• 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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Castle Mane-ia

Episode 68 – Castle Mane-ia


The full remembrance of my dreams were gone the instant I became conscious. There were only a few hanging on by a thread and could only be saved if I chose to make the effort to keep them in mind. The dreams themselves were very…intriguing yet disturbing at the same time. I couldn't describe it, nor put them in simple words. However, among these scattered dreams, I could feel that I had another dream with those astronomers. There was something to do with a notebook…or journal that they were keeping information in. This biggest part that bugged me about this was that I still couldn't tell whether they were just playing with my mind or if they were trying to tell me something. It kind of felt the same way I felt about Spirit…

Was I going insane somehow? Or were these things really real?

All of a sudden, I heard a loud groan come from a direction beneath me, along with a book slamming across the wall. This caused me to stretch my eyelids outwards in a shock. My heart gave a great leap before I pushed myself from the bed with my hooves.

"What's wrong, Twilight?" I heard Spike ask downstairs, causing me to stretch my head over to see what was going on.

"Ugh, I've gone through every book I could find here, Spike, and there isn't a single mention of the mysterious chest that came from the Tree of Harmony, nor anything about keys to unlock it!" She explained and held a book open while I decided to get out of bed and walk downstairs. "But something tells me that opening it is pretty important. I hope Princess Celestia has some ideas. If the library in Canterlot doesn't have anything, I-I don't know where else to look!"

Hearing this news, I confronted Twilight about it. "You didn't get any sleep at all, did you, Twilight?" Some of my worry slipped in, knowing that all of the work she supposedly done definitely wouldn't have allowed her time to rest.

Instead of responding to my question, she grew more concerned about me. "Oh gosh, Alex. Did I wake you up?! I'm sorry!" She apologized.

"Don't worry about me." I walked towards her and placed a hoof around her while speaking to her caringly. "What about you, Twilight? Aren't you exhausted?"

"No, no…" She shook her head. "I'm fine, really. I've gone longer days without sleeping…"

Remembering back before with the whole time business dilemma, I reconsidered my concern. "No kidding…" Still, even so, I felt she might have been too worked up over the chest we found at the Tree of Harmony. "I just don't want you to get so stressed out over this locked chest, Twilight… Maybe it's just something we'll need to let time do most of the work on."

Twilight sighed and looked over to the floor with a troubled frown. "I suppose you're right, Alex… But still… It's something that I just can't easily let go…"

Feeling it suitable to offer an easing smile, I lifted up a hoof in preparation to offer a suggestion. "Maybe there's something else you'd like exploring to keep your mind off it?"

Spike unexpectedly released a loud belch in the middle of our conversation. Twilight turned towards him to receive the letter that appeared. Finally forming a grin, she opened the letter and began reading out loud. "My dearest pupils, while it would be perfectly lovely to have you two in Canterlot once more, I have another option in mind much closer to Ponyville." Twilight paused for a moment, glanced over to me, and shared a word in slight surprise and question. "Huh?" Nonetheless, she returned to her reading. "As you know, the ancient castle that I once shared with Princess Luna lies mostly in ruins, deep in the Everfree Forest. But if you look carefully, you may find a book that could prove helpful to your research, hidden somewhere in what's left of the castle library." Twilight slowly lowered the letter below her sight. "A book? Research? Relating to Princess Celestia and Princess Luna?" Her eyes raced side to side from her excited thoughts. "That sounds like so much fun!"

"But…that means we have to go through the Everfree Forest again…" Spike brought up a little fearfully.

"We just have to take the path towards the old castle the Princesses used to live in." I mentioned to hopefully ease his distress. "The Everfree Forest isn't as crazy as it was. It's back to being its creepy average self."

"Yeah, Spike!" Twilight agreed gleefully as she already began walking her way to the front door. "It'll be like a walk in the park!"

"Huh…" Spike returned, walking after her in a little irritated mood. "I'd rather take a walk in a real park…"

Shaking my head with light happiness, I walked on after them.


Ever since that crazy ordeal with the Everfree Forest, I've started feeling calmer about the forest overall. Of course, it was still dangerous, but seeing the area spiral out of control recently makes the usual scene easy to endure.

It wasn't until the bridge leading towards the ruins stopped me for a moment. Something about it just…had me thinking for a while. Ever since our last use when we stopped Nightmare Moon, it's apparently been restored from a once rickety old creaky wooden bridge. But for some reason…invisible memories seemed to appear in my mind.

"Hey, Alex…?" Twilight caught my attention, leading me to notice her looking back at me while she and Spike were in the middle of the bridge. "You coming?"

"Oh yeah." I shook my head to focus on our new task. "Sorry about that." I trotted towards them to catch up.

"Everything okay?" Twilight asked.

"Yeah. I was just thinking for a bit." I answered as we continued heading towards the former castle.

Once we were inside, we looked around for a bit. It had been so long since I last was here. I could barely remember anything about it. I turned to Twilight, hoping she would know where to go. "Do you have any idea how to find the library here?"

She returned a shrug with a sense of hope. "How hard can it be? We just have to look through every room we find. Every library has to be some place you can find easily."

"Okay…" I responded, continuing to walk along with her.

I would have advised splitting up to find it, but seeing the structure of the castle, I figured that wasn't such a good idea. Besides, certain areas were blocked up with fallen pieces of the building. Of course, we probably could have moved them with magic, but the most sensible thing would be to check the easiest areas first.

Twilight and I decided to check the lower levels first. When we descended down the stairs with an uneasy Spike, we noticed a room straight ahead in the hallway. Around the sides were a few broken pieces of the wall as well. Twilight walked towards the first room we saw with the huge opened double doors. Seeing what laid ahead, she immediately gasped in a joyous manner.

Assuming she found it, I stepped out of staring out into the dark hallways and joined Twilight and Spike.

"Wow! Look at all these ancient books!" She rushed inside and flew all around what she visualized as treasure. "It's a veritable goldmine of information! I can't believe it! Woo-hoo!"

Meanwhile, Spike walked forward, cautiously eyeing the place until he stumbled onto a web. "Whoa, whoa-whoa!" He shortly freaked out, flailing his claws around. He tripped just after. "Oof!" When he began recovering, he yelped in fear due to seeing an Alicorn statue with spiders staring back at him. "Uh, heh-heh. So, uh, Twilight." He managed to remove the webs from him. "Uh, ready to head home?"

"Are you kidding?" Twilight beamed from the stack of books she was already working on. "This place is perfect!" She grinned and dove straight inside of them.

Spike rocked to himself fearfully with teeth chattering as spiders roamed around him.

Using my magic, I picked him up and placed him on my back. "I don't really like the look of this place either…" I answered as I looked around cautiously. "I don't like the sight of…these types of insects…" I raised a hoof in order to keep it clear from another spider.

"Aw, come on." Twilight spoke during her shuffling of several books. "They aren't going to bother you. Just keep your mind off them."

"That's easy for you to say…" I returned, heading towards where Twilight was at while making sure to steer clear from the spiders.

Nonetheless, Twilight continued rummaging through any piece of information she could find. "I still can't believe it! A whole new discovery of fascinating and remarkable information!" She grabbed several books and hugged them all together. "Wait!" She realized. "We're going to need something first so there're no interruptions…"

"…what exactly?" I asked.

She hopped off the pile of books she was on and landed in front of me. "Light!" She poked me in the chest, and then walked past me to head out of the room.

However, as she walked behind me, I managed to look upwards and notice there was a second floor to this library. "Maybe there are some candles up there?" I pointed.

Twilight changed her direction and analyzed the area along with me. "Oh, hey. What do you know? Good eye!"

I smirked and decided to tease her a bit. "Coming from the mare who fell in love with these books as soon as she saw them?"

"Shut up!" She shoved me playfully and then laughed when she began flying over to the second floor.

Finding it silly how we didn't bother to look for stairs, I spread out my wings and flew after her.

I looked around in a skim while Twilight focused on one particular area. Spike held his claws on my coat as he struggled to climb down. "Geez." He mentioned. "Maybe I should start riding on your back from now on."

"You should know Twilight would probably go through anything for books." I answered with a small grin.

"Hmph." He concluded with crossed claws.

"Did you find any candles?" Twilight called out to us.

Spike and I looked around, but couldn't see anything from our limited sight. Just a bunch of dusty old books I'd personally rather not open.

"I don't think so." I returned back.

"Hmm." She rubbed her chin with her hoof. "There must be another place we can look in… Some place that is sure to have some source of light."

"As long as it's not dark or scary or anything…" Spike commented while shivering lightly as we returned to Twilight.

"You sure anything like that is still here?" I inquired as Twilight, Spike, and I walked towards on the path that remained on the second floor.

"There has to be!" Twilight responded hopefully. "There's no way these books can be here all on their own!"

Feeling encouraged along with her, I smiled lightly. "Whatever you say, Twi."

Surprisingly, taking the path on the second floor led us back to the center of where we started in the first place. We were at the far end of the room where across us lied another hallway. Connecting the same route we were on were stairs that led to the first floor. Interesting…design?

Nonetheless, Twilight led us towards the extended hallway across us. "Ooh! Maybe there's a study room nearby? That's bound to have a few candles in there!"

When we reached the location, there were several rooms, but most of them were closed, either locked or unlocked. There was one, in which the door was ajar. However, there was no light within. Twilight used her magic to open the door fully. But the room was still completely dark.

"Uh…Twilight…?" Spike began rubbing his claws together fearfully. "A-are you sure you want to go in there?"

"Please, Spike. There's nothing to be afraid of." Twilight assured. "The worst things that can be inside are more spiders."

Spike's eyes dilated. "Yeah…um…I…I'm not going in there."

"Fine." Twilight agreed easily, closing her eyes with her beam remaining. "Alex and I will just go inside alone instead. "C'mon!" She cheerfully but calmly requested me to follow her.

"…alright." I answered a little hesitantly. Darkness and spiders definitely did not mix well in my book, but I still couldn't let her go on her own. Twilight and I managed to produce some light from our horns in order for us to see better, but it still didn't reveal the entire room. As we walked further inside, I swore I could see some black spots move across the room. Nevertheless, Twilight and I searched any areas that would most likely contain a possible light source. I really didn't want to touch anything, considering about how much dust, webs, or even insects could be lying on the spot I'd place my hoof on. Wow… Am I turning into Rarity?

"See anything, Alex?" Twilight asked casually.

"Not really…" I only sent back.

"Hmm…" She expressed curiously as she continued to fumble with stuff. "Hey!" She suddenly exclaimed out, starling me a bit. "I think I found something!" I walked over to her to bring the light of my horn closer. It appeared to be one of those objects to hold several candles on. Directing my light more towards the top, I could see whitish slick items in a pattern.

"Let's bring it outside." I advised.

Twilight used her magic to hold the object while I kept my magic on to light the way. Fortunately, whatever light there was outside of the room managed to make things just a little easier.

"Did you guys find anything?" Spike immediately asked as we walked out.

"Let's see…" Twilight placed the item down for all of us to see. "Aha! Yes!" She expressed as we saw it to be more than what we were looking for. "Wow…" Twilight rather gazed at it. "I wonder if this is the same candle holder Princess Celestia would use to read back then."

"Maybe…" Spike contributed briefly.

"Spike, light these for me, please?" Twilight asked. Seeing it'd be better anyway, Spike released out a belch of flame to light all the candles on one go. "Thank you!" She expressed before heading back most likely to the library.

"You guys didn't have to go through all that trouble to find these candles, you know…" Spike spoke as the three of us walked across the far end of the center of the building again. "I don't think I'll need all these candles. I was really only scared for a second."

"Oh, these aren't for you, Spike." Twilight answered as she held the lit candles with her magic. "We're gonna be studying late into the night, and we're gonna need all the light we can get."

This caused him to stop for a moment to express his hidden misery. "Oh, great." He continued on behind us.

"Here?" I questioned to clarify on. "Late into the night?"

"Yep." Twilight's bright face soon formed into a saddened one. "Unless…you didn't want to stay here…?"

"Well…I have to admit…this place is already a little…uncomfortable…" I answered truthfully, but I didn't want to let her down. "…but I suppose I can stay here as long as you're around." I ended with an assuring smile.

"Thanks…" She released the same expression. "But I also don't want to make you feel like you have to stay…"

"It's fine." I responded. "It'll be kind of like…I don't know…a Nightmare Night thing?" I shrugged, not knowing what exactly to compare it to.

Twilight chuckled softly. "Sure…"


Remaining on the second floor, Twilight turned to a long-lengthed table and placed the candles in the middle. As she continued setting up her station, I couldn't help but notice how dark it already was. It wasn't clear on whether it was still sunny outside, as the structure of the building seemed to hold back most of the light anyway. Either way, it was like night time inside, proving the usefulness of the lit candles.

Twilight had organized a large stack of books for her to read through and placed them on the table. Spike decided to take one and sit on the chair across the table from Twilight, since he was going to have to stay with her apparently all night anyway. Twilight grabbed a book from the top of her stack and began focusing her attention on it.

I honestly didn't feel like reading, but I sat near Twilight anyway. The library was engulfed with silence, and I could only hear the little things in the background. I waited a while, but then soon grew tired of sitting and doing nothing. Instead, I rested my head on the table and closed my eyes. I was just happy that there were no spiders creeping around.

"You sure you don't want to go home…?" I heard Twilight softly ask me.

"Oh…" I opened my eyes to see her. "No, it's okay…" I yawned a bit. "I'd rather stay here with you, anyway. I wouldn't want anything bad to happen."

"Hm…" She could only smile a bit at me and then face Spike. "Find anything, Spike?"

He allowed the huge book he had to fall directly on the table. "Uh, nope. Nothing yet." However, he turned his eyes towards something moving near the table. It suddenly jumped out towards him, causing him to scream and fall back. "Aaah!"

However, it was to all of our surprise when we noticed what it actually was.

"Angel? What are you doing here?" Twilight asked, completely not expecting his visit. Before I could have any say, the two bookcases closest to us spread out, blowing out the candles and revealing a secret room beyond. The four of us gathered at this sight, leaving Twilight to gasp. "Whoa!" We noticed very recognizable decorations, which mainly displayed the use of the sun and the moon. But the most intriguing part was a certain book right in the center of the room. Twilight pondered about it and then appeared right before it, leading us to walk in after her. "The Journal of the Two Sisters." She read.

Gasping yet again, she quickly took the book and sat nearby on the closest cushion, immediately making herself comfortable. "Maybe this is the book Princess Celestia was talking about!" Angel hopped over to her and sat on her back to look at the book as well.

"Well…" I looked around, noticing how much…cleaner it was. "It does look a lot better to stay in than outside…" However, I placed my attention back to the sudden appearance of Angel. "Anyways, Angel, where did you come from? Shouldn't you be with Fluttershy at her cottage?"

He only returned a narrowed stare as if he had no intention to talking to me.

I sighed, feeling no point to continue on with the questions any further. "Fluttershy's probably worried sick about you and you don't care. Okay." I placed myself on the pillow near Twilight, but I thought more about other things than the book Twilight found. Ever since discovering Angel, I began only really thinking about Fluttershy. Did Angel scamper away from home and into the Everfree Forest, later wondering onto this castle? I don't know…but what if Fluttershy is actually around here herself? …what would she be doing here anyway?

These thoughts began worrying me, but there was nothing I could do to relieve them. I couldn't go out around the castle looking for her if it's only a possibility. Besides…if she was really in trouble, Angel would at least tell me or give me a sign about it…right?

"Psst!" I heard, jolting me away from my thoughts. I quickly looked towards the source of the sound, which was at the doorway. I found it to be an immediately recognizable mare, who was motioning her hoof to follow her outside.

"Spirit?" I asked with a soft surprised expression.

"What was that?" Twilight questioned, having me turn to face Twilight, and then turn back to see Spirit.

However, she wasn't there anymore, leaving me really puzzled.

"Uh…nothing…" I answered. But I couldn't let that go. I stood up and faced Twilight. "Hey…you're going to stay here and read that book right?"

"Yeah, why?" Twilight returned.

Trying to form a sentence that won't worry or concern her, I still answered her truthfully. "I'm just going…to walk around a bit. Maybe explore a little."

"Are you sure you want to go off on your own?"

"Don't worry." I assured. "I won't be far off."

"Okay…" Twilight allowed her nerves to cease a little. "You'll be careful, right?"

"Yeah, yeah." I nodded.

"Alright…well…please don't take too long."

"Okay." I understood. "I'll be back, okay?"

"Mm-hm." She expressed as she watched me walk off and out the door.

Once I was out and out of sight, I released a relieved sigh before I was suddenly grabbed ahold of and placed against the wall with another hoof on my mouth.

"Okay, that was close." She said right in front of me, allowing me to speak by removing her hoof.

"Spirit..? What are you doing here?" I questioned greatly before she shushed me.

"Shh!" She looked towards the doorway and then back at me. "Talk softly, okay?"

"…okay…" I decreased the volume of my voice. "…so…are you going to answer my question?"

"Come on." She merely answered with a smile and motioned me to walk with her further away from the room. When we were back at the center of the castle, Spirit spoke more towards me. "Just like old times, huh?" She asked, referencing towards something I still knew nothing of.

"…what?" I could only ask in a confused manner.

Stretching her smile to the side of her cheek, we continued walking. "You really don't remember me, do you?"

"No…I don't…" I responded. "That's something I'd really like to know."

She sighed and shook her head. "Fine. You win." She stated. "Remember that filly you helped in the Everfree Forest? The same exact day you discovered about the Elements of Harmony? Including your Element?"

"…filly?" I took a moment to look down in thought. It only took a short while until I suddenly remembered and realized what she was talking about. "…yeah. There was a filly crying in the forest… She said she wanted to go home…but then she disappeared when I reached the castle…"

"Now you're getting it." She somewhat praised, intriguing me.

"Hold on…" I immediately stopped in my tracks, causing her to stop as well and turn towards me. After piecing everything I could remember and what was going on now, I came up with the craziest conclusion. "Are you telling me…that that filly was you?!"

"Bingo." She answered with a small but bright grin.

"But…" I tried to comprehend the facts, which was beginning to make my head hurt. "You were just a filly!" I stared towards her and analyzed her facial features and body structure. "You're a mare now! You…look my age!"

"I grew up." She stated the obvious, but didn't quite answer the problem.

"B…but…how…?" I attempted to ask.

She rather sighed and shook her head happily. "You've got a lot to learn…"

"Then, why don't you just tell me now?" I tried to convince.

"It's a secret." She was a really tough mare to crack… I only returned an almost defeated narrow stare at her. "Come on!" She ignored it and grabbed my hoof. "Let's go exploring!"

Releasing a sigh of my own, I allowed her to lead me to wherever she had planned. "Sure…why not…"


"Hm…" She thought as she looked around while I stayed behind her, being led to places I was clueless of. "Where should we start our fun adventure?"

"Fun adventure?" I questioned with a raised eyebrow.

"Yeah!" She hopped around a hundred and eighty degrees to face me while she continued walking backwards. "Because this place is like an amusement park once you get to really know it!"

"And you know this how…?"

"Secret." She closed her eyes and zipped her mouth shut with a smug smile.

I sighed and lowered my head in slight frustration. "I'm think I'm going insane…"

"Trust me, you're not." She assured.

"And how am I supposed to trust you if you never tell me anything?"

"Well…" Her happy and excited mood died down a little. "I guess you'll just have to trust me blindly then."

"I guess I don't really have a choice…" I mumbled under my breath until Spirit suddenly stretched out a hoof towards me.

"Watch out!" She warned suddenly.

"What?" I alertly scanned the area for any threats.

"Don't step on that area right there." She pointed to a specific spot on the hallway floor.

"Why?"

"Look for yourself." She directed to the floor.

At first, I was confused with what she was trying to tell me, but after analyzing the floor for a bit, I noticed that there was actually a drawn outline if looked at carefully. I looked at the exact spot where my hoof almost touched and noticed another outline as well. Putting two and two together, I had a pretty good guess on what it was.

"Trapdoor?" I asked.

"Mm-hm!" She nodded firmly.

"Wow. Um." I carefully maneuvered my hoof over the danger spot and continued walking cautiously. "…thanks for the tip." I even felt a sort of hollowness as my hooves stepped over the area that was mechanically opened.

In a sudden gasp, she cried out. "That reminds me! Come on!" She began galloping ahead, leading me to quickly follow her. She stopped in front of a wall with a large blue banner over it. But it wasn't just the color, I noticed that it actually resembled my mother, Princess Luna. I was pretty amazed at the sight until Spirit directed my attention to her. "Want to see something cool?"

"What?" I wondered what else she could find so fascinating about the wall besides the tapestry.

She walked directly under the fabric and looked upwards. "Fly up there, beneath the banner."

"…uh…what?" I had no idea why she'd want me to do that.

"Just do it, please."

I stared at her silently for a moment until I decided to obey. Keeping my eyes on the cloth, I joined Spirit and then flew directly beneath the center of the fabric, hugging the wall. "So…what am I supposed to do exa—" Suddenly, I felt the wall push against me, placing great force for a moment until it stopped and I flew off, hitting the ground roughly. "Ugh, what the—?"

Spirit was laughing incredibly loud. "Sorry!" She apologized between breaths. "I didn't mean to scare you or anything! It's supposed to be really fun!"

"Yeah…that was really fun…" I answered calmly in a sarcastic manner.

"Okay, Mr. Grumpy Pants." She presented her hoof. I grabbed it and allowed her to help me up. "How about we try something else?"

"Like what?"

"Like…" She mentioned as her eyes rolled. "Tag! You're it!" She surprisingly poked me and then ran off directly in the hallway across.

"Spirit! Wait!" I tried to call out, but she already disappeared in the distance. I sighed and flopped my ears down in exhaustion. What is with her…?

I was about to start walking until I felt a sudden tug in me… It was in my heart… And then I felt some kind of disturbance. Either way, I didn't want to lose her, so I began trotting in the direction she ran off to. Several seconds passed as I hurriedly trotted in the long hallway. "Spirit?" I called, but received no answer. I began wondering if she was hiding so I would have to find her, but I was startled to see what looked like her sitting in the middle of the hallway ahead. "Spirit…?" I called again softly, and quickened my pace. As I grew closer, I noticed she was holding her hooves to her head greatly, as if she was having a horrible headache. I approached and spotted her eyes clenched shut, along with her gritting teeth. "Hey, Spirit." I placed my hooves on her. "What's wrong? Are you hurt? Did you hurt yourself running over here?"

She groaned in pain for a short moment until she slowly placed her hooves down on the floor and shook her head. "I'm fine now. Sorry. It was my fault."

I released a relieved breath. "Geez… Don't scare me like that again…"

"Hm." Her tender smile returned. "Okay. I'll stay close to you from now on." She turned her head to the right to discover a spiral staircase. "Ooh! Let's go down here!"

"…are you sure?" I asked, hesitant to go on any further, especially after seeing how much pain she seemed to somehow be in.

"Yeah! It'll be fine! I promise!" She enthusiastically encouraged.

"…alright." I finally allowed. "But if you get hurt again, we're going back. No exceptions."

"Fine with me." She agreed and then stepped in the room with the staircase to lead the way.


The walk down the spiral staircase was rather long. But that didn't stop Spirit. She only continued to lightly trot as she hummed happily, despite everything that happened. She obviously and clearly revealed no fear from the castle whatsoever. However, I was finally content to have reached the bottom of the stairs, which led out into another hallway.

"Ooh!" She expressed, her interest caught on something among the walls.

Once I got a closer look, I realized on what hung on the sides was nothing to gaze about at all. "Are those…pony hooves?!"

"Yeah." She answered and trotted along, observing each one. "But it's nothing to be scared about. They aren't really pony hooves."

"Well…that's a relief." I returned as I cautiously eyed each one and followed her. I came to a stop once I found a disturbance in the pattern. To the right, there was one part of the wall that did not have the pony hoof while across it did. Instead, there was a hole that seemed to be large enough to stick a hoof through. "What's this for?"

"Remember about that trapdoor upstairs?" Spirit reminded.

"Yeah?"

"If you fell, the room right in there…" She tapped her hoof on the wall above the hole. "…is where you'd end up."

"…really? Is there any way out?" I asked worriedly, imagining if one pony had ever fell victim to the trap.

"Yeah!" She seemed happy to answer that. "It's a puzzle when you're first in there." She then suddenly gasped, as if she realized something. "Wait a minute…"

"What? What is it?"

She rubbed her chin with her hoof. "Actually…it looks like somepony was here recently…"

"Why would you say that?" I questioned, becoming much more interested in a slightly negative manner.

She placed her hoof on the wall. "Normally, another hoof would be out here facing this way, and that would be the way to get out, but it's not."

"…so you're saying somepony recently fell through the trapdoor and managed to get out by the pony hoof?"

"Yeah. Poke your hoof through the hole." She pointed.

I took a short glance at the hole. "I'm not entirely sure if I want to…"

"It's fine. It's fine." She assured. "Just put your hoof through, search for something above inside, and pull on it."

I sighed and decided to comply. "Fine." I hesitantly moved my hoof through until I felt no surface. Afterwards, I attempted to search for the object I was supposed to find. It wasn't until I found something else besides air and gave a tug. Unexpectedly, the both of us were brought in to a rapid spin. When we finally stopped, I couldn't help but feel dizzy and a little nauseous.

Spirit, on the other hoof, giggled. "Oops. I forgot to tell you about that."

"Hm." I only released and pulled back my hoof. Almost immediately noticing it was dark after recovering, I formed a light source from the tip of my horn. Then, I looked around to see the rather small space we were in. With nothing else new to see, I decided to come out. "Alright, I think I'm done here now." I pushed my hoof through the hole and looked for the switch to spin right back out. After I had to go through that same thing again, I placed a hoof to my head in slight pain and groaned. "Ugh. I kind of hate that."

Spirit giggled again and lightly punched me.

Immediately after, our ears were caught onto a sound of a very loud organ being played, which seemed to come from somewhere beneath us.

I have to admit, it did frighten me a little.

"What was that?" I quickly asked.

"Ooohh…" Spirit strained in an intrigued manner as she slowly looked towards me. "A mystery…"

The sound of the organ played roughly and creepily again for a few seconds.

Releasing another grunt, I stood up. "I have no clue on what's going on. All I know if that we're totally lost in a castle that is practically falling apart."

"Correction:" Spirit included. "You're totally lost in a castle that is practically falling apart."

I turned to face her with a slightly skeptical look. "So, you know where we are and how to get out?"

"Duh!" She chuckled. "Why do you think I know so much about the traps here?"

"That's my question exactly…" I returned.

"Come on!" She jumped up and in front of me. "Follow me! I'll take you back if you're such a scaredy cat."

I sighed and walked after her with a lowered head. "Whatever…"


Once again, Spirit led me through hallways and areas I would be completely lost in without her. Even though I've never really known her, I didn't see any reason why I couldn't trust her. Especially after telling me when I first actually met her, I felt a lot more willing to trust her than before. I guess I could say I felt safe in Spirit's hooves.

Although, that still didn't prevent me from feeling doubtful every now and then.

"…you're sure you know where you're going…?" I asked, looking around and feeling a little like we were worse off than we were before.

"Trust me, Alex. I know my way around." She answered, keeping her confident smile.

I sighed and tried to get ahold of myself. "Okay… Okay…"

From out of nowhere, the sound of the organ played once again, causing me to jump in surprise a bit. "Urgh. Whatever is doing that is really annoying me!"

"It's a ghost…" Spirit whispered playfully but eerily as well.

The sound of the organ played again.

"Guh…" I looked around behind me. "Don't say things like that…"

Another note sounded.

"Spooky…" For some reason, Spirit didn't reveal slightest hint of fear at all.

Three notes then played one after the other.

"Hmph." I expressed. "I hope you don't have anything to do with this…"

"No, actually." She responded. "I'm just as curious as you are."

"But you're not scared whatsoever?"

"There's really nothing to be scared of here." She spoke with a lifted head, closed eyes, and a poised smile.

To make things worse, we both heard a loud shriek echo through the hall.

"Who was that?!" I jumped and turned around, quickly looking for any signs of anything. It only seemed fitting for the notes of the organ to play a few more times before everything became silent again. After having a moment to think while my heart pounded like crazy, I seemed to connect the two things we witnessed so far. "Hold on. What if somepony is here?!" I faced Spirit. "Back there, you said that the wall looked like it was recently used, and just now was a sound of a blood-curdling scream!" I then began panicking at the thought of it being anypony I knew. "What if it's somepony I know?!" I gasped. "What if it's Twilight?! What if she came looking for me but got in trouble and now—"

I was silenced when Spirit abruptly placed her hoof on my mouth. "Alex, Alex." She spoke in a more sensitive tone. "I promise you, nothing in this castle could really hurt your friends, just spook them out." She removed her hoof. "Well…the only thing that could hurt them is falling debris of the castle, but I'm sure they're careful enough to avoid that."

After calming myself for a moment, I released a sigh. "Yeah…I think it would be better if we returned as soon as possible, Spirit. I want to at least make sure Twilight's okay…"

"Alright, alright…" She returned with a soft smile. "Let's go."


"Now, there's one last hallway we have to go through that'll seem creepy, but it's the shortest way from here." Spirit explained as we were approaching another doorway to a hall that seemed to have a little more light.

"I suppose it's fine as long as it takes us back…" I responded.

Standing side by side, we reached the entrance to notice a hallway full of armored ponies.

Spirit, as always, began stepping in with no change in her mood whatsoever. I still felt a little hesitant, but I supposed it was still better than huge crawling spiders.

Spirit gasped, startling me as soon as I walked in. "Look! Somepony was here before!" This caused me to gallop over to where she was and observe what she was analyzing. On the floor were broken pieces of one of the armored ponies, which were hopefully not alive. Spirit then looked over to the other side of the wall and noticed an empty spot. "And there's one of them missing there."

"Ugh…" I released vocally with worry, hoping no pony was hurt, but then I remembered about Spirit's word.

"Alex…put up your hooves and get ready…" Spirit announced in a weird way.

"What? Why?" I questioned confusingly. Unexpectedly, the armored ponies began shaking and vibrating. I looked around me to see every single one of them performing the same manner. "What's going on?!" I exclaimed alarmed.

"It's an ambush!" She yelled out, but strangely as if she was wanting this to happen. One of the armored ponies began shakily walking out from its initial position. It seemed to be heading towards Spirit first, so she readied herself and then pounced in the air. "Hyah!" She stretched out her back hoof and kicked the pony, leading to all of the armor easily dropping onto the floor. "C'mon, Alex!" She stated once her hooves landed on the floor. "Let's show them what we got!"

This was all so puzzling to me, but I had absolutely no time to think about it. I heard a clanking of armor moving towards me. There were two armored ponies alive and walking slowly towards me. I had no choice but to use my back hooves to kick the one closest to me, but it was mainly due to confusion and slight fear. Afterwards, I managed to pick up the armor that cluttered on the floor from the first one and shoot it towards the second one, defeating it as well. Behind me, Spirit was making battle grunts and noises as she literally kicked each one of the armored ponies to the ground. In fact, she looked like she was having fun doing so. By the time I reached her, she was already done with her fight.

"Spirit, are you okay? Did you get hurt at all?" I quickly inquired to her.

"Nope!" She answered with a bright smile.

I released a sigh of relief. "What was that all about? I thought you said this castle had nothing that could hurt anypony?"

She returned a joyful chuckle. "It's okay. They wouldn't have really done anything. Think of it like target practice!"

"…you had me worried back there."

Spirit looked around me and spoke another sentence. "I think you might want to hold on to that worry just one more time!" She pointed past me, leading me to turn and see every single piece of armor that was scattered on the floor to form this absolutely huge armored pony. "Don't worry! We've got this, Alex!"

With a simple shove from her head, she surprisingly launched me high enough as I involuntarily flew straight towards the menace. I could only widen my eyes and then flinch greatly as I felt my horn take action. Like a bowling ball, I shot straight towards the middle and scattered every piece of armor that gathered back onto the floor. I fell to the floor and remained lying there for a moment. "…ow…"

Spirit walked towards me with a soft smile on her face. "Hehe, sorry." She held out her hoof. "You okay?"

I grabbed hold on to her hoof and allowed her to pull me up. "Yeah…I'm fine…I think." I stretched out a bit. "That's weird…usually I'd think I'd be in some pain after a stunt like that…but I feel fine, I think."

"I told you…" Her excitement calmed down to more of a soft tone. "As long as I'm with you, you're safe." She brushed my shoulders off a bit and then proceeded to close her eyes and smile assuringly.

I couldn't help but feel warmed up to her words. I chuckled a little. "Don't you mean, 'if you're with me'?"

She only giggled, released a happy sigh, rolled her eyes, and blushed lightly. "Come on. I think that's enough fun for a day." She grabbed my hoof and began leading me towards a dark passage that appeared odd for the hallway's structure.


Using the light from my horn to walk through the passage, we eventually came to a secret exit that slid to the side, allowing us to walk through. Spirit led me for a moment longer until we stopped in a familiar area. "There you go! We're back where we started!"

I released a breath of relief. "Wow… Well, thanks, Spirit."

"Aren't you going to see if your friend is okay?" She asked, nudging her head in the direction of the stairs.

"You know…" I began, feeling and realizing something. "…I don't really think I need to. I mean…knowing Twilight, she's probably too distracted with that book she found." I chuckled softly. "I'm still going to go back to her, but I feel a lot more at ease with it."

Spirit giggled lightly as well. "I'm glad you feel that way."

"Yeah…" I stared at the floor until my eyes drifted towards Spirit's. "You may still be a mysterious pony to me, Spirit. But…I guess that doesn't stop you from being a pony I can trust…"

"Ooh…" She laughed a little embarrassedly and slightly looked away with a small blush.

I continued smiling friendly at her until we suddenly heard a noise behind me. We both turned to see another pony grunt as she rolled and bounced towards us. Spirit gasped sharply and quickly ran away.

"Spirit!" I called after her, but she fled and hopped out of sight.

I was then pushed towards the ground by the rolling pony. Not seeming to notice me yet, she messed with her mane, which had twigs and leaves stuck in it. "Of all the castles in Equestria, this is by far the most ungrateful!" She shouted out angrily.

"Rarity?!" I asked out of surprise.

She turned towards me and gasped loudly. "Alex!" She wrapped her hooves around me and held me tightly. "I'm so glad to see you in this horrendous castle!"

I lightly pulled away and helped her up, beginning to brush off the rough objects in her mane. "What in the world are you doing here, Rarity?"

"It was absolutely dreadful, darling!" She pulled herself closer to me for a protective hug. "It was just that Fluttershy and I—" Her sentence was cut short when a very small piece of debris hit her against the head, leaving her in dazed silence for a bit.

"Rarity!" I called out, trying to see if she was still alright. However, I began hearing a clatter of hooves grow louder from being originally distant. I turned to be completely shocked and surprised. For some reason, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, and Fluttershy were in my sight. The three of them slowly gathered together as if they were cautiously looking out for something dangerous. But the three of them didn't appear to be aware of each other's presence. "Girls!" I cried out.

As soon as the three bumped into each other, the three of them screamed out very loud and began running around in great panic. Rainbow Dash bumped and bounced off of everything she touched in her flight as she yelled. Fluttershy and Applejack ran past each other as they both screamed in fear. I tried to approach them, but the situation was too chaotic to try to take control of. I didn't know what to do besides just look. Rainbow Dash flew past one of the banners of Princess Luna, accidentally removing it from the wall. Rarity just shook her head and recovered from her daze when she noticed the banner falling straight towards her.

"Aaaah!" She whimpered out when she noticed it. "I was only trying to restore ancient art!" Her desperate crying became muffled as she joined in on the panic and began running around with the fabric covering her entire body.

She ran past Fluttershy, who was whimpering and hiding herself. "Fluttershy!" I called out to her.

"Alex?!" Her face immediately brightened up when she noticed me. She was starting to walk towards me until a pillar suddenly crashed down straight in front of me, greatly startling me towards the floor and widening my eyes. "AAALLLLEEEEEEEEXX!" I heard her scream out softly in terror.

Everypony was now panicking even worse, I really didn't know what to do. My mind felt as if it was on pause. They all screamed and shouted out so much, it was making it almost unbelievable that this all started from a simple call and bump. On the other side of the pillar, I could hear Fluttershy struggling greatly. "Alex, please be okay! Please be okay!"

I wanted to try to tell Fluttershy that I was indeed okay, but then Applejack jumped out of nowhere, scaring me. She tapped her hooves rapidly on the pillar that Fluttershy was trying to move. "Yaaaaah! Shadows everywhere!"

With a great burst of air shooting swiftly through my mane, I heard Rainbow Dash continue to scream out loud.

On the other side of the room, Rarity was wailing out tears.

To join her, Fluttershy rested her hooves and head on the pillar as she sobbed out my name. "Aaalleeeexx!" She had flew right next to me and didn't even notice me almost cowering for my life after that close call.

Before I could yet again try to show her my well-being, there was another announcement that prevented me from the stairs. "Alright, everypony, stop!" A burst of magic was released, freezing me in place. After the panic immediately died down, I assumed every other pony was affected as well.

"Twilight?" I heard Applejack question the presence of.

"Must... save... Al—"

"Fluttershy… I'm right here." I managed to tell her, surprising her as her eyes moved to spot me on the floor.

"…oh…" She expressed before she bit her bottom lip in embarrassment and blushed greatly.

"Fluttershy?" Rainbow Dash questioned, only able to move her eyes and mouth, just like us. "What are you doing here?"

"She's with me..." Rarity cried out in the same tone of angst.

We were finally released from the spell locking our movement. As soon as Fluttershy was able to move, she threw herself to me, having the potential to tackle me to the floor if I wasn't already on the floor. She was shaking terribly, having me pat her in comfort to let her know everything was okay.

I heard Rarity gasp, as if the fabric on her was removed. "Thank you." She expressed in relief.

Fluttershy and I sat up to notice Angel hopping towards us.

"Angel! Where did you go?!" Fluttershy asked. "I was so worried about you!"

Angel only returned crossed paws and a tapping foot after seeing Fluttershy clinging on to me.

"Hey…it's your fault for staying with Twilight the whole time…" I mentioned, leading him to almost begin a tantrum.

"Have you all spent the whole night running around, scaring each other?" Twilight confronted the others.

"Well…that depends." Applejack answered calmly.

"On what?" Twilight asked.

"On whether or not you're the Pony of Shadows." Rainbow Dash pointed at Twilight suspiciously in flight.

"Twilight?" I poked my head above the pillar. "She was in the castle library the whole time." I corrected in Rainbow's ridiculous accusation.

"Question?" Spike brought up. "Uh… What's... the Pony of Shadows?"

"Oh, that's just an old ponies' tale." Twilight assured.

Immediately after she said that, the sound of the organ played once again, leaving all the girls except Fluttershy to huddle around Twilight. Fluttershy was instead trembling as she held on to me in fear.

"Then who's playing... that?" Spike asked with a quaking voice.

"We're going to find out." Twilight stated and began walking, even though the others held on to her.

"Come on…" I encouraged Fluttershy. "It's alright." I held on to her hoof as I walked her alongside Twilight.


Twilight seemed to lead us all towards the source of the sound, taking me to familiar surroundings I had been in before…with Spirit…

Nevertheless, the sound of the organ continued to grow louder and louder as it played creepily, just as if the entire castle was a haunted house during Nightmare Night. We stopped by a doorway that I seemed to have passed by with Spirit.

The girls and I looked through the doorway, spotting a pony dressed in a complete hooded robe. They all gasped through the striking ominous music that protruded from the organ.

"The Pony of Shadows!" Twilight whispered fearfully before going out to walk towards the pony while the girls huddled together in shivers.

"Hold on, Twilight." I whispered so I could trot towards her.

Then, we began walking carefully towards the mysterious pony together. The closer we got, the higher the suspense became with both the music and for us. Once we were right behind the pony, we both nodded to signal we were ready. Afterwards, Twilight directed her horn towards the pony and removed the robe, leaving us with a very significant surprise.

"Hey, you guys!" Pinkie Pie greeted us loudly. "Did you know I can totally play the organ? Because I didn't!"

"Pinkie?!" We all said in unison.

"Check it out!" She began playing the organ in a sporty fashion, rather than continuing the spooky song she was playing before.

"You're the Pony of Shadows?" Rainbow Dash asked her in disbelief.

"The pony of what?" Pinkie unknowingly questioned as she focused her eyes on her hooves playing the light melody.

"See? What'd I tell ya?" Twilight pointed out to Rainbow.

"I thought you went to ring the school bell all week!" Applejack brought up.

"Oh, yeah!" Pinkie nodded her head, being reminded of the task. "I only had to ring it for, like, five minutes! They said that was good enough! Eh, can't imagine why…" She then pounded her hooves on the organ keys, playing random notes. Then, she turned back towards us once she was done. "So then, I decided to throw a 'finish ringing the school bell' party! But I didn't have any bluebells, and you can't throw a 'finish ringing the school bell' party without bluebells, so I went to Everfree Forest to pick some, but it started to get so chilly." She shivered and then began playing the organ once again. "I had to wrap myself up in the tarp I was gonna use to gather flowers, and then I saw Fluttershy and Rarity. But they went into the castle before I could invite them to my party. Luckily, I followed them inside so I could help you all with your party!"

"What party is that?" Rarity asked.

"Uh, the 'everypony come to the scary old castle and hide from each other while I play the organ' party?" She returned. I only furrowed my eyebrows incomprehensibly as she played a note, which, to our surprise, led Spike to fly off and land behind the girls. "Duh!" Pinkie Pie seemed to be finished with the organ as she happily bounced off and left the room.

"Huh…" I shook my head, astounded by this discovery. "Looks like there really was nothing to be scared of this castle…"

Twilight gasped in realization. "That reminds me! Follow me, everypony!"


Twilight led us all back to where we both originally were, which was where I also saw Spirit calling to me from the doorway. From there, the rest of the girls were able to relax and put their terrifying experiences behind them.

"Alex, Spike, and I found this room when Angel found us." Twilight explained and held up the book she had been reading. "That's when we also found this! It's Celestia's diary when she was living here with Luna!"

"Oh, Angel." Fluttershy faced her little bunny. "I'm so glad you were okay the whole time."

Uh-huh…

"By the way…" Twilight turned her head towards me. "Whatever happened to you, Alex? You were gone for a very long time. I was starting to get worried."

"Oh…" I responded and looked away in thought. Remembering Spirit, I chuckled lightly. "…it's a long story…"

"Ugh." Rarity groaned as she focused her magic on sewing a piece of fabric together. "I can't believe I had to go through so much, just because I wanted to do some restoration work here. I swear, this is going right back where I found it just as soon as I've returned it to its former glory."

"Now don't go running off again!" Fluttershy politely ordered Angel. "Oh, I can't believe I was so frightened." Fluttershy turned her eyes towards me and nudged me warmly with her head. "Guess I let my imagination get the best of me."

"I think we all did." Applejack included as she stood in front of the flying Rainbow.

"I always let my imagination run away from me!" Pinkie Pie shared, ending her bouncing near the two. "Then it comes back... with cake!"

"Pinkie…"I spoke. "You are so random."

Twilight chuckled. "Well, it's good to know that whenever your imagination is getting away from you, a good friend can help you rein it in." She returned her gaze towards Celestia's journal and began flipping through the pages. "And even though I didn't find anything out about the mysterious chest, I'm glad we were here to help all of you."

"You certainly did that." Rarity emphasized.

"Yeah!" Rainbow joined. "Why weren't you two scared?"

Twilight shut the book in front of her. "Reading Celestia's diary made it hard to be afraid, because I knew what it was like when she and Luna lived here. Knowing something about the past made it easier to deal with my problems in the present, even the scary ones." She nudged Spike, which led him to blush and bury his face in the book he was reading.

The girls returned embarrassed remarks of agreement and turned to me, wanting to hear my story.

"Well… I have to admit…" I began. "I was kind of scared at first…but then…" I chuckled at the sight of her in my mind. "…let's just say a good spirit helped me see the truth."

Possibly not knowing what I really meant, I noticed Twilight smile warmly at that. And then, her face brightened with an idea. "I've just thought of a great idea! Why don't we keep a journal, just like the royal pony sisters?" She held up the book as an example for all of us.

"All of us?" Fluttershy questioned.

"Sure!" Twilight encouraged enthusiastically. "That way we can learn from each other! And maybe someday, other ponies will read it and learn something, too!"

When Twilight mentioned that last part, Fluttershy and I looked at each other for some reason, but then we both blushed, leading us to slightly look away. I guess she was thinking the same thing I was…

"What a splendid idea!" Rarity approved.

"I know what my first entry will be!" Applejack added. "'Dear Diary, I'm glad Granny Smith's legend wasn't true.'" She faced Rainbow Dash happily.

"Me too!" Rainbow agreed.

"Me three!" Pinkie popped out from between them. "Because that means you two are still tied for Most Daring Pony!"

After Pinkie said that, it led to Rainbow and Applejack staring at each other competitively.

"Heh, Shadow Ponies..." Spike brushed off with a laugh. "How ridiculous is that?"

"…you never know…" I rubbed my hoof against the carpet, recalling the past enemies we've faced. Especially one…


As a group, the girls and I later on returned to Ponyville. It seemed that Celestia's journal was more than enough to keep Twilight reading and busy. It was almost unbelievable on how much time had flew back when we were at the castle. Fluttershy and I were the only ones left near Twilight's home, seeing as it was time to head to sleep.

"Are you sure you don't need me to stay over tonight?" I asked, teasing her a little. "I just don't want you to have any nightmares from the castle."

"Well…" Fluttershy shyly looked away. "Maybe for one night…just so I'm not so scared anymore…" She played along. However, Angel sent an irritated look. His body language caught Fluttershy's attention. "Actually, I have to put Angel to sleep instead…" She leaned herself closer to me, specifically my ear, and raised a hoof to her mouth. "Maybe another night…" She whispered and smiled softly.

I chuckled and nodded. "Okay. Goodnight, Fluttershy."

"Goodnight, Alex."

We both leaned in to kiss each other before Angel grew impatient and angry with our joining.

After Fluttershy went ahead and took her leave, I remained gazing at her beauty until Twilight startled me by placing a hoof on my shoulder.

"You sure you're not too exhausted to go home tonight?" She joked.

"Heh. I'll be fine." I answered.

Twilight giggled softly. "Till our next 'fantastic adventure'." She then proceeded to hug me warmly. "Night."

I returned the same action. "You too, Twi."


After Twilight returned home, I was eager to return to mine. I believe it was due to the reason that…well…I wanted to see Spirit again, especially how she left back at the castle. Normally, I would have wanted to look for her, but she certainly is some kind of…strange pony. Not in her behavior…but her relation with me. It didn't seem she was like any other pony. Apparently, I knew her the first night I became friends with the girls. I see her in my dreams and in real life as well. I want to really understand, but for now, I can only go with the flow with what she gives me.

Once I was in my room, I walked over to my desk. I searched the drawer to find a fragile stack of papers. Reading through them for several seconds, I grinned softly at the old memories that faded into my mind. I closed my eyes in thought and allowed myself to enjoy them for a moment. When I opened my eyes again, I organized the papers into one and placed them back into the drawer.

"Those would make a good intro to my journal…" I mentioned to myself.

Afterwards, I rested myself on my bed, closed my eyes, and relaxed.

I'm expecting to see you again, Spirit…

This time…my body slept…differently. I didn't just lose conscious like I normally did. My eyes were shut close, but I still felt aware. It was maybe after half an hour or so that I underwent through this weird transition. Next thing I knew, I was opening my eyes to be in a slightly different place.

I was still on a bed, but the room looked different. I sat up and looked around, but it appeared no one was around me. I found the exit in the bedroom, which actually led out to the same balcony I met Spirit in. Once again, the sunset revealed its display for us to see. I walked calmly towards it as much as I could, only to be stopped by the railing. Releasing a peaceful sigh, I decided to sit down and observe it in silence.

"Hey!" I heard a cheerful greeting behind me.

I looked back to notice Spirit, as expected. "Hey." I greeted warmly, feeling delighted to see her.

She grinned brightly and then started walking towards me. "Guess what I got?" She asked in an excited tone as she took a seat right next to me. However, it appeared she couldn't wait for me to actually guess, so she revealed her surprise either way. "Ice cream!" She presented two ice cream bars in front of me.

"Ice cream…?" I questioned as I retrieved one with my magic. "Where'd you get this from?"

"It's a dream, remember?" She giggled as she focused on her bar.

"Oh…right…"

She brought hers to her mouth and took a bite out of it happily. "Mmm! Yummy!"

I grinned softly at her action and looked at my treat. I took a bite for myself and found that it had a very sweet taste to it…like caramel… "It's…really good." I commented, actually liking the ice cream a lot.

She giggled lightly and nodded. "Yeah…" She stared downwards with her eyelids closing halfway. "It's…a lot better when you have someone to share it with…"

I stopped and turned to her. She was still smiling, but I could tell. Through that warm smile, I could still tell there was sadness hidden behind it. Lowering the ice cream from my mouth, I decided to do something about it. "Hey, listen. How about I come and see you every night? That way, there'll be no distractions. No danger. No horror. Just the two of us eating ice cream peacefully as we watch the sunset?" I chucked a little. "How does that sound?"

Her jaw dropped slightly and she immediately widened her eyes. "You would…do that for me?"

"I don't mind." I answered, bringing back the ice cream towards my mouth and staring out towards the sun. "I…actually like spending time with you. Besides…" I looked back at her. "You're a good pony, Spirit. I can tell that. Everypony deserves at least one friend, especially a pony like you."

After those words, she just…formed this beautiful grin, and her eyes lightly brimmed with tears. "…wow…" She turned away, wiping them. "Thank you…" She sniffled a bit. "I mean…even getting the chance to be with you at the castle was enough to bring me happiness…but…" She paused for a moment to lightly express her joy. "…having someone here to actually talk to me…that makes me really happy… Thank you…"

"Of course." I continued gazing at her lightly until she turned and noticed me doing so.

"Hurry up and eat it!" She lightly nudged me and pointed at my ice cream. "It's melting."

I chuckled. "Right. I suppose you can't just use this dream to make it not melt?"

"It's not fun to use a dream to do everything for you."

"Hm…" Nevertheless, I took another bite it and realized it was a lot softer than it was a while ago. I looked towards Spirit and just noticed that her ice cream was floating right in front of her, as if she was using magic herself. "So…are you able to hold on to that ice cream in front of you like magic because of the dream too?"

This question seemed to startle her for some reason. "Y-yeah. Sure." She answered a little weirdly.

"Oh…" I looked back to my ice cream, and then at the sunset. "Hm."

"Hey…listen…" She announced softer than usual. "…can I ask you for a favor?"

"What is it?" I faced her.

"…can you not tell anypony, like your friends, about me?" She continued staring at her treat.

"What? Why not?"

She took a while to respond. "…trust me… It's for the best."

Already knowing how she was, I didn't attempt to ask why. I only sat in silence and took another bite of the ice cream.

"Okay. I trust you."

From there on, we continued to consume our delectable treats while staring off into the slow sunset.

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