• Published 7th Apr 2020
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Consonance and Dissonance - applezombi



After an unfortunate injury while hiking, Pinkie Pie accidentally sets into motion of a chain of events that leads to new friendships, romantic encounters, and even the salvation of an old enemy.

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Chapter 2

Chapter 2

Dear Princess Twilight

I have quite the story for you today. Before I start, I want you to know that everybody involved is just fine. I don’t want you to worry and come rushing through the portal (though as you know, I would never say no to a surprise visit from my very favorite Alicorn *wink*).

It all started when Rainbow Dash invited me and the other girls to go hiking up Everfree Canyon, kind of near that camp I told you about. Turns out most of the girls were busy, so only me, Dash, and Pinkie were able to go. It wasn’t going to be an overnight trip; it’s early autumn here, and up near the forest it gets pretty cold at night. We were just going to pack a lunch, hike up to a cool waterfall Dash told us about, have a nice picnic then head back. Dash just wanted to go hiking one last time before things started to get really cold.

At first, it was a great hike. The canyon is gorgeous, and all the leaves are turning fall colors, not ready to fall yet, but still totally orange and red. The whole time the trail follows this narrow canyon with a small icy stream flowing down the middle. It reminds me of Blind Doe Creek Canyon, just a few miles north of Canterlot, if you ever went to hike there. Heh, who am I writing to? Of course you never did, they don’t have a library up there.

We reached a section of trail that’s been washed out a little by some late summer rains. The trail was still there, but it was only about a foot and a half across, and pretty covered in scree. It looked totally sketchy, but the drop into the creek on our left was only about ten to fifteen feet, so a fall wouldn’t be fatal, right? And the dangerous section was only about ten feet long. But Rainbow Dash suggests it might be too dangerous, so we should think about finding another place for our picnic.

I know, right? Rainbow Dash, being all cautious and responsible. Pinkie got all weird, asking if Rainbow had been replaced by an alien body snatcher (fictional human sci-fi thing, kinda like Changelings). But I get it. A few months back, Scootaloo got into some trouble acting out in school, and Rainbow Dash really doubled down on her responsibilities as Scootaloo’s unofficial mentor/example/big sister. It’s pretty impressive to see her trying her best to be more mature, more responsible, and more grown up.

But Pinkie and I both said we’d be fine if we were careful. So Rainbow says she’ll go last, to help either of us if we slip or anything. Pinkie goes across first, and she’s just fine. I go next, and I’m a little nervous, but it’s not that bad. The drop to my left is only a dozen or so feet, and I’m watching the stream below while I’m trying to hold onto any handholds on the cliff side on my right. And of course I slip, because I’m paying too much attention to the drop and the stream and not enough attention to where my feet were going. My foot hits a patch of loose stone, shoots out from under me, and I start to swing out into the drop.

Rainbow is magically fast, of course, so of course she rushed out to catch me. Pinkie darted in from the front as well. Each one grabs one of my hands as I fall into the drop. But Pinkie just reacted; she didn’t have time to set herself, and I ended up pulling her off with me when she slipped on the loose stone as well. Now I’m between Rainbow and Pinkie, so Rainbow can’t effectively catch Pinkie without shoving me off the cliff entirely. She almost managed, nimbly reaching out with her free hand and grabbing at the sleeve of Pinkie’s jacket. She managed to get ahold of the jacket, but it tore (sorry Rarity!), and Pinkie fell the ten or so feet down into the tiny stream.

It should have been nothing! I’m still mad about this. A ten foot fall! It’s ridiculous. Pinkie hit the ground feet first, her right foot on dry ground and her left in the stream. But her left foot got caught between a rock and a gnarled tree root, and as she landed she twisted, falling butt first into the stream. With her foot wedged, however, it didn’t follow the rest of her.

I don’t remember if there was a sound when her leg broke, but I remember the gasp of pain. I’ve heard Pinkie scream before, screams of joy, of laughter, of horror and disgust. She never screamed, just a nearly silent gasp. I’ll remember that gasp forever. Rainbow said some swear words, and shouted that she was gonna drop me so she could get down and help Pinkie.

We both made it down to where Pinkie sat in the stream, shivering and panting in pain. I took one look at her leg, twisted unnaturally, and immediately lost my breakfast. She was injured, not me, but I was panicking, probably hysterical. I can’t remember what I was saying, but I was shouting something.

You would have been really impressed with Rainbow Dash. She never panicked, never batted an eye. She spoke calmly, gave me orders, told me what to do. Honestly I remember very little of all of this; I know at some point I found a pair of long sticks to help immobilize the bone, using my and Rainbow’s jackets. I also remember she made me call 911 (human thing; we can call for paramedics on our cell phones. It’s pretty amazing, and convenient in a world without pony magic). Rainbow probably could have carried Pinkie down the canyon by herself, but she said she didn’t want to leave me alone. So here we are, waiting for the paramedics to show up on their ATV (Ugh. More human stuff. Small mechanical transportation devices) and I’m coming completely unglued.

All the times I’ve fought against strange magic, stood firm, I never felt like this. I felt so helpless; there was ABSOLUTELY NOTHING I could do to help Pinkie. Rainbow took charge. Rainbow immobilized the injury, Rainbow kept me calm. Rainbow was trained enough in first aid to keep us both safe, and to keep Pinkie from being even more injured.

Like all good stories, this one has a happy ending. The paramedics got there, they got Pinkie safely down the mountain and to the hospital, and I even got to ride in the hospital (the paramedics wanted to keep an eye on me because I was experiencing shock, and it was a little embarrassing). While I was in the ambulance, Pinkie made me Pinkie Promise that I wouldn’t blame myself for all this, or beat myself up, or even feel guilty. I don’t, not really, but I hate how helpless I felt.

Pinkie’s just fine. She’s healing well, and her doctor says there will be no permanent damage. In a few months she won’t even have a limp. I’ll be better too; I found a class being taught on basic first aid and CPR (human lifesaving technique for restarting a heart that’s stopped beating. Without magic. Yeah, it’s impressive). I’m actually writing this journal as I’m waiting for the class to begin. I won’t be helpless ever again.

Wow, that was a long letter, sorry. I hope you’re not too worried. I’m sure Pinkie would love a visit, she’s out of the hospital for a couple of days now, but nobody’s in danger, so you don’t need to rush if you’re busy. Things were scary, but they’re fine now. And I’m doing better as well; I’m not freaking out any more, and I’m keeping my Pinkie Promise.

Class is about to start, so I can’t write any more, but I’ll give you any updates. Hope to hear from you soon. I miss you, Princess. I can’t wait until your next visit. Two months is too long to wait for a fifth date *wink wink*.

Love,

Yours forever, Sunset Shimmer.

“Interesting way to end an inter-dimensional letter, Sunset,” came a voice from over her shoulder.

Sunset jumped, giving out a startled squeak that even Fluttershy would have been proud of. She’d been so engrossed in the message she was writing in the magical two-way journal she shared with Princess Twilight that she hadn’t noticed when somebody entered the classroom where she was waiting. She was at Canterlot Community College, in a science classroom that had been set aside for use by the instructor of the first aid class, Swift Siren, a retired paramedic. She’d been early to the class, and had found a seat at one of the tables in the classroom. She’d brought the two-way journal, knowing she should take a few moments to update Princess Twilight on recent events before the class started. She had not expected to be interrupted, especially not by a particular blue-haired menace.

“Trixie! I wasn’t… you didn’t… um… what are you doing here?” Sunset stammered, spinning around to look at her friend, who had moved up behind her. Trixie was dressed as usual in her starry dress and overly theatrical hat. One hand rested on a cocked hip, and her face was painted with an amused smirk.

“Trixie has enrolled in a first aid class in order to better herself,” Trixie said airily, in a matter that Sunset had come to know meant the girl was hiding something. Trixie was many things, but an accomplished and skilled liar was not one of them. Sensing a chance to change the subject and shift the conversation away from Sunset’s love life, she stood, peering into Trixie’s face intently.

“Really? First aid? Doesn’t seem like your usual gig, Trixie.”

“The Great and Powerful Trixie is always looking for ways to become even more Greater and Powerfuler!” Trixie protested. “Don’t change the subject! You’re writing love letters to the other Twilight Sparkle! The pony one!”

Sunset knew how to play this game. She’d done it for three years, manipulating, cheating, extorting, and blackmailing people to get her way. The trick to making herself immune to any sort of manipulation regarding her own embarrassing secretes would be to embrace it, and own it.

“Yeah,” Sunset said with an exhale. “Yeah, I am. We’ve been dating kinda in secret for a few months now.”

“You didn’t tell Trixie?”

“I haven’t told anybody yet,” Sunset said. “We’re not ashamed of what we’re doing, but there’s some awkwardness involved in dating somepony who’s the alternate universe version of one of your best friends. I don’t want there to be any weirdness.”

“Hmph,” Trixie said, disappointed. Inwardly, Sunset smirked. By owning it, she took the power away. Even months after crawling out of the pit she’d dug for herself, it was still hard not to think that way.

“But enough about me, what about you? Did your parents make you sign up?” Sunset guessed, and was rewarded with a cringe from her friend.

“Trixie’s mother made a very reasonable argument as to why she should…” Trixie began, cut off when Sunset started laughing.

“What’d she threaten you with?” Sunset asked. Trixie let out a dramatic sigh.

“Trixie’s mother thinks she should have more ‘balance’ in her life. She thinks Trixie was spending too much time on ‘silly magic tricks and video games’ and should spend some time on self-improvement. There was perhaps some mention of having Trixie’s phone and television confiscated if Trixie didn’t ‘use her time more wisely’.”

“Why a first aid class?” Sunset asked, curious.

“It was sarcastically mentioned by Trixie’s mother as an option because of all of the bumps, bruises, and second-degree burns that sometimes occur on the path to performance greatness. Pyrotechnics can be dangerous.”

“Also you fall off a lot of stuff,” Sunset noted. Trixie glared at her, and Sunset giggled. “Sit down, Trixie. This class will be a lot more fun with you around.” Trixie hesitated for a second, clearly wondering if she were still being teased, but Sunset slid the chair next to hers on the table out, and the blue magician took her seat with a smile.

“Why are you taking a first aid class?” Trixie asked.

“Oh, cuz of what happened to Pinkie,” Sunset said. “If something ever happens again, I want to be ready.”

“That makes sense. The Noble and Heroic Trixie always knew you were aspiring to heroic heights yourself.”

Sunset just rolled her eyes at her friend’s antics. By now another half dozen people had filtered into the room, including at least one other Canterlot Wondercolt, the bombastic Bulk Biceps. Sunset and Trixie waved, but they didn’t have time to say hi before the class instructor, Swift Siren, entered and called the class to order. She was a spry, athletic woman in her early eighties, with silver hair and pale purple skin. She moved with a quick confidence that drew the attention of everybody in the room. Soon all the students had settled in to listen to Swift Siren’s commanding voice.

* * * * *

“I hope you guys had fun,” Twilight Sparkle said, fidgeting with the straw of her smoothie. “I know classical music concerts aren’t always everybody’s thing.”

“Of course we had fun, sweetie,” her sister-in-law Cadence said with a smile as she sipped on her own giant pink monstrosity of a milkshake. Twilight’s brother, Shining Armor, was nodding next to her as he chewed on a mouthful of the crunchy peppermint candy bits that had been sprinkled on top of the whipped cream that floated on his hot chocolate. The family sat in the small café, a brilliant recommendation of Pinkie Pie’s known as Sugar Cube Corner. The owner, a ‘Ms. Cake’, had given Twilight an odd look when she’d entered, but Twilight was coming to terms with those sorts of glances; her extra-dimensional doppelganger had made lots of friends in the region, and not everybody was privy to the full details of the situation.

The three family members were dressed in semi-formal wear for the concert; Twilight and Cadence wore dresses, and Shining Armor was in a suit, complete with a metallic pink tie. Cadence hated the tie, but Shining loved it; it never caused any real fights, however, because as Cadence put it, ‘If he’s wearing the tie, he’s wearing a suit, and your brother is yummy in a suit’. Twilight had immediately fled the room at this statement.

Cadence, meanwhile, was wearing a purple sleeveless high necked dress, with a skirt that ended just above her knees. Twilight’s dress was black, a slightly more conservative version of the black cocktail dress, with short sleeves, a gently swooping neckline, and a skirt just short enough to make her incredibly nervous whenever she sat down. It was certainly more daring than anything she’d ever worn before, and she’d bought it with tonight in mind. Unfortunately, tonight had come with a bit of a hitch.

“Twily, I might not be the best judge of good music,” Shining began, with a snort from Cadence, which Shining ignored. “But Cady and I both graduated from Crystal Prep. Even if we don’t choose to listen to this stuff all the time, we were both exposed to it enough to appreciate it. Tonight’s concert was incredible, and we’re both really happy you invited us.”

Twilight could hear the concern in both her brother and sister-in-law’s voice. She’d never been really good at hiding her inner thoughts or emotions, and her disappointment for this evening, however slight, was still tangible. She took a sip of her strawberry/kiwi/kale smoothie, taking comfort in the fact that Pinkie was never wrong when it came to the quality of sweet things.

“Is something wrong, Twilight?” Cadence asked finally, when it was clear Twilight was not going to volunteer the source of her discomfort on her own.

“I’m fine,” Twilight said with a sigh. “I really did want to treat you guys to a great night out, and I’ve been really enjoying the orchestra season pass Pinkie got me. Every concert is more impressive than the last.”

“But…” Cadence said with a raised eyebrow.

“But,” Twilight began. “I was really hoping for something else out of tonight. Please don’t be mad at me, but I was hoping you two could be my... well, my emotional support tonight. But she wasn’t there.”

Shining Armor opened his mouth to ask a question, but Cadence shot him a quelling look and motioned for Twilight to continue.

“I don’t even know her name,” the younger girl said. “I just think of her as ‘crying girl’. She’s been at every single concert. She sits on the balcony, above and behind where we were sitting. There hasn’t ever been enough people to fill the whole concert hall, so she’s always alone. She’s always dressed in jeans and a hoodie, and…” Twilight took a deep, steadying breath before she dared to say the next words. “She’s really pretty.”

“Ooh, a mysterious stranger, love at first sight!” Cadence tittered. “That’s so adorable!”

“Please, Dean Ca…” Twilight cut off when her sister-in-law harrumphed at the title. Twilight was still a bit unused to the change in relationship from school administrator to loving family member. “Sorry, Cadence. But it’s nothing so unscientific.” She paused to push her glasses up the bridge of her nose, a gesture many of her friends and family had come to connect with the beginnings of a ‘Twisplaination’. “I’m mature enough to recognize infatuation when I feel it. And I am decidedly infatuated.” The serious nature of the sentence was ruined by the flush Twilight felt in her cheeks.

Shining Armor made a noise. It sounded suspiciously like the kind of noise you might make if you were about to laugh, and then suddenly get elbowed hard in the ribs by your wife. Twilight, whose blushing face was locked on her drink, didn’t notice.

“Twilight, um…” Cadence began, but her sister-in-law cut her off.

“I know what you’re going to say, Cadence. ‘You can’t be so analytical about romance.’ I know that. Things like crushes, love, romance, lust… they defy analysis. While objectively, I understand that many of these things are evolutionary advantages, useful for creating social bonds and relationships that perpetuate the species, feeling them myself has been confusing. So I get it. But this is how I interact with the world, so… be patient with me?”

“Don’t ever change, Twily,” Shining said, smiling. Cadence nodded her agreement.

“But, Twilight, don’t you think this might be a little soon? You just went through a break up,” the older woman asked. “Are you sure you’re ready to try again?”

“I think so, Cadence,” Twilight replied thoughtfully. “I won’t pretend that breaking up with Timber didn’t hurt, but I’m not angry or bitter. We decided to break up together, and we’re still close. I even texted him about all this, and it was his idea to bring somebody else with me as moral support. He specifically suggested you two, as well.” It was a little embarrassing to admit how much more socially adept Timber was than she, but not much.

“This is all beside the point, though,” Shining Armor cut in. “You don’t even know the girl’s name. What did you call her? ‘Crying Girl’?”

“Let me start from the beginning,” Twilight said.

For my last birthday, Pinkie Pie got me these amazing season tickets to the Canterlot Symphony. It was my first birthday party with friends, you know, besides you two and Spike. It was great once I got over my pounding heart and panic.

Yes, Pinkie prefers to throw surprise parties. Sometimes they’re more surprising than the guest of honor is prepared for.

Pinkie? She’s fine. She’s out of the hospital now, but the rest of our friends say she’s pushing herself too hard after her injury. They went to the café she works at tonight to scold her for that.

Anyways…

The season tickets included seats for two guests, but for the first three concerts, everybody else I invited was busy. Well, that’s not true. Rainbow and Applejack both probably could have come, but Rainbow told me that going to a classical concert would somehow damage her image, and Applejack just told me honestly she wasn’t into that sort of thing. That’s fine with me; I don’t need to share all my friends’ interests, after all.

Each of the concerts is curated based on a theme, rather than a composer or a time period. Tonight’s theme was ‘love and romance’, right? It would have been so perfect to… uh, never mind. That first night’s theme was birds and flight. Each of the pieces the orchestra played was about that theme.

I noticed her first when I was sitting down. I happened to glance her way as she sat down up at the balcony, where she was alone. She was pretty, and I have to admit I stared for a bit. When she caught me staring, she looked shocked at first, and then angry. I couldn’t get it. She looked like she recognized me, and she was furious about something.

Maybe she did know my other self. You know, the girl who looks exactly like me? That’s my theory at least. Whatever the case, her glare didn’t last long. I must have looked confused at her apparent anger, because her stare became first confused, and then thoughtful. By then the house lights were dimming, and I took my seat.

Sometime in the middle of Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet Number 53 in D Major I happened to glance back up at her. I could barely see, but it was clear she was weeping. Not ugly, loud sobs, but the quiet dignified crying of somebody who’s really suffering in silence. I thought at first that maybe she was moved by the beauty of the music, but her eyes were closed and I couldn’t really tell. She must have sensed my looking, because she opened her eyes at that second and caught me staring. Her gaze was intent, and she looked right back at me, gently wiping at her eyes. Now her hoodie was down, and I could see her hair, two tone blue and light blue locks were pulled back in a ponytail.

I found myself wondering what she would look like with it down.

I remember glancing away quickly, figuring that she thought I must be weird. After all, I was staring at her. I didn’t look back for the rest of the concert, and when it was over, she was gone.

The next week’s theme was ghosts and the supernatural. Did you know Tchaikovsky wrote a piece of music about Shakespeare’s Hamlet? Most people are only familiar with his more popular stuff, like the Nutcracker and the 1812 Overture. I saw the crying girl again, just before the lights went dim. This time she didn’t look angry, and managed to smile just a little bit, giving me a little wave. It was just a tiny finger wiggle, but she didn’t look hostile at all, so I was really confused.

It was during a performance of an excerpt from Dvorak’s Spectre’s Bride that I looked up again at her. They’d brought in an opera singer to perform alongside the orchestra, and she was incredible. Once again, though, the girl on the balcony was weeping. For some reason, I couldn’t tear my eyes from her. I was watching her instead of the singer, and despite all of the talent of the performers, she was the most interesting thing in the hall at that moment. She didn’t catch me staring this time, and I’m grateful.

I can’t explain this. I don’t even have words, and both of you know me well enough to realize just how aggravating that is to me. But for a moment, as that wonderful singer on stage sang about loss and grief, about her lover being torn from her by death, I felt like it was the crying girl that was singing. It was like the music was coming from her, not from the stage. I know, it doesn’t make sense. But all of the passion, all of the emotion I felt coming from the music was perfectly mirrored on her face. Her eyes, which I could hardly see, were frozen on the stage, sparkling with reflected lights. I watched her for the rest of the concert. She got up to leave before the final applause, and she was hiding her eyes with her hands as she rushed from the building, as if she was running from something.

I wanted nothing more than to protect her, to keep her safe from whatever it was she was afraid of. Is that weird? Empathy is a bit of a new feeling for me. Now that I have real friends…

Yes, I mean more real friends. You’ll always be my first friend, BBBFF.

Do you want me to finish the story or not?

Now that I have lots of friends, I find myself more often considering the thoughts and feelings of others. Much more so than I used to, that is. That’s what I felt for the crying girl. Empathy. I wanted to find out what was hurting her and fix it.

I guess it didn’t hurt that she’s really cute, too.

The third week’s concert was much more fun. I actually did plan on bringing Pinkie to this one, but she ended up in the hospital. She would have loved it, too. That night’s theme was all about food. Before I even tried to look for her, the crying girl was trying to get my attention. She waved at me, not the shy finger wiggle from before, but a full wave, complete with a smirk and a wink. I’m sure she was flirting at this point.

I was also sure that she couldn’t possibly cry tonight, as the musical pieces were almost comical in nature. We were listening to a piece I don’t know the name of, but it was Bach, I think. Something from an opera where a father was trying to convince her daughter not to drink so much coffee. But even in the middle of this silly song, I looked up and she was crying again. I kept checking on her every few minutes. Most of the time she was crying, but once she caught me looking and…

No, it’s not important.

No, really.

Fine. The one time she caught me looking, she blew me a kiss. That’s how I deduced she might be flirting with me, okay? I nearly lost my nerve, but after that I had to go talk to her. So as soon as the applause started, I hurried out of the concert hall towards the balcony. I was rather nervous, but…

You want to know what?

Yes, I know it’s not a very poetic way to describe things. I’m not a very poetic person, Cadence. You know that.

Fine, if it will make you shut up about it. My heart was racing, I was flushed, I thought perhaps I might be experiencing a low grade fever…

Well, it’s unrealistic to assume that I can somehow summon up some previously unseen poetic ability just to satisfy your sense of romance. Isn’t there some inherent romance in the story you can get excited about, despite any failings in my delivery?

Thanks, Cadence. To continue, she wasn’t there. She’d already slipped out before I could make it up to the balcony. I asked the usher at the door if he’d seen where she’d went, and he didn’t know anything, only that she’d left seconds before I got there.

So the plan was to speak with her tonight. I would get up before the end of the show, and intercept her at the bottom of the stairs towards the balcony. Only, as the week progressed, I became more and more unsure of myself. The courage I’d felt, the willingness to go charging up the stairs and speak with Crying Girl kind of began to trickle away. So I realized I’d need moral support. Somebody who would, um, push me out of my comfort zone, romantically speaking. I texted the whole story to Timber. We’re still good friends, after all. He suggested I bring you two. For some reason he seems to think you’re some sort of a romance expert, Cadence. But she wasn’t there today.

“And that’s the whole story,” Twilight finished, shuffling her feet uncomfortably. “And now I’m worried I missed an opportunity.” She looked up and saw Cadence’s face, and cringed. She could practically see the stars in her sister-in-law’s eyes.

“Oh, Twilight,” she cooed. “That has to be one of the cutest things you’ve ever said.”

“But wait. You don’t know anything about this girl. She could be a delinquent or a criminal or something,” Shining said. Cadence rolled her eyes.

“Oh, be quiet and embrace the magic of love, Officer Armor,” his wife said. “Besides, you know Twi’s smart and grounded enough to take care of herself. But you are cute when you get all overprotective.”

“Moving on,” Twilight interjected quickly. She saw the signs; her former babysitter was about to start flirting with her brother if she didn’t interrupt. While she didn’t mind in theory, it wasn’t something she wanted happening right in front of her eyes. “What’s my next step?”

“Well, obviously you have to speak with this girl,” Cadence said. “She probably just had a change of plans for tonight. If she’s been at every other concert, she’ll most likely show up again.”

“You know, that doesn’t actually hold up to logic,” Twilight informed her. Cadence rolled her eyes dramatically.

“Sweetie, sometimes you just have to forget logic and just believe in love,” she said.

“But Dean Cadence…”

“No! I don’t hear enough belief! Belief harder, Twilight!” Cadence demanded, throwing a fist dramatically into the air. Twilight recoiled from her sister-in-law and the crazed smile on her face. Shining Armor just looked amused. After holding the pose for a few seconds, Cadence giggled and slumped back into her seat. “Seriously though, Twilight. There’s not much more you can do than go to the next concert and hope she shows up. If there’s any justice or poetry in the universe she’ll be there.

“But what if she’s not?” Twilight asked.

“Everything’s going to work out, Twilight. I have a feeling.”

“A feeling?” Twilight scoffed. “There’s no scientific basis for the idea that…”

“Twilight,” Cadence interjected, her voice lowering dangerously. “Remember the story you told me about your pink friend and her senses. Just pretend it’s like that.” Twilight shuddered. Her faith in the scientific method had been seriously shaken by the Experiments That Must Not Be Named. Also the damage to her lab equipment had been catastrophic.

“Okay. Let’s assume, despite all logic and evidence that the crying girl is just going to show up at the next concert. What do I do?”

“Get ready to chase her down?” Shining chimed in helpfully. Cadence growled at him, and he snickered. “Really, though, you have to at least give it a chance and go meet her. We could come with you again for moral support, but it’s probably better if Cadence and I aren’t there to alternately embarrass and overprotect you. We’ll send you strategically timed encouraging text messages. Besides, can you imagine how crazy Cadence will go if you don’t follow through?” He grunted again at another elbow to the ribs. “Twilight, you’re smart enough to figure out all this on your own. You don’t even really need our advice.”

“Yes, but if I told you all the story, I’d be forced to follow through or face the wrath of Cadence,” Twilight said, smirking at her sister-in-law. Cadence mock growled, but it was clear she was trying too hard not to smile.

“If you two both keep teasing me, you’ll face plenty of wrath,” Cadence threatened, but the grin was spilling through. “Oh Twilight, I’m so happy to see that you’re doing well post breakup. And I really do have a good feeling about this one.”

“Right,” Twilight said, mentally filing ‘Cadence’s Love Feelings’ away in the same box with ‘Inexplicable Pinkie Sense’. “Thanks for listening.”

“You know when you do manage to actually meet your dream girl and learn her name, you’re obligated to bring her to meet us,” Shining said. “Mostly so I can fulfil my annoying older brother instincts. We have to make sure anybody you’re dating is good enough for our little Twily.” Cadence was nodding earnestly.

“Yes. We must have a double date,” Cadence gushed.

“Your optimism might be premature,” Twilight said. “But thanks. Thanks for listening and for encouraging me, you two. You’re the best.”

“No problem, Twilight. And if she doesn’t make it to the next concert, Shiny can use his police contacts to figure out who she is.”

“Now Cadence, you know that’s unethical and illegal,” Shining began, but Cadence was already waving her hands in front of his face to shush him.

“You know I’m just kidding, Shiny.”

“Well…”

“Anyways,” Cadence said, interrupting her husband. “What you need to do now is to not obsess about this. You know how you can sometimes get inside your own head, Twilight. Until the next concert, you just need to relax and not overthink things. Maybe distract yourself by spending lots of time with your friends.”

“That was the plan. We need to convince Pinkie to take it easy to let her leg heal, after all. I hope they were successful.”

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