• Published 28th Jun 2012
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A New Hero - Alex The Lone Wolf



What if there was another pony who joined the pony gang? (Look at longer description...)

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I'm Right. You're Wrong.

"After that Sisterhooves Social, I'm not so sure I want to see another one…" I mentioned honestly as I gazed out the window, taking little notice of the scenery moving past us.

"It was…something alright." Spirit grinned uneasily. "I don't think I've ever seen a huge stallion dress up as a mare. It was definitely new."

"I know Big Mac was just trying to help out Applebloom and all, but I can't help but worry that I might have nightmares after that. It was just so…creepy." I stopped to think about another pony that had joined us for the watch. "I can't imagine what Twilight thought. I feel bad since I suggested that she come with us since she was bored in the first place."

"Come on." Spirit leaned in towards me. "It wasn't that bad."

"I finally get how ponies can be scared of clowns." I mentioned. "You can't sit there and tell me you wouldn't freak out to see a mare with a huge beard…and other things…"

"Alright. Alright." Spirit shook her head as if I was successful in implanting such images in her mind. "I get it. Let's talk about something else. For one thing, I'm so excited to see Coco Pommel again!"

"Speaking of Coco Pommel, I feel so guilty! She had sent me that letter a few days earlier about the Midsummer Revival." I sighed heavily. "I can't believe I forgot about it. I'm so stupid!"

"Not what I was expecting…" Spirit responded hesitantly. "…but either way, don't say that. I'm sure she understands how busy you can be. Now that I think about it…" She tapped her hoof on her chin. "Maybe that's what Rarity and Applejack went to go do? They got summoned to Manehattan remember?"

"Yeah. Either way, I just hope Coco Pommel got the play running. That and that we aren't late…" The more I saw the sun disappear, the more I worried we'd miss the play.

"Don't worry about it!" Spirit assured. "We're here already!"

I wasn't going to lie about it. As soon as we had arrived and ponies were already starting get off the train, I hopped off my seat and pushed ahead as far as I could. I figured that I may have even surpassed the levels of Spirit in the sense that I couldn't keep my hooves still. But I didn't care about that at the moment. The day had been strange starting with the Sisterhooves Social, and things only grew worse on my mood when I had realized that Coco's event was today. I wanted to be there for her as soon as possible, as well as to apologize for not being here any sooner and forgetting about the Midsummer Revival.

"Hey…!" I'd hear Spirit say next to me and grow immediately faint as I'd run past her. "Chill… Out…!"

She used her power to keep up with me instead of running after me. I suppose it made it easier on herself.

"Can't, we need to make it! It probably already started!" My eyes widened at the sight of a small group of ponies around what appeared to be a stage, and I could see that there was definitely a live play going on at the stage. "Come on! I see it!"

When I could finally hear the words coming from the actors on the stage, I slowed down into a walk and then into a complete stop, catching my breath. "We made it…barely." I sighed. "I wonder how much we missed."

"Hey, I can see Coco!" Spirit pointed out.

A small pony sat in the center of the crowd, whose mane carried her signature hairclip. She was definitely not hard to miss.

"…I'm sorry I couldn't get enough tickets for everypony in the neighborhood. I hope Mr. Pearblossom wasn't too disappointed…" We heard as we attempted to get through the crowd as unnoticeable or intruding as possible.

The ponies on stage continued speaking, but I couldn't pay much attention at the moment as I maneuvered towards Coco. She hadn't noticed me at all since her eyes and ears were completely glued to the set, so I had a nice opportunity to give her a surprise greeting.

I tapped her shoulder, having her turn out of curiosity before she noticed me waving enthusiastically at her.

"Y-You made it!" She stuffed her exclaim into a hushed whisper.

"Sorry, I couldn't make it any earlier." I apologized.

"I'm just glad you're here!"

"Hi!" Spirit added with restrained excitement.

"And Spirit's here too!" Coco noticed.

"Yeah, well, she's kind of glued to me." I joked.

"Alex! I didn't know you'd be coming, darling!" I heard Rarity, having me notice that she and Applejack had been sitting by Coco's right. "What brings you here?"

"Coco had sent me a letter about the Midsummer Revival. I feel bad for not coming any sooner." I mentioned honestly.

"It's okay, really!" She assured. "It may not have went as well as planned, but Rarity and Applejack really were able to bring it together just by themselves!"

Realizing how we had already been missing a lot of the play right in front of us, I decided to leave the conservation at a standstill until after it was over.

"As much as I want to talk, we should probably leave that until after the play." I suggested.

"Understood." Rarity nodded in agreement.

I had to admit that I couldn't understand much of what was going on, considering that I had probably missed the entire introduction to the story taking place in the play. Nevertheless, it was just as enjoyable being there and watching it with Coco. After all, I believed Coco Pommel was the one who had organized everything in the project. When it appeared that the play came to end with all of the actors bowing, every pony watching cheered.

"Thank you, fillies and gentlecolts." One of the actors acknowledged towards the audience. "Please give a warm welcome to the one who made this entire event possible – our neighbor Coco Pommel!"

In that instant, Coco was lifted on top of the crowd, carried over to the stage as an overwhelming amount of applause ensued. When she had the center stage, she glanced amongst the group of viewers now in front of her and cleared her throat.

"Thank you all so much for coming. The Midsummer Theater Revival was always something that meant so much to me, and it seems it means quite a lot to all of you as well. I really can't take all the credit, though. My dear friends Rarity and Applejack helped me ever so much."

I hadn't even noticed that Rarity and Applejack disappeared from their seated spots until I saw them join Coco onstage. Not only that, but I also felt extremely unaware and even foolish when I had just realized that Applejack's hat took a hardcore beating. It was like literally shredded, and I couldn't believe how she was still able to wear it.

"Oh, darling, please, it was just a few costumes." Rarity responded humbly.

"Aw, shucks, I just happen to be good with a hammer is all." Applejack followed in the same manner. "To be honest, we had much bigger plans to start. When those fell through, we decided to simplify. This here was the result."

"Oh, don't be so modest. Coco and I were lost." Rarity disagreed.

"You bet your boots we were!" Coco sent a wink towards Applejack, whom sent another right back.

There was now one more final united applause, which seemed to be loudest of the prior ones. Spirit and I joined right in on bringing the event to a conclusion. Afterwards, we met up with Coco as all of the others had post-affair discussions.

"That was amazing, Coco." I said as I walked towards her. "I'm really glad you've been able to do stuff for the community. I'm not sure if I'm even in any position to say this, but I'm…proud to see what you do."

"Thanks…!" Coco responded with a faint blush. "That really means a lot coming from you…"

"It was like the best thing ever!" Spirit immediately rushed in, appearing to squeeze Coco at the same level of tightness as Pinkie.

Coco had to sort of tap a hoof on Spirit, signaling her to allow her to breath. "Thank you, but what I wanted most out of everything else from this was getting the community together, and it looks like I have." She took a long glance over the many ponies that had attended her showing. If I had to guess, the number of ponies present almost looked like it could be the equivalent of all of Ponyville.

Rarity and Applejack returned to the picture after having been speaking with other ponies.

"We'll be taking our leave now." Rarity mentioned. "We have matters to discuss with family back in Ponyville. Alex, Spirit, will you be joining us?"

"Actually… I think we'll be staying overnight." I returned, taking notice of Spirit's surprised reaction. "We just got here, after all. Wouldn't seem right if we just left already. Is that okay with you, Coco?"

Looking fairly surprised as well, Coco didn't hesitate to respond. "O-Of course!"

"Well then, we bid you farewell, Coco." Rarity stated as both her and Applejack expressed their goodbyes. "We'll see you later in Ponyville." Rarity expressed to me before the two left in the direction of the train station.

"So, what do the two of you want to do?" Coco approached us with inviting yet calm eyes. "We can go have dinner, or maybe you just want to…" She looked towards the ground, tapping her hoof as she appeared to be in the process of thinking of things to do.

"I think we're actually just fine in coming over to your apartment, if that's fine with you." I answered.

"S-sure! No problem!"


Coco Pommel had laid out snacks for us to eat back at her place. I had to admit that I hadn't really had anything to eat earlier except for some occasional concession food back at the Sisterhooves Social, so it was really a nice treat. Coco had been standing out on the balcony, appearing to enjoy the fresh breeze that circulated in the room from the outside.

"Heh heh. You don't know how stressed out I was about the Midsummer Revival the last time I was here." She breathed in slowly and exhaled calmly in her brief moment of silence. "I'm just so glad it's over and everything turned out alright. I guess you could say I feel like I can finally breathe again."

"I'm glad to hear that." I genuinely felt happy for her, but I still couldn't help but shake off the lingering guilt. "I know you've said to not worry about it, but I'm still really sorry about not coming sooner. You definitely could have used the help."

She turned around and walked back inside the room to join us at the table. "It really is okay. After all, what Applejack and Rarity did all by themselves brought the entire community together just like the old days. And after today, it seems it'd be safe to expect volunteers when next time comes around."

"Well, I hope I can make it the next time."

"That'd be great!" Coco emphasized with a beaming grin.

Hearing her talk about the 'old days', I was curious to what they were like. After all, before I left Fillydelphia, Coco had only been a filly.

"So…how were the old days?" I asked a little hesitantly. "You know, after I left Filly?"

"Oh…!" It appeared that Coco had been caught off-guard by that question. She took a seat next to me on the couch before she continued speaking. "Well, I didn't stay in Filly long after you left." She stated as she pulled out what looked like an album book. "In fact, Suri left before I did. I think my parents noticed that I wasn't really engaging myself in anything, especially since I didn't have any friends. If I remember correctly, I think my parents heard about moving to Manehatten from relatives. They told them about all sorts of events I would most likely enjoy, one of them being the Midsummer Revival. When my family had the opportunity to move, they took it, and I'd be lying if I said the Midsummer Revival wasn't one of the best things that I could have been involved in. It was actually where I started to enjoy dressmaking." She showed us a few pictures back when she was still a filly. It was warming to see that she at least seemed to get along with the kids dressed on stage.

As we flipped through more pages of the book, I took notice of the picture that revealed when she received the hairclip she's worn every day since I've seen her. Recognizing the pony who must have been Charity Kindheart from the play, she must have played such an important and essential part to Coco's life. After all, these pictures seemed to tell us a story without having Coco explain them in the first place.

I thought about what it possibly would have been like had Coco and I became friends back in the Filly days, but I almost immediately tried to shake those thoughts away since I didn't really want to dwell in the past, where the majority of mistakes lived.

"Of course, I eventually came across Suri around the time I wanted to get started on dressmaking as a career. It began as a sort of reunion about our days in Fillydelphia. Then, she told me how apparently, she was in dressmaking too, and her family had been fortunate enough to give her a huge boost in the business. I'm sure you can imagine how things eventually led to what they were the last time you saw her…"

"But you're on your own now." I could say with pride. "And I think you're really making a big name for yourself."

"Everything I have now, I couldn't have done it without you, or Rarity, or Applejack…" She handled humbly.

"Tomorrow, we should go out to dinner or something to celebrate. After all, I think this is a really huge deal." I suggested.

"You think so?" Coco asked.

Despite Spirit being practically silent the entire time, she propped up from eating on the couch to agree with me. "Totally!"

"Well then, it sounds fun!" She responded with an inspiring smile. "I can't wait!" When she glanced back over to the balcony, she gasped lightly from a sudden realization. "What time is it? I need to get you two a place ready to sleep tonight."

"The couch is fine, right Spirit?" I turned to her.

"Wouldn't be the first time." She lightheartedly joked.

"Are you sure…?" Coco questioned with concern. "It's not that roomy…"

"Don't worry about it." I assured. "We'll be fine."

"Well, just let me know if you need anything, alright? Other than that, please, make yourselves at home."

With a comfortable place to sleep in, we eventually turned in for the night.


The scent of fresh breakfast woke me up the next morning. The smell was so inviting, I had imagined Spirit awoke in the same manner but inside me. It wasn't hard to find the kitchen in which Coco had been preparing said breakfast. I caught her just setting the table inside. Realizing how the living space wasn't so roomy in this apartment to begin with, I was pleasantly surprised to see what she could do with the amount of space she had.

"Good morning, Coco." I greeted, having a yawn slip in afterwards.

"Oh, morning…!" She had been surprised to see me at the doorway. "I didn't wake you, did I?"

"Not at all."

"Sorry if it seems a little crowded in here. I never thought I'd have anypony stay the night."

"If anyone should be sorry, I would think it'd be us. After all, I think we may have imposed too much on you."

"Oh, don't even worry yourself about that!" She enforced expressively. "I'm actually kind of glad you two are here. I'm kind of used to living alone anyway, so it's nice to have somepony around for a change. I just wish things were a little more spacious for you."

"Hey, well, I'm sure you'd be able to afford a bigger place in no time. With all the kind of popularity and recognition you're getting, especially after last night, you'll be better off than you were very soon."

"Hehe, thanks." She reacted with a light shade of red in her cheeks. "That reminds me! Look!" She presented the newspaper of the day towards me. "The Midsummer Revival play made its way onto the paper! I would have thought it'd make a small section at most, but it's on the front page!"

"Wow! That's great!" There, where Coco pointed, was a huge photo that captured the crowd that surrounded the stage. The actors had been performing at the time the photo had been taken, so it appeared the liveliness at the time was presented wonderfully on the newspaper page. Too bad it was in black and white though. "Looks like you're only going to get bigger from here."

"I'm just glad everyone enjoyed it." She flipped the newspaper around, so she could read it. "It looks like everypony loved seeing old Charity Kindheart again…even though it was just her character."

"Mmmm! What smells so good?" Spirit had joined in the room, taking a good whiff before she laid her eyes over at the suspects sitting on top of the center of the table. "Oatmeal muffins with buttered biscuits!"

"Good morning, Spirit!" Coco chirped out joyfully, taking a liking of her positive reaction. "Take a seat. We can all eat together!"

Spirit didn't hesitate at all to follow Coco's wishes as if they were her very own. Coco repeated what she told me to Spirit about her play being made on the newspaper. It was at this time where I noticed something different in Spirit, and I think it was from looking at her eyes.

She had eaten with me and the other girls before, like when Pinkie Pie brought the pancakes she loved so much, but never before have I seen her so engaged in a discussion besides with me. In fact, I think she looked even happier than she ever has before. Even though we had been eating breakfast in a cramped Manehattan apartment. It didn't stop us from having a heartfelt good time. Spirit talked actively in things she wouldn't mention much about before, using her hooves and body language freely.

It was good change from usually seeing her quite reserved and fairly quiet. Maybe it had to do with the fact that it was only the three of us here. Then again, for some reason, Coco Pommel was one of the only ponies I'd see Spirit's eyes light up at any time she was mentioned.

At the end, Spirit did most of the talking, and she did not look guilty about it one bit. I mainly sat in somewhat awe at the difference in behavior she provided, and Coco could only react both timidly and humble at the subjects and points Spirit brought up in conversation.

"Now that've we've eaten…" Coco spoke. "What do the two of you want to do?"

Spirit turned to me. I suppose she wanted to see what I'd come up with.

"I dunno." I answered merely casually. "I'm not familiar with Manehattan, so we could just walk around or something. Maybe we'll find something worth doing."

"Oh, hang on!" Spirit suddenly exclaimed. "Coco, you sure you don't have any work you need to do instead?"

"Oh, no no!" Coco shook her head. "I had actually finished my work before preparing the Midsummer Revival. I'm free as a bird."

"Great! Then let's get going!" Spirit encouraged.

I had to admit, once outside, that I was used to not having to stop at every corner because of all the carriages ponies were galloping with. We'd have to wait one corner until we were allowed to go, and back home in Ponyville, we'd pretty much just walk wherever we wanted without having to worry about getting hit by some other pony. In a way, it really amazed me the differences between big cities and small towns. I didn't like other ponies rushing all over the place, in some cases breaking the rules in the area, to get where they wanted. I honestly did not know how Coco was able to handle everyday life here. We eventually came across a newsstand to see if there were any other possible publications revolving around Coco's contribution to the community.

"Great job with that play last night! Really brought the community together!" The pony running the stand expressed at the sight of Coco.

"Thank you." She responded with a slightly bashful smile.

"Coco must be so happy!" Spirit shared with me as Coco continued to look over magazines and the like. "I just can't help but be so happy for her!"

"I can tell." I returned. "It's like you're a different pony today."

"Oh, come on." She flipped her hoof. "I'm not acting that different."

"Either way, it's nice to see you're having fun."

"To be honest, you know how I've said something along the lines of how seeing you happy makes me happy? Well, don't get jealous, but I feel the same way about Coco. So, if you two are both happy, it's like double the happy!"

I couldn't help but chuckle. Yes, Spirit was just like a tamable Pinkie Pie. Hyper, but calm enough to not dash all over the place.

Thinking of a possible destination to make our way towards at that moment, I turned to Coco to place a hoof on her shoulder. "Hey, Coco. You know if there's a park or something nearby?" I was caught off-guard when I didn't get a response back. In fact, she didn't even look at me the moment I spoke to her. She had her eyes glued to something on the stand, and when I leaned over to get a better look at her face, I noticed that she appeared to be in a state of shock. "Coco? What's wrong?"

"…oh!" She shook her head as if she had just woken out of a trance. "Um, nothing. I, uh, what were you saying?"

"He was asking about a park!" Spirit chimed in, catching Coco's attention away from me. "Hopefully a super big one?"

I felt lured over to what Coco had been reading at the news stand as they talked with each other. It seemed she had been reading some kind a literature magazine, if you could call it that. The title Euphoria Equestria was planted on the top of the magazine, and the subject the issue was trying to point out fell at the center of the page with big bold letters. The Bad, The Ugly, The Horrid. The subtext below read: Talentless Hacks and a Midsummer Failure.

No way. Is this what I think it is?

I turned towards the page marked at the cover to read more about what it was about. The page had been filled with words like if it was some kind of an interview with a question and answer layout. But of course, it was no interview. Instead, it appeared to be all talk about reviews on recent literature and performances. It made mention of instances like poets at an open mic, discussions with apparently well-known ponies, and even speeches by the princesses themselves. However, these kinds of events were not being merely shared with other ponies that read this publication. They were being mocked and ridiculed.

My eyes were immediately drawn to a small photo of the performance last night on a section of one of the pages. It had been altered and edited, appearing as if it had been crudely drawn on with some rather unpleasant imagery.

The Midsummer Revival: Worse than it looks.

I began reading what it had to say about the event.

This absurd performance proved to beest incapable at presenting a compelling story. Whoever wroteth this garbage managed to maketh bland characters horridly blander. Choosing the Method Mares as actors? Absolutely a horrendous choice and a choice only an amateur at best would maketh. Now, lest I sure thee wonder who could beest so sloppy to organize such an atrocity, and that is none other than a lowly filly by the name of Coco Pommel. This pony is known to contribute dressmaking to performances such as the upcoming atrocity "My Fair Filly". Although, if 't be true her dresses art as lacking valor as her storytelling, I'd beest sure to keepeth hence ere I vomit in digust and beckon mine hoof in snuffs.

What was I reading?

"W-wait! Don't read that!" I heard Coco say behind me, attempting to gently pull me away from the stand.

"Don't read what?" Spirit asked, now joining by my side to take a look.

Coco now seemed to give up and only look away with shame-ridden eyes.

It was only a moment before Spirit reacted to what she had been reading.

"WHO'S THE JERK THAT WROTE THIS GARBAGE?!"

"Tis I." Another voice introduced. We turned to see a peculiar-looking pony observing us while sipping what looked like an overpriced coffee. I wasn't going to lie; this pony was covered to the brim in some kind of out of place clothing. Despite the weather, he wore a long trench coat, a fedora, and a long runny scarf. And his whole outfit consisted of one color: black. "I speaketh the truth."

"What do you know?!" Spirit reacted rather aggressively. "You some kind of prince?"

"Calleth me 'Prince of the Art of Literature'" He mentioned quite a mouthful before he went on to take a sip of his coffee.

"What are you doing talking like that?" I had to ask. It was killing me. "I've literally never heard anyone talk like that…well…except—"

"Ah, Princess Luna. Yes, she is a leif." Leif? "The only princess that knoweth what she doest."

I was starting to think this pony had a few screws loose in his head, and I kind of just wanted to get out of the area before he creeped me out some more.

"Yeah, I don't think even you know what's coming out of your mouth." Spirit said. "You must be the only pony in Equestria who thinks the Midsummer Revival was as bad as you think."

"Tis not true. Mine cousin believeth as I doth." He looked over to someone else that had been standing nearby. That someone had also been holding the same brand of coffee.

"Aye."

"H-huh…?" Coco Pommel took notice of this extra. "It's you…! We spoke last night. I…I thought you said you loved the play."

"You must have misunderstood me." The other pony spoke normally without the forced and annoying accent. "Any little enjoyment I had was from the desperate sad attempt to appealing to the larger masses. It was obvious that the character 'Charity Kindheart' was a poor excuse at inserting yourself into a fabricated story of fantasy."

"…w-what…?" Even Coco couldn't understand what these guys were driving at.

"In smaller words, thy story is nothing more than pig slop for those without a brain." The strange one spoke again, insulting Coco arrogantly. "I bid thee farewell."

He began leaving in a type of manner you'd expect from Canterlot, and the pony that had been accompanying him followed closely behind as if he was on a leash.

"Hey! You get back here! We're not finished!" Spirit yelled out, looking aggressive and ready to pounce on them like a manticore.

"As much as I'd like to see you rip them to shreds, we don't want to cause a worse scene here for Coco, Spirit." I placed a hoof on her to keep her in place. Next, I turned to Coco who obviously wasn't taking the out of the ordinary talk lightly. "Is that a normal thing here, Coco?"

"N-no… I don't think so…" She shook her head sadly. "I mean, I've never seen this kind of thing before, but then again, the Midsummer Revival was the first time I ever organized my own play for everyone to see. I don't understand at all!" Coco was beginning to grow terribly upset. "I only wanted to put something together for the community. I only wanted to make a tribute to one of the most important ponies in my life, Charity Kindheart. That's all I wanted. It wasn't like I was trying to impress anyone. I…I…"

"Coco, calm down." I placed a hoof on her shoulder to direct her attention towards me. "Listen, I don't know what those guys' deals were, but they were just being plain rude. We should ignore them."

"I wish I could, Alex. But they've got my play published in their own magazine! Any pony who picks it up or much less reads it like I did will see it! What if they realize how terrible my play actually was? What if the community dissolves and becomes the same way like when Charity left?! Oh, I can't believe I even tried taking over the Midsummer Revival in the first place! I should have known I couldn't have lived up to Charity's standards!"

"Coco, get a hold of yourself!" I now firmly planted both my hooves onto her shoulders. "You made a play for the community to enjoy. You weren't writing a novel for Celestia's sake. Even then, who cares what they think? They obviously have the edgy tastes of a snobby pony from Canterlot. I'm willing to bet that's where they come from anyway."

However, my hopes of convincing Coco seemed to fall flat. She merely adverted her eyes and stared at the sidewalk in guilt. "That pony… I remember seeing him right after the play had finished. Even if it was just for a short while, I remember that he loved the play. I saw it in his eyes. They had sparkled like everyone else's." Her eyelids lowered, potentially looking as if she was going to tear up and cry. "He must have realized how bad the play really was…and that's why he didn't think it was as good as he thought last night. If that's the case…"

No way… No pony changes their mind like that overnight. I thought back on the way he acted around the pony with the forced accent. It seemed to me he followed him around like a lost hungry puppy. I was willing to bet he let himself be influenced by that same pony than genuinely changing his opinion on the play…

Coco hadn't been the same ever since. When we managed to find a park after what had happened, she didn't say anything and mostly kept to herself. Spirit had tried to cheer her up in any way she could think of, but Coco didn't really budge. Witnessing these partially failed attempts caused me to recall back when I was like that. It led me to realize how the girls must have felt. I honestly really cared for Coco, and to see her in such a state of depression really got to me.

Nevertheless, when Coco noticed that we had been worrying over her, she snapped out of her lonely thoughts to try to persuade us to not fret over her, but when she realized that it wasn't going to be that easy to do just by her word, she grew even more saddened and apologized for her behavior affecting us.

I didn't know entirely how close Coco had been with Charity Kindheart, nor how much the play and Midsummer Revival all together meant to her, so I couldn't absolutely understand what she was going through. Because of this, Spirit and I didn't know any possible options to take in getting Coco to feel better. Eventually, we delayed the dinner we had been looking forward to that day and just went home to her apartment. I had hoped that maybe at the very least it would cloud her mind only for that day, but it wasn't until I caught her up late at night when I realized that it was just the beginning.

"Alex, I'm worried about Coco." Spirit expressed with a disheartening frown.

"I know. I am too." I returned as I looked in the direction of Coco's bedroom. "I don't know what else we could do to help."

"Maybe we can make something for her?" Spirit suggested. "Or get her a cake or something?"

I rubbed my chin in thought. "As much as I'd love for that to help, I don't think it'll do much. You remember how lost and depressed she was at the park."

Spirit sighed heavily. "Yeah… I know…"

"I hate to say this, Spirit, but…the only thing I can think of is just to let time heal her wound. I can only hope that it's just a temporary thing, y'know?"

"Hmph." Spirit seemed to look as if she disagreed with that idea. "If you ask me, I don't think 'time' heals everything like ponies say…"

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Haah. Nothing. I'm just being emotional right now."

"We should probably get some sleep." I advised. "Let's hope that she feels better in the morning."

"Okay…"

After Spirit had returned inside me, I proceeded to make myself as comfortable as I could on the couch and close my eyes. However, there was something off I had seen right before my eyelids close. I looked for what had caught my attention until I realized that the light under Coco's door was still on.

I stood up from the couch and walked towards the door. Knocking gently, I leaned inwards for an answer. There was a brief silence, and I had almost believed that she had fell asleep with the light on until I heard her voice.

"Come in."

With a little hesitation, I slowly opened the door. Once I had a view, I could see Coco sitting at a tight corner in front of a desk. Just only a few steps behind her was her bed. I proceeded to approach her, readying my question in mind.

"You still up…?" I asked.

"Mm-hm." She nodded her head. "I figured I try to make something that's not so laughable like that stupid old play…" She had been staring intently at pages filled with words. Many of those words had been crossed or scribbled out.

"Coco, your play wasn't stupid." I felt like shouting my response out to show her how much it meant to me, but I didn't for the main fact that it was late. "It was an amazing piece of work you put up for everyone to see, and I could tell that you put your entire heart into it."

"I appreciate that, Alex, and I don't mean to sound rude or disrespectful, but you're my friend. Of course you'd think it was amazing."

"But the community…" I reminded. "You saw how they all came together and enjoyed it. You got to meet with a bunch of different ponies that told you how much they loved it, didn't you?"

"You saw that one pony that I thought loved the play too, didn't you?" She stated sadly. "He must have realized how horrible it was when that other pony told him everything that was wrong with it. It's only a matter of time when everyone else realizes that and thinks the same way. That's why I should start trying to do something about it and make something that everyone, even those ponies we met today, would like."

"Coco…" I could only say her name at that moment.

"You know what? They're right. Having the Method Mares act out the play? They weren't skilled enough to act out the way the characters should have been." She paused for a moment. "I've been saving money ever since Rarity jumpstarted my career. It'll be pricey, but I think I can afford a more professional set of actors to act out my new play."

"H-hold on. 'New play'?" I inquired about.

"Yes. I'm making a new play to fix everything that those ponies didn't like about it. Apparently every single character was bland, even Charity Kindheart, so I have to find a way to fix that. Maybe I need to write some kind of secret backstory behind every one of the them. It probably won't be completely honest with what really happened to Charity…but if it'll make the story more interesting, I'll do it. Oh, and the costumes. I've got to make much better costumes with the finest ingredients. Presentation was another thing. Oh…and I've got to pay extra for actual professional quality props. I'm not so sure if I can afford all the changes…but if I want to be a better pony, I have to do this…"

As soon as I heard Coco involve herself personally, I felt something inside me switch on.

"If you want to be a 'better pony'?" I intervened. "Coco, what are you talking about?"

"I told you, Alex. My play was proof of how much an amateur I am. If I show that kind of quality in my dresses, how could I ever hope in being the best I can be? How can I ever hope of one day meeting Charity again and showing her how much I've grown as a mare? How can I ever hope to see her and hear how proud she is of me…?"

This was about her, wasn't it?

"Coco, do you think she'd want you to change every little thing about yourself because of what some idiots said?"

"W-what…?"

"I've seen the pictures in the album you showed us, Coco." I reminded. "She was the one who gave you that hairclip you've always worn for as long as I've been able to see you, right?"

She brushed her hoof along her mane until she came across it. She removed it, allowing me to see her without it for the first time. "…yes." She answered as she gazed closely at it.

"There had to be a good reason behind that, and I may have not known her, but if you ask me, I believe she gave it to you because of what kind of pony you are. If you're still the same kind of pony you were years ago, I think I can see what she saw in you. You're modest yet passionate. A clear-cut opposite of Suri Polomare. You followed what was in your heart when it came to this play, and despite what any other pony would have said, she would have been proud of you for taking over the Midsummer Revival and showing others what you wanted to show them. I know she would have. You can't expect some random strangers to understand that."

She appeared to be thinking over what I said as she lightly fidgeted with her hairclip.

"Besides…" I continued. "Everypony has their own perspective on what happens here in every part of our lives. To put it shortly, you can't make everypony happy. There's always going to be somepony that'll think you're doing the wrong thing, but I think the most important ponies you should listen to are your friends. Your true friends. Ponies that take shelter in your heart. Ponies that you care most about. Even if there really was something wrong with your play, I'm sure Charity wouldn't just tell you to give up and go home. She'd point it out encouragingly and be willing to help in every step of the way, don't you think so?"

Coco suddenly gasped and remained silent for a moment.

"Back when we'd help set up the play…" Coco recalled. "Every time I made some kind of mistake, like tripping over during rehearsal or mixing up the paint, she'd understand. She wouldn't scold me and order me to fix it all on my own… She'd help me get it right and improve myself along the way. At the end of the day, she just wanted to see us having a good time with the Midsummer Revival." A few tears began to fall from her eyes during the reminiscence.

"Right." I returned. "You just wanted to put up a play for the community to come together and enjoy. And that's what you did. But I also know it's a hard thing when it comes to taking what other ponies have to say in consideration. That's why you always refer to the ponies you care most about first. Those kinds of ponies will tell you what kind of improvements you can make in the future without making you feel bad for any little mistake you might make."

She gulped lightly before she turned to make eye contact with me. "Okay…then… Tell me…what did you think of the play?"

"In my honest opinion…" I inhaled a breath and then exhaled as I prepared my response. "It's perfect just the way it is."

"Y…you really think so?" She questioned.

"Yes." I said. "I'm not saying it was like a play you'd see in Bridleway or something, but that wasn't what you were striving for, right? You just wanted a simple play to show your love for both the community and Charity Kindheart. After all, the entire play was solely her story, if I'm not mistaken?"

At that point, I finally got to see Coco smile again.

"Yes, it was." She nodded. "I just…wanted to remind everypony how great Charity was…especially to me."

"And I'm sure everypony saw that last night." I believed. "At least those who didn't feel the need to take the play too literally…"

Coco chuckled softly. "I guess you're right…"

Before possibly ending the discussion, I decided to share one last thing. "You do what's in your heart, Coco. Because if you began catering to the heart's desires of some pony else, then you might just forget who you really are, and I'd really hate to see that as your friend. We may have not known each other for too long, but I want you to know that I really care about you."

For a silent while, Coco sat there staring at me with a small hint of redness in her cheeks. "I…should probably get some sleep now." With a small smile, she rubbed her hoof softly.

"Yeah." I nodded in agreement. "We'll talk more in the morning, okay?"

"Mm-hm."

"But let me know if you want to talk some more, just in case you're feeling, you know, sad. I'd rather be somepony to keep you company than sleep anyway."

She only nodded with a timid yet genuine smile on her lips.

"Goodnight, Coco." I expressed with my magic on the door.

"Goodnight, Alex." She responded.


The morning after, I found things had started differently compared to the day before. Breakfast had been left for Spirit and me, but there didn't seem to be any Coco in sight. However, I had noticed something folded up near the plate of pancakes left behind. As I brought it closer to read, I realized it was a note Coco had also left.

When you're done, go to the place where we watched the play. I'll see you there.

Coco's still not upset about yesterday, is she…?

Besides updating her on what happened last night, Spirit and I were quiet for the most part during breakfast. I could only believe that we shared each other's thoughts about our concern with Coco, but it only fueled our goal in finishing as soon as possible and meeting with Coco as she stated in her note.

We eventually arrived at the area Coco mentioned, and as expected, the stage that her play had been performed on had already been taken down.

"Hey!" We unexpectedly heard. Coco saw us and had ran up to greet us.

"Coco…!" I responded in surprise. "How are you feeling?"

She shook her head with a somehow assuring smile. "You don't need to worry about me. I'm fine now." She turned her head to the side and glanced back, directing our attention to several other ponies cleaning out the area behind her. "This was the place that I had originally planned to have the play at. See? That's the stage. Well, what used to be the stage anyway…" She pointed towards a specific area that hosted a bunch of broken wood and rubble.

"You found volunteers?" I questioned for clarification.

She nodded. "They were more than willing to help…and that had me thinking. I want to write another play. A new one."

"Huh?" Spirit and I had yet again been caught off-guard.

"It won't be because I want to impress anypony." She promised. "No, I want to write something that relates to what you told me last night. By the time I'm finished, I think everything should be up and ready for use here."

"Well, if you need anything from us, we'll be more than willing to help…" I offered.

"Thanks." She expressed. "But, we're fine for now. After all, I think the longer the community works together, the more they bond with each other. That's something that would be really good to see. Although…I wouldn't mind if you two helped me with something else."

"What is it?" Spirit eagerly lurched forward.

"This play I want to write. I sort of have an idea in mind for it already, and if you're willing…I'd like to cast you two as the lead and possibly only two roles."

"U-us…?!" Spirit reacted a bit timidly with reddened cheeks to go along with. "I-I'm not that great of an actor."

"Neither am I." I added. "But this seems like something fun we could do together, Spirit. It's what you're always asking for, right?"

"Y-yeah…but I'm a little nervous now just thinking about that."

"You don't have to do this." Coco assured. "I only wanted to cast you two because I feel the both of you would be perfect for the roles I have in mind, but I can always just fill them in with some other ponies if you don't feel comfortable doing it."

"No, no." Spirit immediately shook her head. "If it's for you, I really want to do it. Let me just…take this in for a sec. Hehe…" She giggled lightly.

"If it helps, I was thinking I could have this play ready by around winter. I think it'd be perfect to show during Hearth's Warming Eve."

"Sounds like a plan." I said. "Well, if Spirit is up to it, then I say I am."

"Just let me know if you change your mind before the showing. I'll go ahead and find a couple of other ponies if that should happen."

"I'll try not to get cold hooves…" Spirit grinned through her embarrassment.

"Are you going to give us a script or something when you're finished writing it?" I asked.

"Of course!" Coco explained as she thought over the details. "I'll even organize some rehearsals for the two of you before the actual date of the show. Anything you feel you might need before the big day, just let me know."

"Gotcha."

After we appeared to have gotten things in order, Coco returned to working for a short while before she decided to join us. As we waited for her, Spirit and I seemed to have noticed a pony looking our way, specifically towards the area Coco had been working on. When he seemed to have noticed us staring at him, he subtly yet quickly turned away and walked off.

If I wasn't mistaken, he looked like the pony that Coco claimed had enjoyed her play, despite what he said yesterday. Just what had been going through his mind during the time he had been looking over here?

"I'm ready!" Coco joined us at the gate. "Let's get going. I'll make it up to you guys for yesterday."

"What? There's nothing you need to make up for." I responded.

"Don't be silly." Coco reacted rather joyfully than ridden with guilt. "I've gotta treat you guys to some places today since we didn't do anything at all yesterday."

"Don't worry about 'treating us'."

"We'd just love to hang out!" Spirit jumped in to emphasize.

With a short giggle, Coco proceeded to answer emotionally.

"You guys are the best friends I could ever ask for."

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