The afternoon sun shone brightly down on a little purple dragon, who carried a potato sack in his left hand as he walked about Ponyville's countryside, whistling to himself. The bag was packed full of dragon peppers, rare vegetables that grew miles outside of Ponyville. They were named such because they were originally believed to be spicy enough to cause a pony to breathe fire. Spike had been proven on one occasion that this was true when Pinkie Pie threw a party for a Gryphon named Gilda, who ate a cookie with these peppers thrown in them.
It was an assignment from Twilight Sparkle, who wanted to study these peppers and find out what gave them their unbearable heat. Of course, acquiring dragon peppers also presented Spike with the opportunity for some very hilarious pranks. He would have loved to see what would happen if he could sneak just one of them into Rainbow Dash's food, or slip one into Pinkie Pie's cake mix. Rarity of course, was off limits. Simply thinking about that gorgeous white unicorn put a smile on Spike's face and rapture in his heart. There wasn't a more beautiful pony in Ponyville. No, in all of Equestria!
Spike shook his head to erase his thoughts and get back to his duties. It was lonely out there in the flat, grassy countryside. Lonely and quiet. He was just a baby dragon, after all, craved company and hated being alone. Especially in a place he wasn't familiar with. This task demanded his full concentration. If he could find just one more bush of dragon peppers, he'd have enough for both Twilight and for some well-meaning pranks.
The dragon's yellow cat-like eyes locked onto a dragon pepper bush just ahead, with plenty of ripe red fruits ready for picking. They were warm to the touch, so much so that it was a miracle he didn't have blisters on his hands from all the other ones he'd been picking since morning. He hurriedly plucked them off one by one by the stems, for he couldn't wait to get back to Ponyville and be with his friends again, especially Rarity. Sweet, beautiful Rarity. With those big dark blue eyes that shimmered like fine diamonds. Sweet, delicious diamonds.
Distracted as he was in his thoughts, Spike yelped in surprise as something slightly warm and damp pinched his arrow-tipped tail.
Spike snapped around, but there was nopony there. After a shrug he went back to his picking, unaware of the another creature's presence on the other side of the bush. Again, something pinched his tail, and he wheeled around, faster this time. Still, there was nopony to be seen. Spike narrowed his eyes in thought. There was only one pony in Equestria who could be THAT fast.
"Rainbow Dash?" Spike yelled. Only his waning echo answered him. As the little dragon stood there, perplexed, something rammed into his back hard enough to knock him face-first into the grass.
"Tag, you're it!" Spike heard a female voice yell.
"Ok, Rainbow, you asked for it!" Spike shouted as he picked himself up to his knees. Now he'd have to put at least two peppers in her food.
However, as Spike rolled over into his rear, the creature standing above him was not Rainbow Dash, but a creature that made his every sense save for sight go numb, and he was sure THAT sense was fooling him. Standing before him was a cute dragon girl, about his age and size. Icy blue scales sparkled in the sunlight as she looked down on him with beautiful blue eyes. Pale blue hair dropped down to the base of her neck.
"Oh, I'm sorry," said the pretty stranger. "I didn't ram you too hard, did I?"
"N-n-n-n-not at a-a-a-a-a-all," Spike answered, ignoring the pounding pain in his spine.
The she-dragon giggled and smiled down on him. "I'm Sapphire!" she said warmly. "What's your name?"
Spike's jaw hung open, frozen in place. Sapphire. It was the most beautiful name he'd ever heard in his young life.
"My name is…uh…." The purple dragon closed his eyes to contemplate on the question. Oh, come on, Spike, think! What IS your name, Spike? Hello! Equestria to Spike!
"Spike?" he answered his thoughts outloud. Oh yeah, that's right! "My name's Spike."
Sapphire giggled a sweet little giggle that made Spike's heart skip a beat. "Nice to meet you, Spike!" She offered a forepaw to help him stand up. As Spike took her hand into his own, every nerve in his body tingled. He was holding hands with the most beautiful dragoness he'd ever laid his eyes on. Of course, she was the FIRST dragoness he'd ever laid eyes on. But he was still sure this particular dragoness was exceptionally beautiful.
Quivering, unsure what to say or do, Spike stared at the paw that had just grasped Sapphire's, making a silent vow that he'd never wash that paw again.
"Hey!" Sapphire's voice pulled Spike from his trance-like stake. He looked back up at her to see her tilting her head, smiling. "Weren't you it?"
"Catch me if you can!" With that, Sapphire ran in the other direction, her blue hair flowing behind her.
Spike's heart pounded like it was going to crack a rib. This friendly and pretty girl dragon was openly inviting him to play! For a moment he thought he was dreaming, but the throbbing pain in his back assured him he was very much awake.
What was there to loose? Spike chased after Sapphire, and for the first time noticed she wore a big blue ribbon on her tail. It made Spike think that Sapphire was on a level of beauty that rivaled even Rarity's.
For the next hour the two young dragons chased each other around, wrestling, laughing and giggling as baby dragons do. Their romp made Spike forget all about his duties to Twilight until it returned them back to the bush with the sack full of dragon peppers still sitting there.
"Oh no!" Spike held his paw to his face.
"What's the matter, Spike?"
"I forgot all about Twilight! I'm sorry, Sapphire. I have to head home, she's probably worried about me."
Sapphire tilted her head, giving Spike a quizzical look. "Twilight? Who's that?" She frowned, her eyes giving off a hint of sadness. "Is she your… girlfriend?"
"Who, Twilight? No way! She's a unicorn from Ponyville. I'm just her assistant. That's why I was picking these peppers."
Sapphire flashed a big, toothy smile. "So you don't have a girlfriend, then?"
"U-u-um…" Spike stammered, feeling his face flush. If she'd just given an open invitation, this was turning out to be the best day ever! "I don't."
"So…" Sapphire lowered her head bashfully, twisting her foot into the ground. "Do you…want to meet here again tomorrow?"
"Would I ever!"
The dragoness' eyes seemed to light up as she giggled outloud. "Great! So, see you tomorrow?"
"Okay, bye, Spike!'
"Goodbye to you, too!"
Their exchange made the two dragons laugh, Sapphire turning her head shyly away from Spike.
"Okay," Spike continued once he'd caught his breath. "I'm really leaving this time. See you tomorrow, Sapphire!"
"Bye, Spike!" Sapphire yelled after his running, shrinking form. "See you tomorrow!"
As hard as he fought it, Spike couldn't stop smiling his entire run home. Sapphire was friendly, playful, beautiful. To have found another dragon his age in Equestria, and she was interested. Spike couldn't believe his luck! Rarity hadn't even come into his thoughts since he met Sapphire.
Okay, Spike, time to act normal the little dragon thought to himself as he reached the outskirts of Ponyville. He couldn't afford to let Twilight find out about his new friend. If she did, she might think he didn't want to be her assistant anymore. A casual stroll took him through the village of ponies, all of them minding their own business and not paying any attention to the baby dragon.
"I'm home!" Spike shouted as he stepped into the library.
Twilight stood in front of him, dusting off the shelves with a feather duster that hovered in midair from the violet unicorn's magic. "Wow, Spike," she answered, looking over her shoulder at him. "What took you so long? It's almost sundown!"
The dragon fidgeted. "Well, uh… you know how rare those dragon peppers are. I wanted to make sure I picked enough.
As Spike set the potato sack down on the floor, Twilight rested the duster on the top shelf and trotted over to get a look at the pickings. The sack had been filled almost to the top. "Spike, my goodness, this is more than enough. You've really outdone yourself this time!" Twilight gave him a gentle noogie of praise. "My #1 assistant. I'll start my research on them tomorrow. Why don't you take the day off?"
"You mean it?!"
"Absolutely, Spike. You earned it."
No duties to Twilight, nothing planned for the day. He was completely free to meet Sapphire again. In his mind he did a fist pump as he jumped for joy. On the outside, he managed to remain cool and calm.
"Thanks, Twilight! You're the best!" Spike couldn't stop himself from embracing the unicorn. Twilight smiled and patted Spike on the back.