The Centerpiece Of My Collection
(This is a work of fanfic based on Hasbro and company's "My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic." I am not in any way affiliated with the creators and this document is wholly intended to be a work of parody that complies with fair use. Given mature themes, the intended audience for this piece is adults.)
Spike was proud of his hoard, hundreds of years in the making, as well he should be: a dragon's cave is a sight that inspires legends, littered with precious metals, gems, and other artifacts and protected by a ferocious dragon. As the expansion of Ponyville went deeper into the Everfree Forest and encroached upon his current den, he would have to move to one a bit further out. His current cave was once home to a green dragon that he happened across when he was a baby. The green dragon was right to be enraged at his discovery: a dragon is ever covetous, and they never forget.
If Spike had a vice among dragons, it was the ponies of Ponyville. Having spent his youth among them, he came to enjoy their company, even opting to defend his neighbors from a threat every once in awhile. He enjoyed them enough that he would even ignore the occasional missing trinket: though such a thing was a significant wound to a dragon's pride, he was reassured that as the centuries passed his hoard only grew.
Though he fondly remembered his original circle of friends, it is not truly in a dragon's nature to grieve their passing. Celestia had once told him that living for the moment was ever an immortal's credo, and neither he nor the alicorns in Canterlot could survive if they felt any other way. Through this philosophy of living in the moment, he welcomed a never-ending procession of ponies who dared visit his cave, entertaining them with games and riddles, occasionally even pleasantly surprised that such short-lived creatures should utter a turn of phrase that amused even a middle-aged dragon.
Today he was entertaining one such guest, a unicorn of a purple coat and black-striped hair. The coloration alone was not the only way that the unicorn reminded him of Twilight Sparkle: he also had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and scholarly pursuits. His cutie mark was a chess piece. In fact, this visitor had arrived to challenge the dragon to a game of chess, which Spike was enjoying immensely, having especially honed the reflexes of his claws to manipulate the tiny chess pieces before him.
Between moves, Spike would talk about his hoard, hardly hearing his visitor. After all, a dragon was ever a vain creature, and to speak fondly of one's wealth made it even more valuable than physical proximity could on its own. If a pony asked him how much his current hoard was worth, Spike would tell them with pride. When a pony asked about a given artifact in his hoard, it would cue the reciting of the grandiose tale behind it.
A scholar's curiosity was a joy in Spike's presence. Moving a pawn forward, the unicorn asked Spike, "And what of that statue over there? Who was she, and who commissioned it?"
Spike's gigantic eyes rolled to a statue of a unicorn, "Ah," he said, "now that is the centerpiece of my collection! When I first laid eyes on this unicorn, Rarity, I was scarcely a baby dragon. I was truly smitten: that fine alabaster coat, that excellently styled amethyst mane, and blue diamonds as a cutie mark. She was the most beautiful creature I ever saw, and I said so. Such was my adoration of her that I happily bore the abuse of her stylish pride."
Spike chuckled, a reverberation that threatened to topple chess pieces. "My circle of pony friends back then - you may have heard of them as the bearers of elements of harmony who defeated Nightmare Moon," the scholar gasped in mid-move, the years had elevated them to legends, Spike continued, "my friends thought it was but a simple childhood crush, but they really did not understand the mind of a dragon. No, though I was expressing it in my own childish ways, it was not crude physical love I had for her, but rather I coveted her as a dragon would a jewel. That, for a dragon, is the finest of loves."
Spike's chuckling had turned to a longing sigh, releasing a harmless gout of flame from his nostrils, "She was a craftsman, you know, and an entrepreneur. From her humble home, she opened a boutique from which she created the most beautiful of dresses. I was very supportive of her efforts, once to the point of nearly undermining her career in the eyes of one fashion critic by the name of Hoighty Toighty. She could even find jewels with her special talent, a spell of her own invention, and inlaying them upon her work was her hallmark."
Spike drew back a claw to accentuate his shining scales and spines, "And she was not content with merely establishing the dress, not at all. No one could perform a makeover like her, and the public acclaim of her beauty treatments nearly matched that of her attire. Why, she even gave me a few tips! In more than one way, she was a treasure that created more treasure. What more could a dragon ask for?"
"But," said Spike seriously, "I knew that there was only one way for me to make her mine. A dragon lives much longer than a pony, you see, so I needed to immortalize her. When I first suggested this piece be commissioned in order to add it to my hoard, she was taken aback, for the first time in her life flattered beyond means for words. However, she was like a dragon in one key way: extremely vain. She was also exceedingly generous, as suited to the bearer of the Element of Generosity. She warmed up to the idea almost immediately."
Idly moving a knight forward on the chessboard, Spike was now deep in reminiscence, "She spent countless years deciding on just the right dress to be worn by such a piece... and just look at it: exquisite. Words cannot give it adequate justice. She even designed the plaque, 'Look upon me, Equestria, for I. Am. Rarity!' That was so uniquely her. Though she lived a rather peaceful life before succumbing to natural causes, it was an attitude that put her into trouble more than once."
Spike abruptly stopped, the tale seemingly ended. Moving forth a bishop, his visitor sighed in contentment, a small part of the dragon's vast knowledge now his, and said, "Truly, it is a magnificent statue."
Spike nodded and smiled a serpentine smile, "Yes, she is as beautiful a jewel now as the day I first laid eyes on her, a dragon's hoard is the only place great enough to contain her." He moved his queen suddenly, "Oh, and checkmate."
His visitor's shocked face over losing the chess game was only part of the mirth in Spike's smile, the other came from enjoying an old secret. He had spoken the truth to the scholar, but not the whole truth behind this, the most precious jewel in his collection.
There was no subterfuge, Spike respected Rarity too much that, he had explained his intention to her from the very start. It made perfect sense to a dragon that he should regard something he held precious as something to be introduced into his collection, but it was almost unheard of for a common Equestrian citizen to be captured in stone for posterity. Though shocked at first, she was indeed as vain as she was generous, and had eventually agreed.
Rarity was a fairly old pony by then and, though skilled at fighting back the ravages of aging with a wide degree of techniques (to the point that more than one spa had a wing named after her) she was beginning to lose the battle. Some would even say she was becoming addled with age, but Spike had always known her as eccentric, as suited a true visionary. She had lived a full life, had succeeded in fashion in ways other ponies only dreamed of, and even had grandchildren of her own, one of which had talent enough to continue her legacy.
They had come to a consensus, Rarity and Spike: there would be no statue, as nothing could truly beat the original. No, there were other ways. For example, there just happened to be a cockatrice that owed him a favor.
Rarity's disappearance had created quite the stir, especially amongst the fashion world, but ponies are creatures of short memory and, three decades later, when this fine work of art was revealed, not one of the stunned art critics could make the connection. The artist of this work forever went unattributed, but Spike relished the knowledge that, in the end, Rarity was her own finest creation.
When Spike's guest left that night, the dragon reached over tenderly with a claw and wiped a fine layer of dust that had settled on Rarity's head. He looked into her eyes, reminding himself of what he saw in them. Her ashen expression held no sadness: she was performing, the place where she was happiest. Perhaps one day he would undo the spell, when he was close to his own final curtain, in order to tell her how well her performance was received?
Spike smiled back into that face. "Pleasant dreams, milady," he uttered. He rest his head atop a pile of gold beside her then, before closing his eyes to engage in one of a dragon's infamously long naps.
The basis of this story actually came from a ponychan thread where we were musing about how exactly Spike and Rarity's relationship would work out. When the conversation came to a dragon's covetous nature, this conclusion jumped right out at me: naturally, he'd want to add her to his hoard, and in a way that preserves her over the centuries. It fit so well I had to write a story about it.
I was originally thinking I'd make a bit of a black comedy with a grimdark twist, a thing where polite conversation is mixed with a dark undertone that does not become clear until the end. But, truth of the matter is, I don't particularly like grimdark, especially as applied to MLP:FIM, so instead I rewrote the ending to be significantly more touching. It's still a little creepy, I suppose, but also it's a bit of a happy ending in that, in the end, everybody gets what they want: Spike, his hoard centerpiece of a pony he always coveted. Rarity, never having to suffer the cosmetic ravages of age while being idolized (literally) for centuries.
Some credit belongs to a board resident by the name of "MintyRest" for mentioning they were expecting a cockatrice. Somehow, that had not occurred to me before, and I liked that idea so much that I had to steal it. I think I rather prefer the idea that Rarity is in suspended animation, perhaps to be reunited with Spike when they've both roughly the same amount of time to live, than the original deliberately morbid idea to have her stuffed and mounted.
As for who it was that fathered the lineage that lead to Rarity's grandchildren, I leave that deliberately unexplored, and any number of fanfics (or perhaps later canon) will be happy to fill in just who it was she was wed to. If it was a mortal pony, my preference, I assume Rarity was a widow, so as to not leave any bereft significant others when she enacted this scheme. However, the aperture here is wide enough that it does not shoot down shipping her with immortals or even Spike himself (which, I was surprised to recall, would be covering old ground of family entertainment already paved by Shrek).