• 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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Sleepless in Ponyville

Episode 58 – Sleepless in Ponyville

When I awoke, I felt really hot, as if I was sweating. I kicked the blankets off of me and turned to my side. It didn't appear to be hot at all. I looked out the window to see a pretty cloudy day.

A cool shower should help me…

I walked towards the bathroom and turned on the valve for the water. As soon as the water showered over the tub, I jumped in, immediately feeling the cooling sensation of each drop contradicting the heat coming off from my coat. After a moment of silence and relief, my body temperature seemed to return to normal.

It wasn't a fever. I would have felt many more symptoms than just heat. I closed the valve, halting the spray of water over me. I looked at the bottom of the tub, noticing how the rest of the water flowed down the drain. As the front of my mane hung over my face, drops of water continued to drop. As I rested at that position for a moment, I suddenly noticed something weird. I saw, what appeared to be, black for a quick second.

Was…that my imagination…?

Nonetheless, I shook my head and reached for the nearby towel.

After I dried myself thoroughly, I decided to let any dampness left on my coat to be dried up by Celestia's sun. I could also see what every pony was up to as well. I walked downstairs and out my door. A motorized sound was heard coming across my way.

Huh… That's familiar…

Looking to my right, I spotted none other than Scootaloo riding her scooter to the extreme once again. She maneuvered past me, heading towards a cart that seemed to have accidentally rolled over and dropped all the contents within.

I began running to catch up to Scootaloo, not for safety purposes, but just to say hi. I spread my wings and began flying so I wouldn't grow tired from sprinting. Scootaloo reached the cart and lifted into the air, cheering in joy and exhilaration. "Whoo-hoo!"

"Nice moves, kid." Rainbow Dash expertly flew on her back while sipping on a glass of juice. She flipped her hoof with a sense of arrogance and continued to fly away.

"Nice moves?" Scootaloo suddenly stopped in midair, crying out in disbelief. "Rainbow Dash thinks I've got— I managed to barely catch up to her, catching her just before she fell into the hay. "...nice moves!" She continued, seeming to not even notice what just happened.

However, soon after, she gasped when she noticed me carrying her. I sent her a playful smirk, but that was interrupted when a cow nearby us released a loud and prideful moo.

"Good Morning, Scootaloo." I greeted, retrieving her scooter from the stack of hay as she climbed off me.

"Morning, Alex!" She responded, accepting the scooter as I stretched it towards her. "Did you see my awesome moves?"

I chuckled. "I sure did. That was great. Where are you headed?"

She climbed back on her scooter and fluttered her wings, keeping a slow pace as I walked alongside her. "The Cutie Mark Crusaders tree house, of course!" She sighed contently. "I still can't believe Rainbow Dash told me 'Nice moves'."

"Why?"

"Why? She's the pony I look up to! I want to be just like her when I grow up! Tell me, Alex. What's it like to be friends with such a cool pony?" She asked, clearly wanting to really know.

"Um…" I tried to answer. "It's not like…anything special really… Not the way you'd imagine it. She's great, but it's pretty much just…any other kind of friendship, especially since she's coaching me to become a better flier with my wings and whatnot."

"And Twilight's helping you with your magic, right?"

"Yeah. Rarity has been helping too, but Twilight knows more about the stuff I need to know. I say I've been making some good progress."

"Well that's great to hear. You deserve it."

I released a soft smile when she said that. "Thanks, Scootaloo."

She came to a stop, placing her hooves on her helmet and taking it off. She shook her mane and looked up to me. "You're welcome. I better get going." She stated, as we were already near the clubhouse. "Can you tell Rainbow Dash that I said 'Hi' and that's she really amazing? Oh wait. Um… Maybe leave out the amazing part… I'm trying to be cool as she is and I don't want to look like…well…you know…"

"I'll tell her you said 'Hi'." I answered, continuing to smile.

"Thanks, Alex." She placed her helmet on her scooter and began to run inside. "See you later!"

I returned a short wave and decided to head back towards the farm.

Once I was in the area of trees near the barn, I spotted Applejack bucking apples, first hearing the sounds of the thumps on the tree. She grunted, giving one last mighty blow to the tree, which immediately surrendered its apples to a bucket underneath.

"Hey, Applejack." I greeted.

"Why, howdy, Alex." She wiped her forehead with her hoof. "I'd hug you, but I'm not sure if you'd mind a little hard workin' sweat on me."

Her statement caused me to release a grin, as I remembered Rarity's behavior towards this type of situation. "It doesn't really matter to me. I'm fine either way."

She wrapped her hooves around me and offered one giant squeeze. Then, she pulled away and began walking back towards the farm as I stayed by her side. "What are you doin' here?"

"I saw Scootaloo riding through town on her scooter. I said hi and we talked a little. She's in the clubhouse right now and…well…here I am."

"Well it's neighborly of you to stop by and say hi to me too." We stopped in the front of the barn as Applejack grabbed a nearby towel and wiped herself with it. "Say, remember about that real camping trip I offered?"

"Yeah?"

"What do you say you come with me and Applebloom to Winsome Falls?" She placed the towel away. "It's going to be a ton of fun! I promise! You can bring Fluttershy along with you too!"

"She does love her woodland critters…" I commented, looking towards the floor. Then, I looked up with my answer. "Sure, that sounds great. When were you planning on doing this?"

"I was actually going to start packing up the things for the trip after finishing these last trees here. If don't mind and can make it, we can go in a few hours!"

"Sounds good. I'll get Fluttershy then. Do we need to bring anything?"

"Don't need to. I have everythin' right here!"

"Well, fantastic. I'll see you in a while then, Applejack."

"See you then, pardner!"

I smiled and began walking off to Fluttershy's cottage, realizing I could fly there instead shortly after.

I knocked on her door upon arriving. It was opened a few seconds after. I saw her delicate face appear, causing my lovely expression to lose balance on my face.

"Hi, Alex." She greeted warmly.

"Fluttershy…" I placed a warm kiss on her lips. "How do you feel about camping?"

"Camping? Where?"

"Winsome Falls in a few hours. Applejack invited me along with her little sister. I figured it'd be fun for us, wouldn't it?"

"Winsome Falls…" Fluttershy repeated with some fearful hesitation. "I just don't like that place when it's dark… It's scary…"

"Don't worry!" I assured greatly. "You're not going to be alone. We'll all be together! I guarantee nothing will happen to you."

"Well…" Fluttershy paused for a moment. "Camping does sound fun… and I do like the critters there during daytime…" She released a small smile. "I guess I can give it a try…"

"That's great!" I embraced her in joy.

"You'll be with me though…right…?" She asked.

"Don't worry…" I rubbed the back of her mane gently. "I'll keep you safe." I released a soft smile as well, thinking that I sounded too protective when nothing will most likely happen.

After we pulled away, she looked back and spoke. "Let me just go leave enough food and water for Angel and the others. Should I bring anything for the camping trip?"

I shook my head. "You don't need to. Applejack will have everything we need."

"Okay. I'll be right back." Fluttershy excused herself and walked inside to complete the task.

It wasn't until a few minutes after until we began to head back to Sweet Apple Acres.

We arrived at the farm, entering inside the barn where we spotted Applejack placing some items in several saddlebags.

"Hey, Applejack." I spoke. "We're here."

Applejack finished up by placing one more item in one of the saddlebags and pulling the strap tightly. "I got both your things ready."

"That's great." I looked around for her little sister. "Where's Applebloom?"

"She's bringin' Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle along with her, so she's packing her things as well. I'm guessin' Sweetie Belle is bringin' Rarity, especially since Rainbow Dash is comin' along." She chuckled.

"Wow…" I commented. "I guess this is going to be a pretty big camping trip, huh?"

"Haha." Applejack placed on her saddlebag. "You betcha." She scooted to the side and allowed Fluttershy and I to retrieve our saddlebags as well. "Come on. We'll start heading over there and wait for Applebloom and Scootaloo to swing by."

"That sounds good." I strapped the saddlebag on me securely, along with Fluttershy's. "It'll be nice doing some sight-seeing. Do the little girls know where to go?"

"Applebloom does. Don't worry; we won't be too far from town when we start. We'll push on further when every pony is accounted for."

"Applejack…" Fluttershy spoke. "What are your…preparations…for the dark…?"

"Don't you worry your pretty little head." Applejack rubbed Fluttershy's head playfully. "We're all going to be together. There aren't any monsters in the woods anyhow." After that statement, Applejack placed a hoof on her chin while looking up in thought. "Least not any that I know of."

Fluttershy released some signs of doubt, but I assured her safety by sending a smile towards her. "We'll be fine, Fluttershy."

She shook her head a bit to regain herself, and then finally looked up to me with some confidence in her eyes. "Okay. We'll all be alright."

"Well then. Let's get to it, ponies!"

We walked out of the barn to soon be confronted by Rainbow Dash.

"Hey, Applejack!" She exclaimed, flapping her wings as she flew. "I just wanted to say that I'm totally stoked to come on this trip! Anything I should bring?"

"Not necessarily." Applejack responded. "Want to join us on our hike up there?"

"No offense, Applejack, but that sounds a little boring. I'm going to clear some clouds while I wait for you all to reach the first campsite. See you later!" She was about to leave the area, but I quickly called her name.

"Rainbow!" She stopped to see what I was calling her for. "Scootaloo says 'Hi'!"

She chuckled and shook her head. "Haha. That filly." Afterwards, she raced out of the farm and headed quickly to where we were supposed to meet.

"Heh." Applejack chuckled. "That Rainbow Dash. I can already see her frightening the little fillies with camp stories at night."

"Camp stories…?" Fluttershy questioned, beginning to show some body language of fear. "You don't mean…spooky ones…do you?"

"That's what makes camping during the night fun, Fluttershy! It's like Nightmare Night. People get scared for fun!"

"Um… I'm not so sure I should go now…" Fluttershy responded.

I placed a hoof over her tightly. "Don't worry, I'll be there holding you tightly if you get scared. Otherwise…if you really don't feel comfortable with the stories, you can just hit the tent early. Does that sound good?"

"The second one sounds comfortable… Okay…I'll go…"

I patted her back gently and placed my hoof back on the ground. Applejack was smiling at us, seeming to like and adore how cute we appeared to be together. Then, she began leading us out of the farm and onto the dirt path, initiating our hike and sight-seeing.

I looked around, feeling the warmth of the sunshine shine upon my coat and feeling the wind blow through my mane. "Wow, Applejack." I expressed in awe. "This really is nice. I can already tell this is going to be a great camping trip!"

"That's real nice to hear, Alex." Applejack replied. "I'm glad you're already enjoying the trip!"

"Haha, yeah." We reached this area with a stream of water to our right. I stopped and stepped towards the water, noticing how there was actually a small waterfall over the cliff. "Wow…" I expressed once again. "This is beautiful…"

Applejack released a small chuckle, observing me as if I was some small colt in an all-you-can-eat candy store.

"Applejack! Hey, Applejack!" We heard a small filly's voice echo from a distance.

The three of us turned to see Scootaloo and Applebloom quickly trotting towards us.

"You packed your bug spray?" Applejack asked Applebloom.

"Yup." She flung her back hooves upwards in the air, throwing a can of bug spray for all of us to see. "You got the canteens?"

"Yup." Applejack followed in the same manner. "Looks like we're all set then."

Unexpectedly, a shadow formed upon us all, blocking the sweet sunshine that was warming my coat. We heard a cart trundling, causing us to turn our heads to the direction it was coming from. It was Rarity. She was trotting delicately as her little sister pulled the extremely heavy cart, which was full of Rarity's things. Sweetie Belle was sweating greatly as Rarity trotted over to us with another one of her outfits. I could not clearly describe her outfit in detail, but I could tell it was an outfit more suited for summer relaxation… It wasn't that surprising to know that she was the only one who was going to wear an outfit, let alone bring many other things with her as well.

"Hey!" Rarity greeted us.

"Gee Rarity, did you remember to pack?" Applejack asked sarcastically after observing the cart.

"Oh, well let's see who gets the last laugh when you're absolutely desperate to curl your lashes, and you realize you didn't bring your eyelash curler." Rarity responded.

As she walked away, Applejack could only return a slightly confused expression, shaking her head afterwards. "Well, looks like we're all set now."

Scootaloo was a few hooves in front of us, searching desperately in the sky for something specifically as she fluttered her wings excitedly. "But- what about Rainbow Dash? Isn't Rainbow Dash coming?"

"'Course she is, sugarcube." Applejack answered, walking a bit more to catch up to her. "She's gonna meet us up at our first campsite."

"Oh." Scootaloo expressed, seeming to be a little embarrassed.

"Alright, y'all, let's move 'em out!" Applejack announced, commencing everypony to walk.

Sweetie Belle began pulling to walk as well, straining her little adorable face in order to move the cart. No matter how much weight she was pulling, she still managed to keep a grin on her face. I chuckled and walked over to her. "Why don't you let me pull that?"

"That would mean a lot, Alex." Sweetie Belle stopped, releasing a few more drops of sweat.

Using my magic, I released her and switched positions with her. I then tried walking, but was pulled back significantly. I widened my eyes and looked at the cart. "Geez, Sweetie Belle, you were able to pull this cart all the way over here?"

"Anything to get my sister to come along!" She released a wide grin. "But I'm sure my big brother could handle it!"

I began walking, feeling the force of the cart weigh me down. "I sure hope he can too…"

After walking for a while, along with hearing the same question from Rarity a thousand times, I seemed to still being doing okay with the cart. I was able to keep up with the group.

Fluttershy walked by my side. "Are you sure you're able to pull that, Alex?" She asked and observed the mountain on the cart. "It sure looks heavy…"

I managed to chuckle through some grunts. "If Sweetie Belle can pull this, so can I."

"Oh, are we there yet?" Rarity asked, yet again.

"The last thousand times you asked that, the answer was no." Applejack answered, releasing an annoyed expression. Then, she lifted up her hoof upwards. "This time, it's actually yes." She revealed a large area in front us. A flash of rainbow was spotted in the sky through the trees. "There's Rainbow Dash up there right now."

Rainbow suddenly dashed into area we were in, impressively cutting through four trees in order to obtain four giant logs of wood. She quickly placed them in front of us. Next, she dove into the nearby stream and retrieved several rocks with moisture retained on the outside, constructing them into a ring in the middle of the logs.

"Impressive, Rainbow." I commented, sending her a bright smile, which hinted at my eagerness for this camp. She quickly dusted herself off.

"I know!" She boasted loudly.

"Hey Rai— Scootaloo was about to greet Rainbow Dash, but she accidently tripped over one of the logs, dropping her stuff and performing some rather uncomfortable and unintentional tricks in front of us. She landed back at the ground, holding her head in pain. Nonetheless, she cleared her throat and crossed her back legs. "Hey, Rainbow Dash! What's up?" She asked, trying to hold back tears but one that slipped out of her eye.

Rainbow Dash only eyed her for a second before she turned her attention towards us. "What took you guys so long?"

Applejack placed her things on the ground and glared at Rarity, who was too busy filing her hoof. "Well, some of us didn't pack as light as the others. So we were slowed down a bit."

I brought the cart over to Rarity, who was just finished blowing her hoof. "Here you go, Rarity…" I grunted, finally stopping by her side. "Really… I don't see why you have to pack so many things when you really don't end up using them…"

"Oh." She blushed lightly and giggled a bit. "Sorry, Alex…"

I removed myself from the cart, noticing the strange behavior from her. "Are you alright?" I asked with an eyebrow lifted up.

"Yes, yes. I'm fine. It's just that…" She paused and shook her head. "Never mind."

"Okay…" I observed her, noticing her to continue to act a little strange. "Well, come on." I began trotting towards the campsite. "Let's go set up camp."

"But, of course." She followed me as well.

As I arrived near Applejack and Applebloom, who had already brought out the supplies to set up camp, I began focusing my horn to prepare the tents and such, but Applejack stopped me. "Don't worry, Alex. We've got this." She faced Applebloom and winked. "Right, Applebloom?"

"You got it, sis!" She exclaimed.

They both stretched out the tents and planted the wooden sticks, which were holding the rope that was attached to the tent, into the ground with their hooves like a hammer. When the tents were finally set up, Scootaloo grabbed a seat on one of the wooden logs as Rainbow Dash flew and joined her.

"Looks like you'll be sharing a tent with me, huh?" Rainbow nudged Scootaloo.

"Heh, if that's okay with you." Scootaloo shrugged and responded.

Not too far away, I could see Rarity having Sweetie Belle bring the cart to a specific area.

"Sure!" Rainbow Dash messed with her mane a bit. "Long as you don't snore." Scootaloo could only look dumbfounded with that last statement as Rarity allowed Sweetie Belle to remove herself from the cart. "You don't snore, do you?"

"Nope. No way. Not me. Never snored a day or night in my life." Scootaloo laughed nervously.

Rarity and Sweetie Belle retrieved some things from the cart and then walked over to another spot.

"Then you and I are gonna get along just fine." Rainbow commented. Suddenly, a large gust of wind blew through every single one of us, immediately catching our attention. In just a half-second, we noticed this humongous and sophisticated tent inflate before us, surprising us this time. "...You have got to be kidding me."

"Sweetie Belle," Rarity announced from the balcony of the tent, which I couldn't really find possible to do… "Do be a dear and see if you can get me some fresh flowers for my bedside vase." She pronounced in the not so common way anypony would pronounce "vase". She dropped the vase, which bounced on the top cover of the entrance of the tent, having Sweetie Belle run to catch it.

"Hey Scootaloo," Rainbow Dash mimicked, "Do be a sweetheart and see if you can gather some firewood. This caused Applebloom and Scootaloo to laugh out loud. "Seriously though. Can you get us some wood for the fire?"

"Of course!" Scootaloo quickly agreed and sped out.

"I'm going to go put our things in our tent." Fluttershy told me.

"Okay, thank you." I kissed her cheek, allowing her to do so. After, I walked over to Rarity's tent and continued observing it. Rarity popped out in the balcony. "Wow, Rarity…" I expressed. "No wonder you packed so many things… You're basically moving a house here."

"I wasn't comfortable camping in the first place, so I decided I would make myself as comfortable as I could to home." She answered and then entered through the tent, coming back down outside. "You like it?"

"Uh, sure, I guess… It just seems to…kind of… take away from the spirit of camping…"

"Well, I—

"Got the firewood!" Rarity's sentence was cut short when Scootaloo dashed in and dropped several pieces of wood onto the ring of rocks.

"Nice job, kid." Rainbow Dash rubbed Scootaloo's mane playfully.

I noticed Applejack prepping some tools, so I walked over to her. "Hey, Applejack. Need me to set up the fire?"

"No thanks." She responded, carrying a bow-looking item with her teeth. "I'll do it the old-fashioned way." She walked over to where the firewood was placed. She grabbed a stick and wrapped the string attached to the bow with it. Securely placing the end of the stick on top of the others, she began swinging her head in a horizontal motion, creating friction among the sticks and soon lighting up a flame.

As Applejack was doing that, Sweetie Belle had brought out a very comfortable, what appeared to be, fancy lawn chair, which allow Rarity to rest delightfully on. Fluttershy had come out to observe what was going on. Little did I know, the sun had already set as well, revealing the beautiful night sky and diamonds among it.

"Okay, everybody get comfortable." Rainbow Dash announced, commencing me to walk over to a nearby log, which was between Rarity and Applejack, and sit on there. I looked over to Fluttershy and smiled, patting my hoof on the seat next to me in order for her to come and sit down. She hesitantly walked over to the seat and sat down. I placed my hoof around her, causing her to lean her head on my shoulder and rest her nerves a little. On the other hoof, Sweetie Belle brought a cup of tea for Rarity, who accepted it with her magic. Sweetie Belle walked over and joined Applejack and Scootaloo, who were sitting on the log opposite of Fluttershy and me across the fire. "…'cause I'm about to tell you the best story you've ever heard."

Scootaloo quickly jumped off the log and gestured excitedly with her body. "Is it about the time when Rarity had wings, and then they got ruined, and then you saved her from plummeting to her doom?"

Rarity widened her eyes when she heard this. She quickly lifted the shades of her dark pink sunglasses closer to her eyes, which rolled backwards embarrassingly. A warm oval shade of pink formed across her cheeks as sucked in her lips, staring at her cup.

"Okay, maybe it's the second best story you've ever heard…" Rainbow continued. "But probably still the scariest." She then began speaking in a spooky tone as she hovered over the fillies. "You like scary stories, right?"

Scootaloo gasped, nonetheless nodded. "Mmhmm."

Fluttershy returned a gasp as well and shivered in my in my hoof. "I don't! Please don't tell any stories, Rainbow Dash!"

Rainbow hovered to us and whispered between us. "Come on, Fluttershy. They're not that bad."

"Are you sure…?" Fluttershy asked.

"Yeah. Stick around! It's real fun!"

"…alright…" Fluttershy answered softly, allowing Rainbow Dash to continue on.

I rubbed Fluttershy's back gently as she wrapped her hooves around my chest.

"It all happened on a night just like this one, in a forest, just like this..." Rainbow paused to view her audience's facial expressions. "Campers, who were camping in this exact same spot were having fun, telling stories just like us. But then, they started hearing noises in woods around them, and it wasn't just the crickets. Of course, they ignored them and continued talking about the story of the pony, who lost her rusty horseshoe in the exact same place. They were all told that she still walks among these very woods, looking for the very pony who took the horseshoe from her. It wasn't until they put out the flame when the noises became louder." Rainbow Dash landed on the ground and began stalking around the campfire, creating the noises with her hooves loudly enough to echo throughout forest. After a moment, she stopped. "Soon enough, they saw somepony in the darkness. One of the ponies in the group, who was brave like me, decided to find out who it was. And then, the olden pony asked, 'Who's got my rusty horseshoe?'." Rainbow mimicked an elderly and aged voiced, focusing more of her attention towards the young fillies.

"Not me!" Sweetie Belle quickly responded as she shivered in fear, placing her hooves around the others.

Fluttershy was by me, shaking in fear as well. She held me tightly.

There was a suspenseful pause until Rainbow Dash suddenly appeared behind the fillies and poked them. "You do!"

They all screamed, including Fluttershy, who quickly raced towards our tent. Scootaloo was the only one left on the log as Rainbow laughed. She cleared her throat, removing any sign of fear. "Something in my throat. I wasn't scared at all, heheh. Good story."

"Knew you wouldn't be scared." Rainbow Dash ruffled her mane. The way you jumped that cart the other day…" She flew up towards the pole of Rarity's tent and stood on top of it valiantly. "You're like me; fearless."

"Yeah. Fearless." Scootaloo repeated nervously.

An owl hooted around us.

By Rarity, I could see Sweetie Belle looking at her sister for comfort.

"Don't worry," Rarity told Sweetie Belle in a coddling manner. "Rarity is here to keep you safe and sound, ooh!"

On the right side of me, Applejack yawned. "Think it's about time for me to hit the straw." She turned around to reveal Applebloom on her back shaking terribly in fear. Applejack noticed this and rubbed her mane softly. "Don't you worry, little sis. No 'olden pony' in our tent."

I decided to jump off the log to go check on Fluttershy. When I poked my head through our tent, I could see Fluttershy shivering under the covers.

"Fluttershy, are you alright?" I asked, which seemed to startle her a bit.

"Oh… It's just you…" She answered.

"Yep. Don't worry. Those stories are fake. They're just made to scare ponies. That's all." I chuckled a bit, being reminded of the one Applejack told me back at the last campout.

"Are you sure?"

"Yep. I totally guarantee it."

"Okay… If you say so…" She commented and took in a deep breath. "Are you coming to sleep…?"

"In a while. Let me just go make sure the fire is out, and then I'll come back."

"Okay… Hurry, please… I don't want to be by myself…"

I nodded. "I'll be right back."

I looked back out towards the campsite, noticing the fire was already out. Hm, looks like Rainbow Dash already put it out. However, I spotted Scootaloo looking around fearfully alone. I walked towards her. "Scootaloo, are you alright?" I asked.

"Uh-huh…" She answered in a shivering tone, continuing to look around her.

"You don't believe that story, do you?"

"Who me?" She placed a hoof on her chest. "As if! I know that story isn't true! Heh, heh. Yes, sir. I'm cool as ice."

I returned a little smirk, noticing her behavior. "Well, you better head in with Rainbow Dash; otherwise you will be cold as ice if you stay out here."

"Oh… Right… Gotcha." Scootaloo replied and began jumping off of the log, but the howling of a wolf frightened her greatly and instead caused her to rush in towards the tent.

I hope she's going to be alright and not have nightmares…

"Alex?" I heard my name being called by a different pony. I looked around to see that it was Rarity near the entrance of her tent. "May I have a word with you?"

"Uh…" I answered back, being partially surprised of her unexpected invitation for a conversation. "Sure." She sat on the nearby log, surprising me even more. Nonetheless, I joined her, sitting by her on the log. "What's up? Is Sweetie Belle alright?"

"Yes, she's fine. She's already nice and cozy and sleeping like a baby." She giggled a little.

I followed with a small chuckle.

There was a moment of silence as a breeze followed along as well.

"So…" I expressed.

"So?" She threw back.

"So, what did you need to talk to me about?" I asked.

"Oh!" She looked at the ground, a little embarrassed. "Right. That… Um…" She paused for a moment. "There's…no real easy way of sharing this with you…but…" She sucked in her lips and rubbed her left foreleg with her right hoof. "Promise you won't laugh or make fun of me."

"Why would I do that?"

"Just promise me."

"Okay, I promise."

"Pinkie promise?" I released a breath through my nose and smiled, looking back with my eyes. I used my hoof to create a crossing motion in front of my heart and place a cupcake on my eye. "Okay well…" She rubbed her hooves together quite nervously. "Um… Let us just say that… I've…rather…admired you…from afar…"

"Admired?" I questioned with a slightly confused expression. "What do you mean?"

She began blushing, almost intensely. "Um…for some time now… I've kind of…liked you… in a certain way."

I continued looking at her for a moment, trying to decode what she was trying to tell me. Then, it clicked in me, causing me to widen my eyes. "Rarity… Are you saying that…"

She slightly looked away. "Yes… I believe so…"

I stared at the ground, almost in disbelief. "I don't get it… I'm almost the complete opposite of you. I'm not a sophisticated pony or have the characteristics of one of those Canterlot ponies like Fancypants. Why me?"

"Well…you may not be sophisticated like them… But you surely are a gentlecolt…"

"Huh…?"

"You see… I think it all started back at the Grand Galloping Gala. Back when I was trying to charm that rather rude Prince Blueblood, you stumbled upon us, walking me around the puddle we came across. It was so generous for you to do that. I wasn't even your date, and you were kind enough to do that. It was at that moment that I discovered the actual Prince of the night was really you…" She giggled a little. "It's a little funny now that you're actually an Alicorn… Anyway, I suppose my feelings for you have quite…changed…little by little, since then."

"Rarity, I did that because you deserved to be treated much better than the Prince was treating you. I would have done that for any of you girls, because you all deserve it."

"I know… That's one of the reasons…why I'm feeling like this…" She sighed. "I know you're in a relationship with Fluttershy, but I just felt as if I needed to share this with you… It'd feel strange going through these feelings while you're completely clueless of them. I hope I didn't make things…awkward…between us now."

I shook my head. "Not at all. I completely understand why you told me this, and I won't judge you in any way. I just don't want any problems to arise from this…such as…tension… between you and Fluttershy or for anything between us to change from what it already is."

"Don't worry, Alex. This won't change anything between you and me. You see… These feelings are not exactly 'in love' feelings. They are more like… admiration. I guess you could see it as if I have this…attraction…to you…but not in such a way to where I so desperately want to be with you." She sighed. "I suppose what I'm trying to say is that… Perhaps, I have this tiny little crush on you, but it's not supreme to where I completely change who I am and try to be your new girlfriend, things like that. I hope you understand…"

I released a soft warm smile towards her, feeling actually flattered about what she told me. "I think I do understand, Rarity." I placed a friendly hoof on her back. "As long as it doesn't change who you are and our relationship between each other, I don't mind at all."

Rarity continued blushing lightly. "So…you don't think I'm a little…odd… for this?"

"Not at all."

She released a breath of relief. "Oh good. I'm glad…"

I continued to grin and patted her back gently with my hoof. "You better get some sleep then." I began to remove myself from the log until she stopped me.

"Alex?"

"Hm?" I looked back at her.

"Can you not tell anypony this…? I really wouldn't want to be made fun of…just in case…"

"Don't worry about it."

She released a soft smile as well. "Thank you… Goodnight."

"Goodnight." Afterwards, I retreated back to my tent.

When I opened the flap of the tent, the moonlight revealed that Fluttershy was already sleeping gently. I smiled at her cuteness and entered the tent. I zipped down the entrance and grabbed the covers with my magic and held them up as I entered in bed cozily. Afterwards, I tucked in both Fluttershy and I comfortably together.

Feeling my eyes yearning sleep, I closed them and awaited the next day while taking a ride through dreamland.

I opened my eyes, feeling almost terrified. I wiped my face, sensing dampness among my cheeks. I sighed, realizing that I did have that nightmare. All I could remember was that it had to do mostly with my sister. I forgot mostly about it though. That's usually what happens right after the dream… All I remember was… that it had to do something with my sister. I think…I think there was a scene in there had to do with Hearth's Warming Eve…when my family would usually be together in the living room, opening presents, all while I would be in my room in both silence and alone….

I sat there, continuing to look at the sheets. I placed a hoof on my face and shook my head while straining my eyes. Then, an image of Princess Luna appeared in my head. Ugh… Was she in my nightmare too…? I thought for a moment, trying to focus on remembering, but it was as if I was trying to look in my dream, but somepony was blocking my view, even when I tried to look around. I could remember some images… I think there was Luna… Rain… and… a note?

Some noises outside interrupted my deep thinking. I was lightly started. I looked to my side to see Fluttershy continuing to sleep. I removed the covers off of me and began to walk outside to see what was going on.

After opening the tent and walking out, I saw Rarity in her outfit once again. She was lying on the fancy lawn chair, appearing as if she was sun-bathing. Applejack and Applebloom were already removing their tent. Applejack spotted me and released a greeting grin. "Rise and shine, Alex!"

"I'm already up." I lightly chuckled.

"What about Fluttershy?"

"No, she's still sleeping. Are we leaving already?" I asked.

"Yup. You might want to wake her up." She advised.

"Alright." I turned around to head back in the tent.

Inside, I quietly walked to her side and sat down. There, I gently placed my hooves on her and shook her lightly. She mumbled a bit and turned to where she was lying on her back. I kissed her cheek, causing her to slowly open her eyes. "Hm?" She softly murmured.

"It's morning." I greeted with a warm smile. "We're all getting ready to leave."

"Leave…?" She asked.

"Yeah. We still have to walk a little more to get to Winsome Falls."

"Oh, okay…" She rubbed her eyes and yawned adorably.

I grabbed her hoof and helped her out of bed. After, using my magic, I was able to fold the covers neatly, allowing Fluttershy to place them back in our saddlebags. I brought Fluttershy outside so I could remove the tent.

Once Fluttershy and I were finally finished with our things, we looked back to see Rarity filling her cart with her personal tastes once again. Sweetie Belle was about to be the one to pull the heavy weight, but I quickly trotted towards her position. "Don't worry about that heavy pulling." I placed the harness attached to the cart on my body. "I've got this."

Sweetie Belle only returned a thankful smile.

After Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash appeared to be ready, we soon continued our journey to Winsome Falls…that is…until Rarity stopped me for second.

"Excuse me, Alex." Rarity spoke, allowing me to notice that she was still lying on her lawn chair.

I formed an expression of confusion. "Rarity? We've got to get moving."

"That's just the thing… You wouldn't mind helping me on the way over there, would you?"

"Pardon…?"

"Maybe a little…push?" She gestured her hoof towards the wheels on the lawn chair.

When I realized what she was asking for, my ears flopped down as I lowered my head as well. I sighed, but agreed. "Okay, fine…"

"Hehe," Rarity giggled. "Thank you!" She expressed as I walked behind her and began to push the chair with my magic.

The rest of the girls, besides Rarity and Sweetie Belle, walked a little further from me. Fluttershy managed to find some of her critter friends along the way. A couple of squirrels climbed onto her back as she began to talk to them happily.

Of course, Rarity was right in front of me. Sweetie Belle was by side, appearing as if she wanted to ask me something.

"Hey, Alex…" Sweetie Belle began, initiating me to look at her while keeping my head straight to the front.

"Hm?" I questioned.

"Do you think… I can have a piggyback ride on you?"

"A piggyback ride…?" I repeated, feeling a little too occupied with the tasks I was already doing. "I don't know…" However, Sweetie Belle's face formed mostly into a pout, making me think twice. I released a breath and responded with a smile. "Sure. Why not?"

"Yay!" She cheered. I managed to create another aura around her as I placed her on my back. She allowed her hooves to dangle on the sides of my body as she giggled and observed the scenery.

It wasn't long before I began sweating quite a bit, due to the force and energy I was putting in.

"Ohh..." Rarity muttered as she appeared to be resting on the chair with her eyes closed. One of my drops of sweat seemed to reach her. She quickly sat up, alarmed. "Am I sweating?" She lifted her sun glasses and looked up. "Oh! I think I'm sweating!" She quickly flapped her hoof in front of her face. However, she noticed Sweetie Belle on my back, reaching a hoof towards her head, petting her mane. "Oh, but it's absolutely worth it to get to spend time with my little sister." She looked at the cart. "It just feels like this cart is getting heavier all the time!"

I stopped to catch my breath, panting a bit. "How can you tell it's getting heavier? I'm the one who's pulling it…"

However, Applejack added her share into the conversation. "I don't care if that's cart's as heavy as a pack of mules." She was so distant and ahead of us, that her voice sounded more of an echo instead. "If we don't get a move on, it'll be dark before we get to the campsite!"

"Dark?!" We suddenly heard a gasp behind us. Then, Scootaloo popped out of nowhere to our side, riding her scooter. "I'll just ride ahead and make sure the path is clear." She announced, stopping and facing us. "We don't wanna be out here after dark, right?" She rode a little further towards Rainbow Dash and told her.

"Doesn't matter to me." Rainbow shrugged.

"Well, y'know," Scootaloo responded and hushed something towards Rainbow, pointing at Sweetie Bell and Applebloom.

Rainbow Dash nodded her head and allowed Scootaloo to scoot on ahead.

"I'm done sun-bathing." Rarity announced and hopped off from the lawn chair, placing it back on the cart with her magic. "I think I'll take a nice stroll now!"

"Sure…" I commented, continuing to struggle a bit while Sweetie Belle remained on my back.

I looked at Rainbow Dash, who was nearby. "Do you really think it was a good idea to let her go off on her own?"

"She's a brave pony! She'll be fine!" Rainbow replied.

"I hope so…" I muttered under my breath.

Applejack looked back and noticed how I was still pulling Rarity's luggage. She turned her attention towards Rarity. "Rarity, did you really have to bring all that stuff on this trip? Poor Alex over there looks like he can hardly breathe."

Rarity returned a soft chuckle. "Nonsense! A strong stallion is sure to pull it just fine!" She turned back to view me. "I mean, just look at those muscles!"

I couldn't help but release a snicker that soon grew into a short laugh, causing me to stop for a moment. I couldn't tell if she was being serious or just joking around. Nevertheless, that comment was really funny. "I don't think that's going to help me move this cart, Rarity."

"Oh! That reminds me!" She added. "You must all know why it is essential to pack these many items. First, it is crucial to bring as many outfits as you possibly can. Otherwise, your opinion on one outfit may differ, so you'd have to clearly pick another one. Or, there can be a change in mood or scenery, and you definitely have to change it then!" Everypony could only exchange looks as they knew this was going to continue on for a while. "The same thing applies to everything else, such as eyelash curlers, mascara, furniture, and other wardrobe necessities!" Rarity then began to spend her time on telling us pretty useless information. "That's why it's always important to bring your trunk on any public outing."

A noise to our right caused us to turn our attention to a nearby bush. We were all surprised to see Scootaloo lying on there, appearing as if she was sleeping. She gasped and turned to see us. "Um... don't come this way!" She waved her hooves frantically. "Take the path!" She jumped onto the path we were on. "It's, aheh, um, way better than going through the bushes."

Despite her odd entrance, we continued on.

"I'm glad to see you're okay, Scoots." I told her, passing by.

"Heh…right…" She answered back and walked along as well.

This time, further along the path, Applejack slowed down to stick with Scootaloo, since she was acting a bit strange. The others remained in front of me.

I heard a twig snap and a sudden yelp. I quickly stopped and looked back to see what was going on. Scootaloo had disappeared, but suddenly she dropped back to the ground, having a rather rough landing.

"You're more nervous than a worm in an apple on cider making day." Applejack confronted her. "What gives, Scootaloo?"

"Heh, nothing, just thought I heard something, aheh." She quickly returned.

An owl nearby hooted.

Scootaloo released another loud yelp. She quickly ran back, beginning to worry me greatly.

"What are you doing here?" Fluttershy asked, flying towards the owl. She petted it and giggled softly.

"You sure you're okay?" Applejack continued. "Cause you seem a little jumpy."

"Just getting my exercise! You know how important it is to stretch out those hindquarters every so often, aheh." She moved her back legs in a stretching motion. A nearby frog croaked. Scootaloo immediately rushed over to the front of Rarity, Sweetie Belle, and me. "Uh, d-do you need a little help?"

"That's so sweet," Rarity placed Scootaloo in the right position and removed the harness on me, placing it on Scootaloo instead. "Thank you."

"Um- What are friends for?" She tried pulling the cart, but made very little progress as she released sounds of exertion.

I released a small smile and placed the harness back on me. "Don't worry. I've got this."

"T-thanks…" She responded, seeming a little shaken.

Night was already falling, making it unable to believe that time had flown so quickly. The cart creaked as I continued pulling. Applejack stopped ahead of me, facing all of us. "No need for tents tonight, y'all. We'll just take shelter in that cave." She pointed to the cave ahead of us.

"All right!" Rainbow Dash cheered. "A deep, dark cave! Perfect for the story I've got for tonight. All we need is a campfire, and we're good to go." She directed towards Scootaloo.

Scootaloo gulped and seemed to respond with nervousness in her voice. "Uh, of course..." Wolves howling could be heard. "I'll be right back with loads of firewood from the deep, dark, not-scary-at-all forest!"

"Thanks." Rainbow Dash expressed as Scootaloo began walking off.

I released a breath of relief and removed the harness from me, already beginning to feel sore. "Alright, Sweetie Belle…" I used my magic to gently remove her from my back and place her back on the ground.

"Thanks for the ride!" She exclaimed.

"No problem…" I looked at the others, who were already getting settled at the campsite. "I don't think it's very safe letting Scootaloo off in the woods. It's bad enough as it is during the day time. At night, it's even worse!" I spoke as I walked towards them.

"Come on! She'll be fine." Rainbow responded with the same answer as last time.

"Yeah… That's what you said last time…" I took a seat next to Fluttershy on the log.

After a few minutes, Applejack rubbed her forelegs on her body and shivered in coldness. "Bbbbrrr, whooee, it's colder than a timberwolf's toenail. Bbbrr, where's that Scootaloo?" She looked around.

I was already feeling uncomfortable, so I decided I to go check up on her. "I'm going to make sure she's okay…" I removed myself from my seat and began walking. Not even a few steps away from the campsite, I heard, what sounded like, panicked laughter. Scootaloo immediately ran past me. I turned around to see her place a few sticks in the middle of the stones. "Here you go!" She presented.

"That's it?" Rainbow questioned.

"That's all I could find, 'cause, y'know, there aren't that many trees around here!"

I looked around, seeing the many contradictions surrounding us.

"It's all we need." Applejack assured. "Why don't you sit with Rainbow Dash for a while?"

Scootaloo quickly rushed over to her, knocking the stick with marshmallow from her hoof.

"Actually... I'll go get us some more." I offered. "It'd be better in this cold."

"You sure, Alex?" Applejack asked.

"Yeah. I'll be right back." I returned and began walking deeper in the forest.

I readied my horn, looking for any twigs or sticks I could add to the collection of the firewood. I managed to pick up a few from the ground and hold them up with my magic. I stopped for a moment and looked around. It was chilly and dark. I began feeling fear linger upon me. These woods really are pretty creepy at night... I know Rainbow Dash's stories aren't true...but just thinking about them makes these woods scarier... I released a breath and shook my head, continuing my search for firewood.

When I finally believed I grabbed enough, I felt something behind me... I quickly turned around, noticing nothing there. I looked around suspiciously, wondering if it was just my imagination. Before I allowed my nerves to rest, something rustled through the trees and bushes, causing me to quickly turn around and scan the area. Forget this... I'm not sticking around to see what it is...

I began trotting quickly with the firewood with me. As I grew closer to the campsite, something rustled in the bush in front of me. I paused and stared at it for a moment. I slowly began walking towards it to see what was inside of it. I placed my hoof softly on the bush and began moving the leaves towards the right side.

All of a sudden, a light blue pony popped out and roared in front of me. My heart jumped as I gasped. I fell backwards towards the ground with the pile of firewood scattering around me.

She laughed out loud, holding a hoof to her stomach. "I totally got you! Haha!"

As I was panting, I formed an angry expression on my face. "Rainbow!"

"That was so priceless!" She continued as I angrily got up and tried to rejoin the pieces of sticks that scattered around the area. She released a contented sigh as she placed her hooves on my back, resting her head on them. "Watcha doing?"

"Trying to find the pieces of firewood you made me drop..." I answered, still irritated.

"Aw, come on. I'm sorry. But you have to admit it was pretty funny."

"Yeah... Whatever..."

When I finally retrieved all the firewood I could find, I returned to the campsite with Rainbow Dash. I placed the rest of the firewood with the few sticks Scootaloo brought, and sat down next to Fluttershy.

"Are you alright?" She asked softly to me.

"Yeah... I'm fine..." I answered.

Applejack quickly lit up the fire.

"Now, where was I?" Rainbow Dash asked herself. "Oh yeah! The scary part." She ended with a spooky tone, waving her hooves around. She then released an evil laugh.

"Hey, I have an idea! How about I tell tonight's story?" Scootaloo suddenly brought up, holding her hoof up high.

Rainbow Dash returned an odd expression. However, she laid down on the log and decided to allow it. "Alright, just make sure it's a horrible one."

Applejack and Rarity drew their sisters closer, revealing grins as they braced for the mental impact the story would create. I could feel Fluttershy's body tense up as she placed her body as closest as she could towards me.

"There once was a really really nice pony who lived in a bright and sunny land, where there are rainbows every day, and lots and lots of happy friends, and—

The others, who had exchanged odd looks, allowed Rainbow Dash to cut Scootaloo's "story" short. "No offense, but it's not a real campfire story unless somepony's shaking." She rubbed Scootaloo's mane and jumped off the log, beginning to tell her own story in a spooky tone. "I've been told that these very woods are haunted..."

"Um… If nopony minds, I think I'm going to skip out in this one!" Fluttershy quickly flew inside the cave, where she probably began setting up the place to sleep and hide under the covers.

Rainbow Dash paused for a moment after Fluttershy's departure, but continued on. "…by the headless horse!" Her shadow began forming into the figure of the headless horse. "It gallops only at night—

"If it doesn't have a head, then how in tarnation does this pony know where it's goin'?" Applejack interrupted.

"It's headless, not brainless." Rainbow Dash explained…but what she didn't know was that the brain was in the head… However, she continued, creeping behind Applejack and Applebloom. "...looking for little lost ponies—

"So where's its brain?" Applejack asked.

"Ugh." Rainbow Dash released and gave up on explaining. "Fear was dripping from the air..."

My eyes felt as if they were drooping. I slowly found myself lightly leaning in as if I was falling asleep. Soon enough, everything seemed to fade out, making my conscious slip out.

"...and they were never heard from ever again!"

I seemed to begin regaining my conscious again, as I had just started waking up from a nap.

I heard Sweetie Belle gasp. "Never?"

Rainbow Dash shook her head. "Never."

Fire sparked, causing Applebloom and Sweetie Belle to scream out loud. They surprised me and allowed me to fully open my eyes. However, it quickly transformed into laughter by how they realized they were startled so easily by the fire. They both hugged their sisters.

"Don't worry," Rarity rubbed her sister's mane. "You'll be safe with me tonight." She looked towards the cave where we'll be staying.

"It's not time for bed yet, is it?" Scootaloo asked, jumping in the middle of Rarity and Applejack.

"'Fraid so, Scootaloo." Applejack answered. "It seems we all need our sleep."

"Uh, but we haven't even sung any campfire songs yet!" Scootaloo brought out.

However, I was feeling too…empty of energy to make an argument, so I just sat there and watched with droopy eyes like a zombie.

"You don't have to ask me twice!" Sweetie Belle responded and ran over to where Rainbow Dash was standing on. She pushed her off and inhaled a breath to begin singing loudly. "Ninety-nine buckets of oats on the wall, ninety-nine buckets of oats! Take one down…" Everypony was becoming tired. Each of us was already beginning to fall asleep, all but Scootaloo. She was the only one who was moving her head in a rhythmic motion. This song continued for a long time… I couldn't keep track of it… "…pass it around, you got eighty-one buckets of oats on the wall!" "…forty-one buckets of oats! Take one down, pass it around you got forty…" Sweetie Belle paused for a moment, trying to remember what number came next "…buckets of oats on the wall!" Ugh… "...buckets of oats! Take one down, pass it around, you've got zero buckets of oats on the waaaaaaaalllllll!" Her last extended word startled us all back to our nerves as it was so loud and just…screechy.

She stood there, proud to have finally finished the song, but she suddenly fell to the ground asleep. Rarity grabbed her with her magic and we were all finally allowed to walk into the cave to get some sleep. Everypony said their Goodnight's, but for some reason, Scootaloo wanted to stay up.

"Oh, just one more song! Anyone?" She asked as I was already making myself comfortable near Fluttershy, who was already asleep. "How about a dance contest?" She continuously asked each of us, but we all worked on getting our rest. "I know you love to cut a rug, so how 'bout we mess up a cave floor? I have a brilliant idea! Hide and seek, who's with me?"

Applebloom yawned. "Maybe tomorrow." Her face fell towards her sheets.

"Aww…" Scootaloo returned.

"Seems like you don't really wanna go to sleep tonight." Applejack included, already lying in her bed. "Is there some reason why?"

"Pfft, of course not!" Scootaloo answered. "I just love camping and hanging out with Rainbow Dash so much that I don't wanna waste a single minute with sleep!" However, she yawned greatly. "Heh, silly sleep."

Rainbow Dash began putting plugs in her ears. "That's cool and all, Scoot, but this pony needs her shut-eye and she needs it now!" She laid on her side and began to rest her eyes.

"We'll spend some more time together, Scoots." I mumbled loud enough for her to hear. "Right now… We could all really just use some sleep. Goodnight…" I pulled the covers over me and closed my eyes, already becoming instantly affected.

"Alex. Alex."

This familiar voice echoed through my mind. I opened my eyes to see a pony with a dark blue coat in front of me.

"Princess Luna!" I announced with a surprised expression. "What are you doing here?"

"I am the princess of the night, thus it is my duty to come into your dreams." She answered.

"I…I never knew you could visit ponies in their dreams…" I responded, but then widened my eyes when I realized that I WAS in a dream. "Wait! I'm in a dream right now? It doesn't feel like it at all!" I stretched out a hoof to Princess Luna, touching the coat on her chest. "This is crazy…" I retracted my hoof. "Wait… What if I dream within a dream?"

"…You probably shouldn't…"

"Why not?"

"…I just advise you not to…"

"Okay… Anyway, why are you in my dream? I don't think you've ever stopped by."

Princess Luna slightly looked away. "Well… I must admit that a part of the reason falls on Scootaloo…"

"Scootaloo?"

"Yes, you see, she has this certain fear that she must take care of. If she doesn't…worse things may happen." She looked back towards me. "I wanted you to help her conquer that fear, and make sure things don't go out of hoof."

"Sure, of course…" I agreed. "But…if you don't mind… What is this fear? It's not from those campfire stories Rainbow Dash told everypony, is it?"

"No… It is the teller behind those stories."

I formed a confused expression. "Rainbow Dash…?"

Princess Luna nodded her head.

"It's the wicked whinny of the headless horse!" I heard Scootaloo's voice echo throughout the area we were in. All of a sudden, these ripples formed, seeming to look as if the dream was interrupted.

Princess Luna soon began flying away from me.

"Luna! What's going on?" I exclaimed.

"You have to help Scootaloo face her fear with Rainbow Dash!"

"But how?!"

She was already gone before I could get an answer. I began groaning, feeling the dream fade away from me.

I opened my eyes and lifted my body in shock.

Was that dream real…? If it was…

I looked to where Scootaloo was supposed to be. I found out that she was gone. I gasped softly and quickly removed myself from bed. I heard a loud whining that echoed throughout the cave, which almost sounded a bit scary. However, I realized it was actually just Rainbow Dash's snoring as her mouth stretched out and in a repeated motion. I quickly rushed over to her and kneeled by her side, remembering what Luna told me. I shook her body and spoke softly enough to not wake any other pony else.

"Rainbow…! Rainbow!"

"Hu-huh?" She opened her eyes and rubbed them when she saw me. "Alex? What are you doing?"

"Scootaloo's gone. I think she may have run off into the forest. We have to go find her!"

"Huh…?" She looked at Scootaloo's bed and realized she wasn't there as well. "Whoa! Are you sure?" I nodded. "Well then, let's go find her!"

Rainbow Dash quickly flew out of her bed. I joined her when she flew out of the cave. We both rose up into the air. Rainbow placed her eyes on me. "Alex, you search that part of the forest. I'll search this way. Got it?"

"Yeah."

"Let's move out!" She immediately dashed away, initiating me to begin my search as well.

I flew above the forest, attempting to thoroughly search every part of it for her.

"Come on, Scootaloo… Where are you…?"

Suddenly, I heard screaming coming from a nearby waterfall. I was immediately alarmed and quickly sped in that direction.

"Hello?! Is anyone out there?" I heard. It was definitely Scootaloo's voice. Her voice allowed me to specify which exact area she might be.

"Hold on, Scootaloo…" I muttered under my breath.

When I reached the waterfall, I searched desperately for the orange little filly. I had no clue where she was until I heard a cry. "Heellllp—

I quickly turned my attention to where it came from, noticing something struggling in the water. It was Scootaloo! Just like Rainbow Dash the last time she was forced by the current, Scootaloo was desperately trying to survive the strong current of the water. I quickly flew towards her location, feeling my heart pump drastically as she almost was at the end of the waterfall. She struggled to somehow fight against the current, but no matter how hard she tried, she fell victim to it.

She screamed as she began to fall the great height of the waterfall.

"Scootaloo!" I exclaimed and quickly strained my wings as much as I could to gather that extra burst of speed.

As she was falling, she closed her eyes and braced for any impact her little body could take. Nonetheless, I focused my eyes and strained my wings as much as I could to catch up to her. I was worrying greatly that I might not catch up to her, causing something to stir in my heart.

As I drew nearer, I held out my hooves, hoping I would feel myself catch and hold her in them. I closed my eyes for just a moment, hoping I would have her in my hooves when I opened them. As soon as I felt something on my hooves, I stopped and slowly opened my eyes, clearly having the fear that Scootaloo might not be there.

Nonetheless, when I opened them, Scootaloo was there, clenching my body tightly. I released a great breath of relief and grinned. "Scootaloo! You're alright!"

She gasped and opened her eyes, noticing me. "Alex! How did you—

"Princess Luna came to my dream and asked me to help you with your fear. I woke up when I heard you." I explained.

"Oh…" She looked down sadly. "So you know then…"

Looking down and realizing we really shouldn't be flying at the height, I flew back towards the top of the waterfall and landed somewhere safe, finally allowing my wings to rest. I placed Scootaloo on the ground and began to speak with her.

"Scootaloo… It's okay to have fears… But you're going to have to confront them soon… Otherwise they'll bother you for the rest of your life. They may even make your life worse. I've seen you act strange around Rainbow Dash. Are you trying to impress her, or make her think you're cool?"

She sighed and rubbed her right foreleg with her left hoof. "Yeah… Kinda… I mean… I just wanted her to think that I'm good enough so she can take me under her wing. It would have been so cool to have her as like my big sister. But…" She began sniffling as her voice broke and tears fled from her eyes. "After she finds out that I was scared by her stories, I doubt that'll happen… She wouldn't want to have some little crybaby filly to be around her."

I frowned. Just as I was about to comfort her, I heard another voice near me.

"What are you talking about, kid?" I quickly looked to my right to see Rainbow Dash standing there. She walked towards us as Scootaloo appeared to be surprised and frightened.

"Rainbow Dash! I'm so sorry! Please don't think I'm so weak that you wouldn't want to ever hang out with me ever again! Please!"

"Hey, hey…" Rainbow Dash reached us and took a seat between us, placing a hoof on Scootaloo's mane. "I'm not going to think that kind of stuff just because you got spooked out by a couple of stories."

"…You're not…?"

"No! Look… I'm gonna tell you guys something, but if you every tell anypony else, I'm gonna deny it. First time I heard those stories..."

"You were scared too?" I guessed.

"Yeah…" She returned a confused and slightly suspicious look towards me. "How'd you know?"

"Well, you kind of hinted on it…" I formed a light smirk.

Scootaloo sniffled once more, looking up at Rainbow with a smile. "...You were?"

"Sure! I mean, I got over it because I realized pretty quick that if there was such thing as a headless horse, I could totally take it on." That statement caused me to roll my eyes. However, it wasn't in a bad way. "So, you're looking for somepony to take you under their wing, huh?"

"Mm-hm!" Scootaloo quickly nodded.

"Yeah, I might be up for something like that." Rainbow Dash stretched out her wing and brought Scootaloo closer to her with it.

"Really?"

"As long as you don't go falling into any more rivers in the middle of the night." Rainbow joked.

Scootaloo returned a giggle. "It's a deal."

Afterwards, they nuzzled each other as they hugged, causing me to smile as I felt a warm feeling surround my heart.

"We better get back before any other pony finds out we're here." Rainbow Dash advised and looked at me. "You comin', Alex?"

"Yeah. Go on ahead." I looked towards the river, remembering something. "I'll catch up."

"Okay." Rainbow Dash began carrying Scootaloo back towards the Cave. "See ya there." After, she began flying back.

I released a short chuckle. I stretched out my wings and flew over to the river. Searching for a moment, I spotted the scooter lodged between a rock and a hard place. I quickly flew over to it and managed to pull it out.

I brought it back with me on my way back.

Once I reached the cave, Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo were already sleeping soundly. On Scootaloo's face, I could see a bright smile planted there. This caused me to release a soft, yet tired, smile of my own. I placed the scooter by her bed and yawned. Finally, I walked to my bed and made myself cozy near Fluttershy.

I closed my eyes, hoping to meet Princess Luna again.


"I'm proud of you."

Her voice almost startled me. I opened my eyes, ironically still being in a dream.

"Oh, Princess Luna… Thanks… I didn't really do much…" I answered.

"You did plenty. For that, I am grateful."

"Well, thanks…" I looked at her and smiled. "I've noticed that you seem to be getting better with…modern language…"

"Have I? I have been practicing a little…"

"Nevertheless, it's always warming and great to see you…"

"The feeling's mutual, Alexander." This phrase being highly familiar, I chuckled and hugged her. She was surprised at my motion for a moment, but then wrapped her hooves around me as well. When I pulled away, she continued to reveal a grin on her face. "That's enough to keep me happy for the night. I suppose I should leave you to your dreams now…"

"Come visit me whenever you want. This must be less of a hassle than coming to meet me outside of my dreams."

Luna returned a soft chuckle. "Very well then. I will. Sweet dreams, Alex."

"You too, Luna…"

Afterwards, she departed out of my dream, leaving me to encounter whatever my mind wanted to show me.

"Mornin', you two." I heard, waking me up.

Fluttershy mumbled by my side. I groaned a little as well, opening my eyes to see Applejack. The others were already getting ready to leave. I rubbed my head a little. "Geez, Applejack… You always seem to wake us up when everyone is already leaving…"

She released a small chuckle. "Heheh, yeah. Sorry about that, but Winsome Falls is just around the corner!"

"If you say so…" I responded, rubbing my eyes and beginning to get ready to continue on further.

When we arrived at Winsome Falls, which actually wasn't too far from our last camping location and ironically contained the river where Scootaloo fell in, Sweetie Belle hopped off from my back and exclaimed out to everyone else.

"I call sister teams! Last herd to make it to the falls is a moldy carrot!"

"Ugh, if you insist." Rarity trotted past Sweetie Belle, holding a disgusted expression. However, I knew she couldn't hide it in. She began trotting very quickly until she just couldn't take it anymore. "It is so on!" She waved her hooves excitedly and began racing with Sweetie Belle.

As Applebloom and Applejack joined them, Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo stayed behind. "They think they can beat the two of us?" Rainbow Dash stretched out her wings as she faced Scootaloo.

Scootaloo returned a determined and competitive expression, fluttering her wings.

I found it very adorable and sweet to what happened next. Rainbow Dash held Scootaloo up towards the air, making it appear as if Scootaloo was flying herself.

I chuckled as I observed this scene.

Fluttershy giggled a bit as well. "I guess we're both going to be moldy carrots."

"Meh." I shrugged. "I don't mind if I'm a 'moldy carrot' as long as I'm with you."

"Aww…" She returned a blush and then kissed me on the cheek.

When we finally arrived back at town, it was already night time. We had taken a path that didn't take us two days as it did when going to Winsome Falls. We returned the stuff back at Sweet Apple Acres. I bade Applejack a good night and proceeded to walk Fluttershy back home to her cottage. She placed such an adorably and cute goodnight kiss before she walked off to bed.

Before I reached my home, I met up with Rarity, who was outside her boutique, removing the last of her things from the cart.

"Oh, sorry, Rarity." I apologized. "I should have helped you with your things."

She smiled. "It's quite alright, Alex. I appreciate the concern." She paused for a moment and then placed the things she was carrying with her magic on the ground. "Um… I still hope I didn't bother you or make you feel uncomfortable with that talk we had…"

"It's alright. I'm not going to freak out just because you have a little crush on me." I laughed a little. "It's flattering really…"

Rarity's cheeks filled up with some redness. "I suppose so…"

"You know… I've got to admit something to you…" I walked over to her and sat down. She sat down next to me as well.

"What is it?"

I chuckled a little at the thought. "Well…back when I was…asocial… I used to…dislike you…"

This caused Rarity to gasp. "Are you serious?"

"Yeah. I mean. Of course, not anymore, but… it was just your behavior and attitude that would kind of annoy me…just like Rainbow Dash annoyed me with her arrogance. However… I realized how I focused too much on what annoyed me about you instead of seeing the beautiful heart you really have." This caused Rarity to blush once again, facing the ground. "Just like you said when your feelings started at the Grand Galloping Gala, my different view on you started when you made me that tux for the Grand Galloping Gala. I saw how you truly represented your element of Generosity and went out of your way to please the girls. You really shifted my impression on you to a good one."

"Well… I'm glad you don't think of me in such a way anymore… I certainly don't want you thinking of me in such a bad way…"

I released a grin. "You're a beautiful pony, Rarity. I may not be able to have that kind of relationship with you, but I'll always be there for you if you need somepony to talk to. I may not completely understand if the talk is about… fashion necessities and such, but I'll still have both my ears out willing to listen. Even if you're in distress and just need a great meaningful hug, I'll be really glad to give you one."

Rarity sighed happily and faced me. "Alex, you're such a sweet pony, you know that? Fluttershy is really one lucky mare to have you…" I could only shrug modestly. She looked towards the entrance of her door and back at me. "I suppose it's not too much to ask if I could have one of those hugs right now?"

I released a small breath through my nose, which indicated that I found that question funny. "Of course."

After, we both hugged each other for a moment. I made sure to make it a meaningful one, just like the one I wished I could have so much back when I was a little colt.

When we pulled away, Rarity still retained a little of her blush. "Goodnight, Alex."

"Goodnight, Rarity."

She grabbed the rest of her things from the ground and walked into her boutique.

I returned home.

I jumped on my bed and covered myself with the blankets. I inhaled and exhaled a deep breath. I closed my eyes, awaiting sleep.

I was a little colt again. Everypony around me was ignoring me, even my own family. I could only look at the ground sadly, feeling my own tear drop from my eye and melt on the ground. However, I was confronted by her. She released a comforting look towards me and embraced me, assuring me that I wasn't alone. Princess Luna had entered my dream again, even in my current state. Wanting to make sure that I didn't have a nightmare, she stayed with me. She even summoned the rest of my true friends; the girls. She brought them along with me, and they were in their filly state as well. I looked at Luna, forming a light smile across my face. She returned another expression of warmth towards me as well and winked. She chuckled and continued to embrace me in the way I wished my mother would have.

Best dream ever.

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