The both of you had walked over to where Fluttershy flew. It was somewhere in the middle of town where many foals and a few adults had gathered around Pinkie. Who had sacks hanging from her back full of candy. With a little hat that had a spring on top with a small sign that said "Candy for smiles!". Essentially...free candy.
Twilight was already discussing with her the situation at hand. And as you both approached, Pinkie already fixed her gaze darkly on Starlight.
"...so Pinkie..what do you say?" Twilight asked her.
Fluttershy hovered overhead "She's already been forgiven by Applejack and Rarity too. We understand if you don't want to give her a chance. But we do mean it when we say she's changed for the better. And..well..A chance wouldn't hurt...would it?"
"Hmmmmmm...But you said Rarity gave her a test..right?" Pinkie asks as she rubs her chin with her hoof. narrowing her eyes at Starlight while foals take candy from her bag.
"Yeah. She did, Pinkie...do you have somethi-Pinkie?!" Twilight didn't even get a chance to finish her sentence as Pinkie zipped right towards the both of you.
"Heya Nonny! How are you doing!? Want some candy!" Pinkie tells you with a big grin. "All you have to do is smile and you can have as much as you want. I got plenty more back at Sugarcube Corner"
Both you and Starlight were caught offguard by how fast she moved. It was almost the speed of light. To you anyway. "E-erm. Hiya Ponk. Sure, I'll take some candy" You give her a big grin and then point your hoof to Starlight. "You remember Starlight right? She's here on a visit and has been having some trouble and erm..well, why don't you tell her Starlight?"
"Well..um" Starlight had to compose herself after being startled by Pinkie's sudden approach and now soul piercing stare that she was suddenly giving her. "Pinkie Pie, I'd like to ask for your forgiveness over, you know, that whole taking your cutie mark thing. And if possible, I'd like to be friends. I know I don't really deserve it. But, if you could see it in your heart to forgive me. I can show you that I really mean what I say when I tell you that I'm not the same Starlight Glimmer you met.” Starlight gave her a nervous grin.
Pinkie's eyes narrowed to near being closed as her cheerful voice hit neutral "...You want me to forgive you, huh? You want to be friends…?" Pinkie pokes her chest twice with her right hoof "Hmm?"
..oh geez...You didn't expect this from Pinkie.
"U-umm..Yes...but..." Starlight didn't know what to say to that. She was unprepared. So she just dove into it and said. "Yes, I'd like that very much..please"
"Hmm, then you gotta beat my super duper mega tough friendship challenge" Pinkie said, sounding even darker than ever before.
"Whatever it is, I'll do it. So just lay it on me" Starlight stood at the ready
What..the fuck could Pinkie have in mind? You looked to Starlight, then to Pinkie. if it was anything huge. You'd step into this at once.
"Oki...Doki..Loki..." Pinkie slightly turned to her side while still keeping her eyes on Starlight "My challenge won't be easy for you, I know how much you really don't like other ponies being better in some things than other ponies."
"That was the old me, I'm not like that anymore" Starlight bravely informed her.
"Ok then, look at this candy, this candy was made by a very talented candy making pony, meaning you'd hate it because of how tasty it is. My challenge?.....Smile...and take a piece of candy." Pinkie said as coldly as possible.
"Ummm....ok" Starlight smiles and takes a piece of candy. And just to make sure of anything. She unwraps it and eats it. "Oh, hey, it's peppermint"
Pinkie's cold demeanor immediately washes away as she goes and hugs Starlight immediately. "Challenge complete! Good job Starlight! You passed my super impossible test! We're friends now!"
.....Goddammit, you started to laugh from the absurdity of it. That wasn't a challenge. That was just Pinkie offering her the same shit she's apparently been doing for the day.
"That's it?" Starlight said while Pinkie hugged her, completely dumbstruck that there wasn't more
"Thhhaaaaat's it! All the proof I needed!" Pinkie said midhug.
"Yeah...she's serious. Ponk can be pretty well, Herself" You shrugged with a chuckle
"Herself, huh?" Starlight finally started to give in to the hug and started hugging her back "Well, I guess all I have to say to that is I like her..self...uhm?" Starlight then confused herself and regrouped her thoughts "What I mean is, I wouldn't have had this go any other way. Thank you Pinkie, for accepting my friendship"
"Well thank you for accepting my candy!" Pinkie giggled as she ended her hug "How could I say no anyway? Any friend of a friend of mine is my friend. So you were shoe in anyway. Sooooooo" Pinkie leaned in and elbowed her a few times as she grinned smugly "You're pals with Anon, huh? Ever given him cuddles before?"
uh oh… "Ponk..uh...what's..why are you asking her that question?"
"Uhh, yeah. that's kinda weird. I only really hugged him really" Starlight now found the whole thing awkward.
"Give him a cuddle. Rumor has it that he melts into butter when ya do that. It's gotta be the cutest thing ever!" Pinkie exclaims as if all three of you were buddy buddy. Well, you all were...but goddammit
Fluttershy, overhearing this and already seeing the conflict was over. came in to give her two cents. "Oh yes, it's not a rumor. Anon simply loves to cuddle"
You cringe hard and look around. Oh god, if this goes on everyone else is going to hear. They were preoccupied at the moment with being around Twilight. "Yes..Yes..I like cuddles" You say in a low voice "Can we not say it out loud? We're in public"
You were blushing hard. It was embarrassing as fuck.
"Oh right..I guess it would be kind of embarrassing for everypony else to hear" Pinkie then whispers to Starlight "Cuddle hug him before you go back home. It'll be worth it"
"..uhhh...well..ok" Starlight shrugs, finding that whole thing...really odd. But she was glad it was over.
"I'm so glad to see everything worked out! Now all we need to do is see Rainbow Dash and..." Fluttershy cheered, but then was stopped when she heard the sound of many foals,
Suddenly, foals started to crowd around you as they started to say praises. Amazed you were hanging out with Twilight and her friends.
"Woah, check it out. The hero colt gets to hang out with royalty!"
"Well duh, didn't he get to spend a week with Princess Twilight?"
"Yeah, but he's STILL hanging out with her and her friends. That's super amazing!"
"He's so dreamy isn't he? Do you think that he will become a alicorn prince when he grows up? I'd be his princess"
"Gross! He's obviously going to be a super epic hero like the power ponies."
..oh lordy. Being the hero colt could be tough sometimes. But hey, a hero is a hero huh? As long as they don’t form another club, then this wasn’t too bad. "Hey everypony. What's up?"
"Hey! can you tell us your secrets? Snips and Snails can't figure it out. And it'd be super cool if you told us!"
"I just finally want an autograph. After he won that arcade tournament, I don't think there's anything Anon can't do!"
"He can even handle being around his Dad! And look at his mane. He made it look nice, it must be for something super important!"
"He looks super handsome, that's all I gotta say"
hehe, you know. having fans was pretty great..when Snips and Snails wasn't involved. You give them a confident grin and raise your hooves in a motion to calm them. "Relax fellow ponies, I know I'm the hero colt and all. But I'm just like everypony else. No need to get excited. I'm actually on an important friendship mission right now. But, if you want autographs or whatever. I could do it right after school. How does that sound?"
and you could already bet it'd be a lot of signing. But you know? it's fine. You actually did something worthy of being a hero, even if they'd never know it. You could accept this praise now that you could come up with a good reason to accept it. You beat the shit out of that mech.
But then, a nasily voice cried out "Sounds like a bunch of balogna to me! You big faker fraud!"
Everyone's attention was grabbed as a foal stepped from the shadows of a building. Twilight, who had just followed behind the foals also was surprised and took notice of where the voice came from as the rest of the foals gasped.
"Who said that?"
That voice...it couldn't...it wouldn't...it can't...that would be way to autistic.
"It was meee!" A light chocolate brown pony stepped out, with a lighter colored mane and a little propeller cap on his head. and a joystick for a cutie mark.
ohh god..it was..WHYYYYYYY!?
"Button Mash! The real king of games!" He stepped out completely from the shadows. Half his face was covered by a white mask, like "Phantom of the Opera"
Holy fuck....what the fuck did you do to piss him off? This seemed too random. Like holy fuck, wasn't he an OC?..or what..no..he appeared in that hearts n hooves or whatever song..whatever..what? "Uhhhhhh, what do you mean by fraud? Uhh, have we really even met?"
Suddenly, some of the foals started barking at him "How can you call him a fraud?! He's the hero colt!"
"Yeah, he's super cool. What are you gonna challenge him to, a fight or something?"
Starlight took the moment to move to your side and whisper to you "Uhhh, who's this?"
You shrug "No idea, just met him like...now? I guess" You whisper back.
"Excuse me, Button Mash? It isn't very polite to just accuse other ponies like that" Twilight approached him with a smile, trying to figure out what was upsetting him. Was he jealous? was it a misunderstanding? "Maybe if we just talk this out we can figure out what the problem is"
"I already know what the problem is!" Button stepped past her and pointed directly at you "This fraud cheated to win the Arcade tournament and beat Super Alicorn Blaster 2! He's never EVER been to the arcade before and I don't think he's ever even played the first game. He's a fraud! nopony's that good! He obviously cheated to win! The big cheater cheater haystack eater!"
Oh....it was about that? "Hold on everypony, I got this..." You step forward and look to Button with a calm and cool face. "Look, Button right? I beat the tournament fair and square. If I cheated, I would have had a horn on my head. But I didn't. So..yeah...sorry. That's how it is"
"I don't believe it! Do you realize how humiliated I was? It was the most shameful thing in my life!" Button practically spit at you with his anger
The foals looked to eac hother, confused. "Did we laugh at him?"
"Beats me, I wasn't even at the tournament"
"There was a tournament?"
"Yeah, I was there. I don't remember Button being there though. I was too focused on Anon"
Twilight approached Button again in an attempt to calm him down "Button. I don't think Anon meant any harm"
"He did! My life is a wreck because of him!" He barked
...? "Is..that why you're wearing that mask?"
"Mask?" Button stopped, confused, then tapped his face "Oh?" He chuckled, amusingly embarrassed "That's where my taffy went..." He grabs it and peels the "mask" off his face and puts it in his mouth.....how the fuck did that even happen?
He chews, swallows, then suddenly gets angry again. "Anon! Grrrr..I challenge you to a rematch! If you weren't cheating, then you wouldn't mind facing off against me in a rematch. Right? Me and You, the first pony to beat the high score wins for reallll!"
..oh christ......goddammit....that's right.
You could feel your mood drain as you are reminded that your score...was already beaten. "Yeeeahhhh, about that. The score?..it was beaten already and I was already going to get to work on beating it"
"......" Button could feel his heart stop for a second. His eyes open wide as his pupils shrink to the horror he was hearing. "W-what?! It was beaten? T-that's impossible, I only managed to beat the game once today. Who could have beaten that high score you made?!"
"Oh, is that what this is all about?" Twilight giggles, she thought this was a lot more serious than what she thought it was, she then rolled her eyes with a dismissive smirk ."I swear, that game seems to drive everypony loony. But yes, A pony named Big Mac, who you would know as your classmate Applebloom's brother, was the one who beat the score. Pretty amazing right?"
.....ugghhh. Suddenly you could feel some of the same pain Button was feeling as you both felt the shame of losing to a fucking hick.
The foals started to talk among themselves
"Big Mac?! That big silent guy? Woah...never took him for an arcade guy."
"He beat Anon's score? That's crazy!"
"Does this mean Anon isn't as good at Arcade games like we thought?"
"Yeah, but who cares. It's just a game. Big Mac has never defeated griffons or handled Discord before."
"Yeah you're right!"
Button was crushed, he looked to you apologetically and sighed "So, we both lost?"
You nod "Eyuup...it was over before it even began."
"...Oh...Well...umm.." Button's ears drooped as he felt the agonizing smack of defeat "I guess I'll go home then...See ya at school...ehe...this...this never happened! yup! bye!" And Button ran off after that. Some of the foals saying he was a weirdo as he did. Now that he realized that someone else could do it. He couldn't refute your claim.
As for you... now that it was public. even if nobody cared,you had to make some time to try to beat that score. Fuck Big Mac, there's no fucking canonical reason for him to be that good. He'd have to be some sort of nerd to do it. Last you checked, he wasn't one.
"Well, that happened....poor little guy" Pinkie frowned and looked back to her friends "Well, Starlight, it's super great that we're friends now. We gotta hang out sometime, y'know? If not at my place, I'll be sure to plan a trip to your place. But right now? Pinkie's got a job to do! Seeya everypony!" Pinkie saluted as she started speedily hopping towards Button to try to cheer him up.
"....that was....really awkward." Starlight, didn't really understand what just happened.
"Yeah...but, mission accomplished...eh? We only need Rainbow Dash now. Anypony know where she might be?" You ask
Big Mac.....he was your gaming rival at this moment. Though, you'll probably stop giving a shit about that score sooner or later. You weren't that autistic about high scores...right?
Fluttershy wondered about Rainbow Dash's location "She could be home."
"Well, it would be logical to check her house. But Rainbow Dash also likes to get a good workout. Or it's possible that she's out doing pegasi work. Hmmmm....still" Twilight grinned that everything was going so well so far "There's really nothing to worry about. We're five for five so far. Which is not only great for Starlight, but shows that a little understanding and a big apology can go a long way in the reformation process."
"...yeah" Starlight sighs in relief about that and agrees "I really thought this was going to be tougher, and scary even. I was afraid I was going to fail and feel alone. But I know I'm not. I have you all, I have the townsponies, and I have Anon. I think I can survive not gaining Rainbow Dash's friendship at this point. But I'd still like to try."
"Well then, we'll just have to find her. Give me a sec and..." Twilight teleports away for a second, then comes back "Well, she isn't home. So that rules that out"
You almost forgot she was capable of teleporting like that. You were so used to Discord doing it.
"So nopony has any idea where else she'd be?" Starlight asked
"No, I'm sorry Starlight. But I'm sure if we wait around for a little while that she'll turn up" Fluttershy gives her a hopeful smile "Rainbow Dash is never hard to spot. Even if she's moving fast, if there's a rainbow, then we know she's nearby"
"That's true. But she doesn't seem to be zipping around the sky either. So I guess she's just taking the time to GYAH!" Twilight shrieked in surprise as she ducked a high flying candy that slams into the building next to her. "What in the hay was that?!"
"I think it was...candy?" Starlight could see it sticking out the side of a building. She used her magic to pluck it out and look at it. attached to it was a note "Try the lake"
"Pinkie" You all say with jovial giggles.
"Pinkie?!" Starlight found that impossible "But she went after that foal, I don't even see her around. How did she toss a candy that far?! How could she even hear us?!"
"Starlight, I'm gonna tell you again. It's Ponk. if there's something nopony can do, she can probably do it and it's really really good to save yourself a headache by not thinking about it"
"....But....but" Starlight wanted answers.
"Starlight, trust me. Can you even come up with a logical reason how she knew? Because I bet Twilight can't" You look over to Twilight as you say that. Maybe one point to yourself won’t hurt.
"He's right, I can't. It's better not to try to figure it out. Or..." Twilight shivered "Things might start landing on your head”
Starlight blinked, she had no clue what that could have meant. But if even Twilight, who she knew was smart, couldn't figure it out then it might be better that she leaves it alone.
And with that, saying goodbye to your fans and moving forward. The party of four went to check the lake as per Pinkie's suggestion.