• Published 28th Jun 2012
  • 17,954 Views, 1,427 Comments

A New Hero - Alex The Lone Wolf



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

  • ...
227
 1,427
 17,954

PreviousChapters Next
A Bird in the Hoof

Episode 22 – A Bird in the Hoof

"Get out of my face! You make me sick!"

"But…I…"

"I said, GET OUT!"

"You heard mom. Go away you little creep."

"But… I didn't do anything…"

"Oh? And I suppose you're telling me that she broke it?"

"…"

"Of course it was him, mom. He always wrecks everything he sees! I don't even know why he had to be born! He was just a big mistake!"

I woke up, frightened, almost to death. I was breathing heavily. I noticed something in my eyes and on my cheeks. I placed my hoof near my eyes and felt it… It was water…tears… I was…crying…? I wiped my eyes and looked out the window. I noticed the sun shining outside, but it didn't help. I had that feeling after a bad dream. Everything feels very bizarre and awkward, as if you're still in the dream…but awake. I brushed off the blankets from me and stepped off my bed. I slowly walked to bathroom and looked in the mirror…A big mistake… I immediately turned on the cold water and splashed it all over my face. I even let the sink fill up with water and dunked my head in it. After a while, I pulled my head out and looked in the mirror again. I sighed. I turned off the water and watched as it went down the drain. I walked over to the towel and used it to dry the water from my face and mane.

Afterwards, I walked down the stairs and into the kitchen. I sat down near the table and closed my eyes, trying to escape into myself. Suddenly, I heard a knock at my door. I sat up and walked over to the door to open it.

"Hey, Alex! Are you coming?"

"Twilight? What do you mean coming? To where?" I asked.

"You didn't forget, did you?"

"Forget what?"

Twilight sighed and smiled. "The big brunch for Princess Celestia at Sugarcube Corner."

"Oh…"

"Well, come on! We can't be late!" Twilight pulled me out of the house and began leading me to the location while walking by my side.

"Does Fluttershy know about this brunch?" I asked.

"Of course! She wouldn't miss it for the world! I'm sure she's already there."

We arrived at Sugarcube Corner to see two guards standing outside the cake shop in silence.

"Hello, I'm Twilight Sparkle." Twilight presented herself to the guards. "And this is my friend Alex. We're on the list."

"You may pass." They answered boldly.

Twilight and I walked through to see ponies celebrating the party. I saw Princess Celestia sitting at a long table. I looked around the party but I didn't see Fluttershy anywhere.

"What's wrong, Alex?" Twilight asked me as she noticed my head constantly looking around the place.

"I don't think Fluttershy is here yet… I'm going to wait outside for her." I responded.

"Okay, then. I hope she gets here real soon." Twilight began walking over to Princess Celestia to greet herself.

I turned around and walked out the building. I noticed how the guards were still there. They were perfectly still, not even moving an inch. They looked straight forward with bold eyes. Despite the mood they brought to the area, I took a seat outside and waited for Fluttershy.

After a while, Rainbow Dash poked her head out of the shop and hopped out. "So... what do I have to do to get to be one of the Princess's royal guards, anyway?" She asked them. They didn't answer but only continued looking forward. "Is the pay good?" She nudged one of them. They still didn't reply. "Hellooo!" She exclaimed in their ears. "Anybody home?" After noticing that they still hadn't move, Rainbow Dash looked at them straight in the eye and began making weird faces. She looked at their face to see if they had any effect. So far, there was none. However, she made me feel a little odd… She then stuck her tongue out and threw her head around. She observed their faces again. "Ooh, you're good." There was only silence. "Too good. I'm bored." She turned around and finally noticed me. "Oh, hey Alex!" She flew over to me. "What's up?"

"I'm just waiting for Fluttershy…"

"Oh, okay." She was silent for a moment. "So… I've kinda realized that I've never seen you smile or even laugh before. What's up with that?" She asked. I didn't want to answer or get involved in that question so I just released a shrug. "Hm…" She tapped her hoof on her chin. "I've got it!" She flew in front of me and looked at me, straight in the eyes. I returned a confused look with a raised eyebrow. She began making those weird faces in front of me, especially the one where she stuck out her tongue and turned her head from left to right. After, she had a wide smile on her face, hoping that I would form one too or at least chuckle or something, but all I returned was a confused look.

"Are you okay…?" I asked while having my head tilted a little.

She groaned. "I was trying to make you laugh or at least smile…"

"Oh… well, I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon…"

"Aw! Why not?"

I shrugged again.

She sighed. "Fine… I'm going inside." She flew in a flash towards the inside of the shop.

After a moment, I saw something galloping towards my way. It was Fluttershy!

"Phew. Made it." She panted, not noticing me yet. She began walking towards the building but the guards suddenly spread their wings and stared at Fluttershy.

"Halt!"

"Who goes there?"

Fluttershy gulped and began backing off. "No one. Never mind. I'll go home."

"Wait!" I exclaimed, rushing towards Fluttershy. I stood by her side and looked at the guards. "It's alright, she's on the list."

The guards lowered their wings and allowed Fluttershy to walk in.

"Thanks, Alex." Fluttershy said as we walked in.

Twilight noticed us and ran over to us. "I'm so glad you could make it, Fluttershy. It wouldn't be the same without you."

We looked over at the party, where Spike had just finished cooking up some small pies with his fiery breath. Spike grabbed another tray and repeated the process. A pony walked by us. "How's everypony doing?" He asked us, however, answered before we could give an answer ourselves. "Good? Good."

"Anything else we can get for you, dearies...? Ooh, I-I mean, esteemed guests." We heard from the table Princess Celestia was sitting at.

"Everything is fine, Mr. and Mrs. Cake." Princess Celestia responded in a sweet tone.

"Sorry I'm late. I had to finish taking care of a patient first." Fluttershy explained to us as we walked over to the table.

"Oh, you and your Tender Loving Care of little animals. I just know Princess Celestia is gonna love that about you. I mean, I hope she will... I mean, of course she will!" Twilight replied nervously, even twitching as she spoke.

"Wow, Twilight. I thought I was the only one who got nervous at social gatherings."

"Oh, it's not that. I just want the princess to approve of my friends. "

"But she's met us all before."

"And read about you in my letters. But besides Alex, this is the first time she's spent any real time with you. I want everypony to make a good impression."

"You don't need to be so nervous Twilight. Princess Celestia will like everypony. She isn't strict on those kinds of things…" I added in on the conversation.

"Yes, Twilight. I'm sure you have nothing to worry about. Besides, it's just a casual get-together, right?" Fluttershy responded.

"Don't touch me! Watch the dress! Careful, you're gonna spill that on me!" We heard Rarity from across the room. She was wearing a very fancy dress to a casual party… As ponies walked by her with drinks or food, she immediately freaked out. Mrs. Cake stopped by and offered her one of the apple cupcakes in a platter. "Oh, oh, that looks delicious. What is it?" Rarity lifted her hoof to get one, then instantly took it back. "Oh, does it stain? Keep it away from me!" She cowered in the room, looking around frightened for any dangers to her dress.

"Or... perhaps not that casual." Fluttershy added.

"Uh... which is the salad and which is the appetizer again?" Applejack questioned near us as she sat next to a table, cautiously looking at the food. "And which am I supposed to eat first?" She began to open her mouth to different kinds of food, but then stopped herself because she wasn't sure of which one to eat. "Oh, never mind. I'm not hungry."

I walked up to her and looked over at the food. "Just eat whichever you want to first, Applejack. I'm sure the Princess doesn't mind if you don't eat the food in a 'fancy way'. It's just a casual party, remember?"

Applejack sighed in relief. "You're right, Alex. I shouldn't worry about this fancy eating." Applejack replied and began eating the first thing she saw.

As I began walking back towards Fluttershy and Twilight, I saw Pinkie Pie suddenly bounce into my path and all over the party. "Woohoo! Cookies, candies and pies, oh my!" She stuffed her face in a pie. "Oooh!" She spotted the chocolate fountain on one of the tables. "Chocolate Fountainy goodness!" She literally stuck her head in the fountain, covering it with chocolate. She pulled out her head as the chocolate began hardening. Once it did, she broke through it and ate all the pieces. She rushed over to the table Princess Celestia was at. Princess Celestia was just about to eat one of the apple cupcakes when Pinkie Pie appeared right in front of her. "You gonna eat that?" However, she didn't give Princess Celestia time to answer before chomping on the cupcake, making loud noises as she chewed openly in front of the Princess. Despite Pinkie Pie's manners, she still smiled warmly. Mrs. Cake gasped widely and rushed over to Pinkie Pie to remove her from the table. "Hey!" Mr. Cake came towards the table and placed a new plate of tea and a cupcake.

"A thousand pardons, Your Majesty." He apologized.

"That's quite all right, thank you." Princess Celestia responded.

Princess Celestia picked up the new cupcake with her magic and took a bite of it. Afterwards, she took a sip of the tea. She placed the teacup back on the small plate.

"Empty teacup at 4 o'clock!" Mrs. Cake suddenly alerted.

"Uh, I see it, honey bun!" Mr. Cake replied, rushing over to refill her teacup.

"Oh, um... thank you." The Princess thanked.

"Not at all, Your Highness."

The Princess took another sip of her tea, bringing Mrs. Cake to immediately refill it again.

"Thank you again."

"Oh, but of course, Your Majesty."

She took another sip. They refilled it again. She took a sip. They refilled it. After, she looked at them each, a little playfully, and made a slurp sound, but didn't drink the tea. They poured more tea in the cup, but it actually overflowed outside the cup. "Gotcha!" The Cakes smiled nervously.

"Oh..." Twilight sunk underneath the table in a worried tone.

The Princess looked over at Fluttershy, who I was with near the table. "And what about you, dear? Fluttershy, is it?" She asked.

"Me?" Fluttershy questioned, surprisingly. "Oh yes, Your Highness."

Princess Celestia returned a look towards me that stated, "So, this was the special pony you were talking about?" I could only return a nervous and slightly embarrassed expression. The Princess continued talking with Fluttershy. "I understand from Twilight Sparkle's letters that you enjoy tending to the needs of woodland creatures."

"Yes, I love to take care of animals." Fluttershy responded, happily.

"As do I. As Princess, I care deeply about all creatures, great and small." We heard a sudden cough in a bird cage near Princess Celestia, surprising us but the Princess. "Nothing means more to me than the well-being of all my subjects." The bird began to furiously cough. After, it presented itself when it flew up and stood in the middle of the cage as its head tilted to the side. "Ah, Philomeena, my pet. You're awake. Do say hello to our gracious hosts." The bird only returned more sickly coughs.

"Oh... my." Fluttershy pulled back with a disturbed expression on her face.

"She is quite a sight, isn't she?" The Princess asked.

"I... I... I've never seen anything like it." Fluttershy replied as she continued to observe the bird cough.

"How about you, Alex? How are you doing?" The Princess asked me.

"Well… I've been doing alright I guess…" I remembered about that frightening shadow I've seen for a couple of times now. "Actually… there's been something that—

One of the royal guards came over to our table and began whispering to the Princess.

"Really? Well, if I must... I'm sorry, everypony. I'm afraid I have to cut the party short." Twilight suddenly spat out the tea she was drinking but immediately covered her mouth with her hoof. "The mayor has requested an audience with me. Royal duty calls. Thank you for a wonderful time. It's been a joy getting to know you all better." Before she left, she apologized to me, but she told me that I could tell her the next time I saw her. Then, she began walking gracefully out the door as the ponies awed in her presence.

Afterwards, Mr. and Mrs. Cake began cleaning up the party. Pinkie Pie performed a cartwheel, hyper, out the door, bumping into the other ponies.

"Stay right where you are." Rarity warned as she trotted slowly out the door. "All I want is a clear path to the exit. NOBODY MOVE and my dress won't get hurt! Stay back! Back, I say!"

Applejack walked out the door, even carrying some more dishes on her nose.

Twilight sighed. "Well, Alex, I don't know for sure how things went with the princess, but at least no big disasters happened."

"Yeah…" I replied. "Don't worry so much about it. I'm sure the Princess thinks everypony is great."

"Hm. You're right! She likes our friends. I'm sure everything is alright!"

I nodded. "Guess we better head out…" I looked around for Fluttershy, but I couldn't find her. "Hey, did you see where Fluttershy went?" I asked.

"Hm. I don't think so… she just… vanished." Twilight responded.

I continued to look around. "Maybe she just went home and I didn't see her…" I paused for a moment and looked at Twilight. "I'm going to go check if she's home. I'll see you later, okay Twilight?"

She nodded and I left the building, walking towards Fluttershy's cottage.

When I arrived, I noticed that her door was open. I slowly walked in, closing the door after me. I looked around the house for Fluttershy. "Fluttershy?" I called her name softly.

"There." I heard her voice.

I walked over to where I heard her and noticed her standing near a bed. "Fluttershy?"

She turned around quickly, frightened, but released a breath when she noticed it was just me. "Oh, hey Alex."

"Why did you leave the party so soon?" I asked, walking towards her.

She didn't say anything but just contained an embarrassed expression on her face.

"Fluttershy?" I asked. Then, my eyes wandered to the bed. I saw an odd-looking bird lying on there with covers over it. It eyes were big and it had this look as if it didn't even know what was going on. After a moment of observing it, I realized it was Princess Celestia's bird. "Fluttershy? What is Princess Celestia's pet doing here?"

Fluttershy stood silent for a moment. "…I couldn't leave her all alone while she was really sick. I had to take care of her."

"Did you get Princess Celestia's permission?" I asked.

Fluttershy looked at the floor. "No…"

"We have to return her, Fluttershy. Princess Celestia will be worried if she finds her pet missing!"

"Can I please hold on to her for just a little while? Look at her." She pointed to the bird, who was hacking and coughing. "I only want to make her feel better. Besides, we still have time until Princess Celestia is done with her royal duties…"

I thought for a moment and then finally sighed. "Alright…but just a while longer, okay?"

Fluttershy smiled brightly. "Don't worry! It'll only take a little while!" Fluttershy picked up a thermometer from the shelf nearby with her teeth and placed it in Philomeena's beak. After a second, she began burning up and the thermometer was at the highest point. Fluttershy gasped and quickly removed the blankets. She placed an ice pack on Philomeena's bare head. Philomeena began cooling down. The thermometer now dropped to the lowest point and Philomeena began shivering fiercely. Fluttershy gasped again and removed the ice pack, placing the blanket over her again. The thermometer immediately filled up again and Philomeena was burning up. Fluttershy removed the blanket and placed on the ice pack again, which made the bird shiver once again. Fluttershy removed the ice pack and placed the blanket, only to repeat the process over and over for several times. This caused the thermometer to repeatedly move up and down until it finally broke. "This is far worse than I thought. What you need is some medicine. Stat!" Philomeena released another fierce hack, causing Fluttershy to flinch back.

Fluttershy walked over to one of her cabinets and searched through them for a while. After, she pulled out a huge pill and placed it on a plate. She brought it over to Philomeena and presented it before her. "Here you go, Philomeena. This will fix you right up." Philomeena moved her head towards it and sniffed it, but then she stuck her tongue out in disgust. "Doctor Fluttershy expected that." Fluttershy responded as she sat on one of her chairs. Fluttershy grabbed a big bag of food and poured it all over the pill. Philomeena stuck her tongue out but licked the food instead. After a moment of silence, she instantly began pecking at the food, devouring everything. "Always works." She released a sly grin towards me. However, she lost the grin when she noticed that the pill was still lying on the plate. "Uh... Almost always." Philomeena released another cough. Fluttershy thought for a moment, and then gained an idea. "Alex, I'm going to go make some soup for Philomeena, mind if you watch her?" She asked.

"Um… sure…" I responded, feeling a little uncomfortable around the bird.

Fluttershy walked towards the kitchen as I stayed behind with the bird. I looked over at Philomeena and noticed how she just stared at me. I returned another stare, leaving us both to just stare at each other for a while. This bird looked really…creepy…

Fluttershy walked into the room a little while later with a bowl of soup. She placed it on the ground near Philomeena and slightly blew on it. "There's nothing like home-made soup to cure what ails you." She pushed the bowl over to Philomeena. The bird looked at the soup for a moment and then pulled back with wings crossed…well bare wings. "Come on now. You're not gonna get better if you don't cooperate." Fluttershy lowered her head towards the bowl of soup and took a sip. "Mmm... See? It's delicious. Good and good for you." The bird still refused to consume the soup. Fluttershy then grabbed the soup with her hooves and tried to playfully get Philomeena to eat it. "Here comes the choo-choo train. Chugga-chugga, chugga-chugga, whoo-whoo!" Honestly, she released sounds that I couldn't help but think were adorable. Despite the effort Fluttershy was placing, Philomeena still refused to eat the soup. Philomeena turned her head away each time Fluttershy tried to show her the bowl of soup until she finally reached her limit and spun around, causing her to fall onto the soup. "Oh dear. Don't worry, Philomeena. I know what'll make you feel better. Wait right here. I have just the thing." Fluttershy trotted away as Philomeena gave another hack in the bowl of soup.

Meanwhile, while Fluttershy was preparing her other idea, I couldn't help but think to myself. How much longer does Fluttershy think she could take? We have no idea when Princess Celestia will return from her business. What if she just got back and is looking for her bird right now? I started feeling a little bad inside as I started worrying what might happen. Okay… I'll just give her a little while longer… maybe she can fix this bird up a bit before we take it back? Besides… if it's too late by the time we take the bird back, I'll take the blame for Fluttershy…

After a moment, Fluttershy came back with another bird on her hoof. "Look, Philomeena. I brought a fellow feathered friend by to cheer you up. Hummingway here was sick once too, but he let me help him and got better in no time. Didn't you, boy?" The hummingbird released an agreed chirp. "Say hello to your new friend Philomeena." The hummingbird flew gently towards Philomeena and rubbed his head on hers. "Aw, look. I think he likes you." The hummingbird flew back to Fluttershy. Fluttershy and her hummingbird flew in the air. Fluttershy began singing several notes, leaving the hummingbird to complete the song. "Your turn now, Philomeena. Go ahead. You can do it." Fluttershy flew towards the bird, repeating the notes she sang for the hummingbird, however, Philomeena returned a look which seemed as if she was to spit something out. After a moment, Philomeena coughed out food which landed on Fluttershy's face. "Um... good try?" She removed the food from her face.

Fluttershy had gone into the bathroom to wash her face. When she returned, she motioned me to bring Philomeena towards the bathroom. Flinching a little, I grabbed Philomeena and brought her over to the bathroom. Fluttershy had wrapped a towel on Philomeena's head and one on her waist. "I know what'll clear up that tickle in your throat. A humidifier." She turned it on and took a deep breath. Refreshing. How's that feeling now for you, Philomeena? Better?"

The room was engulfed in steam. Fluttershy observed Philomeena as she began taking a deep breath. Fluttershy gazed at her excitedly, waiting for her to exhale just fine. Philomeena coughed instead, removing Fluttershy's grin. "Oh..." A few of Philomeena's feathers sprung out. "That's okay. I know lots of other ways to take care of you. Don't worry. You're gonna get better. How about..."

She had set up candles and aroma sticks near the fireplace and sat Philomeena comfortably in a cushion. "Aromatherapy?" Philomeena took in a breath and sneezed afterwards, having more feathers spring from her.

Next, Fluttershy filled her tub with warm water and placed the bird in there. "Warm bath?" Instead, Philomeena sucked up all the water and looked really swollen.

"Uh…" I gave a confused look. "How's that even possible…?"

Fluttershy sighed. She looked through her cabinets and found some cream. "Ointment?" She squeezed some of it on Philomeena's head, but it only caused her to grow pimples on her entire body.

Fluttershy immediately grabbed her and moved her to the living room. She placed on a doctor's scope on her head. "Scalpel." She asked.

I looked around, confusingly. "Um…"

"On the table." She responded. I looked for a scalpel on the table. When I did, I carefully grabbed it and gave it to her. She began using it in order to do something for Philomeena. "Surgical tape." She asked for again, in a more nervous tone. I found the tape on the table as well, giving it to her. "Feathers." I gave her the bowl of feathers. After working for a few seconds, she moved back and presented Philomeena, who was taped with feathers…

Philomeena gave another cough and her head fell to the ground. "Oh, Philomeena. I thought it would be easy to nurse you back to health, but I've tried everything I know. And look at you. You're worse than ever."

"Fluttershy, we should take the bird back now. Princess Celestia will take care of her if she's really in bad shape…" I said.

Fluttershy looked at Philomeena and released a moan. "Oooh…ok…let's go…"

Suddenly, we heard a knock on the door. Fluttershy quickly moved to the door and listened, yet the door burst open, having Twilight walk in to greet her. "Hi, Fluttershy! I just wanted to drop by and say thank you so very much for making such a good impression on the princess today..." She noticed the bird and gasped loudly. "What is Celestia's pet doing here?"

"I couldn't leave the poor thing there. She needed my help." Fluttershy reasoned.

"Oh no. NonononononoNO! This is bad." Twilight placed her hoof to her eye.

"How could I just walk away and not do anything?"

"But... but... she doesn't belong to you!"

"I had to do something."

"Without telling anypony? Without asking permission?"

"But…"

I stepped in between them and held my hooves out. "Alright, girls, calm down. We were just going to return her pet. Let's just stop this arguing and return it before it's too late."

Fluttershy sighed. "You're right. Okay, let's..." Philomeena gave a hack. "...go."

Twilight quickly grabbed the bird and placed it in a basket, which she then placed on Fluttershy. "Alex is right, if we hurry, we can put her back before anypony even realizes she's missing." Twilight ran to the door and opened it to only gasp at what laid beyond the door.

Two guards stood there, looking very seriously at us. Twilight could only return a nervous look as she bit her lips.

"We were told we could find Twilight Sparkle here." The first guard answered.

"We regret to inform you, miss, that the royal pet has gone missing." The second guard added.

"Really? You don't say!" Twilight responded nervously.

Philomeena coughed in the basket, loudly enough for all of us to hear. Twilight quickly rushed over to Fluttershy and began making fake coughs. Twilight kicked Fluttershy in order for her to join her too. Fluttershy realized this and they both coughed excessively as I only stared at them with an awkward look. The royal guards gave the same.

"Bleh. It's that dry night air." Twilight replied in a raspy voice.

"But it's daytime." Fluttershy innocently corrected.

"Well... day air's even drier. You guards better be on your way if you're gonna find the princess's missing pet." Twilight pushed the guards outside the house. "Philomeena, was it? Thank you ever so much for keeping me in the loop. BYE!" Twilight slammed the door shut as she panted hastily. She looked out the window and noticed the guards were leaving the area. "Phew..." She noticed Fluttershy begin heading out the door. "What are you doing?"

"Going to return Philomeena, remember?"

"We can't now!"

"Why not?"

"You have no idea what the princess is gonna do if she finds you're the one who took her pet, do you?"

"Do you?"

"Well... no. But it can't be anything good. She might banish you from Equestria. Or throw you in a dungeon. Or banish you and then throw you in a dungeon in the place that she banishes you to!"

"You really think the princess would do that?" Fluttershy began heading out the door again.

"Okay. Granted that probably won't happen, but do you wanna take any chances?"

Fluttershy stopped and looked back at Twilight. "All that really matters to me is that poor little Philomeena here gets well." Philomeena stuck her head out of the basket and coughed.

"That's very noble of you. I'll write to you when you're banished. Unless I'm banished to somewhere there's no post office. Then you'll have to write to me. Deal?"

"Twilight, stop with this banishing nonsense." I finally joined the conversation. "The Princess would never do that. I'm sure if we just explained what happened she would understand."

Twilight sighed. "Yeah you're right… I'm just overreacting…" She paused for a moment. "C'mon Fluttershy, let's take Philomeena back."

"Okay, but can you help me give Philomeena the rest of the soup? Poor thing hasn't eaten all day…" Fluttershy asked.

"What? This soup over here?" She took a sniff of it. "Smells delicious."

"I made it for Philomeena." Fluttershy explained. "But she wouldn't eat it."

"Oh, she'll eat it, all right." Twilight grabbed the bowl with her magic and looked over to the basket with an aggressive expression on her face. She opened the basket and looked at Philomeena evilly.

"Twilight, don't—

I tried to warn her but as soon as Twilight presented the bowl of soup in front of Philomeena, along with the face she had, Philomeena instantly grew frightened and jumped out of the basket screaming.

"Hey! Where are you going?" Twilight asked as Philomeena fled out of the house.

"No! Philomeena! Come back!" Fluttershy cried out.

I groaned and began running after Philomeena with Twilight and Fluttershy trailing behind me. Philomeena ran towards a tree. As soon as we caught up to her, she began running around the tree, leading us in circles. I stopped and waited for Philomeena to run into my hooves, but she jumped up into the tree and looked down upon us. I tried to jumping and climbing to get her off. It worked, but she jumped over us and continued running.

Further into the park, we lost her and passed by a bench with something sitting on there, reading a newspaper. Fluttershy and Twilight stopped by to ask for the direction of Philomeena. The thing lowered the newspaper, revealing itself. As Twilight and Fluttershy made motions indicating Philomeena, I could only stare at it suspiciously as it looked very familiar. It shrugged and raised its newspaper to read it again. I suddenly grabbed the newspaper and threw it to the side. After, I grabbed the mustache and pulled it off very easily. It was actually Philomeena in disguise. She screamed in surprise and jumped on top of my head. After, she quickly jumped off and began fleeing again, causing us to run after her.

As we ran through town, we saw the couple of guards looking for the royal pet. We couldn't let them know without having Philomeena, so we had to run quietly past them. Philomeena led us to several empty houses. She fled into one, making us follow her. Somehow, she weirdly came out of other houses and eventually led us to what Applejack would call "a wild goose chase". Twilight and Fluttershy bumped into each other after a few seconds. I helped them up and motioned them to keep going.

While we were looking for Philomeena, Rainbow Dash suddenly appeared next to us.

"What are you three doing? Are you having a race? Oh, can I play? 1 2 3 GO!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed without any of us giving an answer.

We continued running until we caught up with Applejack, Pinkie Pie, and Rarity. Fluttershy had picked up Pinkie Pie, who was chewing on something. "Excuse me!" Fluttershy said as she looked for Philomeena.

"Hi!" Pinkie Pie responded cheerfully, spitting out a few pieces of food.

Twilight grabbed Rarity. "Beg your pardon!" She picked her up and looked beneath at the ground.

"Put me down!" Rarity ordered. Twilight placed her down afterwards.

"What in tarnation?" Applejack exclaimed.

"Sorry, but we've gotta find..."

"The princess's pet bird!" The couple of guards interrupted Fluttershy's explanation.

We looked up to see Philomeena sitting on top of the fountain we were next to. She rarely had any specks of feathers on her now…

"Philomeena, come down from there! You'll hurt yourself!" Fluttershy worriedly commanded.

Philomeena's last feather was separated from her body. She dramatically made an exaggerated death rattle until she finally let her body drop lifelessly on top of the fountain while she stuck her tongue out. For a few seconds, there was this highly awkward moment that seemed to last for minutes. She suddenly began making those dramatic motions again until her body fell off the fountain.

"I'll catch you!" Fluttershy exclaimed as she ran over to where Philomeena was dropping towards the ground.

I began running after Fluttershy. Fluttershy continued running and dove towards Philomeena as she dropped. Suddenly, Philomeena literally burst into flames as she dropped towards Fluttershy. Fluttershy gasped as she saw the ashes of Philomeena fall lightly on her hooves. Every other pony gasped heavily as they saw Philomeena's ashes. I caught up to Fluttershy as she could only stare at the ashes, shocked. As the ashes slipped through her hooves, she started tearing up and biting her lower lip. She began crying and whimpering. I slowly walked up to her and placed my front hoof on her. "Fluttershy…" I spoke softly.

"What is going on here?" A voice suddenly asked in a demanding tone. We quickly looked behind us to see it was Princess Celestia. We all bowed, except for Fluttershy who remained sitting very sadly. Princess Celestia looked over to Twilight. "Twilight?" She questioned, causing Twilight to quit her bow.

"Yes, Your Majesty…" She responded in a depressive tone. "There's been a terrible accident."

"It's all my fault." Fluttershy presented herself to the Princess.

"No, Princess. Fluttershy didn't know any better. It was my fault." Twilight intervened.

"I'm the one who did it."

"But you were only trying to help."

"Some help I was."

"Will ya let me do this? She'll go easier on me."

"But it's my fault!"

"No, it's my fault!"

"Stop!" I suddenly exclaimed and interrupted the argument. I walked towards the front of Fluttershy and Twilight and presented myself in front of the Princess, looking at her boldly. "Princess Celestia… if you are going to punish some pony… let that pony be me…"

Princess Celestia could only stare at me with concerned yet serious eyes.

"Alex, no!" Fluttershy rushed over to me. She placed her hoof on mine and looked at Princess Celestia. "Princess Celestia, I'm the one who took your pet bird. I really was only trying to help the poor little thing. Then I was gonna bring it back to you, honest." Princess Celestia walked over to the burnt ashes. "So, if you wanna banish me and then throw me in a dungeon in the place that you banish me to, then that's what I deserve."

"Fluttershy…" I said weakly.

Princess Celestia looked over at Fluttershy then at the ashes. She lowered her head and remained quiet for a moment.

"Oh, stop fooling around, Philomeena. You're scaring everypony." She suddenly spoke. The ashes moved and shot upwards towards the sky. Everypony gasped. The ashes spun midair and formed something magnificent, causing every pony to awe in its appearance.

"I don't understand!" Fluttershy exclaimed. "What is that thing? What happened to Philomeena?"

It flew and landed on Princess Celestia's foreleg. "This is Philomeena. She's quite a sight, as I said. But nothing unusual for a phoenix. Isn't that right, Philomeena?"

Philomeena released a proud answer, no longer the naked bird she was a few minutes ago, but a majestic creature instead.

"A... A phoenix?" Fluttershy questioned.

"A phoenix is a majestic and magical bird." Princess Celestia explained. "While it appears healthy and happy most of the time…" The phoenix rose from Princess Celestia's foreleg and began flying in the air. "…every so often it must renew itself by shedding all of its feathers and bursting into flame." She lowered her head towards us and whispered. "Rather melodramatic, if you ask me." She pulled away. "It then rises from the ashes, fresh as a daisy. All just a normal part of the life cycle of a phoenix. I'm afraid, mischievous little Philomeena here took the occasion to have a little fun with you, Fluttershy." Philomeena lowered her head in embarrassment. "Say you're sorry, young lady."

Philomeena made an "I'm sorry" sound.

"So... aren't you gonna banish me? Or throw me in a dungeon? Or banish me and then throw me in a dungeon in the place that you banish me to?"

"Of course not, my little pony! Where on Earth would you get such an idea?"

Fluttershy looked over at Twilight, who was staring towards the ground, nervously. "I guess I have some imagination."

"Fluttershy really did do everything she could to try to take care of Philomeena for you." Twilight added.

"And I do appreciate that your heart was in the right place, child. But all you had to do was ask me and I could have told you Philomeena was a phoenix and saved you all this trouble."

"I know. I shouldn't have jumped to conclusions. Next time I'll ask before taking matters into my own hooves."

Twilight made an expression where she looked as if she just remembered something. "Should I write you a letter about that lesson, Princess?" Twilight asked.

"No, that's quite all right. I think I can remember." She responded as she looked at Philomeena standing on her back.

As the royal guards brought over Philomeena's cage, Philomeena rose in the air and flew, giving Fluttershy one of her feathers, which landed softly on her ear. Fluttershy looked back at her and smiled. "It's beautiful. Thank you, Philomeena. No hard feelings."

Rainbow Dash looked at the guards for a moment and flew up to Philomeena. She whispered something to the phoenix. Philomeena nodded and flew to the top of the cage between the guards. She spread her wings and began tickling their noses with the tip of her feathers. After a few seconds, they began snickering and soon laughing out loud. Philomeena flew over to Rainbow Dash and tapped her wings with Rainbow Dash's hooves. "Yeah!" She laughed with Philomeena.

Twilight, Princess Celestia, Fluttershy, and I looked at them. Soon everypony was laughing except me in the area. I felt awkward as I was the only one who didn't laugh.

After the laughter died down, Princess Celestia looked over to me. "Alex, there was something you wanted to tell me?"

I remembered how I wanted to tell her about the shadow that has been following me around at random times… but I suddenly lost the urge to do so. "Never mind about that… it's not important."

Princess Celestia returned a slightly concerned look. "Well then… I should get back to Canterlot." She looked over to Philomeena. "Come on, Philomeena. It's time to go home."

Philomeena gave a squawk and waved to Rainbow Dash. She returned to her birdcage and waved all of us goodbye. The royal guards had also brought a carriage to take Princess Celestia back to Canterlot. The Princess gave us one last wave and smile before she left.

Everypony sighed happily.

"Princess Celestia's pet is so cool! I want one of those!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed.

Twilight gave a slight chuckle. "Heh. Good luck finding one of those!"

"Oh yeah?" Rainbow Dash responded in a competitive tone. Suddenly, she flew away at top speed, most likely spending the rest of the day trying to find one…

After everypony left, I walked with Fluttershy towards her cottage. She invited me for tea, leading me towards the living room as she poured tea in a cup in front of me.

"Thank you…" I replied, feeling a little…down… as I watched the steam rise from the cup.

"Hey, Alex…" I heard Fluttershy as I carefully picked up the tea to take a sip.

"Huh?" I questioned as I moved my eyes from the tea to Fluttershy's face.

"At the Gala…" She began speaking, a little embarrassed. "I was wondering if you don't mind going to the garden… you see… I really want to see all the cute little animals there… and be around them…"

"I don't mind Fluttershy." I replied, and then took a sip from the tea. It was still a little hot. The tea was really sweet…but at times it could be really hot… I placed the teacup back on the table.

"Oh, wonderful!" Fluttershy instantly rushed over to me and hugged me. "It'll be the best night ever!" Fluttershy noticed as she held me tightly in her arms. She pulled away, embarrassingly. "Sorry… Are you sure it's okay? I mean… we don't have to…"

"Fluttershy… I don't care where we go. I'm okay as long as you're smiling. You want to go to the garden? That's alright if it makes you smile. I really don't mind…" My voice lowered a little to near a soft pitch. "…as long as we're together…"

I looked at Fluttershy. She was presenting a very soft smile. She gently wrapped her arms around me, causing me to feel a little red in my cheeks. "You're such a sweet pony…" She spoke softly.

"You really mean that…?" I asked quietly…

"Mmhm." She answered. "I don't see why there aren't a million ponies around you…"

My eyes formed a sadden expression. "…that's exactly why…" I muttered very softly.

Fluttershy pulled away while keeping her hooves on my shoulders. "Hm?" She asked, concerned.

"Oh. I mean…uh…nothing." I nervously responded. "It's nothing."

"Alex?" She asked, almost in a worried tone.

"Um, thanks for the tea, Fluttershy. It was great, but I think I should head home now. It's pretty late. I'll see you tomorrow?"

"Um…okay…" Fluttershy replied a little saddened. "I'll see you, Alex."

"Goodnight, Fluttershy."

"Goodnight…"

I walked out the door and lightly closed it behind me. As I walked away from the house, I couldn't help but feel so bad about leaving like that. I thought about just turning around and explaining everything but… I couldn't… I just couldn't…

Almost at my house, something suddenly dropped in front of me, frightening me a bit.

"Hi, Alex!"

It was Rainbow Dash.

"Uh…hey…?" I responded uneasily.

"How ya doing?" She asked.

I remained silent for a moment. "Um… I don't know…" I paused. "What are you doing out here so late?"

"Well, you know…just flying around and stuff. Actually…I've been looking for you. I noticed you were walking home from Fluttershy's. What's up with that?"

"What do you mean?" I asked, slightly nervous.

"Well, do you like her or something?"

I started feeling a lot more nervous inside me…not this again…

"I don't know…"

"…well…I've seen you two together most of the time. You know… you two would make a really cute couple." Rainbow Dash giggled jokingly. I could only remain silent, looking away embarrassingly. "…well anyway, I've just wanted to give you something."

"Give me something? For what?"

"For being a good friend and all."

"Really?" I asked, surprised.

"Yeah!" She lifted up her hooves and grabbed something from her neck. After she removed it, she moved it towards me. "Here."

I analyzed the object. It was colored with a rainbow. "A whistle?" I asked.

"Yeah, you know! Whenever you're in trouble, just blow it and I'll be right there to help ya!"

"Thanks, Rainbow Dash… but I don't think I ne—

"Okay, okay. Fine, Mr. Tough-hooves. But even if you need someone to try to make you laugh or smile…" She stuck her tongue out, playfully. "You count on me!"

I thought about it and slowly took the whistle. I observed it for a moment, analyzing its rainbow finish. "Thanks, Rainbow Dash…"

"No problem, Alex! I really owe you so much, especially after you stood up for me the day I was competing in the Best Young Flyer's competition, so you deserve the same. Anyways, I better let you get some sleep. You look a little tired."

"Yeah… I guess so…"

"Alright then, catch you later!" Rainbow Dash sped off.

After she left, I continued to look at the whistle for a moment more. Afterwards, I entered my house and climbed up the stairs. I carefully placed the whistle on the counter in front of the bed. I walked over to the bed and sat down. I don't think I'll need to use it…but…maybe if I ever do need her…

I lay down on the bed and closed my eyes.

PreviousChapters Next