• Published 28th Jun 2012
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A New Hero - Alex The Lone Wolf



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

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Castle Sweet Castle

I found out I woke up earlier than Alex did when I saw him still sleeping in bed. How could he not be excited about the pancakes like I was?! Pancakes are super delish and with Pinkie Pie making them, they had to have all sort of sugary goodness to them!

As soon as those pancakes came to mind, I swear my mouth already started watering and my stomach grumbled. It was pretty earlier in the morning, but I was just so energetic and excited that I couldn't wait anymore.

"Alex~~! Alex~~!" I chirped, shaking him with my hooves. "Get up! I want some pancakes!"

He grumbled and groaned until he opened his eyes and saw me. "What…?" He mumbled half-asleep.

"We're having pancakes this morning remember!?" I reminded.

He took his time giving a response. "Yeah…when Pinkie Pie gets here. What time is it?" He sat up and looked around.

"I couldn't sleep." I briefly explained the reason for the early wake-up call. "C'mon! Let's go set the table so we get to eating as soon as she gets here!"

"There's nothing to set." He softly argued. "The table and chairs are there."

I puffed out my right cheek and shared a pretty dissatisfied frown. "You're no fun."

"I'm cranky. I want to go back to sleep." He said and turned away from me in his bed.

I stared at him for a bit to see if he would do anything else, but he seemed pretty glued to his word. I decided to sneak and sort of snuggle up by his side. "Well then, I'm gonna stay right here until you finally get out of bed!"

"Fine with me…" He mumbled so softly, I hardly heard it.

I was hoping he would somehow object to this and it would eventually lead him in getting out of bed, but he didn't look like he was moving. I sighed and felt defeated.

I guess you can't win them all.

I turned myself outwards facing the end of the bed. I pushed myself in a little further and began to feel my back graze against his. My body froze for a second, but ironically, I immediately felt a warmth envelop me.

I remember this feeling.

At first, I was pretty disappointed that he didn't want to get up as early as I did, but now that I was here with a warmth covering me like a blanket, I didn't want to move. In fact, I think I was willing to sacrifice the pancake breakfast if I could stay like this longer.

It seemed he really didn't mind it at all since he remained in the same position he had put himself in. It felt like he had already dozed off. I scooched in a little closer and stopped when I was satisfied enough. It wasn't that I didn't have enough room. I just wanted to feel him a little more because I can't remember the last time we'd been close like this.

I'm not talking about simply a hug or so. I mean a time where the two of us can just relax together and possibly sleep like babies. It's been so long, but on the contrary, I suppose technically I'd have to say that it never happened…

It's my turn to finally have a moment where I can just be close to him. I know he doesn't understand why this is so important to me…and he probably never will. But I guess I'll just have to deal with that for the rest of our lives.

It sucks, but I can't blame anyone but myself for that.

But just know I did it for you.


The next thing I knew was that I was slowly opening my eyes and feeling a little dazed. Something had been messing with my cheek, and it wasn't until I saw Alex's teasing smirk when I found out what it was.

"Look at you." He grinned. "Weren't you the one who wanted me to get up for pancakes?"

I was still sleepy from having been woken up, so I didn't respond back as wittily as I wanted to. I really only sat up and rubbed my eyes lazily. "I got comfortable…"

Alex turned his head away and brought up a tissue to my face with his magic. "You've still got a little…you know…"

"Huh?" I wondered about until he delicately wiped the tissue at the corner of the mouth. "I was drooling?!" I exclaimed in shock, immediately almost feeling entirely embarrassed.

"Just a little." Alex's smile stretched as if he was having a kick out of my reaction.

"No way." I continued to rub the same area with my hooves even though Alex had already finished. "I don't drool." I know it sounded like I was in denial, but it was true. I didn't!

"You must be really hungry, huh? Thinking about those pancakes in your sleep."

"Maybe…" I returned faintly. I really didn't want to keep talking about drooling…

Either way, Alex didn't say anything anymore, but the look on his face shifted oddly. From his smile, he began looking a little concerned. "Hey…did you see Twilight come home last night?"

"I don't think so. I was with you the whole time."

"That's weird." Alex placed a hoof to his chin as he thought. "I don't think I saw her at all last night. Maybe she went to bed early. Or…she locked herself in her room reading books…"

"Maybe." I shrugged. I guess I wasn't as concerned as he was.

"Anyways." Alex seemed to shrug it off. "So, how you feeling about eating with the others?"

I actually physically shrugged in response with a mumble. It felt wrong to feel like this, but it kind of bothered me when he brought up the subject of the other girls. I mean, I know they were his friends, but I guess I couldn't help but just be interested in only him.

"I don't mean to sound pushy or anything, but I'd figure you might get to talking a little more with the others at the table. "His eyes suddenly opened wide as he looked like he thought up of a great idea. "I got it! Why not start with Pinkie Pie? You can thank her for the delicious breakfast she's going to bring us and continue to chat from there. After all, she's like the friendliest and most outgoing pony there is. She might be a little weird at times, but you two have a lot in common really." He chuckled softly.

I just couldn't feel the same enthusiasm he felt when it came up to this subject. He wanted me to make friends with the others so bad, but all I really cared about was him. The only pony I wanted to spend time with was him. Making friends with any other pony else felt really unnecessary…

"Mmm…" I stared down at the floor where my hooves were and slightly fumbled with them.

Alex noticed my silence and sighed slightly. "I get how you feel. I think… But I really think this is good for you. To put shortly, they each have something to offer that you can't get from anypony else. That's the best way I can put it for now."

"But what if you know there's only one thing you really want?" I asked and then silently figured that it might have been too much to say.

"Like what?" He questioned.

"Never mind." I shook my head. "Okay, I'll try talking to Pinkie Pie."

I wasn't totally sure what Alex was thinking when it came to me making more friends. It wasn't that I was shy. It was more that I was…uncomfortable with the idea, if that made sense. I couldn't put it to words, and even if I could, it probably wouldn't be the right thing to say to Alex.

Either way, I had to admit that I felt much better when the sight of Pinkie Pie's pancakes filled my eyes. I had never seen anything that looked so freaking delicious and made me want to gobble it all up in one bite. My eyes felt like they sparkled and glittered in all of its glory as they slowly drew closer to the mountain of chocolate chips, sprinkles, whipped cream, strawberries, blueberries, you name it!

I felt myself unable to control the movement of my mouth and right before I was going to take a bite, Pinkie Pie exclaimed out.

"Where's Twilight?!" She looked around the dining room, seeing that one pony was not at their seat.

"I'd think she'd be up by now…" Alex took a look around the room for himself.

"Do you think she got enough sleep…?" Fluttershy worriedly asked.

"Good question. I didn't see her come in last night." Alex informed. "I thought she might have already gone to sleep but…she isn't up…" He pushed himself away from the table and stood up. "I'll go check on her." He proceeded to walk away and out of the room, having me slowly turn back to the group he'd left me with.

They began talking within themselves, and I couldn't help but feel like keeping quiet since I had no absolute idea on what to say. It was almost as if I was just born yesterday.

"Can't we start eating already, Pinkie?" Rainbow Dash asked.

"Nuh-uh!" Pinkie shook her head. "Not until everypony is here!"

"C'monnnn."

"You wouldn't like it if we ate without you, would you?" Pinkie reasoned with a smile.

Rainbow Dash sighed and crossed her forelegs as she looked away with a frown.

I remembered what I told Alex about talking to Pinkie Pie, and if I didn't keep my word, I'm sure I'd never hear the end of it.

"Mm…" I began, looking at the plate of pancakes laid out in front of me. "Great pancakes, Pinkie Pie." I somewhat nervously complimented.

"Thanks!" She eagerly accepted. "I sure put in a lot of Pinkie love for each and every one of you!"

But you hardly know me…right? "Ah…" I merely answered.

Either way, I at least managed to talk to Pinkie Pie, so I guess I could technically say I kept my word.

It wasn't too long before the doors to the dining room opened and Alex walked in carrying something on his back. Rather…it was somepony.

"Does anyone know why Twilight looks like this?" He asked, gesturing his head over to the pony on his back. I had to admit that the sight of this made me feel a little…bothered… Either way, Alex was asking why Twilight looked so dirty. Her mane and tail was a tangled mess, and there was actually a nest full of leaves and twigs planted in them. Pieces of dirt stuck dryly on her face and body. And even with all of that, she remained dozing off on his back. "I found her in her room lying on the floor and passed out cold. She didn't even make it to the bed."

"Well, I for one am glad she didn't." Rarity responded, cringing lightly at the sight. "Her bedsheets are made of the finest silk. I couldn't imagine them being ruined."

"Really, Rarity?" Applejack turned to her and reacted.

"She's here!" Pinkie cheered. "We can eat all together now!"

"Just set her down and let's get chowing!" Rainbow encouraged.

Despite the uncomfortable and disagreeing look on his face, Alex gently placed Twilight down in front of the table and sat her down. Before he returned to the seat next to me, he continued to stay by her, lightly touching her face with her hooves.

"Hey. You awake?" He asked softly.

"Mmm…yuh…" She mumbled and looked like she was able to lift her eyelids by centimeters.

"She's fine! Come on!" I tapped Alex's seat in hopes to get him to come back and sit down.

"I guess…" He muttered without confidence and joined me.

"To answer your question, sweetie, she spent the day helping me bathe the animals yesterday." Fluttershy explained with a sweet smile directed at him.

"Do you really have to talk like that at the table?" Rainbow Dash questioned bluntly.

"Let her talk how she wants." Applejack argued. "She hardly gets to spend any alone time with Alex with the castle and duties and whatnot nowadays."

This statement from Applejack made my head fall towards the floor from guilt. I guess it didn't help that I always wanted to be by his side ever since I began staying outside. I couldn't help it. He's my best friend and really…my only friend. It's completely normal and understandable that I'd want to hang out with him all the time, right?

"How long did she stay over?" Alex asked, ignoring Rainbow Dash's comment. "I mean…she hasn't even bathed herself by the looks of it."

"She actually didn't stay all that long." Fluttershy continued. "She left around sunset."

"Huh…" Alex responded, taking a moment to think to himself. "Then how come I never heard or saw her come back to the castle?"

"I can answer that!" Pinkie Pie dove her face into her stash of pancakes and licked clean all of the whipped cream when she pulled her face back out. "Twilight spent all night helping me pick the flavor! I kept thinking we'd found the right one, but she insisted I make even more to try." Pinkie Pie continued to add stacks of pancakes to her never-ending dish. "And more. And more and more and more and more! It was like she never wanted to—"

"Leave?" Fluttershy strangely answered with a frown upon her face.

"Exactly!" Pinkie took a big chomp out of her tower of pancake. "Eventually we ran out of time so we just went with every-berry-any-chip-surprise!" She took a second to hush something over to Rarity and exclaimed out loud for all of us to hear. "Somepony's gonna get a very special pancake!"

Rarity immediately scanned under the third layer of pancakes which I'm sure was because of the "surprise".

"Up all night, huh? Is that why she's so, uh... out of it?" Rainbow Dash pointed at Twilight whom was clearing snoring loudly and soon rested her head back against the chair.

Everyone took a moment to look over at Twilight as she continued to snore. "Um, I don't mean to sound unappreciative, but has anypony else noticed that Twilight has been a little too helpful lately?" Fluttershy asked in a lower tone of voice.

"Now that you mention it, she was lendin' a hoof at Sweet Apple Acres the other day and stuck around 'til near midnight." Applejack added. "Dug up fifty tree-plantin' holes when all I needed was ten."

"She spent an entire afternoon rearranging a single gem drawer at the boutique. An entire afternoon!" Rarity piled on.

"You think that's weird?" Rainbow Dash started. "She raced me, like, a hundred times the other day. And lost every time! She just kept goin'! Best out of ten, best out of twenty, best out of a hundred! I mean, I know hanging out with me is awesome, but it was like she'd rather keep losing than—"

"Leave?" Fluttershy finished again.

"Yeah. Who does that?"

There was a break in the pause of silence when Twilight snored loudly and allowed her head to fall onto her pancakes. Instead of eating them, she instead used them as a pillow. They were fluffy…

"Guess that explains why I've hardly seen her at all the past few days." Alex mentioned, causing me to recall how we have been able to hang out with each other pretty easily.

"Is it just me, or does anypony else think she's avoidin' somethin'?" Applejack asked.

Alex's eyes opened widely after a second. "…y-you don't think she's avoiding me, do you? After all, it looks like I've been the only one who hasn't seen her as much."

"No way." I felt the words slip out of my mouth unintentionally as I messed with the remainder of my pancakes.

"I don't think there's any way in Equestria she'd avoid you." Applejack reassured Alex. "She's like your little sister right?"

"Yeah…" Alex sounded unsure of himself.

"Even if she was, I'd think she'd have a surprise for you! Maybe she's making you some kind of present or something?" Pinkie Pie flipped her plate of pancakes with a great force and launched the rest of her meal into her mouth.

"That sounds like somethin' she'd do, but it doesn't really fit together right now. Either way, we'll find what the problem is once she wakes up." Applejack assured.

Pinkie Pie's cheeks filled with air and she immediately coughed up something Fluttershy's way. It stuck to Fluttershy's pancakes, allowing us to clearly see what it was. A measuring spoon. "I win!" She cried out. So, that was the surprise… I'm glad I didn't get it.

"Huh?! I'm pancake!" Twilight jumped up from her seat and looked around only to see a pancake stuck to her face by her horn. "I mean, awake..." She pulled the pancake away from her face and released an embarrassed grin.

"Uh, Twilight? Is there somethin' you wanna tell us?" Applejack didn't hesitate to get straight to the question.

"You know how much we appreciate all you do for us," Rarity walked over to Twilight to remove the pancake hanging off her horn only to have Pinkie jump up and grab it from beneath the table. "…and we simply adore having you around... but... we worry you might be... ahem... avoiding something else?"

"Oh, has it been that obvious?" Twilight didn't try excusing herself out of answering. "I've been... the thing is... I know it's silly, but I... I've been avoiding... this place." Twilight presented our surroundings.

"The dining room?" Pinkie Pie asked with both disbelief and shock as a few pieces of pancake fell from her mouth.

"No. The castle, Pinkie." Twilight answered seriously.

Rarity released a sharp gasp. "Why in Equestria would you want to avoid such a gorgeous castle?"

"Yeah, this place has everything!" Pinkie Pie joined in. "Big tall ceilings that make you feel tiny! Shiny new floors that are cold to the touch! Brrr! And it even has loooong empty hallways!" She jumped out of the room and her voice could immediately be heard echoing in the hallway outside. "Okay, I get it." Pinkie admitted and returned to Twilight.

"The castle is amazing. But it just..." Twilight sighed. "It doesn't feel like home."

"Seriously?" Alex concerned himself with Twilight's troubles. "I didn't know you felt that way. How come you never told me?"

"I…I don't know." Twilight appeared to search for answers. "I guess maybe you looked like you really liked the place, and I didn't want to ruin anything. Plus, you've been having such a good time with Spirit. I didn't want to ruin that."

"Are you kidding? You know that's what I'm here for. After what you did to help me with…you know…that… The very least I could do is help you with what you're going through. You'd come first."

I felt myself groan deeply in the inside.

"Thanks…" Twilight appreciated. "But…I'm not sure if you'd know what to do to help in this case."

Rarity began chuckling loudly. "Is that all? I know the perfect thing to make you feel just at home! Simply decorating is the way to go to make this home yours."

"But it's just so daunting! Look how big it is! I-I don't even know where to start!" Twilight pushed away her pancakes and dropped her head onto the table.

"You can start by letting us do it for you." Rarity offered. "We will make this the castle of your dreams while you go to the Ponyville spa for some much needed rest and relaxation. I'm saying this with love, but... have you looked in a mirror lately?" She pulled out a hoof mirror and faced it towards Twilight. "I've never seen you look this... mmmm..." She obviously struggled with what she wanted to say next.

"Frazzled?" Fluttershy mentioned.

"Yes!" Rarity immediately pointed out. "That is absolutely the word I was going to use."

"Ooh, I guess I do need a little help." Twilight accepted wearily. "And so does the castle. And I just know you'll do a great job, because nopony knows me better than you."

"We'll make this place feel cozier than hot cider on a rainy day." Applejack joined in.

A short gasp shot from Rainbow Dash's mouth. "There's gonna be cider?!" The serious rather unamused look from Applejack caused Rainbow Dash to rework her sentence. "Uh, I mean, let's decorate!"

"Oh, no! Did I miss the pancakes?!" Another voice spoke from the doors. I noticed Spike throw a Rarity-looking doll to the ground as he jogged over to us holding his blankie. "I sleep like a baby under that cold, cavernous ceiling." He began stacking his mouth with pancakes.

"Spike, I'm so glad you're here!" Rarity expressed.

"Really?" Spike asked with jubilant surprise.

"Yes! You're taking Twilight to the spa!"

"Great! I've been meaning to get my claws done!" He began chewing on the leftover pancakes, but his jaws stopped when everypony began staring at him in anticipation. "Oh, you mean now." He said with a full mouth and began walking out with Twilight as he stuffed the rest of the pancakes in his tiny little body.

"So, what are we gonna do?" Applejack asked between us.

"This is Alex's castle too, so let's get his opinion." Rarity returned and leaned over to Alex. "What do you say, darling? What is it you'd like to see in this extraordinary gorgeous castle?" She fluttered her eyelashes.

"To be honest, I really don't care." He informed. "Whatever you all think is best for Twilight, I'm up for. Just don't girl up my room." He chuckled with a very light bashful grin.

"Yeah, I don't care either…" I mumbled out just in case they thought they should ask me too.

"Alright!" Applejack exclaimed. "How bout we each bring in some things of ours and work them together to make her feel more at home?"

Everypony nodded their heads and agreed.

"I'll help the rest of you do that." Alex suggested. "I don't really have many things to decorate here with. Besides, I don't mean to boast, but I think being here is plenty enough for her coming from me."

"Well, let's go y'all!" Applejack faced the rest of the girls gathered around. "We've got work to do!"

Everyone began exiting the room while I stood there without moving a hoof. Before I could look around to find Alex, a pair of hooves pressed against me from behind and pushed me towards the doors to catch up along with the others.

"Wh-what are you doing?!" I asked Alex, whom was actually the one pushing me.

"I want to make sure you don't miss out on this." He invited rather roughly. I was probably going to follow him anyway, but maybe he wanted me to experience this first-hoof.

"Let's all work together" Rainbow Dash began singing out of the six in the hallway. "To make this castle shi-i-ine"

"You like singing, don't you?" Alex asked in between their lyrics with a smirk on his face.

"Once we add some sparkle" Rarity polished the crystal pillar near the door with a premium-looking rag of hers. "It'll feel, it'll feel, it'll feel..."

"It'll feel divine!" Everypony joined in.

Outside the castle, each one of the ponies besides Alex began planning out their list for the things they would be adding inside of the castle. Eventually, they brought their things back all together with the help of Alex and even me.

"Crates of apples an' bales o' hay

Just makes ya feel at home" Applejack escorted her cart towards the gigantic doors of the castle.

"Furry friends and some popinjays

So she won't be alone" Fluttershy invited along from her cottage.

"And we'll make, and we'll make, and we'll make

This castle a home!"

"There's nothing like balloons and confetti

To greet you every time you walk through the door!" Pinkie Pie skipped by me and planted the string of a balloon towards my lips. My eyes widened in shock as I had not been expecting such a friendly yet shocking gesture in the middle of something else.

"She'll need this and those

Posters of all my heroes" Rainbow Dash tossed various keepsakes over to Alex, whom had appeared to be caught off-guard as he had to use his magic and even hooves to keep Rainbow Dash's items from landing on the ground.

"How could anypony awesome ever ask for more?"

"And we'll make, and we'll make, and we'll make

A home she'll adore!" The girls continued as they counted each other's attendance and pressed forward inside the castle.

Alex began by trying to fix up the curtains Rarity had brought, but Rarity quickly sprang into action and took over for Alex by demonstrating to him how it was meant to be done. "Bright curtains of flowing silk and lace"

"This picture of me winning a race" Rainbow Dash centered a frame and replicated her pose in said picture.

"Party cannons to give her a surprise!" Pinkie poked her head and eyes through every present and even treat she kept for Twilight.

"Hoes and rakes and some more garden supplies" Applejack tossed some tools over to some bales she placed in the room and unexpectedly showered dirt all over the flower.

All of a sudden, I felt a big strong and furry arm grab ahold of me and pull me towards a bed of hair. "Getting hugs from this nice, big, friendly bear" Fluttershy sang besides me, offering me a kind smile that honestly uplifted my spirits in fitting into this group.

"Decorate with some gemstones bright and rare" Rarity directed her artistic vision with gems as Pinkie Pie suddenly grabbed my hoof and borrowed me.

"More of this and that" Rainbow Dash zoomed all over the castle room as Pinkie Pie threw me piles of party hats to wear not only on my head but anywhere imaginable.

"Don't forget the party hats!" I cheerfully sang along with her as we both sprung up and down from the floor with a group of furry animals following behind us.

"How could anypony awesome ask for more than that?"

"Let's all work together" Applejack rolled a barrel by us and stopped to uncover the feed that was inside for Fluttershy's animals.

"To show that we have shown" Fluttershy set a few bird houses on the crystal pillars inside.

"Princess Twilight Sparkle" Rarity continued to carry mass amounts of ribbons and curtains.

"How we make, how we make, how we make

This castle a home" Everypony continued to furnish the castle with each of their tastes.

"How we make, how we make

This castle a home

How we make, how we make

This castle a home!"

I didn't know what was so enchanting and uplifting about their group chorus, but I couldn't help but want to join after I had started hopping after Pinkie Pie with the party hats. In the end, I felt like we had accomplished something great and that it was such a big deal. However, when I opened my eyes to the sound of birds screeching and balloons popping, I took a good look around the room. It was practically filled to the brim, but it was so…um…ugly. It didn't look like I was the only one who noticed this. In fact, Pinkie Pie was the only pony who didn't look like she had lost her optimism.

"Wow, y'all! We did a... great job... together..." Applejack sounded like she was trying to encourage or convince the others, but her tone sounded flat and deflated compared back to when she was singing.

"We sure did... something." Rainbow Dash pointed out blatantly as the others murmured below her voice. "Fluttershy, I love that you brought so many animals." She commented after several of Fluttershy's many critters stopped by and expressed some of their love.

"Are these your trophies?" Fluttershy asked by the window, spotting shimmering and glimmering awards.

"I prefer to think of them as everypony's trophies but with my name permanently etched onto them." Rainbow Dash responded rather distastefully.

"My my, Applejack, bringing the outdoors inside, it's... earthy..." Rarity nervously observed the rustic surroundings. "What a lovely touch!" She sniffed a quilt she picked up and heaved in disgust for a second. "Are these quilts vintage?"

"Nope, just old!" Applejack answered proudly and began to contradict Rarity's décor. "Unlike your sparkly window doohickeys which are... why, they're just swell!" She chuckled unconvincingly.

"No one said anything about my hidden confetti cannons!" Pinkie Pie brought up between them until she paused for a second to think about what she had just said. "Oh, right! They're hidden!" She giggled.

"I just realized something…" Alex finally spoke, dragging his eyes among everypony's things that stacked all over inside the room. "Why did everyone put their stuff in one room?"

No pony returned an answer until the sound of an opening door echoed.

"Hey guys, how do my claws look—Sweet Celestia!" Spike casually asked until he took a look at the room for himself.

"Oh, Spike! Are you and Twilight done already?" Rarity worriedly asked.

"Don't worry, I ordered her the super-deluxe mane blow-out! She'll be a while." His tiny feet began waddling inside the packed room as he continued to gaze all around him. "Man, this place looks terrible!"

The girls exchanged a look with each other and sighed out loud. It sounded like they had been holding that in for a good while.

"Thank goodness somepony said something!" Fluttershy said.

"It's pretty bad, right?" Rainbow Dash asked.

"This place looks like a mishmash of knickknacks." Applejack commented.

"Hmm, I suppose it is a little cluttered." Rarity added.

"What are you guys talking about? I think it looks super fun!" Pinkie Pie hopped and believed otherwise.

Then out of nowhere, a confetti cannon exploded and frightened all of the animals that Fluttershy had brought in.

"Whee!" Pinkie Pie cheered as all of the animals began wreaking havoc and destroying things inside of the room.

"Oh! Oh, no! Please don't do that!" Fluttershy attempted to calm her pets down. "If you all just take a deep breath and calm down—"

On the other hoof, Rarity focused her attention on a couple of squirrels that was scratching frantically on one of the drapes she had brought over. "No! That bunting is embroidered by hoof! Don't you move one more paw!"

I suppose the daring critters technically did as they were told, but the nails they had dug in tore through the fabric straight towards the direction of the floor. With heated pinkish cheeks, she raised her voice and screamed out loud. "Everypony, stop!"

I wasn't expecting her bold exclamation to work over Fluttershy's encouragement. Everypony stopped in their tracks with a few more things falling in the silence around us.

"Okay, now it's a mess." Pinkie Pie didn't lose her smile by one bit as another confetti cannon blasted behind her. I could probably learn a thing or two from her about smiling…

"What're we gonna do?!" Rainbow Dash panicked at the sight of the completely shambolic room.

"I dunno. But Twilight's blow-out won't take that long." Spike warned, raising the stress levels of those who really cared about pleasing Twilight. "If she was avoiding the castle before, she'll never set hoof in here now!"

"Come on, guys, we've gotta do something! Twilight's counting on us!" Rainbow Dash pushed.

"Spike, you've got to get back to that spa and stall her! Whatever you do, don't let her come home!" Rarity pleaded.

"Like, forever? But we live here." Spike returned.

"Uh, yes, well, uh, maybe you could manage it 'til... sunset-ish?" Rarity ended by batting her eyelashes towards Spike, flipping the confidence switch on little love-struck Spike.

"Anything for you, Rarity..." Spike floated off, dazed and maybe even a bit confused.

"Okay, we all agree the castle is too cluttered, right? So why doesn't everypony take one of their own decorations out and we'll see how it looks?" Applejack immediately came up with a resolution, gaining general agreement from the others.

"Spirit." Alex unexpectedly walked up to me.

"Uh. Yeah?" I accidently gasped lightly before I answered.

"Can you do something for me?" He asked.

"Yeah, sure!" I blurted out with a bright smile before I thoroughly thought about it.

"Can you go with Spike and help him keep Twilight at bay while we finish up here?"

"What…?" A wave of disappointment threatened to soak and drown me. "You mean you're not coming with me?"

"I think it's best if I stayed here." He reasoned. "I think having the most magic we have available will be a big help in clearing this mess and sorting things out as soon as possible. If you can help stall Twilight long enough to give us time to fix up the place, that would be a great help."

I felt my cheeks filling up with air of disapproval, but I didn't want to throw a tantrum about not being beside him. When I really thought about it, it would have been a really immature and selfish thing to do. No matter how much I was against it, I had to soak it up and fake a smile.

"Yeah, sure. I can do that."

"Thanks." He expressed with a smile and playfully messed with my mane like a kid. "See you back here later." He mentioned before he turned to help the others.

I felt my movements slow and drag as I turned to catch up to Spike, whom had been most likely headed back towards the spa where Twilight was at. Is that all I really was? A kid? Is that why he treats me so much like a kid?

I can't blame him. Just moments ago, I was ready to be the little filly I was at heart. But I can't help it… It's just the way I am.


For a moment, I couldn't remember where the spa was. I remembered passing by it a few times whenever I was out and about with Alex, but I couldn't recall the exact way. I had to aimlessly walk around town for a while until I came across a building that looked like the way I last remembered.

I was thankful once I was inside since it was pretty obvious I was in the right place judging from the interior décor. As I looked around in the waiting room, the pony at the desk noticed me and called out.

"Hello! Do you have an appointment today?" She asked.

"No, no!" I shook both my head and hoof. "I'm just looking for somepony… Twilight Sparkle?"

"Oh, yes." She skimmed through some of her papers. "She's having a traditional massage right now. Is there anything you'd like to try while you wait for her? A mineral bath, maybe?"

"No, thanks…" I answered as politely as I could. "Would it be alright if I go in and talk to her?"

"If she's fine with that, then go on right ahead."

"Thank you." I said before I finally speed-walked through the doors.

It didn't look like the business was too busy. The inside of the spa looked almost like a ghost-town to be honest. Then again, I would think that that kind of a scenario would be the best for some pony wanting to relax. Nevertheless, it was impossible to not notice two humongous holes in the wall. It looked like some kind of wrecking ball broke through them.

"Why are there two holes in the wall?" I asked myself.

"Some huge guy with small wings just tore through them like no tomorrow." I heard a voice by the huge tub in the middle of the room.

This startled me as I wasn't aware any pony was inside the room I was in since it looked so empty. Like any pony else would do, I turned in the direction where I heard the voice and was surprised to see some pony I had not expected to really see at all.

I didn't call her by her name and instead unintentionally stared at her. Her mane looked really…sort of…fluffy like as it had just been perfectly blown through every single strand. She lowered her head to snag a towel from a nearby counter and was about to continue on her way before she stopped when she noticed me staring at her.

"What?" She asked.

My brain finally realized what I was doing, so I slightly turned away with no intention to answer back. Nevertheless, I continued to stupidly face my body towards her, so I was still technically in the middle of a conversation with her.

"What? You don't like me?" She asked but continued to walk towards and up the stairs to reach the top of the giant bath. It didn't sound like it bothered her at all if she knew that I didn't like her, but that was to be expected from her.

I decided to take another look at her, but this time, I didn't hold my eye contact.

She now formed a look of confusion as if she couldn't understand me.

"You do remember me, right?"

Of course I do. How couldn't I?

"Yeah…" I felt myself accidentally slip.

She chuckled. "Alex's right. You are shy." She placed the towel somewhere safe and began dipping herself in the bath. She closed her eyes and released a sigh of pleasure and relief. There was an uneasy moment of silence before she decided to speak again. "You want to keep me company or what?"

I couldn't say I hated her as much as I did before…but all those things she had done in the nonexistent past weren't exactly easy to forgive. For the heck of it, I decided to climb the stairs up where she entered the tub, but I didn't get in since I was only supposed to talk to Twilight. I sat there, but I didn't say anything.

"You sure are quiet." She mentioned.

Since I was here for Twilight, I decided I might as well ask if she's seen her.

"Twilight. Have you seen her here?" I asked.

"Oh, her?" She didn't seem to have a hard time remembering who this pony was. "Yeah. We were talking for a bit before that little dragon, Spike, came and talked her into massages. I'm guessing they're in that room." She pointed towards the room with the two holes in the walls. "Oh man…" She drifted on. "It's pretty crazy. Every pony in this town doesn't recognize me at all. Is it the new look? I don't know. It feels different, but pretty nice. But I can hardly find anything to do here though… It kind of gets boring."

She was rambling. It was pretty strange since I've never seen this side of her.

"You can't stay here for long, can you?" I inquired. "You've got a band you pretty much run, don't you?"

"Takin' a break." She briefly answered. "Had been on tour for a long time. Might go back around winter or something." I heard the water in the tub move around as she unexpectedly turned towards me and rested her hooves on the wooden exterior where I was standing. "So, what's up with you? I don't think I've ever seen you before Alex introduced us. Did you two just recently meet?"

Not really…

"I guess… Sort of…" I knew I was being pretty vague with my answers.

"I know I'd remember any mare with eyes like yours." She mentioned blatantly. Surprisingly, I didn't really take any offense from that. "No offense. I think they're pretty cool."

"Thanks…" I responded.

Ironically, there were so many things I could have said to start an endless conversation, but I couldn't say most of those things if not any. They were things I technically wasn't supposed to know, and she would probably freak if she saw that I did.

"Ow. Ow. Ow." I heard another voice barely whimper out.

I turned towards the direction of the sound and found Twilight walking out as she looked pretty relieved and relaxed. Spike, on the contrary, looked completely the opposite. Nevertheless, Twilight spotted me almost immediately as soon as she exited the room she was in.

"Spirit! What are you doing here? Aren't you with Alex and the others helping redecorate?" She stopped a few steps in front of me.

"He um…" I paused to try to think of an excuse. In the same moment, I glanced back over to the mare in the bath tub, whom casually turned her head over to us. "I mean… I wanted to um…" The next words that came across my mind made me feel sort of sick. "I guess I wanted to sort of spend time with you… Alex has kind of been wanting me to get to know everyone better."

"Oh, really?" Twilight looked pretty surprised to hear that, but she didn't hesitate to believe it. "Well, that's nice, but we were just about to head home already."

"I hope it's sunset already…" Spike managed to murmur clear enough for at least me to understand.

"Huh?" Twilight turned to him with a puzzled look on her face.

"I mean nothing!" He corrected. "Let's go. I think I'm done with the massages."

"Later, Twilight." The mare in the bathtub flipped a hoof without really looking back.

"See you, Starlight."


Back outside, Twilight and Spike walked ahead while I stayed behind them and felt pretty lonely without Alex being around. Twilight released a relieved sigh and expressed her thoughts on her time at the spa. "I totally needed that."

Cracked joints continuously sounded while I felt like speaking to Twilight about back there with that other mare.

"So what? You two are all buddy-buddy now?" I asked even though I felt it come off as too bitterly.

"Who? You mean Starlight and me?" Twilight asked.

"Yeah." I felt my tone retain. "Even after all she did to you, like call you ugly and talk you down, you're just going to be okay with all of that?"

"You…know about that?" Twilight questioned as an uneasy frown formed across her face.

"Well, let's just say I sort of know everything Alex knows." I seemed to answer both briefly and vaguely.

"Oh, right…" Twilight quickly understood as she stopped in her tracks. "That whole 'you being his light' thing'."

Yeah… That thing.

"Well…" Twilight rubbed the back of her head and stared at the ground. "It's never really good to hold a grudge, right? After all, she did apologize. I'd think anyone deserves a second chance, and after all that's happened, I think she's really changed."

"I just don't get it." I continued. "How can you just forget all that bad things that she did and just pretend that none of it ever happened?"

"You can't really forget." Twilight answered. "You just forgive."

"But how can you forgive if you can't forget?"

Twilight looked like she noticed the anger in both my voice and face as it appeared she studied both things closely. "I don't mean to change the subject…but what's with you and Starlight? Do you feel angry about her because you experienced the same feelings Alex did from her too or something?"

"You could say that." I replied.

"Then again…" Twilight paused in thought. "Alex ended up forgiving her, so…shouldn't you…?"

Of course she wouldn't truly understand. She wouldn't know it's not as simple as being his "light". And because of this, it made me even angrier.

"You know what? Never mind…" I decided to cease the subject.

After that, I noticed that Spike had been messing with different parts of his body. It looked like he was trying to straighten them out or something as his joints continued to crack.

"Well… I guess we should continue on home then." Twilight hesitantly turned and began walking until Spike noticed the position of the sun in the sky and stopped her.

"Actually, I was hoping we could take the scenic way back." He suggested.

"Why?" Twilight asked.

"You know… It's a nice day out. We can't let it go to waste."

Twilight took a look at the sky for herself. "I guess it is pretty nice out."

"Great! Let's go!" Spike began unnecessarily shoving her in the direction that he wanted her to take.

As much as I wanted to go back to the castle, I knew Alex wanted me to help Twilight, so I decided to stick around longer with her.


Even though I wanted to help Alex by helping Spike, I just couldn't feel the motivation to do my job. I lagged around and dwelled within my own thoughts. Spike pretty much had to go solo on the job. They stopped by that old tree they used to live in and shared some sad conversation about losing it. Ultimately, Twilight was almost ready to fly back home until Spike stopped her in talk of getting a new bed, so I ended up being at a bed shop with them.

As Spike tested out as many beds as he could to stall for time, I instead stared out the window. Their talk about losing something they loved got me all emotional, and I couldn't stop thinking about my own faults and problems. But I was able to snap out of it for a moment when I noticed Alex trotting by with the rest of his friends. Rainbow Dash made some kind of signal towards the shop and continued on.

"…what the heck are they doing out here…?" I asked myself and noticed that it was sunset. I decided I was free to leave, so the first place I went was in and out of Alex. "What are you doing?" I asked, noticing that they were all in front of the destroyed tree that Twilight, Spike, and I were just at not too long ago.

"Oh, dear goodness!" Rarity cried out in fright as she noticed my sudden appearance. "I…ahem…forgot you could do that."

"You're not with Spike?" Alex asked.

"I saw you guys outside with shovels and wanted to know what's going on."

"We were all planning to dig up this tree." Applejack explained as she pointed towards the target. "But…" She sighed as she observed the large remains of what used to be a gigantic treehouse. "I'm starting to think this plan won't work after all…"

Plan with the tree?

Everypony stared at the tree in upsetting silence before Rarity suddenly spoke up. "Of course it will, darling. I can see it! Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie, you come with me. The rest of you stay here. We're going shopping! We'll meet back at the castle." Rarity began trotting with Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie out of the area.

"Well…" Applejack's frown managed to form into a small smile. "I say it's a chance worth takin'."

"If you say so." Alex returned.

I sighed sadly, feeling as if my assigned job was yet to be complete. "You want me to go help Spike…?"

"Actually…" His response surprised me and perked my ears and eyes up. "We could use your help digging up this tree. You up for it?"

"Y-yeah!" I grabbed a shovel and began to dig at the dirt once he did.

Applejack's smile seemed to stretch towards our interaction.

"It's not the things that ya gather 'round" She sang.

"It's not how much you own" Fluttershy gathered her critters that were experienced with digging.

"The things that hold the meaning in your life" Alex continued.

"Are the memories you've sown" I happily joined.

"So we make, so we make, so we make

This castle a home

So we make, so we make

This castle a home

So we make, so we make

This castle a home!"

I was able to finally realize what their plan ultimately was after all the labor that was put to it. They had attached the roots off the dug up tree and decorated ever so brightly with sewn gems. When Twilight came home, they had to explain the situation and reason behind why the halls of the castle still looked the same, especially when Spike shared an outburst because of how long he had to stall her in order for the others to do their job.

"What really makes home feel like home isn't what it looks like." Applejack stated. "It's the memories you make when you're there."

"So we've made something that celebrates the memories we've made with you since you moved to Ponyville." Rarity shared before she allowed the doors to the newly furnished castle room to be opened.

"The ornaments on the chandelier are reminders of all the fun we've had together." Fluttershy presented the sewn gems.

"That one shows your party at the Golden Oak Library welcoming you to Ponyville!" Pinkie Pie pointed at a specific one.

"The time we shared donuts after the Grand Galloping Gala!" Fluttershy pointed at another.

Ohhh… Alex was so sad at that point in time…but after taking a glance at his face, it didn't seem to bother him one bit in the present.

"We were hoping that being able to look at your beautiful old memories would inspire you to make new ones." Rarity expressed to the awe-struck Twilight.

"And the best part of it is, it's made from the roots of the Golden Oak Library, so you'll never forget where you came from." Applejack explained.

After hearing and seeing for myself how much the roots of the tree ingeniously symbolized their memories, I couldn't help but find myself taken back with the amount of thought placed into this.

"It's exactly what the castle needed." Twilight reacted with brimming tears in her eyes as she raced towards the others for an immense group hug. Of course, I was kind of left out, and I felt left out because I was technically never really there for those memories… "And I am ready to make new memories here."

"Then let's start right now with a new memory cake!" Pinkie Pie dashed out and back in with an enormous cake on her back. "Seven layer what's-that-flavor mystery surprise! These might be chocolate chips or they might be super-spicy black beans!" She pointed at the circular chunks planted carefully around the circumference of the cake. I'm all in if they're chocolate chips. Not so much if they're beans.

"Let's go to the dining room." Twilight suggested as she led the group. "It's a little sparse, but at least there's a table and chairs." She stopped inside. "Whoa! What happened in here? Last I checked, this place was empty!"

As I took a look for myself, it seemed the others didn't stop at that one room with the roots. How much did they do while I was gone?

"I couldn't help myself!" Rarity confessed. "It was just begging for the personal touch!"

"Truth be told... I couldn't either." Applejack admitted as well. "Your kitchen might have some rustic farm decor, Twilight."

"And there may or may not be some Daring Do posters up in your library." Rainbow Dash added.

"And some stuffed animals in your bedroom." Fluttershy giddily shared softly.

Then all of a sudden, I was startled by the loud boom from an exploding confetti cannon.

"What was that?!" Twilight asked.

"One of Pinkie Pie's confetti cannons." Applejack answered with a sigh.

"What? It's not my fault I hid them so well!" Pinkie Pie responded with remnants of the once delicious-looking cake still on her coat, mane, and tail.

As everypony joined in for laughter, I turned towards my hooves on the floor and noticed that some of the cake had gotten onto them.

Hm.

I took a taste of it and closed my eyes as I savored the flavor.

It's a mess…but still sweet.

Their laughter drained and faded out as I focused my thoughts towards Alex.

Alex. Let's make memories of our own too, okay?

Alex's eyes reacted in surprise as he glanced over to me.

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