• 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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Filli Vanilli

Episode 79 – Filli Vanilli


"There's music in the treetops

And there's music in the vale" This sweet sound coming from honey-battered vocals woke me in the bed of Fluttershy's cottage. As soon as I got a glimpse of what was going on outside, I immediately strapped on a smile and rushed out.

"And all around the music fills the sky~"

"There's music by the river" I joined her by the river near her cottage where she began feeding her ducks. She was happily surprised of my presence.

"And there's music in the grass"

"And the music makes your heart soar in reply" We both sang simultaneously, caressing our heads with each other.

After, Fluttershy began vocalizing strongly while she finished feeding the rest of her animals and trotted joyously as I followed by her side. I would have loved vocalizing as much as she did, but unfortunately my voice couldn't reach the lengths her did.

As soon as she finished, I grabbed ahold of some flowers with my teeth and delicately placed them in her hair. Her critters greatly cheered for her as she blushed at my action and then at her other little friends.

"Oh, thank you so much." Fluttershy giggled. "You're too kind."

"Wow!" We heard, which startled Fluttershy. We turned to see the others, Twilight, Rarity, Rainbow, Applejack, and Pinkie, stare at us in awe.

"Oh..." Fluttershy's voice lowered as she stared back with her four hooves covering her body. She sounded as if she began to deeply regret her most recent action. "You... um... you didn't hear us... um..."

"Singing with your most beautiful voices ever?!" Pinkie screeched in excitement.

"Uh, yeah, we did!" Rainbow nodded and reinforced in flight.

I found their sudden appearances surprising, but nevertheless, appreciated what they had to say about the two of us. However, as I turned to Fluttershy, I noticed she didn't have the mutual feeling. Her eyebrows furrowed as she began looking downwards as if she wanted to cry right there. She released a short and almost unhearable gasp before she lowly whimpered and covered her face with her hooves. She lowered her head out of sight as she allowed the flowers I placed in her mane to fall out along with a strand of her mane to fall down on her face.

"Wow!" Twilight continued with the praise. "I don't think I've ever heard you two sing a duet before! At least like that!"

"It was like a little slice of heaven." Applejack sweetly motioned her head to emphasize her point.

"With ice cream on top!" Pinkie Pie couldn't help but add in.

"Fluttershy, Alex, I cannot believe your spectacular voices aren't part of the Ponytones quartet!" Rarity confronted us.

"It's not that 'spectacular'…" I mentioned. "Mine, I mean." I added, just to make sure no pony thought I was talking about Fluttershy's.

"Oh don't be silly." Rarity flipped her hoof. "It is simply gorgeous!" I honestly couldn't hold back a smile at the thought of wondering whether Rarity was being too generous or if she actually thought this was true. "You two would be perfect! Especially since Fluttershy is having us perform for her Ponyville Pet Center fundraiser tomorrow night!"

"Well, you see, I—"

"This simply must be rectified. You must share those stunning voices at the event!" Rarity's excitement was overwhelming, but never as much as Pinkie's. "So many ponies would be driven by their emotions by the sight of cute little critters in front of them. Imagine the results of seeing the cutest couple ever to arise in Ponyville? Singing!?"

"Yeah! It'll be so amazing!" Pinkie Pie imagining the scene in her own head. "You'll be there on stage, basking in the hooflights! The center of attention! A shining star! Everypony staring at you, judging you, jealously noting how they could be way better than you? Why wasn't it them? Why wasn't it them? But they wouldn't know that it was the small little courage and bravery of two ponies! Bound forever by their love for one another and that's what makes them the stars of the show, bringing hope to every single pony in their eyes and making every heart exploded into a bunch of little thumping hearts at the sight of true love!"

Fluttershy's face proved to remain uneasy as she offered a few words back. "Wait…so…everypony will hate us not because of our voices but…our love?"

"Don't be ridiculous!" Rarity immediately tended to. "What Pinkie Pie is trying to say is that the two of you aren't amazing just because of your voices, but also because you're able to get so well along with each other." She explained. "There are many voices out there in Equestria, but a lot of them fail to have that same passion within. Cleverly speaking, 'heart'." Rarity referenced. Fluttershy seemed to ease a little, but she still didn't seem too keen on the idea of singing with her group. "Come, you two, you shall see what I mean."

Fluttershy glanced over to me with a worried look and then back at Rarity, whom had turned and began walking off, expecting us to follow her. "No."

"Pardon me?" Rarity stopped in her tracks and looked back with a tone that proved her shock and surprise.

"I love the Ponytones, I'm one of their biggest fans!" Fluttershy made clear about. "But I do not want to perform with them."

"Why not, Fluttershy?" Twilight asked as Rarity returned a disappointed and greatly worried face.

"Well, you see... I... I have... um... I... I have..." Fluttershy troubled greatly in explaining her reason.

"Stage fright?" I guess, feeling strongly about it.

"Is this true, Fluttershy?" Rarity stepped up to her.

Fluttershy only nodded sadly.

"I don't blame her." I shook my head, knowing what kind of pony she was, especially after she would tell me the things that had happened to her in flight camp and the matter. "As for me, I'm okay with crowds, but I don't know if I'm actually confident with singing in front of them."

"I'm very thankful the Ponytones are singing at the Pet Center fundraiser, and I'm really looking forward to the performance, but I'll be watching safely from the audience." Fluttershy stated.

Rarity sighed after her eyes wandered around in thought during Fluttershy's response. "Well... I think it's a terrible waste of an exquisite talent, but I understand that you're not comfortable." She offered an understood smile afterwards.

"Thank you." Fluttershy warmly expressed. Angel began jumping right in front of her, as if he was trying to tell her something. "Oh! Angel's right. We'd better get going. There's a lot of work to do before tomorrow's event." She mentioned before the rest of us caught word on moving on ahead.


Despite Fluttershy's timid self, everypony didn't mind helping her at all. I was expecting only our group of friends to help out with the fundraiser, but it seemed, if not all, most of Ponyville helped decorate the entire place. It looked exquisite, as Rarity would say.

I stood by Fluttershy and assisted her as she stacked birdhouses on a table.

"I have to say, Fluttershy…" I began as I looked around the area and the table. "…you really outdid yourself with the fundraiser. Everything looks just so great."

"Thank you, Alex." Fluttershy returned with a smile, stopped her stacking, and lifted a hoof to place it on mine. "But it really was the effort of everypony that made this possible. I'm also really glad when you came outside to sing with me." She blushed and slightly turned her head away. "I really think we need to spend more time singing with and to each other."

"I'd love that." I finished so we could gaze at each other's eyes for a moment until we heard Rarity speaking from underneath the gazebo with the rest of her members.

She cleared her throat. "Alright, Ponytones, let's run through that again!" She blew a pitch pipe that led Big Macintosh to begin his beginning part of the song.

Later, the team joined in by their harmonizing.

"Everypony's sayin' you should learn to express your voice" I began contently singing along with Fluttershy until she suddenly stopped when she noticed a couple of other ponies walking by while moving a barrel. She slightly looked around worriedly and resumed her birdhouse stacking while I only remained in concern for her. I knew the reason why she acted so…but I just felt that she shouldn't stop doing what she loved because of what she thought.

"But if talk doesn't seem like it's the answer

Luckily you have a choice

When you find you've got the music" Rarity's voice is what intrigued me the most. It was her voice that I can easily tell out of the group, probably because of how high in pitch she was able to go in her own path.

"Got the music in you

Find you've got the music

Got the music in you"

Despite being scared of singing near others, Fluttershy was still able to calmly shake her behind to the music as she rested her head on her hooves. She sighed happily and led me to meet with the stars themselves.

"Woo-hoo, yeah! Rarity, you were awesome!" Spike jumped and cheered loudly for her as we met up with them.

"Uh, thank you, Spike, but this is an ensemble." Rarity reminded subtly, pointing towards the others that were standing right there.

Spike stared at them for a while as they eagerly waited for some feedback. "Eh, the rest of you were pretty good too." Spike walked off in an unenthused manner, possibly offending one or two of the group.

"Oh, I thought you were all amazing, Ponytones!" Fluttershy jumped in, bringing the smiles back on the others.

"Thanks, Fluttershy!" The other female on the team besides Rarity expressed.

"Same here." I agreed with Fluttershy's opinion. "I think you all are going to do just great."

"Wow!" The same mare stated. "That really means a lot coming from a Prince!"

"Can I have your autograph?" The tall, but not as tall as Big Macintosh, slender stallion stepped up actually asking for my autograph.

"Nope!" I happily declined. "Because I'm not any better than you all are, and I wouldn't want any of you to think so."

"So humble." He commented before Rarity stepped in to get them back on track.

"Now, Ponytones, I want you all to rest your voices for the remainder of the day. We'll do a final run-through tomorrow before the big event, alright?"

"Eeyup." Big Macintosh replied.

"Sounds great!" The other mare agreed, leaving everypony else except Rarity to head on out.

"Oh, Rarity." Fluttershy joined Rarity by her side after she flew up on top of the stage. "The Ponytones are really gonna make the Ponyville Pet Center fundraiser so special. Thank you so much for helping me help the animals." She mentioned gratefully.

"Oh, yes. It is wonderful when a plan comes together without any sort of drama, isn't it?"

Afterwards, they somewhat hugged each other by rubbing their head against each other and giggling.

I laughed and smiled heartily at their little girl moment they shared. It really felt great to see them getting along with each other just fine. It made me think back on the talk Rarity and I shared the other night and if it helped her cope with the situation a lot better. The only thing that would really keep her worry-free was probably telling Fluttershy how she honestly felt about me, so she possibility wouldn't feel guilty. Honestly…knowing the type of mare Fluttershy is…I didn't think she would mind. For now, I just allowed them to get along perfectly.


Tomorrow morning, Fluttershy and I ventured through the park, seeing the apparent completion and transformation from emptiness to crowded neatness.

"Ooh." Fluttershy released a light moan of pleasure as she observed the area around us. "It's gorgeous, isn't it?"

"Yeah." I agreed. "Everyone really outdid themselves with this. But it's really your passion for what you love that made it possible."

Fluttershy giggled softly as she rubbed her head with mine sensually.

Angel, who was riding on her back, took notice of this and immediately began trying to obtain Fluttershy's attention, attempting to cuddle with her in a way that seemed to want to get me jealous as a result. I only chuckled and shook my head at Angel's reaction as we continued further towards the gazebo.

That's where we saw those two new ponies from the quartet.

"Morning, Fluttershy!" The nice mare greeted. "Morning, Alex!"

"Good morning, Ponytones!" Fluttershy returned as I offered a wave.

"Actually, we're the Ponytones minus one tone." Rarity poked her head out from behind the stage. "Big Mac is inconveniently late." It was after this when we began hearing wheezing and snorting from not too far. The volume of the noises grew as the source of the sounds came closer. It was Big Macintosh as he galloped up the steps of the stage, seeming to be greatly exhausted and out of breath. "Well, there you are!" Rarity almost angrily confronted. "Haven't I told you about punctuality?" Before he could speak, Rarity turned her head to end the discussion. "Nah-ah! I don't want to hear it!" She used her magic to fix the bow tie that had been untied. She moved forward to the stage, allowing the others to get in formation, and blew her pitch pipe. They began moving along in a silent rhythm, but Big Macintosh only stood nervously still. Rarity noticed this and stopped, forming a frown. Big Macintosh gulped. "Big Mac? Can you please start the song?" Rarity requested politely.

Big Macintosh's voice sounded really rough and painful as he struggled to speak. "Nope." He answered with a croaking voice.

"Big Mac! Did you lose your voice?" Rarity questioned worriedly.

Big Macintosh gulped and nodded. "Eeyup."

This led everypony to gasp in surprise, especially Fluttershy.

"Whatever did you do to cause this?" Rarity asked.

"Well..." Big Macintosh began. He went on to try to explain in the most simplest and shortest form of communication, seeing as his voice was just not fit to explain things clearly. Apparently, he had participated in a turkey call and…that was enough to explain how he lost his voice.

"A...a...a turkey call?" Rarity struggled to question over the idea of Big Macintosh participating in an event she probably resorted to as uncouth. "You lost your voice doing a... a turkey call?!" She pulled on his bow tie angrily.

"Lost his voice and the title!" Pinkie Pie hopped by, wearing a medallion on her neck. She proved so by gobbling exactly as a turkey as she left.

"Now we can't perform tonight!" Rarity stated and turned to walk off in an upset manner.

"Wait, what? No!" Fluttershy shook her head in disbelief. "You have to perform! Otherwise, the fundraiser will be a disaster!"

"Hm…" Rarity rubbed her chin and then looked over to me. "Well…if somepony was willing to take Big Mac's place during the performance…" She continued staring at me as the others turned their attention to me. Rarity approached me to settle their thoughts. "Alex…would you be willing to perform for Fluttershy's fundraiser?"

I glanced over to Fluttershy and noticed the worry in her eyes. "As much as I'd love to for Fluttershy…I don't think I can." I shook my head. "For one, I don't think I'd be able to sing deeply like Big Macintosh." I pointed out. "Even if I could or tried, it probably would sound pretty horrible…"

Rarity sighed. "I understand."

"Isn't there another way?" Fluttershy anxiously inquired.

"Unless there is another voice willing to be our bass vocals, we cannot perform tonight with only three voices." Rarity indicated.

"Why not?"

"It would take rearranging all the music, and we just don't have time." Rarity explained. "I'm sorry, Fluttershy, but I have no remedy for this situation."

Fluttershy suddenly gasped. "Of course! A remedy! Follow me!" Fluttershy suddenly took off on hoof, leading for Rarity and Big Macintosh to follow while the others stayed behind.

I wasn't sure whether to go along or not, as I felt awkward in leaving the two on the stage, but I decided it'd probably be more important to tag along.


Fluttershy had a good idea in leading the group to Zecora's, as it was true that Zecora had the answer for a lot of things. Especially with the potions she would brew up.

Big Macintosh opened his mouth as wide as he could for Zecora to inspect. "Ahhhh."

"Hmmm." Zecora continued to calmly wander her eyes around the inside of his mouth.

"Ahhh—" Big Macintosh continued until Zecora placed her hooves on his mouth and closed it for him.

"I can cure this pony that is hoarse, but it will take a longer course." Zecora mentioned in the results of her inspection, jumping off the stool she had been standing on.

"Uh, come again?" Rarity questioned.

"Mm." She returned as she analyzed her shelf. "I can mix a brew that can work just right, but it cannot heal him by tonight."

"Oh, no!" Fluttershy expressed with a deeply upset tone. "Ah! Where are we ever going to find a deep voice to replace Big Mac's?"

Zecora suddenly began chuckling loudly after Fluttershy's worry.

"Pardon me, Zecora, but this is no laughing matter!" Rarity assured. "We need a bass voice for the harmonies to work! Without it, the performance will be ruined!"

"Please, forgive my strange elation, but I was not laughing at your situation." Zecora clarified.

"Then what?" Rarity questioned.

"Remember when you pony folk stumbled into poison joke? Miss Fluttershy had an unusual change, deepening her vocal range." She reminded.

Oh yeah…I remember that… El problema que todos teníamos…

"Yes, yes!" Rarity recalled as her mood elevated positively. "Your voice became really low, making it sound like..."

Fluttershy gasped. "Flutterguy!"

"With these leaves I can mix a brew, creating the same effect on you." Zecora had retrieved and held up a bowl of poison joke leaves.

"Zecora, that's fantastic!" Rarity praised.

"Yes! I'll do it!" Fluttershy quickly agreed. "I'd do anything for the animals!"

"Why, you'd even appear on stage!" Rarity included.

"Oh." Fluttershy paused and faced downwards. "Except that. I just can't bring myself to sing on stage in front of everypony."

"What if you sang not in front of everypony?" Rarity offered after placing a hoof in front of her in thought for a moment.

"Huh?" Fluttershy questioned.

"What if Big Mac was onstage, moving his lips while you're behind the curtains singing his part? It would be just like singing in your house! Nopony would know it was you!" Rarity described her idea while even Big Macintosh heavily agreed by nodding enthusiastically.

"You mean…lip-syncing?" I simplified.

"Well…yes…" Rarity pulled back some. "But not in the way as if we're deceiving others! We just need to let the show go on while Big Macintosh is healing!"

"I guess so…" I rubbed my chin with my hoof and thought about it. "Hold on…" I mentioned, referring to what would happen after the show. "What about when Big Macintosh needs to speak with other ponies outside of the show? Wouldn't ponies catch on or at the very least become suspicious when they find out the condition of his voice contradicts to the one he has on stage?"

"Oh…" Rarity's excitement died down. "I suppose…you do have a point. I mean…we might have a chance if Big Macintosh doesn't talk at all…but…that most likely would still bring some suspicion…" She sighed. "We need a better option."

Rarity stared down at the floor with a frown while Fluttershy did the same with a pout. The hut was filled with silence. It didn't take long for me to realize that…I was suitable candidate. I didn't exactly…feel comfortable going on stage and pretending to have a voice I didn't have in front of a bunch of other ponies… In fact, I felt better about the idea of actually performing on stage with my real voice…but I didn't have a voice like Big Macintosh's. Nevertheless, I couldn't let them down, especially as I glanced over to Fluttershy's upset face.

I sighed internally and just decided to do it. "What about me?"

"You?" Rarity perked her head up in surprise.

"Yeah." I shrugged. "It'd be a lot more believable and convenient if you told the audience that Big Macintosh can't perform because of his voice's condition and I was there to be a substitute."

"Yes…yes!" Rarity agreed. "That sounds like it can work out much better! For the time being after all."

"You'd really do this for the fundraiser?" Fluttershy asked in surprise.

"Well…for you…" I answered truthfully with a bit of embarrassment.

"What do you say, Fluttershy?" Rarity queried.

"Oh…" Fluttershy kicked her hoof lightly at the floor a bit. "I just… I want to…but…just the thought of other ponies hearing my voice…"

"Hey…" I lifted up her head with my hoof. "You know the best way to handle that? You're going to be behind the curtains anyway. All you have to do is just close your eyes and sing your heart out. In fact, pretend your singing to me. Just me. No pony else."

Fluttershy stared at me in silence for a while until her eyes wandered away in thought. "Okay… I'll do it." She inhaled a long breath and soon released it. "Mix it up!" Fluttershy mentioned to Zecora.


"Fluttershy, how are you feeling?" Rarity asked once we returned back under the gazebo and sat Fluttershy down. Rarity had made sure to explain the situation and plan to the other members of the team before we got down to business.

Fluttershy remained silent and motioned her eyes among the ground. "…I feel fine." She suddenly clasped her hooves on her mouth once she discovered it was deepened.

Rarity gasped. "Good! That's good! I mean—" She cleared her throat, stopping herself. "This is good for the occasion, now we need to practice as much as we can for the actual showing. There's not much time until we perform for the fundraiser."

"So…how are we going to do this?" I questioned a little worriedly.

"We're all going to perform on stage like normal." Rarity reminded. "Fluttershy will be behind the curtains and will project her voice. What you have to do is match your lips with her voice so it's as if you're the one who's singing."

I already felt the nerves getting the best of me on this. Just the thought of knowingly lip-syncing in front of a fairly large audience had me feeling like chickening out. "You really think I can do that?"

"You can do anything!" Rarity assured. "All you need is some practice. Come up, everypony. Let's get singing!"

Rarity gave us the practice by performing some mock performances. Fluttershy and I would signal each other that we were ready by clearly inhaling in preparation of song. However, the first few times, I would find myself drifting from the bass vocals into Rarity's soprano voice. I didn't know why, her part just seemed more appealing to me than the bass. Either way, she excused those mistakes and it took a while to finally get used to the bass track. It wasn't long until the time of the actual performance reached.

Ponies began attending and filling up the park at the time advertised. Rarity led us inside backstage to talk with us so no other pony could hear.

"Okay, we don't have any more time to work on these new changes. However, I believe it's well enough to work with. As long as you stick to the practice, you should be fine." Rarity specifically told Fluttershy and me, since the others pretty much just had to stick with what they already had. She paused in her instructions to hear the sound of a crowd gather up to the stage. She hushed down her voice and mentioned one last thing. "Remember, do it just like we practiced!" Afterwards, she turned and headed out the curtains to greet the audience.

Fluttershy inhaled her breath greatly and held it inside. She still seemed very nervous.

"Remember what I said too." I approached her, softly massaging her back. "Just close your eyes and think of me alright?"

She nodded, not sparing a word from her new and temporary voice.

"Good evening, citizens of Ponyville!" Rarity announced outside. "I want to thank you all for coming out tonight and generously supporting the Ponyville Pet Center! Thanks to your kindness, pets are finding loving homes, and we're sure to meet our fundraising goal! I'd also like to inform you that, unfortunately, mister Big Macintosh will not be singing at this show. He has come across the burden of losing his voice and we are eagerly awaiting for him to recover. However…" Rarity directed her voice towards backstage. "We have someone who is willing to replace him for the time being! Please welcome your friendly Prince Alex!" I took it that she wanted me to present myself…so I slightly nervously did. I almost hesitantly waved at everyone. Even Rarity offered some applause for me. "Relax, you'll do fine." She whispered. I did my best to keep my worry inside. "So, with no further ado, please welcome the Ponytones!" She moved on to the rest of the team as they walked out.

What made everything even more nerve wrecking and worse was that I was the first pony to start the song off, so it didn't even give me the comfort of joining somepony else. Once everypony was in formation, Rarity picked up her pitch pipe to blow. I quickly tried to spare in a deep breath to breathe in and breathe out. Rarity blew, leading me to hear Fluttershy inhale backstage. I inhaled as well and counted the seconds until it was time to…move my mouth.

It still honestly felt weird to move my mouth but intentionally make nothing come out of it. I could only wait while I lip-synced the first verse of the song until the others came and joined me. During that time, Rarity opened her eyes and looked at me to make sure I was doing alright. She offered a smile in hopes to get me to show one too.

I took it and tried to erase the worries within me.

"Trot outside and you see the sunshine

Something's in the air today

Sky is clear and you're feelin' so fine

Everything's gonna be a-okay" I moved my lips to Fluttershy's temporary voice.

"If you listen carefully

On every corner there's a rhythm playing" The others took control while Rarity and I were allowed to rest in the background.

"Then it happens suddenly

The music takes you over and you'll"

"Find you've got the music

Got the music in you" We all sang together while Rarity stayed to emphasize her words with her soprano voice.

"Find you've got the music

Got the music in you"

"Oh, o-o-oh" Fluttershy and I continued.

"Everypony's sayin' you should learn to express your voice

But if talk doesn't seem like it's the answer"

"Luckily you have a choice" We all resumed. It was almost over!

"When you find you've got the music

Got the music in you

Find you've got the music

Got the music in you

Got the music, got the music in you!"

I was almost breathing heavily inside, completely relieved once we heard the ponies in front of us cheer loudly. I was finally done with performing in front of them.

"Ponytones! Ponytones!" They cheered and immediately ran off to find any pet they could get their hooves on to take home.

"Ponytones!" I heard Twilight exclaim, spotting her running towards us while leading the others behind her. "That was truly amazing!" She turned to me. "Alex, I never knew you could sing so deep!"

I didn't want to lie, so I only scratched my head and silently shrugged.

"Fluttershy, you were on the wrong side of the curtain!" We heard Pinkie Pie nearby, seeing her confront Fluttershy exiting the back of the stage. "You totally missed the show!"

Rarity quickly caught ahold of her nerves and calmly walked to the two. "Uh, just like a true professional, Fluttershy was backstage making sure everything ran smoothly!" Then, she winked and lowered her voice. "And it was perfect." She mentioned, bringing a smile to her face. "Besides, I think Fluttershy was waiting to give Alex here a little something for his performance tonight!" She added, causing for the two of us to catch on what she was saying and become a little embarrassed because of it.

"That was fantastic, Ponytones!" A large pegasus stallion approached us holding a certain accent to his voice.

"My new puppy and I thought it was super-duper crazy good!" A little filly excitedly flew towards us, holding an adorable puppy that seemed to be dazed by her quick movements in flight.

"Why, thank you!" Rarity expressed.

The filly raced over to whom seemed to be her dad and nudged him on the cheek. "And we were wondering if you would consider performing at my daughter Zipporwhill's cute-ceañera." He asked of after.

"Will you? Will you?" She eagerly joined.

"We'd love to!" Rarity accepted. "When is it? Next week? Next month?"

"Tomorrow!" They both answered, surprising the three of us.

Rarity noticed the look on our faces and began to confront the two. "Oh, gracious, I'm terribly sorry, but that's much too last minute."

"Oh, no..." Zipporwhill sadly expressed her grief.

"Well... I understand." Her dad replied and turned around to where they both began walking off gloomily.

I really did feel bad for them, as they were expecting our performance…but could we really be able to pull this off again?

"Oh, Rarity, we can't disappoint that sweet little filly…" Fluttershy mentioned.

"Are you sure you're up for it?" Rarity softly questioned.

Fluttershy nodded.

Rarity turned to me. "What about you, Alex…?"

Seeing both Rarity's and Fluttershy's faces…my instincts just told me to do it.

I sighed lightly. "Okay."

They both smiled, and Rarity turned to shout out to the walking family. "Hold on just a second!" Rarity stopped them and began trotting towards them. "We've had a quick conversation about the plans for this cute-ceañera, and we've agreed that we can perform at the party."

Their faces immediately brightened up, especially the filly's. She squeezed Rarity tightly in glee. "Really? That's so amazing! I can't wait!"

"Well, then, Ponytones." Her dad responded. "We shall see you tomorrow. The cute-ceañera will be held in the Town Hall afternoon!"

"Okay!" Rarity waved as they turned to leave. "Goodbye!" She then turned back to us. "Okay, Ponytones, looks like we're up for tomorrow then! Rest your voices and I'll see you at Town Hall tomorrow afternoon!"

It shouldn't be as bad… After all…there should only be mainly colts and fillies that will watching. No big pressure.


"When you find you've got the music

Got the music in you" We repeated at the party. Fortunately, it wasn't as nerve-wrecking.

"Find you've got the music

Got the music in you

Got the music, got the music in you!" We ended.

"Whoo, yeah, alright! We got the Ponytones, we got the Ponytones!" The little filly Zipporwhill cheered excitedly among her foal friends.

Fluttershy greeted us backstage, but before she could say anything, Mayor Mare came over to congratulate us. Fluttershy quickly flew out of sight.

"Amazing, Ponytones!" She expressed earnestly. "And it would be even more amazing if you could perform at my ribbon-cutting ceremony tomorrow!"

"Oh, Mayor, we would love to, but..." Rarity began realizing that we should end our plan so Big Macintosh could get better and join back with the team, but Fluttershy dipped out from the air and requested a word with Rarity and me. "Would you excuse us for a second, Mayor?" Rarity asked after clearing her throat.

"Certainly." Mayor Mare allowed and turned to continue with her business.

Rarity and I walked a little away from the others to talk with Fluttershy, and I was pretty surprised with what Rarity immediately said.

"Don't worry, Fluttershy, you don't have to perform again." She assured in a hushed tone.

"But we wouldn't want to disappoint the Mayor." Fluttershy didn't appear to mind at all.

"Yes…but…" Rarity glanced over to me. "What about Alex? I'm not so sure he'd like to do this again. I think he should be able to stop if he's not comfortable."

Well…doing this thing with the Ponytones didn't exactly make me feel good…but…either way, I felt I couldn't just bail on them, especially Fluttershy. Everything at the moment felt complicated to me, and it felt like I should just move on along until Fluttershy felt she was finished with performing. Hopefully…it wouldn't be too long…

"As long as Fluttershy wants to keep going…then I guess I don't mind." I stated.

"Are you absolutely sure?" Rarity inquired.

I nodded, hoping love would keep me in the clear until then.

"Well, then..." Rarity lightly smirked, seeing the situation between Fluttershy and me. "Mayor?" She called. "The Ponytones will happily perform at your ceremony!"

The Mayor returned a bright grin, and the others surrounding me did so as well. I tried to join in their excitement, but I wasn't so sure if I was able to really be happy with what we were going to do.


During the next performance, I actually didn't feel too bad. Everyone seemed to have a good time. Usually, problems arose when a friend was in trouble, but it was only really me that felt some discomfort. However, I was able to go through it seeing that my friends were alright with it. Fluttershy especially loved singing. She seemed really joyous about being able to project her voice and stay away from ponies' sight. It wasn't exactly…progressing for her self-esteem, but it was a good start nevertheless, even if she had to hide inside a barrel with a hole for voice during the Mayor's ceremony.

Of course, Fluttershy's specialty being kindness, she didn't want to disappoint the spa patrons either when they asked us to play at their spa. That led us to playing at the spa next. I was kind of getting used to the idea of lip-syncing, but that little feeling about not truthfully expressing myself still seemed to bother me. Nonetheless, I knew I would still be able to follow through, as I felt no problems arise.

As for performing at the spa, Fluttershy had to sing underwater in the huge tub. However, she wore a helmet with the tube sticking out of the water for air and for her voice to sound out. She obviously didn't mind as she happily sung her heart out, so still no problems.

After that…is when Cheerilee wanted us to play at the school of fillies. Fluttershy immediately wanted the school ponies to enjoy the music the Ponytones had to offer. Okay, still no big deal. Big Macintosh's voice would get better soon, and it was another performance closer to that.

However, at the schoolhouse, things…started to get a little nerve-wracking. During the song, I noticed that Fluttershy was really putting her heart into the song, and this meant slightly modifying the lyrics to focus more on her passion of the song and her love of singing. At that point, I began feeling a little hot and sweaty when I wasn't exactly able to perfectly keep up with her. In fact, I had to use lucky predictions and swift fixations on my lips to hopefully put up a believable performance. On the other hoof, it seemed she was having the time of her life as she wiggled her butt outside excitedly. All I could remember thinking about was how much I hoped for Fluttershy to not get too out of track.

Fortunately, everypony in the classroom cheered at the end of the song, leaving me to exhaust a breath in relief. It seemed like nopony else asked our appearance elsewhere, so we were able to exit out easier. Outside the schoolhouse, I walked to where Fluttershy was to speak to her about her singing.

"Fluttershy?" I called.

"Oh, Alex!" She jumped out of the bush and tackled me down on the grass, nuzzling her muzzle with mine. "That was so amazing! I've almost never felt alive like that before!"

I couldn't help smiling softly. "That's great…but you kind of…got just a little out of hoof."

"What do you mean?" Her smile disappeared.

"I don't mean it in a bad way." I assured. "It's just that…we're supposed to stick to the lyrics of the song, and if you go a little off, it gets tricky on my end because I don't know how exactly you're going to sing it. I don't know what words to mouth if you change any little part of it. Do you understand?"

"Oh…yes…" She nodded her head. "I'm sorry. I'll try not to let myself get carried away again."

I brushed her mane softly and gave her a little peck. "Come on. We should head back." I stood back up on my legs to begin walking until we're confronted by Rarity.

"Pinkie Pie just told me that the Cakes wanted us to perform at Sugarcube Corner! Are you two up for it?!"

Fluttershy and I exchanged a look with each other. She smiled lightly and nodded.

"Sure." I returned.

"Come then!" Rarity directed. "We must set up for tonight!"

Fluttershy and I waited backstage as the others prepared for the performance. Waiting at the time made me wonder when Big Macintosh's voice would be fine. Honestly, it shouldn't be too long until he's okay again…


I stepped towards the window and looked out. Fluttershy joined me to see a long line of ponies ready to enter the shop. Wow… I wasn't sure if I would be able to handle another large crowd… Nevertheless, Fluttershy didn't seem to mind as she presented a large grin at the sight of the ponies. Let's just hope this goes well…

"Fluttershy, Alex, we must talk to you!" Rarity called. We turned to see her walking towards us with Big Macintosh. "Big Mac's voice is all better!"

"Eeyup!" He proudly answered.

His answer made me suddenly feel as if I had nothing to worry about anymore.

Despite the grins Rarity and Big Macintosh had, Fluttershy looked away and pouted.

"Now you can bathe in the poison joke antidote and sound like your lovely self again!" Rarity mentioned to try to get Fluttershy's excitement up and going, but it was actually the opposite of that.

Fluttershy sighed quietly. "It's just... I didn't know that last performance was my last performance." Afterwards, she turned around and began walking away sadly.

I was glad at the thought of being finished…but seeing Fluttershy walk off like that…made me think twice.

"Fluttershy, stop!" Rarity called out, being affected by Fluttershy expression as well. She did so and looked back with a raised hoof. "Ohhh..." Rarity sighed lightly. "…this is…troubling."

"Why? What's wrong?" I asked.

"Well…" Rarity looked back at the curtains to where everypony was waiting. "Everypony saw Big Macintosh coming. In fact, I even told a few ponies that he would be able to perform tonight. I think everypony is expecting to see him tonight…and I can't just come up with an excuse to excuse him for tonight as well. It would be too strange."

I glanced over to the ground in thought and then back at Rarity. "Can't you just have Big Macintosh out there instead of me for Fluttershy?"

"Even then…" Rarity continued her worry. "What if ponies noticed the same voice with Big Mac out there?"

"Hm…" I rubbed my chin slightly. "Maybe do some alterations with the other voices to try to cover up the obvious similarities?"

"Or…" Rarity thought as well. "He can be out there, and Fluttershy can sing for him. If anypony asks, I can say that you were backstage singing along as well?" Rarity seemed settled on that explanation. "It's not a perfect excuse, but it sure is better than nothing."

I shrugged, not exactly in absolute confidence. "As long as it works."

"Let's hope it does." Rarity nodded her head and the remembered Big Macintosh besides her. "Oh! I should have asked…Would it be okay if Fluttershy sang for you one last time?"

"Hmm." Big Macintosh noticed Fluttershy's pouty and gloomy face. "Eeyup." He formed a warm smile.

Fluttershy immediately beamed brightly at his response.

"I'll stay back here and try to keep her calm so Big Macintosh won't have much trouble with…you know." I mentioned, feeling both relieved that I wouldn't have to go back out on stage and that Fluttershy got what she wanted at the same time.

"Sure thing." Rarity lightly laughed and nodded her head. "Come on, Big Mac. Let's go get ready for the song."

As Rarity and Big Macintosh left, I faced Fluttershy to remind her to keep herself calm and within the song's original lyrics. "Alright, Fluttershy. Just remember. Try not to get too excited alright? If you do, you'll probably give Big Macintosh a hard time to match his words to yours."

Fluttershy nodded and mouthed me the words: "Okay.".

"Welcome everypony!" Rarity announced on the other side of the curtains. "As you may have already noticed, Big Macintosh has returned to perform in the Ponytones! His voice is all better, so why don't we all give him a round of applause?" She asked, initiating applause from the crowd that almost was to the point of shaking the building. Afterwards, Rarity blew her pitch pipe, leading Big Macintosh to inhale. Fluttershy was quick to follow on. That's when Fluttershy began singing, which Big Macintosh hopefully caught on.

As Fluttershy started the song, she seemed to calmly begin singing through it. She began dancing after a few verses. I smiled at her as I gazed while she had fun doing her own thing while remaining in song.

Everything seemed to go well until near the end of the song. Everypony began cheering and smacking their hooves on the ground, possibly due to the great performance by the Ponytones. This must have sparked the passion in Fluttershy's heart because that's when I noticed her going way over and beyond.

"Hey, find it, oh why, you can find it!"

"Uh…Fluttershy—" I tried to speak quietly and uninterruptively.

"In your heart, yeah, yeah, find the music, yeah!" She seemed to be too focused on her song to notice me trying to keep her down. In fact, she was dancing and motioning her hips so lively as if she was actually on stage, but being backstage gave her the confidence to do so in the first place.

"It's in you right now! Oh, yeah!" She picked herself up in flight and actually pushed her hooves through the curtains, unfortunately pushing whoever was outside.

Uh oh…

"Fluttersh—!" I tried to warn, as Fluttershy was dangerously close to knocking the curtain from the ceiling.

"You can find the music!" Her butt smacked against the pole on the top part of the curtain, completely knocking off the curtain and covering the performing ponies in front of the stage. I swore my heart almost stopped when Fluttershy was completely visible, as she was in flight, and the spotlight was right on her.

"Yeah, yeah, I love the music, ye—" She continued to sing and dance until she suddenly stopped herself after realizing the only thing making sound in the building was her transformed voice.

"Fluttershy?!" The main girls, who had been watching from the audience, shouted out in surprise at Fluttershy's appearance.

Fluttershy huddled her tail close to her face and slowly lowered herself to the floor. However, it wasn't long before she began shivering and shaking greatly to everypony staring at her. I quickly galloped towards her and tried to get her attention away from the crowd. "Fluttershy, look at me. Just look at me!" I attempted, but her face only remained straight at the audience as her jaw was opened immensely.

However, it was a great surprise when everypony began cheering for Fluttershy, as they stated her name between their loud shouts of encouragement. Fluttershy didn't receive the same message though. Just like back when every pegasus was training to lift the water up from Ponyville to Cloudsdale, Fluttershy began panicking greatly. Her heartbeat significantly increased and she shook even more. Eventually, her eyes brimmed full of tears and she ran out crying loudly.

"Fluttershy!" I called and ran straight after her, leaving no time to wonder what the crowd thought afterwards.


She didn't stop until she was safely inside her cottage. In fact, she was even prepared to barricade her door when she slammed the cottage door shut before I came in after her. Before I knew it, I teleported in there and surprised her. Instead of speaking, she stepped to the side and galloped up the stairs where she wanted to barricade herself inside the bathroom. Once again, I teleported past the shut door to see Fluttershy almost angrily turning the faucet on for the bathtub, leaving the water to slowly fill. At the moment, she saw nothing else to do, so she merely rested her forelegs on the side of the bathtub and planted her head on her forelegs.

I carefully walked up to her and placed a soft hoof on her back. I didn't need to hear it from her to know that she wasn't eager to sing for the Ponytones after what had happened, so I grabbed the antidote that was ready near the bathtub and began pouring it as the water filled up.

"Come on." I gently helped her in so the antidote could begin working on getting Fluttershy's voice back. When the tub had filled up, I shut off the faucet and only delicately stared at Fluttershy as she felt no intention to talk. "Here, I'll wash your mane…" I offered. She seemed too busy staring at the water. I assumed her focus was in her thoughts, possibly replaying what happened back at Sugarcube Corner, but in a very negative view. I gently washed and brushed her mane, hoping she would soon feel comfortable and relaxed. When I was done, I filled a bucket with water and washed her mane clean. Since she was already sad to begin with, it made me feel even worse when her mane was dripping wet, looking as if she was soaked horribly by harsh rain or something. "How are you feeling…?" I asked.

She slightly opened her mouth, as if she wanted to say something, but all that really came out was a soft whine. Almost right after, she began breaking down into tears. She'd try to breathe normally so she could talk easily, but I could tell it was hard for her to do so. "I think…" Her sadness weighed heavily on her tone. "…I just want to go to bed…and forget about this." Her voice had, of course, returned, making it even worse to hear. She stood up from the tub and allowed water to drip onto the floor after she got out.

As the water fled down the drain, I carefully dried her as much as I could with a towel. During the whole time, she only stared at the floor, her body lightly swinging in different directions when I would rub her dry with the towel. "Is…there anything else I can do for you?" I was really eager to help her in any way I could, as seeing her in her current state wrecked me.

She only pushed herself to me. Her body was still a little damp, but it wasn't something that a little of time wouldn't fix, or in this case, dry. She pressed her head against my chest and then allowed it to rest on my shoulder. After, she seemed to just let go of everything inside her she seemed to be holding. It obviously was a lot because I could feel my coat become drenched from all the tears that escaped her eyes.

Truth be told, I spent some time being…intimate with her. It was nothing more than we usually did, but since she was such in a devastated and distressed state, I guess we both kind of…felt comfortable with exchanging almost fiery kisses that seemed to warm us up than just the leftover steam in the bathroom. Either way, the session didn't last long when we heard a voice coming from downstairs.

"Fluttershy?" The muffled sound protruded through the closed door.

I looked at her for a little moment and gave her the towel so she could dry her mane. "I'll get that…" I turned and exited the bathroom to meet whoever was downstairs.

It turned out to be Twilight, along with the rest of the girls behind her.

"Alex? Is Fluttershy here?" She asked me worriedly.

"Yeah…" I returned a little hesitantly. "But I'm not so sure she wants to—"

"I'm here." Fluttershy's voice softly announced dejectedly from the top of the stairs. Her mane was wrapped with the towel in order to sap out as much water that was still in her mane.

"That was totally unbelievable!" Pinkie suddenly exclaimed, crawling up the wall of Fluttershy's cottage and somewhat breaking the solemn mood of the scene. "I mean, the curtain came up and there you were, singing in front of everypony!" She reminded. "And you know, I don't think anypony was jealous, 'cause there certainly wasn't an angry mob! No! Everypony cheered and cheered until they couldn't cheer no more! But it was too bad you couldn't really stay because everypony really liked you."

Fluttershy bit her lip, worrying about how the scene looked back at the shop. "Pinkie…" I trotted up the stairs to meet with her and Fluttershy. "I know you're trying to…make things better." I began. "But…for right now, Fluttershy needs to take it easy."

"What do you mean?" Pinkie wondered, sticking to the wall. "It's not like she was living her worst possible nightmare."

Tears began falling down from Fluttershy's eyes again. She covered them with her hooves and spared a response. "I was!"

I quickly appeared near Fluttershy to offer her a swift shoulder to lean on.

"What's wrong, Fluttershy?" Pinkie asked, her eyebrows furrowing at the sight of her despair. "Shouldn't you be happy as ever? Everypony went crazy when they saw that it was you singing."

Fluttershy lifted her head and widened her eyes when hearing this. "They went crazy?" She reacted between sobs. "Oh no! They all hate me now!" She burrowed her head in my coat again.

"No, no!" Twilight stepped up. "What Pinkie is trying to say is that you were really great!"

Fluttershy's sob lightened. "Great…?" She lifted her head back up.

"You totally blew my mind!" Rainbow Dash enthusiastically shared.

"Incredible!" Applejack added.

Fluttershy remained silent and pulled back her head from my body. She stared at the floor and removed her towel to wipe the tears away from her eyes. "Thank you…everypony…" She mentioned. "But…I can't forget about what happened tonight. There'll always be that painful blinding spotlight right on my face in my memories, along with everypony staring right at me. I can't ever relive that again. So…" She took a moment to finish her response. "I'm never ever going to sing in front of anypony ever again."

This received gasps of shocks from the others, including a skipped heartbeat from me.

Rarity immediately began trotting up the stairs to confront Fluttershy.

"I just don't understand why, Fluttershy." Rarity mentioned. "After all, you're the one that wanted the Ponytones to sing for every silly thing that was requested of us."

"You mean…you knew I really wanted to perform?" Fluttershy replied.

"Of course I knew!" Rarity stated.

"Oh..." Fluttershy looked away, almost as if she was ashamed.

"Fluttershy…you have an amazing voice." I caught her attention. "And honestly, to me, you don't have to sing, or share it, to others. But whenever you began singing because you loved the song you were hearing, you'd immediately stop out of fear when other ponies would walk by. I hate seeing that happen to you." I placed a hoof under her chin. "You should be able to sing whenever you want to, even if there are ponies nearby. They would all think that your voice is amazing. Tonight proved that…" I looked back a little in thought and remember she still had that "Flutterguy" voice. "…well…kind of, since you had the Poison Joke, but either way, you know what I mean."

"…but…but…" Fluttershy tried to say.

"Fluttershy, when that curtain fell, and everypony saw you singing, you say you lived your worst nightmare!" Rarity pointed out, and then lowered the tone of her voice to sympathize. "Was it really that bad?"

Fluttershy gave it some thought before she quickly nodded her head and answered fearfully. "Yes! I never felt more embarrassed in my life!"

"What could you be so embarrassed about?" Twilight questioned.

"The thunderous applause?" Rainbow Dash asked.

"The praise for your fantastic singin'?" Applejack included.

"The screaming fans?!" Pinkie screamed out in emphasis.

After Fluttershy received these last words of encouragement from the others, I decided to offer a little something myself.

"Think about it, Fluttershy." I said, catching her eyes with a smile. "Play that scene in your head again, but this time, keep in what the others just told you, and kick out whatever you thought happened."

Fluttershy stood quiet and then closed her eyes to imagine so in her head. After taking a moment, she slowly opened her eyes and looked at us as we all waited for a reply.

"Okay." She stated, not giving us a clear mood she was feeling. "I'll…do another performance." As soon as she said this, the girls' instantly placed grins of accomplishment on their faces until Fluttershy interrupted. "But…only under a few conditions."

"…what conditions may those be?" Rarity inquired.

"I'll sing here, right outside the cottage in front of only you girls and the animals." Fluttershy clarified.

"Oh…okay!" Rarity returned, slightly relieved that it wasn't anything over the top. "What else?"

Fluttershy turned her head to me. "Alex has to sing with me."

Everypony else then turned their heads to me.

I was a bit surprised by her unexpected additional request. Nevertheless, I completely understood and smiled softly. "I think that can be arranged."


"There's music in the treetops

And there's music in the vale" Fluttershy and I sang to each other as wore the uniforms with the Ponytones, whom sang in the background to help the meaning of our song.

"And all around the music fills the sky

There's music by the river

And there's music in the grass

And the music makes your heart soar in reply~!" Fluttershy rushed towards me and almost cuddled with me during the break of the song.

"When you find you've got the music" The background voices continued.

"You've got to look inside and find" Fluttershy and I resumed, holding each other's hooves.

"Find you've got the music" The rest followed after.

"The music deep inside you" We increased in emphasis as we stared into each other's eyes.

"Find you've got the music"

"'Cause when you look inside, you'll see it" Fluttershy and I kept our fixtures at one another.

"Find you've got the music"

"You're gonna find it, gonna find" Fluttershy's eyes sparkled as we sang our last line as a couple.

"You've got the music

Got the music, got the music

Got the music in you!" We ended all together.

Every one of the girls, who had been watching from the bottom of the stage, and Fluttershy's critters cheered out loudly for us, but mostly for Fluttershy and me to encourage and praise Fluttershy for her confidence in her performance. Fluttershy humbly and a bit shyly placed a hoof to her cheek.

"You did it, Fluttershy!" Rainbow Dash commended.

"See? That wasn't so bad." Applejack joined.

"And you didn't look completely petrified by the fact that we're all staring at you at all!" Pinkie Pie mentioned as she was about to hop towards us until Twilight stopped her with magic and placed her back down.

"A little too much Pinkie…" I mentioned honestly.

"How do you feel?" Twilight questioned Fluttershy.

"Surprisingly... okay!" Fluttershy glanced at me and then turned back to Twilight.

"Fantastic, because the Ponytones have been booked for the Apple Family Zap Apple Jam Extraordinaire!" Rarity giggled, hoping that what we did here in front of them would convince the both of us to accept her offer.

"Oh, no... I couldn't do that!" Fluttershy reacted fearfully and slightly hid behind me.

The girls were surprised by her behavior, actually expecting her to have been cured by our performance.

"Come on, everyone." I reasoned. "This was a huge step for Fluttershy. You should be proud that she was able to get this far. It's enough for now."

"Don't worry." Fluttershy assured, pulling herself up. "I'll get there someday. But for now... baby steps, everypony. Baby steps."

"Yeah, that's good enough." Twilight agreed, receiving nods from everyone.

"Although, if you don't mind…" I began, turning to Rarity. "I'd…actually like to try singing with your group for the event you've been booked at."

"Really?!" Rarity's eyes widened in surprise.

"Yeah. I mean…" I scratched my head. "I guess I just want to try singing with the group with my real voice. You know? Besides, I don't want everypony to think that…well…you know." I referenced about what I was doing with Fluttershy before Big Macintosh's voice got better.

"I completely understand." Rarity nodded. "And that would be just delightful!"

"Okay then, I'll see you later then to talk details." I winked happily, seeing everything come to a happy conclusion.


When every pony but Fluttershy had left, I actually found her lying down on the front of the stage writing in the journal we shared. It was pretty intriguing to see this because to me, it was a sort of symbol or motif of Fluttershy's victory towards stage fright. While she didn't overcome it completely, she did make good progress.

I joined her by lying down next to her and observed her delicately write down in the journal. She finished using the blue pencil she scribbled with using her mouth and looked at me with a bright grin.

"So…what did you learn today?" I asked a little jokingly.

Fluttershy closed both the journal and eyes to show that she kept what she learned in her mind and heart. "Sometimes, being afraid can stop you from doing something that you love, but hiding behind these fears means you're only hiding from your true self. It's much better to face those fears so you can shine and be the best pony you can possibly be."

"Exactly." I rubbed her head playfully with mine for a bit.

"Thanks for supporting through such times…" She earnestly but softly expressed. "I really appreciate it…"

"I'd do anything to make you happy." I indicated.

"Oh really?" Fluttershy adorably smirked and then raised herself in flight. She moved over to the top part of the curtain and purposely struck it with her butt, removing it from being hung. "Oops." The curtain lightly fell over me, and she soon joined me underneath it. "Oh no…" She shared before she giggled happily.

My smile stretched as I gazed at her under the covers. "Curtains are out for you, miss."


I held the wooden little stick in front of both me and the sunset, recalling the events at the Apple Family Zap Apple Jam Extraordinaire for Spirit. "It was funny…" I shared. "When Rarity announced to the audience that I would be a guest and sing with the four of them…she even promised that there would be no 'tricks' this time and winked at the viewers." I chuckled a little. "However, this time, I mostly stuck with Rarity's part in the song. I still couldn't really go as high as her, I think, but whatever." I shrugged. "It was better having everypony listening and seeing us to know my real voice instead."

"You're such a good pony." Spirit responded, crossing her forelegs and viewing me.

"I try…I guess." I tilted my head towards the sight ahead of us. I thought for a moment and then turned to her. "Hey…if you've got any stories yourself, I'd love to hear them too. I don't want to be the one hogging all the talk time."

"Meh." She turned away. "I really…don't have anything interesting."

"What about that hoodie?" I reminded. "You said it was really special to you. Was it…like a gift from someone or something?"

"Yeah…" Her smile disappeared for a brief moment. "You could say that…" After a while, she shook her head at whatever she had in mind. "But believe me, it's way too complicated to explain. I really don't want to go over it…"

"Oh, sorry…" I apologized and looked forward.

"Please, forgive me." She expressed. "You don't know how much I want to tell you everything… Maybe…" She pouted and stretched her lips a little. "…maybe I just need..."

"Need what?" I asked, leaning in a little closer to her.

She closed her eyes, sighed, and remained silent for a few seconds. Later, she answered in a somewhat frustrated voice.

"…time."

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