The Missing Element

by David Silver

Chapter 1: 1 - Spike, Take a Letter.

Applejack tapped at her chin softly. "Somethin's botherin' me." She sat on her throne of friendship, looking at the map of Equestria that dominated the room. "Everythin' we've encountered about this castle was built for a reason, right?"

Twilight bobbed her head. "So far. Every little detail was made, basically, by destiny's direct hand. It's quite humbling to consider." She sat up straight. "Do you think I'm doing a good job?"

Applejack waved away the statement. "Yer doin' just fine, sugarcube. The thing that has me wonderin' is this. Every element gets a throne, right?"

Twilight nodded slowly. "Right. What's so mysterious about that?"

Applejack waved her hoof in a slow circle around the table. "I count seven."

Twilight glanced around quickly, doing mental counting quickly. "I see six."

Applejack thrust a hoof directly at Spike's smaller chair. "Seven."

Pinkie poked out from behind her chair, where she hadn't been a moment before. "She has a point there."

Twilight's wings extended in surprise as she jumped. "Pinkie! Oh, well... join us." Her eyes turned to the small chair that belonged to Spike. "That is not a throne. Look at it!"

Applejack smiled. "Well sure, it ain't no big and fancy throne, but it sure is a seat, and it's right here." She tapped the arm rest of her chair. "Don't that mean somethin'?"

Twilight tilted her head slowly. "That I have a wonderful assistant?"

Pinkie shook her head. "I see where she's going. If the seat is here, it involves the map. You don't need a chair for anypony, even if they're a good friend, unless it all, you know, ties together." She put her forehooves together.

Twilight frowned sharply. "Spike is a dragon! Dragons don't even have cutie marks. They don't have destinies, not like ponies do."

Applejack lifted her shoulders in a little shrug. "And yet, there it is. I mean, how'd you two meet again?"

Twilight blinked at Applejack. "I hatched him, with magic... I was a little filly, and it was my first true display of magic. I got my cutie mark for it."

Pinkie leaned forward. "Maybe your cutie mark is his cutie mark." She jumped up on the table suddenly and began trotting over towards Twilight. "Lemme see!"

Twilight started warding Pinkie away from staring at her flank and the two began to wrestle as Applejack mused, almost to herself, "If'n he was hatched by ya, that makes you kinda his mother, or maybe makes him a familiar or somethin'. Either way, his destiny's all tangled up in yers."

With a loud thump, Pinkie and Twilight fell to the ground in a pile. Pinkie beamed as she managed to get Twilight's leg down and examined Twilight's flank. She drew out a large magnifying glass and began to inspect her cutie mark.

Twilight let out an exasperated sigh. "Pinkie... I've looked at it before. What do you really expect to find?"

"You have seven stars." Pinkie hopped off Twilight and sat down.

Applejack cocked a brow. "Come again?"

Twilight rolled up to her haunches. "What she said."

Pinkie pulled down a chalk board from seemingly nowhere and made a quick sketch of Twilight's cutie mark, colors included. "Look! One for me, One for Applejack, One for Rarity, One for Fluttershy, and one for Rainbow." She colored each star as she identified it with a little cutie mark in it. "But wait! What's this? The big star in the center? It has a smaller star right behind it!" She outlined the white star behind the purple star. "Right here."

Twilight stared at Pinkie's drawing a quiet moment before she shook her head. "That's just the twinkling of the main star."

Applejack snorted. "Doesn't have ta be. Look, it's smaller than the pink star. Do ya think?"

Pinkie grinned. "We found Spike!"

Twilight wavered a moment, looking almost faint. "B-but... But! There wasn't an element of harmony for him! He didn't take part in that, or rainbow power. How can he be an element?!"

Applejack pointed at the picture Pinkie drew. "Because he's been hidin' behind you, supportin' ya. He made you ready to do yer part. He's still there for ya, helpin' out. He can't even help other ponies without goin' all buggy and nervous. Twilight, he is an element."

Twilight staggered over to the chalk board and reached up, placing a hoof on the big pink and white star in the center. "But... That means... That means he can't fulfill his own destiny..." She swallowed heavily. "That's not fair..."

Pinkie tilted her head. "Element of sacrifice? Element of loyal dragons! Element of selflessness?"

Twilight grunted and turned away from the chalk board. "That's not funny! Oh, poor Spike... I didn't mean for this to happen! This explains... so much..."

Applejack pressed her forehooves together. "Well, now that ya know that, perhaps we could be a mite nicer to the fella?"


Pinkie tilted her head. "I'm nice to Spike all the time!"

Applejack shook her head. "All of us could stand ta treat the fella with a bit more respect. Maybe if we supported him fer a change, we could find that goal a' his."

Twilight thrust a hoof at the ground with a clop. "We have! We helped him reach the dragon migration!"

Applejack gave a nod. "Sure we did, but one time doesn't count for everythin'. He knows he ain't a normal dragon now. We should be tryin' to help him find what he is, not what he ain't. Don't he deserve that?"

Twilight looked to the ground a moment.

The soft tick-tack of claws hinted at Spike's approach, but his voice was much more telling. "Hi everypony! I got groceries for tonight." He poked his head into the room and looked around. "Why the long faces? Uh, no pun intended."

Twilight trembled before she ran over to his side and grabbed him off, sending a few bags to the ground around him. She didn't care about the groceries. She squeezed him fiercely and said nothing.

"Uh... Did I do something wrong?" Spike looked to the other two for a clue as to what was going on.

Author's Notes:

The unspoken pillars of our lives. It's too easy to forget they're there until they're gone.

I hope you liked it, but do beware the typos of destiny.

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