.
Your Proud Teacher,
P.S. You will be receiving an additional stipend for Star Bolts living expenses with your research stipend and the library's usual funding.
"Wait," Applejack interrupted, "So yer Nightmare Moon's boy?"
"Yes," Star Bolt answered simply. Really, to him, there was no more difference between Luna and Nightmare Moon than a change of armor and ornaments.
"He's Princess Luna's son," Twilight stressed, before turning to the colt, "And I am honored to have been chosen as your teacher, Prince Star Bolt."
"Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear," Rarity was fanning herself, "A real prince living here in Ponyville?" She caught sight of her reflection in a window, "And I look just," She was out the door in an instant, leaving her curlers spinning in the air as she headed towards her store.
Beside Star Bolt, his cousin sighed, whispering, "Told you ponies act different when they know they're around royalty."
"Well, uh, would ya look at that, the suns out; I'd better get on back the farm 'fore the family starts ta' worry." Applejack said, a bit nervous, before leaving herself.
"Oookay," Twilight said awkwardly, "Well, Welcome, Star Bolt. I'm afraid until I'm able to do some reorganizing, you'll have to share a room with me and Spike, he can take you up to put your things away, if you'd like."
"Thank you, Ms. Sparkle," Star Bolt bowed, just before Spike belched up another letter.
"I was supposed to give you this, too," He handed her the scroll before leading the colt up the stairs.
Unrolling the scroll, Twilight read-
First, we would like to thank you and your friends for having saved our beloved son from the evil that cursed him.
However, we still fear for his health, so we would request you watch over him. As we understand, you have a goodly amount of modern diagnostic equipment you use for your experiments. As Star Bolt's mother, you have our permission to occasionally keep scans and records of his physical condition as well as mana flow and anything else you feel appropriate, with the request that you send copies of all record to us.
In addition, we wish for you to watch his condition for another reason. Keep in mind that what you are about to read is a Royal Secret, which is why we have requested Spike only hand you this message in complete privacy. Should this information be spread without our permission, then you shall be held responsible and the punishments shall be severe…
As Twilight read further, her eyes widened in shock, as if her world had been shaken, and whole new questions had appeared.
A.N. So, some folks were saying this should be made into a story of it's own, so...here it is, my first MLP fanfiction...I have fallen to my inner brony...
Now, I have the next couple episodes outlined, as well as some long term plans worked out (I'm taking this crap seriously, for some reason), and it will begin to deviate from canon simply due to Star Bolt/Harry's presence, and will have some things tossed in for the heck of it. I don't have any pairings planned, not for Star Bolt at least, as he has the social skills of a robot at the moment.
I do need a bit of help...I think the story needs a better title, and I'm open to suggestions, so put it in your reviews (But, please, actually review if you don't mind, do just post suggestions or two word things, if you don't mind).