• Published 28th Jun 2012
  • 17,961 Views, 1,427 Comments

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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No Second Prances

Due to our slight mishap with Spike's glowing scales, I didn't blame Celestia and Luna when they weren't there to continue their visit. In fact, it would have been smart of them to leave and see if they could possibly get any work done in order to ensure another visit. Either way, Twilight did have some luck getting another visit from Princess Celestia.

However, it was for the sake of reporting her progress in regards to teaching Starlight Glimmer about friendship. Twilight didn't seem like she'd be needing any help from me with preparing the scheduled dinner, so I ended up asking Fluttershy out for a walk in town.

"I can't believe you went out to the Dragon Lands! That's really dangerous!" Fluttershy responded worriedly after I had told her about my trip the other day.

"It's okay." I assured her. "In the end, it was totally worth it. Spike got to stay here in Ponyville and the Dragon Lord is someone we can trust not to attack us. We might even make friends with all of the other dragons soon."

"Make 'friends'?" Fluttershy repeated, keeping her uncomfortable frown upon her face. "I'm not entirely sure how that would work. Maybe it would have been better if I had gone with you all…"

I stopped my hooves from making any more steps and immediately shook my head. "Absolutely not. I know you've got a way with animals, and I especially remember how you got that dragon to leave Ponyville that one time, but the dragons from the Dragon Lands are ruthless. I don't know what I'd do if they so much touched a strand of your mane."

"Believe me, I know." Fluttershy assured. "I'd just hate to find out that something happened to you, and I wasn't there to at least try to help you."

"To tell you the truth, Fluttershy," I began dragging my hoof towards hers. "As bad as this might seem or sound, sometimes the best kind of help you can give me is staying someplace safe. If you had gone with us to the Dragon Lands, I think I would have spent the majority of time worrying about your safety. You understand, right?"

"I guess I do…" Fluttershy picked up her hoof and placed it on mine. "But, please, if there's anything I can do to help, don't hesitate to ask, okay?"

"Of course." I nodded in agreement and followed on with our casual walk once more.

"I almost forgot," Fluttershy mentioned all of a sudden, causing me to turn my head sideways and catch her eyes. "There was something I was going to tell you, but then we got caught up in the talk about dragons."

"Yeah, what is it?" I asked with my interest peaked.

"So, um…" She slightly looked away as her cheeks began turning pink. "I was wondering…if you…wanted to meet my parents."

"Your parents?" I nearly exclaimed out loud, but the shock of this unexpected subject settled with my heart only skipping a beat.

She nodded. "You weren't able to come over for Hearth's Warming Eve and see them then, so I was wondering if you wanted to come to my old home in Cloudsdale. They invited me to have lunch with them in a few days, and they made sure to extend the invitation to you. After all, I've only ever told them what kind of pony you were like, but they've been really excited to see you for themselves. Of course, if you're busy, or if you're too nervous, you don't have to go."

"No, no!" I immediately attempted to brush off any doubts she may have had. "I'll go! I mean, I have to go! Ever since we started seeing each other, I've always honestly kind of wondered how your parents were. They're not super protective of you or anything, are they? Like, your dad isn't some kind of super beefed up dude that'll stare daggers at me the entire time we're having lunch, right?"

"Of course not!" Fluttershy seemed to find my concerns quite entertaining to listen to, so she couldn't help but giggle jubilantly in response. "They're really nice. Just with what I've told them, I think they've already taken a liking to you. As long as you're not a completely different pony by then, you should be completely fine." She assured, winking confidently at me.

"Great. Great." I expressed, my hooves already shaking from both excitement and anxiety even though the lunch was a few days away. It was like how Pinkie would say: I was nervousited. It wasn't a real word, but it was still oh so relatable. "Are you hungry? We could go get some breakfast."

"I'm not really hungry, but I don't mind if—" Fluttershy's response was cut short when she gasped loudly and sharply at a sight past me. "Watch out!"

I was extremely confused, and all I could do was turn in the direction she had been pointing at. However, it hadn't been me she had warned. She galloped towards a squirrel that had been in a field of grass with an acorn in his mouth. The squirrel was just as confused as I was, so he only stood there with a dumbfounded look on his face.

Fluttershy snatched the squirrel with her wing before a huge wagon ran by the exact area the squirrel had been. It turned out that Fluttershy saved the squirrel from being in the path of a moving wagon. However, she may have reacted just a bit too much, seeing as the wagon was moving pretty slow, to begin with.

"Tch. Dumb wagon." We heard nearby as Fluttershy tenderly nestled the squirrel in her hooves.

Having had a good look at the design of the wagon, along with hearing the familiar voice, I approached the vehicle and had a look around. The wagon came to a complete stop, and I began hearing someone move some things around inside. I found the backdoor had been open, and once I confirmed the pony working inside, I called out to her.


She immediately pulled back her head and accidentally bumped it against something on the ceiling. Nevertheless, she turned in my direction while rubbing the afflicted area. "Hey!" Her eyes lit up and steered away from the anger that built up from bumping her head. "Why, if it isn't the Prince of Ponyville!" She walked down the two steps from the entrance of her wagon and approached me to pull me in for a friendly hug. "How long has it been since you've last seen Trixie? Surely, you must have missed her since then."

"Oh, yeah, I guess." I found her behavior a little odd, and I was hoping that she hadn't somehow returned to her old ways. "You're still talking in third person, huh?"

"What can I say?" Trixie shrugged lightly as she switched perspectives. "Old habits die hard, I suppose. Don't worry. I know what you're thinking. 'Trixie's probably back to being a bad pony.' But, I can assure you that that's not the case. I have turned over a new leaf! That's why I'm here promoting my newest stage show: 'The Humble and Penitent Trixie's Equestrian Apology Tour'!"

"The what?" I inquired, obtaining about only a few words out of that lengthy title.

"It's a working title." She clarified before changing the subject. "How about you? How has life been without The Great and Powerful Trixie?" She flashed her eyebrows in a jesting manner.

"Oh, you know…" I answered vaguely. "Going on adventures, helping save Equestria, the usual."

"Must feel nice." Trixie turned her head away. "You're off exploring new and uncharted lands while Trixie is here stuck doing magic tricks."

"Don't you like doing magic?" I questioned. "It's a step up from working at a rock farm, right?"

"Absolutely." Trixie answered. "But, as much as I worked hard into becoming a better pony, I still feel like everypony can't let go of what I did in the past. To tell you the truth, it really puts a dent in my motivation."

"Is that the reason for your 'apology' tour?"

"A chance to make up for what the old Trixie did." She explained. "No pony can resist a free magic show."

"Well, I'm completely on board to support you." I offered, "When's your show? I can probably bring the others to come watch."

"It's tonight, actually." She pulled out a rolled-up piece of paper and unveiled the contents inside. It was a poster to her showing, and I had to say it was pretty well-made. I wondered if she designed it herself. "Would you be able to come? I could use all the support I can get."

"Tonight?" My pupils drew to the corners of my eyes in thought. "Yeah. Totally. Although, Twilight's going to be busy with an important dinner."

"Twilight?" Trixie's mood suddenly became foul as she scoffed. "She probably thinks she's too good to go to a cheap little magic show anyway."

"Why would you say something like that?" I asked, feeling a little shocked at her shift in emotions. "I thought you and Twilight patched things up last time you saw each other?"

"We did, but…" She stopped herself and turned her head away. "It's nothing."

Before I could possibly question her contained thoughts, Fluttershy walked into the conversation. "It's all okay. The squirrel's just fine." She told me before catching a look at Trixie in front of me. "Trixie? What are you doing in Ponyville?" She asked, appearing to be a little alarmed.

"There's nothing to worry about." Trixie immediately defended herself, closing her eyes and drawing her eyebrows together as if she was annoyed. "Trixie's not here to cause harm. She only wants to perform a simple magic show."

"Oh, a magic show?" Fluttershy questioned.

"Yes, but for right now, Trixie needs to destress for a little while. She's been dragging her wagon across Equestria all night."

"All night?" I repeated. "You should definitely get some rest in that case."

"Alex! Fluttershy!" We now heard another voice grow closer towards us. We turned around and found Starlight Glimmer happily trotting to us. "I thought I heard your voices. Just the ponies I wanted to see! I could really use your help!"

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"You know how Twilight wanted to have that important dinner with the Princess? Well, she wanted me to bring a friend, and I was like 'I don't know, Twilight, I like all your friends'. And BAM, she told me that I have to go out and make a new friend! I've been trying all morning to make a new friend with the help of the others, but so far it hasn't gone so well. Pinkie Pie introduced me to Mrs. Cake, but that didn't work out. Applejack introduced me to Big Mac, but that really didn't work out. Rainbow and Rarity tried to help, but…"

"I have an amazing idea!" Fluttershy excitedly spoke up. "How about I introduce you to a bunch of my own furry friends? You'll get along so nicely with them!"

"…that's sweet of you, Fluttershy." Starlight returned with a light amount of hesitation. "But, I think Twilight wants me to make a friend that can actually talk."

"I'll be your friend." We unexpectedly heard behind us. Trixie approached Starlight Glimmer and began looking her over. "In fact, I'm having quite a bit of trouble meeting new friends."

"R-really?" Starlight Glimmer nearly stuttered. It looked as if she was amazed at how easy it actually turned out for her. "Me too! I totally feel the same way."

"I was just about to head to the spa for a little R & R. Would you like to join me?" Trixie offered.

"Sure!" Starlight Glimmer almost immediately accepted. "I was actually thinking about going there myself! All the stress over 'making a new friend' was starting to kill me."

"I know what you mean." Trixie acknowledged before turning over to where Fluttershy and I had been standing. "See you soon, Alex!" She waved and returned, what looked like, a cocky wink.

"You two know each other?" Starlight asked with a sparked interest as they began growing further away from us.

"Oh, we go way back." Trixie exaggerated as their voices trailed off.

To be honest, I guess she was technically telling the truth.

After breakfast, Fluttershy and I separated momentarily, so I could see how Twilight was doing back at the castle. However, we made plans to meet with each other for the show Trixie was going to have up later on tonight. I wanted to tell Twilight about Trixie being back in town, but it was also a shame that she'd be too busy with the dinner to come and watch the show with us.

"Just how long have you been in here?" I asked, poking my head inside the castle dining room and finding Twilight looking over the silverware on the table.

"For a while now." Somepony else answered. It was Athena, and she had been sitting on one of the dining room chairs as if she had been spectating the performance Twilight had been giving. "I came in here some time ago because I wanted to know what she was doing, and I ended up just watching her rearrange silverware over and over. That's not the end of it. While she was doing all the arranging, she starting talking something about how plates are heads and spoons are hearts. I was really confused."

"Everything has to be perfect for tonight." Twilight continued to roam her eyes across the table. "I just can't wait to see what new friend Starlight brings over to the castle!"

"That reminds me." I pointed out, having been distracted by the talk of silverware for a bit. "Guess who's back in town?"

"'Back in town'?" Twilight turned to me with a puzzled face. "Um… Princess Luna?"


"Princess Celestia?"

"Try again."

"…Princess Cadence and Shining Armor?"

I found her apparent limited set of choices quite amusing. "Haha. No, Twilight. Think about it. Who's someone we haven't seen for some time now?"

She thought in silence for a moment. "…the Breezies?"

She wasn't going to get it at this rate. I decided to give her a big hint that would hopefully stir up the right answer. "Okay. Somepony that we haven't seen since you became an Alicorn."

She tapped her chin with her hoof but finally gave off a defeated sigh. "I don't know, Alex. Just tell me."

"Okay, fine." I momentarily frowned due to her disappointing inability to guess the right character. "She's great…"


"and powerful…"

Twilight's eyes widened at this point. "You don't mean…"

"Mm-hm." I confirmed with a hefty nod.

"Please don't tell me she's up to more trouble this time." She reacted unexpectedly pessimistically.

"No!" I shook my head with enthusiasm in Trixie's honor. "She's actually here for a magic show she's putting up later on tonight. I don't know what she has planned, but she's going to try to make up for what she did in the past through a magic performance."

"Uh-huh…" She answered somewhat skeptically and turned back to the table to continue moving certain objects around.

"What's wrong?" I asked, stepping forward. "You don't sound very convinced."

"Should I?" She questioned. "I don't know. I'm still a little…icky from the last time she came to town. After all, as far as I'm aware of, every time she's come by Ponyville, there's always some kind of mess we have to sort with her."

"But, didn't you two sort it out the last time?" I asked, remembering about Trixie's apology, even though it was a little brash at the same time.

"I guess we did." Twilight mentioned with uncertainty before she shook her head and focused on the task on hoof. "Anyways, I can't be worrying about her right now. I've got a dinner to set, so I'm going to trust your word that she's not up to anything mischievous this time around."

You trust me to trust Trixie but you don't actually trust Trixie? Hm. I wasn't expecting Twilight to still be so uncertain of her. If she had accepted my little get-together invitation the last time we saw each other, maybe this wouldn't be the case.

"Aw, come on, Twi." Athena surprisingly threw her bits into the conversation. "I haven't actually met Trixie for myself, but didn't you deal with much worse with Starlight Glimmer? You two are practically besties now."

"I did, but I'm pretty sure she didn't feel like all she needed to do was apologize and everything would be hunky-dory. After all, she is my pupil." Twilight sighed with a great wave of frustration and stopped her use of magic. "Look, I don't know what to say. I don't hate Trixie. Let's just say that she left a bad taste in my mouth and leave it at that. Until I see for myself that she's a completely new and better pony, then I'm still going to be a little cautious of her. Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to get back to sorting out this silverware properly." The aura around her horn returned as she began picking out certain objects. "Soup spoon, salad fork, pasta spoon, strawberry pick. Everything's in order!" Her former frown was replaced with a grin of accomplishment. "I'm beginning to think that after friendship, the greatest magic of all is proper silverware placement!" She cheered, sharing a heartfelt giggle afterwards.

"Twilight, guess what?" A voice exclaimed, swinging past the doors to the dining hall. "I made a new friend!"

I watched Starlight excitedly approach Twilight with a bright beaming smile on her face.

So, Trixie ended up being a match for her after all?

"That's fantastic news!" Twilight shared in the same manner as if any trace of our conversation about Trixie disappeared from her mind.

"She's great!" Starlight announced, repeating a little something I had done just a moment ago.

"Great!" Twilight acknowledged, not noticing the similarity.

"She's powerful!" Starlight added.

"Powerful…?" The light in Twilight's eyes now dimmed, and the enthusiasm in her voice quickly died down.


Before Starlight could finish, the star of the current topic in hoof walked in through the dining hall doors and greeted the princess in front of her. "Hello... princess!" She gave off a sort of cocky kind of expression, and to be honest, it didn't look or feel like anything of the 'new pony' she claimed to be earlier.

"Trixie?!" Twilight exclaimed and practically became paralyzed with shock. However, it didn't take long for her to relax the wide-eyed expression on her face and lower both her head and eyelids in suspicion.

On the other side of Starlight, Trixie continued to stand proudly, and I supposed it didn't help to keep away bad memories when she was wearing that same magician cape and hat that we had seen her wearing in her past visits to Ponyville.

"You know each other?" Starlight asked with a puzzled look and observed their two reactions towards one another.

"You could say that." Twilight rolled her eyes backwards in a subtle manner of disgust.

"We've had our differences." Trixie approached Twilight, replicating her look at first. A vibe of rivalry seemed to resonate with them as they stood close to each other. "What matters is Twilight gave me a second chance, and I appreciate it." She faced Twilight with an apparent look of earnestness. However, by the unamused look on Twilight's face, I believed that she didn't buy it all. To move the conversation onward, she shared a highly feigned grin of approval, but I think any pony who knew Twilight could tell it was phony. Nevertheless, Trixie accepted this grin and moved towards the table to begin messing with the utensils there with her magic.

"So, um, what brings you to Ponyville?" Twilight asked, removing the hostility in her tone.

"The Grrrreat and Powerful Trrrrixie has come to perform a new stage show of grand illusion!" She announced with a confident and booming voice. "I am calling it 'The Humble and Penitent Trixie's Equestrian Apology Tour'!"

Starlight grew closer to Trixie to whisper something in her ear. With a small grin, Trixie whispered something back and winked. I could only assume that their short-lived private conversation had something to do with the name. Trixie's response was probably the same she had given to me.

"Starlight? A moment? Over here?" Twilight ignored and pulled Starlight over with her magic.

Since Twilight was having a little private time with Starlight, I decided to spark up some conversation with Trixie in order to not have her feel left out.

"I wasn't exactly expecting you to show up at the castle." I shared softly with her.

She turned away from the silverware she had been playing with and faced me with the same expression she had been giving Twilight. "What were you expecting, if I may ask? It's only natural for a friend to introduce a new friend to another friend."

Her response was a little hard to swallow, much like the title of her show, but I found that it had made sense either way. "Just to be clear, you don't…have anything bad in mind, right? All this isn't just some grand scheme to get back at Twilight or something? You are still the same pony I last saw leaving for the rock farm to better herself?"

"Trust me, Alex." Trixie wished. "I mean no harm to anypony. When we had last met, I was in a fragile state. I needed some time to get things together, so if I sound a little different now, it's because I'm back in my 'showpony' attitude. However, I have no intention of hurting other ponies like I did in the past. That isn't me anymore."

I glanced over at Twilight and Starlight, taking note of how obvious it was to figure out the subject of their conversation. Trixie turned to take a look at them as well and revealed an irritated scowl. It looked like she had figured it out too, but she quickly turned that scowl around when Starlight and Twilight noticed her across the space they had distanced themselves with. Trixie returned a small wave with a smug grin before the two returned to their private conversation. This led to Trixie turning back to me with a drawn out and frustrated sigh.

"You might want to let Twilight know that." I suggested softly. "Maybe tone down your…'showy' behavior a little?"

Trixie scoffed heavily in response. "Do you know how much it took out of me to apologize after what I had done with the amulet? What does she want from me? Does she expected me to bow down and kiss her hooves now that she is a princess?" She threw her head back and narrowed her eyes from annoyance. "I could care less about what she thinks of me."

"She just wants to know you're the real deal." I tried to say without placing any kind of blame on Trixie. "When we had last met, I saw the genuine Trixie in you, so unless you're being brainwashed or something, I know you have a good heart. Twilight didn't get to see that thought. You were in a 'fragile state' then, but do you think you could be a little more…humble-like now?"

Trixie didn't respond immediately in regards to my suggestion. Instead, she averted her eyes away as if she was struck with a concerning trail of thought. However, Starlight's voice had broken the moment of silence between us.

"Thanks, Twilight! You won't regret it!" She pulled away from their close-kept exchange of words and turned towards Trixie. "Let's go, Trixie!"

A smiled stretched out at Trixie's lips. "I'm afraid I have to be going. I trust that I'll be seeing you at the grand opening tonight?"

"Yeah, sure." I answered.

She suddenly placed a hoof on my shoulder and unnecessarily pulled me in a little too close. As our cheeks pressed against each other, she intentionally faced Twilight, who had been nearly glaring back. I felt extremely uncomfortable in this standoffish situation. I couldn't help but also feel as if I was some kind of toy Trixie was holding onto in order to make Twilight jealous. Nevertheless, after what I hoped was a few seconds, Trixie let go and proceeded to make her way towards the door where Starlight waited for her.

"Wow. I didn't realize you two were so close." Starlight commented, finding the sight positively enforcing.

"When somepony sees you for the brilliant kind of pony you really are, it's hard not to be close." Trixie mentioned rather loudly, turning back towards Twilight and sending a salute before she left the room entirely.

Once Trixie had left, my eyes were drawn over to Twilight. She continued glaring needlessly towards the empty doorway, and I was left standing in the middle of absolute silence with nothing to break the ice. My cheek began feeling sore, so I used my right hoof to rub it lightly.

"Hmph." Twilight, retaining her sour mood, turned back towards the dining table and stared at the silverware on top. She remained almost absolutely still and silent, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to stir up another conversation about her and Trixie when she looked like she didn't want to hear it at all.

Nevertheless, I found Athena poking her head out from underneath the table Twilight worked on in a silly way. "You okay, Twi?" She asked, her sparkling eyes adding to her innocent approach.

"You see the difference?" Twilight muttered out as if she had much more pent-up anger being held back by her tongue. "I'm scared for Starlight. I really am."

I took a moment to try to think of what I should say. "I know it looks bad, but I don't think you should worry, Twilight…" I honestly wished Trixie, just now, had been a lot nicer and…respectful, but for some reason, that wasn't the case. Maybe there was something going on that we didn't know about.

"I'm surprised you feel the way you do, Alex." Twilight mentioned unexpectedly. "Considering the relationship between you and Discord, I thought you'd feel the same way I do with Trixie."

"Discord's a whole different story." I brought up. "Just when I had started to get used to him being around Fluttershy, he goes and messes it all up by siding with Tirek. The only reason why I'm on good terms with him even now is because of Fluttershy. Sure, he's not my best friend, but I guess he's not all bad at the same time. I know she's a little rough around the edges right now, but I honestly think Trixie's doing what she can. You've got to remember, Twilight. I don't ever think she's had a real friend up until now. Knowing that, I guess that's why I'm not as concerned about her as you are. If things between her and Starlight work out, you might see something different then."

"That's another thing." Twilight pointed out, leaving me unsure if she took what I said into consideration. "Why is Trixie a whole lot friendlier to you? Are you two actually close to each other? Since when did that happen?"

I noticed Twilight was getting more visibly upset than she had already been. I couldn't explain exactly why Trixie had been 'friendlier' with me in confidence, but I wanted to dispel any kind of negative thoughts Twilight may have been making up in the middle of her distress.

"After the coronation, I came across her in Ponyville. We had a short talk and she told me how she wanted to be a better pony. I could tell she was sincere, and since she's not doing anything wrong by being here, I don't see any need to be worried about her. That's all."

"Hm." Twilight merely responded with and turned away. "Guess you two are best friends now." She muttered.

"Huh?" I inquired before she seemed to unintentionally change the subject.

"Hey… Speaking of your friends… Those three? Vinyl, Ditsy, and Octavia. You know if they're free right now?" She asked.

"Free?" Bringing up those three all of a sudden was completely unexpected. "Uh, I don't know. You could check in with them?"

"I think I might just do that." Twilight finally turned away from the dining table and began heading towards the doors. "Be right back!"

"What was that all about…?" I said out loud with my curiosity reaching its peak.

"She's really reminding me of myself, you know?" Athena nearly made me jump when she dragged herself over to where I was standing at. She still had been on her back from approaching Twilight from underneath the table.

"What? Why?" I questioned.

"Well, she's concerned about Starlight and now you. Reminds me when I was worried about the two of us, considering how close you were to Twilight." She explained.

"Huh? You really think Twilight's worried about Trixie becoming my new best friend and royal partner?" I asked with a skeptical look on my face.

"I wouldn't put it like that." Athena rolled over and stood herself up. "Her feelings are just sort of swirly and confused right now. Our emotions can make us spiral out of control at times when our feelings don't have breathing room, you know?"

"But, I really think she has nothing to worry about." I replied. "I could try to convince her, but I think the only way she'll really believe it is if Trixie shows her the new side of her like she did with me. Problem is, Trixie is still pretty prideful, especially when it comes to Twilight. At the very least, back then, she and Twilight were some hardcore rivals. I can honestly understand if Trixie doesn't want to show her soft side to her old rival. I guess all we can really do is just wait and see what Trixie does on her part with Starlight."

Afterwards, I thought about seeing Fluttershy earlier than we had planned, but I didn't want to leave Athena alone in the castle. I knew how Athena strived to give me a level of privacy to the best of her abilities, especially when it came to being with Fluttershy. I could only assume that the talk with Trixie, Starlight, Twilight, and me made me feel more inclined to spend a little time with my twin sister. At least until Twilight would come back.

However, it turns out it took quite a long while for her to return to the castle.

"Go ahead and make yourself comfortable in the dining room. Princess Celestia should be arriving very soon!" We heard her voice in the hall outside.

"Did she bring back Starlight with her?" Athena asked me even though I had not a single clue.

A short moment later, we got our answer when three mares walked into the room and looked around. I recognized those three as Derpy, Vinyl, and Octavia, and I found myself becoming immediately puzzled as to why they were here all of a sudden.

"Whoa! What are you doing here?" I nearly jumped out at them and asked.

"Well, hello to you too." Octavia responded, crossing her forelegs and looking slightly offended at my apparent rude greeting.

"I didn't mean it in a bad way." I tried to clear my last question up. "I just wasn't expecting you three to pop out of nowhere."

"Princess Twilight invited us to meet Princess Celestia." Vinyl happily answered, messing with her usual shades that rested on top of her head. "Hey, what do you think the Princess will like more? Shades off or shades on?"

"For heaven's sake, shades off, of course." Octavia returned in a somewhat scolding manner.

At that moment, I remembered the question Twilight had asked me before she left regarding these same three mares. "She invited you all of a sudden? That's random."

"I know. It's kind of weird, but free dinner, am I right?" Vinyl cheered while Octavia simply rolled her eyes at her side. "At first, she tried introducing me to somepony named Starlight Glimmer, but she was busy doing other stuff with another pony. Next thing I know, she's asking for Tavi and Derpy. Now, we're here ready to have dinner with Princess Celestia. Today's been pretty wack."

That doesn't really sound good…

"This dinner is going to be amazing." Twilight trotted in, carrying a large ice sculpture with her magic. She delicately placed it on top the center of the table. "I've already got all the fruits. Still need some baked goods, but they should be ready soon. As long as Starlight doesn't forget about this dinner, everything should be a-okay!"

"Hey, Twilight." I stopped her just as she was about to leave the room to possibly retrieve more things. "Why exactly did you invite them here all of a sudden?" I asked, glancing towards the trio.

"I just thought that they might be a few ponies Starlight would like to meet." Twilight answered cheerfully. "You're really good friends with them, right? Besides, the more the merrier!"

Something about her invitation felt off, but it wasn't like she was stopping Starlight from hanging out with Trixie, right? Having a few more friends wasn't necessarily a bad idea for Starlight, and Derpy, Vinyl, and Octavia were really good friends to have. Twilight was the Princess of Friendship, so I'm guessing she knew what she was doing.

"Alright then." I said and watched her pass me as she headed out the door. "You need any help bringing stuff in here?"

"Don't worry! I've got it all under control!" She mentioned before turning in the hallway.

The three mares began taking their seats at one side of the table, and I felt Athena poke me on my shoulder.

"Hey. I've been meaning to ask you something. Can I go and see the magic show with you? It sounds totally awesome!"

"Huh?" I responded, nearly forgetting about the magic show for a second there. "Oh, yeah. Of course, you can. You didn't need to ask."

"It's just that you're going with Fluttershy, aren't you?" She mentioned, chuckling a little nervously. "I didn't want to be like a third wheel or anything."

I laughed at the semi-adorable expression on her face. "We're just going to be watching a magic show. Besides, we were going to invite the others to come along with us anyway, not to mention that Fluttershy likes having you around."

"Really?" Athena's eyes widened. "She actually likes having me around?"

"Do you think she hates you or something?" I joked. "Seeing as you're my twin sister, she also finds you as her own sister-in-law in a way." I brought a bent hoof towards my chin and thought for a moment. "I think I remember her saying something about only having a brother. One that she doesn't seem particularly proud of either. If you ask me, I think she's always wondered how it'd be to have a sister."

"Wow, how many sisters are you going bring onto me?" She asked with a small blush. "First Twilight and now Fluttershy? Who will it be next?" She paused to share a soft yet jubilant giggle before she continued speaking. "Anyways, in that case, I guess I better start spending a little more girl time with Fluttershy, huh? I could find out a whole lot about what she secretly wants from you. Like, when she wants you to propose to her and—"

"Alright, that's enough." I ceased any more lip-flapping from her. Just as I was about to lead her out of the room, I came across Twilight carrying a various amount of fruits in their designated bowls towards the table. "We're heading out to see Trixie's show." I informed. "We'll be back later."

"Have fun." She returned briefly with a semi-flat tone. "Don't forget to keep an eye out for anything suspicious."

"Huh?" I responded with confusion.

"Nothing. Enjoy her show!" She said before continuing towards the dining table.

The sun was starting to set by the time we left the castle, and with that, I could only assume that Princess Celestia was beginning to make her way here for her appointment. Our first stop was at Fluttershy's, and when she joined our group, we then decided on the order we'd take to invite the other girls.

It was kind of a surprise when they were all open to coming along since I hadn't been expecting everyone to be free at the time. Nevertheless, it was just like Twilight said: "The more the merrier".

"So this is the Humble and Penitent Trixie's Equestrian Apology Tour?" Pinkie asked, taking a look around as we arrived. Nighttime had fallen, and the image of Twilight, Starlight, Princess Celestia, and the other unexpected three chatting away at the dinner table came to mind.

"Ain't that a mouthful of molasses." Applejack commented.

"It's a working title!" Trixie's head suddenly poked out from beyond the curtains as if she had some sort of super hearing. Nevertheless, after saying what she had to say, she quickly retreated backstage.

"So, this isn't going to be like the other two times she's been here, right?" Rainbow Dash inquired about, flapping her wings and keeping her hooves off the ground. "Because I can't help but get a strange case of deja vu."

"I don't think the old Trixie would have the word 'apology' in the title of a show." I answered. "Either way, I'm pretty sure she's not looking for trouble anymore."

"As long as she doesn't turn my mane into the most unpleasant shade of green, I'm willing to give her magic show a chance." Rarity stated.

"Or make my mouth disappear!" Pinkie Pie loudly reminded. "Could you imagine what kind of world we'd live in if I couldn't talk at all?! It'd be a disaster! A total disaster!"

"I just want to see what kind of tricks she has for everypony to see." Athena said, "I mean, it's really weird. Have you guys ever thought about this? Is there really a point to magic tricks when we have real magic? Like, is there a point in pulling a rabbit out of a hat when you can teleport one in easily with real magic?"

"Shhh!" Pinkie immediately pressed her nose against Athena's nose and shushed her quiet. "They don't want you to know that!"

"I get your point, but I think what they're trying to do is give the illusion of doing those kinds of tricks without having to actually use magic." I addressed to Athena, "It's kind of like seeing an Earth Pony being able to fly, and we're only left to wonder how in Equestria a pony without magic or wings would be able to do that."

"That and it's mostly just a bunch of showy stuff." Applejack added.

"Yeah, I guess you're right." Athena accepted with a bright smile. "It's just like the movies. You know they're not real, but you just watch them anyway."

"Ohh!" Pinkie cooed, "Now, I want some popcorn!" Using the tip of her mane to snatch a bag of popcorn from literally out of nowhere, she began offering some to everypony else. "Anypony want some?"

"No, thank you…" Rarity pulled back her head and turned it to the side, her face squishing together in disgust. "I have no idea where that may have been."

"Suit yourself!" Pinkie Pie retracted her offer and began to happily chomp away at her snack.

We spent several more minutes waiting for the show to begin. I didn't remember if there was a set time, so all we could do was continue waiting with the crowd that gathered around us. I began thinking once more at what may have been occurring back at the castle. I remembered that Octavia, Vinyl, and Derpy were there having dinner right now, and if they hadn't been there, they might have enjoyed watching the show with us right now. In the end, it was just a shame that Twilight's dinner and Trixie's show were taking place at the same time.

"Hey, I think it's starting!" Athena poked me and pointed out the huge curtains that separated from each other.

Trixie revealed herself in her usual stage costume under a gigantic spotlight, but there was something noticeably off about her right away. During all the other times I've seen her hold some kind of show, she was always so bold and confident. However, for some reason, she was really unenthused in her current performance.

"Come one, come all." She announced in a bland and Maud-like voice. "Come and see the Pathetic and Friendless Trixie's 'Way-To-Go-Dum-Dum-You-Really-Messed-It-Up-This-Time Repentance Tour'."

I had already heard her "working title" multiple times now, so it was clear that it was a completely different title from her previous one. Considering the way she worded it, I couldn't help but find myself joining the crowd as they muttered amongst themselves in confusion.

"IT'S A WORKING TITLE!" She screeched out with frustration before returning to her clearly unmotivated voice. "Behold, your fears come true. A pony-eating manticore."

The curtains behind her lifted up and unveiled the said manticore, who was held with a hopefully strong metal collar and chain. This manticore roared out frightfully and loudly, shaking our bodies like Vinyl's loud and booming speakers usually would.

"What a cutie." I turned to my left to find Fluttershy responsible for this unexpected comment. Looking back at the story she gave me about taming a wild manticore with the upmost ease, there was no way I should be surprised at her for saying something like that in the first place.

"For tonight, the Great and Powerful Trixie will be performing the Moonshot Manticore Mouth Dive." Trixie continued, earning a unified and loud gasp from her audience. "Now, now, save your gasps for when I defy the beast's jaws of doom and appear inside that black box." She walked a few steps to her left and pointed at the rectangular prop. This is where the tone of her voice suddenly shifted into what sounded like disappointment and regret. "I was supposed to perform this trick with my great and powerful assistant, who was also my great and powerful friend!" She sighed loudly and jumped off the stage towards the crowd. "Please make room for the Pathetic and Friendless Trixie to begin her performance by carelessly loading herself inside the cannon."

Everypony in the crowd separated into two sides and allowed Trixie a straight line to walk through. I only watched her pass and slowly make her way into the cannon she had set up at the back of us. I should have been in bewilderment at how she was going to be able to pull this trick off, but I was repeating what she had said in my mind.

She had to have been talking about Starlight, but wasn't Starlight too busy at that dinner with Twilight and Celestia? Is that why she's so upset and emotional? Because Starlight couldn't be here to help her with her trick? There's no way Trixie would admit something like that in front of everyone…

Trixie removed her magician's hat and replaced it with another that coupled with her cannon. After adjusting it on her head for a short moment, the cannon began to be lifted upwards in alignment with the predetermined shot. She took a serious gander at her target before turning her head towards the fuse and lighting it up with her magic.

Everypony stared in complete silence as everything progressed. The manticore roared out loudly once more, breaking this silence before every one of us noticed the length of the fuse grow shorter and shorter.

"Starlight?" Trixie suddenly called out, lifting her eyes towards the skies. "If you're out there and you still want to be friends, let's be great and powerful together!" She inserted herself further into the cannon, echoing out one last emotional word. "Please?"

"Trixie…?" I mumbled to myself, realizing that there was something I had been missing. It wasn't just disappointment due to Starlight not being present in the show. It was remorse and guilt. But just what could have Trixie done before this very show to make Starlight so upset?

A loud boom ensued, and Trixie was fired out from the cannon. She was clearly heading towards the manticore's open mouth, but she unexpectedly shrieked loudly and covered her eyes. Almost as if she had no confidence in the successful outcome of the trick.

My jaw dropped open as I began to fear that this magic show may very well lead to an ultimate tragedy. I almost couldn't watch when I saw Trixie enter its mouth, and my heart pounded as I remained uncertain if Trixie really did know what she was doing or not. After witnessing the manticore swallow and burp out noisily, I could feel my body growing stiff in anticipation.

I wanted to see Trixie appear in that black box already, but it only felt like long minutes passed with no sign of reappearing life whatsoever. The crowd had gasped sharply when they noticed this, and everyone else looked and muttered amongst each other when nothing else was happening, including me.

All of a sudden, there was a loud zap from the box onstage. Each side of the box fell apart and revealed a wobbling and staggering Trixie inside. "Behold, the Peat and Growerful Triskie...!" She announced woozily before falling onto her stage floor.

I honestly didn't know if that extremely long "pause for dramatic effect" was intentional or not, but, by Celestia, it worked. I wasn't expecting to be utterly amazed coming to this show, but dear Celestia that was something crazy.

Everypony cheered deafeningly at this sight and stomped their hooves in applause. I also noticed Starlight walk up behind Trixie and help her up. The two of them looked at each other for some time before Starlight sent a wink her way. At that moment, I couldn't help but start feeling that maybe everything was actually apart of some grand scheme to hype up the crowd…?

"And now, I'm proud to introduce my great and powerful assistant!" She waved a hoof towards Starlight before closing in and muttering something only the two of them could hear. "Starlight Glimmer!" She amplified her voice out loud.

The two of them bowed as the audience continued to endlessly scream out in liveliness. Even the manticore joined in this bowing, encouraging me to believe that everything that happened was all a part of the plan to wow us. I honestly didn't even know what to think anymore…

The main curtain fell, covering the appearance of the manticore, and all was quiet for a moment.

"Wait." Athena froze in her mid-applause pose with puzzled and dilated pupils. "That was it?"

"I don't know." Rarity responded. "Was it?" She turned towards us for an answer.

I merely shrugged. "I don't even know."

"Well, even if it was just one trick, I gotta say, it's one of the most awesome things I've ever seen!" Rainbow Dash yelled out at the top of her lungs. "But, I'm still more awesome though." She made sure to include in her regular voice.

"Encore! Encore! Encore!" Pinkie Pie repeatedly chanted, bouncing up and down on her spot.

Athena witnessed Pinkie's behavior and decided to follow closely in her hoofsteps.

Ultimately, this led to the entire crowd wishing for more, despite no one having an idea if that was really the end of the show or not. Nevertheless, after some time, Trixie and Starlight were seen escaping through the main curtains with what appeared to be smug grins.

"It looks like everypony here is calling for more spectacular performances by the Great and Powerful Duo, aren't they?" Trixie announced loudly with her eyes fixated on Starlight.

"Then, I say let's give them what they want." Starlight's smirk stretched before the two shot up a couple of fireworks with their magic and proceeded to provide the "encore" that everypony cheered for.

After the end of the show, everypony parted besides Athena and me, so we decided to meet up with Trixie and Starlight to congratulate them backstage. However, we weren't expecting Twilight to be there as well.

"Amazing job, you two!" We heard Twilight applaud them for their performance. "That was better than anything I could have ever pulled off."

"If it wasn't for your remarkable guidance, I never would have met my very best friend and partner in magic, Princess Twilight." Trixie responded humbly, which deeply surprised me. In conjunction with tonight's performance, today was just full of surprises. It was almost uncanny.

"Whoa. What's going on here?" I asked, catching them by another surprise.

"Princess Twilight and I worked out our differences." Trixie lifted her head up in pride. "And I now have an amazing friend to boot."

"Just how much did I miss?!" I nearly exclaimed out in confusion.

"Nothing worth repeating." Twilight turned her hoof side-to-side with a small smile. "I was wrong about Trixie being a bad influence on Starlight, and I almost lost the trust of my pupil because of it. But, you know what? I'm glad I was totally and completely wrong. In fact, I think the two are perfect friends for each other!"

As the three exchanged beaming grins towards one another, I tapped my hoof against my chin and remembered the question I had been meaning to ask for a while now. "So, what happened with the dinner? Did it get canceled or something?"

Twilight's expression seemed to freeze for several seconds until her eyes shot wide open. "Oh no! The dinner!"

We tried to keep up with Twilight as she and the other two raced back to the castle, but Twilight remained strongly firm in the lead, most likely due to whatever burst of adrenaline she had received back at the stage. In the castle, every one of us had to stop and catch our breaths as Twilight kicked open the doors to the dining room.

"How do you get your hair to do that all the time?" We heard from inside.

Twilight inhaled a large gasp of air and shouted out a storm of apologies. "I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to keep you waiting for so long! It's just that I went out to look for Starlight and I ended up finding myself in this huge mess of—"

On the opposite side of Derpy, Vinyl, and Octavia, sat Celestia giggling enjoyably to herself.

"H-huh?" Twilight reacted with confusion.

"It's about time you showed up." Tia seemed to jest. "Your ice sculpture has nearly melted completely."

"I know, I'm sorry…" Twilight apologized once more, approaching her former mentor at the table.

Celestia lifted up a hoof and smiled. "I've had an enjoyable time speaking with these three. However, I must say that I'm quite famished. Could we possibly get to starting dinner soon?" She asked with a rather sheepish grin.

"Y-yes, of course!" Twilight nodded immediately in agreement before she turned her head around to spot Starlight and Trixie with us. "After all, the other two ponies I've been meaning to bring forth are here now!" She waved them forward and began to introduce Starlight's new friend. "This is—"

"It's okay, Twilight." Starlight politely interrupted Twilight. "I've got this." She confirmed with a wink and stepped towards Celestia, bringing along Trixie. "Princess Celestia, I'd like you to meet my new and best friend, Trixie."

Trixie appeared to be struck by awe from the sight of Celestia, and she nearly stumbled in an attempt to remove the magician's hat on her head and bow graciously. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Princess Celestia."

Princess Celestia's eyelids lowered as a grin formed gently on her lips. She closed her eyes and nodded before she returned the gesture towards Trixie. "It's a pleasure to meet you as well."

"I have to really thank Twilight, Princess." Starlight added appreciatively. "If it wasn't for her, I don't think I would have been able to ever make an amazing friend like Trixie. Twilight is like the best teacher in the world." She giggled happily.

To the side, Twilight grew embarrassed and attempted to hide her face from everypony.

"I see all this waiting was worth it after all." Princess Celestia chuckled, most likely poking fun at Twilight once again.

"Yo, um…" Vinyl acknowledged tiredly on the other side of the table. Her body hung almost exhaustedly over the table with her forelegs stretched out in some kind of plea. "I don't wanna interrupt anything, but are we gonna start eating soon? I'm really hungry…"

"Of course!" Twilight repeated and immediately began trotting out the room. "Starlight? Trixie? Mind helping me with a few things in the kitchen?"

"Right behind you!" Starlight followed Twilight closely.

Trixie was just about to join them until I stopped her out in the hallway.

"So, since Starlight's your best friend and all, does that mean you're going to be staying here in Ponyville from now on?" I asked.

"I'll have to leave temporarily time to time if I find any opportunities to showcase the Great and Powerful Trixie, including Starlight if she's able to, outside of town, but, to answer your question, yes. That is correct."

"In that case, I'm glad to see things seem to be working out for you now." I honestly shared, especially after considering how hard things were for her before her redemption.

Before I could say anymore, she surprised me with a hug.

"Thanks for not believing I was still some power-crazed monster. And thanks for being my first friend even after everything I did."

"Hey, no problem." I patted her back gently. "It took a lot of courage for you to admit your mistakes and work hard to turn over a new leaf. I'm proud of you for that."

Trixie pulled back with a short chuckle and pulled out her self-assured on-stage grin. "Now, if you excuse me, The Great and Friendly Trixie's presence is required in the kitchen!" She pulled out a hoof-full of familiar dust and threw it towards the ground. In a burst of smoke, she disappeared, but once the dust settled, I could see her running, just about making it towards the kitchen.

"This feels really good." I heard Athena say by my side. "So many old enemies are becoming good friends. It's really amazing to see that ponies, who were once utterly and totally evil, actually had good hearts in them all along."

"I don't think ponies or any kind of other creatures in Equestria can just be born evil." I shared my thoughts. "In the end, their morals are just unfortunately misguided by the experiences they go through and who they surround themselves with. It's just too bad that there're other ponies who aren't as lucky as those two and too far gone to see the light of love and friendship."

"Well, who knows." Athena appeared in front of me and grinned widely. "If someone like Discord can be moved to the side of good, I think any pony else can if you really work hard enough." I tried thinking deeply about her statement, but it wasn't too long before she began pulling me in towards the dining room. "Come on! I'm sure we could really use something to eat."

"Yeah, sure." I responded and shifted my eyes to a bright red apple on top of a bunch of other fruits inside a bowl once we were in the room.

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