• 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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The Crystal Empire : Part Two

Episode 54 – The Crystal Empire : Part Two

Beginning to see chaos erupt around the empire, I had no idea if we completely failed or if there was still time to fix our mistakes.

"The empire is under attack." Shining Armor announced towards us. He then walked towards Miss Cadence and helped her up. She was conscious now. She managed to smile at Shining Armor. Then, she focused her horn. I quickly looked out towards the field and noticed that Miss Cadence surprisingly reactivated the spell again. I sighed. Maybe there's still time… "I have to find the Crystal Heart!"

"No." Twilight prevented. "You stay here with Cadence. She needs you, Shining Armor." I could see that Twilight had the right idea. Miss Cadence was certainly weak, and she could not be left alone. "Alex and I will retrieve the heart. Come on." She told me, beginning to run. I galloped after her.

"Let's do this!" Rainbow Dash explained and followed us as she flew.

"I've been trying to figure out how we're meant to pass Celestia's test." Twilight spoke during our rush. "Retrieving the Crystal Heart must be it. But there is something else you can do." Twilight looked towards Rainbow.

"Name it." She ordered valiantly.

"You and the rest of our friends have to keep the Faire going."

"What? With that thing moving into the empire?!" Rainbow questioned as we traveled down a flight of stairs.

"The whole purpose of the Crystal Faire is to lift the spirits of the crystal ponies, so they can activate the Crystal Heart." Twilight explained.

"Yeah…and?" Rainbow Dash seemed to hold a vexed expression.

"If the crystal ponies find out King Sombra is trying to take over the empire again, their spirits are gonna be anything but lifted. It won't matter if we find the Crystal Heart." We reached the outside of the castle and noticed Applejack attempting to prevent any crystal pony finding the fake heart. We turned to the right and continued running. "We won't be able to make it work." We stopped for a moment. "You have to keep them happy here at the faire."

"Keep the Faire going and the crystal ponies' spirits high. Done and done." Rainbow Dash accepted the order, seeing the great significance in it now.

"Twily, Alex, be careful." We heard Shining Armor's voice from the balcony above us.

"I will." Twilight responded while I nodded in agreement.

We ran off towards the center of the Faire. I didn't stop until I noticed Twilight halt and slow to a walk, sighing. I turned around and faced her. "What's wrong?" I asked.

"…I don't know where to find the Crystal Heart…" She looked towards the sky and noticed how little time we had before Miss Cadence's magic wore out. "…and…" She looked at me with worried, almost watery eyes. "…what if we don't find it, Alex? …What if we…fail everypony…?"

I stopped and furrowed my eyebrows towards her. I walked up to her and gave her an assuring embrace. "Twilight… Stop talking like that… You know how much all of us have been through. We will find it… I promise you, Twilight… And you know that I keep a promise, even if I have to stake my life on it."

After I pulled away, continuing to look at her, she lowered her head towards me and smiled lightly. "Thank you, Alex… You always manage to make me feel better somehow…" She started walking, causing me to walk by her side. "I guess it's because we have so much in common… It makes me feel not alone."

I nodded. "Let's just think of a way to fix this whole mess."

"You're right." She placed a hoof to her chin and faced the ground, shifting her eyes in thought. I followed in her example as we passed by different Faire carts.

"Who wants a flugelhorn?" Rainbow Dash cried out nearby, waving around the horn almost in a desperate way.

"I wanna flugelhorn!" Pinkie Pie answered, waving her hoof and showing frantic actions to obtain the horn as well.

Rainbow looked back in an irritated manner as Pinkie did not seem to understand the situation we were in to keep the ponies happy. She looked back out towards the crowd and ignored her. "Who else wants a flugelhorn?"

"I wanna flugelhorn!" Pinkie now threw a bit of a tantrum as she yelled and stomped her hooves on the ground. Normally, I would have chuckled or laughed at her silly behavior, but right now is not the time. There is a time for jokes, and there is a time for seriousness. Right now is not the time for silliness.

I continued thinking in my mind. Then, the words "Crystal Heart" suddenly clicked in my mind. Crystal… Heart… Heart… Crystal Empire… Heart… Heart! Maybe the Crystal Heart is in the heart of the city! As Twilight continued to think and walk, I stopped and looked back towards the castle, feeling confident about my answer. Where else would the Crystal Heart be other than the castle itself?

Twilight noticed my sudden halt and turned to face me. "Alex? What's up?"

"I think I just found where our Crystal Heart is, Twilight…" I responded as I continued looking towards the castle.

She turned around and walked towards my side. "Are you…looking at the castle? You think it's in there?"

"Yes, I'm sure of it."

"But…we just came back from there. Do you think it'd be really that easy?"

I stopped looking towards the castle and faced Twilight with serious eyes, producing her to return her face towards me as well. "Think about it Twilight. Crystal Heart. It just clicks in your mind with you think about a heart, and it being in the center of the city, doesn't it? And the center of the city is there." I pointed towards the castle.

Twilight widened her eyes. "You have a point, Alex." She suddenly gasped. "Yes! It makes a lot of sense! When King Sombra was in power, he must have kept the Crystal Heart there, because no pony would dare try to reach it!"

"Exactly!"

Twilight was about to squee and grin in joy, but we began hearing panting behind us.

"Twilight, Alex, wait!" We turned back to see Spike running towards us, stopping in front of us to catch his breath. "I'm coming with you!"

"You can't… We have to retrieve the Crystal Heart by ourselves." Twilight answered and began walking away.

However, I placed a hoof on her shoulder, turning her head towards me. "Hold on… He doesn't exactly have to retrieve the Crystal Heart… He can just…keep us company…"

"Yeah. I promise I won't lift a claw to help you." He emphasized by motioning his claws upwards the sky.

Twilight looked at him for a moment and then sighed. Using her magic, she picked up Spike and placed him on her back. "Not a claw, Spike." She managed to reveal a grin and face me. "Let's go."

After, we began running straight towards the castle, dodging anything and anypony in the way as they looked back to see why we were in such a rush.

"So... where are we going, exactly?" Spike asked.

"We think we might know where King Sombra hid the Crystal Heart." Twilight answered as she looked towards the castle.

"The castle?"

"The king would've been counting on the fact that nopony would dare come looking for it here." Twilight explained. "They'd've been too afraid to even try."

"Right, and it's our job we find it and finish this King Sombra mess once and for all." I added with straightforward determination, reaching the doors to the castle.

"I hope your right…" Spike commented.

"Everyone of us…" Twilight finished and we entered through them, closing them afterwards.

We rushed through the castle, landing in the hallway where we ran through the left staircase last time. Spike was trying to keep up while Twilight immediately started searching everywhere, even under a small statue of a unicorn. She panted, released noises of exertion and then sighed heavily. Spike, on the other hoof, was panting and sweating as Twilight looked around on the ground. "It's gotta be here somewhere." She announced, causing me to stop, place a hoof on my chin, and think. "It's just gotta be!" I looked to the side to see Spike notice an uneven spot on the carpet. Twilight was looking through several books at the same time with her magic, but stopped when she spotted Spike looking under the carpet. "Not a claw, Spike." She emphasized, initiating Spike to quickly pull away his claws and wave them in the air nervously. "Celestia's orders!"

I placed my hoof back on the floor. "My thoughts would be that King Sombra didn't just place the Crystal Heart anywhere in the castle, even if he knew ponies wouldn't try to look for it here. My guess would be that he'd hide it in some secret passageway room of some sort…" I walked around, continuing to release my opinion. "Something that would be complementary towards the structure of this castle…"

Twilight glanced at me and thought about it for a moment. She walked around, noticing the throne room and entering inside. I followed her and stopped by her side. She widened her eyes, allowing me to dart my eyes towards the direction she was looking at as well, suddenly noticing something familiar: the crystal at the highest point of the throne chair…

I played Celestia's instructions in my mind…remembering when she was holding the exact same crystal. If the empire is filled with hope and love, those things are reflected across all of Equestria. If hatred and fear take hold... She had worked some kind of dark magic on it, creating a large shadow…but…how am I supposed to do that…?

"Of course!" Twilight unexpectedly cried out, startling Spike and throwing him against the floor.

"Argh! What? Did you find it?"

"No." Twilight winked in joy. "Because this isn't King Sombra's castle." She walked through the throne, causing me to walk by her in interest. Spike followed along as well.

"Wh- Isn't this where he lived when he was in power?" He questioned.

"It is. But it didn't look like this." She directed to the crystal I was looking at earlier. She must have been thinking about what I was thinking…

"So…" I commented. "Don't you have to cast that same type of magic Celestia did?"

"Yep. Exactly…" She removed her smile and formed a working expression, grunting as she managed to slowly perform that dark magic Celestia had. Her horn changed from the normal aura to a darker one, just as Princess Celestia. My eyes widened when it then shifted to those purple and greenish misty spots as the same aura formed around her eyes. It was then shot towards the crystal, commencing that same shadow to cover the floor between us as we backed away from it. To my surprise, it uncovered a huge stairway down.

"Whoa..." Spike expressed as Twilight clapped her hooves, again in joy. "When did you learn to do that?" He asked as he looked downwards the new pathway.

"That was a little trick Celestia taught me." Twilight replied.

I stared towards the stairway down, feeling the need to quickly push on forward. "I'm glad we're finally making some real progress…"

Spike observed the height and depth of the staircase towards the foggy and obscure bottom. He gulped and produced a nervous noise as Twilight lit her horn to begin descending the stairs with me. Before continuing on further, Twilight turned around to view a hesitant Spike. "You stay here." She turned back and continued walking by my side.

"Huh, if you insist." He quickly turned around and remained at the top of the stairs. We continued walking a little faster than average until we heard Spike's voice echo from the top of us. "Can you see what's down there yet?"

"Not yet." Twilight answered. "I can't even tell how far down this goes!" She looked around and found a piece of rock or crystal by the side of the wall. She pulled it out with her magic and dropped it in the middle of the circular staircase. She held out her right ear with a smile. However, she shifted that smile when she noticed the sound of the tool landing wasn't present. She rubbed her ear and placed a hoof by it. After several seconds, we heard it clang on the floor, surprising mostly Twilight. "Spike?"

"Yeah?"

"Can you see outside?"

As Spike ran to do what he was asked, I faced Twilight to notice her expression. "Do you want me to fly us down there?"

She shook her head. "It's too risky and dangerous. We'll go down the long way if it means we'll be safe…"

"It's not good! Cadence's magic must be fading faster than before!" Spike's voice echoed throughout the area.

"Let's go!" Twilight exclaimed and began running down the stairs.

Before I could warn her about galloping down, she tripped when a piece of the stairs broke off. "Twilight!" I called her name and quickly flew to her, catching her on my back.

She opened her eyes and noticed where she was. She released a breath of relief. "Thanks." I looked back towards the floor of the castle and slowly descended downwards until the fog cleared up and I was fortunately able to land.

"Twilight, Alex, are you okay?" Spike asked from the top.

"Yes." Twilight answered and jumped off my back.

"Twilight, look." I pointed to a door that I spotted.

She turned towards my direction and saw it. "This must be the way!" She was about to open it with her magic, but it suddenly disappeared. We looked around, noticing it reappear on the right side of her. She narrowed her eyes and worked her magic again, only to produce the same outcome. The door was now behind us. "What in the..." She charged towards it and activated her magic, but the door lifted upwards and dodged her attack, causing her to smack herself on the wall. "Stop..." She removed herself from the wall. "…moving!" She continued to chase it, but all it did was move away. Finally, when it appeared in front of her, she released sounds of exertion and immediately produced that dark magic as soon as she could, shooting it towards the top of the door.

Successfully, the door opened, revealing a bright light that blew our manes as well. Twilight smiled brightly due to this. "Alex! I think it's here!" She exclaimed as she ran towards the door.

A bright light is a good sign, right?

Nonetheless, with some slight hesitation, I ran after her.

All of a sudden, I was welcomed by unusual surroundings. "Huh?" I questioned, looking around. I then widened my eyes as I saw darkness and stars everywhere. "Am I…" I looked below me to see whitish dust on my hooves. "…on the moon…?"

I heard a small chuckle. "So it's you…"

I quickly looked forward to see some shadowy pony in front of me. I couldn't really tell what he looked like, but all I could come up with was lots of shadow and darkness that surrounded him. "What…? Who are you…?"

"Hmph." He slightly inched and angled his head towards me. "You don't remember, do you?"

I shook my head. "I don't know what you're talking about…"

He chuckled a little once again. "Of course you wouldn't… I'm sure she wouldn't recognize you either… Not like I do…"

I furrowed my eyebrows and angled my head to depict confusion upon my face. "Look… I have no idea what you're talking about, nor do I have any idea how I got here…" I looked around. And what happened to Twilight…?

"Don't worry…" He responded, ceasing my questioning looks and causing me to face towards him again. "You'll know soon enough…and when you do…" He stood up, still facing the other way. "It'll change your whole life…" He quickly glanced at me. "Forever." I was able to see his face for a split-second, but it was too fast to remember.

Then, my whole vision was blinded by light.

I heard my name being called. "Alex! Alex" I felt my body being rocked almost violently. Suddenly, I truly opened my eyes and shook my head. "Huh? What happened?" I turned to my left to see Twilight with worried eyes. "Twilight…? Where'd you go?"

She looked towards Spike, who was down here for some reason. "Spike woke me up from some sort of nightmare."

"Spike?" I questioned, looking at him.

"A nightmare?" Spike questioned, lost in confusion as well. "What were you looking at? I mean..." He ran towards the open door that revealed the wall. "It's just a wall." Unexpectedly, the magic on top of the door began forming and affected Spike's eyes. They shifted into a background green, but red pupil, surprising me. Was that what I looked like…? "...Ponyville?!" He began speaking while staring blankly to the wall. "But how did I get... no! I don't wanna go!" His eyes began forming up with tears. "Please, Twilight, don't leave me!"

Twilight immediately slammed the door shut with her back left leg. "King Sombra's dark magic." She explained. "A doorway that leads to your worst fear." She continued to analyze the door as Spike wiped the tears from his eyes.

Worst fear…? How was what I saw my worst fear…?

"We were home... you told me you didn't need me anymore." Spike rubbed his left eye as he retold his fear. "You were sending me away..."

"A fear that will never come to pass." Twilight assured as she emphasized it by bringing him towards her with her right hoof and hugging him gently. "I'm never gonna send you away. And I'm not gonna fail my test!" This time, Twilight performed her regular magic on the door and formed a thin slice of light on the outline of the door. Thus, it finally opened through the thick rocky wall, revealing another pathway that was brighter inside. She walked inside, analyzing her surroundings.

"What's in there?" Spike asked.

Twilight returned a sigh. "Stairs." She looked upwards as I walked in and joined her. "Lots and lots of stairs." She emphasized by straining the words with her voice. She released one quick sigh as we began heading up the "lots and lots" of stairs. However, she quickly turned around and faced Spike, who was leaning against the wall at the bottom. "Maybe you should come with me this time." This caused Spike to release a grin of joy and begin to run behind us.

As we continued to walk in silence up the stairs, I could feel Twilight shift her eyes towards me. "…Alex…" I returned my eyes back to her. "…If you don't mind me asking… What was your worst fear…?"

I remained silent for a moment. "…I don't even know if it was my worst fear. I mean… All I remember is being on the moon or something, seeing this shadowy pony, and him telling me these odd things, which I didn't even understand. It wasn't really fear…just confusion… I don't understand it at all…"

"Oh…that's weird…" Twilight responded with, as we continued trotting up the stairs.

I began to think about Fluttershy. I wonder what she's doing… It feels like a really long time since I've talked to her or showed her any affection…almost like I was ignoring her… I felt really bad… I shook my head. Once this is over, I hope I can replace all that back to the way it's supposed to be.

I looked above me and still noticed a long way to go. I sighed. "We should hurry. It feels like at this pace, we're not going to make it in time."

"You're right." Twilight replied and looked at Spike. "C'mon Spike, let's move!" Her order initiated all of us to begin sprinting and dashing towards the top of the stairs.

Nonetheless, no matter how fast or much we ran, it seemed like an endless flight of stairs. In only a few minutes, Twilight, Spike, and I were already panting, revealing our fatigue and our bodies slowing down to a more "climb with much effort" technique.

"What if this is just more of his magic?" Spike commented through pants as he had to push himself on top of each step. "He makes a door that leads to your worst nightmare... why not a staircase that goes on forever?"

Twilight looked down to see Spike a floor behind us. She licked her lips and faced her head upwards. I did so too, noticing the many more flights of stairs that lay before us. I sighed and placed a hoof on my face, rubbing it tiredly. However, I noticed Twilight continue to twist her head around, directing her vision towards the stairs above us. Then, she suddenly grinned, instigating me to form a facial expression of confusion and wonder what she was smiling about.

"Hold on to me." Twilight announced towards Spike, bringing the tired dragon body up a floor and on her back. She glanced over to me. "Brace yourself and plant your hooves firmly on the floor."

"Alright…" I responded and did so.

She closed her eyes and began grunting to perform a spell. Unexpectedly, Twilight and I, including Spike, began lifting off from the ground.

"Uh…" Spike released.

Twilight released sounds of exertion and yelled out. "Whoaaa! Whooaaaa!" All of sudden, we were flipped upside down and sliding down the top of the stairs.

I formed widened eyes and exclaimed to Twilight. "What did you do?!"

"Whoooooahaha!" Twilight cheered, actually getting a kick out of this "ride" as the wind blew through our manes. "I actually studied gravity spells, thinking it might be on my test! Turns out I was prepared for this!" She answered as Spike tried so hard to keep himself on her. "Wooohooo!" As soon as she ended her cheering with a heartily laugh, we were immediately flipped around again and landed on the floor harshly.

Recovering our balance, we could hear the wind blow strongly through our manes. We looked to our left to see it there; the real Crystal Heart floating in mid-air. Spike released a grin and gestured Twilight and I to step forward and take it. Twilight returned a smile and looked over to me, gesturing to me as well with her head.

As I stood up on four of my hooves, I noticed Twilight highly enchanted by its beauty. She began walking towards it as I saw the very heart reflected off of her huge eyes. "Twilight… Hold on a second… I don't we should be so quick to—

Before I could complete my sentence, she stepped onto the middle of the platform where the Crystal Heart was held. Darkness immediately covered the area where she stood, sending out some sort of alarm. I quickly looked back to see King Sombra actually notice this, and how we were trying to retrieve the Crystal Heart. I quickly looked back towards Twilight, dashing to her to push her out of the way, but instead, I smacked myself on some sort of rocky wall. Twilight tried to grab the Crystal Heart, but flung it away from her instead. I could hear the Crystal Heart tap on the ground several times, but I was more concerned about Twilight, especially after hearing King Sombra's laugh…

Lighting began striking, but all my attention was focused on Twilight's safety.

"Twilight!" I exclaimed out her name, banging on the rocky walls with my hooves. "Are you alright?!"

"I'm fine!" She answered, yelling as well. "The Heart... where's the Crystal—

"Here!" I heard Spike, turning my head towards him and spotting him crossing his arms and walking towards the Crystal Heart. "It rolled over to me when you dropped it!"

"Don't move!" Twilight commanded boldly. Spike immediately obeyed her order, stopping right behind me and sweating nervously. "You can move, just not towards me!" Twilight added when she noticed rocky spikes forming around us. As Spike backed away, Twilight focused her magic and tried to teleport out of there, but she was sucked back in somehow! "How could I have been so foolish...? I was just so eager to get it! Then when I saw what was going on outside, I..."

"You have to get out of there, Twilight!" Spike shouted. "You two have to be the ones to take the Heart to Princess Cadence! If you don't, you'll both fail Celestia's test!"

"King Sombra is already attacking the Empire." Twilight replied solemnly, looking out towards the area. "He could reach the crystal ponies at any moment... reach Princess Cadence, my brother, my friends... there may not be enough time for me to find a way to escape…" She paused for a moment and widened her eyes. Then, she looked straight towards me. "Alex, you have to be the one to bring the Crystal Heart to the Faire."

"What?!" I exclaimed and then immediately shook my head. "No, Twilight! I'm not leaving you here by yourself!"

"You have to, Alex! If you don't, then the Crystal Empire will fall under King Sombra's hooves!"

I looked down at the ground and quickly shifted my eyes around, thinking under high pressure, as Twilight could only desperately look at me. Then, I quickly turned my head towards Spike. "Spike!" I used my magic to grab the Crystal Heart and toss it to him. "Take the Crystal Heart to Miss Cadence, now!"

"Me? But Alex—

"Go!" I ordered, cutting him off.

"But—

"GO!" I strained, frightening him a little and causing him to quickly run off, dodging the rocky spikes that continued to form from the floor.

As soon as Spike was able to escape, I turned around to see Twilight, who was only looking at me with saddened eyes. "Alex? Why didn't you take it? You could've passed and let me fail." She expressed as the rocky barriers surrounded the entire area now. "Now you're going to be stuck here with me, and we'll both fail and disappoint Princess Celestia…"

"I don't care about that, Twilight." I explained, still sending a straight and confident look at her. "I don't care if we fail, not as long as we save the Crystal Empire." I placed my hooves on the wall and looked directly at her through the space. "Twilight, to me, you're my sister, and you're the best sister I could ever have. I'm serious. I don't care if we aren't related by blood; you're still my little sister! And I'm going to protect you no matter what! If you fail, then I fail! We either pass together, or we fail together!"

"Alex…" She responded, her voice almost seeming as if it was going to break. Her eyes also seemed to become watery as well. Then, she suddenly widened her eyes and looked past my face. "Spike!" I quickly turned around and saw Spike struggling to move the Crystal Heart. However, in the distance, I noticed King Sombra just waiting for him!

"Don't y'all worry your pretty little crystal heads!" I heard Applejack's voice nervously announce. "The real Crystal Heart will be here any second!"

After several seconds from that announcement, I noticed that the shield protecting the city began to shatter and disappear. Miss Cadence's magic must have completely worn off! Spike!

"He's back! I can't take it!" I heard a female crystal pony cry out and shriek.

"Ahhhhhh..." His voice protruded through the city. "My crystal slaves..." He hissed, just like a venomous snake.

"Whoa! Huh!" We heard Spike spit out fire towards the spikes that continued to form behind him. "Yah!" He looked downwards, where the other ponies must have been. "Hey! Up here! I got the Crystal Heart!" He held up the Heart with both his claws.

King Sombra released a mighty growl. "That is mine!"

At that moment, he instantly dove into the ground and began forming much fiercer and larger crystal rocks that shot upwards from the ground.

"Alex!" Twilight's voice called, catching my attention towards her. "You have to help Spike! Please!" She pleaded desperately. "He can't make it all by himself!"

Once again, I looked towards the ground and shifted my eyes rapidly in thought. After a few seconds, I noticed pieces of crystal rocks nearby me. I widened my eyes and faced Twilight. "Twilight! Can you make another fake Crystal Heart?"

"What? I-I guess, but how is that going to—

"Just trust me!" I interrupted and used my magic to transport the pieces towards her. "But this time, give it a shiny coat like glass!"

She grabbed the pieces with her own magic and looked at me for a moment. Then, she closed her eyes and focused on the pieces. After a very short moment, she crafted it into another fake Crystal Heart, adding the final touches with she pulled another fierce grunt. When she opened her eyes, the artificial Heart was complete and it almost looked exactly like the original Crystal Heart. "What are you going to do with this?!" She continued to yell out.

"I'm going to pretend that I'm switching with Spike, but what I'm actually going to do is give him more time to reach Miss Cadence!" Before I could grab it and run off, Twilight stopped me.

"Wait!" I turned back to see Twilight straining her eyes on the fake Heart. She infused something inside and transported it to me with her magic. "I placed a spell inside, so when King Sombra thinks it's the real one and takes it for himself, it'll actually paralyze him long enough for Spike to reach the Princess safely!"

I quickly nodded and held the false Heart with my magic. "Thanks, Twilight!" I turned around to begin running off. "I'll come back for you!"

"Be careful!" She shouted as I ran.

When I reached the wall covering the area, a beam of magic shot out from my horn, breaking the wall and creating a small hole enough for me to get through. I heard King Sombra growl loudly again, who was now heading towards the little dragon at high speeds. "Spike, wait!" I called out to him, causing him to turn around and see me in surprise. "Switch with me!" I exclaimed and used my magic to make it look like I grabbed the real Crystal Heart, but I actually just created a circle motion and had him keep the real one.

"Alex, what—

I didn't stick around to hear what he had to say. As soon as I saw King Sombra speeding towards me, I narrowed my eyes in anger and determination. I noticed the end of the rocky passage away and spread my wings to begin flying. I jumped off the ground, also noticing that he analyzed me and slightly widened his eyes for some reason. Nonetheless, I began flapping my wings, quickly flying towards him. However, my heart was beating fast, as I was under a lot of pressure. All of a sudden, I felt each wing of mine begin to flap unevenly. "Come on wings… Don't fail me now…!" I muttered under my breath, straining and struggling to keep them in an even motion. Even so, they had begun flapping terribly uneven and unbalanced to the point where they had just snapped shut, causing me to fall. On the bright side, I had flown far enough to reach the platform King Sombra had created when his true body was formed. Unfortunately when I landed harshly with a thud in front of him, my spell holding the fake Crystal Heart was interrupted, causing for the Heart itself to fall and slide towards him, which actually wasn't necessarily a bad thing…

As I began pushing myself up through grunts and groans, he kept his eyes on the Heart.

"The Crystal Heart!" He hissed and licked his licks. "It's mine! It's finally mine!" Just as he opened his mouth and was about to consume it, an odor traveled towards his nose. He sniffed it and then grew an irritated expression. "This… This isn't the REAL Crystal Heart!" He growled angrily and looked straight towards me as I just finished standing up.

As he continued to stare angrily at me, he held up his right hoof and fiercely kicked the artificial Crystal Heart off the cliff to his left. I merely looked at the falling fake Heart as it fell towards the ground beneath us, my expression unfazed and undaunted. There goes my free spell… However, I kept a cool facial expression, seeming as to speak, "So what?" No matter, I'm going to keep my promise. I turned my head back towards King Sombra to still see him sending me a fierce expression.

I lowered myself in a battle position and prepared myself for any attacks. "I guess we're going to have to settle this casco a casco." He growled, seeming to be annoyed by my sentence. As I began carefully heading towards him, he released a fierce yell and shot out mists of darkness towards me. I wasn't expecting for him to break the rules of a pure stallion fight, so I was hit by them. I grunted and groaned as I took the hits, flinching and stumbling back. Once I was able to recover, I looked at him with one eye open. "You like to play rough, huh? OK."

As he held his place, I quickly charged towards him. Once he was about to counter-attack, I quickly jumped off the cliff and flew around him. As he was searching for me, I used my hoof to swipe at his on the floor. He fell towards the floor, giving me a chance to get on him and strike him with my hooves. As I began striking him with punches and kicks, I released a statement to him. "This is what happens when you decide to cheat out on a real…" I ended with a severe kick to his face. "FIGHT!"

He released painful grunt, but managed to send out an aggressive growl as well. An explosion of darkness derived from him, sending me a few feet away from him. I landed on my back, incapacitated for just a few seconds. As he began pushing himself up, I did so as well, looking to my back and seeing Spike try to travel towards Miss Cadence with the heart. On the other hoof, I could see the other girls staring at me in worriment, maybe even Twilight.

When King Sombra was back on his hooves, he noticed the direction I was staring at and realized that Spike still contained the real Crystal Heart in his claws. He released another deeply effective growl and began charging towards Spike, possibly to pounce on him from here.

I noticed this and returned a little growl of my own, narrowing my eyes in an aggressive matter. "No, you don't!" I ran towards him and blocked his path, grabbing the front part of his body and his forelegs as well, holding him back. Using his magic, he managed to pull me off and throw me to the side, as he was more experienced with his horn. Nonetheless, when I was on the floor, I think I managed to piss him off when I grabbed a few pieces of crystal stone and shot them towards him. They landed on his head, causing him to turn his face towards me and return a seriously ticked off expression.

"That's it…" I mumbled, wanting to draw his attention towards me.

He released a ferocious yell and began running towards me. I managed to stand on my hooves in time. Once he was about to attack me, I quickly jumped towards the sky and actually hop over him, almost in a somewhat leapfrog style. As I did so, I managed to land a kick on his back, causing him to stumble towards the front and trip, falling on his hooves. I took a quick breath and spat a little to the side. I allowed him to turn towards me. As soon as he did so, he raised his hoof and was about to attack me, almost like a lion when it raises his paw. I spotted this and quickly raised my right hoof to block it. He growled and raised his other hoof, allowing me to block it with my left hoof as well. We only stared at each other fiercely, the aura on our horns glowing immensely. Realizing I had the chance, I head-butted him, causing him to strain his eyes and release a groan of pain. He placed his hooves down on the floor, shaking his head as he kneeled on the floor.

It's time to finish this!

I raised my hoof and began to release a small war cry to accommodate my landing punches. "Tick off!" I yelled, beginning my rapid movement of my hooves. "Don't ever terrorize this town again!" I began punching him very fiercely and rapidly. "Just leave everypony alone already!" Finally, I released a vicious grunt and punched him squarely on the jaw. He fell to the floor, allowing me to jump on his body and aim my horn towards him. He could only stare me, his aggressiveness seeming to fade away.

I was panting heavily, but I kept my eyes glued on to him. He was breathing heavily as well, but he managed to smile evilly and chuckle. "I can see your father in you…" He announced towards me.

This caused me to widen my eyes. Nonetheless, I narrowed them and placed my horn closer to his face. "What?" I strained. "How do you know about my father?" I now revealed my teeth, seeming to become angry at this.

He laughed for a moment, looking away. Then, he faced me and continued to grin mischievously. "Why, he's none other than—

Suddenly, an explosion of crystal light radiated through us. As it flowed through me, I felt the proof of my struggles, my bruises, fade away and cleanse themselves. On the other hoof, this damaged King Sombra before he could complete his sentence. He released one last vulgar roar as the Crystal light destroyed him.

As I looked around me, I noticed everything go back to the way it was, destroying the darkened crystal rocks that had formed, including the one I was standing upon. I quickly spread my wings and began flying in mid-air. I observed myself, noticing that my mane was combed neatly to the side and that I now contained a crystal appearance. Then, I heard something shoot up loudly from the castle. Strong, bright, nylon colors emerged from the top of the castle, exploding and sending each of its colors throughout the entire sky.

I released a breath of relief. Spike did it… Keeping my promise, I flew back towards Twilight, landing where she stood with her mane styled differently as well. As soon as she saw me, she ran towards me and wrapped her hooves around me. "Alex! Are you alright?"

I placed my hooves on her shoulders and smiled, sighing contently. "Yeah… I'm fine…"

When we pulled away, we turned around and looked out towards where the crowd stood. We saw every single one of them with their manes styled differently, including their coats crystallized as well. This affected the girls down there, including Miss Cadence. Shining Armor hugged her greatly and proudly. After, Miss Cadence turned around and closed her eyes as she smiled and waved out to the Crystal Ponies. The crowd returned a motivated and loud cheer towards her. Twilight grinned joyously from this and placed her hooves on the ledge, sighing. "Good job, Spike." After looking out at the crowd for a moment, she turned her face towards me. "You too, Alex… I'm sure you'll pass…" She then remembered about the directions for our test and frowned, causing me to frown along with her as well…

When we finally arrived at the bottom of the castle, we were met with the other girls.

"Oh heavens, you two." Rarity began. "Are you both alright?"

"Yeah, we're fine." I managed to pull out a light smile, but when I looked over to Twilight, she still looked away with a frown.

"Looks like every one of you did it." Shining Armor announced to all of us. "The Crystal Empire is safe now. The Crystal Heart is in its rightful place. All the crystal ponies are back to normal. You all did a great job today in defending this home." He looked towards me. "That was quite a fight you put up there." He commented, causing me to chuckle and slightly look away in embarrassment. "I wouldn't be surprised if you became Captain of the Royal Guard yourself." He formed a smile on his face.

"That sounds nice…" I replied. "But I'd rather stick to my friends here…" I directed towards all of them. "They're pretty much all I need…"

He nodded and continued to smile. "I understand."

Extremely pleased of my safe condition, Fluttershy ran over to me and hugged me, allowing me to rub my hooves on her back and smile.

We decided we best leave the Crystal Empire as soon as possible, mostly due to the reason that Twilight and I needed to find out if we passed. I didn't really care if I did, not to disrespect Princess Celestia, but I was only more concerned about Twilight. She took her studies and tests to her heart, and if she failed this…then she could really break down…

Passing by all the Crystal Ponies who waved farewell to us and seeing them completely rejoiced in their crystallized appearances, Shining Armor and Miss Cadence walked us all back towards the train station. However, all of our coats and manes had returned to normal, possibly after leaving the Crystal Empire.

Rarity looked at her body and released a disappointed sigh. "I do so wish it was permanent. Did you see how my mane just absolutely sparkled?" She commented to Applejack.

"But... good things are better when they're a rarity." Applejack winked at her last word, emphasizing a pun towards Rarity.

"Aww." Rarity laughed and released a warm smile.

"Everything's gonna be okay." Shining Armor advised Twilight, who continued to walk in a gloomy motion. "You've gotta stop saving my rump like this, it's starting to get embarrassing."

"Wasn't me who saved you in the end… It was Spike." Twilight responded.

"It's just a test. Maybe she'll let you retake it." Shining Armor added as we stopped in front of the train.

Nonetheless, Twilight continued walking towards the train, seeming to feel as if she just wanted to get it over with. "I don't think she's gonna give me a new test…"

I frowned and formed a depressive expression on my face. I shook it and faced Miss Cadence and Shining Armor. "I don't know what's going to happen…" I took a pause. "But… I'd rather her pass and me fail." I looked towards the train window where I could see her take a seat with her back away. "This is more important to her… So… If I can… I'll take the blame for any penalties against her…"

"But Alex…" Miss Cadence held out a hoof towards me.

I shook my head. "I was in this too. Worst Case Scenario: We both fail. Hopefully… That won't happen…"

Miss Cadence sighed. "I guess we understand…"

I nodded. "Yeah…" I faced them. "I guess I'll see you both later. The other girls must be waiting for me."

"Okay…" Miss Cadence offered an embrace, which I warmly accepted. "Take care, Alex. Okay?"

"Sure, Miss Cadence." I responded, allowing her to smile softly as I gave one last quick wave to Shining Armor. Then, I turned around and boarded the train.

When the train began moving, I walked over to Fluttershy, who was sitting by the window.

"Hey, Fluttershy."

She turned around and spotted me, smiling instantly. "Hello, Alex."

"I just thought I could at least spend the time in the train with you… It feels like it's been so long since I've seen your face or talked to you…"

She embraced me and returned a peck on my lips, but lightly shook her head after. "Go talk to Twilight. She needs you right now."

"Are you sure…?"

She nodded. "This is the most important thing to her right now. She needs all the comfort she can get, and you understand her more than any of us do. We can wait until another day to spend some nice time together. Right now, she needs you to get through this."

I nodded and glanced over to Twilight. "Okay…" I faced Fluttershy. "Thanks, Fluttershy."

She released a warm smile and nodded as well. "You're welcome."

After, we pulled away, and she allowed me to walk over to Twilight, who was at the end of the train, looking out the window in silence. Once I reached her, I sat by her and slightly looked towards her eyes. "Hey… How's it going…?" I asked.

She sighed, and I could almost hear her voice break. "I'm so worried… I feel like I'm going to completely fail."

I remained silent for a moment, thinking about what to say. Then, I looked out the window and spoke. "I don't want to lie and say that everything is going to be okay…but… I'm really sure we'll be fine Twilight…"

"For you, I'm sure." She replied, almost instantly. "You did so much! And all I did was…get into worse situations…"

I placed a hoof on her hoof and looked at her emphatically and empathetically. "It was a team effort, Twilight. You may think it like that, but I know that if you didn't help, we both would have failed. You found the book to the Crystal Faire. You found the hidden passageway towards the Crystal Heart. You even used an anti-gravity spell to get us to it in time! If you wouldn't have done any of those things, we probably would have never made it in time."

Twilight looked at the floor for a moment and then back at me, managing to release a small smile. "I…I guess you're right…Thank you, Alex…" She looked out the window. "Maybe everything will be alright… I mean… When has it never been…?"

"We saved the Crystal Empire… I think that's more important than taking the Crystal Heart to Miss Cadence yourself. We did the job, and we did it great."

"Yeah…" She paused and then looked at me. "Did you really mean what you said back there? About me being your sister?"

I smiled and nodded confidently. "Trust me. If I could replace Starlight with you, I would so in an instant."

She managed to giggle softly. "You're too nice."

As soon as the train stopped, we all walked out and traveled towards Princess Celestia's quarters. Reaching the doors where we first were when we were summoned to take the test, everypony stopped.

"We'll wait for you both right here." Applejack announced.

Twilight and I looked at each other. She inhaled and exhaled a deep breath and nodded. Then, we both turned to the door and entered through. As we grew nearer to where Princess Celestia stood, I could feel Twilight beginning to grow nervous, as I spotted her legs trembling and shaking a bit.

We saw her looking out the window, noticing the colors radiate through the sky. We stopped a few feet from her.

"Princess Celestia… We're back…" Twilight announced.

She formed a warm smile. "It seems like the both of you completed the task well. It's beautiful."

Twilight lowered her head sadly, almost in guilt. "I wish it had been us who ultimately made it so. But it wasn't. Spike took the Heart and saved the Crystal Empire. Even so, Alex still did much more than me… I'm sorry…"

I shook my head. "That's not true." I faced Princess Celestia. "Twilight held as much importance as we all did. Princess Celestia…" I took a step towards her. "If you count anything against Twilight…please blame it on me." This caused Twilight to raise her head and look at me in surprise. "I know I could have done better to support her, but…" I chuckled lightly. "I guess I'm still a little…inexperienced…with my powers. Twilight was the one who really prepared and focused on this test. She deserves to pass. I don't meant to disrespect you, Princess Celestia, but it's more important to me if Twilight passes instead of me."

Princess Celestia thought about my small speech and then closed her eyes and smiled. "Hm. Don't speak such nonsense." She answered, surprising us both. She faced Twilight. "Twilight, as I understand it," She began walking towards us, glancing over to a glass window that actually depicted Spike bringing the Heart to Miss Cadence. "Spike brought Princess Cadence the Crystal Heart because you weren't sure how quickly you could find a way to escape the tower. You weren't willing to risk the future of the citizens of the Crystal Empire in an effort to guarantee your own. Far better that I have a student who understands the meaning of self-sacrifice than one who only looks out for her own best interests." She faced me. "As for you, you have surpassed the highest expectations I've had for you. You were so willing to stay with Twilight to protect her. You don't know how many other ponies would have taken it for granted if they contained the same powers you did, such as being arrogant and willing to take all the credit for themselves for the protection of the Crystal Empire." She placed a hoof on my shoulder. "You are extremely protective and valuable to your team, Alex. I'm sure you'll do nothing but impress and help your friends with your new powers, as you grow used to them."

I thought about her words and sent a warm smile to complete hers. "Thank you, Princess Celestia…"

Twilight formed a hopeful grin. "Does this mean...?"

Princess Celestia removed her hoof from my shoulder and stood back, proudly. "Yes, you both passed."

Twilight gasped loudly and suddenly shouted, screaming in joy. "Thank you, Princess Celestia! Thank you! I'm so glad!"

I was glad that we both passed, but I honestly wasn't as excited as Twilight was. However, I was certainly blissful that she achieved her goal. Princess Celestia looked at me and winked. "You better go tell your friends. I'm sure they're still out there worrying."

"Of course." I bowed. "Thank you, Princess Celestia."

"Oh, right!" Twilight ceased her jumping and hopping around and bowed as well. "Thank you again, Princess Celestia!"

Princess Celestia could only return a smirk and lightly chuckle as she saw Twilight run out the room with me following her.

Twilight wasn't hesitant to slam open the doors to the outside. She quickly kicked it, surprising the other ponies as they were looking inside. Twilight jumped out and exclaimed. "We passed!"

This immediately caused the other girls to grin, release breaths of relief, and cheer. As Twilight continued to hop excited, Spike ran over to her to hug her. I looked at all the other girls with a bright smile. Rarity glanced over to Fluttershy and then began walking towards us, catching the others' attention as she sang.

"You were prepared to do your best

Had what it takes to pass the test" Rarity's verse caused Twilight to raise her hoof and look away while blushing intensely. I smiled and placed a hoof over her, bringing her slightly closer to me and feeling ever so proud for her.

"All those doubts you can dismiss" I removed my hoof as Rarity began leading us out.

Turns out you were"

"Prepared for this!" The other girls finished as I walked between Twilight and Rarity.

"You clearly have just what it takes!" Applejack popped up between Twilight and I and placed her hooves around us, grinning.

"To pass a test with such high stakes!" Pinkie Pie added, somehow wearing literally high stakes on her hooves on Twilight's side. She lost her balance and fell, breaking the stakes. At this point, I smiled at her silliness, seeing how all the trouble was now over.

"We knew for sure you would prevail!" Fluttershy joined my side next to Rarity as she flew gracefully.

"Since when does Twilight Sparkle and Alex ever fail?" Rainbow Dash sang as well, lying on a cloud that hovered above us.

I grinned brightly and decided to add my own verse to their song. "I'm so happy I could really yell!"

"All those doubts that you can dismiss" We all sang as we crossed the bridge of the castle.

"Trust yourself and you cannot miss" The girls and I assured as Twilight Sparkle walked gracefully and smiled brightly with her eyes closed.

"Turns out you were!" Applejack, Pinkie Pie, and Rarity sang.

"Turns out we were!" Twilight and I returned.

"Turns out you were!" Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Spike joined.

"Turns out we were!" Twilight and I emphasized.

"Turns out you were" Rarity placed a hoof on both of ours as we were on the train ride home.

"Prepared... for this!" We all finished together.

"Heheh." Spike laughed both nervously and exhaustedly. "Yeah, I knew everything was going to be fine." Afterwards, he sighed and planted himself on Twilight's back, causing her to look back at him with a soft smile.

"BEST DAY EVER!" Pinkie screamed, causing me to chuckle.

Fluttershy walked by my side and wrapped her hoof delicately around me. I looked at her and smiled. Then, we both shared a kiss and looked out the window as we headed back home.

Finally…we can all have some rest…

It was already night time by the time we arrived. Twilight was holding Spike on her back when we were outside. She faced me and released a soft beam that formed on her expression. "Thanks, Alex. Even by my own vocabulary, I cannot bring up the exact words to describe how amazing you are. It's just like…" She looked away with her eyes trying to think. "Like…" She turned back towards me. "You're a miracle that saved and changed our lives."

I chuckled and shook my head. "I don't know if that's the case…but I'll tell you one thing… You all are the ones who saved and changed my life."

She smiled and chuckled. "Hm. Nevertheless, we're all so happy to have you as our outstanding friend. For me, my B.B.B.F.F."

I released a warm smile as well. "Thank you, Twilight."

"You're welcome." She placed a hoof around me to hug me for a moment. When she pulled away, she looked back. "I guess Spike and I better get some sleep. I'll see you around, okay? Especially to help you out with your magic skills."

"Of course." I nodded. "Goodnight L.S.B.F.F."

She giggled lightly and waved. "Goodnight." After, she began walking.

I heard something fly out of the train and yawn. "Welp, time to get some shut-eye!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed as she stretched her hooves far out. Before she left, she flew towards me and looked at me with competitive eyes. "Hey! Don't think I forgot about that race we're supposed to have!"

I managed to chuckle at her comment, as well as send a soft smile her way. "I'm still going to need a lot of training to put up a chance against you, Rainbow Dash."

"You bet your flank you do!" She exclaimed. "Of course, I don't want too boring of a competition, so come by my place or see me if you need any help or coaching."

"Will do."

She released one last competitive smile and saluted, flying off towards her home in the clouds.

Rarity, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, and Fluttershy came out from the train after.

Rarity commented towards me as she walked past me, stopping by my side. "Don't worry. I'm absolutely sure your pure heart can beat her 'incredible speed' any time." She whispered and giggled.

I smirked. "Thanks, Rarity. Goodnight."

"Goodnight!" She exclaimed and trotted off to her boutique.

"Goodnight, Alex." Applejack announced, trotting past me as well. "See y'all tomorrow!"

I waved back at her.

"Goodnight?!" Pinkie Pie questioned in an exclaimed voice. "I'm still wide awake. WHEEEE!" She raced past me, still presenting a hyperactive mood.

Lastly, Fluttershy flew towards me, gazing at me with those signature soft sweet eyes of hers. "Well, I guess I better go home too now. I'll see you later, sweetie."

Just as she was about to fly past me, I quickly turned around and grabbed her hoof. "No, you don't." She turned to face me in slight surprise. I released a soft and small smile. "I'm taking you home."

Hearing this, she released a facial expression that expressed how glad she was to hear this from me.

Thus, I grabbed her hoof and began walking her, even flying a bit along the way as well.

When we reached her cottage, I stood by her at the door. She turned to face me. "Do you need to stay here, again?" She asked.

I shook my head lightly. "No thanks, I'll be fine."

Fluttershy managed to giggle a bit, despite the tired look in her eyes. "Okay then. Goodnight, darling."

"Goodnight, Fluttershy." I responded and then we both exchanged an avid caress of our lips. An immense glow grew on her cheeks, which was always adored by me. Then, she waved lightly and walked into her house.

Once safely in her home, I turned around and began trotting happily towards my own home.

By the time I opened the doors, walked up stairs, and landed on my bed, I was yawning and mumbling tiredly.

Time for some sleep…

I closed my eyes and began soothing myself into the dream world…

"Don't worry…You'll know soon enough…and when you do…It'll change your whole life… Forever."

My sleep was suddenly interrupted that I couldn't even remember what it was about.

The muffled yet loud sound of the bass was piercing through my ears. I groaned and pressed the pillow over me, but it still wasn't enough. I sighed heavily and opened my eyes, looking at the ceiling, annoyed. I had been tossing and turning for I don't know how long. Who would be playing loud music at this time of night? I placed hoof on my face and rubbed it. I lay there in my bed with my forelegs outstretched, continuing to look at the ceiling. I was becoming very annoyed and irritated. I guess I have to deal with this myself… I climbed out of bed and began walking down the stairs as I continued to hear that loud bass play. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Bump. Bump. Bump. Bump. That's how it sounded. Over and over. Once I reached the door, I opened it and the sound became even louder. I looked around to see where it was coming from. I found it was the house right next to mine. But as I looked around at the other houses, their lights were out. How could they be sleeping through this? I shook my head and began walking towards the house with bright lights coming from it.

Once I reached the door, I saw a round object hanging on it. It appeared to look like a…disk…or one of those old vinyl records. I sighed and knocked on the door. I waited for a moment, but there was no answer. Beginning to grow impatient, due to the lack of sleep, I knocked louder. After a while, there still was no answer. I placed my hoof on the door handle to see if it was unlocked. It was.

I really don't want to do this…but… It seems I don't have any other choice…

I twisted it and opened it, now fully hearing the supreme loud music coming from within. I walked inside and quickly closed it, placing my hooves on my ears. I looked in front of me to see a familiar pony nodding her head with the beat. As I continued to stare at her, as she seemed highly unaware of my presence, I observed her appearance. She looked highly familiar. She wore these odd shades, and she had a musical note as her cutie mark. I swear I've seen this pony before…

Nonetheless, I shook my head and formed furrowed eyebrows. "Hey!" I shouted, trying to catch her attention. However, she continued to nod her head with the beat. I sighed, and even I couldn't hear it, due to the loud music. "HEY!" I shouted louder, but she still didn't hear me. I sighed heavily and closed my eyes, focusing my magic. A dark blue aura formed on the speakers and shut them off suddenly.

"Huh?" The pony questioned, surprised, as she looked around. Finally, she spotted me and jumped a little. She wasn't scared, though. Instead, she stared at me. "Whoa…" She began as she lifted her shades, revealing her, which appeared to be, violet eyes that contained a hint of red, which was mixed in. "Am I tripping or do you have a horn and wings…"

"Finally, I have your attention…" I responded. "Yes, I do. But I'm here because your insanely loud music has been keeping me up. I don't know how it hasn't been bothering others, but it's been keeping me awake."

"Oh…sorry, dude…" She rubbed her hoof on the back of her head as she looked tired. "It's just that… I'm so bored…" She rubbed her chin as she removed her shades with her magic. "Say…haven't I seen you before?" I shrugged. She continued to think as she rubbed her chin and finally snapped her hoof. "Dude! I saw you at the wedding with Shining Armor and Princess Cadence!"

I thought about it. "Oh…right…" I remembered that she was the DJ for the party… I shook my head. "Anyway, what do you mean you're bored? Shouldn't you be getting some sleep?"

"Yeah, I know. But I'm just…like…bored. It's hard to understand…but, I'm that kind of bored where I can't sleep. Like, I have to do something fun. Then, I can get some sleep."

"Well, can't you just do something else that's, you know, not too loud?"

She sighed. "I tried thinking of something to write for a song, but I'm completely blank right now. Well…I'm pretty much too tired to do anything besides listen to music. Besides, it helps keep me awake and be able to think of things to write a song with."

"And you need to have that music really loud?"

"I have to have it loud… It pumps me up."

I sighed. "Well, I can't sleep with the music that loud."

"Hm…" She rubbed her chin for a moment and thought of something else. "I got it."

"Hm?"

"Hang out with me, dude."

"…what…?"

"You know, let's do something fun."

"I really want to go back to sleep…"

"Come on, just for a little while, that's all. I just need to have some fun and then we can both get some sleep."

I sighed and rubbed a hoof on my face. "Well, what do you have in mind?"

She looked around and shrugged. "I don't know. Let's just chill together for a moment."

"…chill…?"

"You know, hang out. Just be cool."

"For just a few minutes…?"

"Just a few minutes."

I sighed again. "Fine."

"Awesome!" She walked to her fridge and scuffled through it. "Hm…" I returned a confused look at her. She glanced back at me. "Want something to drink or something?"

"Uh…no thanks…" I responded.

"Are you sure?" She asked, continuing to lean her head inside the fridge and move things around. "I have this great punch. It tastes amazing."

I thought about it for a moment and realized that I could use something to drink, especially since I was up in two in the morning. I shrugged. "Sure, I'll try it."

She lifted the plastic bottle of punch and threw it towards me with her magic. I saw it coming towards me and quickly caught it with my magic as well. She smiled and grabbed herself a bottle of the punch, closing the refrigerator door after. "Nice catch."

"Thanks." I answered, looking at the bottle and beginning to open it.

"So…how do you have those wings and horn anyway?" She asked as she began relaxing herself on a nearby beanbag. "I thought Alicorns only had those."

"Well…I am an Alicorn."

She widened her eyes. "Really? So that means you're like a prince?"

I shook my head. "No… I don't want to become a prince anyway. I want to stay here and be with my friends. I pretty much want to stay the same way I was. I don't want anypony thinking of me as high royalty or anything…"

"Hm…" She responded, opening her punch and taking a sip of it. "That's cool of you." She took a gulp of it and thought for a moment. "You want to know what I just realized?"

"What?" I asked, taking a drink of the punch as well. It was addicting.

"You're like either, the first or only guy Alicorn ever. Well, at least from what everypony knows."

"What do you mean?"

"Princess Celestia. Princess Luna. Princess Cadence. They're all Alicorns, and they're all girls. You're like the only Alicorn who's a guy."

"Oh, right." I realized it too, taking another drink of the punch.

"Well, let's not be strangers here. I haven't even gotten your name." She announced, placing the punch on the floor. She held out a hoof towards me. "Vinyl Scratch, or DJ-PON3, if you want to call me by my DJ name."

"Alex." I accepted her hoofshake.

"Alex, huh?" She spoke as she retracted her body back towards the beanbag. "That's a unique name. It fits you, though."

I smiled a bit. "Thanks."

"No problem. So you just hang around Ponyville with your friends?"

"Yeah… I always somehow get sucked into crazy adventures with them… Nonetheless, they're fun in some way."

"Ah. Well, as I already told you…" She turned around, while still in her seat, and retrieved some papers, turning back to me. "I write songs and perform as a DJ." She looked at me and gestured her with her hoof to sit next to her. "Check these out." She presented the papers as I did so.

I looked and observed them for a moment. "Wow… you must have some talent in music, don't you?"

"Heh." She chuckled a little. "I guess. I don't know. It's just something I like to do."

"Well, it's your cutie mark, isn't it? I'm sure you'll be a great DJ and musician."

"Thanks." She smiled at me, but then frowned a bit. "Though… I'm not known as much as her…" She pointed towards a picture of Starlight on a newspaper nearby. "It seems her band is becoming known all over Equestria. Her fans are crazy about her. I mean… they'll even kill each other to get a ticket…" She faced me and noticed my narrowed eyes. "What? Something wrong?"

"Yeah, her." I pointed to the picture. "Believe or not, she's my sister."

"Whoa…really?"

"Yeah…"

"What's she like?"

I shook my head and looked at the ground. "She's definitely not nice." I chuckled a little. "It's a long story."

"Oh…" She frowned a bit. "I can see what you mean. I mean…" She looked towards the picture again. "It's really no surprise… It's like…anypony that becomes this famous is usually really mean… They let their fame and success get to their head… That's something I'm afraid about too. What if I turn like that…?"

"First of all, Starlight was born as a spoiled and ignorant pony, at least from what I can remember. She was already like this. I have no idea how she became this 'famous' piece of trash. She's just an ironic twist bent over on the acceptance of others that worship her. End of story."

"Whoa…" Vinyl sent me slightly worried and concerned eyes. "You two must have had some really bad problems, didn't you?"

"It goes a little beyond 'really bad' problems…" I could feel myself already becoming irritated with the thought of her.

"…Mind if you tell me about it…?" She asked.

I sighed. "Maybe some other time… For right now, let's just forget about that…"

"Oh, okay… I understand. I've heard her music. I'm not jealous of her or anything, but to be honest, her music doesn't really have any…heart… When I hear her sing, I don't feel any passion or heart behind it. There are just…lyrics… That's why I'm not a fan. I also use this to try to improve myself. I write what I feel, and I try my best to put that passion I long for so much into music."

"Vinyl…" I began, placing a hoof on her shoulder. "Hearing you say that makes me feel one hundred percent confident that you won't let fame get into your head. You seem very caring and passionate about your music and work. I can feel that too. As long as you focus on accomplishing your dream goal, with no intentions of selfishness interfering, I'm sure you'll succeed and be satisfied when the time comes."

"Wow…" Vinyl reacted with slightly widened eyes, which soon turned slightly narrowed into a caring manner as she released a warm smile. "Thanks, Alex… Coming from an Alicorn yourself, that really means a lot." She chuckled a little. "You know, you seem like a really cool guy, Alex."

I smiled as well and retracted my hoof. "Thanks, Vinyl, I can say the same thing about you."

She smiled with her eyes closed for a moment until she opened them again to tell me something. "Oh! That reminds me! Want to see something funny?" She asked.

"Sure." I responded.

She grabbed the newspaper we were looking at earlier and flipped a few pages. "Check this out." She laughed when she reached the page. She continued speaking as she showed me the page. "This guy took a picture of himself burning one of the tickets to one of her concerts!" I observed the page to see a picture with a pony purposely burning a ticket. "What's so funny about it, is that he got so much negative comments about it!" I read the text under the picture, which depicted several ponies commenting so childishly at it. Some ponies agreed with this pony, others didn't care.

"Wow…" I released. "I have to admit… some ponies don't know how to handle this maturely. Their comments reveal their true ignorance, just like my sister." I shook my head. "It seems like concert tickets, or Starlight, is all they care about… I swear, these 'fans' of her seem to care more about some idol than the Princess herself."

"Looks that way." She placed the newspaper to the side. "Well, anyway, let's not let our chill time be interrupted by that kind of stuff. Want to play a game or something?"

"A game?" I rubbed the back of my head. "Well…" When I looked at her face, she sent me some familiar eyes. She wasn't exactly begging me to stay, but she seemed as if she would really like for me to spend some time with her. I sighed. She seems like a really cool pony anyway. I guess I can stay a little while longer. "Alright."

She smiled warmly, though a bit tiredly, and began scuffling through some of her stuff. "Cool." She answered and brought out a board game. When she looked at the cover, she chuckled a bit. "Ponopoly… I don't think I've ever played this…"

I chuckled as well. "I've never really played any board game at all actually."

"Really?" She inquired, revealing intrigued eyes. "Well, it's your lucky day…I mean…lucky night…morning?" She giggled a bit. "I don't know… I'm pretty much too tired to think…yet…I can't even sleep." She sighed. "I'm sure I'll fall asleep some time… Anyway… let's get this started." She placed the board game on the floor and opened the box. Many items, figures, play money, etc, were revealed. Vinyl grabbed the instructions from within with her magic and read them. "Every pony gets fifteen hundred bits… Okay…" She grabbed the fake bits and gave her and me fifteen hundred. Then, she continued reading. "Now every pony grabs a figure." We both looked at the figures in the box. There was a saddle, a pony, a top hat, etc. "Grab whatever you want." She just got the saddle tiredly. I retrieved the pony. "Okay… now place the figures on 'Go' and roll the dice. Move the amount of spaces, due to the amount of numbers you got from the dice." She looked up to me. "Want to go first?"

"I don't really care." I responded.

She smiled a bit and yawned. "Well, go ahead then." Using my magic, I shook the dice in the air and threw them against the board. They clattered along the board until they stopped, revealing two sixes. "Nice throw." She commented and looked at the instructions. "It says here that when you get two of the same number, you get to go again.

"Alright…" Being too tired to move the piece with my hooves, I used my magic to move it twelve spaces. I landed on Fillydelphia. How ironic.

"Mmk…" She studied the instructions again. "It says you can buy that property for what it says under it." She looked at the space. "Two hundred and forty bits."

I chuckled a little. "Is Fillydelphia really worth two hundred and forty bits? I can believe that...possibly less. I'll skip it."

"Okay… Go ahead and roll again." I grabbed the dice and shook them a little. Then, I threw them gently on the board. I earned a three and a six. I moved the piece nine spaces and landed on something called, "Community Chest". "Huh. Says here you pick a card from the yellow stack." I picked up a card and read it. Princess Celestia awards you for good behavior. You've earned one hundred bits. I chuckled at this. "What does it say?" I showed her the card. She smiled a bit. "Oh wow." She fetched one hundred bits and gave them to me. After, she yawned and rolled the dice, getting two fives. She moved her piece ten spaces and landed on Las Pegasus. "Las Pegasus… three hundred bits…" She giggled a little. "Oh yeah… I'm taking it." She placed the bits somewhere away and grabbed a little card for it.

The game lasted for a while, which I don't even know for how long. Vinyl looked at the board and groaned. "Tired?" I asked.

"Tired of the game…to be honest… I didn't know it would take this long! And I still can't sleep…"

I smiled lightly. "That's alright." I began putting the pieces away in an organized fashion. All this was pretty much good practice for my magic.

"What do you want to do?" She asked, lying on the floor and looking up towards the ceiling.

I yawned and rubbed my eyes a bit. I chuckled a little. "I could use some sleep."

She sighed. "Sorry… You go ahead and sleep. I'll try to get some myself…"

I shook my head. "Nope. I'm not leaving until you finally get some sleep."

"What…?" She asked, turning her face towards me. "But I've been making you stay awake for so long. I don't want to keep you up much longer."

I smiled lightly. "You're in need of some help. And I always help my friends in any way I can."

"Friend, huh…?" She chuckled a little and looked up at the ceiling. "Cool…"

"Come on. Maybe we can try some traditional or homemade recipes for inducing sleep?"

"Sure… Sounds good."

"You don't go through this every night though, do you?"

"No…no…" She answered tiredly. "Just tonight for some reason…"

"Uh-huh… I see… Alright…" I looked around. "How about some warm milk? Do you have milk?"

"Yeah… It's in the refrigerator. On the door to the right."

I nodded and walked over to the fridge. I opened it and looked at the location of her directions. There was a bottle of cold milk inside. I lifted it up with my magic and brought it out, closing the door after. I looked around and spotted a clean cup. I opened the bottle of milk and poured some into the cup. I closed the bottle and placed it back in the fridge. I looked at the cup and focused my eyes a bit on it. A dark blue aura formed around it and slight bubbling occurred. After a moment, I placed a hoof on the cup and felt the warmness. Then, I lifted the cup and brought it over to Vinyl. "Here."

"Thanks." She smiled lightly and began to drink it. "Mmm." She commented as she sipped it. "This is pretty good…" She blinked her eyes a bit. "You know… I think it's actually helping…"

I smiled, tiredly. "That's good." I placed my hoof on my chin and thought for a moment. Hm…what if I finish off? I nodded a bit and looked at her.

My soft smile caused her to look at me questionably and reveal sleepy eyes. "Why are you smiling like that?" She asked, a little playfully.

I chuckled a little. "How about I sing you a lullaby?" I answered, actually still being able to hear Fluttershy's own words in my mind.

Vinyl slightly widened her eyes. "A lullaby…? Are you sure I'm not too old for one?"

I smiled and shook my head. "Anypony can hear a lullaby."

She smiled as well and sighed contently. "Well then, Alex, if you're going to sing me a lullaby, I might as well get in bed." She sat up from the floor and began walking towards the bed. There, she laid herself down and snuggled under the covers. "There. All ready now. What about you?"

I took in a deep breath and cleared my throat a bit. Then, I closed my eyes and began to sing.

"Hush now, quiet now,

It's time to lay your sleepy head,

Hush now, quiet now,

It's time to go to bed…"

I opened my eyes to see Vinyl with a soft smile and soft eyes. "That…was amazing…" She yawned and began to flutter her eyes sleepily. "You may not be a professional vocalist like your sister…but you have something she doesn't…heart." With this, she smiled a little more.

I blushed slightly and rubbed the back of my head. "Thanks."

"No…thank you…" She responded, catching my attention. "You know…you're a really cool gu-I mean…friend." She giggled a little. "We should definitely hang again sometime…when it's day time…heh."

I removed my slightly surprised expression and formed it into a warm content one. "Sure thing, Vinyl."

After smiling for a moment towards me, she began closing her eyes. "…night…" Finally, they fully closed and it seemed that she began to sleep.

Keeping the same expression, I responded one more time. "Goodnight…" After, I turned around and used my magic to turn off the lights. I headed towards the door and walked out.

As I exited past the door, closing it after, I observed the night sky with tired eyes. I yawned greatly and began heading towards my home to finally get some sleep. However, a flapping of wings surprised me. Hooves planted on the ground behind me, and I could hear my name being mentioned.

"Hello, Alexander."

I turned around to see Princess Luna.

"Princess Luna…" I asked, even too tired to widen my eyes. "What are you doing here…?"

She smiled, almost in a kind of embarrassing way, and looked towards somewhere in town. "Care to take a stroll with me?"

"Um…" I rubbed my head and looked at my house, which was right nearby. Nonetheless, I looked at Luna and shrugged, deciding I could spend just a few moments with her. "Sure. Why not?"

We walked towards the lake, or stream, in town. There, we began walking along the edge by the water.

I decided to start the conversation.

"So…why are you here in Ponyville anyway, Princess Luna?"

"Oh…" She lowered her head a bit. "I had just been feeling pretty lonesome…"

"Right…" I frowned a little. "You're the Princess of the night… I'm sorry…"

She managed to smile a little. "Don't worry about it, Alexander, er, I mean, Alex."

I chuckled a little. "It's okay, Princess Luna."

"Why must thou call me Princess Luna? Can thou not just call me Luna?"

"Well… I can… But I like to show respect to my Princesses, so I usually always include Princess whenever possible."

"I see…well…call me Luna whenever thou wishes."

I smiled. "Sure thing, Luna."

She smiled as well. "So how have thy wings and magic been treating you?"

"I'm still getting used to them…" I flapped my wings a bit. "That…and I need to control my shifting between forms." I chuckled a bit. "I've actually been like this for a while, and I don't really know exactly how to get back…but that time will come when it comes…"

"I see…" She looked towards the moon. I yawned, causing her to turn her head towards me and look at me. "Are thou tired?"

"Yeah…to be honest…"

"Oh…" She lowered her head sadly. "My sincerest apologizes… I did not mean to keep you up… I just thought you were able to be awake during the night easier than others…"

I smiled a bit, assuring her that it was okay. "It's alright, Luna. Why would you think that, though?"

"Well…you're an Alicorn…"

"Princess Celestia is an Alicorn too, but she can't stay up during the night…"

Her eyes shifted around a little in thought, perhaps. She stopped and sat down, causing me to stop and look at her. "Sorry…"

"Why?" I asked, walking towards her and sitting down next to her.

She faced the stream of water and looked up towards the moon. "Wasn't it thou that spoke of us being not so different?"

"You mean…back at Nightmare Night?" I inquired.

"Yes…" She lowered her head to observe the color of her coat, pulling out her hoof. "I believe it to be so… Thou color of coat is almost the exact of thine. Both of us have felt the terrible curse of loneliness. And now…you are an Alicorn…" She looked towards me and smiled. "I was hoping you would be able to last during the night as well." Then, she turned her vision towards the lightly flowing grass that swayed in a gentle motion as the cool breeze around us continued to lift the feathers of our wings away. She continued staring at the ground as I could only remain staring at her face.

My eyes shifted around in thought. I thought of something crazy…something even I thought that would be too stupid to slip through my lips. But for some reason… I felt…as if I just had to get this off my chest… "Luna…" Her name slipped through my lips and off my tongue. She lifted her head and looked towards me.

"Yes, Alex?"

"Do you…" I felt my lips tremble a bit in hesitation. It wasn't fear… It was… I can't explain it… "…do you…think…" I looked at the ground a bit. After a moment of thinking more, I looked back at her face, noticing her eyes fully attentive towards mine. "Do you think…we could…somehow…be…related?" She slightly widened her eyes and looked back towards the ground, causing me to frown and look away. "Sorry… I already knew it was a stupid question… I just felt like… I needed to ask it…"

"It's not, Alex…" She looked up towards the sky once again and analyzed the stars. "It's possible… I mean… thou are an Alicorn. I am Princess Celestia's sister. Princess Cadence is her niece. Thou may be related to us… But it is not certain. Princess Celestia and I have no idea of how thou came across of being an Alicorn. It is certainly quite a mystery… It is not only that…but you have the ability to shift between being an Alicorn and an earth pony. It is really quite puzzling." She chuckled a bit. "We don't quite contain a clue at all."

"I understand…" I nodded and looked towards the moon. "But…I'm sure we'll find out soon enough…"

"Indeed…" She answered, and we both sat there by the river, staring at the night sky and the moon. Then, I started to remember her behavior before we set off towards saving the Crystal Empire. "Luna…"

"Hm?" She answered.

I remained silent for a moment, remembering how hurting it was to see her stare at me like that. "…Why did you seem so…bothered and irritated back when Princess Celestia summoned Twilight and I for a test? I swear…" I paused. "It looked like…you hated my guts or something…"

She turned her head towards the water, significantly frowning. "My deepest apologizes, Alexander. I did not mean thou to think of thine like that…" She paused for a moment, in thought. "It's just…" She sighed. "Things are complicated right now…"

"…What do you mean?" I asked, growing concerned. "What things?"

She glanced over to me. "Do not worry yourself… They are…personal…things…"

"Oh…" I frowned. "Sorry for asking…"

"It is completely fine, Alex…" She looked up towards the moon, her eyes squinted. "It is something I feel comfortable sharing with you…but…" She lowered her head back to the river and shook it, almost looking like she wanted to release a few tears. "…now is just not the time…"

"Luna…" I looked towards her face, feeling some pain slip from her into me.

She sniffled a bit and wiped her eyes with her hooves. "It is nothing…" I continued looking at her for a moment, but then returned my attention to the moon. It is definitely not nothing… What could it be…? Sigh. Well… I don't want to rush her… I'm pretty surprised she came to visit me herself. After a few moments, I heard her call me. "Alex…"

"Hm?" I turned my head to look at her. She stared at me for a moment and placed her hooves on my cheeks. Then, she closed her eyes and leaned her head towards mine, stunning me a bit. She kissed my forehead and pulled away, causing me to feel shocked and surprised. "…what was that for…?"

She looked a little embarrassed. "My apologies… I just felt…as if I needed to do that as well…"

"Oh… It's alright… It was just a little sudden…"

She managed to smile a bit. "Well… I should probably allow thou to rest for the night.

I chuckled a little. "Okay, Luna. But I understand how you can feel lonely, especially when every pony is asleep at this time of night, so we can try to get together some nights."

"I appreciate the effort, Alex, but thou shall not worry about it. Thou shall see me whenever thou wishes."

I chuckled. "Heheh, okay 'thou'."

She smiled and laughed along me as well. "I assume I shall speak with tho- I mean… you… later…"

I nodded. "Of course, Luna. I really need to spend some more time with you. I've only spoken to you a few times, and there's so much to share."

She smiled warmly. "I would really appreciate that… Thy heart feels so triumphant from the lack of social interaction when speaking with somepony, especially you… I feel…as if I can really relate to you…"

I returned another warm smile as well. "I feel the same way, Luna…" I looked at the color of my coat, remembering of all the things we shared in common.

"It's been wonderful talking to you, Alex." She held out her forelegs, sending me an invitation for an embrace. I sent a small smile and accepted her friendly motion. We both hugged each other for a while until we pulled away. "Goodnight, Alex…"

"Goodnight, Luna."

Afterwards, she began flapping her wings and retiring herself back to Canterlot. I continued observing her fly off, noticing how her appearance melted along with the soft pastel depicted across the ever free sky. My thoughts were interrupted when my head began drooping towards the ground, eyes becoming weary and fatigue. I shook my head a little and decided to walk back to my home.

When I entered using the door, I began to drag myself up the stairs. I was so tired, I couldn't think straight. Ugh…so much…need…sleep… When I finally reached the bed, I weakly planted myself on there and immediately closed my eyes.

I wonder how Princess Luna is able to be awake during the night. Well… I guess it's as simple as us. She sleeps during the day, except during the Crystal Empire incident for some reason, and is awake during the night. That must be pretty annoying… being able to do practically nothing because of the lack of activity during the night… I'll try to bring some social activities to her as much as possible… She deserves to be as happy as any pony.

I shifted around in bed.

This sure was a crazy night…meeting Vinyl Scratch during two in the morning, and ending our "hang out" time with a nice conversation with Princess Luna. But I'm thankful for that. I'm sure my life would be pretty different if none of that had happened. Everything happens for a reason. Vinyl Scratch may possibly impact my life somehow, and I know the conversation Princess Luna and I had had strengthened the bond of our relationship. That reminds me… I don't know why… but for some reason… I just feel really…close…to Luna… Hm… Well, I guess it'll all come to me one day…

Just as I was about to finally receive my rest, something suddenly popped into my mind.

King Sombra. I can see your father in you…

What did he mean by that…? How in Equestria does he know about my father? Somepony powerful like King Sombra knowing some piece of trash "father" who beated his kid every day for unreasonable actions? It just doesn't make sense to me. Maybe he mistook me for some pony else… That must be it… Seriously… I had no idea what he was talking about… Oh well… I sighed and closed my eyes.

Thou shall retire to slumber for the night.

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