• 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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Friends to the End

Once I seemed to come to, my eyelids slowly began to lift themselves up. However, there wasn't much of a change when it came to what I saw. In fact, I was perplexed. Either all that was in front of me was just darkness, or I couldn't see at all anymore.

That wasn't the only thing that was strange. Any sound or ambience I was used to was completely gone. There was only utter and eerie silence. I managed to shift my body around, and to my surprise, what appeared to be a small ball of faint light came into my view.

I naturally drew closer to this light, each step of mine echoing inside this seemingly endless chamber I was in. Just as I was about to reach a comforting distance of the light, a shadow suddenly blocked my path.

"So, here we finally are. The end of the road."

"…what did you do?" I asked, having a slightly foggy memory of the events that transpired last I remembered.

"Hm." A stifled laugh escaped the outline of his lips. "I sure hope you took the advice I gave you before you woke up today. After all, it'll only be a matter of time when you won't even exist anymore."

"What are you talking about?!" I stiffened up, having recovered some of the energy I had seemingly been missing earlier.

"You see that light over there?" He moved aside and pointed his head in the direction of the same light I saw. "Athena said so herself. That light is the whole reason for your existence. What do you think might happen if that light goes poof?"

I didn't know if he was asking me a question he wanted an answer to, but I couldn't speak either way. All I could do was stare back at him with a glare made up of both fear and anger.

"You want to know something funny? I had thought up of a bunch of different ways to pull off this grand finale. I thought about somehow gathering all the power or magic I could in Equestria and just absolutely wreaking havoc everywhere, starting with your loved ones first. I also thought about just keeping you hostage against your friends. But, I think what I really wanted was to just go out on my own terms. I didn't really care what happened as long as if it was done by me. In other words, I wanted to make sure that that body you're living in was returned properly to its owner. Whatever happens after that is up to fate."

I shook my head. "You're delusional. It's just like Athena said. You're not even real, to begin with."

He stomped his hoof aggressively on the obscure platform we both stood on. "Oh, I'm very real. And, I'll make sure that it's the last thing on your mind as you're wiped out of existence. It's only a matter of time."

"If you're really real, then tell me. Where did you even come from? Athena thinks you're supposed to be me from our past life, but if that's the case, you shouldn't even exist."

"And, it's exactly that. First things first, don't you think that the me from that life is the real one between us? All in all, you're just a fabrication. You're the part of me that shouldn't have existed. And you know what's the worst? Athena is completely fine with it."

"And you know why that is? Because whatever you are, you're just a memory!" I shouted back aggressively as if I had been trying to talk some sense into him. "I don't know how you're even standing here now, but that's all you are."

"You might've been right about that a long time ago, but thanks to that idiot you called your 'dad', I'm just as real as you think you are."

My anger had subsided as I pondered the reason he brought him up all of a sudden. "What are you talking about?"

"You remember him, don't you? The one you put out of his misery? Night Terror? Did you ever think why I'd even follow orders from a loser like him? I have to say, the only one thing he did right was give me the opportunity to take back what's mine."

"…you're saying that he's the reason you're even here right now?"

"And all it took was the false promise of being under his command. How about we take another trip down memory lane. Remember, quite a way back, when there was the certain darkness you were struggling with? The darkness that your 'dear mother' Luna had to help you get through? After your first encounter with Night Terror, he was able to extract that darkness for your next encounter, and guess what? Here I am. And I'm willing to bet that you thought that darkness just 'vanished' out of nowhere, right?" He laughed mockingly at me. "And that was it. That was all I needed until you did me the favor of dealing with the rest of him. It was only a matter of time that I'd encourage your curiosity, and with the help of Athena, get just close enough to you to become you. Thought my plan was to change the past or something like that other idiot Starlight when I was showing you those memories? As if. What I was really doing was merging myself with you. And, once we were one in the same, that was all there was to it. I could lurk inside you without ever setting off any red flags. All I needed to do was wait for my moment, and who wouldn't jump at the opportunity to just fill themselves with darkness? I know I wouldn't. At this point, it's up to those 'friends' of yours to decide when it's the end of the line for you. Are you going to die a 'hero', or are you going to live long enough to become a villain? And by you, I mean me because that's all this has really been about. So, how about it? Let's see if your 'friends' decide to throw you under the bus and send you to limbo after all. Whatever the case is, the clock is ticking. If they decide to keep you around, you won't be around by the time they can cook up something to do."

It took me a moment of silence to process the entirety of his words. Nevertheless, I couldn't stand there and expect myself to surrender. I didn't know how I was going to get out of this, but I knew I just had to. For the sake of everyone who's helped me get to where I was now.

"I don't care what you say. You have no reason to even exist. You're not me, and I'm not you either. And, the thing I really want to do right now…is get you out!"

I tried to run for the light behind him, but just before I could get within range to even try to touch it, I had been pushed back with what felt like a force of magic. I had landed on my back as he slowly approached me.

"Yeah… No. I told you it's over. In case you didn't know…" His shadowy figure transformed into a visible and clearer state, revealing an essential piece of him that had been different from before. "I'm pretty sure you're missing your horn and wings."

I saw the magic he used on me surge on the tip of what was now his horn, and he purposely spread the wings on his body to mock me. I couldn't believe it at first, so I quickly patted my body and reached for my horn. I didn't feel either of them.

"Like I said." He mentioned as he leaned his head towards me in an intimidating manner. "It's the end of the line for you."

"No. It's not."

A comforting and firm voice passed through the endless darkened barriers around us. I felt a great wave of relief wash over me when I saw her land right by my side. However, I still wasn't sure if there was a way out of this mess she had now directly involved herself in.

"Well, look who it is." He observed with a disdainful grin on his mouth. "Your knight in shining armor, Twilight Sparkle. I almost forgot you two were linked together. Who's next? The third wheel called Athena? Actually, I'm not so sure she can do much with the kind of state the light's in now."

"And that's why I'm here to stop you." Twilight stepped forward courageously.

Red laughed out loud in response. "And how exactly do you expect to do that, princess? You can't just 'pull' him out and banish me to limbo like you planned to do with that shrimp before. In case you didn't notice, things are a little more…'internal' now."

Twilight slightly looked away as if she had been uncertain. "I don't know how…but there's one thing that villains like you always never win against. If you've been paying attention all this time, you'd know that, in the end, we always overcome anything with the magic of friendship."

Red returned a boisterous laughter. "You know how cliché and stupid that sounds? Neither of you seems to know when to shut about your 'precious' friends."

"Whether it's cliché or not, it's the truth, and you'll see it for yourself. After all, with the kind of attitude you have, I'm not surprised you don't have any friends at all."

"I don't need friends." He growled and shot a beam of dark magic towards her.

However, she easily shielded herself from it.

"You really do have a temper." She noticed. "That's a bad weak spot to have. Normally, I'd give you another chance to become a better pony, but after what Athena managed to tell me in the short moment I had before coming here, I don't think there's room to do that. You're a piece of darkness that isn't supposed to exist. You come from somewhere that doesn't exist, after all. I can imagine how confused you must've been when you came to, and with that darkness, all you could feel was the anger you feel now. But, you're just a memory that isn't supposed to be. You're not the real Alex."

"What do you know?!" He asked aggressively as he slowly stepped towards us. "I existed way before he ever did! I thought you were supposed to be one of the smartest ponies to be alive. Why don't you use that brain of yours to realize that?!"

"I am." Twilight held her ground confidently. "And, I mean what I say. You only think that you existed because all you are is simply a memory."

"Oh, I should've ended you when I had the chance." He threatened as he stood ominously before us. "It's okay, though. I'll get what I want. Even if your friends do decide to banish me, I'll make sure to take the two of you with me. With that, I'll finally be satisfied."

"Alex, stay behind me!" Twilight advised, positioning herself in a battle-ready stance.

It was only a matter of seconds with the two engaged in a battle of mid to long-range attacks with their magic. The scene between the two of them was as if they had been endlessly clashing swords with each other. However, as Red had been preoccupied with Twilight, I began making my way over to the light that he had been intentionally keeping me away from.

I wanted to see if it was possible to somehow imbue myself with it and keep the slowly creeping darkness from overcoming it, but I had been literally shocked as soon as I tried to touch it. It wasn't from Red's magic. It was actually from the light itself, almost as if it didn't want me near it. Despite this, Red still felt the need to pull me away from it as if he had ironically been protecting the light himself.

"That isn't yours, remember?" He told me. "If anyone, it should belong to me, and it will as soon as it drowns in the sea of darkness in here."

"No! Not as long as I'm in here." Twilight announced from across him and tried to fire another beam of her magic.

Red countered it immediately after by pushing it away with his own. "I thought you would've noticed by now, princess, but you're not really doing much to me."

"I can go for as long as I want!" She responded as she furrowed her brow. "You're not the one who's studied magic their whole life, are you? You're bound to get tired eventually."

"Maybe so. Maybe so." He snickered. "But, did you already forget? The darkness in here is eating up the light as we speak. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to last long enough for that to happen. And as long as I'm here, I'm not letting either of you get close enough to try and save it. And, I think I know just how to do it."

He suddenly dashed over to me, and as powerless as I was to try to stop him, he grabbed a hold of me, inflicted bodily damage on different parts of my body and tossed me away from him.

I heard Twilight call out my name as she quickly rushed over to come to my side. However, right in front of me, I noticed Red clouding my vision with a malicious grin on his lips. A dark ball of energy began to surge at the tip of his horn. I could see sparks of that magic jump from it, and as soon as it began to break out towards me, another figure intervened between us.

It had been Twilight, and from what I was able to notice, she had been struggling to fight back his power. However, she had jumped in at the last second, so his magic had already been practically at her horn. I assumed that he already had a major advantage in regards to the weight he held over her. Thus, in just a short moment, she couldn't push it back any further since she had no help.

I heard her cry out as she was thrown to the floor.

"You know…you act so high and mighty." Red shifted over to a verbal assault. "I don't know if it's because you're a supposed to be a princess or if it's because you think you're better than everyone else from reading so many books. But, you're one to talk about my 'weak spot'. Look at you. Freaking pathetic. You're willing to let your guard down just to protect someone that'll slow you down."

"What about you?!" I immediately confronted. "You're so adamant about you being the real me, and if that's the case, then didn't you do the exact same when it came to Athena? What about that?!"

"I learned from my mistakes." He sharply pointed his hoof at me. "In the end, all every pony does is slow you down. I've learned that it doesn't matter if you think someone is your best friend or your family. They are just as capable of betraying you. That's why the only way to get things done is to do it yourself and cut ties with others before they do it to you."

"That's a straight up lie."

"Excuse me? Did you remember how Athena talked to me? Like I was some trash that was just getting in the way of things? She wants me gone. The pony that I used to look after and care about the most wants me gone. The pony I thought I ever really needed wants me gone!"

"Because you're not supposed to exist!" I yelled out loudly. "You're just a part of me that's gone rogue in a place they don't belong!"

"Shut up!" He fired a beam straight at me, and all I could do was take it head on.

"No!" I saw Twilight tackling him just as I collided with the empty floor we stood on as a result of his aggressive attack.

My vision was just a little blurry, but from what I could see, the two of them continued to go at it. Various magical assaults sparked and matched with one another. It was almost like a firework show, and it pained me to see that there was hardly anything I could do after having my wings and horn taken from me.

I couldn't just lie there doing nothing, so even though it might've ended up as another failure, I began making my way towards the light again. It was clear that Red didn't want either of us getting close to it, so there had to be some way in doing that that would bring an end to him.

I drew closer to the light, feeling a comfortable warmth hit my face. However, just like before, as soon as I tried to dip my hoof inside, I felt an unnerving pain jolt through my body.

Why? Why won't you let me protect you? Is it because another part of me wants to destroy you? If you just…lend me your power for a second, I can help you!

Are you willing to risk a sacrifice in order to protect those around you?

I heard something, but before I could make any sense of it, I had once again been cast away from the light.

"You're really getting on my nerves." He said as he approached me. "You hold on to this hope as if you'd be getting out of this in one piece, but you need to get it to your through thick skull that that's not going to happen!" His head cocked back before it flung forward to flood me with dark magic.

Twilight immediately appeared in front of me with the use of her own magic, but it seemed she had little time to counter his attack with something else. Instead, she was thrown backward by that magic, later having a hard time getting back up.

"And, the fact that you two keep doing this charade of 'protecting each other' ticks me off even more. Either you two are incredibly stupid, or the both of you've been waiting until sometime in your lives to throw each other under the bus. You two are supposed to be a prince and princess, right? I can definitely see either of you waiting until the right time to usurp each other's royal place. Whatever the case is, you can definitely kiss it goodbye."

"It's just like Twilight says…" I began speaking as I made the attempt to push myself back up. "We don't protect or care about each other because we have something to gain from it. We do it because we lo—"

My response had been abruptly interrupted with a swift swipe to the face.

"I didn't ask you." Energy continued to sear through the tip of his horn as he faced me with a dark intent. "But, you know what? I'm really done with hearing this talk of 'friendship' from both of you. I think it's time to try and see if I can deal with you once and for all with my own hooves."

He appeared to charge up a stronger then average magic strike, and just as he gestured his head in the appropriate direction to hit me, something came in and took the hit again. It took only a second to find that it had been Twilight once more. She had been knocked back, causing Red to laugh almost maniacally.

"Come on, princess. As much as I hate your guts, you'll make this way too easy if you keep doing stunts like that."

He prepared another shot, but Twilight came in with a prepared shield to block. However, she unexpectedly pushed me aside as if she was trying to keep me out of harm's way. In doing so, she removed her focus on Red and succumbed herself to an easy target for another time. He struck her from behind this time, and as I watched her fall forward in pain, I knew I couldn't stand idle any longer.

I knew she wanted me to keep out of it, but I lost all sense of reasoning at that point. Instead, it felt as if some kind of foreign instinct overtook control of my body. Just before he could prepare another assault, I lurched forward past Twilight and tackled him, interrupting any kind of potential spellcasting.

He reacted with a glare full of contempt before he measly vaulted me off of him with a flick of his horn. I found myself reconvening with Twilight, who had been in the process of trying to pull herself together. In front of us, Red had been getting back on his hooves, never turning away once from us.

"Twilight…" I spoke to her softly, nearly out of breath. "We're partners, right?" I asked, watching Red the entire time as he menacingly drew closer to us. "Ever since you got your wings, we've been entwined together with a magical bond. So, I need you to do something for me. Can you lend me your magic? Just this once?"

She turned her head and responded with a concerned face. "…huh?"

"Do you trust me?" I asked.

She grunted lightly, most likely due to her wounds, and answered. "Yes. But, can I do that?"

"You have to try." I told her, keeping tabs on Red. "You can do it, Twi. I know you can."

With a light nod, she closed her eyes and seemed to focus. Something appeared to glow within her chest, and it soon slowly appeared outside of her body. With this, her wings and horn vanished into thin particles of light as that same small orb of light approached me.

Red watched every second of it and grew extraordinarily angry because of it. He returned a scornful growl before charging straight at me. At that moment, I felt some familiar power come back to me. As soon as his magic was going to ram straight into me, I managed to summon a barrier to protect my front. Instead of using it solely for defensive purposes, I began marching through in an attempt to push him away from Twilight.

"Just because she's able to give you her magic, that doesn't mean you have any chance of winning!" He snarled through clenched teeth. "One of you are still defenseless, and you still got your 'precious' light to worry about!"

"Twilight's not the only one who has some pony to protect!" I fired back.

"Argh! You and your stupid friendship talk!" He barked as if the bond between us was literally making him sick to his stomach.

And just like earlier with Twilight, the two of us engaged in a continuous battle of magic between us. For the majority of the time, our magic simply contested with each other as if they were equally strong. Anytime each of us tried to get a hit on each other, we'd only either deflect, block, or dodge the attack. I didn't see either of us making any kind of progress anytime soon, and just like he previously stated, he still had the advantage when it came to the light being overtaken by the darkness. I couldn't imagine how much time there was left before he'd accomplished what he came here to do.

He began reminding me of this dilemma once we were locked in another battle for control with our magic. We had fired beams towards each other, but they simply collided together and it was once again up to us to prove our might and win or end in another draw.

"You can't win this!" He claimed from the other side. "You can drag this battle out for as long as you want, but it's only a matter of time before that light of yours dies out!"

I struggled to keep his dark magic away from my horn as I glanced back at the light he was talking about. Once I saw it in its current state, I couldn't call him a liar. That light already appeared as if it was dimming greatly, and I felt it was susceptible to burning out just like a small candle in a dark room. At that moment, the only thing I could think of was forcing my way through, but I wouldn't be able to as long as Red continued to keep me from doing just that.

"Twilight…!" I tried to call her while holding off Red's assault at the same time. "…I need you to switch with me…!"

It seemed she had still been in the middle of recovering from his last attack, but she had more than enough strength to approach me from behind.

"I can do that, but I don't know for how long. He's right about one thing. If we don't find some way to turn the tables on him soon, the darkness left by the Pony of Shadows will eat up the light we're trying to protect!"

"I've got something in mind. I don't know if it'll work, but it's the only thing I got. I just need you to push him back as far as you can."

She nodded vigorously, despite her recent injuries.

"I've got your back."

I returned my full focus on taking control of our magical impasse and spat out a few words before I'd give it all I had.

"I'm going to try and misdirect his shot. Once I do that, I'm going to charge in and I'll give you back your magic as soon as he counters me. That's where you hold him off. Can you do that?"

She nodded once more in a quicker manner. "I'm ready whenever you are!"

With that being said, I used my head slightly to guide the pressure point between both of the beams we had fired. As soon as I had the opportunity, I made a quick snapping gesture, firing his magic to the side. Immediately after, I ran in, creating a barrier in front of me that was intended to knock him back. As expected, he countered by pulling up the same spell in order to clash with mine.

"Now!" I yelled out, practically jumping to side as I released the magic Twilight had lent me.

As soon as Twilight had regained her power, she followed through with the momentum I originally had, intending to clash his barrier with one of her own. Afterwards, I tried to physically land a hit on him from the side while he was too preoccupied with Twilight, but that was only for show.

I allowed him to get a strong kick in, hoping that he'd respond to my failed attempt with a cocky and arrogant mindset. On the other hoof, Twilight gave a light cry and tried to break through his barrier with all she had.

"That's it. Keep going!" Red provoked heavily. "Try and show me how useless your 'friendship' really is!"

I turned and looked around in search for the light that was slowly disappearing by the second. I could feel fatigue starting to set in, but even so, I practically knew this was my last chance. I possibly only had a short amount of time before he'd realize I was after the light. I needed to move in and pray that I was able to perform some kind of miracle with this light. After all, the Tree of Harmony gave me this light, so if friendship really was the most powerful kind of magic, then it had to be worth something!

Using what strength I had left, I galloped straight towards the light with the intention of diving straight in. At this point, I was ready for whatever 'sacrifice' I needed to give. All I wanted was to stop Red and keep the others safe.

One would think that entering this light would immediately rejuvenate your body, mind, and soul, giving you some kind of godlike powers. However, it was a rather painful experience instead. It was as if a thousand needles pierced and pinched my body. I didn't believe I had ever actually been electrified before, but attempting to endure the various shocks this light gave me made me believe that this was the closest I was going to get.

"I don't care what I have to sacrifice!" I managed to barely say out loud. "Just give me the strength to protect my friends!"

From there, I couldn't tell for myself what had been exactly happening. However, from what I was able to see, it appeared as if the light had been somehow infusing with my body. Oddly enough, the shocks and zaps continued to surge through my body and escape out every now and then. The pain I felt lessened, but bearing whatever power the light had to give still remained highly uncomfortable.

Then, at that point, I realized that this wasn't exactly the first time I remember bearing this kind of power. In a way, it was similar to that untapped strength that momentarily escaped during our conflict with Tirek. Now, the question that remained was how to use it.

"What do you think you're doing?!" Red finally noticed and asked angrily. "That light isn't yours to take!"

Something in my mind suddenly ticked, and my next move was about to be done without sparing a single thought about any possible repercussions from it.

"You want to be me so badly? Then, take it!"

Like electricity, I found myself nearly zapping all over the place around him, and before I knew it, I had practically pierced right through him. The burst of energy I had immediately died down, and I turned to find him standing still with a petrified look on his face.

All had soon grown silent, and the only light that guided our sight was the one coming from the tip of Twilight's horn and the one eating away at whatever darkness Red had with him. For some reason, the corner of his lips raised slightly before he lightly scoffed.

"…wow."

Neither of us was sure if he still had anything left inside him to fight back, but he suddenly collapsed right in front of us. From there, he laid on the blackened floor almost completely still. Twilight and I exchanged an unsure look with each other before we slowly approached him. However, he only looked at us in return and merely laughed.

"What a cheap move." He said and began to stare out at the endless abyss above us. "I was…so close too… It isn't fair. I should be the one standing. Not you. I went through so much…only to end up like this?"

"You were only looking out for yourself. What did you expect?" I asked.

"I wanted the satisfaction of beating you. Showing you who the real boss is and punishing everyone who took what I used to have. But now, I'm disappearing from existence yet again with nothing to show for it. Such a meaningless life…"

"You were never meant to be." Twilight spoke up, looking rather sad than angry even after the battle we just had. "Did you ever think about what you were doing? Or did you just blindly do it because all you cared about was meeting that goal of 'satisfaction' of yours? All you ever did was hurt every pony, especially the pony that was supposed to be your own sister. Would the real Alex really just treat her the way you did?"

"Oh, shut up, princess." He snapped back. However, he seemed to lack the energy to reveal his anger. "Think whatever you want. To tell you the truth, no matter how much contempt I had for her, for some reason, I guess I couldn't get rid of the soft spot that was also there. Least she isn't here to see me like this. You guys can go and act like you've won all you want, but personally, as much as I hate the fact I didn't get what I wanted, I'm…kind of glad it's over. I feel some kind of relief of just…getting it all out there. It's only a matter of time when I don't have to look at your stupid faces anymore. Haha."

"You were never meant to be…" Twilight repeated softly. "That relief you feel knowing you're going to finally disappear, it has to be because existing was really a burden on you. All you were was just the negativity from an erased memory. As much as you wanted to hurt every pony, you also just wanted to be free from it. That's it, isn't it?"

"Who knows." He surprisingly answered back differently. "And, at this point, I don't care. It's over now."

"I'm sorry it had to be this way…" Twilight apologized as she observed the shadowy fragments that made up his body simply fade away.

"Yeah, whatever." He carelessly brushed off. However, it was growing apparent that the more he disappeared, the more his fiery attitude died out. "You know…it's you two idiots' fault that I'm thinking this now…but if you do have any sympathy, let Nene know that as much as I hated her for what she did, I guess I still kind of loved her."

"You know, you could say you're practically the reason why's she's so adamant about protecting me." I felt myself say without thinking. "The you from before. That's who she was looking for the entire time a while back. She thought she could get that somehow, but it was clear that it wasn't going to happen. She's grown a lot now since then. Even though your side of the story will pretty much vanish, it won't be necessarily forgotten."

Red managed to laugh heartily at my last remark. "Man, you're so cheesy."

"Speak for yourself, Edgelex." I felt the corner of my lips rising as well, oddly enough.

"Yeah, whatever…" He repeated before closing his eyes. "It's not my problem anymore."

After those last words, it seemed the last of him completely vanished. The light that had brought him to his demise remained and thankfully no longer softly flickered as it did before.

"Come on." Twilight placed a hoof on my shoulder. "Let's get back. Everyone's waiting."

I nodded.

In a matter of seconds, everything grew dark, and I soon began hearing external noises. But, they weren't clear or audible at first. Before I could worry, my eyelids began lifting up as if I had just woken up from a long nap. As I began slowly making things out in my view, the words that were being spoken at the time were echoing quite loudly in my head.

I had been hoping for a happy return, but what I heard suggested otherwise.

"Push it back! Don't let it get any closer!"

"Hey, can you hear me?! Wake up! Wake up!"

It took a moment before my eyes were fully opened, and once the blurriness was completely gone, I immediately noticed Athena in front of me.

"Can you hear me?! You've got to move!"

"…huh?" I heard myself mumble and realized a short moment after that the continuous background noise I had been hearing was an endless stream of magic being constantly shot out on top of me.

"Distance yourself or it may take you as well!" I heard what sounded like Star Swirl call out.

"No! I can't leave them!" Athena responded worriedly.

I didn't know how I hadn't realized it now, but as soon as I glanced over at my leg, I found something black had been covering a part of it. When I followed the string it left, I found that the source had been the absent Pony of Shadows.

My first reaction was to immediately try to shake it off, but it was like glue. In the next second, a lavender beam of magic struck whatever was keeping me hostage, but it was to no avail. It was simply eaten up or absorbed by the black goo. I looked to my left to see Twilight nearby. However, she seemed to have been caught by the monster as well.

"You need to open the portal!" Twilight shouted out.

"You're too close!" We heard Starlight anxiously yell back. "You'll both get sucked in!"

"It'll be too dangerous if it gets us! Open it now while you still have the chance!"

"Everyone!" Athena turned and face them. "Try and pull them back with your magic!"

Star Swirl continued to keep our enemy at bay with his own magic, but the others who had horns attempted to pull us apart with theirs. Unfortunately, it didn't seem it was strong enough to separate the both of us from the shadows that wanted to draw us in.

"You've got to open the portal!" Twilight repeated. "If you can keep us here long enough, the Pony of Shadows can be forced into limbo without taking us with it! You've got to try while I can still use my Element!"

"Do it!" Star Swirl commanded.

With everyone holding reluctance in each and every one of their faces, they began preparing the portal once more. As soon as it had opened, my hind legs suddenly thrust forward. The only thing that prevented me from going straight through the newly formed rift was the fact that several ponies were attempting to bring me back.

Despite that, the empty Pony of Shadows wasn't so willing to let us go, and it continued to latch on to both of us. Even the power of all the Elements including Twilight's wasn't enough to separate us from the giant shadow. At this rate, it was looking like the only way to escape was…

"You won't win if you share your magic between us!" I said. "Let me go and use it for Twilight instead!"

"What?!" I heard several ponies exclaim simultaneously.

"What are you thinking?!" Twilight faced me directly as she asked.

"Only one of us can get out, and I want it to be you!"

"No! After everything we've both been through?! We're getting out of this together!"

We heard cries coming out from those that tried so desperately to save us.

"I can't…hold on…!"

The Pony of Shadows fell deeper inside of the portal, but so did we.

"No! You can't!" Athena suddenly lunged at me from her safe spot and tried to pull me with both of her hooves as much as she could.

"Get away! If there's any chance you'll be okay here without me, I want you to take it!" I attempted to plead with her.

"No!" She repeated as tears began streaming from her face. "You're my brother! I don't want to be without you!"

"Gah!"

The strings that had been attempting to pull us back to the others practically shattered into pieces.

"Alex!" I heard a strained voice before the hooves that had been holding onto mine were torn away from me.

In a swift second, before any of the others could even try to reignite the sparks on their horns, all I was able to see was a boundless sea of black as if I had been pulled back into an endless deep nonexistent sleep.


It was surreal. I couldn't quite understand it.

I was in an area that was quite similar to the one we had faced Red in, but there was no lurking or pressuring darkness. I didn't know how to describe it exactly, but it, for some reason, felt as if I was asleep within a blank slate of a dream. And, I knew that I was dreaming. However, I couldn't set any pleasant scenario to relax me. Everything was just…blank.

The worst part of it was…it didn't stop the full force of loneliness that almost immediately crept up my back. Everything was coming back to me. The worries I had for the others before I ended up here. Every one of them began racing through my head as troubling thoughts. At that point, I began wishing in a frenzied state of mind that I had disappeared from existence along with Red. After all, being trapped here with no visible way out seemed like the worst kind of torture I could ever go through.

Maybe Red really did get his wish.

"Alex!" I suddenly heard.

Hoping that my mind wasn't playing tricks on me, I instantly turned to the sound of the voice.

I noticed Twilight, and I saw her racing over to me.

I naturally gasped at the sight of her and galloped in response as well.

We didn't even slow down when we were within hooves' lengths. We just allowed our bodies to collide as our forelegs wrapped tightly around each other. We remained in this position for a fairly long time as it was the only thing that managed to calm our nerves for the time being. In other words, it was a suppressant but not necessarily a cure.

When we finally pulled away, the two of us stared at each other for a moment longer before I found Twilight chuckling solemnly to herself.

"Well…I guess we got caught in limbo."

"What about the Pony of Shadows?" I looked around, recalling that it had been thrown in here with us.

"It has no pony to control, so I'm guessing it won't be bothering anyone anymore." Twilight said.

The two of us remained heavily silent, reinforcing the fact that we were in one of the worst places to be, if not the worst. It was obvious we both had the same kind of questions bubbling in our minds, but we had no way to validate the truth to any answers we might've come up with for them. All it did was leave us quietly afraid.

We huddled together, almost if we had been trying to warm each other up.

"They'll be fine. I know it…" Twilight finally spoke, but I couldn't sense any firm confidence behind it. "The other Pillars are with them. In fact, they could be coming up with some kind of spell to get us out right now!"

"You said it yourself, Twilight…" I answered with a nearly quivering voice. "Time stands still in limbo. A thousand years could've passed by now. Everyone we know could be…"

"Don't say it." Her voice shook, and she dug her head into her forelegs. "I…don't want to think about that…"

I zipped my mouth shut as I heard her begin to cry. She had been trying so hard to not just break down completely at that moment, and there was nothing I could do. Normally, the first thing any pony would do is comfort her, but there was no basis to do that.

What was I going to tell her? That'll we'll be okay? That we'll be saved by the others? There was no way of knowing anything at this point. It's hard enough to try and comfort someone when you're in such a state that needs comforting first.

All I could do was just sit there and somewhat hold her, but in the end, it was each of us that were leaning against each other's shoulder. It was like an endless cycle of despair having absolutely no one to tell you that things were going to be okay. At that point, we could only hope that we'd come to term with things and accept it before the despair ate us up entirely.

Silence continued to reverberate between us. Sometimes, I'd listen to Twilight sniffle as she forced herself to hold back any tears. I continued to feel hopelessly helpless. In fact, I was on the edge of struggling desperately to fight tears of my own.

Eventually, it seemed like Twilight's quiet sobbing died down. She lightly pulled her head away from her forelegs, but she continued to keep her gaze lowered towards what could be considered the floor we remained on. After a second or two, she gently shuffled a bit closer to me until she was pressing against me.

"You know…" She began speaking softly. "I'm really scared. I'm really scared of what happens next. I don't know if we'll ever get out of here, and even if we do, I'm scared of what we'll find waiting for us on the other side. I already miss everyone back home. I want to see them again so badly, and the only thing I can keep repeating in my mind to keep my sanity is the hope that they're doing just fine. But even through all of this, I'm thankful for one thing. Even if I have to spend the rest of my life in limbo…I'm thankful I get to at least spend it with you. Not that I'd want you in here in the first place…hehe." She managed to chuckle lightly with her last remark.

As disheartened as our situation seemed, she did have a point. I wasn't sure if I would've been able to last more than what felt like a minute being in here without her. Her company made a world of difference, even though it didn't particularly bring a solution to our dilemma.

"I think I feel the same way. About everything." I answered and found myself reminiscing for a quick moment. "I remember following you around like a lost puppy at first. I didn't know my place in life, and I didn't think I had one. Despite playing an important part when it came to the Elements, I still didn't feel any worth from it. Actually, I guess I maybe even believed that the only reason you guys wanted me around was that you needed something from me. But through all our hardships, you showed me that I had a place to belong. I don't know where I'd be without you."

"Maybe not in limbo." She laughed lightly. "Kidding. The same could be said for me. You've stuck with me during times I thought I was alone. Like Cadence's wedding, or like the time I needed to finish Star Swirl's spell. When we first met, there was just something about you that interested me. Maybe it was because you were just as clueless about friendship as I was. Or maybe…it was something else. Even so, there was always something inside me that wanted to be closer to you. And, the more time we spent together, the more that feeling grew. That's why, despite this kind of situation we're in, I feel some kind of lingering hope. Because I have you."

"…thanks, Twilight." I gazed back with a small smile, almost as if I had forgotten that we had been trapped in limbo.

"And, I'm sorry about what Star Swirl said." She apologized unexpectedly. "He's been my idol for so long that I didn't know what to think or feel when he said those things to you, practically telling you that you're expendable. But being together with you now, I know for certain that that's not the case. Whatever may come, there's no way I'm ever going to consider sacrificing you for the greater good."

As good as it felt to hear her strong loyalty and love for me, I couldn't help but be reminded of what I had heard during our confrontation with Red. "Maybe…being here was really the sacrifice all along? The price to pay in order to keep Equestria safe. To tell you the truth, there are things I can't stop thinking about. Things I regret not being able to do sooner." I felt myself swallow dryly before I continued speaking. "I…I never got to tell her."

"Who are you talking about?" Twilight asked carefully.

I had been avoiding bringing it up because I knew it would cause me to break in tears, but at the same time, I needed to get it off my chest.

"I wanted to tell her that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, but I never did because there was always something in the back of my mind that made me afraid. I wanted to tell her those words with confidence, but I never could because, for some reason, there was always some kind of ounce of doubt. I didn't want to tell her something like that only for something like this to happen. I feel really bad that I never got to let her know that, but at the same time, I feel it would've been a lot worse if I did. Still, the thought of now never having the chance…it…tears me apart."

I stopped my rambling once that despair landed a solid hit on my heart. After trying to fight for control over my emotions for a good moment, I heard Twilight begin to speak.

"I think she already knew how you felt. She had to. She's grown so much over the time we've spent together. She's a stronger pony now, and if too much time hasn't passed in their world for as long as we've been in here, I'd say all she cares about now is getting you back than hearing those words you've been meaning to tell her straight from your mouth."

"I want us to go back!" I nearly snapped as if I had some kind of newfound hope. "I want to go back and make plans to tell her just that!"

"Then, we need to believe in them!" Twilight returned with the same level enthusiasm as if it had been infectious. "They're not ones to give up so easily! They'd spend their whole life looking for a way to get us out of limbo, and they're not alone! We might be the missing key to open the portal to limbo, but that doesn't mean it's impossible to find another way. They have all the Pillars including the princesses! I believe that they'll find a way! I truly don't think it's just wishful thinking. I don't want it to be! From the time we all met each other, our bonds have always been the key to finding a solution to every kind of problem we've faced, big or small. That's the magic of friendship, and I believe it'll get us out somehow. And when we get out, you can tell her how much you love her all you want. Heck, you could propose a thousand times over!"

I studied her serious expression for a moment before I furrowed my brow and lowered my head in thought.

"I want to believe too." I responded. "We've all gotten so far together. We've done things that other ponies probably wouldn't ever believe or dream of doing. And, we were able to do all that because we had each other. To think that we'd never get out or see them again, it'd be like throwing away all that time we spent with each other. You're right. They won't give up, even if it means they'll have to spend days on end figuring out how to do it."

Twilight suddenly grabbed a hold of my hooves and held them in hers.

"And, I want to go out and keep experiencing the world with you too. You and I both know that we have so many precious memories, and I want to keep making new ones with you and everyone else. That's why I want to believe that our time together is not meant to end here."

A warmth radiated in my heart.

"Whatever happens, I want the same thing. It's the main reason I chose to take the role of being your royal partner, after all."

Twilight eyes began to glisten from moisture. In fact, the corners of her eyes began lightly dripping drops of her brimming tears. Meanwhile, a light shade of scarlet rose on top of her delicate cheeks.

"Fluttershy's a really lucky girl, you know…?"

I didn't say anything for a moment. I simply nodded and smiled.

"Hope you don't mind being a bridesmaid."

With that, she giggled with joy.

At that moment, I suddenly felt something beating within my chest that wasn't just my heart. It was almost like a…sonar kind of pulse. Nearby, something immediately caught our attention. In the middle of our place in limbo, we saw some kind og energy stretch out and open. What looked like a pathway grew out of nowhere, and in that pathway was a space full of light.

"Could…could it be…?" Twilight witnessed in a state of complete astonishment.

"Light." I felt my words being slipped out of my mouth without question. "It's a door of light."

The two of us continued to stare out in awe before I finally turned towards her and extended my hoof. "Let's go together!"

Her eyes literally sparkled as she faced me. "Yeah!"

She accepted my hoof, and from there, we approached the opened pathway that seemingly waited for us with each other as promised.

I heard what sounded like my name being lightly called, but it was hard to tell if I had been awake or not. The voice was faint and somewhat dreamlike, and it didn't help that I couldn't see anything but the bright light that we had passed through.

Through a smooth transition, things began to subtly fall in place. The surface of the ground I was on felt different, there was no longer a completely still and silent environment, and the light that blinded me began slowly dissipating in thin air. Before I knew it, color struck my eyes once again.

I found my body outstretched in a prone position, so I began using my hooves to push me back up. There, I saw a familiar face that wasn't Twilight. It was Athena, and she had been gazing at me with a tear-ridden smile.

"They're back!" I heard.

I quickly looked to my side to find my trusted partner right by me. We both exchanged a look of surprise before it swiftly transfigured into excitement. However, before we could even move our hooves, we suddenly had been pummeled down with the weight of several other ponies.

From what I could tell, Pinkie Pie and Applejack initiated the half mass hug and half dogpile on us, and sooner than later, ponies were just piling on. It was then when I began feeling the warmth of their love that I had heavily missed. I couldn't tell if we had been in limbo for long, but I was extremely glad to be back. I was so glad that I still actually had some doubts about it.

"Is this real? This isn't a dream, is it?"

"No." The mare in front of me who hadn't exactly taken part with the others answered. As her tears raced over her cheeks, her smile faintly stretched. "You're home."

Glancing past her, I found Star Swirl and the other Pillars with him. It seemed that they had all been observing the sight of us reuniting together in harmony. Nevertheless, everyone seemed okay.

"Hold on." I heard Pinkie say. "Something's off here…"

"Your horn!" Rarity pointed out shortly afterwards.

"Your wings!" Rainbow Dash shouted next.

Twilight noticed and observed me all over. "They're…they're gone."

Every pony pulled away and allowed me to feel the areas that I should have found the two at, but I didn't feel anything. My first thought was that this was just temporary, but after what Twilight and I had just gone through, I had a sick feeling that things weren't as hunky-dory as we believed.


With everything seeming to finally come to an end, we returned to the princesses with the news, and the two of them had the chance to have quite an exciting reunion with their old teacher.

"I simply cannot believe how tall you've gotten!" Star Swirl told the two.

"Well, it has been over a thousand years." Celestia answered. "Will you stay here and teach magic once again? My sister and I have such fond memories of your lessons."

"As long as you don't ask for those essays we owed you before you disappeared." Luna joked.

"I'm actually quite more interested in hearing about what happened while I was gone, especially the kinship of a certain princess in the room?" He appeared to send a beckoning glance over to Luna, who only chuckled and slightly turned away in embarrassment. Star Swirl laughed for a second as he brushed through his giant beard. "In all seriousness, I'm not certain Canterlot is where I belong. The realm has grown, and I believe I'll have a look around before I settle in any one place."

"And I long to see what has become of my home." Mage Meadowbrook stated.

"I believe we all do." Mistmane agreed.

"Then I hope you will return to Canterlot on occasion and share the wisdom of your great experience with the next generation of ponies." Celestia offered.

"We would be honored. But if it is wisdom you seek, look no further than your own pupil." He turned the spotlight over to Twilight, who appeared pretty astonished by the honor. "She showed me that the power of friendship is a magical force indeed. And that in turning away from others, you hurt yourself as well."

Twilight smiled warmly in deep appreciation for his words, but she soon shook her head lightly as if there was something he said that she needed to refute.

"No. It wasn't just me. It was everyone. We all had a part to play ever since we all became friends. After all, I would've never become the Princess of Friendship if none of them showed me what friendship really was in the first place. And most of all, I have a wonderful brother to share those lessons and experiences with." She spotted me and wrapped a foreleg around my neck to bring me closer. "It's not about what he's done or what he has, but who he really is. As his lifelong committed partner in royalty, my vow is to stick with him through thick and thin, and that means that I'll never run or even recklessly consider sacrificing him should he, or any of us, be in danger."

Star Swirl nodded in agreement and approached me. "I still owe you an apology for what was discussed when the Pony of Shadows still roamed free. As you may have already known, the one thing I was lacking experience in was true friendship, and your dear princess here showed that to me. While I believe your purpose here in Equestria is to still keep your home and friends safe, I no longer believe that you should simply be sacrificed without question. After all, you've all shown me that different solutions can be found or made, some better than others. It is just like they've said, you are as much of a pony as they are, and I wish you the best of luck."

"Thank you…" I finally expressed in appreciation, but it was too sad and depressing to admit that I wasn't as ecstatic as I should have been.

"You've all done yet another wonderful job keeping this land safe, and we all truly thank you for your efforts." Celestia announced brightly.

Next, I noticed my mother approach me and place a hoof underneath my chin. She lifted it up and allowed me to see her proud and heartwarming smile.

"I understand you're worried about your horn and wings. I cannot tell you for certain whether they're truly gone or not. However, now's not the time you should be sulking. You are with friends and family. They will make any worries of yours disappear."

I smiled lightly in return and nodded back. "Yeah, you're right."

She was right. That was what I thought.

I should have been thankful for being back with everyone else. I should have. But, I couldn't bring myself to be completely and utterly happy. Something big a part of me had been taken away, and I had no idea if I'd ever get it back. If I was now back here with my friends, did that mean that my horn and wings were the sacrifices it spoke of instead?


Luna told me that being with my friends would ease all my troubles, and I believed her. In fact, I went and visited all the friends I could see in the next past few days. Octavia, Vinyl, Derpy, Maud, etc. Ignoring Maud's expressionless face, they were all happy to see me once they had heard what happened. So many hugs were received that day, I was surprised my body hadn't ended up being sore afterwards. As much as I enjoyed seeing them, there was one thing each visit had in common, and it wasn't necessarily a good thing.

There were so many times I came into situations that I was so used to handling with magic or my wings, but the more I came across those situations, the more I realized that my missing horn and wings were something I couldn't just easily ignore.

I tried to ignore that fact and fake a smile for their sake, but it seemed any of them were able to easily see through it. Most importantly, I couldn't even fly with Fluttershy anymore. I couldn't go to her old home in Cloudsdale and visit her family. I wouldn't be able to do any of that from now on, and that had really put a dent in my plans to officially tell Fluttershy how I felt about her.

I told Twilight about it, considering how she was the only one I practically made the promise to. I could probably get by without a horn, but flying with Fluttershy was the thing that really bothered me. And, everyday I spent without being able to do so much as that kicked my spirit closer to the ground.

So, after visiting everyone at least once, I stopped and secluded myself in my room because I didn't believe I was in any condition to nurture these friendships in a positive manner. At some point, Athena appeared by my bedside as I quietly sulked to myself.

"You okay, Alex…?" She asked.

"I don't know…" I returned, the sound of my voice being slightly muffled by my pillow. "I want to be happy and carefree with everyone. I really do. But, it feels like what I used to do in order to do just that was taken away from me. I hate to feel sad about this, especially considering that I used to be just a simple Earth Pony before. But, I just can't stop feeling like something about me never really mattered or existed…"

"It's okay…" She patted me lightly. "You're going through something hard right now. It's totally understandable. Don't beat yourself so much over it. Unlike some time ago, the emotions you're feeling are completely natural. You just need some time."

"Will time really heal this wound?" I asked. "Maybe I'll feel a little better after a while, but then something will just end up happening that reminds me I no longer have the means to get through it anymore. Maybe Twilight will get a stack of paperwork she needs help getting through? Well, there's not really anything I can do to help if I have to use only my mouth. Fluttershy wants to go for a family visit? Well, I'll have to stay behind because I definitely don't have any wings to be there with her. And those are the least problems I can think of." I sighed and shook my head. "I don't want to think about those kinds of things anymore, but I know I'm going to have to face them eventually."

Athena remained silent in the event that I had any more to say. After a moment, she continued speaking.

"You'll find a way to get through it. I know you will. You and Twilight escaped limbo for Celestia's sake. After that, I'm sure you can do anything. Just take it easy for now. Every one of your friends understands, and no one is judging you for feeling what you feel at a time like this."

I thought about her words as I merely stared at the pillow in front of me. At that moment, I remembered something else. A favor I felt that I needed to share.

"Hey, Athena?" I slightly rose up from my bed and faced her. "About Red… Right after we were able to beat him, and right before he disappeared, he…wanted you to know something."

"Huh…?" She looked a bit surprised to hear that.

"As much as he hated what you did, at the same time, he's always had a soft spot for you. In other words, I guess he kind of loved you too."

"Oh…" Athena looked a little sad in return. "…I guess that explains certain things he could've done to me but didn't the times before this happened…"

"But it's over now." I concluded. "That darkness inside of me. The memory from an erased past. You don't need to worry about it anymore. I'd say everyone has an opportunity to create a brand-new future ahead of them. As for me, I'm still trying to figure that out…"

"You will. I know you will." Athena confidently believed.

Unexpectedly, a knock sounded at my door, which slowly opened afterwards.

"Alex? Could you come with me really quick?"

Twilight poked her head in the room and soon began leading us out in the hallway. No one said anything during the walk until we ended up in the throne room.

"What is it, Twilight?" I finally asked. "Is something going on?"

She faced me directly and began speaking.

"I know you haven't come out of your room much recently because of what happened to your wings and horn. It's painfully obvious you're going through some kind of loss, considering they haven't come back to you. It's not the first time you've gone through this, and seeing you like this makes me really sad. Not just me but everyone else too. At first, I thought about maybe trying to give you some of my own magic, but I already figured you'd be against it." She laughed lightly, possibly due to already knowing what kind of reaction I'd have had she gone through with it. "So, then I started brainstorming a few things that I could technically be able to give you some of my magic without having it actually leave my body completely. Eventually, I came up with the idea for this."

She pulled a box out from underneath the table at the center of all the thrones and placed it on top where the map was usually shown.

"…what is it?" I asked.

She gestured her head towards the wrapped box with a silly little bow. "Why don't you go ahead and open it?" She suggested with a soft smile.

Genuinely curious about what she had been offering me, I approached the box and began to carefully untie the bow and tear off the wrapping paper. I popped off the lid with my two front hooves and slowly looked inside. My head was blocking most of the light, so the contents within weren't perfectly clear. However, I was able to make out some kind of fabric and skeletal wiring that almost looked like it was a part of a machine instead.

"Let me get that for you." Twilight walked to my side and focused her magic on the contents within. She carefully brought it out and placed it near the box on the table. After getting a clearer picture of it, my first thought was that she had gotten me a couple of kites.

"Are these…kites?" I asked, feeling a puzzled look contort my face.

Twilight giggled in response. "You could say that they are, but they're not meant to be flown as any regular kite."

"…I don't get it."

Twilight seemed to find my face amusing and giggled a second time. "You didn't lose any brain cells in limbo, did you? They're your new wings."

"H-Huh?!" I was more confused than ever and immediately turned to Twilight for answers. "N-New wings?! What are you even talking about?!"

Before she could speak up, another screeching voice yelled out between us.

"SURPRISE!"

A burst of confetti suddenly rained down upon us. Pinkie Pie had suddenly appeared out of nowhere, and she was soon joined by everyone else. Applejack, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Starlight, and Spike gathered together around me.

"I wanted to also find a way to get you something to substitute as a horn, but that was a lot more complicated than this. So, I hope you aren't disappointed or anything. I remembered what you told me the other day…and I just knew I had to do this for you at the very least."

"I still don't really get it…" I told her. "How exactly are these supposed to be new wings?"

"You didn't forget, did you?" Starlight Glimmer drew closer and pointed out a few things about the stationary wings in front of me. "Remember the time we went out and flew kites? When Twilight said that she wanted to create something that would make you be able to fly again, I immediately looked back to that day. What if we were able to use the way kites are created in order to make artificial wings that a pony could actually use? Through trial and error, I finally ended up designing a skeletal structure that resembles a pegasus's wings as best as it can."

"I made sure to give each prototype a test run." Rainbow Dash proudly stated. "Starlight wasn't going to stop until she was able to come up with a design that would handle even my speeds."

"I provided the fabric." Rarity stepped forward. "I must admit, this project certainly required the use of the highest quality materials, but it was all worth it for you considering how much you've done for each and every one of us."

"I wanted to help too, so instead of letting Rarity use her sewing machine to stitch the fabric together, I hoof-stitched it myself." Fluttershy informed next. "I wanted to make sure that no parts of the fabric were too loose, so I stitched every part of the separated pieces as carefully as I could."

"I didn't do much…" Applejack modestly mentioned. "All I did was pick out the stuff that Starlight would use to stretch the fabric out like a kite. After all, we wouldn't want twigs that could easily break apart while you're flying."

Spike chuckled lightly. "Well, all I did was just help with a few tests when it came to the fabric. As silly as it sounds, one of the things we did to test the fabric was having me blow out fire and see how it'd hold up like if it was a hot air balloon."

"I wrapped the box and made it look super pretty!" Pinkie bellowed out cheerfully.

I had genuinely appreciated all of their efforts to try to make me happy, but there was still one thing I didn't understand about their project.

"T-That's really nice of you all to do, but…you didn't forget about the most important thing, did you? How am I supposed to fly with this? Are you all going to be holding strings underneath me or something?"

"Mm-mm." Twilight shook her head. "That's where I come in. Do you remember Rainbow Dash's pet Tank? Do you remember how he's actually able to fly on his own? Well, I decided to replicate that when it came to this. However, since this is a pony we're talking about, it was going to need a little adjusting. I designed a system at the very base of the wings that touch your body. It's a little difficult getting into the nitty-gritty details, but to sum it all up, I'm able to 'charge' the wings up with magic of my own. In fact, charging the wings from empty to full kind of takes a toll on me, but the good thing is that they should last quite a long while before they need to be charged up again. Of course, that depends on how much you use them. But you don't need to worry about it. Anytime you need a recharge, just come straight to me! Other than that, all we have to do is attach the wings to your body with a belt of some sort and there it is! New wings! Just like Rainbow Dash tested out for you already, all you should need to do to fly is pretty much act like you have wings, to begin with. If you try flying but at the same time remembering that you don't have actual wings on you, they might not exactly work, so I would suggest you give it some practice safely somewhere. Remembering what it feels like to have those 'wing muscles' is extremely important. You already know how it feels like to actually stretch out your wings and flap them. Just pretend that you never lost your wings, and my magic will do the rest of the work! Is that okay?"

She had been explaining how to use them efficiently, but I had to admit I was too focused on something else. Here, I thought it would be impossible to be able to do something like fly without my old wings, yet they all showed me that it's actually not impossible at all. I knew it was most likely going to take some kind of adjusting, but the fact that they were all able to come up with something like this? I couldn't just ignore it and easily accept the gift like it was some random store-bought item.

"I don't know what to say…" I was practically speechless. "You did all of this for me…?"

"Of course, we did." Twilight answered. "We all care about you, and if there was something we were able to do to see you smile again, we wanted to do it, even if it was going to be difficult."

"What are you waiting for?! Try it on!" Rainbow heavily recommended.

"Allow me." Rarity pulled out a thin yet firm-looking belt and attached the wings to it with the use of her magic. From there, she carefully tied the belt around my body. "Do be careful, darling. The fabric is water-resistant, but if they're submerged in water for too long, you may need to let them dry out before you use them again."

It was a little funny. Instead of actually feeling my wings, I only felt the belt that was tied around my body. Even so, Twilight warned against me thinking like that in the first place for a reason. Everyone in the room locked their gazes on me as if they were waiting for me to do something with my new wings.

I shut my eyes and took in a deep breath. I tried to imagine myself still having my wings, and then I went on to imagine myself moving my non-existent muscles. I didn't exactly feel any kind of change, but I heard everyone lightly cry out in astonishment as if I did.

I opened my eyes and spared a glance around to find that my wings had extended out. Granted, nothing about them looked natural, but the fact that I now held the possibility of soaring up in the skies again was what was most important to me.

I turned to Twilight to find her exchanging a heart-warming smile with me. Then, she shot a glance over in the direction of Fluttershy and quickly winked. It didn't take me long to figure out what she had meant by that. Actually, I found myself turning towards Fluttershy and piecing out the path I'd take to keep the promise I made.


On the next day, I stopped by the jewelry store in search of something that spoke out to me. My eyes scanned over the glittering gems by the necklace side of the store. It wasn't until now I began to realize that picking out jewelry for a mare was a lot harder than it sounded. I began having seconds thoughts about going to go get Rarity to help me out with my purchase even though I didn't necessarily want anyone else to know what I had planned to do later on in the evening.

"This one looks nice, don't you think?" I heard a less than pleasant voice share to my right.

"Oh, hey look who it is." I answered with an unenthused voice. "Just like always, you come out at the least convenient times."

"Whatever do you mean? I haven't the slightest clue."

It was Discord, and he was obviously feigning ignorance to the fact that he completely missed out on helping us when it came to the Pony of Shadows. One would think he'd begin helping us out a bit more after what happened with Chrysalis, but after realizing who this creature was, it was wishful thinking when it came to something like that. Now, here he was bothering me about something that just happened to involve Fluttershy.

"Oh, it's nothing. You just missed the Pony of Shadows and Twilight and I getting trapped in limbo. It's nothing really." I mentioned sarcastically.

"Oh, did I? Must've been when I was cleaning out my kitchen."

I took his answer with a chunk load of salt and tried to keep my focus on the gems I had been browsing.

"So, I hear you have plans for Fluttershy, do you?" He brought up.

"Oh, so you can hear that, can you?"

"Well, she is my best friend. I'm sure she'd even want me to be the best creature at her wedding."

"…I'm not so sure that's going to happen…"

"Oh, bother. Why not?"

"Well, I'd kind of rather want the ponies who actually mean something to me and don't give everyone else a hard time to hold that place instead, you know."

"You're no fun. I take it you still haven't warmed up to me?"

I sighed lightly and began to recall a recent instance I feel I could dig up some kind of respect for him for.

"Well…I guess you can't be all bad… You can be a major pain, but you did technically help save Equestria from Chrysalis. And…the fact that you were willing to throw away your entire existence just to make Fluttershy comfortable? I guess that's something I can't just ignore."

"Then, how about you and I have some quality 'bro' time?" He shared with a somewhat innocent yet mischievous grin.

Of course, the answer was obvious.

"Yeah…no, thanks."

In the end, Discord stuck around for a little bit longer before he surprisingly found himself intrigued with something else and left me alone. I managed to make my purchase and head back outside.

"Ah, there he is." I came across a familiar group dining outside of a restaurant. It was Octavia who noticed me first. "It's about time you arrived."

"Why, did you two have plans or something?" Vinyl asked the same question that had been boggling in my head.

"You could say that. After all, he's my bodyguard. Isn't that right, bodyguard?" She turned to me with an unreadable smile on her face.

"Uh…huh?"

I wanted to believe it was a joke, but at the same time, I was hoping she didn't misunderstand something I might've said sometime earlier.

"A bodyguard, huh? That sounds pretty cool." Vinyl thought about, seeming to take Octavia seriously.

"Mm-hm. He accompanies me every time I go out to a performance. And, he doesn't leave until I'm safely back home. Sometimes he may even stay for some nice hot tea."

Okay, she's definitely joking.

"Hm." Vinyl rubbed her chin. "Kinda sounds like he's more than a bodyguard."

"Who's knows?" Octavia returned a devilish smile. "There might be more that happens behind the scenes."

"Okay, did I miss something here?" I finally said, feeling as if things had been taking a wrong turn.

"Not to worry. Just a little joke." Octavia reassured with an innocent grin this time.

"Wait…so he's not your bodyguard?" Vinyl asked with a puzzled look on her face.

"Oh! You had some mail!" Derpy exclaimed to me from between them. "Did you get it? I left it with Spike this morning."

"I don't think I did. Thanks, Derpy. I actually have to get going. I have some big plans tonight."

"See you later tonight then." Octavia winked.

Despite her comment, I was more than sure she was just joking. Nevertheless, I waved them off and proceeded to return back home.

Once at the castle, I retrieved the mail Derpy had mentioned to me about and found that I had received a couple of letters. One had apparently come from some pony I hadn't talked to in a while. My old foster mother had sent me a brief letter asking me how life had been going for me as well as how things had been going for her. Based on what I had read, it seemed like the old stallion was still the same. Despite that, she actually attached a few photos with the letter.

Sparing a glance at them, I found that they were apparently album covers of my former sister Starlight and her band. It seemed she was still working hard at producing her music, and most noticeably was still rocking that new manestyle that revealed so much of who she really was instead of hiding it like before. Overall, I was glad that they were doing well. I thought about maybe coming up with a chance to see them again sometime soon, but I decided to leave it for now as I brought the second letter up to read.

This one came from Coco Pommel from Manehattan. I quickly tore it open and pulled out the neatly folded paper inside.

Hi Alex!

I hope you're doing great. I really want to see you and Athena again! I've got a lot I'd like to share, and I hope you do as well! Plus, I came up with a design that Athena might love, but it'd probably be best if you kept that a secret from her until you actually come and visit. If you're busy right now, I'm sure she wouldn't stop bugging you to make some time to come over if she knew. Whenever you have time just let me know, okay?

Lots of hugs and kisses,

Coco Pommel.

P.S. The "kisses" part isn't weird, right? If it is, you can just ignore it. Sorry!

I couldn't help but smile at her well-meant message. Setting aside her letter for now as well, I began pulling a few sheets of paper of my own and began brainstorming a few ideas in my head as I tapped the pencil against my chin.

I absolutely missed my magic, but I couldn't let that stop me from getting these plans of mine out the window.


After a few preparations, I finally enacted the first step of my plan and invited Fluttershy out for a walk near her animal sanctuary. It provided a nice ambience to listen to in the background as long as the animals weren't being too rowdy.

"I know this isn't the first time I've been here, but it's still a little hard to believe how far you've come." I told her as we observed the sanctuary in full from a short distance away. "This is living proof that achieving your dreams is completely possible, even if they're a little difficult, right?"

"Hehe, right." She wholeheartedly agreed. "Although, this is only one of the first of my dreams I want to make a reality. But, enough about me. How about you? Have you tried your new wings? Do they work well?"

"I actually haven't gotten around to using them much yet." I admitted a little embarrassingly. "I've been trying to get something done first."

"Oh?" She lifted her head in interest. "What could that be? Do you need help with it?"

"N-Not exactly…" I suddenly began feeling nervous unexpectedly as she leaned her head closer to me. "Hey, um…"

"Mm?" She tilted her head adorably as her cute eyes latched onto mine.

"Let's see…" It was hard to believe that I felt most vulnerable when it came to choking on my words now of all times. "How long have we've been together?"

"Oh, my." She placed a hoof to her mouth. "Quite a long while. Why do you ask?"

"Heh heh. It's just…I guess there's been something on my mind for a while now. I've tried bringing it up before, but I always felt scared to for some reason. I'm not really sure why. Maybe I was scared of what you might say, or maybe I was scared of something bad happening to me. Either way, after what we just went through, I feel like I should just pony up and say it. So…um…Fluttershy?"

"Huh?" She looked back at me with a genuinely curious expression.

There was no way I could back out now, even if I wanted to.

"…how do you feel about…you know…um…spending the rest of our lives with each other?"

"'Spending the rest'…" She repeated to herself at first as if she didn't quite understand the question. Then, all of a sudden, her cheeks began giving off an aura of heat as if they had been searing from fire. "W-W-Wait…! A-A-Alex?! I-Is this w-w-what I think it is?!"

"Uhh, maybe?" I slipped out a stupid grin as I rubbed the back of my head. "Well…to tell you the truth…I don't think it's the 'official' way of doing it, but…I needed to tell you somehow." I paused myself for a moment and tried to take in a deep breath before I continued. "You and I both know of all the things we've been through together. I'm not sure either of us thought we'd be here today from the first day we met each other, but it happened. What I'm trying to say…is…well…I want to make a promise to you, if it's okay with you, Fluttershy. I'd say we're still really young, so I don't want to rush into things if you think we still have time, but I do want to tell you that I'm open to the idea of moving our relationship to the next level when the two of us are absolutely ready. I don't want to jump straight into that level because we both have dreams that we'd like to still have accomplished, and I'm not sure if jumping to that level would have any negative effect on them. At the same time, I wouldn't want you to think that what we have doesn't look like it's going anywhere. So…"

I finally pulled out the bag I had been hiding underneath my faux wing and pulled out the piece of jewelry I had bought earlier in the day. Fluttershy's gaze was strictly glued to it as I pulled it out. The chain unraveled until a pink stone resembling a butterfly hung at the very bottom. It was a necklace I picked out just for her, and I was hoping she wouldn't find it too cheesy or anything.

"I got this for you." I continued. "See, I know nothing when it comes to what we do now. I didn't know if there was a specific kind of ring I was supposed to get you or something, but I decided to go with my heart instead. What I'm trying to say is…I want this to be a symbol of my promise to you here and now. This is me telling you that I'm ready for whenever you want to move to the next step. And, when you are, then we can decide what that next step is together. How about it? Is that okay with you?"

Her lips shook as tears began rushing out through the corner of her eyes. I decided to take the initiative and place it around her neck, spending some time to observe it underneath the light of the moon.

"It looks good on you." I mentioned with a warm smile.

Almost immediately after, she thrust her chest towards me and wrapped her hooves tightly around my neck. "Of course, it's okay with me." She finally said. "I…I want to spend the rest of my life with you too. In fact, one of my dreams in life is to…well…you know…have a happy family with you. I've even dreamt about the day I'd get to be your bride."

"…then…do you want to start taking the next step?" I asked.

Instead of giving me some kind of sign like nodding or saying yes, she surprised me when she giggled afterwards.

"You are right about one thing." She reminded as she gazed up at me with a tear-ridden smile. "I think we might still have some time to spare before that happens. We've been together for a long while, but maybe we can still give it a few years? Of course, that doesn't mean I refuse your promise."

"Oh, yeah! Of course. I understand. As I said, I don't really know about anything when it comes to something like this. All I want is whatever you want and only when you're completely comfortable and confident with the decision."

Her smile stretched as she closed her eyes and nodded as a few more tears fell along her cheeks.

"So, um…does this mean…we're like…engaged?" I couldn't help but stupidly ask.

She giggled once more and looked at me with a somewhat mischievous smile. "I don't know. Are we engaged?"

The look on her face shook my nerves and made me feel just a tad uneasy. Before I could give her some kind of answer, I suddenly heard a yell out of nowhere not too far from us.

"SAY YES!"

Fluttershy and I quickly looked around, heavily surprised by the sudden outburst. It was a little hard to see, but not too far off, we noticed quite an odd group of darkened shapes huddled around various bushes and trees. After staring out towards the particular sight for a few seconds, one of those separated and came towards us and revealed itself.

"Sorry… Didn't meant to interrupt…" It was Twilight, and she had been giggling to herself sheepishly. "Pinkie just had to scream out like that."

The rest of the group reconvened with Twilight in front of us.

"Sorry! Got a little excited there." Pinkie apologized as she stuck out her tongue in a silly manner.

"We heard certain rumors and we just had to come and investigate!" Rarity admitted.

"I swear I didn't tell anypony!" Twilight leaned over to my ear and whispered.

Discord…

"Don't get the wrong idea, now." Applejack informed. "We actually were wantin' to throw a party and celebrate."

"Yeah. We just saved Equestria for the millionth time. There's also the old Pillars, and you got your new wings!" Rainbow listed out.

"Looks like something else just happened tonight too…" Starlight teased.

"Oh, come on. You don't need to start making a big deal about it…" I muttered in embarrassment. After all, this was supposed to be solely a private matter between the two of us.

"I'm going to have a new sister!" Athena popped out of nowhere and flung her hooves around me. "Oh em gee, I'm so happy."

"This is going to be one of the most bestest and funnest parties ever!" Pinkie nearly screamed. "Can't forget about the music, right?!"

"Aw, yeah!" Another voice chimed in.

From there, three more ponies joined the group.

"I've got just the right beats for the occasion." Vinyl excitedly shared.

Near her, Octavia noticed me and approached me with a sly smirk. "I did tell you that I'd be seeing you tonight, didn't I?"

"Can't forget about muffins!" Derpy held one up as if it had been some kind of holy relic.

Spirals of various colored lights suddenly spun and sprayed over the night sky above us, leaving behind a shimmering and dazzling glow.

"Or the Great and Powerful Trixie!"

"So cool." A deadpan voiced joined.

"W-What's going on here?!" I could feel myself begin to freak out from the sudden influx of different mares.

"I hope we're not late." Another new batch of ponies arrived unexpectedly, but this time, it was the princesses.

"We got a little worried when we saw the fireworks." Standing beside Luna and Celestia, Cadence chuckled heartily.

"How many ponies did you invite?!" I felt claustrophobic all of a sudden.

"The more the merrier, am I right?" Pinkie chortled brightly.

"That's fine and all, but could we maybe move this someplace else?" Fluttershy delicately asked. "Some of the animals here may be already sleeping."

"Totes! But, there's just something I want to make clear to Alex first." Athena shared before turning to me. "I'm glad that you're looking pretty dandy now. As cheesy as it sounds, when you're happy, I'm happy. Before we get to partying, I just want to say that I'm so glad to be here with you now. You've done so much for not only me but for all of us. And, that's why I want to tell you this: I honestly believe that your wings and horn will come back to you, even if you have to earn them again. After all, what made them possible in the first place was that light we share, am I right? And as you can see, that light still exists. I'm literally living proof of it, hehe! So, keep your head held up high, you hear me?! I think you have so much more great things ahead of you!"

"Wow…" Twilight commented as if she was speechless after observing Athena's personal statement. "I didn't know we could start with speeches already."

"I think you should save yours for the wedding…" Starlight patted Twilight on the back, looking as if she was expecting an extremely lengthy one from her.

As overwhelmed as I felt by the many friends around me, I also felt extremely warm and welcomed at the same time. I believed I had already starting realizing this before when the others had given me the gift of new wings, but it was even more apparent now.

I was surrounded by so much love, it was practically unreal.

Even if I didn't ever get my wings or horn back, these girls that stood in front of me were definitely worth the sacrifice.

"Everyone, thank you…" I expressed, feeling myself start to get a little too emotional. "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for each and every one of you, so really…thank you."

From the bottom of my heart.

Author's Note:

For those of you that have stuck around until this point, I can't thank you enough. Unfortunately, I think this is where I call it quits. As you may have heard from me before, it's hard to say that this last chapter is the end. I sometimes bring up the possibility of doing one last run once the show ends for good, but at this moment, I can't see that happening anytime soon. As of right now, I think I'll go ahead and mark this story as complete. In the event that I, for some reason, do come back, I can always mark it back until it actually comes to an end. But, like I said, the honest truth is that I might have no reason to return anyway.

It's been an...interesting run, and I like to say that I've learned a lot from the seven years working with this story. Regardless whether this story really is "bad" or "good", I can say it was definitely a learning experience for me.

I'm glad I was able to get this story to a suitable stopping point instead of just dropping it like many other authors have done with their works. Once again, thank you to those that have stuck around and supported this story.

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Comments ( 15 )

What chapter was it that cadence finds out about Alex’s sister? I can’t find it. Or did I imagine it?

9400191
I don’t watch the show anymore but I still like mlp

I've gotten through halfway through this story but is it possible that Alex may get romantically involved with twilight cause if it is then Alex would be with both twilight and fluttershy.

When did they meet red. Also is there more coming since it's not marked as completed

*sees description* hmmm yes the floor here is made out of floor

Show has ended. What's the state of this fanfic?

9922397
He did 1-7. Skipped a few episodes of 6 and a lot of 7 I think. Ah well, his story was a good one.

When will you be uploading the next part of the story?

10061142
Twilight flopple!!!:rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh:

My problem with this story is that it retrace the shows episode, however there is a little bit that’s OG, but almost only 1%.
Every victory or success the mane six earns Alex gets.

Great story first fanfiction I've read

And now, I attempt to read this story once more! Hopefully, I can actually make it all the way through this time. And, in fact, this is the first time after actually watching the show that I'll be reading this story. So now I have a bit of extra perspective.

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