Chapter 6: The River Dragon Has Come

Opening comments: So here's chapter 6. It took me a while to get started on it since I had preparations to make for Otakon, and I had catching up to do at both of my jobs post-Otakon. I hope you all enjoy this chapter. A big thank you goes out to all of my pre-readers for providing me with plenty of ideas and suggestions! I really appreciate all of the time you guys have taken to help me out!

***

        Rarity leaned forward and grabbed the letter from the coffee table, reading it slowly, taking in every word. When she was done, she sat it back down, daintily lifted her tea cup, and took a sip before commenting. "Well, I think it's for the best. There must be some substance to the queen's worrying if she's going so far as to lend you one of her guards. Even if nothing happens, at least you'll have yourself a nice gentleman to keep you company." Across the table, Twilight began to blush.

        "That's the problem. I don't spend much time around guys outside of the academic setting. I'm...not very comfortable with the idea." Twilight wrung her hands nervously, shifting her gaze between her friends. Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash occupied the chairs at either end of the coffee table, Rarity the chair across from her, and Applejack shared the couch that Twilight was sitting on. She could have at least waited to have this conversation in privacy Twilight thought to herself, thoroughly embarrassed to have her short-comings brought up.          

        "And this is the solution," Rarity replied, tapping the letter with a slender finger. "You have to get used to being around guys in a private setting at some point. It's not like this would be the first time you've had to adjust to a new situation. Need I remind you that the very idea of friends frightened you when you first came here?"

        Twilight shifted uncomfortably in her seat. It was true that prior to her attendance at Perryville Academy she hadn't involved herself with other people her age. She either spent her time with her teachers and tutors, or holed up in her room studying and researching. When she had first arrived at the elite school she had been completely introverted, associating with her fellow students only when her assignments deemed it necessary. Now, though, she had a group of great friends who she could open up to whenever she needed. If I can clear that hurdle then I suppose I can clear this one, too, she assured herself. She leaned forward and retrieved her own teacup from the coffee table, sipping at the hot liquid within before returning it to its saucer. She slumped back into the couch with a sigh of defeat. "I guess I don't have much of a choice. Even if I told Queen Celestia 'no', I doubt she would listen; after all, who am I to give orders to a queen?" To her right, Pinkie Pie began to clap her hands and bounce in her seat.

        "Oh, we have to have a welcoming party! Something big and exciting, with balloons, and music! Oooo, and we'll need a cake, too! A big one!" She continued rambling on with idea after idea in true Pinkie Pie fashion. Once she set her mind to planning a party, there was no stopping her. No one even dared ask where she got all the money to fund all of these parties from, either. Rainbow Dash seemed to be plotting her own agenda at the other end of the table.

        "He's a guard trained in the royal palace, huh? That means his training must have been intense. I'll definitely need to race him to make sure he's not a threat." She chuckled at the thought, grabbing her teacup and swallowing the contents in one gulp, burning her tongue in the process. The rest of the girls laughed as she stuck her tongue out and fanned it with her hands. As the laughter died down, Applejack began to speak.

        "Ah s'pose ah could make 'im one o' my apple pies. Ain't nothin' says 'welcome' like a good bit o' home cookin'." She nodded to herself, as if to reaffirm the notion in her mind.

        "Yes, yes, I'm sure you'll all do a wonderful job of making him feel welcomed," Rarity commented as she tented her fingers and turned her gaze to Rainbow Dash. "Not to be rude, but there was a more pressing matter that I hoped to address before Twilight dropped this on us." She paused before continuing. "Rainbow Dash, whatever happened with that drug test?"

        Dash stopped fanning her tongue and made eye contact with Rarity. "Ah'm still 'ere, arn I?" she replied, not bothering to retract her tongue. After another moment, she finally pulled it back into her mouth and continued, "The results came out clean, like I knew they would. Ashley doesn't seem to be convinced, but for now the situation has blown over. Still....I can't explain the sudden increase in my running time."

        "Well, my fear was that Ashley had stopped keeping time prematurely, and perhaps even slipped you something to set you up," Twilight offered. Dash shook her head in response.

        "I thought the same thing, so I took my own stop watch and timed myself. I came out with the same results. Besides, Ashley may be the jealous type, and she's notorious for holding a grudge, but I've never heard of her playing dirty before. Slipping someone 'roids doesn't seem like it would be her M.O. I don't know what's going on here, but it's genuine--of that much I'm sure."

        The room went quiet as everyone mulled over what seemed to be Dash's acceptance of the situation. I might not be able to do much, but I can at least do some research to see if there's any medical explanation for Dash's situation, Twilight told herself. She had intended to do just that the night before, but when the letter arrived her mind had become solely focused on that. As she started slipping deeper into her own thoughts a glaring oversight suddenly jumped into her mind. She snapped her head up to look at Rarity and asked, "Hey, where's Fluttershy?"

        Rarity gave her a puzzled look and replied, "I thought I told you. She went to spend some time with her mother this weekend. Apparently she's passing through town on business." Another pause, another sip of tea. "From what Fluttershy tells me, her mother makes a considerably large salary. Well, I guess she would have to if she was able to afford Perryville Academy's tuition prices. At any rate, the trade-off is that she spends most of her time traveling, so when she gets the rare occasion to come through this part of town she always makes it a point to meet up with Fluttershy."

        The remainder of the afternoon flittered away in a mix of snacks and idle conversation covering every topic that could be expected from a group of high school girls. It wasn't until the sun was hanging low in the western sky that Twilight finally broke up the party by announcing that she had to head back to the academy to fulfill her library obligations. At that, the rest of the girls began to consider their schedules and commitments, resulting in a sudden departure for all four visitors. Rarity arranged to have them taken home by one of her family's drivers, lest they have to make the trek back to the academy on foot. All four graciously accepted the offer, finding the option to take a limousine ride too good to pass up. As with most rare experiences, though, it was over too soon, and all four girls found themselves wrapped up in their usual mundane activities.

        The ominous sound of the alarm clock signaled the dismal return of the school week. Wearily, Twilight reached out from under her comforter and switched off the repetitive beeping. Between her library duties, her homework assignments, her personal research, and the research that she had done into Rainbow Dash's situation, Twilight hadn't slept much between Saturday and Sunday. While she had prided herself on the amount of work she had accomplished at the time, she was now kicking herself as she fought against her desire to stay in bed. After an epic mental battle, she finally rose from her bed and began her morning rituals. As she finished dressing, the sound of rain pounding against the lone window in her room caught her attention. And things just keep getting better, she thought, retrieving her umbrella from its stand on her way out of the room. Outside, the rain was coming down in sheets, like small little needles intent on finding their way against her skin. The wind seemed to undermine her umbrella, driving the rain at just the right angle for it to find its way under her flimsy protection. She was considerably wet and was muttering words best left unsaid under her breath by the time she reached the school building. At least she had managed to keep her hair dry; it had a tendency of getting horrendously frizzy whenever it got wet.

        Her friends were waiting for her when she arrived at the usual spot. They were all leaning in to listen to Fluttershy when Twilight approached, and did not seem to notice her until she opened her locker and tossed her umbrella inside. She slammed the locker door shut to find them all staring at her, mouths agape. "Hopefully you've all had a better morning than I have," she said, checking her textbooks to make sure they hadn't gotten wet.

        "Twilight you...you look terrible," Rarity commented, her eyes darting up and down Twilight's drenched body.

        "Thank you, Rarity, I wasn't aware," Twilight snapped back, her annoyance plain upon her face.

        "Well someone's a Pouty Patty this morning," Pinkie Pie chimed in as she cocked an eyebrow at Twilight. Only the sound of the homeroom bell saved her from a nasty retort.

        As they filed into the classroom, Twilight noticed that something was different: Ms. Cherri was standing at the front of the room. Usually, she didn't show up until several minutes after the students had taken their seats. On any other day, Twilight would be compelled to ponder over the meaning in this change of events; today, though, she just wanted to be left alone by everyone, her own mind included. Upon reaching her desk Twilight promptly flopped down in her seat, slid her books under her chair, and laid her head on the desk. She and exhaustion had flirted on more than one occasion as a result of her overzealous research, but this was an entirely different level. At that moment she wanted nothing more than to just sleep for the entire day. The very first tendrils of rest began to pull at the back of her eyeballs when Ms. Cherri's voice rang out, pulling Twilight back to the conscious world.

        "Alright class, I would like your undivided attention, please. We have a new student joining us today. Now, he is a year younger than all of you, but I'm told that he is very bright, and is up to the skill level for this class."

        Year younger? Twilight thought, her mind snapping to Celestia's letter. She sat up in her chair, her attention focused on the front of the room.

        Ms. Cherri was leaning out of the door at the front of the room. After a few seconds she pulled herself back inside, a male student in tow. Twilight studied him intently, taking in his appearance. He was short, even shorter than Twilight who barely stood at sixty-three inches herself. This new boy was sixty-one inches at best. Look-wise he was easy on the eyes, although Twilight would not have described him as 'handsome' per se. His brown hair hung to his shoulders in thick waves, framing an ovular face. So this is my brave protector she silently commented.

        Ms. Cherri began to speak again. "Alright class, I would like you all to meet your new classmate: Travis Skelver. Mr. Skelver, would you like to say a few words to the class?"

        The new boy cleared his throat and scanned the room before speaking. "Well, as Ms...Cherri said, my name is Travis. I'm originally from Casterly, but I transferred here on a special referral. I like music and fantasy. That's basically me in a nutshell." A smile flickered across his face, disappearing as fast as it appeared. Whether it was an attempt to act friendly or to mask something, Twilight couldn't tell. His voice is kind of high-pitched for a fifteen year old boy, Twilight noted, yet somehow it seemed to fit with his overall appearance.

        "Well, if that's all then you may have a seat. Yours will be--"

        "I would like the desk next to Ms. Talo--I mean, Twilight, please," Travis said, cutting Ms. Cherri off. A series of "ooo"s arose from the students in the classroom.

        Ms. Cherri seemed taken aback by the new student's rudeness. After a moment she finally stuttered out, "W-well that seat belongs to Mr. Walker, I'm afraid."

        As if on cue, Travis withdrew an envelope from within his blazer and handed it to the teacher. With confusion spread on her face, Ms. Cherri tore the envelope open and withdrew the paper within, reading it over several times. "I see," she finally said. "Well, if that's the case then it can't be helped." She cleared her throat and looked up. "Mr. Walker, please take the empty seat in the center of the classroom. Mr. Skelver, you may take the seat next to Twili--I mean, Ms. Talon."

        Twilight cringed at the use of her real name. She looked to her right and watched as Joe Walker gathered his belongings in silence. Poor guy she thought. Even though she had her suspicions as to what was going on, she couldn't help but feel bad for Joe. It was then that she realized that the rest of the classroom had their eyes not on Joe, but on her.

        As Joe moved away from his old seat, Travis moved to take his place. He walked down the aisle swiftly, either not noticing or, more likely, ignoring the stares that his classmates were giving him. He slid into his seat and turned to look at her.

        "Twilight Sparkle, I've heard a lot about you. It's nice to finally meet you." This time the smile on his face seemed genuine, and his voice held a much warmer tone than it had when he addressed the class. He looked around the room as if watching for something before speaking again. "It looks like I arrived before my books did. Would you mind sharing with me for today?"

        Between the sleep deprivation, her bad mood, and the suddenness of the situation, it took Twilight a few seconds to process what was going on. When Travis' question finally clicked, she quickly grabbed her math book from under her seat and replied, "Sure. Our first subject is math. We should be starting on page 379 today, so you might want to have a look at it."

        Travis thanked her and took the book, opening it to the indicated page as Ms. Cherri began the daily roll call. Before she was even halfway through, Twilight felt a tap on her shoulder and turned to see Travis holding her book out to her. "This is a little farther along than the material I've covered so far, but I think I'll be able to catch up."

        I guess he's as bright as Queen Celestia said, Twilight thought as she took the book from Travis. She probably should have made sure he was caught up on the material, though. She opened the book up to the same page she had told Travis and noticed a small scrap of paper stuck in the binding. As she removed it, she noticed that there was a note sloppily written on it that read:

        Sorry for being so curt. I'm really not good with crowds. We'll talk         more at lunch.

        She glanced over at her new classroom neighbor, but his attention was fully fixed on the front of the room. Twilight couldn't tell whether he was genuinely interested in the forthcoming math class, or was just embarrassed over what he admitted in the letter through the stone face he was wearing, but she had a hunch that it was latter rather than the former. Either way, she doubted she would get anything else out of him until the aforementioned lunch period, so she began her preparations for math class.

***

        Lunch time finally rolled around and Twilight, who was extremely hungry, wasted no time in heading for the lunch room. Travis was quick to offer to accompany her, though he said very little during their trek down to the cafeteria. It wasn't until they returned to the classroom and sat down with the usual suspects that he spoke again.

        "Oh yeah, Twilight, I'm supposed to give this to you," he said, pulling a letter from within his blazer and handing it to her. "Sorry about that. With everything going on I completely forgot." He gave a nervous laugh and scratched at the back of his head.

        Twilight looked down to exam the letter. Unlike Queen Celestia's usual letters, this one was clearly emblazoned with the royal seal, and she quickly tore it open to read it. Her enthusiasm subsided, though, when the letter essentially just explained what she already knew: that Travis was the bodyguard she had spoken of in her previous letter.

        "So, you're in charge of protecting our dear Twilight," Rarity stated mater-of-factly, eyeing Travis from head to toe. "No offense, but you don't really look like much of a bodyguard."

        "Rarity, that's mean!" Pinkie Pie cut in before Travis could defend himself. "If he's protecting Twilight that means he'll be hanging around with us. If he's hanging around with us that means he's our friend now, and friends shouldn't be mean to friends. OO! If he's our friend, he also needs a nickname!" She was practically bouncing in her seat at this point, though it seemed that only Travis was surprised by this spectacle. After a moment of shock, he cleared his throat and finally replied.

        "Actually, I already have a nickname. Well, it's more of a stage name, but it's all the same, I guess. I used to sing for a band, and they started referring to me as 'Spike'. It was an inside joke sort of thing that isn't worth explaining, but I am kind of fond of it," he explained as he took a bite of the turkey sandwich he had purchased from the cafeteria. Twilight watched him sit back in his chair as he chewed, his eyes darting between her five friends as if he was studying them intently.

        "Aw, that's too bad. I love giving people nicknames, too," Pinkie Pie pouted. Her period of disappointment lasted for approximately two seconds before she perked back up. "Oh, I need to finish planning the welcome party! You'll enjoy it, I know you will! I've gotten some excellent ideas now that I've been on the other side of the door!"

        Travis, aka Spike, smiled and nodded at Pinkie Pie's enthusiasm. He was obviously put off by her overwhelming energy, but then again most people were. Then a look of familiarity seemed to grow on his face and he leaned in, his face a mask of seriousness as he asked, "What do you mean by 'the other side of the door'?"

        Pinkie Pie's eyes widened and she clasped her hands together. "You want to know about the door? It's about time somebody asked! It's the door that--"

        Before Pinkie could continue, Rarity covered her mouth with a hand. "Pinkie Pie, let's not put too much on the poor boy at once. Why don't we save the door discussion for another time."

        Twilight noticed Spike giving Rarity a look that she couldn't quite identify, though intrigue seemed to be a close description. In an attempt to help defuse the situation, she cut into the conversation. "So you mentioned you sang for a band, but didn't you say earlier that you're not good with crowds?"

        Spike took his eyes from Rarity and turned towards Twilight, and with a half-smile responded, "I had a feeling you'd ask that. It's sort of a situational thing. When I would sing in front of a crowd, it was easy to forget that they were there. I would get so caught up in the music that I would be in my own little world. Plus there was no personal interaction with the crowd members, outside of occasionally high-fiving a crowd surfer. Being in a crowded classroom is different. There is no real barrier between the other students and myself," his face was flushed red at this point; no doubt he was embarrassed at admitting this fact. "I don't know if that makes any sense to you, though. Maybe it's one of those things that you have to experience to understand."

        The explanation made perfect sense to Twilight. On stage he was elevated, he was above the crowd. In his mind, he was separated from them. In the classroom he was on the same level, and was therefore one among the crowd. At least, that was her interpretation. There were a ton of other questions she wanted to ask him, but at the same time she didn't want to overwhelm him, so she settled on her most important one. "So why exactly does Queen Celestia feel that I am in so much danger that I absolutely must have a bodyguard?" she asked, staring straight at Spike. With a sigh the boy put his sandwich down and looked her straight in the eyes, replying in a voice barely above a whisper.

        "I really don't think we should be discussing this here. What if somebody hears us?" In response, Twilight looked around the classroom, which was deserted save for their group and a couple, who were far more intent on hanging all over each other. She looked back to Spike, who seemed to catch her meaning. He rubbed his temples, sighed again, then continued. "Shame on the Night is obviously trying to weaken the public opinion towards Queen Celestia, but their attacks also have another obvious motive. They're hoping to wear down the queen's own resolve by attacking things that are important to her. If they wear down her resolve, she may willingly step down from the throne. That's our theory, anyway. Based on that theory, we determined that there was a high likelihood of Shame coming after you, since the two of you have a very close relationship. That's why I'm here."

        He sat back in his seat, as if to signal that he was done with the topic. Rarity was obviously not ready to let the situation drop, though, for she cut in with, "I know this may sound harsh, but how much do they honestly expect one teenage boy to do against an entire terrorist organization? The whole thing just seems half-baked, honestly."

        Spike's eyes snapped over to her, with that look of intrigue again returning. Twilight couldn't quite finger the source of his intrigue, but if she had to guess it was probably that he didn't expect such a straight-forward question. After a few seconds he seemed to remember that he was supposed to be answering a question and continued with, "First off, Shame operates in small groups to avoid drawing attention. If they were to try anything, it would likely only be one or two members who would come after Twilight. The queen did put a contingency plan in place, though. There are six members of the royal guard who will be stationed at the school's main gates on rotating eight hour shifts. Since the gate is the only way in and out of the school--unless someone really wants to try climbing those ridiculously high walls--there's little chance of anyone suspicious getting inside. I'm essentially the last line of defense." Rarity seemed to be content with that explanation, for she went back to eating her lunch instead of continuing her line of questioning.

        The rest of the lunch time conversation was much more laid back. Rainbow Dash began to eagerly ask Spike about the band he used to sing for, and Spike seemed more than willing to talk about it. Apparently, his band had called themselves The River Dragons and had played heavy metal with a slight progressive influence. They had recorded an album during the year that he was with them, although he would not go into detail on what caused him to leave the band, only stating that it was the result of outside influences. Whatever had caused his time with the band to be brief, though, they all had to admit that recording an album at such a young age was impressive. When the conversation turned from his old band to his family, Spike seemed to sober from his good mood. He refused to give up any information beyond the fact that his parents had also been employed by the royal palace. Before the group of girls could press him for anymore information the end-of-lunch bell rang and they all had to head off to their specialized courses.

        Twilight wasn't overly surprised to find that Spike had signed up for the same specialty program that she was in. After all, he was her bodyguard, like it or not, and he couldn't guard her if he was somewhere else. She also wasn't surprised by his obvious lack of interest in the subject matter. After all, her specialty was science, and right now they were focused on Physics, a dry subject for most students who weren't Twilight Sparkle. For her, the last three hours of the school day felt like they breezed by, but the same could not be said for Spike judging by the look on his face. When the dismissal bell rang, the young bodyguard almost knocked his desk over in his haste to get out of the classroom, and it seemed that he was fighting the urge to drag Twilight out with him. Once they finally did leave the classroom he turned to her and commented, "I really don't know how you find that interesting. I think I'd rather take a drill to my teeth."

        Twilight couldn't help but giggle at his extreme reaction. "It definitely is an acquired taste. I know you're only here because you have to be, so what would you have taken if you had actually had the choice."

        "Music, writing, or geology. I really like gemstones," Spike replied immediately, catching Twilight off guard. After a few seconds she finally managed to reply.

        "That last one seems a bit out of place with the other two."

        "It does, doesn't it?" Spike admitted.

        After that the two companions didn't say much else as they made their way to the lockers, and then to the library. The weather outside was chilly, not quite to the point of needing a jacket, but enough to tell Twilight that she would need to dig hers out soon enough. Spike seemed intent on taking in the surrounding areas, pretending that he was watching for suspicious individuals. The amazed look on his face as he looked around the school grounds betrayed his intentions, though.

        When they finally reached the library, Twilight lead Spike through the rows of bookshelves to the staircase at the back of the building. She headed up the stairs to change into her regular clothes while Spike waited for her at the bottom. Inside the room, she sat her backpack down on top of her desk and began to change, selecting an old pair of jeans and a purple t-shirt to work in. She pulled her hair back into a ponytail and slipped on her sneakers before walking back out of the room to meet Spike. "Well, it's time for me to get to work. You should probably get your things unpacked so you can start on tonight's homework," she commented as she made her way back to the front of the library.

        "I'm going to help you out with this. I was told to make myself useful to you, so you can put me to work," Spike replied as he followed her. Twilight opened her mouth to argue, but decided against it.

        When they reached the front of the library there were two large carts overflowing with books waiting to be put back. Twilight sighed at the workload, prepared for a long evening. She and Spike each grabbed a cart and then wheeled them into the history section, where she always started. The books on the carts weren't arranged in any particular order, as they never were thanks to Ms. Meredith. The old woman had never liked Twilight and always seemed to go out of her way to make the schoolgirl's task more difficult. With another heavy sigh, Twilight began to rummage through her cart for a history book. "Hey Twilight, would you mind giving me a few minutes?" Spike asked as he began to dig through his own cart.

        Twilight gave him a puzzled look and said, "What for, exactly?"

        Without saying another word, Spike began to dig through the mess of books, extracting every history book he found and arranging it by the last name of the author. Within ten minutes he completed this task for both carts, handing the first stack of books with last names A-K to Twilight. Try as she might, Twilight could not hide the amazement on her face as she began to ascend the ladder attached to the shelving unit. "What section do you usually file next?" Spike asked from below.

        "Science," Twilight replied as she began to place the 'A' authors in their respective spots. By the time she was done with the history books, Spike had already sorted and organized all of the science books.

        This process continued for every section until they were finished. Twilight had prepared herself for a three hour task, and was surprised when they finished in just under ninety minutes. With a smile, Twilight commented, "You know Spike, you are the best assistant ever." She couldn't help but chuckle when the boy began to slightly blush.

        "So, is there anything else you need help with?" Spike replied, turning his face to try and hide the redness creeping into his cheeks.

        "No, that's everything. Now I just need to do my homework, so you can go ahead and get settled in," Twilight told him as she made her way back to her room. She was surprised when Spike began following her again. "I told you, you don't have to come with me."

        "Oh, I'm not, I'm heading to my room," Spike responded.

        His answer confused Twilight, but she decided to see where this situation was going. As they reached the steps to her room, Spike continued to walk past them and approached a door that sat on the first floor directly under the door to Twilight's room. "Spike, that's a storage closet," Twilight said, cocking an eyebrow.

        Spike gave her a half smile as he opened the door and flicked the light on. "No, it was a storage closet," he stated, motioning for her to look inside the room. She approached the door and stared inside in amazement. All of the supplies that had originally been in there were gone, along with the shelving units. The room was rather large, as far as storage closets go, and she found herself wondering where all of the supplies had been moved to. In the back left corner of the room sat a bed, probably moved from one of the dormitories, and the rest of the room was littered with boxes--presumably Spike's belongings.

        "The queen wanted me to be as close to you as possible at all times," Spike explained. "If she had it her way, I think we'd be staying in the same room--but of course that wouldn't be allowed to happen! Anyway, this was the arrangement that was made. If there's anything you need, just bang on your floor. I should be able to hear it since I'm right below you."

        There was a part of Twilight that wanted to protest this decision, as it seemed wrong to make a student live in a storage closet; however, when the closet was approximately the size of a normal dorm room, it was hard to find a solid foundation for said argument. Then something else dawned on her. "Wait a minute, what about a bathroom?"
        "Well that's...the interesting part," Spike responded. "As far as brushing my teeth and having toilet access, I can just come out and use the faculty bathrooms within the library. Taking a shower, on the other hand, will be a problem. Queen Celestia told me to just use your shower, but I doubt you'd be willing to do that."

        Twilight stood silent for a moment, weighing the situation in her head. It was true that letting a stranger--and a male stranger at that--use her shower would be awkward, but she couldn't deny him what was essentially a basic human right. With a sigh she replied, "It's fine, just do me a favor and give me a heads up before you decide to come up." The idea of having a boy in her room was discomforting enough, even if the situation was completely platonic. She didn't need to risk him walking in and seeing things that would make the situation worse. With that situation settled, she turned away from the room and said, "I'm going to go get started on my studies. If you want some help unpacking feel free to come get me."

        She headed for the stairs and made her way up to her room. Once she was inside, she sat down at her desk and put her hands in her head. This situation just seemed to keep getting more and more awkward, and she was going to have to keep dealing with it. "Queen Celestia, what have you gotten me into?" she muttered to herself.

Closing comments: So I'm sure there are some people who are confused with how I chose to portray Spike. Essentially, I wanted to have one of the main characters look "normal" by human standards. While I kept the hair colors for the mane six, I decided that Spike would just have a standard hair color. I think coming up with his personality was the hardest part, since human Spike is older than baby dragon Spike, and thus I had to upgrade his maturity level. There are also some other factors at play that won't come to light until later, as well. I hope I did a good enough job bringing him into the story, and his character will get plenty of time along with the mane six.

An interesting tidbit: I initially meant for Spike's character to actually be a male version of Trixie, complete with the arrogant personality. Spike was going to only have a cameo appearance. I scrapped that idea, though, when I decided that it would be better to have a main character play Spike's role. That, and the fact that Trixie's personality didn't really fit a bodyguard role. I'm not sure if anyone caught it, but Trixie has made a brief cameo in the past as a TV reporter.