• 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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Uncommon Bond

I wasn't sure if it was due to tossing and turning throughout the night or if I was coming down with something, but all I could remember was having some kind of distressing dream that led me to wake up in a semi-cold sweat.

I felt hot under the covers, so the first thing I did was shove them away from me. I felt no need to get out of bed, but at the same time, I couldn't exactly fall back asleep. Taking a glance towards the window, I noticed the sun seemed to be up already. My body felt heavy, so I merely laid my head back down on my pillow and closed my eyes.

"You just gonna lie there? This might just be your last chance to see them."

I suddenly heard a sort of deep voice as if there had been some pony at my bedside. I immediately opened my eyes and turned in the direction where the sound had come from, but there wasn't any pony in sight. I continued to stare out cautiously at the empty space of my room until I ultimately fell back down on my bed and sighed heavily.

"What is wrong with me?" I thought out loud as I covered my eyes with my hooves.

"You up yet, bro?" I heard another voice, causing me to swiftly rise up from bed in alarm. However, after having a few seconds to think, I realized it was a voice that my ears welcomed. "If you stay asleep too long, you'll miss breakfast!"

Athena had been walking towards my bedside with a jubilant grin on her face.

"Yeah, I guess…" I answered a bit tiredly.

Athena spent the next moment studying me with a curious expression on her face.

"Hey. You don't look so good? Did you go to bed late last night?"

"Well, I don't think I really got a good sleep last night in the first place."

She continued staring at me until she suddenly raised her hoof and placed it on my forehead.

"You're a little warm." She stated as her eyes lightly widened. "Are you feeling sick? Maybe you should stay in bed."

My head shook. Under normal circumstances, I probably would've done just that, but for some reason, I felt like I couldn't this time around. In other words, I felt like I would…be wasting time just staying in bed all day.

"I'm fine. Maybe I just need some fresh air or something." I told her as I began getting out of bed.

"…you sure?" Athena asked worriedly. "If you really are getting sick, I don't want you making it any worse than it is."

"Yeah." I nodded and then began an attempt to distract her from the current subject. "So, about breakfast?"


Athena followed me into the dining hall where we sat to have our usual run of the mill first meal of the day. However, there had been something that was slightly different about this morning.

"Where's Starlight?" I asked Twilight at the table.

"She's at the train station waiting for Sunburst." Twilight answered, stuffing a bit of fruit in her mouth in the process. "She's been so excited for his visit, she decided to skip breakfast, hehe."

"Well, they were childhood friends, I guess." I said, finding myself moving the food on my plate around more instead of actually eating.

"Hey, I was thinking about stopping by the antique store later on." Twilight mentioned to me. "Wanna come with? It'd be nice not to go alone for once."

"Actually, I don't think Alex is feeling too—"

"I'll go." I accepted Twilight's invitation, despite the words that were coming out Athena's mouth. The last thing I wanted was to be by myself as well.

"Great!" Twilight responded cheerfully. "I heard they just got some new stuff in and I've been dying to see what it is! We'll head right over there after we're done eating!"

"Hey…are you sure you're feeling okay?" Athena leaned in and spoke softly towards my ear.

"I'm fine." I nearly spat out. "I told you. I don't want to spend all day being in bed. I'll even take some medicine later on if it'll make you happy."

The somewhat agitated look on her face gave me the impression that she had more to say, but for the sake of not ruining the nonchalant atmosphere between the table, she didn't say anymore. As I silently began eating what I could, I began wondering if she was able to see right through me, literally. After all, I couldn't quite deny the fact that it'd be much easier for her to see and pick up my worries and stress far better than any other pony could.

After we had finished cleaning up, Twilight began playfully pressuring me to join her out the front doors of the castle.

"You ready to go? They might have something you like."

"Yeah, I'm coming." I answered and was just about to leave until I felt some other pony's eyes on me. Of course, it had been none other than Athena with a small and still frown on her face. "Sorry about earlier." I felt the need to apologize. "I'm just…not really feeling myself today. I guess it's just one of those days."

"Mm-hm…" She nodded her head a bit stiffly. "Listen, um, I'm going to go run a few errands around town, but promise me that you'll come back home if you're not feeling any better, okay? I'm no nurse, but if you really are getting sick, I don't want you out making yourself vulnerable. I know you don't want to stay in bed all day, but if it makes you feel any better, I'll even call Fluttershy here to take care of you."

Honestly, her concern for me actually lightened up the damp mood I had been feeling a bit, but it didn't seem it would last long. I actually didn't want to hear anything to do with any kind of negativity, so I was hoping that spending time with Twilight would bring me back up to par.

"I got it. Don't worry too much about me, okay? I'll be back later.

With that, I began walking out of the room to catch up with Twilight, who had most likely already been waiting outside for me.

On the walk towards the antique shop Twilight had invited me to, I could hear her talking excitedly to me, but it was all background noise. Instead of listening to her intently during the moment, I found myself spacing out on multitude levels. I would either be too busy worrying about why I had been feeling so off that day, or I would even feel like not thinking at all but just staring at the ground absentmindedly like an idiot.

Twilight's voice had become a faint sound in the back of my mind to the point where it was incoherent, but all of a sudden, her noise gradually grew louder and a bit clearer with each passing second. Eventually, I was able to hear her loud and clear.

"Alex." She firmly called.

"Huh?" I picked up my head and looked around to get a grasp of my surroundings. I hadn't even been paying attention to where we had been walking that I didn't even realize that we had already arrived at the front of the shop.

"You were really out of it. Is something bothering you?" She asked.

"S-Sorry…" I apologized, finding the troublesome look on her face becoming identical to the one Athena had been giving me earlier. "To tell you the truth, I haven't really been feeling myself today. I guess it's just one of those off days."

"Hm. That's what Athena was trying to tell me before we left the castle, isn't it? Maybe you should go back and get some rest. I don't want you to be out and about if you're coming down with something."

I almost fervently shook my head. "No, no. That's actually the last thing I want. I don't really feel sick. I don't know…" I wanted to tell her that I felt…sort of scared for some reason, but at the same time, I didn't want to exactly drop that bomb on her. "Anyways, I wanted to go out with you because I was hoping I could get past whatever this is. I guess you could think of it like being worried about a test so you hang out with friends to sort of get through the stress, you know?"

"Oh, right. I think I understand what you're trying to say." She continued looking at me for a few seconds before she turned over to the shop doors to open them. "Well, if it's just company you want, feel free to stick by me."

It seemed my explanation was enough to keep her from worrying. However, despite it coming from me, it didn't seem to exactly convince myself. If all I wanted was just 'a little company', I was sure that whatever I had been feeling would have been long gone. Yet, it still lingered, and the most I was able to do was just distract myself from thinking about it for a moment or two.

I suddenly found myself zoning out again and quickly passed through the front doors of the shop before Twilight could see that.

Inside the shop, it seemed Twilight originally only wanted my company as well as she didn't really try to draw me in when it came to observing the items the antique shop had. In other words, it wasn't like she was trying to lecture me on the history of certain objects or asking me if I knew where the object originated or who it belonged to. Instead, she reacted to those things as Rarity would if I had been window shopping with her.

She'd gaze at books or figures every now and then, mumble a bit in excitement, and analyze them from time to time. Occasionally, she'd have me take a look at whatever she was excited about, but already knowing me, she didn't expect me to share the same kind of excitement that she felt. Being with her helped, but as mentioned before, it wasn't enough to fully overcome the sense of dread I had been feeling somewhere deep inside of me.

I followed her around the shop, which seemed a lot bigger than I initially thought it was, until she suddenly stopped in her tracks and exclaimed out loud once more. I had been in and out of reality several times through our walking, so I thought she had been calling my name again. However, it wasn't me she was looking at this time.

"Sunburst!" She had been facing away from my direction. "I'm so glad you're here!"

In front of her were two familiar faces, and they belonged to none other than Sunburst and Starlight Glimmer.

"In the antique store?" Sunburst asked, surprised to see Twilight as well.

"In Ponyville!" Twilight clarified. "Starlight's really been looking forward to your visit. Though I'm glad you're in the antique store, too. I'm usually the only one…but I've got Alex here with me this time!"

I approached the three in conversation since Twilight practically summoned me by mentioning my name. "Hey." I answered with what sounded like the minimum amount of effort needed to sound remotely pleased.

"Oh, hey." Starlight noticed me and laughed lightly. "Would you look at that? Both of us hanging out with our best friends?"

"Hey! Why don't we do some antiquing together? That could be fun!" Twilight enthusiastically suggested.

"Sure! The more the merrier!" Starburst happily agreed.

I didn't really notice it until now, but Starlight seemed to have been putting up a forceful grin. And, it slowly drooped a little once she heard Starburst's last comment. "Yeah. Coooool."

I couldn't say that I felt happy nor upset when Starlight and Sunburst joined us, but for some reason, that made me feel…disjointed for some reason. I was never interacting with Twilight much, to begin with, but now, Twilight and Sunburst seemed like they were having an especially good time. I was sure that in any other normal day, I would have found their obvious appreciation for these kinds of antique arts fun to watch, but today was not the case.

It wasn't that I was jealous or anything. In fact, I wasn't sure exactly what it was. All I knew is that the little despair I had managed to shoo off started slowly creeping behind my back. I then started having feelings of helplessness and even loneliness, despite being in a group of four ponies. Something was definitely wrong with me, and before I could show any of that to the others, I quickly excused myself towards an empty section of the antique shop.

I was grateful that not many ponies were here in the first place because the last thing I needed was ponies looking over me in worry. I wasn't in any kind of danger, at least, I hoped I wasn't. I suppose the best way to describe it was that, for some reason, I felt like I was having a really soft panic attack.

My heartbeat accelerated, and I was forced to close my eyes and focus on my breathing. I was really getting scared now. Ironically, I was scared of not knowing why I was scared in the first place. Having some time to myself, I realized this all felt too familiar, but I didn't have any clue to what the cause was.

At that moment, I began secretly wishing that someone would appear by my side. Not a random bystander, but somepony who could comfort me. And, the first pony that came to mind was Athena because she could possibly find the cause of my panicking body.

"Is it that bad? I thought your 'friendship' would be able to get you through it without a problem."

At the sound of an unwelcoming voice, I immediately opened my eyes and turned around.

And, that's when I saw him.

He had been the unknown voice I heard in the morning. The one who seemed to find a liking to lurking in the shadows behind our back. The one who called himself Red.

"It's you, again… What are you doing here? Last I saw you…we were going through those memories. What are you even supposed to be? I'm not just seeing things, am I?"

A bunch of thoughts had been going through my mind. I didn't understand how he appeared before me all of a sudden. In fact, I was more than willing to bet that it was just a hallucination. Maybe even a pony playing a stupid prank on me.

"You're right. You know now, right?" He answered, lightly passing his hoof through the books on the shelves near him. "About the memories you knew nothing about. They were your memories. Well, technically, they actually aren't. At least, that's the way I see it."

"So, what? Why are you here now? Are you the one who's making me feel this way?"

"You could say that. But, let me tell you something right now. Don't bother trying to find a way to stop it. I've let you have enough of your fun. Now, it's my turn to take back what you stole."

My heart dropped at the sound of that.

"…what? What are you talking about? Just what did I 'steal' from you?" I asked with a heavy heart.

"You'll know soon enough." He answered vaguely. "But, if you ask me, I don't think there's a point in thinking about it. Take my advice. 'Cherish' what time you have left with your friends. Maybe give them a really good goodbye at the end of the night. You never know when the last time you'll see them will be."

Any words or questions I may have had to say were suddenly stolen. In fact, I couldn't talk at all. I felt frozen in place, and my gaze couldn't escape his malicious grin. I felt like I had been trapped. Like if he had me at checkmate. Even though I still couldn't figure out why I felt so powerless, it all felt real nonetheless. With your typical enemy of Equestria, there was always room for some kind of hope to fight with, but I felt none of that at this moment. He wasn't like any other villain we've faced together. He was…more of a personal demon.

"Alex?" I heard a voice behind me, breaking my focus on Red and causing me to gasp shortly as I quickly turned around.

It was Starlight Glimmer, and she had been staring at me with a somewhat puzzled look on her face.

"What are you doing here all by yourself?" She asked.

"I, um, saw something interesting here and just wanted a better look." I tried to tell her with a lopsided grin, but even I thought I was hardly convincing. Her slight suspicion revealed itself on her face, leaving me to quickly shift the focus on her. "What about you? Thought you'd be with Sunburst since he's visiting and all."

She returned a heavy sigh and drew closer to me.

"That's actually one of the reasons I came to find you. You told me before that if I need advice or just somepony to talk to, I could come to you, right? Well…the thing is…I'm feeling really, I don't know, disappointed, I guess."

The sharing of her feelings allowed me to distance myself from what had just happened before she came around, but, at the same time, I felt its lingering effects keep me from fully focusing on Starlight's confession.

"Disappointed? Are you talking about Sunburst's visit?"

"Yes. We two were childhood friends, and the last time I ever really spent time with him was right before he was taken away to magic school. It's been such a long time since then. We're both grown up now, and whatever interests we had since then aren't the same anymore. That's the issue. After all, the only reason we're in this shop is that he wanted to come. I try to feel just as interested as he is, but I just can't. But, that's just not it. When you and Twilight came around, it looks like he's having such a better time with her. I was hoping that I'd get to rekindle the kind of bond we used to have a long time ago, but now…I feel like that isn't going to happen no matter how hard I try."

"O-Oh…" I tried to come up with some kind of uplifting advice for her, but I was still having trouble thinking straight. "Um, you two still have to have some kind of common ground, right? What other things would you two do as foals? Maybe there's something you two used to do a long time ago and haven't done since? It could remind him of the fun you used to have."

She remained silent for a moment as she seemed to dwell within her thoughts. "We did used to play this board game called Dragon Pit a lot. I was actually thinking about trying to play it again with him when he came to Ponyville, but looking at him now, I'm not so sure he still likes the game."

"Won't know unless you try." I stated a bit frankly. "You two might just come up with something else to do in the middle of that game."

"I guess it's worth a shot…" Starlight said and then smiled softly. "Thanks…"

To be honest, I wholeheartedly believed my advice was lackluster. In other words, I felt as if I could have come up with something so much sincerer and more dedicated. However, my mind was like in a foggy haze. No matter how hard I had tried to snap out of it and focus one hundred percent on something, I just couldn't.

"…you seem a little out of it today." Starlight noticed and brought it up. "Are you…feeling okay?"

I couldn't do it. I know I didn't want to spend the day by myself, but being out here with the friends I wanted to spend my time with was turning out to be a disaster. Not so much for them, but for me. I needed time to get things together.

"Actually… I think I should head back to the castle." I told her as I held a hoof to my forehead. "Something's bugging me today, and I don't know what it is. Sorry I couldn't be any more help to you, Starlight."

"No, it's okay. I'm just a little worried about what's going on with you."

I shook my head lightly.

"I'm just going to try to get some sleep and hope that fixes everything. Mind if you let Twilight know for me?"

"S-Sure…" She returned with a slightly uncomfortable look on her face.

"Thanks." I said as I almost stumbled over in the process of turning around to find the exit door.

I hated this, and the more I thought about it, the more I began to believe that this really was all Red's doing. I just wanted to believe that he actually never existed in the first place, but the fact that all this was happening all of a sudden made it hard to do so.


After heading straight for the castle, sparing no glances around me in the event that somepony I might've known was around, I went straight to bed and threw the sheets over my entire body. That panicking feeling began to immediately return, and I was at an absolute loss. In a way, what little I went through all of today felt like an entire nightmare. There wasn't exactly anything extremely dramatic to warrant it so, but I just wanted everything to be a dream. I just wanted to wake up in a few minutes as if none of it had ever happened. But, the more I worried and lost my nerve about it, the more I came to the realization that it was all real.

"Alex. Hey, Alex!" I felt my body shaking.

At first, my body trembled at the thought of it being another unwelcomed guest. However, as I threw the covers away from me to confront the unknown being, I released a sigh of somewhat relief at the sight of a comforting face.

"Athena…" I returned, feeling unusually out of breath.

"I knew something was going on with you…" She stated as she looked over my unkempt body. "I was getting this really bad vibe, so I came back as soon as I could. Whatever it is, it isn't just some kind of sickness. I couldn't see much at first, but there's something going on with your psychological health, Alex. The emotions inside you…they're a mess. It's nothing I've ever seen before."

"Athena, I don't know what's happening to me…" I felt the extreme need to cry out of fear, but I held it back as much as I could. "There's nothing that I should be afraid of, but for some reason, I feel… I feel like he's…in my head. I can't stop thinking about everything coming to an end. I don't know why. It's like I'm being forced to think like this when there should be no reason to."

"'He'?" Athena repeated, obviously out of the loop. "Who are you talking about?"

"The one we last saw messing with our memories." I tried to explain to her as much as I could, despite suddenly lacking the motivation to do so in the first place. "…you know who I'm talking about. The one who worked with Starlight Glimmer before she became our friend."

"Wait. Hold on." Her body suddenly jerked forward. "You're not talking about him, are you? That jerk?! H-How?! Why do you think he's in your head?! We left him in the dust, remember?! He tried to mess with the memories you didn't know about and we stopped him! How could he possibly get in your head?! He doesn't have any sort of power like that!"

"I don't know…!" I nearly shouted out in frustration. "I saw him today. At the antique shop when I went with Twilight. We were alone, and he told me things that I just couldn't ignore. I don't know why. It almost feels like…he has control of my own emotions, and he's purposely making me feel like this for the fun of it."

Athena's eyes lowered in thought for a short moment before she furrowed her brow.

"Hang on. I'm going to take a look inside you. Bear with me, okay?" She backed away a bit before she vanished through particles of light.

At that moment, I turned over to my back and tried to control my wavering breathing pattern. There was no way I wanted any pony else that I cared about to see me in that state. It wasn't just that I was in such a vulnerable position. It was more that if everyone that I cared about began worrying about me due to my unexpected predicament, I knew that it would even cause me to freak out even more.

All I could do was just squeeze my eyes shut and focus on my breathing as hard as I could in hopes that Athena would return soon with some kind of solution to fix everything wrong.

I didn't want to believe it so, but it almost felt like hours until she came back. Nevertheless, she returned with what looked to be a puzzled expression on her face. She placed a careful hoof on me as she proceeded to say whatever it was that she had to say.

"I-I don't know what's wrong. I took a look around, and I don't really see any sign of a disturbance. Alex…are you sure what you saw was really him? You didn't drink anything funny, did you?"

I honestly didn't know what to say. After hearing her say that, I was beginning to even doubt myself. At any rate, the one thing I couldn't just excuse was the fact that I was feeling this way.

"N-No…" I responded. "That's what I'm trying to say when I tell you that I don't know what's wrong with me. I just started feeling like this all of a sudden, and it won't go away."

"You said you saw him at the antique shop." She recalled. "Did anypony else see him? What about Twilight?"

"I saw Starlight there. She was the one who was the closest at the time. I didn't ask, but I don't think she noticed him. No… It was like he was there one second and gone the next."

"Oh, Alex…" Athena nervously tapped her chin as she paced around restlessly for a bit. It was painfully obvious that, despite how much I had hoped that she had the answer to this sudden predicament, she had no clue on how to approach the situation. "It's not like we can just go to a doctor. You're sure you didn't eat something funny or get bit by some kind of creature?"

"N…no… Nothing like that." I answered as I felt myself sweat into an uncomfortable state. In fact, it felt more like I had been hoping more than responding with objective knowledge of recent events.

She slightly turned her head away from me and pondered intensively. "…am I missing something?" She asked herself softly. Afterwards, she turned back to me and sighed lightly. "Okay. Can you do something for me, Alex?"

"…what?" I asked a bit fearfully.

"I need you to try and hang on for me for a bit." She said. "Stay in bed and try to get some sleep. I'm going to spend the night taking watch inside of you. If what's pushing you over the edge is not from the outside, then it's gotta be inside you somewhere. I don't know. Maybe some kind of bad magic snuck its way inside you? Whatever it is, I have to find it so we can come up with something to get rid of it, if I can't get rid of it myself, okay?"

"Okay." I hesitantly nodded.

Bad magic? Right. Okay. That sounds reasonable.

I knew it was stupid to feel better for thinking some kind interfering magic was the root cause of it. I believed it was because we had dealt with this kind of magic before and effectively gotten rid of it without any permanent long-term damage. It may have not been the same as Rarity's "Inspiration Manifestation" or even as absurd as the love potion Big Mac took that one Hearts and Hooves Day, but if all we needed was just to spend a little time finding the cause so we could find a cure soon after, that was good enough for me…

Athena took a good long look at my face. Unfortunately, I had no idea what kind of expression had been plastered on me, but whatever it was, it was enough for her lips to stretch into a frown.

"Don't worry, bro. You'll be okay. I'm here for you." She comforted me as she placed a hoof on my forehead. Her eyes widened lightly as a result. "You should definitely stay in bed. You're feeling so much warmer than you were this morning. Although, I can't stay by your side like this since I have to be inside of you. Want me to go get Twilight? Or maybe, Fluttershy?"

I thought about her offer, but I couldn't fathom going through with either of the two. Twilight was actually the one pony I could see knowing about my condition without worrying too much about it. However, I didn't want to interrupt her since I was sure she probably had already made some kind of plans with Sunburst and Starlight for the day by this point. As for Fluttershy, I would have loved to have her over if this was a simple illness, but it wasn't. I couldn't imagine the look on her face if she knew I was dealing with something that she couldn't effectively help with. I couldn't do that to her. If only I was better at hiding the distress I had been going through…

I shook my head in response to Athena's question. "I don't want to put Fluttershy through this, and I don't want to risk any of the others besides Twilight knowing and ruining Sunburst's visit. If this keeps going on past tonight, we can tell Twilight tomorrow…"

"I just don't want you to be all by yourself…" Athena mentioned sadly.

"I just need to get some sleep, right?" I inhaled a deep breath and let it out slowly.

"That's right. I know it's hard to right now, but just try to relax. I'll be out here with you until you fall asleep."

It was comforting to hear her say that, but whether that comfort would actually last was the real question. At any rate, just having her beside me gave me a noticeable amount of relief, but I still couldn't help but feel fear crawl through my skin.

I closed my eyes and tried to calm my nerves to the best of my abilities, but it was practically impossible to keep my thoughts from keeping my mind awake. I constantly continued to think about how only the two of us knew about what I had been going through, and how scary this sudden situation was for me. There had been no warning signs, at least, not any that I noticed, and it wasn't like I was dabbling in any kind of dark magic.

All I could really hope was that whatever it was bugging me was actually so insignificant, I was only making myself out for a fool as a result for worrying over it. With these thoughts continuing to bombard my mind, I felt myself restlessly toss and turn every now and then, but thankfully, I could feel Athena's lingering spirit stick close by.


I didn't know when I had fallen asleep. It could have been minutes or hours. However, the same could be said for how long I had actually been asleep. All I knew for a fact was when I opened my eyes again, I found Athena by my bedside as well.

My first thought was the possibility that I hadn't even gotten to sleep long enough for her to do her work, but she started ruling out that possibility once she began speaking.

"Hey. You're awake…" She noticed. "…how do you feel?"

I wasn't sure what to say. It was still a bit too soon to tell.

"Well…I feel really sweaty." I answered.

She placed a hoof over my head and held it there for a second.

"I think your fever's gone down. So strange…"

"What about you?" I immediately asked, anxious to know her answer. "Did you find anything?"

She shook her head. However, she didn't particularly look pleased about it.

"No. Nothing out of the ordinary, but to tell you the truth, that's kind of what's bothering me. You were going through something serious, yet I couldn't find anything wrong with you. I wish I could say it was something completely benign, but I don't know… Your emotions were out of control. It'd be a different story if you were stressing over something big, but you said it yourself. You didn't know why you were feeling like that, and it happened all of a sudden. From what I can see, you've settled down a bit. I can only hope it stays like that."

"Did you feel any part of it?" I asked. "You're a part of me, after all."

"I did feel something alright. That was earlier today, but I think that's because you were in trouble. I don't think it was necessarily what you were feeling."

I sighed heavily through my nose and planted the back of my head onto my pillow to stare straight up at the ceiling in silence.

"There's something else I wanted to talk to you about…" Athena brought up a bit oddly. "When I was poking around in there…I started thinking about things. Things that could've been the cause of your panic attack. I remembered you telling me about how you saw that one creep. If you don't mind me asking…what exactly did he tell you?"

"What did he tell me…?" I repeated, looking back on my memory. "He told me something along the lines of how those memories of mine that we had been looking at 'technically' weren't mine. Actually, I think he even admitted to me that he was making me feel this way when I asked him. Lastly, he said that I 'stole' something from him, and he wanted it back. But, now that I'm looking back on it, it's gotta just be a hallucination, right? I can't see him actually being there and talking to me. Yeah…it's just a result of that panic attack I was having or whatever, right?"

I turned towards Athena, but the expression she wore was not what I had been expecting. She practically remained frozen, and she stared at the floor for some time as if she had been in the middle of handling an intense thought.

"…Athena?" I lightly called.

"That pony you're talking about…" She spoke worryingly soft without bringing up her head. "Did he…ever give you a name of some kind? Anything to call him by?"

"A name?" I was slightly confused. I didn't know why she'd want a name, considering it was obvious the two didn't exactly know each other all that much. "It was some kind of weird nickname, I think. Last I remember, he told me…to call him Red."

Athena suddenly gasped.

At the sound of it, I quickly tried to lift my body up to try to get a better look at her expression, but she ended up turning herself away and mumbling something underneath her breath. If that wasn't enough to bring the familiar sense of dread back into my heart, she soon began pacing around as if she was suffering some kind of shock or disbelief.

"Athena…" I called softly. "…do you know something?"

I had been anxiously waiting for her answer, but at the same time, I didn't want to hear it.

"…Alex…" Athena opened her lips but began pausing heavily in between various words. "…I…"

She was having a really hard time getting whatever it was out of her mouth. Normally, in any other case, I would have encouraged her to spit it out. However, at this time, I remained silent. I knew I was afraid to hear those words for myself.

"…I think…" She managed to continue. "…I have no idea how or why…but…I think…in some shape or form…he's…"

What?

I wanted to tell her that. But, all I could do was gulp nervously.

"…he's supposed to be you."

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