Spike's Hoard

by Shotoman

Chapter 1: The Most Precious Things

Spike's Hoard


Uugh. Five more minutes.

OW! Peewee, what was that for! Geez. It's only ten for crying out loud. Huh? Oh. Oh right! They'll be here any time won't they? Yeah, yeah. I owe ya one. You really are the best little assistant a dragon could have.

I chuckle a bit as my quite literally fiery little buddy glowers at me before flying out of the cave. He hates it when I call him my assistant. Or he pretends to anyway. We've made a game of aggravating each other, ever since he found me again... what was it? A hundred years ago? Two? Kinda sucks how hard it actually is to keep track of time these days. Makes me wonder sometimes how much worse it probably is for the Princesses. I've actually started making checklists of my own these days. Oh, nothing as--detailed, I guess? Overboard, probably--as the ones I had to write up as a kid. Noooo, nothing like those. Just enough to keep track of things. Like the friends I got coming to visit soon.

I roll over and hoist myself up off my bed of gems. It's smaller than those of most dragons, I'll admit. But it's good enough for me. Big enough to be comfortable, with plenty of extra to snack on a handful here and there--which I do now for a quick breakfast. Good thing, too. I hear the little tykes already.

I meander out to the entrance of my cave--meander? Since when do I use words like meander? Man I'm gettin' old. Anyway, who should be waiting for me but the three little squirts. Cutie Mark Crusaders, generation... ten, I think. Maybe more. Like I said, time is tough for adult dragons to keep track of.

"Hey, Uncle Spike!" the leader of the gang shouts out. "You ready fer some Crusadin'?"

"Sure thing, Bloomers," I respond with a grin as she does her best to glare--it doesn't really work out for her, obviously.

"Please don't call me that," Applebloom (The third to sport the name since I moved to Ponyville, incidentally. There is a limit to apple related names after all) responds with a roll of her eyes. Y'know, she used to love the nickname. At least 'till she learned what bloomers were.

About this time I notice the fourth little filly hiding behind a nearby tree. "Oh, hey. Did'jou bring a new friend over?" I chuckle as the newcomer disappears behind the tree.

"Don't worry, I'll get 'er," Cherry Berry Pie says before diving behind the tree herself. Less than a second later, the new girl almost flies out of her hiding spot and lands face first at my feet.

"Hiya," I say in my friendliest voice. "What's your name?" She just stares at me slack jawed. Poor little thing. She's obviously new in town. For one thing, I'd remember an off white unicorn with brown spots in her coat. Huh. Still staring. I forget what a sight I am to newcomers sometimes. I lay down on my stomach and rest my head in one hand. "Yeah. I'm a dragon. Don't think there's another one quite like me, though. I'm kind of a Ponyville original. Name's Spike." Still staring with her mouth open, I see. "Uh, this is usually the part where you tell me your name."

"Star Bright," Firefly helpfully supplies. "Her name is Star Bright."

"Well, then Star Bright. Do your parents know you're here?" I chuckle when I see her face redden a little and the other three suddenly avoid eye contact. But I trade the amusement in for sternness. At least for a moment. I am the adult here, after all. "You girls know better than that," I scold. "My cave may be just on the very edge of the forest, and I do my best to keep the area around here safe, but your parents still need to know when you come over. Besides, do Star Bright's parents know she's meeting a dragon right now?"

"No. Duh," Firefly responds. "They woulda said no."

Now I grin. "Can't fault that logic. Oh wait. Yes I can. Well, only one thing for it," I say as I pull the heavy--even for me--stone doors shut on my home and lock it with the key I have hanging around my neck. I smile inwardly at the gasp I hear from Star Bright as I roll the large rock in front of the door, hiding it from the outside world while I'm gone. There's precious treasure inside, after all. Gotta keep it safe.

"Okay, kids, here we go," I say as I scoop the four fillies and gently drop them on my back.

"Where we goin'?" Bloomers asks as I head out toward the town.

"First off, I think we gotta meet Star Bright's parents."

"B-but, Mr. Spike," Star Bright stutters--first word she's uttered since arriving, I think. "When my parents see you they're going to... uh... freak out."

"CherBear's dad already invited you guys to the traditional New-Pony-in-Ponyville party, right?" I ask. And Cherry Berry nods her head so fast it becomes a pink and violet blur. "Then they'll meet me then anyway. Like I said, I'm part of this town. I go to all the parties. It's probably better to get the initial freak out done early and privately. After that, well, maybe we can figure something fun out from there."

I'm not going to go on too much about the day I had out there with the little squirts. There was some freaking out, a playful prank or two, a broken window, and a fair amount of running. But I'm satisfied as I return to the hoard. I've got a new treasure to add to it. I walk right on past my jewel bed, down a twisting hallway and into a second, much larger room. See, this is what a lotta folks don't know about dragon hoards. We have a second room, much deeper in our caves, where we keep the really valuable stuff. For most dragons, this is where the diamonds the size of a Saddle Arabian horse would be found.

For me, though, it's a little different. The only real jewel in my special hoard is a relatively small heart shaped fire ruby set in a gold setting, sitting on display in the very back of the room. Nah, here you'll find several dragon sized trophy cases, the nearest of which I put my newly acquired softball--right next to a torn quilt with the CMC's logo crudely sewn into it and a few silly looking costumes. Apart from the trophy cases, you'll find any number of odds and ends. I've got about seventeen hoofballs--all of them signed, only one of them by anypony that would make it even remotely valuable. I have two old Apple Family cider presses, restored to working condition. Several models of party cannon. A lot of old Summer Sun Celebration decorations, and etcetera, etcetera. Nothing in here would be anything another dragon would find even remotely valuable or worth their time, but let me tell you, I'd defend this hoard just as fiercely as they would their mountains of rubies, sapphires, and diamonds. Fiercer, even.

See, attached to all these things, all this junk, is a memory. Memories of friends current, and past. Memories that I wouldn't trade in for all the gems in the world. Where you might see an old tapestry, I see a scared-out-of-his-mind Dusk Shine proposing to the mare of his dreams, then fainting out of sheer giddiness when she said yes. That old pink Stetson? Applebloom II taking control and saving Sweet Apple Acres from the biggest parasprite invasion the town had ever seen. I may have gotten old enough that I'm having trouble keeping track of the years, but in this room, I can remember all my adventures and misadventures as if they happened yesterday.

The very back of the room, as you might guess, has my most valuable treasures of all. The very first party cannon. A number of old birdhouses. The fire ruby I mentioned earlier. The oldest, plainest Stetson you've ever seen. An old Wonderbolts uniform. A large bookshelf, full of books reprinted to dragon size--a gift from Celestia and Luna a very long time ago. Each book, most with titles such as "A study on the history of the Crystal Empire" or "The Life and Times of Starswirl the Bearded," all have the same name on the bottom of the spine. T. Sparkle. Most of these books are in perfect condition--I could never understand most of Twi's research anyway, and I, er, 'helped' with a lot of the data gathering. But there is one that's gotten a bit worn over the years.

It's called 'Friendship and the Magic Thereof.'

I pull the book out of it's place and open to the back page, where an old, but still vibrant, picture is printed. It's a picture of my first real family. Rainbow Dash. Pinkie Pie. Fluttershy. Applejack. Rarity.

Twilight Sparkle.

"Hey girls. Hey Twi," I say aloud. "I had a great day today. Y'see..."

And, you know what? I think I'm gonna end this here. The rest of this conversation is kinda private. I do have a big day tomorrow. Running of the Leaves, you see. I'm commentating again. It'll be a blast.

Author's Notes:

Well, here we go. Another story by me. And look. No Doctors or TARDISes to be seen anywhere. Just a simple FiM one shot.

I was actually a little reluctant to write this out. I don't like to actually dwell on the "Immortal's Curse" as it's often called. For one thing, I'm a generally happy person, and I like my fics to be generally happy. Or to at least end on a good note. Second, well, there's fics all over the place if that's what you want to find.

But I've found that there tends to be something sorely lacking in this genre. Over and over and over again we get reminded on the tragedy that will inevitably befall, for example, Spike, on account of his long years as a dragon and all. And yes, outliving a loved one is a tragedy. But here's the thing these writers tend to forget, something a lot of us who have outlived a loved one--myself included--can attest to. Life goes on. Friends and family--both living and dead--do a lot to define who we are. We will always remember them. And that is good and proper. But, even so, we can't let that define our lives, and I'm such an optimistic person that I wanted to show a Spike who's life has gone on. A Spike who can look at the past not with sadness and regret at what was lost, but with a sense of gratitude for what he had. So, with that in mind, I went ahead an wrote this. Hope you enjoyed it.

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