• Published 28th Jun 2012
  • 17,960 Views, 1,427 Comments

A New Hero - Alex The Lone Wolf

What if there was another pony who joined the pony gang? (Look at longer description...)

  • ...

PreviousChapters Next
Maud Pie

Episode 83 – Maud Pie

At first, it was a little hard to chew the candy Pinkie Pie recently made…literally. It was almost like a solid frozen piece of candy that was just soft enough to break through with teeth. After the candy was chewed, the remains sure were determined to stick on the teeth.

"Gummy and I are so happy you're already here to help us taste test this candy!" Pinkie Pie exclaimed in glee, mentioning her pet alligator whom held the entire piece of candy in his mouth and remained motionless. He only blinked his eyes every now and then and didn't seem to show any signs of swallowing it anytime soon.

"I'm glad to." I responded back, picking out another piece to struggle in chewing. "Well…to be honest, I'm a little tired. Why'd you make so much of this and why'd you wake me up so early?" I asked.

"I spent all night making this." Pinkie proceeded to explain as she messed with a few more rock candies in a bowl, appearing to want to mix multiple things that were too solid to do so. "You won't believe it, but one of my sisters - her name is Maud - is finally coming to Ponyville! You don't know how long it's been since I've actually seen her. This whole time, we've just been sending each other letters and our rock candy necklaces!"

"Rock candy necklaces?" I questioned.

"Yeah!" She replied. "Necklaces made of rock candy! Oh, I love her so much. That's why I need all this rock candy to be perfect for her! She's going to be here later on today, and I need as much help and time I can get!"

I looked at the piles of rock candy she had in her room. "I hope the help you're talking about is a lot more than just me…"

"Of course, silly!" Pinkie assured. "I just didn't go to you. I knocked on Rarity's, Twilight's, Rainbow Dash's, Fluttershy's, and Applejack's door and left a note. It should only be a matter of time until they get here!"

"Well, seeing all the effort you put here, it seems you really want to surprise your sister in the best way you can. You must really love her a lot." I stated.

"You have no idea!" She dumped the candy she had been mixing into the large pile of rock candy. "Since we were raised in a rock farm, we didn't really have any other ponies to talk to! She was like my bestest friend and at the same time my sister! You know what that feels like, don't you?!"

That kind of hit me in my soft spot. "Actually…" I paused to be reminded of Starlight.

"Oh, no no no!" Pinkie quickly shook her hooves and her head. "I'm so sorry! Just forget that last part! I mean, it's not like I'm saying if you had a sister she would be like that to you, it's just that you didn't and I forgot and now I have no idea of what I'm trying to say!"

"Pinkie." I called her as she already seemed to be stressing out to the point of tears. "You don't have to worry about me. I really kind of do know what you mean." I tapped a hoof at my chin in thought. "It's just like Twilight…only the friend part comes first before the sister…" I shrugged. "But I guess not all of us can grow up with our sisters being our best friends, huh?"

"I guess." Pinkie slightly agreed a bit sadly.

Figuring I needed to get Pinkie back on track, I walked over to her and hugged her to get her mind off it.

Growing a grin, she turned her eyes towards me. "If it makes it any better, I know Maud will really like you, so that's another friend on your list!"

"I believe you." I confirmed with another smile.

There was a knock on a door, alarming Pinkie Pie. "Ooh! That must be them!" She dashed out for several seconds before she quickly came back and returned to her rock candy business. A group of hooves stepped on the ground before they came in sight, leading Pinkie to issue out a warning. "Careful!" She pointed towards the pieces of rock candy on the floor.

"What is all this?" Twilight asked after shaking the pieces of rock candy off her hoof. She was with the others as they had their first sight of the candy fiesta that stood before them.

"My sister Maud's gonna be here soon, and I need your help taste-testing my rock candy recipes!" Pinkie Pie explained.

"Uh, we're happy to help you, Pinkie Pie, but this seems like an awful lot of candy." Applejack mentioned after noticing the entire piles of candy literally almost everywhere.

"Even for you!" Rarity added fearfully.

"I may have gone a teensy bit overboard." She sheepishly shared and revealed a large grin afterwards.

"There's so much of it…" I pushed away my bowl that still contained a mild amount of various pieces of rock candy. "I'm already full…"

"I can help you with that." Fluttershy lightly flew over to me with a soft smile, seeing the opportunity as a semi-date. She sat in front of the bowl I had and picked up a piece of candy. She brought it to her mouth and began to chew. However, she was surprised at first, seeing how the candy was pretty rocky and somewhat hard. Nevertheless, she managed to finish and swallow. "It's good…" She commented. "But it's a little crunchy…"

"Welp. Better get started." Rainbow headed towards a pile, leading for the others to do the same.

They all started slow, as I didn't believe that they had actually eaten this type of candy before. Eventually, they picked up the pace as if they were eating regular candy while I playfully fed the pieces of candy to Fluttershy. Despite all the candy that was already present, Pinkie Pie seemed to believe she needed to make more, and she did so, all while giving us more details on her sister Maud. In time, the pace slowed down once again. Even if I wasn't painfully full, there's a limit to how much candy you could eat before you got sick. With the rock candy, I didn't feel that good after consuming a certain amount, so I had to stop. Everypony soon seemed to feel the same way.

Stomachs and appetites were bloated, and there was a collection of groaning moans. Twilight even had the courage to toss one more red one in her mouth before Pinkie Pie, whom was the only one not feeling the pain of full capacities, rolled over a can overfilled with more rock candies. "Everypony ready for more?" The piles in the background weren't even finished yet!

"Ugh. My teeth hurt." Rainbow Dash spat pieces of rock candy out of her mouth as she held her hooves to her stomach. That was another reason for the pain, especially since this was our first time eating rock candy really.

Fluttershy was only able to respond with a groan, having me feel sorry that she came along to help with us.

"I think we've had plenty." Applejack answered for us. "You said Maud was going to be here soon a while back. Shouldn't you be on your way to pick her up from the train station?"

"Oh, but you've only tried half of the flavors, and we have to choose the perfect ones before she gets here so I have time to make more!" Pinkie Pie denied the need to go out and grabbed a legfull of candy to stuff down her throat. She obviously seemed to have no problem swallowing it.

"Maud is your sister. I'm sure she'll love your rock candy." Twilight confronted Pinkie Pie and assured her. "And I'm pretty sure you've made enough." She glanced back at the unfinished stacks of rock candy. "She's only staying for the week, right?"

"Aw, it's not just for Maud, silly." Pinkie Pie responded, surprising Twilight. "I'm making candy for all of us!" Her correction led to another simultaneous group of moans from the girls. "It's part of a very important, super-duper special tradition that only the closest and bestest of friends can share!" She made her point clearly and seriously. "We're going to make rock candy necklaces together!" She held up an example of the necklace and squealed excitedly loud.

"About that…" I began as I soothed my ears after hearing that loud scream. "What's so important about the rock candy necklaces?"

Pinkie looked back in thought and appeared to begin drifting off into the days of her memories. "It all started when Maud and I were fillies on the rock farm." She then pointed a hoof upwards to reveal she had gotten an idea. She ran to retrieve a coloring book, placed it in front of us, and began using her crayons to draw colorful pictures to describe what she meant. "She taught me the Pie family rock candy recipe! It adds a secret ingredient." She looked towards us and held a hoof near her mouth. She answered with a loud whisper. "It's rocks!" Afterwards, she continued normally. "And she showed me how to string the pieces to make them into a necklace! And once we were done, we'd trade!" She dropped her crayon and bounced back up to continue speaking. "Maud and I have been trading necklaces back and forth since I moved to Ponyville. They're a sign that we'll always be best friends!" Pinkie ended with a bright beam.

"Aw, what a great tradition." Applejack expressed, seeing how adorable the relationship between Pinkie and her sister was.

The rest of the girls showed similar expressions except for one.

"Hold on. The secret ingredient is rocks?" Rainbow Dash questioned shockingly.

I just realized that specific part and held a hoof towards my stomach. "…we ate…rock?"

"Yes and no!" Pinkie Pie responded. "These are a special kind of rock that Maud discovered!"

"Oh, what kind of a rock are they?" Fluttershy asked intriguingly.

"Can't tell ya that, silly!" Pinkie then proceeded in a whisper. "It's a secret!" She whispered and patted Fluttershy's head. "Now that Maud is heading out to get her rocktorate in rock science, this may be our last chance to trade them for a really long time."

After she mentioned that last part about her education, I actually grew pretty interested. "Wow. She must really be interested in rocks to pursue a learning in…rock science."

"Wait till you see her! She's all about rocks!" Pinkie Pie replied and then sighed lightly. "I can't wait for you all to meet her. I just know that my best Ponyville friends and my best sister friend are gonna become bestest friends! We can make bestest-est friend rock candy necklaces together!" She galloped over to Rarity and wrapped a hoof around her. "She expresses herself through fashion just like Rarity, and she's really smart and loves reading just like Twilight!" She held Twilight as well. "And she's honest, and loves forest things, and is good at games, and artsy, and..." Pinkie had grabbed ahold of all us and held us all closely bunched up together. "Well, oh, she's awesome!"

"She sounds amazing, but won't she start worrying if you aren't at the train station when she gets here?" Rarity strained the sound through her lips as she was being squeezed between Pinkie and Twilight.

"She sure will!" Pinkie Pie reacted casually before she realized how awful that really was with a loud gasp. "I gotta get out of here!" She accidentally threw all of us aside and ran out the door to do so.

"A-hem…" Rarity reacted as she recovered from the impact Pinkie gave us. She wiped her forelegs free of dirt as the others got back on their hooves. "Shall we get the picnic started then?"

"Picnic?" I asked, not familiar that we had planned to do this.

"Yeah." Twilight stated. "In Pinkie's note she had left for each of us. Didn't you get one?"

Looking back in the morning, I believed I hadn't, especially with how Pinkie notified me about her rock candy. "Actually…I didn't get a note. She waited until I came out. I guess she must have come to me last." I shrugged.

"If you all don't mind…" Rarity spoke as she stood in front of Pinkie's mirror to observe herself. "I would truly appreciate it if you can get the food and refreshments ready."

"What do you mean?" Applejack questioned.

"It's just that…I need to find and put together something to wear for Pinkie's sister." She paused and looked closely at her reflection, making several gestures. "Oh… This might be a bit hard… I need to find something that just speaks rock."

"I don't think you need to do that, Rarity." Applejack offered her thoughts.

"If I'm ever to befriend this Maud, I say I must!" She turned and faced Applejack dramatically serious.

"I think you can do just fine being yourself." I offered.

That kept Rarity silent for a moment as her eyes wandered around. Even though she seemed to take it to thought, she didn't really budge. "First impressions are important! I must go now." Afterwards, she trotted out.

"Don't forgot about Opal!" Rainbow Dash reminded.

"What?" I questioned. "You're bringing the pets too?"

"Course." Applejack answered. "I think it's a good thing to do. We want to be sure that we are as friendly as possible to Pinkie's sister. We sure don't want her getting any wrong ideas."

"Pinkie said Maud had a pet too." Fluttershy added.

"Ah." I certainly seemed to be the only one lost since I didn't exactly get a note. "Makes sense. Alright then."

After everypony decided on what they were going to bring for the picnic, I stuck with Fluttershy for her list until we headed to the area of the picnic. We weren't in a super rush or anything, but we couldn't exactly dilly dally either. Pinkie Pie had already gone to the train station to wait for/pick up Maud, and we had to be ready so Maud wouldn't have to wait to eat and enjoy herself.

As Fluttershy and I walked on the road, I was actually pretty nervous/excited for some reason. I guess for the first time, we were meeting somepony we were going to befriend. All of the other friends I had made, like Octavia, Derpy, Vinyl, even Coco Pommel, were kind of on accident and unintentional. Not that it was a bad thing, of course, I just wasn't…expecting to make a friend at the time.

Actually…Octavia would have been one of those friends had she not performed that outburst the first time I met her. As soon as those memories flooded back in my mind, I began feeling more nervous than excited, as I worried if Maud might be the same way. However, this time, I had all my friends with me, so I didn't think I should worry.

"Are you nervous?" Fluttershy asked me.

"A little, I guess…" I briefly answered.

"She's Pinkie's sister…so I think she should be fun." She told me.

"Yeah… Right…" I took in a heavy breath and released it to hopefully ease my nerves.

We found Rainbow Dash, Twilight, and Applejack already having a nice set up as their pets roamed around. Fluttershy walked in with a smile and placed the basket of sandwiches and bowl of salad she brought. "I sure hope Maud has an appetite."

Angel had poked his head from Fluttershy's body and smelled something in the air. He focused his eyes on a certain basket and ran for it.

"Never met a pony or critter who didn't love Granny Smith's apple spiced muffins!" Applejack mentioned, noticing Angel heading for her basket full of muffins. However, she easily rejected him from digging in.

"Rarity's not here yet?" I asked, noticing she was the only one not around besides Pinkie Pie.

"Not that we know of…" Rainbow Dash answered.

"Oh, it's no use! I simply cannot find anything suitable to wear!" We finally heard her voice make its way towards us. Rarity took her seat as she revealed this out of the ordinary hat she was wearing. In fact, it looked more like she had thrown on a purple top hat and just glued what looked like glass rocks on them. Despite her efforts, one of the pieces of rocks fell off and landed inside the muffin basket.

"I doubt she'll notice what anypony's wearing, so what's the big deal?" Rainbow asked.

"The big deal is that it will be very difficult to show Maud what a strong fashion presence we have in Ponyville if the most fashion-forward pony here can't keep her hat from falling apart!" Rarity answered as pieces continued to fall off and ended with a scrunched face in distress.

"I thought you wanted to make a good first impression." Rainbow recalled.

"Well… That too!" Rarity replied.

"Can't blame anypony for being nervous." Twilight said. "Maud is Pinkie Pie's sister, and it's obvious Pinkie really wants us to hit it off. Being able to make those rock candy necklaces together is really important to her. I'm sure everything will be fine—"

"We're heeeere!" We heard Pinkie's voice from the distance. We looked to see her waving from the top of the hill. Then, she started to excitedly bounce back towards us.

I couldn't help but feel a little nervous for meeting this new pony, but I noticed that I didn't see anypony right behind Pinkie.

"Where's Maud?" Twilight asked when Pinkie Pie was back, noticing that Maud wasn't with her.

"She's coming!" Pinkie assured and looked back with a wide grin in anticipation.

However, as we all stared at the top of the hill to wait for her to come out in sight, it began to appear as if somehow Pinkie Pie had actually forgotten about her.

"Uh... you sure?" Rainbow questioned after the moment of silence.

"She's not quite as fast as me." Pinkie Pie explained, making some sense. "I asked Gummy to stay with her in case she got lost!" She turned back to the top of the hill, excitedly expecting Maud to show up while we all remained pretty clueless and lost with a hint of doubt.

After another moment with slight awkward silence, we finally noticed something appear. It was a head, but the body was slow to join in sight. After a little uncomfortable while, the body was now fully visible, but it was growing at a slow pace…very slow place.

"Is she even moving?" I heard Rainbow whisper.

Despite going downhill, Maud really took her time in joining us.

"We're over here, Maud!" Pinkie screamed energetically.

As far as I could tell, there was no change in Maud's facial expressions. She retained the same expression throughout the entire walk. There was no smile after hearing Pinkie Pie's scream. There was no worry that she might have been taking too long. There was not even any sign of nervousness coming from her end. It was just…blank.

Nevertheless, when she finally arrived, the others and I lifted up our smiles to begin our friendly approach. As Gummy remained attached to her tail with his gums, she only stared at us with no expression at all. In fact, it looked like she may have been irritated to be here with us today, or it was as if she had had a bad day. But then she faced her eyes towards the ground, seeming to notice a rock.

She lowered her head at the rock and closed her eyes, allowing me to notice eye shadow she wore like Rarity, only it was a purple color instead. She took a sniff at this rock and began to speak. "Hm. Sedimentary." She recorded with an absolute deadpan expression.

"Huh?" Rainbow Dash reacted, landing on her hooves and narrowing her eyes.

"This is a sedimentary rock." She picked it up and showed it to us in a very calm manner.

That's an…odd way to start a conversation with a group of ponies you've never met before…

After yet another short awkward moment, Twilight decided to be the first to break it. "That's... really fascinating, isn't it?" She commented. Then, she approached Maud to speak with her. "We're just so thrilled you could come for a visit before your big trip. Pinkie Pie has told us so much about you. I'm Twilight…" She presented herself. "…and this is Applejack…" She pointed a hoof at Applejack, whom tipped her hat. "…Fluttershy…" Fluttershy waved her hoof shyly. "…Alex…" I only stretched a smile. "…Rainbow Dash…" Rainbow saluted. "…and Rarity." Rarity bowed gracefully.

"We're ever so glad to meet you." Fluttershy shared.

"We're just gonna have the best time!" Applejack included.

Even after the welcoming gesture, it looked to have no effect whatsoever on Maud. She only stood there and continued staring lifelessly at us. The girls were quick to notice this, but this seemed to be a completely normal thing for Pinkie Pie.

"Pinkie Pie tells me you share my love for fashion." Rarity advanced towards Maud, starting another topic to hopefully have a long-lasting conversation.

"I'm really into expressing myself through my wardrobe." Maud responded in an unchanging tone.

"A-and what is the delightful frock you're wearing now saying?" Rarity asked with a bit a nervousness in her eyes.

"It doesn't talk. It's a dress." Maud answered dryly, giving Rarity an odd look.

I honestly couldn't help but snicker at this comment. I know Rarity hadn't meant by the dress literally talking, but the way that Maud answered was just too funny.

Rarity appeared to not know how to handle or respond to that statement, so I joined in to help her out.

"What Rarity means is what does that dress you're wearing express about you?" I said.

"That I like this dress." Her response sounded more like it wanted to be a question, but her tone made it sound more of a statement.

I didn't exactly know how I could have made myself any clearer to what Rarity was asking about, so I remained silent. Winona seemed to prevent yet another awkward moment by running in and barking happily around Maud, to which Maud still showed no change of emotion to.

"Uh, so this here's Winona." Applejack began introducing the pets. "That's Owlowiscious, Tank, Opal, and Angel. Pinkie Pie told us you have a pet, too."

"He's in my pocket." Maud mentioned.

"Oh, you have a pocket pet?" Fluttershy's excitement rose at the thought of Maud's pet, which also led to a rise in Angel's jealousy. "Like a tiny mouse? Or a baby bird? Or a trained butterfly?"

"It's a rock." She answered and tossed out a little pebble towards the ground, surprising and deeply confusing Fluttershy. "His name is Boulder."

Before another awkward silence could ensue, Pinkie Pie screamed out in delight. "This is going to be the best, most awesome, funnest week ever! I can't wait for us all to become bestest friends!"

However, the rest of the girls seemed to laugh rather uncomfortably.

I didn't know why, but I for one kind of liked Maud. Her unintentional humor and serious yet not intimidating attitude amused me. It was weird though. She was so different from the others, but I didn't find it as uncomfortable as anypony else besides Pinkie did.

Things seemed to lighten up when we all began eating though. Maud had been consuming one of Fluttershy's sandwiches until she placed it down on the ground and slid her pet rock right in front of it as if she was offering a bite. She wasn't even joking or anything. By the look on her face, she was dead serious. Even then…for some reason…it really intrigued me.

"Maud?" Applejack called, bringing her attention away from her rock. "Would you like to try one of Granny Smith's famous apple spiced muffins?" She pushed the basket towards Maud, kindly offering one of them.

Maud sniffed them for a while. Instead of grabbing a muffin, she had actually grabbed the piece of rock that had fallen from Rarity's hat earlier.

"Oh, uh, heh, that's not– Um..." Applejack tried to stop/warn her, but Maud continued chewing, which sounded more like crunching, the rock inside her mouth. It didn't even faze her. She was eating the rock like it was nothing to her!

After performing one big crunch, she faced Applejack to get her thoughts on what she just ate. "It's crunchy." She mentioned with her mouth full of rock.

Pinkie Pie decided to take a bite of one of the actual muffins in the basket to join her sister. "Maud's right! They are crunchy!" She slurped the pieces off her mouth. "Yum!"

"So, uh, Pinkie Pie tells us you like games." Rainbow Dash felt the need to change the topic.

"Boulder and I sometimes play a game called 'Camouflage'. It's kind of like hide and seek but way more intense." She actually emphasized without changing her tone at all other than just increasing her pitch by just a little.

"…Awesome?" Rainbow returned confusingly.

"Why don't you go ahead and show them how you play it, Maud? I'm sure they'd love to play along!" Pinkie encouraged.

"Okay." Maud stood up and placed Boulder back in her pocket. "I'm going to go find a bunch of rocks so Boulder can hide." She stood up, turned, and left.

"Wait a minute…" Rainbow began. "She's going to find a bunch of rocks…so Boulder can hide…?!" She turned to us in disbelief. "We have to find an itty bitty pebble in a bunch of rocks?!"

"Of course, silly!" Pinkie answered. "It wouldn't be fun if he had no chance in hiding!"

"It's a rock." Rainbow replied.

"Now, now." Twilight attempted to calm. "It's just a little game. Let's play it with Maud. It shouldn't be too bad."

"He's ready to be found now." Maud appeared nearby and spoke expressionless as usual.

Everypony but Pinkie Pie, whom looked too excited for the game, exchanged unsure looks with one another.

We searched at a sight not too far from the picnic area. There was weirdly a pile of rocks waiting for us to search through. Fortunately, there were a lot of us, so it wasn't as boring or slow as it could have been. Everypony calmly flipped and picked up numerous rocks until things began to become a little unsettling, especially with Rainbow Dash.

"Any luck?" Twilight asked us, despite none of us showing any sign of finding this rock.

"I truly wish I'd spent more time with Boulder, because I'm having a very hard time remembering what he looks like." Fluttershy held up a rock and observed it closely.

"He's a small pebble." I continued through my share of rocks.

"It's like looking for a pebble in a haystack." Applejack compared as she kicked a rock beside her.

"More like in a pile of pebbles." Rarity declared even further as yet another piece of rock on her hat fell to the ground.

"Well, you don't have to make it even harder!" Applejack mentioned to Rarity.

"Ugh! I give up! This is impossible!" Rarity submitted in frustration.

"It'll hurt Maud's feelings if we all stop playing." Twilight argued. "Besides, look how much fun Pinkie Pie's having."

"Is this him? Is this him? Is this him? Is this him?" Pinkie Pie continuously asked Maud, presenting various kinds of rocks and never seeming to lose an ounce of the energy inside her.

"To be honest…" I tapped a hoof on my chin as I stared at the unchanging look on Maud's face. "…I'm not really sure if Maud even has any feelings."

"Of course she does." Twilight said. "Everypony does. She…probably needs a little more time with us to show us so. Just a little longer, okay?" She asked of everypony.

Every one of the girls returned collective groans and continued to unenthusiastically search for Boulder. However, Maud unexpectedly made a deadpan announcement. "Found him." She held the pebble up.

"Oh!" Pinkie Pie concentrated her eyes on him in surprise. "Where was he?"

"He was hiding in my pocket." She answered.

"Oh, come on!" Rainbow shouted out, pushing away the pile of rocks she had been searching in.

"Mm…" I merely tossed the rock away I had on hoof.

Angel hopped by and tapped Fluttershy, pointing her in the direction where the other animals were. They seemed to be bored out of their minds. "I don't mean to interrupt, but we really should get these little critters home." Fluttershy pointed out. "It's getting awfully late, and they've had a very busy day."

"Maud and I better get going too." Pinkie Pie immediately agreed. "I want her to taste the rock candy we're gonna use for our best friends necklaces! Aw, yeah!" She cheered and left with Maud, bringing Gummy along with her.

"She sure is... different from what I expected." Applejack commented after the two were gone.

"We spent all day digging in the dirt, and he was in her pocket the whole time?!" Rainbow complained furiously.

"On the bright side, Boulder seemed really sweet." Fluttershy presented politely.

"He's a rock!" Rainbow Dash screamed out after appearing to be highly in disbelief after Fluttershy's statement.

"Maud was probably just as nervous as we were in meeting her." Twilight offered.

"Maybe she was just acting a little 'off' because she was shy or somethin'." Applejack wondered.

"Good point." Twilight acknowledged. "It must be awfully intimidating to meet all of us at once, especially since we're already such good friends."

"That's true." I agreed, remembering past fake relationships. "We wanted to make good first impressions, right? Well, maybe she wanted to do the same. I think ponies usually don't reveal their true selves until they're comfortable with the ponies they're with."

"Well, she didn't exactly make a good first impression…" Rainbow Dash mentioned with crossed forelegs.

"Look…" Twilight intervened before Rainbow could upset anypony with her stress on the matter. "Maybe we have to put ourselves in Maud's place. Alex is on to something. That could explain why she's so…quiet. If seeing all of us is intimidating her, why don't we all try spending some time with her one-on-one and see where that takes us?"

"I suppose that could work." Rarity accepted, removing the hat off of her head. "I could finally show her how fashionable I can be around here. Perhaps, I can even design her something in start of a good friendship!" Rarity began brainstorming ideas.

"I'm sure she won't mind seeing the beauties of nature." Fluttershy thought with a smile.

"Pinkie Pie said she loves books." Twilight recalled, growing a smile upon her face as well. "I'd love to discuss some of my favorite novels with her."

"She's sure to perk up after drinking the best cider here in Ponyville!" Applejack hoped.

"And…!" Rainbow Dash landed firmly on the ground between us. "This time, I'll show her a real game to play."

After I had only listened quietly at each one of their plans, Twilight turned to me to see what I had in store. "What about you, Alex?"

I thought for a brief moment. Pinkie Pie did say she was artsy. "I guess I could see how creative she is with, you know, art."

"Sounds good. It's settled then." Twilight faced the others in hope and faith. "Tomorrow, we'll show Maud how much fun we can really be."

I used the time before Maud's arrival to prepare what we two could exactly do to bond. I brought out some paints to see if it was something Maud wanted to do…but for some reason, I wasn't really feeling it. Either way, my job was to get closer to Maud.

Knocks tapped on the front door, leading me to excitedly and a bit nervously answer the door. Two mares awaited my appearance. There was Pinkie Pie, whom grinned as widely as she could due to the possibility that she was excited for the time spending between Maud and me, and then there was Maud, whom unfortunately looked like she was going to hate being at my house. However, it was the way she looked throughout her entire visit, so I couldn't let that bother me.

"Come on in." I invited with a confident smile.

"Eehee!" Pinkie giggled and hopped in.

Maud walked in instead in a sort of slow and casual way.

I closed the door and faced her. "Hey." I greeted in an effort to have her respond back, especially if she was shy or nervous as the girls had thought of as an option.

"Hi." She answered, but there was no smile or warming reaction.

It was still something though. She actually said hello to me, which is something that didn't really happen the first time the girls and I met her.

"So, what do you have, Alex?!" Pinkie Pie animatedly bounced repeatedly as she questioned me.

"Just a little painting, I guess." I replied and turned to Maud. "Come on, Maud." If it wasn't for Pinkie, Maud would have followed me into the living room in dead silence. The two of them gathered by me as I revealed to them the paints, paintbrushes, and canvases I had in store. "I don't really get to do art stuff as much anymore, so I'm going to have a nice time doing it with you two." I mentioned.

"Oh boy!" Pinkie expressed. "I'm pretty sure Maud already has a masterpiece waiting to explode out of her mind!"

I glanced over to Maud to see her rest a hoof on the empty canvas, as if she was silently thinking of what she was going to create. Even though I still felt a little uneasy around Maud, it was mainly towards not being a bad pony to her. I didn't want her to get the bad idea of me as Octavia could have. I wanted her to like me and be another friend to add to the list. With the way Maud was, it was very difficult telling how she felt about me. Other than that, I was actually cool with her. I understood that sometimes you don't have to be outgoing or talkative. Maybe you just want to keep to yourself once in a while. After all, if you always spend your time socializing, you don't really have time to get to know yourself. Of course, having a balance is always usually the best option and habit to have.

I didn't really know what to paint when the painting started. Pinkie Pie was already energetically on her way to making something lively and silly like balloons or cupcakes. Maud was calmly doing her own thing. I looked around cluelessly, as I had absolutely no idea. But then, out of nowhere, something came across my mind. I suddenly had the urge to paint the sunset. Of course. It felt perfect. For some reason, it was what I wanted and what I was feeling.

So I did it. Using one light color, I drew out a rough sketch in which details didn't matter. Then, I painted out simple colors like orange, yellow, and red. After that, I began working on the precise matters. I used white, black, and even a few other colors to the first ones to add on to the realism of the scene. Since it was just a sunset, it didn't take much time to finish. I looked around when I was done to ask of the others.

"What do you have, Pinkie Pie?" I asked.

"I've got all things happy!" She threw her brush down and presented her finished canvas. It certainly was what she mentioned. There were just smiles, happiness, and figures/objects that made you smile when you laid your eyes on it.

"Nice." I felt warmth by her painting and then turned to Maud. "What about you, Maud?"

Blankly, she placed her brush on the floor and revealed her painting. "I've got a rock."

Pinkie Pie continued smiling which unintentionally sent a message to me. Maud's actions always made Pinkie smile no matter what. So despite Maud's deadpan personality, she had to be a good pony. I had to ignore any awkward feelings given from the literally expressionless tone she had and see her for who she really was inside. Just like the girls had when they first met me…

Even though Maud's creation was a rock…it was still beautifully done. The details were impressively put into place. Actually, it appeared far better than anything I had ever done. And that was something I could really appreciate about her…

"That's amazing, Maud." I told with a legitimate smile, not one feigned to an uncomfortable situation.

"Thank you." She responded with no change in her tone.

I thought to myself. I didn't really want to end it there with painting. I felt there was a lot more potential to get closer to her. Just like Pinkie Pie wanted. I remembered again about the girls, and took their actions as an example. I wanted to get to know her more, even if I wasn't exactly used to communicating the way she did.

"Hey, Maud." I called. "You want to come upstairs? I've got something you might like to see."

"Sure." She said and stood up to follow me.

"You two go on ahead. I want to stay here and paint more!" Pinkie mentioned as she remained on the floor downstairs.

Maud subtly looked around as she arrived on the second floor. Meanwhile, I carefully searched and pulled out the gem Rarity had given me. I safely placed it where Maud's attention was caught. She observed it in unclear silence for a moment before she returned a comment.

"That rock is beautiful."

"A gem to be exact…" I lightly corrected. "Actually, I think it's a sapphire…" Maud only looked at me, which others would have immediately taken that she was bored. "Sorry." I chuckled a bit and apologized.

"Why?" She questioned.

"It's just…" I tried to explain the truth in a way that wouldn't upset her. After all, I wouldn't even know if she would be upset in the first place. "…it's kind of hard to tell how you're feeling."

"I'm feeling fine." She answered.

"That's…good to hear." I could only really reply, and decided to continue back with what I wanted to do. "Well…all of the girls you've been spending time with are all really important to me." I stated and look towards the gem. "Rarity, the pony who's always on her own tail about what to wear and how to look gave me this literal gem right here." I presented. "Twilight, the bookworm but extremely pleasant pony to be with, gave me this good luck charm." I pulled the charm out. "Rainbow Dash, the absolute jock but loyal and usually dependable one, passed me this whistle if I ever 'needed' her, heh heh." I showed her so. "Fluttershy, the timid but very kind and friendly pony once you get to know her, entrusted me her heart through her own gift." I displayed passionately. "Applejack, the pony you could always count on and hear honestly, donated a seed that is now a little tree outside, and your very sister made a cupcake for me to enjoy and remember." As I saw Maud's unchanging face again, I felt that I might have been trailing off a bit once more. "What I'm trying to say is…these ponies gave me chance when I was at my lowest, and I could never forget that. I'm hoping that we could…be really good friends too."

Maud blinked and then responded. "Okay."

I didn't feel too confident about that. "So…" I paused and thought for a moment on how I could connect more with her. Stupidly or not, I decided to try to match the tone of my voice with hers. "Would you like it more if I talked like this?" I offered.

She remained silent for a few seconds before she answered. "I like you."

I shook my head in surprising disbelief. "You do?" My expressions returned.

"But you don't have to change yourself if you want to be my friend. It's better when ponies are just themselves." Maud clarified.

"Sorry…" I apologized again, but I at least began feeling more comfortable in explaining the truth to her. "It's just that…it's really hard to tell whether you're being serious or sarcastic…"

"I'm not being sarcastic. I'm being totally serious." She mentioned, which didn't exactly help.

"Like that sentence right there." I referred to with a little laugh. "Sorry, I don't want you to change anything about yourself either…I mean…unless you want to change…" I shook my head, feeling I was getting off track. "You get my point. I just wish I kind of…knew absolutely what you felt."

"Well…" Maud looked to the side before facing back to me. "I guess you just have to trust me until you get used to me."

"I guess I can't argue with that." I declared with a small grin. "In the meantime, you've been hearing what I've said about me. I'd like to hear more about you, if you don't mind. Like…how's it like back on the rock farm?"

"It's pretty calm." She responded. "Back when we were little, besides working on the rock farm, I always used to crush rocks."

"Really?" I returned and became intrigued, showing it by motioning my head closer to hear her story. "Why?"

"For one, it was something to pass the time." She answered. "But also…it was for Pinkie Pie." This immediately caught all of my attention. "I love all my sisters, but Pinkie Pie concerned me the most. I don't know if she's told you the story, but she wasn't as energetic and enthusiastic as she is now. One day, she was just all happy and bouncy. And she even threw a party for us that…well…kind of made us felt what she felt that day. That was a good thing…but it wasn't until later that I realized it was also a bit of a bad thing." I didn't need to question her again to show her that I really wanted to know why. "Since Pinkie Pie was a lot more energetic, she was more prone to accidents on the rock farm. Seeing as we only have rocks and rocks, boulders and boulders, and stones and stones, who knows if Pinkie might one day cause a rock slide or something worse?" At that point, she actually revealed a small bit of real expression. "I don't know." She continued. "But I wanted to make sure my sister stayed safe around a rock farm so…" She didn't need to explain any further.

"Wow…" I reacted. "That's…really caring of you. I really respect that."

"Thank you." She returned. "I hope she's been safe here too?"

"We do the best we can to stay on her." I stated with a small chuckle.

Pinkie Pie suddenly rushed up the stairs to meet with us. "Hey, Maud! We better get going! We don't want to miss any of the fun things we have to do before you leave!"

"Okay." Maud answered in the opposite way, leaving Pinkie to dash back down and wait at the front door.

"So…is it safe to say that we're friends?" I hoped.

"Yeah." She shared with no expression as usual, but this led me to remember her words.

"Great." I smiled and saw her off to leave with Pinkie.

When I walked back into the living room after they left, I noticed how Pinkie made a few more paintings with us being friends with Maud and making our rock candy necklaces.

The girls and I all met in front of Sugarcube Corner to prepare ourselves in making the rock candy necklaces. It was a bit worrying when I seemed to be the only one holding an eager smile on my face while the others didn't.

"How'd it go with you all?" I asked.

Instead of answering, they only looked at each other with frowning faces. Before I could question them on that, Pinkie Pie, who had been the only one absent from the group, showed up at the front of the shop as she forced the door open excitedly. "Great, you're all here! Maud is out looking for rocks, so this is the perfect time for us to set up everything we'll need to make our best friend rock candy necklaces!" Pinkie whirled her hooves around in front of her, but she soon found it odd when I was the only one who appeared ready. She stopped and looked around to observe the girls' faces. "What's wrong?"

"Well, I'm not sure it's the best time to make best friend rock candy necklaces." Twilight took a moment to respond as she kicked her hoof in the dirt.

"Why not?" Pinkie Pie cluelessly asked, bearing my curiosity as well.

"Uh..." Twilight struggled to speak.

"Well, darling, you see..." Rarity tried continuing after Twilight glanced over to her but immediately paused. She turned her eyes towards Fluttershy and backed off nervously.

"You're ever so thoughtful to share your special bonding ritual with us, but, uh..." Fluttershy stopped, proving unable to explain either.

"But what?" Pinkie Pie pursued, seeming to not catch on to their nervous behavior.

Rainbow Dash buried her mouth in front of her hooves and she held on to the mailbox in front of the building, not sparing a single word. It was as if all of these girls accidentally hurt Maud badly or something…

It wasn't until the Element of Honestly finally sighed and spoke up. "The truth is, we've all been tryin' real hard to get closer to Maud, but, well... maybe some ponies just don't click the way others do." After hearing Applejack perform the most difficult part, the rest of them muttered in agreement. "We just wouldn't feel right makin' somethin' that means we're best friends if, well, we aren't."

After hearing those last brutal words, Pinkie's hair instantly deflated as her heart was shattered in pieces, almost just like when Cheese Sandwich came into town. "Oh. Okay." Despite the obvious reaction, she still tried to answer in a happy manner. "If anypony needs me, I'll be in here trying to figure out what to do with two hundred pounds of rock candy." She backed away, grabbed the door handle, and closed the door shut. I could only imagine what she was now doing inside.

As the girls all shared and exchanged looks of remorse and guilt, I brought myself up to question what exactly happened to make them sound as if they could not get along with Maud at all.

"None of you were able to feel like friends with Maud?" I asked. I wasn't expecting them to be best friends…but at least feel a bit more comfortable with her, especially how they got along with me at the state I was way before.

"Believe us, we all did." Twilight answered. "But…we just didn't…feel anything…" Twilight glanced over to the girls around her. "We didn't feel…any spark."

Rarity stepped up. "I thought I'd have a better time knowing we'd focus solely on fashion…but I wasn't expecting her to find a dish towel suitable as something to wear. I thought she'd adore fashion such as the dresses I design. To be frank, darling, I don't see how I could share any common interests with a pony who wears a dish towel as a scarf."

Fluttershy continued next. "I tried sharing my love of animals with her…but all she seemed to be interested was rocks…"

"Same here…" Twilight agreed. "But instead of animals, it was with my books and literature. I thought we'd have something to talk all day about when Maud said she writes her own poetry…but when I heard some samples of it…they were all just about rocks… She said she's written thousands of poems about rocks! How am I supposed to connect with that?"

"Speaking of rocks…" Applejack made her turn. "I was trying to make apple cider with her, but when I asked her to peel some apples for me, she crushed them with a huge rock instead! I don't mean to be rude, but who uses a rock to peel an apple if that's even possible? It's like the pony uses rocks for everythin'!"

"That's not surprising." Rainbow Dash finally said. "She actually beat me in a game of who could throw a rock the farthest! I thought I was the strongest! But I guess since she's so about rocks, she was able to throw it to the ends of Equestria! And then she tells me she's not into winning!"

"What about you?" Twilight mentioned. "You sound like you actually got along with her."

"I did…" I returned, feeling a bit sad that I was the only one. "It was a little hard at first…but I don't know… Even though she's the way she is, I actually think she's pretty cool. Am I weird for thinking that?"

"Yes." Rainbow Dash immediately answered before Applejack furrowed her eyebrows angrily and pushed her off the mailbox she had been on.

"Huh…" I lowered my head a bit gloomily, feeling off and isolated with how I was pretty much the only one who felt befriended by Maud. "I guess it's not surprising… After all, I was as dull as you think she is, right?" None of them seemed to know how to answer that. In fact, they were surprised that that even came out of my mouth. "I'm going to check in with Pinkie." I mentioned before I turned and headed inside the sweet shop.

As I entered inside, I already noticed Pinkie Pie wallowing in her piles of rock candy. She rolled around the pieces of rock candy and ate one every now and then.

"Hey, Pinkie Pie…" I began as I walked towards her. "If it makes you feel any better…I'd be glad to make rock candy necklaces with you and Maud."

Pinkie sighed as she rolled around another piece of rock candy. "That's sweet…" She threw it up into the air and caught it with her tongue to slip into her mouth. "…but I was really hoping for all of us to do it together… All of my best friends with my best sister friend." She groaned sadly as she rested her head on her forelegs.

"Sorry, Pinkie…" I apologized. "I really am. The girls just…can't really find anything that they can enjoy comfortably with Maud."

"What do you mean?" Pinkie raised her head.

"Well, if they were to do something with Maud that wouldn't be unfamiliar to them, then maybe they can be cool with her like I am. You know… They all do something with Maud that is a common interest between all of them." Pinkie began thinking silently as she rubbed her hoof beneath her chin. "It's difficult, though, because Maud seems to be only interested with rocks."

"…what if I get them all together with something each of them like and combine into one big fun game?!" Her voice gradually increased in volume and excitement, leading to a great gasp. "I think I got it!"

"What?" I inquired.

"I'll show you!" Pinkie Pie grabbed my hoof, and with Pinkie speed, led me outside the building.

Pinkie Pie stopped when we were in a great, big, and open landscape, which kept me puzzled. "What are you showing me exactly?" I asked.

"Close your eyes and count to ten!" Pinkie Pie directed. "And don't open them until you finished counting!"

"…okay…" I responded as Pinkie Pie gawked at me until I closed my eyes.

"One…Two…Three…" I counted, hearing nothing but my voice. "…Four…Five…Six…" Why was I doing this? "…Seven…Eight…Nine…" I paused to see if I was able to hear any little change in sound at all. "…Ten." I ended and opened my eyes. What I saw afterwards truly surprised me. My eyes popped open when I saw what looked like a huge unique playground before me.

Pinkie Pie bounced excitedly. "Like it?!"

"H…How did you…?" I tried to gain the words to speak as I slowly recovered from being stunned at the sight. "How did you build this so fast?!"

Pinkie Pie shrugged it off. "It really helps when you've eaten a ton of rock candy."

I still couldn't see how it still would have been possible, but Pinkie Pie quickly dismissed the question about it. "I'm going to get everyone else! Wait right here!" She excused herself from the area and left me to silently wait by the sight of Pinkie's quick creation.

It wasn't until Maud appeared by my side to present me the feeling of company.

"What's going on?" She asked blankly.

"Um…" I responded without a clue of what to say.

Pinkie Pie finally made her entrance to explain what was going on herself. "Come on! Come on! This way! Keep going!" She directed the mares she brought for one last chance to bond with Maud.

They all held pretty surprised expressions when they arrived at the scene. They noticed Maud, who continued to look like nothing was amusing to her, even the playground Pinkie somehow had managed to build. Maud glanced back at them for a second but returned her expressionless sight towards the playground.

"Pinkie…" Twilight called once clearly observing her creation. "What is that?"

"I call it 'Pinkie-Rainbow-Rari-Twi-Apple-Flutter-Maud Fun Time'!" She cheerfully announced.

They had no answer to that until Rainbow felt the means to question it. "Huh?"

"It combines everypony's interests into one giant activity that we can all enjoy together and that will totally bring all of my bestest friends together as bestestest friends!" She explained and directed its focus to complete the friendship between Maud. "You'll need these." She presented dress forms that wore some silly outfits. I had no idea where she got all of this in such a short amount of time.

"Like I said: 'Huh?'" Rainbow repeated.

"Probably better for me to show you." Pinkie Pie suggested and placed on a swimming outfit. "Watch this! Applesauce tunnel for Applejack." She swam through the applesauce that was in a tunnel. "Pretty shiny stuff for Rarity." She landed in a pile of shimmering fabric. "Reading material for Twilight." She broke through a wall of books. "Critter time for Fluttershy..." She played poker with a table of animals. "Cupcakes for yours truly..." She caught a cupcake with her mouth after having had them float in midair inside a small dome. "…and it's a race for Rainbow Dash!" She finished.

Twilight released a short gasp. "Pinkie Pie, what is that?!" She pointed out, revealing how there had been a huge pile of rocks with a dangerous and immense boulder hazardously tipping over at the top.

"A rock slide, of course!" Pinkie happily answered. "For Maud! First you climb, then you slide!"

As Pinkie Pie traveled through the slide that would apparently lead to this part of the obstacle course, I nervously began trotting towards her. "Pinkie! You're crazy if you think anypony is going to go through that!"

"No, I'm not!" Pinkie Pie responded as she began skipping onto the rocks. "I'm more genius than I've ever been!" She continued her journey up the rocky mountain as she giggled playfully, reminding me of Spirit at Sweet Apple Acres even during the dangerous situation. I was distracted by the thought that I hadn't even realized Pinkie Pie stopped moving. "Huh?" She wondered as she tried to move her back hoof to continue on forward.

"Pinkie!" I began making my way up to her from the bottom of the rocks, hoping I wouldn't slip and slide back down. I could have cheated my way by flying, but it would still be difficult landing without having the rocks beneath my hooves take me back down to the ground.

"My hoof's stuck!" She informed as she strained to pull herself out.

"Hold on! I'm com—" I tried to say until the mountain began shaking violently. The entire mountain seemed to be collapsing, leaving Pinkie to tap the rock on her hoof desperately. It was too late to fly now, as I could hardly keep my balance on the motioning rocks. I tried to point my horn towards the rock holding Pinkie captive, but the rock itself was too small, and the shaky surroundings killed my accuracy, making it too risky that I'd hit Pinkie instead.

"Watch out!" Applejack had warned from the bottom.

"Huh?" Pinkie and I had both looked to see that huge boulder at the top come falling down at a very fast speed. The sight of this caused Pinkie to shriek in complete terror. "Help!"

Disregarding any thought of falling down, I tried somewhat hopping and clenching on to the rocks below me. As quick as I could, I worked my magic as I arrived at Pinkie's side. Instead of using a beam, as it had might have not been enough to destroy even a large part of it, I tried holding on to it. But magic didn't give you invisible strength. It was just as hard holding a boulder with mental muscles. "Pinkie!" I struggled to say through my grunts and efforts. "You gotta…get out of here!"

"I'm trying! But I can't get out!" Pinkie responded in panic.

"I don't know how much longer…I can hold onto this thing!" I struggled.

"Hang on!" Applejack approached me by my side, using her back legs to hold back the boulder as much as she could.

Twilight then appeared from the sky to also try to help me with her own magic. Rainbow Dash placed herself on to the boulder to try to pull it back as much as she could.

"Rarity, get Pinkie out, will you?!" Applejack strained out, due to the rocks immense weight.

"I'm trying!" Rarity cried as she tried smashing the rock on Pinkie's hoof into bits while Fluttershy seemed to try digging into the rocks instead. "It's just too hard!"

I felt myself giving out. "I don't think I can…hold it anymore…!"

Just before I felt the grip I held onto it give out, something suddenly drilled into the middle of the rock. When I was able to get a good look, I noticed it was Maud who wore the helmet and leg pads from the beginning of the obstacle course. She also revealed a fierce and aggressive look in her eyes as she literally drilled the entire boulder into bits and pieces. Once she was finished, she dashed over to Pinkie Pie and broke the rock holding her like a toothpick, allowing everyone to quickly jump down the rocky hill before anything else could happen.

"What– how– what?!" Rainbow Dash reacted in flight.

As Pinkie Pie and Maud made it back down, Maud actually furrowed her eyebrows and looked as if she was about to deeply scold her sister, whom returned a flinching face. However, Maud only wrapped a hoof around her in a sign of great relief and love.

"Pinkie Pie, what were you thinking?" Maud revealed present emotion as she worriedly asked her.

"I guess I wasn't…" Pinkie sadly responded. "It just…looked so much better in my head. I thought we'd all have a fun time and get along."

"Listen." Maud held a hoof under Pinkie's chin and brought it up. "I know how important it is to you that your friends become my friends, but I just don't think it's going to happen. If it has to come down to risking your life, I just don't think it's worth trying. I think it would be best if I just go back to the rock farm and spend the rest of the week there." After Pinkie had removed the equipment off herself, her jaw immediately fell wide open when she heard her sister say that. Maud turned to us as she returned back to her expressionless tone. "It was nice to meet you all. Makes me happy knowing Pinkie Pie has such good friends." With that, she began leaving, lowering all of the other girls' heads in guilt.

"But... we never even got to make our rock candy necklaces..." Pinkie Pie cried out softly and gloomily. "Wait, Maud! I'll come with you!" She began galloping after her, leaving us all in silence.

"I can't believe…what just happened…" Twilight finally spoke. "We almost lost Pinkie…all because she wanted us to be friends with Maud."

"I don't know how she did it, but if it wasn't for Maud, none of us probably would be here right now!" Rainbow Dash mentioned.

"She did all of us a big favor." Rarity pointed out. "We have to be grateful for that!"

"I'm pretty sure we all are." Twilight acknowledged, glancing at each one of us. "…but that doesn't change the fact that we're incapable of being best friends with Maud. She may have saved our lives, but it wouldn't exactly be moral to use that to be friends with her. Friends usually have mutual interests together…and I can't seem to find any if it's just all about rocks…"

"So then, what brought me to your eyes?" I asked all of them seriously. I didn't feel like they didn't actually love me. I just needed to hear their story. "I wasn't as happy and go-lucky as you all were. In fact, I think I was too boring and moody to hang around with."

"That's not true!" Twilight almost immediately exclaimed. "How we saw you is still how we see you now! The real you!"

"It's true." Applejack confirmed. "If I didn't, I would've kept our connection to business matters only."

"I was actually able to work up the courage to talk to you because…" Fluttershy began. "…well…you seemed really quiet like me…you know…"

"Darling." Rarity included in. "I saw the artistic potential you held, despite how timid you seemed to really be. I just had to converse with you more than the time we met."

"It was pretty fun pushing you around." Rainbow landed and nudged me. "How couldn't I be your friend with the heart inside you?"

"There are a million things to give reason why you're a part of our lives and vice versa, but if you're looking for a straightforward one from me, well…we were both kind of shut-ins." Twilight giggled lightly, hinting a bit of embarrassment.

As I felt the reinforcement of their words come through my ears, erasing the wandering doubts in my mind of possibly befriending me out of pity in the beginning, I used this information to work with Maud. "Exactly…" I mentioned, feeling somewhat idealistic comparisons come on. "You all were able to look past from what I appeared on the outside and be able to get to know me for me. Right now, all you're really seeing from Maud is just that she's all about rocks and lifeless expressions. However, I was able to befriend her because…I appreciated and saw her past her 'rocks'." I turned to Twilight. "Twilight, you said she's written thousands of poems about rocks, right?"

"Yeah…?" She responded, not quite getting my point.

"That's something you should be amazed at!" I pointed out. "It doesn't matter if they're just about rocks! The fact that she's written thousands of poems about a single thing is worth talking about! Can't you share a mutual liking to somepony who's written that many poems? Whether they were about rocks or not?" As I left Twilight to ponder about that, I continued with Applejack, feeling absolutely fired up in Maud's defense. "Applejack, she used a rock to peel your apples. She uses a rock for practically anything. You both have a passion for something specific. You and your love of apples, and her and her love of rocks. That's something you two can understand about each other, and I'm sure it's worth striking up a conversation for how you two have an insane love for something." I then faced Rainbow Dash. "Rainbow, you said Maud threw a rock farther than you. She beat you in an athletic event! Who cares if she's not into winning? Maybe she could actually help you in winning that game next time!" Next was Rarity. "Rarity, you two share an interest in fashion, but you don't find a friendship suitable because of her different taste in fashion…a different and odd taste… But that should be something that brings you closer! It's just like with art. If everyone did the same thing, things would get boring, and you'd have nothing new to talk about. Isn't her taste something that interests you? What is it that she likes about a dish rag for a scarf? That's something that's worth finding out." Finally, I finished with Fluttershy. "Fluttershy, she may have not been as interested in animals as you were, but that's something you could get to know her for. You have a vast knowledge on almost every single critter in the world. She has a vast knowledge too, but on rocks. Wouldn't it be interesting to be able to learn where she comes from as well?"

"Alex…" Twilight spoke after I fired the shots from my mind. "I don't know how I didn't see it before…but it makes a lot of sense…"

"We weren't able to look past her 'rocky' attitude, Twilight." Applejack strengthened. "We were so blinded about how she brought rocks in everything we did that we didn't see her for who she really was. Her true character. And I think, just after what she did for Pinkie Pie, we saw a bit of her real character right there."

"Oh!" Rarity placed a hoof to her forehead in shock. "How did I not find her different fashion taste interesting before? Had I reacted to you, Alex, as I reacted to her before, we may have never had the friendship we have now!"

"Well…to be fair…" I began, thinking a little more into it. "My behavior was probably a little more…acceptable… After all, she grew up in a rock farm."

"That doesn't matter now." Twilight shook her head. "We need to fix this!"

"Pinkie might probably still be at Sugarcube Corner." Fluttershy offered.

"We need to hurry before they head to the train station!" Rainbow Dash ordered and flew out, leading us to follow after.

By the time we arrived, Maud was already heading for the door of the shop with her saddlebags intact and Pinkie trailing miserably behind her. When Maud saw us, she revealed no change of expression. She only stopped and pointed us out to Pinkie Pie.

"What are you doing here?" Pinkie asked in soft surprise.

"Pinkie Pie," Twilight began sincerely. "We're so sorry we hurt your feelings by not bonding with Maud right away. And Maud, we're sorry that you felt the only way to spare Pinkie Pie's feelings was to leave Ponyville early." The others agreed. "But we're especially sorry that we didn't get to see the real pony you are because we let our…" Twilight paused for a moment to shift her hooves in thought. "…cultural differences get between us. We just thought none of us besides Alex were compatible because we just couldn't click due to our behavioral differences. But now, we realize that that shouldn't matter. What should manner is what we see in ourselves. If Pinkie Pie can see you for the great sister you are, than we can do the same as a friend. In fact, if you don't mind, we'd love to get to know you more, so we can understand you just like we understand Pinkie Pie."

"Actually…" Rainbow Dash joined in. "Even sometimes we still don't understand Pinkie Pie."

Twilight giggled. "But we still love her like you do, Maud, and that's something that should keep us together. Why?" Twilight turned to me and unexpectedly brought me along with her hooves. "There's no way we want to miss the chance of befriending a significant pony. You may be just as beneficial to our lives just like somepony else." Twilight glanced over to me from Maud and revealed an honest smile, leading me to feel quite embarrassed. "How about it, Maud?" Twilight asked.

Maud stared at all of us blankly for a second until she opened her mouth to respond. "Sure." The tone of her voice seemed happy for what she heard, but the expression she wore throughout the entire trip just couldn't help itself in making us doubt that.

This had the girls look around a little uncomfortably.

"What's wrong?" Pinkie noticed their reactions.

"Sorry, darling. I think we all just thought she'd be a bit more excited about this." Rarity apologized.

"Are you kidding me?!" Pinkie returned. "I've never seen her more excited in my entire life!" She pointed out to Maud's face, which still didn't seem much different to us.

"I don't know if you've noticed, but I don't show my enthusiasm for things quite in the same way my sister does." Maud explained as Pinkie performed excited cartwheels around.

"Uh, we noticed." Rainbow Dash acknowledged after sharing a look with the others. "And we're totally cool with it."

As a group of clear agreements was collected, Pinkie Pie couldn't help herself but internally explode from excitement.

"I guess, just give us a heads up when something is bothering you, so we'll know accordingly." I offered to Maud in assurance. "Maybe we just need some time to know how you're feeling without having to rely on your 'enthusiasm'."

"Okay." She merely answered with.

We all stayed with her until it was time for her to head back. Pinkie was sure to take up as much time as she could in saying goodbye. Pinkie soon allowed us to wish Maud well.

"Maud, we'd like to give you something to take on your trip, so that you remember all your friends from Ponyville." Twilight said and pulled out the rock necklace she had made for Maud to place it around her neck. Each of the others brought up their own unique designed necklaces to share with Maud, especially Rainbow, whom seemed to use a rather large carved piece of multi-colored rock.

I was the last one before Pinkie to place my necklace over her head, leading her to thank all of us. "Thank you."

"Try not to eat all the candy before you leave!" Pinkie suggested as she held out her rock candy necklace towards Maud.

The two exchanged necklaces as tradition, and Pinkie Pie was already working her teeth to consume the candy. However, Maud pulled a box out of her saddlebag and opened it up to reveal a bunch of more necklaces. She dropped Pinkie's inside.

"Are those all the necklaces Pinkie Pie sent you?" Twilight questioned after seeing them.

"Mm-hm." Maud answered in a kind of exaggerated way.

"You haven't eaten any of them?" Twilight reacted in surprise.

"I don't really like candy." Maud paused to look back at Pinkie and smile for the first time ever! "But I do love Pinkie Pie."

"Mmm!" Pinkie finished as she threw the last piece of rock candy in her mouth.

I guess I felt so relieved when I saw her smile. It was just a reassuring sign of how she felt. Knowing the train was going to leave soon, I decided to announce a little reminder. "I suppose we better leave you to your trip, Maud." I mentioned. "You've got so much ahead of you, and I'm sure all of us here wish you good luck and a safe trip."

"Thanks. That means a lot." She returned. At least her tone was just a bit more positive than before.

"Psst." I heard Pinkie Pie whisper in my ear as she tapped me. "She likes hugs."

For no real reason, I was a bit surprised by that. "You sure?" I asked, gaining a faithful nod from Pinkie. "Um. See you later, Maud." I said, softly embracing her afterwards.

"I don't like to be touched." She stated frankly. I immediately backed off after she said that, feeling embarrassed for my action. Unexpectedly, after observing my reaction, she didn't laugh. Her eyes didn't widen. She didn't say anything. She only smiled once more. "Just kidding." Afterwards, she proceeded to enter the train. "It was nice seeing you all." She stated before she boarded and left our sight.

I was relieved, but silent for a moment. "…I didn't know your sister had such a sense of humor…" I mentioned.

"Are you kidding?" Pinkie replied. "She has tons of jokes!"

"Let me guess." Rainbow added, crossing her forelegs in flight. "They're all about rocks?"

As I opened my eyes on the balcony to meet with Spirit, I moved myself off of the bed I never really questioned about "waking up" in. As I began heading towards the outside of the room, I noticed something different. There was something under the covers on the other side of the bed I had stood up from. Before I could check what it was, there was a piece of paper at the front of the bed. I brought it towards me and read it to see what it said.

I'm feeling a little sick today. I'll see you tomorrow, okay?

I looked up from the note to see the covers slowly moving.

Duh. This must have been the bed Spirit slept on.

Smiling lightly, I spoke softly. "Get well."

PreviousChapters Next