Spike opened the door to the tree which served as a home for the dragon and the scholarly pony he had been the assistant to almost his whole life. It had been one year since the two had moved to Ponyville and over the time Spike had been undergoing some bodily changes. He had grown quite a bit in size since their arrival to Ponyville, he about now about a head higher than Big Macintosh. Now he was still a long ways away from being the size of even the smallest full grown dragon but his growth had gotten a bit of attention. In addition to just growing larger his wings had started to appear. His wings were about twice the size of Rainbow Dash's wings. For a pegasus wings of this size would be seem too much but to Spike they were barely adequate. He could only use them to keep himself above the ground for maybe a minute. Spike would have to wait till they have grown some more for him to make real use of them. Despite all these changes to his outer appearance he was still the same old dragon on the inside. Still childish yet always adhering to his responsibilities as Twilight's assistant. His everyday life also had not changed much at all. He still joined in on adventures with all his friends in Ponyville. The only thing that seemed to change in Spike's life that did not have to do with his appearance was his crush of Ponyville's glamor and dress expert Rarity, which has now turned into full blown love and admiration.
When Spike first met Rarity he was captivated by her sheer beauty like most boys would, even dragon boys. It started as a simple boys crush, with Spike taking every opportunity to be near her whether it be offering to help with her designs, running errands for her or other ponies which consisted of him seeing her, or just hanging out with her as well as the rest of their friends. Spike had always been aware of this crush he had on Rarity and so was everyone else in Ponyville due to how obvious he made it look. Even with his feelings being well known to just about everypony he never took that real leap to ask Rarity out on a date. Sure he would say things to Rarity that would make it obvious to anyone that he had strong feelings for her such as complimenting her on a level in which you would compliment a princess, and would even from time to time suggest just the two of them going somewhere like a restaurant or one of the more beautiful spots around Ponyville Spike knew of. Unfortunately for Spike no one really took his affection for Rarity seriously including Rarity herself. She would take all his advances with a smile and a thank you, nothing more nothing less. Before Rarity's simple thank yous and smiles would be enough for Spike but now since the more time he spent with Rarity the more he came to appreciate everything about her, he was left wanting more. Whenever he had time off from helping Twilight his mind was completely occupied by Rarity. Whenever he thought about her it seemed like a million things would race across his mind creating a feeling of bliss throughout his whole body. If somepony ever asked Spike what he thought of Rarity it would be very unfortunate for them if they had somewhere to be because Spike could literally go for hours about her, its completely true you can even ask Pinkie Pie. Spike was at first unsure of these new found feelings being he had never been in love before it was natural to be a little confused as to what he should do. He first sought answers from Twilight whom it took a lot of convincing to finally believe that Spike was actually in love and not just having the silly crush that Twilight always mocked whenever given the chance. Even when she was convinced she was not much help since she has never experienced love either so the only information she offered was from books. However Spike dismissed this idea immediately. He felt that this wasn't something you could learn from books and Twilight surprisingly agreed. Although Twilight herself could not be of any help she offered to help Spike find someone who could help him (Twilight was also curious herself so she wanted to learn anything she could). And so Spike's quest to understand love and win the love of Rarity begins.
“Twilight, who do you think we should talk to first...I mean who do you think knows anything about love?” Spike inquired as they made their way out of their home and began their walk through Ponyville.
“Well I thought we would go to Sweet Apple Acres first and talk with AppleJack. She has the most life experience as a pony and should know a bit about these things”.
“Don't you think someone like Pinkie Pie would know a lot about love? I'm not really sure why but I just think she may know a little more than AppleJack.
“You could be right Spike but Pinkie Pie would probably end up singing a song about it and I want to avoid that if I can.”
“I guess AppleJack's it is then.”
The two arrived at Sweet Apple Acres to find the earth pony hard at work as usual bucking apples and carrying them in their baskets. Upon seeing the pair AppleJack immediately came over to greet them.
“Well howdy Twilight, howdy Spike! What brings ya over here today? Looking to get some apples?”
“Not quite AppleJack” Twilight responded. “Actually we were hoping you could explain something to us.”
“Well sure thing sugarcube, ya'll know I'm always here to help my friends. Now what do ya'll need explaining about?”
“Well...you see...its...” Twilight began to say. Just flat out saying she needed love explained to her was awkward and sort of embarrassing, so she found it hard to get the words out.
“We want to know about love!” Spike chimes in anxious to find this answer so he may move on to an even tougher question.
AppleJack's face sparked up with excitement and a little laughter. “Aww sugarcube do ya'll wanna know about love cause some colt gone done sweep ya off yer hooves? Come on tell me who the gentlecolt is ah won't tell nopony and that's a promise from the element of honesty.”
“What!? No AppleJack!” Twilight exclaimed “I'm not the one in love here. Spike is.”
Spike somewhat blushed at this statement which told AppleJack that Twilight wasn't just trying to hide her embarrassment. AppleJack paused for a second and then she pieced things together.
“Hold on a second here. Ya'll telling me Spike is in love? Ah reckon he is in love with Rarity ain't he?”
Spike and Twilight simply nodded.
“Ah reckon ya'll wouldn't come here asking for answers if ya'll weren't serious. Ah'll tell ya what Ah know about love.”
AppleJack went on to explain how she felt love works. She had never been in love either, so much of her explanation was coming from her own gut feelings.
“Well love is something that takes a lot of hard work to get right. Lets see, love is like planting and raising a good apple tree. Ya'll need to give proper care and attention, but at the same time ya need to let it do its share on its own. Ya can't water it too much either, or it will drown and never grow. But with proper care and sunshine it'll turn into somethin of true beauty. Ya'll always gotta be truthful with each other through the good and the bad.” AppleJack started to run out of words at this point. “Sorry ya'll I don't really know all that much yet.”
“That alright AppleJack, you've been a great help to us.” Twilight said appreciating her friends effort.
“I think we both understand love a bit more. Don't we Spike?”
Spike nodded. He was hanging on every word AppleJack spoke although he did not think love was really like apples, it did seem to enlighten him just a little bit. He felt he only began to scratch the surface of what love is and how he would win the heart of Rarity.
“Well Spike, do you think you understand love well enough now to do whatever silly thing you might want to do to win Rarity's love?”
“I don't think so Twi, I think there’s a lot more to this love thing so we should go ask some other ponies.”
“If you say so Spike. So where to next? Fluttershy's or maybe we should try to find Rainbow Dash.”
“I'm just gonna go find Pinkie Pie. You don't have to come Twilight since I know you don't want to hear a song today.” Responded Spike as he began to make his way to Sugarcube Corner to only soon notice Twilight was right behind him. “Uh Twi I thought you didn't wanna put up with one of Pinkie Pie's songs?”
“I don't but I'm curious to know what everypony thinks love is. If you’re willing to bare through one of Pinkie Pie's songs than I should be willing to.”
“Wow thanks Twi!” Even though Spike never really had a problem with Pinkie Pie's songs, in fact he enjoyed the atmosphere they created but he still appreciated the gesture from Twilight.
The two had arrived to Sugarcube Corner. It looked as sweet as it sounded. Just looking at the chocolate roofed building with two cupcake shaped additions on top could make anypony get the urge to stuff themselves with the delectable sweets the bakery provided. Upon walking into the bakery who else but Pinkie Pie was there to greet Twilight and Spike.
“Hi Spike! Hi Twilight!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed as she rushed to bounce over to greet them. “What brings you here today? Oh! I bet you’re here for some tasty cupcakes. Oh! Or maybe some scrumptious cakes. Or maaaaayyybeee you’re here to eat of the these delicious muffins I just made. Or maybe cookies! Or....” Pinkie Pie seemed like she would go on until there were no more sweets to name and knowing Pinkie Pie even when she ran out of sweets to name she could make up some on the spot.
Putting a hoof over Pinkie Pies mouth Twilight was able to silence the hyperactive pink pony long enough for her to get a word in edgewise.
“Pinkie Pie we are not here for sweets I'm afraid. We came here to ask you a question.”
“Sure thing Twilight whats the question? Did you want to throw a party? Or maybe you wanted to learn how to cook like Rainbow Dash does.”
“Pinkie Pie!!!!” Came a familiar voice belonging to a certain rainbow maned pegasus.
“Oh. Whoopsies.” Responded Pinkie Pie. “I forgot I wasn't supposed to tell anyone but I just got so excited thinking about another one of my very very good friends wanted to learn how to cook from me. Oh well guess the secrets out. Rainbow Dash wanted to learn how to cook scrumdiddlyumtious things from me.”
“I guess the cat is out of the bag now” said Rainbow Dash coming out of the back kitchen with an apron on and various traces of flour and icing filling little spots on her body.
“HAHAHA! Wow Rainbow Dash I never took you for someone who would wanna bake cupcakes and muffins.” Spike said while not being able to contain his laughter anymore. Even Twilight let a few snickers free at the sight of her most fearless and self proclaimed tough pony baking cupcakes and muffins.
“Yea yea whatever get it all out.” Responded Rainbow Dash clearly looking a bit embarrassed.
“No hehe, no Rainbow we're sorry. Its perfectly fine that you want to learn to bake. Everypony should learn how to cook for themselves at some point, and you’re lucky you have a friend like Pinkie Pie who is so good at it” Twilight said in an attempt to make her embarrassed friend feel better about learning a new skill even if it did seem out of character for her to learn.
“Shes right Rainbow. See I told you theres nothing to be embarrassed about and when were finished we can both make wonderful treats for our friends” Pinkie Pie exclaimed.
“Yea I guess you’re both right” Rainbow Dash said looking a lot prouder than she did when her secret had been found out.
Now calming down from his laughter Spike had remember why they came to see Pinkie Pie in the first place. “Twilight we're here to ask Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash something aren't we?”
“You’re right Spike. Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Spike and I have a question that we were hoping you could help us with.”
“Sure thing Twilight. Fire away.”
“Yea Twilight whats your question?”
“Its actually really my question” Interjected Spike. “Well the thing is...well...uhhh.. do you guys think you could explain to us what love is?”
This question of course cause an initial shock between the pair. Rainbow Dash stood there a little confused for a moment while Pinkie Pie immediately regained her composure since next to Twilight she knew better than anyone Spike's feelings for Rarity since she had been the only one who has listened all the way through Spike's rants about her. Another moment of silence went by until Rainbow Dash still somewhat clueless to the situation broke the silence.
“Why do you wanna know about love anyway? Wouldn't you rather me give you some of my expert flying tips so maybe one day you can be almost as good as me.”
“You silly filly” Pinkie Pie chimed in. Spike wants to know about love because he thinks hes in love with Rarity but doesn't know if he is really in love since he doesn't know exactly what love is yet which is why he came to us to find out I know he could have asked Twilight but I don't think she has ever been in love either so she wouldn't know although she does have a lot of books so maybe there was a book on love oh but maybe it wasn't good enough which is why there here now asking us.”
Dash just simply nodded. Most people could not keep up with Pinkie Pie when she really got going but somehow Rainbow Dash was just able to know exactly what she was saying.
“Leave it to an egghead to try to find out about love from a book” remarked Rainbow Dash letting a few of her own snickers escape now.
“Ha Ha very funny Rainbow now can we just get back to the question we are trying to help Spike here.” Twilight wanted to rebuttal but she felt this was payback for laughing at Rainbow Dash's new cooking interest so she just went back to focusing on the task at hand.
“Alright alright” Rainbow sounded a little disappointed from having her fun cut short. “What is it ya wanna know? Are you both just completely clueless or something?”
“Rainbow I know what can explain everything to them. This song I just came up about love!” As Pinkie Pie stretched her mouth wide to get ready to sing a tune she was quickly stopped by a hoof over her mouth from Rainbow Dash.
“Pinkie Pie were not doing another song. We already had one for my cooking lesson which we sang at least three times. No more singing today ok?” Pinkie Pie just nodded in defeat. It was also possible that deep down she knew something as important as love had to be explained clearly and today a song would not cut it. She didn't seem too disappointed though as if she already had a plan for when she could find a opportunity to use this new song.
“Hmmm how to being this” pondered Rainbow Dash as she struggled to find the right words to start explaining love to Spike and Twilight. “Well ya know love is something that ya know makes ya feel like you’re flying above the clouds theres nothing like it.”
“But Rainbow you fly all the time remember, so does that mean you’re always in love” Pinkie Pie asked with a somewhat devious smile on her face for catching her friend's mistake.
“Sheesh Pinkie well to them it would be like flying.”
“But Spike has wings now to he can fly.”
“GRRRR ok its feels like flying higher and faster than you were ever able to before. Better?”
“Yup. Love also feels like a big batch of sweets you just ate.”
“So in anyone's case but you’res having a huge stomach ache?”
“Hmmm I guess so I can eat more sweets then any other pony in Ponyville.”
“That's true you are probably the most sweet and candy loving pony in Ponyville.”
“So I guess for everyone else it feels like eating just one of the sweetest sweets you've ever had.”
“Yea ya also get the urge to impress the one you love doing whatever it is you think they'll find the most amazing to have them just begging to be near you.”
“Love also means you wanna be extra super nice to the one you love and make super special gifts that you hope they'll love.”
“Loving someone also means you'll be loyal to them forever and never leave them hanging.”
“And also making them laugh everyday.”
“Also protecting them.”
“And making sure they're the happiest they can be.”
“If all goes as planned you and the one you might just end up doing things like “
“Finishing each others sentences!”
At this point Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie just looked at each other, Pinkie Pie wearing the same happy smile she always has and Rainbow Dash smiling as well with a little blushing in her cheeks.
“That was quite the explanation you two” Twilight remarked as it appeared that the two had finally finished their explanation.
“Thanks Twilight” responded Pinkie Pie “We hope we were able to help Spike figure out what love is so he can figure out what he wants to do about Rarity.”
“Yea Spike ya think you're love sick for Rarity?” Rainbow Dash playfully remarked.
“I'm still not entirely sure, but I am definitely sure of a few things now that I wasn't before. Thanks you guys!” With that Spike and Twilight left Sugarcube Corner to let Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash continue their cooking.
“So Spike do you think you know enough now to determine whether what you feel for Rarity is really love or not?” Inquired Twilight as they began to walk through town.
“Nah not yet. I feel like I am a lot closer to the answer but I am still not certain yet. I have to be absolutely certain about this. When I am sure this is love I'll be able to come up with exactly what to do about Rarity.”
“If you say so casanova” replied Twilight. “I suppose our last stop will be Fluttershy's then.”
So the pair made their way to Fluttershy's house. It was a small little house on the outskirts of Ponyville. It served as the perfect location for the overly shy pegasus, being that it was far away from the crowds of Ponyville and that it was near all her wild animal friends which she cared for. As Spike and Twlight arrived to the yellow pegasus' home they noticed her out in the fields near her house tending to the birds. Fluttershy looks her most natural when she is around her animals, you would almost have a hard time believing that this pony and the extremely timid pony that is afraid of her own shadow are the same pony. Approaching Fluttershy was a delicate task when she is not expecting your presence. If somepony surprised her enough she could end up sprinting off without giving you enough time to finish your hello and Fluttershy has still been adjusting to Spike's increasing size so Twilight and Spike had to be real careful. Twilight decided to call out to Flutteryshy while they were still a decent distance away from her in hopes that this way would keep her calm. It appears to work with Flutteryshy smiling and waving a hoof and responding back to Twilight.
“Why hello Twilight, hello Spike” greeted Fluttershy as Twilight and Spike approached her to an easy talking distance. “Um....what can I do for you both today..umm....” muttered Fluttershy obviously trying her best to keep whatever it is of a composure she has in the presence of Spike who is slowly starting to resemble a full grown dragon.
“Well Flutteryshy” Twlight started “Spike thinks he may be in love and we were wondering what you could tell us about love. A pony as kind and motherly as yourself must know something that can help him.”
“Oh...ummm..love...” Flutteryshy said quietly. Like all the other ponies she was taken off guard by this question. How could she explain it? What did she really know? Fluttershy like the ponies before her wanted to help her friends so she began saying whatever her first thoughts were.
“Umm lets see..well...love is...when..you just...want to make the one you love...happy. Umm..you'll do whatever it...umm takes to do it...and ummm. Ponies who are in love...are very kind to each other.” Fluttershy's pauses seem to lessen the more she talked and she was starting to look more and more comfortable with what she was explaining. “So you should make sure to be as kind and thoughtful as possible to the one you love and you should always try to take care of them. Ummm..I think thats all I know.....sorry...”
“Its okay Flutteryshy. Everything you told us has been very helpful” responded Twilight.
“Well..umm....I'm glad I could...umm...help.”
“Yea thanks a lot Fluttershy, but I should be going now I have a lot of thinking to do now” added Spike who was eager to collect his thoughts.
“Goodbye Fluttershy” Twilight said as Spike and her trotted off as Fluttershy waved back and returned to her animal friends.
“So do you finally have an answer Spike?” Twilight asked.
Spike let out a long sigh. “I'm still not sure Twilight. I mean I got all this great information about what love is today but I still feel like I'm missing something.”
“Well one of books did say that love is made of unique things for everypony. Maybe this is something you have to figure out for yourself. I wish I could help you more but there is not much else I can do.”
“Thats okay Twilight you helped me a lot today. Thanks.”
“Thats what friends are for. Now I have some more studying to do today you ready to go home?”
“Nah. I think I'm going to take a walk for a while try to figure things out.”
“Okay. Don't be home too late okay? Oh and don't do anything hasty and stupid about Rarity okay?”
“Yeah Yeah, don't worry about it.”
“Alright I'll see you later Spike.”
“See ya later Twi.”
The two parted ways and Spike started to walk aimlessly through town. A million thoughts were racing through his head right now. Was what he was feeling really love? If so what would he do about it? Could Rarity ever love him back? That and many other things were jumping around through Spike's mind. Trying to piece together everypony's interpretation of love did not help to make things easier for the possibly love sick dragon. At the very moment Spike's head was going to seemingly burst he felt something hard land right on top of his head. This blow to Spike's head caused him to fall over face first onto the ground, his vision blurred for a second and he blinked a few times to adjust his vision so he could uncover what had hit him. Right him front of him was a rather large box sealed and marked with postage. “A package?” Spike said confused, “Where did it come from and why did it land on me?”
Suddenly a voice came from the sky, rather distressed and concerned.
“MUFFINS! Oh dear I'm so so sorry are you okay? I hope you’re not hurt. Oh waterlogged trombones! What kind of mail mare am I? I swore I'd never let any mail drop on somepony ever again.” Spike recognized this pony. She was Derpy Hooves Ponyville's top mail mare. Although most of the time her eyes seemed to look in different directions both focused right on Spike. This made it clear she was real upset with what just happened and Spike felt he should try to cheer her up since it was only an accident.
“Hey its no big deal really, I'm fine. I'm a lot tougher than I look so no little box is gonna be enough to hurt me.” Spike said with a little pride in his voice. With these words it looked like a weight had been lifted off Derpy's shoulders.
“Thank Celestia. I was scared this was gonna be another Twilight episode” remarked Derpy clearly remembering how she had dropped countless heavy items on Twilight while she was filling in for a friend for Ponyville's moving company. “If you’re absolutely positively sure you’re all right could you hand me that package. A mailpony's work is never done and this package needs to be delivered stat. General's orders!”
“Yea sure” Spike replied picking up the package. “Wow this is kinda heavy. Are you sure you’re alright to carry this wherever it needs to go? I mean not to sound like a jerk but what if you drop it again and it lands on someone a lot smaller than me?”
“No need to worry. This time I won't try to practice my violin while barrel rolling” Depry said matter of factly which only caused to raise Spike's concern. “Yup this package will get to its owner with the speed of a chariot powered by bottle caps and welding torches. Indeed I am certain Miss Rarity cannot wait for her shipment of supplies.” At this moment Spike looked down at the package and saw in fact it was addressed to Rarity. All of Spike's thoughts now focused to Rarity and all the things she did that made Spike's heart aflutter. “Ohhhh so the prime minister of Brooklyn wishes to have his toaster eh?”
“Excuse me but...What?” Spike asked not being able to make any sense out of the words the mailpony had just uttered.
“You’re in love silly” Derpy replied with a smile on her face.
“How can you be sure I just spent all day asking ponies what love was and I couldn't figure anything out.”
“Well what did you find out?”
“When you love someone you want to be honest, loyal, and kind. You want to protect them and make them happy and....I don't know what else but I know something else should be there.”
“Love is a muffin. Love is a letter. Love is a cloud” Derpy said softly.
“What is that supposed to mean?” Asked a frustrated Spike.
“Love is something you shape yourself, that's yours and uniquely yours”
“Ohhhh I think I get it! The letter I write is something that only I can find the words to, and love to one pony is different from love to another pony like clouds, and well I can't really figure out the muffin part.”
“Muffins. Come in all shapes, sizes, flavors, and colors. Your favorite muffin is special to you. Win your muffin, treat her well” Derpy responded in a low but benevolent voice. Then just like that she seemed to snap back into her mailpony mind frame. “Harlem Globetrotter maid service! I must deliver this package on the double. I'm glad you’re okay Spike I must be off now.” At this moment Spike had finally figured out what he had been feeling all this time and it was time to start a plan.
“Wait Derpy! Could I possibly put in a last minute order for a book I need?”
“Of course friend. Its the least I could do after what I did.”
“K thanks a lot!” Spike wrote down some details and handed them to Derpy.
“Roger that! I'll have this order to you by nightfall!” With that Derpy soared off to finish her deliveries.
Spike started home with a smile on his face. He was filled with feelings of satisfaction, wonderment and of course love. “Wow who would have thought Derpy Hooves would be the one to make everything clear to me?” Spike spoke aloud to himself as he made his way home. “Wow I'm in love” he said. He almost wanted to scream it so that all of Ponyville could hear but he managed to refrain himself from that. He had other things he wanted to focus his energy on like his hastily thrown together plan to make Rarity fall for him. When he got home there as promised was the book he had asked Derpy for. “Wow she really is the best mailpony in town” said Spike. Spike made his way upstairs to begin reading the book he had ordered. Twilight was down in the basement most likely doing experiments so Spike had a little time to himself which was good. Spike looked through the book scanning each page for the information he desired until he had finally found it. “There it is!” he exclaimed. He made copies of these pages using blank pages Twilight has that could magically copy the contents of any page it has contact with. He stored these pages and and packed some quick essentials for himself so that he may be ready to leave in the morning. After his packing Spike made his way to bed to sleep, his heart filled both with love for Rarity and excitement for the plan he was going to execute. Beside him lay the book he had ordered which read “Artifacts and Treasures, A Collection of Equestria's Discovered Yet Unobtainable Riches”.
*Meanwhile At Sugarcube Corner*
“Whooooo looks like my twitchy tail finally stopped” remarked a certain pink pony with a sigh of relief.
“Get back in this bed and I’ll really make that tail twitch” responded a certain tom boyish pegasus.
“Okey Dooky! Your the boss...tonight.”