"I think everypony's watching us." Spike made aware, quickly releasing Rainbow Dash's hoof. "What do we do now?"
Rainbow's Dash's eyes lit up. "What? Because somepony's watching you're going to quit? Why don't you just admit you love me, and we can move on from this?"
"Not a chance, Dash." Spike tittered, pointing to the surrounding trees. "They're harmless. We still have a date to finish here."
"You know they're all here to witness my victory, right?" Rainbow Dash teased, blowing a kiss to Spike. "Now that I think about it, it's pretty obvious."
"We'll see." Spike handed the cup of punch to Rainbow Dash. "Here's your punch, cutie."
"Thank you ever so much, sugar-buns." Rainbow Dash countered swiftly. "Would you like some pie?"
"Sure, sweetie pie." Spike snickered at the pun, noticing Rainbow Dash's eye twitch in disgust. "It's apple pie, by the way."
favorite." Rainbow Dash persisted, scooping out a large piece of pie.
Rainbow Dash came upon a sudden idea. She was positive it was to be the flick of the hoof initiating the domino effect. The result amounting to Spike's deep-seated adulation, of course. He couldn't resist feeling thankful after the sacrifice she was to contribute, she assumed. It was time to take the next swing.
"I have an idea." Rainbow Dash played with her mane flirtatiously. "How about I
Wrong move, Dash, Spike grinned coyly to himself. She's just collapsed into her own trap.
Spike straightaway jumped onto his back, tucking his arms behind his head. "Sure! Go ahead, baby! Papa's waitin'!"
Spike knew he was pushing it. He was now hammering at Rainbow Dash's patience, and he figured the tomboy was ready to blow at any second. The baby dragon pricked his ears as he waited for the pegasus's eventual resistance. If Rainbow Dash were to feed him like a servant to its master, that would be quite an accomplishment even for her. Spike opened his mouth widely, adding that final slap to the face. His demonstration of dominance was not going to sit too well for Rainbow Dash. Her buttons were just being rammed full force at this point.
"Just like that? You're going to let me feed you?" Rainbow Dash fumed, glaring at Spike mercilessly.
"Of course! An opportunity to be fed by Rainbow Dash herself! Yeah, I'm going to enjoy this." Spike responded with a scathing snort. "And where did lady Dashie go off to? I like her better. Bring her back, will you?"
Rainbow Dash finally had it. Enough was enough. There's only so much a mare could take. The circumstances brought about by the aggressive, chauvinistic dragon were not remotely desirable in the slightest. No mare let alone Rainbow Dash could find his behavior any less repulsive. So Spike asked for a fight, huh? Well, he's getting a fight!
"Oh, is my little baby hungry?" Rainbow Dash lifted the piece of pie over her head. "I guess I have no choice but to feed!"
Rainbow Dash then stuffed the entire slice of pie down Spike's throat, leaving him choking and coughing madly. The dragon couldn't believe she had just done something so childish. So immature! She wanted to play? He'll play!
Wiping his mouth with an arm, Spike laughed. "Big mistake, Dash!"
Spike immediately grabbed the remainder of the apple pie and chucked it straight at Rainbow Dash's face. Her quick reflexes allowed her to dodge and catch it midair. Rainbow Dash smiled back at Spike, a glint radiant in her eyes.
"Is this happening, Spike?" Rainbow Dash asked, aiming straight for Spike's tiny body.
"It's happening." Spike jumped at a nearby vegetable sandwich, ready to throw.
After having been caught red-hoofed, the spectators had scampered about the forest of trees in alarm. They had not expected for a certain ditzy mailpony to outright blow their cover. A few of the ponies half-expected Rainbow Dash to rampage towards them in anger the moment she discovered their presence. Yet she didn't, and Spike didn't follow suit either. After a few minutes of chaotic scuttling, the gambling participants finally calmed down enough to witness another slice of discordance taking place at the picnic site. What they observed was befuddling. The crowd of stalkers reeled back in confusion as they beheld the very essence of a battle. A physical match of agility and accuracy; a game of sharpness and reflex. Apple pies flew across the plaid blanket in volleys. Sandwiches were lobbed in precise arcs as if sent to hit a target. An adult Pegasus and a baby dragon were indulging in the most juvenile of bouts. They were in the middle of a food fight.
"What in tarnation?" Applejack cried out to the infighting friends. "I worked dang hard on those pies, you know that?"
"Now this is getting interesting!" Iron Will laughed pompously. "Show him who's boss, you little pony!"
"Spike, watch out!" Sweetie Belle directed, her eyes widening. "Yes! Dodged it!"
"Pelt him right in the face, Dash!" Gilda the griffon shouted with a pointed talon. "Yeah, right where it hurts!"
"This is getting out of a hoof now." Twilight Sparkle worried, shaking her head. "But maybe this will make them finally comprehend the nonsense of it all."
"Fools." Octavia inserted aloud. "Only animals would resort to such frivolous undertakings."
"Gotta admit, though." Vinyl Scratch responded, amused. "It's pretty funny to watch."
Octavia eyed Vinyl Scratch carefully. "There is some entertainment value in it, I'll give you that."
"Rainbow Dash's mane is gettin' all messy again!" Applebloom stared at the cyan pegasus's mane becoming more frazzled at every passing second. "This coulda been Spike's plan all along!"
"You mean, like, he wanted her to look like she used to?" Scootaloo pieced together Applebloom's words. "Oh, that sly little dragon!"
"Nah, it wasn't on purpose." Spitfire butted into the fillies' conversation. "This was bound to happen sooner or later."
"Why do they have to throw away those delicious pies like that?" Soarin' drooled in a daze. "It's so heartbreaking."
"There, there, Soarin'." Spitfire patted Soarin's head in consolation. "How about we get some pie after this, okay?"
"The Great and Powerful Trixie finds this humorous!" Trixie announced noisily.
"Go, go, go!" Pinkie Pie screamed at the top of her lungs. "I want to join in now!"
"NO!" The entire throng of onlookers yelled, stopping Pinkie Pie from diving into the fray.
Four minutes passed until Rainbow Dash and Spike ran out of ammunition to supply the rounds for combat. Surges of adrenaline pumping through their veins, the two did not halt their methods of attack. Both grabbed at crumbles of snack and dessert from the grass and continued to toss heatedly at each other. Food flying and scattering all around them, the two finally hit their mark simultaneously. Spike fell over as wasted hay sandwich smacked him square in the snout. Rainbow Dash tumbled after being showered with the syrupy contents of apple pie.
The bystanders in the trees gasped in unison. Rainbow Dash and Spike were now on the ground, panting heavily. They had kept missing and evading each heave of food tossed their way, but after having triumphed with a bulls-eye assault there was only relief washing over the two. Rainbow Dash wasn't quite finished, however, so she jumped to her hooves and snagged the undisturbed punch bowl. Spike, still recuperating from the exhausting scuffle, gulped in horror as the leering pony threatened to dump the beverage over his body.
"Okay, okay! I give!" Spike bounced to a standstill, attempting to sojourn Rainbow Dash. "You win! You win!"
Rainbow Dash set down the punch bowl, chortling. "Ha! I win? So you're forfeiting the game?"
"I meant the food fight, you crazy pony!" Spike chuckled, finding Rainbow Dash's laugh contagious. "Geez, that was intense."
"He, he. It sure was! That was awesome!" Rainbow Dash sat on her rump in a fit of laughter. "I haven't done that in a long time, you know?"
"It was fun, wasn't it?" Spike slapped his knee, delving into his own fit. "Dash, you seriously know how to throw some food."
"I know! I'm great!" Rainbow Dash agreed, nodding jubilantly. "But what about you? You got quite the arm there."
"Heh. Thanks, Dash." Spike took a seat in front of Rainbow Dash.
"For a baby, of course." Rainbow Dash added teasingly.
"Hey! You only won because of your stamina. I couldn't help that." Spike argued, grinning.
"Excuses, excuses, buddy." Rainbow Dash wagged her hoof in front of Spike's face. "Bottom line is, I won."
"Yeah, yeah. You won." Spike conceded lightly.
At that moment, Spike and Rainbow Dash entered into a state of serene merriment. Paying no mind to their staggered audience, the Pegasus and dragon produced a symphony of cackles and giggles. Interestingly, their divided followers were unable to understand the course of events having taken place. What just happened? One moment the players were embittered enemies, passionately rallying globs of food, and the next they were pandering each other with humored hoots.
Well, the answer to their endless questioning really came down to one simple truth: Spike and Rainbow Dash were friends.
Because no matter what kind of argument the two were to get into, the outcome was always reconciliation. A playful commotion such as a spontaneous food fight could not ever break the companions apart. In reality, it only brought the two closer together. Strengths and weaknesses have often been apparent in contests between two opposing forces, but at this particular instance they seemed superficial. And only true friends could appreciate that fact.
"You know, Spike, it's times like these that I'm glad you're here." Rainbow Dash said, breaking the incoherent jollity.
"Really?" Spike replied, calming down from his merrymaking. "I feel the same way for you, Dash."
"Well, I knew that. Nopony can resist me." Rainbow Dash responded snobbishly, putting a hoof to her untidy mane. "Hey! My mane's all messy again!"
"That's what you get." Spike shrugged. "It wasn't really working for me, anyway. It just isn't you, Dash."
"I guess so." Rainbow Dash huffed, crossing her hooves over her chest. "I'm not getting another makeover. I'm over that."
"Good." Spike patted Rainbow Dash's shoulder, smiling. "You're already a pretty pony. No need to go overboard."
The Pegasus froze. What did he just say?
Cautiously, Rainbow Dash spoke. "Did you just call me pretty?"
Spike took his palm back, stunned. "Uh, d-did I? Yeah, I
guess I did, huh?"
Rainbow Dash stared at Spike in wonder. He did just call her pretty. What was that for? Was her plan to woo Spike over actually taking effect? Was it somehow functioning efficiently? Rainbow Dash was too suspicious of the dragon's words to be sure. She knew that it could all be some part of a larger plot to resist. That must have been the case, Rainbow Dash pondered. Spike was only attracted to polished mares.
Before Rainbow Dash could retort sardonically, a piece of remembrance came upon the pegasus. A memory of an adventure recalled occurrences latent in the pony's mind. Recollections flashed as she found herself remembering a special incident in her life. It involved Spike and her mare friends Twilight Sparkle and Rarity. It was a moment that was equally frightening as it was exciting.
A few months before, Rainbow Dash, Twilight Sparkle and Rarity had tracked their dear friend Spike to a forested area at the foot of a gigantic volcano. Defenseless while protecting the egg of a phoenix, Spike had been face to face with a group of menacing dragons ready tear him apart. The three mares present had then exposed themselves before the draconic creatures in order to provide support for their comrade. In the end, Spike had returned to Ponyville, accepting his home as one with ponies. And as stress had been alleviated from the minds of the three loyal mares, a conspicuous expression of absolute delight remained on the pegasus's face even days after. Rainbow Dash had been so happy that her pal was back. He was such a fun person to hang out with, after all.
"Remember that quest you went on during the dragon migration?" Rainbow Dash asked blankly.
"Huh?" Spike was a bit taken back by the new topic of discussion. "Yeah, I remember. Boy, that was a weird time in my life."
"It sure was." Rainbow Dash smiled gently. "In all seriousness, though. Even with this challenge and all, I am really happy you came back with us, Spike."
"Come on, Dash. We're over that." Spike said, rolling his eyes.
"When you left, I just felt so bad I made you feel like a kid." Rainbow Dash continued, keeping Spike's attention.
"But, truthfully, you might be more mature than me." Rainbow Dash whispered, admitting it to both herself and Spike. She did not want the eavesdropping lurkers listening to her say that last line, though.
Spike went silent. What was Rainbow Dash talking about now? Was she lying to him or something? The dragon attempted to grasp the underlying message within the pegasus's words. But after a quick deliberation Spike could only sense truth. He realized the sincerity of her confrontation, and at that his heart skipped a beat. It was a funny thing, really. Never did he think he could hear Rainbow Dash say something so nice. The cheesiness factor was definitely there. How Rainbow Dash could bear it was beyond the baby dragon.
"Thanks, Rainbow Dash." Spike whispered back with a nod. "That means a lot to me."
"What are they saying? I can't hear." Mrs. Cake asked her husband from behind a tree.
"I can't hear them either, honey." Mr. Cake answered, turning his head to his wife. "But they sure look comfortable."
Mr. Cake was definitely correct on that aspect. Because Spike and Rainbow Dash tranquilly sat and presented soft smiles to each other atop the picnic sheet. According to Rainbow Dash, she could have labeled such an instance as 'sappy'. But not now. Because 'sappy' was the last sentiment Rainbow Dash used to describe the situation. To the mare inside, and to Spike respectively, looking upon a friend in fondness just felt right.
Everything seemed to have come down to a peaceful coolness. A new air enveloped Spike and Rainbow Dash as they gazed humbly at each other's eyes. Was it possible? Was it actually happening? Were they having
a moment? Even I cannot believe such a wild feat in Equestrian history.
Well, strap on your seatbelts, everypony. Because whether it was a 'moment' or not it did not last long. Without any preregistered alert or notification, a lump of pie and sandwich was suddenly flung straight for Rainbow Dash's still visage. Unexpected? Yes. Shocking? No doubt. Understood? No way. Before the bits of appetizers could splatter onto the pegasus's head, though, a bright yellow aura instantly cloaked the snacks, halting them in place midair. Before anypony could react, a dark blue aura shrouded the yellowed food, and shot it towards Spike's face.
Spike, Rainbow Dash and the rest of the tree-huggers save one could not comprehend what had just occurred. And before the blue-yellow encased food could land onto the paralyzed dragon, a purple aura veiled itself around the scraps of grub. The purple-over-blue-over-yellow food hovered back and forth between Spike and Rainbow Dash, seemingly struggling to whop any particular object.
"What's going?" Rainbow Dash finally sputtered, flying backwards.
"I don't know!" Spike crawled away from the vibrating crusts and vegetables.
Abruptly, the foodstuff exploded, sending tiny portions sprinkling onto the picnic blanket.
"It's magic!" Twilight Sparkle galloped toward Spike and Rainbow Dash. "Somepony's conjuring magic to interrupt your date!"
"Hey, what is this?" Bon Bon growled, pointing a hoof at the purple unicorn. "Twilight Sparkle's cheating!"
"What?" Twilight Sparkle whipped back, irritated. "I was not the-"
"She used her magic to restart the food fight!" Diamond Tiara cut off Twilight Sparkle, alerting the rest of the flabbergasted crowd.
"No, I didn't! I just protected them from getting hit-" Twilight Sparkle tried to assure.
"Hey, that's not fair! We're supposed to let them do their thing!" Iron Will roared, stepping out of the trees.
"The Great and Powerful Trixie knew she would rely on cheap tricks to get her way!" The blue unicorn proclaimed.
"Hold your horses, everypony!" Applejack ran up and shielded Twilight Sparkle. "We should listen to what she's talkin' bout!"
There was not a chance to explain, however, because the punch bowl was now encircled by a dark blue magic that headed straight for Rainbow Dash's torso. Yet the liquids from the bowl did not drench the mare, for a dark-coated Pegasus shot out to obstruct her vulnerability. Having become soaked in her stead, the silver-blue-maned Pegasus crashed to the ground, his tongue lazily hanging from his open mouth.
"Thunderlane?" Rainbow Dash leapt in amazement at Thunderlane's impulsiveness.
that you?" Thunderlane choked.
"Dude, it was just punch." Rainbow Dash said.
win. I'm in too
deep." Thunderlane coughed out, feigning a loss of consciousness.
Rainbow Dash, overcome by the melodramatic performance, saluted the 'unconscious' Thunderlane lying at her hooves.
"You did well, soldier." Rainbow Dash brought down her hoof. "You did well."
Rainbow Dash spotted the dropped punch bowl and held it up. "Who's doing this? Come out, you sneak!"
And again without warning, a large raincloud materialized above Spike and Rainbow Dash. But before it could rain down upon the two, a pink blaze of magic encompassed the dragon and Pegasus. Promptly appearing meters away from the marauding rain, they were unable to figure out anything anymore. Everything was just too quick for their minds to make sense of it.
Twilight Sparkle was able to, though. She had just successfully teleported her friends, from being sodden by the raincloud, using her powerful magic. What did she not know and she planned to find out was the identity of the perpetrator using such resources to upset the date. For all she knew there could have been multiple culprits involved. Who could be doing such criminal things?
"Somepony else is cheating like Twilight Sparkle!" Lyra Heartstrings declared, riling up the horde of gamblers.
"If we're going to be able to cheat, then I might as well do this myself!" Iron Will bellowed, flexing his massive muscles.
"GET THEM!" Pinkie Pie shouted, hurtling ahead of the pack.
"SQUAK" The cockatrice screeched in agreement.
"YEAH!" Snowflake howled.
At that, the majority of the gang rushed towards Spike and Rainbow Dash, stampeding across the grassy field. It was reminiscent of the buffalo charging en route to Dodge Junction. And like that famous Appleloosa battle, this one wasn't going to be pretty.
"How does this solve anything?" Spike shrieked in a panic.
"I told you I had a funny feelin' about this!" Applejack remarked, taking out a role of thin rope from under her Stetson hat. "You two need to get outa here! Now!"
"We'll hold them off!" Twilight Sparkle magically held down a few pegasi and griffons attempting to fly.
"Spike, get on my back!" Rainbow Dash readied herself for the baby dragon's extra weight. "We're getting out of here!"
"No need to tell me twice!" Spike snatched the rainbow-colored box he brought for the date.
"What's in the box?" Rainbow Dash had ignored its contents until now.
"I'll show you later!" Spike hopped onto the pegasus's back. "Let's go!"
Rainbow Dash, becoming adjusted to the foreign load, flapped her wings violently as she climbed to the clouds. Spike was heavier than she thought.
"They're getting away!" Trixie's horn glowed a bright blue hue.
"Oh, no, you don't!" Twilight Sparkle responded, teleporting Trixie into the trees.
"Hi-ho, Rainbow! Away!" Spike hollered, waving the box over his head.
"You know I could just drop you if I wanted to, right?" Rainbow Dash grunted as she gained momentum.
Alerted, Spike took a stronger grasp of the pegasus. "Hey, I couldn't hold it in."
"You better hold on now!"
Rainbow Dash then bulleted into the sky, almost toppling Spike loose. The baby dragon held on like his life depended on it. Actually, his life did depend on it. The odd pair of purple and blue ascended into the heavens at monstrous speeds. Too fast for any pegasi or griffons trying to catch them, in any case.
"They're heading for the mountains! We know the mountains!" One of the Diamond Dogs notified the frustrated mass of betters. "Follow us!"
"STOP IT, ALL OF YOU!"
Astonishingly, the entire field of ponies, griffons and creatures was instantly rendered motionless. Who said that just now? The voice was so authoritative, so tremendously overpowering and piercing, so audacious, so dedicated that nary a being could defy its will. The voice shot out like an arrow to the heart, filled with so much determination that every note and octave resounded could be described as a masterpiece in oratory.
Rarity emerged amid the speechless, eyes ablaze. "We must be civilized! What are we, beasts?"
"Oh, no, not this pony again." A Diamond Dog whined, covering his ears.
"What were you trying to accomplish, anyway? How does catching those two benefit any of you?" Rarity made note, the volume of her projection rising steadily.
The once raging mob remained immobile as they considered their actions. Wait. What were they trying to do in the first place? Capture Rainbow Dash and Spike? What were they going do even if they did succeed in bounding them? How did it even come to this? Nopony could come up with a logical answer to Rarity's concerns. A jumbled moment filled with disorder had overtaken their mental states for a few minutes, it seemed.
"Thanks, Rarity." Twilight Sparkle breathed, the magic from her horn fading.
"Uh, can you let me go now?" Chief Thunderhooves said, having been lassoed by Applejack.
"Pinkie Pie, take my bet." Rarity addressed the pink pony.
Pinkie Pie bounced out from behind four Earth ponies. "What's your game, Rarity?"
I bet all the finest stones in my shop
" Rarity stated without hesitance. "On Spike."
"All the stones in your shop..." Pinkie Pie snatched out a notepad and scribbled. "The value is pretty high for this bet, Rarity. But with the amount of bets placed, I have more than enough to fund your takings if Spike does win."
"Good." Rarity turned to the crowd and pronounced theatrically. "Because Spikey-Wikey will win!"
Meanwhile, a cowering Fluttershy peeked out from under her tree camouflage.
"Is it over?"
No, Fluttershy, it was just beginning.