• 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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Over a Barrel

Episode 21 – Over a Barrel

There was a knock at my front door. I suddenly woke up with a jolt and looked outside my window. It's still very dark… who would be knocking at my door at this time? There was another knock. I lazily removed myself from the bed and walked sleepily down the stairs with careful steps. When I reached the front door, I slowly opened it to see a wonderful surprise.

"Hi, Alex…" Her hooves were shyly dragging on the ground.

"Fluttershy…?" I tiredly asked. "What are you doing here so late? Are you okay? Is something wrong?"

"Oh…" Fluttershy blushed lightly. "Don't worry. I'm okay. Um… sorry for waking you up so early… it's just that Applejack told us to wake up because we're going on a train to Appleloosa…"

"What…?" I slowly asked, confused.

Fluttershy smiled. "Come on. I'll tell you on the way to the train."

As we embarked towards the train station, Fluttershy explained the whole situation for me.

"Applejack is going to take one of her apple trees to her cousin in Appleloosa, as a gift, you know?"

"I see…" I yawned sleepily.

Fluttershy giggled. "Don't worry; you can get all the sleep you want on the train."

When we arrived at the train station, Applejack had just finished loading up her tree in some luxurious part of the train.

"Hey there!" Applejack exclaimed as she noticed us. "Mighty early, huh, Alex?"

I just shrugged with sleepy eyes. I didn't have the energy to say anything back. We began boarding the train, which was going to be pulled by several large stallions. The train included several cars as we passed through each one of them. The lights were lit in the middle of each car as we walked through. Finally, we reached the car where we would be sleeping in. Every pony began settling in their own bed, but it looked as if they were too excited to get some sleep. Twilight noticed Applejack walking into another car after ours.

"Hey, Applejack, where are you going?" Twilight asked.

"Oh, I'm just going to make sure Bloomberg is nice and safe!"Applejack responded and walked into the other train car.

The train began moving slightly at first, but then it accelerated to a faster speed. I had climbed into the bed below Fluttershy and fell on it. It honestly felt so good to be in the warmth and comfort of the bed. Along with the bed, there was a window right next to me, which presented the fast movement outside. There were also small curtains to place in front of the window in case if there were any lights or things outside that were a bother. I left it as it was and closed my eyes, placing the covers over me.

"Bloomberg?" Rarity announced. "How is it that an apple tree gets the best private sleeper car, while we have to be cramped in the same car? I am going to seriously talk some sense into that pony!" Rarity began walking after Applejack into the other car.

All I wanted was some sleep…

After a while, Rarity came back into the car looking upset and placed curlers in her mane, including other accessories for her type of beauty sleep. She jumped on her bed and placed the blankets over her whole body. The other girls continued talking excitedly about their trip towards Appleloosa. I didn't really mind, however. Instead, I was resting peacefully, still hearing their voices.

I heard Spike groan. "Do you guys mind? I was up early fire-roasting those snacks you're all eating, and I'm pooped!"

"Uh, speaking of, some of these popcorn kernels didn't get popped." Rainbow Dash replied.

"Okay, fine..." A sudden burst of flame flashed near me, causing me to open my eyes to see Spike burn Rainbow Dash's entire popcorn bag, except for the one small kernel she was talking about. "Good Night!"

"Uhh... Maybe it's time we all got a little shut-eye. We've got a big day ahead of us tomorrow." Twilight suggested and switched the light in the lantern off.

"Awwww!" The girls groaned.

Soon, the entire car was filled with silence. I closed my eyes to finally get a long sleep, but Rainbow Dash's voice suddenly sounded.

"Psst! Pinkie Pie, you asleep yet?" She whispered.

"No, are you asleep yet?" Pinkie Pie answered.

Rainbow Dash walked over near me, bringing a lit candle to where Pinkie Pie's bed was. "If I was sleeping, how could I have asked you if you were asleep?"

"Oh yeah!" Pinkie Pie giggled.

"When we get to Appleloosa, you think we'll have to carry that heavy tree all the way from the train to the orchard?"

"What tree? You mean Bloomberg?"

"...No, Fluttershy." Rainbow Dash whispered with sarcasm.

"Fluttershy's not a tree, silly!"

"What's going on?" Twilight asked, breaking the whisper chain.

"Rainbow Dash thinks Fluttershy's a tree!" Pinkie Pie answered.

"I do not think she's a tree! I was just –

"Did you say she was a tree?"

"No. Well.. Yes. But not exactly –

"Ya know she's not a tree, right?"

"She's not a tree, Dashy!"

"I'd like to be a tree..." Fluttershy suddenly added in the conversation.

"Oh for pete's sake!" Spike's voice erupted, making me open my eyes again and look sleepily over to him. I could see his dark but small body grab a pillow and jump off the bed. He walked to the cart the apple tree was in and slammed the door shut.

"Well that was kind of huffy…" Twilight announced.

"Huffy the magic dragon!" Fluttershy added, happily.

They all began giggling until Rarity sat up from her bed. "Would you all be QUIET... NOOOOW!" Rarity screamed, presenting her face that was covered with a facial mask. She scared the girls, causing them to scream and immediately blow out the candle, rushing back into their beds.

I sighed and closed my eyes again.

I had received some sleep, but I woke up a while later. I sat up on the bed and looked around. I could hardly see, but it seemed that all the girls were sleeping. I looked back at my bed and stared at it for a moment. After, I turned to look out the window to observe the scenery flow by. It began raining outside as I started hearing the rain drops splash on the ground and on the window. That's good… the rain will help me relax and go to sleep… However, something suddenly came into the picture and caught my eye. It wasn't a good surprise…not at all…

I saw that dark pony again… the one that is like… a shadow… I stared at it as it stared back at me. The duration, what seemed like minutes, was actually just a few seconds as the train rushed by. I continued staring at the window, starting to feel a little fear draw over my heart. I placed my head closer towards the window, attempting to see if the shadow was still there. Suddenly, lightning flashed, covering the outside in a quick and blinding light. The instant the flash disappeared, the shadow reappeared, right outside the window. For those brief seconds, I could see it clearly. The dark pony wasn't any pony at all… its whole body was dark…black… and its eyes glowed with complete whiteness. I was immediately startled, releasing a gasp which caused me to fall off my bed. I landed with a loud thud sound, causing the other girls to wake up quickly and turn on the light.

"What's going on?" Twilight asked.

Fluttershy looked down and noticed me. "Alex!" She flew over to me. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah…" I answered, rubbing my head with my hoof.

"Alex, what happened to you?" Twilight questioned my position.

"Um…" I tried to answer. I didn't want to worry them, so I answered briefly. "Just fell out of my bed… that's all…"

The girls returned to their slumber. Fluttershy told me to be more careful before returning to her bed on top of mine. I climbed back on my bed and looked out the window. It's gone now… but why do I have this feeling that it still lingers?

I pulled the curtains on the window to where it separated me from the outside. I lay down on my bed and pulled my blankets over my body. I thought for a moment and finally closed my eyes.

I had suddenly fell out of bed once again, but it wasn't the same issue… something had bumped onto the train. The girls immediately rushed over to the window as Fluttershy noticed my condition and quickly helped me up.

"A buffalo stampede!" Twilight exclaimed.

"I just love their accessories!" Rarity commented as the girls continued their awing.

"They're getting awfully close to the train…" Twilight announced in a worried tone.

Fluttershy and I rushed over to another window to view the situation going on outside. We saw many buffalo running and they were slowly getting nearer towards the train. Suddenly, several of them threw themselves upon the train, almost taking us off the tracks. Their push caused the girls to be thrown across the car. Fluttershy had been thrown herself, but I caught her with my forelegs and attempted to prevent her from being harmed. The girls shouted and screamed as the train shook forcefully.

Pinkie Pie had somehow regained her balance easily and looked out the window. "Oooh, looky! Now they're doing TRICKS!"

Helping Fluttershy up, we rushed over to the window to begin seeing buffalo pile up on each other. This smaller buffalo ran towards the other buffalo, jumping on one and jumping on the other one that had piled up.

"Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Now do a back-flip!" Pinkie Pie wished. Instead, it jumped over to the top of the train. "Or... Just jump?"

We turned around and heard the noises of the footsteps above us head towards the car the tree was in.

"Hmm…Something tells me this isn't a circus act." Rainbow Dash flew outside to where she was most likely going to confront the animal.

I began running to the other car where the tree was in.

"Alex! Where are you going?" Fluttershy asked, worriedly.

"I need to get Spike! He's still asleep in there!" I responded and continued through the door.

I arrived to see Spike sleeping soundly, which was not such a huge surprise. I raced over to the bed the tree and Spike were in. "Spike! Wake up!" I exclaimed.

"Wha who huh?" He announced when he was startled awake. He looked at me. "Alex, what are you doing here?" He asked.

"Buffalo are surrounding the train for some reason. We have to get out of here, c'mon!"

Suddenly, the car stopped moving and began heading the other direction. We looked over to the window to see the train continue moving while we were being pushed away by the buffaloes surrounding the car.

"Heeeelp!" Spike cried out to the ponies who were staring at us in shock. "Heeeelp!" Spike cried again. Spike looked over to me, panicking. "Oh no! What are we going to do?" He quickly asked. "What are the buffaloes going to do when they find us? NOOOOOOOOOOO!"

"Calm down Spike." I quickly responded. "The buffalo will hear us."

All of a sudden, the car stopped. The doors were thrown open revealing a horde of buffalo staring at me.

"Pony!" One of them exclaimed. They placed weight on the car to the angle where I fell out and landed in front of all of them. They formed a circle around me and looked at me very seriously. I could only look around with my eyes and analyze them. There was no way I could defend myself from all these huge buffalo… "Get him!" They ordered and began preparing to charge straight at me but Spike gave out a loud yell.

"STOP!" He presented himself from the car in front of all the buffaloes. The buffaloes immediately ceased and stared right at him in widened eyes. They instantly bowed in front of him, making both him and I very surprised at the scene. "…Uh… okay…? What's going on?"

"We honor dragons very much." One stated.

Spike formed a grin on his face. "Well then… My name is Spike!"

"What would you like us to do with the pony?" They asked Spike.

"Leave him alone, of course! He's with me!"

They backed off and gave me some room.

"What is your other wish, Spike?" They asked, continuing to bow.

"Hm…" Spike thought, tapping a finger on his chin.

Suddenly we heard a familiar voice from a distance. "Oh my gosh, so am I!" It sounded like Pinkie Pie's voice… The buffaloes heard this as well and immediately rushed over to where the noise came from.

"And the more of us there are out here, the more chances of us getting..." The buffaloes had all grouped around Rainbow Dash, who was holding Pinkie Pie. They noticed how all the buffaloes surrounded them and Rainbow Dash formed a worried expression on her face. "Caught." Rainbow Dash observed the crowd gathered around them. "Run, Pinkie, I'll hold 'em off. Save yourself!"

"Spike! Tell them to leave them alone!" I exclaimed at Spike after noticing the buffaloes grow angry.

"Don't worry, I've got this!" He replied and began running over to the buffaloes, just as they were about to charge. "Stop!" The buffaloes immediately stopped and looked behind them to see Spike coming their way. They made room for him to meet with Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie. "Dash, Pinkie... 'Sup? Hey, no worries I know those guys. They're cool."

"If you say so, Spike. Catch ya later, bro." One of them replied and led most of the buffaloes out of the area, leaving a few buffaloes, most likely to see that Spike is safe.

Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie were confused and stunned. "Uh… What just happened?" Rainbow Dash asked.

Spike looked over to the remaining buffalo. "Hey, do you guys have like a place to crash? We're pretty worn out, and I'm STARVING!"

The buffaloes looked at each other and nodded. "Follow us, Spike. We shall lead you to our village."

"Great!" Spike replied and one of the buffaloes carried him as they began taking him to their village.

Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, and I looked at each other and shrugged. We began following Spike.

Once we arrived at the village, the buffalo had already seated Spike near a fireplace. It seemed he had already had some time to spend there, way before we arrived, due to the buffalo carrying him, of course. Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, and I looked around in the village. We met with Spike and took a seat near him around the fireplace.

"Well, tell us what happened already, Spike!" Rainbow Dash began.

"Oh, yeah!" Spike remembered and began explaining. "Well you see… after we were separated from you guys, the buffalo stopped and found us. They got Alex first, but…" He cleared his throat and brought out his chest. "I stopped them." I rolled my eyes. "Anyways, seems they took us by mistake.. And they feel awful about it, too, poor guys. Fortunately, they totally respect dragons, so they treat me like an honored guest." Spike snapped his fingers, having the buffaloes bring some green goop to us. "Still don't like ponies much, though... But you're with me, so it's cool."

Rainbow Dash sniffed the bowl and released a disgusted face. She pushed away the bowl and stood up. "Huh… Well, I still don't trust them. I say we turn tail and bail while we still –

Pinkie Pie was heard garbling up the mush in bowl. She literally contained her face in the bowl. She finished licking the contents in the bowl and removed her face. She had the mush all over her face and even mane. "Before we finish EATING? Are you loco in the coco?" The young buffalo we had seen earlier brought Spike some gemstones. "Can I please have more of that mushy stuff, whatever it was?"

"Certainly." The young buffalo answered. "And, Mr. Spike, you like gemstones, yes?"

"Turquoise. Mmm!" Spike began munching on the gems.

I looked over at Pinkie Pie who was trying to lick the mush off her face and mane. I sighed and pushed over my bowl to her. "Here… just take mine Pinkie Pie."

Her eyes glowed. "YUM! Thanks, Alex!" She began pummeling her face in the mush and throwing the food, with her tongue, down her throat.

Spike had finished the bowl of jewels and was licking the leftovers in the bowl. "Heh hah! This here is Little Strongheart, and these are my friends Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash." He introduced the young buffalo to us.

Rainbow Dash had turned over to Little Strongheart and instantly grew an aggressive expression. "You!"

"You!" Little Strongheart returned, but instead in a more surprised tone.

"That's it!" Rainbow Dash spoke out boldly. "We are outta here!" Rainbow Dash began leaving the area, but when she noticed that Pinkie Pie wasn't following, she grabbed her tail and began dragging her out. Little Strongheart noticed this and immediately rushed over to stop her.

"Wait! Please accept my apologies for what happened on the train, we didn't mean for anyone to be hurt."

"Yeah, right." Rainbow Dash turned away and began heading the other direction, but Little Strongheart ran in front of her.

"We only wanted the tree. The settler ponies have overtaken the land and have planted an orchard all over it! Because of their thoughtlessness, we can no longer run over our traditional stampeding grounds..."

"Huh?" They both questioned.

"I think it's time they met Chief Thunderhooves." Spike suggested.

Little Strongheart had brought the chief. Along with him, were other buffaloes. Little Strongheart had introduced us to him, and he began speaking to us, explaining the whole situation. "Hmmh. We have a long and winding stampeding trail, that we have run upon for many generations." He took a breath. "My father stampeded upon these grounds, And his father before him, And his father before him, And his father before him." The other buffaloes surrounding us in a circle began falling asleep and shaking their heads to stay awake. "And his father before him. And –

"I think they get the idea, Chief." Little Strongheart intervened.

"Hmph. It is a sacred tradition to run the path every year. But this year, these... Settler ponies, these..." He snorted angrily. "Appleloosians!" He snorted more aggressively. Little Strongheart noticed this and placed a hoof on his nose.

"They planted apple trees all over it without asking our permission." She finished.

"Well that's not very nice. Right, Rainbow Dash?" Pinkie Pie asked.

Rainbow Dash sat down and crossed her forelegs. "Hmph..."

"The ponies refused to move their trees, so we are stuck here, and it is not fair!"

"See Rainbow Dash?" Spike asked. "They had a good reason ta –

Rainbow Dash suddenly rose up in the air and landed with a shake, causing all the buffaloes to gasp. She had a very angry expression on her face. "Huh-ah... I'll say they had a good reason! C'mon. We have some apple-pickin' Appleloosians to talk to!"

"Wait." I announced, making them all look towards me. "I know it was wrong for them to settle without your permission… but… you can't just go and force them to take down their trees. They probably really needed the land to survive… you guys need to just negotiate on what to do…"

The chief stared coldly at me. "And what if you are just another one of them, pony? What if you're just trying to keep the land you stole from us!"

"I've never been to Appleloosa in my whole life! I just don't want anything to get worse because two wrongs don't make a right!"

The chief snorted. "We will do what we please, pony." The chief turned to Little Strongheart. "You will take them back to the town to explain why they must move the trees."

Little Strongheart bowed. "Of course, chief." She looked towards us. "Let's go." Little Strongheart, along with Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, and Spike, began walking towards the town.

I sighed and just followed them in silence.

Only a short distance away from the town, we spotted a group of five ponies on the road, running straight towards us. This frightened Little Strongheart and she jumped behind a rock to hide. The group of ponies immediately stopped before us in surprised expressions. After having some time to analyze them, I noticed it was actually Rarity, Twilight, Applejack, Fluttershy, and another pony!

"Hi guys!" Pinkie Pie exclaimed.

Fluttershy immediately noticed me and reacted by hopping and tackling me to the ground, joyfully. "Alex! We're so glad you're safe!"

The other ponies ran over to Spike, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie Pie, exclaiming in joy. "How did you escape from the buffalo?" Twilight asked.

"We didn't!" Pinkie Pie answered.

Little Strongheart hopped out from the rock and rubbed her hoof on the ground shyly.

"We promised the buffalo a chance to talk." Rainbow Dash added.

"Talk?" I intervened. "You mean demand?"

"No, it's not like that… we just want to talk…" Little Strongheart responded to my comment.

"Oh, yeah? 'Bout what?" Applejack questioned with a hint of aggression.

"We brought our new pal, Little Strongheart here, to explain to the Appleloosians why they should move the apple trees off buffalo land." Rainbow Dash replied.

"That information would be quite help –

"That's weird. 'cause my cousin, Braeburn, here, wants to explain to the buffalo why they should let the apple trees stay." Applejack interrupted the pony who tried to talk.

"That would be a useful thing to –

"The land is theirs! You planted the trees not knowing that. Honest mistake. Now, you just gotta move 'em, that's all." Rainbow Dash interrupted Little Strongheart.

"Well... Eheh..." Braeburn chuckled nervously.

"They busted their rumps here! An' now they're suppos't ta bust their rumps again, just 'cause some buffalo won't stampede someplace else?" Applejack defended.

"Plant the trees somewhere else!" Rainbow Dash continued to argue.

"Where? It's the only flatland around these parts!"

"The BUFFALO had it FIRST!"

"The settler ponies need it to LIVE!"

"Come ON Applejack!"

"That's enough!" I exclaimed as I stood up. "Each side has their own good reasons, but arguing is not the way to fix this issue!"

Pinkie Pie suddenly gasped. "Hey! I've got an idea! Get every buffalo and pony to come in town and I have a foolproof plan to bring them together!" Pinkie Pie rushed off, leaving us confused.

Nonetheless, we did as she asked and managed to gather all the ponies in the town and all the buffalo from the land towards a stage in the middle of the town. The entire crowd gathered around the stage and whispered with many questions on why they were there in the first place… especially with the buffalo. Suddenly, a piano started playing a song, catching all our attention towards the stage. Spike was playing the piano on the right hand of the stage while Pinkie Pie poked out her head from the closed curtains, grinning greatly. She turned her head towards Spike, waving over to him while he returned a thumbs up. …What was Pinkie Pie going to do now…?

Suddenly, the curtains shot open and revealed a closed clam in the middle of the stage. The clam slowly opened, revealing Pinkie Pie, who was lying down. She sat up and began singing.

"We may be divided

But of you all, I beg

To remember we're all hoofed

At the end of each leg…" A couple of ponies softly picked her up from the clam and placed her on the stage.

"No matter what the issue" She began bouncing around the stage.

"Come from wherever you please

All this fighting gets you nothing

But hoof and mouth disease

Arguing's not the way

Hey, come out and play!

It's a shiny, new day

So, what do you say?

You gotta share

You gotta care" Pinkie Pie danced on the stage as the rest of us could only stare in silence.

"It's the right thing to do

You gotta share

You gotta care

And there'll always be a way through" Pinkie Pie popped up between the sheriff of the town and Little Strongheart.

"Both our diets, I should mention

Are completely vegetarian" Pinkie Placed an apple in the mouth of Little Strongheart and the sheriff.

"We all eat hay and oats

Why be at each other's throat?

You gotta share

You gotta care

It's the right thing to do

And there'll always be a way

Thro-o-o-o-ugh!" Pinkie Pie finished.

The audience only returned silence. Spike's clapping was only heard. "All right, Pinkie Pie! That was FANTASTIC! What a great song! You're right on!"

The sheriff and the chief looked at each other for a moment and nodded. "It appears that Sheriff Silverstar and I have come to... An agreement."

"We have." The sheriff agreed, raising the hopes of the ponies as they smiled with open mouths.

"That was the worst performance we've ever seen..." The chief answered, disappointing and surprising Pinkie Pie.

"Teh... Abso-tively!"

"The time for action... Hmh... Is upon us!" The chief began with a threatening tone in his voice. "Our stampede will start at high noon tomorrow. And if the orchard is still there, we'll flatten IT! AND the whole town!"

"But, Chief!" Little Strongheart tried to reason.

"An' we Appleloosians say you'd better bring yer best, 'cause we'll be ready and waitin'." The sheriff counterattacked.

"But, Sheriff..." Braeburn walked towards the sheriff.

The buffalo and ponies went their separate ways to prepare for the fight that was to come.

"Oh... That wasn't the message of my song at all..." Pinkie Pie commented, sadly.

I looked over to Spike. "Spike, take Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie to the buffalo and see if you can prevent them from going on with this mess. The rest of us will talk with the sheriff and see if we can knock some sense into them."

"Got it!" Spike responded. "C'mon Pink!" Spike dragged Pinkie Pie by her tail while Rainbow Dash flew after them.

I looked over to Fluttershy, Applejack, Twilight, and Rarity. "C'mon let's get to the town quick!" They nodded and began following me.

When we arrived at the town, every pony was already boarding their windows, locking their doors, and creating barricades throughout the whole perimeter of the town.

"I want my kin ta have what they need to live... But a storm's a-brewin' here. And I don't like the look of it." Applejack commented.

"We've just got to talk some sense into them before somepony gets hurt." Twilight replied.

We attempted to try to talk the ponies of the town out of fighting, but they were stubborn as mules. Every time we tried to talk, they continued on climbing in their windows and shutting their doors. When we reached their orchards, there were bucking apples, but for defensive uses… Twilight tried to get one of them to stop and talk but all she received was an irritated look. "Why won't anypony be rational and reasonable?" She exclaimed.

We returned back in town where they had just finished barricading the perimeter of the town with wood and nails. I knew that that wouldn't stand a chance against the buffalo…

"Sheriff, if we could only –

Applejack tried to talk to the sheriff but he ignored her and kept moving. We turned over to the bakery to see ponies baking thousands of apple pies. Lastly, in the town square, they raised a flag with their emblem planted proudly on it. The ponies cheered and threw their hats upwards to the sky.

Fluttershy looked worriedly at me. "Alex, there must be something we can do to stop this!"

I lowered my head and closed my eyes. "The way things are going… it looks like the settlers have already made their decision…"

Noon came as fast as the settlers prepared themselves for the attack by the buffalo. Many of the buffalo gathered above a cliff and stared down at us. The settler ponies looked very frightened by the huge mob they formed. The clock was only a few minutes away from hitting twelve. Many ponies watched from the inside of their houses as carts full of apple pies made their way over to the perimeter.

"Come on!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed while she tapped her forehead with her hoof. "THINK. Think, think, think, think, think, think, think!"

The sound of a bell tolled, striking suspense in each of us. The bell continued ringing throughout the silence that filled the entire area. I could only observe as the settler ponies stared beyond the town at the horde of buffalo waiting at the cliff. The girls, including Braeburn, formed worried and frightened expressions as they could only wait to see when the buffalo will make their move. Braeburn took another look at the clock. It was noon.

As we waited for the buffalo to strike, I saw Little Strongheart place a hoof on the chief's face.

Rainbow Dash gasped as she observed what had just happened. "He's not gonna do it!"

So that was it? It was as if Little Strongheart had told him to think twice about what he is doing… without moving her lips at all… It was as if she told him to take another look at us and think if it's really the right thing he's doing… It's if—

"whaddaya say?

You got to share

You got to care

It's the right thing to do"

It was Pinkie Pie's voice! No! She's going to mess the entire thing up!

I quickly jumped over the perimeter and ran over to Pinkie Pie, who was in the middle of the tension, as she continued dancing. I could see the chief grow angry on the cliff.

"Pinkie Pie!" I shouted out to her.

"You got to share…" She continued singing. "You've got to care…"

"CHAAARGE!" The chief's voice erupted. In that second, they began stampeding towards us. Pinkie Pie could only stare, stunned.

I caught up to Pinkie Pie and pulled her away from the path of the stampede. From behind me, I could see the buffalo break through the wooden perimeter as if they were merely branches. I began racing back to the town.

"Ready... Aim... Fire!" The sheriff ordered and the ponies immediately began bombarding the buffalo with their apple pies. One by one, the buffalo were taken down by the pies. Some ponies inside their houses jumped out of their windows and climbed on top of the buffalo, riding them like bulls. Other buffalo charged straight towards the stacks of hay, either knocking the pony out of the hay or diving straight towards an anvil. One of the buffalo was hit in the face by an apple pie and crashed towards the town clock, cracking it and causing it to tumble down onto the road. The chief jumped out of the wreckage and snorted very aggressively. He spotted the sheriff, who was ducking and covering behind several hay stacks, throwing apple pies. The chief began charging towards the sheriff. The sheriff began getting another apple pie, but then he realized he had no more. The chief was reaching the sheriff by the second. The sheriff noticed this and took down his hat in respect as he awaited his defeat. The chief was almost at the sheriff. I had to stop this! I quickly spotted a spare apple pie on the ground. I hastily grabbed it and ran over to where the chief was heading straight towards the sheriff.

As soon as I saw the chief hop into the air to pummel at the sheriff, I quickly threw the pie at the chief's face. Just before he could get the sheriff, the pie came straight towards him. "Nooo!" He screamed and was pulverized by the pie. The sheriff noticed how he tumbled straight towards the ground. The chief lay there as his face was covered with an apple pie mess. The buffalo quickly came to his aid to see him defeated. One of the buffalo observed this and began crying as the pony next to him took her hat off in respect. Spike cried along as well as he hugged Twilight tightly. I instantly began feeling bad about what I did…

However, one of the pieces of the apple pie fell down towards his stuck out tongue. He closed his mouth and swallowed. He opened his eyes and quickly licked the pieces off his face. "Yum! Hey, I've got a much better idea!" He announced. "We... will allow the apple orchard to stay in exchange for a share of it's fruit, heh... Those... Delicious apple pies!"

The settlers cheered as they agreed to the negotiation between the buffalo.

I sighed in relief.

The settler ponies chopped down trees, creating a pathway for the buffalo to use for their stampeding. The ponies used the apples to bake the apple pies they gave out to the buffalo as they passed through the path.

"I'd rather eat turquoise any day of the week." Spike chomped on the bowl of gems he had. "Auhh...!"

"Bloomberg, this is yer special day. Mama's so proud of you!" Applejack announced as she had just finished planting her apple tree in a isolated spot away from the other trees.

The buffalo began roaming back to their village after they finally settled their differences between the settler ponies. Little Strongheart noticed Rainbow Dash and waved over to her.

"Dear, Princess Celestia..." Twilight began speaking near me as she observed the peaceful scene. "Friendship is a wondrous and powerful thing. Even the worst of enemies can become friends. You need understanding and compromise." Rainbow Dash, Little Strongheart, and even Applejack began racing through the road as the sun began setting. "You've got to share. You've got to care –

"HEY! That's what I said!" Pinkie Pie immediately intervened as she walked over to Twilight and I.

Twilight giggled. "Sorry Pinkie… but the way you put it, angered everypony else."

"Hmph!" Pinkie Pie turned her head away, upset.

"C'mon, everypony. It's time to go home." Twilight told us.

Twilight, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rarity, and I had climbed on the train that was to take us back home. Rainbow Dash had boarded a while after. She flew over to her bed and crashed on there, placing her forelegs behind her head and sighing, happily. As I looked out the window near my bed while placing my hoof under my cheek, I saw Applejack expressing her goodbyes to the town. I noticed how she hugged and waved to her cousin, Braeburn, goodbye. She did the same for the rest of her family that lived there and began walking towards the train to board as well. After seeing her do that, I could only feel depressed about the thought of…

I sighed. I pulled the curtain over the window and lay on my bed, covering myself with the blankets. A little while later, I heard Applejack reach our car, exhausted.

"Boy…that was some day, huh?" Applejack exclaimed as she planted herself on her bed. Every other pony agreed while I remained silent under the covers. She must have noticed my condition. "Is Alex asleep?" She asked, softly.

"I think so…" Twilight responded, whispering.

The girls lowered their voices as I lay under the covers. I wasn't asleep… not at all… I just remained quiet, almost feeling tears run down my face…

I guess I must have dozed off anyway because by the time I opened my eyes, there was only complete silence. I pulled the covers away from my face and sat up. I pulled the curtain on the window slightly to notice how outside was pitch black, except for the little separate stars that slightly lit the area. I could hear the soft sound of the train in motion, which was what I also felt as I lay in my bed. I looked around to the side of me to see the other girls soundly asleep. I sighed sadly and stared at my sheets as I could only see that image in my mind again…

"Alex…?" I heard Applejack's voice whisper beside me. I quickly turned to my right and noticed her holding a lit candle as she stared at me worriedly. "Is everything alright? I heard you sighing… like if you wanted to cry or something."

"Sorry…" I responded as I stared back at my sheets. "I didn't mean to wake you up… it's nothing…"

She remained quiet for a moment and then spoke to me again. "C'mon." She grabbed my hoof and lightly pulled me out of bed. "I want to show you something."

She led me towards the car which used to contain the tree, but now only had an empty bed. She lit a candle in the room and walked over to the bed. She sat down and patted the seat near her to motion for me to sit down next to her. Confused, I did and looked at her.

"What is it, Applejack?"

"Okay, Alex…" She responded as she still had her voice in a low volume. "What's going on? What is it that is always bringing you down? That is always making you sad? That is the reason why you never smile…?"

I turned to stare at the ground as I began feeling the emotions kick in, overwhelming me with sadness to the point where I actually wanted to cry. I couldn't bring up any words as Applejack stared at me with a concerned look. I could only just keep my mouth shut and shake my head lightly as I didn't know what to say.

I sighed heavily. "I don't know what to say…"

"Just tell me what the problem is." Applejack replied.

I thought for a moment, releasing words after, which were brief. "I don't know… I guess it was seeing you with your friends and family or something…"

"What do you mean, Alex? How does that make you sad?" She asked. I responded with silence as I looked away to the ground. After a while of thinking, she spoke again. "Alex… what about your friends and family…?"

I took a sting to the heart. "What about them…?" I answered coldly.

"Well… how are they doing? Like your friends. Are they okay?"

I jumped off the bed, angrily, and walked over to the corner. "How should I know?" I answered, raising my voice a little. "I mean… were they ever even my friends to begin with?"

"Alex…?" Applejack questioned, worriedly.

I suddenly punched the wall of the car, creating a loud smack and thud sound, which frightened Applejack. I took in a few deep breaths and walked back to the corner and sat down with my held hung low. Behind me, I could head soft hooves clatter on the floor of the car. They walked over to me and placed a hoof on my shoulder.

"Alex… you must have had some bad ponies in your life…but…remember…we're your friends… we're not like those other ponies…" Applejack tried to entreat me. I couldn't say anything but just continue breathing angrily, but in a more depressive way. "Look at me, sugarcube." I heard the soft tone she used for her words. I slowly turned around to see her. She looked at me, straight into my eyes. "Let me tell you something…" She pulled out something from her mane and began observing it as she spoke. "You see Alex… you are like an apple…ponies take bites of you until they reach the core…afterwards, they throw you away…leaving you to only gather dirt and dust…alone…but then come the ponies who really care about you…us... We pick you up and dust you off. After, we take the seeds from your core and plant them with tender, love, and care. With our friendship...you'll grow to be a big and strong tree…or pony in this case… and you'll have many more apples to share with everypony… the ones who care about you…" I could only continue staring at her as she described me in her own fashion… "Here, Alex." She showed me the object she had in her hoof. It was a seed… "This is the seed I saved from one of Bloomberg's apples. I was hoping I could plant it, so another tree would grow in our acres...but…" She grabbed my hoof and placed the seed on it. "You should have it… that way… as you see it grow… you can always remember what we talked about…okay…?"

I looked at the seed with careful eyes. I held it tightly in my hoof and looked at Applejack. "Okay…Thank you, Applejack… I… I really appreciate it…"

Applejack gave a warm smile. "You're welcome, Alex. If you ever need to talk to somepony, we're here for you…well… maybe Rainbow Dash or Pinkie Pie wouldn't be the best pony to talk to but… you understand, right?"

I nodded. Applejack hugged me… It felt almost like a motherly hug, even though she was possibly younger or around the same age as me. After a moment, she pulled away and looked at me. "C'mon you should get some shut-eye, now."

I nodded once again. She walked over to the lit candle and blew it out, keeping the other candle lit for us to be able to maneuver through the car.

When we reached the car where all the other ponies were sleeping in, Applejack slowly blew the candle and placed it on a counter.

"Good night, Alex…" She whispered to me.

"Night, Applejack…" I responded.

She began walking off, but then looked as if she remembered something. "Oh." She glanced over to me. "And try to smile now, okay?"

I could only return an unchanged expression. "Um…I can try…"

"It's better than nothing." Applejack waved and returned to her bed.

I climbed on my bed and turned to my side to where I could see the window. I carefully placed the seed in a safe spot and continued observing it for a moment, replaying what Applejack had told me… Soon, I fell asleep.

I awakened when I felt a light shake on my body. I turned around and saw Fluttershy, who was the one that was lightly shaking my body.

"We're home now, Alex…" Fluttershy smiled lightly.

I sat up from my bed and removed the covers. I grabbed the seed and lightly held it as I climbed out of bed. It was still dark out… probably very early in the morning. The other ponies stepped off from the train as Fluttershy and I followed them. They departed towards their homes as I walked Fluttershy home.

When we reached her door, we looked at each other.

"Sleep well, Fluttershy." I told her softly.

"Thank you, Alex…" She responded. "You too…"

She hugged me and walked inside her cottage, giving me a wave before she closed the door. I turned around and started the way towards home.

When I arrived at my door, I stopped before I entered. I looked at the side of the home and noticed an empty area. I thought for a moment and finally pulled out the seed. I dug a hole on the empty area beside my house until it was large enough to drop the seed in. I moved the dirt I had dug up and placed it back on the hole. I patted the hole with my hoofs until the dirt was securely tight above the seed. I walked over to the hose that was placed on the side of the house. It was still rolled up the way it came with the house. For the first time, I grabbed the hose and turned on the water. I moved the hose over to the spot where I planted the seed and began watering it for a few minutes. After, I shut the water and rolled it up nicely. I stared at the spot for a moment, making sure it was just right. Then, I turned towards my door and entered.

I walked over to the kitchen and turned on the sink. I placed my hooves under the cool water and washed them neatly. After, I dried them with a towel nearby and began ascending up the stairs toward my bed.

When I was snuggled and tucked in my bed. I thought about what Applejack had told me…maybe…maybe they are my true friends? Maybe the same outcome won't occur just like those other ponies in my past?


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