• 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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Flight to the Finish

Episode 70 – Flight to the Finish

"Wubs. Wubs. Wubs. Wubs. Wubs."

I heard this whispering in the background of my head. It only seemed to blend in on what already was going on inside, but this was persisted to sound off.

"Wuuubbbssss." It strained.

I mumbled to myself and I could feel my eyes clench.

"Don't make me bring out the wubs."

"…what wubs…?" I murmured out.

"You are sooo lucky I couldn't move my speakers here."

"What…?" I questioned confusingly, finally opening my eyes.

As soon as my eyes cleared, I was immediately welcomed by a grinning white mare. "Surprise!"

I was immediately startled to where I practically fell off the bed. "Vinyl! What are you doing here?!"

"Sorry. I hoped you wouldn't mind if I let myself in." She trotted to my side. "Come on! We gotta go!"

"What? Where?" I asked as I tried pull myself back together.

"Your meeting! Let's go!"

"Meeting? What?"

She took in no time to answer my questions, so she grabbed my hoof and dragged me excitedly out of my home.

For some reason, we waited out in the middle of town as other ponies passed by minding their own business.

"So…you mind telling me what we're waiting for exactly…?" I asked, rubbing my eyes as I was still a little sleepy.

"I arranged a time with that pony I wanted to introduce you to." She continued looking around as she spoke. "Man, I'm so excited!"

"You act like you're setting the two of us date." I mentioned.

"No, I just want you two to get to know each other! Then, we can like hang out at my place and listen to music and stuff!" She shuddered in eagerness. "Agh, I can't wait!"

"Well, what does she look like?" I joined her in her enthusiastic search for this certain pony.

"You'll find out!" She continued moving her head around and squinted her eyes. After a short moment, she gasped and widened her eyes. "I think that's her right there!"

I looked on ahead at where she was pointing to see not a pony, but a musical instrument case that appeared to be carried by the pony. As I stared at the case in analysis, it appeared to be a case for a cello. The case grew larger and larger, indicating how close this pony got to us. For some reason, this began making me feel nervous. All the suspense was starting to kind of kill me, especially since the cello was blocking the pony's face and I wasn't able to see who it was. The closer she got, the harder my heart pounded. Finally, she stopped, holding only several steps before us.

Next, the case was carefully dropped to the floor, followed by a tired exhaust of air.

Then, I could see her hoof stretch out and move the case aside, allowing me to finally view her completely.

"Ugh. Carrying that thing everywhere certainly tires me." She mentioned before Vinyl dove into the conversation.

"Tavi!" Vinyl hugged this mare tightly, as her excitement still appeared to be in play. "I'm glad you could make it!" She then released her from their embrace and looked towards me. "This is the stallion I'm always tellling you about!" She waved a hoof over to me, presenting me in front of her. "He's a prince!" She poked the mare's chest.

"A prince…" She returned, rather sounding unenthused.

"Alex, this Octavia." Vinyl presented the new friend to me. "Octavia, Alex."

"Hey." I took the initiative and presented a hoof in front of Octavia. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Octavia." I greeted clearly and warmly with a bright but soft smile.

However…things…suddenly began turning out weird when she didn't return a greeting in the same manner. She only seemed to glare at me as I began feeling awkward when I was holding my hoof up for no reason.

"Uh…Tavi?" Vinyl broke the short awkward silence. "You know you're supposed to connect your hoof with his, right?" Vinyl tried to raise her hoof to touch mine, but she quickly withdrew it.

"I don't shake hooves with a prince." She returned rudely.

My smile faded away after I began hearing this.

"What?" Vinyl asked, quite in disbelief at what she was hearing. "What are you talking about? He's awesome!"

"To you, maybe." She answered angrily, switching between glances at Vinyl and deathly glares at me. "But I know how you princes really are." I had time to slip in a few words or so, but I was pretty shocked as Vinyl was. "Sure, you present yourself as royal, sophisticated, and perhaps even polite, but what you really are inside is an arrogant self-centered snob!"

"W-what are you talking about?" I managed to say, but I was already feeling the emotions within kick in.

"Playing innocent, are we?" She pursued. "Why don't you ask your other buddy Prince Blueblood? I'm sure he'd love to explain how well he treated that mare during the Grand Galloping Gala. Oh, and maybe you can ask him how well he's treated other ponies before that as well?"

"But… Prince Blueblood is an a—"

She cut me off when she presented a hoof in front of me. "I will not stand to hear it. All you princes are the same." She scoffed in disgust. "I can only wonder how the princesses handle such revolting stallions that deserve nothing near to a real prince."

"Tavi!" Vinyl intervened. "Come on!"

"I am taking my leave, Vinyl!" Octavia shot back. "I have no time to waste on an obnoxious overrated stallion! I must practice for the symphony that will be played at the Crystal Empire in a few days and I will not have any unimportant interruptions!" She angrily grabbed her cello case with her teeth and stormed off.

"Tavi!" Vinyl tried to call, but she didn't listen. Vinyl was left in shock as she stared at Octavia walk off. I was left extremely saddened by what just happened. My ears flopped down and my eyes felt heavy as I continued observing Octavia leave. My hopes for a fun new friend were immediately shot down, and it wasn't like I could have just ignored what happened. Vinyl quickly looked towards me and tried to apologize. "Alex, I'm so sorry! I have no idea what got into her!"

"…she hates me…?" I questioned softly.

"No…" Vinyl tried to comfort me, placing a hoof on me. "I'm sure she's just having a bad day or something. She did say she had to practice for something. Maybe the stress or pressure just got to her?"

"I don't know, Vinyl…" I shook my head in doubt. "It seemed a lot more than just 'a bad day'…"

"Alex…" I assumed she was at a loss of words.

"Listen…" I responded. "I think I need to take a walk…"

"You want me to come with you?" She offered.

"No thanks." I declined. "I think…I just need a moment to myself…"

"Okay…" She hesitantly allowed. "Don't be on your own for too long."

I merely shrugged on her suggestion and began walking off.

I really didn't pay attention to where I went. I faced the ground and only noticed my hooves in motion. Even then, I didn't pay too much attention at this. All of my focus was on my thoughts. All I could ever think about was what Octavia said to me, and her facial expressions accompanied with it. I remembered every last detail, and no matter how much I tried to shake it off, it wouldn't leave. It just kept bugging the hay out of me.

I heard a voice outside my thoughts, but I didn't bother turning to it. The only lines I was hearing were about how I was obnoxious and self-centered because I was a prince. They wouldn't leave no matter what and it was really getting to me. And what bothered me the most was that while those accusations may have been true for the horrid Blueblood, it wasn't for me. Because of his loathsome behavior I had to suffer from it while he can give a flying hoof about friendship!

"Alex!" I heard the same voice call me.

"What?!" I asked angrily, turning around and realizing it was Twilight.

"Whoa." She immediately formed a face of worry. "What happened to you?"

I sighed and tried to exhale all the anger building up inside of me. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to shout at you… It's just…" I couldn't explain it at the time.

"Here." She placed a hoof on me and began leading me. "Come with me."

She led me towards her home and opened the door to allow me to walk in. Sulkily, I did so. When she walked in after me, she approached me and sat me down with her. "Now tell me. What's going on? What happened?"

"Ugh…" I groaned and placed a hoof to my forehead with clenched eyes as I tried to recall what happened. "Vinyl wanted to introduce me to a friend of hers, but things didn't go so well… She wouldn't accept my hoof and now, she practically hates me because she thinks all princes are scum."

"Why would she think that?" Twilight asked, quite surprised of this.

"Because Prince Blueblood is actually self-centered and obnoxious." I answered.

"Even so, that doesn't mean that all princes are bad!" Twilight reacted. "I mean, you and Shining Armor are two examples of great caring princes."

"Well, apparently, she doesn't think so." I looked away, still feeling absolutely bummed.

"Hiya, Twilight!" The door suddenly burst open, revealing Applejack. "I was wondering if you could come on over and—" She stopped when she spotted the current situation Twilight and I were in. "Whoa. What's going on over here?" She trotted towards us and looked over to me. "Everythin' alright, Sugarcube?"

"Somepony thought Alex was a horrible pony since he's a prince, and this pony has the wrong idea of princes." Twilight answered for me.

"That's crazy!" Applejack reacted. "Did you just meet this pony for the first time?"

"Yeah…" I nodded. "I don't really know what to do…"

"Well…" Twilight began. "I know you can't let this go so easily… That means you just have to change her mind about you. You have to show her what kind of a pony you really are." Twilight offered a smile along with that suggestion.

"How can I do that?" I asked, not completely convinced. "I don't even think she wants to see me again." I sighed. "I don't even think I'd be able to change her mind, anyway."

"You can do it, Sugarcube." Applejack assured, revealing a sweet smile as well.

"She's right, Alex." Twilight continued. "You don't need to force her to like you. Just being yourself is enough." I turned my eyes and looked towards the ground in thought. "You might not be able to convince her right away, but with time, I'm sure she'll realize she made a mistake!"

"Why don't you go talk to Pinkie?" Applejack happily offered. "That pony is friends with every single pony here, right? Maybe she's got some good ideas!"

"Yeah!" Twilight nodded her head in enthused agreement at Applejack's contribution. "Pinkie Pie is sure to know how you can be friends with this pony!"

I felt myself slowly lift from the dumps as I thought more about it. "I suppose you're right… Maybe… Maybe Pinkie can really help me with this." The more that idea wondered inside of me, the more willing I was to taking that idea instead of doing absolutely nothing. "Yeah! She can help me show her that I'm not such a bad pony!"

"You're not a bad pony at all, Alex." Twilight offered truthfully. "You're the best and you know we mean that. We know you can do it."

"Right on that train with you, Twilight!" Applejack eagerly included.

"Thanks, you two." I expressed, feeling my smile return. "I really appreciate your help." I placed my hooves around them in a very appreciative manner. "I'll go do that right now!" I began galloping towards the door. "See you girls, later!"

They waved as I raced out the door.

I took a big breath of the fresh air out in Ponyville. I felt renewed and thanks to Applejack and Twilight, I got that motivation to make this change happen. As I trotted on the road towards Sugarcube Corner, I felt so joyous, that I even wanted to remind myself personally that I could make this happen.

"I'm the toughest caring pony in town," I began singing proudly.

"Got the moves, got the mojo, no harder working pony around

I've got the strength to overcome,

And then she'll see that my pure heart is the next string she'll strum~" I pressed on, striding quickly through the center of town.

"I get going when the going gets tough" I jumped over a couch that two pegasi were having trouble lifting.

"I know my very best is just never enough"

"I'm a Prince, but so what? I don't get defeated" I saw a little filly with a gloomy face as she had tried to reach a ball stuck in a tree, so I used my magic to retrieve it and placed a smile on her face when she got it back.

"I'm not a bad pony, because I can beat it!" I nodded confidently.

"I've got heart as pure as light

I've got heart that knows no boundaries

I've got heart that never fails me

A pure hea-a-a-art, heart pure as light" I could now smell the sweet sensation of treats being baked within the sweet shop.

"With support from my friends, I can achieve

I'm more than just a prince, and you should believe

I've got determination with a strong foundation

I'll be in~

I've got heart as pure as light

I've got heart that knows no boundaries

I've got heart that never fails me

And I'm hoping to win as I gallop to glory

I can conquer any challenge I'm in

I've got heart, heart pure as light

Heart pure as light~!" I concluded as I jumped up the steps towards the shop door.

Afterwards, I brightly pushed my hoof through, hearing the sound of the doorbell ring.

"Welcome to Sugarcube Corner!" I heard Pinkie Pie announce. "How can I help you today?" She exclaimed cheerfully as I approached the counter.

"Pinkie, I could really use a favor." I returned.

"Sure! What is it?" She asked, placing her forelegs on the counter and her hooves on her cheeks.

"You're friends with everypony in town, right?"

"Of course!" She threw out her hooves. "Why? Did you want a 'everypony in town come to Sugarcube Corner and have fun' party?!"

"Uh… Not exactly." I shook my head, but still held my smile. "Do you have a minute? I need to tell you something."

"Okay! I was waiting on a batch of cookies in the oven anyway!" She giggled as she left the counter.

After we gathered to a table nearby, I explained to her what had happened earlier in the morning about how Octavia didn't return a friendly approach, but I didn't mention any names.

"Oh no!" Pinkie pressed her hooves to her cheeks. "How can no pony like you?! That's like no pony liking me! And everypony likes me!"

"What do you think?" I raised my hoof up, hoping for a foolproof suggestion or idea. "Do you know how I can fix this?"

"Mmm." She placed a hoof to her chin and looked up in thought. As soon as the oven dinged in completion, she gasped in realization. "That's it!" She grabbed my hoof and raced towards the kitchen. There, she removed the tray of cookies that had been baking and placed them out to cool. "You can give her some cookies!" She paused and then revoked her thought. "Better yet, you can bake her a cake! That'll be truly thoughtful of you!"

I thought about it for a moment and nodded my head. "Yeah. That could work. There's just one problem… How do we get her to come here?" I questioned. "I highly doubt she'll listen to me if I try to invite her."

"No problemo!" Pinkie pointed out. "You stay here and bake the cake. I'll go invite her myself! What's her name?"

I didn't want to let her know who it was originally, just to prevent any unforeseen bad things...but I didn't really have a choice. I had to let her know who it was so she could invite her.

"Her name is Octavia…" I answered with slight hesitation.

"Gotcha!" Pinkie Pie nonetheless winked and bounced off. "Be right back!"

I took in a deep breath and released when I was ready. I looked at the tools in the kitchen and prepared myself to fix up a cake. Hopefully, it would be one that is sure to change her mind…

I followed a few delicious-sounding recipes and tried to add a bit of careful creativity to the mix. Once I believed I was done, I poured the mix into a baking pan, set the oven timer, and moved the cake inside. I released a sigh of relief to hopefully ease the nerves that were already starting to shake inside of me.

After several minutes, I heard the doorbell ring, which scared me for a moment until I realized a different voice sounded.


I trotted out to see who it was.

"Derpy?" I questioned her appearance before me.

"Oh, Alex! Hi!" She greeted blissfully. "I'm here to pick up today's lemon muffin surprise!"

"Oh. Uh…" I rubbed the back of my head. "Pinkie's not here right now. She'll be back in a moment."

"That's okay!" She responded. "She told me they'd be in a box inside. I'll go get it!"

"Oh…okay…" I said as she walked inside.

Continuing to take deep breaths, I walked towards the window and looked out for any sign of Pinkie Pie and Octavia. Tapping my hoof nervously on the floor, time passed on. As soon as I saw Pinkie bouncing by the side of the pony who currently despised me, I was immediately alarmed. I heard the oven ding and quickly raced towards it. I passed Derpy, who was too busy humming and going through her box of muffins. I quickly but carefully took out the cake and placed it into a box to easily carry it.

Even though I couldn't see them, I felt my nerves acting up again.

"Calm down… She's just a pony…" I told myself and tried to breathe in calmly.

Using my magic, I carried the box and took it towards the counter. After I placed it on the surface, I ducked behind the counter and tried to pull myself together. "Come on… She has to see you're at least trying if you made her a cake… She can't hate you for that…"

I heard the doorbell ring, including Pinkie's hearty chatter. "Just wait until you try the cake, it'll make you smile all day long!"

Octavia sighed. "I hope so… I sure could use one right now."

Come on! This is it!

I sucked in a deep breath and quickly raised myself, grabbing the box. As soon as Octavia turned to notice me, her eyes were widened in surprise.

Before she could say anything or throw more angry words at me, Derpy came in holding two muffins with her hooves.

"Hey, Alex! Want to try one of these muffins? They're delicious!" As Derpy flapped her wings in mid-flight, she threw out her hooves holding the muffins. With no grip, the muffins flew from her hooves freely. I moved forward to try to catch the one nearest to me, but when I realized where the other one was going, it was too late.

The last muffin flew straight towards Octavia, knocking her in the face. She was blinded for a moment as she tried to remove the crumbs and sweet cream from her face. In the process, she stumbled towards me and before I could react, she accidentally dove her face in the cake I had made, taking it down with her to the floor.

Everypony in the room was in total shock and silence. Except for Pinkie Pie. She was just quiet with an agape mouth from the suspense.

"…oops." Derpy expressed with a flinching reaction.

I could only watch in horror as Octavia slowly raised her head from the mess and opened her eyes through the matter.

"…Octavia…I'm…I'm so sorry!" I apologized dearly.

As soon as she saw me, her eyebrows furrowed angrily. But she didn't say anything. She only stood up while continuing to glare intensely at me and turned around. From there, she walked out, sparing not a single world.

In the silence she left us all in, Pinkie Pie slipped over to the cake that splattered on the floor. She took a lick and soon a huge chomp. "Mmm!" She expressed loudly. "This cake is super good! She's sure to like you now!"

I had nothing of the like on my mind. I only looked towards the side sadly as my ears flopped down in defeat.

I couldn't sleep that night. Instead, I stayed up thinking about what I did and what I could do to still have a chance in earning her friendship. I knew I couldn't give up, but the chances were so slim after that incident. What could I possibly do to make things better? That's what I wanted to know…

"Watcha doing?" I heard near me.

I was frightened as I quickly looked to my side, but I found it to be Spirit, who was staring at my blank piece of paper on the desk.

"Spirit? What are… How did you…" Knowing she wouldn't answer directly about that, I took it back. "Never mind…"

"I was waiting for you, but you never came." She explained her visit. "Our ice cream melted."

I sighed, feeling even more at defeat, and placed my head on the desk. "Sorry…"

"It's okay." She assured. "Are you still worrying over about her?" She asked.

I still didn't know how she found out about these things, but I couldn't be surprised of it anymore. "Yeah… I can't handle knowing somepony hates me for something that's not true…well…about me…"

"Then you've got to keep going." She briefly recommended.

"I know but…" I placed my hooves on my temples. "…what else can I possibly do? I really screwed things up back there…"

"I know Pinkie is supposed to be friends with everypony, but that shouldn't stop you from asking your other friends."

"Huh?" I looked over to her in question.

"Your friends, silly." She repeated with a smile. "Pinkie's not the only one to look for advice about friends."

"Oh…" I looked back towards the paper that was empty of ideas. "That's true…"

"Cheer up." She nudged me playfully. "If want to increase your chances, you're going to want to do anything in a positive mood."

"Yeah…I guess…" I answered with not much of an increase in mood.

"Come on." She grabbed my foreleg and lifted me up. Then, she took me towards the bed and pointed at it, signaling me to lie down. I sighed and decided to do so, knowing I needed rest anyway. "Now, close your eyes."

"…okay…" She stood in front of me as I began closing them. My eyes actually blinked a few times before they fell heavy enough to stay closed. I continued seeing Spirit through my blurry eyes until at the last blink. She had disappeared, and I fell asleep.

When I opened my eyes again, I realized it was daylight again. I stood up and tried to form a positive mood for the day.

"It's a new day… You can still change things…" I told myself. "You said it yourself… You can take on any challenge…" I breathed in calmly and exhaled it out. Then, I hopped out of bed and headed towards the door to the outside.

I walked, tending to myself in thought.

Pinkie Pie is already out of the question… Even if I did want to try another one of her ideas, Octavia would probably figure out it'd be me. So…no… There's Rarity…Fluttershy…and probably even Rainbow Dash… Twilight and Applejack already told me to be myself…but that's not enough… I need something to give Octavia a chance, and then I can show her how I'm not the pony she thinks I am…


I looked out to the direction of Rarity's boutique.

I suppose I can ask her for help first…

Once I reached her place, I rang the doorbell and waited for an answer.

When the door opened, Rarity poked her head out to spot me standing before her.

"Oh, Alex! Whatever brings you here?"

"Hey, Rarity…" I returned, trying to not let my emotions get me down. "I could really use some help…"

"Of course! Come in!" She eagerly invited.

Once we sat together inside, I told her everything that had happened as briefly as I could, leaving her to react as usually as she did.

She was at a loss of words for a quick moment after I had told her about the whole prince thing. "Wha? How could she dare compare you to that dastardly Prince Blueblood?! Why, you are nothing like him!" She exclaimed in disbelief.

"I don't know." I shrugged. "That's why I need help getting her to change her mind."

"Not to worry, Alex!" She pointed out proudly. "You've come to the right pony for the job!" She began trotting upstairs to her bedroom/work space, leading me to follow. "Generosity is the best tool for the job." She continued. "Why, I already know the perfect thing to give her! Something that clearly can't cause a mess…"

"What?" I questioned curiously.

"I'll design and create her a dress!" She answered. "Once she receives this thoughtful gift, she simply has to remove such rudeness from her attitude." Once she readied her work station and placed on her glasses, she turned her head towards me. "Now tell me, do you know anything about her, including her physical appearance?"

"Well…" I tapped a hoof to my chin. "All I really know is…she plays a cello, like if she's in an orchestra. Adding to that, she seems to be a little sophisticated as well, you know, she has that kind of…elegance to her look and tone. Well…at least when she's not spewing her hate out on me…"

"Mmm." She hummed as she closed her eyes and imagined the outfit in her head. "I think I've got something to work with!" She looked back at me. "Why don't you go out and enjoy the day for a moment? I'm sure I'll have your gift ready in about an hour or so."

"Wow, really?" I asked, feeling a lot better and having confidence in Rarity's skills. "Thanks, Rarity!" I approached her from behind and embraced her. "I really appreciate it!"

She laughed a little nervously when I pulled away, holding a blush to her cheeks at the same time. "Of course, darling. You deserve the best."

I smiled warmly at that. "Thanks again… I'll see you in a bit then, okay?"

"Yes. Of course, dear." She focused back on designing the dress with her pencil.

Mentally sighing, I turned back and began heading towards the front door of the boutique.

Let's just hope this can't backfire like the cake did…

If I was going to spend the waiting time outside, I didn't really want have it in town. Otherwise…I probably…would have seen her walking around… And I'd really want to avoid any more hostility or awkward anger towards me.

I stayed on the outskirts, even passing by the schoolhouse. I continued on the path until I heard noises outside. A whistle blew sharply, causing for me to turn to the field across the school. I hadn't even realized that there was a huge stage out in the middle, as if there was supposed to be a performance. I placed my hooves on the wooden gate and lifted myself to get a better view.

I noticed there were a bunch of colts and fillies. Miss Cheerilee was tending to them near the stage. However, in front of the stage was Rainbow Dash, easily identified due to her rainbow mane and tail.

I placed a hoof to my chin and thought.

I know Rarity was going to help me with my problem…but I wonder if Rainbow has any useful advice for me as well? Can't hurt to try…

I looked out and jumped over the wooden gate to begin walking towards her.

I brought myself closer to Rainbow Dash as she began observing two fillies circle around the air like a coach. In fact, she was even wearing a cap along with a whistle.

"Hey, Rainbow…" I announced, surprising her a bit.

"Alex?" She glanced over to me with her eyes, and then moved her attention back at the fillies. "What's up?"

"What are you doing?" I asked, curious of what she was participating in.

"Just helping the little ones for the opening ceremony at the Crystal Empire in a couple of days." She answered, shocking me with the connecting news. The two fillies finished their motion and landed back on their hooves. "Good work on that routine. Keep practicing!" She shared before waving and walking off.

I followed her, staying by her side. "Opening Ceremony? At the Crystal Empire?" I asked, eagerly wanted to learn more.

"Yeah." She stopped, picked up a water bottle on the grass with her wing, and drank it briefly. "All these ponies have their own routine, but only one team is going to be picked by Ms. Harshwhinny. Whoever she picks will carry the Ponyville flag at the Equestria Games!"

Hearing of the Equestria Games even reminded me of Starlight, but she wasn't the case right now. "Oh…so that's what Octavia is practicing that symphony for…" I mentioned under my breath.

"Huh?" Rainbow questioned, managing to hear me.

"Uh. Nothing." I shook my head. "Listen… Can I have your advice on something really quick?"

"Sure thing!" She rested, eagerly wanting to offer what she had.

"Say…somepony had the wrong idea of you…" I began. "But you didn't want them to think of you like that, because it wasn't true… What would you do?"

"Pssh." She pushed away her hoof. "That's easy! I would impress them with my mind-blowing moves! Show off some muscle! If that doesn't change their mind, I wouldn't know what would!"

"Uh-huh…" I looked away, not exactly feeling comfortable with what she offered.

"Why? Something on your mind? Somepony bothering you?"

"I'm fine…" I disengaged, seeing as she was busy enough. "Thanks for the advice anyway, Rainbow."

"No problem!" She looked out to the field where the school foals continued to work on whatever they were working on. "I better get back to coaching these fillies. See you later, kay?" Afterwards, she flew off to tend to another group of fillies.

At that time, I began wondering how Rarity was progressing with the dress. I wasn't sure if Octavia would really put away her hatred for me and see how I'm not such a bad pony, but I couldn't guarantee anything… I just had to hope everything would turn out for the better.

Fortunately, I was glad Rarity told me it wouldn't take too long, otherwise I probably wouldn't have been able to handle the wait. I really wanted to try to patch things up as soon as possible. I was so eager, that I returned to Rarity's home and waited several minutes before she said she would be done. Of course, I didn't want to distract her, so I stayed at the bottom floor. My thoughts kept me occupied for the time underway.

"Oh, Alex!" I heard Rarity call my name from upstairs, leading me to quickly trot back to her. "I believe I am finished!" She removed and placed away her glasses. "Look, I even gifted wrapped it for you!" She presented a small lightweight box beautifully wrapped in front of me. "I almost wondered why in the world I was making such a dress for a rather…" She cleared her throat a little angrily. "…rude pony…" She recovered from her trailing off mood. "But I remembered it was for you and not…her..." She cleared her throat again and shook away any negative emotions. "Excuse me. Here it is." She placed it in front of me.

"Wow…" I stared at the box in astonishment. "Thank you, Rarity… Really…" I brought her in with my hoof meaningfully. "I can't tell you how much I appreciate this."

"Yes, yes, of course." She expressed with a faint flushed face. Once we pulled away, she proceeded to tell me a few more things before I left. "Be sure to tell me what she thinks of it, and if she treats you any better, okay?"

"Yeah, I will. Thanks." I formed a smile and then hurried out with the gift by my side.

For the next part, I would need Vinyl's help as I didn't know where she resided. I took a content quickened-paced stroll over to her home and knocked on the door.

"Oh hey, Alex." Vinyl greeted, a little surprised to see me. "Hey…I hope you're still not upset over what happened with Tavi…" She looked away worriedly, as if she was hesitant to speak her next sentence. "I…heard about what happened at Sugarcube Corner…"

"Oh…that…" I was sadly reminded. "Yeah…" I shook my head. "I didn't mean to get her face covered in cake…" I sighed. "I guess…it was just bad luck…but…" I brought up the present I held towards Vinyl. "I'm hoping I can at least make it up with this. Rarity whipped this gift up for me. She made a dress for Octavia. I haven't seen what it looks like…but I don't want to open the box. Rarity's dresses are always amazing anyway…so… I trust her that it'll look great."

"Wow, that's cool, Alex!" She hopped out from inside her home to gaze at the wrapped gift. "There's no way you can go wrong with a gift! Even if it's something she doesn't like, at least you were still thoughtful to get it, right?"

"Yeah… I guess." I merely returned, feeling a little doubt dwell within me for some reason.

"Were you planning on taking it over to her right now?" She asked.

"Yeah. I came by to see if you could help me over to where she lives."

"Yes, dude!" She exclaimed out loud excitedly. "Come on!" She directed. "We've gotta patch things up between you as soon as possible!"

In a hurry, she led me over to where Octavia lived. She was so eager to get there, she'd trot faster than I did and continuously called over to me to increase my pace. It was no more than several minutes when we approached the house to be where she seemed to live.

"This is the place!" She stared out at the home happily and then turned to me. "Go ahead and ring the doorbell!"

I took in a deep breath and released it slowly. When I felt I was ready, I slowly brought up my hoof towards the doorbell. However, I was hesitating and then began having thoughts of finding another way to do this without me confronting her. I couldn't let these thoughts plague my mind, so in a sudden moment, I quickly pressed the doorbell and placed my hoof back down on the ground. My heart was furiously pounding as I now endured the anticipation of her appearing before her door.

"Chill, dude." Vinyl expressed, placing the top part of her body over my back playfully.

She seemed awfully very enthusiastic about my gift-giving.

Despite my nerves, I had to admit that having Vinyl close by felt a lot better.

However, the suspense grew once I heard hoofsteps behind the door. The door was finally opening as I could only wait in hidden horror.

Octavia revealed herself. Before she could say anything when her eyes analyzed who I was, Vinyl quickly placed a hoof in front of her. "Ah! Ah! Ah! He just wants to give you gift, Tavi."

"…a gift?" She questioned plainly, showing no interest.

"Yeah…" I finally spoke. "I'm…really sorry about what happened the other day… I didn't mean for that to happen… Here…" I moved the gift towards her.

She was quite surprised of the present, but she still didn't appear to be the least forgiving. She hesitantly grabbed it with her hooves and began unwrapping it in silence. Vinyl could only react with widening eyes of excitement while I was more worried about the gift failing somehow.

When Octavia finally finished unwrapping it, she then proceeded to remove the cover on the small box. From there, she seemed to have a very small moment of shock. "…a dress?" She pulled it out and began observing it.

"I think she likes it!" Vinyl whispered to me eagerly.

I felt a little relieved once I saw the dress. It looked magnificent actually. I couldn't really see what could go wrong with this.

"…it's…actually…quite…" Octavia stretched out the dress with her hooves and remained dead silent after. Vinyl and I exchanged a look between each other. "…is this a joke?" She asked, catching me completely off guard.

"…what?" I questioned.

"Oh, I get it." She continued in a negative tone. "You think this is funny, do you?"

"What are you talking about?" I desperately wanted to know what the problem was.

"Vinyl." She called calmly. "Hold this up for him, please." She held up the dress towards her.

"Uh…okay…" Vinyl accepted and used her magic to hold out the dress in front of me.

"Do you now see what the problem is?" Octavia asked me as I stared out at the dress directed towards my eyes.

I scanned the dress but honestly found nothing wrong with it. "…n…no…"

"Of course you wouldn't." Octavia sighed aggressively and walked towards me to where I could see her and the dress. "If you must insist on acting like the fool you are, I believe I have to plainly point it out for you." She lifted her hoof and pointed towards the bottom portion of the dress, where the mare's belly would usually be when worn. "See this?"

"…yes…?" I cautiously returned.

"If I were to wear this right now, you'd know where this would be?" She sternly inquired. I only returned a flinching shrug. "This." She pointed aggressively. "THIS…would hang inches beneath where it should be!"

"…I…" I wanted to tell her that I didn't have an exact idea to what she was referring to, but she continued angrily on her rant.

"Don't you dare say you don't know what I'm talking about!" She exclaimed. "Don't think I'm stupid! After that demeaning incident with the cake, now you offer me a 'gift' which is actually your sick way of calling me obese?! Of course, you pummel my face with cake, as if I'm some kind of disgusting pig! Now, you insult me with this?!" She snatched the dress and held up it as she was now snorting fiercely with steam escaping from her nose.

"Tavi, calm down!" Vinyl pointed out. "I'm sure this is just a misunderstanding!"

Octavia managed to breathe in more slowly to calm herself down, but that didn't seem to change her attitude towards me.

"I'm…I'm really—" I tried to apologize, but she pushed the dress irritably towards my front hooves for me to hold, backed away into her house, and slammed the door shut.

I remained standing there in total shock as my ears slowly lowered themselves down naturally.

"Alex…" Vinyl placed her hoof on me. "I'm so sorry…"

"Everything I do for her is a mistake…isn't it?" I asked gloomily before feeling the need to get out of her front doorway.

Vinyl didn't move and decided to stay back at Octavia's house, perhaps to try to convince her to think the opposite. Either way, I needed to go back to Rarity's to tell her the news. The bad news.

Holding the dress tightly to my side, I approached Rarity's door and rang the doorbell. I wasn't sure if I should force a positive representation on my face, so Rarity wouldn't immediately catch on to what happened, but in the end, I just let whatever show.

"It's you, darling." Rarity's voice spoke after the door opened. "How did it go?"

I sighed and walked inside. "I'm pretty sure you can have a good idea of how it went…"

"Whatever happened? I thought she would have loved the dress." Rarity reacted deeply surprised.

Taking a seat, I continued to recall the past recent events that haunted me. "Apparently it was too big for her where she actually got the idea I was calling her fat." I shrugged. "I didn't know she was actually skinner that she looked to be…"

"Uhm…" Rarity announced a little nervously. "…Pardon me…but…I…believe that may have been…my fault…"

I looked up in surprise. "What?"

"You see…" She tapped her front hooves together in embarrassment. "…I may have…allowed my…" She cleared her throat. "…anger…to slip by…just a little bit…"

"What are you talking about?" I reacted in confusion.

"While I was working on the dress…" She began explaining. "I began remembering what you told me about her. About how she treated you. Mm… I had…shall we say…not so positive thoughts about her… But I didn't think I'd actually allow my thoughts to intervene with my work!" She tapped her hooves in embarrassment again. "I apologize sincerely, dear. I didn't mean to ruin everything… I suppose…my feelings…for you…got in the way."

I remained silent for a moment as I looked towards the floor, which must had brought worry to her. "…it's okay…" I finally shared. "I understand…" I sighed and looked away. "It's already done anyway."

"I can fix the dress for you." Rarity offered.

"It's okay." I placed it on the table. "The dress isn't going to work anymore. I don't even know if I have any more chances left. I really ticked her off."

"Is there anything else I can do for you then?" She asked earnestly.

I shook my head. "No… I think I'll just call it a day…" I stood up and prepared myself to leave. "At most, I think I only have tomorrow left to change any bit of her mind. If I make no progress or fail even worse, then I'll probably have to give up and deal with a pony who hates me in Ponyville."

"I'm still so terribly sorry." Rarity continued to apologize.

"Hey…" I embraced her gently to hopefully ease her worry. "It's not your fault. Honestly. You were already doing so much for me. I still appreciate it."

Rarity sighed, seeming to still be struck with what she did. "Okay, darling."

I slowly pulled away and left a hoof on her shoulder. "I'll see you later, okay?"

She nodded, continuing to observe me walk out with a troubled expression on her face.

Just as yesterday, I was having trouble sleeping. I couldn't believe that one pony was getting to me, but I guessed it was just how I was. I also hoped that Spirit wasn't waiting for me, but if she already knew what I was going through, which she usually does, then hopefully she wasn't wasting her time.

Instead of being at my desk to think of new ideas on what I could do to prove my innocence, I rather remained on my bed. I had tossed and turned, and then later on, I just stared at the ceiling.

"Another hard day?" I heard her voice.

I looked to my side to see her lying down next to me, staring at the ceiling as well. I jumped a bit from being startled.

"Geez…" I placed a hoof on my chest. "You scare me sometimes when you just pop out like that."

"Sorry." She added with a short giggle.

I sighed and then continued staring at the ceiling. "…are you sure you're not just a part of my subconscious? Possibly, I'm going insane, which would probably explain how you appear out of nowhere and in my dreams too?"

"Come on…" She turned her head towards me. "Don't let your negativity from today get to you."

I allowed that to slide and referred back to my current problem. "I don't know what to do."

"But you do know not to give up." She returned.

I scoffed and shook my head. "I have a feeling that being persistent is going to get me deeper in the doghouse."

"That's why a lot of ponies give up on so much." She spoke. "Sure…there may be times where things end up not so great…but a lot of the times, it's because ponies give up. They give up before they see the light at the end of the tunnel." She faced me and poked my chest. "That's something to think about."

I didn't answer to that. I continued staring off into space. I didn't hear anything more from her, causing me to look to the side to see her gone. I placed a hoof to my forehead and sighed. I guess a night's rest could refresh my mind.

I'm going to need it anyway.

The next day, I wondered on what I was going to do. Even though it wasn't exactly the last chance I had, I still felt it would be personally the final chance I would take. Spirit's words last night gave me some sort of encouragement, but it wasn't enough to see the day as brand new. There was still hurt lingering from yesterday, but I just had to deal with it.

I've gotten Twilight's and Applejack's opinions on the situation. Pinkie Pie's plan went wrong. Rarity's didn't work. I clearly wasn't going to follow through with Rainbow's. So…the only mare left was Fluttershy… Maybe she can help…

"Alex…!" Fluttershy announced in slight shock after she noticed me standing at her front door. "What a nice surprise."

"Hey, Fluttershy…" I greeted in a way I didn't usually use towards her, which then worried her.

"I haven't seen you these past few days. Has everything been alright?" She asked concerningly.

"That's just what I wanted to talk to you about." I returned.

"Of course!" She quickly encouraged me to walk in. "Come in!"

So, as with her, I also had to take the time to explain everything that had happened so far as briefly as I could. She reacted in a more sympathetic manner.

"I'm so sorry, Alex…" She held my hoof with both of hers. "Nopony deserves to be not liked like that, especially you. None of that stuff is true…"

I nodded, understanding her. "Yeah…you're…kind of my last hope Fluttershy. I don't think I want to keep trying if I fail again…"

She placed a hoof to her chin and thought a moment. "We both agree that kindness is the best way to go in earning a friend, right?" I shrugged lightly, agreeing with that statement. "Does she like animals? Pets?"

"I don't really know…" I answered uneasily. "Every time I try to do something nice for her, it always backfires right in my face…"

"What if you offer her one of the bunnies here? They're really adorable, cuddly, soft, and gentle. I don't see how anypony could resist one." She offered an assuring gleeful smile.

"Maybe…" I looked away with doubt, feeling that anything could have failed.

"If you want my opinion, Alex…" She rubbed her hoof on the couch where we sat on. "I would offer her a pet…but that's just me. It's up to you on what you want to do."

I looked towards her seriously but softly. "Trust me, Fluttershy. If I knew what I had to give didn't turn out as a failure so easily, I would totally accept your idea, but I just feel like it might turn out badly again… I don't know how, but somehow, it will." Fluttershy placed a hoof on me and began rubbing comfortingly. "I mean…just maybe…it'll work… I don't know… Food is off the list. So is clothing…" I remained silent and thought about it for a short moment, following with a sigh afterwards. "I guess it's better than doing nothing…" I looked up towards Fluttershy. "Sorry, Fluttershy. I don't mean it in a rude way, I'm just exhausted."

"I understand." She responded. "Maybe if you see what cute little bunnies I have, you'll feel better?"

I offered a small smile. "Sure."

Fluttershy led me outside where every one of the animals were peacefully minding their business. It's still a wonder how Fluttershy could really handle a bear and have him in absolute good behavior. Then again…so is getting a dragon to leave from near Ponyville.

She took me towards a group of bunnies playing with each other, eating carrots, or just sleeping on the large billowy grass. One of the bunnies spotted Fluttershy coming and began hopping towards her. He resembled Angel, but it obviously wasn't him as he threw no glares at me.

"Look at this little one. Isn't he the cutest?" Fluttershy asked me as she knelt in front of him and held him closely. "He's been wanting a home, and if you are able to give him to that pony you were talking about, you'd both be doing each other a favor."

"He is pretty cute…" I petted his fluffy head, which he seemed to adore a lot.

"What do you think?" She asked.

"Sure." I accepted, feeling more relaxed. The bunny hopped onto my back and sat there with an eager beam. "I mean…who can resist such an adorable thing?" I looked towards the critter to feel his presence calm me more. "Even if she can't take him…she couldn't possibly shoot me angry looks with this little guy around…"

Fluttershy radiated in excitement and tenderly threw her hooves around me. I chuckled a little and returned the same thing. It was nice that I didn't get a kick to the head after doing this.

I then proceeded on my way to Ponyville while carrying the cute critter on my back. Later, I would report the progress to Fluttershy, but for right now, I wanted to see what would happen.

After I stepped in front of Octavia's house, I took in a deep breath and retrieved the bunny from behind me.

"Alright, little guy…" I began speaking towards him, holding him in my hooves. "You're going to be my shield as soon as she comes out." He flopped his ears and tilted his head at me in confusion. "You're not going to get hurt, of course. She'd usually send me glares, but when she looks at you, she should at least be stunned in a good way. Okay?" He nodded his head with a smile. "Alright… Let's do this…" I held him with my left hoof and I rang the doorbell with my right.

I prepared myself to see Octavia's face before I held the bunny right before her.

A moment later, the door began opening.

Instead of appearing surprised, she rather reacted in disgust once she saw me. "Why must you continue—?"

I held up the bunny in front of her with both of my hooves, preventing her from finishing whatever she was going to say. She was silent for a moment until I began speaking.

"…in hopes to try to…make up for the other mistakes…I was wondering if you wanted this little guy… He's looking for a good home." I offered.

Octavia was slightly hesitant, but she carefully grabbed him from my hooves. She observed him for a moment while the bunny could only adorably smile at her.

"He's…" She began saying. "…he's…" She then began to make weird noises, as if she was about to sneeze. Soon enough, she sneezed out loudly, accidentally losing the grip of the critter from her hooves. I quickly caught him with mine and held him close to me as I witnessed Octavia continuously sneeze. When she had a break, she quickly placed her foreleg to her nose and sniffed a few times before staring irritably at me. "What's with you and the annoying gifts? You're purposely trying to ruin my days, aren't you? After I spoke how horrible you princes really are." She sniffed once more. "You want to do me a favor? Stop trying to give me gifts!" She then slammed her door shut.

I sighed and then looked towards the bunny that had to witness such a hope-depriving scene. "Sorry… I hope your hopes weren't too high enough." I shrugged. "It's not like she ever liked me to begin with…"

I had to admit… It didn't feel bad as those other favors I had tried to do for her, but still… It was a failure after another failure after another. To make things worse, this guy may have been expecting a new home, and I killed his hopes for that.

I returned him back to Fluttershy at her cottage.

She was sitting outside as she tended to the other animals. She was actually surprised to see how short I had taken.

"Sorry…" I apologized as I allowed the little bunny to hop off and around the grass. "She didn't take him…she started sneezing and…well, you know… ended up getting irritated at me again." I sighed. "I guess I'm done with the 'gift-giving'." I looked towards the bunny sitting between us. "I hope he's not disappointed about what happened…"

The bunny jumped onto Fluttershy as she giggled out softly. "He isn't. He's glad that you tried, and he's happy that he's able to stay here anyway."

Managing to smile slightly for a second, I replied. "I guess that's a relief."

Fluttershy placed a hoof on my shoulder. "Are you going to be okay?"

I shrugged. "I don't know. Is it over in getting Octavia's friendship? I don't know either. I don't know anything at all. I just didn't want a pony hating me for the wrong reason…especially in this town."

"I know…things seem a little…bad right now…" Fluttershy began sharing. "But…I still know you can do it. You've been through worse."

"Are you sure about that?" I questioned a little sadly.

"Positive." She brought herself closer and rested her head on my shoulder while she closed her eyes.

Staring out into the grassy field as a calm wind blew, I closed my eyes and joined her, taking a moment to mediate and let the day in.

Fluttershy offered me the night to stay, but I politely declined as I thought Spirit might show up again. Either way, as I laid awake in my bed, she appeared sooner or later. I wasn't restless this time, I was just thinking, wondering if I just had to learn to accept that she would just be a pony who would be more than not a friend on the negative side. I didn't feel like making the effort for the next day to change anything with her.

"Are you giving up?" Spirit asked, lying herself on my bed again as she rested the bottom of her head with her foreleg.

"I don't know." I answered, already growing used to her sudden visits. "I don't really feel the motivation to do anything anymore. Everything I've done just…fails…"

"Does it? Really?" She asked, as if there was something more into what I wasn't seeing. I only turned to her, but I didn't say anything. "Wasn't there some pony who said that everything happens for a reason?" Knowing she was referring to me, I moved my eyes downwards and thought about that. "You just don't know it right now, and things seem useless. But…" She stood up and jumped off the bed. "Maybe you're just knocking a few dominos. You still need a few more to go."

"So what? These failure of attempts are supposed to happen in order to possibly accomplish my goal?" I inquired.

"Maybe." She returned. "The only way you can know is if you push on and see what you get."

Not knowing what to say or believe at the moment, I faced the ceiling in silence. "I think I'm going to sleep."

"Night Night." Spirit shared before my eyes felt too heavy to keep open.

My eyes slowly seemed to open themselves. I was facing right at the window. I wasn't sure if it was a coincidence or not, but the first thing I saw was Octavia. She was walking across town with her cello case, and seemed to be struggling with it, as she had no magic to easily carry it. I pushed myself off of bed and decided to give it one last go.

"Octavia!" I called out, galloping towards her.

She looked towards me with her eyes, but couldn't spare a word as she was too busy attempting to move her case using her teeth. However, she couldn't last not releasing a breath of frustration, so she released the case and continued to drag with her hoof. This brought her speed down.

"What do you want?" She asked, not wanting to have to deal with me.

"I…just wanted to see if you could use some help with your cello case…" I offered softly.

She remained silent for a moment. "I have it under control."

"…I can help…" I continued.

"I said I don't need help!" She took the time to glare at me during that statement, and then she looked back forward to continue walking.

At that moment, I not only felt sadness, but my anger was slightly on the rise as well.

"What's your problem, Octavia?! These past few days, I've been going over and beyond to get you just to like me. I know you think all princes are jerks, but I've been trying my hardest to get you to show you that isn't true!"

"You princes let fame get to your head! For the sake of publicity, you all act like if you're the nicest pony in Equestria, but you really aren't! You may have other ponies like Vinyl fooled with your 'precious little gifts', but I see your real intentions!"

"My real intentions are to be thoughtful and kind. If I really didn't care about anypony, would you really think I'd go all the way to get you a gift every single bucking day to try to get the least bit a friendship from you?!"

"It's not friendship you want, that's for sure." She answered, grunting a bit as she was beginning to grow slightly tired from pushing her case. "Why focus on such a little pony like me when you're royalty? Perhaps you want me to see how tall you stand over me? So, in your attempts, you rather give me such insulting gifts that I've been able to see through?"

All of a sudden, we heard an announcement from not too far away. "Crystal Empire! All aboard!" I realized that she was heading towards the train station.

"I don't have time for your pathetic nonsense. I've got a train to catch." She ceased her pushing and returned to carrying the cello case with her teeth to walk faster.

"But, Tavi—"

"Do not dare call me that!" She offensively ordered. "Only my friends call me by that!"

"You know what?!" I stomped my hoof on the ground. "I've been wasting my time trying to get you to like me! You think I'm giving you a hard time? You're the one who can't spare a second to try to understand what I'm going through for you!"

She stopped in her tracks and stood silent for a moment. Then, she dropped her case and turned towards me with a stern glare.

"I've never asked for anything from you!" She walked towards me, angrily pushing her face at me. "It's you who doesn't seem to take the hint that I don't want anything to do with you! I don't care if Vinyl is your friend. I don't care if everypony in Equestria is your friend. I do not want anything to do with you! So like I said, you really want to do me a favor? Stay out of my way!"

"All aboard!" We heard the train puff and whistle blow.

Octavia immediately gasped. "Oh no!" She quickly grabbed her case and ran towards the train that was already in motion. "Wait! Wait!" She called out as I followed behind her. But it seemed no pony heard her as the train didn't stop. "Wait!" She called out desperately while the train was already yards away. Octavia's ears flopped down as she fell on her bottom in defeat. Realizing what just happened, my anger died and my whole body was replaced with shock and sadness. I tried to bring out a hoof towards Octavia, but she quickly snapped back. "Have you realized what you've done?!" She exclaimed out loud. "Because of you, I've missed my opportunity to play my symphony for the Equestria Games at the Crystal Empire!" At this point, I could tell she was trying hard to prevent her voice from breaking. "The opening ceremony today was my chance to prove myself and you blew it all for me!"

"I…" I struggled to say. "…I…just didn't want you to hate me…"

"Hate you?!" She emotionally shouted out. "I despise you! You're nothing but royal scum! Even Prince Blueblood wouldn't had caused as much damage as you have! What more do you want?! You've already easily taken what I've worked so hard for!"

"…but…" I was really broken.

"Get your selfish royal ego and get out of my sight!" She yelled out, startling me. "And don't ever bother getting anywhere near me because we will never be friends!"

She breathed in very furiously as I could only stare back in shock at her. Her glare was pushing me back. In silence, I could only slowly walk backwards until I was out of her sight. Realizing what I had done, I couldn't move. I felt myself stumble towards the back part of the train station building and lied there. I could hardly bring any words to my thoughts. I was just in…total shock…

My thoughts were just blank. I remained there paralyzed with nothing in mind to do.

"What are you doing?!" Spirit jumped in front of me and my stunned eyes. "She needs help!"

"Help?" I managed to state a rhetorical question. "Didn't you see what I just did? From trying to 'help' her with her cello, I escalated all the way to ruining her chances, even dreams, for playing at the Crystal Empire!" I returned completely irritated with myself. "What if I try helping more? Am I going to get her killed then?!" I sighed heavily and buried my head in my forelegs. "She has every right to hate…no…despise me…"

"Listen to yourself, Alex!" Spirit exclaimed in slight desperation. "Didn't you just go through the same thing with another pony?" I looked up at her to see what she was talking about. "Remember Rainbow Dash? How she didn't want to help Daring Do because she thought she'd make things worse? Well, she didn't! And the same goes for you!"

Even though I knew she was right, I still couldn't help but feel no motivation to do so. "Even if I wanted to…what the hay could I possibly do? She missed the train all the way to the Crystal Empire."

"Look at yourself…" Spirit shared softly. "I think the answer's plainly clear." She pointed towards specific spots. I looked up and to my sides to see my wings and horn. "That's what they're there for…" Spirit mentioned. "Not because of royalty or power…but for your friends…ponies you care about…"

"But…" I answered gloomily, almost feeling on the verge of tears. "…what if something happens and we get stranded in the middle of—"

Spirit immediately silenced me by placing her hoof on my mouth. "Stop with the negativity, Alex…" She spoke earnestly. "That isn't you. Come on…you can overcome any challenge, right?" I only stared indecisively at the ground. "As long as you stay true to your pure intentions…nothing can ultimately end wrong…" She placed her hoof around me and hugged me comfortingly. "Who's the toughest caring pony in town?" Looking at her questionably, she pulled away and stayed by my side, beginning to sing softly. "Got the moves, got the mojo… No harder working pony around…"

Seeing at what she was referring at, I stared at her in slow realization.

"I've got the strength…" I joined staring towards the ground until I finally truly felt the strength within me rise. "…to overcome." I sang a lot more loudly and enthusiastically.

"And then she'll see that my pure heart is the next string she'll strum!" We both concluded in unison.

I immediately stood up, knowing that whatever happened, I needed to help no matter what.

"You're right, Spirit. You're absolutely right! This is my fault and I need to fix this! I don't care what happens, I'm doing whatever it takes to make this right again!" I faced towards Spirit and embraced her tightly. "Thank you, Spirit!"

Afterwards, I pulled away to immediately tend to Octavia as I galloped to glory.

When I reached her, I noticed how she was sobbing quietly as she rested her head on her cello. I furrowed my eyes in determination, wanting to put a stop to this. "Get on." I ordered boldly.

She raised her head to wipe a few tears and look at me. "What? You keep on insisting? I told you that I—"

Seeing how she wasn't going to shut up about her rant on me, I grabbed her cello with my magic and placed her on me. Before she could do anything, I quickly soared above and flew as swiftly as I could along the train tracks.

When Octavia realized how high she was off from the ground, she had no choice but to wrap her hooves tightly around my neck as she widened her eyes fearfully. "What do you think you're doing?! Are you insane as well?!" She shouted out.

"Do you want to make it to the Crystal Empire or not?!" I returned, leaving her to remain silent on the situation.

I focused ahead and narrowed my eyes, making sure I kept my focus on where I was going.

"Do you even know where the Crystal Empire is?!" She asked.

"I've been there enough times to know where to go." I answered while continuing to keep my pace.

"The train's already probably going to arrive there, we won't make it!"

"I'll make us make it…" I mentioned and began flapping my wings as hard as I could without breaking them out of sync. Just by a quick estimation, it seemed I was going just a little faster than the train usually traveled by. Even if the train did arrive before us, we could still make it before the actual event started. "When do you play at the opening ceremony?" I asked Octavia.

"Right before the routines are shown!" She answered, struggling with the wind and speed. Even with how much she hated me, she couldn't help but clench around me tightly while closing her eyes to cope with the height.

"I promise." I told her through the sound of the wind. "I promise I'll make things right again, and then I'll leave you alone!"

I didn't hear anything from Octavia after that. It wasn't until she pointed out in front of me and warned me. "Watch out!" She cried.

She had pointed towards a tree which branch was sticking out right in front of us and in the way.

"Don't worry!" I assured and then lowered myself to avoid the branch. However, I actually performed a careful but swift somersault, using the speed boost to get through the area quickly. Through the whole time, I could hear Octavia screaming in fear with what she had to experience. Keeping the cello intact by my side, I continued my confident and determined pursuit to the Crystal Empire.

By the time we arrived, we had already noticed the train was at the station. However, there were no fillies or anypony leaving from the train, so that meant we had to hurry.

"Over there!" Octavia pointed towards the location of the event. "It's almost starting!"

I quickly dashed in flight towards her direction, surprising everypony below me. As soon as I arrived, I quickly lowered my altitude and skidded to a stop.

"Hurry. Go on ahead." I told her, placing the case on the floor and awaiting her leave.

Octavia slowly removed herself from me and didn't seem to be in a hurry. "I…I don't know what to say…"

"Don't say anything." I shook my head and then pointed towards the entrance. "Just go!"

She grabbed her case, took a short glance at me, and then quickly galloped inside.

I sighed in relief, and felt myself drop to the floor in exhaustion.

I must had fallen asleep because I was awoken by a voice from somepony. At first, I thought it was Spirit, but instead, it was actually Octavia.

"Hey…" She greeted me as I was still lying outside of the area she was supposed to be at.

"Octavia?" I rubbed my eyes. "How did it go, did you make it?"

"Barely." She returned. "But yes… Yes, I did. And it's all thanks to you…"

I released a relieved exhale. "That's good…" I stood up from the ground. "I guess we better wait a for a train back home to Ponyville. I'm pooped."

"Would you…like to grab a cup of tea at the station?" She asked, surprising me greatly.

"Uh…sure." I accepted.

Octavia and I sat across each other at a table with a cup of warm tea in front of us. She blew gently at the still liquid and took a lady-like sip from the cup. I didn't really know what to say for conversation, seeing as I was surprised enough she invited me for a cup of tea with her, so I only stared down at my cup.

She cleared her throat. "I must…apologize for my behavior…" She expressed, staring down at her tea. "I've been acting so…foolish to you… Now, I understand that…you were only trying to…gain my friendship…"

"Yeah…" I looked away, tapping my hoof on the table.

"I didn't see it until you went all the way into taking me here… I've should have seen it earlier… Baking a cake, bringing me a dress, even offering me a pet… Even though accidents happened, I should have seen the work you put in." She added.

"Yeah…"I repeated, but offered more. "It was just dumb luck that all of those things happened. I had no idea they would, and I only wanted to show you that I'm not such a bad pony…"

"I see that now." Octavia expressed, now looking directly at me. "I must thank you…for all of your hard work for a pony like me. I'm absolutely sorry. I sincerely hope you can forgive me…"

I stared at her in silence for a moment and then softly nodded. "Of course…"

Finally, she offered a warm smile straight to me, which had really stunned me. I was now learning to get used to having her like me after all this time.

"Big Brother!" I heard a squeaky voice behind me. As soon as I turned around, a creamy white unicorn jumped towards me, holding me tightly as she rubbed her head on me.

"Sweetie Belle? What are you doing here?" I asked, surprised of her appearance.

"I'm with Applebloom, Scootaloo, and Rainbow Dash!" She explained. "We came for the opening ceremony and now we get to carry the flag for Ponyville at the Equestria Games! Did you see us?!"

"Oh!" I reacted, forgetting about the connection with the fillies. "Sorry…I was a bit busy…" I glanced over to Octavia, who returned an embarrassed blush.

Scootaloo, Applebloom, and Rainbow Dash came by, seeing Sweetie Belle with me.

"Hey, Alex!" Rainbow Dash greeted. "Didn't know you were coming to the Crystal Empire."

I chuckled a little. "I didn't either."

Seeing how Octavia was being left out, I grabbed everyone's attention and faced her. "Hey, everypony, this is Octavia." I presented. "Octavia, this is Rainbow Dash, Sweetie Belle, Applebloom, and Scootaloo." I revealed everypony to their respectful names.

"Pleased to meet you…" She managed to share, seeming a lot different in introductions than she was at first.

When the train arrived, Octavia and I sat together while Rainbow Dash and the fillies tended to their own celebration.

"So…that little filly is your sister?" She asked as I looked at the window.

"Sweetie Belle? Not exactly…" I responded. "Not biologically, but she tends to see me as a big brother to her." I smiled lightly and chuckled.

"I see…" She returned, as if she was still a little embarrassed. "You must have a wonderful family…of friends that is…"

"Wait till you still the rest of them." I added, referring to the other girls that were important to my life.

"I really…misjudged you…" She commented, rubbing her hooves together.

"Hey. It's in the past, okay?" I assured. "All is forgiven, and you don't need go back to it."

Smiling gently, she nodded. "Okay."

This time, after leaving the train and waving goodbye to the others, Octavia allowed me to help her with her cello case to take home. Once we were at her doorway, I carefully placed down her case and looked at her.

"Alright." I finished with a smile.

"I…appreciate your help." She returned, thankful.

"I'm glad I could help. Anything else?" I asked.

"No, thank you. I'm off to receive some rest after such a stressful week…"

I looked away, recalling all of it. "Yeah… Tell me about it…"

She suddenly placed her hooves around me as she closed her eyes. "Thank you so much…after today…Prince Alex."

"Please…" I patted her coat gently. "Just call me Alex."

"Very well." She gently pulled away, opened the door, grabbed her cello, and looked back to me. "Goodnight, Alex."

"Goodnight, Tavi."

She smirked at me with half-lids at that last remark, and then proceeded to enter inside.

At home, I yawned as soon as I approached my bed. I wanted to tell the others about how Octavia and I were stable now, but I was too tired.

Before I could hit the hay, I wanted to share a quick summary of my experience in my journal.

It's always amazing to make new friends, but some ponies may have the wrong idea of you. If you're strong enough you can simply ignore it, but for me, I just couldn't do that. Even though I went through so much trouble, I was able to keep going until the end, only by one special pony. Thanks to her, I ultimately succeeded in the end. Otherwise, I probably would have given up hope and took the turn for the worse. Overall, it's important to stay on your goal and see it to the end, otherwise, just as she says, you may never have the chance to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I took a bit of ice cream as I sat by Spirit in front of the sunset. We both remained happily silent while we focused on enjoying the treat of the night. Once I finished, I held up the wooden stick and then presented it to her.

"Here." I offered.

Spirit smiled adorably and took one last bite of hers before she kept them together. "Thanks."

"I'm the one who should be thanking you." I reminded. "If it wasn't for you, I don't know if I would have ever been able to become friends with Octavia."

"It's my pleasure." She answered. "I don't like it when you're sad."

"That's thoughtful of you…" I turned my head downwards to myself. "It all is…"

"Hm." Spirit paused for a moment. "I hope we go on an adventure again soon…"

"What are you talking about? I'm always on adventures." I shared with a grin.

"Just the two of us." She returned in a tone that wasn't like mine.

"Oh…" I assumed it had to do with her being a secret to every other pony. "Well…I wouldn't really know when it's comfortable for you to…you know…show up, I guess."

"Yeah… I guess I don't either."

Things were silent for a moment until I felt the need to ask her something.

"Spirit…" I called, causing her to turn her head towards me. "…I know…you really don't want to tell me things…but do you think…one day you might explain the reasons why you do certain things to me?"

"…what do you mean?" She asked with slight hesitation.

"Like…why you don't want anypony else to know about you. Or why you appear randomly back when I'm conscious."

She took some amount of time to answer that. "…I don't know…maybe…"


"…it's complicated…" She looked up towards the sky. "…when there comes a time…when I feel like you need to know…then I guess I'll tell you…"

"Is it really that serious?" I questioned with a worried look to my face.

"To me it is." She responded briefly.

"Okay then…" I ended the subject. "Even then…thanks for being there for me…especially when I need it…"

Slowly smiling lightly, she replied. "You're welcome."

We continued sitting there in peaceful silence until it was time for my total rest.

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