• 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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For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils

Episode 84 – For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils

Rarity led the six of us into her workroom/bedroom as she anxiously apologized, thinking she was being a bother.

"I so very apologize for bringing you all up here instead of enjoying the show my sister is putting on." Rarity worriedly rummaged through her fabrics. "You don't know how behind I am in getting these orders ready for Sapphire Shores in Canterlot."

"Sapphire Shores?" Twilight questioned in surprise.

"That pony you needed to get all those gems for a while back?" I added on.

"Yes, precisely." Rarity answered as she didn't take her eyes off her work. "However, it's not only her outfit I needed to slave over. It's much more than that!"

"How much of your order have you been able to finish?" I wondered, looking over her work.

"I barely just finished the outfit for Sapphire Shores." Rarity responded. "However, I still need a slightly different outfit for her back-up dancers, which won't be too difficult with all of your help. We'll just need four outfits of the same design for the dancers." Rarity sighed a bit in relief, but she knew she still needed the work to be done. "I am just so relieved. Without any of your help, I'd never be able to get all this done in time!"

"Don't worry about it, Rarity." I assured. "Just tell us what you need us to do. Only this time, try to be a little more…generous, okay?" I lightly smirked.

Remembering, she placed a hoof to her face and looked away with a blush and nervous giggle.

There wasn't anything new or interesting with helping Rarity with her order. It was just delightfully helping her put the pieces together. It actually reminded me more of the time she had to fulfill such a big order for Hoity what's his face, than the last minute preparations back in Manehattan. Either way, it was just good to see her facing pressure in a calm manner.

At the end, Twilight was doing what she fit best; using a checklist to make sure everything was in order. Applejack pushed along the cart holding Rarity's entire order while Pinkie Pie surprisingly carried over some boxes calmly. I suppose she was actually being careful with them because she knew how important it was to Rarity.

"Fluttershy, would you be a darling and help me put together this headpiece?" Rarity requested.

"Sure, Rarity." Fluttershy approached Rarity. "What do I do?"

"Just stand there still, please." Rarity directed and then began bringing up several pieces towards Fluttershy's head.

Fluttershy was quite surprised, as she seemed to not be expecting so many pieces to complete a single headpiece. "All of this is one headpiece?"

"Indeed." Rarity continued to focus her attention on arranging the pieces carefully. "This marvelous extravagance is the créme de la créme of the entire wardrobe!" She narrowed her eyes and cautiously sewed a stitch at the center. "But alas, without this key hidden stitch, it's just a..." She paused to place a hoof on her chin and think. "I'm trying to think of a nicer way to say 'big bummer'." Hearing those last two words actually sounded a little weird coming from Rarity, especially since she was always speaking so eloquently. Rarity finally released an expression of relief when the headdress was finally complete. She moved it carefully towards an open box and slowly placed it inside. Afterwards, she cleanly closed the flaps. Rarity sighed as she removed her signature red glasses from her face. "Now perhaps we can all at last take a moment to relax!"

I looked back to the cart Applejack had been pushing to see the final products. However, I realized something was a bit off. Nothing was wrong, or at least I didn't think so. Among Rarity's uniformed wardrobe, there was one dress that absolutely stood out. I wasn't sure if Rarity had accidentally mixed up at one point, so I decided to point it out. "Hey, Rarity… What's up with that one?" I asked, standing near the stand-out.

"Oh, this?" Rarity trotted over to where I was to answer. "I'm not sure why…" Rarity lifted up the sleeve of the dress with her hoof. "…but Sapphire Shores also requested this one on her list. At first, I was puzzled, and I wasn't quite sure if I'd be able to pull it off. After all, this particular one isn't exactly my area of expertise, but hey, fashion is fashion!"

"Huh…" I also placed my hoof on the dress and felt it. "I can see why… It kind of looks like a…punkish kind of thing." I turned back to Rarity. "Does Sapphire Shores have some kind of song that…well…fits to this outfit?"

"I don't believe so." Rarity shook her head. "I don't think I've ever seen her wear such a type of dress like this before, so it is indeed quite odd."

"Hmm…" I pondered as I continued observing the dress.

All of a sudden, there was a loud slam of the door nearby. Sweetie Belle had walked inside holding three dresses that must have been from her play. However, she angrily threw them at the floor, as if something was wrong with them. "Whatever's the matter, Sweetie Belle? Didn't the play go all right?" Rarity worriedly questioned, approaching her little sister as she glared back at her.

"Not even close." Sweetie Belle sternly responded.

"Oh, dear. Was something amiss with the dresses I made you?"

"No, they were perfect, and that was the whole problem!" Sweetie Belle explained, raising confusion from everypony in the room.

Feeling the need to escape the uncomfortable and possibly awkward situation, Fluttershy spoke up. "Oh, um, I think maybe I'll go take that moment to relax now." She turned towards the others and gestured them to leave with her.

"Heh, sure do feel like relaxing!" Rainbow Dash added with an odd grin, escaping the room with a trot.

"Right behind ya!" Applejack mentioned as everypony followed in a rush.

Even though I could see it was business more between Rarity and Sweetie Belle, I actually wanted to stay behind to see what the whole fuss was about and why Sweetie Belle was so upset.

"How could you?!" Sweetie Belle walked past Rarity, continuing and leaving her dresses behind her. "'Oh, what amazing dresses!'" Sweetie Belle began quoting and acting out. "'Oh, how I love the dresses! Ooh, dresses, dresses, dresses, dresses!'" She ended angrily.

From the look on Rarity's face, it seemed like she had no idea what her little sister was talking about. But she ended up coming to the conclusion that there was nothing wrong with the dresses Sweetie Belle seemed to be griping harshly on. "Oh, so they did like them." She chuckled happily as she placed the dresses away. "You had me worried, you silly filly."

"There! I knew it!" Sweetie Belle interruptively shouted out. "You did this on purpose! Stealing the spotlight like you always do! It's my fifth birthday party all over again!"

Wow, I had actually never seen this side of Sweetie Belle. Well…I kind of did before…but this was different. Either way, I believed I was just as confused as Rarity was with what Sweetie Belle was talking about.

"The... the what now?" Rarity asked.

"Don't act like you don't remember. Or are you trying to prove you're a better actress than me too?!" Sweetie Belle fired.

"Sweetie Belle, if I did anything to upset you, then—"

"Admit you made those dresses too good on purpose!"

"I thought they were supposed to be good." Rarity and Sweetie Belle continued as I could only switch my sight between each one with my eyes.

"Yes, good. Not jaw-dropping amazing!"

"I only tried to do what I thought you wanted."

"Ha!" Sweetie Belle angrily squeaked before leaving the room and slamming the door behind her.

There was a long confusing silence before Rarity managed to mutter a few words. "I…uh…um…"

I turned to her with one thing immediately running to my mind. "You want me to go talk to her?"

"Perhaps…that would be best." Rarity replied, appearing to still be both confused and shocked. She cautiously followed me out of her bedroom door in case Sweetie Belle was still lingering by. "She must have locked herself in her room…" Rarity advised. "It doesn't sound like she's downstairs. I'll let the others off on their way so they're not preoccupied with this little…situation."

"Are you all finished with your order to Sapphire Shores?" I asked about, remembering that she had been completely focused and occupationally obsessed with the wardrobe.

"Oh, don't worry about that." Rarity gently tried to push my thoughts away from that topic. "I've got the strings under my control now." She paused for a moment and sighed while looking away. "I almost feel bad that I'm having you go talk to Sweetie Belle instead of me, but for one, she won't even want to hear my voice, and two, as selfish as it sounds, I can't worry about her right now."

"It's fine." I assured her. "Let me try at it. As much as you love your little sister, sometimes, you can't let things like this get in the way of work."

"You're so understanding." She hugged me to express her appreciation. "Thank you so much."

"Anything to take a load off."

I allowed her to be on her way to take care of business while I walked a small distance to Sweetie Belle's room. I was pretty surprised because things seemed to be quiet inside. Nonetheless, I knocked on the door, immediately earning a loud and throat throbbing yell. "GO AWAY!"

Her voice startled me, especially for how upset she sounded. I was even pretty scared to see the look on her face she had at the current moment.

"Sweetie Belle? It's me." I informed. "Can I come in?"

There was what seemed like a long silence.


Hesitating for a bit, I managed to open the door cautiously until I saw Sweetie Belle facing away from me on her bed. Not really wanting to make any noise, I slowly entered and shut the door behind me before I began approaching her. "Hey there, lil' sis." I mentioned in hopes to cheer her up.

"I'm not in the mood, Alex." She answered frankly, striking me in the heart a bit.

"Ouch…" I expressed, still dragging myself over to her. "I've, uh…never really seen you this upset before… What's going on?"

"My sister is what's going on!" Sweetie Belle raised her voice loudly once again. "Why does she always have to make everything about her all the time?! Ugh, I don't believe it. After everything I put up with all week long!" She sat up from her bed in frustration and began mocking a certain pony. "'Sweetie Belle, get me some red ribbon! No, that's not red, that's cherry! No, that's not red, that's cinnamon!' For Pete's sake, it's all red!" She released another angry statement that possibly could have shook the house had it not been for the tiny body it came from.

Recovering from the flinch I have performed due to Sweetie Belle's outburst, I tried to cut in on her ranting. "Sweetie—"

"At least Sapphire Shores won't be all like 'Ooh, who fetched you that red ribbon? Because I don't care about anything else you made. All I care about is that amazing red ribbon!'" She continued.

I never thought she could hold so much in…

I walked over to her bed and sat down next to her. "Sweetie Belle, Rarity is your sister. The only reason she's always so specific and nitpicky is because that's how you pretty much have to be in the fashion world. No designer is going to handle a designer's career if they're that simple with things like colors."

"That's not the point!" Sweetie Belle almost threw off her bed sheets. The point is, whenever I'm supposed to be under the spotlight, she comes and takes it from me! No pony even paid attention to the script I worked so very hard on because they were all staring at the dresses instead! All three of us could have gone up there with no script in mind or acting whatsoever and still be applauded because of our dresses!" She threw her head to her pillow and screamed loudly. The scream itself fortunately came out muffled enough.

"Just calm down, Sweetie Belle." I placed a hoof on her shoulder. "I know your sister didn't mean to 'take the spotlight' and so should you. From what I understand, she made those dresses the way they turned out to be for your benefit. She didn't know they'd be too much of what you wanted. It's just the way she is, and she can't really help it." Sweetie Belle remained silent as she continued to huff out a few more fuming breaths. I looked out the window to see that the sun was no longer visible. "Listen… it's getting late. Just get some sleep, and you can talk to Rarity later about this. She needs to know about how you feel, but it has to wait until after she delivers her order to Canterlot. For now, just please take it easy on her, okay? She has enough to worry about as it is."

"Hmph." She sounded out.

I wasn't sure what else to say. I just hoped she could last until Rarity was finished with work.

"If you want, maybe we can do something together tomorrow until your big sister is free?" I offered. Sweetie Belle continued facing away and curled herself up, metaphorically hiding in her shell. Seeing that I couldn't really do anything anymore, I decided to leave her be for the night. "I guess I'll see you later, Sweetie. Have a goodnight." I got up from her bed and walked away to exit through her door. During the whole process, I didn't seem to hear one peep come from her again.

Hopefully, she just needs some time to cool off…

I sat on the side of my bed as I silently stared at the floor. I thought about how it would work out between Rarity and Sweetie Belle. It wasn't the first time they were in a tough situation, and Rarity had always been able to get herself out a jam when it came to her career. I guess it just kind of bothered me how I knew Sweetie Belle was in such a furious mood, and I didn't do much to alleviate it.

I suppose I needed rest too. Tomorrow is when I would be able to do something more about it.

I began prepping myself to sleep and visit Spirit for the night, stretching and fumbling a bit under the covers. I closed my eyes and allowed the stillness to engulf my ears. The muscles in my body unwinded and felt a bit mushy in relaxation. I continued to wait to lose my awareness until I felt a sort of presence near me.

What felt like a hoof brushed against my forehead, leading me to slowly open my eyes and become startled at the sight of my mother.

"Mom?" I questioned softly yet in surprise.

"Please, excuse my sudden visit." She apologized. "I just…wanted to make sure you were alright." She continued examining me a little bit. "It would appear so."

"Uh-huh…?" I continued looking at her, waiting to see if there was anything else on her mind other than my condition.

"Also…there's something I believe you should…'experience'." She brought up, but I wasn't really quite in the mood to do anything else but sleep, especially since I had already gotten comfy.

"Can that wait until tomorrow?" I asked. "I'm…kind of trying to sleep here."

"Hmph." That last statement caused her to lightly smile for some reason. "If you come with me, you'll still get your sleep."

"Huh?" I questioned. I wasn't really getting at what she was trying to say.

"Alex…" Princess Luna looked at me sincerely. "Would you please accompany me to Canterlot?"

"What?" I sat up to look at her closely. "I don't understand, Mom…"

"Trust me. Please." She held out her hoof and had me stare at it for a moment until I finally decided to take it.

She escorted me to her own bedroom, which puzzled me a bit. What exactly did she need to do that couldn't be done in my own bedroom?

Once her doors were firmly shut, I stood there in somewhat exhausted confusion. While I was curious to what she was up to, I really felt more interested in sleeping instead. "What's going on?" I asked anyway with a yawn.

"Please, lay yourself down and rest, Alex." She offered her bed.

"Oh." I reacted in both surprise and relief. "Okay." I climbed up on the bed and started making myself comfortable as if I was actually spending a night with Princess Luna. I followed my body and closed my eyes. I already began feeling light-headed, but Luna had more to say.

"Wait just a moment, child." She gently stopped, causing me to open my eyes again. She approached me calm-like. "You will be receiving your sleep, but not in the way you're expecting."

"Huh?" I felt too tired to get into the details.

"You recall about my ability in visiting one's dreams, correct?" She questioned.

"Yeah…?" I answered.

"I'd like for you to endure the process and experience it yourself." She explained, practically having me stand up from bed.

"Are you sure I can do that?" I asked, not being familiar with her dream works.

"I believe you can." Luna briefly expressed. "Being a child of mine, you have the potential to raise the moon. You should also hold the capability of undergoing dreams the way I do."

"Uh…" I wasn't too keen on the idea. I understood what she was trying to mean or say, but I never really did feel comfortable when my mother talked about me doing things she usually did. I believed they were things that should be exclusive to her no matter what…unless she was to…yeah… But it was likely something like that wouldn't happen any time soon.

"I understand a loved one is undertaking some difficulties right now." She mentioned, catching my attention. I raised my head at her. Seeing so, she continued. "Sweetie Belle, is it?"

"How do you know about that?" I asked.

"She's been having trouble sleeping." Princess Luna explained and then turned around for a short moment. "And…I do not have a good feeling where this is leading… This is not good at all."

"What?" I began becoming concerned. "Is it affecting her health? I knew she was really upset, but I thought she'd cool off eventually."

She sighed deeply and took her time in answering. "You know what I had to deal with when I felt like I lived in my sister's shadow."

With the one immediate certain mental picture coming into mind, I couldn't see Sweetie Belle doing something as harmful as that. "You really think that, Mom? I know what happened between you and Tia was bad, but Sweetie Belle is just a little girl. I don't think she'd ever do something to hurt her sister."

"Maybe not physically…" Luna turned back to face me seriously. "But when we allow our negative emotions to control us, our anger, envy, and/or hatred, we do certain things without thinking about them or the consequences. We only want to fulfill our blinded desires, but we could care less about the future in the heated moment. Sweetie Belle is a pony like anypony else. And I feel she is just as capable in doing severe damage as anypony else."

I couldn't argue with what she brought up, no matter how much I still couldn't see Sweetie Belle doing something as horrid as Princess Luna was making it seem. But I had to remember that even so, I didn't know everything about Sweetie Belle. I didn't know her whole life-story or everything she felt. Even the nicest pony is capable of being a total jerk, even if the chances are very slim.

"Okay…" I understood and remained silent for a moment until I remembered that the original topic was about dreams. "Wait…so what does Sweetie Belle have to do with the dream thing?"

"You will accompany me into Sweetie Belle's dream." She returned.

It wasn't mind-blowing news honestly. In fact, instead of being shocked or surprised, I remembered the last time I recalled her visiting someone's dream besides mine. "Is this going to be just like that time with Scootaloo?"

"Perhaps." She was unable to give a clear answer. "But mostly everything will be unfamiliar and new to you. I cannot give a good description. You'd have to experience it for yourself."

Almost feeling like sighing, I relaxed back on the bed. "Let's get started then."

Luna nodded her head and stayed close to me. "You will fall asleep. However, the difference is that you'll remain conscious. During this consciousness, you will actually experience a transition that will highly confuse you at first. Keep in mind that you've actually been through this type of transition before, only you weren't conscious to remember or really feel it."

"Uh-huh…" I merely returned.

Princess Luna placed a hoof on me as she continued keeping her eyes on mine. An aura started to lightly form around her horn. "Now, remember. Try to not panic when you're in this transition. Otherwise, you might startle yourself back to unconscious sleep or possibly even endure a worse state."

"Okay…" I began feeling a little queasy. "You're starting to make me feel a little nervous…"

"My apologies." She expressed and soothingly rubbed my body. "Please relax and close your eyes when you are ready. I will take care of the rest."

I took in a deep breath and released it out before beginning whatever she was preparing me for. "Okay." I stated before I closed my eyes and soon felt whatever it was to change me.

After a while…I felt like…wind rushing through my mane. Actually, it was like more towards all of the upper half of my body. All in all, I think the easiest way to compare it to was like…skydiving. I realized my eyes were still closed, and as curious as I was to see what was going on, I decided to open them. However, doing so had me believe I should have kept them shut.

What I saw was immediately frightening as everything transformed in practically a blink of an eye. Not only did the scenery change, but for some reason I was free falling into what appeared to be an endless distance. As for my surroundings…they were pretty unexplainable. It was as if I was in the sky, but there were no clouds or anything…just particular vivid colors.

"What's going on?!" I virtually screamed.

"Stay calm!" I heard my mother direct. She flew over to my side, appearing to have perfect control over the situation. "You mustn't panic or you will startle yourself back awake! Heed control, Alex. Even out your wings and balance yourself as if you were diving towards the ground!" I attempted to calm the out of order emotions inside me and stretched out my wings. I positioned my hooves accordingly and focused on the particular direction I was apparently diving towards. "That's good! You've got it! Just continue to be aware and don't cause any sudden change in your emotions!"

"Uh." I mentioned as I felt as if I was getting nowhere. "Where am I even going?!"

"We are diving into Sweetie Belle's dream, Alex. Notice your surroundings." Luna pointed out.

As she revealed them to me, I noticed everywhere began to subtly shift and change into something new. The colors became gradients of a darker sky, light stars surrounded me, and I began seeing small lights appear in the distance. After getting in a little closer, flashes popped in every now and then, as if they were coming from cameras. Soon, there were spotlights lighting the areas around me.

"And the winner of the "Best Writer, Director, Actor in an Awesome Play Put on by a Pony and Her Awesome Best Friends" goes to..." I began hearing faintly but clearly.

"Sweetie Belle!"

After a moment of hearing cheering, thunder roared and the "night sky" that appeared around me shifted into dark clouds and rain.

"Don't go!" I heard Sweetie Belles voice yell out.

"That's Sweetie Belle!" I stated towards Luna.

"Stop! Why do you have to ruin everything?!" Sweetie Belle cried out.

Princess Luna narrowed her eyes, appearing to focus on something. There had been, what appeared to be, a large dark gray cloud covering our vision in front of us, but Luna began working her magic. The cloud soon disappeared as it cried out in agony like a live pony. "Enough!" She stated sternly.

From there on, everything was clearly visible. We were heading straight towards the ground located outside. And at our speed, it appeared as if we were about to experience a large bundle of pain. However, Luna grabbed my hoof and angled her wings in a certain way, actually slowing down our speed like a parachute. In an expertly performed manner, we ended with a comfortable landing on a walkway, meeting Sweetie Belle who was completely boggled by our arrival.

"H-huh- wha- I-I, h-how are you…?" Sweetie Belle switched her eyes between us in a state of confusion. "Am I dreaming?!"

"What do you think?" Princess Luna responded with.

"Let me see..." Sweetie Belle rubbed her chin to think. You and Alex just rescued me from a maniacal laughing Rarity-cloud. Yeah, probably dreaming."

"That was Rarity?" I asked, turning to my mother for answer.

However, she decided to focus on the real task at hoof. "I understand what you're going through, Sweetie Belle. I too have a sister who often shines more brightly than me, and with this, I have struggled." She placed a hoof on Sweetie Belle's shoulder. "However, having someone in mind to fight for helps cope with this struggle."

She turned to me but did not say anything. She only spread out her wings and began flapping them to fly away from us, seeming to disappear from within the dream. "Wait, come back! Luna? Can you hear me? Thank you for what you did!" Sweetie Belle tried to chase after her and didn't pay attention to the end of the runway.

"Sweetie Belle!" I caught up to her to hold her back from falling.

She seemed to switch her interest towards how I was in her dream as well. "Alex? What's going on? Why are you in my dream too? How are you in my dream?"

"That's…something I can't really answer right now…" I admitted. "How about you and Rarity? It doesn't look like you feel any better about what happened."

"Actually… I feel loads better!" Sweetie Belle contradicted.

"W-what?" I was surprised to hear this, as it kind of went against what Luna said to me. "Really?"

"Yep! I'll be all better in the morning."

I looked at her in question, wondering what she was talking about really meant. However, I heard what sounded like Luna's voice echo inside me. Take her down the runway. Growing curious, I stepped ahead to look down the runway to see something completely different. Sweetie Belle joined me by my side to notice that the few steps had transformed into flights of stairs, leading down a long confused trail of disorientating steps.

"How did that happen?!" Sweetie Belle questioned in shock.

"It's a dream." I answered. "Anything can happen." I gestured her over to my back. "Climb on. I'll take you down there."

"Are we supposed to go down there…?" Sweetie Belle asked a little fearfully as she did so.

"Well… Don't really want to stay in one place in a dream…" I shrugged a bit as I grinned lightly at her. "I mean, why not, right?" Afterwards, I jumped off to carefully descend the flight of stairs, noticing bizarre staircases around the main one we were following. I knew dreams were bizarre at times…but I never really knew how bizarre they actually were when you knew you were dreaming.

Things soon shifted as we partially came across the end of the stairs. We appeared to be at the near-end of the staircase for a home, which didn't look too familiar to me at least.

"Hey, I know where we are!" Sweetie Belle announced as we began seeing little foals excitedly fill up the room at the bottom of the staircase.

"You do?" I asked, just noticing Rarity after.

"I remember this!" Sweetie Belle nodded. "This is my fifth birthday party!" She jumped off my back and raced up the stairs, taking me to a room where another version of Sweetie Belle stood in. However, she was a lot younger. "I decided to make a grand entrance." She explained, pointing out how her younger self was applying lipstick on a little…messily. "I made myself all beautiful, just like my big sister." She didn't seem to notice that the lipstick wasn't exactly applied correctly, even at the age she was at now. Her younger self hopped in into a pair of oversized dress shoes and dragged along the dress she wore that was clearly too big for her as she exited out of her room. This caused her to trip, but she quickly got back up with the same proud smile she wore. "Finally, I was perfect, and then went to the stairs to enter like the belle of the ball." We followed her to the stairs. "When I finally came out of my room, I found the party going on without me." Back in the room that the foals were in, we saw them jumping with joy as Rarity held up party favors. "And I kept posing at the top of the stairs, waiting to be noticed, but all I heard was..."

"These party favors are the coolest!" One of the kids commented, blowing one loudly.

"Awesome! Where did you get these?" Another asked Rarity.

"Made them myself." Rarity answered. "And of course, you'll all want cake, won't you?" She held up a plate with a piece of cake sitting delightfully on it.

This led to a great roar of cheers emerging in the same room.

"You're the greatest, Rarity!" The same foal expressed.

"Who needs a birthday girl when you've got the birthday girl's amazing big sister?" Yet another one that wore glasses mentioned.

The younger version of Sweetie Belle began sniffling as tears brimmed in her eyes. She then ran up the stairs, fell on her bed, and cried at the failure of her actions and intentions to be the "birthday girl". I couldn't help but frown upon this sight, knowing the kind of pain she had gone through.

"That's when I learned 'never try to shine with my big sister around'." She said.

"I'm sorry, Sweetie Belle…" I apologized after seeing the sight she had been in. "But…did you ever think about seeing it from another side besides yours?" I asked, feeling that Rarity wouldn't purposely steal the spotlight from her own sister. Especially on her own birthday party.

"What do you mean?" Sweetie Belle questioned.

"He is saying that perhaps you don't have the whole story." Princess Luna suddenly appeared beside us.

"Huh? Princess Luna?" Sweetie Belle noticed her presence, but didn't stick too long on it. "I thought you said you understood?" She referred to the current situation. "Luna?" She called again when Princess Luna only answered with silence and shut eyes.

Luna then raised a hoof and stomped it fiercely on the ground, causing the background to move quickly in place. The next thing we knew, we were standing inside the room under the staircase, facing into the room that was at the bottom of the stairs.

"Where's Sweetie Belle?" We heard a foal ask.

"I'm sure she'll be along in any moment." Rarity tried to assure.

However, the foals in the room appeared to have been waiting for a long time as they all sat at the table and couch.

"I'm tired of waiting." One of them mentioned after yawning clearly. "I say we get out of here before we all kill over from boredom." The way she pronounced "kill" made it sound more like "keel" instead. "Who's with me?" She received tired nods from the rest of the foals, leading them to begin walking out. "Poor Sweetie Belle. Nopony's gonna come to another one of her parties after this fiasco."

Rarity revealed the internal panic after casting a worried expression from her eyes. "Don't go!" She held her hooves out in front of the doorway leading out the room. "You'll miss out on the, uh, party favors!" She pulled out a box full of these noise-makers and planted them in front of the children. "I was going to save them 'til the end, but..." She began passing them out to achieve their attention.

"These party favors are the coolest!" The same fillies began repeating what I had seen earlier.

"Awesome! Where did you get these?"

"Made them myself. And of course, you'll all want cake, won't you?"

"You're the greatest, Rarity!"

"Who needs a birthday girl when you've got the birthday girl's amazing big sister?" From there, we could see Sweetie Belle run back up the staircase again in remorse. Throughout the entire scene, my mother only seemed to react in an unenthused manner for some reason, making me wonder what was going on in her own head.

"Oh, no-no-no. All of these things were Sweetie Belle's idea. I just assisted with the execution." Rarity gave credit where credit was due.

"I guess Rarity wasn't trying to steal the spotlight." Sweetie Belle now began to reveal her guilt for believing Rarity's behavior was against her. "She was trying to save my party." We turned towards the staircase to see Luna walking through the walls. "Luna?" Not knowing what to do next, I trotted after her, seeing Sweetie Belle stay by my side. As soon as we walked through the same corner Princess Luna did, we were immediately taken towards somewhere else. Our surroundings were…something irregular. In fact, they were very familiar to me. It appeared to be…the same area where Twilight first got her wings! "Luna!" Sweetie Belle went on ahead to chase after Princess Luna, whom continued to be a little mysterious herself with her silent leavings. I chased after Sweetie Belle, coming across an edge where my mother casually dove off of. I stopped behind Sweetie Belle as she looked past the edge in hopes to see any sign of Luna. However, before I could do anything else, it seemed our weight had disproportioned the cliff holding us and caused us to fall in the same space Luna dove through.

If there was any reason or understanding to it, we somehow were now in the water, spotting dolphins and dress forms in the same area. Of course, it being a dream, we were allowed to freely breathe in the water, just as if it was air. In front of us, I could see the transformation of Rarity's boutique, providing a similar, but calmer and smoother, experience like when I was diving into Sweetie Belle's dream. We then easily landed in Rarity's room, where Princess Luna already seemed to be waiting for us.

"Should I hem the cloaks now or wait until I'm there?" We heard Rarity's voice, having me look in front of me to see her worrying with lightly stressed hair. "I could hem them now, but I might have to redo them..." She talked to herself as she looked quickly over her work.

"When was this?" Sweetie Belle asked, not remembering seeing this scene before.

"But if I wait until I'm in Canterlot to hem them, Sapphire Shores might not get the best first impression..." Rarity mentioned, leading me to believe this happened after Sweetie Belle's outburst.

"This must have been after your little argument with Rarity." I stated to Sweetie Belle. "You might have not known, but Rarity was so concerned about you. She wanted to understand what you were going through, Sweetie Belle…" I turned back to Rarity to see her distressing over her work. "But she just couldn't make the time to because of her big order for Sapphire Shores…"

"Ooh... Sapphire Shores is such a big star and such a stickler for details. What if everything's not perfect enough?" Rarity continued, proving my point.

"Funny, I thought I was the only one who got worried about stuff like that…" Sweetie Belle mentioned.

"Oh, buck up, Rarity, stop this foolishness." Rarity snapped herself out of her worrying as she talked to herself in front of the mirror. "You've done your best and left nothing to chance! All that's needed now is a good night's rest." She held up her sleeping mask as she made herself comfortable in bed. "I just hope everything went alright with Alex and Sweetie Belle…" She sighed and placed on her mask to lie on her bed and turn out the lights.

Sweetie Belle sighed, seeming to have turned over a new leaf with her attitude against Rarity."I hope everything goes alright for her tomorrow."

"Hm. How curious you should say that." Princess Luna stated weirdly and turned over to the side of the darkened room where a door of light revealed itself. "Go. Go see what the future holds if you fail to rein in your worst instincts, as I once did."

The light grew brighter, blinding me of my vision for a moment before a room appeared before my eyes again. I saw Sapphire Shores and what appeared to be a bunch of back-up dancers with her. I was standing at the doorway of the room with my mother, hearing Rarity speak from the catwalk. "And here it is! The créme de la crème…"

"Noooo!" Sweetie Belle suddenly cried out, trying to reach out, but it seemed she was literally glued to the floor.

"Mom, what's going on?!" I turned to her for an answer.

She held a hoof in front of me to prevent me from moving.

"What needs to be done." She returned seriously.

"The piéce de resistance..." Rarity continued.

"Don't!" Sweetie Belle shouted.

Rarity pulled out the headdress she had made the night before and placed it on top of Sapphire Shore's head. However, it was quick to completely fall apart, alarming and surprising everyone in the room.

"The headdress!" Rarity stated in shock and disbelief, earning a completely disappointed and irritated look from Sapphire Shores.

"Looks like I made a mistake here." The pony of pop told the pony next to her.

"But, but this is impossible!" Rarity held up the feathers of her headdress as she knelt on the floor in surprise. "I, I, I checked and rechecked everything! This couldn't have happened!"

"You sure about that, honey?" Sapphire Shores shook her head with rather a lack of sympathy.

"Please, you must believe me!" Rarity begged.

"Listen to my sister!" Sweetie Belle requested, but they all didn't listen and proceeded to laugh at Rarity.

Everything began becoming distorted, and Sweetie Belle was falling and fading away from me. "Sweetie Belle!" I held out my hoof in fear and progressed to run after her after things seemed to go hectic.

"Alex, wait!" Luna called out. "You're not supposed to go in there!"

Her voice drained out as I had now been separated from the both of them. From the darkness I resided in, I could see many images being thrown chaotically around, but it was the sound coming from these pictures that terrified me the most. The first was Rarity's crying, and it literally all began feeling like a nightmare as I felt myself lose control of everything.

I then heard Sweetie Belle scream horribly. "I don't wanna see any more!"

"Always check and recheck!" Rarity's voice sounded.

"Who all wants to hear a funny story about my ex-costume designer?" Sapphire Shore's was next.

"Check, recheck, recheck, then recheck!"

"Make it stop! Princess Luna, can you hear me?!"

"Make me a dress, Rarity, please?"

"Go away! You know I don't do that anymore!"

"Wake me up, Princess Luna, wake me up, wake me uuuup!"

I had closed my eyes, desperately not wanting to hear any of these voices and sounds anymore. At the moment, it felt as if it was the worst torture/pain I had ever felt. It wasn't until I strained my eyes so much, everything eventually halted. My heart was pounding like crazy, and I felt sweat dripping from my face…almost as if I…woke up from the nightmare?

I slowly opened my eyes, afraid that the nightmare might still be in front of me.

But it wasn't…

However, I was still in a place I wasn't supposed to be in.

As I took a good look around at the spot I was standing still on, I realized that out of all places, the one I was in was the last place I wanted to be in.

"This is…" I didn't want to say the next word waiting to come out…but even so, I felt the need to acknowledge it. "…Fillydelphia."

I had no clue what I should have done. Should I have waited for Princess Luna? What if she didn't find me? Was I still even in a dream? If so, then who's? All these questions bugged me, and I didn't think I could stand just standing around while staring at the place I hated the most. So, I began walking, unfortunately taking sight of what I passed by.

When I did, I began remembering the past, reinforcing my hate for the town even more. I didn't know if it was possible to just ignore everything and look for a way out, but either way, it was hard for me to do so. I don't know why I couldn't just let it go. During my walk, I looked at mostly every building, weirdly able to remember what it was used for and the events that partook around and inside. I even saw the candy shop and other things that were from the drawing made when I was with Twilight. Oh, how annoying it was to know how good of a memory I had of everything in town.

I came across this grate on the floor. Of course, it was used for the rain and prevented the streets from getting flooded. However, it was broken, and it seemed that somepony had placed a plank over it to prevent the possibility of anypony falling in. Huh… I began getting a bad vibe from the specific spot, so I walked away from it.

Eventually, I came across the area that would be used for big events, such as parades or showings. Carnivals and festivals. Warm "get-togethers" for the town. Things I never attended.

I sighed. I was already starting to feel angry at the memories that I never really made. At that point, I questioned to why I was there in the first place. I needed to hear myself talk, so I spoke my thoughts out loud.

"Why am I here in this stupid place?" I asked. "Out of any place, this is it." I crossed my forelegs on the ground. "I hope it isn't getting to me… After all…that drawing of Fillydelphia came out of nowhere… I'm…I'm not even sure if it came from me…" I sighed again. "What's wrong with me…?" I suddenly felt another vibe, and it was really bugging me. I felt like somepony was watching me…watching me with bad intentions. I looked up to see a figure up above one of the buildings in the town. After a second, I realized that it just wasn't a figure. It was the thief I lost last time back in Ponyville! "Hey!" I called out. He didn't show any reaction. However, as soon as I stepped forward, he turned and began running off. I growled and clenched my teeth. "You're not getting away from me this time…!" I spread out my wings and began my search for him.

Even with my wings, this thief was smart. After I spotted his location, he jumped down into yet another alley. Even so, I still won't have the trouble from my bandaged wings to slow me down. I followed him and landed on the ground to continue to chase him. From in the alley, he kicked down some crates and barrels, but I reacted by blasting them away with my magic.

He took me on a stupid chase once again, drifting from corner to corner. I promised Spirit I would get her hoodie back, so this lowlife wasn't going to get away if that's what he thought. He continued to try to slow me down at what seemed to be with little effort actually. What bothered me more is that he seemed more interested in defiantly messing with me. This included taking risks of being caught as he purposely waited when he had the lead.

It wasn't until he weirdly led me back to the event center of town. As soon as I entered the area, I didn't continue finding him as I expected to. At first, I sort of brushed off the possibility of losing him and saw it as another time to be screwed with. I stopped in the middle, turning my head and scanning around as I tried to catch my breath. However, as I searched around the area I didn't find him as quick as I hoped. My teeth clenched as I now began realizing that I might have lost him yet again. "Come on…!" I exclaimed softly. "This is so annoying!" I wanted to scream out loud. As I continued breathing in and out, I felt myself calm down nonetheless.

Just as I felt the need to give up and walk away to find the exit to this place, I suddenly heard an echo of hoofbeats behind me, quickly having me turn to look. It was him… He was tapping his fore hooves on the ground as if he was applauding me. But to me, it was pretty clear he was still mocking me, so I only glared back at him with a face that was ready to settle this unfinished business. After he was done, he began walking to me in silence. He walked a few steps before he stopped another few steps away from me.

We stared at each other in silence. Even though I was unable to see his eyes because of the hoodie he wore over his head, I was seriously glaring at where they should have been. I waited several seconds for him to say something, but he didn't. So, I decided to speak up.

"What's your deal?" I asked in a calm anger. "Why do you have Spirit's hoodie? And why have you been creeping around me?"

Coolly, he turned his head around and reached for something on him. I didn't take my eyes off him, so I noticed as he pulled out something…odd. It looked like this foam thing that seemed to be safely swung around. It also appeared to resemble something familiar. The only thing I could have gotten from this was that it was yet another thing he stole from somepony else…Spirit? Nevertheless, he surprising threw it towards me.

I looked at it in wonder, but quickly darted my eyes back to him to make sure he didn't do anything sudden. He didn't though. He just seemed to continue looking my way. I wanted to take a closer look at this object, so while cautiously keeping my eyes on him, I picked it up with my magic. I placed it in the same direction as the thief was so I would still be able to have him in my sight. As I began to briefly analyze the object, something strange began happening. My head was buzzing and even kind of stinging. It felt just like that time I saw Twilight wearing a flower in her mane…only it was a little worse. It lasted longer, and it was causing me to clench a hoof to my head. Something in my brain just seemed to not want to work. It didn't want to work with whatever I was holding.

However, the pain and bothersome twisting managed to fade away, but it left me feeling very angry for some reason. This feeling didn't feel like me. It felt like I was angry for no reason at all. When I was able to put my hoof back down to the ground, I continued staring at this object. Then, I growled softly and breathed short fumes through my nostrils.

"What's going on?!" I almost screamed out and threw the object against the floor, feeling a sudden state of confusion as well.

The thief continued to remain silent, and only retrieved the object back from the floor. There was something about this guy… I didn't think he was just a thief anymore… It was much more than that… It was then when I finally heard something from him…a short chuckle. He held this foam thing with his mouth and only stared at me as he continued to mock me.

Being in the state I was, I couldn't refuse just knocking his lights out. "Okay, fine! You asked for it!"

As soon as I said that, he stretched out his legs and prepared himself. Judging from his stance, it looked like he was wanting this. But I didn't care. I just really wanted to hurt this pest.

Before he actually did anything, something happened that caught me off-guard. That foam sword-like object began warping, specifically with what appeared to be darkness. Whoever this pony was…he was definitely more than just an average thief… and I was getting the impression that it was more than Spirit's hoodie he wanted.

He lowered his head slowly and then suddenly lunged out at me. I only quickly jumped over to the side to avoid the attack. Even after the missing the lunge, he appeared to remain his cool. He seemed to not be frantic with keeping me in his sights.

I went on ahead to hit him with what I had…but he just took it. I didn't hear him grunt or show any evidence of pain. His body only went with the motions of receiving the hits. Afterwards, he continued on using his strange but intimidating weapon to swing at me. This time, he was being quick with his attacks. Before I could have enough time to recover, he begin swinging again. When I finally received the chance to push on forward, he only easily stepped to the side to avoid it.

He then took his turn, but I backed up as much as I could to have him miss. When I went on to attack yet again, he dodged it by merely an inch and struck me with his weapon. I released a gasp of breath as I pulled back from the hit. There was this pain that was lasting a lot longer than it should have been, but I couldn't let that stop me. Oddly enough, this weapon didn't seem to actually cut me or anything…just cause me this longing pain.

I looked up as the thief patiently waited in front of me to make my move. I growled in anger and jumped forward to now use my magic. However, in that second, he kicked away my horn and slashed at me again, striking my wings at my side. Overall, it was a successful two-hit move that left me griping internally in pain even more.

This time, he didn't wait. He went on ahead to pounce towards me, leading me to quickly jump away while trying to ignore the longing pain. Going for another magical attack, I readied my horn as I lunged my head towards him, but he quickly hopped to the side around me. Before I could turn, he struck me yet again. As I released a small groan of hurt, I angrily lifted my hind legs to kick him. As I stretched them out, he swiftly stepped to the side to avoid it again.

My heart was beginning to beat irregularly, signaling distress for my body. It was as if the thief knew of my condition, now waiting as if to give me a break. Oh, he just loved messing with me, didn't he? I shook my head to try to ignore the pain. I lifted off from the ground to try attacking from above with my magic. But it was as if he had anything I could do planned already. He dashed underneath and struck me under.

There was something about his weapon that made each hit too hard to endure. It wasn't just like being punched or struck with an average weapon. For some reason, it was a lot more incapacitating that didn't fall on pain. I was kicked out from flying as my wings glued to my body. I landed harshly as my body responded with quicker heart beats. To prove further that it wasn't just pain, my heart felt afraid and scared. I would still be able to get up and fight if it was normal pain, but… I just couldn't explain any of it!

The thief now stood still and crossed his forelegs to show that he was waiting for me to get up, possibly silently laughing underneath the hoodie that was covering his face. He began walking to me as I tried to deal with my heart's condition. As he grew close, I decided to attack with all that I could. I pushed him with a flash of my magic and then kicked him with my hind legs.

As he balanced himself on his hooves, his weapon began moving away from the mouth he carried it with. It was now levitating and more darkness sprouted from within. Unexpectedly, it flew towards me and swung by itself as if it had been a ghost doing the deed instead. I tried to avoid it as much as I could expect, but at one point, I had no other choice but to try to grab ahold of the bat. It was still a mistake doing so, as my horn stung with a similar feeling as before the fight. I placed a hoof to my head and practically fell to my knees.

At first, he waited, but then it seemed he realized he didn't want to wait anymore. He began walking towards me as I tried to cope. As he drew by my side, he raised his weapon and pointed at it me. I moved my hoof to my chest, desperately calling out assistance from my heart. Just about as he was going to perhaps stab/finish me off, this light flashed before both our eyes. It seemed to blind him for a moment as he placed a hoof in front of his face. Taking this opportunity, I tried to aim my legs towards the perp's head and gave the hardest kick I could.

The weapon he held dropped to the ground and faded away. He was facing away from me, as if the impact of my kick really got him. Nevertheless, he turned around slowly as he released a sound. "Hmph." Once he faced me with his darkened face, he actually proceeded to talk for the first time. "Not bad, Alex."

The sound of his voice stuck with me, even though he vanished without sparing another word. The sound of his voice was so…dark…and it was clear to tell that he had no good intentions whatsoever. Just by the sound of his voice…it seemed all he was aiming for was pure destruction and chaos…but not with a booming and powerful tone. It was more like…softly sinister.

I then began hearing my name, and my surroundings began moving like the waves of water. Everything seemed to begin to fall apart, and like magic, the next thing I knew was waking up from a dark cover.

"Alex!" I heard and then felt my cheeks being squished. My mother's face was the first thing I saw in front of me. "Where in Equestria did you go?! I couldn't find you!"

I lightly pulled away her hooves on my cheeks and then placed a hoof on my forehead. "I don't know…" I answered as I groaned. "I…couldn't tell if I was still in a dream or not."

"You must have been." Luna returned. "You were still asleep…but why couldn't I find you?"

I shook my head. "I don't know… I don't know what happened."

"Are you okay?" She continued her concern for me. "Are you feeling well?"

"Yeah…I think so."

She then concluded her worry with a great embrace, clenching me tightly but not to the point of choking me. "Never do that again."

"What?" I asked as I didn't know what she was talking about at the moment..

"When Sweetie Belle was being shown what would happened if she did not fix the situation. You dove into something you were not supposed to be in." She sighed greatly. "I didn't know what to do. Even I didn't know where you would go or what would happen to you."

"Sorry…" I apologized.

"It's fine…" Luna pulled away while continuing to hold on to me. "Just don't do it again…please." She seriously requested as she intently looked at my eyes.

"Yeah…" I nodded a bit weakly.

She let go and stood up to face her door. "We must go now."

"To where?" I questioned.

"Sweetie Belle. We aren't finished with her issue yet."

"Oh." I remembered. "Right..."

Princess Luna escorted me into this specific building in Canterlot. A bodyguard had allowed us through for obvious reasons. I realized that it must have been the building Sapphire Shores and her dancers were in, considering it was guarded, of course. Luna stopped once we were inside this certain room.

"Now what?" I asked.

"We wait." She sat.

"Oh…for Sweetie Belle?"

"Mm-hm." She nodded and pulled out a pink thread, along with a needle.

"What's that for?"

"Just a little something to seal the deal for Sweetie Belle." She responded. Remembering that the headdress had fallen in the dream, I assumed it had something to do with that. It wasn't until we heard muffled scuffling outside the room when Luna prepared herself for an encounter. "That's her."

Sweetie Belle bashed through the door and slammed it shut to catch her breath. However, her eyes widened immensely when she noticed us. Luna reacted with a small smile. "Oh, good!" Sweetie Belle allowed herself to relax. "This is just a dream!"

"Actually, no. This is very much real." Luna contradicted.

Sweetie Belle sighed and rested herself on the box she had brought, which I just realized was the box Rarity had placed the headdress in for her lineup. "Oh, Luna... I wish none of this ever happened... What am I gonna do?"

"Let's begin with this." Princess Luna held up the thread and needle she had been carrying, even taking the second to place the thread in the hole of the needle with her magic. "And I think I know how you can even improve it." She mentioned as she opened the box while Sweetie Belle held the thread and needle with her mouth. She pulled out the headdress and presented it to all of us. "Would you like to do the stitching?" She asked Sweetie Belle.

"Oh, yes, please!" Sweetie Belle answered with great enthusiasm.

She was just about to insert the needle into the particular spot of the headdress until Luna stopped her. "Wait for just a moment."

"What is it?"

"Do it like this." Princess Luna pointed out in a specific path.

Sweetie Belle seemed to wonder why, but she performed according to her instructions nonetheless. She trusted her.

After Sweetie Belle had sewn it in, she wiped her forehead in relief. "There. It's finished." She gasped suddenly. "I need to take this back!" She placed it on her back. "Thank you so much!" She waved as she smiled back at us, exiting out the room.

"So…she had taken out the hidden stitch Rarity needed, otherwise the headdress would fall apart?" I asked, seeing the connection.

"Yes. Out of anger. That is a mistake I would never like to see again." Luna replied.

"Wow…" I looked at the floor, thinking about how bad it could have been. "Just during the heat of the moment…ruining another pony's life…that's so…"

She placed a hoof on my chest in hopes to stop me from thinking like that. "Let us be grateful we helped just in time."

"It was you, really… I just kind of watched…" I admitted.

Princess Luna smiled softly and rubbed her head against mine. "Come now. Let us see the result." She led me out the back of the room.

My mother took me upstairs to remain out of sight in another room while we observed the inside of the one Sapphire Shores was in. It seemed the building had at least another pair of stairs as we noticed Rarity and Sweetie Belle make their way up back in the same room.

"Sorry! Sorry!" Rarity apologized as she carried the box holding the headdress over to Sapphire Shores. "My sister, Sweetie Belle, just had rushed in to add a little finishing touch to perfect what I made for you."

However, Sapphire Shores didn't return a relaxed or forgiving face. She didn't look too happy with what must have happened with the interruption. In fact, Sapphire Shores began referring to the situation as Rarity placed the box down and grabbed a nearby mirror. "Rarity, this isn't going to work out. You don't get to my level of success without learning to read the signs, and this situation has bad luck written all over it."

Rarity and Sweetie Belle both flinched in slightly visible horror when they heard this. But Rarity didn't give up so easily. "I promise you'll absolutely adore the headdress as soon as you see it!" She assured and then proceeded to reveal the headdress she had made for Sapphire Shores. She placed it on her head and pulled the mirror closer to her.

Once Sapphire Shores was allowed to see herself with the headdress on, she gave a second thought to her feelings. "My, it is attractive, but..."

"Look at the stitching!" Sweetie Belle pointed. "Real close."

Sapphire Shores almost reluctantly did so, but she began staring straight at the stitching that was embroidered at the center of her headdress. "Well, I'll be. It's a dolphin!" She immediately recognized. "That's my lucky animal! They swim with me in my dreams."

"Wherever did you come up with the idea for a dolphin?" Rarity asked Sweetie Belle out of curiosity.

"Oh, it just came to me..." Sweetie Belle looked away and noticed us in the other room observing them. "…in a dream." Princess Luna closed her eyes and nodded silently at Sweetie Belle. Sweetie turned back around to face her sister. "I'm sorry I got jealous about those dresses. I know now that you were only trying to help."

"Oh, Sweetie, I forgive you! But my friends and I never did get to see your play. Any chance we could catch an encore performance?" Rarity requested.

"Uh, I don't think the play went all that good." Sweetie Belle scoffed lightly in laughter. "To be honest, the costumes were the best part."

Sweetie Belle then embraced Rarity, receiving a heartfelt "Awww!".

"Rarity!" Sapphire Shores approached her, continuing to wear her outfit. "Despite what happened here today, you do never fail to impress me! After all, you are my favorite designer."

"Oooh." Rarity almost looked like she wanted to faint from that statement. "You don't know how happy that makes me."

"Oh!" Sapphire Shores released, seeming to appear as if she forgot something. "Almost forgot. There's still one other pony that needs to try on that last outfit you made her." She turned around to face the door Rarity and Sweetie Belle had come in through. "Starlight, you hear me? Come on in here!"

My heart jumped as I reacted with stretched eyes.

Rarity seemed to be a bit surprised herself, but not as much as I was.

Holding not much of an expression, she walked in the room. She almost even looked like Maud, but she still had a little expression in her face nonetheless. She didn't say anything, but only looked at Sapphire Shores with a questioning expression.

"Come here and see what I got you for your big show!" Sapphire Shores called, bringing her over to the last dress Rarity had made. The one that stood out from all of the rest. Rarity stood silent throughout the entire moment while Sweetie Belle didn't really have a clue on what was going on. I wasn't sure if Starlight had seen Rarity yet, but she only followed Sapphire Shores to see the dress. "What do you think?" She asked with a smug look on her face.

Starlight placed a hoof under the dress, which Rarity seemed to look a little disgusted/offended by. "It's nice, I guess." Starlight returned, sounding like she lacked a bit of energy. I glanced over to Rarity, whom didn't spare a word. "I was just going to throw on a loose shirt and some shorts though…"

"Don't be silly, girl!" Sapphire Shores countered the lack of liveliness Starlight provided. "You're playing at the Equestria Games, you've got to wear something new!" She turned her head to Rarity. "You can thank my favorite designer for it."

Starlight turned and faced Rarity. The two stared at each other for a few seconds, which I'm sure must have felt like minutes. Starlight didn't seem to react negatively. She only turned back and muttered the word. "Thanks."

Feign or not, Rarity chuckled lightly and friendly. "Well, Sweetie Belle and I better be off back to Ponyville. Please, let me know if there's anything else you'd like!"

"Of, course! Keep up the great work, Rarity!" Sapphire Shores responded while Starlight continued to observe the dress silently.

"Will do!" Rarity said before she brought Sweetie Belle out of the room and most likely left.

"Would you like to get going now, Alex?" Princess Luna asked.

"No…no…" I answered. "I mean…I'm going to stay for just a minute…"

I didn't mind if my mother had left, but she decided to stick with me. Perhaps it was because of the way I was acting.

"Go on! Try it on!" Sapphire Shores insisted. Calmly, Starlight did so. She then stood in front of the mirror to observe herself in it, but she still don't bother offering any word on it. "Oh, you look just adorable!"

"Hmph." She released briefly.

Sapphire Shores took the liberty to observe Starlight all around as well. "Have you ever thought about changing your look a bit?"

"'Changing my look'?" Starlight asked with a hint of raised awareness.

"Well, for all this time, you've been performing with that bang over your eye, honey. I understand you into the whole punk rock genre, but did you ever think about doing something different with your mane?"

"No." She answered flatly.

"Aw, come on now." Sapphire Shores encouraged. "Look here, let me see if I can do something with it."

Sapphire Shores was just about to lay her hoof on Starlight's mane, but she suddenly pulled away while crying out. "No!" This both shocked Sapphire Shores and caught the attention of her backup dancers. Starlight noticed this and released a calming breath. "I mean…no… I just… don't want anypony to see that side of my face."

This brought seriousness into Sapphire Shore's eyes. "Are you alright? What's wrong with that part of your face? Did somepony hit you?"

"No, no." Starlight brushed away. "It's just… I don't want to talk about it."

"Are you sure?" Sapphire Shores asked.

"Yeah… I'm fine… It's nothing to worry about." She looked back at the mirror and sighed greatly. "I don't even know if I want to perform at the Equestria Games… I think I might cancel…"

"What are you talking about?!" Sapphire Shores quickly jumped in. "This is practically an event of a lifetime! You can't throw away this opportunity!"

"I don't know… I just haven't been feeling it lately…" Starlight continued staring tiredly at her reflection.

"You've still got quite a while before the show, honey. Have you been taking it easy?"

"Aside from band practice and all that junk, yeah, kind of."

"Try taking a week off, and then get back on track. Sometimes, it helps taking a break." Sapphire Shores suggested.

"Hm. Maybe…" Starlight shared before I felt I had enough.

"Come on…" I told my mom. "Let's go."

"She looked kind of worried for the way I acted…but I think she kind of knows about the tense situation between her and me. She just doesn't know exactly what it is." I told Spirit about how concerned my mom was after seeing Starlight. Afterwards, I sighed and shook my head as some drops of my ice cream fell towards the long drop below. "Man…what a day."

"Trust me." Spirit returned with a confident tone. "I know that feeling."

"What about you?" I asked, remembering the note she had left. "Have you been feeling alright?"

"Yeah." She nodded as she licked her lips from the last bite of her ice cream. "It was just one of those days where you don't feel so good at the moment."

"Well, I'm glad it wasn't worse." I took a bite out of my ice cream as well, feeling it soften up from the warmth of the sunset. "Sorry I didn't check up on you last night." I apologized. "I actually spent the night experiencing dreams with my mom. We went into Rarity's little sister's dream."

"Why?" Spirit asked.

"She was having this kind of fight with Rarity. Rarity didn't even really understand what was going on herself. It was just one way of resolving it, I guess." I took another bite. "Man…Sweetie Belle sure is growing up…"

"We all do…" Spirit added.

Just then, I realized I had forgotten something important, and just the thought made me groan in annoyance. This caught Spirit's attention, leading me to explain what it was. "I just remembered…" I recalled. "At one point of the dream thing, something weird happened. I couldn't tell if I was still in a dream or not, but I was like…transported to Fillydelphia or something." I glanced over to Spirit, whom now had her mouth open as if she was interested, shocked, or surprised. "That's not the worst part. I saw that thief again! I don't know how he got in there, but I eventually caught him." I paused. "…or did he let me catch him?" I shook it off, wanting to get back to the point. "Either way, I fought him and…ugh." I groaned again. "I have no idea what's going on! This guy was so…off…out of it. At first, I used to think he was just some lowlife thug, but there's something about it that bothers me! He turned this foam sword thing or whatever into a dark weapon that actually hurt!" I sighed and then realized something. "Wait a minute… Maybe it was all just a dream? An illusion? But his voice… I never heard his voice…"

"You heard his voice…?" Spirit inquired.

"Yeah…" I answered. "But…it was really like…dark, deep, and mysterious… If it really was all unreal, then maybe it just came out of nowhere…" I shook my head again in confusion. "I don't know… It felt pretty real and intentional to me…"

"Maybe it was just a dream…" Spirit offered. "I don't see how some random guy that takes stuff can grow dark powers."

"Maybe…"I felt a little like ignoring what happened. "But I'm not going to let it go completely until I'm sure of what happened. I still have to get your hoodie back after all."

She didn't answer to that right away. Instead, she surprised me with her next sentence. "Hey, Alex… I have something I need to ask you…"

"What is it?" I replied attentively.

"I've, um, been thinking… Well… You know how there are things I've been keeping from you?"


"Well…" She took another moment. "Say I was…ready to…um…tell at least a few… Would you be angry? Or not believe me if it was the case for such feelings?"

"Hm…" I took a moment to think about it. "Well… Honestly, I feel like I've known you enough to trust you about pretty much anything. About the angry part? I can't tell. I can't say that for whatever you tell me, I won't get angry because it's hard to control such a feeling. It's not like I can just shut off the angry switch." I laughed a little. "Even if I did get angry, or angry at you specifically, I'm pretty sure I couldn't stay upset for long with you." I stopped and looked at her for an answer for bringing up such a thing. "Why? Were you really thinking about telling me some of your secrets?"

She giggled. "Maybe… I don't know. I kind of…feel like…you know. I'm just scared of what you might think." She sighed and shook her head. "I don't know. Now, I'm starting to have mixed feelings. It's really bothering me."

"Hm. I'd really like getting to know you more, Spirit. I really do. Like where you come from or how it was we got to meet in the first place. Things like that."

"Wow." She responded. "I actually could answer all of that with one sentence really…"

"Really?" I questioned, immediately intrigued.

"Yeah…" She pulled back a little. "Well, we'll see. I'm still thinking about it." She turned towards the sunset. "But, you know… Just maybe…"

"Here's me hoping to that." I held up my ice cream and took a bite.

Spirit chuckled a little. After, she stuck the ice cream in her mouth and took a rather large bite. In a moment, she held her hoof to her forehead and wiggled her back hooves as she strained the look on her face. "Aah! Brain freeze!" She then began laughing out loud at her silliness, leading me to join in gently.

For some reason, I felt like Spirit would have been the perfect friend to have during my school years. In fact, she probably would been the only thing worth staying at that town for…

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