Pound and Pumpkin woke up with big smiles on their faces as Pinkie shook them awake for school.“HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” she said excitedly to each of them, the pair quickly hopping out of bed.
“Happy birthday, Pound!” said Pumpkin as she ran toward him.
“Happy birthday, Pumpkin!” he responded as he followed suit, the two hugging.
“SEVEN YEARS OLD TODAY!” they both yelled as they moved into a sitting position next to each other, one hoof around each other’s shoulders as they pumped the other one into the air.
Pinkie had a dreamy expression on her face. It was going to be a great day. “I made you two some cupcakes to take to school and share with your classmates.”
The two ran to her and hugged her too. “Thanks, Auntie Pinkie!” they said in unison.
Champ hopped off the bed, barking, getting caught up in all the excitement.
Pound released Pinkie, hugging his dog. “It’s my birthday, Champ!” He barked again.
Tiger Lily couldn’t sleep with all the racket, so she leapt off Pumpkin’s bed and walked over to Pumpkin, rubbing against her leg.
Pumpkin picked her up, hugging her close as she remembered something. “Hey, Pound!”
“What’s up?” he said, turning away from Champ.
“You remember what our parents said about our pets, right?”
“Oh!” Pound’s face lit up. “That’s right. It’s official today.” Turning back to Champ he said brightly, “Now you really are our pets! This past month we proved we were good animal caretakers, so you get to stay with us for good!”
Champ licked his face several times, making him laugh. “Alright, you licking monster. Let’s get your morning walk out of the way so I can go to school.”
Champ ran in circles around the door as Pound grabbed the leash. When Pound got him hooked up he immediately made for the stairs, Pound quickly trotting behind him to keep up.
“Morning, Pound!” his mom said after him as he headed for the front door.
“Morning!” Pound called back, all he had time to say before rushing after Champ.
After he let Champ do his business he went for a jog with him for the next few minutes before bringing him inside.
Panting slightly as he went inside he took Champ off his leash and grabbed both of them some water. Or, rather, that’s what he would have done, if his mother didn’t already have some waiting for them.
“Happy birthday, Pound!” his mother said cheerfully, waiting for him to drink his water before grabbing him in a loving hug.
“Come on into the kitchen, sweetheart. Breakfast is ready.”
“You don’t have to tell me twice,” Pound said. The early morning exercise always made him a little hungry.
Pumpkin was already at the table with their dad.
After a birthday greeting and a hug from his dad as well he sat down at the table, seeing chocolate chip pancakes. His stomach was already rumbling.
“About time!” Pumpkin said playfully. “I thought it would be rude to start without you.”
“Since when do you care about being rude to me?” Pound asked in a joking tone.
“Oh, only as long as Mom and Dad have been watching,” she responded with a wink.
Pound started to make a witty retort, but then his stomach rumbled again and he lost interest. Pouring some blueberry syrup on his pancakes he dug in eagerly, Pumpkin doing the same on her end only choosing strawberry syrup.
When they were finished Pound said, “Thanks, Mom! You’re a great cook!”
“You’re very welcome,” she said gratefully, handing both of them a wet washcloth to wipe their sticky hooves on.
After they were cleaned up Pound hopped off his chair, saying, “You remember what you said about Champ and Tiger Lily, right?”
“I haven’t forgotten,” their mother responded. “The both of you are now proud owners of your own pets.”
Pound and Pumpkin let out happy squeals as they hopped and slapped each other high-fives. “Alright!”
With that settled the two grabbed their saddlebags and headed off to school.
“Ready, Pumpkin?” Pound asked as they walked.
She nodded. “Yep!”
Pound jumped as he unfurled his wings, Pumpkin keeping him in place in mid-air as he flapped. For the past week he had been using Pumpkin to help him continue to improve. He had basically mastered hovering, but it still couldn’t quite be called flying until he actually moved forward and could gain air. Pumpkin helped to keep him steady when he began to turn too far forward or to the side, keeping him going without crashing. With her assistance he was starting to get a feel for keeping steady and making turns.
To think that just a month or so prior he couldn’t even hover at all, even when he had been in danger from jumping off the flagpole. He knew he had made improvement in leaps and bounds. All he had really needed was to have his mistakes pointed out to him and correct them.
He was so close! He could feel it just inches beyond his reach. He was definitely going to fly properly real soon. A lot of the credit had to go to Drill Bit. When the colt had tricked hovering out of him by having his friends lift him up and then suddenly release him it showed him that his wings really did work, and from then on nothing could stop him.
He also owed a lot to Twilight. If she hadn’t given him the tools he needed to control his raging temper he might never have talked Drill Bit into training him. Drill Bit may have rejected his offer of true friendship, but there was always the chance he would change his mind in the future.
Yes, things were going to be just fine.
School went by quickly for the pair. They handed out goodies for the other students in their class, and during their final class their teachers brought out a cake and sang the happy birthday song.
After classes were over Masky joined them on their way home, since he was one of their party guests.
Masky was a ball of energy as they walked toward Sugarcube Corner. “This is so exciting!” he said brightly. “My first sleepover with the best friends any pony could ask for.”
Pound and Pumpkin gave him a hug. “Thanks,” said Pound.
“Yeah, you’re pretty cool too,” said Pumpkin.
Pinkie followed behind the trio, a happy tear coming down her cheek. Just a short while ago the colt had been conflicted and full of a pain buried deep inside him. Now that he had resolved things with his parents the colt was as he should be: a happy, innocent child.
When they arrived home they could see the store had a closed sign on it. Opening the door they headed in, seeing the place decorated for the occasion.
Besides Masky and their usual circle of friends, the twins only had one friend apiece coming to the party: Tree Leaf for Pound, and Peppermint Swirl for Pumpkin. They probably could have invited more of their classmates, but given that they wanted to try and win over Flurry Heart they didn’t want to overwhelm her with too many guests. If she was already skittish about making friends the less there were the better. The two of them as the guests of honor, and their three closest friends, were more than enough.
Over the course of the next hour Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, Rarity, Twilight, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash showed up. The last one to show up was Fluttershy with Mayhem.
Mayhem walked in, wearing a blue suit with a red bowtie. He was holding onto Fluttershy’s hoof with a giant smile. “Hello, everyone!” he said with a hop, giggling.
“You sure look happy,” said Pound, smiling too.
“Of course I am!” He hopped up and down a few more times. “This is the first time I’ve been invited to a party. It’s so exciting!”
Fluttershy grinned down at him. “He hasn’t stopped talking about this since you gave him the invitation. He was so honored.”
“Of course we wouldn’t forget about you,” said Pumpkin.
Masky put out his hoof, and Mayhem met it by balling up his claw. “What’s up, Mayhem? How have you been?”
“Impatiently waiting!” the little draconequus responded, hopping a few more times. “I’ve never felt so happy before!”
Masky grinned wistfully, understanding exactly where the draconequus was coming from. This day was special for him too.
A short while after that Tree Leaf was dropped off by his parents.
Pound ran up to him, grabbing him in a headlock and giving him a noogie. “What’s up there, weakling?”
Tree Leaf responded cockily, “I could easily escape and beat you down, but I wouldn’t want to humiliate you on your birthday.”
“Oh, sure!” he responded back, but released the colt all the same. “I want you to meet my friends.”
Masky walked up to him, extending a hoof. “What’s up?” he asked. “Name’s Masquerade Ball, but you can call me Masky.”
“Name’s Tree Leaf,” he responded, slapping hooves with him. “So you as weak as that loser right there?”
“I like to think that I can defend myself,” Masky responded, feeling like a challenge was coming on.
“Come here, Mayhem,” said Pound, “and introduce yourself.”
Mayhem beamed, trotting over. “Hello, there!”
Tree Leaf turned. “Nice to meeeeeeeeeeeet….” He blinked, staring at the strange creature. Finally he asked, “What ARE you?”
Mayhem’s face soured, and he tackled the colt to the ground, the two of them rolling over a few times before Mayhem landed on top, his paws on Tree Leaf’s chest.
“Hey!” Tree Leaf complained, drawing everyone’s attention.
“That was very rude,” Mayhem said angrily. “Just because I’m not a pony doesn’t mean you should treat me differently. That hurt my feelings.”
Fluttershy walked over and put a hoof on Mayhem’s shoulder. When he looked up at her she pulled him off Tree Leaf and helped the colt to his hooves. She then turned her attention back to the baby draconequus. “Mayhem, you expressed your feelings beautifully, but knocking him down was wrong. You need to mind your temper better.”
His lip quivered, a mixture of fear and sadness. He didn’t want to hurt Fluttershy, but he didn’t think he was in the wrong. “You heard what he said? He thinks I’m a freak!”
“Or maybe he’s just never seen something like you before, and he didn’t know what to make of you. You’re certainly one of a kind.”
She gave him a little push. “Go on, now. Make friends. It would make me very happy.”
His growing anger disappeared in a heartbeat. He liked to make Fluttershy happy. Sucking up his feelings he walked up to Tree Leaf. “My name is Mayhem. I’m a draconequus. We’re a very rare species made up of parts of many different creatures. And,” he crossed his arms with a smug expression, “I have some cool abilities.”
“Like what?” Tree Leaf responded dismissively, still peeved.
Mayhem just chuckled, grinning slyly as he snapped his claw.
“What did you do?” Tree Leaf said, worried. “Why did everything get bigger?” He put out his paw. “You… you…” His head tilted as he wiggled the pads of his paw, claws coming out. “Am… am I a CAT?”
Mayhem laughed again. “That not good enough for you?” With another snap he said, “That better?”
Now he was huge. He towered over everyone else. He felt a lot heavier and sturdier.
With another snap a gigantic mirror appeared, and Tree Leaf gaped at himself. “I’m a dragon!” he said in amazement, fluttering his wings and swinging his tail, knocking over a table. “Oops!” he said quickly. “Sorry.”
Another snap and Tree Leaf shrank back to normal size. He let out a yell as he fell toward the floor, but landed on a trampoline. He bounced off it and landed on a pile of pillows.
It took the colt a little time to get his bearings. He shook his head, and then stood up on shaky hooves. When next he looked at Mayhem his expression was the complete opposite of the first time.
“THAT WAS SO COOL!” he exclaimed, hopping up and down on his hooves. “I can’t believe you can do that.” He trotted over to the draconequus. “Wanna be friends?”
Mayhem nodded. “Sure!” He folded his claw into a fist, pounding Tree Leaf’s hoof, glad to see he had made another friend.
His joy only grew when Fluttershy hugged him from behind. “Great job, Mayhem! I knew you could do it.”
Peppermint arrived a few minutes later, and Pumpkin went up to greet her. “Hey, girl!”
“Happy Birthday, Pumpkin!” she said, the two hugging.
There was another round of introductions.
“Hello, there!” Mayhem said happily when it was his turn, though his smile faded slightly when he saw the way Peppermint was looking at him.
Learning from Tree Leaf’s issue Pumpkin made sure to add, “Mayhem is a draconequus, a rare and powerful species, as well as a good friend.”
Though Peppermint’s first instinct to seeing Mayhem was fear she didn’t let it overwhelm her. When she had first seen Spike she had been terrified simply because he was a dragon, but after a quick conversation she found out that he wasn’t scary at all. She trusted Pumpkin, so by extension she trusted him, since she knew Pumpkin wouldn’t allow her to come to harm.
“Hello,” she replied with a bit of apprehension. “How are you?”
Mayhem looked downtrodden. “Do you think I’m a freak too just because I look different?”
“Not at all,” she said as she shook her head. “I was scared of Spike at first because I thought all dragons were vicious, but now I know better. If Pumpkin says that you’re a friend then you’re a friend.”
That made Mayhem perk up, and he gave her a hug.
Peppermint had a moment of panic where she very nearly shoved him away from her, but luckily she didn’t act on the impulse. After a few seconds she hugged him back, her fear of him already eroding.
When they broke apart Mayhem was all smiles again.
“Mayhem,” Fluttershy called out.
Mayhem flinched. “W-what? Did I do something wrong again? I'm sorry.”
“Not quite. I’m glad to see you making friends with other kids, but you have to accept that most ponies haven’t seen a draconequus before. Instead of getting offended or upset you should start off by showing that even if you look different you’re as friendly as any pony. If you can do that most ponies will easily be able to look past your outward appearance.”
He nodded. “Gotcha!” He saluted to her. “I’ll do my best, Mommy!”
“Mommy?” Tree Leaf and Peppermint responded incredulously, forcing the twins to explain it.
Now the only ones they were waiting for were Flurry Heart and her family.
“Hey, Twilight,” said Pound. “When are they supposed to arrive?”
“It might take a little while. If both of them are leaving they have to make sure that their defenses are ready in case an attack happens.”
“That makes sense,” said Pumpkin. “Your brother and Cadance are super powerful, right?”
Twilight beamed. “Yep. Shining is capable of creating a shield spell large enough to cover an entire town. And Cadance has a spell similar to the protective magic of the Crystal Heart, which blocks darkness from passing through it.”
“How about you, Twilight?” asked Peppermint. “Can you do shield magic as well?”
She nodded. “Yes, I can. However, even as an alicorn I’m not quite as proficient as my brother in the scope of my shields. He can put his shields in a standby state, reducing the strain on his mind.”
“What does that mean?”
Twilight scratched her chin. “Cadance’s shield magic has to be kept constantly active, which means she always has to focus on it, or else it will dissipate. My brother doesn’t have to do that.”
Tree Leaf said, “I don’t get it. Even if he can focus on other stuff besides his shield isn’t he still using the same amount of magic? I don’t know how unicorns work, but I’m sure you can’t just keep a spell up forever.”
Twilight looked delighted at their curiosity. “I’m glad you brought that up, so why don’t you be my demonstration? Come over here. You too, Peppermint.”
When they were in front of her she told them to face one another. After they were in place she created a shield around Peppermint. “Now, Tree Leaf, I want you to try and hit Peppermint.”
Tree Leaf looked questioningly at her, but swung at the shield all the same. It easily held against his blow.
“Now that’s how Cadance’s shields are. So long as I maintain the shield Peppermint will be safe.” She dropped the shield. “Now I want you to try and hit her again.”
Peppermints heartrate went up a little when Twilight didn’t recreate the shield, but she trusted Twilight, and so did nothing as Tree Leaf went to hit her. Before he made contact with her the shield reappeared, knocking Tree Leaf back a little, before it quickly disappeared again.
“This is how my brother’s spell works. Once created it remains, invisible. It only pops into existence when it senses a threat, and then it disappears again. Because it’s not constantly active it takes almost no energy to maintain the shield when it’s not in use. I could create a shield that could surround Ponyville, but even I’m not skilled enough to always have it around.”
“That’s kinda weird,” said Pumpkin. “Aren’t alicorns supposed to be better than regular unicorns in everything magic?”
Twilight shook her head. “Not at all. My transformation into an alicorn simply increased my raw magical ability. I can use more powerful spells over a longer period of time, but it doesn’t increase my talent.
“Now, while I never disapprove of sharing knowledge, this is a party. You shouldn’t be listening to a lecture. They’ll get here when they get here. We might as well start the party proper. Pinkie?”
“Yep-a-rooni!” she replied, going to her record player and starting a festive song.
So the five children began to party. Pound and Tree Leaf did a goofy dance to the music, trying to out-perform each other, while Pumpkin and Peppermint talked and practiced magic. Masky challenged Mayhem to a game of darts.
While they waited Pound and Pumpkin filled in their friends about their mission to help Flurry Heart, so they’d be prepared.
It took another half hour, but eventually came a knock on the door. When it opened Cadance was there. “Hello, everyone!” she said genially, coming in levitating two wrapped boxes.
“Hey, Cadance!” said Twilight, going up to her and hugging her. “Where’s the rest of the crew?”
“Shining had me go on ahead while he gave a few final checks to security, and Flurry was being difficult about leaving the Crystal Empire, so right now I’m the only one here. They’ll be along shortly.
“So where would you like the gifts?”
Pound and Pumpkin’s eyes lit up at the mention of presents. “Right here!” they called out, extending their hooves.
Cup Cake rolled her eyes. “No opening presents right now! You know that.”
“Awww,” they replied.
“You can put the presents on the table over there,” said Carrot, pointing.
After she did so she said, “Why don’t you two introduce me to your friends?”
“Sure!” they replied.
Pound pointed to his friend. “This is Tree Leaf, and I am superior to him in everything except being a dope.”
Tree Leaf stuck out his tongue with a laugh.
“We met at the beach. We had a few rough spots at the start because he was jealous of the attention I gave Pumpkin, but we worked it all out.”
Pumpkin explained how she met Peppermint, as well as Masky.
“And who do we have here?” asked Cadence as she looked down at Mayhem. “You’re not fooling anyone, Discord.”
“Bleh!” the little draconequus sputtered out in disgust, “Don’t compare me to THAT guy.
“My name is Mayhem.” With his eyes lighting up he continued, “I was given that name by my Mommy.”
Cadance’s head backed up. “There are more of you out there?” One draconequus was enough for a lifetime.
“Of a sort,” said Twilight. “It’s a long story about how we first came to meet him, but Mayhem is simply the living embodiment of Discord’s magic. In short, he’s magic with a consciousness.”
“Interesting,” said Cadance. “If that’s what he is then who is ‘mommy?’"
Mayhem snapped his claw, vanishing and appearing on Fluttershy’s back. “Right here!” he said joyfully, hugging her neck. “She’s the best mommy in the world!”
Cadance chuckled. “I guess I should have known.”
“I was a bad draconequus when we met. I tried to hurt everyone here, but after I was beaten Mommy let me come out again to show me what love felt like, and she gave me the name I have today.”
“Awww.” She could see how much he cared for Fluttershy. “So where is ‘daddy’ anyway?”
Mayhem’s face soured, but he didn’t comment.
“I’m not sure,” said Fluttershy. “Mayhem’s been staying with me for a while as I teach him how to be a better person, but Discord comes and goes. I did tell him about the party though, so I’m sure he’ll show up eventually.”
It took another half hour before there was another knock at the door.
Shining Armor walked in backwards, pulling a baby stroller. “Hello, everyone,” he said quietly as he turned around, revealing the snoring baby. “Skyla is sleeping right now, so would it be alright if I put her upstairs?”
The twins were a little disappointed. They had wanted to play with her again.
“Of course,” said Cup. “You can put her in our room.”
“Thanks.” Turning his head behind him he said, “Come on, Flurry.”
As Shining followed Cup upstairs, levitating the stroller, a filly walked into the building.
This got the twins attention off of Skyla, as they wanted to see what the filly they were assigned to help was like.
Flurry Heart had curly purple hair with a few blue highlights. Like her younger sister she was also an alicorn. She didn’t look to be in the best of moods, seeming annoyed or a little upset.
Pound decided to start off strong. Putting on his brightest smile he walked up to her and said, “Hello! I’m Pound Cake.”
Pumpkin followed his lead. “I’m Pumpkin Cake. And it’s our birthday today.”
“Welcome to our party! We hope you have a great time and that we can be good friends.”
Flurry let out a sigh, barely looking at them before glancing away again. “I doubt that,” she said quietly.
“What’s wrong?” asked Pound. “Everyone loves a good party, right?”
Flurry just shrugged. “Whatever.” With another sigh she looked at them again and said, “I guess I should do the proper princess thing. I’m Princess Flurry Heart. Nice to meet you.”
“Same to you,” said Pumpkin. “There’s nothing to be afraid of. We’re all friends here.”
“I’m not afraid,” she said dismissively. “I just don’t want to be here.”
“Well, you’re here now, right? So why don’t you make the most of it? Pretty soon you’ll be back home.”
“Which is where I SHOULD be. I’ve got studying to do. I don’t have time for all this partying and friendship garbage.”
Nearby Pound turned to look as he heard Cadance sighing now. It had to hurt as a mother to see her child being so miserable.
Turning back to Flurry he said, “Studying is all well and good, but you have to make time for friends. Our lives just wouldn’t be the same without the friends we made over the past few months. And all of them took some hard work to help them through some problems so that we could be true friends.
“Isn’t that right, Twilight?”
Flurry perked up just a little as Twilight came forward. “Hello, Aunt Twilight. It’s good to see you again.”
“The same to you,” she replied. “And Pound is right. I spent my childhood doing nothing but studying. It brought me great joy, but nothing compared to gaining all the good friends I made when I was sent to Ponyville.” She gestured with her hoof to all her other friends. “So like Pound said why don’t you make the most of your time here?”
Flurry’s only response was to sigh and hang her head, her little bit of enthusiasm draining as quickly as it appeared.
Pound and Pumpkin could both see that Flurry did indeed have something eating away at her. They had been there before.
Twilight sucked on her cheek. “I’ll tell you what. If you join the party and try to have some fun I’ll personally teach you a handy spell for learning things faster.”
Flurry’s head shot up. “Really?”
She nodded. “It’s called Haycartes method. It lets you literally enter the world of books.”
“Ooooh.” Now she looked genuinely interested.
“So is it a deal?”
Flurry’s smile faded. With one last sigh she said, “Alright.”
Twilight didn’t like having to bribe Flurry to try friendship, much as she hadn’t liked doing the same to Moondancer, and with the promise of teaching them the same spell to boot. However, she thought that if Flurry pretended to have some fun she might start actually having some without even knowing it.
“Great.” With a small push from her magic she directed Flurry forward. “Now go make some friends.”
“How?” she asked.
“What do you mean ‘how?’ Just talk with one another and play some games together.”
Walking forward she said, “I’d rather be learning that spell.”
It was a bit of a rough start, but at least she had gotten Flurry to open up just a little. All of the children knew that Flurry had an issue that needed resolving, so she hoped that things would go smoothly.
As yet another round of introductions began everything went great up until they got to Mayhem.
Flurry was only half paying attention so she didn't notice that one of them was distinctly different until she was expected to meet hooves. She gasped, jumping back as she saw the draconequus. “YAH! What IS that hideous thing?”
Cadence blushed at her discourtesy. “Flurry Heart!” she said sharply.
Fluttershy winced at the hurt look on Mayhem’s face.
Mayhem’s face suddenly went red, steam coming out of his ears. Why did everyone have to treat him like he was so different? He lifted his paw into a snapping position.
Fluttershy felt scared at what Mayhem might do to Flurry if she didn’t intervene. “Mayhem!” she said pleadingly. “Please don’t!”
His body clenched, his eyes shutting tight as he reluctantly lowered his claw, taking several deep breaths.
Pound walked up and put a hoof around Mayhem. “Hey! He’s a friend of ours and one of our guests. Don’t be rude to him.”
That made Mayhem look a little better, but it didn’t last.
“I’m sorry," Flurry responded, "but I thought this was a party for ponies, not some mix and match freak.”
“Flurry!” Cadance said angrily. “That’s enough!”
Mayhem’s eyes widened, before his glare turned rock hard.
Fluttershy quickly started trotting toward Mayhem, fearful that he might not be able to control himself. “Mayhem-” Her heart skipped a beat as he snapped his claw, but the only result seemed to be that he vanished from where he was and wound up in front of her.
Floating a foot off the ground he threw his hooves around her and hugged her. She could hear him crying, and she quickly hugged him back. “There, there,” she said comfortingly. “I’m here for you. You’re not a freak. You’re just different."
“I-I’m going home!” Mayhem stammered out.
“Come on. You don’t have to go. We can work this out.”
“No!” he said firmly. “I-I-I feel like I’m going to do something bad again if I stay. You put so much time into showing me how great love feels and he-helping me improve, and I don’t want to make you look bad in front of everyone by breaking your heart and hurting someone.
“I’m going home!”
With a snap his body turned insubstantial, the magic that made him up dissipating, and now Fluttershy was hugging empty air, tears coming down her eyes.
‘All he wanted was to join a party and be accepted,’ she thought. ‘There were a few hiccups at first, but Peppermint and Tree Leaf had both accepted him. He had been so ecstatic, but now…’ As she looked at Flurry a fierce protectiveness overcame her.
Pound and Pumpkin were both staring daggers at Flurry.
Cadance let out a groan as she saw the way the twins were looking at her daughter. Even Fluttershy had an uncharacteristically vicious expression on her face.
Twilight slowly walked in place, hoping that things weren’t over before they even began.
Shining Armor came downstairs with Cup Cake, and he immediately felt the heavy atmosphere in the room. The twins looked furious, Twilight looked downtrodden, Cadance looked embarrassed, Fluttershy looked on the verge of tears, and Flurry looked like she wanted to be anywhere but there.
“Hey, everyone!” he said, trying to be cheerful. “What’s with all the frowns?”
Twilight went to answer when she suddenly felt a pull, a blue aura surrounding her.
“Twilight, can we talk to you in private?” Pumpkin asked through gritted teeth.
“Right,” she replied mechanically, following the twins into the kitchen.
A few seconds later the doors swung open again, and Fluttershy came in.
“Don’t mind me!” she said, letting out a heavy breath as she went to sit against a corner. She folded her hooves, tapping one of her back legs. “I really just need to get my head in order before I say some things I regret.”
Twilight looked between the twins and Fluttershy. “I’m really sorry about the way Flurry was acting. I haven’t seen her too frequently, but she isn’t always like that.”
“Who cares?” Pumpkin said angrily. “She’s only been here two minutes and she’s already driven away one of our friends in tears. I don’t want her here!”
“Yeah!” Pound said, stomping a hoof. “Who needs a party pooper here on our big day? Our party is basically already ruined! I mean, which of our friends is she gonna hurt next?”
Twilight glanced toward Fluttershy, seeing her expression shifting from anger at Flurry to sadness for Mayhem.
Looking back at the twins she said, “If that’s the way you feel then I guess I should leave too.”
“Why?” asked Pumpkin, looking a little less aggravated. “You haven’t done anything.”
“I was the one who invited her here, so I have to take responsibility for it.”
“No way!” Pound shook his head. “You’re not responsible for her actions. We’re not mad at you, Twilight.”
Twilight walked forward until she was standing in front of them. “I really am sorry about this. I didn’t think that things would go so far.”
Pumpkin patted Twilight’s shoulder. “Like Pound said we’re not upset at you.”
Pound’s head tilted as Twilight’s eyes grew misty. "Why are you crying?"
“Because," she replied, "my niece is suffering inside, and because of that my brother and my sister-in-law are suffering as well, and I’m suffering too knowing that all of them are hurting. They’re my family. I love them so much, but I know I don’t have what it takes to crack the hardness of her heart.
“I know it’s not right to deprive you of the joy of a great party in order to solve a friendship problem, and on your birthday to boot, but I just can’t stand seeing my family in pain.” The tears that had been hovering in her eyes began to come down her face. “You’re the only ones I have to rely on, and I believe that you’re up to the task. All those friends you have out there took a lot of effort and perseverance to get as you waded through their issues and helped them become better ponies.”
The twins felt their anger being replaced with sympathy for Twilight. Shocking the both of them Twilight suddenly bowed deeply to them. “Please… please give Flurry another chance.” She sniffed, more tears coming down her eyes. “This isn’t an order as a princess. It’s a request from a friend.”
Her eyes clenched shut as she inhaled sharply. “I know it’s a selfish request to ask you to devote time to helping her during your party, but please help my family! Please! I’m begging you.”
Twilight’s outburst surprised them. When she had first told them about Flurry she had been so composed and casual about it. Had she been that way because she just believed in them THAT much that they would succeed?
Having a princess bowing to them and beseeching them for help was incredibly humbling. Pound reached out and hugged Twilight, Pumpkin following right after. Tears were coming down their eyes now.
“You can count on us, Twilight,” Pound said calmly. “You’ve helped us out so many times, so now we want to return the favor to you.”
“Same here,” said Pumpkin. “We wouldn’t have come as far as we have without your lessons and getting us into school.”
Twilight tearily smiled, hugging both of them. “Thank you.”
Fluttershy got up and started walking towards the trio, having listened to Twilight’s feelings. Seeing her friends distress also helped to dispel the anger she felt at Flurry Heart. “I’ll do what I can too,” she said. “If we can help Flurry through her issue then maybe we can have Mayhem return to the party.”
The twins faces lit up. “Hey, yeah,” said Pound. “That’s a great idea.”
“Then let’s go get it done!” said Pumpkin.