by Alex Warlorn

Let Us Begin...

"I've scanned the fog around Ponyville repeatedly. The fog's magic is inert. In my opinion a weather wyrm likely took a nap in Everfree," Twilight Sparkle said, going over a slew of notes held up by Spike and Owlowiscious and her own magic.

"When has anythin' with us been 'likely'?" Honest Applejack asked.

"Granted. But if it was a Weather Wyrm, their snoring isn't nearly as dangerous as a fire breathing dragon."

"I hope so, darling," generous Rarity said.

"I have'ta go with AJ on this one," loyal Rainbow Dash said. "Stuff with us never stays 'likely' for long."

"Hey, girls! Don't go turning into me, I'm the one whose supposed to notice the crazy patterns our lives follow." Pinkie Pie laughed.

"Well, I can conclude, the fog itself is just fog," Twilight said.

"In that case, Trixie wonders if the fog is a cover, smoke bomb make good distractions."

"If something's hidden in the fog, then the alarm spells I've set should give us plenty of warning. Be it thieves, the sass-squash, gremlins, or The Legendary Fog Monster of the Isle of Pony, we'll know ahead of time and be ready."

"Half of those even real, Twili?"

"I've learned you can't be too careful."

The kind Flutters said nothing, Fluttershy just happy no one had brought up 'Princess Gaia's fog', and smiled to herself remembering finding the lion inside her to Stare down a dragon into submission, protecting her friends. Fluttercruel enjoyed the memory of her mother growing a spine in front of her worst fear.

"This wasn't in anything I read," Pinkie Pie said under her breath looking the window, seeing ponies doing their best to go about their lives in spite of the annoying fog. "I hope it's nothing. I want to go back to when we only had a big meanie once a year instead of four."


Outside the library Derpy looked at her friend, 'Golden Harvest.'

"Hey, Carrot Top. Does this fog remind you of our adventure? The ruins in Everfree, the skeleton ponies and spider, who turned out to be nice, and the icy unicorn queen who turned out to be mean and-"

"Derpy I remember! Our family and friends wondered where we were, you were taught how to use a flame sword, while I was trapped with the queen after she acted like she my friend when we first met her: only she wanted my body or to drain my life or something!" Carrot Top huffed. "I wondered if I'd see my little sister ever again. Derpy, how could you bring that up?"

Derpy didn't cower nor whimper, instead, she merely nuzzled her friend. "Because I want you to know, if something like that happens again, I'll be there for you again. 'Neither rain, wind, hail, or sleet,' isn't just for mail, Carrot Top. It's what I do for all of my friends. I just wanted you to know, whatever happens, you don't have to be afraid. I'll protect my family, and I'll protect my friends."

Derpy remembered the last time fog unbidden had rolled into Ponyville, it was annoying for the walled eye pegasus to swim through it, but she remembered how she had fought Nightmare Whisper's animal puppets to protect her filly, and the medal she got from Princess Luna as Best Mother In Equestria, and even her biological mom FINALLY told Derpy she was proud of her. That was something wonderful Derpy never wanted to forget, it made her smile.

Carrot Top grinned. 'Derpy you act like a clown, but you have the heart of a lion, I finally get why Princess Luna awarded you. Oh, look, it's the crazy Earth Pony who lives in that tiny blue shed, why is he always dragging her off into that thing? The one time I wandered in...ugh, don't want to think about it...This fog does give me the chills. Maybe I should leave town for a bit with Orange Top...No, I won't abandon the farm. If the Apples can keep their apple orchard running through everything thrown at Ponyville, then our carrot farm can keep running! If Derpy can weather a storm, so can I.'


The fog around Ponyville's train station proved stubborn later that day; the weather team having to exert themselves to push it back.

Trixie and Twilight stood on the platform together.

"Trixie, if you're going to leave Ponyville again after everything-"

"Twilight! Trixie promises! She is NOT going back home just to mooch off her loving and wonderful family again. I'm just going to get my affairs in orders!"

"So you're finally moving to Ponyville?" Twilight grinned a little too eagerly.

"I can't make a living as a stage magician staying in a small town like Ponyville or Hoofington...But now that I have a reputation in Canterlot..."

"You could always commute."


"Between Canterlot and Ponyville. YOU TOLD ME you teleported all the way from Hoofington to Ponyville with your props! It's something to be proud of Trixie! Most ponies shouldn't be able to do that. Canterlot and Ponyville should be much easier. In fact, why not just teleport to Hoofington right now and skip paying for a train ticket?"

"When..." Trixie blushed. "When I teleported to Ponyville with my luggage, it almost landed on me. This time I'm going to play it safe and...I just want the alone time right now. That's why my family went on ahead. Twilight, I Pinkie Pie PROMISES, cross my-heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eyes, I will be back in a few days! Not a few weeks, not a few months, not a few years, A FEW DAYS. Count them."

They hugged and nuzzled.

"You've truly become a strong unicorn, Trixie. And that's why I need to tell you this, as a friend. The two of us are dangerous. You know that right, Trixie?"

Trixie grinned. "Well if you want me to brag-"

"I'm serious. We break the system. We can both use magic that's not related to one field, we can use magic that's outside our PONY-TYPE! Weather magic? Plant growth? Exclusive to pegasi and Earth ponies: yet we can anyway."

"Twilight, if we're going to spend ten minutes speaking about how I used to be AGAIN."

"Nononono! I promise no! I'm just saying be prepared...when I did my magic entrance examine...and my magic went wild...I turned my parents into plants."

Trixie thought of her mother's magic. "I understand."

"A part of me's always been scared that they've been scared of ME for that. After the wedding, I finally asked. They reminded me Discord made Mom want to have her stories be perfectly organized and for everything to be absolutely perfectly explained and perfectly coherent, calling her own books 'candy for fillies, not oats for mares', not fantasy, but dementia of ideal pasts and futures that didn't exist. Dad says what she ended up writing while discorded read like textbooks rather than any fiction. 'It read like that time you tried writing a romance novel, Twilight.'" Twilight smiled in spite of herself.

Trixie did too, then asked, "Well, what did he do to your father? If you don't mind Trixie's asking? And what does that have to do with your question?"

"Dad...he made him terrified of everything magical."

"But everything in the world is magical! That a base principle of...oh."

"Exactly. He's happy he didn't saw off his own horn."

They shuddered.

"But...Since Discord twists ponies into their opposite...it made me truly realize that dad ISN'T scared of my magic, at all. And maybe I should accept why mom's books are popular, instead of focusing so much on why I don't like them. Then we went out for donuts."

"Trixie is, forgive me," Trixie bowed her head, "Happy to hear that Twilight Sparkle still has her little moments that make her a mere mortal."

Twilight blushed and said, "You have't heard the capper. They said they shared a dream last year where they told Discord they'd do ANYTHING to be with me, even if Discord had crushed my heart, he turned them into the same plants and stuck them in my room! I was so far gone it took me a thousand years to recognize them, but they didn't care!"

"I sees. I know what it's like to suddenly appreciate how truly your family loves you. It's a wonderful, magical feeling."

"And how much your friends love you." RD flew down and hugged Trixie from behind.


"Hey, yourself. You didn't think you'd get to sneak away for a few days without saying bye to your OTHER friends did you?" RD grinned. "NOT THIS TIME!"

Pinkie Pie popped out of the waiting train as Fluttershy floated down above Trixie as Rarity and AJ and Spike all gathered around the blue unicorn and gave her a giant hug.

"And you BETTER BE BACK in a few days, or I'm going to Hoofington and dragging you back here by your tail!" Rainbow Dash swore.

"Heh! I'm tempted to stay just to see you try!" Trixie grinned.

"Oh believe me, I won't just 'try!'" RD grinned back.

"I'd pay good bits to see that tussle!" Spike laughed and pointed.

"I'll try to work it into my show then."

"Well it involves yours truly so of course ponies are gonna love it."

"Same old RD, same old Trix'." AJ smiled nuzzling them both.

"I'd say new and improved all around." Pinkie Diane quipped as she rubbed her cheeks against her friends'. "Remember Trixie, you Pinkie Promised to put on a show at my Age Of Dreams public park!"

Trixie shuddered, that reminded her too much of her painful birthday party affairs, but yes, she had, drunk on her success at Princess Cadence's wedding reception, promised. She she must admit, a part of her found the place somewhat enjoyable. "Trixie won't forget."

"Don't worry Trixie," Pinkie Pie smiled warmly putting a hoof on her shoulder. "The foals will play nice or won't get to stay, and maybe you'll find something new about yourself too."

The way Pinkie Pie said that confused Trixie, but after the changelings, a show at a sunshine and rainbows theme open park wouldn't be that hard.

"Alright...could it perhaps be on Nightmare Night?"

Trixie had no idea why she'd added that.

"Sure!" Pinkie replied with a bright grin.

"And darling, don't forget, I still have that suit of armor to finish making you," Rarity said.

"You're STILL working on that?"

"Once I start a project I finish a project, especially for my friends. Remember that little blue pony." Rarity said with a firm smile.

Trixie felt warm inside. "Thank you."

"Isn't friendship wonderful?" Fluttershy sighed happily.

Several hugs and kisses later, Trixie was on her way back to her family. Trixie had this odd feeling she was saying goodbye for good, but she wasn't sure if it was to her friends in Ponyville, or her family in Hoofington. 'Humph! Neither, I'm not leaving something this wonderful after finally finding it.' She waved her friends 'see you again real soon' as the train drove out.


Was when I was a filly with Celly and Dissy happy days? They were perhaps the most happy of my mortal life. My siblings were right: living life bereft of godhood, seeing it through their eyes, did me good. I only wish it hadn't taken a war in the spirit world to prompt me to finally live it. I just hope Celly doesn't think I plan to decentralize my power like her.

I think it was only after tasting true friendship with Pip', one that happened without having to save the world or being part of a family, I realized how distant I have made myself, and why Celly had gone to such lengths to ensure Cadence would be seen as the people's Alicorn that they could relate to.

I should have enjoyed when ponies thought me a cute innocent mare following my 'rescue' from the 'Nightmare Forces.' Thankfully the lunar tribe informed on my return visit they're keeping my moon palace clean for me and telling them no, we won't be invading the planet. And sadly, the 'Welcome back to the moon ponies! We kept the flag intact!' Party will have to wait for a couple more centuries. Do not allow Pinkie to hear that such a thing is being planned, I imagine she'd become an Alicorn just to live long enough to throw it if she had to.

I think they were all HAPPY to hear I'd given up this 'endless night' nonsense, but had been reluctant to inform me before. They said they'd been worried about endless night since 'every-rabbit needs time to rest.' Yes, I laughed at the irony.

They also said they didn't care for the black magic I had taught them as Nightmare Moon, they were just being polite.

I just wish I had made more friends when I had such a golden chance before. Maybe that's the other reason I created Moonlight. So she/I could have the friends I never let myself have before.


"Take that, mist! And that! And that!" Apple Bloom shouted as she and her fellow Cutie Mark Crusaders swung their wooden swords at the mist surrounding their club house.

"Let me guess, next we're attacking the darkness?" Silver Spoon asked, taking a break from the assault. The filly couldn't help giving a chuckle. She'd come to enjoy the occasional mindless fun they had together.

"We tried. Pipsqueak and his pals counterattacked, remember?" Scootaloo said, being a pegasus, her sword was actually cutting the ground based clouds, and incidentally, for her going through the mist was like swimming through water.

"And I proved knights beat pirates!" Spike said, breathing NORMAL dragon fire at the mist.

"This reminds me of that scene in the last Daring Do book I read," Scootaloo said.

Her friends just smiled and nodded.

'Please don't start gushing again,' Spike thought, 'it's bad enough when Twilight and Rainbow Dash do it! First Twilight infected Rainbow Dash, then Rainbow Dash infected Scootaloo, who's next?!'

"Okay, so Daring Do had her wings stuck together with tree sap-"

"AGAIN?" Silver Spoon rolled her eyes. "How many times are they going to use that plot device?"

"Not the point!"

"At least it's kinda a realistic one," Apple Bloom remarked, sheepishly looking to the tub marked 'In case of more tree sap' set under the tree house.

"Okay, so she was at the bottom of a canyon and the walls were too slick to climb up, but the place was also really misty, so she was able to actually swim THROUGH the mist all the way to the surface!"

"Ah'm not sure pegasi can actually do that," Apple Bloom said.

"Hey! Who has wings here and who doesn't?"

"Let me get back to you on that in a few decades," Spike said in a small voice, raising a claw.

"You sure like those books," Sweetie noted.

"Yeah! I'm talking with Cheerilee to get them to be mandatory reading for class."

The fillies gritted their teeth, eyes widened and took a step back at the thought. Spike put his claws to his head, and ran screaming into the mist.

"Now you see what you've done!" Spoon yelled.

"Hey! I didn't do anything, and just imagine, soon everypony will be talking about Daring Doo, everypony," The way Scoots said that reminded Apple Bloom of some ponies talking about 'the new world order.'

"Aaaaaaahhhhhh!" And Spike ran out of the mist, from the opposite way he had run into it to begin with, and bumped right into Apple Bloom, "Oooof!" Spike looked around confused. "How'd that happen?"

The fillies shrugged.

"Scootaloo," Apple Bloom asked, "Ah've been meanin' ta ask. How DO they handle earth ponies and unicorns born in Cloudsdale? Ah mean, if Mr. and Mrs. Cake can have a unicorn and a pegasus, then the opposites' gotta happen right? If only pegasi can walk on clouds, then how do they handle that? Do they always make sure ta have their foals on the ground or somethin'?"

"I think Rainbow Dash said they have special enchantments for hospitals," Scootaloo remarked, rubbing her head. "Besides that...I dunno, I guess the parents decide or something."

"Ya don't know?" Apple Bloom asked.

"Do you know every single thing there is to know about being a earth pony?"

"...Okay, Ah gotcha."

"I don't either, and I like it that way," Spoon admitted. "We're foals, we shouldn't NEED to know everything."

"Hey don't go turning into a broken record there," Scootaloo said. "Growing up is part of being a foal too."

"You WANT THAT?" Apple Bloom asked bewildered.

"Sure! Growing up into a pony like Dash, of course!"

"Of course," the company echoed.

"Now who's a broken record?" Spike sighed.


Ya know. I don't like this at all. Nope. Not one bit. The Dash most certainly does not! Sigh. Okay, let me back up some and explain.

I HAVE been looking for Scoots' parents.

I tried the house Scoots says was her family's before the wedding, but the place was empty, and it looked like somepony had been through it and I could only ask so many questions without drawing attention from the Guard. And her parents left her three years ago, so it wasn't exactly like everypony would know 'em. 

Her parents aren't dead (I sorta discreetly checked the obituaries from when Scoots says she last saw them). So they've gotta be out there somewhere. But that isn't the only issue.

Normally if I wanted to find somepony I'd just check house to house, barge in, and demand if they'd seen 'em...except that would kinda ruin the whole point of this 'discreet' thing. And I'd have to check all of Equestria since I don't know if they're even still in Cloudsdale or have moved since then. But that isn't what I don't like.

I certainly don't mind the happy feeling I get with Scoots' being here. I won't say I was incomplete without her, but she's added more to me. And I definitely don't mind how proud I felt when Scoots FLEW, helped save Equestria and earn her Cutie Mark.

I hate to admit it...but I even kinda like being the responsible one for a change. I didn't like spanking her, but...I like being responsible FOR her. Having a little bird completely under my wing and all.

And it's not the bad feeling I have that if I do find 'em, they'll be monsters but legally I won't be able to keep them from taking Scoots back (yes, I've had nightmares like that). That's something I could FIGHT with an egghead like Twilight at my side.

Or the bad feeling I get if I do find Scoots' parents and they turn out to be good ponies who had a perfectly good reason to do what they did, who can provide for Scoots a lot better than I could.

It's worse than that.

It's that I haven't gone to any of my friends for finding Scoots' parents. All because I'm afraid that if I tell any of them, they'll either tell the authorities, or they'll accidentally let it slip to somepony who will.

And I chewed out Trixie because she couldn't be sure if anypony was a changeling or brainwashed when doing her whole 'secret identity' nonsense at the wedding! Yes I called it nonsense! Bucking sue me!!! Yeah I used three exclamation marks, what are ya gonna do?! Huh?! Huh?! Huh?! And I DID just use a question mark and exclamation together AND used all cap letters to get across how tough I'm speaking! What are ya...oh sweet Celestia I'm turning into old Pinkie Pie!

Deep breaths, Dash. Deep breaths.

No I'm not doing the whole 'I'm not worthy' crud that so many ponies seem to be into these days! We make ourselves worthy.

I'm just upset that I went and told Trixie what a jerk she was for not trusting any of us, and here I am: not trusting my friends to not spill the beans or not trusting ME to look after her. And instead would hoof her over to 'professionals' whose JOB it'll be to help her...instead of...instead of because their heart saying so, instead of...family.

I said it. Yeah. She's my family. As much as dad. I promised her I'd find her 'real' family, no matter what. I can't break that promise. I don't want to lose the trust she has in me. 

And what makes the feeling worse? I KNOW Scoots well enough to know she's postponing her party until the others get their marks because she knows her parents CAN'T be there. I know because when I bring up Applebloom getting HER mark she's not COMPLETELY stoked about it, she's happy, but not AS happy...because I don't trust anypony with it, she doesn't...and she's not enjoying life as much as she could because of it...I feel like a bad rolemodel...

Okay, I'll admit it! I'm scared. Ya know. It's crazy. I freakin' wish TRIXIE was still in town so I could share my feelings with her. Why?...Because she appreciates being sneaky to help unlike my other friends? I don't think 'Shy or Pinkie would keep quiet? Yeah I know it's dumb. 

That paperwork? Nothing. Just some background checks and stuff ya gotta do to be acceptable for adopting or become a foal's legal guardian. And I haven't been arrested once, am a national heroine, and have a steady job I always get done that makes good bits, so I know I'll pass the background check. Been working on it for the last year about, slowly getting help there and there. It's...almost done. Just need to sign my name in a few places and Pinkie Promise Twilight not to tell before asking her to proof read it. Gonna ask Scoots about it tomorrow after she gets home from school.

I've seen enough plays. I know exactly how this story always goes. Our cover's gonna be blown. No I'm not worried about Guards, sheech! This is Equestria, 'follow yer heart' is practically on the rule books! But if I've learned anything, is that life is gonna throw ya fast balls and curve balls at the same time whether yer ready or not.

So yeah. Back to what I was saying. I'm ticked that the pony I feel that I can trust most with all of this is the one I chewed out for not trusting me. After Rarity once gave me that smack down about not trusting them! Maybe I should just tell Pinkie or Shy. 

I don't care if it sounds selfish. No matter how long or short it lasts, I'll be Scoot's family, and she'll be mine too. Because she trusts me to be.


"Excuse me, have you see this filly?" A mare with her husband asked in Cloudsdale. She showed a picture of a pegasus with small wings, a violet mane, and purple eyes.

"I haven't, sorry."

"She would have been in this neighborhood, about…three years ago or so?"

"I'm sorry, that's a long time ago."

The couple tried again with similar luck. Having 'vanished' their house's ownership had defaulted to Cloudsdale, and a search there revealed no clue where their foal might have gone. She wasn't in any of the areas of Cloudsdale they had told her to stay, and had even with heavy hearts searched some spots they had told her to stay out of.

They'd even searched the orphanages, but nothing. She'd never been to any of them in Cloudsdale.


They finally got their break when a air-bus driver recognized the filly in the photo.

But he couldn't remember where she had gotten off or even remotely what date it was, it could be as easily Canterlot or Las Pegasus.

"I only remember her because of how dirty she looked," he said. "And she was carrying a bag. She was running away from something. Heck if I know what."

"...Honey you don't think Digger Wasp's agents-"

"Don't jump to conclusions. She's a strong girl. We wouldn't have done what we did if she wasn't."


The girls' unanimous consensus was that any profits from the Mare-Do-Well craze would go to charity, with Rarity watching the money-trail.

Tootsie Flute had used this justification to convinced Lyra to buy her a variety of Mare-Do-Well merchandise.

While some ponies had been disillusioned by the reveal that Mare-Do-Well was four mares, Tootsie didn't care, that meant she had four heroes to look up to.

"When I grow up, I'm gonna be Mare-Do-Well!" She'd told her guardians. Lyra found the idea was healthy for a young foal who wanted to dedicated her life to helping and saving others. Bon Bon was less than pleased, fearing her foal would go off and do something stupid and get herself hurt or worse. Especially given the number of Equestria threatening disasters that happened.

"I came close to losing Lyra and Moth more than once on during that war...I don't want you putting yourself in danger like that too." Bon Bon had hugged her child, worry clear in her eyes.

Tootsie sighed. They wouldn't let her become a super hero. Then they wouldn't let her become a changeling (even after Aunie Moth didn't mind!). And her guardians thought her new name Liza Doolots, "Needs work honey," they told her.

Then came Hearts and Hooves Day, she'd been seconds from showing Truffle her card. Then TWIST twisted her way into him and TWISTED him to her instead. She felt her heart break in two when she saw him hug, how well they fit together. How they always complimented each other in any assignment or hobby they did together. How they seemed to mesh together.

Lyra and Bon Bon didn't have experience with colts, so she asked Auntie Moth instead what she should do.

"If you really care about him, you should tell how you feel, and let him make his OWN choice between you." Auntie Moth had told her.

"BUT what if he DOESN'T pick me?!"

"That's his choice, you can't MAKE another pony be your special friend. Then he wouldn't REALLY be your special friend. He'd just be a puppet pretending to be."

Tootsie grumbled. It wasn't fair. Why should Twist be special friends with Truffle instead? She likely only wanted him so he could be a taste-tester or something cliche because of his weight. Only Tootsie saw the polite young colt where other foals only saw his belly. He deserved better. She owed it to him. She'd find a way to help him.


Like many in Ponyville, Cloud Kicker never stood out from the crowd, and as Ponyville ponies tend to be, that suited her fine. She wouldn't live in a small town if she wanted to make a big impact and stand out.

She had a little sister to look after, and unlike some mares she didn't have some well to do family to fall back on. She didn't have time for stallions and she certainly wasn't going to charm one for his bits. What point were bits if she spent her life with somepony that made her miserable.

Cloud Kicker was a weather pony through and through, while she couldn't clear the sky in ten seconds flat, her weather manipulation talents were second to none, she didn't have RAW POWER behind her, but she certainly was more sublime and delicate.

She had taken part in the Running of the Leaves and the Sisterhood Social and won neither, but she didn't mind, well, not greatly. Nopony LIKED to lose after all. The time she spent with Alula with the latter made it worth while, and made losing a lot less hard to swallow. Hard to upset when your little sister is cheering and laughing about just spending time with you.

Discord's torture for HER involved being turned into a cloud being left to the mercy of the winds and mad pegasi. And raining on the 'ungrateful brat' Alula as the only functional raincloud within miles as Alula struggled with wings that had a mind of their own. She hated to think what would have happened if the little filly had somehow gotten stuck in a hole or something that the sapient cloud gleefully filled with water.

The pair had recovered thanks to professional help paid for by Princess Celestia. No grand revelation, no great journey of self discovery, and that again suited her just fine. Though Cloud Kicker had taken a vacation from weather duty for a while after. Rainbow Dash had been understanding, thankfully. Then again, given Discord's reach, it'd be harder to find one that DIDN'T sympathize with somepony he hurt.

She had dressed up as a witch for Nightmare Night, and been freaked out and scared for Alula when the reformed Nightmare Moon arrived like everypony else.

Ironically, that fear had made her rethink that maybe life was too short, and consider getting a job at Wonderbolt Academy, fancying the idea of applying. It would look good on her résumé at least.

Blech. Then Princess Gaia happened! It had taken Hurricane Fluttershy for Cloud Kicker to forgive the mare for surrendering to the manipulations of the Nightmare Forces and trying to conquer Equestria (how the Tartarus could she care for her family if she was just a foal herself?). Now she considered Fluttershy at least a comrade and teammate. She still didn't understand why Fluttershy had worshipers.

But still...

"For the last time Alula, I'm sure Thunderlane is nice and everything, but I'm not interested in seeing any stallions."

"Well, there are some mares who-"

"Alula! No! I'm just not into ANY relationships right now. I'm happy looking after you, and providing for us right now."

"But don't you WANT to be happy?"

"Alula I AM happy! I don't NEED a special somepony!"

"Isn't that what lonely and sad mares say?"

Cloud Kicker groaned. "You've been watching way too many soap opera plays Alula!" She had hoped Alula would stop this fixation after making friends with Tootsie Flute (they were a wonderful family, and Cloud Kicker didn't hold Moth being a changeling against her, especially given the royal announcement of how she'd HELPED Equestria during that mess).

"If I was a Princess, and you didn't have to look after me, you'd have time for stallions right?"

Cloud Kicker laughed and patted her sister on the head. "Yes, Alula, if you were a Princess, I'd go on a date with Thunderlane, promise."

Alula smiled to herself. 'And maybe, you need a little loosening up.'


The mist was creepy, but it wasn't causin' trouble, so school AIN'T canceled.

So there Ah was, in class. Ah'd helped save Equestria! Me! Spoon! Scootaloo! And Sweetie! Shouldn't we all get a big fancy stained glass window too? We didn't even get 'extra credit' fer savin' the world.

Sigh. That ain't the Apple way. Hard work is done cause hard work needs doin', not cause ya'll get a rewarded. Just kinda wonder if this is how AJ felt when those snobs in Canterlot don't even remember she saved the world twice.

Least Miss Cheerilee was all understandin' 'bout the whole 'trapped inside a magic bubble' explanation for why we missed more days of school than we were gonna.

It's... weird. Kinda unreal.

This isn't like our other adventures that happened where nopony could see 'em. Everypony SAW US HELP. Scootaloo flew over Canterlot. Sweetie got named heir by a wicked witch. Me and Spoon helping save all them brainwashed ponies. But here we are. back in school. Everythin' going along like it was before.

Save the world then go back to doin' borin' stuff? How the heck does Applejack and her friends do it?

But...there's still even MORE unreal stuff. Scoots and Sweetie got their marks. No Ah ain't angry that I ain't got mine. We were all happy and charged up but, Ah mean...it feels like...some big rule got broken or somethin'. Somethin' not meant to happen, happened. It was kinda like when Spoon was clappin' her hooves for Granny Smith.

And...Diamond Tiara ain't here. She's been gone for pretty much a year, anypony who thought she'd run away and hid just to get attention has shut-up by now. She's...not here. Two of us get our cutie marks. And she's not even here to freak out about it. Or come up with insults for our new cutie marks since she can't call us blank flanks. That sounds like her, Tiara is never one to admit she's done, and she's one heck of a sore loser. Either that or she'd suddenly just ignore Scoots and Sweetie like she was with Twist when she earned her mark.

And Spoon's still here, but she's our FRIEND now, she's HAPPY Scoots and Sweetie got their marks. She's not freakin' out or scramblin' to come up with new names to call us neither!

Diamond Tiara and Spoon were a stubbed hoof. Only think about 'em when they're hurtin' ya. But now that two of us got our marks, and Spoon's a friend and Diamond's a no show...Ah almost feel...disappointed, like parts of the trophy for finishin' the race were missin'. Spitin' Spoon and Diamond was never the point of gettin' our cutie marks...and seein' Sweetie and Scoots with theirs, fer the first time, Ah'm thinkin' did we even know the point of gettin' 'em?

So yeah, it feels like we're missin' party guests with 'Our Friend Silver Spoon' here instead of 'Diamond Tiara and Diamond Tiara's Little Minion.'

Ah think even Spoon feels that way. She told me it felt so weird that she'd had nightmares about us gettin' our marks and now she CHEERED when we did.

Ah don't wanna lose Spoon's friendship, but Ah still can't help but feel...like Ah've been running through a wooden tunnel with lanterns all around, but Ah've now run past where the construction ends, and Ah'm suddenly in the dark and the fog. Ah don't know where Ah'm supposed to go from here.

Ah'm sure usin' a lot of metaphors huh? Ah bet at least one of the Elements would be proud.

We still try new things each day. But Ah can't help but feel a little selfish. Spike needs no mark, and the rest have theirs, we're goin' through all this just fer me now.

And Ah know technically...how do ya pronounce it? Kifuko? Is an honorary Crusader, but she's just a toddler and she won't even be able to talk for awhile...and when she can, she'll be wherever Cadence lives and not here. So...it's just me we're doin' all this for.

But Ah can't help feel...like we've been buildin' and buildin', and suddenly, Ah've gone past what we've built. Even with my friends. Ah know Ah said we'd be Crusaders forever, but...is that the point? Or just bein' friends the real point?

Maybe the Cutie Mark Crusaders have done their job.

There's Truffle and Twist again, Ah swear those two are like one pony now. Can't find one without the other. And there's that unicorn filly...what's her name?...Ah've never asked. Ah've never caught 'er name. Ah've never seen 'er ever talk to anypony. She socializes even less than Button Mash (the first time we tried for our Cutie Mark Crusader Truancy officers cutie marks it turned out he didn't have the stuff to go to school yet, then it turned out he was EXCITED to go to school. Weirdo.).

She's like Alula, not always in the same class as us. I know Miss Sparkler foalsat for 'er when the town was lovin' Rainbow Dash's hero job, but Ah heard she called it lame or somethin'. She was at Diamond Tiara's party. And Ah've seen 'er with...Ah think...a horseshoe cutie mark, a flower cutie mark and...and she's a blank flank? Ugh. Why am Ah gettin' a headache right now? She must'a used them fancy rub on cutie marks ya can find in comics Ah've read about.

...Wait a tick! Ah remember! Geeze! No she ain't some long lost cousin! Get a grip! Her name's Tootsie Flute...Ah wasn't kiddin' when Ah said Ah don't see her socializin' much outside of being part of the herd. She's Lyra Heartstrings and Bon-Bon's foal, Ah think. Not sure how that works. Maybe she's another Changelin' like her 'aunt'.

How da hay could Ah forget?! She was at the weddin', the real weddin'! No we didn't say hi ta 'er. No we weren't snubbin' 'er! There were like a zillion things goin' on at once! Sweetie and Scoots'd earned their marks, we fought a whole war, we got to be part of a fake and real weddin', we were all really really busy. Yes, Lyra's family helped us out big time! But we all had stuff ta do! Ah'm sorry! Me and the girls didn't mean it!

Well. She's a blank flank. Maybe it's about time we Crusaders help another foal find out what makes 'er special. This is free period. So Ah'll head over nicely to 'er, and introduce myself. Ah worked with her family, so it should be easy-peasy.

Alright, here we go and-hay.

"Hi, Tootsie!"

"Hey, Alula!"

What just happened?

That girl just dive bombed out of nowhere, she's a pegasus yeah, but Ah didn't see'er comin' at all.

Ever since she convinced Shady Daze and Featherweight and Miss Cheerilee to let 'er be editor of the newspaper she's REALLY come out of the background! She's been givin' afternoon speeches about, well, everythin', anythin' anypony wants ta chat about, she will too, Ah thought she was a gymnast, not a luginist, languinist, uh, really good with words. Ah'm serious, Ah never gave 'er another look! But now she's makin' sure she's seen left and right.

And those new fancy magic newspapers, it'll put the printer out of business! They just publish it, and boom, right ta the reader!...But what happens when ya want ta save an older copy? I guess the printing press has got some good uses still. Ah don't know what the deal is with 'em, but they've gotten the paper super popular again, as much as...as much as Gabby Gums.

I heard from Sweetie, who heard from Rarity, who talked with Miss Twilight, that she bought a copy and tried to figure out how the magic worked...and said she couldn't make heads or tails of the spell involved. Ah don't know who this Umbra Breeze is, but he must be one fancy Earth Pony to make a unicorn confused on a spell. Yes Ah said Earth pony. Why? He sure looked like one ta me. Rarity and AJ were talkin' about why he'd use a new magic like this on a school paper, but Ah figure it's just market research or somethin'.

To be honest, Ah don't like 'em much. Winona hasn't come near the school since he came around and Scoots said Tank won't either. Twilight said it was probably just the magic's got 'er spooked, said it spooked her owl (who's name Ah ain't even gonna try to pronounce) when she brought it over. Maybe it's just cause Ah'm scared cause of the last time the paper got this popular or from dealin' with the Flim Flam Brothers tellin' meh if somethin' is too goo to be true it probably is. Eh, Ah'm probably just paranoid. Worst he's probably just a constallion tryin' to make a quick buck. No Ah don't know where he lives, why should Ah?

But yeah, ya should see it, over half the town's subscribed now. And the paper's new captain just cut me off at the pass.

"I have a new column in the school news paper I'm going to be needing a lot of help with, and I know you'll can be that help."

"Me? Help with the paper?"

"Sure Tootsie. Your guardians helped save Canterlot right? Think of all the amazing things you've seen you can share."

Okay. Now Ah feel shelved. She wasn't there personally when it all happened. Meh and the rest of the Crusaders were! Ah look around, the others are beginnin' ta look this way too. Ah wasn't that interested in bein' part of the paper again. But...but...What about all the amazin' stuff me and the others have seen? But nopony cares about? What has she seen?

"Thanks Alula but...I'm not a good story teller."

She put a hoof on her shoulder. "It's not he same with a newspaper. You don't have to face them. It'll just be your words. This is a chance to let ponies know what YOU think. They won't judge you on how old you are or how good you are at other things. And so many ponies will hear what you have to say. They'll never be able to ignore you again."

She looked over at Truffle, don't ask me why. "Never ignored again."

Alula leaned and whispered, I strained my ear to hear.

"Besides, I was told in my dreams you'd be great help."

"Your dreams? Why didn't you just say so?"

"You woke up early, and she said it had to be your choice."

Dreams? Her? Do they mean Princess Luna? I heard she can go into dreams and all that stuff, does that mean they got a visit from Princess Luna herself? How does she even visit so many ponies' dreams?

"Of course I will!"

And just like that. Where did Alula learn ta speak so good?

Alula leads Tootsie off like a shot to show her around the newspaper and meet Umbra Breeze. Well, she got a friend, that's what's important.

Do Ah feel bad about not tellin' Twist 'bout the Truth or Sunny Town?


It wasn't my secret to share, Ah don't know if that was the Truth or me, but that's how Ah rolled with it. And, Ah don't know how she'd react to there bein' a place where Spoon was MY toady, and Diamond Tiara's the one Scootaloo and Sweetie stood up for. It was scary enough for me to realize Ah coulda been just like Diamond Tiara. Maybe this is why AJ doesn't go tellin' me and others what she saw in the Truth.

Sunny Town...Ah ain't never lied 'bout Sunny Town never. Ah just ain't got no reason ta talk 'bout it.

Miss Twilight, Futtershy, the doctor Twilight invited, lots of ponies know about the town now, we just ain't got a point in sharin'. Ah shared it with my friends caused it helped Spoon.

AJ won't let me near the town even though Ruby is a friend of mine. Miss Fluttershy wants to save the adults who hurt Ruby too?!...And...and Celestia they tried to...they tried to...They tried to kill me. Make me a zombie too.

They ain't like Diamond Tiara, they're monsters, and Ah don't mean them bein' zombies. Ah'm sorry, but oh Celestia. What they put poor Mitta through.

Ah...Ah need ta lie down.


S-sorry. Ah don't get why Fluttershy wants ta help t-those ponies. It don't feel right. Ah wanna see Ruby and Mitta again sure, Ah really do. But...them towns folk. Ah don't care if they thought they were helpin' me, they were gonna...Please. Ah just don't wanna talk about this no more.

Roneo and Starlet?

Ah won't call Miss Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie bad ponies for helpin' 'em...Please. I just don't wanna talking about this.

Thank ya kindly.


A little brown blank flank colt sat in the corner of the school room. He wore a beanie and had a Gamecolt (the newest technology in this reality), and bore the name Button Mash.

The pricey piece of technology wasn't exactly forbidden on school grounds, but it wasn't exactly allowed either. He knew starting a new adventure of Pony's Quest at school maybe wasn't very smart, but he never let that stand in the way of video games before.


ButtonMash of course!


Huh? He needed a filly's name?

He didn't want to use his mom's name, that was too weird! Well, the Princess was a big rip off of Princess Cadence (the video game character)...Princess Cadence sang, who around here sang a lot? (Which for a pony meant sang like they breathed).

Hmm. Oh there was that little white filly who went to Canterlot where when all the bug ponies tried to conquer the world. She had a singing Cutie Mark, right? She was one of the Crusaders, she asked him to join their group and interrupted him at the video arcade once...singing...her name was



Onto to slaughtering slime with a butter knife for the next fifteen minutes unless Miss Cheerilee spotted him first!

Miss Cheerilee didn't, but one of his classmates did, who happened to be Ruby Pinch, who saw the names on the games' screen, and immediately whispered to her nearby classmate, Archer, who whispered to her nearby classmate, who whispered next to her classmate, who whispered next to...


Why was everypony in class giggling? It's like one of my parents' 'grown-up' parties. I didn't have anything on my face. It's funny though. I finally have my cutie mark. It's almost surreal. I was so sure I was gonna be a designer like Rarity, then I was thinking I'd get my cutie mark being princess of the changelings.

(Dawn's Notes: Tell her she almost did?)

(Noon's Notes: No.)

Whenever I have a bath, my hooves getting pruney gets attention too. Rarity has that happen to her too. She says it's because our ancestors were seaponies! Well, if changelings are real, why not seaponies? I bet they're out there waiting for us ponies to say it's alright you don't need to be afraid of us either! That's what the Changelings were really were...just needing somepony to tell them they didn't need to hide from the sun anymore. Maybe the Sea Ponies will hear about the Changelings and come right on up to the surface!

I hope we get to meet them real soon!

Am I still staying at Rarity's?


It's kinda a long story.

I've...I've never stayed nearly a whole year (give or take a few weeks) at her house before. Sure, I've spent days, or weeks there before, okay, months...but never ever a whole year.

I'm so happy mom and dad are back. So happy. It's like a dream come true. And for the dream to come true it had to end first. I look at my parents' house, and...it doesn't feel like my house anymore. It feels like a friend's house almost. But...it's where I belong, isn't it?

I love my parents, and having them back is wonderful. Maybe there was always a little part of me that was scared they'd never come back. A little part of me, that just wanted to look to Rarity, and grow up to be like her, she was that pony I was wanted to be like.

My cutie mark almost feels like icing on the cake, and the whole world's been turned upside down again, or maybe I was the one who was upside down. No! Not literally...right now...maybe at recess.

I was surprised at myself when I felt relieved that after a year, the house needed cleaning and reorganizing, and with the amount of junk dad had collected over the years, that was a lot to organize. And I had sooo much of my stuff at Rarity's house, and after a year, I had collected so much new stuff, like dresses and stuffed toys and props from our Cutie Mark projects. Which meant it was going to take time for me to move back in.

Mom and Dad said how sorry they were that I couldn't move back into my room yet. I was sad that I was happy that I wouldn't have to move OUT of my room yet. Uh. Did just make sense?

I know it's not my special talent now, but I still want so badly to help Rarity any way I can with her shop, like Spike does with Miss Twilight Sparkle and Rarity. And Rarity's Special Talent is finding gems, so maybe I can get my songs to help...somehow.

It reminded me of when we practiced for our play for Princess Gaia's Festival, and we forgot some of the pages, so we suddenly found ourselves on stage with no idea what we were supposed to do next. That's how I felt now. I'd spent so long trying to get my cutie mark, and now I have it. And there was no magical transformation into an adult. I understood how much I TRULY loved to sing, but I wasn't suddenly an all-knowing adult, I was still just me, Sweetie Belle.

And I could now do magic. My parents exploded at that. I mean they were so proud of me. Before I was wondering if there was something WRONG with me when I couldn't even glow or levitate. I was scared that I was, defective.

That may or may not be how me and Scootaloo started being friends, I'm just...happy she learned how to fly at the same time I learned magic. Any other time we'd have been super excited, too bad we were enemies for five minutes when it happened.

I may have told a few white lies of how I was taught magic...No no no they know what happened, that I was kidnapped by Chryssy and Scootaloo and Rarity rescued me. I just kinda, left out the 'becoming friends with the evil witch', part.

What surprised me was when Rarity began putting ads in the paper about wanting to put together a vocal group. Big Mac was her first audition and I was blown away by how deep his pipes could go! But that wasn't what confused me. Rarity already had her second musical quartet pony.

But that wasn't what was on my mind. "Rarity...if singing isn't your special talent, why do you want so badly to put together a singing group? Can I join?"

"Sweetie Belle, it's not about what's JUST your special talent. My special talent is finding jewels. MINING! What does THAT have to do with dresses? I COULD HAVE been a singer Sweetie Belle, just as Applejack could have been a musician, it's a wonderful talent, but it isn't my north star. There are ponies in Ponyville who are better at singing than some, but don't have it as our special talent, but that doesn't mean it's not something wonderful to share with ponies. But I WANT to make beautiful dresses, just as Applejack...Applejack wants to tend to her farm. And Sweetie," She hugged me, "With a beautiful voice like yours, I want you to be able to shine on your own. It's your special talent, explore it for a while before deciding what you want to DO with it!" She kissed on my nose. "Finding your talent isn't the end, it's the beginning."

So much had happened at once, it left my head swirling by the time we all finally got home to Ponyville. My parents were already saying how they knew some tutors I should see to hone my singing and places I could perform when I was ready.

"Just because it's your special talent, dear, doesn't mean you can't improve yourself, and it's always important to improve yourself," Mom told me.

Mom. So...so much had changed since I'd last seen her at Rarity's on that fateful morning I was dropped off. It feels like three years instead of one. Like suddenly everything was different.

Spike and Spoon becoming our friends was something that happened over time.

I'd gotten so used to looking for my cutie mark, to living at Rarity's, to not having magic, to Scootaloo not flying...The world suddenly feels so strange.

On the bright side, as much as I now enjoyed Spoon or Spike's company, there was a certain freedom in being allowed to walk home by myself again, and WITHOUT wearing that itchy sweater or that big dream catcher! That was a nice silver lining! It made me skipped and sing a little song as I went along.

It made feel so happy that I imagined Diamond Tiara being found, and that instead of abandoning Spoon, she chose to become our friend. After all, nopony likes to be alone.

I was getting near our house (mine and Rarity's), and I realized there was this...weird shape following me. I looked behind, and saw my hoof prints in the moist ground behind me.

I felt like I was remembering a dream.

"H-hello?" I called out, noticing in the mist there wasn't anypony else I could see.

Then there was a shape in the mist, following the way I came.

The shape came closer and closer to me, I held my breath, I couldn't move.

"Uh...Hi, doggie?" I said to it. It walked over, and it sniffed me for a moment.

I laughed.

It was just a puppy!

A cute little puppy!

"Ahh, who are you?" I asked scratching him behind one ear. He didn't have a collar. Did he belong to anypony?

It looked at me simply as dogs tend to do. Well, I think it was a dog, but it was kinda shaped like a timber wolf but not made out of wood. And its shadow was all wiggly.

"I'm Sweetie Belle," I introduced myself. After vicious Opalescence (who always seemed to be wherever Rarity didn't want me to be), this little guy was a nice change of pace.

The little puppy barked happy.

Okay. Maybe the last few times I brought a pet home didn't work out, but a cute little puppy with a funny shadow I found near the school all the animals seemed to be avoiding due to the new magic paper had to be alright right?

"Uh, you're not evil, are you?"

The puppy shook its head.

"You aren't gonna bite me and turn me into a werewolf are you?"

He shook his head again.

"You aren't gonna steal my face are you?"

He shook his head really fast.

"You're not going to turn into me, then turn me into a puppy, then try to drown me, I'll escape, then you trick Apple Bloom into turning me into a puppy again and drown me for you are you?"

The puppy's eyes widened and took a step back and really shook his head.

"Okay!" I scooped him up with my magic and hugged him. "How'd you like to go home with me?" I held him out. He looked confused. "I promise you'll like it! Nice and warm, and...well, I'm sure Opalescence won't bother you. She's just been staying in Rarity's room since we came back. So wouldn't you like to come home with me? I bet you're hungry."

The puppy looked confused again, but eventually he nodded. "Okay! I'm gonna call you...uh...well, you're all white, like a blank sheet of paper, so I'll call you Blanky, how's that sound?"

The puppy looked at me funny and shrugged (no that wasn't a cringe).

"Okay, Blanky! Let me take you home! I'll tell you all about it!"

So I took Blanky home with me.

Maybe I was a little too distracted because I bumped right into a vase at the front door (I swear that hasn't happened in months! I could walk the shop blindfolded now!), which tipped over and landed with a crash.

"Sweetie Belle!" Rarity said. "What is? Sigh. Stay right here, I'll get the glue." Rarity trotted to the kitchen.

"That wasn't supposed to happen," I whimpered. One of Blanky's ears perked up. I didn't see what he did. My eyes were on the door. Rarity was taking longer than she should have and I came in to see her working a new dress for Miss Tiara. "Rarity? What about the glue?"

"What glue?"

"For the smashed vase?"

"Smashed vase?! Where?"

"At the entry way. You told me you were getting the glue."

Rarity rushed past me, looked and said. "Sweetie Belle, I know you're proud of not having any accidents. But if that was a joke, it wasn't funny."

I looked to see the vase, it was perfectly fine. Huh? And there was Blanky, just sitting there innocently.

"Uh, but it was broken...I swear it was. Rarity, I'm not lying!"

"Maybe you bumped it and imagined things dear, or a breezie granted you a wish, at this point in my life I'll accept either. Either way, it's not broken now."

"Uh, Rarity," a BIG part of me wanted to sneak Blanky off and keep him a secret from Rarity forever, or maybe for a long while so I can show I can take care of a pet (this time), but...after Canterlot, I...was just tired of hiding things.

"Rarity, this is Blanky, he followed me home."

"Sweetie Belle, I swear we can play with your new invisible friend later. Can you help me in the sewing room a little? Just don't touch anything unless I say so." Rarity trotted in.

"Didn't she see you?" I asked Blanky. He shook his head.

I went inside the sewing room with Blanky following.

Rarity is great at what she does. But even she wasn't perfect.

"Oh dear, that shouldn't have happened," Rarity said, as a stitch on her sewing machine went off-center, one of those one-in-a-zillion chances things. Blanky blinked, hopped onto the table, and nipped at the thread. Things blurred, and Rarity was working like the mistake never happened.

I stared, then look at Blanky and stared more. Thankfully Rarity didn't notice. Then I took out my homework and whispered, "Blanky, this shouldn't exist."

Blanky sniffed my homework, turned his nose up at me, closed his eyes and shook his head at me in defiance.

Okay, I took out a pop quiz pointed at one of my wrong answers. "Blanky, this shouldn't exist."

He still ignored me.

"Oh well." So now I had a magic dog that could undo mistakes that only I could see, but only did it when he wants to. This could be fun.

Blanky also wouldn't make my alfalfa vanish, as I found out. Everything I fed him Rarity seemed to forget had ever existed (though sometimes that meant she thought she forgot to feed me). Still, I wondered if I should show him to Twilight, you know, just to make sure he was safe. And the other Crusaders too, of course. But maybe...that could all wait until morning. I was tired.
Sweetie Belle slept soundly that night in the bedroom she had used for the past year, peaceful in her dreams.

Things that could not be seen, heard, smelled, or touched by mortal ponies slithered into her room, windows and walls meaning nothing.

Why were Sweetie's parents almost never seen? Why only her big sister? Why did she get her cutie mark just when she happened to leave Ponyville and it was hidden like stage magic under her dress?

'Ro-bot...Sweetie-Belle.' One of the things with no shape, form, or substance soundlessly hissed, creeping towards the angelic little filly. Ready to worm inside.

A soundless snarl startled the no-things, one was torn to shreds and never was in an instant, the rest hissing and crying in a mad retreat, some not being fast enough and were destroyed as well. The blank wolf driving them away from the sleeping filly. It guarded over her all night, curled up on her bed. No no-thing dared approached now.


I live in a world with no consistency, changing to the whims of the hearts of those who lived there. A world of no regrets for there was always a happy outcome waiting for you even if sometimes it took the combined efforts of all your friends to get you there.

Concepts like despair, hate, spite, revenge, and grudges didn't exist. We'll go for any excuse to have a party, cause they show how much we care for each other. They were special the same way a song was special. Even if there were many of them, each one was said 'you're my friend' in a different way..

I fly by on my scooter like nobody's business, and just about anything else on wheels.

I have a friend who always dresses in style, she ad-libs a hat fashion show out of thin air, the five of us jump at the chance with Pinkie Pie acting as one of the judges.

Our hats...a part of me right now is yelling they're ridiculous even as everypony loves them. Absurd. Delusional. Mine is a trophy with very obedient living butterflies.

The rest are just as ridiculous, Cheerilee's with an open self-flipping book on top that only those around her can read. Starsong's is a top hat with a piano brim played by the little stars hanging from the top. Sweetie's has cupcakes with candles that...somehow or other form a heart when she concentrates like one of those stretchy whistles. And Toola-Roola...her's is a paint palette, she does a twirl and now the paint's a pretty feather pattern.

Everyone loves them. Rainbow Dash and Pinkie debating on which one of them has to decide the winner, until they declare we all are!

And I feel happy, not cheated or shorted or feel like they took the easy way out like I should. After all, we all had fun, we made our hats to reflect ourselves, what we thought was pretty, we had fun doing it, and that was the point wasn't it? And most importantly, we'd done it together.

I remember the Winter Wishes Festival, the last one I think, but I feel like it happened later, even though it happened when I was little.

It's weird, towards the end, or maybe the beginning, ugh, it was so confusing! Like events happened out of order, but always forward. But before...the world changed, I began to feel things that I hadn't felt before, like being angry at my big sister. Okay, so I wanted to take a LITTLE peak at the wishing star, so the star flew out of out of the box when I dropped the box, it was an accident, so the dragon Whimsy Weatherbe swooped and grabbed the wishing star and the others had to go on an adventure to rescue Twinkle Wish (that's the name of the Wishing Star by the way).

It wasn't easy with me and Sweetie being the youngest.

Okay. I think I've figured out I'm dreaming. But these don't feel like dreams. They feel like...memories? But they're all jumbled.

But before the world changed? I somehow felt like there was somehow, more of me then there had been before.

Uuugh. Okay. I'm dreaming. But what's the point of this? Can't I dream I'm a Wonderbolt with Dash instead? I bet she'd design the most dashing flight suit. Uh. Something about that sentence didn't feel right. Rainbow Dash's an Earth pony, and so am I.

Wait. No. We're pegasi. And fashion isn't Rainbow's thing. But...

Yes. These memories. Something's coming together. Winter Wishes Festival. Pairing up. Accidentally leaving my sister out. Everyone donating something to her ordainment for the contest. Why help the competition? But still, we were the ones who managed to forget her, I forgot my own sister, and...sigh, I let her take something from mine, ugh, she just had to take the lucky button. Of course she wins, we all gave her bits of ours.

But...now that the contest is over...maybe, maybe that isn't so bad, that means it's a part of all of us...maybe.


Okay! Check! Pegasus! Check! In my cloud bedroom! Check! This is Dash's house! Check! Butterfly Cutie mark wasn't a dream! Check! That means saving Equestria, flying, and saving Sweetie weren't dreams either! I'm a hero. Check! Cheerilee is now my teacher, not my big sister. Check.

Right...Twilight told me about how the way the world used to be...I made her show me the memories I had of how the world used to be...I think trusting me with the existence of an old universe was about the only thing she could do to get me to trust her again after what she did.

Maybe I should be more freaked to learn the world got changed and I used to be an Earth pony, but...nothing happens. It doesn't change what's here now. I already looked up to Cheerilee. And I can certainly fly NOW!

Maybe we didn't get a 'Thank You Cutie Mark Crusaders For Saving The World' parade like I thought we would (though Pinkie invited us to the big 'We saved Equestria, AGAIN' party), but flying, and my cutie mark in the same five minutes isn't so bad! All we need now is to figure out Apple Bloom's special talent and...and what? We'll still be friends, we'll still hang out, we'll do exciting and fun stuff.

I think I finally get why all the adults were saying we were getting way too wrapped up in getting our cutie marks. At least Sweetie had the idea to make Kifuko a Crusader so we can be her mentors someday. Makes me wonder if we should start getting more ponies (we tried with Button Mash before)...I wonder if she has dreams of what she was like before she got changed. Ugh...even if she's a different pony, I still can't believe a part of me would sympathize with that witch.

And when Apple Bloom earns her mark, I'll be out of excuses not to have my cute-ceañera with the others...Maybe Dash'll have found my parents...maybe we can ask a couple of changelings to pretend to be them...or I'll just have to brush up on my forgery talents.

I look around my room, full of the stuff I moved from the club house, and more stuff I've gotten since moving in with Dash.

Before you ask, my old home in Cloudsdale is EMPTY, I don't know if it got resold or if they tore it down, either way, there is literally nothing there for me.

What my parents did? I don't understand it at all. Why did they do that? I want to find them, so I can ask them, and, so I can introduce them to Rainbow Dash...I want my whole family together.

I take another look at my bedroom. Feels like it's missing something. Well, I'm not getting back to sleep any time soon, so it's not like I have anything better to do.

I don't know WHAT I'm doing at first, I'm just gathering stuff I have laying around, stuff given a mild enchantment so it doesn't fall through the floor.

Just random junk. I guess you could call it 'stuffy stuff.' I don't have a plan, I just let my heart guide me, okay DON'T tell the others I just said that!

When I say what I made, I gasped.

It was the same tree ornament from my dream. Okay, not exactly like it, I didn't have the exactly same colored trinkets laying around, or the exactly same material, but it was a pinecone, and it had a button at its center, and bore feathers and ribbon.

Was I scared I was gonna start losing myself to these dreams? No way. Forget it. I knew who I was, and who I am. I wouldn't have the cutie mark if I didn't. I figured I'd put it in my school bag as a good luck charm. Maybe show it to Cheerilee, ya know, just for fun?

Still not feeling tired I went to the bathroom and washed up. Careful to wake up Dash. I looked at my mane. I hate to admit it, but I might need a mane cut soon. I tie up part of my mane in a small braid on one side. Did I just...? Doesn't it look like in my...oh whatever.

Time to do the one thing I couldn't do in that world. Spread my wings and fly. Truth be told? In my heart of hearts, I was terrified that I'd be grounded till the day I died. That me flying was just a delusion.

Sweetie felt the same way about her magic?...I never knew. Sweetie isn't the kind of filly who puts her problems on others. Come to think of it, I think Spoon said since we saved Spike she wants to learn a bit about Earth Pony Magic. I felt my Pegasus magic at the same time, so I know how that feels.

I sneak outside, and check out Luna's moon and stars. Even now that I can fly, I feel like I'm breaking some mold every time I do. Not able to fly, even before I became so set on getting my cutie mark, it was always just there, and now I had the freedom I wanted for so long. I was no longer glued to the ground.

Who am I kidding?! I know what I want to do! I want to fly! I dive down off Dash's house, zooming along. I twisted and spun, every motion as natural as breathing, I pierced a cloud layer, then dove back down, and up again, the wisps of cloud behind me creating a butterfly symbol, hey, Fluttershy doesn't have those copyrighted.

The winds and my wings are my brush and the sky is my canvas as I dance in the clouds.

A rainbow-colored streak of light zaps in and touches base on each of the points of my 'wisp drawing,' making it flash rainbows colors for an instant before I'm face to face with my closest family.

"Getting in some late night flying, squirt?" she asks evenly.

"Y-yeah, had some...interesting dreams, nothing bad, just wanted to clear my head a little."

"Wanna talk about 'em?"

"Uh, they're a little, personal. Not nightmares, promise. Just got me thinking."

"I'm happy to let you stretch your wings and have your fun with today's left over clouds Scootaloo, but it's a school night, morning comes quick, and you need rest. You may have helped save everypony young filly, but you still need your sleep."

I saw that 'no nonsense' look on Rainbow Dash's face, I wasn't getting out of this. I've actually gotten used to it, before it was so weird. "Alright."

"Don't worry, we'll have plenty of time tomorrow. Trust me, flying while half-asleep isn't good. Remember what AJ was like when she let herself get wicked tired."

I chuckled. "Yeah, she was silly."

"Yeah, she was. We can fly together tomorrow, but first, back to bed kiddo!"

I rolled my eyes and followed behind. "Yes mom," I heard myself whisper. I don't know if Dash heard me or not. She smiled, nodded and led the way.